Showing posts from October, 2010

Earl Grey and Dark Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Vegan MoFo couldn't have come at a better month for me than November. There's loads of birthdays including my own (yay Scorpios!), the Manchester and Liverpool launches of the Cake Liberation Front, another work Come Dine With Me, the Melisser Elliott booksigning at the Thirsty Scholar and lots more. But first to start things off, a new recipe.
My friend Helen is an earl grey drinking chocolate lover whose motto is and has always been 'Eat Dessert First'. For her birthday I sent her a book and a bag of these biscotti to nibble on whilst reading.
Earl Grey and Dark Chocolate Chip Biscotti Based on the biscotti recipes in the wonderful Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Ingredients 2 tablespooons of ground flaxseeds 1/3 cup of soya milk zest of a small lime – about 2 teaspoons ¾ cup of caster sugar ½ cup of sunflower oil ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract 1 2/3 cups of plain flour 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder 2 teaspoons…

Happy Halloween

Over the years I seem to have accrued quite a collection of Halloween decorations. When I was younger I always loved this time of the year as it was half term and the kids on our street used to make up a Halloween play and rehearse it all week and then pack everyone's parents into someone's living room to perform it. My sister was in Ali Bongos magic club so she might do some tricks and we would serve Draculas Blood as a refreshment - a secret concoction containing Vimto!

Day of the Dead decorations from a trip to Mexico. Celebrated just after Halloween on All Souls Day.

The cake is a belated cake for one of my friends who was 40 whilst I was in Portland. I sent him a Facebook message at the time telling him to put in an order for what flavour he'd like. He said he felt like Alberto the frog in Bod picking a milkshake - showing our age there! He went for coffee, so this is the coffee and walnut from The Cake Scoffer decorated with chocolate covered espresso beans from a lit…

Flour Power!

My friend Davo has been working extremely hard on the graphics for the new Cake Liberation Front. Here's the poster for our Liverpool event.

We will be giving out samples of vegan muffins to the public, giving away recipes and leaflets and showing the new Animal Aid film. We want to wow the public with our baked goods. I have a couple of favourite muffin recipes in mind - the mocha choc chip from Post Punk Kitchen and a Cranberry Panetonne muffin recipe from Urban Vegan which I can't find on the website any more so I'm glad I printed it off. It's from 2006 and the archive only goes back to 2008 and it's not in her cookbook. Do you have any favourite recipes you could share with us?

Vegan Girl's Guide To Life Launch

I'm back home again after a really fantastic holiday and have managed to bring a horrible lurgy with me. It's Monday evening and I've just worked out that I've spent 42 of the last 60 hours asleep! Feeling a lot better now and it was better to be ill now than in November when there is so much going on! Sunday November 7 is the Bed-In at the Bluecoat and Sunday November 21 is the first Cake Liberation Front bake sharing meeting.

And, Melisser Elliott of The Urban Housewife fame is also including a Manchester date on her book launch tour for The Vegan Girl's Guide To Life. Melisser will be at The Thirsty Scholar on November 30 from 6-8.

Vancouver last suppers

Last night we met Sarah's friend Norma for dinner at the Crimelab. They just had the one vegan entree but it was excellent. It was vegetable noodles made from very thin spiralised strips of aubergine, courgette and carrot that were cooked al dente and served with a rich, garlicy tomato sauce.

Today lunch combined two of my favourite things - vegan food and apes! After a morning of ambling round the lovely independent clothes and interiors stores of Gastown we headed for the raw food restaurant Gorilla Food. We had a delcious light lunch. Sarah went for the thai collard wraps whilst I had a nori wrap filled with a sunflower seed and ginger pate and avocado. Yummy and yet another meal from this trip that I will definitely be trying to recreate back home. Tonight my last night and we are dining at the highly recommended Lebanese restaurant, Nuba.

Miss Mouse

Meet Mouse, Sarah's Cornish Rex cat. she is the cheekiest, most friendly cat I have ever met.

During the day she sleeps in her big cream puff bed and occasionally peeks her head out to see what's up!

At night she likes to hang out with the girls. It's lovely and warm on top of the tv!

Highlights of Portland

Just a few more highlights from our trip.

Sunday morning breakfast at the Tin Shed. A popular spot where you have to queue to get in but they give you free coffee whilst you are waiting. Here's my tofu scramble with grits.

The fabulous Stumptown coffee shop. You can get their coffee at many other places in town but it's worth checking out their own place and it's right near Voodoo Doughnuts (we sneaked some in). Make sure you order your drink as 'extra hot' if you want it at British temperatures!

Cocktails at the Doug Fir lounge which is also a great gig venue.

The vegan mini-mall. We had cake and coffee at SweetPea Bakery. I purchased a huge bag of white chocolate chips at Food Fight Grocery. I bought a cardigan and poster from Herbivore and managed to leave my bracelet in the changing rooms. I emailed them that evening and they replied with a lovely email and sent the bracelet back out to me at no charge the next day. If you've not seen their stuff before check i…

The Perfect Breakfast

We tried to go to Voodoo Doughnuts twice before. Today was third time lucky. On Saturday and Sunday there was an hour long queue round the block that we didn't fancy standing in. It's open 24 hours and this morning at breakfast time we just walked right in. Was it worth it - Hell yeah! Twenty different kinds of vegan doughnuts and you can even get married there with coffee and doughnuts for 24 people for 200 quid!

Please vote for Vegan Pizza

I meant to enter this competition and totally forgot. I'm glad someone else did with a vegan recipe which has reached the top 5 shortlist. It's currently in the lead. Please vote here and let's get a vegan pizza on the Pizza Express menu!

Pet Rescue

After a long but beautifully scenic train journey to Portland we checked into our hotel then headed out for the evening. Dinner was at a little Mexican place called Santeria where I had a vegan burrito as big as my head! The food was good, cheap and filling and the owners friendly. Sarah got a shock when she went to the bathroom and it was via the lap dancing club next door!

Next stop was the Tugboat Brewing Company just next door. It's a micro brewery as well as a bar. The owner was a friendly guy whose dad is from Manchester too and he let me try some samples before buying. We decided to have an early night and went to catch the bus back to the hotel which is when we met Princess the chihuahua.

Princesse's owner was trying to get her to the vets as a cat had scratched her eye and she was breathing shallowly. The driver wouldn't let her on the bus as she was wrapped in a blanket and not in a pet carrier as per their rules. Sarah managed to persuade him to let her put Prince…

Brits Abroad

We had an early start to catch the train from Vancouver down to Portland. You have to get there an hour early to do customs checks before boarding so we were up at 5am to catch the 6.40am train. The night before we had an early night and a tv dinner.

This involved pitta pizzas in the toaster oven with Daiya cheese and Yves pepperoni. We splashed out on some gourmet tonic at Wholefoods for our G+Ts and then settled down to watch last Christmas's Coronation Street!

Visit to a Vancouver Vegan Institution

This morning we headed back over to the University to visit the Museum of Anthropology. The Museum has collections of artifacts from all over the world and in particular the BC First Nations.

There were loads of amazing wooden carved pieces and the building itself is really interesting. I loved this full size wicker motorbike which was for sale in the shop!

For lunch we visited The Nam. This veggie restaurant is a Vancouver institution and is open 24 hours!!!

We shared a starter of the famous sesame fries with miso gravy and then had huge dragon bowls for mains. Sarah went for the thai curry version whilst I had the classic Nam on the advice of the waitress. It was brown rice, miso gravy, steamed veggies, tofu, peanut sauce, alfalfa sprouts and shredded carrots and beets all layered up.

Unfortunately we were too full for dessert and instead headed over to Wholefoods to get some snacks for the train journey to Portland tommorow. Blimey, it was massive. I've been in the Wholefoods in Lo…

Main Street

Yesterday we had a great time strolling up and down Main Street. This street is full of little independent fashion and design stores and thrift shops. First we visited Front and Company which is a great place for thrifted designer items. Sarah hit the jackpot and came away with a Prada skirt, Marc Jacobs trousers and a Loeffler Randall dress at a fraction of the original price. In another shop I found a fantastic red spotted fifties circle dress but sadly no ammount of trying would get the zip to do up! However, in the same shop I found a similar era cheerleaders jacket in red, white and blue that according to the embroidery belonged to someone called Kathy Carroll at ICHS and that will be accompanying me home.

All that shopping was hungry work so we had big bowls of veggie food from The Foundation. Sarah had a maple chilli which came with flatbread and multi coloured cornchips which was good and filling. I went for a warm green salad which consisted of wilted greens covered with tofu …

Douglas Coupland Day

La Taqueria was our choice of lunch spot today and it was fantastic. We ordered a selection of soft tacos which were delicious. There were 3 vegan options - refried beans, ground tofu and chipotle mushrooms. The guy serving noticed my Secret Society of Vegans badge and laughed saying I know what your order will be.

We spent a few hours in the excellent Vancouver Museum of Art. One of the exhibits was responses by contemporary artists to the work of Vancouver artist, Emily Carr.

One of the contributions was from Douglas Coupland. He became the theme for the day when we went over to the University in the evening to hear him read the first part of his new book as part of the annual Massey Lecture.


Twenty one years ago I was an exchange student at a University in upstate New York and got to expereince an Amercian Thanksgiving down in Long Island. Twenty one years later I arrived in Vancouver just in time for a Canadian Thanksgiving!

Sarah cooked a fantastic meal and did me proud with a Tofurkey Feast. Mmm, wish you could get these in England. It was great and came with stuffing in the middle, gravy, dumpling stuffed with cranberry and a tofurkey jerky wishbone! And for dessert there was berries and this amazing Coconut Bliss vegan icecream in pineapple and chocolate. It's soy free and made from coconut milk instead.

The Return of the Cake Scoffer

A few months ago Ronny who writes the fab vegan scoffer series posted on a few sites asking if people wanted to submit a recipe to be considered for new publication The Return of the Cake Scoffer. I emailed her my Paddington Cake recipe and was really chuffed to see it had been included when my copy arrived today. The Scoffers are usually on sale at vegan fayres and through organisations like Viva and Animal Aid. Vegetarian Guides are currently running an offer where you can get all 4 for £5.

Recipes include - bakewell slice, vanilla pecan parcels, chocolate eclairs, rum n raisin sponge pudding, French apple pie, foxy brownies, truffles, Paddington cake, berry ginger cheesecake, cornflake cakes, tiffin, chocolate fudge cake, toffee apples, crunchie bars, carrot and orange cake, date and walnut cake, date slice and cinnamon apple slice, white chocolate carrot cake, banana toffee flapjacks, choc chip and coconut flapjacks, apple flapjacks and plum and ginger flapjacks. Yum, yum, yum ,yum…

Bed In with the Cake Liberation Front

I'm working hard at the moment to get ready to launch a new vegan baking group next month - The Cake Liberation Front. The website will launch when I get back from Vancouver so more details to follow soon. Two events are planned for November. There will be the first of a series of Manchester bi-monthly social meet ups for baked goods sharing at The Friends Meeting House, Behind Central Library, 6 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5NS. This will take place on Sunday November 21 between 3.30 and 5.30.

Before that though the Cake liberation Front have been selected to take part in the Bed-In at the Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool. We will be there in the bed on Sunday November 7, between 11-4, plying the public with vegan muffins and giving away our recipes. The Bed-In is to celebrate the 70th birthday of John Lennon and there will be various groups performing non-violent actions with the bed between October-December.

Have you ever been to...

Vancouver or Portland?

I'm off to Vancouver on Saturday for 2 weeks to stay with my friend Sarah, an old friend who emigrated there after college. We've always kept in touch and met up when she's been back to Manchester to see her family but this is my first trip there. We are also planning to get the train down to Portland for a few days. If anyone has any suggestions of what to see and especially any vegan places not to miss, please leave a comment. Ta.

Hot Chocolate Season

Hot Chocolate season is definitely drawing in. I happened upon the Montezumas shop in Spitalfields Market last week when I went to the Origin Craft event. As I am about to go on holiday to Vancouver I had to resist buying anything from the event. My willpower didn't hold out in the chocolate shop though and I treated myself to a bag of Montezumas No 5 Hot Chocolate which has a hint of mint.

They do 3 hot chocolates, - plain, chilli and mint and all are suitable for vegans. if you're ever down there I would recommend the shop, they sell lots of vegan truffles and even a chocolate piranha! The staff were very friendly and knowledgeable and the stock is well labelled.The hot chocolate was delicious and reminded me of mint Aeros. I finished it off with some Sweet Vegan mis-shape marshmallows which they often sell at a discounted price on Ebay.

Manchester Weekender

It's the Manchester Weekender. For the next 48 hours there's all kinds of art happenings. From interactive art to new music, bicycle tours to boat parties to midnight cinema, from art picnics to the art underground. Over 30 organisations, 8 international festivals, 100s of artists and dozens of venues. I'm not going to get to see much. I'm busy meeting up with an old childhood friend I've not seen for 20 years and visiting the twins at the hospital out in Wigan. I did get to attend one of the launch parties this evening though at the Masonic Hall and witness the performance art piece above involving a half naked shrink wrapped man!