Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Christmas is a Coming

I've been trying to get into the Christmas spirit. Most of my shopping is covered. I tend to buy things throughout the year, partly to spread the cost and partly as a habit I got into from my days of working in retail when you end up working all hours in December and getting tired and stressed. I used to like to get it out of the way before consumer madness descended. I got my Christmas cards printed up this week. I did a little pencil sketch of some Christmas jumpers and used my local community printers Marc.

I've also been getting a bit of shopping in. My mum took me to the new mega Tesco on Salford Precinct last week and I got very excited by the world food isle. Maybe all big Tescos have these, I wouldn't know, there are none near to where I live. There were vegan friendly Oreos, albeit mini ones (great for cupcakes though) and tins of pumpkin on offer 2 for £3.

Tonight I got even more excited in Sainsburys. New Crisps for Christmas! Kettle Chips have brought out Seasalt, Rosemary and Garlic and Sainsburys have released Hoisin Duck and Baked Ham and Sticky Marmalade flavours. And yes they are all VEGAN!!! Aren't these just about the most exciting vegan crisp flavours ever? Also, spotted in Sainsburys were the Guinness flavour peanut and cashew nuts. There's no actual Guinness in them, they are made by Humdinger who when I contacted them assured me that they are suitable for vegans. Oh, and Sainsburys Free From Mince Pies which also happen to be gluten free are really lovely too. Tis the season to be snacking.

Monday, 26 November 2012


I've been somewhat MIA since Mofo finished. Things have been rather busy. I had a birthday and there were several celebrations around that and I had a wonderful birthday weekend away staying at the iconic art deco Midland Hotel in Morecambe. We had a fab time and the staff really looked after my vegan dietary needs providing soya milk and margarine and printing off our own vegan menu when we had an evening meal providing 3 choices for each course. We also managed to fit in a visit to the Whaletail Cafe in Lanchester on the way home so that's another tick off the the Top 10 Vegan Breakfasts list!

Matt also released his third Quiet Loner album last week to great reviews. Check out this 10 out of 10 review on Americana UK. I'm so proud of him. It's a great album from the music right down to the handprinted letterpress sleeve created by artists Kev Craig and David Armes. Have a listen, there's a link to some tracks on the right hand side of the homepage of his website.

We've been making some yummy meals too but I've been a bit lax about taking photos. Highlights include an amazing seitan tikka masala from the Vegan Indian Cooking and the Smokey Butternut Mac and Cheese from the Manifest Vegan blog which was a recipe I bookmarked during Mofo.

I got Babycakes Covers The Classics for my birthday. The first thing I made from it was the Irish Soda Bread which was amazing. I've got this Friday off to do loads of baking for the People's Kitchen Cake Stall this Saturday at the Anarchists Bookfair and for the Cake Liberation Front's 2nd Birthday Meet Up on Sunday so I'm looking forward to trying out lots more recipes from it.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

October UK Vegan Food Swap

I love taking part in the monthly UK vegan food swap. It's such fun choosing what to put in your parcel and so exciting when you receive one. If you want to take part sign up over at Too Happy Vegans by the 5th. I first heard about the swap over on the Vegan in Brighton blog and this month I got my parcel from the owner of that blog Jojo. Very excitingly Jojo had just returned from a holiday in the States and all the goodies in my parcel were from there. 

Here's a better look at the contents. I've eaten most of the bars already. I'm saving the pumpkin to make the Vegan With A Vengeance Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins for Christmas Day morning something I've done a few times in the past but couldn't do last year as my stock of holiday purchased pumpkin had been emptied.

Something else from the package came in handy for our Halloween Tea. First off I purchased some David Shrigley Brain Bread. 13 loaves of the bread are being sold from 2pm every Wednesday at Bakerie whilst the David Shrigley exhibition is on at the Cornerhouse. The artist designed the bread with the Bakerie staff and it's a really tasty beetroot and walnut bread. Each loaf comes with a hand numbered label signed by David.

Some here it is - potato wedges with a special Halloween sandwich of brain bread filled with mayo, leaves, tomato and soy curls. I was delighted when I saw that Jojo had included a packet of soy curls in the food swap box. I've read so much about them and wished they were available in the UK. We used the recipe for the Smokey Soy Curls from Vegan Diner. I loved them and enjoyed them again on a brain bread sandwich for lunch today with the extra addition of some avocado.