Showing posts from November, 2013

Birthday Treats

I had a birthday last week. Matt made me the lovely tea pictured below. Whenever we have a hire car we always try to make a trip to the massive B and M Bargains in Gorton. Last time we went one of the vegan treats we found was a vegan friendly pesto. Said pesto inspired the tea which was a puff pasty roast vegetable and olive tart with pesto roasted potatoes. I've never thought to do potatoes like this but we'll definitely be having them again. They were new potatoes that were boiled then tossed in pesto and then roasted in the oven. Mmm, really good.

In amongst my lovely birthday presents from family and friends were a couple of specifically vegan things I've been wanting for a while. I got my first pair of vegan docs.

And, the new cookery book by my cookery hero. I can't decide where to start with making stuff from it. Has anyone else made anything yet? As usual with Isa it all looks amazing!

Manchester Vegan Potluck

Manchester Vegan Potluck has been running for a year. Until now I've been drooling over the photos on Facebook but always been double booked. Happily tonight I finally made it to one. The theme was Autumn and there was a great array of both sweet and savoury goodies. 

I was too busy tucking in to note down the names of all the dishes but off the top of my head there was a sausage and apple casserole, toad in the hole, Lancashire Black Peas, cherry beer chicken, mini steak pies and cheese pies, seitan roast stuffed with maple root veggies and an array of sweet pies, Eve's pudding and pumpkin choc chip muffins. My contribution was walnut and orange humus and chocolate chai cookies. There'll be one more this year in December. I'm hoping I can make it. It's such a great idea and you get to try some really creative vegan food. Jenny (of the blog Spice Box Of Earth)who organises it told me that someone bought Christmas sushi to the December one last year!

Tibits Cookbook

I have to admit I've never been to Tibits. If you're not aware of it, it's a buffet style veggie restaurant in London. I've always been impressed by what I've seen of it on other blogs and I was gutted when they recently invited me to some vegan tasting days and I wasn't able to make it to any of them. However, they also sent me a copy of their cookbook, Tibits At Home. I've tried out a few of the recipes and I've been very impressed so far. The book is vegetarian though I'd say about 50% of the recipes are vegan with more being easy to sub ingredients and make vegan. First of it is a beautiful book to look at, a real coffee table stunner, packed with lots of great colour photos and food styling that puts my efforts to shame!

The first couple of dishes that I tackled were soups. Above is Tomato Soup with Lemongrass and Coconut Milk and below is Parsnip Soup which also contained potatoes and was delicately flavoured with lemon. Both soups were a win…

Tropic Skincare

I've only ever watched one series of The Apprentice but it happened to be the one a couple of years ago where Susan Ma reached the final. She was my favourite out of the Apprentices that year and her idea was to develop her existing skincare range. Fast forward a couple of years and although she didn't win the series Lord Sugar chose to invest and the full range of skincare products and make up was launched earlier this year and has already won several awards. It's sold in the same way as Neal's Yard and Body Shop sell their stuff in that you book an 'ambassador' to come to your house to do demos for you and your friends and you can then order any products through them. As the host you get 15% of any sales to use against products for yourself. I booked a party as one of my friends had started selling it and the range is completely vegan. I must say I was really impressed with the quality of the products which smell amazing. I've got a bit lazy about lookin…

Oak Street Cafe

I've just spent a lovely afternoon tasting great food and wine in the company of Polly from Creative Tourist, Matt from Northern Quarter Manchester (both great sites to check out whether you're a local or visitor to the city) and fellow vegans Andrea of Chocolate and Beyond, Sophie of Hasta La Vegan and Sophia who organises the fabulous vegan Tuesdays at the Salford Arms. The venue was Oak Street Cafe in Manchester Craft and Design Centre. Owner Karen explained to us how with the exception of one or two dishes the food they serve is vegetarian with lots of it being suitable for vegan or gluten free diners. Chef Liz has been known to whip up dishes at short notice for visitors with multiple food allergies and they pride themselves on having something for everyone. The emphasis is on local, fresh and ethical fayre using suppliers such as Unicorn, Barbakan and Marble Beers.

We started off with this flavourful tasting plate. The thai tomato soup tasted like the best kind of homem…


I've been trying to sell my flat for the last six months but sadly have not been having much luck. Probably the fact that there's been a question hanging over things about whether the building was getting a new roof hasn't helped. The roof work is now definitely going ahead which is great news and I reckon the viewings will pick up once it's finished. In the meantime however another positive thing that happened is that an Indian Vegetarian and Vegan restaurant has opened just 15 minutes walk away. Yep, it's all veggie!!! 

It's called Sanskruti and is in the Ladybarn area of South Manchester. It's a family run business with extensive vegan choices. The menu is divided into Chats/Starters, Punjabi dishes, Gujarati dishes, Dahl/ Kadhi and then all the accompaniments of rice and breads. We tried a takeaway a few weeks ago. The round things at the front of the plate are Sev Puri which I loved and will definitely get again. Over to the left is Ringnan no Oro (a …

Manchester Vegan Fair

This weekend I ran a stall at the Manchester Vegan Fair. The stall was for Cake Liberation Front, a social group that I set up with some friends.

The aim of Cake Liberation Front is to promote vegan baking and smash the stereotypes of dry fruit cake or soggy banana bread. We meet up every few months in Manchester and people bring some amazing cakes and baked goods, such as these peanut butter and bacon cupcakes made by Sophie who writes the Hasta La Vegan blog. I've had a coconut bacon recipe bookmarked for a while now and after trying these I will definitely be making it!

The stall was really just to let people know about CLF and maybe encourage people from outside Manchester to set up their own group. There's graphics and posters that are downloadable from the website that people are welcome to use. We gave away free samples of a vegan Chocolate stout and Cranberry Tea Bread, my own recipe from the cake liberation front recipe blog. I'm pleased to say that loads of people …