Saturday, 25 April 2015

Cake Liberation Front Manchester Meet Up

We had a Cake Liberation Front Manchester meet up this week and in the five years we've been doing it I have to say that I think it was one of my favourite meet ups so far! The format is that people bring vegan goodies to share. There's a emphasis on sweet baked goods but savoury and raw items are very welcome too.Once everyone arrives and the dishes are labelled and set out it's a big all you can eat buffet! Here's just a selection of the goodies we got to try.

It's always good to see some classics alongside more experimental dishes and these chocolate and cherry brownies were absolutley melt in the mouth heaven! Apparently the secret was lots of melted chocolate alongside cocoa powder to make them extra chocolately.

We had a good showing of raw and also gluten free dishes with raw cookies, gluten free fruity soda bread, gluten free strawberry cheesecake and this amazing raw and gluten free banofee pie.

Sometimes you can't beat simple good quality ingredients. This lemon and olive oil cake was beautifully light. Co-incidentally I'd tried some tasty Greek olive oil and walnut biscuits earlier in the day and I'm now keen to explore using olive oil further in sweet baking.

There was a good balance of sweet and savoury. We had aubergine pate with soda bread, almond and chives cheeses with rye bread, pizza rolls and quinoa and kale cakes. We also had the most amazing homemade seitan sausages I've ever tried. As well as vital wheat gluten they were made with kidney beans and delicately flavoured with a hint of fennel. I've never heard of baking seitan sausages before only steaming them. What was even more impressive is that Lucy their maker said she'd just made them up! I think that recipe needs writing down and sharing asap!

The showstopper of the night had to be Sara's meringues. She made them using the chick pea brine method that's taking the vegan world by storm and filled them with non dairy cream. How cute are these mini meringues!

And it didn't stop at mini meringues as we were treated to this huge strawberry pavlova too.

Finally here's the most talked about dish of the night. Keith is an experienced forager and often leads vegan foraging walks around the North West area. You might have spotted him on telly too a few months ago talking about his amazing wildlife friendly balcony garden which he also blogs about. He'd foraged for and cooked with something that I'd never have guessed was edible in a million years - Japanese Knotweed! Apparently it has lots of health giving properties and it tasted good (a bit like rhubarb) served in a crumble with some vegan custard.

If you want to hold your own Cake Liberation Front meet up event there are posters on the website that you can use and fill in with your own details. There's a regular meet up group in Adelaide in Australia and one hoping to start in Edinburgh soon and other people have held one off events. We meet up at V Revolution in Manchester who kindly let us use their cafe for free in the evenings but it could be equally fun just to hold an event at home with friends if you don't fancy organising a public meet up and it would be a good way to get non vegan friends to expand their baking reportoire!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Fun with Quinoa Flakes

I thought I'd blog about a product that's new to me which I discovered this week. I've been making a big effort to shop locally recently and we're lucky to have both an independent greengrocers and a health food shop in our little town where I can get most of our weekly shop. I picked up these Quinoa flakes from the health food shop - Peak of Health the other day. I've never used them before and I admit that I had to Google for ideas of what to use them for.

Whilst I was in Peak of Health I also picked up this new flavour of Provamel yoghurt - orange redbush!

First up was a big smoothie made with banana, mixed berries, almond butter (I'm in love with Meridian Almond Butter), Orange Redbush yoghurt, Oatly, flax oil, maca and a quarter of a cup of the quinoa flakes. This was tasty and fuelled me for a good few hours.

The second breakfast I made was Coconut, Mango Porridge. I used half oats and half quinoa flakes which were cooked in a mix of water and tinned coconut milk. I topped these with chopped fresh mango, toasted flaked coconut and drizzled Sweet Freedom Dark over the top. Mmm, I'll definitely be making this again.

Has anyone else used Quinoa flakes? What do you use them for?

Friday, 3 April 2015

Pistachio Cake with Orange Blossom Water from Easy Vegan by Sue Quinn

If anyone is looking for a cake to bake for Easter weekend and you have a copy of the current Vegan Life Magazine then I can totally recommend the Pistachio Cake with Orange Blossom Water that's pictured below.

I made this a few weeks ago for Mother's Day and I'm still thinking about it! As well as being topped with chopped pistachios you grind some up to a fine powder and add these to the cake batter which gives it a lovely unusual texture. The cake is full of fragrant flavours from the nuts, orange blossom water and cardamon and is really delicious.

The recipe is taken from a new book called Easy Vegan by Sue Quinn. The mag features four recipes from the book and we've also tried and enjoyed the Potato and Spinach Vindaloo recipe as well, albeit a tamed down version minus most of the chillis and with mild instead of hot curry powder so I could eat it too. Has anyone else made any of the recipes from the magazines that you'd recommend?