Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Guest Post by Sarah, the Gluten-free Vegan

Good evening m'dears! You might have noticed that on Adventures in Veg I try and have as many gluten-free posts as possible, as though I'm not a coeliac I like the blog to appeal to as many people as possible. I read lots of great gluten-free blogs and have so much respect for coeliac bloggers because they are often the most important source of gluten-free information for their readers. Plus in a world that is not coeliac-friendly, it must be so hard to go out to eat and not know if you're going to be 'glutened' or to have to give up your favourite foods because they are making you ill.

I hope to have lots of guest posts in the future, and this is the first one - it's written by Sarah, who runs the Gluten Free Tries Vegan blog. It's a lovely positive blog and is great for those who are coeliac, gluten-intolerant, vegan and/or have IBS. Take it away Sarah! 

Hello there!
My name’s Sarah and I write a little blog called Gluten-free tries Vegan.  A couple of months ago (or possibly longer, oops) lovely Aoife asked me to write a guest post.  Since I have finally gotten around to it, here it is.  I thought I’d share a little bit about how my diet’s evolved over the years to not only help me gain greater health, but also learn about how it is possible to celebrate a love for food by following a vegan diet.  

Firstly, let me just say, I love food.  I love eating it, reading about it, thinking about it, creating it, and writing about it.  I’ve almost always loved food and am fortunate enough to have been brought up in a family where food has had positive connotations.  However, food hasn’t always loved me and we’ve had an interesting time together.  I’ve suffered with chronic digestive problems for most of my life.  I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance during childhood (but was too young to pay any attention to this and continued eating dairy products), was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome at 20 years old, was anorexic between the age of 20-23 years old, and then diagnosed with Coeliac Disease at 25 years old.  I also adopted a vegetarian diet as a teenager.  So food and I have had a diverse journey so far!  But it has been one where food can have a positive effect on the body (and mind) as well as a negative one.

I would say that there were two major turning points in my journey with food so far: needing to follow a gluten-free diet and choosing to adopt a vegan diet.  Whilst eliminating all traces of gluten from one’s diet can seem like a daunting and miserable task for me it was one of liberation, and even pleasure.  Food became a source of healing, nourishment and creativity.  I chose to see the challenge as a positive one.  I thought about all the new foods that were gluten-free I could have in order to diversify my diet.  I thought about all the fresh produce and tastes that could be cultivated through a bit of time and effort.  I became reacquainted with my kitchen since many quick, go-to meals were no longer available.  I found my true love of food again that anorexia had stolen from me.  Thus, through anorexia and Coeliac Disease I learnt of food’s ability to both harm and heal, and in both cases I had to take the healing routes.  The former was through including foods, the latter through eliminating foods.  Happily, both gave me certain degrees of wellness.

Veganism was the next step to wellness.  For me, as a former vegetarian and lactose intolerant, it was almost an organic evolution in my diet.  Eating a vegan diet is one of the best decisions I have made.  Initially I was worried about whether I could give my body all the nutrients and energy it needs in order to thrive.  And, for a while, I fell into the stereotypical way of thinking that a love of food cannot be synonymous with a vegan diet.  How wrong I was!  Hopefully, you have already seen this on Aoife’s blog.  And this is what I seek to show on my blog; that it is both possible and fun to follow a gluten-free and vegan diet.  I truly see this way of eating as a pleasure rather than a limiting hindrance.  Whilst I love salads and loads of vegetables in my diet, I also LOVE sweet treats.  I have a massive sweet tooth!  For example:


So that’s a snapshot of me and how I came to veganism.  Thanks for reading!

I asked Sarah a few questions to give an insight into her life:

1.  What's the best part of being vegan?
Vegan food blogs/bloggers and dark chocolate (love it).  The hardest part is eating out, for sure.  Catering for a gluten-free vegan = a nightmare (for the uninformed/inexperienced).

2.  What's your best advice for someone wanting to go veg or vegan?
Educate yourself as much as possible and transition into it slowly; be kind to yourself.  Some can make the transition overnight, but most have to take it gradually so don't beat yourself up if you have some cheese or chicken.

3.  What are your three dessert island foods?
(Chosen for the pleasure they bring and the ability to almost never get tired of them) dark chocolate, peanut butter, and apples.

4.  Who are your vegan heroes?
... hmmm... in terms of food philosophies I most resonate with, along with their delicious recipes, I would say Gena from Choosing Raw, Tasha from The Voracious Vegan, and Averie from Love Veggies and Yoga.  

5. What's your favourite album?
Oh no!  Not a music question!  I am deeply uncool when it comes to music, deeply uncool.  Ok, fave album, it changes all the time but one of them is Stevie Wonder ~ Song Review A Greatest Hits Collection.  He's just amazing. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Vegan, skin-friendly make-up by Everyday Minerals


Gosh, it feels like absolute ages since I've last blogged! Ever have one of those weeks that seems to disappear in a flash?

Last night I made a very special cake that I'm itching to tell you about - I'll blog about it very soon. Let's just say it was inspired by one of my favourite female sleuths...

Here at Adventures in Veg I usually blog about food but I wanted to tell you about something a little different today - make-up! Growing up, I was never really into make up - I didn't know what to do with it or how to use the different bits and pieces. When I was about 17 or 18 and in university I ended up working in a large pharmacy on the cosmetics counters at the weekend, so I had to swiftly school myself in the ways of beauty brands like Chanel, Clinique, Estee Lauder, Lancome and more. Although I had been aware of animal testing from a young age, I didn't put this knowledge into practice back then, so I used whatever products came my way. I also didn't really pay much attention to what ingredients went into the products and didn't care what chemicals were in them.

When I finished up at the pharmacy, I moved to Galway where I worked in a record store for a while, and then I got a job as an assistant manager in The Body Shop. The shop on the right hand side of this pic below , four shops down (you might have to squint!) is where I worked - Galway is a really beautiful and historic city in the West of Ireland:


 This was where I got an even greater realisation about the cruelty that is behind many beauty brands and started to seek out products that I knew were from companies that didn't test on animals. The Body Shop has always had an anti-cruelty policy and they do loads of staff training so that everyone who works there is up to date with what they sell. During the time I was there, the company was bought by L'Oreal, so a lot of customers were really concerned about whether the Body Shop's ethics would change - I left not long after that but I could totally understand why people were conflicted about the buy-out. It was sad to see the company being bought out by a cosmetics giant that didn't have the same ethics as it.


What working at The Body Shop left me with was a love for creative make up (not that I think women have to wear make-up, by the way!) and the knowledge that beauty products don't have to be tested on animals or contain animal products. Plus, I did some reading online and realised that I wasn't happy using products with lots of chemicals in them, so I wanted to cut down on that too. (If you want to find out what kinds of chemicals the products you use have, you can find out on the Skin Deep website.)

That led me on to trying the Everyday Minerals range - and I haven't tried a foundation I've loved more since. I have pale skin but it's prone to redness and sensitivity and this is the only thing that doesn't irritate my skin. It's not too heavy, it looks natural and it's easy to apply. And the best part? It is cruelty free, vegan and all-natural. They have a no animal testing promise and the founder, Carina, describes Everyday Minerals as "Bohemian at heart and eclectic by nature" - I love that!

If like me you baulk at spending lots of your cold hard cash on make up when you could be spending it on things like food you'll be rather stoked to hear that it does not cost a fortune to stock up on Everyday Minerals. My recent haul cost me around €40 including shipping to Ireland (EM is an American company), will keep me in make up for months and came with free goodies too! I buy these products a few times a year, as I don't have a big wage packet, just like most people these days.


Have you tried mineral make up or Everyday Minerals? What were your experiences?

And do you use vegan, natural or cruelty-free products? (I do have some way to go before 100% of my household cleaning products etc are natural etc, but I'm getting there!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

BBQ Tofu & Veg Skewers

Hey there veggies!
Barbecues can be a bit of a pain when you're vegan or vegetarian - or at least, that's what you might think. Thankfully you'd be very wrong about that, as this recipe proves. A really nice reader of my column in the Independent recently sent me some books (how nice is that?!) so I adapted this recipe from one of them. They were soooo delicious, so enjoy if you try them!
How's your week going - are you doing anything fun or eating anything interesting?

Aoife
x

BBQ Tofu & Veg Skewers

Tis the season of barbecues, a time when people traditionally load up on sausages, red meat and chicken to cook over the hot coals. With that in mind, it might seem as though a barbecue is the last place that you will find good vegetarian or vegan food, but you'd be wrong.
Sure, there are prepared and frozen vegetarian faux 'meats' that can replace chicken breasts or sausages, but the joy in barbecuing is that it is perfect for vegetables too.
If you're a new vegetarian or vegan, you might not realise how veggie-friendly barbecues can be, or, if you're holding a barbecue and expecting some guests who don't eat meat, you might be panicking about what to serve them.
Thankfully, there are lots of veggie (and gluten-free) options to be cooked at a barbecue, though it's advisable that you cook non-meat products in a separate area to the meat.
A par-boiled potato wrapped in foil, for example, will cook nicely on a barbecue, and can be topped with veggie chilli, soy cheese or baked beans, and served with lots of fresh salad.
You can roast whole peppers, tomatoes and vegetable slices, and serve with hummus and pitta bread (you can even toast the pitta on the barbecue). Homemade bean burgers (I will have a recipe for one in the coming weeks) are also a big hit at barbecues.
Some of the most fun things to cook on a barbecue are vegetable skewers -- they're so colourful and nutritious, and taste great with rice or a baked potato. Here's a recipe for vegetable and tofu skewers that are lightly marinated in a sweet sauce.
A very kind Adventures in Food reader recently sent me a copy of Vegan: Over 90 Mouthwatering Recipes For All Occasions by Tony Weston and Yvonne Bishop, and this is an adaptation of a recipe I found inside this great book.
If, like me, you are an apartment dweller without a garden, rest assured these cook wonderfully in the oven too.

Barbecued Vegetable and Tofu Skewers

Serves 4

2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 tbsp tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 pineapple rings, cut into chunks
8 mango chunks
1 red pepper, cut into chunks
1 green pepper, cut into chunks
1 yellow pepper, cut into chunks
125g tofu, cubed
1 courgette, cut into rounds
1 sweetcorn cob, cooked and sliced into eight rounds


1 Put eight wooden satay or kebab sticks in cold water to soak for at least 20 minutes (if not an hour or more to prevent them burning), and pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees or Gas Mark 4.
2 Cut your vegetables, fruit and tofu. In a large bowl, mix the lime juice, molasses, tamari (or soy) sauce, sweet chilli sauce and oil together. Add your fruit and vegetables and stir until well coated with the marinade.
3 Thread the chunks on to the soaked kebab sticks (this can get a bit messy, so be warned), alternating the ingredients so the kebabs look bright and have a mix of texture and colour.
4 Grill or barbecue until browned, or alternatively place on a baking sheet and cook for around 30-35 minutes.
5 Serve with rice, salad or baked potatoes and a dipping sauce of your choice.
Irish Independent

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Homemade Vegan Spelt Pizza

Hey folks! How's your week going?  I've been trying lots of new recipes, some have been successful...some not so! I have lots on this weekend - I'm going home to Cork to see my wonderful mum and to DJ and take part in a turntable orchestra, how exciting!

Today's recipe is from a recent Adventures in Food column I wrote for the Irish Independent's Weekend magazine. It's my take on a spelt homemade pizza - and vegan to boot. I can see the non-vegans among you screaming 'WHERE IS THE CHEESE?!' but trust me, cheese-free pizza is not the torturous experience you think it is. My stomach hates cheese so I really don't miss it - and no cheese means more room for delicious veggies. It means that pizza becomes a healthy meal rather than a 'naughty' meal, which is always a bonus.

Before I give you the recipe, here's something a little new - I've been 'tagged' in a post by the super-sweet Sarah from Gluten Free Tries Vegan (great blog!) and asked to give 10 facts about myself. So for a bit of fun, here they are!

 1. I'm the eldest of four children and a pretty typical oldest child - bossy, moi?!
2. I'm slightly obsessed with my sister Steph's puppy, and am desperately sad that we can't have dogs in our apartment.
3. Speaking of apartments, myself and Cormac are moving to a new place soon and though it is small, it is so cute I have to pinch myself when I think about it!
4. I've known Cormac since I was 15 - we met at a record fair!
5. I used to get into the pub when I was underage by pretending I was Australian...
6. I tried to go veggie a few times before I finally 'cracked it'.
7. I've never eaten scrambled or hard-boiled eggs, so nope, I don't 'miss' them!
8. I'm obsessed with beehive hairdos and love doing them for big nights out.
9. I worked on beauty counters for a few years and used to do make-overs on people - sometimes they actually looked human afterwards ;)
10. I'm a music nerd and have a music blog  and music show on digital radio too. My favourite musician of all time is Elliott Smith.

Now I have to tag three bloggers, so I'll pick three great Irish gals:

Vegan But Not Scary 
Velovegan
The Full Irish Vegan




Get a slice of the action

By Aoife Barry
 

Pizza is often seen as an indulgent treat that's for weekend nights when you're not in the mood to cook, and it's also regarded as a health-conscious person's worst menu choice.
But did you know that homemade pizza is simple to make, and can be crammed full of vegetables? This week I have a recipe for homemade spelt pizza dough that, while it may take a few hours to prepare, is utterly worth it - and as you can see it's the perfect base for lots of brightly coloured seasonal vegetables.
This dough isn't gluten free but spelt is often more easily digested by people than wheat. It has a lovely taste and is a great alternative to wheat, and can be used identically to it. Here, I've included both white and wholegrain spelt flour so that you get the benefit of fibre in your pizza base.
While this isn't a meal that you can whip up in 15 minutes, once you have your dough made you can put it in the fridge to use the next day, so it's a great one to prepare on a Sunday night. What could be better than having homemade pizza on a Monday evening? It would certainly get rid of the Monday blues.
The pizza pictured here is a vegan pizza, with no cheese. This might seem bizarre to those of you who love cheese - but why not give it a try? You'll probably find it easier to digest than a cheesy pizza and you'll be cutting down on the saturated fat and calories in the meal. By adding lots of vegetables you'll also get to have most of the five-a-day that doctors and nutritionists recommend.
My favourite pizza toppings are roasted peppers and red onions - the chopped peppers are tossed in olive oil and dried Italian herbs and then roasted for about 30 minutes. I also love broccoli, which is blanched and then lightly roasted. But of course the ultimate choice is up to you. When it comes to the tomato sauce, all you need is some passata (blended tomatoes), dried or fresh herbs (such as basil and oregano) and a little tomato puree. Usually a few table spoons of passata, mixed with the herbs and a teaspoon or two of the puree, is sufficient for four medium sized pizzas. A good tip is not to use too much tomato sauce or the pizza base may get soggy. For an extra twist, add a little sundried tomato pesto to your tomato sauce before spreading it on the pizza dough.
One of the joys in making pizza at home is that each pizza base is unique - but if you practice you can make a round base just like they do in your favourite pizza restaurant. I made a rectangular base here that as you can see has a few quirky edges to it! Why not get your children involved by helping them put the pizza topping on, and making the pizza as colourful as possible.
So don't think that pizza is only for lazy days - a nutritious homemade pizza could be yours for dinner this evening, and making it will be far more fun, and cheaper, than dialling your local takeaway.

Homemade Spelt Pizza Base
Serves 4

20 mins preparation
2 hours rising time
15 mins baking time

Ingredients

250ml warm water (105F)
300g white spelt flour
150g wholegrain spelt flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey / agave syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fast action yeast


1. Pour the warm water into a large bowl. Add the salt and honey and mix. Add the yeast and leave for 10 minutes. The mixture should start to foam slightly.
2. After ten minutes, add the flour and oil slowly to the water, mixing with a wooden spoon. As the mixture starts to come together and gets heavier, you can start mixing by hand.
3. Knead your dough - it should be smooth; if it has cracks, this means it is too dry, so you will need to add water. Do this by the teaspoon. If it is stringy and sticks to your fingers, it is too wet - add a little more flour until it is drier.
4. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes.
5. Cover the ball of dough in a little oil and place in a bowl. Cover with cling film or a tea towel and place in a dark location - not the fridge.
6. Leave for one hour. After one hour, take out the dough - it should have doubled in size. 'Punch' the dough back and knead again for a few minutes.
7. Replace in the bowl and cover for another hour. After this second hour is up, your dough is ready to be used - or kept in the fridge for another day or two.
8. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees
9. Break off the dough into quarters. Take one quarter and shape by pulling it into a small oval. Using your rolling pin, roll this out until it is thin but does not break easily.
10. Place your dough on a baking tray or pizza stone, and prick with a fork a few times.  Add your tomato sauce, then your toppings.
13. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the pizza crust is beginning to lightly brown.

Suggested toppings:
Roasted peppers
Red onions
Broccoli
Mushrooms
Asparagus
Artichoke hearts
Courgette
Basil

Chocolate Taste Test - Cocoa Bean Chocolate Co

Food blogging is such a strenuous task...having to buy chocolate....taste chocolate...and give your verdict...
It's a wonder I didn't give up ages ago, eh?

Just after Christmas time, I was over in my friend Fiona's house (she took the banner pic above!), where we listened to some great music (she has an amazing record collection) and nibbled on some rather delicious and extremely unusual chocolate.

She had picked up the bars in Fallon & Byrne, a gourmet deli-style food shop in Dublin that carries all sorts of (expensive) eats and treats. Its chocolate section is particularly impressive, and it was there that Fiona found the bars by the 'Cocoa Bean Chocolate Co'. Never one to turn down the chance to eat chocolate - especially Irish-made chocolate, for the Cocoa Bean Chocolate Co is based in Co Kerry - I tucked in. In hindsight, I probably gobbled the bars in two seconds flat, but that's the price you pay for giving a chocoholic chocolate!

There's nothing about chocolate I don't love, and I truly think it cures all ills. My day isn't complete without some dark chocolate, and hey, if it has as many antioxidants as they claim, I'll be forever young!


One of the bars Fiona bought was a Lime Zest & Black Pepper bar, and when I found a miniature version of it in Fallon & Byrne today, I decided to pick it up and taste test it again. I also bought the Gin & Tonic flavour, because I was extremely curious about how that would taste.


For fairness' sake, I got my boyfriend Cormac to try these too while he was picking out tracks for his DJ set this weekend. The poor fella is sick to death of me pleading 'don't eat it all in one go!' when I give him dark chocolate so he gingerly ate the Lime Zest & Black Pepper bar first. He described it as "dark chocolate with a burst of lime every now and again" (surprise!) but said there's "a bit of a kick at the end like there's chilli - just when you least expect it - bang!" That would be the black pepper, which gives it a real kick and a nice bit of heat.


This bar has a really lovely zesty lime aroma and the black pepper comes to the fore when you let it melt in your mouth - which I really would recommend you do. The lime gives a fresh contrast to the pepper and it was both our favourite bar. Highly recommended! The bar itself is fairly thin and has a nice 'snap' to it; it's about 70% chocolate and vegan (though not marked vegan - both bars are marked 'vegetarian'). The small bars are €1.50 while the large bars are €3.95.


Cormac thought the Gin & Tonic bar smelled like "Toilet Duck....yeah, Toilet Duck, mountain fresh? Am I close?" He couldn't believe it was gin and tonic - "really?!" and said he preferred the lime zest bar.


Personally I didn't think the bar smelled like Toilet Duck - it had a light lime fragrance. This, it turns out, is no surprise as the ingredients are very close to the Lime Zest & Black Pepper bar. It didn't taste like alcohol, but had a nice silkiness to it. It was nice, but I preferred the actual Lime Zest & Black Pepper bar.


It's excellent that there is an artisan Irish company producing such delicious chocolate - I'll definitely be sampling more of their products. As far as I remember they even had a Christmas-themed bar which had lots of lovely spices and herbs in it. If you see the Cocoa Bean Chocolate Co bars in a shop near you, definitely give them a try. They also do other products so I'll be keeping an eye out for them.

Have you tried this chocolate yourself? What's the most unusual chocolate you have tried?

PS. A quick plug: If you're in Cork on Friday night, I'm DJing with my friend Niamh downstairs in the Pavilion bar from about 10.30pm. Then on Saturday I'll be joining 19 other Technics owners for a very special turntable orchestra as part of the Sonic Vigil. There are loads of other events happening for Sonic Vigil, so if you're in the area, please do check it out.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Low-Fat Vegan Nectarine & Brown Sugar Muffins


aagdsddghaddfldfkfdld

*clears throat*

Ahem, excuse me - I was just polishing off my third muffin there. Glutton, moi? I was in the mood for baking last night so instead of eating dinner I decided to bake a few muffins - hey, sometimes a girl's gotta have a muffin for dinner. And what a dinner it was! Dessert for dinner should be a regular thing, I reckon.


In this week's organic veg delivery, we got four lovely nectarines. Rather than eat them raw, I got to wondering how I could include them in a baked dish. My first thought was a crumble, but I knew I'd be on my own in the house tonight and the temptation to eat the whole thing would be too much.

After a quick google of possible nectarine recipes, I decided to go for a muffin. Using this Vegan Yum Yum recipe as a guide, I made some low-fat muffins topped off with a nectarine glaze (well, it was a bit syrupy for a glaze, so maybe nectarine 'glyrup' would be more accurate!)


Unfortunately I was all out of 'good' (ie brown or spelt) flour tonight so I had to use plain flour - that is why I added the oat flour to give a little boost of fibre. If you don't have oat flour (I didn't) - just measure out 1/4 cup of oats and whizz them in your food processor or blender until they're a floury consistency. Because I used banana in place of oil, the muffins had quite a banana-y flavour. If you don't want that, then I'd advise adding applesauce instead of the mashed banana; or another oil substitute. These didn't rise as much as normal muffins because of the oat flour & banana, but were lovely and moist.

Low-Fat Vegan Nectarine & Brown Sugar Muffins

Makes 10 - 11

1 and 3/4 cups plain flour (or wholewheat/spelt but I haven't tried these)
1/4 cup oat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup soymilk (+ 2 Tbs more for all-purpose flour)
1 tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup mashed banana plus one teaspoon canola/sunflower oil OR 1/3 cup of applesauce (for a lighter taste)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 – 2/3 cup nectarines, chopped (I used fresh)
Extra brown sugar to sprinkle before going into the oven (I forgot about this bit, whoops)



*Preheat oven to 180degrees centigrade

*In a large bowl, combine your flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.


*In a medium bowl, add your soymilk and then lemon juice, followed by the banana, teaspoon of oil, and vanilla extract. Mix well.

*Gently fold your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients. When they are mixed, gently fold in the chopped nectarines.

Nectarine Glaze/Syrup

Using this recipe as a guide I combined:
- 1.5 mashed nectarines
- half a tablespoon of cornstarch
- 1.5 tablespoons of brown sugar
- and simmered on the hob, stirring all the time, until it reached a thick consistency.

Pour the glaze on top of the muffin...


And eat with a knife and fork!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A mammoth eats and treats post...juicing, hummus, tofu scramble and cakes...

Hey folks, how's your week going? Anything fun planned for the next few days? I'm working from home today and have a few errands to run before I submit my Independent column, so I thought I'd tell you a bit about some eats and treats I've had in the past week.

Juicy, Juicy!

I absolutely adore fresh juicing, and try to have a juice a few mornings a week if I can. It all depends on the time I have in the morning though as it requires a bit of prep!

Today's juice has (all organic, thanks to Home Organics) 4 carrots, 2 apples, 3 small sticks of celery, and a lot of spicy ginger (not all of what's pictured -  just the smaller bit of ginger).


Last week I made a smoothie with cherries, banana, spinach and a little raw cacao, inspired by Kristen's Raw's cherry chocolate bomb.  It turned out looking like this....

Sludgy! Here were the yummy goodies that went into it:
I washed the cherries the night before and put them into the jar in the fridge and used half of them for the smoothie. The spinach was looking a bit old but I didn't want to waste it - I stored it in a 'green bag' that helps trap the gases it gives off, and keeps it fresher for longer.

Eating Out

My cousin is staying with us for a week or so while he starts an internship in Dublin, so my aunt and uncle came up from Cork to drop him to the house. It was brilliant to see them and we went out for a bite to eat that night to Elephant & Castle. It isn't really a brilliant place for veggies, but when I go there I always go for this:


I usually get fries on the side too - they do the most delicious fries there! The rest of the menu is very cheese and egg-heavy and as I don't eat either I don't have much to choose from sadly.

They do a spaghetti dish that I think is veggie but I've never tried it; they also have a veggie sandwich but when I got it without the cheese they put mayo on it so I haven't gotten it since. But that hummus is so delicious I'm always happy with that, to be honest. It tastes like a mixed pepper hummus with a very slight kick to it, and there's nothing I love more than toasted pitta bread!

Tofu Scramble

I'm trying out tofu scramble recipes and last night's was a curried tofu scramble with bok choi - I'm trying to get lots of calcium in my diet! Even C, who had a look of confusion on his face when I said I was making 'tofu scramble' was won over. I never thought I'd eat scrambled tofu but it is so addictive! I served it with ginger and lemon rice.
Have you any favourite tofu scramble recipes?

Baking up a Storm

Last weekend I spent all of Friday night and most of Saturday morning in the kitchen baking. On Friday I made a few batches of vegan cookies as I was going to a friend's house the next day; then on Saturday I baked a vegan chocolate cake for a party at Aoife Mc aka I Can Has Cook's house.
I was in a ridiculously klutzy mood on Friday and managed to drop a huge glass bottle of sunflower oil in the kitchen....d'oh! I made some chocolate chip, coconut and oat cookies and brought them along the next day for everyone to nibble on while watching the match.


Then on Saturday I made a chocolate cake for a birthday party - it was my first time making an entire vegan cake for friends and thankfully it turned out alright, although the icing was a bit hard as I added melted chocolate. But the sponge was nice and moist, and the buttercream was tasty too - next time I'll add more buttercream definitely! Gotta get practicing my chocolate ganache though.

Aoife made a delicious Indian-inspired meal for us - curried rice with black eyed peas, and a potato dish served with chapatis. Thanks so much for the delicious veggie food, miss!! 




 
 Ready to eat! Have you any nice eats planned this week?

Vegan Café & Gig in Seomra Spraoi

Hey Dubliners - if you want to eat some yummy vegan food while chilling out to the strains of music inspired by the great Django Reinhardt, head along to Seomra Spraoi tomorrow (Wednesday) night.


Seomra Spraoi is a fantastic social centre in Dublin City Centre run by volunteers and there are always loads of events going on there. The café is a vegan café and every Wednesday night tasty vegan food is served from 7.30pm to 8.30pm. To my shame, I've only been to Seomra Spraoi a handful of times and I'm always saying I really should go more. So if you're around the area this Wednesday, then pop into Seomra Spraoi for some great food and music!