Saturday, 5 October 2013

Chocolate Tofu Pie Recipe

After discovering the versatile wonders of tofu, I have been on the lookout for some new recipes. I am better at baking than cooking, so I decided to make a dessert! I had seen a few recipes for a chocolate tofu pie/torte and I really liked the look of it. I decided to take elements from a couple of different recipes and put together my own. I've never really made up a recipe before, but I was really impressed with how it turned out so I thought I would share it.
 
 
This dessert is so rich and decadent, and is kind of like a cheesecake. Unless you told someone it was vegan they would never guess! It was a huge hit with my non-vegan family.
 
 
 Ingredients
  ♥ 250g vegan digestive biscuits (such as Co-Op own brand)
♥ 100g vegan margarine
♥ 2 packs silken tofu, pressed
  ♥ 200g good quality dark chocolate, melted
  ♥ 2 tablespoons golden syrup (agave nectar or maple syrup would probably work well too)
♥ 1 tablespoon cocoa
♥ 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method
1. Crush the digestive biscuits into crumbs. Melt the margarine and stir in the biscuit crumbs until combined. Press into the bottom of a lightly greased 9 inch springform tin and bake for about 7-8 minutes at 180C. Leave to cool in the tin.
 
2. Blend the tofu until really smooth. Add the melted chocolate, cocoa, golden syrup and vanilla extract and blend until smooth and combined.
 
3. Pour the tofu mixture over the biscuit base and smooth out the top. Leave to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
 
4. Decorate with chocolate curls or fruit and serve with raspberry coulis, ice cream, or whatever you fancy!


The pie should keep for 2-3 days if stored in the fridge (if there's any left that is!).
 
Let me know if you try out my recipe!
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Thursday, 3 October 2013

Mimilicious Devonshire Klotted Kream Review

A little while ago, I was looking for a recipe for a vegan 'clotted cream'. I had no success and attempted to make up my own recipe, but it didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. Imagine my delight when a new vegan business started up and made the cream I had dreamed of tasting!
 
Mimilicious make Devonshire Klotted Kream, an oat-based alternative to dairy clotted cream. The ingredients are: water, pure oats, coconut oil, sunflower spread (sunflower oil, vegetable oils, salt, emulsifier - mono and diglycerides - vitamins E & A, colour - natural carotenes - vitamins D2 & B12) rapeseed lethicin, xanthan gum, vanilla extract, sea salt. A small pot (110g) of cream costs £1.99 and a large pot (200g) costs £3.75, which I think is really good value for the quality of the product. A percentage of all sales go to a different animal charity every month! 
 
 
I couldn't wait to try the cream out, and what better way for a Cornish girl to have clotted cream than in a cream tea! I made a batch of scones using this recipe, which can be veganised by using vegan margarine and soya or rice milk. I have made this scone recipe loads of times and they turn out really well.
 
 When having a cream tea you must put the jam on first (Devonians will tell you differently but don't listen to them!) and then the cream on top.
 
 
I shared my cream tea with my mum (who isn't vegan) and we both absolutely loved the cream. I was never a fan of dairy cream, but this vegan version is really nice - light and tasty. Mum said that it does taste quite similar to dairy clotted cream, and she really enjoyed it (even more so as it doesn't contain any cholesterol!).
 
 
I will definitely be purchasing a pot of this again and I highly recommend it. Mimilicious also make an Almost Raw Pumpkin Peanut Butter Silk Pie and a Raw Triple Chocolate Truffle Cake, both of which look amazing so perhaps I will try those next time I buy some cream!
 
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Friday, 30 August 2013

House of Fraser Fashion Getaways Blogger Challenge

I received an email a few weeks ago from House of Fraser inviting me to take part in their Fashion Getaways Blogger Challenge for the chance to win a £200 voucher to spend with them. All you have to do is put together a key outfit, beauty look or room inspired by one of the iconic fashion capitals (London, Paris, Milan, New York or Tokyo) and get your followers to guess which one you've chosen. This is my first blogger challenge so I couldn't wait to get stuck in!
 
I decided to put together an outfit, which I would wear on a night out in my chosen city. It is a glam, sophisticated rock chick inspired look.
 
 
The Vila Skinny Coated Jeans, £35, are the perfect jeans for a night out. They have a cool (faux!) leather look, but are primarily made of cotton, which would be more comfortable to wear. Team it with this Warehouse Guipure Lace Shell top, £25, to add a pretty, feminine edge to the outfit. This Throw-on Jacket by Mary Portas, £129, smartens up the look and is perfect for keeping the chilly night air away after the sun has gone down.
 
No night out would be complete without high heels, and these Bewitched High Platform Court Shoes, £45, are perfect for this look. The Katie Clutch Bag by Therapy, £20, softens the look and compliments the rest of the outfit perfectly. Both the shoes and the bag are of course faux-leather! The weather in this city is always unpredictable, therefore this Fulton Plain Superslim Umbrella, £18, is the ideal size to keep in your bag in case of any downpours.
 
Add a touch of bling with some gorgeous statement jewellery. These Coast Reese earrings, £15, Lola & Grace Square Solitaire Pendant, £24.90, and JewelEver Gold Plated Ring, £49.50, all add a touch of glamour to the outfit.

This outfit is finished off with a dramatic smoky eye look, which can be achieved using Bellapierre's Eyeliner Duo, £20. A subtle pink lip using Urban Decay Lip Junkie Lipgloss in Cowboy, £13, adds shine without being too dramatic. Both these brands are cruelty-free and BUAV approved. Complete the look with big, voluminous hair and you're ready for your night out in the city!

Can you guess which city I've chosen?
 
 
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Friday, 2 August 2013

Why Veganism isn't About Being Perfect

During my years as a vegetarian, I often thought about going vegan. However, like many people, I had this vision of vegans being perfect, ├╝ber strict police-types who would hurl abuse at you if you accidentally put a foot wrong. When I finally decided to go for it, I joined a few vegan Facebook groups and online forums, and I have to say I was really surprised. Vegans are actually a pretty friendly bunch!

Now, going back to the title of this post. You might think I'm trying to say that you can still be vegan and eat 'free-range eggs from your auntie's organic farm' or 'the occasional bowl of dairy ice cream when you need cheering up'. That is not what I'm saying at all. By all means, if you want to abstain from eating most animal products but still eat one or two things then that is entirely up to you, just maybe don't call yourself a vegan (or you will only add to the confusion of what vegans actually eat!).

What I am saying is, being vegan doesn't mean you are only allowed to shop from vegan supermarkets, buy clothes from super-ethical businesses, grow your own vegetables, buy cosmetics from independent vegan companies, or only eat at vegan restaurants. As ideal as that would be, it is just not currently possible in a non-vegan world (hopefully this will change in the future as veganism becomes more mainstream).

Of course, there is often much debate in these vegan groups, which does bring up some good points. For example, people regularly show off their 'vegan finds' (such as accidentally vegan biscuits or cakes etc.) that they found in the supermarket. Some vegans will say that they don't shop in supermarkets as they sell meat and dairy products, and therefore by buying other products from them, you are funding the very thing that vegans are against. This is a very good point. Which brings us onto the other debatable topic of buying cosmetics from cruelty-free brands whose parent companies test on animals (such as The Body Shop being owned by L'Oreal). Some of the vegans who say they avoid supermarkets may buy from the likes of the Body Shop, and vice-versa. But is there really any difference between the two?

One interesting argument for not boycotting supermarkets or cosmetics companies is that if the demand for vegan products dies down, these products may stop being produced or become difficult to get hold of, which would be a great shame after having so little choice for vegans for many years. One prime example is vegan alternatives to dairy products, such as Alpro and Vitalite, both of which are ironically owned by dairy companies. Buying these products may mean some of your money inevitably goes into the dairy industry, but on the other hand boycotting them may mean no more vegan margarine, yogurt or milk.

If you are thinking of becoming vegan but are worried that it will be difficult, my advice would be to just give it a try - it really is easy. As long as you do not eat any animal products, do not wear leather, suede, fur or silk, and only purchase products that you believe to be cruelty-free, then you can call yourself a vegan. Anything else you do, be it continuing to feed your pets meat, visiting zoos, or going horse-riding (all of which some vegans avoid), is your personal decision. As long as you are happy that you do as much as you possibly can to avoid supporting animal cruelty (which is, after all, what being vegan is all about), then don't let others judge you, when they are probably not 'perfect' themselves.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Collective Haul: Primark, New Look & Select

Whenever I go up to Birmingham I always sneak in a little shopping trip (although this time I did actually need to buy clothes; Jamie's birthday presents took up all the space in my little suitcase so I couldn't take much with me!). I was particularly after some new summer dresses and was really pleased with everything I managed to pick up.

I was so happy that these maxi dresses weren't too long on me (I'm only 5'3). They are really comfy, there were loads of other prints and colours too.

Aztec Print Maxi Dress, £10 - Primark
Floral Print Maxi Dress, £10 - Primark
Paisley Print Maxi Dress, £15 - Primark
Heart Stud Pack, £2, Large Oval Earrings, £1.50 - Primark
Lace Hair Bow, £1.50, Floral Hair Bow, £1.50, Hair Donut, £1 - Primark
Bird Print Dress, £12.99 - New Look
Faux-Suede Diamante Sandals, £9.99 - New Look
Faux-Leather Cross Body Bag, £7.99 - New Look
Bow Print Tea Dress, £14 - Select
Aztec Print Midi Skirt, £8 - Select
Nude Faux-Leather Patent Heels, £14 - Select

Have you bought anything nice recently?


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Restaurant Review: The Warehouse Cafe Birmingham

A couple of weeks ago I went up to Birmingham for my boyfriend's birthday. We did lots of fun things during the week, including going to lunch at the Warehouse Cafe. The Warehouse Cafe is completely vegetarian with most things on the menu suitable, or adaptable, for vegans. The cafe is located on a quiet street not too far from the Bullring shopping centre. It is next door to a vegan store, the One Earth Shop, which has lots of lovely goodies. We popped in there after our meal but I was too full up to think about food, so I just bought some Moo Free honeycomb bars (which were very nice!).

Everything on the lunchtime menu is very reasonably priced. I decided to go for the original burger with triple cooked wedges and a salad garnish. It was really tasty and packed with different flavours.


Jamie has decided to give vegetarianism a go, and so far he is really enjoying it. He went for the open enchilada with wedges and salad, which he said was very tasty and filling.


For dessert we both had the vegan chocolate brownie with ice cream. I cannot describe how delicious it was! It came with cherry sauce too, so it was very Black Forest gateau-like. The brownie was very rich and I couldn't eat another thing afterwards (though I probably wouldn't have said no to another one!).


The Warehouse Cafe is a cosy little place with a relaxed atmosphere. The staff were very friendly, the service was excellent and I would highly recommend it. We can't wait to go again!
Monday, 1 July 2013

Real Foods Tasting Campaign

Real Foods, an online health food store (that also has two shops in Edinburgh) recently advertised for bloggers to review some of their new products. I applied, detailing my diet and any allergies, and was chosen to pick a product from a list. I decided to go for The Raw Chocolate Co raw chocolate mulberries.


I generally eat very healthily, although I do not deny myself anything and if I want a piece of cake or some ice cream then I will have it! However, sometimes if I am a little peckish between meals I will choose biscuits over fruit or nuts, so I was really pleased to find a healthier sweet snack.

Jack found his way into my photos as usual

I have never tried mulberries before, either fresh or dried. I thought the chocolate mulberries looked very appetising; they reminded me of the chocolate caramel clusters I used to eat years before becoming vegan. I was amazed to find that they tasted very similar to them too! The mulberries (which are 74% cacao) are full of rich, cocoa flavour with a hint of caramel, and have a crunchy, chewy texture. I offered some to my mum (who is an omni) and she loved them too. I only had a few but I did not feel hungry or feel the urge to snack again before my next meal, and I didn't get a sugar rush and its dreary come-down either.


The raw chocolate mulberries are Vegan Society registered, Fairtrade and organic. They contain iron, magnesium, calcium, and are a good source of polyphenol antioxidants (chemicals that protect the body from damaging oxidative stress).


Nutritional Information
Typical Value
100g % 100g
Energy (kJ) 2296.0
       Kcal 548.7 27.4%
Protein 8.8g 17.5%
Carbohydrate 60.0g 20.0g
Fat 23.9g 34.2%
Fibre 7.8g 31.1%
Iron 2.0mg 11.4%
Magnesium 134.4mg 33.6%
Calcium 62.9mg 6.3%
% recommended daily allowance based upon a 2000 kcal diet

 I can't get enough of the mulberries and will definitely be stocking up on them!
Sunday, 23 June 2013

My New Handbag: Designer-Look Satchel

I haven't blogged in what feels like ages! I have been so busy that I haven't really had time, but I've got a few posts planned so keep an eye out!

I thought I'd ease myself back into blogging by doing a short post on my new handbag, which I absolutely love. I have quite a few bags, but I tend to hate them after a while and wonder why I ever bought them. A few months ago I kept seeing celebrities with what I later learned to be the Mulberry Alexa (whilst I love fashion, I don't really follow the industry!). Of course the Alexa bag - as well as being overly expensive - is obviously made of leather, therefore I eagerly searched for a cruelty-free dupe. I stumbled upon a website called a-shu.co.uk which stocked a faux-leather lookalike version of the bag in several colours (A-shu also sell loads of other cruelty-free bags in designer styles). But when I eventually got round to buying the bag, they had sold out! Luckily I found the same bag on Ebay; there are a few different sellers but I purchased mine from this one, which is a very affordable £16.95.

A couple of days after ordering, my gorgeous new bag arrived and I couldn't wait to use it. I opted for a neutral tan coloured bag so that it will go with most outfits. It has a very pretty floral design on the inside, and a few handy compartments to store your phone and keys etc.






I already have a wishlist of other bags that I hope to buy :) What do you think of this one?
Thursday, 28 February 2013

My First Vegan Food Swap

This month I took part in my first UK vegan food swap. You sign up and get paired with two people, one who will send you a parcel, and one you will send a parcel to. You buy vegan goodies to the value of £10 that you think your partner will enjoy. I was really excited to join in as I love sending and receiving parcels!

I was assigned to send some goodies to the lovely Els of Cookie Von Stir. I decided to send a couple of Cornish items, which were a peppermint flavoured raw choc pie, and a jar of organic raw almond butter made by Carley's.  I also included a pack of Moo Free chocolate buttons, a bar of Seed & Bean mandarin and ginger dark chocolate, and some lentil chips (which are absolutely amazing!)


I couldn't wait to receive my parcel as I am loving trying new food. My parcel came from Heather, (who does not currently have a blog). I was thrilled with everything that Heather included, and she even added a dairy free guide which has some great recipes. Here is what I got:


Firstly were a few bags of alternatives to crisps. I absolutely love crisps and similar things so I was really happy that I had some new ones to try. I have only tried the Llama's so far but they were amazing! They taste just like bbq cheddars which I used to love. The other ones were some popped corn chips and some crisp thins.


Heather sent me a few packs of sweeties and sprinkles for putting on cupcakes. I ate half of the Love Hearts last night though as I had a busy day at work then was up late decorating a 100th birthday cake and needed something sugary to keep me going!


The finished cake!

I also got a jar of Mexican chilli bean sandwich filler which I am looking forward to trying. Heather says it is great on toast too (I much prefer toast to sandwiches). I was really pleased to find a bottle of agave nectar, which is a vegan alternative to honey, in my parcel. I have been wanting to try this for ages, and Heather suggested using it in cupcakes so I will have to give those a go soon. Also for baking was a pack of silken tofu. In the 8 years I have been veggie and few months that I have been vegan I think I have only had tofu twice, and never the silken kind! I am planning to make chocolate brownies and a cheesecake with this :)

The other goodies were of the chocolate kind: white chocolate buttons, Co-op mint chocolate creams, and a box of strawberry creams. I have tried the buttons and the Co-op creams before and I love both of them, but I was really excited to try the strawberry creams, and they certainly didn't disappoint! They melt in your mouth and taste exactly like the well known strawberry creams you get in boxes of milk chocolates! I hope I can find some of these near me, they are so yummy.


I really enjoyed taking part in the vegan food swap and I can't wait for next month's!
Sunday, 17 February 2013

The Old Church House Inn, Torbryan

Last week I stayed at the Old Church House Inn in Torbryan, Devon. My boyfriend Jamie was coming down from Birmingham with a few people from uni on a little research trip, and we thought it was stupid for him to come so close to home without seeing each other, so I booked in to stay for 2 nights too :)

Before I arranged everything, I asked the hotel whether they would be able to cater for vegans. It is always a worry when going away whether you will be able to have decent meals! Luckily they said they were able to cater for vegans with notice.

The evening meals I had at the Inn were absolutely amazing, so delicious! The staff were really helpful and friendly, even checking labels on things and advising that the chips might not be suitable as they were cooked in the same frier as the scampi. I went there expecting to be given whatever they decided to make for me, but I was really impressed when they gave me a few choices! Usually when you ask for a vegan meal in restaurants you get what you are given, or at least that is what I have found so far. The dinner was three courses, which again I was not expecting, and I thoroughly enjoyed everything I ate. Here is what I had:

Ratatouille Tacos
Thai Vegetable Curry
Grilled Oranges

Stuffed Mushrooms
Stuffed Peppers, New Potatoes & Salad
Oranges & Cherries in a Brandy Snap Basket
The Inn itself is very old fashioned and cosy, with copper plates and horse brasses hanging all over the walls. I had to sleep with the light on though as the Inn has been on Most Haunted! Although I was scared I love the paranormal, but apart from hearing the floorboards creaking at night, we didn't spot anything!

Our Room
Cosy Bar Area
Holy Trinity Church (opposite the Inn)
We went exploring the local areas around Dartmoor. We even got to feed the wild ponies some carrots :)

Remains of Longstone Manor
Grave of Bertram Fletcher Robinson, who was a regular at the Inn. It is believed that he was the true author of Hound of the Baskervilles, and that Arthur Conan Doyle stole the story and poisoned his friend!




We had a lovely relaxing break, and would highly recommend the Old Church House Inn. It is dog-friendly too, so we would love to go back and take Jack with us.
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