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.
Friday, 8 February 2013

What I've Been Eating Lately

I've been taking a lot of pictures of all the yummy food that I've been eating and putting them on Facebook to show that vegan food isn't boring, so I thought I'd put them on here too! Here are some things that I have made recently.

Victoria Sponge
Mushroom, Green Bean & Pea Risotto
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Creamy Mushroom Pasty
Inside of Pasty
Pasta Bolognese
Bakewell Biscuits
Cornish Heavy Cake
Date & Apricot Slices
Battenburg Cake
Hello Kitty Birthday Cake

Have you made anything nice lately?
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