Monday, 28 May 2012

Lovely Weekend

I've just had a fab weekend. First off on Friday after work I went shopping and treated myself to a new frock for dancing in. The occasion? A vegan wedding on Saturday. I just love a good wedding disco!

These lovely people, Chrissie and Anthony who I know through Manchester Vegan Society got married and had an all vegan wedding - food, cake, even the little chocolate heart favours. It was a great day.

On Sunday my friends Susan and Tony invited Matt and I for Sunday lunch. We had delicious nut roast, sausages and all the trimmings followed by apple crumble and custard. I love a good Sunday lunch and really appreciate when friends who aren't veggie go to such an effort to cater for me. From Susan's we headed over to my sister's to celebrate my mum's 75th birthday.

Instead of cake Alex and I both made a pie from Vegan Pie in the Sky - the Maple Pecan Pie and the Pear Frangipane Tart . Luckily my twin nephew and niece were around to play with to help us burn off some of the calories!

I'm so looking forward to the summer. We are off to London this weekend to catch up with friends and go to Applecart Festival on Sunday, then the following weekend off for a week in Scarborough followed by a weekend in Newcastle. There's loads of day trips planned too. Hopefully, this nice weather will hang around for a bit!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Italian Job!

Last night I decided to cook a fancy meal, so what if it's mid-week! The theme was Italian. The antipasti starters consisted of asparagus spears with a lemon dressing, a selection of olives, sundried tomatoes, red wine and garlic marinated mushrooms and ciabatta with  olive oil and balsamic.

For the main there was a 'meaty' lasagne made with Sainsbury's frozen veggie mince, onion, garlic, red pepper and carrot cooked with Italian herbs and red wine. I made the sauce from the Deerly Beloved Bakery zine lasagne recipe. Wow! It was delicious and so easy to make. It's mainly made from cashews, silken tofu, nooch which you blend in a food processor. So no messing with flour and making a roux. It was delicious and I will definitely be using it again. On the side we had mustard garlic bread which is like normal garlic bread but with some dijon mustard stirred into the vitalite and garlic mix.

I forgot to take a picture of dessert. I made pana cotta for the first time and it was amazingly easy. I mixed 3 small cartons of Alpro chocolate soya milk with 200ml of coconut milk in a pan and sprinkled with 4 tablespoons of agar flakes (flakes not powder - quantities differ depending on which you use). Then I heated the mix until it was simmering. After 5 minutes I took it off the heat and stirred in a teaspoon of vanilla extract and poured it into ramekins (it filled 5) and put it in the fridge to set. This was then served with some of these apricots in a spiced amaretto syrup that I got for Christmas. The meal was rounded off with coffee and a shot of grappa. Bellissimo!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Weekend Round Up

What a busy weekend! I was up until midnight on Friday baking ready for Cake liberation Front on Sunday and continued on Saturday morning. We don't just have sweet things and one of the things I made for the meet up was the Great Smokey Mountain Cheeze from the Vegan Diner cookbook. It turned out great and I had some for lunch on a toasted sandwich. I'm looking forward to trying more things from this book.

I popped down to the Manchester Vegan Society meet up after lunch and then onto Victoria Baths where there was a digital craft event and a Zine Fair. It was lovely to meet  Kayleigh from Dearly Beloved Bakery in person and her partner Kyle. As you can see from the table behind us the vegan cakes had gone down a storm and there was very little left by the time we get there! Check out Kayleigh's blog post to see the delights that we missed. Kyle also had a stall selling his comics and Kayleigh has a lovely hand drawn recipe zine which you can buy here. You may remember Victoria Baths from the Restoration TV programme, it's a great venue for events.

Saturday night was Mexican night with a chilli nacho platter, Margaritas and tequila spiked beer. On the plate is rice, nachos, cheezy sauce, salsa, guacomole and sweet potato and black bean stew.

It was all consumed on the sofa whilst watching one of my favourite films.

Sunday was a great CLF meet-up with lots of new people and Vegusto cheese samples. Sunday tea was Mexican leftovers with yet more cocktails - Tequila Sunrises and the new favourite shown below. The Frostbite is tequila, white creme de cacao, creme de menthe and soya cream - kind of like a liquid mint aero with a bit of a kick!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Exciting News!

I was disappointed that Vegusto weren't at the Vegan Fair that I talked about in my last post although they'd been advertised on the poster. I'd gone with the intention of buying several pieces of cheese and had orders from friends who couldn't attend too. I ended up placing an order through the website because I really want some to take on a self catering holiday I'm going on in a few weeks and I also dropped them an email. They have very kindly said they will send some samples for us to try at this Saturday's Cake Liberation Front meeting! So if you're planning on coming down I'd get there early as I think it will be really popular!

Some other exciting news I had this week was a message from fellow vegan blogger Sally Kitten who is involved with the Adelaide Cake Liberation Front with the news that another CLF is starting up in Melbourne! If you'd like to start a group or hold an event where you live check out the mobilize section on the website for posters you can use. If you set up a regular group let us know too and we can put links from the homepage to your Facebook/ Twitter etc.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

West Lancashire Vegan Fair

Yesterday I got the train with a group of folk from Manchester Vegan Society over to Lancaster to the West Lancashire Vegan Fayre. It was a really successful event and the Friends Meeting House where it was held was totally rammed so much so that I didn't even manage to get round the room with the free food samples and the cafe selling vegan fish n chips! I did go to a really interesting talk about vegan organic farming by Jenny Griggs of Fir Tree Community Growers, a care farm who produce organic veg boxes where lots of the volunteers are disabled people. I treated myself to a few things from the stalls I did get to - Kale chips with sunflower and tahini, lovely handmade soap and bath bombs packed with aromatherapy oils from Brackencraft, Black Cherry Hurraw lip balm and a totally amazing Reese's Peanut Butter cupcake from Vicki's Vegan Bakery.

Today I'm taking it easy catching up on a bit of stuff on iPlayer and doing some drawing. To set me up for the day lunch was a cup of cinammon coffee and a sausage butty. I bought some of these Sainsbury's own make sausages the other day which unusually for an own brand are vegan as well as vegetarian. I like them on soft white bread with tomato sauce, dijon mustard, chutney, cherry plum tomatoes and rocket. How do you make yours?

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

March of Cakes!

I've been busy recently helping Matt (Quiet Loner) prepare for recording his third album which will be done as a live gig at the beautiful Sacred Trinity Church in Salford tomorrow evening. The church has a lot of music events including a monthly goth night! The album is a collection of contemporary protest songs and will be compared by Longfella who was last years Glastonbury poet in residence. I've created an edible installation in cake to be eaten by the audience during the interval between recording sides 1 and 2. This is just a sneak preview, there'll be lots more cakes on the night.