Tag Archives: vegan

Day 4 of Lent: Homemade Courgette & Potato Burgers (Vegan)

6 Mar

I do not want to turn into one of these foodies who insists on posting her dinner online every night, but … OMG, my mum’s homemade Vegan burgers are awesome!

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Made with all natural ingredients – veggies, homemade bread, herbs and spices – there are no meat substitutes in the recipe for these delectable patties. Best of all, they’re baked, not fried; so I’ve just scoffed three of them without feeling guilty!

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Day 3 of Lent: Vegan Bean Stew

5 Mar

Tonight’s supper was leftover bean stew from yesterday. It’s a traditional Greek meal (pronounced “Fasolia”) that’s made with onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes and, of course, beans!

It’s one of my favourite meat-free dinners and goes really well with sliced spring onion and a hunk of fresh bread for dipping! I’m stuffed!

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Fasting For Lent

3 Mar

My fast for Lent began today, in accordance with the Greek Christian Orthodox calendar. I am now following a Vegan diet until Easter Sunday.

Last week, in preparation for the fasting period, the church only permitted a meat-free diet. No fish was allowed, either – only seafood. I survived without my favourite meat dishes surprisingly well, although my cheese intake quadrupled!

As a result, not everyone is convinced that I can go Vegan for 49 days, but I’m off to a great start. We weren’t allowed to consume any oil today – not even vegetable oil – yet I am stuffed with good food: an assortment of healthy yet delicious morsels prepared by my mother (who diligently fasts several times a year, as per religious guidelines).

If every day is like today, seven weeks of Orthodox Lent should be an exciting culinary experience that may well become an annual event. I am enjoying the discovery of new food products and flavour combinations and feel rather inspired. Of course, it’s only the first day – and I may resort to cannibalism within two weeks if the meat-pangs kick in – but I’m quietly confident that I’ll complete my spiritual and physical cleanse without succumbing to sinful temptations.

REVIEW: The Cake & Bake Show 2013

17 Sep

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Bruised shoulders, stubbed toes, sweaty foreheads, strained back muscles, full tummies and arms laden with bags – these were the side effects of attending The Cake & Bake Show in London’s Earl’s Court on Sunday (15th September).

To say that the event was mobbed would be like describing meringues as “white globs”; traversing certain ailses was akin to being caught up in the London riots (shin pads and helmets would have been exceedingly useful before venturing towards the cupcake stalls but, sadly, I left my riot gear at home).

The huge turnout – totalling over 30,000 visitors – reflected the growth of the Home Baking market and retail sales of baked goods in the UK. Recent figures confirm that 41% of Brits bake at least once a fortnight* and the nation consumes £23.5m** worth of cupcakes a year. The Home Baking sector is now worth a staggering £645m and the average consumer eats home-baked goods 4.6 times every fortnight*.

Flooding into the venue alongside all the other budding Mary Berrys, we exchanged a miserably grey weekend for a world of dizzying colour and creativity. From the neon glare of fushia pink cupcakes, pearly white icing and violet edible flowers to the warmth of glossy chocolate slabs, golden caramel fudge and red velvet whoopie pies, the London venue was a Dulux palette of sugar and confectionery. Willy Wonka would have sung in approval.

The Golden Tickets required for entry to this ganache-crafted world of imagination were available to buy, but the sugar Gods sweetened my fortunes with two free tickets. I entered a competition via Twitter, run by Stork in the week leading up to the event… and won!

Squealing as the shock sank in, I jumped up and down in elation and thanked my lucky [sugared] stars for such an amazing prize. Some people get babies… my Stork brings me Cake & Bake Show tickets. Methinks I definitely got the better deal.

One of the highlights of the event was the margarine brand’s spectacular “Cake Runway” where the models were all beautifully crafted cakes! ‘Plus Size’ got a whole new meaning as we looked at the curves of fat-tiered cakes sporting wonderfully intricate designs.

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The show was split into defined sections, including food retail areas, homeware and baking supplies, exhibition stands, masterclass theatres and demonstration stations. Many workshops with high-profile icons – such as baker, Eric Lanlard – had to be pre-booked, but the likes of Renshaw, Betty Crocker and Dr. Oetker ran several more informal events that attracted a spontaneous audience.

Goody bags were available to purchase upon arrival, priced at £5 each. Each branded cotton bag contained a wealth of money off vouchers, a Betty Crocker packet mix for Red Velvet Cupcakes, a bottle of Russian limeade called ‘Zeo’ and a fabulously glossy Christmas recipe book from sugar brand Billingtons.

Navigating the scrum of visitors was difficult, and at times unbearable, but the bruising was well worth it! Here are some of my favourite finds from the show:

MINCE PIES BY FLOUR POWER CITY BAKERY

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I have an obsession with mince pies and have spent many years on a mission to try every variety in London. These ones had perfectly short pastry and an old-fashioned, tangy filling – superb!

VEGAN CHILLI CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES BY SUGAR CREAM CAKES

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This vegan cupcake was a delightful surprise. A soft, chocolatey sponge was tasty and harmless – the heat was all in the icing! Delicious!

MUSCOVADO AND MOLASSES FUDGE BY BILLINGTONS

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The sugar brand had a wonderful hut at the event, showcasing their wares and a range of mind-blowing fudge varieties, especially made for the show to demonstrate how their individual products can be used at home.

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A fudge recipe was included in their Christmas-themed cookbook, included in the official Cake & Bake Show goody bag – which I shall definitely be making over the Yuletide period!

PAUL A. YOUNG CHOCOLATES & BROWNIES

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My favourite chocolatier once again had the best cocoa creations for sale – annihilating the competition in flavour, texture and presentation.

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Although I was none too impressed with his introduction of a Marmite Brownie – I hate the stuff! Nevertheless, I persuaded two doubtful shoppers to buy one of his Signature Brownies – one of the richest and delicious in the UK.

MERINGUES BY THE MERINGUE GIRLS

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Colourful, light, vibrant and inviting – I loved the girls’ stall at the show. With an array of flavours on offer, it was unsurprising to discover that their products were selling quickly!

OTHER AMAZING SIGHTS IN PICTURES:

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Sources:
*Kantar Worldpanel ^SymphonyIRI
**Companies & Markets (July 3rd, 2013)

Greek Halva

8 Aug

I’m tucking in to one of my favourite vegan desserts: Greek Halva.

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Made to a simple recipe using one pot, ingredients include semolina, roasted nuts and plenty of orange blossom water. It’s the perfect chilled treat for summer  – scrumptious!

REVIEW: Ethical Canapé Workshop at Made In Hackney

1 Jul

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The kitchen counter was laden with a rainbow of vegetables and sauces. A tantalising aroma permeated the air – the smell of goat’s cheese and vegetable tarts baking in the oven. As the hum of excited chatter grew increasingly loud, two eager students added garlic and herbs to a blitz of Salsa Verde. The blender whirled as other students sliced slivers of courgettes and carrots into elegant towers. The class was in full swing and we were on a roll: Making Ethical Canapés was inspiring work.

Under the tutelage of chef and supperclub extraordinaire, Ian Ballantyne, the Sunday workshop at community kitchen Made In Hackney was a delicious extravaganza of flavour, colour and fun.

It was Ian’s first class for adults at the venue, which is dedicated to teaching people (including teens) how to grow and cook healthy food. Occupying two floors, the stylish kitchen is only one half of the not-for-profit organisation. The basement facility is located under their shop above, which is stacked with a magnificent selection of healthy and natural foods.

Stepping into the kitchen, we were dazzled by an array of raw ingredients, from herbs and avocadoes to apples and onions. Ian had us paired up for chopping, slicing and mashing in no time, steadily preparing the ingredients for the next stage – compliling the canapés.

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We started by soaking rice paper wrappers to make exquisite vegetable spring rolls, filled with shredded carrots, spring onions, apple and cucumber. Topped with a sprinkle of one of Ian’s homemade sauces, including a heady garlic concoction, each bite of crunchy veggies and squidgy paper was addictive. Fresh ingredients never tasted so good!

With Ian’s relaxed style and infectious enthusiasm, we were inspired to try bolder combinations. Courgette strips wrapped around tangy goat’s cheese, pomegranate and guacamole? Cool. Bread slices loaded with butternut squash, herbs and onions? Lovely. Cooked potato discs topped with Salsa Verde, apple and carrot? Exquisite.

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Priced at a £5 donation – a definite under-charge for what was worth much more – the workshop was lively and inspiring. We were actively encouraged to experiment, make mistakes, push the boundaries and take risks – a free reign that was liberating and fun!

With only nine students in total, the intimate class was a great way to meet new people and gain new skills. Best of all, the sense of achievement at the end – when we got to eat the fruits of our labour – felt exceedingly wicked! Highly recommended!