We're back!! After 2 weeks of cycle touring in the South Island we finally made it home on Friday afternoon and are just beginning to surface again. We must be feeling good though as we were out riding again today!
Anyway, before we left it was Christmas and what is Christmas without a tofukey and christmas pudding right?
My plate with tofukey and tahini gravy and lots of delicious vegetables and salads.
There's nothing quite like a flaming pudding!
Christmas pudding, delicious fresh berries and homemade vegan vanilla ice cream.
Oh, and a gorgeous tree made by M's mum.
I shall try and get at least one post up about our cycling trip this week...but you know how these things go. Work may not start until Thursday but I have a dress to make for my cousin's wedding and summer days to have adventures in!
P.S. thank M for the glorious blog title :-P
It's that time of year, the time when I get to eat lots of cake and feel a little bit more wise (you know, every birthday you're another year older so surely also wiser as a result!).
Thursday we had a farewell (for me even though I'll only be gone a month!) and a birthday celebration (also for me but for the 2 other workmates with early August birthdays too) which meant I had to make a cake! It was pretty late on Wednesday night when I started making the cake so went for something simple, the East Coast Coffee Cake from Vegan Brunch, except I made a lemon cornmeal version which I've done before. It went down well.
Work got me the usual delicious vegan sandwich they get me (made specially by the bakery for me) while the others had the usual savouries and club sandwiches. A salad sandwich might sound a bit boring but actually these guys (whoever they are) make a pretty good one.
I may have eaten a little bit more cake (with delicious coconut yogurt) for dessert that night...!
Friday, after work and a nice little walk with M, we headed out to the Beat Street Cafe on Barbados Street for more delicious food. I ordered their Big Warm Salad with tofu (so so good) for my dinner.
They don't have a vegan dessert on the menu but they do make a damn fine beetroot chocolate cake which they served with berries and chocolate sauce. I gather this is not normal but I'm sure they'd do this for anyone who asked. They also had a delicious looking vegan brownie but I can never turn down cake!
Then Saturday dawned ridiculously summery hot (despite still being definitely winter here so it was awesome!) so we went biking along the tops and round the bays and eventually ended up in Lyttelton to check out the new vegetarian cafe there, The Shroom Room.
I had a delicious lunch of toast and hash browns with lots of delicious fried veges and salady stuff (yep, I'm good with descriptions).
And of course more cake was consumed...their vegan chocolate raspberry cake was amazing and quite possibly wins the mini cake competition of the last few days of eating!
All that food did make the final relentless climb up to the Kiwi pretty difficult though! But worth it.
It seems vegan cake is doing quite well in Christchurch at the moment. The Lotus Heart makes a pretty fine cake. Then there's the Beat Street Cafe and The Shroom Room and I also heard from the waitress at Beat Street that there is a lady who makes several kinds of vegan cakes to sell at the Riccarton Bush Market which we haven't ever been to...but you can bet we'll be going once we get back!
Up in Auckland there is a cafe called Raw Power that I used to go to when I was in town. I loved all their food but my personal favourite (when I could drag myself away from the chocolate cake) was their vegan melting moments filled with delicious passionfruit icing.
Because I no longer have access to their delicious cookies I have to make them myself and I've found the good old Edmonds Cookbook will start you off in the right direction. Whip up a batch of their melting moments cookies (using olivani instead of butter - make sure you mix the mixture quite a bit until it really starts to stick together otherwise you'll find yourself cursing as you try and make balls out of the mixture and it sticks to your hands and basically makes you all round grumpy).
Once the cookies are cooled it's time to make delicious passionfruit icing! Soften about 60-70g of olivani (or other vegan butter substitute) and then whip that up with about 1 1/2 cups of sifted icing sugar until all mixed together and fluffy. Add some passionfruit syrup (or if you're super lucky, some passionfruit pulp but I've never been that lucky) to taste (quite a lot if you're using syrup) and voila!
Put dollops of the mixture sandwiched between 2 of the cookies and you've got yourself a serious treat.
"Come, come," said Venables. "I really can't go along with this modern playing down of th evil as something that doesn't really exist. There is evil. And evil is powerful. Sometimes more powerful than good. It's there. It has to be recognised - and fought. Otherwise..." he spread out his hands. "We go down to darkness."
- The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie
About a month ago someone (oooo, that was me, pick me!) had a very important birthday (well, all birthdays are important, but some are more important and exciting than others). And what do birthdays always call for (well, in my world anyway)?
Why yes, that is a dirty concrete floor. Thank you for noticing.
CAKE! The chocolate cake from Bhakti Cookti Bookti in fact. It was so ridiculously rich and chocolatey that we had to eat it with ice cream lite licks hokey pokey is the BEST!). Not exactly surprising considering it basically has an entire large block of chocolate in the icing!
After the usual wintery Wednesday Night run (basically a group of us meet up on a Wednesday night to go running in the Port Hills together) M and I tempted everyone back to where we were staying to help devour the cake. Cake is pretty much the perfect post-run food right?
The cake is filled with delicious jam as well as copious amounts of chocolate icing. Yum!
In case anyone was concerned (although I can't see why) M and I did actually eat some real dinner which even included vegetables!
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie and Olympic rowing. Perfect!
It was all about health, of course. It was a conspiracy. Why did they never find a vegetable that was bad for you, hey? And what was so wrong with onion gravy anyway? It had onions in it, didn't it? They made you fart, didn't they? That was good for you, wasn't it? He was sure he had read that somewhere.
- Snuff by Terry Pratchett
Oh man, it’s been a LONG time. So long that I can’t even remember everything that’s happened! I was trying to go through all my photos and it all got a bit much! I can’t believe it’s already two thirds of the way through February. Where is the year going?
I know it was months ago but the easiest place to start seems to be Christmasy stuff. Christmas time basically involves lots more cooking, baking, eating, socialising and all that kind of stuff.
The weekend before Christmas M and I travelled up to Auckland for the annual family get together. To start with we proceeded to eat our way around some of my favourite places in Auckland (as well as catching up with some of our favourite people) including lunching at Cosset...
No, I didn't eat ALL of that! But what I did eat was delicious!
We then had to devour lots of food at the family Christmas party that evening. I'd made my tofukey which always goes down well. It's nights like this that make me miss being back up in Auckland with my family. My aunts and uncles are like second parents and my cousins have become brothers and sisters.
Pancakes for brunch at Revel were the perfect way to recover from the food coma of the night before (okay, that's not strictly true but it seemed like an awesome idea at the time). They were buckwheat pancakes served with rhubarb...delicious.
Christmas eve was all about singing carols in the park whilst trying to keep the candle from blowing out (which we failed at miserably!).
Christmas itself was spent at M’s family’s house where we got to eat potatoes that were dug from the garden right before our very eyes and I ate peas straight from the pod (11 peas in one pod - apparently that's good luck).
I made tofukey and Christmas pudding (which was served with soy cream and fresh berries) for everyone. I love Christmas food. Christmas cake was also made...I think I might need to make another one now so we can enjoy it at all times of the year.
All in all I think it was quite possibly the best Christmas I've ever had. Yay!
Join me next time when I dive back down into the deep archives of time since my last post and find some other exciting things to tell you about! I promise it won't be far away.
"...silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way. Wickedness is always wickedness, but folly is not always folly. — It depends upon the character of those who handle it."
- Emma by Jane Austen
Hello! We're busy playing the 'guess how big that aftershock was' game after a rather large shake (it knocked a few things out of our pantry so it's got to be at least a 5. Extra points for guessing where it was centred. You might laugh but some people had bets on one at work once!).
M and I have spent most of the day in a food coma after eating up large at the vegetarian expo and then eating lots of cake and bread at his parents' house (his Mum made this vegan orange cake especially for us. I think I'm going to have to get the recipe off her because it was delicious). I have to say though, a food coma is a bit more pleasant than the total exhaustion state we were both in last night after a rogaine based out of Castle Hill (it was crazy - we started in a snowfall and finished in beautiful sunshine a few hours later!).
First up, before we even got inside, we got vegetarian sausages with all the trimmings (mustard, sweet chilli sauce, onions and tomato sauce). I devoured mine in no time because I was starving (only having an apple for breakfast will do that for you...but I was determined to eat far too much at the expo so had to make sure there was going to be room). I think the sausages they used were the Frys ones. Later, inside the expo, I had a good chat to the people from Frys about their new products which are coming soon and I got all excited!
Next up I got all excited by these tiny little cupcakes and the vegan society stall so I had to get one of the lemon ones. It was eaten in no time (you could have eaten the whole thing in one go but I tried to make it last a bit longer).
I then downed a shot glass of vegan beer from the Cassels & Sons Brewery. Now that was quite nice and I might have to pop out there and get some but it was a bit early for me and alcohol to meet (11am). I think I got a whole lot more giggly after that.
Then it was time for some serious browsing of the stalls (while I giggled continuously and got all excited at the smallest of things). This didn't last all that long because I stumbled across another stall selling the most amazing looking vegan baking. Cat Rescue Christchurch had a big table filled with delicious-looking home baking but my eye was instantly caught by the ginger crunch so I had to have some of that.
After the mini sugar coma I was now in we decided something savoury was in order. We'd thought about pies but ended up going for samosas with chutney from, well I can't remember where from but they were delicious and very spicy.
Drink was definitely required after that but when we wandered over to The Lotus Heart stall I got carried away and ended up getting a slice of raw lemon cheesecake instead!! It was divine. They have got this whole raw dessert thing down to a T (or is it a little t? I've never written that phrase down before). Luckily M was a bit more sensible and bought us some sparkling orange and ginger drink to share.
You'd think we'd be full by now but the pies were still calling. We ended up getting a Country Pie to share from the Linda McCartney Foods stall. The pastry was delicious but the filling was slightly too 'meaty' for my taste. M seemed to like it though.
Then just to top it off, I'd come to the realisation I hadn't gotten anything chocolaty yet so I headed back to the lovely ladies at Cat Rescue Christchurch. I don't know who you ladies are but you do amazing work and are incredible bakers. When we have somewhere where I can have a cat I am totally heading your way. Anyway, I picked up a slice of peppermint chocolate cake which I picked at once we got home (it was incredible).
So yeah, basically the vegetarian expo was awesome and I'm most grateful for the lady at work who told me about it. As you can probably guess by this post (and like I said on the feedback form afterwards), I was pretty much just there for the food and it did not disappoint.
By the way, for those who were curious, the official quake magnitude is now up and it was a 5.5. Exciting!