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!
"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.
You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!
- Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss
So, I did say there was some big stuff happening and today is the big day! Today I will be on a plane moving to Christchurch. Depending on who you talk this is either exciting, crazy (often rephrased in a more positive light as brave) or scary. Or a combination. I think it's exciting although I have been through the whole range of emotions in the last few weeks (especially in the last few days). Despite the earthquake and everything sometimes you've just got to dive into life no matter what.
Anyway, because I am the most useless blogger ever I have no photos of my awesome leaving meals but I will tell you about them anyway! First up was a lovely evening hanging out with my cousins and watching a bit of the royal wedding. We ordered rather excessive amounts of pizza from Hell and my aunty made a delicious crumble. Yay!
There was also my last day of work where my boss took me out for lunch at Landreth & Co on Ponsonby Road. The lady at the counter was super helpful at working out what they could make for me and I ended up with a huge bowl of pasta with bountiful amounts of tomato, spinach and basil. It was so good. We also got through two bowls of fries. Is that bad to admit? It was 3pm by the time we had lunch though...!!
But the most exciting and awesome meal was my farewell dinner at the flat! My flatmates are so awesome and put together the coolest dinner ever. Basically it was make your own rice paper rolls but the spread of things we could put in them was incredible. So many different veggies and fruit as well as rice noodles, tofu and sauces. I ate so many it was a bit ridiculous. Then for dessert I made the Mocha Melt Cake (but gluten-free for the lovely H) from Have Your Cake and Eat It Too (in the rice cooker!!!) which I served with banana ice cream (frozen bananas, a bit of soy milk and vanilla essence all blended up together...SO good). I am really going to miss all these guys. Best flat and flatmates in the entire world. Ever. Seriously.
And then (because I can't stay away) I ended up back at my flat for my final night in Auckland because, well, I really didn't want to say goodbye! They cooked up this awesome Indian curry along with a beautiful dahl soup which I will have to attempt to recreate at some point. It was perfect. And then I rushed out before any of us could start crying!! From one home to another...
So the next post will be from my new home!! How cool is that?!
Even in the world of today we can see how mighty powers can come apart at the seams when confronted with simple demands for peace, love, food for the poor, and amnesty for the enemies of the state.
- Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
I know, I know. Blah blah blah...
Anyway, before I race off to bed (before racing off before dawn tomorrow for the national orienteering champs in Hawkes Bay...scary!!) I thought I'd just quickly tell you something. Kris's new vegan cake book is out and it's called have your cake and vegan too. It arrived in the mail at my parents the other day which was super exciting!! I was a tester for it so I can tell you that it is awesome. Actually, her cake recipes are pretty much the only ones I ever use.
I whipped up one I hadn't tried for my cousin's birthday last weekend, Bubbie's Chubby Tuxedo Cake. It seemed fitting after how much she adored last year's cake (the oreos got her very excited).
As usual for Kris's recipes it was simple, reliable and worked out perfectly (well, it took a bit longer to cook in our ancient oven and my baking always seems to turn out a bit more moist...not that anyone would complain about that).
It went down a treat and my flatmates gave the leftovers I brought home 5 stars (5 michelin stars actually!). Awesome :)
Anyway, I promise to post more once life settles down and I also promise to post about my exciting (terrifying) news soon!! Oh, and if you were wondering about the title watch this.
The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
So, last weekend (just to clarify, not the one that's just been but the one before that!) I decided to treat Mum to a special afternoon tea at the Heritage Hotel...any excuse to try their vegan high tea!! It was a pretty miserable day which meant our plans for a walk were dashed so we took the bus into town early and spent way too much money on shopping...although Mother and daughter shopping these days is more to the likes of Macpac (I know some of the ladies on the homepage - just a little shout out to the Macpac Girls On Top!!) and Bivouac!
Anyway, after all that shopping it was time for food especially since I hadn't eaten lunch (I had a late breakfast in preparation!). I had called ahead so when we arrived it only took them a few minutes before we had this placed in front of us...
First up you've got to have sandwiches.
We've got wholemeal sandwichs with avocado, hummus and cucumber and white bread sandwiches with tomato, basil and vegan cashew cheese
Next up, we all need some sweet treats in our life.
We've got brownie bites, fruit tartlets, vanilla macaroons and chocolate dipper apricots.
But for the main event, and probably the thing I was most looking forward to, scones.
Cranberry, orange and ginger scones to be more precise, served with strawberry jam and soy cream!
Oh, and there was tea...because what is High Tea without, well, tea?!! It came in a teapot. No photos. Use your imagination.
Basically I think the photos pretty much speak for themselves. Mum loved it and I thought it was totally awesome although I did leave on a bit of a sugar high. My favourite was definitely the scones with cream and jam. Definitely a combination worth repeating. And it has inspired me to go out and buy some more soy cream and do "stuff" with it...what kind of stuff I don't know yet but I'm sure I'll come up with something!