Tag Archive: dessert

Christmas is tasty!

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 beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

Currently in my little kitchen there is Christmas cake in the oven and Christmas pudding on the stove along with a batch of delicious peanut butter cookies on the bench. It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas in my kitchen!

Speaking of food, I never got around to blogging about my American food experiences so you'll have to put up with it now. It was a bit of a mixed bag to be honest. I went in with high hopes and they were dashed pretty quickly when we couldn't find bread that tasted, well, anything like the bread we know and love here. It was hard enough trying to find bread without dairy in it and when we did it had a weird texture and tasted sweet. Ugh.

In Boulder M and I did a lot of our shopping at Alfalfa's as it was close to where we were staying (Chautauqua which was amazing as we were right at the start of the trails leading up into the Flatirons - although an hour and a half run in the hot sun the morning after we arrived might have been a bit much for my jetlagged body!). The variety was pretty cool but it did make me appreciate what we have at home. I really wanted to be a fan but couldn't.

We had more luck at restaurants and cafes though. One lunch I got a takeaway reuben sandwich (it sounded very American - I've never seen anything like it on a menu in NZ) from Leaf which was pretty good. Different, but good.

We checked out Wholefoods in a few places...they are so huge it was a bit frightening but the salad bar things are pretty cool!

There is also a pretty impressive range of vegan frozen desserts in these type of places, of which we tried a couple...

Once in Salt Lake City we attempted to visit every vegan eatery in town (well, all the ones that were open during our stay). First up was the Vertical Diner. After spending far too much at REI (not for the first or the last time on our trip!) A then took us there for lunch. I loved this place from the moment we walked in. The menu is fun and the food was super yummy. I wished we could have gone back.

Clockwise from top left: a burger but I can't remember which one, Jerk Chicken Burrito and another burger of some description!

Dessert was definitely a must (hey, we had to try as much food as possible!)...

A banana split sundae and a strawberry brownie sundae - delicious.

Next up was the City Cakes Cafe for lunch whilst exploring Salt Lake City on our own. This place looks like it provides a lot of the vegan cabinet food we saw in other cafes and Wholefoods in the area. The lemon bar was delicious but I wasn't a fan of the more lunch-type food we ordered.

Clockwise from top left: a lemon bar, Mac n' Chezah and a Black Bean Burger

One evening M and I headed into town to Sage's Cafe a more fancy dinner. M ordered the mushroom stroganoff and I ordered the raw cashew pad thai and we agreed they were both exceptional. Plus the service, from memory, was excellent. If you find yourself in Salt Lake City I would really recommend Sage's.

Again, dessert was essential...

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Madness and the Tiramisu. Definitely worth it,especially the tiramisu.

The final cafe I checked out was the Frisch Compassionate Eatery where I got the special of the day which was some kind of spicy 'chicken' nacho dish and the most giant cookie I have ever seen in my life! The nachos were pretty good but I think I would have preferred plain beans to the mock chicken and by the time I came to eat the cookie I think I was over sweet food. The menu here looked pretty awesome though.

You couldn't really go wrong with Mexican though, even in the City Creek Mall. And corn chips here are so much more delicious than most we can buy at home.

On the whole though we did most of our own cooking. After Boulder we camped in Leadville for some altitude training before the rogaine (when you live at sea level it's a bit of an adjustment!).

The first morning we cooked up some terribly awful pancakes made from some boxed mix we found at a supermarket. They may have looked all fluffy but they tasted pretty awful! But the boys did try their hand at flipping them much to our entertainment.

Camping by Turquoise Lake was beautiful with the added bonus of a track going right past our tent for an easy morning run...followed by a swim in the lake.

Back in Salt Lake City we made pizza once my parents arrived and I got to try out some vegan cheese. It sort of melted but not like some of the pictures I'd seen and it kind of tasted a little bit plasticy (am I being too fussy here? Give me some of the European or British vegan cheeses any day...I don't care if they don't melt). The pizza was delicious though despite the cheese and the weird mock bacon we tried.

The best food of the whole trip though was definitely all the fresh summer berries, especially when out adventuring...or lazing in the sun!

Mountain biking in the hills above Park City. Perfect riding for me as it started with a big long climb up to the top (and then a punnet of raspberries of course!).

Exploring Mt Wolverine in the rain then meeting my parents and R checking out all the lakes.

And the best bit? Lazing around by a lake after eating far too many berries (if that is actually possible).

There, no more USA trip posts now. I think I'm done (and now hopelessly behind on everything since then!).

Icy cold minty goodness

I have just polished off a rather large bowl of very delicious homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream. After first trying my hand at making vegan ice cream in the States at my brother's house I knew I had to get my own ice cream maker (the Cuisinart ICE-21 in yellow - I mean, how can I resist a household appliance that is in my favourite colour!). Embarrassingly pretty much the only flavour I've made since getting it a few months back is mint chocolate chip but it is my favourite and it has been a very long time since I last got to have it so surely that's okay right?

Anyway, it's really simple. All you need is:
2 cans (400ml each) coconut cream (works best with the full, not the lite versions)
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1-2 tsp mint essence (depends on the brand and quality as I had an expensive one that one required 1 tsp but now I've got a cheaper one from the supermarket which is best using 2 tsp)
most of a block of Whittaker's Dark Ghana Peppermint chocolate, chopped

Whisk all the ingredients together except for the chocolate and put in the fridge. Put the chopped up chocolate in the fridge too. Leave in there for many hours (at least 10 which might be because our fridge isn't set all that cold).

Then make as per your ice cream maker's instructions. Ours requires the bowl to be in the freezer until the stuff inside it has frozen solid which takes at least 24 hours in our little freezer so I tend to keep it in there.

Then, once it's super cold I can get it out, start it up on the machine and then pour the cold ice cream mixture in it. After about 15-20 minutes my ice cream is looking pretty good and I tip in the chocolate, slowly so it doesn't clog the machine up too much as the gooey peppermint inside tends to make everything stick together.

I let that mix until the ice cream is trying to escape out of the machine then tip it all into a container and put in the freezer for a few more hours.

Eat...lots of it (well, only if you like mint chocolate chip otherwise I'll come over and eat it for you).

The first time I tried to make this it didn't work so I've learnt that everything has to be super cold. Also, don't forget to put the paddle in the machine before you start it running 'cause it's too late once you've poured the mixture in!!!

Other than eating ice cream things round here have been really busy. I realised I haven't even finished writing about our trip to the States so there is more to stay about that. We've also been running and cycling up and down many a hill of late and last weekend I survived another 24 hour rogaine. Still trying to catch up on lost sleep! Not to mention it's nearly Christmas...where is the time going?

The ancient history decorated in tinsel

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.

Delighting in a food coma

"...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!

Pie in the sky (with diamonds?)

'This is pretty nice for Hell,' Fi said to me as we paused in the cool stone gap.
- Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

After far too many late nights this past weekend (yes, I am a nana and proud of it) I am so tired that all I really want to do is curl up on the couch while watching episodes of Jonathan Creek. I've only seen 3 episodes so far but along with his lying on The Unbelievable Truth (he talked about tigers AND managed to smuggle all 5 truths past everyone so he earns extreme points for that alone) I am becoming an Alan Davies fan. I get a bit obsessed about things. This might turn out to be one of them.

Random photo of a rock to distract you momentarily. Note how they felt that you required a cone to point the rock out in case you missed it. They've gone a bit cone crazy here I think.

Right, well today I thought I would tell you about pie. Pie in New Zealand would pretty much automatically mean a meat pie of some kind for most people. I remember when I was a kid my Mum would occasionally buy a supermarket 'family' pie and attempt to cut it into 5 pieces. There would be much argument over who got what bit because the pie was, rather unfortunately, a rectangle and if you got one of the end pieces you basically only got pastry (although this wasn't too bad since that was the only real bit I liked on them).

Anyway (that was quite a tangent...got a bit nostalgic there!), fast-forward to today (or, in reality, a few weeks ago) and I thought I might try my hand at making my very own pie. I've never made a pie before and I'd bought myself a pie dish after getting all excited and buying everything in sight back when we were setting up our flat. This pie is nothing like the pie of my childhood. In fact, it's nothing like any pie I'd ever had before but it was darn tasty. It's a bit of an adaption on the Mushroom, Leek and White Bean Pie from Vegan Brunch with my first ever batch of homemade pastry.

I didn't have enough mushrooms (or the kind of mushroom it talks about since I've never heard of cremini mushrooms before but fortunately white button mushrooms worked just fine) so I added heaps of onion. It seemed to all work out. But what couldn't when it was encased in rich, melt-in-your-mouth pastry (I think I might have overdosed on the margarine!)? I know the recipe says to leave it at least 30 minutes before serving and that it's best at room temperature but honestly, I thought it was way better hot out of the oven (or hot after being heated up in the oven again) and with a whole lot of my Mum's feijoa and ginger chutney.

So, I've done the savory pie but it appears that most of the world are used to associating pies with sweet desserts. M's Mum gave us the most ginormous of pumpkins and I was pretty much over eating pumpkin soup and putting it in every meal we had so I thought, since we were heading off to a pot luck, that I'd attempt to make pumpkin pie. I've never had it before (apart from a raw version at The Lotus Heart) and decided I'd use the Pump-Can Pie recipe from Kris' 100 Best Vegan Bak­ing Recipes.

It seemed to work out okay although I should have actually used the amount of sugar the recipe called for rather than naively thinking it would be too much. It sort of tasted a bit weird but then again, the idea of pumpkin pie seems a bit odd to me. I think I'd rather make it with kumara (which my Dad thought was even more of an odd idea). People did seem to enjoy eating it though, even my friend's little girl who hated the pumpkin in the savoury dish. She ate all her pie but didn't even finish her ice cream!

The last pie, however, is definitely awesome. Caramel Cream Pie...with a name like that you can't really go wrong! I have made a variant of it before (using tofu instead of soy cream cheese which is actually probably the best way to go to be honest because then it isn't so mind-blowingly rich) but this time I thought I'd go all the way and see just how many fake dairy products I could use!

This pie lasted ages because you could only eat fairly small slivers at a time before feeling ill and like you might need a lie down after the explosion of sweet, rich, fake dairy goodness. Make it now but be prepared for the coma you might find yourself in afterwards!

Right, sorry about all that rambling. I'm tired and my brain is spinning around and drifting off a bit. But go and make some pie. That will make everything better!