Friday, August 22, 2008

Thanks Dad!

I went for a daytrip to the seaside with my parents and two younger sisters earlier on this week. It was actually a really lovely day! I enjoyed it so much, it's really nice being able to catch up with everyone again after so long away from home.

We went to a place called Bridlington which is on the North East coast of England so it was quite chilly! We packed a picnic lunch and I made some bulgur wheat salad, which was actually really nice but I was so busy enjoying it I forgot to take a photo! I still have some left in the pantry though, so I'm sure I'll make some more soon.

While we were wandering around the town (it was too chilly to spend any time on the beach, which is typical of English seaside hehe) we passed a cooking shop, so being the avid baking/cooking fan that I am, dragged all my family inside for a thorough look around. I could have spent a fortune there! My friends are all obsessed with clothes and shoe shops, but me? Give me a cooking supplies shop anyday! I found a massive tube of cookie cutters while I was in there too, which my dad kindly bought for me as a gift!

The next day my sister and I couldn't wait to try them out, but first things first, we laid them all out on the carpet so we could get a good look at them! I'm such a kid, I love any stuff like this and I've never had any proper cookie cutters of my own before. My grandma used to have some when I was little, and I used to love it when she'd let me use them.

cookies, baking, cooking, cutters

So this post is just really to say thanks to my dad for the present! And also to let you know to stay tuned, as an extremely delicious cookie post is coming soon!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The first signs of life


I was overjoyed this morning when I got back from spending the night at my boyfriends to find that my plants are finally starting to show that they're growing! I was starting to get worried; although I did only plant them last week!

I've never really grown anything before, but since I've got home I've planted spinach, radishes, pak choi, chinese cabbage, carrots, baby turnips, herbs and potatoes. I can't wait to start eating all my organic, home grown veggies!

Monday, August 4, 2008

A new header

Do you like my new header? A big thank you to RoseBranch for it! ^_^

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Shortbread biscuits for a barbeque

When I was in Hong Kong, I was unable to resist the lure of all the amazingly cute stuff. While shopping with A., we stumbled across an absolutely adorable shop selling all kinds of Disney and Sanrio and other fun character things. There was a huge baking section; and I had to resist coming home with the entire shop! I was tempted to buy Hello Kitty cupcake moulds, or even a cake mould. Instead, I settled on...


A Winnie the Pooh cookie cutter and template! I was having a barbeque tonight, and couldn't resist making these adorable shortbread biscuits for afters. I hadn't tried making a vegan version of shortbread yet, but was glad I did. These biscuits tasted exactly like the ones I used to eat! Here's the recipe, for anyone who's interested:

Shortbread Biscuits:

275g plain flour
60g cornflour
250g vegan margarine/butter
110g icing sugar

Sift all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Chop, and add the butter/margarine to the dry ingredients. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour/sugar mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. Pack together into a ball, and then roll out and cut shapes. Cook in an oven at 150 degrees celsius, and I'm not sure I can give you a time to how long these biscuits need to cook as it seems to vary quite drastically depending on the thickness of the biscuit, but keep quite a close eye on them as they don't take too long and they "turn" very quickly! They can look far from cooked for ages, then all of a sudden they're burnt! But if you just keep an eye on them, you'll be fine!

Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of all the other food we had! But I made veggie kebabs, salad, corn on the cob, and potatoes. I need to find myself some good vegan burger recipes to make next time I have a barbeque, I'm not keen on any of the ready made vegan friendly burgers in the supermarkets! None of my friends complained though, and it was nice to see everyone and have a good catch up!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Asda Vegan List

I've been back in England now for one week, and I still have to find a job. Although it is pretty hard to find a job when you haven't even started looking yet! I definitely have my priorities in order though. As I wasn't even a vegan when I left home twenty months ago, the first thing I did was email all my local supermarkets to see if they had a list of which home branded products were vegan. The first ones to get back to me were Asda, already my favourite supermarket but even more so now after their speedy response, and the massive amount of vegan products that they sell! The list did used to be available online, but sadly isn't any longer on Asdas website, but I thought I would make it available here instead. Click here to download the list!

So at least now I can go and do my shopping! And I suppose I best go and look for a job now...

Or at least, I will once I've made some cupcakes...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The British Vegan is back on British soil!

And gosh, is it nice to be home! There's nothing quite like it. I'm back in the kitchen with loads of free time, so check back soon for some new recipes!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Prize Winning Crumble!


Last Friday, we had a 'Cultural Day' at work. I've never come across a cultural day back at home in England, but over here in New Zealand (and Australia, for that matter) they seem quite big on them. I suppose it's because there's so much diversity of nationalities in these two countries. We all had to dress up in clothes native to our country and take in a regional dish as to where we were from too. I chose to make an apple crumble! I used to often make this dish as an omni, but a couple of weeks ago was my first attempt at veganising it (which was fairly easy, just the substitution of vegan margarine for butter!). It was absolutely delicious, and tasted just like it always had! Crumble has always been my absolute favourite dessert, and as apricots are in season over here at the minute I decided to make it using apricots (instead of my usual apple and raisin).

Apricot crumble

It was in fact so successful, that I decided that this is the dish I would take to work to represent England in the cooking competition! I made it with apples this time though. However, even from the start of making it, it just didn't seem to go right this time! I didn't have quite enough flour left, but I forgot to change the measurements of the other ingredients, so I ended up with a with a mixture that didn't crumble quite right! However, I persevered and when it came out of the oven, it looked alright so I decided to take it into work. My boyfriend tried it fresh out of the oven and proclaimed it fine, so I took it to work the next day to serve up to my coworkers.

However, it wasn't until all the dishes had been judged that I finally sat down with a piece of the crumble myself. I was completely disappointed, it was no where near as nice as it normally was! In fact, I couldn't even eat it all (which is really saying something for me!).

So you can imagine my suprise when later in the afternoon, I got called up by one of the judges, and handed a runner up prize! I had come in second place, and one of the judges proclaimed my crumble as "the best crumble she had ever tasted!" I was absolutely over the moon; I'd never won anything before! And I know it's only second place but... imagine how I'd have done if my crumble had been on top form that day! ^_^

Apricot crumble plate