Dinosaur Kale Mac and Cheese

Because dinosaurs are cool.

Chili and Lime Black Bean Burger

The perfect vegan burger!

Beer Battered Halloumi

Nom, nom, nom.

Ginger and Chili Tofu

Crispy delicious tofu that's easy to make... say what?

Chocolate Cake Balls

Cakes, but not as you know them.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Hotel Chocolat Rocky Road to Caramel Extra Thick Egg

Mmmmmmmm, chocolate. The sweet, delicious source of food happiness. I, like most people like to indulge in a bit of chocolately goodness every now and then, but there's one time of year that you can really go mental and not feel any guilt and that's easter. I always remember having a shed load of easter eggs when I was younger and it took me weeks to get through them. Now that I'm a bit older I appreciate good quality chocolate and would much rather have 1 ethically produced, good quality Easter egg. So if you're going to do Easter Eggs this year why not do it properly!

The Extra Thick Easter eggs from Hotel Chocolat really fit the bill here, they have a great engaged ethics program, they even have their own cocoa plantation making it a guilt free Easter egg in more ways than one. You may find them a little bit pricey at £26, when you can buy 26 regular eggs for that price, but you really are getting your moneys worth with this one. The shells of the Rocky Road to Caramel egg (the one I tried) are made from 40% cocoa milk chocolate giving it a smooth rich taste, one half is studded with cookies puffed rice and chocolate chunks and the other half coated with caramel chocolate, which gives it a variety of flavors and textures which all complement each other. And when they say 'extra thick' they really mean it, there's no flimsy chocolate shell here! I literally couldn't break it with my hands!

The best thing about this egg is that it's got a variety of flavours and textures, meaning you can't get bored of it. There's a great mixture of pralines and caramels inside the egg too (yes, it's really that big!) which are all delicious. So if you've got someone special to buy an egg for this Easter (or you really want to indulge) go for this, it's definitely a winner!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Creme Egg Brownies

Any one who knows me know that I like making brownies a lot, which subsequently means I have eaten a lot of brownies. Every now and then I like to change it up a bit and chuck some extras in (you may remember the s'more and slutty brownies) and as Easter is coming up I had the perfect thing in mind.

I've had creme egg baking on the brain ever since I saw these cupcakes and since it was my Birthday this weekend, I needed to fit some special baking in. Obviously I was thinking of putting creme eggs inside the brownies, but I thought it needed something extra to make it look and taste even more exciting. So that's where the white and yellow patches came in, they're actually made from cream cheese mixture, so these are more of a creme egg, cheesecake brownie. I froze the eggs for 2 hours prior to baking so that the didn't explode. They did, of course but it means that there's a nice layer of cream egg goo distributed making them taste super delicious! These were a total experiment so if you make your own version let me know how they turn out!

For 18 brownies:

For the cream cheese egg goo:

400g plain cream cheese
2 eggs
125g caster sugar
1 tsp yellow food colouring

For the brownies:

18 mini creme eggs (frozen)
120g good quality dark chocolate
225g butter
4 large eggs
375g caster sugar
75g plain flour 
75g cocoa powder
  1. Start by making the cream cheese egg goo, whisk the cream cheese, caster sugar and eggs together until smooth and creamy and put to one side. 
  2. Then to make the brownies, melt the chocolate and butter together in a bain marie and leave to melt down completely. 
  3. While the chocolate/butter is melting, whisk the eggs and caster sugar together together until they have trebled in volume, then add the flour, cocoa powder and melted butter/chocolate mix and whisk together until well combined. 
  4. Pour a 3/4 of your brownie mix into a greaseproof paper lined tin and place the frozen creme eggs on top, then blob half of the cream cheese mixture on top.
  5. Add the yellow food colouring to the rest of the cream cheese mix and then blob that on as well. 
  6. Then spoon the rest of the brownie mix on and swish it around with a skewer until you have a marbled effect. 
  7. Pop the brownie mix in to a preheated oven for 40 minutes, until firm and springy. 
  8. Leave them to cool, then chop up and enjoy! 

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Inspiral and Lush Spa

Last Friday was one of the best days ever! Not only did I get to go the Lush spa and have the amazing Synaesthesia treatment (I've always wanted to go), but I also went to my favourite vegan cafe in London, Inspiral. As I mentioned in my last post I've been vegan for the last week, so a trip to inspiral for some proper good vegan food was just what I needed. One of the reasons I love Inspiral so much is because it's so cosy and right on Camden Lock so it's really light and airy. Their mains menu is always full of tempting vegan options with a variety of sides to choose from (you get 3), but you can choose to have a salad or a selection of raw foods as well (both of which looked amazing, I could have eaten everything). I was struggling to choose between the mustard and quinoa cake and the vegan lasagna, but despite my massive love of mustard I went for the lasagna because it looked cheesy and delicious and I may have been missing cheese a bit. From what I remember it had vegusto cheese, and corn pasta so it was gluten free as well and for the sides I had kale salad (which I think had vegan cheese and lemon on), potato wedges and broccoli. The food was perfect, filling and because it's all vegan and healthy it the kind of meal that makes you feel good after eating it.

Every time I go I tell myself I'm going to have desert and end up being full to get any, but in the interest of my blog (of course) I forced myself to eat some raw berry cheesecake. Again it was a hard decision, there was tiramisu cake, raw vanilla cheese cake, raw chocolate tart and raw berry cheesecake. It ultimately came down to the raw chocolate tart or the cheesecake and it was one of those decisions that comes out at the till, but I think I picked the right one. It was definitely different to the cheesecake I'm used to, it wasn't as sweet but I actually quite liked that. It had a nut crust, raw cheesecake filling which Hannah (my dining and spa buddy) said it tasted like ice cream, which it kind of did and a raw jam topping which rounded the whole thing off. I'm glad I finally got to experience it, it definitely made my meal that little bit better!

So after the perfect meal we set off to the Lush spa, if you haven't heard of it then check it out. There's a few dotted around in different Lush stores and you can enjoy a treatment with products that aren't tested on animals and are 100% vegetarian, I also saw an option for vegan treatments :). I had the Synaesthesia which is an hour long, choreographed, full body massage and Hannah had the validation facial. The treatment rooms are quite possibly the cutesiest things ever, they're like a country cottage with a touch of Alice in Wonderland. The massage was a completely different experience, I still feel amazing a week later, I think everyone should treat themselves to at least one in their life time. Hannah definitely enjoyed her facial as well, as we both floated all the way home with bellies full of vegan food and an overall feeling of absolute bliss. 

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Vegan Nachos

If you've been reading my blog for a long time, then you'll remember that a year ago I took part in my second vegan week with my housemate Laura. This year I've been happily reminded to take part in one again that's happening in a few Lush stores. I've managed to convince 8 of the girls to go vegan too and have been put in charge of keeping 2 of them alive for the next week, so it should be fun with us all doing it together. It may be a bit late for me to be posting this, but why not get involved too, you could start tomorrow, in a weeks time or whenever you want. If you do fancy getting involved then this group will be a great resource over the next week and beyond for vegan recipes, advice etc.

So today was the first day of veganism, and I decided to make something that I genuinely can't live without... NACHOS! I had some awesome vegan nachos from The Gallery Cafe on Sunday so the thought was still fresh in my mind. I made them with the guacamole and salsa recipes from Tofuevos Rancheros post, refried beans, vegan cream cheese, jalapenos, spring onions and tortilla chips (of course) :)

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