Tuesday, 2 September 2014

MoFo '14 Day 2 - Torino Chocolate

As a huge chocolate fan I was pleased to hear about a new company that launched in the UK recently called Vegan Town. Vegan Town are an online market place for all things vegan chocolate related and I was overjoyed when they agreed to send me some chocolate to review. I let them pick and they sent me two bars made by luxury Swiss brand Torino. 

The first bar I tried was the Torino Truffle bar which lived up to it's name.

The bar is filled with a solid but creamy almond and hazelnut truffle surrounded by rich dark chocolate that sits at the milkier end of the spectrum. Delicious, this is one of my favourite kinds of chocolate. Secondly I tore into the Torino Mousse bar which was honestly the one I was most excited about.

As illustrated on the front of the pack each individual dome of 60% dark chocolate is filled with a light, fluffy chocolate mousse. I was amazed at how airy it was.

It's up there with the best chocolate I've ever eaten. I used to be a big fan of an Aero bar in my pre-vegan days and this is almost like a lighter fluffier fancier version. I ate three quarters of the bar in one go and only stopped because I felt guilty for not sharing any with Nick, something I soon changed my mind on and, because I'm the worst wife ever, I finished off the whole bar. No regrets! 

I've spotted the Torino bars in Infinity Foods and Veganz Berlin and, of course, online at Vegan Town who also sell the new range of Vivani bars, Ananda's vegan Wagon Wheels and most of the Moo Free range. They also stock biscuits, fudge and spreads and run a Treat Box scheme for £20, £25 or £30 per month. Vegan Town ship within the UK for a flat rate of £3 and the box my two bars came in fitted easily through my letterbox. They also offer worldwide shipping.

If you'd like to order some chocolate from Vegan Town simply enter the code VIB22 at checkout to get 10% off of your order.

Monday, 1 September 2014

MoFo '14 Day 1 - Favourite Mac and Cheese Recipes Redux

Mac and Cheese, or Macaroni Cheese, as we call it here in the UK, was always up there with my favourite foods before I went vegan and it's still right up there now. Hence the Mac 'n Cheese Monday theme! I wrote the original version of this blog post during VeganMoFo last year but my favourite macs are a constantly evolving thang so I wanted to update y'all on my favourite mac and cheeses as of right now.

As a student I used to eat the kind that comes out of a can and when I met my husband it was one of the only things he could cook so he made it for me a lot. When I first went vegan I avoided trying to make a macaroni cheese for fear of disappointing myself but once I threw myself off of the nutritional yeasty deep end I realised I didn't need to worry, vegans can have cheesy pasta fun too!

Here are my favourite macaroni cheese recipes in no particular order...

New Farm Cookbook Mac and Cheese

One of the first vegan mac recipes I ever tried and still up there with my favourites. This recipe is all over the internet and it's totally worth making.

Mac and Trees - Appetite For Reduction

I eat a lot, both when I travel and when I'm reviewing restaurants and eating out locally, so when I cook at home I occasionally eat foods at the low fat end of the scale, y'know, for balance. AFR is by far my favourite healthy cookbook and the Mac & Trees is one of my go-to dishes when I need to make a fast healthy meal, I love the high broc content and easy to throw together sauce.

Mac Daddy - Veganomicon

Only the second Mac recipe I ever tried and still a favourite today. I love the creaminess of the tofu ricotta, the cheesy sauce and the overall creamy baked deliciousness of the recipe. I like to add peas to this one!

Five-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese - Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites

This book, now known as Home Cooked Vegan Comfort Food, contains one of THE MOST EPIC macaroni and cheeses in the history of veganism. You really do need five cheeses to make it, Daiya (or FYH / Veganic Pizza Cheese), Toffuti Cream Cheese, noochy sauce, a tofu ricotta and walnut parmesan sprinkles. It's insanely delicious and totally worth the effort. If I had these ingredients to hand more often I would have made it many more times than I have currently. Joni posted the recipe for this on her blog, here's a link. Go make it!

Best Ever Mac and Cheese from Crafty Earth Mama

Photo Credit : Crafty Earth Mama

This recipe was posted during Vegan MoFo 2011 and it's seriously one of the best mac and cheeses I've ever made. It's also Nick's absolute favourite. We'd eat it more often if laziness and bad planning didn't often prevent us from buying and roasting a red pepper!

Cheezy Mac - Vegan Diner

Similar in style to Crafty Earth Mama's mac this creamy cashew based sauce gets the majority of its flavour from smoked paprika rather than roasted red pepper. It's delicious and one I come back to over and over again.

Last year I wrote about a whole host of mac's that I hadn't gotten around to making yet which included Isa's Chipotle Mac & Cheese with Roasted Brussels Sprouts (minus the chipotle's!), Isa's Mac & Shews, Allyson Kramer's Smokey Butternut Mac and Cheese and VegNews' Vegan Macaroni & Cheese. I still haven't made the majority of these (c'mon Jojo, sort our your mac game!) but I did make...

Isa's Mac & Shews from The PPK Blog

Whilst this was similar in texture to the Mac Daddy from Veganomicon it had a much deeper flavour thanks to the sauerkraut. It even made Nick admit that sauerkraut isn't all evil! You can find the recipe online here.

One recipe that hadn't come into my life last year is this next one, also from Isa.

Roasted Red Pepper Mac & Cheese - Isa Does It

This new cashew based mac recipe has quickly become a favourite in my house, it's rich and creamy and I find it impossible to stick to the portion size! The sauce also comes together super easily in the blender which is a bonus and makes me inclined to gravitate towards this recipe when I fancy something quick, warm and comforting.

I really need to try the Sunflower Mac from Isa Does It too, it looks and sounds delicious and I've heard rave reviews. The BLT Mac & Cheeze from the PPK blog also looks fantastic. I think Isa might be a mac & cheese machine! Did I list your favourite mac here? I'd appreciate any and all mac recipes that you can bring into my life so do let me know what yours is in the comments. Happy MoFoing!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

VeganMoFo's Heading Our Way Fast!

Vegan MoFo is always one of the highlights of my year. I love being a part of the online vegan community so bloggers getting together to flood the internet with pictures of amazing vegan food, inventive new recipes and stories of their every day lives for a whole month is right up my street. I also love the challenge of blogging every day becuase it forces me to come up with more creative ideas and it's also the only time I ever show you what I cook and eat at home which is super fun. I also love seeing what other people come up with, their themes, the glimpse into people's day to day lives, the challenges people choose to embark upon. It's like everything I love about blogging but amped up a notch. For the last few years I've been part of the official VeganMoFo team, I help with round ups and organise giveaways and I love it. If you're still on the fence about signing up what are you waiting for? You only have until tomorrow evening so get on it, the sign up form is here.

This year rather than doing daily or weekly themes I'm doing one all encompassing theme for the first time ever. I even drew a swanky (haha) logo. Don't laugh!

That's right, for the whole month of September I'll be focussing on two of my favourite things, cheese and chocolate. These were also two of the things I thought I'd find difficult to give up before I went vegan years ago. How wrong was I?! We have so many amazing options now that being vegan's a cinch. I'll be incorporating one of my favourite weekly themes, Mac & Cheese Monday into the month and the reason it's international? I'm heading back to Austin on Thursday! I can't wait to hang out with friends, re-visit Sweet Ritual, Capital City Bakery and Bouldin Creek Cafe and you bet I'll be spending plenty of time cooling off in the water at Barton Springs. You can expect to see amazing cheeseburgers, pizzas and reviews of American cheese and chocolate on the blog during MoFo as well as reviews of my favourite European goodies.

You know what else is exciting about Austin? It's the location for Vida Vegan Con III! I'm so excited that they chose my favourite American city to host their wonderful conference because it gives me an excuse to go back there again next year. I also recently found out that I was accepted to speak at the conference and I could not be more excited. I literally squeaked and jumped up and down when I got the acceptance e-mail!

It's a total dream come true and it feels amazing to have been chosen from what was blatantly a super strong group of applicants. I can't wait to see who else is speaking and I hope that I can hang out with some of you there. If you haven't bought your ticket yet maybe my blog post about 2013's conference will be the thing to convince you? It was such an amazing whirlwind of a weekend. I came home so inspired and I'm really looking forward to getting to work on the session I'll be running. More info on that later in the year!

See you Monday for the start of MoFo!