Archive | May, 2013

Upcoming Event: (Un)dress for Dinner #1

22 May

Our friends at SANS, a Manchester-based naturist group, have teamed up with the 8th Day, the vegetarian food co-operative, to offer this fantastic clothing optional event.

Date and Time: Fri, 21st June 2013, arrival and service between 7:30 and 10:00 pm.

Venue: The Eighth Day Co-operative Ltd., 111 Oxford Road, Manchester, M1 7DU (near All Saints Park)

Price: £7.50

What does that get you? Each ticket entitles you to entry and one course of your choice. Extra courses and drinks may be bought at 10% off the usual sale price. Check out the sort of things that are on offer here. They have a small amount of beer, wine and cider available.

This is a ticket only event, tickets must be bought by the 7th of June 2013.

What to bring? Your ticket, extra money for drinks and more food should you want it, and a towel to sit on.

Accessibility: The pavements near the 8th Day have OK drop curbs. The cafe is at the bottom of a flight of stairs, although there is a lift which is big enough to accommodate the average wheelchair user. Gendered toilets are on the same level as the cafe, as well as a gender neutral accessible toilet. Please get in contact (details below) if you have any accessibility requirements we should know about and we will try and accommodate them. Please also let us know if you or anyone in your party is under 18.

Cancellation: Should you change your mind and wish to cancel your booking before the 7th of June, refunds will be made less any postage / transfer fees. After that date, refunds will not be given, but you are welcome to transfer your place to a friend. If the organisers or the venue cancel for whatever reason, you will be contacted to arrange a full refund.

Payment: Please contact Jez to arrange payment by cheque or paypal at sansnaturism[at]gmail[dot]com. Please quote NVC in the subject line so we can see how many people have come through us. There are limited spaces and payments need to be finalised before the 7th June so please book asap to avoid disappointment.

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Hannah Reviews Ms Cupcakes’ New Book

21 May

Hello blog readers, Recently I have purchased Ms Cupcakes new book and WOW!!!! my mind has been blown! I have been a huge fan of Ms Cupcake (Melissa Morgan) for quite a long time and finally had the pleasure of meeting her (and being mistaken for her) at the recent Northern Vegan Festival which I worked at alongside the lovely Jess, Rohan and Greta.


I pre-ordered this book and completely forgot about it until I saw about the events for the release – so it was like a nice surprise! And I was definitely in for a treat.

The book itself is PERFECT. A beautiful eclectic mix of personal style, tips hints and tricks and the photographs are STUNNING! Unlike other books I’ve read, the ingredients are easy and accessible with the recipes clearly stated and easy to follow. As a bonus, there’s even and easy bake section! This book is one of the most amazing thing I have ever owned and will most definitely be a well used asset in my kitchen.


Now down to the cake! I chose to be ‘different’ (as per usual) and double a recipe to make it enough for a big cake. I went for the Bakewell Tart as they were my absolute favourite before I turned vegan almost two years ago (two years next month!) and I’ve been craving them for a long time. I followed the easy recipe (doubled) and sandwiched the layers together with raspberry jam and the ‘classic vanilla buttercream’ to which I added a few drops of almond essence.


I finished it of with a buttercream top, toasted flaked almonds and natural glacé cherries (watch out for ones with animal derived colouring – just one of her handy tips)… and voila! I have my very own amazing tasting and easy to make cake. I can’t wait to try more from this book, and I’m sure ill share with you my pictures! Thank you to all those who helped create this amazing book, it really is a vegans dream.


You can buy the book online here

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Vegan Rhubarb Curd

13 May

Jess made this delicious rhubarb curd at the weekend. It was lovely! We filled 3 1/2 oddly sized small jars, probably about 3-4 cups.

In other news, we hit 4 million hits on the blog yesterday! Awesome!

(Pic below: it was really cold and Rohan didn’t want to be half naked outside next to the rhubarb patch. This is his “please hurry up and take the damn photo” face):


Ingredients: 600 grams of rhubarb,1 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tbsp lemon zest, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tbsp coconut milk, 3 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 3 tbsp cold water, 2 tbsp vegan marg.

Chop rhubarb into 1-inch pieces and place in a small saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes until rhubarb is soft and you have a nice pinkish juice. Strain to remove the pulp and reserve the juice. (Add the pulp to crumbles, or soy yoghurt)


In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 1/2 – 2 cups of juice (depending on how rhubarby you want it), sugar, lemon zest and salt, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. After the sugar is dissolved, add the corn starch mixture and the coconut milk, stirring well to combine. Stir constantly and cook for about 10 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken and bubbles appear on the surface.

Add the marg, and cook (stirring constantly) until the mixture thickens to a curd-like consistency. This took about 8 minutes for us.

Pour into sterilized jars to store. If you plan on using it all immediately for making a dessert, transfer into a heat-proof dish, cover and cool for 2 hours in the fridge before using.

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Gluten-free Dandelion Flower Tempura

7 May

A quick recipe for today. Jess made these lovely gluten-free dandelion tempura today. If you aren’t gluten-free and don’t have rice flour to hand, this recipe is great with regular plain flour too. This recipe was good for about 25 dandelion flowers.

dandelion tempura

Ingredients for the tempura batter: 1 cup rice flour, 1 cup gluten-free beer (or cider or sparkling water), 1/2 tsp salt, paprika to taste, oil for deep-frying

Pick your dandelion flowers, wash and carefully pat dry. You want to keep the green base of the flower but make sure to remove any stalk.

Mix up your batter mix, it wants to be a relatively thick batter, but if its too thick add a bit more beer/cider/sparkling water. Heat the oil until bubbles form and a small drop of batter will cause the oil to get all excitable. Dip the dandelion flowers into the tempura mix, and drop carefully into the oil a couple at a time. Leave them in until they are done – ours took about 20 seconds. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and put on some kitchen towel to soak up any excess oil. Eat immediately as tempura has the tendency to get soggy if you leave it. Enjoy!

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Gluten-free Vegan Jam Tarts

6 May

Rohan recently found out that he’s probably gluten intolerant and has had to cut gluten out of his diet. As a result, he’s suddenly a lot more interested in cooking now that most processed foods aren’t accessible to him. Last week Jess taught him how to make a sweet potato curry, and this week when looking for something to do with the left over sweet potatoes, he came across the idea of using them as a binding agent in baking. That’s how we ended up with these vegan, gluten-free jam tarts.

In other news, our friend Ro has started an interesting facebook page: “The Vegan Psychologist”  which offers insights into  alternative/unorthodox psychology and animal rights. Check it out 🙂

Ingredients: 130g sweet potato (peeled before weighing), 120g rice flour (and a lot more for dusting etc), 1tsp xanthan gum, 1/2tsp baking powder, 60g vegan marg, 60g caster sugar, gluten-free jam

First peel and boil the sweet potato until soft, mash it thoroughly and leave it to cool in the fridge.
When it’s cooled for a while, you can start mixing the rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and caster sugar in a bowl, then rub the vegan marg into it with your fingers. When it’s starting to look a bit like bread crumbs, mix in the sweet potato mash with a spoon. This is when the extra flour comes in. You’ll probably need to add more flour bit-by-bit to get the dough to a workable consistency. It should be an interesting orange colour because of the sweet potato. When your dough is soft and not too sticky, put it in the fridge for half an hour or so.

Now you should be ready to make jam tarts! We had two different types, strawberry jam and lemon and lime marmalade. Not all jam is vegan and not all jam is gluten free so check your labels match up with your dietary requirements. Preheat the oven to 180°. Dust your rolling surface with yet more rice flour and roll the pastry dough to just under half a centimetre thick. Cut circles out with a cookie-cutter or the top of a glass and lay them in a greased bun tray. Put a teaspoon of jam in the middle of each (don’t overdo it – the jam will spread and boil over if there’s too much). Then just stick them in for about 8 minutes. Don’t expect them to brown like normal pastry – prod the pastry to see if it’s done, but be careful not to touch the boiling jam!

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