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38 Days

38 Days – that’s how long my vegan “stint” lasted this time. It’s no secret that i’m not a full-time vegan. As much as I would like to be, it’s incredibly difficult in a city like Hong Kong, especially for a foodie like me. I always struggle with what to do and where to go to eat out. As much as there are fabulous vegetarian restaurants and one in particular is a vegan favourite – they are few and far between and life as a vegan if you eat out, get’s very repetative – same places, same dishes – i’m not that kind of girl.

So i’ve opted for a semi-vegan lifestyle – vegan lunches and non-vegan dinners. Eventually, when I find myself willing to spend more time working out a vegan menu at home, it will mean vegan full time again – when? I don’t know. For how long? Again, i don’t know. But the challenge awaits.

In the meantime, a new challenge – to lose weight. I find, that everytime i do a vegan “detox” when i come off it, i put on all the weight i may have lost as fast as lightening. So i’ve decided now a food diary is the way to go. This inherently makes me feel guilty if/when i snack on anything as I don’t want to write down any seemingly unhealthy foods, so if i’m writing down everything that i’m eating, i can’t eat any inherently bad foods. Not as easy as it sounds.

Additionally, a lovely friend of mine signed me up to a 1-month trial at a gym – complete with Bollywood aerobics and Yoga…so attempting to frequent that, get into a routine, then hopefully – not give it up. The classes provide the structure and the motivation that I lack because once you get home after a long day – the last thing you want to do is change into trainers and trackies or swimmers and head down to the gym/pool. Even though they’re only a stones throw from home. Instead, the structure of going to classes (not close to work or home mind you but that’s another story..) seems to work. I just hope it lasts.

I am the kind of person that gets more motivated when I see results, and so far…no results. Reducing portion sizes at both lunch and dinner, limited healthy snacking during the day – let’s see how we go. I’ll keep you posted. But do bare in mind that this is no longer my whole-ly vegan blog…it shall return one day, just not today.

If you do however, need advice on being vegan…I can still give you that – so don’t hesitate to ask or post questions.

I leave you now..with some fabulous gluten-free / vegan cookies I discovered awhile ago and didn’t get round to posting:

They are fab, available in Hong Kong and I would totally buy them again – bonus point: you can’t really tell they’re gluten free.

I also experimented with some gluten free vegan chocolate cupcakes…but that’s another post altogether.

Rxx

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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Baking, Chocolate, Cookies, Gluten Free, Vegan

 

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For the love of…Yummy Earth

Short but sweet today, I still have that funk, god only knows why. I’m going to put it down to the fact that i’m unhappy in multiple aspects of life at the moment (I count the hours until 6pm – that surely is a sign that I need to make some life-changing decisions), and I really need to give myself a good kick up the backside. But while I think about doing so, I’m munching on these divine organic candy drops by Yummy Earth, a wonderful organic candy company based in the U.S. Thankfully their products are on sale in the handful of organic supermarkets based here…and I whole heartedly recommend them. I’ve tried a number of their products – their organic lollipops included, but my favourite by far are these candy drops – I especially love the Mango ones.

If you can get your hands on a bag, I definately suggest you try them – they’re 100% vegan and made with real fruit juices!

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2010 in Candy, Dessert, Food, Snacks, Vegan

 

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For the love of…Dinner Parties (Part 2)

So yes, I’m still in a funk. And this weather doesn’t really help. And when you tell someone you’re in a funk in the vague hope they cheer you up, it backfires. So I really have to bring myself out of this funk. But I don’t know how.

So I started thinking about mum’s potential dinner party again. And I started thinking about chocolate again. (My best friend has realised I have a chocolate craving every 15.5 seconds which combined with the funk lead to a considerable consumption of chocolate during my working day in less than 10 seconds…but we won’t mention that). Moving on…

Where was I? Oh yes, mum’s dinner party and chocolate, which then got me thinking about these amazing chocolate pots my sister had brought back from waitrose one evening and it was the tiniest little chocolate pot but the most heavenly and the most satisfying and one little pot was all I needed to completely satisfy that craving. So, if my sister could buy it from a supermarket, then why couldn’t I make the equivalent at home for a dinner party? It would be IDEAL…make in advance, set in the fridge until ready to serve, no hassle no fuss right? But I don’t have a recipe. It surely can’t be as simple as melting chocolate with a little cream and/or  butter and pouring it into a pot?

You’re right, it’s not. But here is a pretty simple recipe:

Ingredients

1  14 oz can of full fat coconut milk

200g soy chocolate (your fav kind, could even be some kind of raspberry chocolate..seriously..ANY chocolate you like..)

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

– Break the chocolate up into pieces, put it into a food processor with the vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon

– Bring the coconut milk up to a simmer on the stove, and then pour it over the ingredients in the food processor

– Blend everything together until smooth and creamy, pour into espresso or sake cups or even shot glasses and chill (takes about 5 hours for them to be firm and creamy) before serving.

See..then I started thinking some more (don’t you just love how I involve you in my thought processes these days?) and I thought how about some kind of ginger-chocolate pot dessert thing? So what would happen if I grated some fresh ginger into that? I’m not entirely sure, I’ll have to try it out and let you know…

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2010 in Chocolate, Dessert, Dinner Party, Indulge, Recipes, Vegan

 

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For the love of…Dinner Parties

I’m still searching for inspiration and creativity. I’m in a funk. A food funk. An emotional funk. I don’t crave food anymore. What is wrong with me? I’m definately in a funk. My cousin asked me today “are you excited? About life in general?” No, right now I’m not.

I need to find something to excite me. Food used to excite me. I need to find that again, I was happy, I was motivated. Where did it all go? Now I just feel like i’m an angry mess.

My mum keeps insinuating that she wants to have some sort of dinner party in the not so distant future. I’m taking that as the foundation of my inspiration. The opportunity to create. Mum’s dinner parties are usually buffet style meals with copious amounts of appitisers, main courses and several desserts. All of which scream comfort food. All of which are PERFECT for those family gatherings which start in the late afternoon and end during the early hours of the morning. But recently she’s been saying that she wants to do something different. So I’m thinking. What could be different? Something that doesn’t quite scream comfort food? Something a little more sophisticated? Yet something that is absolutely BURSTING with flavour.

So as I’ve been hunting for creativity I was thinking about appetisers. Something simple, sophisticated and bursting with flavour and I thought about cherry tomatoes. Not just ordinary cherry tomatoes on a plate, but stuffed cherry tomatoes, with pesto. Ok ok so traditionally pesto has parmesan in it, but you can use your favourite vegan substitute, i’m sure you all have one by now, if not – just ask and i’m happy to make suggestions!

Since you all know me, it wouldn’t be my recipe if I didn’t add some sort of twist to it so here goes & let me know what you think:

To make the pesto:

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated soy cheese 
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

 Place all the above incredients in a food processor and blitz until its a spreadable consistency.

Cut the tops off your cherry tomatoes and de-seed them (i use a tea spoon, but I guess it depends on the size of your tomatoes).

Fill the tomatoes with the pesto mix (either using a tea spoon, or piping bag, or a sandwich bag with a tiny hole cut out of the bottom corner – all of these work perfectly well). Sprinkle a touch of paprika on top or garnish with half a toasted walnut or a basil leaf or even the top of the tomato – it’s entirely up to you! Get creative! Actually, now that I think about it, perhaps I should stuff the tomatoes with some kind of avocado, pine-nut, herb mix? I’ll have to think about that some more…

 

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For the love of…Brownies

It’s been about a month since I baked anything, let alone anything worth mentioning on the blog. I’m not really sure what got into me, April has been crazy. My weekends have been filled with birthday celebrations (family, friends and my own), and weekdays have been filled with..well..work. I lead a boring life! I started getting these horrible cravings…for sweets, and no matter how many chocolate bars or how much ice cream I had it just wouldn’t do the trick, so I decided to bake.

I decided to bake the most amazing chocolate brownies I have ever tasted! (ok, so i’m boosting my own ego here but hey, I think I have a right to!)  THey were *almost* perfect – so soft and gooey on the inside, and cake-like on the outside. The only problem was they started to fall apart when I pulled them out of the tray. So they don’t look like the kind of brownies that you get in a restaurant, but they are very rustic, home cooked and full of chocolatey gooeyness…enough to satisfy anyones cravings and go perfectly with a dollop of vanilla ice cream..

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar (use what you wish, my preference is usually raw cane sugar..)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pour in water, vegetable oil and vanilla; mix until well blended. Spread evenly in a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is no longer shiny. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares.
  • Ok so I didn’t follow this recipe EXACTLY, i had a little less sugar, and a little less cocoa powder, and I added a whole lot more chocolate buttons…BUT, that’s the beauty of experimenting – you do what works for you! Next time i’m probably going to add walnuts…and yes…there is going to be a next time for baking these 🙂

    The Verdict: I LOVE THEM!!!!

    R xx

    As per tradition, a photo from the handy dandy blackberry:

    They turned out to be more like Molten Chocolate Brownies when warm...still YUM!

     
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    Posted by on April 29, 2010 in Baking, Chocolate, Dessert, Indulge, Recipes, Vegan

     

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    For the love of…Cookies

    My sister is fantastic. Seriously. My mother thinks my sister and I have switched places because I’ve been doing copious amounts of baking recently, because my sister is the baker in our family. She is honestly amazing, she sent me a few vegan cookbooks amongst which was Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and my mouth simply started watering.

    This book features a selection of mouth watering recipes for all kinds of cookies you never imagined would be vegan, including vegan style oreo cookies! Now that really excited me, especially with my new found oreo cookie cupcake fetish!

    So over the weekend I decided to refrain from baking cupcakes in order to try out a vegan version of traditional chocolate chip cookies and I was happily surprised!

    These were whole wheat chocolate chip cookies that were perfectly chewy in the middle, and crunchy on the outside. The kinds you dream about dunking in a glass of milk (soy of course) and enjoying as a midnight snack!

    Once again as proof I did actually bake, my handy dandy blackberry provides you with an image:

    I do promise I will be investing in a camera soon – I just havent found one I liked yet! For now the handy blackberry will have to do!

    The Verdict: I would recommend you buy this book in a heartbeat! I’m excited to try out more cookie recipes along side my cupcakes!

     
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    Posted by on March 24, 2010 in Baking, Chocolate, Cookies, Dessert, Food, Recipes, Vegan, Weight Loss

     

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    For the love of…Tabouleh

    Tabouleh is a middle eastern salad which has a personality of its own. Traditionally Tabouleh is made with bulgar wheat, and many professional chefs will say that it is impossible to marry the flavours which are incorparated in this traditional dish with any other grain. I however, disagree. But please take note, that this is my personal preference – I love making a sort of unconventional tabouleh by using cous cous instead of bulgar wheat. My reasoning is that cous cous takes significantly less time to cook, and is a hell of a lot easier to cope with. I for one cannot cope with having to soak the bulgar wheat before I cook it, nor do I have time to.

    So here’s my quick and easy recipe for unconventional tabouleh, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

    Ingredients

    – 1 cup dry couscous
    – 1/2 small red onion, diced
    – 2 medium plum tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped
    – handful of parsley sprigs, chopped
    – 5-6 mint leaves, chopped
    – juice of 2 lemons
    – olive oil (about a tablespoon)
    – sea salt and pepper (to taste)

    A Method to the Madness

    To 1.5 cups of boiling water, add the dry couscous. Turn to low heat and cover for about 3-5 minutes. Couscous is ready when the water has evaporated and the couscous is tender Remove from heat and fluff it around with a fork. Set aside and cool.

    When couscous is completely cooled, add onion, tomatoes, parsley, mint and lemon juice. Mix well, removing any clumps in the couscous.

    Drizzle in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

    This recipe makes about 3-4 hearty portions. My favourite way to eat tabouleh is to load it up in a baby lettuce leaf and roll it up as a wrap. The cool, crunchy lettuce is a perfect match to the tartness of the tabouleh. You could even serve it on endives for a clever party-style canape!

     
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    Posted by on February 3, 2010 in Food, salad, Vegan

     

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