Vegan fashion directory part 2: where to buy vegan-friendly handbags

As much as finding a pair of shoes, boots or heels is a personal choice (you can read all about my post on brands that offer vegan shoes here), as women, we like to carry stylish bags that define our personal style. So where do you go for that perfect arm candy, for work or for going out?

Hopefully this blog post will have you sorted and as with my post on vegan shoes, there will be something here to suit everyone. Continue reading “Vegan fashion directory part 2: where to buy vegan-friendly handbags”

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Happy sushi days: review of Happy Maki, Brighton

I’m sure every vegan will be able to relate to the fact that when you decide to go on a trip, finding out where you can find vegan options can be a bit of a minefield when you’re not familiar with the country. Searching Google and asking in local groups for advice are typical ways for us to find what we need to know, but wouldn’t it be helpful if all this information was in one place, like Vegan Edinburgh for those who are visiting Edinburgh?

I’ve decided that I’m going to share where I’ve been and also share reviews of places I’ve visited in my travels (I’ll also have posts on Hong Kong and London still to come) and share them with you. Hopefully this will give you a bit of a starting point on finding places that might be of interest! I’d previously written about The Recruiting Sergeant in Grantham (see here) and today I want to share with you my one of new favourite haunts in Brighton: Happy Maki. Continue reading “Happy sushi days: review of Happy Maki, Brighton”

Switching to a vegan lifestyle: a year after Veganuary 2017

Hello and Happy New Year everyone! Time really flew by quickly, whether you were having fun or not (between Christmas and Hogmanay, I was bedridden with a bad case of the flu and I’m still recovering), but I know this is set to be an exciting year and I can’t wait to see what vegan offerings will be on the table!

So a year on after Veganuary 2017, what does this mean for me? Continue reading “Switching to a vegan lifestyle: a year after Veganuary 2017”

Speedy vegan pizza in 90 seconds! Review of @pizza in Edinburgh

I have a confession to make.

Since going vegan, I’ve heard some mixed reviews about where to get vegan pizza. Some have mentioned how the pizza bases weren’t vegan, how some places offer pizza without cheese and how some of the cheeses used weren’t quite as stretchy as you would expect from dairy cheeses. I’m sure you would avoid something too if it was potentially going to ruin your impression of what a good dish should taste like, so I’ve been avoiding pizzas…up until a couple of weeks ago.

When Emma from Vegan Edinburgh invited me to go along to review new pizza parlour, @pizza on Charlotte Lane, I had to give it a go.


Continue reading “Speedy vegan pizza in 90 seconds! Review of @pizza in Edinburgh”

Homemade three-layer vegan berry cheesecake: the recipe

A lot of non-vegans are usually worried about missing out on foods they enjoy, “but what do you do about protein?”, “how do you eat enough to feel full?” and “I’ll miss the taste of (insert dish here)”. What non-vegans don’t realise is that not everyone was born vegan and there are a lot of dishes that we missed as well when we decided to make the switch.

This is something I can confidently say whenever I’m told non-vegans will miss out on this dish or that: being vegan and missing a non-vegan dish means that whatever you think you’ll be missing out on, another vegan will have also missed it and come up with a vegan version that tastes just the same, if not better.

So you think you’ll be missing out on cheesecake? There are plenty of great recipes out there that have long employed the use of our trusty friend to get you the right texture and flavour. I present to you, the cashew nut.

Soaked and blended, this nut is perfect to achieve that texture and flavour you miss from non-vegan cheeses. I’ve also previously shared another recipe that uses cashews to make a lovely herb and garlic vegan cheese (see here).

One of my favourite vegan chefs is The Buddhist Chef because he uses such simple methods to make the most amazing dishes. Maybe it’s also because fo the ‘Buddhist’ in the name of his blog that appeals to my inner self, but whatever the reason (whether it’s the Buddhist element or the veganism), it works for me. I’ve tried a few of Jean Phillipe’s recipes over time, but the recipe for his vegan cheesecake bites (see here) is a firm favourite.

Not only do I love cheesecake, it’s also so simple to make, but results in a beautiful presentation that is bound to impress vegans and non-vegans alike. Who doesn’t love cheesecake?

The recipe calls for graham crackers, but if you’re in the UK, you can get vegan digestive biscuits (I bought Tesco own brand Free From digestive biscuits that are suitable for vegans at the time of writing this). If you prefer to use vegan margarine, you can use this instead of the coconut oil needed in the base. The recipe also calls for strawberries, but I knew the guests I was making the cheesecake for would have preferred a mix of flavours, so I went with frozen mixed berries I already had in the freezer. For a professional touch, strain the berries so the top jelly layer is clear for the coulis. I’m not a big fan of creating too much food waste though and felt it gave it a more realistic touch. I was making two cheesecakes at the same time (multi-tasking at its finest! I just doubled the recipe and split the quantities between two tins), so I made one of them with the coulis strained and left the berries unstrained for the second cake.

Another tip I feel I should mention is that the cheesecake should remain in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. The reason I had to make 2 cheesecakes is because we had guests over for one and we were travelling with the other to visit family friends. Although we make sure to pack the chill bag with plenty of ice packs and chilled gel packs, it didn’t seem like it was enough and the coulis layer didn’t stay in jelly-form when we arrived at our destination. To make the coulis layer firm, add more agar agar powder to your jelly mix. The jar of agar agar I bought from Lakeland recommends 1g of agar agar powder to 100ml of liquid, so measure how much liquid you end up with once your coulis is cooked and add the correct amount of agar agar accordingly.

Now here’s the recipe for creating your own.

Vegan berry cheesecake

Ingredients
Serves 24 mini cheesecakes or one large cheesecake to serve 12

Biscuit base
150g Free From or vegan digestive biscuits
4 tbsp (60ml) coconut oil

Cheesecake layer
1 1/2 cup (375ml) cashews (soaked in 1L of hot water for an hour then drained)
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
2 tsp corn flour
1 1/2 tsp agar agar powder
1 can (398ml) coconut milk
Lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)

Berry coulis
4 cups (600g) frozen berries
3 tbsp (45ml) water
3 tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp agar agar powder

For the biscuit base:

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F (176˚C).

2. Lightly grease a 24 slot muffin tin, a non-stick muffin pan or grease and line a cake tin.

3. In a food processor or blender, pulse graham crackers until mixture has a fine texture. You can also crush graham crackers in a sealed plastic bag using a rolling pin. If you prefer a rougher texture (or want to have some fun with the manual effort of crushing it yourself with your hands), break up pieces of digestive biscuits by hand before using the side of a wooden spoon to crush it further.

4. Add coconut oil and mix well. Press the mixture together until you get a crumble-like mix.

5. Press the biscuit base mixture to the bottom of the pan. If you’re using a muffin tray, spoon 1/2 tablespoon into each muffin cup. Make sure to gently press down with fingers.

6. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the cheesecake layer:

7. In a blender or food processor, combine the soaked and drained cashews, coconut milk, salt, vanilla extract, syrup, corn flour, agar agar powder and lemon juice and blend until very smooth.


The mixture should be smooth as a milkshake for a creamy texture

8. Pour mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

9. If using a cake tin, pour the cheesecake mixture over the biscuit base. If using muffin tins, divide filling evenly among muffin tins, up until 1/8 in (1/2 cm) from the edge. To keep the top smooth, quickly smooth it out with the flat side of a spatula. If it starts sticking to the spatula, dip it in boiling hot water before smoothing the cheesecake layer.

For the berry coulis layer:

10. Place frozen strawberries in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

11. Pour mixture into a colander and gently extract juice by pressing down on strawberries with a spatula. For a smooth gelatinous layer, you can discard strawberries. For a more fruity textured top layer, skip this step.

12. In a bowl, combine water, maple syrup, lemon juice and agar-agar.

13. Pour into a saucepan, adding strawberry juice. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 1 minute. Cool down for 2 to 3 minutes. (do not let the mixture set).

14. Garnish mini cakes with strawberry jelly (or add the mixture to the top of your cheesecake layer) and refrigerate for an hour until filling has set.

15. Using a blunt knife, gently pry edges to loosen the mini cakes. They should pop right out! Otherwise, remove the cake from the cake tin and the baking paper when you’re ready to serve.


Voila!

How did your cheesecake turn out? Did you enjoy your cheesecake? Is there any adjustments you had to make to your own recipe? Have you tried the recipe with other fruits in the coulis? Let me know in the comments below!

Burritos galore! Where to find tasty Mexican street food in Edinburgh

You may or may not be aware that Mexican food is very vegan friendly, you just need to skip the sour cream and dairy cheese and you’re pretty much set! There are so many Mexican street food shops in Edinburgh, it’s hard to keep up! Some of the places I’ve visited seem to infuse their own personal touches on their food and you’ll see why it’s not so easy to stick with just one place.


Continue reading “Burritos galore! Where to find tasty Mexican street food in Edinburgh”

Announcing the winner and updates for the Glasgow SEC Crafts for Christmas Show

Thank you to everyone who entered in my giveaway (here) for two (2) tickets to the Crafts for Christmas show at the SEC in Glasgow which will also gain you entry into the Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts show in the next hall.

Update 12/10/2017: As the previous chosen winner had not responded to various e-mails to claim her prize, I had to pick a new winner.

The winner has now been picked at random and the winner is…
Continue reading “Announcing the winner and updates for the Glasgow SEC Crafts for Christmas Show”

Giveaway competition: win tickets to Glasgow SEC Crafts for Christmas Show!

We all dread that time when friends or colleagues start talking about the C-word within the first 6 months of the year, but before we know it, we’re already in September! We start thinking about putting money aside for gifts, what we are going to buy and where we’re going to buy it and how to find that perfect gift! Finding something personal, unique that you can say is handmade can be a bit of a muddle, but luckily for us, the Crafts for Christmas show held between 26th and 29th October at the SEC in Glasgow is your one stop shop to pick up beautiful, finished craft and gifts for friends, family and the home.

To help you along with your gift shopping, I can offer you the chance to win not one, but two tickets to the show! Continue reading “Giveaway competition: win tickets to Glasgow SEC Crafts for Christmas Show!”

Discovering a new world of luxurious fabrics from Tissura

Anyone who is experienced with sewing and dressmaking will be able to tell you that the choice of fabric for any project, whether it be a jacket, dress or curtain, is very important. Choosing a lightweight cotton fabric for curtain doesn’t help serve its purpose; using heavyweight fabric for an evening gown makes it impractical. Finding suppliers who offer a great range of beautiful fabric can also be a tricky task. Most sewers are fascinated by haute couture designs, so it’ll come as no surprise that Tissura is the company that can supply you with the same high quality luxurious fabrics, directly from the manufacturers, that premier fashion houses use. Continue reading “Discovering a new world of luxurious fabrics from Tissura”

The Craft Scotland Summer Show 2017 is here!

If you’re like me and like to support local businesses and like unique pieces of jewellery and crafts, hearing the story behind the designs and how the makers created the piece, you’re in the right place. The Craft Scotland Summer Show is back for the 70th Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Designed as a calming escape from the hustle and bustle of the Edinburgh Festival, 33 of Scotland’s most talented makers and designers have been given the opportunity to contribute to the Craft Scotland Summer Show. Continue reading “The Craft Scotland Summer Show 2017 is here!”