Cardiff

My time in Cardiff Wales was very short, only one full day, but it was a lovely city with less hustle and bustle after coming straight from Liverpool.

The first place I visited was Cardiff Market, which was great because I got there early enough to avoid a big crowd. There was a great variety of interesting stalls including things like Indian spices, vintage records, palm reading, fresh produce, and my personal favorite, the yarn shop. It was called the Wool Pack, but she had a massive collection of acrylic yarn (all of the shelves on the left side), which I got a beautiful teal skein from.

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After getting lost (thanks, Google Maps) and having to ask for directions at a craft beer shop, my first food stop was at Crumbs Kitchen. It was worth the hassle though, because I had a very good lunch there. The first floor of the restaurant is a bit chaotic, due to that being where the orders take place, but there is a second story with extra seating away from the main crowd. I got the chili over brown rice, with rose lemonade and chocolate cake. The whole grain goodness of the brown rice was a nice welcome, due to my Workaway host at that time only feeding us less filling white rice. The serving was huge though, and I ended up taking half away for my dinner later.

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I gotta admit, part of the appeal of Cardiff was being a Torchwood fan. I never managed to get into Doctor Who (though I still find Weeping Angels terrifying), but I was addicted to Torchwood when I found it in Netflix. Because of this, I decided to brave the rain and wind and march two miles from my hotel to the area where they shot the show. It was odd to look at all these buildings in real life when before I’ve only seen them in panoramic filmed shots. Definitely worth a trip if you’re a fan.

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A place you must visit in Cardiff is Cinnamon Sticks, an almost painfully adorable tea room shop. Everything ranging from the wallpaper to the servers’ outfits is either floral, pink, or dainty. Though I’m not a huge tea fan (unless it’s cold, sweet, and Southern), but I did partake in their cake, which is beyond amazing. I got a piece of their chocolate peanut butter masterpiece and can say that it was probably the best piece of cake I’ve ever had. The peanut butter frosting was the perfect amount of rich and fluffy, and the chocolate cake was the perfect spongey texture. I was sad I didn’t have time or the stomach space to try their savory vegan options, but I’ll just have to get them next time I go to Cardiff, since I will definitely be visiting Cinnamon Sticks again.

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Easter Treats and Eats

I hope everyone had a good Easter! My Easter was full of friends and good food, so I would count it a success.

The University of Montevallo’s Family and Consumer Sciences Student Group had an Easter-themed bake sale on Wednesday. For that I made pumpkin spice cake bunnies with cream cheez frosting.

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I also made cookie dough bites from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. These were a great hit and multiple people kept asking “There aren’t any eggs in these?!” Um, no. I’d prefer vegan cookies over a case of salmonella any day.
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For actual Easter day I had a lovely lunch with Peter and our friends Charlie and Sierra. Then afterwards we spent time playing board games and making Easter things.

For a festive look, I knitted this adorable bunny hat. I used Slip Slip Knit’s knitting chart for the bunnies.
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Instead of the traditional egg-dyeing, I went an animal friendly route and got some blank plastic toys from Hobby Lobby and decorated them with markers.

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For lunch we had a mish-mash of snacks.

I made some tea sandwiches with whole wheat bread, sliced cucumber, spicy sriracha bean dip, and Vegenaise.
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Avocado hummus with pita chips
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I used my go-to potato skins recipe, but got lazy and boiled the potatoes with the skins on and mashed them with the other ingredients (minus the onions and Tofutti cheese). They had all the taste of potato skins, but without the added effort of scooping out the filling.
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Cupcake Mania!

I’ve been on a  baking spree lately, and since cupcakes are my favorite baked treats, that’s what has been exiting my oven mostly.

From top left clockwise: Chickens, ducks, pigs, and cows.

For an Eberron gaming session on Tuesday, I made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, but made them special by topping them off with some adorable farm animal sprinkles. I found these sprinkles at a new gourmet shop that has recently opened in town, and I just couldn’t resist buying them. They have super cute cows, pigs, chickens, and ducks to adorn your tasty treats.

Then later in the week, for yet another nerdy roleplaying get together, I whipped up some lovely strawberry cupcakes. I used the Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan recipe for all-purpose vanilla cake, but exchanged strawberry extract for the vanilla.

With some leftover strawberry batter, I made a mini cake with a tiny bear pan I picked up a thrift store.  My boyfriend and I used the excuse of it being our “10 month anniversary” to indulge in this sweet treat together. I’ve been on a cute food kick this week, but I promise to start posting more savory dishes and crafting projects.

Lemon-Berry “Cheese”cake Recipe

When I went vegan I was afraid that I would have to give up many of the foods I loved, including cheesecake. But then I discovered silken tofu!

Like most tofu, it’s tasteless and white, but with a soft and creamy texture. When you mix it with other tasty ingredients and bake it in a pie shell it ends up with the texture and taste of cheesecake! I’ve been experimenting with this recipe for while and I’ve finally got it how I like it.

Lemon-Berry “Cheese”cake

Printable Recipe

Serves 8

Ingredients:

One graham cracker pie crust (store bought or home-made)

1 cup silken tofu

1 cup strawberries (fresh or thawed frozen)

1/2 cup mixed berries, I used blackberries, raspberries and blueberries

1/2 cup sugar

2 TSPS lemon extract

2 TBSPS cornstarch

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, combine silken tofu, mixed berries and strawberries. Process until smooth. You’ll probably have to scrape down the sides a few times to make sure everything is combined.

Add constarch and lemon extract, then blend until smooth. Then pour in the sugar and (for the last time, I promise) combine until smooth.

Pour the tofu/berry mixture into the pie crust. Put the pie into the heated oven and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle. Chill for at least 5 hours, then slice and serve! Feel free to garnish with vegan whipped cream.