Liverpool Pt. II

My second day in Liverpool started with a nice breakfast at Brasco Lounge. They have an entirely separate vegan menu, and I ended up settling on their vegan breakfast plate. This was my first time trying baked beans since getting to Britain, and I was pleasantly surprised that I liked these. I usually find the American kind much too sweet. I’m more of a fan of savory breakfasts, so this hearty plate was right up my alley.

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The restaurant was conveniently located near the Liverpool Museum, which is a great free (!) place to explore. The best part for me was their large exhibit on the history and movement of transgender people.

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Albert Dock is also nearby and holds a few entertaining things to see. My favorite of which was the giant Echo Wheel. Although I’m not a huge fan of heights, I rode it anyway and had a great time being terrified on the squeaky ride.

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While wandering around the dock, I was drawn into a candy shop due to their amazing jelly bean portrait of The Beatles. Inside, I found some vegan vanilla Liverpool candy canes, which my inner tourist insisted I try.

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As a bonus: here’s a yarnbombing I saw at St. John’s Gardens.

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Abaratian Pastries (Vegan MoFo #18)

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Abarat by Clive Barker is probably the hardest book that I will have to describe. It’s such a fantastical story that it’s a challenge to just give a short review/synopsis of it. But I will try my best!

The remarkable story of Abarat starts in the most unremarkable of places, Chickentown Minnesota. There lives Candy Quackenbush, a troubled teenager living with her mother, two brothers, and abusive father. After leaving school and venturing into a nearby abandoned field, Candy meets John Mischief, an odd creature with seven extra heads attached to his antlers, all of which have their own personality. She soon learns John and his brothers are from an amazing world called Abarat, but they are in peril due to a bounty hunter sent after them by the Lord Carrion, the Lord of Midnight.

Due to her less than desirable life at home, Candy chooses to enter the Abarat to help John and while there she starts her own adventure. Her journey will take her across the many islands of Abarat, each of which stands for an hour of the day, plus the mysterious 25th hour. While there, she encounters many other creatures more bizarre and far more dangerous than John Mischief.  As Candy struggles to find her place, either safe and boring Chickentown or wonderful and perilous Abarat, she finds out more about herself than she ever thought possible.

She went up two or three steps, to a stall with a variety of pastries laid out on it. The display looked very similar to something she might have found in the supermarket in Chickentown, only tastier. Turnovers, croissants, sticks of bread rolled in dried fruit and a variety of small cakes. 

She selected three very quickly: two turnovers and one huge scones; and then, greedily, went back for a croissant. Having got herself more than a meal’s worth, she glanced up and down the street, just to check that the vendor wasn’t making his or her return. It seemed she was free and clear.” – Abarat (paperback) page 180

The aforementioned turnovers are what inspired this whole Vegan MoFo theme. As I was sitting there thinking “What do I love that also involves food?” and “Abarat!” was what popped into my head. So for it I made apple cinnamon turnovers. I’m not positive they have apples in the Abarat, but I’m sure there’s something similar.

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Apple turnovers inside

I used the apple filling recipe from VeganBaking, then just stuffed it into vegan crescent roll dough and sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top. These were quite amazing. I had never shredded apples before and I really like how the texture turned out.

Deadly Good Toffee (Vegan MoFo #1)

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This is my first year participating in Vegan Month of Food (MoFo) and I am very excited to exhaust myself cooking and blogging throughout September. The theme I have chosen is “Paper Bound Food” which revolves around dishes mentioned in my favorite books (all of which are fantasy or sci-fi based). I’ll be giving a short review (no spoilers!) of each book, then making a food item either mentioned in the story or based around it.

I don’t believe in saving the best for last, so I’ll begin this Vegan MoFo with my favorite book ever, Sabriel by Garth Nix.

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The story is centered around Sabriel, the daughter of the Abhorsen. The Abhorsen works in the Old Kingdom, a land of free magic and the Dead. Necromancers there use a set of seven bells (each with a different property) to make the Dead do their bidding. The Abhorsen does the opposite, using the bells to bind the dead and put them to rest.

While living at a boarding school in Ancelstierre, a non-magical and more modernized land near the Old Kingdom, Sabriel gets word her father has gone missing. She then makes the decision to travel to the Old Kingdom in search of him. This journey towards adulthood (and possibly her own death) makes Sabriel an extremely easy character to relate with and this is one of the few books I’ve read with a female main character who truly kicks butt throughout the whole story. This mission to save her father, and in turn also help save the Old Kingdom, involves many unique characters, including Mogget, a talking cat who is much more than he appears to be, Touchstone, a young Charter mage who has been trapped by magic for years, and of course the Dead who will not stay dead.

With decision came action. Sabriel dropped her skis and pack, stuffed some dried fruit and homemade toffee in her mouth for quick energy, and adopted the meditative pose that made Charter Magic easier.” – Sabriel (paperback) page 79

Hours after beginning her travels through the perilous Old Kingdom, Sabriel must stop for a snack of dried fruit and toffee. So I chose to make my own combo of the two with cranberry toffee!

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Cranberry Toffee

Ingredients:

2 cups granulated white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup margarine

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup sweetened dried cranberries

Directions:

Place parchment paper on a lightly rimmed cookie sheet.

In a large saucepan on low heat, add the two sugars and margarine. Once the margarine melts, heat until everything is smooth and combined (about 10 minutes). Then turn the heat up to medium and bring to a boil. Add a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.

Continue stirring the toffee until it reaches an amber color and the thermometer is at 300 degrees (about 5-7 minutes). Remove the pan from heat, stir in the cranberries and vanilla and then quickly pour onto the lined cookie sheet.

Put into the refrigerator until firm (around 15 minutes), then break into pieces and store in an air-tight container.