Saturday, 26 March 2016


A few weekends back we had our annual visit to Bristol/Glastonbury for Phil's birthday.  It is normally a weekend of food enjoyment, health food store visits, and swoops of favourite charity shops and other areas for interesting books.  The weekend didn't disappoint.  We enjoyed lovely food treats and managed to land a few good books to add to our groaning shelves.  

I found the 'Easy As Vegan Pie' in the Speaking Tree in Glastonbury for £5.  We found the 'Fermenting Food' book also in Glastonbury.  We did pay full price for it but it is an area of food preparation that we have become more and more interested in, and I pretended that it was an additional birthday present for Phil!  Expect more blog posts from both of these books in the future as we delve into them.  

However my absolute star buy of the weekend was Brendan Brazier's Thrive Energy Cookbook for £2 from the Amnesty bookshop down Gloucester Road in Bristol.  Phil bought me Brendan's training book Thrive Fitness a couple of years ago so this find was a great compliment to that.  It has more than paid for itself already, and that's with only managing so far to make a few of the recipes.  These have included Roasted Fennel, Squash and Red Potato Stew with Red Cabbage; Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Sweet Corn Chilli; Caesar Sprout Salad and Avocado, Black Bean and Chipotle Burgers. All of these were really tasty but the latter recipe was our favourite.  This used a base recipe from another section in the book; Black Bean Veggie Burger Patties.  For copyright reasons I didn't want to just copy the recipe straight out of the book but, just so I'm not just teasing you, I did find the recipe online from the link above along with a few more samples from the book.  

There are a lot of recipes that give the base for other recipes in this book.  I sometimes find that annoying as you might go to make one recipe and then find you've had to make another one first.  However, if you have pre-prepared one of the base recipes then there are several options within the book to then choose from so it's not so bad.  The Lacuma Caramel Sauce recipe was another example of this.  It's a lovely combination of cashew butter (although we used almond instead), maple or agave syrup, lacuma powder, vanilla paste, a pinch of salt and water.  As the title of it suggests, it is meant to be a sauce and it is used in several of the smoothie recipes in the book, including the Heavenly Pistachio Bliss Smoothie that we sucked up.  However, we couldn't help just eating it straight out of the pot and before we knew it, it turned in to a dessert of it's own!  Very naughty!

There are so many more recipes to sink our teeth in to.  Yes, we were lucky enough to have found this book in a charity shop but we would still very much recommend it as a new buy too.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Vegan Organic Cornish Cask Beer at the Bowgie Inn

The Bowgie Inn

We've just heard that our favourite local pub, with our favourite view, is offering our favourite Cornish beer on cask.  When does that ever happen? 

The Bowgie Inn sits magnificently on West Pentire Headland, overlooking Crantock Beach. Many a sunny summer evening, along with gathering crowds of view admiring tourists, we will walk or ride our bikes to the Bowgie to take in the atmosphere.  And come the winter we will take refuge next to the roaring fire for a pint, a game of pool and a chat with the friendly staff.   However up till now we have been unable to enjoy a Cornish pint on cask as none of them have been vegan.

That is about to change as now they are offering Azores, one of the many offerings from Atlantic Brewery.  It's vegan, it's organic, and it couldn't get more local as the brewery is just a few miles down the road near Newquay.  

According to the Bowgie's Facebook page, Azores is one of the guest beers this month.  It would be lovely if it remained, so with the Easter Bank Holiday weekend looming why not plan a trip to Crantock and enjoy a beautiful walk along the beach (dogs welcome all year round on the beach) and the surrounding coastline (we've spotted the choughs recently just around the corner)?  Then plonk yourself down at one of the many tables outside the Bowgie to enjoy the view and a pint of local Cornish, organic vegan cask ale.

We are only around the first half of the weekend before we disappear for almost a month so you may well see us down there trying to sink more than a few pints to make sure that this lovely beer stays on cask beyond the month!  

Images from The Bowgie Inn FB page

Sunday, 20 March 2016

MozzaRisella Cheese and Zizzi Vegan Menu

We covered the news that MozzaRisella Cheese was going to be available at a well known restaurant chain back in November and an email in the last few days has now confirmed that the restaurant involved is Zizzi.  

If that wasn't exciting enough, Zizzi have also just introduced a whole vegan menu and you can ask for any pizza topped with MozzaRisella.  Also included in the vegan menu is the fact that most of the wines that Zizzi offer are also vegan (with the exception of about 3) and there is even vegan gelato and dessert on offer.  

Be warned the vegan menu is a little hidden away on the website under the 'Allergen Menu' (also includes a gluten free menu) so you may have to ask for the vegan menu in the restaurants too.  We are just saying this as, not being allergic to dairy products, we wouldn't have necessarily thought to have looked at this part of the menu but I guess it makes total sense for those that are.

So no more taking your own shop bought cheese to get a pizza and hopefully this move will inspire other restaurants to follow suit.  And before you Cornish vegans start scrabbling around to find the nearest Zizzi, there is one in Cornwall and that is in Falmouth.  We however have a late night ferry to catch next week from Portsmouth and it just so happens that there are two branches very close to the ferry port.  A leisurely evening meal beforehand has suddenly been planned!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Badger Protest At Newquay Airport

A wonderful tale came to light recently.  It has all the elements of random Cornishness, humour, and a happy ending.  It involved Newquay airport and a badger.  Perhaps there were some pro badger cull politicians on the plane and the badger wanted to make a point? 

Read the full story on the BBC Website here.  My favourite line from the report was a quote from a passenger; "there was a tense five-minute gap between the aircraft climbing sharply away from the runway and the pilot announcing the badger's presence".  Oh and also; "A spokesman for Cornwall Airport Newquay said there was a suspected badger sighted on the runway by the bird control unit".  The badgers round here do tend to wear bandit masks so perhaps that explains why they couldn't completely confirm the identity of the said badger?

I've experience delays at Newquay airport on a few occasions but this is one of the few excuses from Flybe that I would find acceptable.  A 15 minute delay and a 'big dipper' experience is a small price to pay to avoid harming Britain's largest remaining wild mammal.


Sunday, 13 March 2016

More National Trust Vegan Offerings

Photo courtesy of our mate Paul Duffy

An afternoon spent skidding, riding and performing feats of amazing but unintentional gymnastic skills on the cycle trails of Lanhydrock, whilst covering ourselves in mud and big smiley faces could only be rounded off with a visit to the National Trust cafe. 

We had promised our mate Paul a cup of tea and a slice of vegan cake as way of a lure to cross the border (from Devon) and come down and get muddy with us.  In fairness he was up for anything we threw at him (including the ground) but the cake helped a little.  As we walked to the cafe I hoped that they did indeed have the vegan cake that we had experienced here before.  We weren't disappointed.  Not only did they have the Vegan Banoffee Cake they had back in December on offer, they now also had chocolate cupcakes. 

We settled into the comfy sofas inside the cafe with a round of warming drinks and a veritable buffet of vegan naughty sweet treats; Banoffee cake, the remainder of the chocolate cupcakes on offer (apologies to any vegans that followed after us!) and some flapjack.  Well we'd earned it so what the heck?

I have to say the cycle trails are lure enough for the likes of us but the idea of being able to drop into the cafe after for a soya milk tea or a coffee (multiple variations of which are available) with accompanying cakey delight is, well, the icing on the cake!  We learnt that the chef there is vegan so that might also explain the veg chilli and curry that we noted on the menu too (although we didn't inquire in detail about these I might add).  Next time perhaps?

So get yourselves along to Lanhydrock for either some cycling, cake or both.  I recommend the latter only because it gives you all the more excuse to tuck away more cake!

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Back to Elementary School

Cornwall wouldn't be Cornwall without having the elements thrown at it frequently and, despite escaping much of the cold winter weather the rest of the country generally suffers, there is never any escaping the wind and rain.  This winter has been pretty bad for that and, with particularly high tides often coinciding with storms, our beach has taken quite a battering.  

The Water element has shown the nature of its power this winter.  This is the first time in our 12 years of living here that the dunes have lost so much sand to the sea.  Being backed by National Trust owned land, the beach here will continue to be at the mercy of the elements, as the N.T. have a 'managed retreat' policy regarding coastal erosion. What this means in practice is that it's going to be left to its own devices.  

This last year has also seen a change in the course of the river that empties out into the sea.  For many years it has flowed out next to the rocks, but last year it changed course and now meanders out somewhere around the middle of the beach.  This has caused chaos at times in the summer, as the Lifeguards try to keep the beach safe, and people from being swept out to sea on the outgoing tide.  There has actually been a line of rocks in place to try and keep the river flowing out by the rocks for many years, but this is no longer working as intended.  Consulting older maps, it seems that the river changes course like this from time to time, so maybe it's best left to natural cycles.  

There is an ancient tale that our village was once a seat of great learning, that there were many saints around these parts, but they lost sight of the true path and fell into sinful ways. Gods wrath is said to have buried them with sand in a great wind storm, just to the rear of the dunes you see above. That must have been the Air element!  Of course both of these elements are acting on the Earth element, both building up and taking away in natures perpetual balancing act. Perhaps if this continues some ancient secrets will be discovered in the dunes?  Let's just hope that the element of Fire shows it's benevolent hand this summer, in the form of lots of lovely rays of sunshine to bask in.  

Part of our vegan ethos is obviously our concern for the environment.  Hopefully the choices we make go some way in balancing the environmental scales in Mother Nature's favour. Regardless, we appreciate that Mother Nature makes her own choices and the biggest mistake anyone can make is thinking they can control her.  Treating her as respectfully and gently as possible however is sure to make a little bit of difference.  We were certainly taking notice when we went to 'elementary school' but of course you could go a degree further and start investigating beyond the four physical elements, into the realms of the fifth element; Ether/Akasha.  After all isn't everything connected?

Anyway, bringing us back to earth now........I have shared Martha Tilston's song Rockpools before in our blog but it is such a beautiful song.  It also really reminds us of Cornwall when we are away from home and its lyrics are really quite poignant to this post.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Vegan Power Bars

Sometimes it takes me a while to catch up with making recipes and this one has taken me a year, but I got there in the end!  You see when I've read Vegan Life Magazine from beginning to end, I then write down on a list every single recipe that takes my fancy, with the edition it appeared in and the page it was on.  Yes it is slightly obsessive, but it does mean that when I have time I can consult my list, and those lovely recipes that appear in each edition that I never had time to make don't then go to waste!

I was looking for a healthy snack to make for pre or post workout and this one, which appeared in the March/April 2015 edition, fitted the bill.  It was really quick to make and the other thing I like about it is that it is really adaptable to your store cupboard supplies.  We always have dried fruit and seeds, but often different ones at different times, and this recipe allows for that.  We also didn't have any puffed quinoa, but we did have some puffed rice so all good there too.  The only thing that I actually bought to make them was the yogurt and it was pretty unusual we didn't already have any in the fridge.

The recipe is actually originally from Provamel and I managed to track it down online so you can see it in all its full glory on their website here - Vegan Power Bars.  There seems to be loads of other lovely recipe offerings on their website too so I shall be investigating some of these over the coming days.

Power up and enjoy!