An Apology and Some Christmas Cupcakes

 

 

I’m sorry I’ve been away since the end of Vegan MOFO! Last month I took part in another challenge called Nanowrimo where I wrote 48,199 words in the whole of November. Every minute I wasn’t sleeping, eating or working I was writing my novel! You can see my results in the graph below, I’m very proud of how I did.
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Now I’m back though and in a vegan Christmas mood! I’m here today to share some Mulled Wine cupcakes I made yesterday.

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Some of you may remember the exciting time I had at the Northern Vegan Festival where I met the lovely Ms Cupcake and came home with a signed version of her book. She did a brilliant talk on how to make gluten free and vegan cakes taste amazing so I couldn’t wait to try out one of her recipes and use her tips. The main tip was that the cakes should be mixed as quickly as possible and put in the oven before the baking soda gets to work. She also said that it was better to measure ingredients in grams rather than cups.

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She must have been right because these cakes did everything I’ve not been able to manage up until now! They rose, they had a gorgeous golden colour and my boyfriend said they were the best things I’d ever baked. I used the Vanilla Cupcake recipe but used Mulled Wine flavouring instead of Vanilla extract so they had a hint of orange and spice. I found the flavouring in Lakeland and the sprinkles were in ASDA and were labelled vegan.

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I’ve found a new favourite baking book! Have you tried any of Ms Cupcake’s recipes?

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Wildcard Wednesday (MOFO #10) – The Northern Vegan Festival

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We’re already into the third week of MOFO! I’m sorry I’ve been absent over the weekend but over the weekend I travelled to Blackpool for the Northern Vegan Festival and then Kendal for work! I’m back now though and I want to share my adventures with you for this Wildcard Wednesday.

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I am originally from Blackpool so it was odd being back there for the Northern Vegan Festival. I made the most of it though and went to visit family the next day so it was a nice weekend in Blackpool for me and my boyfriend!

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The festival was held in the beautiful Winter Gardens’ Ballroom and all of the usual suspects were there! We don’t usually go to many workshops but we made the most of the day here and went to two really interesting talks. The first was a talk on nutrition which was done by Elizabeth King. It was really interesting to hear about vegan nutrition from a scientific point of view rather than from rumours and hearsay.
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The second talk was by the wonderful Melissa Morgan from Ms Cupcake. I came away with a signed copy of her book and lots of inspiration for how to make my gluten free and vegan bakes!

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Good news for all sweets fans came from the Goody Good Stuff stall where they were giving out samples of their brand new vegan gummy bears! I came home with one of the huge tubs of Sugar Plums and will be letting you know more about the new developments next week.

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Of course the most exciting part of the day was lunch! I followed my nose into the Cafe Room where there were all sorts of vegan delights. I was immediately drawn to the Gluten Free macaroni cheese with a crunchy nacho topping and had to stop myself from going back for seconds!

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All in all it was a fantastic day and I came home with lots of goodies!

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Were you at the festival? What was your favourite part?

 

 

Our Day at the Liverpool Live A Better Life Fair 2014!

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As you all probably know from my recent postings, I’ve been looking forward the the LABL fair for quite a while! The fair finally took place on Saturday and we managed to spend the majority of the day there. There were so many stalls that it would have been impossible to show you them all but here is a summary of our day.

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One of our favourite stalls was Ananda Foods which sold all manner of vegan marshmallow delights as well as toffee popcorn! I came home with a bag of toffee popcorn and a caramel chocolate mallow lolly. I’ll let you know how I get on!

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You may remember me raving about Mr Popple’s the last time I went to the LABL fair. The raw chocolate he produces is the creamiest I’ve had and the cherry bar went down a treat last year. This time I tried the flower power bar as I was interested in what a flower covered bar would be like. I liked it more than I was expecting to but I wasn’t overly sure about the texture of the flowers. I came away with the safer options of Euphoric Orange and Uplifting Mint & Lime. Watch this space!

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The Vegan Tuck Box stall was very exciting! Here I found some Ten Acre Cheese & Onion crisps as well as the Chicken Soup flavour. If you’ve never tried these you should check out my review as they are amazing. These can be bought on the Vegan Tuck Box website. I also had a chat with the ladies at the stall about how a gluten free vegan would go about ordering a box. They told me that if you let them know you are gluten free they may be able to take out the gluten containing foods and double up on some of the safe options. I’m definitely going to be giving this a go so I will let you know how I get on!

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Koko dairy free were a big star of the fair as they were giving out samples of their three flavours! Unfortunately they sold out of the strawberry flavour in the first hour but I came away with an original carton as well as two chocolate cartons. I already use the original variety near enough daily but I’m looking forward to trying the chocolate flavour in some recipes. The woman behind the stall suggested chocolate custard… something that got me very excited!

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I also came home with two cupcakes from Captain Cakeman and two from Ms Cupcake. Captain Cakeman are a really friendly company which asked their facebook fans which flavours they wanted bringing. Their mint chocolate ones looked amazing but I came back with a vanilla and chocolate and a lemon raspberry which were both gluten free. Ms Cupcake seem like a larger company as they have a huge range of cakes! All of theirs are gluten free and they also make vegan lemon curd. From here I had a sticky toffee cake and a strawberry shortcake one. Watch this space for reviews!

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I decided to be brave and buy my lunch at the fair rather than bringing it with me as I usually would. There was a raw caterer which was serving up a variety of wraps, pizza and cheesecakes. I had a toasted wrap with cashew cheese, nut meat and salad which was extremely delicious! Steven went for a more unhealthy option of some Ten Acre crisps and a big slice of vegan chocolate cake! There were also caterers serving up curry dishes and Vegusto were there selling hotdogs too.

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After lunch we went to an eye opening talk by Neil Robinson on vegan health and fitness. As an ex Everton player he was really knowledgeable about how you can be an sportsman on a vegan diet. Afterwards there was a smoothie demo from Neil and from Tim Barford of Yaoh which was highly amusing and gave us a chance to taste some delicious smoothies! Neil will be talking at some of the biggest vegan festivals this year so check out his website to find out more.

Altogether we had a fabulous day with visits to other stalls including News From Nowhere, Barnett’s Wholefoods, The RSPB, The Green Party and loads more. Now I’m counting down to the next fair which is on Saturday 11th April 2015! As always you can find more photos of our day on my Facebook page.

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Were you at the fair? What goodies did you come away with?

Liverpool’s Live a Better Life Vegan Fair

Wow it seems like so long since Vegan MoFo doesn’t it? I apologise for being absent for the couple of months but I needed a slight blogging break after that hectic September and then I got caught up in NaNoWriMo! I haven’t been too lazy though, I’ve been out and about meeting stallholders at the Live A Better Life Fair and the Free From Show North.

I will be going more in depth into the wonderful people I met at both events and the amazing products I got to sample but for now I want to give you an overview of the wonderful time I had at the first event.

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This was the first ever Live A Better Life Fair in Liverpool and it was a brilliant event. I was excited enough to get there before the doors opened and found myself standing at the end of a long queue! Since I was one of the first 200 people to enter the fair I was given a generous goody bag containing soya yoghurts, vegan lipbalm and more. Once I was inside it was time to explore the numerous stalls.

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First of all I was attracted to a stall run by two lovely ladies who have a tuck box delivery service for vegans. Vegan Tuck Box is a new company which sends out a box of 10 exciting or hard to find vegan products to subscribers every month. I asked them about the possibility of gluten free boxes and was very pleased to find out that they are working on a system where you can choose your dietary requirements for those of us who avoid gluten or other allergens. Find out more about Vegan Tuck Box here.

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On my wander around the hall I scoffed my way through many vegan chocolate samples but none of them were quite as delicious as Mr Popple’s. These raw chocolate bars had an amazing texture and flavour. Look out for a full post and review of Mr Popple’s chocolate soon!

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There were some really gorgeous cupcakes on offer. Unfortunately I couldn’t eat most of them as they weren’t gluten free! However, I did find some gluten free options at Captain Cakeman who were doing a vanilla and a lemon gluten free and vegan cupcake.

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I came away from the Ms Cupcake stall with a two cupcakes (lemon meringue and pumpkin pecan) and a chocolate donut. All gluten free and vegan!

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One of my favourite Free From brands is Goody Good Stuff. They make the most amazing gluten free and vegan gummy sweets! The free samples on this stall converted my boyfriend to vegan sweets so it was definitely a winner.

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Last, but definitely not least, I hit the Vegusto stand! These cheeses really are the best vegan cheese I’ve ever tasted. Look out for a review of the range, coming soon!

EDIT – View more photos of this fair on my brand new Vegan Beckles Facebook page here!

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We had a really amazing time at the Liverpool Live A Better Life Fair and came out with lots of goodies. We’re now looking forward to the Blackpool and the second Liverpool fair next year! There will also be an Edinburgh based fair next year which is sadly too far away for us.

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Were you at the LABL fair? Will you be checking out any of the fairs next year?