Tag Archives: But can she bake

Vegan Feta Cheese-ish

Woahhh.

Second post in two days. Is your mind blown? Cause mine is.

I just wanted to keep my promise. The promise of a recipe for this non-dairy cheese-like baked delicious thing. I’m sure most, if not all of you, will pass this off as another ridiculous vegan recipe that will taste nothing like it’s dairy counterpart. But I’m telling ya, even if this doesn’t taste exactly like feta… which it doesn’t, really… it DOES taste exactly like something delicious. So you should go make it. Like… now. Also, the ingredient list is short and very obtainable. Make it happen.

yum

I got this recipe off another blog, linked below, but I will relay the ingredient list to you now.

Vegan Feta-cheese from Maple Spice

1 1/2 c. ground almonds

1/4 c. lemon juice

1/2 cup water

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/4 tsp salt

Toss it all in a blender and blend it up. Then, wrap the contents in 3 layers of cheese cloth and tie the top. Let it sit over night in a sieve, over a bowl. I did this step and nothing actually drained out. However, I used a  tea towel since I didn’t have cheese cloth… and it seemed to soak up a lot of moisture.

Next unwrap the cheese and baked it in an oven-safe dish for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Chill. (The cheese, but you can chill too.)

boom.

Delicious on crackers with red pepper jelly.

x

 

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Dinner, lunch, pumpkin and a picnic!

Before the quarter-life crisis came about, I actually had quite a nice weekend celebrating my birthday with some of my favourite people. We had big plans of Halloween costumes and Luna park, but things got sidetracked a bit, so we kept it more low key. It turned out to be a very eventful weekend that revolved mostly around food.

On Saturday evening, a bunch of friends went out and semi-celebrated my birthday and Samantha’s. We had dinner and drinks, probably more drinks than dinner, but it was lovely none the less. We dined at the Deck, overlooking the Sydney Harbour.

The next morning went better than expected (hangover-wise) and I put the icing on the cake (literally).

the CAKE!

Yes. I baked my own birthday cake. But this is only because I have eaten this specific cake for 24 years and ONLY on my birthday. There is no way I was not going to make it. Normally it isn’t vegan, but a couple of tweaks made it absolutely perfect. I need to work on my icing skills, but that’s taken care of thanks to the cupcake decorating course that I recieved as a gift from my boyfriend and his mother. 🙂

We went out for lunch that day to an all vegan Yum Cha restaurant that I had read about in a Sydney guide book. It is hidden in-between a cathedral and an aquatic center in a park in the middle of the city.

bodhi! all vegan delicious-ness

I’d never had Yum Cha before so I was very excited and this spot exceeded all my expectations. The food was so delicious and there was plenty of it! I will definitely be heading back there for some dinner in the near future. I can only imagine how pretty it would be at night with all the twinkle lights and the beautiful surroundings.

Post-lunch we enjoyed the carrot-cake which was just as delicious as I remember it. So moist and sweet.
Once Sean’s family left he got to work on carving the pumpkin. Sean was beyond excited about this particular pumpkin since we had decided to carve a Dracula-like Lego man. It turned out pretty good, and I definitely think we would have been in the running to win a prize had we been in Toronto for the Hicks Annual Pumpkin Carving contest. Such is life though.

his first pumpkin...

The pumpkin made my day. It has since gone moldy sitting in our living room on account of the heat, and also on account of us not wanting to throw it away. Eeep.

birthday brekkie

The next day, my actual birthday, I had to work. To my surprise I received two ginormous bouquets of flowers delivered to my office. One from my parents and one from Sean. Upon bringing them home I spent about 40 minutes trying to find enough vases and enough room to display them throughout the apartment. But that is neither here nor there.

As a very sweet end to my day, Sean scooped me up from work at 5.30pm with a picnic basket in hand complete with crackers, dip, fruit and champagne! Oh… and Chocolate. Lots of chocolate. (4 bars) YUM!

We picnic’d harbour side in a park with a picturesque view of Sydney.

xxx

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Wine and kayaks and sunscreen and rope swings…

So… the thing about writing a blog that revolves around my own baking adventures is that if I don’t bake new things… I have nothing to write about. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been baking. Just nothing new. I’ve been addicted to granola and chickpea cookie dough for the past two weeks. I promise this weekend I’ll bake something great. I mean there is a woman at work going on Maternity leave… and that occasion just screams for baked goods, no?

In other, non-baking news, I took a wee trip up the coast with some friends for a little rest and relaxation. We sipped wine, we sat by pools, we kayaked and we even applied sunscreen. Jealous?

Conan... BANG!

These are the friends...

We took a wee drive to the Hunter Valley for some delightful wine tasting…

this is some wine

There was sparkling reds and sparkling whites…

This is the how classy we are

There was a woman who sat with us and explained each wine as she poured me generous tastings. She took a liking to Sean. She touched him one too many times on jaw, attempting to explain taste sensations on your palate. Had it not been for the nineteen glasses of wine she poured me, I would have clocked her. Definitely.

This is when I used Shane as a fake model for my real Cowboy picture...

Some more wine and cheese...

REPRESENT! Brup Brup (gunshots) (cause we were in Scarborough) (duh)

Beer tastings...

Sadly, I don’t really have any pictures that don’t involve drinking wine. But trust me… there was fun in the sun, bikinis, rope swings, kayaks… and a Magpie that attempted to peck out my eyes. twice. Scariest birds ever.

Here’s to many more weekends like this one. Minus the Magpie.

xxx

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Ode to Chocolate

For as long as I can remember I have loved one food in particular more than any other in the world. My love for this food started very young, but I believe it grew stronger when I became a vegetarian. I often used the excuse that since I didn’t eat fatty meats or fish, that I could make up for calories and saturated fats with this one incredible food. And I did. I do.

It is also the food that stopped me from becoming a vegan for many years because I didn’t know it existed without milk. But it does. ohhh how it does, and it’s tastier and more delicious than I could have ever imagined. It is delightful when frozen and sinful when melted. It is of course; Chocolate.

hello... lover

Funny story: In my formative years, I distinctly recall returning to school one day (or many days) after lunch only to have a friend of mine point out that I, once again, had brown smudges on the seat of my pants. Awkward. Devastatingly embarrassing when you’re in 6th grade. And let me tell you, 11 year olds do not take ‘I was eating chocolate and it fell onto my chair and melted’ as an excuse. No… The only logical answer to them was that, yes, you guessed it; I pooped my pants.

OH CHOCOLATE, you would think that at some point between having you stain all of my favourite pants and having you constantly, yet unknowingly, smeared upon my chin and cheeks I would curse you and attempt to cut ties. But no. I cannot resist you. Even in your messiest state, I will lick you from spoons, or forks, or even knives(!) putting my tongue (and dignity) at risk. But I digress…

A couple of months ago I discovered this ‘healthy’ chocolate fudge recipe. With only five ingredients and no refined sugar, this is one of the most delicious chocolate delights I have ever tasted. I’ve served it to many and not a one has said anything other than good things. It is divine. Please make it.

yes... there was cocoa powder EVERYWHERE

Chocolate Fudge

Adapted from this deliciousness

1 1/4 c. coconut oil (softened)

1/2 c. peanut butter (crunchy or soft)

3/4 c. maple syrup

1/2 c. cocoa powder (sifted)

pinch of salt

In a cooled bowl, combine the coconut oil and peanut butter. You can use an electric mixer, but I never do. Just mix ‘er up. When its thoroughly combined, add in the maple syrup and combine. Finally, add the cocoa powder and salt. Mix until combined and scoop the mixture into small cupcake moulds. If it’s a bit too thick, you can melt the mixture over a pot of boiling water until it is a pourable consistency. Once in the cupcake moulds, sprinkle a couple of grains of sea salt on top. Trust me… its a good thing.

Put the fudge in the freezer to firm up and then enjoy! It will never fully harden because of the coconut oil. Always melty and amazing.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Desserts

City2Surf…

This past Sunday was the long awaited City 2 Surf 14 km run in Sydney.

city2surf

I have been waiting for this run for ages. Literally, over a year. I was so excited to register this year and I was determined to train and run a really good time. I was aiming for a time that seemed almost out of reach; 75 Minutes.

bibs... lucky number (665)11!

The last race I ran was in… 2006? I think. It was the Toronto Half-marathon. I finished a couple minutes over 2 hours and I was shattered. I reallllly wanted to break 2 hours, but such is life. I was super stressed that year, starting university, working 30 hours a week and training for a half marathon. I took on way too much…

Well anyway, when the City 2 Surf came along, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to train up and set a rather ambitious goal. This race has got to be one of the biggest in the world. (But don’t quote me on that.) (No wait… you can quote me on that. I looked it up.) They had to cut off the entries a couple of weeks ago because 85,000 people had registered. And I was one of them. The race starts in the Sydney CBD and winds its way down to Bondi Beach. It’s kind of a big deal.

I didn’t actually end up training as much as I wanted to. True, I’ve been running about 6 days a week, however I haven’t ran more than 10km at a time. Usually, I would just do 5kms and call it a day. Needless to say, I’ve been a  little bit anxious the last couple days because I knew my goal time was slightly out of reach. I quietly changed it to ‘I’m aiming to break 80 minutes.’

Suddenly, the day was upon us. On Sunday morning I woke at 6am, had a cup of tea, a date stuffed with peanut butter, braided my hair, laced up my shoes and we caught a bus into the City.

pre-race jitters

My stomach was a little bit in knots. I needed a bathroom about 3 times before the race even started. Just to be safe. And even then, I had to pee from kilometer 1. Oh jeeez.

Sean and I crossed the starting line together, started our watches and then we went our own ways. As in – he sprinted ahead and I sneakily followed him for about 1/2 km.

The biggest challenge of this race is what the Sydneysiders affectionately call ‘Heart Break Hill.’ Basically, it’s a 1km long hill that promises to break you before you’re even half-way through the race. Well Heartbreak my ass. I came and I conquered that mofo. I give credit to all those stairs I climb at work. And to Sydney for being a very hilly city in general. Every single run I go on has a heartbreak hill. Pft, child’s play.

Besides, the biggest challenge for me was the 85,000 people. I mean… that crowd didn’t thin out ONCE. I was constantly weaving through sweaty men and women. It was kind of annoying at first but it sort of turned into a game. I only shoulder checked a handful of people – BY ACCIDENT. And in true Canadian fashion I turned around and apologized profusely.

I didn’t look at my stopwatch at all during the race, but I felt strong and before I knew it I was at 10 km… then 11… and then I saw Bondi.

Bondi...

So the final result?! An unofficial time of 70 minutes and 4 seconds. DAMN YOU FOUR SECONDS! damn you.

the final time (ignore the fact that my ipod is still on toronto time)

Needless to say, I was pretty happy with these results. We’ll see what the Sydney Morning Herald says on Tuesday with my official race times according to the chip in my race bib.

weee...

After the race, Sean and I met up at a pre-determined spot, slightly out of the way, and drank some complimentary Gatorade and water.

why does my left eye squint more than my right eye?... MOM?! I guess it's not just my eye... this picture is unflattering in a lot of ways...

After a brief walk around Campbell Parade and a couple more bathroom breaks, we somehow managed to grab a table at one of the best cafe’s in Bondi. Trio. It was deliciousssss. Seriously good eating. Or maybe that was the 14 kilometers of hunger talking, I can’t know for sure.

trio coffee

However, I burned it off before we even made it home and I was hungry again.

carrot-sourdough toast, avocado, roast toe-ma-toe and jam...

All in all, it was an excellent day. I’ve had that running high for over 24 hours now, and I’m itching to do another race.

City2Sea anyone?

November 13th in Melbourne? Sign me up… This time I’m aiming for a sub 60 minutes.

bahahaha I kid I kid…

xxx

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