Tag Archives: Caitlin Hicks

hello, it’s nice to meet you

Hot damn. I think I just saw a tumbleweed…

Sorry. In case you didn’t get the memo… I was off traveling the world and I totally just abandoned this site. That was… not my intention. But hell, who knew that backpacking for four months while keeping a travel blog would hinder my abilities to also keep up a vegan baking blog?

Me – I knew that. I should have warned myself. But instead I just pretended that I could keep this up with some mediocre post about eating vegan in different countries that would be few and far between. Hmmm. Well, that just didn’t pan out, did it?

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I did do some really good Vegan eating though, it a lot of really unexpected places. Maybe I will continue to post some of those experiences in the near future. Maybe I won’t. No more promises. ‘Cause I think I am really bad at keeping those when living gets in the way. Living is like a full time job and it’s really hard. Really fun – but oh my god, so time consuming.

But there is more. I didn’t JUST get back from travels. I got back over a month ago. A MONTH. and here I sit now, 25 days into 2014, and I haven’t posted a god damn thing.

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Let’s remedy that, shall we?

With pictures of… SEAGULLS!

I have some baking for you too… but I really like seagulls.

I have a new found obsession with them. Actually, I think I have been harbouring an obsession for some time. But put a camera in my hand when I’m near the beach and kablammy – let’s take some pictures of Seagulls.

They are just so… Gully. I dunno.

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I feel changes rolling in.

Just sayin’

x

*if you don’t hate me and are interested in seeing what i got up to on my travels visit sporkvsfoon.wordpress.com – i was traveling with my main man, Sean. He’s pretty ok. 😉

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Filed under Adventures in Australia

veggie eats in: St. Pete’s

Before I left on my trip I did a bit of research – specifically for vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Russia. I heard that it might be a challenge to eat well as a vego in Russia and I didn’t want to starve. Over the next couple months I am going to try and share some of delicious places that I have tried around the world. (Complete with pictures if I was brave enough to take out my Camera… which I clearly was not while in St Petersburg.)

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Cafe Ukrop
Ulitsa Marata 23 (191025)

I stopped by this cafe on my first day in St Petersburg when I was all alone. I had read that Cafe Ukrop had English menus, so I knew that I would be ok there. The cafe is quite cute but on the first floor they don’t speak any English. The guy behind the counter smiled, but then opened a notebook that had various English phrases written out. He pointed to: English Restaurant upstairs.

So up I went.

The Restaurant was very nicely decorated, very clean and modern and very organic. The menus were clear and just about every dish looked amazing. The vegan dishes were marked, as were raw dishes and anything that you add milk or cheese to.

I settled on a potato, pea and cucumber salad with a cashew mayonnaise and lots of dill – Those Russians love their dill. I was craving vegetables in a bad way, so I also had a carrot juice. Gotta keep my orange glow.

I would definitely recommend this place for vegans and veggies alike. I didn’t try their desserts, but they looked amaze. I found all these places on HappyCow.com so check that out too – usually opening hours are listed but most places in Russia are open late (9 or 10)

Cafe Botanika
7 Ulitsa Pestelya (near Mukhinskoye Arts Institute)

We visited Botanika on our second day. And then our third. And then our fourth. They, too, had an English menu and waitresses that were adorable. On our first visit, Sean and I both had a juice and I went the full Russian and followed that up with a beet salad and then some Borsch. BEET OVERLOAD (but not – I could eat Beets forever.) Both dishes were sooooo good. Sean had a Dillwich, whichh was some kind of wrap – and a mulled wine. The prices were reasonable and the food was so comforting.

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We returned the next two days for multiple coffees. Mostly cause the waitresses were so cute.

The Idiot
Nab. reky Moiky 82

The Idiot was our restaurant of choice for our night out to the theater. We arrived at about 6.15pm and were greeted and seated immediately. The decor was very homely – it kind of felt like I was in a Babushka’s dinning room. There were tall candles on each table and china cabinets against each wallpapered wall. It was sort of in the basement of a building which made it a very cozy place to dine. The menu was in both Russian and English with some charming spelling and grammar mistakes. We opted for the non-smoking section, but pretty much everyone smokes in Russia and you can do it pretty much everywhere – so that is something to keep in mind, it was rather smokey.

The best part about the Idiot is by far the bread basket. It comes with about 5 different kinds of the best bread ever. They also bring you a trio of flavoured butters (not vegan) but still a nice touch.

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For drinks we ordered a honey and pepper spiced shot of Vodka (when is Russia) and Sean got a beer while I ordered a wine. Upon serving our drinks the waitress also brought another complimentary shot of vodka from the bar. So just to sum up – 2 shots each and an extra drink. I have read that they give this complimentary shot to everyone. Bonus!

IMG_0578I had a delicious meal of salad and with an odd main that ended up being a ginormous plate of green beans.

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I would suggest trying something with a bit more variety – but just a side note, those beans were AWESOME.

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Sean ordered a burger – which he said was awesome… but why didn’t it come with a bun? Peculiar.

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Still a great place – a bit more expensive but really nice for a night out.

🙂
See you in Moscow!

x

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strawberry muffins and ohmygod it’s august.

woah.

Where did I go?

Where did time go? Is it august? Is it MID-august? Holy moly, you guys. I can’t even.

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Things are happening behind the scenes over here and it seems I haven’t baked in like… 67 549 years. That is an exact estimate.

Let’s not dwell on excuses as I have none. STRAWBERRY MUFFIN TIME!

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I feel like strawberries aren’t put into muffins enough. Blueberries, for sure. But strawberries? And I don’t know why NOT, cause these are delicious. Crazy yummy. And I like to over stuff the muffins liners so you have ginormous cafe-like muffins. oh yes.

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Strawberry Muffins
Adapted from my blueberry muffins.

1 c. whole wheat flour

1 c. all purpose flour

1/4 c. oats

4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 c. raw sugar

1 c. oat milk (or any non-dairy)

3 tbsp mushed banana

1 lemon, zested

1 c. fresh or frozen strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line a 12 inch muffin pan with liners. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugars, baking powder and salt. Create a well and add the milk 1/2 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Mix in lemon zest, vanilla and banana and stir until fully combined. Gently fold in strawberries, try not to over mix muffin batter.

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full. Bake muffins for 22 – 25 minutes until fully baked. OR fill the liners all the way full, bake as normal or maybe a few minutes more and enjoy huge muffins.

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Check back next week! I promise to post more than once a month. 🙂 I have more things to share! Exciting things!

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Breakfast, Muffins

Breakfast and Dessert – basically the same thing

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You know what’s weird?

That oatmeal and rice pudding have essentially the same ingredients and preparation/cooking instructions but one is a very distinctly a breakfast and one is very much a dessert. What is it with oats and rice? Why is rice a dessert and oats are a breakfast? Well I say to hell with that.

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Rice pudding for breakfast anyone? If we put fruit on it… its basically a balanced meal. duh.

I’m down with this train of thought.

Next thing: Why has the world been keeping home-made compote from me for the past 20-odd years. Who’s wise idea was that?

I didn’t think it was that easy to make I guess. And man, it is better than jam and contains less sugar… so why would you ever make jam?! WHY!? Why would you try (and probably fail) to can/jar things in boiling water  when you could really, honestly, just eat compote from the saucepan…? Riddle me that!

So – I made rice pudding. And then I made compote. And then I layered them like a fancy person and put lemon on top like an even FANCIER person and then my tastebuds exploded.

If I can have fancy tastebud explosions… so can you!

Lets get into it!

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Rice Pudding

1/2c. Arborio rice

1 c. coconut milk

1 c. oat milk

1/4 c. raw sugar

1 tsp. lemon zest

1 vanilla bean (scraped)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Blueberry Compote

1 c. bluberries

1/8 c. sugar

1 tbsp. lemon

1 tsp. lemon zest

1 tsp. arrowroot powder

For the rice puddin’

Pour the coconut milk, oat milk, rice, sugar, and zest into a saucepan and bring to a boil over med/high heat. Once the mixture is boiling, lower the temperature and allow it to simmer while covered for about 30 minutes. I usually eyeball this because it always depends. I taste it and take it off the heat when the rice is cooked and there is only a bit of liquid left. It will firm up quite a bit as it cools. Now, mix in the cinnamon and vanilla bean scrapings.

Serve hot or cold with blueberry compote.

For the Blueberry compote

Toss everything in a small saucepan and simmer on a medium heat until sugar has dissolved and you crush up some of those berries. It doesn’t take long… 3-5 minutes.

Eat direct from saucepan. Or layer with rice pudding like a fancy person.

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xxx

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts, Puddings

ch.ch.ch.ch.ch.ch.ch.ch.cherry bomb

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I just googled “random facts” because I was having trouble getting started on this blog post. Sometimes random facts are inspiring.

Like this one:
Every second Americans collectively eat one hundred pounds of chocolate.

What?! is that a thing? How is this stuff even measured? What about at night time? Who are all the lonely hearts eating 100 pounds of chocolate a second between midnight and 6am.

This is an interesting fact that I have a feeling may not have much truth to it. But I’m gunna roll with it, I may not be American, but this makes me feel better about the 3 oversized chocolate bars a consumed last week.

Aside from my chocolate cravings which are ongoing and unavoidable… I am craving muchos carbohydrates lately. Muffins are delightful. Scones are perfect. Cherry Banana bread is amaze-balls. I didn’t think of it prior… but chocolate would be a GREAT addition.

Just doin my part to contribute to the random facts of the world.

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Let’s get into it.

Cherry Banana Bread
Adapted from this recipe

3 ripe bananas
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c. unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 c. raw sugar or brown sugar
1 chia egg
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. oats
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. frozen cherries
1/2 c. walnuts

First, grease a bread pan and set aside. Preheat your oven to 350*F.

In a large bowl, mash the banana until very mushy. Combine with the sugar, lemon juice, chia egg & apple sauce. Add the cherries and fold through.

In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients, including the nuts. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the bread pan and spread evenly. You can top it with some more cherries and walnuts for good measure.

Bake for about 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Eat it and be merry.

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I also just read that in 1879 Belgians tried to train cats to deliver mail. Not surprisingly… it did not work.

Mail cats. pft.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Breads, Breakfast

noosa

Another weekend vacation! I can’t get enough of these. If I could take a long weekend once a month and travel to a beautiful place by the sea where turkeys run a muck like squirrels, well I would live a very happy life. So far, I’m doing ok!

So, here is a photo bomb for you… of my adventures to Noosa with my jazzy lady friend – Sam. We were able to get awesome flight deals and scored a Romantic Escape deal for our hotel. We had cocktails, dinners with a piano man, we napped on the beach, we walked for ages to nowhere (actually a mistake), we watched the sunset, we took a bad ass bus to Fraser Island, we saw a dingo, it ate my baybay, we had more cocktails, we looked at the stars, we drank coffee and then we ate an amazing breakfast. Best breakfast of my life! Please see evidence of all happenings below.

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xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Travel

two-year cheesecake

Two years!

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It is the anniversary of two things! April 30th marks two years since my first post on …but can she bake. Granted, there were a couple half hearted posts before it. However they were few and far between. I started posting regularly two years ago because that is when I moved to Australia to live with my most incredible boy(man)friend. And so, this is also the anniversary of my move to Sydney!

I began writing to document my days/weeks/life in Australia and so that my biggest fans (my mom, dad and grandparents) could track my every move. I love baking and I love taking pictures, so this little ditty was born.

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Now, here I am, 730 days later posting a recipe that I have been eyeing for at least… well longer than that. I have been coveting these cheesecake recipes since I became a vegan. Why I never made one, I am not sure. Skeptical? Yes. I was. That and I didn’t own a proper blender (vitamix) and even though I still don’t… I thought I’d give it a whirl. For the sake of two years. Ya know what I mean?

Man ALIVE! I am glad I did. This vegan cheesecake is delicious! It’s cashew filled, but you wouldn’t really guess it. I would even go so far as to say that if I had a higher tech blender, this version would be just as silky and smooth as a regular cheesecake. So basically, Dad: if you are still thinking about buying a vita mix, please do and we can make this when I come home. 🙂 (Along with about a billion other vegan recipes that require a vitamix.)

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The lemon is what makes it sour like a cream cheese based cake and the vanilla, honey and raspberries make it delightfully sweet.

Try this bad boy on for size. It’s a keeper. Even my man-friend thinks so.

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The process isn’t even that labour intensive, you just need to soak some cashews the night before. It’s even no-bake! In fact, it’s RAW TOO! Amazing.

You can tell from my pictures that my mixture wasn’t really even close to silky smooth, but I swear it was still so delicious. Just try it out.
Vegan Cheesecake
adapted from here and here

crust
1/2 c. Medjool dates
1/2 c. walnuts
pinch of  salt

filling
2 c. cashews (soaked overnight)
juice of 2 medium lemons
1 vanilla bean
1 c. raspberries/strawberries/blueberries or whatever berry you are feeling
1/3 c. maple syrup (use honey to make it raw)
1/3 c. coconut oil

Soak the cashews overnight. (at least 5 hours)

Throw all the crust ingredients in the food processor and blend/chop until the bind together on their own. You can test this until you are satisfied. Press the mixture into the bottom of a springform pan. Use one 6 inch pan or two 3 inch pans. (mini cheesecakes are awesome!)

Next warm up the coconut oil however you choose (microwave, stove) and mix with the maple syrup. Put the cashews, lemon juice and vanilla into the food processor with the honey/oil mixture and blend until as smooth as possible. This may take many minutes of blending. I used about half of this mixture to pour into the two pans and then saved the other half to add the raspberries to. After evening out the mixture in the pan(s) I put them in the freezer to lightly set for about 30 minutes. You can omit this step, but I thought it would help separate the layers.

Next add the raspberries to the cashew mixture and blend until fully combined. Pour this mixture on the top of the plain cashew mixture and even it out. Place the cake(s) back in the freezer until solid.
Remove about 10-15 minutes before you want to slice it, orrrrr just hack into it with a knife and fork… like me.
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xxx

pssst! check out what I posted one-year ago.

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Cake, Pies