Spiced rum, lime & coconut drizzle cake

This beauty of a cake is tangy yet sweet, with a hint of tropical amazingness… Probably one of my best ever creations. Check it out! Plus, it’s vegan (of course!)

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Spiced rum, lime & coconut drizzle cake

Step 1: the sponge

2 c. plain white flour (all purpose flour) – I have also used half spelt, half WW pastry flour and it worked well
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1/2 c. Shredded coconut

1 c. Almond/coconut milk
1/3 c. oil
2 tsp vinegar
zest of 1 lime
1/4 c. applesauce

1. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, flax, coconut)
2. Mix wet ingredients together (non-dairy milk, oil, vinegar, zest, applesauce)
3. Combine wet + dry, but do not overmix.

Bake for about 30-40 mins at 350 F/ Gas Mark 4 (timing depends on what size tin you use).
When the cake comes out of the oven, leave it in the pan and make the syrup (step 2).

Step 2: the rum-lime syrup

1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. lime juice
2 tbsp dark spiced rum
1 tbsp water

Warm ingredients in a pan until the sugar has melted. Prick holes in the cake using a cocktail stick and then, using a pastry brush, brush the syrup over the cake (trying to make sure it goes in the holes). Make sure you do this while the cake is still warm!

Step 3: the icing

1-1.5 c. icing sugar
1 tbsp dark spiced rum
3 tbsp lime juice
Some lime zest!

About 1/4 c. shredded coconut

Combine ingredients (except for the coconut) and ice once the cake has cooled. Taste the icing to make sure it is to your preference- if you like it tangy, use more lime juice, if you want it more alcoholic, put more rum!

While the icing is still wet, put coconut on top of the cake. Yum!

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What to Pack in Your Hand Luggage/Carry on (especially long haul flights!)

 

Toiletries:

Hand sanitiser
Face wash
Face wipes
Deodorant
Moisturiser
Lip balm
Toothpaste & toothbrush

Electronics:

E-reader
Music
Computer
Cables/chargers

Comfort!:

Underwear/clean tshirt
Scarf
Pillow
Eye mask/ear plugs

Food/drink:

Protein/granola bars
Water bottle

As well as: passport, tickets, money, destination currency, keys, phone+sim card if you have one for your destination country, etc! (the obvious stuff haha)

 

My Tips: 

* Pack liquids together so it’s not such a hassle when you go through security

* Keep cords & chargers together so they’re not flopping around at the bottom of your bag

* Bring as much stuff to keep you entertained as possible. I never know what I’ll be in the mood to do on the flight so I have magazines, books, puzzles, tv shows, homework, etc just in case!

*Check in as early as you possibly can to get the seat of your choice- I prefer the aisle so I can keep going to the toilet, stretch my legs, etc, and not bother whoever is next to me. If you don’t get your choice of seat, keep asking as you check in and later as you board the plane- one might have freed up!

 

What do you like to pack in your hand luggage on a long flight?  Do you have anything you’d add to my list?

Rocket, basil & cashew pesto

The combination of random sun and rain has meant that my rocket growing in the garden has flourished.

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I started racking my brains trying to think of a tasty, simple recipe that would make the most of it, and this is what I came up with!

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Rocket, basil & cashew pesto

2 generous handfuls of rocket
1 handful of basil
1/3 c. cashews
1tbsp nutritional yeast
1/3-2/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of salt/pepper to taste

Simply combine all of the ingredients in your food processor and blend until it’s the consistency you like. I didn’t want mine thick so I added plenty of oil, but you could definitely get away with adding less!

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Serving suggestions:

* on pasta, of course!
* as a salad dressing
* in a breakfast sandwich with veggies & maybe some tofu
* on pizza!
* on top of soup to liven it up a bit

I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure this would be delicious with almonds/brazil nuts/walnuts/hemp hearts instead of cashews!

What’s your favourite way to eat pesto? Have you dabbled in vegan pestos??

My Favourite Vegan Breakfasts- healthy, quick & easy

Have you recently become vegan and struggle to find new breakfast ideas? Look no further!

1. Oatmeal

I know, I know- what a typical suggestion. But oatmeal has to take first place for healthy, quick, easy vegan breakfasts- just replace dairy milk with a non-dairy alternative, or cook with water. Top with goji berries/fresh fruit/agave/maple syrup + PB… Add “superfoods” like flaxseeds/maca/hemp hears… Or try “boatmeal” (baked oatmeal)- check out Chocolate Covered Katie’s ideas here.

2. Chia Seed pudding/breakfast bowl

At its simplest- combine 1 mashed banana with 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and 1/2 a cup of almond milk. Leave in the fridge overnight and it’ll be ready in the morning for a quick breakfast on the go! Check out OhSheGlows for the full recipe. Chia seeds are suuuuper good for you- packed with fibre, omega 3s and protein, as well as minerals such as calcium, iron and Zinc.

3. Pancakes.
Yes, you can have pancakes and still (in my opinion) count it as a healthy breakfast. Check out these spelt pancakes , put a sliced banana or some berries on top and you’ve got yourself a clean, filling breakfast!

4. Breakfast cookies.
If you’ve got extra time and you enjoy baking, why not make yourself some breakfast cookies to grab if you’re in a rush in the morning, or even as a mid-morning or afternoon snack. Basically an time of day is a good time for cookies. Don’t you think? 😉 Try these cookies from Minimalist Baker or these apple cinnamon breakfast cookies from The Healthy Chef.

5. Green smoothie.
Possibly one of the quickest and healthiest options: my basic combination would be 1-2 frozen bananas, 2 handfuls of greens (spinach), 1-2 cups of water and flax/maca/chia seeds. Add whatever other ingredients you have around, but I find the simple is best- try not to add a whole bunch of stuff that doesn’t go together because you might end up with a sludgy mess that you’d rather chuck in the sink than drink! Check these links for more tips on green smoothies:

http://secure.youngandraw.com/30daychallenge/
http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2012/03/salute-to-green-smoothies.html
http://greenmonstermovement.com/

Top tips

* keep it simple and be prepared: if you don’t have time in the morning to create something magical for breakfast, don’t worry. Prepare something the night before so you’re ready the next day. Know your schedule and don’t stress yourself out trying to push more work into it than it needs!

* try to drink plenty of water in the morning- it’ll make you feel better. You’ve gone for the entire night without drinking, so get a head start on keeping hydrated for the day!

* if you’re new to veganism, remember that substitutions for your usual breakfast are probably quite easy. Use agave instead of honey, almond/coconut/etc milk instead of dairy milk, soy yoghurt instead of normal yoghurt, etc!

5 Tips: how to eat out as a vegan

Becoming vegan and eating in a way that is so different to conventional diets is bound to be a challenge sometimes. Eating out in restaurants is something that can be a bit tricky if you’re not used to eating in this way, but I promise it gets easier with time 🙂

1. Firstly, if you are planning a meal out, certain cuisines are a lot easier than others. I find French and often Italian food more challenging, as there is usually cheese/butter/creamy sauces on most options, with the exception of pizzas- just ask for no cheese and get veggie toppings. Thai, Indian and Mexican are some of my favourite cuisines as a vegan. Thai/Japanese/Vietnamese etc food often has plenty of tofu as an option instead of meat, and there’s pretty much no dairy used. Since Mexican food relies heavily on beans/rice, you can still have a satisfying meal that doesn’t include dairy/meat!

2. Avoid places like typical English pubs, and places that don’t cook much of their own food. This means you will have less chance of adapting dishes to what you like. Pubs often base every dish around meat, and their veggie options aren’t great. Even if they have veggie dishes, you will be unlikely to be able to get them without cheese.

3. Plan ahead: check out the menu of the place you’re going to. If they haven’t got a website, call up in advance and find out what their veggie options are and if you can get them without cheese/cream/whatever.

4. If no main courses that can be adapted to being vegan are available, check out the sides. You can still have a decent meal if there’s hummus, veg, sweet potato fries, rice, beans, etc. Get 2/3/4 sides and POW, you’ve got a nice meal made up of stuff you actually like!

5. If there’s really no chance of adapting anything whatsoever on the menu, relax. Eat something at home beforehand and if necessary, bring snacks with you even if you don’t think you’ll get hungry- you never know! At the end of the day, eating out is a social thing- go and have fun with your friends!

Finally: watch out for animal products in sneaky places: shrimp paste and fish sauce in Asian food, yoghurt/cream in Indian curries, gelatine in desserts.

What are your tips for eating out as a vegan? What types of restaurants do you tend to go to?