Try Here: Rabbit Vegan Café

Singing proud as Exeter’s first 100% vegan café, Rabbit is a dream come true for the city’s meat-free lovers. However, this cute little hangout on Well Street is far from being vegan-exclusive, attracting even the most hard-core carnivores to give it a try.

Rabbit aims to show that ditching meat doesn’t have to be boring, and it certainly doesn’t have to be healthy salads all the time! With their menu split between ‘vice’ and ‘virtue’, vice lets you indulge in a quarter pounder ‘cheezeburger’, tofu dogs, or a bowl of mac and ‘cheese’. Whereas virtue offers burrito bowls, tofu toasties and a Moroccan chickpea pie. Whether you want comfort food or delicious and inventive ‘virtuous’ options, this café has you covered.

If that doesn’t excite you, look no further than their Instagram, which posts daily pictures of their incredible home-made cakes and desserts. My mouth is always watering at the sight of their famous tortes in flavours such as chocolate and raspberry, peanut butter and cookie dough, chocolate orange or salted caramel (just to name a few!). If those don’t whet your appetite they also produce cakes and ‘cheezecakes’ with just as many flavour varieties. These 100% vegan desserts taste like the real deal, so indulgent I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything, and I certainly don’t feel like I am being a ‘healthy boring vegan’!

Rabbit is also really good value for money. For instance, we went for their ‘lunch-time meal deal’ priced as £6.95. For the equivalent of an expensive pret lunch, the meal-deal was a large bowl of their soup of the day; (in our case, curried sweet potato and red onion), accompanied by a huge side salad with a dressing of our choice, followed by a slice of any of their delicious cakes, tortes or cheezecakes!

 

Lunch isn’t their only option either, as on Fridays and Saturdays Rabbit now open from 6-9pm as a ‘vegan diner’. Seeing how well the ‘vice’ side of their menu does during their lunchtime service, Rabbit have now opened up for weekend nights filled with indulgent burgers, mouth-watering hotdogs and loaded fries to compete with the real American deal.

So, whether you are a vegan, or a sceptic, go and check this cute little café out, it might just surprise you.

Try This: 2-Minute Vegan Pancakes

So, pancake day is literally almost over and I’ve decided to add to the noise a little too late and give you my recipe, why? Because part of being an adult is realising that you can make pancakes any day of the year!

This recipe is completely fuss free, takes two minutes, vegan friendly, and tastes like heaven on a plate. Now I maintain the real heroes and make-or-break parts of the humble pancake are the toppings, so really, a pancake is what you make it. But it helps to have a good base.

A lot of vegan recipes for pancakes use banana instead of egg, which I personally really like, but I know it’s not for everyone, so I’ve gone for banana-free ones to satisfy all – but if you want, feel free to change the nut butter for banana, or chia seeds etc.

Go crazy and add some broken up dark chocolate or blueberries like I did to pimp-up your pancake, and marvel at how easy and stress free it can be!

2-minute vegan pancakes
(Serves: Literally depends on how greedy you’re feeling, I ate it all, but I went into a food coma, it made about 6 ish pancakes!)

28080943_1756165331101845_1884291477_o

Ingredients:

150g (1 cup) plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
2tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 heaped tbsp nut butter of choice
1 tsp oil (vegetable, melted coconut, whichever you prefer) – plus extra for frying!
300ml almond milk (or milk alternative of choice)
Toppings/ additions of choice (go crazy)

Method:

  1. Sift (or don’t, I didn’t because 1) I don’t own a sieve at uni 2) who really has time for that) all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl
  2. Mix the nut butter and oil together and then add to the dry ingredients
  3. Add the almond milk and whisk until combined
  4. Add in any additional flavours (I’ve chosen some dark chocolate and blueberries)
  5. On a medium/high heat add a little oil, enough to lightly cover the pan, once hot, pour in your batter to whatever size you want
  6. Once the pancake is coming away at the sides, is producing some bubbles and looks brown on the bottom, flip and cook on the other side (or try your best pancake-tossing tricks!)
  7. Remove from heat, get your pancake decorating on and enjoy!

28081435_1756164894435222_177829005_o.jpg

From the pictures you can also tell I went a bit ott… to the point you can’t really see the pancakes! So, feel free to indulge as little or as much (as much is encouraged) as you want!

Try This: Ultimate Shakshuka

Mornings are getting darker, evenings colder and for some, freshers week is around the corner. Summer may have only just left us, but as I do live in England, winter is very much making its way in, and I have already lit the fire twice this week. Dreary and wet days mean that a nice cold sandwich will no longer cut the mustard and some warm comfort food is on the menu.

I made this for lunch a couple of days ago and posted it on my Instagram stories and to my surprise, I had loads of people message me asking what it was, and for the recipe. (Side Note: When I say loads I mean 7. But that was enough for me to feel like I was Nigella Lawson and that I might as well make a blog post out of it).

 

Shakshuka is my new love affair. There are plenty of recipes online so you can adapt how you like as I sort of made this one up on the spot. The basis of it is a rich spicy tomato base with some runny baked eggs in the middle, this warming dish is perfect for brunch, lunch and dinner, and works as my personal favourite hangover cure. So if you are in need of a little comfort food, hanging from freshers week or want to mix up your mid-week meals, give this one a try.

Ultimate Shakshuka: 
Serves 1

Ingredients:

1/2 can of chopped tomatoes
1/2 can of chickpeas (drained)
1/2 pepper (chopped)
1/2 chilli (chopped)
Large handful of spinach
2 eggs
1tsp paprika
1tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
Bread (toasted)

Method:

  1. Preheat the grill to around 170. Place the chopped tomatoes, pepper and chilli into a saucepan and place over a medium heat to start heating through and reducing the tomatoes.
  2. Add all of the seasoning and chickpeas and place a lid on the saucepan and let it thicken up a little.
  3. Once thickened, add the spinach and stir until it had wilted and combined.
  4. Then transfer the contents of the saucepan into a bowl of choice.
  5. Make two small wells in the mixture with a spoon and crack the eggs into these wells.
  6. Place the bowl under the grill and leave until the eggs are cooked through.
  7. Garnish, and serve with some toasted bread to dip into the egg yolks as mop up the sauce.

21729794_1611099962275050_1003365178_o

Super easy, and super quick, it probably takes me max 15 minutes to make. And you can play around with your ingredients; sometimes I use a tin of 5 bean mix instead of chickpeas, or you can go one better and get the 5 bean in a tomato sauce and then you have no need for the chopped tomatoes. Frying off some onion and garlic and adding to the sauce also gives some nice flavour, or my personal favourite, crumble some feta on the top after you have cooked the eggs!

 

 

Naughty but Nice: Black Bean Brownies

The weird ingredients continue… more legumes in chocolate based treats, stop messing with what is already good I hear you cry! But I guess at the end of the day I just really like cooking, especially if it’s a bit out there, and bonus if it’s something healthy that tastes so good!

So I present to you, black bean brownies filled with a raspberry chia jam for good measure. The black beans are packed with fibre, potassium, vitamin B6 and actually help to lower cholesterol in the blood. Chia seeds in the jam are literally full of everything good from omega-3, protein, antioxidants, calcium to loads of vital vitamins and minerals. Also, if you use cacao powder in this recipe, it is full of antioxidants, iron, magnesium and calcium – but I realise both chia seeds and cacao powder are expensive, so regular unsweetened cocoa powder will still do the job!

IMG_0987.JPG

Once again for anyone who suffers from allergies/intolerance this recipe is completely gluten and dairy free as well as being vegan so almost everyone can enjoy!

I had a major issue with sourcing canned black beans at the time, so had to buy some dried ones and cook them first, which is totally fine, it just takes a LOT longer to make – so if you can, find the canned stuff.

Black Bean Brownies with Raspberry Chia Jam
Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, low-sugar

Serves: 6 ish (or 12 if you use small ‘cupcake’ cases)

Ingredients:
For the brownies:
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp of Cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
½ cup oats (40g)
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup maple syrup (75g)
¼ cup coconut oil, melted (40g)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
½ tsp baking powder
¾ cup extra dark chocolate baking chips (140g) (optional!)

Raspberry chia jam:
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (140g)
1½ tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp chia seeds

Method:
For the jam:

  1. Microwave the raspberries for 1 minute and then mash them all together
  2. Add the sugar and microwave for another 30 seconds then stir in the chia seeds then place in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours or over nightIMG_0972.JPG

For the brownies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180’c and line a muffin tin with muffin cases
  2. Combine the beans, cocoa powder, oats, salt, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and baking powder in a food processor and blend until smooth
  3. Stir in the chocolate baking chips.
  4. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of batter in each muffin case, put 2 teaspoons of raspberry chia jam on top of each mound of batter and then divide the remaining batter among the muffin cases to cover the jam
  5. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 18 minutes.
  6. Let cool completely and then transfer to the fridge for at least 1 hour to firm up.

And then they are all ready to go! Packed full of goodness, but just gooey and delicious as regular brownies (and everyone knows raspberries and dark chocolate are just the best combination!!).

Naughty but Nice: Chickpea-Chocolate Mousse

The bank holiday has ended, Easter is now a distant memory, and if you are anything like me, you may have indulged in the chocolate and wine just that little too much. Easter is quite often the time for a revival of new-years resolutions where people get a little disgusted (and impressed) with how much food their body can consume and decide to hit the gym and cut the crap again.

18109811_1470107673040947_895919517_n.jpg

But let’s be honest, it is really hard to resist over-indulging every now and again. And so to reconcile myself (and maybe give some of you some inspiration in the process) I have tried and tested some delicious recipes which not only taste oh-so-good and a little bit indulgent, but actually are oh-so-good for you! So here is your first ‘serving’:

Chickpea-Chocolate Mousse

Okay so bare with me – chickpeas, in chocolate mousse? I thought the same, just to weird you out more, on top of that, you don’t actually use the chickpeas, you use the water they’re soaked in, (the technical name for it, I have now learnt is ‘aquafaba’). But after some scepticism I decided to experiment, and these are the real deal. What’s best is the recipe only calls for 3 ingredients, making this treat gluten free, and vegan, (dependant on the chocolate you use), but I only used cheap dark chocolate from Lidi’s and turns out it was vegan anyway!

18109961_1470118489706532_166163070_o
I can 100% tell you it is very hard to make a can of chickpeas look ascetically pleasing, and I felt sad enough I was having a photoshoot with a can of legumes…

The chickpea water is packed with protein and everyone knows dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, making this chocolate mousse practically saint-like. Bonus – I kid you not, no one can tell the difference between these and regular homemade chocolate mousse. Believe me, my brother is a sniffer-dog for anything out of the ordinary and healthy and even he couldn’t tell the difference and loved them!

Chickpea-Chocolate Mousse:
Vegan, Gluten-free

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas (only need the water)
120g dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
2 tbsp maple surup (or agave/ coconut syrup)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Method:

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl which is sat over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water)
  2. Add the vanilla extract and maple syrup and leave to cool slightly whilst you do the next step
  3. Use an electric whisk or blender to mix the chickpea water until stiff peaks form and the mixture is fluffy and white in texture (this step is basically the same as if you would whisk up eggs) – you can hand whisk but you will be mixing for quite a while!
  4. Gently fold the chocolate into the chickpea mixture with a spatula until all is combined
  5. Pour out into bowls/ ramekins and leave to set in the fridge for 30-60 mins (but the longer you leave it the better set it will be).18109902_1470102309708150_478748715_o.jpg

Top with some raspberries or strawberries to balance out the sweetness, and there you have it! Quick and easy, protein packed chocolate mousse. Once you get over the fact you’re using chickpeas and try it, it’s a complete game-changer – and means you have use for something you would usually just chuck down the sink!

Much Love x

Scientific Monday Blues

So, its Monday 16th January 2017. In my eyes, and I am fairly sure to the rest of the world, a fairly normal Monday, the same kind that comes and goes every seven days, and the same kind that marks the start of a new week. However, I was surprised to realise, that this Monday was apparently not an ordinary Monday, it was in fact the annual occurrence of ‘Blue Monday’.

So I feel like I am a bit behind the hype of this anniversary, but with the help of some quick googling, today, or most specifically the third Monday of the month has been SCIENTIFICALLY labelled the most depressing day of the year. A group of scientists actually came up with a formula back in 2005 that calculated when the population of the Northern Hemisphere would be feeling at their lowest. And I am not sure about anyone else, but my goodness the fact someone wanted to calculate that made me sad!

the_blue_monday_formula_11026.jpg

But it wasn’t until about half-way through my day that I knew Blue Monday was a thing, and before and after then I had actually had an alright day. I woke up, (however I had a small adult headache due to enjoying a couple glasses of wine last night to celebrate finishing my exams and getting some good essay results), walked onto campus and sat and did some uni work, went to a lecture about something that genuinely interested me (that was however interrupted by a fire alarm half way though so we had to stand out in the cold), and then I went to do some more work before walking home and retreating to my room to write this. Now, while that doesn’t seem like a spectacular day, and I could have done without the headache and the fire alarm, and the uni work to be honest, I didn’t once think ‘ugh well it’s blue Monday so that explains it’. It got me thinking, if we weren’t aware of it being said dreaded day, would we see the not so great things that happened to us as bad and depressing? Or would we do what I did and not even register them as anything.

IMG_2913.JPG

Me enjoying that wine…

But there are two outcomes I have seen come out of today, one of which I found frustrating and the other filled me with a bit more hope.

  1. The first, sadly, goes back to good old consumerism. Whilst flicking through my Instagram feed I noticed that any company/ clothing brand/ anyone that sells anything had latched on to this ‘Blue Monday’ idea with a firm grip. All would tell you that if you’re feeling blue, buy some clothes to cheer yourself up, grab some product to make you look or feel better, buy some food to comfort your sorrows. Anyone and everyone had used this ‘scientific discovery’ as a marketing push to get you to bust those blue with spending money – something which seems illogical because the ‘formula’ actually takes into account your debt at this time of the month.

I guess the real point I’m getting at here is it made me pretty sad that once again, like many things, this piece of research has been turned into a mass marketing campaign set to drive us to spend money.

 

16129438_1372586289459753_1169962964_o

But if there was a cocktail deal on this evening, I probably would have been there quicker than you can say ‘2 for 1’ 

However, in a very non-cynical frame of mind, people have to make money somehow and its actually quite clever of them to use this to ramp up their numbers after January sales finish, which sort of leads me to my next point…

2. Blue Monday is actually going quite far in raising awareness for mental health and just the populations’ general well-being. So, its sad that someone has formulated when the most depressing day of the year is, but, does that not mean that people can look out for each other at this supposed ‘trying time’ in our lives? Charities are promoting mental health awareness, universities are offering free yoga classes, bloggers and websites are offering their tips to help beat the blues and promote healthy mental well-being.

img_3281

I go for walks with my family to cheer me up and have some thinking time.

So, yes, it seems as if Blue Monday has fallen prey to the world of consumerism and marketing just as all things do. But not all marketing is bad, to see that people were using this research to try and help and support others, filled me with an enormous sense of pride and hope in people, which made my ‘Blue Monday’, decidedly less blue.

So if you’re feeling glum, hug a friend, hug a pet, do some yoga, eat a pizza, call your mum, have a nap, talk to someone, read a book, dance around your house naked, you get the picture. Do whatever you want to do and what makes you happy, don’t sweat the small stuff and look for the positives in life, no matter how much adversity you face, but ultimately, stick together and support each other.

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

img_3227

But sometimes staying positive can be really tough so here are some really great people/charities to call, get in contact with or check out if you ever need that extra support:

Mind: A charity and place for advice and support for anything mental health related http://www.mind.org.uk

Young Minds: For information and support for anyone concerned about a child or young person http://www.youngminds.org.uk

Samaritans:For anyone feeling distressed, needs support and someone to talk to http://www.samaritans.org

PANDAS Foundation: A charity focused on helping mothers with pre and postnatal depression  http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk

Nightline: For students who need someone to talk to if they are walking home alone or just need someone to listen http://nightline.ac.uk

(Note there are a lot of worthwhile charities that help with mental health and these are just a small selection and mainly UK based)

I realise again that this was a pretty hefty post, so thank you if you stuck with it, but I hope that at least one of you found it interesting or helpful… It’s my first sort of ‘opinion’ piece that I’ve ever really written/posted so its a new adventure for me to write and you to read!

Much Love x

Are You Still Alive?

So it has officially been over a month since my last post ‘festive drinks’, great start right? Three posts in and I disappear for the whole of January! So this post will be a bit of a boring update for most of you about what I have been up to in the last month, and then I do actually have some more interesting posts planned, I promise.

I had a wonderful Christmas with my family where I got spoilt rotten and ate so much turkey I thought I would turn into one! It was a very relaxing few days with just my mum, dad, little brother and enough food to feed an army.

12647948_1066030370115348_1367642787_n

My New Years’ was equally as fun but not quite as relaxing as I worked it! When I am not studying I am a part time waitress at one of my local restaurants and we had a big party to bring us into 2016 before we shut for the winter months. I would say that it was extremely gruelling serving almost everyone in the village a drink behind the bar, but I spent most of my shift drinking myself so I really can not complain!

12583615_1066029763448742_1961777480_n

(IT WAS UV THEMED SO WE HAD A LOT OF PAINT AND GLOW STICKS ON)

But all good things must come to an end, and so once my celebrations were over, it was back to revision as I had an exam on the 6th. After spending days revising my Greek philosophy module after two hours it was all over and time to get back to my lectures, which seemed far too soon, and seeing my flat mates, which felt like forever ago.

One of the things which stopped me from posting for over a month was this simple fact: After a week of lectures, I realised I had no less than thirteen essay deadlines this term, and it worked out to AT LEAST one a week. Now the prospect of this totally freaked me out for about a week and I was a total ball of stress, and to be perfectly honest I still am as the next ten weeks will be as close to hell as I will care to go, but this week I handed in my first two so only eleven more to go…

In other news, this term has also brought good things, last week my flatmates and I booked a trip to Amsterdam in June which I am SO excited for as I have been meaning to go for so long. That was quite nice to do because it made me feel like I had something right after exams to work towards and it means I get to see my flatmates for one last time before we go home for the summer.

5003770723_12dc7c844b

I have also been on a bit of a mini ‘health kick’ recently (how cliché of me), but thanks to my grandparents I now have a smoothie blender so I have been trying out lots of recipes, some sound nice, some have been described my family and friends as ‘questionable’, but I promise you they all taste amazing. Some of the girls I live with and I have also started getting our run on, by that I mean we have started this week… and I have really got back into yoga so I will keep you updated on that progress, if you do not hear anything, I am probably face deep in a pizza instead, but I have set myself a challenge to be able to do a free standing headstand so wish me luck! I have quite a few posts planned to do with food and health stuff as well as some weekly challenges I am setting myself so keep your eyes pealed… (I love how I am writing this like any more people than my dad reads this, but you have to dream).

12625699_1066029726782079_409217114_n

(MY NAN DESCRIBED THIS A ‘SLUDGE’ – IT’S ACTUALLY KALE, BANANA, AVOCADO AND MANGO)

So that is me for the last month! Very busy and very stressed with uni work but also glad to see home for a month and also back surrounded by my friends again and I guess this is my unofficial promise to try and post more regularly about interesting things rather than this waffle. But thanks for reading if you got this far, much love x

12607165_1066030673448651_1917899700_n