The No bake, Oh wait I baked it Pumpkin Pie

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The nights are getting darker, the clocks are going back next week, it’s safe to say it’s officially autumn and with that it seemed pretty fitting to have 50 shades of autumn as the theme for Cake Club this month.

When I first found this out, I thought right I’m going to make something ambitious this time, some sort of pie or cake perhaps, different shades in colour with leaves made out of rolled icing which I would paint gold. That doesn’t sound too amazing but for the past few months with cake club I’ve always found that I’ve either forgotten the date and it’s got to the day before and I’m like crap what can I make so have whipped up something simple or have just picked quite safe options.

So, I thought about what I would make and then, a week before as I was looking into pumpkin pie recipes I thought, as Amanda who comes to cake club is dairy free, I would make a cake so that she could have another option to eat, rather than just her own. I have made raw cakes and some gluten and dairy free cakes in the past which actually turned out quite nice (you can read about my adventure with the banoffe raw cake I made at Easter!) so I thought I’ll find a dairy free pumpkin recipe to make and I can still decorate it and make it look fab!

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The Food Sauce’s 3rd Birthday celebrates with a Blogger’s Bake Off!

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The Food Sauce celebrated its third birthday with a Blogger’s Bake off last Sunday held at Mercato Metropolitano, a 45,000 square foot market space offering a mixture of Italian and London based artisan producers.

I hadn’t heard of Mercato Metropolitano therefore looked it up before going and discovered that they held a ‘disco soup’ a few weeks ago where hundreds of volunteers gathered to prepare soup and dance as part of global movement to inspire action against food waste. Well, they already had my vote. The space is beautiful too. Close to Borough station, Mercato Metropiolitano is located just a 7 minute walk away and is a beautiful space with outdoor seating, fairy lights, amazing mini campervan looking bars and so much fresh, locally sourced delicious food!

The Blogger’s event started at 4pm and I arrived to see fellow bloggers, some I’d already met before at other Food Sauce events and quite a few new faces too. Today we were baking from a choice of ginger biscuits, flapjacks or pancakes, using the mixtures from Sweetpea Pantry.

We were shown a demonstration of pancakes, which looked pretty simple and then set to work. It was fun to have everyone making different options and also great because it meant we’d be able to try a bit of everything.

We chose the pancakes which were very simple to make. We just needed to add an egg and some milk, heat some butter up on the pan and once the mixture was blended together, away we went. The mixture made four very thick pancakes which with Jim Jams hazelnut spread on were lovely and very filling.

Alongside our pancakes we got to try a new white chocolate biscuit bar called ConneXus. It’s basically a big bar of white chocolate with what looks like rich tea biscuit stuck to the back. Simple yet extremely effective. The bar was so moreish, I literally had three squares and then suddenly I’d eaten the whole bar. To add another layer of sweetness we were given Mr Sherick’s Shakes to sample. I made the mistake of sampling these at the last Food Sauce event and then taking 4 bottles home and drinking them all in a day. They are so delicious that although super filling you can’t just have a sip and put it back in the fridge, they’re too good, therefore you end up having the whole thing. The flavours we tried were Choco Latte and Pot au Choc with Belgian Chocolate Chips which are both delicious but as a chocoholic I think the Belgian chocolate wins slightly for me on flavour. They also have Cookies and Cream (probably my favourite), Strawberry Pavlova, Softly Banoffee and a A Hint of Mint. Tempted yet?

For refreshment Tg Green Tea were back with their different flavours of ginger and lemon zest and jujube and osmathus hot tea and we were also introduced toRiddles Tequilla Iced Tea. I loved this as I love tequila but wouldn’t be able to drink too much of it. Therefore a tequila iced tea at just 5.5% is a perfect combination to give you that flavour but water it down with the fresh taste of ice tea. I loved how they were described on the day, ‘you know how you go out, buy a 6 pack and wake up feeling hung-over the next day, well with these, you buy a 6 pack and wake up with a six pack!’

Last but not least Ten Acre were back with their healthy and unique flavoured popcorn. I’ve tried so many different flavours of popcorn but sweet n salty is still my favourite although lime and sea salt might come in as a close second. To finish off we tried Vanilla Beer flavoured ice cream from LittlePod. I love littlepod’s products, I have been using their vanilla paste in literally anything I bake lately and it makes such a difference therefore I was excited to see what product we would be sampling at the event.

Beer lovers you will love this, it literally tastes like beer but with cream. Ok that sounds pretty gross but somehow it really works! If you love an ice cream float you will love this. Funnily I don’t but still found myself eating half the tub.

All in all I had a great time again celebrating The Food Sauce’s 3rd birthday. The Food Sauce is a fantastic online platform connecting food brands and bloggers and I always love the events because they offer a chance to discover a new place, meet new people, get hands on with cooking/baking food and the best part, discovering new products and trying to think up recipes to use with them.

Next up, The Food Sauce’s Christmas party; I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

Natural Eating Guru Stacie Stewart creates Natural Tonics with Carounn Gin

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Recently at the Foodie’s festival Brighton I came across one of the loveliest tasting gins I have encounted which was Caorunn (pronounced ‘ka-roon’) Gin. Carefully handcrafted in the Scottish Highlands, you already know you’re on to a winner. But it gets better. The premium and contemporary Scottish gin has enlisted the expertise of ‘natural eating guru’ Stacie Stewart to create four tonics that balance perfectly with the refreshing taste of Caorunn gin.

The refreshingly tonics have been inspired by Caorunn’s locally-foraged Celtic botanicals. Harnessing Scotland’s unique natural resources, Gin master Simon Buley hand-picks the botanicals from the hills surrounding the breath-taking setting of Balmenach Distillery in the Cairngorms National Park. Each of the four tonics have been designed exclusively by Stacie who has a passion for using raw, natural ingredients. The home-made ingredients are bursting with health benefits without compromising on taste.

Stacie – who presents Channel 4 programme’s What’s Cooking and How to Lose Weight Well as well as being the founder of Eat Naked, the clean eating deli in her hometown of Brighton – developed the refreshing selection of natural tonics for gin fans who want natural goodness, vitamins and vitality from their drink. Continue reading

Bubblewrap, Curry Goat & Betsy’s Bakes – Brighton Foodies Festival is back!

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It was the time of the year for Foodie’s Festival, Brighton again which is always such a treat as not only do I get to go to a brilliant food festival but I love going to Brighton for the atmosphere, be beside the sea and all the amazing independent food places too or and of course the pic n mix!

In fact my first stop of the day was at Caramella’s where I somehow, quite easily actually, filled a £5 bag full of my favourite pic n mix before heading off down the little lanes to the Foodie’s Festival.

The Foodie’s Festival is the UK’s biggest celebration of food, drink and wellbeing. The festival brings with it the best Michelin star chefs and MasterChef winners cooking their favourite recipes and giving visiting their top tips.

It was great to see a lot of new products and stalls this year as well as some favourites from last year such as Betsy’s bakes cakes, which were as delicious as ever.

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Foodies Festival is coming to Brighton this weekend!

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Brighton’s favourite food and drink festival returns to Hove Lawns this May Bank Holiday weekend

  • Star-studded Chef line up including Great MasterChef Winner 2016 Jane Devonshire, Michael Bremner of 64 Degrees, Michelin starred Matt Gillan & Adam Simmonds and local favourites Alun Sperring of Chilli Pickle, Stephen Crane of Ockenden Manor and Doug McMaster of SILO; 
  • New Healthy Living Zone with yoga classes hosted by The Float Spa and recipe inspiration Kate Moss’ detox coach Amanda Hamilton & winner of Vegan Bake-Off Katy Beskow;

 

  • Bigger and better Music Stage and a brand new acoustic music stage

 

  • A show-stopping VIP experience with Borgo Molino, kitted out by luxury furniture company RAFT furniture and Ginger Lilly Florists;

 

  • Champagne, wine and craft beer and food pairing masterclasses;

 

  • A re-launched Cakes and Desserts Theatre with top bakers and patisserie chefs starring Candice Brown, Great British Bake off Winner 2016

 

Candice Brown, Winner of Great British Bake Off 2016, lippy in one hand and spatula in the other, will be baking up a storm in the Cakes and Desserts Theatre for two demonstrations. Candice says: “I’m excited to return Foodies Festival for 8 of their festivals across the UK this summer, with two baking demonstrations a day giving me the chance to share my favourite recipes with so many of my fans and fellow bakers”.


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Charcoal Cake & Forbidden Fruit Cocktails – Naughty by Nature’s healthy living pop up comes to Vauxhall

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Naughty By Nature, London’s first healthy living pop up bar launched last week in Vauxhall and was the perfect event to attend on a sunny Saturday evening.

Greeted at the door with a glass of skinny prosecco we were welcomed into a hidden space that was filled with beautiful flowers from Bloomon and delicious smells from Toshka, Pomodoro E Basilico and Cake and Cucumber.

Having given up chocolate, well trying to give up sugar for lent, this was the perfect event to attend as it meant I could still have delicious cake that didn’t contain sugar. Cake and Cucumber’s selection of banana, chocolate (these looked incredible) and (my favourite) charcoal cake looked too good not to try and did not disappoint. I had never tried charcoal cake and this was something I couldn’t get enough of. Rather I ended up buying a slice which came with a salted caramel sauce which complimented the cake perfectly giving it that extra bit of sweetness.

Pomodoro E Basilico – Italian home-made artisan vegan food – had some amazing Buddha bowls as well as jack fruit burgers. I had never tried jack fruit before so these were a bit of a treat especially as they were accompanied by peanut butter, slaw & strawberry bbq kale. Their twix bars made with dates, peanut butter, coconut and dark chocolate proved super popular and looked amazing too. Continue reading

Naughty By Nature: New Healthy Living Pop Up Bar Launches in Vauxhall

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NEW POP UP BAR WITH A TWIST INSPIRED BY NATURE LAUNCHES IN VAUXHALL


The Founders Of The ‘Free From Festival’ Are Launching A New Concept In Healthy Living From April 8th. A pop bar with a natural twist, as well as an event space offering allergy savvy brunch clubs and much more, all within an adventurous atmosphere hidden behind a secret door in Vauxhall.
“NAUGHTY BY NATURE”, will be London’s first pop-up bar to embrace healthy living and
a fabulous party spirit all under one roof. Catering for those with a passion for fine quality free-from food and featuring cocktails with all ingredients selected or produced uniquely for Naughty by Nature to exclude artificial additives, colours and flavours, high fructose, corn-syrup and unnecessary sugar.

Working with culinary innovators like Toshka (country food, for veggies and non-veggies), Pomodoro E Basilico (homemade artisan vegan Italian food) and Cake + Cucumber (flavours inspired by tastes of East Africa), Naughty By Nature will feature Brunch Club Specials allowing people to try a Free-From taste of every culture accompanied by their unique signature series of Naughty by Nature cocktails.
With carefully curated music playlists and inspirational flower creations by BLOOMON, the whole space has been designed to make you feel like you are stepping into another world.
All the hot and cold food will be free-from gluten, dairy and refined sugar and the cocktails have been created to compliment both the environment as well as the spirit of healthy, clean living and partying.

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The Food Sauce Bloggers Pancake Day

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nothingbutsnack_pancakepancakes_food-sauceThe Food Sauce bloggers pancake day event took place on Sunday evening and was held at the wonderful Avenue Cookery School in Wandsworth town.

Living in north London, I must admit I am absolutely rubbish for branching out to south London however, after reading about the cookery school as well as learning that we would be cooking pasta and making pancakes for the evening, it sounded like an event not to be missed!

The Food Sauce is a fast-growing online platform that uses social media to showcase great products and support independent brands and start-ups. It exists to connect food fans, businesses and bloggers and regularly hosts events to enable lovers of food to connect and share their passion with others.

Sunday was the latest food event from The Food Sauce where approximately 15 bloggers and representatives from food brands came together to try their hand at making tagliatelle and pancakes using products from Superfood Bakery, Cirio UkNothing But plus many more. Diana, owner of The Avenue Cookery School, and her son Richard were wonderful hosts, making everyone feel welcome and relaxed, with their passion, enthusiasm and sense of humour whilst also teaching us all some tricks of the trade in the kitchen.

Richard gave us a lesson on the best way to chop an onion and garlic and we learnt that the sprout in the centre of a garlic clove is called the germ and is good to take out when you’re cooking something quickly as otherwise it can be quite bitter and will end up giving you garlicky breath (usueful tip!)

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We each had a station and got cracking with making the pasta sauce and tagliatelle. Chopping the onions and garlic first (skilfully now of course) we covered them with authentic italian chopped tomatoes from Cirio UK and then moved onto using a pasta maker to make the tagliatelle. I’ve always wanted to use a pasta maker so it was good fun and a good arm workout too!

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Lentil, Quinoa and Mushroom Ragu

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It’s been a while since I posted a recipe (November eek!) so I thought it was time to get back in the kitchen and start thinking about what could make a tasty meal again!

This recipe was inspired by a group I’ve been involved with since October, which is known as Oldfield Eats and is a project run by North London Cares, a wonderful charity that aims to tackle isolation and loneliness in over 65’s who live in Camden and Islington. I joined North London Cares as a volunteer back in December 2015 and have loved being involved in a variety of the different projects  they run from film nights, pamper afternoons and now a cooking group.

I had been wanting to set up a food pop up group for some time and wasn’t sure what my plans were last year with living situation so kept putting it off however I saw a post on the North London Cares website about being an organiser and running one of the groups and thought that sounded like a lot of fun! My initial idea that I pitched was to do a sort of pot luck event where volunteers and members of the community each cook a small dish and then bring it to share with each other however it just so happened that North London Cares were thinking about running a healthy eating cooking group once a month at Oldfield Estate, sheltered housing accommodation just next to Primrose Hill, and were looking for someone to help run that. I loved the idea so it was an easy decision to get involved with the project and since we started it has been so much fun. Continue reading

Goodbye 2016 – Hello New Year!

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changeI’m writing this before the New Year as I know I’ll probably feel different once the New Year hits as I will have had some time off as well as a break which I’m really looking forward to but a new year is always something positive to look forward to. I read over my blog post from the end of 2013 where I made this list of goals and remember feeling so positive, however it’s crazy to look back and not know what the year ahead will bring.

This year has probably been one of the most challenging for me. I’ve struggled quite a lot with decisions and feelings of regret, pondering what ifs and ways of thinking that get you absolutely nowhere. There’s been probably more down days than up but it’s also been a huge turning point year in my life. I remember being 22, and someone asked me what’s been your biggest turning point and I remember looking at them blankly as at that time in my life I didn’t really have one or quite know what they meant but I certainly know what the term means now.

A turning point can usually involve a great deal of struggle, a lot of conflict and resisting of change but when you break through it you get to such a different point where you do feel a shift, a change. And it doesn’t happen overnight either, it’s a long slog but I suppose you learn that certain things happen in life to teach you, to make you realise that you have been focusing on the wrong things and now it’s time to reassess, to appreciate the little things more and the people in your life and to also follow a path that’s right for you.

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