Should We All Be Vegan?

A topic which is very hot in the news at the moment is global warming, how the environment is under massive threat, all due to the day to day actions that we make. I’ve always been interested in the environment, and have considered my actions as to how I can be more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

A topic that I wanted to focus around in todays blog post, is veganism, how it positively impacts the environment and whether we should all be considering cutting our animal produce intake a lot more.

So, I’m sure I don’t need to explain what being vegan is, but incase you didn’t know, it’s someone who leads a life without using or eating any animal produce. It’s a way of living that actively seeks to exclude cruelty to animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

I recently read a really interesting article on Vegansim and it’s environmental impact, and it’s actually what prompted me to write this post. Research has been carried out, with the conclusion that if we all individually cut animal products out of out diets and lives, it could result in our individual carbon footprint decreasing by up to 73%. Obviously leading a vegan lifestyle isn’t the easy option, but even if we all started to gradually have more meat free/animal produce free days, think of the positive impact it would make!IMG_3574

Anyway, enough of me nattering on, I thought what better way to see whether being vegan is as easy as it seems, than to try it myself! I took it upon myself to attempt to go vegan for 24 hours – there were a few things that I wanted to look at throughout the day. The first one, which had been at the forefront of my mind, is being vegan feasible on a student budget. This was a big one for me, seeing as I’m tight on money as it is, does it work out cheaper or more expensive than my normal weekly shop. I also wanted to see how much it would fill me up. I lead a very active lifestyle, I’m into my fitness, and I tend to need to eat in a way that sustains this lifestyle – it was really interesting to see whether the diet change worked for me and my active way of life.

IMG_3594I’ll briefly talk you through my meal choices of the day. Starting off with my classic cup of tea, we all know I cannot function without this. Obviously, I normally use cows milk, but today I substituted this for Soya milk, and in all honesty, I couldn’t tell the difference in taste. You also get more for your money with soya milk – with it also having a longer shelf life than regular milk, in the long run it would work out to be more budget friendly. A trip to the gym was soon followed by vegan oats, which were a hit from me. They tasted like my normal oats, just slightly less sweet, which was made up for with the sweetness of the fruit anyway. Lunch, I opted for a quinoa salad, which I actually never wanted to end, don’t want to toot my own horn, but it tasted amazing. I then finished my day of being vegan with cheesy vegan pasta with broccoli and vegan sausages. This was the only meal which I wasn’t really won over by, with the sauce obviously being vegan cheese, it tasted fake and did get slightly repetitive towards the end. There were a few vegan snacks in there too, which I feel the need to say tasted better than any snacks I normally have. All in all, food wise, this was a success, there was nothing that I hated, and everything tasted really good!IMG_3601

Like I said at the beginning there were a few things I wanted to address throughout the day. We’ll begin with whether being vegan is actually feasible on a student budget. I can happily say that I think it is, all in all, my vegan shop came to around £10, which is roughly what I spend on a weekly shop already. I made a conscious effort to make sure that everything I picked up was the cheapest item there. So a lot of it was Tesco own brand – still tasted just as good.

The next thing, was whether the vegan diet would keep me feeling full as being very active, I’m pretty much always hungry. I was mega surprised, because eating like this actually kept me full up for the entire day – I normally eat little and often as this is what works best for me, so I tried to stick to this. I got hungry at the times I normally would do, so ate at these times – but I didn’t find myself super hungry throughout the day.

Overall eating vegan for a day really opened my eyes to how easy and affordable it actually is, I had heard so many myths about it being so expensive and hard, but I’ve just proven those wrong. Admittedly, I could have been a bit more adventurous with my foods, but I didn’t have the spare time for this. However, having said that it was easy for me, I would say that I’m not sure how easy it would be to sustain and whether after a while I would end up craving animal produce. I don’t think I’ll be going vegan anytime soon, I’ll just stick to vegetarianism as lets face it, I can’t go without cheese!

Would you ever consider going vegan or even just vegetarian?

All my love,

Han xx

Raspberry & White Chocolate Muffins

My first blog post in nearly 2 months and it’s a food one, shock horror. I probably should have done a post prior to the explaining my absence, but that will come in due course I’m sure – long story short, I’M BACK.

Fun fact, I used to be a very keen baker, but ever since I started university, I’ve not had the time to cook anything apart from pasta for tea/dinner (thats another debate all together). However, as I’m back from uni for Easter break (potentially for good – I’m not sure) I thought I’d get myself back in the kitchen and baking, with some raspberry and white chocolate cupcakes. My favourite food combination ever, and technically you can eat as many as you want because they have fruit on…that’s how it works right?

Cupcake2WEB

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 110g Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
  • 175g Caster Sugar
  • 125g Self Raising Flour
  • 120g Plain Flour
  • 2 Eggs (room temperature) 
  • 125ml Milk (room temperature) 
  • 1tbsp Vanilla Essence
  • 3tbsp Raspberry Jam

For the topping:

  • Vanilla Buttercream
  • 150g White Chocolate
  • Raspberry Jam
  • Fresh Raspberries

Cucake4WEB

Method:

  1. Start by pre-heating the oven to 160degrees and line a 12 hole cupcake tin with the prettiest cupcake cases you can find
  2. Begin by creaming together the butter and sugar in a bowl, this will probably take a few minutes – don’t stop until it looks light and fluffy
  3. Incorporate the eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition
  4. In a separate bowl mix together your plain and self raining flour, also add the vanilla essence to the milk. Then add 1/3 of the flours into the mix, along with 1/3 of the milk and vanilla mix. Repeat these steps, mixing after each addition making sure everything is fully mixed in. The more you mix the ingredients the fluffier the cupcakes will be as you are incorporating more air.
  5. The final step is to then add in the raspberry jam, stir it in so it creates a marble sort of affect. The idea is that it should run through the cake when cooked and if it works in your favour you should see this when they are cut into.
  6. Spoon into your cupcake cases and pop into the oven to cook for 25 minutes, I find that it my oven 25 minutes exactly works perfect for me, but it will be a bit of trial and error to see what works for you.
  7. Once cooked take out the oven and leave to completely cool. Once they have cooled, you then want to cut a small hole out of the middle, which you then want to spoon your raspberry jam into, careful not too overfill.
  8. For the white chocolate icing, start by melting the white chocolate in either the microwave or on the hob, I don’t trust myself to not burn it in the microwave, so I always opt for the hob. This then needs to be cooled completely before being stirred into the buttercream. If it’s stirred in while warm, chances are it’ll curdle.
  9. Pop your vanilla buttercream into a separate bowl then add in the white chocolate and stir well. Once all combined, spoon the icing mixture into a piping bag and pipe onto your cupcakes.
  10. Finally, I then decorated the top with just raspberries, but you can do whatever takes your fancy with decorating, I would have added white chocolate to the top as well, but I had ran out!

WEB

I’d like to point out my Dad said these were some of the best cupcakes he’s ever eaten, up there with Mums’ salted caramel cupcakes – and they’re supposedly legendary, so I think I did pretty good!

What’s your favourite cake combination?

It’s good to be back and look out for a little life update post in the near future, because I think thats in order!

Han xx

Chocolate Orange Millionaire Shortbread

One of my all time favourite sweet treats is millionaire shortbread and with it being the festive season I wanted to attempt to make one of my favourite snacks, into something a bit more christmas appropriate – which is where I came up with the idea of making the shortbread into a chocolate orange version; as chocolate orange had always been something I’ve associated with the christmas period.

Image2

Ingredients: 

  • 175g Unsalted butter
  • 225g Plain flour
  • 75g Caster sugar
  • Caramel
  • 2 Large bars of orange chocolate

Image4

Method: 

  • Begin by preheating the oven to 180 degrees and also lining a lose bottomed square tin.
  • Into a bowl, add the unsalted butter, plain flour, and caster sugar, and mix together until they resemble bread crumbs.
  • Once the mixture in the bowl resembles that of bread crumbs, pour into the tin and push down to compact it into the tin. Then put into the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes, I usually find that 13 is perfect in my oven.
  • Once the shortbread has cooked, you then want to remove it from the oven and add the caramel on top, then place back into the oven for a further 5 minutes.
  • Take the shortbread mixture out of the oven and leave to cool. While this is cooling, melt both bars of chocolate over a pan of boiling water, making sure to keep it moving so it doesn’t burn.
  • Once melted pour over the shortbread, then leave to sit in the fridge until it sets.
  • When it comes to cutting the shortbread, I would suggest taking it out of the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before cutting, so that the chocolate isn’t too solid.

Image3

I’m a sucker for anything that involves chocolate orange, so I’m utterly obsessed with this shortbread, it is also so quick and easy to make, which is perfect for this time of year when everyone is pushed for time!

Han xx

Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

I’m currently sat writing this blog post in the biggest food coma EVER! If you have a sweet tooth, or you’re just a general cheesecake lover, like myself, then this is the recipe for you.

Before we get started, I would just like to give full credit to Tanya Bakes, by Tanya Burr, for coming up with this wonderful recipe, and I will leave a link to her baking book below, and make sure that you grab yourself a copy if you can!

CHEESECAKE1

Ingredients:

300g Double Chocolate Cookies

100g Melted Butter

Zests of 2 Oranges

250g Full-Fat Cream Cheese

150g Icing Sugar

200g Terry’s Chocolate Orange

150g Double Cream

Method:

  • Begin by crushing the biscuits into crumbs, I find the best way to do this is to pop them all into a food bag, and gently bash them with a heavy rolling pin. Mix in the melted butter and zest of 1 orange, add to a 21cm round loose-bottomed cake tin, to create the base of your cheesecake.
  • Combine the cream cheese and icing sugar using an electric whisk, set aside until needed.
  • Melt the 200g of Chocolate Orange in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whiles the chocolate is melting, in a separate bowl whip up the cream so that it forms soft peaks; if you tip the bowl over your head, it shouldn’t fall out! You then want to set this aside and wait for the melted chocolate to slightly cool, before mixing it into the double cream.
  • Add the chocolate mix to the cream cheese mix, and gently fold in, until well combined.
  • Pour the final mixture over the biscuit base, and leave to set. I find it best to make the cheesecake the night before serving so that it has the whole of the night to set. Just before serving decorate with the remaining chocolate orange, and the orange zest.

I’ve never really been a fan of chocolate orange, and could give or take it when given the opportunity, but this cheesecake, I can assure you, is one of the best things you’ll ever taste, and its NO BAKE!!! What more could you want! I hope you enjoy, if you’re an avid baker like myself, I highly recommend Tanyas’ book!

All my love,

Han xx