Category Archives: trips

Chocolate Brownies at The Old Auction Room Café

The Old Auction Room in Strichen, Aberdeenshire, has recently been all done up and its wonderful café always has gorgeous vegan cake! There seems to be a vegan and gluten-free main or soup each day too. Above is a raw chocolate brownie, below a slice of date and walnut loaf, both gluten-free.

They also have vintage clothes, old books and antiques for sale. Some hats:

There’s a florist and a barber on the premises too.

And a wee fairy! Here’s their facebook page.



Castle, chocolate, mountain

It’s summer, so what better time to get out and about and see our beautiful country? And eat chocolate. That’s Eilean Donan Castle above. And Kennard’s Artisan Chocolates below!

The peanut butter truffle (above) was our favourite, closely followed by the smooth caramel.

Beautifully packaged, these are a special treat and would make a lovely gift. Available exclusively from the online shop, the range is both vegan and kosher.

Clutching our chocolates, we disappear off into The Cuillin Mountains.

Fitness, Mountain Peaks and Cake

Bennachie in the mist

It’s a new year, a good time to get fit and healthy, so let’s climb a mountain! Up we go into the mist…

Bennachie in Aberdeenshire has several peaks. We’re going to visit four. Firstly the Mither Tap, then Craig Shannoch then onto the Little Oxen Crag and the Oxen Crag. The Little one is somehow the toughest, you’ll be peching as we say up here, Fitbit lighting up with joy at the raised heart rate.

path on Bennachie

Keep going! Keep going! Think about the healthy chocolate protein shake you’re going to have when you get home!

Purition Protein Shake

Purition‘s Raw Vegan Chocolate Hemp Mix blended in soya milk with some added banana and avocado. Yum, yum, yum.

But we’re not there yet, we’re circling back to cover more of the hill.

mist and sun

And down we go.

And it snows.

So we’re inside.

On YouTube.

And dancing.

Sweaty Betty Ballet Bootcamp Encore is a great cardio and core workout from the ladies at Sleek Technique (lots of nice DVDs available too), no dance training required.

And now, a smoothie made with frozen blackberries, bananas, orange juice and a sachet of Purition‘s Raw Vegan Hemp Mix.

berry smoothie

For simpler and (sometimes) shorter routines try Lazy Dancer Tips or some Pilates workouts or, if you’re hardcore, you could go for a full class from The Royal Ballet.

And after all that, how about some fortified cake? Yes, cake. It’s doesn’t have to be (that) unhealthy. This one’s made with 3 large mashed bananas mixed into a cup of gluten free self raising flour, a packet of Purition‘s Vegan Vanilla Hemp mix, a little sunflower oil and enough soya milk to make a nice thick batter. Pour into a greased square cake tin and bake for about half an hour at 200c/400F.

Cool.

Cut into pieces and cover with dark chocolate, chopped pecan nuts and fresh blueberries. Happy Eating!

sugar free banana cake

The Purition mixes mentioned in this post are their three vegan products, all made with nuts and seeds, all natural, nothing nasty, and over 14g of protein per 40g serving! See them all on their site here.

chocolate protein mix

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Last Bus Canteen

Las Bus Works Canteen

Update: café is closed for winter but it has made Trip Advisor’s Top Ten Restaurants in Aberdeenshire!

Actually there were no fried green tomatoes. But there was a plethora of other wonderful food at this 100% vegan weekend café in Aberdeenshire.

The Last Bus Works Canteen is just out of New Pitsligo and open 10-6 every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

menu

It’s quirky and friendly and has a great selection of cake. Below is a chocolate orange muffin with ice cream.

cake and ice cream

There’s pink Himalayan salt on the tables, olive oil in an oil can and recycled shelves all around.

oil and salt

shelves

It was a relaxing and fortifying place to visit after an eight mile walk in the rain! Well worth seeking out.

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a pasta dish and a dragonfly

pasta

So simple: cook pasta of your choice; fry up some chopped onions and whole chestnut mushrooms in a little olive oil. Once cooked, drain the pasta and stir everything together adding salt as desired. Add chopped parsley and cherry tomatoes, some seeds. Eat.

And a dragonfly, there are so many this year…

dragonfly

Creamy Vegetable Pie and a train…

River, trees and snowy mountains from a steam train window (it’ll make sense later).

Creamy Vegetable Pie is an old recipe that wasn’t included in the site update, but we’ve had requests for it so here it is 🙂

Ingredients:ACER
1 tablespoon vegan marg (we used Pure sunflower)
1 leek, chopped
5 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
6 carrots, chopped
about a cupful of frozen peas
1 vegan stock cube (we used Kallo Organic Vegetable Stock Cubes )
2 tablespoons white flour
3/4 of  litre of soya milk (approx)
seasalt to taste
2 kg potatoes, peeled
a little soya milk, marg and salt and pepper to mash into the tatties
large bunch of chives to mash into the tatties – easiest chopped up with scissors, straight into pan.

Peel and roughly chop the potatoes, place in a pan and cover with water and bring to boil. Once boiling turn down to simmer until soft. While that’s happening, prepare the veg and sauce. Melt the marg in a pan and add the veg and stock cube, cooking until slightly softened (5-10 min), stirring regularly. Add the flour and mix well. Gradually add the soya milk, stirring all the time until a nice thick sauce is formed round the veggies (you can add more soya milk or water if too thick). Season with salt and pepper and place in a large oven proof dish (we used a lasagne one).

Once the tatties are cooked, mash with the marg, s. milk, salt, pepper, and chives and spread this evenly on top of your veg sauce. Place in oven at 200c/400F for about 20 minutes or until browned as much as you like 🙂 Delicious with fresh salad…

Back to the train. The Strathspey Steam Railway  does lunches on board and with at least 24 hours notice they can cater for any dietary requirement. The three course Sunday lunch they gave us was lovely, and the first class compartment an added treat.

photo (13) (550x428)

some London eating

london 007 (525x700)

In beautiful, colourful Neal’s Yard, in the former home of Monty Python, resides the Wild Food Café. We enjoyed our raw pizza and salad (it is ‘raw-centric’).

raw food from the wild food cafe

Also in Covent Garden is LabOrganic, which we visited more than once for their fresh green juices and raw chocolate mousse.

We loved The Coach and Horses vegetarian pub with its timeless rickety stairs, twenties music and somehow Dickensian mantelpiece:

mantle piece

The ‘tofush’ and chips was excellent:

vegan fish and chips

and the flowers in a teapot, pretty:

flowers on the table

Though we didn’t eat in them, Food for Thought in Neal St. had a savoury and delicious smell wafting out its door and the dishes visible through the window of totally vegan Vantra Vitao looked very good.

Useful resource: Vegan London

Cheap tickets etc: