Vegan Sweet Tooth London

This month, April 2015, marks my sixth veganniversary – six years of being vegan (not counting the comparatively brief stint when I was a teenager).

In that time I have evolved a bit as a vegan; while avoiding animal food products never gave me any headaches, I was a little slower to catch on to vegan cosmetics. Thankfully, now almost every non-vegan product in my bathroom has been phased out, with the exception of some eyeliner that I have had since before I was vegan (I know!), and a couple of perfumes that was given to me as a gifts before I became discerning enough to re-gift them before opening.

The vegan lifestyle having now become second-nature to me, I now focus on prioritising more ethical products too, wherever possible. And if I can pick a local and/or independent business over a chain or mass-produced product, I’ll happily spend a little more if required. Knowing that spending money will have a tangible, positive effect on someone, it just makes parting with the cash even sweeter. When you hand money over to an independent business owner, you might just be that exchange that turns their day from average into successful – be it from the financial reward or just from the personal exchange. And well, if you get cake out of it… 

Vegan Sweet Tooth London

Image from Vegan Sweet Tooth London

So when I saw on Instagram that Vegan Sweet Tooth were making their debut at an artisan start-up food market in Sloane Square, I instinctively shared and promoted the announcement. Sloane Square is on a pretty direct line from work and Ben and I found that we had a cake-sized gap in our schedules, so it had to be a sign that cake was in our immediate destiny. Who am I to fight destiny?

The market itself  wasn’t immediately easy to find, hidden in plain view in a little glass hut in the middle of sunny Duke of York Square. Vegan Sweet Tooth, run by professional chef Giancarlo Roncato shared the small space with perhaps three or four other businesses, but their stall was as beautiful as I had hoped from their social media photos, and pleasingly expansive.

Vegan Sweet Tooth London cakes

While there are a number of well-known and widely-beloved vegan cake businesses now in London, I find many of them overly decadent for an everyday treat. Perhaps it’s my French side coming out, but I feel more comfortable sitting down to a tartlet, or even a piece of carrot cake or banana bread, for an afternoon snack. I like an indulgent treat as much as the next person, but I don’t want to forfeit my appetite at dinner for it.

The first thing we knew was going in our cake box (we rapidly established that a large cake box would be needed) was a slab of the dark and moist chocolate brownie. It turned out to be incredible – fudgy but not cloying, rich but not sickly.

Vegan Sweet Tooth London tarts

I also had to have a little tartlet – hesitating between the adorable little fruit-and-chocolate hearts and the frangipane, Ben fulfilled his role as cake buddy by insisting I get both. As beautiful as the fruity tarts were, it was actually the frangipane that stole my heart.

I was intrigued by the carrot and date mini cakes, and this one didn’t even make it out of Sloane Square. This would have been perfect with a latté, but on its own it was just a touch dry. To be fair, we had gotten to the market towards the end of the day, which was probably not optimal for such a small cake.

Vegan Sweet Tooth London treats

Clockwise from left: date and carrot mini cake, frangipane tartlet, lavender-blueberry cake, two oaty cookies, pan dei morti, berry tartlet, brownie, and marble heart mini-cake

Ben picked out the lavender and blueberry cake for himself which he ate that evening (and which I sampled for review purposes); we could tell it was a light and fragrant cake but, again, having travelled around London all day it had become a little dry around the edges.

Not pictured above are the selection of super-cute little cookies. Unfortunately there were only two of us and plenty of cake to be eaten in its prime, so they didn’t make it to our cake box, but Ben did buy a selection for his client who happens to be vegan. I’m sure they went to a good home.

Vegan Sweet Tooth London cookies
Giancarlo kindly slipped in a pan dei morti (a chewy, spiced cake-like cookie studded with nuts and dried fruit) and a couple of the oaty chocolatey cookies as a treat for us. They waited until the next day to be eaten as I assumed they would keep better than the cakes – which they did -and I don’t regret saving them! They were all delicious – the pan dei morti was rich and bold, the cookies chewy and toothsome with just the right amount of chocolate topping. I’m so grateful for Giancarlo’s generosity as I never would have tried them, but I won’t leave his stall without them on my next visit!

Next time, I also hope to be hungry enough to devour one of his savoury offerings, though I’m not sure how I would choose between pizza, or the aubergine or spinach slices. One thing is for sure, I’m getting more of that brownie and multiple frangipane tarts!

Giancarlo brings his sweet treats to various other markets around London: your best bet is probably to follow him on Twitter or like his Facebook Page, or even Instagram. And remember: you’re doing a good thing. #caketivism

Full disclosure: we purchased the products ourselves and I received no incentive or compensation for this post. I just like to promote vegan businesses when I can!

My story for Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2015

In the spirit of the “fresh start” I am giving this blog, I feel it is the right time to share a different kind of post with you all today.

National Eating Disorder Awareness (NEDA) week is coming to a close in the USA, and Eating Disorders Awareness Week is ongoing in the UK. In honour of NEDA week, Gena shared her personal experience with an eating disorder over on Choosing Raw, and it resonated so deeply with me that I was inspired to do the same.

b-eat Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Even as I type these words I am questioning whether I will actually publish the final post. Am I qualified to write about this? Isn’t it a bit melodramatic and self-important? Continue reading

Come here often?

Hi there. Have we met?

Perhaps we knew each other a while ago, or maybe we just feel like we’ve known each other forever. It’s still me, but maybe it’s not quite me. We’ve probably both changed quite a bit. I hope we still get along!

I didn’t leave a note because I was all out of words. Just like that: one day they were there, the next – nothing. But slowly, as I knew in my heart of hearts they would, thoughts of this humble patch of the internet with my name on it started to tug at my heartstrings and my fingertips.

Things might change a little around here. I’m not too sure yet how, when, or why, but it’s time for some spring cleaning. Nothing too intense, don’t worry; that’s not my style. But I’m feeling different feels and I hope this reflects that. Join me for the journey. Let’s have some fun with our words and our thoughts and remember what we cared about before everyone else decided to tell us what to care about.

These are some of the things that have been happening, in as little order as I can impose:

+ I wrote two essays, both of them brilliant and frighteningly poor at the same time. I hope my awareness of their shortcomings means they will actually have none… that’s how it works right?

+ I ordered room service in a hotel for the first time in my life. At midnight. Home Alone anyone? Thank you, Fairmont Dubai, for one of the most memorable vegan impromptu dinners I have experience thus far (and for the slippers).

Fairmont Dubai vegan room service

+ I made a delicious (albeit slightly modified) sunshiny breakfast quinoa from a Zsu Dever recipe to hit your bookshelf soon. I can still taste it, it was that good.

Zsu Dever breakfast quinoa+ Ben and I bought a bed! It felt so grown-up lying down on the beds in the bed shop with a view to actually buying one for once.

+ If I could eat sun-dried tomatoes and/or za’atar in every meal, I would. So I do. I would also like to eat the avocado toast from Double Take Café every day, but it lives in Toronto, Australia, so thank goodness for za’atar and sun-dried tomatoes (but how good would this toast be with za’atar and sun-dried tomatoes?!).

Double Take café avo toast

+ In Australia I saw a dolphin leaping, a sea-eagle soaring, some insanely big jellyfish jellyfishing, a pelican choking, and a giant rat. Nature is great, but it isn’t great at cuddles which is why we have cats.

Mika+ I got a new tattoo, but it feels like it has been there forever – in a really good way! I knew what I wanted for years but could never picture it in my mind’s eye. Luckily, Sooz at Fifth Dimension Tattoo is some kind of psychic visionary and created the most perfect tattoo for me that I could ever have dreamed up. It’s like she knew me better than I knew myself. It was scary at first and then just crazy awesome.

Cherry tree tattoo+ I went back to a grappling training session for the first time in over a year! Well, I thought it was grappling. It was submission wrestling. It was a breath of fresh air in a suffocating January (figuratively – literally it was more like gasps of sweat-soaked air in a brutally crisp January).

+ I spent some quality time with a friend before she moved back to Turkey. It was sad to see her go but I was super grateful for the bonding we got to do which, let’s face it, never would have happened had she been sticking around. She also made me these totally crave-worthy almond butter biscuits. They are perfect flight snacks!

4-ingredient flourless cookies+ Ben bought us a Nutri Ninja (with Auto-IQ)! Believe the hype. So far my best concoction has included mango, kiwi, banana, strawberries, spinach, pumpkin seeds, matcha powder, and soy milk.

+ We got to look after a dog for a day and got given a bag of Monmouth coffee (Finca Malacara A, since you asked) and a shiny new cafetière for our efforts. Mornings are a different beast, and so am I.

Cat coffee chillSo that’s what’s been. I want to give everything on here a little revamp at some point, but mainly I want to get a little more personal. In my time off I indulged in a lot of reading of other blogs, falling out of love with some, but much more deeply in love with others, and I realised that the blogs I love the most are not necessarily the ones with the prettiest pictures and the best recipes, but the ones that are held together by one author’s voice and passion and honesty.

So in the spirit of treating others as I’d like to be treated, I will try to open up a little more on this space that is my own. If I could serve you some of my fancy new coffee and those melt-in-your-mouth flourless almond butter cookies while we chat, I would.

Tomorrow I’m planning on sharing the most personal post I ever have shared on here. Beyond that, I’m not sure what will be next, but please join me in jumping off at the deep end.

Thanks for sticking around, and speak soon!

Sunday thoughts: 7th December 2014

Is it just me, or do weeks where you start with a day or two off seem longer than the full Monday-to-Friday routine? This has undoubtedly been my most productive week maybe ever but certainly since going independent (and yes, sleeping, eating and training all count as productive, as does napping on the bus when you are stuck in traffic without moving for 20 minutes). So if anybody feels like getting me an early Christmas present, I could do with a couple extra days of the week. Preferably weekend days, but beggars can’t be choosers. Continue reading

Sunday thoughts: 30th November 2014

I think this Sunday thoughts series must be the one that gets written from abroad most often. Here I am in Luxembourg, for the first time in about seven or eight months, and we have treated ourselves to an extra day’s holiday to make the most of the festively laid-back vibe of my home country.

I can’t wait to share with you everything that has gone on in this final week of November, but before I do please allow me to take a moment to remind you of my festive offer on personal training sessions:

End of year promotion Continue reading

Sunday thoughts: 23rd November 2014

After reading back through last week’s Sunday thoughts, I feel a little sheepish posting these as it has been a much less eventful week! So if you haven’t read those, maybe just have a look at them and ignore these ones.

Oh but before you go, I should promote my end-of-year special offer on personal training! I’ve written a short introductory blog post about it over on Great Expectations Fitness, but it’s pretty self-explanatory. Please do share it with anyone who might be interested. Continue reading

Sunday thoughts: 16th November 2014

I can’t believe last Monday was just a few days ago, it seems like we have crammed so much into this week!

Food for thought

Again, not much studying time at all this week. There have been a couple of afternoons at home, one filled with cooking (more on that below) and one filled with writing (more on that here). But a few things on my mind and computer screen, apart from Christmas shopping (did I really just say that?): Continue reading