Adventures in cupcakes, Surrey, and post-exam bliss

Well, that’s it – I have sat my NSCA-CPT exam, and now all I have to do is wait. Well, take a CPR course, submit my certificate, and then wait. Six to eight weeks. That’s a long time to spend with your fingers crossed – grappling and lifting weights with my fingers crossed could be interesting, not to mention dangerous and painful.

Anyway, all those evening hours that were spent frantically studying can now be devoted to making Great Vegan Expectations a little more lively! As I have just spent the rest of the weekend relaxing with Ben’s family in Surrey, I thought a little review of the various delicious foods I ate would be in order. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos, because I just get too excited about eating my food to actually stop and take pictures of it. Also, his family think I’m weird enough being vegan anyway, let alone if I start taking pictures of everything I eat.

We stopped in Wholefoods in Piccadilly Circus before heading out to Surrey, to pick up some food that I could eat, as his sister-in-law is at a bit of a loss when it comes to cooking for a vegan (I still don’t understand that, but never mind). I wanted something that would constitute a whole portion, so I wouldn’t need to bring any back the next day, and also something that would be easy to cook so I didn’t take over their kitchen, and preferably something that didn’t look weird and alien and further distort their idea of vegan food. So I picked up a Taifun Tofritto:

I know that Taifun stuff is generally pretty good, and these things are pretty new so I had to try one. Went for the Olive and Cashew, and it didn’t disappoint! Soft tofu with crunchy bits of cashew and salty chunks of olive throughout, really very good just on its own – I had it with the side-vegetables that the rest of the family were having; boiled new potatoes, green beans, and carrots. Only about 250kcal in the thing too, which leaves plenty of room to play around with it as part of your meal!

So that was a perfectly satisfying dinner, but Ben had also insisted we get me a treat from Wholefoods, knowing how his family like to have dessert with every meal. I have to say, I have never particularly liked the look of Cat and the Cream cupcakes, with their big snake-like coil of icing sitting on the top, but the flavours enticed me to put my prejudice aside. After a lot of deliberation, I went for the Pear, Hazelnut & Choc Chip cupcake… despite not being a huge fan of pear, which made Ben laugh a lot. It’s true though, I’m not particularly crazy about pears, but quite often pear-based cakes are my favourite, even against chocolate. Ok, maybe not, but very close. Either way, I’m not too sure what my point is but look:

Well, let me tell you, it was incredible and all sorts of superlatives. To be more specific, it was moist, not too sweet, accompanied by just enough icing to go with every mouthful of sponge, which included the odd soft juicy piece of pear, and generous chunks of smooth chocolate. It totally blew me away. Unfortunately now I have a dilemma – next time I get one, do I stick with this delicious flavour or do I experiment with the others?!

Throughout the evening we also all munched on some RW Garcia Flaxseed Tortilla Chips, which were really very good. Thick and crunchy, and although they could have done with a little more flavour (we had the Thai Sweet & Spicy, which I thought might be too sweet as they often are, so it’s good that they weren’t), they did make for a really nice, non-greasy snack. And hopefully we’ll have reaped some of the health benefits from the little sprinkling of flax seeds throughout…

Today we had to eat on the go, as we had to get back in time for Ben to teach, and me to attend, his Strength & Conditioning class. We stopped off at an M&S food, because I know a few of the “2 for £3” salads are vegan and delicious. Ben randomly picked up their Asian Slaw and Mango Rice Salad which turned out to be vegan. That, with a little pot of fruit and a bottle of water, for £3.50, made for a lovely fresh lunch and is what I call value for money. Not the most flavourful of salads, I will admit, but the subtle flavours were there and the textures and colours made up for it (though this would have been much more interesting with a photo… when will I learn?). This afternoon has also included a Chocolate Mint Builder’s Bar because well, why not?

And while I’m writing about food, for lunch this week I have 5 portions of sweet potato coconut curry, with red and yellow peppers, spinach and soy mince… Maybe I will try and discreetly take a photo of it one day at work if you ask nicely!

But for now, it is starting to get late, so I shall have to leave it there. I do still have many plans to write some restaurant reviews, particularly of vegan experiences in non-vegan restaurants, and some more fitness-related topics like bruising, healing and recovery. In the meantime, I have just put up a section dedicated to chocolate, so please do check it out and use it as an excuse to go and try some of the chocolates I mention. And if there’s anything you think I need to try, well send it my way and I will make it my mission to fulfil!