Sunday thoughts

Oh man, I can’t wait to talk about all the awesome things I’ve been up to this week. Or, more specifically, this weekend – I do apologise for the silence this week, but I’ve been quite busy with training and clients and then being in Luxembourg.

If you’ve been around Great Vegan Expectations for a year, you may remember the fun I had at the International Bazaar, exploring foods from around the world. I did even better this year – so much better, in fact, that my collection of new taste experiences will have to wait for a post of their own later this week. But let’s get on with the usual stuff:

New things I’ve learnt this week

Oh dear… I can’t actually think of anything new I’ve learnt this week!

As I can’t offer any new or interesting facts, I shall share with you some of my favourite TED talks I’ve watched this week:

New things I have eaten this week

  • This might sound unbelievable, but I made only the second crumble I have ever made on Monday evening. And I managed to make it healthy, but still delicious. In with the apples went a spoonful of Suma pear and apple spread, and the topping consisted of oats, a tiny sprinkle of coconut flour, ginger Coconom coconut sugar, a drizzle of agave, a few gobs of coconut oil, and a bit of cinnamon. It was just right, not too sweet, not too heavy, and fairly healthy. The apples came from a house in Ealing who had left out a sac of Bramley apples with a sign saying, “Windfall Bramley apples, please take one”, which put a smile on my face.
  • I finally got to try one of the vegan Caffè Nero mince pies (at City Airport… for breakfast). It’s actually probably only the second time or so that I have ever had a mince pie, I think, and the first time in a very long time. So I have no idea how good it was compared to other mince pies, but it was delicious to me and I love that they actually mark it as “vegan” on the price label. Incidentally, after being notoriously bad even for vegetarians, they now have a “Three Bean and Mint” salad which doesn’t look overly exciting but is also marked as vegan. Go Caffè Nero!Caffe Nero mince pie City Airport
  • The only entirely new discovery I made at the International Bazaar was a Kenyan cardamom “doughnut” called a mahamri – very lightly sweet, fluffy and chewy, the perfect accompaniment for a cup of Kenyan coffee. Photos to come next week!
  • Oh, and I also discovered that churros (or chi-chis, as they are known in Luxembourg) are vegan! I can’t believe I have been missing out on them all these years! Though that is probably a good thing…

Other highlights this week

  • I often enter competitions online, but never really expect to win anything… So I was astounded to find out one morning that I won a pair of Eco Vegan Shoes in a competition on Teen VGN! I have requested the women’s black sandals as I have been looking for comfortable, practical, long-distance-friendly vegan sandals for years. Hopefully they will be perfect for Australia.
  • Getting back into BJJ! After an injury, a cold, and all the gym move fiasco, I hadn’t done any grappling in well over a month. It was great to get back on the mats, feeling stronger than ever after a few weeks of solid rehab and conditioning, though the joy was slightly dampened by some bitterness sent my way. However, just this morning Steph and I went to visit the Fight Team Impact dojo for an open mat session, where we spent two hours casually drilling some techniques and doing some live drills and technical sparring, followed by a bit of a chat with some of the guys there. It was a true reminder of why I love the sport and martial arts in general, and was just what I needed. Plus, a brilliant way to start the weekend!
  • The International Bazaar, of course… But as I said, more on that in the next couple of days!
  • In connection with the whole Luxembourg trip, the short encounters with so many people from home have been such intense emotional highs. From old friends I have always stayed in touch with, to newer friends whom I get closer to every day, and even new people I met and exchanged friendly words with, this weekend has shown me that there is so much more to human relationships than you experience day-to-day in London.
  • Before going to Luxembourg, I unexpectedly met Vanessa Almeida, author of the Essential Vegan cookbook:Vanessa AlmeidaIt was so nice to meet a cookbook author in person, and upon seeing her lovely book (and trying her gorgeous chocolate brownie!) I couldn’t resist buying a couple of copies. Plus, £2 from each purchase goes to charity, so I felt even more justified in treating myself. It is true that I rarely use actual cookbooks, but I do appreciate having them and supporting a fellow vegan. The recipes look great, easy and approachable by vegans and non-vegans alike, and I hope to try some of them out and report back soon.

I will have to round it up there, partly because I can’t think of much past this weekend of lovely Luxembourg adventures, and also because it’s so much harder to sit at a computer in this house for some reason.

For now, I shall leave you with this ridiculous photo of me trying to eat a churro whilst laughing (spoiler: it resulted in me choking on icing sugar… but it was so delicious):Claire eating churros

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend!