Sunday, 19 October 2014

How to Veganise your Bathroom without Breaking the Bank

The secret is to buy in bulk!
 This month's how-to is not about cooking, for a change; we wanted to share with you our game-changing life hack for buying vegan bodycare products. We were delighted to find that Superdrug stocks loads of vegan products which are cheap but maybe not as natural or eco-friendly as their more expensive counterparts. Plus it was inconvenient to keep going there every time we ran low on stuff. Here's what we now do instead:

1: Save old shampoo bottles like the one on the right; it has a wide top for refilling and holds 400ml of products. You can get every last bit out, too.

2: Buy your shampoo/ shower gel/ conditioner/ handwash in 5l amounts. We got ours from Suma. We also found the bodywash does very nicely as shampoo or handwash too, so we just got bodywash plus conditioner. 

3: Clean your old bottles, remove the labels (you may need white spirit) and label them with the new contents. Paper labels written in permanent marker with sellotape on top should do the trick. You can now save money and pollution-causing plastic while enjoying good quality products that- literally- won't cost the Earth. This hack also works for your washing up liquid (we buy Bio-D as the Ecover one is not vegan.)

Do you have any money and environment-saving household tips?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Pineapple Coconut Dubwise Cake for Coronation Day - no cane sugar

All ready for the Coronation Day celebrations on November 2nd...

A closer look at the cake

This cake was actually inspired by a musical genre; let me explain: we love dub music, which is basically  reggae remixes, usually with the bassline emphasised and the vocals taken out, either partially or completely. How does this relate to a cake recipe? Well I made remix of our standard cake recipe, with some additions to change the flavour and texture and the vanilla taken out.The pineapple and coconut are there to give the cake a Caribbean flavour. Oh, and I must also mention the coconut palm sugar, which adds a caramelly touch. The cake is moist and sticky.
Then I thought it would be a nice gesture to dedicate this recipe to the One Dub crew, whose sound system events in Birmingham have uplifted us and caused us to dance all night many a time. The next event is on Coronation Day, an important celebration in the Rastafarian faith which marks the coronation of  Ethiopian King HIM Haile Sellassie I and Empress Menen on 2nd November 1930. Maybe I'll make a very big cake like this and take it along...

45 self-raising flour
75g desiccated coconut
4 tabs baking powder
2 tabs ground flax seeds (omit if you want a lighter cake- I added them for the omegas)
200g diced fresh pineapple
150ml coconut oil
400ml soya milk
100g coconut sugar
100ml agave nectar
plus extra agave, coconut sugar and desiccated coconut for sprinkling

  • In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients except the pineapple together.
  • Melt the coconut oil and whisk in the agave and soya milk.
  • Beat the wet ingredients into the dry mix and stir in the pineapple last.
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 180C for about half an hour (use the skewer test).
  • While still warm, brush with the extra agave and sprinkle with the extra coconut sugar and desiccated coconut.
  • This cake makes a lovely pudding when warm, and a gooey, flavoursome cake when cold.

If you could invent a recipe that sums up your favourite music or type of music, what would it be?