Canberra often feels like something of a vegan wasteland- barely a dinner choice as far as the eye can see, seemingly none of your kind around for hours, and don’t even get me started on the availability of kale. But every now and then, something happens to make you realise that things aren’t so bad. The annual Living Green festival is that something.
We headed to the festival during last year’s Vegan MoFo too, and we were pretty thrilled to see that it’s only gotten bigger and better since then- maybe too big, as we spent a lot of time being stuck behind crowds of people trying to get something to eat. Despite the limited room to move, we had a great time and, more importantly, had some great food.
Chadwiko had been saving his appetite, so as soon as we walked in he headed straight for the volunteer-run cake stall for some peanut butter blondies and freshly-baked (still warm!) cinnamon donuts. I’ve made those blondies more than once before (and I was saving my appetite for something new!) so I didn’t partake, but the donuts were great- light, fluffy and with a crisp exterior, all without frying. The donuts on this plate weren’t our last for the day, and I’m definitely thinking about picking up one of the electric donut-makers that I saw the volunteers using (much to Chadwiko’s exasperation- we barely have room for all my miscellaneous kitchen appliances as it is).
We ended up getting to the festival later than planned (partly my fault- I had a VeganMoFo round-up to write this morning!) and were disappointed to arrive just as the Veganarchy stall was packing up. But on the bright side, it’s great to see local vegan businesses doing so well for themselves. I’ll definitely be checking out their stockists to get my fix soon!
I got my first sugar fix of the day elsewhere, with these lemon-raspberry and cookies and cream cake pops. I’m not actually that big on the frosting part of cupcakes, so cake pops are perfect for me. Not to mention that I’m a sucker for any food that comes on a stick. These were great, and definitely inspired me to try making cake pops again (I made them once, in my early baking days, with pretty average results- but I wasn’t great at a lot of things back then!).
There were a ton of savoury vegan options to offset the sugar-laden treats…
… But just like last year, we couldn’t pass up Ethiopian. I haven’t had Ethiopian food in a little while, and this made both Chadwiko and I remember how much we always enjoy it. I’ve promised to pull out my copy of Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food to cook up a feast once MoFo ends!
Not yet satisfied with how much we’d eaten, we picked up some of our favourite treats to take home from the Cruelty Free Shop‘s stall. Primal Strips for Chadwiko, and Jokerz bars for me. My other take-home purchase for the day was a copy of Please Don’t Feed the Bears. It’s a super fun read so far, but I’m keen for recipe recommendations from anyone who has the book- I don’t know where to start!
The day wasn’t entirely about eating ourselves stupid. We also managed to catch Leigh Drew‘s shortcrust pastry and bakewell tart cooking demo- or rather, to catch most of it, since the effects of all that sugar soon caught up with Chadwiko and he found himself teetering precariously on the edge of a sugar-high outburst of energy. It was great to finally meet Leigh after a little while knowing each other through recipe testing and other assorted realms of the internet.
But we couldn’t leave before grabbing another one of those donuts, plus a passionfruit melting moment and gingernut biscuit for the road.
By the time we got home, I was craving water and vegetables- surely that’s the sign of a (mostly) vegan festival done well. I can’t wait to see how next year will top this one!