Attendees at my 6th pop-up last October will no doubt remember Dawn and her delicious, freshly made sugarcane juice. Formerly called Guarapo, The Cane Press was founded by Dawn to bring this sweet + unique taste of the tropics to the UK.
Earlier this year, she secured a permanent spot in Peckham, and so I took a wander down on Saturday for a surprise visit and what turned out to be a fantastic afternoon of learning a bit more about sugarcane, sipping on some refreshing cane/lime/lemon/chia juice, and even getting a mini guided tour of the (pretty cool and funky) area.
Enjoy the little vid I put together, but more importantly, get yourself down to Peckham and support this lovely lady :)
Where to find The Cane Press: 125a Rye Lane, Peckham, London.
Towards the end of last year, I received an enthusiastic email from a manager at Airbnb who'd come across my blog through a brief feature on the Londonist website. In the email was an invitation to check out the beta version of Airbnb's new 'Experiences' feature on their app.
Airbnb 'Experiences' (launched officially in mid-November) are all about giving travellers the opportunity to get a taste of local culture and try something unique during their time in a particular city. So far the project has been launched in 12 cities, including London, Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo, Cape Town and Seoul, to name a few. Within these cities, hosts - made up of individuals from various creative walks of life - design and lead bespoke experiences that are immersive, memorable and a little off the beaten track. This is why you'll get anything from pottery masterclasses to a tour of London's grime scene to food tastings.
I was instantly interested in the project and it didn't take much to convince me to sign up as a host. What followed was a month or two of working with the team virtually to build a profile on the app. The project got real when we had a photoshoot during the 6th instalment of The Vegan Nigerian Pop-Up Restaurant. The promotional shots and video footage went towards spicing up the app profile, providing a general overview of what guests can expect.
There are many similarities between the experience I'll be offering and the pop-ups I've hosted so far. Just a bit more amped up. My Airbnb experience is called Relish Vegan Nigerian Cuisine, an intimate dining event for 4-10 guests at a time, which will play out over two hours and will be accentuated by specially curated Nigerian music and interactive discussions around vegan/Nigerian cuisine.
If you've followed my blog for a while, happen to live in another part of the world, and ever find yourself planning a trip to London, then you now have the option to see vegan Nigerian food brought to life. Simply look me up on the app and book a spot on one of the many evenings I've indicated on my event calendar.
For anyone wondering what this means for the future of my current pop-ups, the short answer is that I plan to continue, but will be hosting them less frequently. Rather than every month, I'll likely organise one once every 2-3 months. I see this as a positive and sensible step because it means I'll have more time to plan and put loads of careful thought into the running/execution of the pop-ups, which should hopefully make the events more enjoyable for guests in general. It means I can even start to plan towards one-off pop-ups in fresh locations around the world. To find out when the next one is, by the way, keep up with me on here by subscribing to the website (enter your email in the little 'Subscribe' box in the top right sidebar), as well as my social media channels: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
I look forward to sharing more with you along this journey and am extremely excited about what this opportunity means for the continued celebration of Nigerian AND vegan food.
Well, the other day at work, chocolate cookies were being passed around and I couldn't have any because they weren't vegan (cue violin music), and so I dashed home right bang in the middle of the work day with the resolve to make some. That's right... bolted straight for the door, tore through the nearest supermarket in a blind frenzy as I piled chocolate cookie ingredients into my shopping basket, and then locked myself away in the kitchen for hours on end until I had my precious, perfect vegan cookies in hand.
No. It wasn't that dramatic. I actually waited until the weekend. And the cookies only took about 25 minutes to make. And if you believed any of that for even a second, then shame on you. Vegans aren't that weird and unprofessional. Mostly.
I added chia seeds to this recipe because I happen to have a whole 500g sample pack of the stuff, which I got at the last vegan fair I attended. They need using up, and thankfully they add a nice crunch. Also, that jelly-like texture you get when you chew them long enough is quite something. As well as being extremely high in fibre, chia seeds are also a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. If you can get your hands on them, yay extra nutrients! If not, this recipe works just as well without.
Ingredients (makes 12)
- 1 cup plain or wholemeal or gluten-free flour
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup raw cane sugar
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 4 tbsp vegan margarine or solid coconut oil
- 1 cup chocolate chunks (i.e. dark chocolate chopped up into bits)
- 1/4 cup water
1. Place the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, chia seeds, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the vegan margarine or coconut oil and rub into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the chocolate chunks.
4. Add the water and combine the mixture to form a cookie dough. The water might seem really little at first, but keep mixing and the dough should come together.
5. Divide the cookie dough into 12 lumps and space these out on a lined baking tray. Flatten the cookies lightly with a fork (or with clean fingers) to form round cookie shapes. It's okay if they're a little rough around the edges...it adds to the whole rustic-homemade-cookie-look-thing.
6. Bake in a pre-heated oven, 180'C for 15 minutes. Once baked, leave to cool on the tray for about 10 minutes, then transfer onto a cooling rack for another 15 minutes. Enjoy!
It's been a minute since I've done a beauty product review. Let's get into it.
First off, a quick description of what I'm reviewing... Mashooq Deep Penetrating Oilis a versatile hair oil that has been used for many years by hairdressing professionals. It can be used as a deep conditioner; to protect against heat and chemicals; treat dry scalps, and repair brittle hair. It contains a blend of six natural oils, including coconut, sweet almond, olive, sunflower, palm and wheat germ. You'll be glad to know that it's vegan and free from parabens, preservatives and added colours.
Although I've read that this oil blend is suitable for all hair types, I am going to be discussing its effectiveness on curly/coily afro hair, for obvious reasons. For those who also rock their natural afro hair, I'm sure you'll agree that keeping our hair hydrated, shiny and nourished can sometimes be such a struggle. Especially when you're as lazy as I am when it comes to hair care! Seriously, I have so much respect for anyone who can spend longer than 20 minutes on their hair without wanting to punch a wall... Anyway, when I think of the insane number of hair products out there on the market promising to deliver on all these key areas, I feel mildly exhausted. I'm a simple girl and I like simple solutions. For example, when I discovered shea butter a few years ago, it very quickly became my single go-to hair product. Melt a bit in the microwave, massage through my hair and scalp... done! You can never go too wrong with nature, and for anyone who wants to cut back on chemical-laden products, I highly recommend turning to natural plant oils and butters.
It is for this reason that I was keen to give Mashooq hair oil a try, it being made up of six natural oils and all. The added bonus is that the product is cruelty-free (i.e. not tested on animals). I used it fairly consistently for a couple weeks, allowing me to get a full sense of how well it works.
At first, I considered using the oil as a pre-shampoo conditioner to rejuvenate my hair (this is what I've been told happens when you oil your hair before washing it), but the thought of going on to wash all those lovely oils down the drain didn't seem right, and so I used it AFTER washing, applying it to my still damp hair. The combination of the water and oil, and then allowing my hair to dry naturally, created wonderful results. My strands looked visibly shiny and I also experienced less flakiness on my scalp in the few days that followed. I have pretty thick hair, but I found I didn't need to use too much of the oil at a time (generally one capful).
There is a light, almost sweet scent to the oil which isn't unpleasant or overpowering. I imagine you can get away with adding a few drops of your favourite fragrance/essential oils to change things up a bit. Lavender maybe? Tea tree oil?
Another plus is that the oil didn't leave my hair feeling greasy, nor did it clog up my scalp. As the name suggests, the oil penetrates and gets absorbed easily.
I had a positive experience with the hair oil overall and think it is worth checking out. This particular product, along with a range of others, can be found on their official website mashooqhair.com. They come in travel size bottles, 100ml, 250ml, and large 500ml bottles, with a price range of £2.99 to £22.99.
You can also keep up with Mashooq on Twitter and Facebook for more tips on caring for your hair! ;)