Celebrating Yi Peng & Loi Krathong weekend in Chiang Mai.

DSC_0725.jpg

I was on a rush to get up to Chiang Mai the week before last, after realising I had miscalculated the dates for the Yi Peng and Loi Krathong celebrations. My plans on slowly curing my jet lag would have to wait! So back in the air I went on the Thursday, as all ground-bound transportation was fully booked. Luckily mine was not one of the 78 (!!!) that got cancelled due to the amount of hot air lanterns being sent up to the skies.

DSC_0902.jpg

In brief the siamese festival of light Loi Krathong, which roughly translates as "to float a basket", is celebrated on the 12th full moon according to the traditional Thai lunar calendar. People create baskets with a stem from the banana tree, decorate it with flowers and lit candles (I made one too!), to then send it off along the river. This is a way to thank the Water Goddess for her supply the past year, and also marks the end of rainy season.

In Chiang Mai the fun does not end there, as Loi Krathong coincides with Yi Peng - which is celebrated on the 2nd full moon of the Lanna lunar calendar. The sky lanterns, made out of thin rice paper over a bamboo frame, being sent up to the air are said to end a person's misfortune - particularly if it disappears from view before the light goes out. This is also the reason behind all the colourful rice paper lamps that people put up to decorate their gardens, houses, and in Chiang Mai's case, entire city.

DSC_0853.jpg

All in all, with these two, you have a recipe for an epic light fest inferno! (Literally, as the hot air balloons go off everywhere! Crashing into buses, trees, electricity wires!!!)

Now there is an actual event for Yi Peng to watch the lanters be sent off into the skies. It is held behind the Maejo University, about half an hour drive from the old town. However, the tickets for this quickly sell out and transporting yourself there can be rather a troublesome affair; even with your own means of transportation as you are not likely to find a parking spot within the near kilometres (unless you arrive like way-way ahead). Instead, Mae Ping River (near of the Night Bazaar) is where the action is at for us common mortals. People use the bridges to wave of their lanterns, and the river shore to send off their krathongs.

DSC_1064.jpg

On the Saturday, there was also a carnival going through town. The whole thing felt a bit like a crossover of a Baz Luhrman edit and a Swedish Luciatåg. In a nice way.

DSC_1075.jpg

The Best Hassle-Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies.

DSC_0470.jpg

Every foodie blog deserves a recipe for the 8th wonder of the world -- aka Chocolate Chip Cookies. This is my go-to recipe that I keep returning to, brought to you by Vegoteket, as it contains no extravaganza such as tapioca starch, store bought-egg replacer or even the opening of a chickpea can - just regular in-pantry ingredients, with perfect results!

Hazelnuts are optional (heaps of chocolate chips mandatory!) but why would you deny yourself the nutella like kind of divine they add to the mixture after a quick roast in the oven?

The Best Hassle-Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies.

  1. Set oven to 175c.
  2. Whisk sugar, oil, oat milk and corn starch together until smooth paste.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients, except for chocolate chips and nuts.
  4. Pour half the dry mixture into the wet; combine until no lumps remain. Add in the remaining.
  5. Fold in chocolate chops and hazelnuts.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes in the middle of the oven.
  • 1½ dl  (120 g) brown sugar
  • 1,25 dl (115 g) rapeseed oil
  • ½ dl (50 g) oat milk
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp bicarb soda
  • 3,5 dl (210 g) wheat flour
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • 100 g chocolate chips
  • 50 g hazelnuts (opt)

More sweet things to try:

Like it? Pin it!

chocolate chips.jpg

How to make a Vegan Dreamcatcher.

DSC_0560.jpg

I have had a quest to make a dreamcatcher myself for quite some time, and so last year in turn for my niece's 2nd birthday - I finally got around to it. It is great fun and the outcome is always very original; but there are however some components of this hand craft that are not entirely vegan friendly. This is how you can make a vegan dream catcher to hang over your bed.

What do you mean a 'vegan' dreamcatcher?

Skip the feathers.
The colourful feathers that you find in store are almost never synthetic (and normally lacks labelling too!). More likely they have been stripped from the animal whilst still alive, or they are the residue of a slaughtering. Not a very decorative thing to have in your bed room!

No leather/suede cord.
If so, make sure that what you use is synthetic. Unlike with feathers, this is normally labelled in the shops or your shop assistant will know.

Bee's free waxed cord
To make the net, it normally helps to use a stickier thread for beginners to keep your web in place. But do double check that it is not from beeswax.

What to use instead?

Instead of feathers, use things such as colourful strips (perhaps yarn made from an old t-shirt?) or laced ribbons. For the first one I ever made I decorated with paper thin leaves in gold and silver. For the cord surrounding the circle of the dreamcatcher, you can again use t-shirt yarn. Or hemp thread. Which can also be used to weave the net.


Now let's get started!

What you will need:

  • a large ring, such as the inner one from an embrodiery hoop
  • vegan suede, or something else to wrap around the hoop
  • hemp thread for weaving
  • a large needle
  • colourful ribbons/fabric strips (instead of feathers)
  • beads (optional)
  • a pair of scissors

Step 1.
Wrap your hoop with vegan suede or laced ribbon, as I did, made from an old curtain.
Step 2.
Measure circa 3 meters of the thread you are using to weave around a small piece of carton - this is optional but just makes it easier to handle at first. 3 metres might seem like a lot, but rather too much than having to change mid-way.
Step 3.
Tie a double-knot where you wish to being weaving.

Step 4.
About 4-5 centimeters away, wrap your thread over the hoop and then back in through the hole that is created. Adjust to create a knot.
Step 5.
Keep doing this until you have reached a full circle.

Step 6.
For the second layer, use the same technique but this time aiming to jiggle the knot into the middle of the line that you have just created. Then simply repeat this for all layers. At some stage you might want to swap to using a needle, as the holes will be smaller and closer between, and it also helps if you wish to add beads to your net.
 

Step 7.
Once you reach the center - use a bead to attach the thread in place. This also helps to hide the knots.
Step 8.
Decoration time. I used t-shirt yarn that I folded double to tie around the lower part of the hoop.


Make sure to subscribe to the blog via bloglovin, facebook or instagram to never miss a post!

More things to make at home:

Like it? Pin it!

vegan dream catcher.jpg

Autumny Mushroom & Kale Pasta.

I took a course on edible mushrooms with my mum a weekend back in September. After three hours in a classroom we got sent out into the forest to try out our fresh skills. As it turned out we were quite the talents... at picking poisonous ones. Well, luckily there is always the supermarket as a final resort (time is money right?) so we did end up eating some lovely pasta either way.

DSC_0361.jpg
DSC_0373.jpg

Pasta with Kale & Mushroom

  1. Bring the water for the pasta to a boil.
  2. In a dry skillet, roast a handful (or more while you're at it) sunflower kernels. Once roasted, remove from pan.
  3. Sauté onion, garlic, mushroom, lemon zest, herbs de provence and kale together in vegan butter for a few minutes.
  4. Once the mushrooms are shiny, add the oat fraiche and chanterelle bouillon ---. Let simmer while pasta is boiling. Save a few tbsp of the pasta water before you drain it, to thin the sauce.
  5. Toss everything together with the vegan parmesan, some sliced sundried tomatoes and the roasted sunflower kernels. Finish of with salt and pepper!
  • 1 red onion
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • pasta
  • oat fraiche or similar
  • sliced mushrooms, like champignons or chantarelles
  • fresh kale
  • a dash of chanterelle stock (or opt for regular vegetable bouillon)
  • half lemon, juice of + zest
  • ½ tbsp herbes de provence
  • a pinch or two red chilli flakes
  • salt and pepper
    For serving: Vegan parmesan, roasted sunflower kernels and sundried tomato
DSC_0388.jpg

Never miss a post! Make sure to follow the blog on instagram, bloglovin' or facebook.

22 useful notes for Japan first-timers.

japan first time.jpg
 

Visiting a country as enticing and enchanting as Japan for the first time might also be just a little bit intimidating. Myself, I am not normally one for excess research before visiting a new country but I did enjoy myself reading posts alike this one before I visited Japan earlier this year. Alas, I decided to create one myself.

Here are 22 useful tips in bullet point style on common mannerisms, ways to save some pennies along with some simple #funfacts!

Remember to follow the blog via Instagram, Facebook or Bloglovin' to not miss out on any fun!

22 useful tips for your first time visit to Japan

  • Don't be afraid to ask for help
    But make sure to do it the right way, i.e. by getting to the point, rather than initialising the conversation by the, rather intimidating, question of "Do you speak English?" as this might scare them off.
     
  • You will want a Japanese toilet at home
    While central heating mightn't be a general thing if you are staying in an airbnb or similar; the toilet seat is likely to be warm. That is how I realised just how unpleasant it is to be cold, only to sit down on an even colder toilet seat. And then I'm not even mentioning the fact that they clean themselves!
     
  • ... and some hand sanitizer
    Although public restrooms are often plentiful, they tend to lack essentials like hand soap and paper towels to dry yourself. Carry a travel size tub of hand sanitiser to repell germs and/or some paper tissue to dry.
  • Cash is Queen
    Although Japan is a highly futuristic destination in many ways - a card reader is not always to be found. This particularly applies outside of the cities, but even in Downtown Tokyo this can be the case. As a rule of thumb, always carry at least JPY1'000 with you.
     
  • Water is safe to drink
    Be it bottled or from a public fountain, the Japanese water is safe to drink.
     
  • Keep a plastic bag at hand
    There are hardly ever any bins to be found in the streets (which is surprising when you think about how clean the streets are!); so if you, like me, enjoy a few snacks throughout the day - carrying a small plastic bag to store your rubbish in is a good idea, until you next find a bin.
DSC_0535.jpg
  • Cross for the check
    When you are ready to pay at a restaurant, simply cross your index fingers to form an X and your waiter will bring you your bill.
     
  • Trains are ALWAYS on time
    Unlike Europe, or god forbid, South East Asia; if a train states to leave at 4:16 it will leave at 4:16 and not "some time around".
     
  • Buy your souvenirs at Dollar Stores
    ... rather than right outside said sightseeing spot. It is no neuroscience to figure out that they are well overpriced! Plus you can find some really quirky fun items in these Dollar Stores.
     
  • ATM's ARE widely available
    ... Despite a reputation suggesting otherwise. There is normally one found in 7-Eleven and they are pretty much everywhere!
  • Bring a pair of slip on shoes
    Since you are required to remove your shoes before entering a home, temple and most hotels (commonly to be replaced by provided slippers), it is a good idea to be able to do so quickly by packing a pair of shoes you can easily slip in and out of.
     
  • Mobile WiFi is a life saver
    It is difficult enough to try and navigate yourself; getting a pocket wifi is a life saver when it comes to using the GPS - and browsing HappyCow for us veggies...
     
  • Public Transport stops at midnight
    So if you plan on a night out/miss the last connection - taxi is your last option. If you don't feel like paying for one, you can always get a booth at a Manga Kissa for a few hours of slumber... or comic book reading!
DSC_0418.jpg
  • There is no tipping-culture
    Quite the contrary, tipping is considered rude! Most likely some poor waiter will think you simply lost the intended tip and make a run to try and catch up with you.
     
  • Be respectful on public transport
    Japan's public transfer system is like no other! A lot of people see their commute as a time to catch up on some reading or sleep. Fellow passengers respect each other by keeping their phones on silent, refrain from excess talking and if they do take a call, they do so between carriages as to not disturb.
     
  • Japan is a non-smokers paradise
    Smoking is generally not allowed in the streets, instead you will have to find an allocated smoking area. Yes, really!
  • Japan is a very safe place
    People leave their doors unlocked, despite living in the midst of an urban jungle (unlike Swedes who look the door but then leave the key in a boot just next to it...). They leave their wallets and phones to reserve tables when in cafés, and people fall asleep on the subway with bags wide open in their laps.
     
  • Protective masks are not what you think they are for!
    Contrary for common belief, the infamous mouth covers are not because people are afraid of catching a cold - rather the opposite! The japanese normally wear them when they themselves are feeling seedy and it is to protect spreading the germ on to others. Again, goes to show the humbleness of these people!
DSC_0263.jpg
  • ... But also look down!
    Another decorative part of japanese cities are the manhole covers in the streets. These are normally to go in style with the area you find yourself in; like the Ueno Park has ones with cherry blossoms and Nara ones with deers.
     
  • Platform indicators are amazing.
    How do you smoothly operate a population of 127 million? Well, clear instructions for one. From the moment you enter the airport to waiting at a train platform, there will be indicators marking where to stand, queue, etc! I miss this in Europe.

 

  • Look up!
    A lot of restaurants and shops are not located on the ground floor of a building (which isn't crazy when you think of all the skyscrapers in this country!) like us europeans might be used to. But if you find yourself at allocated address and said restaurant is not there, simply look up! It might be further up in the building.
     
  • Do not be afraid to strip off!
    If you find yourself in Japan you must, I beg of you, get yourself into an onsen. Don't miss out on this merely because the idea of bathing in the nude seems alien; just leave your self-consciousness at the door - because, as you are about to find out, no one really gives a damn!

Hope you found this post useful and don't forget to check out the Japan-category for more inspiration and information. Much love! x

Roasted Tomato Quiche.

DSC_0842.jpg

My mum actually veganised this recipe found via SVT the other week, and it was such a darn delight I wanted to try and make myself - my inability to follow recipes of course told me to throw in some silken tofu, sunflower kernels and (the mandatory) nutritional yeast in there too but that is what cooking should be like, in my humble opinion!

Now, this recipe does steal a bit of time when it comes to the first step of roasting the tomatoes, but it is well worth while as this makes them so much more flavourful.

DSC_0838.jpg

Roasted Tomato Quiche

  1. Set oven to 150°C.
  2. Slice each tomato in 3. Roast for 1,5hrs; then increase oven temperature to 225°C.
  3. Combine pie crust ingredients in food processor, then press out in oven proof dish. Leave to cool in fridge until the tomatoes are finished roasting; then bake for 12-15 minutes; covered with aluminium foil at the bottom shelf of the oven.
  4. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add crumbled tofu, nutritional yeast, fresh basil and sunflower kernels.
  5. Mix corn starch and grated cheese in a seperate bowl.
  6. Layer the fillings in your pre-baked pie crust; starting with the tofu/onion, then cheese mix and then a layer of roasted tomatoes with a generous sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper. Repeat with the remaining fillings.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes.
  • 1 kilo (ca) tomatoes
  • 3 dl (1,2 cup) flour - like half wheat, half rye
  • 125 grams dairy free butter
  • 2 tbsp water
  • pinch of salt
     
  • 1 block (à 349 grams) silken tofu
  • 2 red onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • a handful sunflower kernels
  • 100 grams vegan cheese
  • 1½ tbsp corn starch
  • black pepper + sea salt to taste
  • a pot of fresh basil

Follow the blog via Facebook, Instagram or Bloglovin'.

Like it? Pin it!

Untitled-1.jpg

8 ideas for budget friendly Food Photography Backdrops.

everyday items for food photography backgrounds.jpg

Props in Everyday Items

Now that my camera and I have been hovering in awkward positions over plates of food balanced on the windowsill on a regular basis for well over a year - I have started to "up my repertoire" of props to use as photography backgrounds. These I have found in everyday items  from around the house; in anything from parchment paper to garden chairs. In today's post I thought I would share some of these ideas with you.

These are the 7 items that I use regularly, sometimes combined:


Distressed oven tray

In my last Aberdeen apartment I had plentiful of these gems. This is probably my favourite one to use. I would say, the more stained and rusty - the better! A nice way to add some texture and character to your photos. Actual clean, mint-condition ones of course also do the trick for a plain dark backdrop!

Brown Paper Bags

One of the food scrap bags or perhaps the one you used to pick up mushrooms from the store? Paper bags are queen because of the warm natural colour that can be very complementful to a lot of ingredients and the fact that they are disposable (so you can make it real messy!). If you want some extra texture, crumble it before flattening it out again.

Plywood and furniture paint

After painting my kitchen and some of its chairs, I had some left over blues and pink that I used on a scrappy plywood shelf. So basically free! However you can purchase a small tub of furniture paint for under a tenner that should suffice if you want to make your own. These make great flat lays and as an extra bonus, they are easy to just hide behind the sofa or similar between uses.

Kitchen Towels

Kitchen towlels! You probably already have a few. These can either be flattened out as the entire background or just an element of "liveliness"; like wrapping it and making it go diagonally across the frame.

Parchment Paper

A nice, neutral background. Same rules apply to this as with the brown paper bags really; can be used flat or crumbled and is easily wiped off to use again!

Coloured craft paper

This is an easy and inexpensive way of adding vibrant colours. Of course, due to its limited size this will work mainly for close-ups and you must be careful not to spill as that will ruin the paper.

Wooden (Cutting) Boards

Wooden boards, in particular cutting ones, add a very earthy authentic feel to the photos. The scratch marks etc can also add some nice texture to a photo.

Bonus: look around!

I took this photo using the back of a painting for surface, then a foldable garden chair for background as I thought it had a nice mahogany colour. If you look around your living space, I am sure you will find plenty of imaginative items to be used as food photography backdrops!


Now, what is your go-to background for photographing still life/food? Let me know in the comments below!

Netflix & Chilli

DSC_0831.jpg

After reading a facebook thread on how to make the best chilli sin carne, I got really excited to try the tricks out myself... because who can say no to a warming bowl of chilli in these darkening times? Especially when the left-overs can be made into a big ol'nacho plate!

Chilli sin Carne

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 2 dl (~1 cup) red lentils
  • fresh coriander
  • 1 can sweet corn

For serving:

  • jasmine rice
  • lime wedges
  • fresh coriander
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 chilli fruit
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2-3 carrots
  • spices of your liking: such as cayenne, thyme, black pepper, paprika, salt
     
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Saute onions, bell peppers, chilli, garlic and carrots on medium heat for a few minutes, until softened.
  2. Add spices and give a stir, before adding the crushed tomatoes, lime zest, vegetable stock and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer before adding the rinsed beans and lentils. Let simmer for ~25 mins, adding the corn and coriander in the last 5.
  3. For serving, sprinkle generously with chopped fresh coriander and lime juice. Eat hot with rice!

Follow the blog via bloglovin', facebook or instagram.

Do you have any Netflix dramas worth watching whilst enjoying a bowl of chilli?


My current faves are Gypsy and (guilty pleasure, I never get too old for teen dramas it seems!) Riverdale.

Northern Scotland Coast-to-Coast: A 5 Day Itinerary.

scotland coast to coast itinerary.jpg

So many castles, so little time...

What better place for a road trip than one filled with breathtaking mountainscapes, crumbling castles and men in checkered skirts? One thing is for sure, you will never be bored driving through Scotland. A destination I find particularly great for car hopping as the distances between sights are so short (at least from a northern Swede's point of view!).

This 5 day itinerary goes above and beyond the bigger cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow; instead we will start and finish in Granite City aka Aberdeen. It includes a distillery tour, the possibility to see Nessie and surveying the tracks of the Hogwarts Express; along with recommendations for hostels and hikes. Pack up and let's go!

Aberdeen, Strathisla Distillery and Celtic Live Music in Inverness

Day 1

Aberdeen
Start the day off with breakfast at Granite City gem Foodstory Cafe (13-15 Thistle St). Their doors open at 8am and the interiors consisting of odd chairs and upcycled tabletops set the perfect scene for a calm morning before hitting the road.

Strathisla Distillery (Keith)
Take the A96 heading north-west towards Keith and the Strathisla Distillery (75 mins). Strathisla is one of the oldest still operating distilleries in Scotland and their two wooden pagodas really sets the atmosphere. A guided tour starts at £7.50pp and takes you around the place, the refinement from barley to bottled whiskey and includes a tasting at the end. (You can purchase a driver's kit to try later if you are behind the wheel!)

Inverness
Continue along A96 towards the Highland Capital of Inverness (82 mins). Take a walk along the river and enjoy the view of Inverness Castle around sunset. The city houses several cosy wee pubs well worth a visit. We had dinner at the Castle Tavern (1 View Pl) just by the castle, continued on to what is considered a hidden gem The Market Bar (32 Church St) full of wooden interiors, a small stage for live music and a jukebox(!). Just across the street you will find Hootananny (67 Church Street) that holds live sessions of traditional music every night of the week.

Accommodation: We stayed at the Highland Backpackers (24 Rose St), centrally located right next to the bus station. Dorm style rooms start at £10pp/night.


The castle upon three lochs, the fairy pools and a round glasshouse

Day 2

Eilean Donan Castle
Equipped with a big Take Away-coffee, head south along river Ness towards Fort Augustus. The quickest, and also scenic, route is along A82 (53 mins). We drove on the "wrong side" of the loch, alongthe smaller B862, but were pretty happy with that detour as we passed small graveyards, fairy tale-like forests and fishing boats (no water monsters in sight though!).
From Fort Augustus, get on road A882 (which will turn into A82 as you continue west) until you reach Eilean Donan Castle. This is one of the most photographed castles in the world, as it stands beautifully on a small tidal islands on the meeting point of three lochs - Duich, Long and Alsh. You might also recognise it from the 2012 Bond film Skyfall, among others. A visit to the castle grounds starts at £7.50pp, for up-to-date opening hours check the website.

The Fairy Pools (Glenbrittle)
From the Castle, get back on A87 to reach the Isle of Skye. Crossing the Skye bridge, as it loops both horisontally and verstically, is an experience on its own! The bridge was built in 1992 and since a couple of years it is toll-free to cross.
Our first Skye-stop was a visit to the Fairy Pools in Glenbrittle. Turn of A87 in Sligachan, continuing to Glenbrittle and then follow the signs.  There is an allocated parking lot, but due to the crowds we parked along the steep road. From the car park, you continue down a muddy path down the glen to reach the crystal blue water pools. Bring your swimsuit if you are feeling frisky! To reach the pools and return back to the car park takes about 40 minutes.

Accommodation: We stayed at family-run Skyewalker Hostel which was a darn delight. Not only is it built on a pun-theme, it is also well-equipped, tidy, has good showers and above all - a giant round glass house out in the garden.) Dorm style rooms start at £17pp/night.
From Glenbrittle to Portnalong where it is located takes about half an hour.


Black sand beaches and a large pinnacle

Day 3

Portree
We started the morning with coffee in Portree (35 min drive along A87) which is the main city of Skye. Afterwards we took a stroll around the many colourful buildings and picked some wild blackberries down by the harbour.

The Old Man of Storr
Another 15 minutes north along A87 lies the Old Man of Storr - a large pinnacle rock that can been seen from miles around. To reach the Old Man itself is about a 3.8km hike that will take around 75 minutes, there and back to the car park. We did not walk all the way to the top, but the hill offered some spectacular views either way.

Dunvegan
The quickest route from the pinnacle to Dunvegan is to drive back to Portree and turn (45 minutes). We chose to detour the entire isle along A855 - which I recommend to anyone who enjoys watching sheep. This road will eventually turn into A87 where you change to A850 that will take you to west coast village Dunvegan (95 mins). Dunvegan is located down a hill, with some artisan coffee and artist studios.

Talisker Bay
From Dunvegan we continued to Carbost (30 mins) where the Talisker Distillery is located. We had a peek at the shop before driving on to Talisker Bay (16 mins). From the car park, it takes about 20 minutes to walk to the beach itself. You will pass by a private house and sheep will be grazing freely, so be respectful and do not leave any rubbish behind. The beach dunes themselves are super cool, I have actually never seen black sand?!

We had dinner at the cosy Old Inn in Carbost (that actually had a vegan curry!... Which I downed in five seconds - starving after a day full of hiking in the fresh air.) before returning back to the SkyeWalker Hostel.


the hogwarts express and the most beautifully located church in scotland

Day 4 - lucikly you got hiking yesterday, as day four is the most driving-dense of the itinerary

The Armadale - Mallaig Ferry
Rather than leaving Skye the same way we arrived, we wanted to leave the old-fashioned way - by ferry boat! We drove from the hostel to departure point Armadale along A87, then turning off to A851 just after Harrapool (66 mins). Do call to book a slot in advance though, or there is a chance you will have to do a detour back to the bridge to reach mainland. We were only lucky a bus did a no-show, so we got to squeeze in.
The ferry takes you between Armadale and Mallaig (25 mins) and a single trip costs £9.40 per car, along with an extra £2.50 per driver/passenger. Check time tables and up to date pricing on their website.

The Glenfinnan Viaduct and the Church of St Mary & St Finnan
This one is for all you fellow Harry Potter fans! The Glenfinnan viaduct which is featured to carry the Hogwarts Express in several of the films (it is also printed on the back of the Scottish £10 notes!). From Mallaig, take the A830 to Glenfinnan (38 mins) then follow local signs to get to the viaduct view point.

By coincidence, we crossed the Church of St Mary & St Finnan which is well worth a visit. A beautiful Gothic style catholic church that stands overlooking Loch Shiel. Probably making it one of the most scenicly placed churches in all of Scotland!

Braemar
Continue along A830 to Fort William (30 mins) - a larger settlement where it might a good idea to stock up on some more food. If you are good on time, it is only another half hour drive to reach picturesque Glencoe from here. Driving around Kinlochleven and back to Fort William is done in about 1hr20.
From Fort William, continue north east along A86, turning right in Laggan to reach A9 via road A889. From Pitlochry take A924 to Kirkmichael, changing to B950 to reach The Old Military Road A93 that will take you to Braemar (170 mins drive from Fort William). Phew - did you get all that?

Accommodation: Stay at the Braemar Youth Hostel (21 Glenshee Rd)that offer dorm style rooms from £15pp/night.


... Back to the east coast

Day 5

Craigendarroch Hill (Ballater)
Time to get hiking again! After breakfast, make your way to Ballater along A93 (25 mins). This wee but steep hike starts behinds the Old Railway Station in central Ballater, where you continue along the old church (that is now a hotel) turning right onto a footpath that will lead you up to a magnificent view amongst the oak trees.

Stonehaven
Back in the car, continue along A93, turning right onto A957 in Crathes towards Stonehaven (66 mins). Drive out to see the ruins of Dunnottar Castle, admission fees from £7pp, of or just go for an ice-cream at infamous Aunty Betty's (The Promenade) - the latest I heard, they do vegan ice cream too!

Aberdeen
Head back to Aberdeen on A90 (35 mins) to return the car. Go all out on a typically Scottish meal. At Howies (50 Chapel St) they do a delicious Vegetarian Haggis, Neeps & Tatties that is in fact vegan. After dinner, head to the basement of The Tippling House (4 Belmont St) for a relaxing drink - reminiscing over the past days around beautiful Scotland.
For more ideas on things to do in Aberdeen, have a look at: Granite City Gems.


Have you visited Scotland? Do you have any top tips on sights to see and routes to drive? Feel free to share below! x

photo diary entries from the trip for inspiration:

Like it? Pin it!

scotland coast to coast.jpg

 

 

Rustic Root-a-touille | Root vegetable Ratatouille with crusty garlic bread.

DSC_0873.jpg

I recently invested in a new external hard drive as my computer is clogging up with food photos. Whilst in the process of sorting and moving these, I found a vegan take on a recipe inspired from yes, more please! that I meant to post for #MånadensGröna some time late last year on the theme of Root Vegetables.
I made a Ratatouille but using swedes, beets and potatoes rather than "the regulars", but I never posted it as I was not very pleased with the final photos.

Well, one year later I have once again cooked up a Root-atouille (it was just as tasty as I remembered, a very rustic meal - particularly served with some crusty garlic bread!) and one of the original photos will get its 15 minute of fame.

DSC_0015.jpg

Root-a-touille with crusty garlic bread.

  • 1 can of tomato
  • 1 brown onion
  • some garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp herbs the provence
  • 1 spring rosemary or thyme
  • salt, pepper
     
  • 2-3 tbsp dairy free butter
  • vegan "parmesan" (opt.)
  • 1 swede
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 zucchini or aubergine
  • 2-3 potatoes
  • 2-3 beetroots

 

  1. Set oven to 200C.
  2. Slice the veggies thinly. If you own a mandolin this is the perfect opportunity to put it to use.
  3. Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add herbs and the canned tomato and let simmer for a while.
  4. Pour tomato sauce in an oven-proof dish. Start stacking the root veggies in alternating patterns until you have made your way around the dish.
    Finally, brush with melted dairy free butter and some cashew parmesan.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, covering the dish with aluminium foil for the first 15.
  6. Serve hot with some crusty garlic bread.
DSC_0860.jpg
DSC_0876.jpg

Let's stay together! Follow the blog on facebook, instagram or bloglovin'.