Nelson Bay + VWaV Ginger Macadamia Coconut Carrot Cake Recipe

So we’ve been hanging out in beautiful Nelson Bay for a couple of weeks now, staying with Billy’s grandparents. We have had to go into Sydney a couple of times to get to the hospital, but as the burn is healing well, I got the all clear the other day, and don’t have to go back again! Hallelujah! So now we can get our trip really kicking again, and we’re going to take off on Wednesday up the coast for some sightseeing and job searching. It’s really exciting to be on our way again, but there’s always a hint of sadness when we leave a place, particularly one where there’s been so much family (for Billy anyway).

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We’ve loved staying here, and have had beautiful weather for the most part, which has meant we got to have some fun in the sun. We borrowed some bikes off of B’s grandparents and went on a few rides around the bays and beaches here which was awesome. They are getting rid of one of their bikes, as they’re moving house, so we are going to lock it to the bullbars and take it with us, hopefully picking up another somewhere along the way. It’s awesome having bikes as we can just park the van somewhere and ride off, and cover a far greater distance than if we were walking. That being said, we have also been on a few walks, a favourite being up Mt. Tomaree. It was quite a short steep walk, with a well established pathway and stairs up to the top. Apparently people run up and down it for exercise, but that was a bit too keen for us. The views from the peak were just stunning!

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Mothers Day also passed while we were here, and I took the opportunity to make one of my favourite cakes for Billy’s Nan. This one comes to you from Vegan with a Vengeance, it’s the amazing Ginger-Macadamia-Coconut-Carrot Cake. Ideal for a special occasion (but also ideal for eating whenever you want to). In my experience, this cake never fails to please, no matter who the audience. It is just deeeeeelicious!! If you’ve never tried it before, do – trust me, it will seriously blow your mind!

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Ginger-Macadamia-Coconut-Carrot Cake with Coconut Icing

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups carrots, grated

Preheat oven to 180C and lightly grease two 8-inch round springform cake pans, or if you prefer, one 9×13-inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground spices.

In a separate large bowl, mix together the pineapple juice, oil, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in small batches and combine well with a hand mixer or strong fork. Fold in the macadamias, ginger, coconut, and carrots.

Divide the batter evenly between the two round pans, or spread in the rectangular pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes. Let it cool in the pans. Allow to cool, before icing between the layers and on top with the following recipe. If you used one pan, you can either cut the cake in two or just leave it as a single layer. The double tier makes it just that bit snazzier.
Coconut Icing

1/4 cup nuttelex or other vegan margarine
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Cream margarine until light and fluffy. Add the coconut milk and vanilla and combine. Add the confectioners sugar and mix until smooth. Add the coconut, mix to combine, and refrigerate until ready to use.

This usually makes enough icing to do the sides too, but I kind of like how it looks without. I also like to sprinkle more shredded coconut on top, just to make it look pretty and fluffy. Hope you enjoy it!

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Funky Pies

While in Sydney, we had the pleasure of eating at Funky Pies in Bondi. I had seen their pies stocked in the freezers of a few different health food shops, but was yet to try them. We actually ended up enjoying them so much when we popped through Sydney the first time that when we were back and vising the markets down at Bondi beach, it was the perfect excuse to eat there again!

Funky pies is a cosy little cafe, tucked off of the main street in Bondi, with awesome music and just a nice vibe in general. It only has about four tables – two inside and two out, but they also do take away. Not only do they offer pies, but also a variety of drinks, a small selection of sweets, and a few grocery items.

The first visit, in the absence of the famous ‘Funky Chunky’ pie, I went for the ‘Eezy Chick ‘n’ Cheezy’ pie – a combination of mock chicken chunks, broccoli, and mushroom in a cheezy sauce. Billy opted for the ‘Thai Spicy’ pie, which was also full of chickeny chunks, but with spinach and mushroom, in a mild Thai flavoured sauce. It wasn’t very spicy, as suggested, but still delicious. I wasn’t feeling super hungry, so I got the pie on its own for around $6, but for $10 you can add either salad and potato salad, or mashed potato, peas and gravy (which Billy couldn’t go past). I forgot to take snaps on our first visit, which was more incentive to go back the second time.

We managed to arrive earlier next time, which allowed us to secure the classic Funky Chunky pie. We got one of these each, as neither of us felt willing to share. This is your classic meat and potato pie substitute, so if you’re into that kind of thing this is great. It took me a while to get into ‘meaty’ veg stuff, as I never really liked meat to begin with. However, now that I can separate it from the actual idea of being meat (since it’s not!)  I can enjoy the textural experience for what it is – delicious vegan food! So in saying that, these pies were amazing! Chunky shitake mushroom pieces with thick gravy and a bit of mashed potato thrown in, inside the crispiest, flakiest pastry…just delicious! A nice fresh salad with balsamic dressing and a couple of mouthfuls of potato salad were just perfect to go alongside. Billy managed to make his disappear like magic and I caught him eyeing off mine, but there was no way he was getting any of this bad boy.

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Funky Pies
144-148 Glenayr Ave
Bondi NSW
Weekdays – 7am – 8.30pm
Weekends – 11am – 8.30pm