la grotta gigante & birthday presents when you have no cash

grotta gigante - giant cave grotta gigante - giant cave grotta gigante - giant cave

Sunday we went to one of Trieste’s ‘famous’ tourist attractions, the Giant Cave. It isn’t the biggest cave in the world but it is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the biggest cave which tourists can visit. So it is the biggest one you will ever see, unless you are a speleologist. It is 100 metres high and around 130 metres wide. This requires walking down 500 stairs on the one side and bit of a wander near the bottom and a climb up 500 stairs on the other side so not for the rather unfit. The tour was lead by a specialist. There are lots of science centres in Trieste so I don’t think they have them in short supply.

A visit to the cave was part of Tim’s birthday present. His birthday was a few weeks back and though I wanted to give him a massive expensive present as a symbol of appreciation (isn’t that always the way) I just didn’t have the money. It isn’t a new idea but I made him a sort of mixed ‘box of adventures’. Inside was a notebook that I had got in trade for some photographs, some money for earphones that he was after (so he could have a soundtrack for his adventures) and some ‘adventure vouchers’. Using vouchers meant that I could spread the cost while still showing how much I care. Other vouchers include things like ‘a date night somewhere new’, ‘an adventurous read’, ‘prints of some instagram adventures’ as well as things that don’t cost money like going on a hike.

They key with this type of present is making sure you act on them. As the giver I would say it is my responsibility. Put the vouchers up on the fridge or somewhere you will see them so you will be reminded to use them and not just make it a crappy present.

Have you ever given vouchers for a birthday? Or would you? I’d love to hear your ideas

On a side note don’t you love the graphic for cave on the signs?

giant-cave-sign-mycreative

eat | cranberry chocolate biscuits

vegan cranberry and chocolate biscuits - mycreative I often bake something for presents as it is something that won’t crowd a person’s house with stuff, is generally well received (note  think carefully before giving to someone on diet) and requires some though and effort on my part.  Bonus: it is the best way to get around to baking without eating all the spoils yourself.

For my friend’s birthday this weekend I attempted to make these vegan shortbread from Love and Lemons.  Unfortunately, they didn’t come out much like shortbread but they still tasted pretty darn good.  I couldn’t find the suggested topping of pistachio nuts at the shop so went for a cranberry and chocolate combination which I think is always a winner, although the possibilities are endless.

Also, if you like making treats for valentine’s day this is a good alternative to a box of chocolates.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • ¼ cup vegan margarine
  • ¾ cup coconut oil
  • ¾ cup golden sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • handful of cranberries and vegan dark chocolate for the top

 

Method

  1. preheat oven to 180ºC
  2. combine the vanilla extract, margarine and oil.  It helps if the oil is softened already as it if it is lumpy it requires a lot more work .
  3. combine all the dry ingredients,
  4. Add the oil mix to the dry mix until thoroughly combined.  Get your hands stuck in  It has quite a crumbly texture and I didn’t get mine to make a ball (as per Love and Lemon’s instructions)
  5. Press into a grease and lined tray that has a lip.  Mine were quite thin, maybe a centimetre thick.
  6. Sprinkle toppings and press in slightly
  7. Cook for between 20 and 30 minutes (until browned). At this stage I was concerned. It looked kind of greasy and not particularly appetising to be honest.
  8. Let cool and cut.

 

Makes approximately 30 biscuits

Excuse the single picture of them in a jar. I was running late to the party and ate the leftovers before they made it to a pretty plate for a more styled picture.  Told you they were good.