Wednesday, 9 December 2009


Well. Blog, you have been neglected. I have been making the same old tired pasta and sauce meals for the last...long time. It all started with a cupcake disaster. To cut a long story very short, I made cupcakes and for whatever reason they came out tasting like egg. So gross was this, that I have not cooked since. Alas. But i'm going to try and do better, and I will post again once I have gotten out of this slump.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Vegan MOFO Post #11: In celebration of new cook books!

So, today's post was inspired by finding a vegan cookbook in a cut-price book shop on Charing X Road (the one which is a bookshop upstairs and a XXX shop downstairs). It's called 'The Ultimate Book of Vegan Cooking' - a pretty bold title.

The big pull for this book is the 'more than 750 full colour photographs' the book claims to have. Too many vegan cook books don't have photos, and I for one really enjoy looking at pictures of food. There are a few repeats, there are a few photos that dispite using fancy crockery, lighting, and camera FX still show food that looks stomach-turning. But the majority of the photos (of the food - there are some really dodgy ones of 'real life vegans'. Including a woman wearing head to to beige. And a beige bumbag.) are good and amazing and delicious.

There's a fair bit of nutrition information at the beginning, which would probably be useful if you are taking your first faltering steps into a vegan lifestyle, but for the rest of us...well. We've heard it all before. There's only so much vitamin B12 info I can reread and stay sane. There is also a page on why people go vegan, which is pretty weak in my opinion.

As for the recipes, there is a definite 'health food' feel to this book. Health food as an idea is not something I am particularly bothered about either way, but if you hate health food, this is probably not the book for you. If you are a health nut, this probably isn't the book for you either!
The recipes are, on the whole, interesting - Scooped Pear and Red Wine Sorbet, a Parsnip Cake, a few curries and a few stir frys, a few breakfast ideas. Somed of the nutritional information is listed below each recipe, which is kind of cool.

The book itself is massive - way over A4 size. It's big, and substantial, and very heavy.

I've got my first recipe in the oven at the moment, so I will give that a full review when it's done.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Vegan MOFO Post #10: In celebration of all things orange

This is a picture of the meal I just finished eating. I had my camera on the artsy black and white setting, so this picture kind of misses the point of this post.

This one, however, illustrates it nicely. Everything on my plate, pretty much, is bright orange!
I've got a jacket sweet potato, baked beans, grated raw carrot, and grated carrot and chopped bell pepper in a chilli spice seasoning. This was one hell of a meal.

I don't usually go in for alot of crazy modern ideas about food, like I will never do the Atkins Diet (how would you do that, anyway, as a vegan? Chug olive oil?), I do not believe that my blood type bears any relationship to my nutritional needs, and I do not believe that carbohydrates, salt, sugar, fat, or processed foods will kill you immediately the second you look at them. (not saying I am a fan of high fat, high sugar, processed-salt-carbs, but you know, everyhting in moderation). One such philosophy that I do see some merit in is the whole 'eat a rainbow' idea. Even though the name is so cheesey!

From what I have read, the thing that makes orange foods orange is alpha- and beta-carotene. When we eat orange foods, our body converts the alpha- and beta-carotene into vitamin A. One of the big jobs of vitamin A is to keep the liningd and coatings of our tissues strong. Think of it as a sort of polish, that makes it impossible for germs to get a good foothold! Orange foods tend to be full of vitamin C, selenium and zinc. Even better, orange foods tend to be very tasty.

Well, my lunch wa very tasty, and because I cooked the baked potato in the microwave, it was all done in under ten minutes. Bonus!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Vegan MOFO Post #9: In celebration of Pancakes!

Pancakes are one of the foods I thought I would really really miss when I went vegan. I didn't make them all that much, but my mum would cook them whenever I went home, and I felt sort of bereft when I gave them up in pursuit of veganizing. How wrong I was.

I was very excited when I found my first vegan pancake recipe. Now, I am not the kind of person to name names, so I will not be disclosing the name of the recipe book concerned here, but the pancakes were truly awful. I thought it was my fault, so I tried to make them again and again, without success. It was just a bad recipe.

Months went by. I still had not found an edible vegan pancake. Very sad.

Then my flatmate bought me VWAV for christmas. I have tried other recipes since that have been much better than that first pancake tragedy, but none compare to the VWAV pancakes. They are MONUMENTALLY AMAZING. No exaggeration.

Now, I make pancakes regularly, and I always use this recipe. Today was no exception.

I didn't want loads of pancakes, just a reasonable luncheon amount, so I made the batter in a teacup rather than a jug. Here is the mixture. I had no granulated sugar, so I used icing sugar instead, and just so you aren't in complete suspense, it worked perfectly. VWAV recipes are on the whole very very robust, which I appreciate because I hate measuring stuff.

Here is pancake numero uno right after I poured it into the pan. I love watching the bubbles come to the top of the pancake, it's mystical. Oh, I learned the hard way: never, ever, ever use those lo-cal sprays to fry pancakes on. Sure disaster. These I fried with lashings of Vitalite.

This is pancake numero uno shortly after being flipped. I flip pancakes with a fishslice rather than the jazzy way cuz I am a wuss.

And here is pancake numero uno covered in vitalite and agave nectar, waiting to be eaten. Note that I do not have time to mess about with forks, not when there are pancakes involved.
Pancake number two was d-formed beyond recognition and went from pan to digestive tract in about two seconds so it got no photo.

Pancake number three was hideously ugly too, but it tasted the best.
They were real real real good.

Vegan MOFO Post #8: In NONCELEBRATION of food with a propensity for arson.

I am sorry to report that this post will be a sad post. An angry post. A post filled with tragedy and betrayal. The subject of this post is a certain chilli that I mentioned in my last post. Before we really begin, note that I had big plans for this chilli, namely that I would take it in tupperware, with couscous and jacket potatoes, for a surprise picnic with my boyfriend after work. Noble plans indeed.
The first problem I found when I opened the cupboard was that there were no canned tomatoes. Ok, I thought, I'm equal to this. I will use out of date (un)fresh tomatoes instead. Aha! Didn't I feel smug?

So I fried onions and garlic and kidney beans and said tomatoes and cumin and paprika and sea salt and pepper up together. It smelled wonderful.
Then I let it bubble away gently for a few hours.

The sauce thickened up wonderfully and it began to smell really really great.

I crushed up some dry tortillas and added that, with a little more water, to the pan, and put the lid on.

Then I went for a bath. Big mistake.

When I came back to the kitchen, everything was a haze of smoke. It smelled like a bonfire, and didn't look much better. Somehow, my chilli had actually set itself on fire. No joke. I panicked and threw a jug of cold water over it (first I turned off the heat, so don't be alarmed) and in about a second the water had gone from cold to steam. I have no idea how the pan got so hot.

The result: no chilli. The house was visibly smoky for four hours after that. And I smell like an arsonist. I was NOT HAPPY!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Vegan MOFO Post #6: In celebration of ignoring sell-by dates

It turned out I can't count so we are having post six now, as apparently i missed it out. Whoops! This post is in praise of ignoring sell-by dates and using out of date food and not dying from it! I used to be really finnickity about sell by dates and I would always throw food away a day before it reached the 'best before'. Wasteful! Stupid! It took a long while for me to realise that sell by dates are not always correct. Something can't possibly turn from perfectly edible to catastrophically-calamitously-poisonous just because the clock struck midnight and the 'use before date' has come up.

I am not, by the way, condoning eating things that are so gone off they are injurious to your health. Don't eat mouldy food, for example, even if it is within its sell-by. You can push the bounaries a bit, but don't go way out there!

Here are some examples of food I have recently eaten out of sell-by. And I lived to tell the tale.

These are the green beans I ate with my pie and mash. Two days out of sell-by and still delumptious.

These are the tomatoes I used in a chilli which will be the subject of my next post (#8! Ha!). I completely forgot I had them. I don't like raw tomato at all, I bought these to make a pasta sauce and completely forgot about them.

Three days out of sell-by and still fine.

The more suspicious side of my brain thinks that sell-by, use-by and best-before dates are part of a supermarket conspiracy to make us waste food and buy more. The less suspicious side believes they are just over cautious because supermarkets don't want people to get ill ("because they care!" says trusting-brain-side; "because of the cynical fear of litigation" says conspiracy-theory-brain-side.)

I hate waste, I think it is unnecessary and unethical. So this is my post in celebration of being fearless, and daring to eat out of date.

Vegan MOFO Post #7: In celebration of bagels

There is a 24 hour jewish bakery near where I live. I'm lucky right? As a consequence, I eat a lot of bagels (they spell it 'beigel' on the shop sign, but 'bagel' on the menu. confused). I have had a bagel for breakfast almost every day this week, and I often take a bagel in to work.
This is my favourite way to eat them:

toasted, and covered in peanut butter and agave nectar.

I also really like pb and blueberry jam, but I forgot to buy more jam when I went shopping so

I washed it down with a coffee/hot chocolate/soymilk hybrid mutant.

I tried making my own bagels once and completely failed. They turned out more like, I dont know, eccles cakes - gross! I will have another attempt one day, but for now I will leave bagel making to the experts.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Vegan MOFO Post #5: In celebration of pie 'n' mash

I have a sort of tradition, (it's not quite that yet, but it will be someday!) with my boyfriend to have pie and mash on a friday. It's nice to have a special and predictable meal to look forward to, and pie and mash is so filling and stodgy and delicious. This tradition fell by the wayside for a little while because we were both busy and didnt have much space in our lives for pie meals, but it was resurrected this week (not on a friday though). Here's my pic:

The meal features one linda mccartney country pie (mince and onion and gravy, very hearty and almost meaty), some broad beans, mustard gravy, and potato and sweet potato mash. My boyfriend wanted to grate some raw carrot and mix it into the mase. I was very sceptical at first, but I backed down, being the great compromiser I am. I am glad I did, because the carrot was nice, it made the mash a bit more sweet than it would have been otherwise.

It was a good meal, and massive, I waas full up for about five hours after it.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Vegan MOFO Post #4: In celebration of EPIC FAIL

I've been pretty crappy at keeping up with the mofo timetable, but fear not, I have posts for every day I have missed. I went to stay with my dad in the wilds of the midlands for a few days, where I couldnt upload photos from my camera so I didnt bother posting. I'm back now, with lots of ideas and pictures buzzing round my brain.

I wanted to make my dad a treat and also have a treat myself, so I decided that for ease of transportation, biscuits would have to be it. I chose the crispy peanut butter cookies from VWAV because I have made them a million times before, always in a rushy, slapdash way, and they seemed pretty impossible to fail. How wrong I was! (I feel I have to state at this point that the fail was 100% my fault. This is an ace recipe, really robust and tasty and very hard to mess up. You'll see.)

So I decided to make half the mixture with cocoa in it, to make a sort of marble effect. I mixed everything in, seperated the two halves and mixed the cocoa in, everything fine. The problems began when I couldnt be bothered to wash up a baking tray and used a tart case instead. I compounded this issue by using baking spray in a haphazard fashion rather than properly greasing each little tart cup. I made the dollops of cookie dough go into the cups, then I squashed them down (mistake no. 3) and baked them. Then I took them out and left them to cool. So far so good.

Here they are, cooling on the window sill. They look tasty, pretty, most importantly normal. I had no idea that in minutes, they would be reduced to horribly deformed, freakshow cookie mush. Can you guess what went wrong? Yep, they stuck to the tin. In skillfully taken pic #2, you can see the ratio of destroyed to non-destroyed cookies, separated with the spoon.

In case the blur makes counting hard, I did a batch of 20 cookies, and was able to get 6 out of the tin without making them disintegrate. Oops.

The crumbly messy mush was delicious though.

Vegan MOFO Post #3: In celebration of being cooked for.

When I went vegan, I took for granted that I was sacrificing getting meals cooked for me by other people to a big extent. It kind of goes with the territory. Alot of people see choosing to be vegan as fussy, or deliberately awkward (WRONG!!) and don't know how to adapt their usual kitchen repertoire to cater for non-animal-eaters. I love being cooked for, almost as much as I love cooking for other people. So I have been really surprised and pleased with how much effort people have made for me. Even my dad, who is the UK's second biggest consumer of meat after, what, christmas? has taken a few steps into vegandom to cook for me. Also, my flatmates have all been very supportive, and my boyfriend especially has become a talented veggie cook.

Here is a meal he made for me the other night, which I absolutely LOVED: Fajitas!

It was dark by the time we ate, so this pic is extra crappy. He fried onion, peppers, savoy cabbage and garlic until it was really soft and brown. Then added a can of chick peas and fried for a minute or two more. Then added (about half a cup of?) orange juice. Oh, before that he coatewd everything in cumin, paprika and salt. Then left it to bubble a little while I microwaved the tortillas.

We ate them covered in hummous and ate them very very quickly. They were delicious, and tasted really health-ful. Mm.

I'm lucky to have people around who think being vegan is cool. Or at least not weird and gross.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

VeganMOFO Post #2: In celebration of breakfast!

When I get the old "so, a Ve-gun huh? What do you, you know...EAT?!?!" routine, my usual answer is "the same as what you eat, but with no dead stuff". I think breakfast illustrates this really well. My absolute number one favourite thing to have is pancakes, covered in Vitalite and agave nectar, or peanut butter. But often I can't be bothered to make pancakes, or really cook at all, in the morning. So I have toast, or bagels (with peanut butter and blueberry jam) or cereal. Here is a picture of a bowl of cereal (fruit and fibre) with soy milk and vanilla soy yoghurt:

Here is a picture of cereal, soy milk, soy yoghurt, and grapes!

I love cooked breakfasts too: fried bread, onions, baked beans, hash browns, potato waffles, grilled tomatoes, barbecue sauce. Vegan cooked breakfasts like this are easy to find if you're having breakfast out. I really love it when people come round to the idea that being vegan isn't impossible, or even difficult. I even find it fun.

VeganMOFO Post #1: In celebration of fruit!

So being vegan, I like to eat stuff that comes out of the ground. In fact, I don't eat anything that isn't made of plants. This post is in praise of plants in their rawest, most simple form, and more specifically fruit! As I type this I am eating a Roche Pear, and it is delicious. It's really juicy, and tasty, and sweet. And full of vitamins and fibre and plant sugar.

This is a picture of my fruit bowl. It's not much of a bowl, but the fruit is the important bit. One williams pear, three roche pears and two pink lady apples. Yum.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Vegan Month of Food

So, this year I will be taking part in Vegan Month of Food, which will (hopefully) involve a significant increase in my blog-activity (blogtivity? No.). The idea is that you post every week day in praising and celebrating vegan food...I think I can do that. More info available at:

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Q: Can you make a convincing peanut butter brownie with self-raising flour?

A: No.

Q: Did I try anyway?
A: Yes.

Q: Despite how terrible it looked, did it taste amazing?
A: Yes!

Q: What have we learned from this?
A: Flours - don't mess.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

The Year Of The Flood

Now, I know this is a mainly a food-y blog rather than a book-y blog, but this book deserves a special mention. It's called The Year Of The Flood, and it is by Margaret Atwood. It has a number of themes that will appeal to vegan/eco people, and is also seriously good.

Set in the near future, the book follows a group of 'God's Gardeners' through the mysterious 'waterless flood', and tells of their journey and history. The book is gritty, funny, tender, shocking, compulsively readable. Atwood's characters are as complex as her themes and subject matter are expansive. Covering ecological and humanitarian disaster, this book is extremely relevant and bang up to date.

It follows Atwood's earlier book 'Oryx and Crake' (which I loved!) and expands on alot of the ideas it contained.

I'm not much of a reviewer, I know, but check out the website for a feel of it . The website is full of resources and information on a number of broadly 'green' topics, and very interesting.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Richmond Photos

Yesterday I went walking around Richmond. It was so nice to get (almost) out of the city and see some greenery. Here are some of the better photographs I took. I was going crazy with the camera on my phone, zapping and clicking like mad.

Q: Why does everybody like the mushroom?
A: Because he's a FUN GUY!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Chips and Satay Beans

I had no idea what to make for dinner tonight, so I went with number one fallback plan chips, and green beans. I did the green beans is a sauce made of soy sauce, peanut butter, garlic, and a little orange juice. It thickened up beautifully, and this meal really hit the spot. Thumbs up, and it was done in half an hour from scratch.

Saturday, 15 August 2009


Of late I have become pretty...I don't know, maybe apathetic or something like it. I feel pretty disconnected, maybe less passionate, and I want to remedy that. I am at my happiest, I think, when I feel active, and involved, and like I'm part of a bigger cause. So I'm going to make some resolutions to right some of the things I'm doing wrong.

1. I am going to give up drinking pop for (at least) one week, starting today.
2. I am going to cook something fresh and delicious every day for (at least) one week, starting today.
3. I am going to do something creative every day for (at least) one week, starting today.
4. I am going to read more on the issues I am interested in.
5. I am going to post here twice a week for (at least) one month, starting today.

Maybe I've just gotten lazy of late. Hopefully this will give me a kick up the bum, and get me going.

In food related news, I had the BEST salad for lunch. I had lettuce and grated carrot, with fried red onions, pumpkin seeds and apple slices, all with balsamic vinegar, hummous and pitta bread. It was delish!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Two Sketches

Just things I've been doodling.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Mish mash lunch

There was pretty much nothing in the house to make lunch from, so this happened. It was surprisingly good, comprising of broad beans, butter beans, spinach, bussels sprouts, arrabiatta sauce from a jar, tomato puree, soy sauce, tandoori powder, curry powder, garlic and cream coconut. Actually, it was nearly miraculous that it tasted good. I ate it with couscous and pickle, and hoummus too.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Crochet works in progress, and pie'n'mash

I've been going mad for crochet at the moment after my grandma gave me a million old patterns - people dressed really badly in the 70s and 80s, and knitwear was a huge part of it.

This is the beginning of a scarf I'm making for my brother - it's growing with alarming speed.

And (another very similar pattern) this is going to be a little drawstring holdall.

I've got about ten projects going at once, but they're all getting reasonabe amounts of attention so it's ok. Had a linda maccartney pie for dinner as part of the new weekly 'Vegan pie and mash night'. My boyfriend did the cooking - we had pie, broad beans, sauteed greens with garlic and soy sauce, mash, and this mushroom and mustard gravy that he made up on the spot. It was a definite winner.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Boyfriend Bolognese

Long time no update. Now that life is less hectic, I'm hoping to get back into the kitchen. For now, here is a rubbish picture of the dinner my boyfriend made me - macaroni bolognese. It was so delicious! I questioned him about it, and he said he made the sauce with onion, garlic, aubergine, courgette, lentils, pearl barley, worcester sauce, basil and pepper. It was very hearty and very tasty!

Friday, 24 April 2009


I'm a big fan of 'The Trapdoor', and I made this stuffed-toy Berk as my latest project. It was fun to make, and surprisingly quick and easy. My sewing machine has developed an inability to sew, so I hand sewed this, which I enjoyed more than I thought I would. It was a good distraction from revision anyway. - Click here to see Berk in action.


I made pizza for lunch yesterday! I made a pizza base out of brown bread flour, with garlic and herbs in it too. I rolled out a base, then cut it in half so my boyfriend could top his half with cheese. I left it to rise for about 45 minutes, because I was too hungry to wait any longer. It's topped with red onion rings, garlic, tomato sauce, pesto, barbecue sauce, and some 'bean balls' - leftovers from a disastrous attempt to make bean sausages, which were tasty, but fell apart.
It was so good. The photos don't really do it justice, but it looked smart. Oh, also it had some 'Parmezano' on the top, which didn't really add much.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Knitting and a Flower

Here is my current knitting project. When it's finished it will be a small pillow case. Then, I am going to make a little pillow to go inside it. I want to stuff the pillow with something re-used. At the moment I'm thinking lots of little squares cut from plastic bags, but maybe I'll go with scraps of fabric.

Here is a dandelion! I know they're weeds but I still think they're pretty.

Cauliflower and Macaroni Mustard Yeast

This was SO good. I served it with some roasted vegetables, and it was a delicious meal, and very filling. The vegetables were roasted in a mixture of garlic, thyme, cumin, salt, pepper and olive oil, which was stupidly easy to make. The cauliflower and macaroni was made up pretty much as you would make a macaroni cheese, but with soya butter and milk, and nutritional yeast and mustard instead of cheese. Oh, and I added a little tumeric to give it a healthy yellow colour, as it was looking a little pasty before.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Mustard potato bake, cumin fried peppers, cheesish garlic scones

This is what I made for lunch today, it was fantastic. I was really pleased with how the potato came out, and the scones were brilliant!

Potato and Green Bean Creamy Mustard Bake

4 tbsp flour

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

400 ml soy milk

4 big potatoes

handful of green beans

salt to taste

maple syrup

- chop the potatoes into cubes, and boil for 15-20 minutes.

- heat the oven to 200C
- make a roux - melt the butter in a saucepan and stir the flour in.

- gradually add in the soya milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

- add the mustard and simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes or so.

- drain the potatoes and green beans, then put into a casserole dish. Pour over the sauce.

- put in the oven, on a low shelf, and cook for 12-15 minutes.

- Eat!

The scones involved nutritional yeast (finally got hold of some - very exciting!) and garlic powder, and were very nice.

Ginger Winter Vegetables

Pictured here - ginger roasted winter vegetables, sugar snap peas, hummus, and home made pickle. This was delicious, and easy to make. My pickle came out a strange purple colour, because I used red onions instead of normal ones.

Birthday Cake Trial Run

Well, I guess that shows how cool I am! This was the trial run for the cake and icing. It's the same recipe as for my birthday cake, from 'Easy Vegan Cooking'. I made a few minor changes to the final cake, but this was really good. On the top are 'Whizzers', which are a vegan chocolate filled sugar bean sweet.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Crispy Peanut Butter Cookies

This photo turned out really 'food-photo'. This must be the most robust recipe in the world - I didn't do ANY of it right. I used crunchy peanut butter rather than smooth, margarine instead of oil, I cooked it for too long, I think I put lemon juice in it. I just turned the dough into balls and squashed them to make the cookie shapes. And I put in loads of soy milk by mistake. They still turned out ace, I was impressed and surprised! I'll definitely make them again.

My Birthday Cake!

Here it is! It's an adapted version of Leah Leneman's chocolate cake. I turned it into a marble sandwich cake. It's got almond buttercream in the middle, with chocolate fudge frosting and maraschino cherries on the top. I haven't made anything so sugary in ages! But hopefully it will be amazing.
PS. I don't only eat cake, even if the last few posts might suggest it. Though it should be a big component of everyone's diet.