Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy World Vegan Day!

I’m not doing anything special to celebrate World Vegan Day, just being my usual vegan self. If you’re reading this and you’re not already vegan perhaps you might want to try eating vegan for the day. It doesn’t have to be today. It could be tomorrow. And then you could try it again the next day and the next day and the next day...and just don’t stop :)

On to food...last night I made a scrumptious pumpkin and chickpea stew for Halloween. It was simple and spicy comfort food and made use of my new toy.

I got this almost 2 weeks ago and I love it! I haven’t used the porridge function yet, but I love the slow cooker, rice cooker and most of all the steamer. Unfortunately it’s not possible to programme the slow cooker to start cooking at a specific time (only the rice cooker has this function) so it can’t switch on itself while I am at work. However I do have a husband who works at home and I have managed to programme him over the years to do simple tasks like this :)

We ate the stew with some steamed broccoli and some leftover potatoes which were sprinkled with salt, pepper, cumin and paprika and fried in a little olive oil. Yum!

And here is the recipe.

Spicy Pumpkin and Chickpea Stew
(makes 4 servings)

3 cups diced pumpkin
1 parsnip, diced
2 cups passata (I used one 500ml carton)
I cup cooked chickpeas
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsps vegan stock powder
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup water
½ tsp chopped chillies*
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Throw everything but the coriander in the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours. Mix through the coriander at the end.

*I used these. They’re great if you are a little scared of fresh chillies like me!

And finally if you have a spare minute, why not see if you can spot the vegan?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Remember Summer?

I can’t believe it has been 4 months since we got back to Scotland now and I have blogged so few times since getting back! I just seem to have been so busy...I am having a hard time adjusting to being back at work and having enough time to fit in all the other things I would like to do!

The day we moved back to Scotland was the longest day of the year. We arrived home in the morning and to try and beat jet lag I vowed to stay up until it got dark. It was a bad idea as it didn’t get dark till around 11pm!

That day my Mum made the whole family a vegan dinner of a delicious shepherd’s pie (made with veggie mince). Yum!

Followed by some beautiful berries. It's so nice to have a home cooked vegan meal made by someone else!

Throughout the summer my Dad gave us lots of home-grown lettuces and leaves that made lots of great salads. Here’s one with tomatoes, grilled courgettes and peppers served with potatoes sprinkled with Dad’s home-grown mint. It's nice to just nip to the greenhouse to pick out your dinner!

One sunny Saturday morning in July I decided to test out the farmer’s market, set in the shadow of Edinburgh castle. Whilst it wasn’t the veggie heaven I was hoping for (in fact there was a severe lack of veggies and far too much meat) I did pick up a few things.

Some delicious organic bread, raspberries, strawberries and exotic mushrooms.

I identified the mushrooms as crimini, shitake, oyster, chanterelle and enoki. However there was one mystery mushroom that I couldn’t identify...perhaps it was just a stalk!

My mushrooms became a simple but tasty soup with the help of some onions, garlic and soy milk. Served with the gorgeous fresh bread it made a fantastic lunch.

The fruits were blended in to a scrummy smoothie.

Now summer is well and truly over as today the clocks turn back and we head in to winter. But what better way could there have been to use that extra hour today than catching up on the blog :)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Return to LA

Our broadband is fixed! Hurrah! Don’t even ask what’s a long and boring story of utter incompetence and company craziness.

The good news is that I have taken loads of photos for the blog! The bad news is that the memory card broke and jammed in the camera and we can’t get any photos off it now... :(

However, I do still have lots of pics on the pc. So let’s take a little trip back to my previous life in LA. Oh, it all seems so long ago... I am beginning to forget what the sun looks like... :)

First up, some cakes and cookies... I had to finish up some of the flour, sugar etc in the kitchen and what better way than making sweet treats?!

Some peanut butter cookies from Vive Le Vegan... These are Wee G's favourite.

Chocolate cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World... Delicious!

Some kind of chocolate chip cookieness... I’ve forgotten exactly what these were, however Wee G assures me they were scrummy!

These were pancakes with peanut butter, banana and cinnamon... Pancakes are always good and peanut butter makes them even better!

This was made to use up the rest of my Pinjur sauce from Trader Joe’s. I added some onion, baby courgettes and mushrooms along with some soy yogurt, fresh basil and lots of black pepper. Thsi turned out really tasty.

And lastly something a little bit healthier...

...and some yummy pasta with tofu, broccoli, tomatoes and basil. My favourite kind of dinner.

Thanks for reading :) Happy weekend everyone!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sunny Scotland

Edinburgh Castle

Hello friends and bloggers! I am still here and have not forgotten my blog. Life has been getting in the way! We are sooo happy to be home and see all our family and friends but are definitely missing the California sunshine. It seems like we have had about 4 days of sun since we got back. Ah well, without rain we wouldn’t get rainbows :)

We have had a total nightmare with our broadband. It’s a long and boring story, but since getting back we’ve had proper internet access for about a total of 2 weeks. We are still trying to get re-connected, but I have got a way of posting this today. We are also having issues with our camera so I can’t take photos right now either, pffft! Anyway, fingers crossed we will be all sorted with broadband and camera in a few weeks and I can get back in to blogging properly…hurrah!!

So much has happened since I last blogged…where to start?! Well, how about some food? I started back at work a few weeks after getting back home. It’s been a bit of a shock to the system after my three year holiday! I’ve had a lot less time to cook so a lot of what we have been eating has been simple and to be honest a bit boring :)

We have become a little addicted to Patak’s curry sauce. It’s so simple to throw a few veggies in a pan, add sauce and serve with rice and poppadoms. Yummy! Many of Patak’s sauces and pastes are vegan, you can see which ones here. My favourite is Rogan Josh, but Wee G likes Madras, which is a bit super hot for me!

I have been trying to resist the lure of the chippy since we got back. Chips from the chippy are fatter than any fries you will ever get in the US. They are usually softer in texture than fries and a bit greasier too. They are extremely unhealthy, but sooooo tasty! I’m sure they are one of the reason that Scotland is just about the unhealthiest nation on the planet. Here on the East coast you will be offered salt and sauce (brown sauce and vinegar mixed together) with your chips, but as we are from the West coast we go for the much tastier condiments of salt and vinegar. It’s also good to have a morning roll and a pickle (pickled onion) along with your chips. Beware – some chippies cook their chips in animal fat just to annoy us veggies.

I’ll be back with more as soon as I can! Hope you have all had a great weekend!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Almost Back To Normal...

Thanks for all your comments. We are settling in well, but still only have a dial up connection...and it's super slow...pah! We should have broadband by next weekend if things go to plan (which they haven’t so far…). Due to lack of kitchen equipment and general laziness I haven’t been cooking anything exciting so I don’t have that much to tell you all. Our belongings should arrive in about two weeks which means that I can get busy in the kitchen again!

I’m looking forward to getting back to reading all your blogs regularly and I have lots of thing in Edinburgh that I want to explore and blog about…

Have a great weekend!!

Friday, June 29, 2007

We Are Home!!

We are finally in Edinburgh and settling back in to our flat...hurrah! The last few weeks in LA were so busy that I never got a chance to blog, but I haven’t forgotten about it and will be back soon! We currently only have a super slow dial up connection, but when we get our broadband I will be back to blogging and catching up with all your blogs too! Hope you are all doing well...see you soon!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Testing, Testing...

I haven’t abandoned my blog...just been very busy with moving stuff. Things are going well and we don’t have that much left to do now...hurrah!! I will hopefully have a little more time this week to catch up with everyone else’s blogs as I have missed reading them lately.

For some reason lately we’ve tried quite a few new foody things...well new to us at least. Here’s how we got on.
These are Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes). I simply roasted them with a little salt and pepper as per Madhur Jaffrey’s advice in World Vegetarian. She says that they taste similar to parsnips which I love, but I was quite disappointed to find that they tasted more like white turnips...the only veggie my Mum had to force me to eat when I was a kid (yes Mum I am still moaning about it!). So they're not going to become a favourite in this household!
These are brown rice tortillas from Trader Joe’s. According to the packet you can use them any way you can use a wheat tortilla. I started off making burritos but the tortillas were so dry I couldn’t do anything more than roll them. I figured I would make them into enchiladas instead so that I could add sauce to keep them from drying out any further. However while I set about making sauce, the tortillas dried up so much they ended up like this...
Oh dear. I won’t be buying these again...they ended up in the bin.
These are Wee G’s new favourite thing. They are creamy orange “ice cream” bars from So Delicious and they are really good! They are just as they say on the box...orangey and creamy...and only 80 calories each! We have four boxes in the freezer right now so that Wee G can OD on them before we leave and he will probably never get them again...aaaw. Visit here for some money off coupons.

More the form of crackers this time. These are MY new favourite thing! They are super crunchy and a little salty and a great wee snack! I just eat them as they are, but I guess you could put stuff on them if you liked. My favourites are the Tamari ones, but I’ve also tried the Sesame ones and they are really good too.

I got this raw vegan cheesecake free in WholeFoods one day. I didn’t really expect it to be all that good, but it was rich, creamy and without the “clawy” texture of regular cheesecake. It was sweeter than I expected and I loved the coconut base. I would definitely eat it again if I was given it for free, but I’m not sure I would part with seven bucks for it...:)
A while back we visited Garden Wok Chinese restaurant and for dessert I got cherry choc chip ice cream. Wee G was pretty impressed with it and when he spotted this Double Rainbow ice cream in Trader Joe’s he was really hoping it was the same one. Well, we took it home and tested it out and it certainly seems to be the same one...yay! There are tons of cherries (many whole ones) in this and a generous amount of choc chips too...yum!
This is a pack of Guava Paste Rolls, something I had never heard of till I saw them in Trader Joe’s. These are basically sugar with a bit of a guava taste to them. They are very, very sweet. I couldn’t eat more than three packets at once... only kidding! One (roll, not packet) is enough and they are tiny! Here’s a close up of the sparkly sugariness...
This is Pinjur sauce I bought in Trader Joe’s (pictured on some fritatta). It’s a Macedonian sauce made from roasted eggplants (aubergines), pepper, onions and spices. It tasted quite similar to a smoky salsa and didn’t seem to have much eggplant in it even though it’s supposed to be the main ingredient. We ate it as a condiment on some veggie burgers, but it can be used in sauces too.
And lastly these are some atulfo mangoes which I bought because I thought they were a slightly cooler shape than regular mangoes. There was definitely more stone than flesh in these, but they were more fragrant and delicious than any mango I’ve eaten before. I added some to a tempeh stir fry and the rest were eaten with pancakes...mmmmm!!!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How Great Would This Be...?

The Secret Plans to Turn Us All Vegetarian

Secret plans to encourage the nation to give up eating meat are being examined by the (UK)Government.

A leaked e-mail expresses sympathy for the environmental benefits of a mass switch to a vegan diet - a strict form of vegetarianism which bans milk, dairy products and fish. The change would need to be done "gently" because of a "risk of alienating the public", according to the document.

The extreme policy is being examined on the basis it could make a major contribution to slowing climate change.

Farm animals are blamed for producing huge amounts of the greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide.

However, the National Farmers' Union has ridiculed the idea as "simplistic".
The e-mail, sent to a vegetarian campaign group, comes from an official at the Environment Agency, a Government advisory body.

It states: "The potential benefit of a vegan diet in terms of climate impact could be very significant."

However, it does recognise that it would be very difficult to win public support for such a move.
Consequently, it says the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is looking to encourage a gradual change that would be more palatable to the general public.

The e-mail states: "It will be a case of introducing this gently as there is a risk of alienating the public majority."

The official goes on to say it is "unlikely" that the Environment Agency would ever suggest adopting a fully vegan lifestyle.

But the e-mail added: "Certainly encouraging people to examine their consumption of animal protein could be a key message."

The proposals are the latest in a raft of measures being promoted as helping to slow climate change.

Others include putting windmills on rooftops, driving electric cars and banning plastic bags.
The e-mail was sent to the campaigning vegetarian organisation Viva, which argues that it is more efficient to use land to grow crops for humans, rather than feeding them to farm animals and dairy cows.

Viva director Juliet Gellatley said: "I think it is extraordinary that a Government agency thinks becoming a vegetarian or vegan could have such a positive impact for the environment yet it is not prepared to stand up and argue the case.

"There is a growing awareness that our diet directly affects the world around us - and that vegetarians and vegans contribute far less to the destruction of the environment. For our planet's sake there is an urgent need to move away from a meat and dairy-obsessed Western diet."

NFU communications chief Anthony Gibson rejected these claims as "simplistic and flawed".
"This is not a black and white issue," he said.

"You have to look at how these crops are produced in terms of the energy used for growing and transport."

From The Daily Mail

Can you imagine the whole of the UK becoming vegan?! I don't think it's ever going to happen, but I can still dream... :)

Saturday, May 19, 2007


I’ve been tagged by Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe to blog about seven random facts about me. So here you go:
1 I am addicted to lip balm. I cannot go anywhere without one. I buy them constantly because I always lose them or wreck them (usually by leaving them in the car to melt or putting them in the washing machine).

2 My favourite colour is pink. Yes I am quite girly :)

3 I have no memory. Well, I have a memory, it’s just a very bad one. I forget what happened at the start of the film before it gets to the end, same with books. Once I went to health food store to buy gingko biloba to help with my memory, but I couldn’t remember what it was called when I got there. And I just remembered that I bought a book about improving your memory, but I keep forgetting to read it :)

4 I don’t like holey things. I don’t mean religious stuff, I mean things with lots of little holes in them. They make me feel queasy. Not sure why, but they just creep me out. Like when you cut a melon in half and the seeds leave all these little holes . ..ick

5 Prince Charles and I share the same birthday. We weren’t born in the same year though :) When I was at school I was desperate for him to become King in the hope that his birthday would become a public holiday. Still waiting...

6 I am sort of allergic to beans. One day last year I ate some canned black beans and immediately after I broke out in a crazy, horrible rash all over my body. Since then any time I eat beans (apart from my lovely chickpeas) I get an itchy swollen feeling mouth when I eat them. So, I don’t eat them anymore :(

7 I have an inability to walk around furniture. I am constantly covered in bruises from tables, chairs and doorknobs (yes, sometime I even find it hard to walk through an open door :)).

Now you know a little more about me :) I would like to tag vko at Lifestyles of the Chic & Vegan and Kati at The Veggie Voice if you guys are interested in doing it and have the time!
Sorry if you came by earlier and were unable to comment. I don't know what happened, but I think it is fixed now :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Has It Been A Week…?

We’ve been so busy this past week, packing, organising, selling and general upping and moving to another country type stuff. But there’s always time for eating and cooking :) So, here’s some of the stuff we’ve been munching lately…

This is Sri Lankan Eggplant Curry from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. It was mildly spicy and creamy and I threw in some chickpeas to make it a little more filling. I really liked it, but Wee G was not so keen…that might be because he’s not really so keen on eggplants.

It looks like we had ourselves a little barbecue here doesn’t it? Unfortunately we didn’t :( It was all cooked in the oven, but tasted almost as good as barbecue. We had some tofu and veggie kebabs, corn on the cob, spicy potato wedges and coleslaw with pineapple. I also made BBQ and peanut ginger dipping sauces. The peanut ginger sauce was made from the Ginger Dipping Sauce from Vive Le Vegan! mixed with peanut butter. It was amazingly good!

And here’s a close up of the pineapple coleslaw yumminess. I think it was my favourite part of the meal, but Wee G wouldn’t touch it. He has never recovered from some kind of mysterious coleslaw-related childhood trauma. Even the inclusion of pineapple was not enough to tempt him to taste it….pah

What to do with leftover cabbage? How about some Chinese Cabbage and Tofu Soup? Yes please. This is from Vegetarian Soups From All Seasons. It seemed like it may end up a little bland, but I added some garlic and ginger and it turned out very tasty.

Some snacky chickpeas. They were roasted in the oven with some spices (cumin, chilli and a tiny bit of cinnamon I think) and then nibbled while watching telly.

Last time I made this Cornmeal Coated Tofu I thought I would try and make it a little more like fish fingers next time for Wee G. But I changed my mind and decided not to entertain his latent fishy desires and just made it exactly as before. Yummmm...

And last but not least some Peanut Better Cookies from Vive Le Vegan! I added some chocolate chips because...there really should be chocolate in every cookie. I’ve never eaten peanut butter cookies before and I was not crazy about them…I think I prefer my peanut butter and my cookies separate. However Wee G loved them so he got to eat them all to himself :)

See you later innovators!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Some Bits and Bobs

We are really getting in to packing now and it seems like everything is everywhere… :( I am planning on packing the kitchen stuff last so that I can keep cooking for as long as possible :)

I bought some Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (which are accidentally vegan).

"Crescent Rolls are VEGAN??!!"

I intended to spread them with my Notella, but it was all gone by the time I got round to using them, so instead I made them in to little rolls with chocolate and hazelnuts. They were so yummy!
First I spread margarine (Earth Balance) on the dough.
Then I added some chopped chocolate chips and hazelnuts…
…and cut in to strips.
Then rolled each strip up…
…like this…
...until all were done... and popped in the oven for about 11 minutes till golden.

Yumalicious! We had these for brunch with a massive fruit salad. It was decadent, but very healthy at the same time :)
This is a pasta bake I threw together using all the stuff in my fridge that I wanted to finish up. I lightly sautéed onion, asparagus, green pepper and spinach and added some cooked brown rice pasta, tempeh, canned tomatoes, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and some tofu-basil ricotta (from VWaV). It was topped off with more tofu-basil ricotta and baked for about 45 mins. It was simple, delicious and perfect with a salad.
This is a great snack idea from Vive Le Vegan! In the book it’s called Cinnamon Sweet Hemp Spread, but I used almond butter instead of hemp butter. It’s so good as a little dip for apple slices. Finally here’s a little tempeh stir fry thrown together in about 15 minutes. Just some onion, pepper, cabbage, asparagus, mushrooms and tempeh served over rice noodles. The thing I love about stir fries is that they are different every time. The sauce for this one had ginger, garlic, tamari, red pepper flakes, , vinegar, maple syrup and thickened with cornflour and water.

Hope you’re all having a great week!