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Friday 26 June 2009

The Good The Bad and the Fugly

I haven't blogged in a while so I have lots of pics. This week has been a weird one and a lot of it has SUCKED! but there have been some good parts too.

Bad - I'm a gimp!! I got a blister on the ball of each foot, no word of a lie, an inch long each one!! I never knew that blisters could be so painful. This is not run of the mill pain - this is my entire foot and some of my leg is sore and I can hardly walk!

Work has been rather shit this week.

Also I get up this morning, get in the car, put on the radio and hear the sad news about Michael Jackson! I am a big fan of his music and have been since I was a little girl. I got really tearful when they played Beat It on the radio this morning and then nearly busted out crying at work when I watched Jermaine's press conference on the internet. It's so sad. RIP Michael.

But onto the good stuff - I saw Eagles of Death Metal Live on Wednesday night. They are just so awesome, great live and Jesse is the shit. I lost count of the number of times he shouted CAN YOU DIG IT! It's a good thing I'm single or I'd be trying to convince the man in my life to grow a Mo like Jesse!! (I know they sound scary but they're not so if you are not familiar with their music go download Death by Sexy now, like right now!! then download Peace, Love, Death Metal & Heart On after that.)

The other good stuff? My PPK swap package arrived from the very awesome Vijita from Canada. she totally made my crappy day good - I got a buttload of swag....

So onto the food. I had a go at making some raw bars and they're good but they were a little too soft and fell apart a bit. I need to try again. They had dried apricots, cranberries, sun-dried bananas, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, brazil nights, walnuts, peanut butter and maple syrup. So technically I dunno if they are really raw - does maple syrup count???

When I was younger, mum had this recipe for pasta with roasted peppers and bacon and mushrooms. It was good and we used to make it a lot. So I thought I'd have a go at veganising it. I couldn't remember all the ingredients and I so I added some stuff I know wasn't in there. But it was really good and even better cold for lunch the next day! Recipe at end of post.

This was dinner on saturday night for me & my friend and it was seriously rad. Guava's post about pot pies had me craving pie and the idea of a mushroom pot pie was just genius. So I gave it a go and it was awesome. I don't have the recipe 100% yet but when I do i'll post it.

Dinner on Monday for me & my friend was this mixture of veggies, tomatoes and white beans - I served it over wholewheat rotilli pasta.

And also I made some garlic knots to go with it.

Dinner on Sunday night had to be quick, because it was 8ish by the time I got back from the gym. So I went with a Sunday Soup & Sarnie. I made a quick hummus with white beans and dijon mustard.

And I made my fast pea soup.

The last couple of days, because of my feet, my food has been spectactularly un-interesting and some of them - down right FUGLY!! Mainly because I can't stand up for very long. This was some brown rice cooked with tomatoes and some nooch sprinkled on top.

I found these in Holland & Barrett and thought I'd try them. They have a weird texture, like most fake meats do. They need a bit of frying to make them a nicer texture. Overall they're not bad but I wouldn't buy them often.

Inside shot...
I threw in some peppers, courgette, spring onion and some jarred salsa.

Then threw it on a wrap with some guac and sour supreme. Not bad, not great either.

Last night, my feet were particularly sore, so all I could manage was throwing some basmati in a pan with peas, sweetcorn, tomato puree and some spices. It was surprisingly not bad for such a lame effort.

Today, my feet felt marginally better so I made some mac n cheeze and threw in some peas & sweetcorn too.

Ooh and I just had to share..... It's been a long time but on Sunday, I made some soap! I know it's not the prettiest soap in the world, but serously it's been about 2 years since I made soap. It smells like a piece of heaven though - I scented it with dreamsicle fragrance oi. Up close it's pretty and shimmery too because I added some pink and gold mica to it. I am looking forward to getting back into making some products again!

Here it is in the moulds....

And here it is cooking away in my crockpot! (don't worry, I have a separate one for soap!!)

OOh I almost forgot. Here's the recipe for the pasta dish:
'Bacon', Mushroom & Roasted Pepper Pasta
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 pack mushrooms (about 125g/1.5 cups), sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp white wine
2 tbsp water
1 cup of roasted red and/or yellow peppers (if you're roasting them yourself, about 2 big peppers*)
About a cup of vegan bacon, cooked, in bitesize pieces**
Salt & Pepper to taste
100g (1.5 cups) pasta - cooked according to package instructions

Start by sauteeing the onion for about 5 minutes over a medium heat till it starts to get transluscent. Then add the mushrooms and cook down for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoe puree and thyme and cook for around a couple of minutes. add the wine and scrape up all the bits off the bottom of the pan until the wine reduces till pretty much gone. Then add the water and mix well.

Add the peppers, 'bacon' and pasta and heat through for a couple of minutes, then season to taste and serve.

*The peppers - if you're doing your own, spray them lightly with oil, put on a baking sheet and bake at 250C/500F, basically the highest your oven will go for about half an hour till they are good and black. Then chuck 'em in a bowl and cover them with clingfilm. When cool enough to handle, the skin should peel off pretty easily.

** The bacon - up to you what you use. I used the marinade for the tempeh bacon recipe in VWAV but used thinly sliced tofu instead, cuz I can never find tempeh. I marinated it for about an hour, then fried it in a dry frying pan for a few minute until lightly browned on each side. You could use veggie rashers too but I personally think they're repellant! I used one 200g block of taifun tofu and I put the whole lot in the pasta.

I know i've been shit at commenting on blogs this week too - sorry! I have been reading though, so I'm off to do some catching up.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Put theee lime in theee coconut and call me in the morning!!

So now that all the birthday madness is over I don't have anymore cake baking to do and I can get back on my diet!! I hadn't been to the gym in 2 weeks so body pump on Sunday was a wee bit painful. Especially as she made us do EVIL lunges!

The last birthday in June is my best friend's birthday - we're a week apart and I made her cupcakes. She (unsurprisingly) requested mango & coconut. They were pretty good!!

I forgot to take a pic of dinner but I did us some barbecue baked tofu, garlicky greens and saucy potatoes. I did get a messy shot of the leftover potatoes though before we devoured them. I'm working on getting this recipe perfectly ace, although they're pretty freakin ace already.

Last week I decided to make some of Susan V's ribz. They weren't as good as the first time I made them, they were really chewy so I dunno what I did wrong. They were still tasty though and I used Jack Daniels BBQ sauce on them that the lovely people at JD sent me! (I'll be talking more about those sauces in the near future!) The rice was some cooked brown rice mixed with veggies and a lemon vinaigrette. Jessy asked me in the comments of another post about the lemon vinaigrette - it's pretty easy: juice of a lemon (about 2 tbsp), 1 tbsp oil, 1 tsp dijon mustard, pinch of salt & pepper and whisk!

Yesterday I made some mini meetloafs. I used the recipe from Cozy Inside (love that book!). I halved it like I always do but this time I added in about 1/3 cup of cooked lentils (I had leftovers!) and doubled the spices plus added a few more. It was really good. I also had leftover cheezy sauce from some mac n cheese (that I accidentally deleted the pic of - doh!!) so I had that on some steamed veg. Yum.

I had some sweet potatoes and some coconut milk in the fridge and needed to use them up. I was too lazy to do a full curry with all the grinding spices and crap so I made this one up and it was soooo good. So I'm giving the recipe, even though it was so easy it's a bit sad to put the recipe.

I served it with naan breads. I googled recipes and found one by Anjum Anand - I liked it cuz there was no yeast and also cuz well Anjum is the shiz! Unfortunately, my dough never doubled!! Maybe because I subbed 50% of the white flour for wholewheat? The first one rose really well but the second one was flat like a roti. They were tasty though so I got over it.

Lazy Sweet Potato & Coconut Curry
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of sweet potato, diced (about 1 big one - mine were real tiddlers and I used 3!)
1 cup / 250ml veggie stock
2 tsp garam masala
1 plum tomato
1 tsp tomato puree
1/2 cup / 125ml coconut milk
2 tbsp chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup / about 50g frozen peas
To serve:
Finely chopped coriander & mint
Unsweetened dessicated coconut

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Fry the cumin seeds for a minute until fragrant then add the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions start to brown then add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

Add the potatoes, stock, garam masala, tomato, the tomato puree and a pinch of salt & pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Stir in the peanut butter and peas and cook for another 5-10 minutes uncovered. Stir in the coconut milk, check seasoning and then serve scattered with herbs and coconut.

Another meal over the weekend was leftover ribz with mash & mushy peas.

And Saturday's breakfast was pancakes. I was planning to make coconut pancakes with the leftover coconut milk but it was off! boo. So I just used soymilk and sprinkled coconut on the top. I made them wholewheat - I just used my banana pancake recipe but left out the banana and used extra soymilk and some maple syrup. Yummy yum yum yum.

TTFN! I'm off to watch big brother - anyone else into it this year or am I the only saddo in the village??


Monday 8 June 2009

Birthday - 33 and a third!

Saturday night was the last of the 3 celebrations for my 30th and it was a joint celebration as my best friend's 30th birthday is exactly a week after mine (tomorrow) and tonight I'm cooking her a dinner for our celebration for that! So many dinners in June!!

Anyway, back to Saturday and we had a fantastic night. We went to a little spanish tapas restaurant, not far from where I live, called El Pic and then onto a local nightclub to dance to cheesy 80s crap until 2am!

The restaurant is a great place, a tiny hole in the wall but it has such great food and it's really got a great atmosphere, the owner is lovely and the staff are friendly. It was fab.

I booked the party menu for the omnis and I just had to pick out my dishes and I had.....

Habas Al Moro - broad beans with paprika, onions and herbs. DELICIOUS!!

Patatas Bravas - always my favourite tapas dish and they were gorgeous, really spicy and yummy.

Arroz Andaluz - vegetable paella

And Champiñones en Vino - mushrooms cooked in wine and garlic. These were soooo good but I forgot to take a pic till after I'd cherry-picked out most of the mushrooms. Just look at all that garlic!?!? I must have smelt GOOD! mmmm.

Here are a few pics from the night, if you want to see them all, go to the album on facebook.

Here's me (middle) with my 2 best friends - Maz (left) and Em (right).

Left to right: Vicki, Me, Kelly (pouting at the front), Maz, Em)

Me & the other birthday girl looking sexeh!

Oh and here is the gorgeous bunch of flowers my workmates had delivered to me at work last week. They were gorgeous and I was all happy until I started getting phone calls from Stannah stairlifts and plastic surgeons about my 'enquiries'!! They signed me up for a bunch of old people stuff and then when the calls came, they hid in the next room giggling like 5 year olds!! Boys!! I miss working with girls sometimes.

Bonus pics of last night's dinner. I had planned to make pizza but before i knew it, it was 8pm and I was still lying on the couch watching Grey's Anatomy. So I scouted around the kitchen and saw half a baguette left. It reminded me of the frozen french bread pizzas we used to have when we were kids and so I gave it a go and it was awesome.

Just hollow the bread out a bit, spread it with tomato sauce (I used Reggae Reggae Love Apple Ketchup) and then put your toppings on. I had sweetcorn, orange pepper, tofu pieces, fresh tomato and nacho cheezly with a sprinkling of oregano, black pepper and nooch on the top. It was rad!


Thursday 4 June 2009

Birthday Foodz - part 2 of 3

The second celebration for my birthday was just me and my two best friends. I had the day off so I started it as I did last year.... with french toast and ketchup. And a cup of earl grey (I found decaf earl gray! YAY!)

The most important thing in the post? The birthday cake. I made a really great vanillary cake with orange icing, flavoured with orange zest, orange juice and orange liqueur! It was awesome and once I've perfected the recipes I'll post them.

Close up! I grated some orange chocolate on top with a microplane, to make it extra sexy.

Inside shot....

This glass was a pressie off my friend Maz. Here it is filled with sparkly rosé.

Tuesday was a gloriously sunny day (which is unusual as I don't remember a year when it hasn't rained on my birthday!!) so I made a rad playlist of mid 90s dance and 80s music and we sat out on the balcony. I bought a disposable barbecue and made some ace food to go on it. It was awesome and just soooo freakin hot. We all got a bit of a tan line! :)

The food I did was the last of my jersey royal potatoes, cooked till tender. Then splashed with olive oil, some fresh rosemary and thyme from my garden, lots of sea salt and 3 or 4 smashed garlic cloves. Then you wrap them up in foil and either chuck 'em on the barbie for half an hour or in the oven at 200C/400F for about 35 mins (which is what I did). This is Jamie Oliver's method that I saw on TV about 5 years ago and it rocks so hard, I used to make them all time.

I wanted the food to be awesome, but didn't really want to spend the whole of my birthday morning in the kitchen. So I took 2 packets of cauldron tofu and sliced them up into big triangles. Then I poured a jar of reggae reggae cooking sauce over them and left it to marinate. I love Reggae Reggae Sauce and the new jars of cooking sauces (which I can't seem to find on the website) are on special at Sainsbury's this week - £1 a jar!! I bought two and this was reallly good! I just chucked them on the barbie until it was starting to char.

To go with - garlic bread and that is a sauce I made out of soya yoghurt, fresh mint, a squeeze of lime and some salt & pepper, just because the tofu was really spicy and needed something cooling on the side. I forgot to get a pic but I also roasted some asparagus on the barbie too and it was delicious.

I made some simple veggie kebabs with mushrooms, peppers & red onions.

This salad looks like a right old mess but it was delicious!! I soaked some finely chopped red onion (a couple tbsp, just what was left after making the kebabs) in the juice of a lime. Then I added a small avocado, chopped and mashed it so there were just a few chunks left in it. then I added some orange pepper (what was left after making kebabs), some fresh mint and coriander and a bag of salad leaves (rocket and baby chard). Then I added butter beans and a lemon vinaigrette. Simple but it was really REALLY tasty!

Maddie (my friend's pup) was happy too, she got to spend the afternoon soaking up the sun and swapping between different laps!! She likes those cushions!!

OK and yesterday's dinner. I got home and was really not in the mood to cook much but I threw brown rice on to cook while I cleaned up the kitchen. I made Jessy's cilantro / lime rice (awesome stuff!!) and some guacamole. I got some canned sweetcorn and dressed it with a bit of chilli sauce and white wine vinegar and then cooked the rest of the butterbeans with some red pepper, tomato puree, onion and some spices. It was pretty good for something I chucked together.

Really yesterday I was craving nachos, as I'd picked up some Nacho Cheezly at the weekend but I didn't have any tortilla chips. So I bought some today and made nachos. I used up the leftover rice from yesterday and threw in some onion, red pepper, tomato puree, spices and tomatoes. I used up the leftover guac and some sour supreme that I bought when I got the cheezly. They were good but I was a total pig and made 2 layers - It was way too much for one, I only ate about half.

I actually enjoyed the Cheezly. Normally I don't really like vegan cheeze but the nacho stuff is pretty tolerable and went really well with the nachos.

The 3rd celebration is a meal out on saturday so I'll post the pics of that next week!

Monday 1 June 2009

Birthday Foodz - part 1 of 3!!

It’s not actually my birthday yet (that’d be tomorrow!) but as my birthday is a Tuesday, the celebrations started Saturday. There’s going to be 3 celebrations in all (milk it for all it’s worth I say!!) so 3 posts.

Saturday was my family celebration. Mum and Dad took me and my brother Andy and his girlfriend Lara, to London for the day to watch Wicked which was absolutely awesome. Then we went for a meal in a vegan restaurant - SQUEEEEEEEE! I’ve never been to a veggie restaurant before so it was awesome being able to eat everything on the menu AND try everyone else’s food AND have dessert! I was a happy bunny indeed.

We went to 222 in West Kensington and it was fantastic. The food was gorgeous and they don’t use white flour or refined carbs which also made me happy.
I started with the Avocado Pomodoro – the sauce on this was delicious!

Andy and Dad both had the hummus and dips.
Mum had the baked mushrooms

I forgot to ask Lara to let me take a photo of her cream of mushroom soup as it came out first, it looked really good though.

Onto the mains – Dad & I had seitan stroganoff, which was creamy and delicious.

Andy had mushroom pasta, which was seriously tasty and had loads of different types of mushies.

Mum had the tofu burger (SOOOO good!)

Lara had the 222 Gardens which had baked plantain, falafel and okra and it looked realllly good!

For pudding, me & my bro both had the tofu cheesecake. It was delicious but I was too full to finish it all.

I kinda wish I had the cake though – Lara had carrot/coconut cake and raspberry ice cream and it looked amazing. They do a cake of the day but they actually had 4 varieties on the menu and all of them sounded good.

Mum and dad both had the 222 Pancake, which they said was a bit rubbery but the sauce and ice cream was good.

All in all, the meal was ace, it was omni family approved and I would definitely go back and recommend it to anyone. My bro even admitted how nice the food was and this is the guy who said he was going to sneak a steak in in his pocket!! Hehe.

Some other stuff from the last week:

Friday, after a double gym sesh of spinning and then water workout (which is not as easy as it looks!!) it was pretty late by the time I got home. This was about all I had the energy to make (and about all I had left in my barren fridge). Jersey Royals are in season (WOOP!) and I just sliced ‘em up and baked them in a little olive oil, salt & pepper and then had them with some mayo mixed with Franks’ Hot Sauce and a couple of eps of Greys Anatomy! Pretty damn good.

I have got today and tomorrow off and today was a busy day of pedicure, getting nails done and some shopping! It’s a hard life, eh. But when I got home, I just couldn’t bear to cook anything – it’s soooo damn hot today and even with the door open and the fan on, the flat is roasting! So I just made a cold noodle salad with some buckwheat udon noodles, veggies, tofu pieces and a quick sauce of tahini, lime juice, mirin, hot sauce and soy sauce. Quick, easy, tasty and no oven required.

I forget what day this was, but I veganised the barefoot contessa’s chicken piccata. It was pretty damn good, even though it was pretty sharp!! I just subbed seitan for the chicken and used vegan margarine instead of butter and I also used fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (I make them in my coffee grinder, out of wholemeal pitas and store them in the freezer). Oh and I used soymilk instead of egg for the breading.

Anyway, I’m off to enjoy the last night of my 20s by baking my birthday cake – I’m so rock’n’roll. Cross your fingers for another gorgeous day tomorrow cuz if it is – it’s Balcony BBQ time!!!