Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Music, Music, Music

There was lots of music this weekend. The Bank Holiday weekend kicked off with curry and beer before heading out into Manchester for a night of live music. The curries consisted of potatoes fried with mustard seeds from a really old curry recipe book of mine and the wonderful Goan Tofu Curry from the Vegan Village website. They also worked really well the next day cold in a wrap.

Saturday morning breakfast was a fry up. Linda McCartney sauasages, baked beans, potatoes fried with salt, pepper and sage and vegan Eggy Bread using the Post Punk Kitchen Fronch Toast recipe.

We spent the day at the Manchester Americana Festival where Matt (Quiet Loner) was on the bill. It was a lovely day with 10 live acts, nice beer and a friendly venue.

On Sunday I spent the day on some artwork as I have an exhibition coming up in October! On Monday there was more live music and a day at Media City/Salford Quays with the BBC Radio 6 Roadshow. As you can see from the picture it was typical Manchester weather!

As two people who get ridiculously excited in food shops we managed to spend a whole hour in the Booths supermarket just behind Media City. Booths are a fantastic little Northern chain of supermarket who support local producers. We came away with things we'd never tried before like garlic chives and truffle oil.

We used our haul from Booths to knock up a bank holiday buffet.

Finished off with strawberry, amaretto trifle eaten whilst watching Great British Bake Off - a perfect end to a great weekend.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Vegan Food Swap

After Jojo blogged about it over at Vegan in Brighton I signed up to take part in the monthly UK vegan food swap. It's a great idea that is organised by Too Happy Vegans. I got to send a parcel to Christina over at Paperbag blog. Here's a peak at the parcel I sent her. In turn I received a great parcel from Mel at Toxic Vegan blog. I've enjoyed all the lovely goodies and was really impressed with the two gluten free chocolate treats that were included which I haven't seen before - a Happy Kitchen brownie and the Lazy Day Foods Dark Belgium chocolate tiffin.

There's still time to sign up to start participating from September onwards. Make sure you sign up here before the 5th September. Who knows we may get to food swap!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Weekend Eats

Bit late but here's the lovely food from last weekend which was especially lovely as I didn't have to make any of it myself! Salad platter to share with my friend Sarah at The Bear in Todmorden.

Tea was a lovely Chilean stew from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Veg book which unfortunately missed getting photographed. It was served with an amazing quick Lorraine Pascal Olive Damper bread which had been on telly that morning. Saturday was live music, beer and a late night. Sunday breakfast needed to be some comfort food and this mushroom and spinach omelette from Fat Free Vegan hit the spot. It was my first time of having a vegan omelette and I was well impressed.

Snacky late lunch of crudites, humus, Cheezly Pepperjack bites and smoothies.

Afternoon tea with a pot of char and peanut butter banana chocolate cupcakes.

Sunday tea was pizza topped with vegan mozarella, sliced potato, smoked tofu and rocket. Mmm pizza!

Friday, 17 August 2012

We Remember Elvis

Yesterday   it was 35 years since Elvis Presley died. Matt has been a massive Elvis fan since he was about 7 years old and he put on a We Remember Elvis night. It was a great night with musicians playing Elvis songs, a comedy turn, a tribute act, an Elvis lecture, quiz and raffle and a screening of the 68 Comeback Special

My contribution was 36 large Peanut Butter Banana Choc Chip cupcakes with Elvis Cake Toppers. Recipe and cake toppers were both from Bake and Destroy. The amazing frosting was from was Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. and used a whole jar of peanut butter!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Weekend Eats and Treats

 Had a bit of a mooch round the charity shops in Didsbury on Saturday afternoon. We went out late and didn't expect to find much so were pleased when Matt found a nice 50s snack tray and cocktail shaker and I got a top and bangle. We also popped into Marks and Spencer's Food and were surprised to find vegan friendly Bubble and Squeak! Not tried it yet, it's gone in the freezer but it will hopefully be the star of a cooked breakfast sometime soon. If anyone reading is not sure what Bubble and Squeak is, it's a lovely comfort food dish  made from leftovers. Check out Joey's recipe over on the blog Flicking the V's.

The reason for going in Mark's was to pick up some Indian starters to go with a Chicken Dansak recipe that I had veganised using some of the Chicken Style Seitan that I had leftover in the freezer made form the Vegan Diner recipe. This was Saturday night tea staying in with beer and the Olympics on tv.

Sunday saw a day of lovely food with family starting with a roast dinner with haggis at my mum's.

Tea at my sisters was one of our favourites - the Brooklyn Pad Thai from Vegan With A Vengeance. I forgot to take a picture but it was wonderful as always. We speed up the recipe by using ready cooked rice noodles and a bag of ready prepared stir fry mix for the veg. It was my sister's boyfriend's birthday a few weeks ago and I always make him a cake. The last few years it's been a carrot cake with a reaching a pinacle with the recreation of the Cake Wrecks Naked Mowhawk Baby Carrot Jockeys cake last year. This year I went for a change when I saw this Summer Peach and Amaretto cake over on Maple Spice blog. I frosted it with a simple frosting made from 2 cups of icing sugar, 3 tablespoons of vitalite and 2 tablespoons of amaretto. It turned out great.

Saturday, 11 August 2012


Just realised when downloading these photos that I've managed to pack in a fair few so called 'superfoods' this week. I ate this for a couple of meals - qunioa with roasted onion, butternut squash, sweet potato, red pepper and courgette with alfalfa sprouts and green leaves and olives drizzled with a little flax oil. Served with a blob of red pepper humous on the side. I really enjoyed this.

More oats in a jar for breakfast, this time with chia seeds. I used this recipe from the blog Oh She Glows and it was great, really filling and kept me going all morning. Served with a shot of matcha tea. I found this kilner jar at the same time that I found the spiraliser when I cleared out the cupboard of doom the other week and it is perfect for overnight oats.

This is one of my favourite smoothie combinations - banana, peach, blueberries, spoonful of almond butter, flax and soya milk.

On Friday we had an away day at work to go to the Tatton Biennial. It was a fab day - great weather, cool outdoor art and a picnic for lunch. I made a sweet potato salad as my contribution to the picnic from this recipe on Vegan Village and it went down very well. For tea on Friday evening there was a bit left so I served this with oven roasted corn, salad and a Chilean style hot dog. I lived in Chile for a short time in the late 90's and I'd forgotten how delicious the addition of 'palta' is to burgers and sausages. Basically it's just avocado mashed with salt and pepper which I used as a topping with some red onion. It is soooo good, you should definitely give it a go.

Finally here's a pic of my favourite art piece that we saw at Tatton. It's called the Pont de Singe (Monkey Bridge) and is by Olivier Grossetete.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Weekend Eats

It's been a weekend of good food! Last week I cleared a cupboard out and found my long lost spiraliser so Friday's lunch was courgetti and pesto.

I caught the train over to Glossop after work to spend the weekend in Derbyshire. Matt made this lovely tea which consisted of brown rice, a Spanish chickpea and butternut squash stew with a Redwoods Schnitzel on the side for good measure.

Sometimes you really need a dessert, especially on a Friday after a long hard week. This impromptu concoction was yummy - there was a base of crushed hobnobs topped with Alpro caramel dessert, Sojasun lemon yoghurt, grated chocolate and a cherry.

In that annoying way of the world we woke up at 6.30am on Saturday and couldn't get back to sleep. So we got up and caught a bus part of the way up a very big hill and went on a five mile hike. To set us up for it was a cooked breakfast with a baked,marinated portobello mushroom, chopped up Fry's braai country herb sausage and a couple of rounds of brown bread toast. Matt picked up this gluten free bread to try as it was reduced in the Coop to 70p and we are both trying to eat less wheat. It's made by Robert's Bakery and is the nicest gluten free bread I've ever tasted. It's called Yes, You Can!

We stopped for a cup of tea by the remains of this plane crash from 1944. The good news is that I Googled it and the two man crew escaped with just cuts and bruises.

We were back home for lunch which was the Lentil and Eggplant Chilli Mole from Appetite for Reduction served with a couple of corn tortillas. We made this a few weeks ago and it froze well and tasted great. So great I forgot to take a picture until I'd eaten most of it!

Saturday we went to visit friends for the opposite of a house warming do, whatever you would call that! No pictures but we had a lovely veggie buffet including delicious ratatouille and couscous. I was the only vegan but the hosts made all savoury food vegan which was so nice and they got me some of these Hale and Hearty Chocolate and Date flapjacks for dessert. Now they might sound a bit worthy, but they tasted anything but. I would definitely recommend them and they are gluten free too. We returned the favour by doing a Sunday buffet tea. Matt has really embraced sushi making after learning how to do it last weekend and after watching the Post Punk Kitchen video has even mastered the inside out roll!

Here's shot of the whole table. We also had vol au vents, salads, home made humous and pate.

And for dessert the Raspberry and Almond Cake from Vegan Diner which is fast becoming one of my favourite cakes.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Health Plan

So, I spent an hour on Tuesday evening lying on the floor in front of this Buddha! It was part of my plan to help cope with the stress that the next 10 months will bring as we head towards a massive round of redundancies at work. The area that I work in is being dismantled altogether with both my job and the one I'm currently doing as a secondment disappearing. To cope with things I'm doing my best to support my mental and physical health. I love meditation and I know it works for me from past experience but I've been finding it difficult to lock into at home so this one hour drop in class with a guided meditiation was perfect. The Manchester Buddhist Centre is a really beautiful building. I went with a friend and we had a brew after at Home Sweet Home which was a nice place but apart from soya milk was sadly lacking in anything for vegans.

I was quite ill last year and although I'm loads better now I still have moments of fatigue. I've been really upping the 'raw' quota of my daily menu to try to combat this and have been enjoying sprouted seeds, raw almond butter, smoothies and flax crackers amongst the cooked food.

I've also stopped making sandwiches for lunch and am avoiding bread. I've not cut out wheat altogether though as I do love couscous like this simple roast veg salad with toasted pine nuts. The things in the tub aren't olives but are black cherries. They are one of my favourite fruits and as they are in season I'm making the most of them being a pound a punnet in lots of shops. They have lots of health benefits including containing serotonin which is known to prevent depression and aid sleep.

I am a long time smoothie lover. Occasionally I have museli for breakfast but it's usually a smoothie. I've been trying to expand from my few favourite recipes introducing extras like nut butter, coconut water, maca and carob. I also had my first attempt at overnight refrigerator oats and I loved it! Into the jar went oats, Kara coconut milk, carob, raisins, frozen strawberries and maple syrup quick stir and then popped in the fridge til morning. Looking forward to experimenting further with this and also starting to add chia seeds.

My other new breakfast addition is a shot of Matcha tea. So much more powerful than green tea in a tea bag and just packed with antioxidents. It's also supposed to speed up your metabolism to help with weightloss. I'm one week in and have lost 1 pound so far which I'm pleased about. Rather than dieting I'm just trying to make healthier tweeks to the way I eat normally. Slowly but surely.