Dinosaur Kale Mac and Cheese

Because dinosaurs are cool.

Chili and Lime Black Bean Burger

The perfect vegan burger!

Beer Battered Halloumi

Nom, nom, nom.

Ginger and Chili Tofu

Crispy delicious tofu that's easy to make... say what?

Chocolate Cake Balls

Cakes, but not as you know them.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Goose Egg Fairy Cakes

My friend G lives in a beautiful house in the New Forest and has chicken and geese in her back garden, very idyllic! When I went round on Sunday she offered me a goose egg, but I couldn't really think of what to do with it. Then on Monday I thought I remembered Nigella or someone saying they were really good for cakes, so decided to make some good old fashioned fairy cakes and G brought me a freshly laid one!

So Simone and I got baking, we counted the goose egg as two chickens eggs and used the traditional fairy cake recipe (100g flour, 100g butter, 100g sugar and 1 goose egg). Annie had to crack it for me, because G once told me a horrific story that coincidentally is why I don't like eating eggs on their own.

The shell was so thick and it took ages to crack, and it had the biggest yolk I've ever seen (well apart from an ostrich)
When we mixed it all up it, the mixture was an amazing vibrant yellow colour. We added some cherrys because in the spirit of making good old fashioned fairy cakes, these were the ones I used to make with my nan when I was younger.

Once they we're baked they were still lovely and yellow and we decided to make butterfly cakes because we hadn't made them since we were young. Although we couldn't remember how to do the wings which is why they all look different!

They definitely tasted different or 'goosey' as Simone put it. They were a lot richer and full of flavour!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Eating Animals

Just before I started my vegan week I finished reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, which is all about factory farming and whether its right to eat meat. Like most people I distance myself from what actually happens to animals and factory farming, so was a bit hard to read at times. But I don't want to dwell on that, as the main point I took away from the book was about how important food is and how it evokes certain memories. I love his style of writing, the first book I read of his was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close which completely draws you in and shows a different way of thinking (I urge anyone reading this to read it!). Even though this book was more factual, he still manages to bring you in to the story by talking about his Jewish family and their food. If you've ever watched any of Heston Blumenthal's shows you'll see that he really tries to evoke memories with his food using sound, smell and taste. I read a review of his tasting menu from The Fat Duck and as the reviewer was presented with the Sounds of the Sea dish he was taken back to an old memory 'Suddenly my mouth was full of the flavour of the sea and I was transported back to the Leigh Cockle Sheds where I used to go with my parents and grandparents when I was a young boy about 35 years or more ago. It was amazing, and a lump came to my throat as the memories came flooding back. I have never had a reaction like that to any food before – it was quite unexpected'. There are so many foods for me that bring back memories foe me, pizza makes me think of using my nan's wooden stairs like tables with my brothers, vegetable pie reminds me of sleep overs with Emma and Phoebe, toad in the hole reminds me of the first meal my boyfriend and I cooked together and most importantly my mums vegetable bake and my dads bean soup make me feel at home! It made me really think about why I love food so much, and happy that I have so many nice memories attached to the foods I still eat.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Day 8 Dairyfest

...well not really. I started my day right with a Artisan Du Chocolat Banana Salted Caramel, but after that I had a vegan breakfast as I didn't have any non vegan food in my cupboard! Then I had Yo! Sushi for lunch which obviously isn't very dairy ridden. So I saved all the cheesy goodness for dinner. The clear choice for a cheese filled dinner had to be fondue, and as I've done swiss fondue to death I decided to try cheddar and cider. I found the recipe on this amazing blog, but in my excitement over buying cheese I picked up red leicester instead of double gloucester.

The fondue was good despite being a bit overpowered by the red leicester, but Simone, G and I definitely enjoyed it. We even had the apple wedges that the blog suggested, because we're all professional like. Also I know this looks a bit romantic (minus the paper plates and cider in mugs), but subject to what G and Simone think, I wasn't trying to seduce them! None of our lights work.

As a side note, I did feel a bit gross about eating cheese after a week of no dairy, but I've obviously managed to get over it!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Veganism Days 6 & 7

Day 6 and 7 haven't been very eventful food wise, I've managed the whole week without dairy though, so I'm very happy. That is unless I cave in between now and bedtime! I missed cheese a bit on saturday and spent loads of time looking at a cheese blog, which probably wasn't the best idea! I also went to Burger King with my boyfriend and really, really wanted chili cheese bites. Other than that though the last two days have been fine, although my PIC Laura caved (see below)

After failing to find my favourite super duper health and hummus salad (which also happens to be vegan) in Pret, I came home and used the leftover pastry from fridays pie to make and tomato and broccoli tart. I found some vegan parmesan cheese in my cupboard that I brought ages ago and sprinkled that on, which made the cheese cravings a bit easier.

Today I had a meal in prezzo, I checked the internet and luckily they had a full list of vegans meals. I had penne arrabiata and surprisingly wasn't tempted by the pizza. Then this evening, my good friend G held an evening of chocolate as part of her chocolate diploma (yes, that actually exists!) and she made me some vegan hot chocolate, which was really thick and creamy. If I had treats like that all the time it would make it a lot easier to be vegan.

This week has been fun, but I don't think I could ever be vegan full time because It's just too restrictive for me. I want to eat cheese and non-vegan cakes, but I've definitely discovered a new love for tofu and an addiction to potato waffles! I'm glad I did this week though because it's taught me that I can try new meals, and don't have to have cheese with everything. I think I'll add more vegan meals to my diet and if people can be 'flexitarian' then I don't see any reason why I can't be a flexivegan and have a few days a week eating vegan meals.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Veganism Day 5

Day 5 has been good, apart from the fact that I feel bit rough from last nights wine. Simone and I decided last night that we'd have toaster waffles for breakfast (she even dreamt about them) So we had waffles and scrambled tofu again. Then for lunch we went to The Art House Cafe in Southampton, a small vegetarian cafe run by volunteers. I can't believe I haven't been before because it 10 minutes from my house, but no one ever want to go with me! I couldn't decide between Mexican style Mezze which is corn chips, salsa, bean pate, vegan cream cheese and generous salad or The Voluptuous Vegan, a platter of vegan cream cheese, bean pate, hummus, pickle, a big salad and toasted pita. But as earlier stated, I have a bit of a soft spot for nachos so went for the Mezze. It was nice to have a meal that I didn't have to make, and one that was so big with loads of different flavours.

Then for pudding I had warm vegan chocolate cake with soy cream, which made up for the horrible blueberry muffins from yesterday.

Then for dinner Simone and I made a vegetable and red wine pie, I can't remember whether it was Emma or Phoebe who taught me how to make this, as they both made it all the time, but every time I make it I think of them! We had it with mustard mash and it made a good hearty meal! There was a slight issue though, I had some pastry in the freezer and left it to defrost all day only to realise at the last minute that it had butter in it! So I had to rush to the shops to by the vegan puff pastry. Other than that it was a success.
(The pie is supposed to have a smiley face but it went a bit wrong!)

So apart from feeling a bit rough today, the veganism is going well. I'm looking forward to Monday though, I've already brought some Ben and Jerrys in preparation. I think the next two days will be the hardest because my boyfriend is visiting me for the weekend and we usually snack on lots of non vegan things together!

Veganism Day 4

So day 4, we're over halfway through! I didn't get time to blog yesterday because I was too busy cooking, napping, running a virtual bakery ect... but yesterday was full of lots of lovely vegan food... well apart from these blueberry bran muffins. I've been excited about making them all week, and when I actually did they came out tasting like chewy metal! Two of my housemates actually spat them out... they were that good. So unfortunately they all went in the bin!

But the rest of the day was a success, Laura (other vegan) made this amazing salad and was so excited about it that she took loads of pictures. I liked this as it made me feel like less of a mentalist for taking pictures of my food all the time!

I made a hummus, spinach, carrot and olive sandwich and we sat in the sun eating our lovely vegan lunches! Then for dinner I made pad thai noodles, which is a recipe I found in a cook vegetarian from last year. If I manage to find the recipe, I'll pop it up here later, but it's basically just tofu covered in thai green curry paste and fried, with stir fried red onion, chili and garlic. Then half a lime squeezed over and some soy sauce.

Laura made this stuffed squash for tea, which looks amazing! I wish I was here to try some of it. In lauras words 'I roasted it and I fried onions garlic courgette and tomatoes with spinach then stuffed it with that and cous cous and put it under the grill for a bit then ate it!' I just asked her if it was nice and she said 'yeah was pretty good, I ate both halves'

Then Simone (veggie for lent) and I got home after too much free wine and had the munchies. Usually after a night out I'd want jalapeno creams, but as I obviously couldn't have these we went for vegan nacho waffle burgers (with nacho bean burgers from Asda). We discovered that you can put potato waffles in the toaster, which is amazing!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Veganism Day 3

So today I finally got to make tofu scramble, which I've been wanting to try for ages. It was as good as I'd imagined, it actually really tasted like scrambled egg! I made it by frying some leeks, asparagus and tenderstem broccoli in (vegan) sunflower spread. Then I crumbled in some firm tofu and seasoned with salt, pepper and mixed herbs and then added some soy sauce and fried for a bit longer. So yeah, it made a lovely brunch with some potato waffles and baked beans!

Not that this is really vegan food, but it was such a nice day today, so everyone was sat in the garden doing their uni work and just to make it a little but better we made some cider punch! To make it we just used cider, ginger beer and some fruit juice (grape, apple and raspberry) and then popped in some fresh fruit.

And for dinner today I made vegetable paella, which I've made lots of times before and is one of my favourite meals. It's so simple to make and full of flavour. You can use any left over vegetables and fry them up, then add some paella rice, cover with white wine until absorbed. Then fill up the pan with vegetable stock and leave to absorb on the heat, stirring occasionally. When all the stock is nearly absorbed pop in some frozen peas (I forgot to add the peas this time!), and squeeze some lemon in, then wait until all the stock is absorbed and serve with a wedge of lemon.
So other than that I have been snacking on crisps, hummus, olives and vegan short bread. My house mate has said that she feels a lot hungrier than usual, but I don't know if I feel the same as I'm a fatty all the time! She also went out for a meal today and ordered a pizza without the cheese, I'm very proud of her because I think I would have caved at that point.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Veganism Day 2

The second day of veganism has gone well, although I did nearly have a slip up. I made some spinach and minty pea soup and just before I added the stock I realised it wasn't vegan! Luckily I found some vegan friendly stock on the side and the day was saved!

Then for dinner I made marinated tofu with coconut rice and griddled vegetables, I found the recipe when Vegweb tweeted it a few weeks ago! I was a bit worried about the tofu, as I didn't have the right type of vinegar and it smelled pretty weird, but it was actually really nice!

We also have some of Phoebe's vegan icecream which I blogged about a few weeks ago brewing in the freezer! It looks a bit rank at the moment, I'll get another picture when we serve it up tomorrow!
So yeah, day two is going well. I've only had a craving for cheese once when my housemate opened the oven and I could smell her lovely cheesy pasta bake!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Veganism Day 1

Today was the first day of Vegan week for me and my housemate and it's gone well so far. I had cereal for breakfast with soy milk (not very interesting) and I usually have that any way so it wasn't much different. Then we went food shopping and both managed to spend loads on food, but I think we we're just getting a bit over excited! So after spending a lifetime in Asda, we got home and had lunch. I had a carrot and hummus sandwich on olive bread, with crisps and olives, which was really good. I think my housemate was missing cheese at this point as she kept talking about it while she was making her sandwich!

Then for tea we made a quinoa chili, which I've made hundreds of times before so it wasn't really anything new.

And then about an hour ago my other housemate and I decided to make some vegan short bread so that I had something to dunk in my tea. I'm just waiting for them to cool down and then I'm going to put the kettle one, but I already tried one straight out of the oven and they taste exactly the same as buttery ones.

So today has been a success and I don't think I've slipped up, hopefully the rest of the week will be just as easy.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Vegan Week

As of Monday my housemate and I are having a vegan week. I'm obviously vegetarian at the moment, but I also don't have eggs and milk (except in cake, chocolate ect) so it probably won't be too much of a jump for me, apart from having to look at labels more. But Laura eats, well, everything so it will be interesting to see how she finds it! My other house mate is also going vegetarian for lent, (which she's writing about here) so it will be weird to have half a house of non meat eaters! But as it's Go veggie for climate change week as well, I think it's the best week for us all to be doing it! So hopefully, if I'm not too lazy I can put a food diary on here for a week of the new things I've tried.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Millionaire Flapjack

I seem to have done a lot of baking this week after not doing any for ages, but today it was for my mums Comic Relief bake sale at her nursery. I was going to make some cupcakes but then I decided it would take too long to decorate, so ended up making flapjacks. But then I thought flapjacks were probably too boring and ended up making millionaire flapjacks which probably took me the same amount of time! I've never made flapjacks before, but I don't know why, it was like the easiest thing ever! Again this is a recipe adapted from the fudgy fingers (or what ever they're called) from the Hotel Chocolat 101 book.

Recipe (makes 20-24)

For the flapjack:
150g of butter
100g light brown sugar
2 tablespoon of golden syrup
350g of porridge oats

For the topping:
400g tin of condensed milk
100g sugar
250g butter
2 tsp golden syrup
250g Milk Chocolate (I used 40% cocoa to stop it being too sweet)

Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees. To make the flapjack, melt the butter, sugar and syrup on a low heat and add the oats when fully melted. Mix together well and then press into a tin lined with greaseproof paper and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Then make the caramel by putting condensed milk, sugar, butter and syrup in a heavy based pan and heat on a low heat until melted. When melted turn up the heat and constantly stir until it turns a deep brown caramelly colour, let it cool for a minute and then pour over the flapjack. While it's setting melt the chocolate in a bain marie and then pour over the caramel, leave to set then chop up and eat.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Banana Bread Beer Brownies

As it's nearly St Patrick's day, I really wanted to make some Guinness brownies, but unfortunately Guinness isn't vegetarian. So I this morning I went on a search for alternatives. It was quite hard to find any on this
list that were similar too Guinness and also easy to find in the supermaket,  but after a bit of searching I discovered that Banana Bread Beer is veggie (and also one of the only beers I liked). So I thought I'd move away from the Guinness idea and try something completely different. They turned out super gooey with a rich dark chocolate and banana taste and a bitter beer after taste. Yummy! 

Here's the recpie:

115g Dark Chocolate
200g Butter
375g Caster Sugar
4 eggs
100g Flour
50g Good quality cocoa powder
1tsp vanilla extract
200ml Wells Banana Bread Beer

  1. Start by turning the oven to 180 degrees and melting the chocolate and butter together in a bain marie. 
  2. Make the brownies by beating the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl until they have quadrupled in size, then sift in the cocoa powder and flour. 
  3. When the chocolate and butter mixture is fully melted pour it in to the mixture, add the vanilla extract and beer and mix until well blended. 
  4. Pour into a baking parchment lined square tin and bake for 40 minutes, the less you cook the gooier they will be, be careful with these ones though because the batter will be wetter!
  5. Wait for them to cool a bit, cut in to rectangles and enjoy! 


It was my Birthday last friday and I had an absolutely amazing and food filled time! My mum got me the Terre a Terre cook book and Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty, which I've wanted for ages. And then my boyfriend took me to Brighton to go to Terre a Terre, which was truly amazing! We had Arepas Corn Cakes with avocado smash & chilli chelly and Deep fried fat Parmesan green olives stuffed with lemon ricotta to start. The parmesan olives were absolutely to die for (though I'm not sure the bf thought so as he doesn't like olives! but hey, more for me) I could genuinely eat them every day.

then we both had Better Batter and Lemony Yemeni Relish which is: Soft buttermilk soaked halloumi dipped in chip shop batter, served with vodka-spiked preserved plum tomatoes, bright fresh pea mint hash with pickled quails egg, sea salad tartar and chubby chips, finished with lemony yemeni relish. The flavours of this dish really complemented each other, and it's nice to have something other than mushrooms or risotto! I especially liked the pea hash with the vodka spiked tomatoes, the tomatoes were so intense and it was offset by the subtle taste and texture of the peas. Surprisingly, this was the first time I've been to a vegetarian restaurant, but why not start with the best? Every thing about it was perfect, the service was outstanding and the food was so flavour full, I definitely want to go back one day!

It was definitely the best meal I've ever had and my meat eating boy friend liked it saying 'I could be vegetarian if I ate here every day'. Then on Saturday we had a kids party, with all the usual party foods cheese and pineapple on sticks, cold pizza (vodka) Jelly ect, which was amazing, although I was a bit too intoxicated to take any pictures or eat eat food (except the jellies!) And then my house mates made me this AMAZING Totoro cake! I think it's been my best birthday so far.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Pancake day!

Another reason being vegan for this month would be bad is that I couldn't enjoy some proper good pancakes, although I've never actually tried vegan pancakes, I'm sure they're nice!

Any way we made lot's of pancakes, I had a blueberry with lemon and sugar, and then a banana, caramel chocolate spread and nutella one! Amazing. We then decided to use the heart shaped egg pan to make tiny ones, which looked cute but tastes disgusting! I definitely don't think the pancake making will stop for a few weeks now, I really want a savory one that I saw in Vegetarian Living magazine!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Vegan Month

Speaking of my love for cheese, I really want to give it up and pledge to go vegan for a month and go to the meetings on the 5th March and 2nd April. But although I think I could do it for a month, my birthday is next week and I want to eat lots of non vegan cake and chocolate. The last time I tried it was a bit of a failure as I picked a bad week to have to plan any meals (the end of a festival, carvery with bfs family and no time to go shopping!) which meant I didn't get to eat loads of exciting things and make loads of vegan cakes ect, I still only slipped up twice though without realising. Hopefully my housemate and I are going to do at least a week after my birthday, so at least I can pledge that much.

I love cheese!

I forgot about this, but two years ago my friends and I had a 'cheese gathering' as we all share a common love of cheese. I am a massive cheese addict so this was my ideal night! We started off shopping for different cheese in a variety of shops, but the best had to be the Deli in Buckingham it has a great range of different cheeses and we even managed to pick up some Stinking Bishop! So yeah, there was loads of cheese, biscuits and condiments and after mass cheese consumption we all felt really ill! I went to bed feeling like I could never eat cheese again (this obviously didn't last long!) When I woke up in the morning I discovered that the left overs had been eaten in the night, I couldn't believe that any one could have eaten more, but two of my friends had... ew! But it was still it was such a great night, I want to do another one soon!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Good Housekeeping's Cook Book 1953

I love cook books, and this one is extra special to me because it was brought for my nan in the 50's and passed on to my dad in 1995. It's now been passed on to me but it still lives at my dads because I don't trust myself not to lose/break/set fire to it. It's such a beautiful book and just optimises the 50's housewife, the recpies are slightly outdated but also classic, and I made a fair few when I was younger and hopefully will again when I have my own house.

I love the fact it has pictures because it just looks so retro and beautiful, it also has adverts from things like cadbury and colmans which just add to its charm. I hope when I'm older my cook books look all cool and retro and I can pass them on to my food loving children.

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