Sunday, 26 May 2013

My first home-made guacamole

I was hoping to include a recipe for shepherds pie today but the one I made for dinner wasn't great - everyone has off days right?! - so I'll work on it and post when it comes out like the last time I made it!

Tastes as good as it looks!
Here's a heads up about someone else's great recipe instead. I'd never made guacamole before so thought 'The world's best guacamole recipe' would be a good place to start. As I've mentioned before, I can't handle too much hothothot in my food so I reduced the jalepenos to about half a tablespoon (wimp much?) and it was sooo good! Ripe avocados are obviously a big problem for us poor British folk but I've found the ALDI ones are pretty much always ready to eat from my local branch.

I served it with 'vegetarian's choice' burgers from Holland & Barrett with sweet potato chips, asparagus and salad, random but delicious!
This week I also made jam for the first time ever! I used this recipe for rhubarb and ginger jam, taking advantage of the home grown rhubarb my parents brought from home for me and investing in a jar of stem ginger which I'm sure I can find some other yummy uses for.

Have a lovely week. x

Monday, 20 May 2013

Sausage and Bean Casserole

After another super hectic day I'm just managing to squeeze this in before bed. My garden is looking great but I'm shattered again! My super cutie pie doggie is visiting at the moment too and loves to wake us up just a little too early with a lick to the face. Yum.

When I saw some Linda McCartney sausages on offer in the fridge section of Sainsbury's I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Sausage and bean casserole. I just went with my gut with this, not following any recipe, and used what I had available.

Ingredients (4 big portions):
1 pack (6) Linda McCartney Sausages
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 bell pepper
2 handfuls of mushrooms 
1 can chopped tomatos
Half a can of baked beans
Half a can of kidney beans
2 tsp Paprika & 1tsp Cayenne Pepper
(more if you like it spicy)

Cook sausages as per instructions on pack.
Meanwhile fry the onion and garlic until soft.
Add mushroom and pepper. When soft, add 1tsp paprika and 1tsp Cayenne Pepper.
Add all cans. Add more paprika. Leave to simmer for ten mins or until sausages are ready.
Taste test! more paprika needed? a bit of salt perhaps?
Now chop the sausages and add them to the mix. Simmer for a further 5 mins and serve!
This is a really versatile dish. We had it with some toasted wholemeal pittas on day one and in wraps with rice on day two. The ingredients can be altered easily too. A great way to get something a bit different into your weekly menu without needing anything special - I'll be making this again!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

A day's grace.

Good evening loyal readers!
Please accept my apologies but today's post is being delayed till tomorrow on account of my parents visiting and keeping me busybusybusy!
Here's a little sneak peak to whet some appetites:

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Curry Club

I'm a little addicted to cooking shows - I've got a little better now that I don't have a tv with food network to gaze at for hours and I actually have to chose an on demand show to watch, but I'm still quite fanatical about them. I like imagining how I could transform recipes, to veganise them, and how they might work with things I already eat. So it happened that this week whilst watching an old Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers episode I decided I to attempt this Korma. I'm an absolute curry novice - the processed stuff in a jar is usually adequate - so this simple one seemed an ideal place to start.
My ginger looked like a bunny!
I didn't have aaalll the spices - still working on the new kitchen's supplies! However it turned out really well and I felt very brave adding sultanas to a savoury dish for the first time ever(!)
My substitutions were:
Butter -> Vitalite
Yoghurt & Creme Fraiche -> One tin of coconut milk
I also added some cauliflower which worked really well.

A great simple way for beginners to experiment with spices, and hazelnuts in curry!
Unfortunately it wasn't a very appetising colour, perhaps it needed more turmeric?
Apologies for the late post, I've spent the day tending to my newly sprouted salad veg (So this is how it feels to be a proud mother!) in my new garden. Advice on how to deter a horde of snails anyone?!

Sunday, 5 May 2013


...Well I did promise a post about something other than food!

I've got to start with a confession. I have not been seriously considering the manufacture process of the alcohol I drink. There are some drinks that I don't drink for obvious reasons... (Bailey's etc...) and others that I have been enlightened about and can remember (Guinness, Fosters, Crabbies Ginger beer - a recent discovery) but I have cowardly shied away from this important issue within veganism for too long and I'm ashamed of this.

Anywho, before I get too morose I'll get practical:
'Many alcoholic beverages are fined (filtered and clarified) using things like isinglass (the swim bladders of fish), albumen (egg), geletin, bone char, or contain non-vegan ingredients like cochineal (crushed up bugs, yes, seriously) pepsin (pork),casein, lactose, and more.' - Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non Vegan World. Bob Torres & Jenna Torres pg 173 
So there you go, if you ever wondered why vegans don't drink all beers, that's why!
Bob (or maybe Jenna) goes on to explain that it's actually quite easy to find vegan drinks - I'll paraphrase:
-There are vegan finding agents (wahey!)
-A German law from 1516 means that all German beers are vegan.
-The majority of North-American brands are vegan too.
-Most spirits are vegan though red ones are probably coloured with cochineal.

The obvious difficulty is that bottles don't usually include ingredients lists and even if they did, they wouldn't necessarily mention their fining agents. Luckily there are ways around this. Barnivore is probably the best place to look to check specific drinks. It's really easy and quick to use - with just one quick search I found out that Harvey's (One of the big local breweries in East Sussex) use isinglass on all their beers. It's also worth mentioning that Sainsbury's, M&S, Co-op and Waitrose label their own brand products as vegan to save us time and get us to part with cash. One last tip comes from the vegan society website  ' If a beer is labelled suitable for vegetarians it should normally also be suitable for vegans as long as it does not contain honey.'
So my plan (In the short term) is to make use of Barnivore to search for the drinks I have most often and download one of their suggested apps for my phone for when I'm on the go. I'll keep you posted on how difficult or easy this turns out to be.

Apologies for what has been the least jovial of my posts, and thanks for reading and giving me a reason to be honest and thorough. Here's a picture of a smiling fish (swim bladder still intact!) for your trouble.
Gizza kiss! -