Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Meme stolen from Skint Vegan

What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?
Fried eggs with runny yolks- there's no substitute fake equivalent vegan thingy, but it just doesn't bother me

What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?

Not sure, I was a fairly adventurous child. My mum might remember if she's reading this?

What vegan dish or food you feel like you “should” like, but don’t?
Salty porridge with soya milk because I'm Scottish- but I'm a sassenach and only take a little porridge with my sugar!! :P

What beverage do you consume the most of on any given day?
ginger tea or black coffee

What dish are you “famous” for making or bringing to gatherings?
My coconut chocolate fudge

Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?

Ordinary sliced bread is raw toast and may only be eaten if toasted.

Potatoes in potato salad salad must be cold.

Glasses must also be cold.

What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?

crisps or chocolate

What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?

Fudge. The Fabulous Fudge Factories is nice, but my own homemade is better. And vegetable soup- there's nothing like homemade soup!

What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get “the good stuff”?

Are you much of a snacker? What are your favorite snacks?
Yes, and biscuits. I am a very naughty vegan indeed!

What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?

Pesto- Stereo in Glasgow make a lovely pesto pizza! I also like a traditional cheese and tomato pizza made with mozzarella cheezly.

What is your favorite vegetable? Fruit?

Mushrooms and strawberries

What is the best salad dressing?

Ginger and lime- Marks and Spencers make a lovely one with their edamame salad pots!

What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?
Melting cheezly with black pepper and sea salt

What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?
vegetable and lentil

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?

I don't know! I do love coconut heaven cupcakes though...

What is your favorite kind of cookie?

Choc chip cookies from Vegan With A Vengeance, they're lovely and chewy...or the sparkled ginger cookies from that book...mmm!!

What is your most-loved “weeknight meal”?
Nut cutlets with roast potatoes (both frozen), cranberry sauce and garlic roasted brussels atm- it's quick and easy but festive!

What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?
Aubergine, my hubby hates them!

How long, in total, do you spend in the kitchen on an average day?
45 minutes

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Back in... red!

After another long absence I'm back, and here's a pic of me with new-ish red hair courtesy of Superdrug's own brand BUAV-approved suitable for vegans hair dye which I'll review first...

It's called Colour Effects, it's a shampoo in and out temporary hair dye and it comes in a wee silver bottle (which very handily tells you on it that it's suitable for vegans!) and it's only 99p. My shade is rich red, and I've left it on for a full 20 mins for a vibrant colour, but you can leave it on as little as 5 minutes for a more subtle result. It's commitment free as it washes out within about a week, but you can just keep it topped up to stop it fading if you want to keep it in longer. I'm impressed by the vibrancy of the colour, the ease of use and the price, so it gets a 5/5 :)

After my last post I was back in hospital again with the same problem, but my health seems to be a lot better than it's been, not had another incident since then though, and I'm now back at work. They're still not 100% sure what's wrong with me, although they think it's either a congenital birth defect with the abnormal veins in my stomach, or endometriosis on my stomach, which I'm currently being treated for. All I can do now is cross my fingers that it won't happen again!

Sorry for such a long absence, and I'll hopefully be back with some food photos soon... x

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Update- think I'm better now!

Hi guys, I've not been on for a while because I've been back in hospital since
Tuesday 7th and was just let back out yesterday afternoon.

I had 3 more gastric bleeds during the time I was in, and had to get several
blood transfusions and more endoscopies (which I hate having as the sedation
doesn't work very well and I panic) to try and find the cause, and on the last
one they finally found an abnormal vein which they put me under general
anaesthetic and stapled the vein, and they are hoping that that is it sorted-
they said there's a 75% chance I'll be okay now, but I'm to go back for follow
up appointments, and also to see a gynaecologist as they think it may be related
to endometriosis.

I'm feeling a lot better than I was but still have inflammation and a borderline
low blood count so I'm a bit tired and need to take iron and proton pump
inhibitors for a while yet. Hopefully I'll be fully better and be updating properly soon though!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

London... a great place for vegans!

My new hubby and I went for a city break to London for our honeymoon and thoroughly enjoyed it! We visited Oxford St and Camden Market for shopping, went to the theatre to see Avenue Q, visited the Science Museum, British Library, and British museum... there's always loads to do there and we'd love to go back and see some more!

It is, like I said, a fabulous place for vegans, it must be so easy for people living there to convert... there are loads of veggie and vegan restaurants there, as well as most omni places catering for vegans- we found hummus sandwiches in the science museum's cafe, loads of falafels everywhere, we went to Pizza Express(there must be one on every street!)on the first night who made us a cheese-free pizza, and there are loads of huge branches of Holland and Barret, Julian Graves, and Wholefoods with a far bigger selection of vegan snacks than I've ever seen anywhere in Glasgow... the first photo is a selection of munchies we took back to our hotel room from Soho Wholefoods!

We also went to Tai Veg in Old Compton Street, Soho, twice for a £6.50 all you can eat, all vegan buffet. Very tasty indeed, with a huge variety of thai and chinese foods to choose from... they had noodles, curries and stir fries, special fried rice, soy and seitan fake meats with various dipping sauces, crispy seaweed, peanut rolls, sesame toast, fake prawn crackers, and a vast selection of fruit and veg, nuts and seeds... yum!

We also went to InSpiral cafe in Camden twice... just look at their patisserie menu! They had a fabulous selection of desserts, particularly their tiramisu cake, which I had with maple pecan ice cream from their huge selection of vegan ice creams. They also served hot savouries- I had a vegan lasagne with steamed greens, potato wedges and sweet potato on the side, which I shared with hubby and had some of his tempeh and cashew cheese panini(because we have started doing that married thing of ordering different things and having half of each other's... :)). I felt like a kid in a sweet shop in this place! :)

We wanted to visit 222 Veggie Vegan which had a load of good reviews, but sadly due to the Notting Hill carnival, a lot of the trains going there were cancelled so we couldn't get there easily. Next time- and there will be a next time!

I'm now a married woman!!!

Here's a selection of my wedding photos... I had a great day, and I'm happy to be married to my lovely hubby! :)

There's one there of our vegan cupcake tower wedding cakes, made by the chef at Mar Hall, Bishopton as part of our all-vegan wedding breakfast menu- we had...

Starter- Roast Parsnip and Thyme soup

Entree- Open ravioli with wild mushroom and asparagus in truffle oil, with micro-herb salad

Dessert- Apple Crumble with Soya vanilla ice cream

...which was all absolutely delicious!

Stay tuned for the honeymoon report....

Monday, 9 August 2010

That's a big marrow...!

I made some of these Golden Vanilla Cupcakes from the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World for my family at the weekend, and will also be having them made for us at our wedding by our new caterer to whom we gave the recipe.

After the recent drama with our last chef leaving, we managed to find a new venue, Mar Hall in Bishopton who gave us a list of vegan options to choose from for our new menu- we decided on parsnip and thyme soup for the starter, open ravioli with wild mushroom and asparagus in truffle oil for the main, and apple crumble with soya ice cream for dessert, followed by the aforementioned cupcakes, which sounded like a tasty menu. :) I'll try and get a few photos on the day to post here. ;)

Only a fortnight and one day to go now till I'm a married woman! I've not got much more to organise now, I'm having my hair trial tomorrow and bought the last of my favours today(I'm not telling what they are as they're to be a surprise for some readers!) All those cupcakes meant I've gained enough weight that I can now fit back into my wedding dress, which I tried on again at the weekend at my parent's house. :D
This here is a roasted marrow stuffed with golden vegetable rice (I cheated on this and used Uncle Ben's, which is vegan). My mum was given the marrow by a friend from work who grows them herself, and it was massive- to give you an idea of the scale, here's a photo of it in the fridge...
Big, eh? And that thing in the shelf above the marrow wrapped in the clingfilm is new Soya Free Cheddar Style Cheezly (I tried to find a link but it's not on their website as yet, I got mine in Holand and Barrett.). It uses pea protein instead of soya. It melts. tastes delicious and their best yet IMO. 5/5

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Not food related- Why I've been away, and latest wedding gossip

I've just got out of hospital on Tuesday after being kept in for nearly a week for observation following a gastric bleed.This is after being in for a fortnight in total 4 or 5ish weeks ago where I had about 3 bleeds (I was let out then took relapses within a few hours twice!) and I've needed transfusions of about 11 units of blood in total over this time.

They still don't know the cause of my gastric bleeding and I've already had an endoscopy, colonoscopy, half an enteroscopy(this had to be halted as apparently I took a panic attack while under sedation), and barium meal xrays which failed to show anything. On Tuesday I had a capsule endoscopy but it can take around 4 weeks for results.

The same thing happened 4 and a half years ago too and was just written off as unexplained gastric bleeding and not further investigated as I never took a relapse over that time until these more recent incidents. One doctor said it was possible they might not even find anything there (which I find rather worrying). I'm feeling a bit better now, just a bit run down and tired.

I'm hoping everything will be sorted by the time of my wedding- only 6 weeks to go now!

We found out last week that the chef who was going to make our all vegan menu had left the hotel where he rented his restaurant, so Jay and my mum have been looking into finding a new place to go for our after wedding meal. I'm really glad we're having an intimate(13 guest) family wedding on a Tuesday so it (hopefully!) shouldn't be too difficult to find an alternative place to cater for our meal- had we been having a huge wedding on a weekend I'd be panicking!

I'm back after a long break! And here's a Pongal-inspired pilaf thing

I discovered Venn Pongal in Dino Sarma's Alternative Vegan book, and as he says himself in this post it can take a while to make. He has a few suggestions for new takes on it himself which I'll have to try out shortly. I came up with this pongal-inspired pilaf recently for a quick dinner- I've used the same spices(see Dino's blog) but instead of the traditional rice and split peas which take a while, I've used quicker-to-cook amaranth and a drained and rinsed tin of kala chana brown chickpeas for a speedier alternative. I'm very pleased with this experiment so I've tried a few variations and quinoa or cous cous also work well in it. :)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Photos from Cat's potluck

Brian is skiing on the Nintendo Wii...
Morven's walnut banana loaf...
Penny's chocolate cake- recipe here
Just desserts(because we ate the starters and mains before I remembered to take photos!)
Isla, Cat and Brian's dog

Dad Brian and daughter Bree...

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Potluck Food, and (more) wedding talk!

I'm going to a Yahoo! Scottish Vegans' group potluck tomorrow, and I'm bringing this chocolate and coconut fudge. I used this 3 minute fudge recipe here with all coconut oil, and replaced the chopped nuts with dessicated coconut. I then lined the bottom of my tray with more dessicated coconut, then after spreading the fudge in, sprinkled even more coconut on top.

So I do hope everyone likes coconut- especially as the savoury dish I'm bringing is a mixed veg and mushroom korma!

I'm still wedding planning, and will be looking into booking a table at a venue for an all-vegan meal after our wedding this week- I've been emailing a few local hotels and restaurants asking if it was do-able, and The Watermill and Raeburns@ Ashtree House Hotel have gotten back to me saying they could cater for vegans- which might be handy for you to know if you ever need to book a table in the Paisley area!

Jay had been looking to hire a vegan kilt but we've been tring to find a hire service without any luck unfortunately- now there's a niche in the market if anyone is thinking of starting up their own business, kilt hire for vegans and vegetarians!

He's now decided he'll probably wear a suit instead, but I'm still going to post some of the information I've found on here in case anyone else reading finds it useful...

George, a member of the Scottish Vegans group(whom some of you who read The Vegan may recognise from the front cover of the Autumn 2009 edition wearing his kilt!) told me he got his tartan from Marton Mills, it's a polyester viscose named "Caledonia" from their Balmoral Range. His is a "Great Kilt" and here are instructions on how to fold it-

Plus you-tube video instructions here-

Some kilt tailors will also make you your very own bespoke kilt using a non-woolen tartan but of course this is very pricey.

Although many of the cheaper casual kilts available from tourist shops are not woolen, all of them we've come across do however have leather straps so unfortunately are not vegan friendly.

Vegan Sporrans to buy and belts-

Bespoke vegan sporrans, kilt straps and belts-

Monday, 29 March 2010

Cappuccino Cupcakes- with recipe! :)

200g self-raising flour
150g sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp instant coffee
190ml hot water
110ml sunflower oil

-preheat oven to 180C

-make coffee by adding the hot water to the 3tsp instant coffee

-line a 12-cake tray with cupcake liners

-sift together dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients, and whisk

-spoon batter into liners, then bake for 22 minutes

-leave to cool then ice if desired

Icing recipe-

1/8 cup Pure marge
2 tbsp soya milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups icing sugar

-mix together then spread over cakes

- you can garnish these cakes using cocoa powder sprinkled on top, or alternatively grate chocolate over them, or pop on some chocolate-covered coffee beans. Best served with a nice cuppa! :)

Hope you enjoy these cupcakes if you decide to try them out! :)

In other news Jay and I have set a date for our wedding- 24th of August this year, and I've found my dress at last! It's a completely vegan heavy jersey material, but I'm not going to tell you readers any more than that, you'll have to wait for the photos! ;)

I've been getting a lot of spam comments left on this blog lately for me to moderate, is anyone else using blogger having this bother? At least, I think they're spam, as they're written in some sort of asian-looking script which I can't actually translate! Spam fail.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Illustrated Recipe- Fridge Cake

Live cooking action photos by Jay!

You will need...

8oz vegan digestive biscuits(I use Morrisons' Value ones)
4oz vegan margarine
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
1 heaped tbsp syrup
2 bars of plain chocolate
dried fruits and nuts of your choice(optional)

Crush the biscuits into crumbsMelt the marge, sugar, cocoa and syrup in a pan. Now add the biscuits to the melted mixture
Now press into a sandwich tin then put into fridge to set (should only take 20 mins)
Melt the chocolate bar over a bain marie(or a makeshift bain marie using a pan and a pyrex dish like I did!)Spread melted chocolate with optional added fruit or nuts (I used almonds and dried cherries) over the biscuit mixtureNow press more nuts, like these walnuts, on to to garnish if desired, then ut back in fridge to set

...Voila, you have a fridge cake! Slice into pieces and serve!

Chocolate Chilli Recipe (as brought to potluck)

(serves 2-4)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, sliced

1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

75g textured vegetable protein OR vegemince

1 ts yeast extract(eg, marmite, vegemite or equivalent)

1 can chopped tomatoes

2tbsp tomato puree

1 tin red kidney beans, drained

3/4- 1 1/2 heaped tsp chilli flakes(to taste)

1-2 squares high cocoa content(minimum 70% cocoa, the higher the better!) dark chocolate

optional vegetables (you could use chopped mushrooms, jalapeno peppers(sparingly! They're hot, so cut the chilli powder content!) or bell peppers)

Top Tip!- if someone you’re cooking for is a spice wimp and doesn't like their chilli quite so burn-the-roof-of-mouth-and-make-eyes-water hot as the others, the solution to this, is to move their milder portion of the chilli to a seperate pot once you've cooked it, then add extra spice to the other pot, then let simmer separately. Just remember which one’s which!

-saute onion and garlic (and vegetables if using) in olive oil until transparent

-add tin of chopped tomatoes, vegetable protein, kidney beans, tomato puree, stock, chilli flakes, yeast extract, and chocolate, and bring to the boil, simmer for 15 mins and serve!

~ideal served with rice, tortillas or other grains~

~alternatively, omit tvp and use a drained can of chickpeas or other beans, to make a bean chilli~

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Honest Scrap!

I've been nominated for an honest scrap award by Penny at Scottish Vegan Homemaker and DJ at Skint Vegan- so thank you both!

The rules of the award are simple:
1) Thank the lovely person who has nominated you and link back to them. Thanks again both of you! :)
2) Tell your readers 10 honest things about yourself.
3) Link to other blogs you feel embody the spirit of Honest Scrap and whose blog you find brilliant in design and/or concept.

So here's my honest scrap.

1- Pink Wafers are my latest food addiction! I've just discovered some of them are vegan(I'd always assumed they contained milk) so I'm making up for lost time, and am shovelling into some as I type!

2- I'm trying to grow my hair for my wedding(and to enjoy after it as well!), and as long as it looks nice and healthy, I'd like to get it down to my waist. Much easier and lazier than that traditional bride-to-be ritual of going on a diet and having a goal weight!

3- When I go shopping I tend to tidy things up- must be because I'm frustrated at people leaving stuff in a mess at their backside at work!

4- Hubby-to-be Jay is my toyboy at just 27- I'm 30 this September. And I do not feel nearly that old!

5- I love gently massaging Fudge the cat's front paws, and he loves having them massaged and puts them in my lap to be done! This makes Jay jealous as he also loves receiving foot and hand massages and asks if he'd get his done more often if they were covered in fur and he purred!

6- Despite being a vegan, I love all things vampire-related, from Buffy to Twilight to Anne Rice, and I watched Count Duckula, the Vegetarian Vampire duck when I was a kid! I'm currently reading the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries series by Charlaine Harris(which the True Blood TV series was based on). I like werewolves too!

7- I honestly never imagined myself getting married- always thought I'd end up a crazy cat lady spinster type!

8- I have lots of things in the cupboard that I've bought for trying out a complex recipe I've read somewhere, and never got round to doing yet. I usually manage to squeeze in the recipe just before it's due to go past it's sell-by date!

9- My handbag carries a lot of nonsense, from a variety of medicines to an umbrella to a book currently being read and sometimes if I'm near the end, the next one in case I finish the first one before I get home, but I'm not taking anything out and making it lighter because I carry all these things "just in case" and if I do, I'll probably regret it!

10- I have a great memory for trivia and can often answer obscure questions on game shows etc, but anything important I'll probably forget!

My nominations are

Darmok The Green -

Kitchen Dancing -

Skint Vegan -

Scottish Vegan Homemaker-

Half Pint Pixie-

Two Vegan Boys

Saturday, 23 January 2010

I'm getting married!!!!!!!!!1111!

I apologise to readers for not mentioning my engagement earlier, as I was engaged in November, I actually thought I had, although Penny did mention it in a reply to one of my posts! Jay proposed after he went shopping while I'd been at work, and said he'd bought me an early xmas present, then gave me this box......Which had this card inside...
He had looked at rings, but wasn't sure what style I'd like, so he wanted to take me shopping to pick my own. So I chose this ring, which is tanzanite(Jay's birthstone) with diamonds on white gold...
:) :) :) :) :) :) :D !!!

We haven't set a date yet, although we would like to get married ASAP, and are currently looking into the details(venues, dresses, honeymoon destinations...). It's going to be a small and intimate wedding, close family only, in a registry office because we're both atheists, and we're going to go for a meal after it(vegan of course!).

I've been looking at dresses, and so many wedding dresses have silk in them, but I have seen a few I've liked that don't and are vegan-friendly. This 100% polyester number from Debut @ Debenhams is my current frontrunner , although they didn't have a size 12 in stock. I tried a size 10 on, which I liked although it was a little too small, so I'm really hoping the 12 fits and I'm not, as I often irritatingly find to be the case, a perfect size 11!

A close runner up, which was a perfect fit and also my mum's favourite out of everything I'd tried on, was this dress here, also Debenhams Debut. I'd highly recommend a look in Debenhams Debut to vegan brides to be as they have a lot of non-silk vegan-friendly fabrics in their collection.

BHS is also worth a look as they have lots of animal friendly fabrics too, although nothing I tried on was a good fit on me- but that doesn't necessarily mean it'll be the case for everyone, as I should mention that I wear an unusual bra size anyway. I did see lovely shoes there though!

Back with more wedding gossip soon!

Yours excitedly,
Kris xxx