Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Notice Board: Liebster Award Post


Guess what? I'm so pleased to tell you that I've been nominated for a Liebster award by Julie from My Apologies for the Novel and Jesse from Mad Hatter's Pantry! Thanks Guys!

It's not an actual award itself, more like an online chain letter which aims to get to know fellow bloggers better and meet knew bloggers. The rules are simple and here's what you do if you get nominated.
  • Answer the 10 questions provided and then come up with 10 new ones to ask your nominees
  • Nominate 8 other bloggers, let them know you have nominated them and put a link to their blog in your post
  • No tag backs
  • Nominees must have under 200 followers on any platform
  • You must tell all the blogs that you nominate that you have nominated them
Jesse had a great idea and combined her nominations with vegan mofo by using randomofo, such a great idea! So in honour of vegan mofo 2014 and Jesse's idea I decided to do the same. The blogs I have nominated I have found through randomofo.

So here are the questions - I have answered both sets of questions!

Julie's Questions:
  1. When is your "veganniversary"/the date you went vegan? (Or if, like me, you don't remember the exact date, have you chosen a day on which to celebrate your veganniversary?)

    I'd dabbled with veganism in the past, but I made the full transition on 1st January 2013 so I've only celebrated once! But I'm so pleased that I am now fully committed to it, I feel much better in myself too. I used to suffer with lots of headaches but since becoming vegan I can count the number of headaches on one hand - 4 to be precise!
  2. What's one of your best qualities?

    I'm compassionate
  3. What is your most-used kitchen tool/utensil?

    My Vitamix! I treated myself to one for my veganniversary and I've not looked back since I use it most days if not every day!
  4. Do you share your life with any animals? (If so, tell us a bit about them.)

    My life would not be the same without my gorgeous Marco. He's a border collie and he make our lives complete. He does everything with me, bar coming to work with me, but if I work from home he just curls up around my feet under the desk.
  5. If you could open a sanctuary, what would be the first type of animal you would rescue?

    Which ever animal needed my help on that day.
  6. Do you prefer your pizza hot and fresh, or cold as leftovers the next day? 

    Straight out of the oven!
  7. What is your favorite type of tea?

    Its a close call between Lady and Early Grey
  8. What's one food/meal that you thought you'd never have again once you went vegan, only to find out later that there is a vegan version of it?

    I used to love Yorkie Bar's and now there is the Veggo Bar which is very similar, if you haven't tried it, go and buy one right now! Its delicious
  9. What would be your “catch phrase?” (What is your favorite phrase and/or what is the phrase you say most often?)

    The world is your vegan oyster!
  10. What's your go-to dish to bring to a vegan potluck?

    I've never been to a vegan potluck before, but if I was to go to one it would have to be a mushroom dish, like mushroom ragu, mushroom stroganoff or mushroom pie!
And here are Jesse's questions:
  1. What made you decide to take part in Vegan MoFo?

    I took part last year and I had so much fun I thought why not do it again. It was a lot harder though this year as I hadn't prepared for it so most of the recipes I have shared this year were made/created on the day of the post. It was exhausting but still fun.
  2. What is the weirdest vegan meal you've been served?

    I don't think I've had a weird vegan meal, I've been disappointed, marvelled and just not sure. The strangest thing served was tomato spaghetti for a Christmas dinner - does that count?
  3. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go and why?

    I'm lucky enough to have done a little travelling already and I spent almost three years away from home, travelling Australasia. I couldn't chose an outright favourite from all the countries I visited as I loved them all! I've never made it over to America or Canada though so I'd love to give those countries a try.
  4. What did you want to be when you were a child?

    I can't actually remember what I wanted to be as a child, I loved so many things and I just wanted to be happy doing something I loved.
  5. What are you now?

    I work for the Local Education Authority, which is very stressful and very busy but I would love to work in the food industry, own my own vegan bistro and write my own cook books
  6. Do you have any animal friends at your house? Tell me about them!

    Yes, my lovely Marco - see above
  7. What has been your favourite album of the year so far?

    Gosh! That's a toughie! I like so much different music from Elbow to Pharrell Williams!
  8. Which festive season (if any) do you look forward to the most?

    If there's food involved I look forward to it! Christmas is the obvious choice as there is sooooo much food but I'm not a fan of the cold dark nights (and days for that matter). I look forward to the spring when I can get out in my garden
  9. Can you recommend a good book?

    I love reading books that make you laugh out loud, and I've recently just finished reading "The Tent, Bucket and Me" if ever you've been camping as a child this will have you in stitches!
  10. Tell me a secret? (Or a random fact if you don't want to share your secrets!)

    I'm a little piglet! I LOVE my food, hahahahahaha
My 10 questions:

1. What food item could you not do without?
2. What would be your last supper (you can have 3 courses)?
3. What is your favourite TV show?
4. Who is your favourite comedian?
5. What is your favourite junk food?
6. How long have you been Vegan?
7. Has your health improved since turning vegan?
8. What ingredient had you never heard of until you went vegan?
9. What is your favourite smell? 
10. What is a typical Sunday like for you?

My 8 nominations are:

A Little Vegan Blog in Big Ol' Texas - http://andisay0214.blogspot.co.uk/
Stephanie at http://questingadventures.blogspot.co.uk/
Shannon at http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
Bianca at http://www.elephantasticvegan.com/
Cristina at http://www.veggiebytes.com/
Johanna at http://gggiraffe.blogspot.co.uk/
Michelle at http://michellestinykitchen.blogspot.co.uk/
'S' at http://justabtvegan.com/

I'm going to add one more to the list above, which I've chosen myself and that's

Tracy over at My Living Cook Book go check out her blog.

To all you nominees, please don't feel obliged to take part, if you don't want to. Its just a bit of harmless fun so people can get to know you a little better. If you're reading this post before I've let you know I hope it hasn't come as too mush of a shock :o)

Thanks again to Julie from My Apologies for the Novel and Jesse from Mad Hatter's Pantry for nominating me.



Monday, 29 September 2014

Specials Board: Easy Stuffed Mushrooms Not

Vegan Mofo Day 29
Once again I'm late home and the light has gone before I can even start dinner. I wanted something comforting and easy, which was also quick. My go to comfort food is always going to be mushrooms, I love them and any dish with them in really cheers me up! I couldn't live without my 'shrooms :o)

I didn't want to slave over a pan making risotto or stroganoff and I didn't fancy pasta so I decided on making a simple and quick stuffing mix, filling the 'shrooms and popping in the oven. 

OK, So that was my plan! But disaster struck! Because I was rushing I forgot to put any seasoning in the stuffing mix, normally I add herbs and spices and at least salt and pepper, but today nothing! Then as I pulled the stuffed mushrooms out of the oven I dropped the tray as my oven glove wasn't enough protection. It seems I have a thin patch in the oven glove! So most of the stuffed mushrooms went on the floor but I did manage to save two.

I quickly took a photograph of the mushrooms on the floor before Marco found them and started munching his way through, then I took a quick photo of the two I saved. Again everything was done in a rush as I was starving and I couldn't wait to took into my dinner.

As I said before I didn't enjoy them as much as I hoped as I forgot to put in any seasoning! 

What else could go wrong? Everything! As I came to write up the recipe I found out that I had no memory card in my camera! So I have no pictures of the tasteless 'shrooms! So I thought I'd post some pictures of Marco instead.


If you want a recipe for stuffed mushrooms I posted one last year during vegan mofo.







Sunday, 28 September 2014

Specials Board: Courgette & Lentil Loaf

Courgette & Lentil Loaf and VeganMofo Day 28
Apologies for the photographs, I didn't finish cooking until it was dark and I was too hungry to set up a photo shoot! 

Before I get onto the recipe I just want to wish my sister a very Happy Birthday!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIS!
I told you there would be more courgette recipes! My freezer is bursting at the seams with frozen courgette, so I didn't want to freeze a load more as they are. I'm not alone with the amazing courgette harvest this year, my gardening angel is exactly in the same position. She said that as soon as she turns her back on a plant it springs out courgettes! We're not complaining though, this vegetable is so versatile. Maybe next year my vegan mofo topic will be courgettes! That will really test me 30 days of courgette recipes, jeez that would be a tough one.

I'm going to freeze individual slices of this loaf, so I can have dinner on the table in minutes especially on those days when I get in from work late.

Ingredients 

1 Tbsp Flax seeds
3 Tbsp Water
300g Red lentils
900ml Vegetable stock
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
230g Courgette, grated
2 Tsp Mixed herbs
85g Wholemeal breadcrumbs (2 slices)
1 Tsp Arrowroot powder

Method

First make your flax egg, slowly pour the water over the flax seed, whisking as you do so, continue to whisk for a couple of minutes until the mixture starts to go a bit gloopy. Put the flax egg in the fridge so it firms up whilst you continue with cooking.

Add the red lentils and stock to a large saucepan and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring at regular intervals so the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Towards the end of cooking you will need to stir more often so it doesn't stick. You will end up with what I can only describe as a thick porridge like consistency. I should have taken a photo for you, but it doesn't look appetising!

While the lentils are cooking sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.

Add the courgette and mixed herbs and sauté for another 5 minutes, the courgettes will lose some of their moisture.

Once the lentils are cooked take off the heat and add the onion and courgette mixture. Give everything a good mix and then add the breadcrumbs. Mix again before adding the arrowroot and then mix again.

Remove the flax egg from the fridge and add to the lentil mixture and give everything one final mix ensuring all ingredients are mixed together.

Spoon the mixture into an oiled loaf tin and bake for 60 minutes. Let cool slightly before turning out onto a board or plate so it firms up a bit more. If I'm honest, it wasn't as firm as I would have liked when I cut my first slice.


EDIT POST: I was far too impatient, when left to cool for 10 minutes the mixture firms up nicely. Yay!










Saturday, 27 September 2014

Specials Board: Courgette Curry

Courgette Curry and Vegan Mofo Day 27
I am still over run with courgettes and there is still a few on my plants so expect more courgette recipes soon! As the nights are starting to draw in (has anyone else noticed that) and its getting darker a lot sooner than I'd like and its definitely got a little nippy, I thought a curry would warm me up and comfort me. So, courgette curry it was. 

I raided my spice cupboard and rather than use a curry powder, which I do use, I fancied making one from scratch. So out came all the curry type spices and I realised I had no ground coriander. I wasn't going to make a special trip to the supermarket just for that, so I used coriander seeds instead and ground them myself. Feel free to swap the seeds for ground if you make this.

Ingredients
1 Tbsp Groundnut oil
½ Tsp Mustard seeds
1 Onion, chopped
2 Garlic cloves
Knob of ginger (6g)
1½ Tsp Ground cumin
1 tsp Garam Masala
½ Tsp Coriander seeds
½ Tsp Hot chilli powder
¼ Tsp Salt
2 Tomatoes, chopped (225g)
680g Courgette
1Tin of coconut milk
1 Tsp Arrowroot

Method
Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds, they will start to pop almost straight away. When the majority of them have popped add the onion and sauté for 5 mins or until the onion starts to go golden brown.

Using a fine microplane, grate the garlic and ginger and add to the onions.

Grind the coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar and add to the onion mixture along with the cumin, garam masala, chilli powder and salt. Cook for another minute.

Add the tomatoes and stir to combine everything. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes start to break down.

Add the courgettes, give everything another good stir and sauté for another couple of minutes.

Add the coconut milk, stir again and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of your courgette pieces.

If you're happy with the curry sauce thickness leave out the arrowroot, but if like me, you like your curry sauce a little thicker mix the arrowroot with a little cold water and add to the curry, the mixture will thicken slightly. 

Serve with rice.