It’s bright. It’s snowy. It’s cold.
So… soup. And maybe Easter eggs.
And definitely books! Recent reads here include:
Room by Emma Donoghue. You’re best going into this knowing only that a five year old boy and his mother live in a tiny room and that the child, the voice of the novel, has never left it. So intriguing. Scary and thought provoking too.
Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
The Bones of You by Debbie Howells is a chilling and gripping murder mystery and a good exploration of narcissism.
Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
And if you need to laugh after those, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion should have you doing that from the opening pages as obviously autistic Don Tillman sets out to solve ‘the wife problem’.
Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
Yushoi sent us some of their healthy Snapea Rice Sticks to try. The four flavours: Lightly Salted; Soy and Balsamic Vinegar; Sweet Chilli and Lemon, and Smoked Salt and Szechaun Pepper are all delicious. Our favourite was the Szechaun Pepper with its rich and smoky barbecue taste.
All the Snapea Rice Sticks we were sent are suitable for vegans (edit: new Coconut and Chilli flavour contains milk) and also made in a nut free factory. While reminiscent of puffed corn or potato snacks, Yushoi actually make their products with green peas which are a better source of protein. The flavourings are all natural too. Baked, not fried, they come in a single serving size of 21g and a large re-sealable pack of 105g. So this Valentine’s Day: crisps not chocolate. Okay, maybe crisps and chocolate! And hummus… and tomatoes…
Snapea Rice Sticks are available at various shops: Tesco, Morrisons, The Co-op, Ocado, Wholefoods, WH Smith and even Amazon.
Pictured above is a very delicious Mheat fillet, stuffed with mushroom risotto and wrapped in puff pastry. Everybody loved it. Everybody wanted more. Served with baby broad beans, asparagus and a garlic and rosemary roast tomato, it made a very good meal and would be a good festive choice.
The fillet itself is really meaty, being made with wheat gluten, though less dense and solid than some seitan products we’ve tried, making it simple to stuff and wrap. Unlike tofu, mheat is flavoursome to begin with, savoury and salty. It’s also a good size, easily feeding four people. If you need a mushroom risotto recipe there’s one on the Yule page in the midst of Cat’s ‘Now that’s what I call a Christmas dinner’ mushroom parcel.
You can read more about the artisan made, small batch Mheat products on Sgaia’s website here
This review has been organised by the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION It has not been paid for and the products were sent free of charge. This is our genuine and unbiased review of the product. Sgaia Foods are listed with the VLA and you can see their listing here.
Smoothie of the moment:
Bramble, quantities are for four people, adjust as required. Ingredients: a quarter blender jug of brambles (blackberries); 100g of walnuts; 5 bananas; 1 large apple; orange juice to cover. Blend and enjoy the tart sweetness of the season.
Book of the moment:
Beauty by Sheri S. Teper. A stunningly well written, time-jumping, retelling of the sleeping beauty story for adults with a strong environmental message.
Buy UK or Buy US
Horse Chestnut is very much the tree of the moment:
Update: café is closed for winter but it has made Trip Advisor’s Top Ten Restaurants in Aberdeenshire!
Actually there were no fried green tomatoes. But there was a plethora of other wonderful food at this 100% vegan weekend café in Aberdeenshire.
The Last Bus Works Canteen is just out of New Pitsligo and open 10-6 every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
It’s quirky and friendly and has a great selection of cake. Below is a chocolate orange muffin with ice cream.
There’s pink Himalayan salt on the tables, olive oil in an oil can and recycled shelves all around.
It was a relaxing and fortifying place to visit after an eight mile walk in the rain! Well worth seeking out.
Simple and so, so delicious.
1 bulb of fennel per person
root veg such as carrots or parsnips, at least two per person
chopped leeks or onions
a handful of fresh herbs, here we used tarragon and thyme, sage is also very good
seasalt to taste (you don’t need much, this dish is flavoursome)
fresh ground black pepper
sunflower oil to rub
Chop/scrape/wash your veg and place in a roasting tray. Rub in the herbs, salt, pepper and oil so everything is well coated. Roast at 200C/400F for at least half an hour, giving a stir/turn with a spoon a couple of times during cooking. Great served with brown rice and steamed kale that has been seasoned with lemon juice and a little margarine.
Another good combination: chocolate muffins (use one of our cake recipes) and mandarin segments:
Porridge on a cold day with Sweet Freedom‘s Choc Shot and natural sweetness syrup.
These products are a great alternative to refined sugar, the sweetness being sourced from fruit and carob. And they’re delicious! The chocolate porridge is creamy and rich, perfect for a day that ended up like this:
The chocolate orange syrup makes a wonderfully warming hot chocolate; it’s slightly spicy, reminiscent of Maya Gold chocolate, and maybe needless to say, but they’re all good on ice cream…
We adjusted our Banana Muffin recipe and it worked out very well.
200g./7 oz/1 and a half cups of self raising flour
1 large tablespoon of Sweet Freedom syrup
3 fl oz/100ml of orange juice
3 fl.oz/100ml of sunflower oil
2 mashed bananas (over ripe is best)
some soya milk as required
dash of vinegar
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients – but not the vinegar – in a jug or bowl. Mix the two together and then stir in enough soya milk to make a smooth mixture and add the bananas, Finally add the dash of vinegar to get that lovely chemical reaction and mix well. This should make enough to fill 12 cake cases. It’s a good idea to put them in a muffin or patty tin to help them keep their shape but not totally essential. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes at 190 degrees and then cool.
Sweet Freedom and Choc Shots are available from many supermarkets such as Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Co-op and Ocado. Also from Amazon here.