Category Archives: reviews

Chilli! Books! Autumn leaves!

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A very simple and very good (and rather vague) recipe. Fry off some finely chopped onion and garlic and add a selection of roughly chopped – chunky – vegetables. We used: courgettes; red, green and yellow peppers and celery.  Mushrooms would be great too. Add chilli of choice, either finely chopped fresh chillis, dried chilli or a chilli powder mix, or maybe a mixture of these. Stir well.

Bung in a box of passata or chopped tomatoes and add a little water to the mix. Bring to boil and turn down to simmer. Once veg is tender add a tin or two of cooked red kidney beans and salt to taste. Nice served with rice, a baked potato or quinoa or, if you’re feeling a bit trashy, chips. Cucumber is a good cooling accompaniment. Other optional additions: a teaspoon of sugar stirred into the sauce really brings out the flavours in a different, sweet, way; a few squares of dark chocolate melted through it turn the dish into a darker, richer mole.

Don’t eat  when you’ve been talked into watching a scary fast moving zombie film that will make you consume the hot chilli far too fast and overheat in a bad way.

Unconnected, book related advice: reading Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time will stave off the depression caused by reading certain parts of the new Bridget Jones book.

And, books again: now is the time to get a copy of Rose Elliot’s Vegetarian Christmas for 1 pence or 1 cent. The price will inflate hugely through November and December and it’s a lovely collection of recipes. See our review here or visit Amazon in the UK or Amazon in the USA.

And finally, a mention for the wonderful online health food shop Goodness Direct, such a life saver for rural dwelling vegans.

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log fires and books

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Autumn. Apples on the trees. Piles of logs for the fire. Hot chocolate. Heavy rain. Soup. Books.

Though it’s actually the books of summer I’m going to blog about, Autumn only just having got underway. The book pages survived the site move in abbreviated form – adult non-fiction and children’s titles – but fiction got left behind in a dusty file… so this post redresses the balance somewhat.

Two exciting debuts: The String Diaries is a perfectly paced thriller, set in modern day Britain and ancient Hungary, a myth made real. It makes you jump at noises in the garden. Kiss Me First is contrastingly contemporary and all too creepily believable as it examines the reality of online identity through the eyes of its timid, possibly autistic, protagonist.

All Passion Spent entranced me with its beautiful prose and well recognised description of what it is to be human. For once a literary title did not have me wishing for aliens to land and kill everybody…

Psychological thriller Gone Girl is intriguing from the off and the characters stay with you, an exciting read.pantomime

Roddy’s Doyle’s The Woman Who Walked Into Doors is heart-breaking and poignant and so well written that I am still sad about the death of an unpleasant character. I intend moving on to its follow up, Paula Spencer, soon. I requested The Guts for my birthday but got waylaid and gripped by the unusual Young Adult LGBT title, Pantomime (only 99p on Kindle at present).

Adding in Eleanor & Park because it’s so very, very good. Horribly real. Beautifully sweet. Intensely readable.

I’m off to make banana raisin teabread, not quite sure why that feels so nice and autumnal but it does. I leave you with the wild waves of the local beach and some surfing… (look hard, you’ll see them.)

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vegan pizza cheese!

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It goes all melty in the oven and tastes like something from the distant past, in a good way, not in an over-flavoured, chemically and unfortunate way. This pizza cheese comes ready grated and is delicious. I extended the taste testers beyond just our family, including those who still eat dairy cheeses, and the general consensus was that this vegan cheese ‘does not taste weird’, which is actually quite an accolade.

The same company do a range of sliced vegan cheeses in ten flavours: original, cheddar, peppers, hot peppers, olive oil, olives, tomato and basil, herbs, pizza  and mushroom. They all share subtle flavouring from whole added ingredients and are very pleasant in a sandwich. Particular favourites in this house were mushroom, herb and pepper. Pictured below is the ‘original’ type paired with lettuce and onion.

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I like the fact that the products contain no palm oil; they are also free from gluten and soya.

Available from Goodness Direct and some health food shops.

a flower, a frittata and some soy milk

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There’s a new soya milk brand coming to Tesco mid January: Vive Soy. We were sent a sample of the Cappuccino flavour to try which Davie enjoyed heated up at work on a very snowy day. It was very sweet, containing both sugar and sweeteners. The unflavoured varieties do not contain sweeteners and the unsweetened type has no sugar at all 🙂

Cappuccino

Mushroom  frittata:

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These quantities make a huge one! Blend up 3 boxes of Silken Tofu with a teaspoon of turmeric, 2 tablespoons of Gram Flour and Black Salt (Kala Namak) to taste. Preheat your oven to 200C/400F. Grease a baking dish and place it in the oven too (frittata will cook more quickly). Wash, slice and fry up a box of mushrooms and a chopped red pepper (we used yellow but red would look better) in a little olive oil. Add a tin of sweetcorn to the mix until well heated through. Mix it all together (in pan if big enough, or straight into heated dish) and bake for at least half an hour or until it seems set through. Muchly yum 🙂


Be rewarded the Web's Premiere Rewards Site

easy peasy meal

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Some of us sampled Redwood’s latest products. ‘Dear God,’ and ‘Magnificent,’ were among the exclamations heard.

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The cheezly bubbled up during cooking which was exceptionally easy: remove packaging and cook for 10-12 minutes at 200C.

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The gluten free among us had a magnificent – there’s that word again – salad of lettuce from garden, cuke, avo and red pepper dressed with hemp seed oil and lime juice. Oh, and this:

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Mini Moos

Recipe: take 3 packs of moo free mini moos three packs and arrange like so, in sunshine or rain.

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EAT!

Our favourite was the bunny comb, the little pieces of crunchie-esque candy are delightful (side note: we have a recipe for crunchies here). The sultana ones were reminiscent of Cadbury’s fruit and nut (been a long time but we recall) and the originals are smooth, mild and gorgeous, as moo free chocolate always is.

Available from: Goodness Direct, Amazon.co.uk and many other places as detailed here

Also check out the competition on the moo free website to win chocolate goodies including those above 🙂 Closing date July 30th 2012.

moo free Easter egg

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Open the box and it hits you: that exciting, sugary Easter Egg scent from childhood. I don’t know why chocolate should smell different when formed into an egg shape, but it does.  Dark chocolate eggs are of course gorgeous, but altogether more grown up. This is the one for children and those who don’t like high cocoa content chocolate. The moo free egg is sweet and mild and could easily be mistaken for a milk chocolate product.

It’s a good 100g size and the bunny, butterfly and flower packaging is a nice change from dark eggs which are usually aimed at very mature people…

Available from Amazon.co.uk and larger Waitrose stores. Moo Free Chocolates have full details of all stockists on their website

See Vegan Easter for our full updated listings.