Summer Solstice

Celebrated by lying in the sun, on the grass all afternoon… blissful.

Chocolate mint nut mylk:

mylk

Handful cacao nibs, few brazil nuts, a few springs of mint, a little agave, water… very nice, though very rich. Next time will try hemp seeds instead of nuts and vanilla instead of agave 🙂

hummus or houmous

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This is a traditional Middle-Eastern dish – can be used as a dip or a spread for sandwiches (fantastic combined with avocado in a sandwich). For a raw dish you can use sprouted chick peas in place of cooked ones.

Ingredients:
1 can (approx. 400g)of cooked chick peas (or you can soak overnight and cook 1 cup of dried chick peas)
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 – 2 cloves of fresh garlic
2 Tablespoons of tahini (sesame paste)
the juice of 1 lemon
a little water to blend
salt and pepper (optional)

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until fairly smooth – you may need to keep adding water bit by bit until you get the consistency you want. The 3 pictured are plain, one with soaked sun dried tomatoes added and one with lots of herbs from the garden (sage, dill, coriander, lemon thyme, mint and parsley). Made triple quantity of plain then divided into 3 and blended in the extra ingredients.

Olive hummus is great too, just add chopped black olives.

And for a scary looking sandwich: add a small, peeled raw beetroot before blending (carrot works too and is less scary). It gives the hummus a lovely, light, somewhat fruity flavour.

vegan millionaires shortbread

These and many other gorgeous vegan and wheat free goodies from Lazy Day Foods here in Scotland. Some National Trust places, such as Culloden, had them in their cafes last year – hope they still do 🙂 Also available at Amazon.co.uk

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vegan macaroni cheese

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Ingredients:
1 bag (500g) macaroni – we favour the Scottish brand of Marshalls, it has a nice curl to it and good texture for this recipe 🙂
a tablespoon margarine (we used Pure sunflower)
1 onion or leek, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of plain white flour
1 litre of unsweetened soya milk
1 stock cube (we used Kallo organic)
1 teaspoon of smooth yellow mustard
1 heaped tablespoon of sweet white miso
seasalt to taste
2 or 3 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 block of Redwoods cheddar style cheezly, grated (or other vegan cheese)

Cook the macaroni as per packet instructions. While the water is coming to the boil/pasta cooking, prepare the sauce. Melt the marg and cook the onion in it for a few minutes. Add the flour and stir thoroughly. Gradually add the milk, stirring all the time to avoid lumps (but don’t worry too much, they seem to be un-noticed in the final mix anyway 😉 ) Add in the stock, mustard and salt, still stirring away. Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat and stir in the miso. Put your grill on to heat on high. Drain your pasta (once cooked) and mix in the sauce. Place in a large oven proof dish and top with the tomatoes and then cheese on top. Place under the grill for a few minutes until it goes a little squidgy (a very specific and precise term)… yum.

Catkins:

catkins

Standing with Stones

Standing with Stones

This is a wonderful documentary about Britain and Ireland’s ancient sites. A very mellow and informative watch… inspires you to get out there and explore the ancient past in your own area. It includes the better known sites but also many lesser heard of ones with stories from local folklore, the presenter’s theories and observations… a great sense of enthusiasum and awe abounds throughout the film. From Cornwall to Orkney, this is a beautiful journey through the ancient stones of our land :)

See much more about the DVD and many clips on the makers site here. Their blog is also very interesting.

MuLondon

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A quick mention for these absolutely gorgeous new vegan organic moisturisers, no preservatives and no water so they’re concentrated making them nice and frugal too. Very pure ingredients. I am favouring the lavender one after a bath – I need all the help I can get to look less haggard this time of year ;) Charlotte is very taken with the white chocolate truffle one and it’s nice and gentle for her skin too. Still time to order for Christmas as they send them out the same day  🙂

Look Me in the Eye

Just finished reading ‘Look Me in the Eye – my life with aspergers’ by John Elder Robison. It is a totally fascinating read on several levels. He has had an interesting life, developing amplifiers and special effects for Kiss and Pink Floyd in the past, moving on to the toy industry then eventually starting his own business restoring fine European automobliles. His childhood was harrowing, growing up with a mother with severe mental health issues and a father who became an alcoholic. His younger brother has also written his memoirs of these times in the rather better known Running With Scissors, which I am keen to read now.

Obviously I find John’s views and ideas about aspergers absorbing. I agree so much with what he says about why some kids with asd become very badly behaved or even violent – the way other people treat them leads to a lot of frustration building up. As a child he played some really bizarre tricks on people – incredibly well thought out and clever but quite disturbing too. He hated school, never fitted in and left at 15. It’s at this part of the book that we begin to see him shine. He channels his own talents and expertise into finding work and a life for himself. Never boastful, it seems as if he doesn’t realise just quite how well he has done. It’s rare and special when someone achieves work that they love and makes a good living that way. Thinking of various aspies I’ve known/know, I wonder if they are actually better at managing this than the rest? The ability to think your own way and not take on peer group ideas is strong… hmm… just my own thoughts there.

I loved the latter section of the book where John talks about his relationships in a beautifully logical, slightly bemused way. His love for his son is wonderful and I found it most humerous how he talks about this and everyone he loves. So a fab book all round, much aspergian wisdom dispensed within 😀 The author’s site is also very good.

vegan recipes, books and festivities… Among the trees in Scotland.