Tag Archives: reading

Tibits, Tomato Soup and Vegan Month

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Autumn is deepening and darkening, it’s conker time, it’s almost November, and November is vegan month. Animal Aid are running The Great Vegan Challenge where anyone can pledge to be vegan for a month with lots of help and support detailed here on their website (some rather nice recipes there too).

The vegetarian restaurant Tibits in London, normally 80% vegan in its offerings, is going to be launching Vegan Days, specifically on the 1st, 7th, 18th and 29th of November. Further vegan days will be mentioned here on their website. Judging by the lovely book they sent us – Tibits at Home – the food is pretty delicious.

Divided into seasons, the plethora of colourful recipes are all accompanied by photos. We liked the fact there are juice recipes and lots of really tasty sounding quinoa dishes, but today we tried the tomato soup with lemongrass and coconut milk, recipe below.

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Theirs is rather better presented than ours 🙂 The book is now splattered, always a good sign with a cookbook.

Preparation time 40 minutes:
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 stalk lemongrass
200g green leeks
600g fully ripened tomatoes
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
350ml vegetable stock
half tsp ginger powder
half tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp chilli oil
1 tsp sea salt
150ml coconut milk
freshly ground seasalt and white pepper

1. Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic. Squash the lemongrass on a chopping board and chop finely.
2. Wash the leek, cut into half lengthwise and then chop into fine strips. Wash the tomatoes, remove the stem ends and chop into 3cm dice.
3. Sweat the onion, garlic and lemongrass in the hot olive oil until transparent. Add the diced tomatoes, veg stock, ginger, lemon pepper, chilli oil and sea salt and simmer at low temperature for 20 minutes.  Puree the soup in a food processor and pass through a sieve.
4. Add the coconut milk and the leek and lightly cook for another five minutes. Add seasalt and pepper to taste.

It was a very nice and warming recipe despite being from the summer section of the book. There are many sweet photos throughout, this was our favourite:

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Next up will be the parsnip soup though the linguini with pumpkin and swiss chard also looks enticing…

Don’t forget out own paprika pumpkin soup recipe this autumn, the shops seem to be stocking proper culinary pumpkins this year.

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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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gluten free broccoli and sweetcorn quiche

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This is a dish we enjoy so much we’ve had it twice in the last week. Using Orgran’s pastry mix instead of flour, it really is delicious.

I mainly ignored the packet instructions and just made the pastry how I normally do, probably using a bit more fat (Pure marg) and water than recommended. One pack makes enough pastry for two 10 inch quiches. Roll out to fit your greased dishes.

For the tofu topping (again I am listing amounts for two family size pies, adjust as required) blend two packs of silken tofu with a little black salt (Kala Namak), several sprigs of fresh rosemary and a half teaspoon of turmeric and then mix in a tin of drained sweetcorn. Place a par boiled, sliced head of broccoli evenly over the pastry bases and pour the tofu mix over. Top with sliced tomatoes and bake at 200C for half to three quarters of an hour.

On a sidenote, I bought the silken tofu from Approved Food, in date, for 50p a pack, making it much more affordable than usual. It’s probably not in stock now, stuff like that sells out fast, but it’s worth checking for vegan goodies regularly.

Current read, because lets face it, I’m unlikely to write another post devoted to books anytime soon: The Death of Eli Gold, it’s very good.

a green book giveaway

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We have a beautiful paperback copy of Lynne Rickard’s new book , I Do Not Eat the Colour Green to give away. A lovely title which encourages healthy eating for kids. See our review of it up here

To enter just comment on this post and tell us what your favourite green thing is. Interpret the word green in any way you like 🙂 We only have one copy so Charlotte will pick the entry that appeals most to her this time – the names will be removed before she judges so feel free to enter if we know you personally or if you’ve never set eyes on this blog before – it won’t affect your chances 😀

Competition now closed: Congratulations to Wendy 😀

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a frugal recipe again, basic pasties 🙂

and always bargains to be had from the book people

a casserole and a cookbook

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We will have been married 20 years this year… which causes me to reflect how far we’ve come, how much the world has changed in that time and to note the two items above. They were given to us as a wedding present by friends who I used to babysit for and here they are still with us, I don’t think any other dish we own has survived that long! The Cranks Recipe Book sparked my interest at once, as I had eaten in their restaurant in London while a student, and it called to mind lovely brick walls and earthenware plates of hearty soup (they now have one restaurant in Devon).

It really taught me to cook, being the only cookery title I had at the time (bit of a change there then) in our first flat that we loved so much. I was fairly clueless when it came to the culinary arts. I remember phoning my mum at times with questions such as ‘how do you cook a neep? I can’t even seem to cut it up’. With the book I learned to bake bread, make cakes and the wonderfully frugal crecy plate pie, prepare soups and casseroles got put in the dish 🙂 It influenced me in more subtle ways too. Being the one and only it got thoroughly read and I absorbed the health oriented nature of the pages, reading for example, how much adding fresh herbs enhanced the nutritional value of the food. I remember the excitement of planting up a small herb garden and reading more deeply into these subjects. Looking at it now I notice all the cheesy recipes but you could just use any one of the many vegan cheeses available now or leave it out altogether.

Bit different when we first went vegan – a vegan cookbook obtained from the library that shall remain nameless (mainly as I can’t remember it’s name, I think it was somewhat generic, but also I do not want to slander it as it may have had other redeeming recipes) was responsible for me making a vegan cheese out of marg and yeast extract 13 years ago – absolutely disgusting, totally foul!!

So, my cranks book, heavily marked with food, water and childrens crayons. It is now available in a swanky new asparagus covered edition but you can still pick up the original for a penny 😀

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As for the dish, it still gets used though not as much anymore. The odd apple/rhubarb crumble is popped in it. I now favour my big Le Creuset that you can cook on the hob and in the oven with – very handy for making a sheperdess/red dragon pie base in and just putting mashed tatties on top and then into the oven it goes. I am very lucky to also have two similar cast iron AGA pans/casseroles given to us by another friend who had them sitting unwanted and unused in his garage, and these are my 3 usual dinner cooking pans now.

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We’ve always been blessed with friendship 🙂 I am currently reading Walking to Greenham sent to me by a wonderful woman and friend… a fascinating book and I find myself contemplating the larger worldwide changing of the times. What will the next 20 years bring?