We’ve spotted some lovely vegan goodies around for Easter this year, see our page for listings.
Something else new and lovely: The Vegan Lifestyle Association. A not-for-profit organisation, it is 100% committed to saving lives and saving our planet. Achieved through proactive education on the multiple benefits of a Vegan lifestyle and supporting all those who wish to try it. It’s also free to join with many member benefits, discounts etc. Go see!
Weather-blasted oak trees in Argyll last week:
Unlike previous chestnut roasting efforts, these were done properly, in an actual long handled chestnut pan, no less.
So they were sweet and succulent and cooked all the way through, unlike the ‘wrapped in foil and put in the fire’ nuts of the past which were burnt on the outside and raw in the middle.
Washed and scored:
The pan comes with full instructions on how to choose the best chestnuts and then how to roast them, making it a really nice festive gift.
It’s almost December! Chocolate Advent Calendars:
To finish off today, turn your sound up and listen to some beautiful whooper swans on the early morning loch.
First to the glossy hair. The organic hair care company Old Wives Tail sent us some lovely smelling Argan & Rosemary Organic Oil Treatment. Now, my hair has always been thin and brittle; good nutrition improved it, but on a windy day in the woods I still looked like a demented will-o’-the-wisp. I also use other products, like a special shampoo for avoid hair loss, learn more here,
Never having used an oil treatment before, I wondered if the thick conditioner would really shampoo off easily: it did, oily to squeaky clean in sixty seconds. And it’s left my hair feeling fuller, with more body and smelling great. It’s actually glossy. Will it defy the wind? Well that would be a miracle, but who knows?
Old Wives Tail are running a competition to win a free hair mask of your choice here. (Closes August 1st).
An older recipe from our main courses page has recently come back into favour, it’s so delicious I don’t know why we stopped making it:
Sweet Potatoes in a Coconut and Peanut Sauce
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
a little sunflower oil
1 teaspoon of curry powder or spices of your choice
2 tablespoons of peanut butter
1 tin of coconut milk
5 or 6 medium sized sweet potatoes, cut into bite size chunks
seasalt to taste
Fry the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes. Add the curry spices and stir well. Add the peanut butter, stirring over a medium heat until in begins to melt and then pour in your coconut milk and stir until well blended. Put the sweet potatoes and salt in the pan and bring to the boil and then turn down to simmer until they are softened (10 minutes +). Nice with rice and salad.
‘Harlequin’ is one of fifty life-size dolphins displayed across Aberdeen for the summer. They are diverse and beautiful and huggable. See the Wild Dolphins website for more info.
River, trees and snowy mountains from a steam train window (it’ll make sense later).
Creamy Vegetable Pie is an old recipe that wasn’t included in the site update, but we’ve had requests for it so here it is 🙂
1 tablespoon vegan marg (we used Pure sunflower)
1 leek, chopped
5 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
6 carrots, chopped
about a cupful of frozen peas
1 vegan stock cube (we used Kallo Organic Vegetable Stock Cubes )
2 tablespoons white flour
3/4 of litre of soya milk (approx)
seasalt to taste
2 kg potatoes, peeled
a little soya milk, marg and salt and pepper to mash into the tatties
large bunch of chives to mash into the tatties – easiest chopped up with scissors, straight into pan.
Peel and roughly chop the potatoes, place in a pan and cover with water and bring to boil. Once boiling turn down to simmer until soft. While that’s happening, prepare the veg and sauce. Melt the marg in a pan and add the veg and stock cube, cooking until slightly softened (5-10 min), stirring regularly. Add the flour and mix well. Gradually add the soya milk, stirring all the time until a nice thick sauce is formed round the veggies (you can add more soya milk or water if too thick). Season with salt and pepper and place in a large oven proof dish (we used a lasagne one).
Once the tatties are cooked, mash with the marg, s. milk, salt, pepper, and chives and spread this evenly on top of your veg sauce. Place in oven at 200c/400F for about 20 minutes or until browned as much as you like 🙂 Delicious with fresh salad…
Back to the train. The Strathspey Steam Railway does lunches on board and with at least 24 hours notice they can cater for any dietary requirement. The three course Sunday lunch they gave us was lovely, and the first class compartment an added treat.
FAIR fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!
So said Robert Burns of the haggis. Good word ‘sonsie’, it really should be used more. You can get a sonsie vegan haggis in many shops now to serve with neeps and tatties.
You could make some sonsie Cranachan for afters, recipe taken from our cakes and puddings page:
This is often served at Burn’s Suppers in Scotland.
Ingredients: half a cup of porridge oats; 1 small box of soya cream; 1 tablespoon of Agave Nectar; 1 tablespoon of whisky (or whisky flavouring if you don’t take alcohol); 1 punnet of fresh raspberries
Lightly toast the oats in a frying pan on the stove. Remove from heat and pour in the cream – it will bubble and thicken a bit with the heat. Stir well and add the agave and whiskey, and mix in. Add most of the rasps, keeping a few back for garnish. Place in dishes and chill in the fridge until pudding time.
Other Scottish recipes that might be of use or preferable to haggis:
Balmoral Pie can be found on the main courses page (scroll down a bit). It’s a lovely dish of beans and sausages topped with mash.
Scottish Macaroons are a feast of sugar and potato.
Whatever you do, have an honest, sonsie time 😀
We put the old, more battered, sign on some t-shirts and things a while back…
Autumn. Cold winds. Rain. Hail. Even a few moments of snow yesterday between bursts of hot sunshine. Walking on the South side of the hill in the woods it is suddenly no longer autumn but the end of summer. Off with jackets, faces to the sun then round the corner into the North and winter, now walking against horizontal hailstones. It is confusing… we need soup 🙂
Method: soak a cup of broth mix overnight, then cook up for an hour or so before adding chopped potato, carrot and onion. Cook until veg is tender, add some kale or other leafy greens and either a teaspoon of Vecon Concentrated Vegetable Stock or a few sloshes of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (like soy sauce but with less salt and all the protein). Simmer a few minutes longer then dish up and garnish with parsley or chervil. Be warm.
If you’re looking for a Scottish dish to make for Burns night other than haggis*, these are very good – nothing like the English item of the same name and containing the somewhat surprising ingredient of potato (undetectable, is lovely fondant).
Basically you boil a small peeled potato, mash it and mix in as much icing sugar as it can take, which will be a lot. Roll out the fondant, cut into rectangles and leave to dry out for a few hours. Coat in melted chocolate, dip in dessicated coconut, toasted or not, and let set. There is a more detailed write up by Cat over on Modern Housewife
*note: do not serve the macaroons with neeps and tatties 😉