Our latest vegan newsletter. We don’t usually post them here, but thought it might be nice for people to see what they’re like!
We’ve been building things with discarded pallets again! Above is our new corner seating unit, just awaiting facings. You can read more about our recent garden and polytunnel exploits here on Frugal Living and don’t miss the most popular post over there: the 25p meal
There’s a new post about some of the vegan companies we’ve received goodies from recently up here. Above are medicinal Lion’s Mane Mushrooms served in a noodle bowl.
Food for Free is a great guide to Britain’s wild foods. Many superfoods are all around us for the taking. This small volume is a favourite of ours, detailing wild herbs, berries, greens sea vegetables and fungi. Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Set in an Aberdeenshire castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR features the Scottish witchcraft accusations, a handsome Laird, an ancient stone circle and a love story.
FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 18th century kidnapped children of Aberdeen and is set in both Scotland and Colonial Pennsylvania.
This redcurrant jelly is absolutely delicious, the addition of rosemary giving it a savoury tang that makes it the perfect accompaniment for roast dinners. Also great in a sausage sandwich! Ripe in summer, redcurrants are great to preserve for winter, given that they’re so nutrient rich and have immune boosting properties.
Here’s the basic recipe for the Redcurrant and Rosemary Jelly. It makes a cloudy jelly. If you want a sparkling clear one, other, more time consuming, recipes will come up on a Google search.
We picked 1.5 lbs/0.75kg of redcurrants and put them in a pan, stalks and all, with a few sprigs of rosemary. Then we added 1lb/500g of sugar, half a cup of water and the juice of half a lemon.
Redcurrant Jelly Method
Bring to the boil, turn down and simmer for half an hour, stirring quite frequently. Allow the mixture to cool a little, though not until the jelly sets, and squash it through a sieve into a bowl. This is the hard work phase of the recipe! Press and rub it with a spoon until you’re left with mainly stalks and seeds in the sieve. Pour into jars of your choice. Cool completely before sealing/adding lids. Yum. This amount filled two medium jam jars, and should keep in the cupboard for months (if not years).
Cooking on the stove this morning is Apple and Ginger Chutney from the Cranks recipe book with the apples gathered on a bike ride, heavily supplemented with ones from our trees and our own onions too 🙂 Adapted recipe on the sauces page.
Studying sonnets here just now. Apparently in the 1590s May did extend into what is now our June so not too inappropriate:
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date…
Set in the 1590s:
Set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, Ailish Sinclair’s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, features an often overlooked event in history, the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, and a love story.
In Forest Gardening by Robert A de J Hart, the vegan author details his garden – a miniature forest filled with an abundance of things to eat. This is low maintenance gardening once established with trees, bushes and perennial plants which provide both shelter and food. Included are recommended plants for different regions of the world – this book is a huge resource of information and inspiration. Amazon UK
It’s certainly inspired us over the years. We live among the trees and love to eat the garden!
Below are more pictures and recipes from the food forest.
Courgettes and lettuce growing all wild and mixed up together:
We transplanted some wild garlic from the woods to a shady spot under trees in the garden and it’s thriving and spreading further every year.
A rabbit relaxes on the grass…
We grow quite a few annuals too…
Apple and bramble (blackberry) juice from trees and bushes:
Fruit bushes there are aplenty. White chocolate mousse above, topped with redcurrants and raspberries. Chocolate cheesecake below with mint and currants.
Mint is a wonderful herb to spread and grow wild. Minted noodle soup is a simple summer favourite:
Homemade ketchup by the barbecue:
Blend up: 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped 1 small onion also roughly chopped 1 clove of garlic 2 teaspoons of sugar 2 heaped tablespoons of tomato puree 3 tablespoons of vinegar (apple cider best) a little salt to taste herbs make a very nice addition – to the pictured sauce we added a bunch of fresh dill. This variety grows huge.
Sage, lovage, thyme and oregano are all great perennials too, and nice and hardy for Scotland!
Don’t miss our latest post over on Frugal Living in the UK:
We love the humble potato, or tattie, here in Scotland. We eat mince with tatties. Haggis, neeps and tatties. Baked potatoes. Chips. We even put them in our sweet treats such as coconut macaroons. So when Scotty Brand, one of Scotland’s leading food producers, asked if we’d be interested in developing a potato milk recipe for them, we happily said yes.
Some Potato Facts
Potato milk is the most sustainable of the plant based milks.
Potatoes are a land efficient crop.
They use up to 56 times less water than other plant milk crops.
One medium potato gives you 30mg of Vitamin C, as much as a glass of tomato juice.
Scotland’s weather, climate and rich soil are perfect for growing potatoes.
Scotty Brand potatoes are all grown on a selection of farms across Scotland.
Potato Milk Recipe, makes 5 cups
You could, essentially, leave out the almonds/oats, dates/sweetener, vanilla and salt but they do improve the texture and taste considerably. However this option would be excellent for those on specific dietary regimes or with food intolerances.
Potato Milk Ingredients
4 cups of water
1 large potato, peeled and boiled. We used 3 Scotty Brand baby potatoes
1 heaped tablespoon of ground almonds (makes it creamy) or a tablespoon of ground up porridge oats (also creamy, slightly less so).
dates. For a sweet milk use 3 medjool dates or 6 small dates. For unsweetened milk use 1 medjool or 2 small. Alternatively you could use agave nectar or sugar (a tablespoon for sweet, a teaspoon for unsweetened).
half a teaspoon of vanilla essence
a pinch of salt
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain through a nut milk bag, or a sieve lined with cheesecloth or even a new nylon stocking (rinsed out first). Chill in the fridge. Like most plant milks, it’s best to shake or stir before use.
We tried it by itself, in cereal and in tea. All worked well, but, as is typical in this family, it was the next option that was the favourite!
Potato Milk Chocolate Shake
For a chocolate shake use 1 cup of potato milk per person with 1 banana each and 1 teaspoon of cocoa. Blend. Delicious…
Scotty Brand offers the finest seasonal produce including potatoes, Ayrshire new potatoes, seasonal berries, fresh soups, frozen chips and prepared vegetables.
Vegan chocolate nests. Perfect for Easter. Perfect anytime really.
Vegan Chocolate Nest Ingredients (makes 12)
5 Weetabix style cereal biscuits
150g of dark chocolate
1 tablespoon of golden syrup
1 tablespoon of vegetable margarine
mini eggs (we used Doisy & Dam ones, found in Asda). You could also use other sweets or make little eggs with marzipan.
paper cake cases
Crumble the biscuits into a bowl and melt the chocolate, syrup and margarine together in a Bain Marie until well combined. Mix it all up. Divide the mixture between the cases and top with the eggs or sweets. Cool until set. Enjoy!
A chocolatey read to go with your vegan chocolate nests:
FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE, was inspired by the 600 children and young people who were kidnapped from Aberdeen during the 1740s and sold into indentured servitude in the American Colonies. The story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith from the castle and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s proper derring-dos on the high seas… And there’s chocolate!
From the publisher’s press release: “Fiery and forthright, Elizabeth isn’t someone to be argued with. She knows her own mind, and isn’t afraid to speak it. Through her experiences, the reader sees her grow from a girl, into a woman with a powerful voice… a woman of her time, but very much of ours too.”
We were sent a wonderful selection of low FODMAP, vegan and gluten free sauces from Slightly Different Foods. None of us follow a low FODMAP diet so our finished creations do not necessarily fit that term, but the sauces, as they come, do. Above is a delicious vegetable pasta we made with the Smooth Bolognese sauce.
Here’s the products we were sent:
These sauces are all fully flavoured and delicious. You do not miss the onion and garlic at all. The sweet and sour was a particular favourite:
And then we had a curry feast! We added chick peas to the Tikka Masala sauce, and cauliflower to the Tropical Curry which is mild and creamy. The Thai Red Curry, we stirred into some straight to wok style noodles. All these combinations were lovely. Sometimes when you try several curry sauces or blends from the same company you notice that they all taste pretty much the same, or at least similar to each other. This was not the case here at all. Each dish was utterly unique in flavour.
We’re very impressed with these sauces and highly recommend them regardless of whether you’re following a low FODMAP plan or not. We used the Mexican Fajita sauce on some stir fry vegetables and it made them smokey and spicy. Again, this was really good. We intend doing something similar with the sweet chilli. Unless it gets used as a dipping sauce for spring rolls… decisions, decisions!
Included in the large zip-up bag are a 5 in 1 pop up reflector:
8 postcards with tips from a professional photographer on aspects like composition and lighting:
… and 4 wonderful backgrounds. We used the gold reflector to good effect in the top noodle bowl photo. It was a really dull day. One of the frequently occurring storms was ongoing and the reflector really helped light the food.
And here’s a chocolate smoothie on the white marble background: