Vegan cheese. There’s a lot of it out there these days, from the cheaper supermarket own brands, to old trusty steadfasts made by vegan companies like VBites and Scheese. But sometimes you need something a little bit different, a little bit special.
From Vegan Supermarket GreenBay (online and in store), vegan Camembert and Herbes de Provence! They have many other gourmet and hard to find vegan products… go see!
These were absolutely fabulous on Christmas Day, the cheeseboard being the star of the show. The Camembert was particularly impressive, being a truly pure product with only four ingredients, and so authentic and real tasting. You have to try it. You really really do 😀 Vegan cheese FTW!
Just launched at M&S, with the aim of getting people eating more plants, this range of pickles and kimchi from Vadasz Pickles and Ferments is absolutely delicious.
Our favourite were the fresh pickle with garlic and dill. They were magnificent in a sandwich which went thus: green lettuce from garden, layer of braised tofu, sprinkle of nori flakes, thick layer of pickle (pictured are the red onion, also great here), red lettuce from garden (or shop of course). Yum.
The kimchi is also lovely; we found it great as a component of a salad. From Vadasz: “Importantly, Vadasz Raw Kimchi is live culture, a result of the magical process of lactic acid fermentation, meaning it contains probiotics which are beneficial to the gut and are not found in many existing products that are preserved using vinegar. Similarly, Vadasz Red Onion Pickles, and Vadasz Garlic and Dill Pickles use a traditional cold brine process, keeping them unpasteurised and retaining their crunchiness and fresh flavour. Together, they offer anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties, at a time when awareness is growing regarding the link between gut health and overall wellness.”
A creepy and romantic read for October, Lucy’s novel THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR blends an often overlooked historical event, the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story. Available in paperback and kindle and free on Kindle Unlimited (Amazon offer a free trial of KU).
Squeaky Bean sent us some delicious, ready-to-eat, vegan products to try. And so we did! Above is a simple salad made of their Sweet Smokey BBQ chicken-style pieces, cucumber and yoghurt.
The Kick of Tikka style pieces were amazing in sandwiches with hummus and some lettuce from the garden. They were also great thrown into a curry. The ready-to-eat element of these products makes them so very easy to use. You can just eat them right out of the box (and some of that went on here; they are really tasty on their own). The chicken-style pieces pack quite a protein punch, coming in at over 20% protein.
There’s also a delicious vegan tortilla, which can be eaten hot or cold.
We had it cold on top of a savoury rice dish.
Squeaky Bean products are available widely in UK supermarkets. You can read more about the full product range on their website.
A post from 2010, updated for 2020, partly because we’ve been making the recipe again. Redcurrants are also great to preserve for winter, given that they’re so nutrient rich and have immune boosting properties.
What a bumper year it’s been for the currants, both red and black. We’re having berried up green smoothies daily; there are lots in freezer which will extend the berry smoothie season and it’s looking to be a very abundant bramble year too. Last year we gathered quite a lot of those for the freezer as well as smoothie-ing them fresh. At least I thought we’d gathered a lot until I met a man in the woods with 3 huge bucket loads of brambles. He must have spent all day picking. Maybe for jam? I really want to try preserving in different ways this year so we can eat the home grown stuff in winter too. So we made strawberry jam as mentioned, and then moved onto redcurrant and rosemary jelly for savoury things.
Here’s the basic method 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. This pairing of flavours is amazing; the rosemary gives the jelly a slightly savoury edge, making it perfectly suited as an accompaniment to roast dinners. Also great in a sausage sandwich!
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.
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.
Homemade hummus in the early morning sun. Little bit of parsley in it. Basic recipe here.
The book in between is THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR. Set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, Ailish Sinclair’s debut novel blends an often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations, in particular the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story. Out now.
Autumn is well and truly underway. High winds. Flooding. Beautiful trees. Log fires. And lovely roast dinners. Above is a quarter marrow (peeled, deseeded) stuffed with the simplest of nut roasts made by blending/processing walnuts, almonds, sweet potato, celery, parsley, sage and some Vecon stock. Roast for about 45 minutes at 200c/400F. YUM.
Holly Bourne’s new YA novel, The Places I’ve Cried in Public is too important a title for us not to mention. It’s a book about abuse. It could help prevent abuse and even lessen the lasting negative impact on the targets of abusive behaviour.
We follow Amelie as she revisits the places she cried during her relationship with Reese, a relationship that she thought was loving. Through this story the author deftly points out many of the red flags that are hallmarks of abuse and which are often ignored or not noticed by young people (or people of any age). This can be because when you’ve grown up in an atmosphere of abuse and control, these behaviours seem normal, but it can also be because they are new and unknown, or because they are perpetuated as acceptable, as in one conversation we were party to recently where an abusive individual was described as merely having a ‘strong personality’. No. A world of big bad no.
Two of the strongest early indicators of whether you’re dealing with an abusive or narcissistic personality, in any relationship type, are that person’s reactions to both your failures and your successes. A toxic person will revel in your failures, your heartbreaks and, in fact, anything that goes wrong for you at all. They will patronise rather than empathise, and sometimes try to convince you that an event that was simply unfortunate was actually your failure.
And success? Well, you’re not allowed to have any. They will chip away at it, pointing out others who’ve had more success, or are ‘better than you’. You may actually learn never to speak of your own achievements, understanding that it makes this person feel bad. They will attempt, and quite possibly manage, to sabotage you too.
Our vegan Toad in the Hole turned out soft and light and delicious and filling and tasty. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did 😀
Partly cook sausages in oven at 200C for about 10 minutes:
Batter made thus: mix 5 tablespoons of self raising flour with 3 tablespoons of gram (chick pea) flour, a pinch of salt and a pinch of bicarb. Beat in enough soya milk to make a creamy pouring batter. This quantity was to cover 12 sausages, adjust as needed. It would be far less ‘spongy’ if you used plain flour, but we like it like this 🙂
Pour over hot sausages:
Then it’s back in the oven for another 20-30 minutes until nice and solid:
Serve with gravy, roast potatoes and veg. Yum, yum, yum.
Fry the leek, pepper and apple in the oil for a few minutes until softened, and then add the spices and mix well. Add the cauliflower and the coconut milk and bring to a simmer for a few minutes before adding the Oumph. Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until everything is soft and well done, then salt to taste. Dish up and garnish. Best vegan curry ever 🙂