a casserole and a cookbook

casserole

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 😀

book

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.

aga

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?

GreenBay 100% vegan supermarket

ice cream bombe

icecream1

Based on a Jamie Oliver recipe this, we just veganised! Extra pictures of the various steps below.

1 vegan sponge cake, thinly sliced up (see cake page if you need a recipe)
some jam to spread on the cake
1 or 2 tubs of vegan ice cream – we used Swedish Glace Vanilla
a small bag of unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts
a handful of glace cherries
some dairy-free white chocolate buttons or chocolate drops
a bar of good dark chocolate

Line a round pudding bowl with cake slices (leave some for the base) and spread a layer of jam over them. Get your other ingredients ready before taking the ice cream out of the freezer, then layer it up. A layer of ice cream, a sprinkling of nuts, ice cream, cherries, ice cream, buttons, ice cream then the last slices of cake on the base. Cling film the whole bowl really well and use a plate to press down and squash all the layers together well. Bung it in the freezer until you want to eat it (can be made weeks in advance). Place in the fridge for about an hour before removing from bowl (may have to run outside of bowl under hot tap, being careful not to wet the pudding!) and pouring the melted chocolate over the top (it sets fast on the cold bombe). Slice up and enjoy :)

Triple Chocolate Variant: use chocolate cake, and chocolate ice cream and maybe even chocolate spread though cherry or apricot jam would be good too :)

Line bowl with cake:
icb1

jam:
icb2

layering up:
icb3

clingfilm:
icb4

pressing down:
icb5

freeze until needed!

out of its bowl:
icb6

chocolated

 


Be rewarded the Web's Premiere Rewards Site

little logs

Recipe  on the Yule page. They go very well with A Muppet Christmas Carol, lots of snow outside and a roaring fire 😀

20131222-220258.jpg

MULU Raw Chocolate

Wow. This is the best raw chocolate weve ever tasted. It’s totally smooth in texture which weve never experienced with raw choc before. Some of us girls sampled it together and it even went down well with one lady who usually prefers milk chocolate 🙂 The rich taste and heady smell enable this product to easily compete with expensive roasted brands. (Company website no longer functional, so maybe MULU is no more).

mulu

off to add it to the chocolate page

curry noodles

Sounds like junk food but these are raw and healthy and very tasty, just had them for lunch 🙂

1 courgette spiralised into noodles with  a spiralizer (available from Amazon.co.uk)

1 red pepper, cut into thin slices

a tablespoon of sunflower seeds

a tablespoon of nori sprinkle

a tablespoon of olive oil

about half a teaspoon of curry powder or spices of your choice

mix and eat 😀

leaf

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 🙂

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

vmsb

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

mulondon-287x300

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  🙂

there be magic in them there woods

The Mermaid and the Bear

Set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, Ailish Sinclair’s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, blends an often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations, in particular the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story. 

Amazon

Waterstones

Author website