Best ever guacamole!!!!!!!

The blond likes guacamole, he’s Californian after all so it’s hardly surprising. He told me that I make Mexican food far too well for someone that comes from London…I’ll take that as a complement. Now this guacamole is super simple – 4 mushed avocado, a pinch of salt, juice from half a lime, 1-2 small garlic cloves, 3 Pepperdew peppers chopped and half a small red onion. I don’t like the taste of onion so I chop it in tiny pieces, pop it in a cup and add 1tbs white sugar, vinegar and boiling water. Let it stand for about ten minutes and strain it in a tea strainer. Now add the onion pieces to the guacamole. Taste and season. It’s amazingly yummy.

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No more vegan?

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I haven’t been vegan in a while and I’m not entirely sure I ever will be again. On the one hand this upsets me and on the other I feel a excited at the prospect of eating everything I please. I’m conflicted and it’s one of those decisions I can’t make over night. The fact is I’m extremely good at cooking, to the point where I think it’s a shame to exclude certain foods and experiences. This is also combined with the fact that I’m naturally a small framed person and find it difficult to keep to a healthy weight when vegan, my body craves iron and I never seemed to get enough. It’s a conundrum because I preferred the lightness veganism gave me, the healthy energy that circulated within me. I miss how my body felt nourished and clean and harmonious. I miss feeling excited at running and taking a yoga class. Yet I feel far better being a heavier weight. However when I survey the pros and cons I see a lot more cons in my new diet. Yes food is delicious and there to be enjoyed but yes my skin is spotty, my head is foggy, my ass has doubled and my tummy is softer than it should be! I’m definitely keen to get back to a more wheel food plant based diet but once in a while I’ll post naughty, fattening, meaty fun. Marvel at these photos from valentines day.

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Magical Tomato Salad..

Last night I got really hungry and having read my friend’s blog, really craved a refreshing Italian style salad. I looked in fridge and found two punnets of cherry tomatoes, a small clove of garlic, fresh basil and over ripe avocado. I washed and quartered the cherry tomatoes, chopped a small clove of garlic and added about 1/8 of a cup of Extra virgin olive oil. I seasoned with a pinch of salt and sugar and then stirred in chopped fresh basil. I cut some avocado and topped it with balsamic glaze and some edible flowers that my mum had bought. It was yummy.

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Pimientos de padron….

Pimientos de padron are a little green pepper indigenous to Spain. They’re considered the ‘russian roulette’ of veggies  as about one in ten (or some say one in thirty) are spicy, but the others are mild.  As the saying  goes ‘Os pementos de Padrón, uns pican e outros non.’ This means ‘some are spicy and some are not.’ I really craved them and tried to find them everywhere. Eventually I bought them online from the Spanish Tapas Company, which delivered two 500g bags priced at £5.00 each. A little pricy but totally worth it in my opinion. They are so easy to cook. Just wash and dry, then pop into frying pan of olive oil for three minutes or until browned. Sprinkle with salt and eat. My mother also made some delicious potato wedges with dried oregano and sweet potato wedges with paprika. I made a simple sauce with ketchup, tobacco, Worcestershire sauce, squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of brown sugar.

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Happy New Year!!!!!!!!

This year has been filled with the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between. To say it has been a roller coaster is cliched and a bit silly but it ended on a high. I’m finally happy and in a lovely, amazing relationship with myself (vomit now if you must!) With my friends, family and a really awesome person. Excellent, box ticked. There are still a million other things lefts to achieve. I’d like for example to realise what I want do or achieve in a career, I’d like to become super healthy and go to the gym more. I need to manage my time better. These aren’t necessarily life changing or world changing resolutions but they are things I’m guessing everyone probably needs to do a bit more of. I’m probably going to be spending more time cooking sugar free and avoiding white flour. Definitely more time meditating and managing my stress (and grumpiness!) levels. I started the New Year by having a lovely bath and really wanted to write about the products that I use. I worked for Lush over the summer and fully took advantage of my discount. The products do contain parabens which  (however much my old assistant manager tried to spin it) I’m not a fan of. For the whole they’re nice handmade products and brighten up my bath time.

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My mother has amazing taste and our house is always beautifully decorated. The bathroom is always filled with beautiful nicknacks, above are some natural sea sponges, a tisty tosty bath bomb from Lush and a lovely vegetable hand soap from Italy.

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The ocean salt from lush is really fresh and zesty. The granules are small enough to use on the face and the scent really wakes me up. It isn’t the best face scrub I’ve ever used but I really love the smell.

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This is Lush’s ‘New’ solid shampoo bar which contains cinnamon to promote new hair growth. I absolutely love that it’s a solid because there is no water in it and therefor the preservatives have been totally cut down. My hair looks very shiny and full and I’ll continue to use it. The second is a bath melt thing which smelt amazingly and made my skin so soft. I was really relaxed by the spicy sweet smell. Just lovely. The third is a sugar scrub, it comes in a solid dome shape and breaks down when it comes into contact with water. I like the consistency and the small is fabulous. It’s a really great scrub and gets rid of dead skin leaving my body smelling fabulous and super soft.   Plus because it’s a solid product it doesn’t need any preservatives.

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I bought this mask a few months ago and it’s nice, it smells good and has no animal derivatives. I was going to say that it’s not amazing but it’s more than coincidental that my skin always look fabulous and very plump after having used it. It’s very relaxing and especially effective when used in the steam room. I also love that the products I use are made in the UK.

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This is another Lush shower gel – from their Christmas range. It smells very lavendery a bit sweet and a bit spicy. It’s great for relaxation and baths before bed time. I love having baths and using new products. Luckily I’ve got lots more to use an review!

Pre exam dinner

A few weeks ago my two best girlfriends came over for a pre exam supper, it was such a nice evening with lots of delicious food and girly talk. I made artichoke, leek, mushroom and pesto crostini, falafel, fatuous salad and roasted sweet potatoes. We had sparkling water and finished off with a raw coconut pistachio and avocado cheesecake. I need to perfect the cheesecake recipe but the savoury food was delicious!!

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Crostini – this is an adapted recipe from the Kind Diet. Whilst you’re making the toppings warm the baguette in the oven.

Pesto 

  • 1 cup almonds
  • big bunch of basil
  • pinch salt
  • a few tomatoes – optional
  • olive oil

In a food processor pulverise the almonds till they’re a fine paste. Then with the motor running add the basil, crushed garlic, pinch of salt and tomatoes. Then add the olive oil.

Leek and Mushroom

  • Drizzle of olive oil in a pan
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves
  • 2 Leeks – white and green parts chopped
  • 1 cup chestnut mushroom – chopped into halves
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • water as needed

Saute the vegetables on a medium heat and add the rest of the ingredient. Increase the heat and let the liquid evaporate.

Artichoke puree

  • I can of drained artichokes in brine
  • a few drops of umeboshi vinegar to taste – it’s a very fresh fruity vinegar. I suppose you could sub raspberry vinegar

In a food processor whizz up to a paste.

Now assemble! Slice the warm baguette, spread the pesto, the leek mixture and top with the artichoke puree. This is so darn delicious!!!

Falafel 

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  • 1 can rinsed and drained chickpeas
  • 1 half red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup  fresh breadcrumbs
  • Fresh parsley to taste
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cumin, ground coriander and a touch of paprika2

Whizz this all up in a food processor, pat into little gold ball sized shapes and fry in a deep fat fryer – you could also bake them but it’s so much better fried!!!!!

Sweet potatoes 

  • 2 large sweet potatoes cubes
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • lime juice

Preheat the oven to 180C

Peel and cube the sweet potato and in a bowl toss it in olive oil, salt and pepper

Place on parchment paper and bake on a relatively low heat.

In the same bowl add the crushed garlic, chopped parsley and lime juice from half a lime. When cooked add the sweet potatoes and toss. I kept it warm by turning the oven off and placing the bowl back in the oven.

Then I set the table and served everything. What a lovely evening, thank you ladies.

Ten days and no posts…here goes.

No posts for what seems like an eternity, coincided with my not eating anything particularly vegan. I’m not as healthy feeling but I had fun. I have a bit of a moral dilemma whenever I don’t eat vegan. I’m not obsessive enough to worry about the effect that a slice of pepperoni pizza will have on my body but a bit of guilt washes over me as I think of the piggies. (And the problem is I do.) I’m not going to drone on and on about this. I suppose people should do what makes sense for them and how they feel better. Yet t’s not always possible to make the best choices because let’s face it – we may not want to. I used to look down on this point of view but as I’ve grown up a little I think it’s reasonable, because nothing would have been better than my pizza night last week. It was so wonderful, a really romantic simple and lovely evening. Sometimes I want to shout about it from the rooftops but other times I think it’s better to keep it safe, secret and personal. I’m going to miss him, however, very much over the Holidays.

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This is our home at Christmas – my mother does a great job. We don’t have a real tree but a reusable synthetic tree, that is set to last and is looking pretty good. I’ve been baking like a little monster lately and I’m trying to post all the recipes that came out well. I made some mini chocolate cupcakes, coconut meringues, millionaire’s shortbread and a coffee cake. I’m making mince pies tomorrow. Hooray!

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The mini cupcakes are vegan and I’ll post the recipe tomorrow. Now to find some vegan christmas recipes.

Coconut Cream.

I have always loved coconut and cream. In fact a world where creamy coconutty deliciousness existed was somewhere that I wanted to move to. So when I realised that vegans had been making whipped coconut cream I rejoiced. Then I tried it and it failed. So i tried it again and lo and behold it failed. Then I took a new tact. I emptied a can of coconut milk into a glass jar and refrigerated it. In the morning i scooped out the cream that had risen to the top and whipped it up with a few tablespoons of agave and some vanilla bean paste. It didn’t hold any shape. Then I popped it in the freezer for an hour and a half. I removed it. Whipped it and was left eating the whole thing out of a bowl. It was honestly the most delicious, creamy, sweet, awesome, wonderful thing. Tomorrow I’m going to make a raw vegan coconut pistachio cheesecake..

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Candied Peel…The trauma of it all.

I have put off writing this post for a few days because having spent hours making candied peel the thought of talking about it made me want to cry/heave. Ok So here goes. Candied peel is a sweet preserved peel – usually made from citrus fruit. You can use it in cakes and desserts or dip it in chocolate for a fancy after dinner treat! I have made mine because I’m making mince meat for mince pies. (More on that later!)

Start by selecting and washing your fruit. I used five oranges, 2 lemons and 1 grapefruit. I peeled the fruit. Some recipes tell you to remove as much of the white pith as possible and others tell you to do the opposite. I chose the former option but in future I would leave the pith on as it makes for a more succulent peel.

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The photo above is what the fruit should look like.

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This photo is what the peel should look like.

Now you must put your peelings in a large saucepan to boil the bitter taste away. I filled the saucepan with 1.5 litres of cold water and brought it up to the boil and let it boil for 5mins. This step should take 15 minutes inclusive. You should then drain the peelings in a colander. and repeat this step FOUR times. Yes four times. I know, it killed me too.

Now that you’ve been bored to death. Add the drained peel to an empty saucepan, add about 4 cups of cold water and 5 cups of sugar – BOIL it up until the sugar forms a thick syrup. I made the mistake of adding too much sugar so my peel now look crystallised…But whatcha gonna do. Now pick out your peel – I used metal kitchen tweezers. Lay them out flat on an oiled piece of parchment paper and let dry over night. Store in a kilner jar.

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DELICIOUS homemade juice

I’ve had this awful essay to write about St Anselm and quite honestly I cannot wait for it to be over so I can get back to blogging properly!!! I recently made candied orange peel and the experience left me happy and satisfied but tired! From this recipe I had lots of left over orange and grapefruit as I had just used the peel in the candied peel recipe. Sooo I decided to make delicious juice.

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This then turned into this:

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