End of Vegan MoFo – Butternut Squash and Halloween Jellies

The month of food has come to a close and not without a hiccup at the final hurdle.  I’d already missed a few days over the second half of the month and then ended up unwell right at the very end! I’m glad to be feeling back to normal again (well a normal as a ‘kook’ can feel! 🙂 )

With it being in season I bought a butternut squash, not knowing quite what to do with it.  Luckily amidst my families Halloween preparations my parents came round to entertain the nippers and I quickly sidetracked my dad into cooking duties.

He came up with a fabulous flavoursome dish that was ready within 30 minutes.


1 Butternut squash (peeled & diced)

2 Onions (we used white although my Dad would’ve preferred red – it was yummy with white though)

1 Cup Fresh Orange Juice

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp hemp (shelled)

1 tsp garlic and chilli flakes

1 Cup Spelt

1 Tomato

1 Cup Broccoli florets

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Place the butternut squash and onions into a tray and cover with olive oil, a dusting of sea salt and a grind of black pepper.

Roast in a hot oven at 180 ˚C for 25 mins or until soft.

Put the spelt and broccoli on to simmer for 20 minutes in boiling water.

Meanwhile stir the orange juice, brown sugar, hemp, garlic and chilli in a pan with a little water to create a glaze.  When the vegetables are roasted pour the hot glaze over them toss and pop them back in for 5 mins. Grill the tomato whilst they cook then chop and add to the drained spelt.

Serve the roasted spicy butternut squash next to a bed of the spelt mixture.

Delicious Halloween dinner!

The puddings were spooky ‘pumpkin’ jellies – scoop out some oranges, dissolve the vegetarian jelly and fill the skins. When set carve away!

Happy Halloween!!!!


The Kind Diet, Evil Sugar and Fabulous Nutritious Oatmeal

Last night I fell asleep with the resolve that I would remove white sugar from my diet as much as possible (best timing just as the holidays approach hey! – whats life without a little challenge?)

I’ve been reading ‘The Kind Diet’ by Alicia Silverstone and love it 🙂

She writes in such a lovely down to earth tone, bringing you the facts you need to make better choices without feeling like shes pushing her viewpoint down your throat.  Sugar is something she discusses as one of her four ‘nasty foods’.  I’ve always known sugar isn’t particularly good for me but she explains how it uses our body’s vitamin and mineral resources to break it down.  So not only does it not contribute anything to our health it actually takes what is already there!

I typically don’t use sugar much throughout the day unless I’m baking or my brain didn’t get the memo that says I don’t want to have carbonated drinks anymore.  It frequently loses said memo, then blames the husband for putting the pepsi max in the fridge! What’s a girl to do?!

Today’s liquid consumption is water and herbal tea’s only.  I always have a lemon and ginger tea in the morning to help revive me, it’s delicious.

To start the day off with a bang I opted to try the ‘Quick Date-Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal’ instead of my usual peanut butter on toast.  I need to get more energy in my step especially now the temperatures are set to welcome Jack Frost back at any moment.

It was amazing, its the first time I’ve made porridge without any form of milk and honestly with all the other flavours I didn’t even notice. It was so simple, just mix oats, maple syrup, walnuts, apple (I used it all rather than just a 1/3 like it states), dates, cinnamon. Add boiling water until the oats are covered and add some flaxseed oil if you have it.                 (I did not 😦 )

I was out of dates so I swapped them with a nut and berry mix I had in and added a dessert spoon of the flaxseed mix I got last week.

What I would say if you’re anything like me, 1 cup of oats was too much so I’d half it next time with the same amount of fruit.

I’d definitely recommend this book, the recipes look wonderful, it captures you visually and its all printed in eco-friendly recycled paper and soy inks! As if we’d expect anything less from Alicia.


Gastro delights at the Globe

Halloween preparations are underway and apparently that leaves little space in my brain banks to allow energy reserves for blogging of an evening.

Seriously tiredness has hit a new level and I’m sure I’ve not even been as busy as I should have been!

My birthday meal the other night was fabulous. We went to the Globe in Glossop, our local vegan pub.  It was the first time I’d been in and the food was great.  Nothing fancy, just as you would expect in any pub, but wonderful filling vegan pub grub.

I had the ‘steak’ and mushroom stew with rice, which to my meat-free palate tasted as I remembered a steak stew to taste.  My non-vegan family said they could tell it wasn’t steak but that didn’t take away from the great flavours and texture.

Everyone enjoyed their dishes, in fact it was my parents who recommended we go as they’d been before and enjoy some of the curries on offer.

As I’m a pudding person and it was my birthday we ordered 3 desserts to share between us: chocolate cake and cream, maple and walnut ice-cream and chocomint ice-cream.  They produce their own non-dairy ice-cream on site.  The maple walnut was gorgeous, definitely my favourite pud of the night.

We’ll be frequenting the Globe on a regular basis from now on I’m sure 🙂

Birthday treats

Yesterday I grew one year older, it was my first birthday as a vegan and in amongst my lovely gifts lay a few foodie items for my delight.

My folks got me a fabulous measuring set and various veggie condiments for my culinary adventures.  Flax and hemp seed mixes, fake cheese, marinated tofu and oyster mushrooms and a yeast extract (full of b12) which I really hope doesn’t taste like marmite! I’m sure it’ll be great in sauces either way.

My hubbie got me some new scales – i love my old fashioned ones but we have a relatively small kitchen so these are fabulous and you can just go ahead and measure straight into the mixing bowl (less washing up – always a winner!)

There was however a lack of birthday cake! (To be fair he had worked a 14 hour shift the day before so I wasn’t too hard on him 🙂 )

This was quickly remedied by my puppy dog eyes, him having a quick gander on the interweb and a trip out to gather cake essentials.

This is what he came up with!!!!

Love it! He certainly knows how to make me giggle 🙂

It weighs a ton – he doesn’t do things by halves that’s for sure!

I’ll let you know if it passes the taste test as we will wait until the bambinos get home to chop into it 🙂 Something tells me it’ll be a sugar rush!

Out for a post birthday dinner tonight…..


Guacamole breakfast and the Liebster award

This morning I arose to a house without bread, my beloved cheerios and very little fresh fruit. The weekly shop must be imminent!

In the mean time I was faced with an avocado, a couple of lemons and some beautifully juicy tomatoes. There was nothing else for it – guacamole for breakfast it was.  My Dad had actually made some wonderfully smooth, flavoursome guacamole when I last visited and upon asking for the recipe I was told it was purely avocado, lemon juice, dried chilli flakes and a little salt and pepper!

Sounds simple enough and I had everything I needed – easy peasy….

…it was not to be – the avocado, which was from a packet that said perfectly ripe and was only purchased a few days ago, was still hard in places when I tried to scoop out the flesh.  Fail number one!

I added the juice of one small lemon – Fail number two! Half would have been fine, if that.

After mixing in a tsp of chilli and the s & p i proceeded to try and mash it all together with a fork as I have done in the past – and Strike 3! It was too hard to pulp together properly!

Refusing to give in, my inner tum was getting impatient by this point, I decided to pulverise it with the food processor.

Miraculously it turned out to be not too shabby! I’d definitely would have used less lemon and a properly ripe avocado… remind me to not try and be too creative in the kitchen at stupid o’clock in the morning, it doesn’t bode well!  As I know how good it tastes when it works there will be a next time, just at a more reasonable hour 🙂  Or maybe I should just stick to my desserts instead!

Liebster Award:
While I’m here writing about my least successful dish of the month I’d like to thank the lovely Richa at Hobby and More for choosing my little blog as one of her picks for the Liebster award 🙂
“Liebster” is German and means ‘dearest’ or ‘beloved’ but it can also mean ‘favorite’. The idea behind this award is to bring attention to bloggers who have less than 200 followers and show your support during Vegan Mofo!
The rules of winning this award are as follows:
1. Show your thanks to those who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the big wide web!
Here are some of the blogs I’ve been enjoying this month – I pass the award on to:
Enjoy reading 🙂 – ps If anyone knows how to make these blog names into actual links please let me know (my technophobe side is showing, oh the shame!) Hurrah – all done!

Creamy Cottage Pie

Cottage pie has always been one of my all time favourite comfort foods, perfect as these colder nights keep creeping up on us.

Ingredients (for 6-8 servings)


454g vegan mince

2 large onions (diced)

1 tbsp olive oil

450g mushrooms (sliced)

400g chopped tomatoes

250g frozen peas

*Cheat alert * – 1  packet colmans shepherds pie mix

salt and pepper to taste


600g potatoes (peeled and quartered)

75g vegan butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes for 25-30 minutes to soften. Meanwhile…

Saute the onions and mushrooms in oil until soft.  Throw in the mince and stir regularly for 15 minutes (or as directed on the packet.)

Pour the mix into heat-proof bowl. Add chopped tomatoes, peas and dissolved colmans shepherds pie mix (as per instructions on sachet.)

Mash potatoes with the butter and seasoning.

Spread on top of the filling and pop it all in the oven for 30 minutes at 180˚C or until golden.

Place a large dollap of red cabbage along the side and enjoy!

I know it says ‘creamy’ in the title but honestly this mash was some of the best I’ve tasted (and I’m rather the connoisseur don’t you know! haha.) We used vitalite which made it taste incredible, even though it was so simple, and it crisped on top beautifully.

This was concocted by the omnivore and he loved it – even if he does say so himself! 🙂

Lemon Chocolate Cheesecake

Here she goes again…. another cheesecake recipe in the space of one month (and the month isn’t even through yet!)

As part of our sunday family dinner I decided to put to use the baked cheesecake technique I learned on my cooking course on the first of this month.  The recipe we were taught was a coffee and chocolate cake which was lovely, but I adapted the ingredients with a vegan kook twist to make it my own. It involves no tofu! Be prepared for the miraculous self-forming yogurt cake!



300g Ginger nut biscuits

75g Vegan butter


500g Vanilla soya yogurt

200g Dark chocolate

2tsp Ginger

5tsp Lemon extract – seems a lot but it’s needed to taste it through the rich chocolate

3tbps Cornflour

50g Brown sugar

Crush the biscuits and melt the butter. Combine the two then flatten into a cake tin.  Pop it into the oven for 5-10 minutes at 150 ˚C.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water whilst whisking the yogurt, ginger, cornflour and sugar together in a separate bowl.

Once melted add the chocolate and the lemon extract, stir and spread the filling over the base evenly.

Place it back in the oven for 40 minutes or until you notice the filling has some-what set.  At this point you can take it out and leave it to cool. (We only left ours for around 10 minutes tonight as the boys bedtime was edging ever closer; it was set enough to take slices from but lovely and gooey in the middle. Would be great with a scoop of vanilla ‘ice-cream’ if still warm and you’re feeling extra decadent!)

Decorate with lemon slices and icing sugar.

Rich chocolate, zesty lemon and spicy ginger – Wonderful!


Posts coming in the next few days:

  • Creamy Cottage Pie
  • After his first week of vegan fodder I’ll be asking my other half a few questions to see how he’s been getting on.
  • I’ll be taking my love of cake to a more experimental level again over the next few days when I try to recreate the wonderful pumpkin pie we had last year vegan style! Wish me luck!

Cheats Chow Mein – Vegan Mofo

As always in my house time flew by this morning and by lunch a sandwich just wasn’t going to hit the spot. With my two young boys eager to have their tummies filled I gathered  together some already prepared ingredients, along with a few fresh pieces, to speed the process up.

The chow mein sauce, pre-marinated tofu, a couple of tablespoons of pre-chopped onions in olive oil and freshly chopped mushrooms were tossed together in a pan and heated for a few minutes before adding a large handful of frozen peas. I left it to simmer for 10 minutes and cooked a couple of packets of dried noodles in a separate pan.

After a dash of salt and pepper we were ready to go.

Lovely warm meal for a crisp autumn day!

Raw food adventures

Just a quick one today about my accidental foray into raw food whilst visiting my folks house yesterday.  I was rummaging through their fridge to see what I could see and the fresh veggies looked wonderful so I whipped up this fabulous little salad.

Apple, red cabbage, celery, carrots, tomatoes, hummus and flaxseed.  It was delicious and it was only after I made it I realised it was all raw food and therefore even more super-duper healthy.

That was it I was inspired and ventured off to find an equally healthy pud….

(please excuse the awful nail varnish faux pas in this pic – chipped much :/ )

….anyhoo I ended up using soya milk whizzed up with one banana, a tbsp each of peanut butter, coarse oatmeal and flaxseed, tsp spirulina and a tsp icing sugar (the only sweetener I could find – my parents are on a major health kick by the looks of it – woohoo!)

The final result was wonderful and kind of like a yogurt rather than a smoothie (could have added more milk but it was tasty as it was.)

So there you have it my induction into raw food. I couldn’t do it all the time I need my mashed potatoes and pasta! I’ll definitely be introducing more raw aspects into my day to day life though since it was so quick and easy to put together as well as being nutritious to boot 🙂

Any raw food tips for a newbie?

Puppy farms and pig farms equal?

I know it’s Mofo but whilst perusing the local metro newspaper on my journey home a couple of stories stood out to me.  So I thought I’d share…

The first being a statement by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, a man known for his rather daring palate when it comes to food, including things such as curried fruit bat in the past.  In a recent interview with the Radio Times he declared: ‘In principle but not in practice, I have no objection to a high welfare organic puppy farm.  You can’t object , unless you also object to the farming of pigs.  It’s an artificial construct of our society, a cultural decision, to make pets out of dogs and meat out of pigs.’

My opinion of this man has just increased, he points out the absurdity of placing one animal above the other.  Just because one species is cute (most of the time) and outwardly affectionate (again, most of the time) doesn’t mean that other species are less deserving of our regard.

I’m aware that this is my take on his comments and am sure that although he has undertaken 5 months as a vegetarian and is actively fighting for better farming methods of both fish and chickens he may possibly return to eating meat.  I think its great that it has started a debate within the mainstream media to get people thinking.

I couldn’t find a link to the metro article so here’s one to the guardian instead:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/8818975/Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstall-eating-puppy-meat-is-no-worse-than-pork.html#disqus_thread

The second story was only a short one but rather disheartening.  It was that of a young boy aged 11 who had been given a few pigs to raise.  His parents were worried he’d become to attached so told him not to name them but he had already come up with names by himself: iPhone, iPad and other goods he planned to buy when they were sold for meat.  I found it a little sad that he was able to detach so easily from the animals and see them only as a monetary outcome.

That’s the news round up for today.  What are your thoughts on these stories?