Burn Black

That ain't a vulture, that's a fucking pigeon…

Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

Oh My Stars…

Why hello there my poor neglected blog.  Yes it’s been a while… almost a year in fact.  It’s been one hell of a year as well.  A lot has happened and I have lots of stories to tell so do keep your eyes peeled.

I’m currently in the middle of a serious downgrading of possessions, kitchen ingredients included.  Mealtimes are starting to get interesting that’s for sure.  Knowing how much of a sweet tooth I have, especially whilst at work, I decided to have a play about after seeing various recipes online.  I’m rather impressed if I’m honest, especially since I already had everything in and that there’s no cooking involved.  Enjoy.

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Coconut And Spirulina Bites

  • 180g dates (I had dried pitted ones)
  • 130g cashew nuts (but you could substitute these with any other unsalted nuts)
  • 2 large tsp of coconut oil
  • 3 tsp of spirulina powder
  • 2 tsp of matcha tea
  • unsweetened desiccated coconut (I just added a bit at a time)

Firstly soak the dates in water for at least 30 minutes.  Whilst they’re soaking, blitz the cashew nuts in a food processor for about 45 seconds.

Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor, except the desiccated coconut.

Rinse the dates, add to the food processor and blitz until everything is combined and essentially resembles a large sticky ball.

Fill one bowl with water and one with the unsweetened desiccated coconut.  With wet hands (it stops the mixture from sticking to you), pinch off pieces of the mixture and roll into balls (about the size of an average cherry tomato).

Roll each ball into the desiccated coconut until evenly coated.

Place on a plate and then refrigerate for at least another 30 minutes before consuming.  These are best stored in an airtight container and will last about a fortnight at the most.

They’re really foolproof, vegan and best of all you can add or substitute the majority of the above ingredients with whatever you have in at the time.  Next time I make these I may add different nuts, dried apricots, cacao nibs, flaxseed etc.  The possibilities are endless.  If you try these and you come up with any awesome combinations then please let me know.

Make Your Own Houmous…

I love houmous/hummus.  I can sit down with a tub of the stuff along with some pitta/carrot sticks/celery and quite happily munch away until my heart and tummy is content.  It’s so bloody easy to make too that I have no idea why I even buy the stuff anymore.  It works out a lot cheaper to make your own too, if you go by weight. Below is my easy go to recipe.  There are no measurements as such as it’s the kind of food that everyone has different preferences for.  Some like it smooth, others lumpy, some like lots of lemon juice etc etc.  My advice would be to have a play and see what works the best for you.  If you end up with something that tastes and resembles houmous at the end then well done.

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The main ingredient of houmous is chickpeas (or garbanzo beans).  I never buy tinned if I’m honest.  A tin of ready soaked costs 55p.  I can buy a lot more chickpeas for my moolah if I buy a 500g bag of dried for £1.10.  I normally go by the 1/2 a cup of dried = 1 tin of soaked ratio too.  The only downfall to buying dried however is that you need to prepare them in advance but it’s easy when you know how.  I normally just measure as many cups as I can get out of a 500g bag, soak them overnight and then stick them in the slow cooker the next day.  Once cooked I’ll then measure them out in equivalent of tins and freeze in individual freezer bags until required.  I do the same with the majority of my dried beans and pulses too.  I have heard stories of people sprouting them for additional nutrients but I’ve never tried that myself I must say.

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When it comes to making actual houmous I normally grab one or two freezer bags (remember these have been measured to be the equivalent of a tin each) bring them to the boil just to defrost/make sure that they’re properly cooked, bung them in a food processor with a little bit of the water, some garlic, some salt, pepper, ground cumin, lemon juice, tahini and olive oil and blend it until it resembles the consistency/taste that you require.  It keeps for a few days in the fridge and if you’re feeling adventurous you can add any extras to it, such as chilli or roast veg.  In my view there really isn’t a set of concrete rules with this.  I’ve used limes when I’ve had no lemons, flaxseed oil instead of olive oil etc. etc. and as long as it tastes great to you then that’s all that matters.

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I hope this has helped and if you discover any good flavour combinations then please let me know.  Also if you know the reason behind the different spellings of houmous/hummus then let me know too.

 

 

 

Vegan Friendly Pancakes…

I love pancakes.  I don’t think I’ve ever turned my nose up at them.  I like them sweet, I like them savoury, I like both sweet and savoury (bacon and maple syrup in my meat eating days f0r example).  Although I’m not vegan (just a veggie) I do eat and try to eat a lot of vegan friendly food and to be honest I feel as if it’s a waste of egg  if I use one whilst baking so I never bother and use substitutes instead with great success so far.  Anyway I was really pleased with this pancake batter recipe.  I’ve tried it with both plain and self raising flour and plain definitely made the better pancakes.   They’re seriously easy to make and you can have a plate of them in about 20 minutes.

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Vegan Friendly Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup soya milk (could use any other dairy free milk or even water at a push)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

To be honest there’s not much needed in terms of instructions.  All I did was stick my frying pan on the hob (the hotter the pan the better the pancakes), whilst I mixed all of the dry ingredients together and all of the wet ingredients together.  Once I’d done that I whisked everything together until my pancake batter was nice and silky smooth.

I didn’t want huge pancakes as small and thin seem to come out better in my experience so I used about 1/3 of a ladle per pancake (this made tea saucer sized pancakes which were perfect).  Once bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake, flip it over to cook on the other side for a few minutes.  It’s that simple.  I got about 8 pancakes from the above measurements which easily served 2 hungry people for breakfast.  We had these with chopped banana and maple syrup.  I’m rather tempted to make another batch now.

A Recap on 2013…

Ahhh New Years.  Where optimism and positivity probably run the highest in comparison to the rest of the year.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Positive changes can happen whenever, you really don’t have to wait until NYE to start.  Saying that however I’m as guilty as the next person but I did actually make some positive changes last year and I have ones I want to do this year too.  So here’s a recap on 2013:

I did struggle a lot in 2013.  Both in my personal and working life.  I quit smoking which I’m still doing pretty well at despite being rather naughty over Christmas.  I am firmly back on the wagon now and haven’t had any since NYE and plan on keeping it that way.

I also started (and stopped) going to the gym more regularly.  The fact V enrolled as well kept both our motivations in this respect quite high, that was until he damaged his shoulder and therefore couldn’t go for a while and I in turn, then made excuses along the lines of “not wanting to go on my own” and alongside doing extra shifts at work meant that this once enjoyable and great habit slipped into a distant memory for both of us.  I didn’t start running and didn’t go back to kickboxing either which quite frankly sucked.

I did try Veganism though, and lasted just over 4 months.  I wish I could fully commit to this lifestyle but I  just can’t.  Instead I’m quite happy to remain a Vegetarian who tries her best which means although I will eat a lot of vegan friendly food at home with exception to the occasional tray of eggs (which I get from my Mum’s friend who keeps ducks/hens) and the odd indulgent cheese board, Outside of home however it’s a free for all.  Non animal friendly cosmetics and clothing etc. will still be avoided as much as possible.

I did declutter a lot in 2013 as well.  With eBay, Amazon and local charity shops all helping me dispose of items I no longer wanted.  I still have a large cardboard box full of stuff to go but its getting there.  I’m actually quite pleased with what I did actually accomplish in this aspect.

My finances are somewhat healthier now too.  Not immaculate but definitely better.  Already in 2014 I’ve started saving small amounts of money each month and have joined the pension scheme at work.  Both little jobs that I’ve been putting off for ages but will be well worth it in future.  Still in a little bit of debt but I’m going to really try and tackle that this year.

On top of this my working life has resembled somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster too.  I hammered the final coffin nail into DJ’ing due to various reasons which I’ll probably go into in a future post if I ever feel the need to let off some steam.  That and certain aspects at my day job meant that my ego came out of 2013 feeling rather bruised and battered.  Trying to turn to the positive however I have learnt a lot of lessons too so it’s not all bad and I quote:

“Your heart is the only beating you will survive and though it may take some time to trust it, it has never let you down.”

How was 2013 for you?

June Empties…

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Dirty Body Spray – A definite top 10 Lush product for me.  I love this stuff.  I spray it about with wanton abandon.  The spearmint in it cools you down and it’s basically Febreeze for humans.  It’s normally the first thing I pack for music festivals and any other occasions where I may be without shower/bath facilities for a few days.  At last year’s Bloodstock festival I was camped with a load of lads.  They were all borrowing this by the Saturday.  I’ve already bought a new bottle too. £14.00

Veganese Hair Conditioner  – I first tried this about a year ago when my hair was becoming healthier after starting to look after it through using henna and getting regular trims instead of bleaching it to high heaven and dying it every colour under the sun.  Other conditioners were becoming too heavy so I switched to this and have never gone back.  A big bottle lasts me about 4-5 months which is awesome value for money.  This is another top ten Lush product as far as I’m concerned and I have bought another bottle already. £13.15

M.A.C. Mineralize Satin Finish SPF 15 Foundation – I’ve gone from being a die hard M.A.C. fan to these days not really giving two shits about them.  It’s pretty sad that the main reasons I spent so much money on M.A.C. in the first place, along with the quality of the products (which I’m sure is still awesome) are no longer the case.  I’m still using up what M.A.C. make up I have but I haven’t bought any in a long long time and I can’t see this changing anytime soon.  This foundation was pretty nice to use.  Good value for money, despite it’s £24 price tag as it lasted me about 2 years.  I used it on it’s own as well as mixed with moisturiser and I would have bought it again but I’ve since switched to E.L.F. and this.

Avon Purifying Pore Strips – I’m not gonna lie.  I’ve had these for years.  I’d hate to hazard a guess but if I had to I’d say they were at least 8 years old.  They were individually wrapped however so I wasn’t so bothered with regards to hygiene so I recently used them up.  They were pretty good to use after a good face mask and I may be tempted to buy something similar in the future but I think that’ll be only on a whim.  I don’t even think Avon sell these anymore they’re that old.  I know some people who use PVA glue to do the same thing on their face but I don’t think I’ll go down that route if I’m honest.

Cosmetic Warrior – Sometimes my skin just can’t decide on what it’s doing.  Some days it feels tight and dry, other days it’s spotty, either way this mask is awesome.  The ingredients include garlic and honey which are anti-bacterial and the honey along with the eggs are really moisturising.  Truly a life saver of a mask  £5.95

Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner – This stuff can be used in so many ways.  I use it as a shaving lotion when doing my legs, as a body lotion, and also as a body conditioner too.  In the past I’ve used it as a hair mask   It’s super rich and therefore super hydrating so is perfect for older/dry skin.  It smells the same as the Rose Jam bubbleroon and therefore amazing. £15.50

Ultrabland Cleanser – Hands down the best ever commercial make up remover I’ve ever used.  I can’t see me using anything else EVER and I really don’t know how I managed beforehand and this is from the same girl who used to buy this by the gallon (well maybe…).  I tend to wear a lot of eye make up and this baby removes it all, without making my skin feel tight afterwards.   I used to do something called the Oil Cleansing Method years ago and I noticed a lot of similarities when I first started using Ultrabland in terms of ingredients (oil) and how you use it (identical), nowadays it just means a lot less faffing on with oil ratios etc. if I can buy something ready made.  Buying Ultrabland works out cheaper than buying all of the oils separately for the OCM and it’s also cheaper than the Clinique make up remover I used to buy too.  Double whammy.  As usual with all of my favourite products I already have bought a replacement.  £10.75

Mental Lentils…

I really didn’t know that a Dahl would last up to a week in the fridge until recently and since Im trying to be careful with regards to what I eat/buy I figured it may be a good idea to always have some on standby just in case.  Plus the fact that they tend to be high in protein but low in carbs and fat pretty much makes it the perfect food for whenever you can’t be arsed to cook anything.  I found the following recipe here but amended it slightly.


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Detoxifying Lemon Dahl

Ingredients

250g Red Lentils
1 tin of chopped tomato
2 teaspoons of Turmeric
1 teaspoon of Hing (Asafoetida)
1 green chili (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 lemon
Coriander leaf to garnish (optional)
salt

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Instructions

In on pan boil the lentils with the tinned tomato and double the amount of water (2 tins worth).  In a separate pan, heat a tablespoon of oil and when hot, add the cumin seeds. They need to crackle and turn a little brown. Now add your chopped chili and take off the heat until your lentils are tender and cooked.  Add the fryed cumin and chilli to the lentils along with the turmeric, hing (I added this because I found out it helps prevent farting and well everyone can agree that flatulence isn’t “a very ladylike practice” despite us all doing it) and salt.  If you want to make this more of a soup then add more water or reduce to make it thicker .   Towards the end when the dahl is a nice yellow paste, add the juice of one lemon and possibly the rind if you like (I did but I thought it was a bit too much).  Add chopped coriander as a garnish.

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More Foodie Delights…

Seems all I talk about on here lately is food.  I’m guessing that it’s because I’m off work so I have extra time to cook up some delicious noms compared to normal.  Anyway this is not only for all you coconut fans out there but also for those amongst us (like me) who still need a little gentle persuading.

Coconut Cupcakes

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Truth be told I fucking hate desiccated coconut but I don’t mind the “real” stuff which is what I’ve used in these and bloody hell they’re good.  I haven’t even bothered telling anyone that they’re Vegan and well no one’s asked so shhhhh! *wink*

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk (I used the tinned stuff as I had some in the cupboard).
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

For the icing:

  • 1/4 cup margarine at room temperature. (I used Vitalite but I had a tiny bit of Tofutti cream cheese to use up so I added this in too).
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (from the same tin as above)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut

Instructions

Preheat the oven to about 350 degrees F and line a twelve-muffin tin with paper cases and set aside.  Sift together all of the dry ingredients and then add all of the wet ones and mix until everything is combined and then some.  Fill each paper case to about two-thirds full and stick them in the oven for about 25 minutes.  I did think I was starting to burn them as they browned but a quick prod with a skewer will confirm when the cakes are cooked.  Remove from the muffin tin and place on a cooling rack.

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Whilst the cakes were in the oven I made the frosting.  To do so I added all of the wet ingredients together and slowly added all of the dry ones until I’d reached what I thought was perfect consistency and popped this into the fridge until my cakes had cooled down.  Once they had I basically dolloped a good amount of frosting on each cake and smoothed with a palette knife.

I started a diet this week so I’ve had one which I thoroughly enjoyed and I’ve been brave and given the remaining 11 away otherwise I would have eaten them all.  Seriously beautiful with a cup of tea.

Culture and Potatoes…

Today it occurred to me that I still hadn’t started that Sourdough Culture that I said I was going to do ages ago (and even went to the trouble of buying some really posh flour from mmm… for this exact purpose) and that I also had rather a lot a) potatoes and b) onions that needed using up before too long so this evening has been spent in attempts to rectify all of the above.  Starting a sourdough culture seems relatively easy.  I’m using the information from this site.  It should be ready to use come Monday/Tuesday so expect an update around then.

When it came to the glut of potatoes and onions scenario I was a bit more confused.  I have no idea how I’ve came to own so much of both vegetables and I had no idea as to what I was going to do with them.  A quick google search that included the words “potato, onion, vegan” and I’d stumbled upon this beauty from the Post Punk Kitchen.  I should have known really considering I own quite a few of Isa’s books.  Anyway it took all in all nearly 2 hours to make but excluding tonights tea (it was delicious btw) I now have the equivalent of 4 more meals in my freezer and since all the hard work is done all I need to do is boil a pan full of water and chuck em straight in, similar to gnocchi.  Until today I’d never made Caramelised Onion too, never mind know that you could freeze it.  Jobs a good un.

5 Months Later…

…And it seems I’m back.  What have I been up to to warrant such neglect of this blog?  Quite a lot actually.  Been working lots, have been recovering from surgery, been tattooed, started going to the gym again, started smoking again, decorated my kitchen, celebrated Christmas and my birthday, made some marmalade, spent loads of money on vinyl and pretty much thats it in a nutshell.

How about you?

I am going to try my best in future with updating.  We shall see how that goes.

Last Saturday a few of us went to The Coquette Collective‘s Burlesque Show and since I hardly get to go out thought I’d go all out.  After trawling the internet I found this lady’s YouTube channel and decided to try and pin curl my hair.  For first attempts I was pretty proud of myself and my fella’s efforts as I had to get him to do the back for me.  I went to sleep with them in on the Friday night and went to work with a scarf on my head the next day.  I definitely think I’ll be doing this again in future.  Also kudos to Superdrugs who have a lot of vegan friendly toiletries these days.  I bought some old lady setting lotion from there and not only is it BUAV approved but vegan friendly too.  Boom.

Gallbladder Woes…

At the beginning of the year I suffered my first gallstone attack and a scan back in January more or less confirmed that I needed to get my gallbladder removed.  In the time since I’ve started going to the gym and watching what I ate.  I went back to a vegetarian diet (actually I’m practically vegan these days) and I’ve lost over a stone in weight which is all great steps for healthy living in my book but I still suffered from these attacks with each one being more painful then the last.  At the beginning of August my boyfriend and I went out to see a friends band one Friday night and ended up in A&E after an attack caught me off guard.  Still free morphine and I was *just* well enough to go to Bloodstock the next weekend which was nice.

  

A couple of weeks later I ended up in A&E again only this time via ambulance and not taxi.  This time I was kept in overnight and sufficiently doped up to the eyeballs (best high of my life hahaha).  The next day I was asked if I would like my gallbladder took out that day.  My reply “HELL YEAH!!!!” and so I’ve been recovering ever since, missing out on a trip to London and a Lady Gaga gig in the process.  This is my last week on sick leave and yes it has been nice to relax and not have to worry if each mouthful of food was going to create agonising pain but fuck me I’m bored now.  My flat has never been so clean, also I’m purely on the bones of my arse due to being on sick so I literally cannot wait to get back to work and earn some moolah.

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Meat Free Mondays: Vegan Chilli.

This is perfect for this time of year (it’s definitely getting darker and colder).  It’s perfect because you can use whatever vegetables you have in the kitchen too.

Serves: 4-6 adults. 

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 3x 400g tins of chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained (or ½ cup of dry kidney beans that have been soaked overnight)
  • 1 red chilli pepper (de-seeded if you like) or 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 200g of mushrooms, sliced
  • 200g of mixed veg e.g. courgette, sweet potato, butternut squash or peppers  – but anything will work.
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 300g basmati rice

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion over a gentle heat for 2–3 minutes, or until it has softened slightly. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, kidney beans and chilli, bring the sauce to the boil, then lower the heat so that it simmers gently.
  3. Add the chopped red pepper, sliced mushrooms and mixed vegetables and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  4. Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet.
  5. Add the cumin, coriander and paprika to the chilli and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  6. Season to taste and serve with the rice.

Cook’s tips

  • As the chilli was simmering I still felt it needed a bit more *umpf* so I added a teaspoon of chipotle chilli paste and some dried chilli flakes too.
  • Leftover chilli tastes much better the next day – simply wait for it to cool, then keep it in the fridge in a container with a lid, and reheat it thoroughly in a saucepan. Or you can freeze it, but make sure you defrost the chilli completely before you reheat it.
  • I made my chilli today with carrot and courgette.  It was rather delish. 😀
  • Also for all of you who think that vegan food is expensive then think again.  I’ve just worked it out on Sainsbury’s online and this meal would have cost about £4.89 to make and that’s for anything between 4-6 people depending on how hungry they are.  I went to my local greengrocers as well so it probably cost me less in honesty.

Meat Free Monday: A glut of carrots.

I had a load of carrots that needed using up before they went off and let’s face it *everyone* loves Carrot & Coriander soup, plus with Autumn poking it’s head around the corner making and freezing portions of soup means you can have a homemade, comforting bowl of soup whenever you feel like.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 450g/1lb carrots, sliced (I left the skins on)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 pints of vegetable stock
  • large bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions and the carrots. Cook for a few minutes until they start to soften.
  • Add the ground coriander and cook for 1 minute.  Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Simmer until the vegetables are tender.
  • Add the coriander and then whizz everything up with a hand blender/blender until smooth.