Burn Black

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

Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

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?

Recent Noms…

I stumbled upon Smitten Kitchen last week and the next day made this for dinner.  It seems that a lot of the ingredients used are relatively easy to come by and also cheap to make and I’m that impressed I’m considering buying the cookbook.  It’ll be getting made again at some point soon.

I also tried to make sourdough bread with the culture I started a few weeks ago and it flopped.  I ended up using the flat dough for chapatis.  All in all, not an experiment I’ll be repeating.  Never mind.

Last week I also stumbled upon this by the Hairy Bikers on the TV and quite intrigued I made it.  I wish I’d halved the ingredients as the recipe made much more than for just 4 people.  It was ok but I doubt I’ll make it again.  I have the remnants in my freezer for next time I fancy something sweet.

I’ve also realised that I have more or less a freezer full of food so I’m on a food shopping ban until it’s a lot more controllable.  I think it’s going to be pretty amusing to see what I can come up with at mealtimes in the meantime.

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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The Boozehound Hexmas Cake – Part 2.

I spent Saturday baking my now infamous “Boozy Christmas Cake”. After 4 hours of sitting in the oven and infusing my kitchen with delicious smells, it is now living in a Tupperware box and being fed shots of booze whenever it’s feeling a bit thirsty. It’ll probably continue to live like this until a week before Christmas when I’ll get some marzipan, apricot jam and icing to finish it off. I’m actually really proud of myself and my cake so far.

Make a wish…

Nom.

The Boozehound Hexmas Cake – Part 1.

I decided earlier this year that this Christmas I would be making my own Christmas Cake. This came about after I’d heard the legend of a Christmas Cake recipe that listed a whole bottle of Jack Daniels in it’s ingredients (I bloody love JD). Apparently the recipe is/was by Nigella Lawson but I’ve scoured all of her books and all over the internet and I can’t find any mention of it. Reluctantly I’ve gave up on the idea of a JD Christmas Cake but I did find this recipe by Delia Smith that I’m using instead. I started the pre-soaking stage yesterday and I do believe that once this cake is actually done and dusted, one slice will be guaranteed to give you a hangover the next day. So far the mixture smells like mulled wine. The only changes I’ve made to the recipe is that I added in some dates, sultanas and mixed spice to it (I already had them in and thought they should belong in this epic cake), I also wasn’t able to get my hands on any cherry brandy either so I’m substituting that with some Celtic Spirit Black Mountain (it’s apple and blackcurrant brandy). It’s really yummy and reminds me of Ribena and jam.

Date, Walnut & Honey Cake.

I made this the other day and is probably the best cake I’ve ever made that involves nuts (I don’t normally like nutty cakes). It’s really easy to make and everyone who’s had some has loved it.


Ingredients

* 225g self-raising flour

* ½ tsp ground cinnamon

* 175g softened butter

* 100g light muscovado sugar

* 3 tbsp clear honey

* 2 eggs , beaten

* 2 medium, ripe bananas

* 100g stoned dates

* 50g pack walnut pieces

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas 3/fan oven 140C. Line the base and long sides of a 900g/2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper, buttering the tin and paper.
2. Tip the flour, cinnamon, butter, sugar, 2 tablespoons of the honey and the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Mash the bananas and chop the dates (kitchen scissors are easiest for this) and add to the bowl. Beat the mixture for 2-3 minutes, using a wooden spoon.
3. Spoon into the prepared tin and level the top. Scatter the walnut pieces over. Bake for 1 hour, then lightly press the top – it will feel firm if cooked. If not, bake for a further 10 minutes.
4. Cool for 15 minutes, then lift out of the tin using the paper. When cold, drizzle the remaining honey over. Cut into thick slices.
It should be noted that I didn’t have any cinnamon (for once) so I substituted it with some nutmeg and some mixed spice which seemed to have done the job. I also added a splash of Morgan Spiced Rum to the mix (It would have been rude not too. ;P) and some pecan nuts to the top of the cake. All in all this was a winner and will definitley be getting made again at some point.

Meat Free Monday #6.

My kitchen for once is rammed full of food and until a huge dent has been made with what is already in I’m pretty much refusing to go grocery shopping. This means that until then a little bit of invention is in order and in fairness I think so far we’ve done a pretty good job.

This week’s MFM is pretty much Indian based. We had a look on YouTube and ended up with Bombay Potato (purely because I managed to grab a huge bag of potatoes for 5p earlier in the week) and an Egg Curry with some boiled rice. The Bombay Potato went down a storm and I definitely think I’ll make it again, the Egg Curry however I’m not too sure. The other half complained it was too gritty as a result of the amount of spices we put in, we also added more chili than what the recipe asked for which made it far too hot (and we both love chili). On top of this we also missed the tamarind out due to not having any (we just used extra water instead). If it gets made again I think it could be better if we use tamarind, failing that a tin of coconut milk or chopped tomatoes would have improved it also. Nevertheless we still ate it and have frozen the leftovers for later (more likely for when one of us is dying of cold). There was easily enough for at least 4 people.

Meat Free Mondays #4.

There hasn’t been one of these blog entries in a while and the simple explanation is purely because I’m no longer vegetarian. Yes I do feel guilty for not sticking with it (I really did try) and lecturing won’t make me feel any better either (I despise militant veggie lecturers / PETA morons – I always have done). I will probably go back to vegetarianism at some point as it seems to be the dietary trend that I’ve subconsciously followed since I was 12 or 13 (where I’ll be veggie for anything between 4-6 years then I’ll start eating meat again for a year or so and then switch back for another 4-6 years). It still works out that I’ve been veggie for over a third of my life (I’m 31) and that still, in my opinion has to count for something.

Anyway moving on. My boyfriend and I made this relatively simple and delicious pasta dish recently. Super easy, super tasty and relatively cheap as chips to make. I was tempted to say that this would be a nice summer dish but our British summer seems to have ended, as usual, prematurely (booooo).

Fusilli Mediterranean Style

Ingredients for 4 persons:

  • 320 grams of fusilli pasta.
  • 200 grams of buffalo mozzarella (we just used normal mozzarella).
  • 30 pachino tomatoes (we substituted these with cherry tomatoes).
  • 2 cloves of garlic.
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
  • A handful of minced fresh parsley.
  • A handful of capers.
  • Some red pepper (we think the chef used crushed chilli flakes in the video so this is what we used).
  • The juice of 2 lemons.
  • A pinch of salt.

Hope you enjoy.

Meat Free Mondays #3.

In an attempt in frugality I’ve been trying to use up items in my cupboards/freezer that I’ve had for ages in the hope that it will a) save me money and b) force me to try different things. I seem to be one of these people who always seem to have a lot of food in their cupboards yet continue to buy more “just in case”. In case of what who knows? For the sake of argument my excuse is that I’m stock piling in case of a zombie apocalypse.

This week I noticed I had a tub of breadcrumbs and a pack of firm tofu that were nearing their best before date so these have obviously been the foundation of this week’s MFM. After a quick internet search I decided on this only I used a lot more olive oil, 3/4 of a tin of chopped tomatoes (instead of the tomato sauce) and grated mild cheddar (I had no mozzarella). Those of you who are on a diet I apologise as this is definitley not for you.  Same goes to the vegans (due to the cheese). In my opinion this has been the best meal I’ve ever had with tofu in it as the base ingredient, it was utterly delicious and I will definitley be making this again in the future.

Seriously it was that good I had seconds.

Meat Free Mondays #2.

It’s been a while since I last posted for which I apologise but in between work, decorating and getting ready for Christmas I’ve had little time to indulge in blogging. I have however been wanting to make Borscht for a while and today after going to my local Tescos for some Parsnips and feeling like I’m coming down with cold thought it best to make it, especially with it being a MFM. I know a lot of wine isn’t considered vegan and it’s traditionally served with sour cream so this is one purely for the veggies I’m afraid.

Red Borscht

Overall I’m of the conclusion that this wasn’t worth the hassle. I spilt red wine all over my kitchen, scalded my hand whilst sieving the veg and to me it tasted as if it were missing something. I normally prefer my soups to be thicker. I also found the waste of veg a bit too much so recycled it all in a broth (I just added it all into a big pot with more water, a tin of chopped tomato, a bucket load of herbs and dried chilli and two handfuls of bulgar wheat) and to be honest I prefer that to the Borscht. Maybe I’ve done something wrong but I doubt I’ll be cooking this again. I hope you have better luck with it if you do decide on trying it however.
Ingredients
    • 1 celeriac
    • 2 carrots
    • A handful of fresh parsley
    • 1 leek
    • 1 onion
    • 1 large parsnip
    • 4 red beetroots
    • 10 black peppercorns
    • 2 grains of pimento (or allspice)
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 glass and a half of red wine
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • juice of 2 lemons
    • salt and pepper

Instructions
Put a pan with 3 pints of water on the boil. Peel and chop the celeriac, carrots, leek, onion and parsnip, wash them and add to the pan. Simmer for 20 minutes.  Peel and thinly slice the beetroot and place in a separate pan with the peppercorns, pimento (I had none but found this as a good substitute) and bay leaves. Simmer, uncovered, in 1 pint of water for 30 minutes.  Sieve the vegetable and beetroot stocks and combine the clear liquids, discarding the vegetables. Return the borscht to the heat. Add the red wine, lemon juice, salt and pepper, sugar and garlic. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with Sour Cream.

Preparation time: Around 60 minutes.
Serves: 6