Dinosaur Kale Mac and Cheese

Because dinosaurs are cool.

Chili and Lime Black Bean Burger

The perfect vegan burger!

Beer Battered Halloumi

Nom, nom, nom.

Ginger and Chili Tofu

Crispy delicious tofu that's easy to make... say what?

Chocolate Cake Balls

Cakes, but not as you know them.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011


Today I’ve been researching flexitarianism for my work, and it’s thrown up some weird questions to me. Some people define themselves as vegetarian despite eating gelatine and fish, which to be honest I don’t really see as vegetarian, but how can people label themselves as vegetarian if they eat meat. I think it would be a whole lot easier if there just weren’t any labels, in the last 7 years I’ve gone from not eating meat but still fish, to giving up fish but still eating gelatine, then giving up gelatine and all animal by products and during this time I have been told that I AM NOT A VEGETARIAN, well fair enough I agree that I obviously wasn’t when I ate fish but it’s just easier to say to someone in a restaurant ect. I read an article this week that said that food will no longer be labelled as vegetarian but as meat free instead, which really I think is a good thing, its promoting the food rather than the fad of being vegetarian and also promoting the ethical reasons for not eating meat. And as for saying that vegetarianism is a fad, for some I agree, I remember a time when nearly all of my friends were vegetarian but now most of them have succumbed to meat or fish. Looking in to flexitarianism, I started thinking about whether I could ever introduce meat into my diet, I honestly don’t think I could, but I’d never say never. Anyway I found this during my research and I think It’s a really interesting view on food and what we choose to eat.

welcome to my brain . net: My life as a freegan vegan flexitarian

Monday, 24 January 2011

Findus Crispy Pancakes

On a brief excursion to face book this week I stumbled on a status about cheesey Findus Crispy Pancakes and as soon as I saw it I wanted one. I can't remember the last time I had one or even how they taste (according to the status they're disgusting, but that didn't put me off) but it still gave me such a massive craving. During a trip to the super market last week I spent at least 10 minutes talking myself out of buying them, and a text from my friend reassured me that i'd made the right decision.

'They are bloody disgusting! Not in a Pot Noodle, should be vile but are actually amazing kind of way, but actually horrible'

Still, this week I gave in to that temptation (they were on offer, it was like fate) and they are now sitting in my freezer. When the time comes to eat them, I hope it's a lie and they taste as good as I am making myself believe. Also while googling them, I discovered that Findus brought out a gourment range in 2009 consisting of Lobster Thermidor, with shallots, bechamel sauce and parmesan, Moroccan Lamb Tagine, with cayenne pepper, apricots and sultanas, and Roasted Butternut Squash and Goats Cheese. I think it has now become my life's mission to find one of these flavors.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

London, inSpiral and more

Last saturday I went to London to visit my friend. I don't know why I don't go more often, it's 30 minutes on a virgin train and costs next to nothing with my rail card. I love London because it's such an amazing cultural hub and offers so much more than I could ever find in Milton Keynes or Southampton. There wasn't really an object of the trip other than to find a party dress (a velvet one, that would be reminiscent of a kids party dress, to be exact) and to go for a vegan meal. When we discovered, much to my friends horror that the vegan bus had disappeared we searched for a new restaurant to try and found loads that looked amazing. After a shopping trip in Brick Lane, we moved on to Camden and I couldn't resist going to inSpiral! I've been there before and although I wanted to try something new, I knew that inSpiral was good and decided I could try something different off the menu. The food they serve is truly inspired and delicious, this time I had a tofu and spinach pie and for some reason I can't remember what I had the other two times, but I know they were amazing.

They also sell a selection of goodies including raw chocolate, vegan cakes and superfoods. Before I went in I was determined to get some cake, peanut butter cake to be exact but I was so full after, so I resisted, I have lived to thoroughly regret this decision . I did pick up some wasabi kale chips though which are surprisingly nice, I've wanted to try them for ages, since seeing them in a local health food shop but these are even better because anything wasabi flavored is good in my books.

Earlier in the day we'd stopped for a tea and cocktail in a shisha bar and I decided to order some hummus and pitta as I'd so far only eaten seeds that day! And this is the reason I love London so much, there is such a varied array of food and culture around every corner. I could never stop here for a homemade hummus and cherry tea break, and the go out to a vegan cafe for dinner. I hope that sometime in my life I can live in London, so that I can properly explore and venture out of my comfort zone to try new things.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Farmers Markets

Farmers markets are a great way of cutting down on your carbon footprint and helping your local suppliers. If you're vegetarian like me you can find an abundance of lovely fresh, seasonal vegetables and depending on where you are different cooking ingredients. I usually go to a local farmers market in Olney, but back in September my housemates and I went to one in Winchester. It was massive compared to what I was used to so I picked up quite a few different bits. There was a stall selling Bookhams Not Just a Pasta Cheese, which although it was expensive I had buy because I can rarely find a vegetarian alternative for parmesan (apart from in Sainsburys, but it's not always there) and as well as picking up some cakes and other bits, my housemate and I went halves on some chard because we'd never tried it before. When we got home we decided the perfect thing to make would be a chard and butternut squash risotto.

What you need for 2 people,

1 litre vegetable stock
1 clove garlic crushed
1 small white onion chopped
2 tbsp white wine
½ small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
4 big Chard leaves, sliced finely
50g butter
100g Risotto Rice
25g Bookhams Not Just a Pasta Cheese (or other veggie pasta cheese), plus extra shavings to serve

Make the vegetable stock up in a pan and keep on the heat. Fry the onion, garlic and squash in half of the butter until the onion is translucent and then add the rice and keep frying until the rice also turns translucent. Pour over the white wine and wait until it is all absorbed. Then add a ladle of stock and stir in, keep repeating this until all the stock has been used and the rice is cooked, when adding the last ladle also add the chard to cook for 2 minutes. Stir regularly to make sure its nice and creamy. When all the stock has been absorbed add the rest of the butter and the cheese and stir well. Serve with grated cheese on top and enjoy!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Comfort Food

For me the ultimate comfort food has be macaroni cheese. My favourite way to have mac and cheese is with loads of green vegetables, because not only does it make me feel a bit less guilty for eating a really indulgent meal, it also stops it being too sickly. When I made it this week I decided to add some kale too (as part of trying new things, although I haven't made any new recipes yet!) which worked really well. So here is my favorite, slightly healthier mac and cheese recipe:

100g macaroni
1 packet cheese powder,
100g cheddar cheese,
1/2 pint Milk,
1 tsp Mustard,
25g spinach,
25g kale,
1 leek chopped,
1 green pepper chopped,


I've never measured this before so I generally just guess how much I need of everything. To start I fill the pasta dish with enough pasta to make one layer, and then boil it until al dente. While the pasta is boiling put the leeks and pepper in to a pan and saute in a bit of oil. When the pasta has 5 minutes left add the kale to the water and at the end add the spinach to wilt. drain the pasta, kale and spinach and place in the pasta dish. Then add the pepper and leeks to the dish and mix up well. Next make up the cheese sauce according to the pack, and add a tsp of english mustard and pour over the pasta and vegetables. Mix well and cover in grated cheese, and pop in the oven for about 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and enjoy.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Christmas Leftovers

Christmas always leaves tones of left overs, despite the fact we completely over fill ourselves! Most meat eaters are left eating turkey sandwiches, turkey curry, ect, ect. But being vegetarian I'm left with loads of vegetables to cook with (as my parents buy too much and don't cook them) and also a lot of cheese. And in keeping with my New Years resolution I used some to learn a new recipe, spicy parsnip soup. I was lucky enough to get some white truffle oil, which I have been putting on everything! (I would drink it if that wasn't completely disgusting) including the soup as it goes really well with parsnips. Most of the left overs went in to making different soups, but I also wanted to make a huge cheese feast pizza with all the different varieties of cheese, but they mysteriously went missing...
So here is the recipe I tried for the soup:

2 parsnips chopped
1tsp olive oil
2 knobs of butter
1 small onion chopped
1 garlic clove crushed
1/2 tsp of curry powder
enough stock to cover the vegetables
Chili garlic salt (to garnish)
White truffle oil or olive oil (to garnish)
(serves 2)

First lightly fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil with the curry powder until translucent. Then add the parsnips and the butter (you can use a vegan margarine if you want vegan soup) and cover for 10-15 minutes until the parsnips have softened. When the parsnips are ready, pour over the stock and bring to the boil for a few minutes, then remove from the heat and blend in a blender or with a hand blender. serve up and garnish with some chili garlic salt and truffle oil.

New Years Resolution

I don't think I have ever really made a proper New Years resolution, and if I have then I definitely haven't stuck to it. This year is my final year at uni, so my resolution should be to work hard, but I think that is a given. So in order to help myself work harder I want to insure that my body and mind are in top working order too. My resolution is to go back to how I was at the start of the summer, where I got up early nearly everyday of the week to go for a run, searched for new recipes to make every day and didn't have facebook! I've never felt better than I did this summer, and most of it was down to eating a proper diet and regular exercise. And when I ran my first 10k in September, I can honestly say it was the best I have ever felt. So here's to another year, with my first resolution, and hopefully I can stick to it!

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