Monthly Archives: April 2015

Knock Views

There’s still no art and craft going on here, so I thought I’d share a few photos of my morning constitutional with you instead.  There are lots of lovely trees in the nearby town of Knock, both in the grounds of the shrine and in the surrounding area.  It’s a nice place for a morning stroll.  Some of the trees are still wearing their winter coats but others have started to wake up.  I love the spring, don’t you?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Almost Vegan Yums

This blog has been very quiet lately.  I guess I got out of the blogging habit while I was sick.  Also, I don’t have much to share.  I’ve been catching up on chores, plus we’re trying to decorate the house.  Not very exciting, but it has to be done.

I thought I would fill the space with a couple of my recent cooking experiments.  This is for your amusement/enlightenment as much as anything else.  I’m much more comfortable spending my time in the kitchen making cabinets or painting than I am cooking.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy cooking.  In fact, I love to bake.  The thing is I’m just not a very good cook.  I don’t know why but I’m really scatterbrained about it.  I always forget to buy a vital ingredient, or I buy the wrong thing, or I forget to put something into the mix, etc.

First up is a recipe for Boursin-style cheese from the Bunny Kitchen blog that I mentioned in a previous post.  I’ve been having trouble getting some of the ingredients for my vegan experiments.  Poppy, who runs the aforementioned blog, suggested that I might be able to get the unsweetened soya yoghurt for this recipe from Tesco’s.  Having been previously disappointed by their poor selection of soya yoghurts, I was surprised to find that this time they had quite a good range.  I was so excited by this that I forgot to check that the plain yoghurt was unsweetened.  When I got it home and realised my mistake I decided to give the recipe a go anyway (sorry Poppy!).  I added extra salt to compensate for the sugar in the yoghurt.  I also left out the garlic, even though that’s my favourite flavour in Boursin, because I didn’t want to smell of it.  Anyway, given all that, it turned out to be quite edible.  I was impressed by the texture – authentic and creamy.

The second recipe turned out to be very tasty, just not as vegan as it was intended to be.  It’s a recipe that I adapted from one that we got years ago off the back of a tofu packet.  It wasn’t until I was congratulating myself on making a successful vegan meal that I realised that I had used egg noodles.  Doh!  Anyway, here’s the recipe (it serves 3-4 depending on how many noodles you add):

Ingredients

  • packet of firm tofu, pressed* and cubed
  • tamari sauce (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • half an onion, chopped
  • ginger root, peeled and grated (about an inch cube is more than enough)
  • pinch of herbs
  • sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • red pepper, chopped
  • half a green pepper, chopped
  • tomato puree
  • cream from tin of coconut milk stored in fridge overnight
  • pasta or noodles

Method

  1. Let tin of coconut milk settle in fridge overnight.
  2. Marinate tofu in oil from jar of tomatoes for at least 30 minutes but preferably overnight.  You can also add a dash of tamari sauce at this stage for a bit of extra flavour.
  3. Cook pasta or noodles according to the packet instructions.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large pan/wok, fry the onion in the oil that was used to marinate the tofu.
  5. Season tofu with salt and pepper, and fry with the onions.
  6. Add peppers, then mushrooms, then tomatoes.
  7. Stir in coconut cream, tomato puree and noodles.
  8. Enjoy!  😀

I’ve been quite vague about the quantities and timings because I think you should decide how much suits your taste buds.  If you have any questions please leave me a comment below.

* There are usually instructions on the packet about how best to do this.

Easter Eggs

My apologies in advance to my vegan readers; we used a lot of eggs in this crafting session. Please see my previous post for more on the egg issue. A small consolation is that no factory-farmed eggs were used: Sally bought duck eggs and was given chicken eggs by a neighbour who keeps her own birds.  Also, after writing the previous post I went out and bought a vegan egg substitute.  It won’t be any good for Easter crafting but hopefully I can now make cruelty-free cakes and so on. 🙂
Sally’s daughter supplied us with two kits from the States; thank you Erin. I haven’t seen this kind of kit in Ireland. There were all sorts of ways of decorating the eggs. My favourite was the wax crayon used to create “resist” designs with the dyes. I hope you enjoy the photos. You might remember the bunny ears from last year; my daughter has inherited the hoarder gene from someone (not me, obviously 😉 ).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Egg on my Face

I haven’t been looking forward to posting this.  However, I said that I was going to do a serious post about eggs, and here it is.  I have a confession that must be made before I show you my Easter crafting photos.

Why do I have egg on my face?  It concerns my egg consumption habit.  One doesn’t have to look far for evidence that egg production is cruel at any scale.  Leaving aside the horrific videos one can find on the Internet, all one has to do is ask oneself what happens to all the unwanted male chicks?  The answer is obvious; they must be disposed of somehow.  Even if they are not tossed alive into meat grinders or plastic bags, they still have to be killed.  All those sweet little fluffy yellow lives snuffed out before they’ve hardly begun for the sake of my omelettes and French toast (and so on).  And that is only the tip of the iceberg.  What about the cruelty of keeping birds (you know, those creatures with wings that fly wherever they want) captive and stealing their eggs?  Knowing all this you’d think I’d be able to stop eating eggs, wouldn’t you?  But no, I just keep on doing it.  It’s a bad habit that I can’t seem to break,  I have many excuses, but mostly it’s an unthinking habit.  It was only after I’d had a marvelous day decorating over a dozen eggs for Easter that I realised how badly my actions are divorced from my beliefs.

So, what am I going to do about it?  Well, I think a good start is to find lots of new egg-free dishes.  I’ve been thinking about this for a while so when I saw a competition on Bunny Kitchen blog for a vegan cookbook I decided to enter it.  The recipes sounded so delicious I was eager to win.  And I did: when I was making the transition from flu to chest infection, I was delighted to receive an email telling me the good news.  My sincerest thanks go to Poppy of Bunny Kitchen for that.  The book arrived a few days later.  My mouth has been watering as I’ve been reading it.  However, being ill, I haven’t had the energy to try any of the recipes yet but I will let you know how I get on as soon as I do.

Spanning the Decades with Music

I’m feeling a lot better now.  Thank you for all your kind comments on my last post.  It’s going to take me a while to catch up with you all.  I’ve also got quite a few blog posts backed up.  I took my daughter to Sally’s for another Easter crafting session yesterday so I want to share some of our egg photos.  I also want to share a more serious post about eggs.  Before I get serious though I wanted to start on a lighter note.  During our crafting session we shared music from our formative years.  Sally sang us an Easter song that was huge in the fifties and she found the original Gene Autry version for us on her tablet.  Here is a different version that I found that comes with a cute cartoon from the same era:

My contribution had to come from the ’80s.  Sally told us that eighties music had completely passed her by.  She mentioned seeing George Michael on the telly recently but she doesn’t remember him from the ’80s.  I told her about Wham and played “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”.  It was a bit embarrassing to share that with my daughter but it’s definitely representative of ’80s.  I think I recovered my cool a little when I told her that I’d been to a ton of concerts.  However, when I said I’d seen Cher she thought I meant Cher Lloyd.  😉

The most fun part for me was when my daughter made her contribution.  She played one thing that I didn’t enjoy much because she had to find a version without profanities and that makes me worry about the inappropriate stuff she’s seeing.  The rest were great.  Ylvis’s “What Does the Fox Say” is hilarious (I also want to know what the rabbit says btw) but I thought, given my obsession with knotwork, that this would be more appropriate for my blog:

I also enjoyed DSharp’s version of Glad You Came, and there were plenty of other nifty YouTubes that she introduced us to but I can’t remember them all now.