Thursday, 25 June 2015

Knitting Was Not For Me, I Am A Cross Stitch Addict

Readers, I confess that the past few weeks have been a bit miserable for me. Not only has my cooking mojo taken its leave, other mojos have followed suit: tidying, gardening, studying..... Pretty much the only thing I've kept on top of lately is work, and boy has work been intense. I'm currently trying hard to get back on top of everything, get a couple of essays finished up, sort out my garden which mocks me with its Jurassic Park length grass, and maybe even start eating some proper food again because I'm pretty sure when July comes around and I turn 34, I'll have even less of an excuse to be eating marmite on toast for dinner every night.

There's one thing that's been keeping me sane though; my favourite new obsession is CROSS STITCH. Now, I tried knitting not long ago. I really really tried. I got a book, nice needles, some lovely vegan friendly yarn and even an ~adorable~ set of crochet hooks. But you guyz, knitting did not grip me. I tried, but we weren't meant to be.

So here's what I've been keeping myself busy with instead, in an effort to focus my weary mind on something other than a variety of stresses, and to stop me from heading straight to bed as soon as I come home from work.....

Here's how it all began - this book is available at a bargain price online and I'd recommend it!
My first little stitch from this lovely book. BIRDIE.
My first l'il colour cross stitch.
My first completed Etsy pattern. Pusheeeeeeeen.
My first person - my wonderful better half and his banjo.
I was spurred on to attempt a family portrait for a dear pal of mine for her birthday.....
....the finished portrait.
Thrilled beyond reason at stitching a portrait, I offered the same service to anyone who'd have one.
This was for my lovely friend Vicki and features her, along with her little boy Charlie.
The finished piece - a bit wonky, but not for a beginner.

I've been scouring the internet for contemporary x-stitch resources, blogs, websites, etc. Boy, there is some twee stuff out there..... Photo real portraits, winter cottages and tigers are not my thing. But I found a few totally tremendous sites and I'm developing quite a to-stitch list. Everyone I know can start dreading receiving x-stitched items for gifts from now on.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Deep Dish Chickpea Omelette

This is a good one folks; this is a brunch WINNER. Or a breakfast winner, or a DINNER WINNER. And I invented it more or less by accident, which is always a bonus. A couple of other folks have tried it and reported great success; I think so long as you take care that it doesn't stick, it's pretty foolproof!

It's also super easy to make, so long as you have the weirder ingredients in stock (just the black salt, I guess, which you can leave out if you haven't got any, but it adds a great eggy flavour). Lately, life's been PRETTY hectic so I've enjoyed putting in as little effort as possible.....


  • 2/3 cup soya milk
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 generous glug olive oil
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black salt (kala namak)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch black pepper
  • Pinch turmeric

Throw all the above ingredients into a blender, in the order shown (or at least, wet ingredients first). Then blitz away for a few minutes until the mixture is good and blended.

Find the most faithful NON STICK saucepan/frying pan you can, and make sure it has a lid. With a little oil, fry up whatever extras you'd like in the omelette (spring onions, chorizo, garlic, mushrooms, courgette, etc) until they're browned. Then, pour in the omelette mixture, turn the heat right down and cover the pan.

Cook for around 10 minutes until the top has set. Then, gently pry up the edges with a spatula and flip out onto a plate. I reckon you could also bake this, Spanish tortilla style!

I've gone a bit crazy about this recipe since I discovered it. It's not too unhealthy and is delicious hot with a nice slice o Violife on top, or cold with salad. I suspect it might work pretty well as a quiche mixture too.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Most Wonderful of Tarts

After the weekend's pizza-excesses, I had a big ol' block of puff pastry just waiting to be used. I decided to try and be just a little bit classy and knock up a tart or two (arf).

Normally I wouldn't share something so completely made up, but this was SO tasty. If you're a fan of garlic then by god, this is the dinner for YOU.

In an impressive feat of using-uppery, I reached into the dark corners of my fridge and grabbed what needed eating ASAP.

I appropriated some romana pizza sauce, and also blended A LOT of garlic with a little oil and some herbs.

While my tart was cookin', I headed into the garden to admire my teenage tomato plant.

I was also admiring my plant-that-I-don't-know-the-name-of which I nursed all through Winter <3

The garden's a field of dandelions at the moment, but it's good for the bees, so that's ok.

Vulpe's pretty super pleased about this sunshine too.

Here she is! I used spring onions, tomatoes, greens and mushrooms and drizzled garlic oil over the top.

A tremendously delicious feast and, actually, a bit posh I think.

I'm all excited for future tarting it up with intended ingredients, and not just what was lurking in the back of my fridge....

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Pizza Pizza Pizza (pastry pizza)

Omgz I am ill. Proper stinky cold, blocked nose, sneezing/heavy breathing ill. It's my first proper cold in a long long time, so I'm blaming the Tories (lordy it's depressing).

But it's 'feed a cold, starve a fever', right? So last night it was pizza time. Puff pastry pizza time. Puff pastry with mac & cheeze and not-meatballs pizza time. And then it was puff pastry pepperoni and two cheezes pizza time.......

(Oh gawd, please ignore the bone shaped first pizza, I am terrible at rolling out pastry and Hasta La Vegan is so much better!)

Monday, 4 May 2015

Some Things I Have Eaten Lately

So, the springtime weather that was so good I had to burn down part of the garden is officially OVER. It's been raining more or less non stop for a week or more now. It's a good job I didn't scamper out to buy myself a proper BBQ, though clearly that's necessary since I can't be trusted with any other kind.....

But here's some food I have eaten lately.... I didn't even do any household damage.

If I can't BBQ, by god I'll griddle my tofu.

Here's a super shiitake stir fry with rice noodles I made.

A lemon & almond cake with cream cheese frosting for NO REASON. Cake is reason in itself, yes?

This breakfast started out as 'just some tofu' and ended here.

I found these mushrooms in my garden but was too scared of liver failure to eat them.

American pancakes day, and more pancake divination. This one is clearly a bear.

By the end of June I'll be finished up with my Masters degree for this academic year, and I really need to start doing some proper cooking from the cookbooks I've acquired over the last year or so. I've got a self-imposed ban on buying any more until I've made at least 10 recipes from Isa Does It. Have you got any top recommendations from that book? I've already been enjoying the fluffy pillow pancakes a LOT (see above).

Thursday, 9 April 2015

BBQ weather is HERE

Holy moly you guyz, the bank holiday weekend was PRETTY nice. Friday was a washout - I was supposed to spend the whole day studying, but I think the rain and the drizzle totally dampened my enthusiasm. I mostly lounged about with the pooch on the sofa. But Saturday came and SO DID THE SUNSHINE. It was so gosh darn NICE to sit outside with a coffee and do some studying. Sunday was much the same, except maybe for the bit when Vulpe came bounding over to check out the lovely pristine white tablecloth I just put on the outside table and donked her mucky little paws right on top of it.....

Cheeky monkey! I also had some lovely garden visitors throughout the whole weekend <3

But the thrill of line drying, studying al fresco and making friends with birds wasn't the best bit, the best bit was when the bestest man came for a flying visit on Sunday night. I REFUSED to believe we'd have anything other than BBQ weather on Monday and by GOD I was right.....

Ain't no guac like homemade guac.

Impromptu BBQ feast.

BBQ TOFU. I love appropriating meat sauces for tofu <3

OLIVES and the best pesto in the world.

We smothered the mushrooms in pesto and they were splendid. Tesco veg burgers less inspiring.

Yummers BBQ tofu and guac sarnie.

Vulpe (and even Miaowski) made the most of the sunshine. I can't WAIT for proper sunny times and for all my herbs/salad to grow grow grow so I can harvest them for BBQ salads and wotnot. Usually I fail horrendously, but the sheer size of my garden is making me feel confident this year. Probably falsely, WE SHALL SEE.

Here's a lil tip for you though..... Single use BBQs, don't put them on wood you guyz :( I know it's a shocker that I only just realised this at the age of 33 and 1/2, but boy have I learned my lesson....