Thursday, 12 March 2015

Hebden Bridge, and stuffing my face with food....

Last weekend was so choc full of yummers food, that I couldn't help but have a little blog about it. The sun even came out on Saturday, which was a freakish and unexpected, but wonderful, delight. Usually when the grey clouds clear and the rain stops and the sun starts to shine on Manchester, I am prancing about the house trying to find towels and sheets to wash JUST SO I CAN LINE DRY. There's no greater joy, am I right?

Actually, it turns out there is a greater joy, and that's starting the day with a totally effing amazing tofu benedict with proper amazing imported hollandaise sauce that my lovely pal Sophie from over at Hasta La Vegan brought back from Germany for me yonks ago.......

I decided to be ultra post modern and use bagels for this.... I sliced the tofu and fried in a little salt, pepper, black salt and nutritional yeast using my BELOVED ceramic pan <3

Check it out, not too shabby eh?

Obviously having a big fat breakfast was necessary because my super duper lovely new man-friend and I were off to Hebden Bridge for a day of romping around river banks and scaling hillsides and generally taking in far too much fresh air for the city dwellers that we are.

After tackling the "easy" and "flat" walk to Hardcastle Crags and back in the (unexpectedly) blazing sunshine, all wrapped up in our Winter gear, parking our bums in the lovely Greens Cafe was a total treat..... First of all, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THIS SAMMICH. Smoked tofu, sundried tomatoes, avocado and chipotle mayo.....

This was accompanied by an unphotographed, but very tasty, mushroom soup. Obviously that wasn't nearly enough face-stuffing, and we all know there's a separate stomach for pud (right?) so some coffee and cake was definitely in order....

After all that clean air and grub, we headed back to the Manchester suburbs for some vegan sushi rollin'. This was definitely more fun than line drying my sheets. BUT ONLY JUST.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

It's Been a While - and sushi....

I guess I ain't been cookin' much lately.... I've been pumping money I don't so much have into the local Chinese takeaway, there's been plenty of that..... And a whole lotta toast. It's been all about work and the slow descent into madness that is January Exams. At the same time, I'm over on the other side of the counter soldiering on with my part time/distance learning MA and trying to fit in essay writing/journal reading along with dog walking and hoovering and far too many episodes of the X-Files.... (Hallo, I already have a doctorate in Procrastination.)

Speaking of the X-Files, d'ya like my new tattoo, by the absolutely ruddy lovely Hannah at Rain City?

But anyhoo, every now and then it's time for some super duper effort-worthy grub. My lovely friend Vicki came over last night. Sushi and wine, you guyz, sushi and wine.....

Step one: roasting sweet potato and LOTS of garlic in sesame oil, in preparation for mashing.

Step two: gaze adoringly at oyster mushrooms. Soak in teriyaki marinade.
Weird chilli faux meat from the Chinese supermarket.
Roll roll roll.

Not pictured: teriyaki soaked/fried tofu and lots of avocado. Also not pictured: my face contorted into salty soy sauce induced sushi delight. Proper actual heaven.

Here's a snap yoinked from Vicki's Instagram showing the full, cosy glory of our feast:

And I guess that THIS is what Vulpe thinks of all this fishless sushi heathenry.....


I seriously need to get some sushi accessories on the go so I can feed both my new obsession and my big fat face. Any suggestions, dear readers, on books or favourite vegan recipes?

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Defiling Nigella's Gratin

My wonderful new house further proved its MAGICAL POWERS yesterday. Let me explain..... My need to move house surfaced fairly quickly when relations soured badly with my letting agency (the worst, THE WORST, in all of Greater Manchester, if not beyond) and after the Moving House Three Times Saga of Summer 2013, my heart sank big time.

The thought of grappling with another letting agency, paying agency fees, convincing a new landlord of Vulpe and Miaowski's good behaviour, etc etc etc.....was very very bad. So I posted an ad to my workplace's 'marketplace' page, pleading for a nice home within my budget that would be dog/cat friendly.

I soon heard from my landlord to-be, and there began the serendipitous process that would lead to my new residence, as well as a thrilling series of weeeeird coincidences. Only yesterday I was complaining to whoever would listen about my lack of teapot, so I could ensure a more plentiful supply of tea when beavering away on my MA in my upstairs study. Dear readers, what did I then find, in the garden of all places, tucked away behind a splendid collection of terracotta planters?


Anyhoo, for whatever reason I had a hankering for gratin potatoes tonight. I have no idea where the craving came from, but I had a slab of Tofutti mozzarella style in the fridge, as well as a carton of soy cream, so I decided to do something that would probably upset Nigella A Lot and veganize this recipe.

I halved the recipe so I could use my 250ml carton of soy cream, and I used spring onions instead of reg'lar onions.

How do you like my novelty potato?

I grated some Tofutti mozzarella style cheeze on top before it went in the oven.

By the way, don't leave your pan unattended when you're parboiling the potatoes :(

I doubt Nigella would approve, but this really hit the spot on such a chilly night!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Garden Thrills

So, dear blogging pals, the last couple of weeks has been CRAZY. I moved house. Again. But boy am I living in suburban heaven now. I am literally like a pig in muck, only with a huge garden, a dishwasher and a corner bath. I have trees and plants and a shed and decking and a STUDY ROOM YOU GUYZ. I am so disgustingly happy tucked away at the end corner of a little cul-de-sac 10 minutes walk from at least one place that is actually a "VALE" that I might explode.

My kitchen is an utter delight, and I've already been a bakin' and a cookin' more than I have for a while. I've also been super duper busy starting my MA though, so who knows how long that'll last (especially with a chippy just at the end of the road....)

More exciting currently is my bloody amazing garden. I have miles of garden (sortofnotreally), composters, planters, conifers, a shed, yehhhhhhh!

Behold my planter o' strawbs, which I hope will keep me well stocked in the warmer weather,

One of two glorious mucky tubs o' compost!

Vulpe is in garden heaven.

Tiny adorbs pine cones.

Pretty flowers!

Handsome planter.

Cheeky little bird house in my prize conifer.

I have TOOLS for heaven's sake....

...and a SHED!
I have some daff bulbs to plant in tomorrow, and am super DUPER excited about my raised bed plans, as I have plenty of onion and garlic bulbs ready to go.

My house is tremendous, and Vulpe is thrilled at being able to run up the stairs, down the stairs, up the stairs, down the stairs...... The garden is a huge hit; even Miaowski has mustered up some enthusiasm...

Vulpe's also been enjoying walking on nearby Sunnybank Vale, which is our new favourite walkies spot, and one that looks like it might be able to help me out with a crumble or two, when the time is right....

I'm enjoying my last few days off work before it's back to normality :(

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Annual MOFO Fail, and a daytrip to Leeds

Hello my blogging chums! So, I formally handed in my MOFO resignation within a few days of it beginning. I guess my signing up for the 2014 'run' was some kind of Pavlovian response, because there was no way in all holy HECK that I would've ever been able to commit to it properly.

I'm in box city at the moment as I'm packing up to move house in less than 2 weeks. I also work in a University and anyone who's worked in Higher Education knows that September is busy.

On top of that, I've been gearing up to begin my beloved MA in Anthrozoology, which will kick off very soon indeed.

I've actually been cheating on this blog with a couple of my others too. My genealogy project has had some thrilling General Record Office developments, and I've started an Anthrozoology blog as a reflective tool for my MA studies.

Anyhoo, I do have something food-related to report, and that is my visit to the absolutely ruddy AMAZING Bundobust in Leeds.

I took a trip there yesterday to meet with some of my new MA course-mates, who kindly agreed to gather at a vegan-friendly place. I had a quick google and Bundobust popped up as an eaterie near the station serving plenty of vegan options.

Good GRIEF it was good..... Even if you don't click on the link, let me just say this: Indian street food and craft beers.


So, I was a bit too shy to take food shots but the website does a good job of that. We had a selection of various vegan options and only politeness amongst my new academic brethren stopped me from hoovering up the whole lot in seconds.

I also had a tremendous vegan-friendly banana beer (thanks Vegaholic) which was so joyous I had two.

Folks : GO HERE AND EAT! (and drink)

Before I head off I want to draw your attention to possibly the best Vegan MOFO theme ever over at my pal Sophie's blog, Hasta la Vegan....

Sophie is taking one (or thirty) for the vegan team and cooking old/weird recipes from old/weird cookbooks and she is being BRAVE eating some of that stuff. The posts are giving me daily joy and chuckles and I urge you to check them out.

Meanwhile, I am cooking nothing of interest whatsoever as I sit amongst boxes and try to get plenty of academic reading done. Vulpe knows exactly how I feel lately.....

Enjoy MOFO my blogging pals! Who knows, maybe next year I'll manage it :)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Pasta Alfredo with Polenta Fried Courgette


I recall that around this time last year I was suffering from a minor mac & cheeze addiction. I haven't made a creamy pasta sauce in ages and I had a hankerin' somethin' bad last night. I looked at my 'ol faithful' recipe which is the Vegan Yum Yum Hurry Up Alfredo and then with great sadness realised I was cashew-less.... I wasn't about to let something like that stop me though, and put together this weird but ultimately very successful alternative.


  • 1 cup soya milk
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp soya sauce
  • 1 level tbsp polenta
  • 2 tbsp margarine (I used Vitalite)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • salt & pepper to taste
Just go ahead and blend all the ingredients together in your blender, and don't be concerned by the weird looking foam on top of the liquid once it's done. Pour it into a saucepan and heat it gently, stirring with a whisk.

At the same time, using your amazing multi-tasking skillz, slice a courgette into large thin slices. Heat up your best non stick frying pan but add no oil or fat. Coat each side of the courgette slices in olive oil, then in polenta. Fry in the pan until nice and crispy on the outside.

When your pasta's cooked, drain it and stir in the alfredo sauce. Top with the courgette slices and you're good to go!