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 :)