A little collection of new and old objects.
Sunday, 9 March 2014
Saturday, 8 March 2014
Mini Raw Avocado Tarts.
60g cashew nuts
50g pitted dates, approx. 8
pinch of rock salt or pink Himalayan salt
1 ripe avocado
35g coconut oil
40g raw cacao powder
3 tbsp Agave Nectar
a few drops of vanilla extract
pinch of rock salt or pink Himalayan salt
raspberries to decorate
two 3-4" tart cases or 4 small ramekins.
This is a go-to recipe for me for a lot of my dessert ideas because it can easily be adapted for larger cakes or chocolate pots. Its good for people looking for a treat but without all the bad stuff, its easy to make, dairy free, gluten free and has a lower GI so no blood sugar spike that would get from a regular dessert made with sugar, plus it has it has the bonus of all the fats being good for you - fats with avocado and coconut oil being great for your skin and hair!
Cacao powder can be found in a whole food/organic store. Don't make the same mistake I did the first time I made it and use cocoa powder as it wont be the same! Agave nectar is sold in most supermarkets. Also, don't substitute the coconut oil for another type, as the coconut adds to the flavour. Coconut oil can be bought in Holland & Barret or Organic stores but my local market shops that sell spices, etc. also sell it much cheaper. The result tastes super chocolatey and everyone I have made it for in the past loves it.
Using a food processor, blend the nuts and dates with the salt, until you have a fine crumbly mixture. Then press this mixture into the bottom of two small moulds and leave to harden in the freezer.
Meanwhile, blend all the filling mixture together until smooth in the food processor and then spoon onto the bases. Place back into the freezer for about 1 hour before serving with a dusting of cacao powder, coconut cream and berries on top.
If you would like to make the full sized cake, here is the recipe:
Makes 2-4 depending on ramekin size.
Monday, 24 February 2014
Vegetarian Chilli Sloppy Joe with Sweet Potato Fries.
1/2 red onion, chopped
1" courgette, diced
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/3 cup of button mushrooms, diced
1/2 can of Aduki beans
2 tbsp meat free gravy powder
1/4 cup of Quorn mince
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
chilli powder to taste
salt to taste
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 sweet potato
2 bread rolls
Vegetarian chilli is something I make at least once a week. I make it with rice or giant Couscous, sometimes without the chilli powder and serve it with pasta. Its a very simple recipe that works every time. This time, I am serving it in a bun as a spicy meat-free burger. You may need to eat it with a knife and fork, as it can get messy!
Slice the sweet potato into sticks and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and place on a baking tray and sprinkle with lemon pepper. Place in a pre heated oven at 180C to bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and slightly crispy.
Take half the chopped onions and the courgette and place in a saucepan, frying for a few minutes in oil until golden.
Then add the remaining ingredient; tomato puree, mushrooms, aduki beans, gravy powder, Quorn, herbs, chilli and salt. Allow the mix to cook for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
Meanwhile, fry the remaining onions in oil and a sprinkle of brown sugar to caramelise. Serve the chilli mixture in a bun with feta cheese, mustard, gherkins and the sweet potato fries.
Sunday, 23 February 2014
Monday, 10 February 2014
To those who know me well I have always been passionate about animals and the environment.
I find it tricky because when you feel strongly about a subject, you know that you can make enough of a change to feel satisfied that you are reducing your own global environmental impact, but it will never be enough unless others change too... but how do you positively influence others without coming across with a preachy agenda?
I have made a lot of changes in my life in the past year, which started with me cutting down on meat, then cutting it out altogether. Reducing the cosmetics and toiletries I buy and being vigilant with making sure they are not tested on animals. To make sure I do not buy animal clothing because I simply can't trust the source - leather, silk, angora etc. Trying my best to think about how my actions may make someone or something else inadvertently suffer. I find the best route to change is little steps, it's temping to jump in feet first but you cannot sustain real change that way. I do not feel hard done by with cutting out these pleasures and it has not made me any less happy, so I question how much I really needed it anyway, or what else I could do without. However, I still had a sinking feeling in my stomach that it wasn't enough, that I want to encourage others in a positive way to think about their environmental impact.
So I thought I would just start with the first change I made a few years back in the beginning of 2011. In the UK there is a law against animal testing on cosmetics and cleaning products. However, loop holes mean companies can and do test their products and ingredients on animals in other countries - even Boots who say they don't test their final products, were found to have their ingredients tested by other companies for them.
It's a really easy change to make by switching the cosmetics you buy and only buying from non-animal tested companies. You simply need to check the back of the packaging for the leaping bunny logo, this means it has been approved by BUAV. The British Association Against Vivisection (http://www.buav.org/) is an amazing charity and comprehensive website, they campaign tirelessly to end animal cruelty and they are the reason a lot of these changes happen, not just in the UK but abroad too!
When I first made the switch in cosmetics and cleaning products, I found it hard to find, but more and more companies are starting to put the logo on the back of their products. I have made a simple list below for anyone who is interested in making a change. There are lots more, but this is from my own researched based on products I like to use and places I shop. If you have a brand you would like me to research, let me know and I will find out. I have also emailed a few companies in the past to get written statements.
Superdrug - They have been against animal testing for a long time, I buy everything from tooth paste, deodorant, shampoo and hair die from them and all their products have the bunny logo.
Ecover - Eco friendly, safe for the environment and no animal tested cleaning products, I buy all my cleaning products from them.
Sainsburys - Cosmetics approved by BUAV, good for tooth paste, soap, shampoo, etc. However I am not sure their cleaning product are so keep an eye for the bunny logo on the back.
M&S - approved by BUAV
Co-op - Fair trade & animal friendly, approved by BUAV
Barry M makeup - http://nottested.co.uk/Cosmetics.html
Body Shop - http://nottested.co.uk/Cosmetics.html
Pure - Makeup Remover, states on back of the packet
Original Source Shower Gel - Approved by BUAV
Nivea - http://www.nivea.co.uk/about-us/beiersdorf/animal-testing-uk
Collection 2000 - http://www.collectioncosmetics.co.uk/footer-menu/animal-testing-policy.aspx
Tesco - http://www.tesco.com/csr/g/g4.html
MEMEME - http://www.mememecosmetics.co.uk/faq
VO5 (Labelled on back on bottle)
Rimmel - http://uk.rimmellondon.com/coty-page/animal-testing
Waitross, Asda - http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/CAMPAIGNS/experiments/ALL/303/
Companies that from general research seem to test, but if someone can find solid information they don’t then I will update the list.
Proctor & Gamble or P&G; Herbal Essences, Max Factor, Lenor, Daz, Fairy, Ariel etc
GSK; Sensodyne etc
S.C. Johnson; Mr Muscle etc
Reckitt & Colman
Colgate-Palmolive; Colgate etc
Pantene Pro v
Both Chanel, Mac & Garnier used to have statements on their websites against animal testing, however those statements have now disappeared. Unfortunately, companies start testing on animals when they want to sell cosmetics in China, as there you legally must test on animals.
Other websites I found useful:
Wednesday, 29 January 2014
Since my sister moved away just over 2 years ago, it's been awhile since I have been to visit Cambridge, I forgot how much I love it and how much I would like to move there.
To me it's the beautiful cross over of a pretty little city with cobbled streets and Victorian/Georgian architecture with a country feel to it. It has everything you could need and unlike most places, it's all in walking distance. I love it's relaxed style, its cafés and restaurants, that it has all the shops you need, its daily farmers market, it's great night life and how everyone rides a bike.
We started the day by wandering into the city centre and looking around the farmers market. We ate chocolate and strawberry waffles before heading for a coffee in a nearby cafe. After wandering around admiring the houses and dreaming of where we could live, we shopped, followed by a lovely lunch at a restaurant and then more wandering around. As the sun set we walked past the cathedral and finished our day in a warm cosy local country style pub full of people with a glass of wine and the fire place roaring. Who says January is depressing? So far mine has been charming.