September 30, 2015


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21. What three endless food supplies would you take if you were going to be stranded on an island? (Imagine your nutritional needs have been met, these are a bonus!)

Okay - so you already know what my number one food supply would be- but here's my second one. 


I have an addiction to oats. The first few days here when I didn't have any were almost unbearable. Anyone who met me on those first few days is very aware of just how much I was missing oats. 

And then I almost had some sort of meltdown in the store because they DIDN'T HAVE ANY OATS. The shop assistant tried to convince me that they did - pointing to those little instant oat sachets - but they DIDN'T HAVE ANY OATS. Not real oats anyway. 

I had to go to the other store (which was more expensive) pretty much just to get oats. On the way home from the first store. Even though I had frozen veggies from the first store and so was almost certain to get food poisoning. 

Seriously - what type of store doesn't have oats? 

But I was talking to one of my new made friends about just how deeply this crisis had affected me - about just how lost I had been without oats. And he totally agreed with me - that sachets weren't really oats - that little bags are kind of pointless and not worth the effort - and that he loved oatmeal (or porridge) for breakfast. 

He said that he has oatmeal with raisins and nuts for breakfast practically every single day and never gets bored. 

At first - I only partly agreed with him. My mind was racing with all the variations that you could have of dried fruit and nuts. Fresh fruit and nuts. Fruit and seeds. Adding spices. Nut butter instead of  chopped nuts. All the specific variations.... strawberry shortcake oats. Lemon meringue pie oats. Carrot and blueberry oats. Cinnamon and raisin oats. All the variations were flashing threw my mind. 

Later I realized that he was right. That I didn't need all the endless variations- although I will still continue changing everything and coming up with many oatmeal variations. I didn't even need the nuts and the raisins. 

All I actually need is the oats. Because I will never get bored of them. 

Even if I had oats for every meal - I probably wouldn't get bored of them. They're creamy and comforting. And now I sound like I'm being soppy over a boyfriend or something. 

Is it possible to marry a bag of oats? Although it might get into the record book for shortest lasting marriage. 

Because a bag of oat's never lasts long in my life. 

Oatmeal with Nuts and Raisins
Serves 1

  • 1/4-1/2 cup of oats - I normally use 1/3 of a cup. 1/2 cup is a bit to much for me- and 1/4 of a cup is more like a snack. 
  • Twice as much liquid as oats (so I use 2/3 cup). I use all plant milk - but you can use all water- or half and half if you want. All water is obviously cheaper- but all milk is slightly creamier. My Mom doesn't like all water (she thinks it's gross) but personally I don't see anything wrong with it
  • 1 Tablespoon of raisins (okay - so I used sultana's because that's all I had) 
  • Chopped nuts- about 1 Tablespoon - although I used more because I was picking out nuts and chopping them - and I was too indecisive. 

  • Add the liquid and oats to a pan. Put over a low heat and stir pretty constantly. It normally takes about 5-10 minutes. I'm pretty impatient - my oatmeal isn't always completely cooked when I eat it - but cook it until it's the consistency you prefer. 
  • Top with the nuts and raisins. Alternatively - you can add these at the start of the cooking- so the raisins will because soft and juicy and the nuts soft. 
  • If you want to cook these in the microwave- just stir the oats and milk together in a heat safe bowl and cook on high for a few minutes - watching to make sure that they don't boil over. 

Mexican Macaroni

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28. Tacos VS Burritos. Where do you stand on this important issue? 

The MoFo themes this year are asking too many important decisions from me. What's my favorite cookbook? My favorite herb or spice? My favorite cuisine? 

And now they want me to decide which is better- tacos or burritos? 

Life. Is not fair. :P 

I mean. How am I supposed to choose? Seriously?

So I bailed. I couldn't do it.

I had visions of angry mobs outside my door because I sided with the wrong team.

So I am staying completely and utterly neutral here. I'm not siding with any side. I may avoid eating both tacos and burritos for the rest of my life because I'm too scared that in 30 years time someone will see me eating a taco and will proclaim 'Ha - all along you were team taco!' when in fact I love them both equally.

I am like the Switzerland of the Taco VS Burrito world.

So here's some macaroni.

Mexican Macaroni
Makes 2-3 servings

  • 1 cup of dried macaroni
  • 1 cup of chopped veggies (for slower cooking veggies like carrots - steam them first for a few minutes) 
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups of black beans (or one can) 
  • 1 Tablespoon of Mexican seasonings (I actually used a packet from a Fajita kit - and so I'm still remaining neutral) 
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon of tomato paste

  • Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package
  • In a large frying pan - saute the veggies until cooked with the Mexican seasoning
  • Drain the canned tomatoes to get rid of most of the tomato juice
  • Rinse the black beans and add to the frying pan with the chopped tomatoes, apple cider vinegar and tomato paste
  • Cook for a few minutes till the sauce has thickened up and the veggies are fully cooked
  • Add the macaroni and stir a few times to make sure that the noodles are fully covered in the sauce. 
Enjoy - while I go hide out in Switzerland. 

Warm Applesauce Drink

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21. What three endless food supplies would you take if you were going to be stranded on an island? (Imagine your nutritional needs have been met, these are a bonus!)

Right.... so number 3 was difficult to decide.... but the first, and then the second foods I would take were easy to decide. Basically - what is my favorite food that I am never going to get tired of? 

So.... number one. I should possibly say apples- because they are more versatile in their raw form - but I have a feeling that if I was stranded on an island - my biggest problem would not be making applesauce on some makeshift cooker out of a fire I have no idea how I would light (it's not a skill that I have yet mastered) and so maybe I'm better just taking the applesauce already .... well.... turned into apple sauce. 

This isn't really a recipe - more an idea accompanied by a unsatisfactory photograph - but.... 

One way that I really like to have my applesauce is mixed with milk - and heated up - I guess to try and make a sort of apple hot chocolate. I normally mix about 1/4 cup of applesauce with 1 cup of milk. I just heat it gently over the stove-top as I would if I was making oatmeal - but I'm pretty sure that it would also work in the microwave. This ratio doesn't produce a intensely applesauce-y drink - more like a warm milky drink with a sweet apple-y flavor. 

So I guess that it isn't really applesauce any more - more like a milky applesauce drink - but if you want a more intense applesauce you could always either increase the applesauce to milk ratio, or it swap the milk for either apple juice or water. 

But it's warm and comforting.... and good if you want a non-chocolate alternative to tea. Also - if you cook it over the stove- you get the warmth from cooking it as well as from drinking it. 

Vegetable Scheme Soup

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22. Make a dish using all seasonal produce

I did think about multiple seasonal products. I thought about walking around the supermarket and then picking up all the seasonal vegetables coming home and then making something spectacular.

But my university runs a veg bag scheme- and I suddenly got excited - and I thought that I would get one of those and then work with what I got in there. But they haven't started yet (although hopefully they will soon!)

So I had to rethink. And I've got to admit - although I mostly know what is and isn't in season right now - I'm not entirely sure. I mean - with supermarkets stretching out the seasons till - lets be honest - they're pretty much all year- it's hard to know exactly when the seasons actually begin and end.

I mean - I know that everyone is making pumpkin this and pumpkin that on the blogosphere (have I ever told you just how much I LOVE pumpkin season) but is it really pumpkin season - or is it slightly too early?

I mean.... I'd love to do something with pumpkin..... but I also don't want to use up all my pumpkin posts too early.... I mean.... I'd really love to do lots with pumpkin this year.

I mean - I also could of done something with apples - but I always do something with apples.

So I went back to the start.

And thought to the veg bags. If they had started yet - what would I get in there. And the answer was - I didn't know.

What I was certain I would get, is potatoes, carrots and onions. Because with all my experience in veg bags (we got one for a few years when I was younger) we got potatoes and carrots and onions every week. And I kind of get the impression that it's the same here.

So what can I do with potatoes and carrots and onions?

Um.... make soup. I'm in the mood for soup right now. But I promise- I'll try and make sure that this is my last soup recipe for a while. But expect lots of soup recipes in the future- because I don't think that my soup phase is done.

So..... going back to the original prompt..... I'm not sure if these even are seasonal produce. They actually seem to be more like ever seasonal. I may have created something made with three totally unseasonal ingredients.

But it's using veggies that always come in veg schemes - and so I guess it's useful to have a recipe for using up these ever-seasonal veggies in case there's ever a week where something goes wrong and I don't use up my veggies in other ways- and I have a surplus of potatoes and carrots and onions. Although my friend did say that she eats a lot of carrot sticks at uni - and I can see that she's right - because I'm already on my third bag of carrots since I got here.

I like this soup because it's basic. I didn't add any herbs or spices - other than stock powder- because I wanted to keep it basic. I guess like a canvas for other things. That way - I can make the same basic soup - and then change it up using what ever I have in or fancy at the time. This is a soup for add ins and toppings.

Vegetable Scheme Soup
Makes about 6 servings

  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 lb of potatoes (this is before I peeled them and removed any eyes)
  • 1 Tablespoon of stock powder
  • Boiling water

  • Dice the onion fairly finely. 
  • Add the onion to a big pan - and sauté for about five minutes until the onions are almost cooked. 
  • Whilst the onions are cooking - chop the carrots and potatoes into small chunks (I washed and peeled the potatoes- but just washed the carrots well) 
  • Add the potatoes and carrots to the pan - and cook for about five-ten minutes. 
  • Pour boiling water and stock powder into the pan - until it's about 1 inch above the top of the veggies. I should have measured out the water - I know. I think this is somewhere between  1-2 pints of water. 
  • Cook until the potatoes- and especially the carrots - are soft. I reckon that this will take about 30-60 minutes- depending on how high a heat you're cooking them on.
  • Take the pan off the heat and blend the soup. I didn't blend it completely - I wasn't that patient -  but about 90-95% blended. 
  • But the soup back on the heat. If it's too watery - turn the heat up and cook (make sure it's uncovered) for a while till some of the water has cooked off. If it's too thick - and some more water and cook for a few minutes till it is incorporated. 
  • Divide up the soup into portions. I added some beans I already had in the fridge and heated my serving through again so the beans weren't cold. 
  • Oh... I also topped mine with hot sauce. 

September 29, 2015

Fresher's Soup

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26. Its cold and rainy and there's a snow drift outside your door! What are you going to make using the ingredients you have? 

Okay. So it's not that cold. It's late September. It's that oddly warm and sunny time when it's like the weather knows that you've only just gone back to school. It's not rainy. See above comment about the weather. But I do HAVE a cold. And I when I made this soup I had not yet worked out were the shops were in this strange unfamiliar city.

In case from everything above- it was not immediately obvious.... I made this soup in Fresher's Week. Officially called 'Welcome Week' - its basically just a load of young people spending the week getting drunk and trying to work out how to do Laundry.

Although if you don't drink - there is plenty going on. You don't have to be a complete and utter social recluse- however.... this is me... and so I stayed in.... and made soup.

All comments about just how weird that is are not appreciated. Who would choose a night out over a night in making soup?

All that chopping of veggies........ what's not to stay in for?

And I had actually worked out where the shops were.... but I had only been past them once... and at the time I had 5 minutes to get to a lecture that I knew was on the other side of the city but had absolutely no idea how to get there. (seriously.... I was redirected 4 times before anyone even gave me the RIGHT directions.... and was half an hour late to my first class. Luckily - I didn't really miss anything!)

So yeah.... no time to go in to buy anything to pad out my..... meagre produce collection. I didn't really want to bring that much fresh stuff from home. Just enough to get me through the first few days.

So I stuck with the basics.... apples, carrots and sweet potatoes. I would have bought banana's as well.... but I was pretty sure that they wouldn't survive the journey. So I didn't.

And spent the first few days with serious cravings for bananas and oats- and no bananas or oats.

But that meant that when I came to make soup... I didn't have that many options. I mean..... when making a veggie soup..... you do kind of need vegetables.

And fruit. Don't worry - I didn't put any bananas in there - but I did feel the need to make something more than a carrot and sweet potato soup - and so I threw an apple in. I'm sat here typing and beginning to think that maybe my parents are right - and that everything I eat is a weird combination. 

Freshers Soup
Makes about 4-5 servings (I have no idea how - I didn't include that many veggies!)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 eating apple
  •  1 sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon veggie stock powder
  • enough water to cover the veggies
  • 1 teaspoon dried time
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 cup of chickpeas - divided into two 1/2 cups

  • Chop (and peel if necessary) the veggies. As I did this, I placed them in a plastic Tupperware container and topped them with water. This wasn't really necessary - but I did it anyway - so I only know amounts of water in 'enough to cover the veggies' (when I say veggies I'm including the fruit). I'm pretty sure that this would work if you placed the veggies straight into the pan and added water to cover. 
  • Add the veggies, water, stock powder (you could also use a veggie stock cube), thyme, ginger and chili flakes into a pan, and cook over a medium heat. 
  • When the veggies are soft (30-60 mins) take them off the heat and add 1/2 cup chickpeas. Blend until smooth. If the soup is too thick - add some more water. If it's too thin - place the soup back on the stove-top and cook on a high heat till the soup has thickened. 
  • Add the remaining chickpeas, and heat over a gentle heat till the soup has warmed up.  

5 Spice Overnight Oats

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27. Favorite Herb or Spice? 

I did consider picking a herb to feature in a fabulous recipe that would leave everybody stunned in my amazing recipe creation. However - I would think that the fact that I would use dried herbs instead of fresh may negate how brilliant you think my hypothetical amazing recipe. 

So...... scrap that. 

I did think about using cinnamon.... but..... that felt like a bit of a cheat. I mean.... I use cinnamon all the time. And we're coming up to fall.... and then winter. So there will probably be a lot of cinnamon going around the place. 

So instead I thought that I would do something with Chinese 5 Spice. It's something that I really really love. I love how I can add it equally well to sweet and savoury dishes. I like the savoury sweetness. Like that's any sort of description. I like the warmth it provides.

Basically I like it. It's one of my favorites..... it seems to have an edge that... other spice blends don't. I know that some people aren't as fond of that edge as I am... but I really like it. 

I did make some orange-five spice bran muffins.... but I had put a lot of candid peel in them... and I wasn't to fond of it. I don't mind a bit... but the amount that I had put in was just too much. 

Before it's sat overnight

I thought about making five spice biscuits.... five spice noodles (although I already have a recipe for five spice noodle recipe)... five spice pancakes. I got as far as making a five spice omelet.... but I didn't think that I could give you that many unphotogenic recipes in one month. 

So in the end... I decided that I would feature the most often use that I have for five spice powder. I use it in oatmeal. But it was hot... and it was sunny.... so I did my five spice overnight oats. Because oats + summer = overnight oats. Although it is rather unphotogenic.... it's still looks a lot nicer than the omelet. 

5 Spice Overnight Oats
Serves 1

  • 1/3 cup of oats
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of sesame seeds
  • 1/2 Tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 plums
  • 2 dried peach half's (you could sub a spoonful of peach jam or a canned peach half if you can't find the dried peaches.... but they really are amazing in this.... so if you can find them... use them) 
  • 1 teaspoon goji berries
  • 1/4 teaspoon of 5 spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
  • about 1 cup of milk
  • OPTIONAL: Liquid sweetener

  • In a jar- or other container (preferably with a lid) mix the oats and chia seeds. It's better to mix them well now - because otherwise the chia seeds have a habit of clumping together and then it doesn't work so great
  • Then mix in the sesame seeds. This doesn't need to be quite so great. 
  • Grate the carrot (you can peel it as well if you want) and chop the plums and dried peaches into small pieces. Add these, the goji berries and 5 spice powder into the oats mixture. 
  • Add the rest of the ingredient - the almond butter, milk and almond extract - and then stir well. Stir very well. You want to fully incorporate the almond butter into the milk - instead of it being a clump 
  • Cover - and leave in the fridge. I don't know the minimum time for the chia seeds to work their magic because I've only done this and left it overnight - but leave for at least 3-4 hours. If it's still too liquid - either put it back in the fridge for a while longer - or add more chia seeds, stir and leave for the extra chia to work for about 10-20 minutes. 
  • I don't normally add anything to sweeten my oatmeal - except I guess fruit - but here I do like to add a bit of a syrupy sweeter (normally I use Sweet Freedom

Mushroom Ramen

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25. Share Your Favorite Cuisine

Okay so if you read my blog often (um.... thanks I guess) then you can probably guess that my favorite cuisine is anything which you can legitimately use chopsticks for. Not that I have many qualms with eating spaghetti bolognans and veggie chili with chopsticks.... but anything I can eat using chopsticks without raising eyebrows is always nice. Although tbh - my family think I should just use a knife and fork period. But ah well. 

So..... I guess that means that my favorite cuisine is something Asian. 

Which to be honest- is perfectly fine with me. 

I guess that Asian isn't really a cuisine. I should probably narrow it down a bit.... but how to choose? I mean- sweet and sour? spring rolls? TEA? miso soup? sushi? stir fry? coconut milk pudding? fortune cookies? 

I mean.... seriously..... how am I supposed to choose? 

So I'll narrow it down another way....

Rice or noodles? 

Noodles won- but really only because they are a lot quicker/easier to cook. I mean- pan + boiling water + 5 mins = done. No washing or meaning and a lot less waiting. 

So.... noodles..... where next? 

What next was really a case of what I was in the mood for at the time. And due to the fact I had a cold and wanted warming and comforting..... I wanted ramen, 

Mind you.... who doesn't always ramen? 

Mushroom Ramen
Serves 1

  • 1 serving of noodles
  • 1/2 cup of cooked aduki beans
  • 1 cup of stir fry veg (I used a frozen mix - but any veggie mix should be fine - whatever you have) 
  • 1-2 spring onions
  • 2/3-1 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Tablespoon miso soup
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • OPTIONAL: Chili sauce (your favorite type)
  • A few tablespoons of chopped seaweed (like nori or seaweed snacks)

Cook the noodles according to the packet. Rinse briefly and place in your favorite (or only) bowl
  • Layer the aduki beans on top of the noodles
  • Cook the stir fry veggies until just cooked and add to the bowl
  • Slice the spring onion, and add to the bowl
  • Slice the mushrooms (if not already sliced) and stir fry till cooked
  • Boil the water, and mix with the miso
  • Add the mushrooms, seaweed and chili sauce (if using)
  • Pour the miso soup over everything in the bowl. This 'reheats' everything- so don't worry if the noodles are starting to go cold. Enjoy - the full cup of soup on top of everything else makes quite a full bowl full. Like I said- enjoy. 
I do assemble this in quite a layered- one at a time fashion. You don't have to do it this way - you can do it more together if you want. 

Fish Food Ice Cream

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15. OMG, Barack Obama is coming over because he knows you make awesome vegan food!

Will this is scary. I mean- if Barack Obama wants awesome vegan food- I can point him in the direction of plenty. My vegan food is good- and I'm working on it- but I wouldn't say it's at the awesome level yet. So to be honest- it was really hard to think what I should do for today (10 days ago). I can think of plenty of thinks that I have mastered and are awesome - but that I wouldn't serve to the president- and plenty of food that I think would be okay to serve to the president- but that I haven't got to the awesome level yet. 

And although I would love to see the President of the United States use chopsticks.... I just don't think that ramen is something that I'd serve him. 

So.... thinking hats on. 

Um.... the only thing that I came up with is that I hope I never really have to cook for the president.... because I dread to think what I'd actually end up serving. He would probably end up going hungry.

So instead of imagining what I WOULD feed him- I imagined what I think he enjoys eating. I mean - really - who am I to know? All I know is that he is the president of the united states- has an allergy friendly dog - and had the Girl Scouts camp out on his lawn.

But I decided that he probably likes ice cream. Like- eating from the pint kind of ice cream. Something I have never done.

No actually - I am a bowl and spoon kind of girl.

Well I say that ... actually I've got into the habit of making my own ice cream this summer. Out of bananas.

You know -

cause it's so AMAZINGLY good. And I could quite easily overeat bananas by eating banana soft serve. Actually - I could quite easily overeat bananas in many ways - just one of which is from eating banana soft serve all day and nothing else.

But yes- I think that the President is a eating a ice cream from the pint kind of guy. I don't know why - I guess it's cause I what I imagine people want to do if they come home from a day at work quite that bad. 

We never really had 'pints' of ice cream when I was younger. We had 'tubs'. Raspberry ripple and Neapolitan. Vanilla. Usually vanilla.

The pints that we did have - were Ben & Jerry's. Mom liked Cookie Dough. Dad and my brother had Phish Food. Cherry Garcia occasionally. Other ones I can't really remember because they were very infrequent.

I decided the President needed chocolate. His job must be very hard. Bad days require chocolate.  So Phish Food it was. 

Except it's not from a pint. It's from a mini food processor.

Fish Food Ice Cream 
Serves 1
  • Vegan chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 1 banana
  • 1 soft date 
  • 2 tablespoons mini vegan marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon of cocoa
  • Plant milk
  • Vegan chocolate sauce

  • Peel the banana, slice into pieces and freeze
  • IF USING FISH (OR OTHER SHAPED) MOLD Melt the chocolate (either in the microwave or over a double boiler) and pour into moulds. Let cool. 
  • OTHERWISE If needed- chop the chocolate into small pieces. 
  • When the banana is frozen and the chocolate shapes cool, chop the date, and place that and the frozen banana in the food processor/blender, and blitz until tiny pieces form - a bit like gravel. But obviously nicer. 
  • Add half the marshmallows, cocoa and a few drops of milk. Blitz again. If the mixture does not start to form 'ice cream' add a bit more milk and blitz till smooth. 
  • Transfer to a bowl (or mug or whatever) and stir in the remaining marshmallows, chocolate sauce and chocolate shapes/pieces/chips. 
  • Enjoy - weather you have had a REALLY bad day at work or not. Cause ice cream is always nice. 

Miso Soup Risotto

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30. Fusion Challenge! 

So..... fusion...... what is fusion? What exactly counts as fusion? I mean - is the spaghetti Bolognese 'fusion' food because it's not authentic - because I made it with British wheat spaghetti? The Chinese stir fry fusion because I use basmati not japans sticky rice?

Or the soup with apple as well as veggies ... is that fusion food because it combines the traditionally 'sweet' and the traditionally 'savoury'.

So.... what is fusion?

Basically - I have NO IDEA.

Wikipedia (the fount of all knowledge- obviously) states that:

"Fusion food is a general term for the combination of various forms of cookery and comes in several forms. Regional fusion combines different cuisines of a region or sub-region into a single eating experience"

So basically..... I can pretty much count anything I want as fusion food - because even steamed carrots can count as fusion food- because you're 'fusioning' chopping and steaming- so various forms of cookery - right? 

Totally. But don't worry- I'm not going to bore you in this post with pictures of steamed carrots. Because bowls of steamed carrots is totally boring........ (i like steamed carrots) 

No. Instead I have decided to give you pictures of miso and rice. Miso - from Japan. Rice - from many places including Japan. So that's totally fusion food - right? 

Well- it is actually because it's not Japanese rice. I actually mixed Japanese miso and Italian risotto rice. So totally fusion. 

Yeah. I made fusion food. 

Aren't I clever? :P 

Miso Soup Risotto
Serves 1

  • 1/3-1/2 cup risotto rice
  • 1/2 small onion or 2 spring onions (a few tablespoons when chopped) 
  • 1 Tablespoon miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon oil (I used vegan margarine because I don't have any cooking oil yet) 
  • 1 cup (plus extra) boiling water
  • Optional: Strips of seaweed (nori, seaweed snacks etc) 

  • Dice up the onion REALLY fine, and heat the oil in a pan
  • Cook the onion for a few minutes, then add the risotto rice. Cook for a few minutes- stirring constantly till everything is coated - then turn down the heat as low as it will go- and wait till the pan has cooled down slightly - but keep stirring so that the rice and onion doesn't burn. 
  • While this- whisk the boiling water and miso paste together and place in a saucepan on a low heat- if possible the same heat as the frying pan. 
  • Add a tiny bit (about a Tablespoon) of the hot miso 'stock' to the frying pan. If it spits and burns off - wait a bit longer and try again in a few minutes. If not- start the process of adding the stock to the rice pan. Do this slowly at first (1-2 tablespoons at a time) then work up. You're gonna have to be stirring pretty constantly - so don't plan to make this if you want to do other things (doing it whilst revising WILL result in burnt risotto - just working ya). Wait until all the liquid has been absorbed before adding more. This whole process should take about half an hour. 
  • When all the miso stock has been absorbed- test the rice- if it is done.... well then it's done. If not - boil the kettle and add a few more tablespoons of water to the risotto - and carry on the process with boiling water. If you have to do this with a lot of water- you may also need to add a bit more miso. If it's not burning- you may not have to add more water but just let it cook. Every time I try and make risotto- it always goes slightly different. But it always ends up okay in the end. Apart from the time that I completely burnt it because I got distracted by the workings of electron microscopes. 
  • When all the stock is dissolved and/or the rice is cooked- transfer it to a bowl. If you want- you can top/stir in some seaweed. Because it's yummy. 
Now- obviously I am all up for eating this with chopsticks - but it's up to you weather you serve this with green tea and.... I don't know..... hello kitty shaped mochi......  or with gelato, amaretto biscuits..... and..... I don't know wine? Maybe it's safer just to have it with water. 

Smoothie 3000 : Chia Chai

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11. Focus on a Nutrient

Okay..... so I should be real good at this. Because I feel like I am constantly defending my choices and weather or not I am getting all the necessary nutrients.

But to be honest - the main way I try and make sure that I follow a balanced and healthy diet is just that. Balance. With aside from making sure that I have enough calcium (hello fortified plant milk) I just make sure that I eat a varied diet. Apart from today. Because today I had three meals of oats, apple and peanut butter. But today is an acceptation..... and I also had carrot sticks for supper.

So thinking of a recipe where I specifically focus on a nutrient was hard. Because I don't - and to be honest- I'm not sure I really want to..... I want all my meals to have a varied nutritional profile - and for the variety of them that I have over the course of a day, or a week, or whatever to form a balanced diet. Unless I'm deficient in something (which so far as I know has only happened when I was stuck eating hospital food.... is it just me who sees the irony in this?) I don't feel the need to obsess over a nutrient.

If I eat a balanced healthy diet full of a variety of veggies then what's there to worry about. Apart from maybe the fact that I might turn orange from eating carrot sticks several times a day - or overdose on broccoli because I love broccoli.

So instead I went down a different path. I chose something and tried to recreate the nutritional profile of it using whole foods.

I've been really interested in the breakfast drinks that have had a big surge lately in advertising and on the supermarket shelves. Kind of like fortified milkshakes- they claim to be all you need for breakfast- and the equivalent of eating an 'average bowl of cereal and milk'.

For starters.... I'd like to know what they consider an average bowl. Because if it's a bowl of Coco Pops... well that isn't exactly what I would classify as being a healthy start to the day. I mean - don't get me wrong- I love chocolate for breakfast - but I also know lots of sugary cereal is not an everyday thing.

And then we get onto everything else. I know that I'm not the queen of clean eating with my fortified almond milk - but... even the ingredients for my almond milk look a lot less scary then the ingredients for these drinks. And they contain 7.3g less sugar per 100ml. And this transpires to the breakfast drinks containing 18.5g of sugar per serving. Which is kind of a lot for a breakfast which doesn't provide you with a fruit serving.

But don't get me wrong. I love the idea of a drinkable breakfast- I mean.... I'm the queen of smoothies. But having a milkshake for breakfast also sounds great. Sometimes you're just in the mood for something.... 'milky'. Like a big bowl of fluffy comforting oatmeal. Or leftover rice pudding for breakfast. Fruit and green smoothies are great- they're refreshing and energising and great.... but sometimes that's not what you're in the mood for.

And one morning I was kind of in the mood for a milkshake for breakfast. And I thought it would be fun if I could create one of these breakfast drinks. I must of been very bored. Or just plain crazy. Either or.

It kind of ended up more like a fruitless smoothie. It was thick and creamy - more like a thick creamy milkshake than a smoothie in that sense.... but the ingredients were more like something you'd find in a smoothie than something that you would find in a smoothie than you would find in a milkshake.

You'll see why in a minute.

Okay - so..... are you ready.... my breakfast drink contains:

13.9g of protein compared to the 9.5g in the 'Up and Go' vanilla flavor. And the same amount of calcium. And although it does contain a lot more calories (just over twice as many) I was full for HOURS. I didn't snack all morning till lunch at one. Bearing in mind that I'd had breakfast 6-7ish. So really it's not that bad. (It worked out at about 350-375 calories - which is less than the governments 'Change for Life' program actually recommends)

(Also - I'd just like to point out I DEFINITELY don't normally calculate things like calories and protein of what I eat - but I was more just curious to see how my version compared).

Also - I'd just like to explain something. There are chickpeas in my breakfast drink. A - with all the spice- I didn't taste anything. B - I actually wanted to add tofu- but I didn't have tofu. I have seen lot's of people add silken tofu to smoothies - so that didn't strike me as weird. To be honest - the chickpeas did - but it didn't taste weird and as I am a lot more likely to have chickpeas in than tofu (also as I am now a student the fact that they are a lot cheaper also helped) I stuck with the chickpeas. But yes.... it's weird. I'm sorry. If you have silken tofu.... I am pretty sure you could sub an equal amount of silken tofu for chickpeas. But I felt the need to add a 'high protein food' so I could compare with the store bought breakfast drink- although in the end- I actually well exceeded it.

Another thing I should warn you is if you are making this before you are going to drink it (as in if you are not going to drink it immediately after making it) you should probably (well... definitely) wait till you add the chia seeds. Because chia seeds absorb something like (don't quote me) 10 times there weight in water- they thicken stuff up like you wouldn't believe. And your drink will be undrinkable. So stir in the chia seeds just before drinking.

Chia Chai Smoothie 3000
Serves 1 for breakfast - but could be split into 2 for a snack

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1 Tablespoon cashew butter
  • 1/3 cup cooked chickpeas (or silken tofu) 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar (optional - but adds an otherwise missing sweetness and helps hide the chickpea taste)
  • Drop coconut extract (optional - you could also add coconut milk for the milk as above)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon chia seed

  • Combine oats and milk in your blender (or jug if you use an immersion blender) and let sit for about 5 minutes. It just seems to me that otherwise it takes AGES to blend properly. 
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and blend till creamy and smooth. This is very important because I assume that you - like me - don't want random lumps of chickpea in their breakfast. 
  • As above- if not drinking immediately leave out chia seeds until just before drinking- then stir them in. Otherwise - they can be blended with the rest of the ingredients. 

And if you're wondering- I have no idea why it's called a Smoothie 3000. It just happened. Don't bother asking me. I have no idea. 

September 23, 2015

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

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"Tell Us About A Weird Food Combo That You Love"

Okay - this one was hard for me. For no apparent reason. It was just.... hard. 

So I resulted to my parents. I asked them what they thought that the weirdest food combo I ate was. 

Then realized just how bad an idea this was. Because- to them - well.... to be honest... practically every food I eat is weird. From the milk I drink.... to the bean burgers.... to the chickpea omelette's..... to the date bars...... to the miso stir fry...... to the 'nooch'...

Apparently even to the oatmeal. 

Because that's what they came up with as the weirdest food combination I eat. 

It was how I (sometimes) eat my oatmeal. 

Seriously - oatmeal? The weirdest thing that I eat? REALLY? 


But apparently the fact that I will put grated carrot or grated zucchini in my oatmeal is the weirdest food combination (my Dad said zucchini at the same time my mom said carrot). Is that really the weirdest food combination that I eat? 

Because that is so...... normal

I mean - look on Instagram- everyone is eating zucchini in oats- or even zucchini oats (zoats- it sounds so cute). 

So.... these are apparently the weirdest food combinations that I love to eat. As you may have noticed- this was not what I was expecting to right about.


Carrot Cake Oatmeal
Serves 1

  • 1/3 cup of oats
  • 1 cup of plant milk
  • 1 smallish carrot
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (alternately you could use a mixed spice blend- or add a pinch of nutmeg and ginger) 
  • 1/4 cup pineapple pieces (canned is fine) 
  • 1 Tablespoon of chopped walnut pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon desiccated (unsweetened) coconut
  • 1 Tablespoon raisins

  • Wash and cut off the ends of the carrot. If you want you can peel it. Grate the carrot using a coarse grater (the one that you would normally use for cheese) 
  • Place the oats, milk, carrot, spice and raisins in a small saucepan, and place over a low heat. 
  • Stir often as the oatmeal cooks. Be warned- it will turn a weird peachy-orange color. This seems to alarm my parents. 
  • As the oatmeal approaches a normal oatmeal consistency (this will take longer than it does for oatmeal without the carrot) add the rest of the ingredients. Alternatively - you could reserve them to top the oatmeal with. 
  • The final consistency of the oatmeal should be similar to how 'normal' oatmeal is- but the carrot doesn't break down and remains as the grated carrot. 
  • Transfer to a bowl and top with the remaining ingredients if not already mixed in. 
  • Enjoy. To do this- you'll have to try not to treat it as some sort of martian food. It really isn't that bad. To be honest- it's kind of normal. Seriously. 

When in Scotland, Do As the Scottish Do

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17. Make (or eat) A Traditional Local Dish

I don't know if real Scottish people eat Haggis- or if it's just something they give to poor, unexacting tourists who have no idea what that thing they are eating actually contains.

One thing I have noticed about vegan haggis however- is that it is one 'mock meat' that omnivores are often actually more willing to eat than the original 'meat' itself. And if people are more willing to eat whatever scary stuff is in processed chicken nuggets than they are to eat haggis- that kind of says something for the scary stuff in haggis. Except I think it's only as processed as it's ever been. 

I've looked at the website- and apparently vegan haggis is made from oats, pulses, veggies, seeds and spices. The exact recipe for the Macsween brand is as follows : 

Oats, Lentils, Rapeseed Oil, Kidney Beans, Onions, Carrot, Swede, Mushrooms, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Salt, Spices, Pepper.

That actually sounds like something that you could make in your own kitchen. I believe that people do make it in their own kitchen. 

I, I am afraid to say, am not one of those people that will make it in their own kitchen. I am a student. Who is terrified of haggis. Even now I've had some. I was not about to make it in my own kitchen. 

I went to the Baked Potato Shop

As soon as I saw the prompts for this years MoFo- I was excited about some of them. Note that I said some. Some - I was positively not excited about. Make a Traditional Local Dish? Seriously- has anybody ever looked at traditional Lancashire Dishes. If I say that the most vegan friendly offering is Butter Pie - which as the name suggests, is potatoes cooked in EXTRORDINATE amounts of butter, encased in soggy non-vegan pastry- does that give you an idea about just how NON VEGAN FRIENDLY local Lancashire food is? I did think about veganizing Parkin, which is a kind of oatmeal-gingerbread-cake. But I didn't get it right first time. And then we couldn't use the water for weeks.... and so no baking.... and so I didn't get any further. So for WEEKS I was panicking about this. Was it going to get to the extent that I was going to have to try veganizing Lancashire Hot Pot? And for those who don't know- that's basically meat and potatoes in meat gravy. Not much scope. Bean and potato's casserole (no matter how much the other ingredients stay the same) will just never be able to be called Vegan Lancashire Hotpot. 

Then I realized that I wouldn't be in Lancashire on the 18th. I'd be in Scotland. I have never been so happy in all my life. Edinburgh- the land that invented oatmeal. (okay- so that may or may not be true... but still..... lot's of oats.) I could made oatcakes. But then I thought.... what's different about me eating oats. I always eat oats. So why not try Scotland's other famous dish - haggis. (the vegan kind of course). 

So I literally just Googled "vegan haggis Edinburgh". And apparently I am not the only person who has Googled that. It came quite high in the suggestions. It comes up second as soon as you get to 'Vegan hag...'. So apparently I am not the only person that comes to Edinburgh and thinks "I need to try vegan haggis". Or maybe not even the only person who drags their new friend on a quest for this tiny baked potato shop with only one table that apparently has vegan haggis. I am very glad of that. And I think that my new friend is still my friend. So all's good. Even if we did get SOAKED. 

So I got to the Baked Potato Shop - which is literally a tiny shop on a side street off the Royal Mile- and it's tiny. There was barely room enough for 3 people to stand. There was one other person ordering a potato. And I guess like so many others- I went to the counter- and like an idiot asked "Hi according to Google you do a vegan haggis baked potato." He didn't kick me out for being such an idiot- just asked what size potato I wanted. 

What- they had OPTIONS when it came to potato sizes? Wow. 

So I picked the small size (cause I'd already had pasta for lunch) and me and my friend explored the tiny shop. Without actually moving all that much (well- at all because there is not where to move). 


We were both used to going to places like this and being offered one veggie option. If it's vegan- wow. That's amazing. There's this cafe back home which is vegan friendly too- but that's the only extent of me going to a shop with vegan options being marked. (that place has maybe 5 vegan options on the menu) (and it's SO FANTASTIC - I'll tell you about it sometime). This place had SO MANY. Like- 20 possible vegan fillings. And 4 vegan sides. And vegan cake. And vegan tiffin. 

They even had 3 different kinds of soy milkshake boxes in the fridge. 

I never even dreamt a place like this existed. 

Consider me and my (also veggie) friend excited. 

The shop also do filled rolls and salads- in case you don't want a potato. 

So.... word of warning. My 'small' potato was MASSIVE. I am seriously debating weather they gave me the wrong size by mistake- but at any rate- even if it was a large potato - it was MASSIVE. 

The other half is in the fridge for lunch. Because I just couldn't eat it all in one go. 

It was about £4. Which isn't cheap cheap- but as was pointed out to me- I got two meals from it- and so it is only like, £2 a meal. Which isn't that bad! And even £4 isn't that bad really. I mean- this is a capital city- and the shop was right off the Royal Mile- and it was REAL GOOD. 

The potato wasn't microwaved (or it could of been - but it had that almost burnt really crispy yummy skin that you just can't get from microwaving). It was crispy and delicious on the outside- and fluffy on the inside. 

And when they say they do the hottest potatoes in town. My oh my do they do hot potatoes. I asked for my potato to be double wrapped - because I was putting it in my bag to eat later. And I got to the next shop with my friend. Everything in my bag was sopping wet because this potato was SO HOT. And even about 2 hours later when I finally got round to eating it - it was practically boiling hot. 

So... hot potato. 

And the haggis? It was weird. It tasted kind of like a cross between veggie sausages and oatcakes. Which I guess it kind of is. After vowing not to do oats for my 'local dish' .... I kind of have in the end. Sorry. 

It was not bad. Even if I am still a bit terrified of haggis. 

And now I need to go eat aforementioned half of a haggis tattie.

Foogo Soup

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"Lunch on the Go"

This soup is named after my vacuum food jar. 

Yes, I actually have a soup named after my Thermos flask. 

Yup. Sad I know. 

In Year 12, I took my lunch in my flask practically every day. Soup, oatmeal, canned spaghetti, baked beans, pasta salad, noodles, pasta and veggie balls, casseroles,rice and sauce. You name it, I probably had it. It was brilliant. I kind of missed it in Year 13- but I normally ate my lunch in one of the study area's - where food was banned as it was- so hot food in a Thermos Flask was definitely pushing it too far.

However- now I'm at uni- Foogo is back. And strong as ever. Literally - it's in a box at the end of my bed all ready for when I'm in a routine and eating lovely warming lunches. I even have some soup in the freezer all ready and waiting. (we're going to come to that soup later - but for now...)

Foogo soup.

I really wish that I had been the wondrous person to have come up with this soup. But that would be my Dad. He didn't go out to make an INCREDIBLE soup - perfect for taking to school for lunch- he was just making a veg soup out of what we had in. But it is really incredible. It's one of those times when it takes you a few times to recreate that 'throw it all together' meal - and where as you (or your Dad) didn't pay any attention the first time that you made it - you spend much time agonizing over how to adequately recreate it to be just how it was the first time. And it practically never is as good as the first time. But you get it eventually.

Well - this is what this was like.

But it was worth it. And eventually I got it.

This is sweet as far as soups go - it's made primarily from root vegetables ranging from slightly sweet to sweet. My Dad doesn't like it - he's not fond of sweet savoury foods (he also doesn't like sweet potatoes.... I worry about him sometimes....). This sweetness is offset by the pepper. I have never measured just how much pepper goes in. But put in as much as you think you can bear. Divide it up into servings. And then put some more in. This soup is VERY peppery.

Foogo Soup
Makes about 4 serving (Foogo holds 10floz)

  • 1 cup of carrot slices (about 1 large or two small carrots)
  • 1 cup of parsnip slices (about 1 normal sized) 
  • 1 cup of swede cubes (a few inches out of one swede) (can sub turnip if you can find them - but where I live they are like an imaginary vegetable)
  • 1 small onion, diced small
  • about 1 pint vegetable stock made with boiling water
  • Ground black pepper. Lots of ground black pepper. 

  • Prepare the vegetables. If you want - you can peel the carrots and parsnips. I would definitely peel the swede - although I usually end up cutting off the skin as opposed to 'peeling' it. Don't boil the water until later. 
  • In a medium-large pan, gently cook the onion until soft and translucent
  • Add the rest of the veggies- and cook for about 10 minutes until starting to soften. 
  • Boil the kettle and make up the stock. Add this to the pan. Cover - and cook for about 15-30 minutes until the veggies are completely softened. If the stock looks dangerously close to boiling away - add some more boiling water. 
  • When the vegetables ate at the falling apart stage - take the soup off the heat. If you have an immersion blender- now is an excellent time to use it. If not- no biggie. But you still need to blend the soup until it is COMPLETELY smooth. If too much of the stock has boiled off then it's going to look too much like a veggie puree and not enough like soup (mine was like this) add some extra boiling water- or make up some more boiling stock and use this. Do this gradually - strirring in a few tablespoons of boiling water/stock at a time until it is the desired consistency. 
  • Stand there with a pepper grinder (or shaker) for way too long adding pepper to the soup. You want to add a lot- at least a teaspoons worth. 
  • If you're eating the soup immediately - put it back on the stovetop and heat through for a few more minutes. If not- freeze in portions when cooled. 
This soup tastes GREAT in school at lunch time. My Mom likes it with crispy onions on top.