Monthly Archives: December 2012

Recycling a broken Christmas tree

Jingle bells jingle bells jingle all the way…..this was the song i was singing when i went to get the Christmas tree down from the loft….i was all jolly and festive till i put it all up and it fell over, it had a broken leg so instead of waiting till next Christmas for my husband to get round to fixing it i decided its nothing a pair of pliers, some garden wire and a creative mind couldn’t fix!!  so i decided to take my not very eco friendly plastic tree (which we’ve had for about 5years) and give it a new life, so i got my festive thinking hat on and had an idea….i will make a wreath, the most festive of all wreaths in all the land (i say with an air of gone with the wind drama lol) and so i set to it, armed with my christmas tree ornaments, some bells and some hope and made my wreaths……i started off by cutting the branches off at the “trunk” and setting them aside (this is a job for muscles lol) then making a circle with them and tying them tightly with wire to hold them together making sure you leave it quite bushy then quite simply stick some wire through the holes on the baubles and attach them to the wreath…..and make it look pretty and tie a festive ribbon around the top and hang…..do a little adjusting and your finished 🙂  you can use anything at all and even add dried fruit and cinnamon sticks and berries too 🙂   

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that was the first one i made……then i got confident and decided to recycle an old hula hoop and make that into a big massive wreath and i had massive pine cones so i put them on too.

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then i made a little wreath because i had lots of tiny baubles….all i did was thread lots of tiny baubles onto wire and secure into a circle…..add string or beads or ribbon and your finished 🙂  

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there you have it …..thats my family of wreaths 🙂  we need to waste less because everyone throws money down the drain theres always a new life in anything  😦   plus its not eco friendly at all

 

REAL TREES vs PLASTIC TREES

     I made a decision a while ago that i didn’t believe in real trees being cut down just to have a nice smell in your home….i think that if you have a plastic tree that you’ve had for years and look after it and don’t just throw it away to get a better one then that’s good obviously the best bet is not to buy a plastic tree at all, or a real one and just decorate a tree in your garden…old trees are great to do creative crafts like these ones, wreaths like that would set you back allot of money and i have the pleasure of having the knowledge that i made them myself and there one of a kind 🙂   the idea of Christmas in its self is such a wasteful time of year where we give gifts that the receivers didn’t want and have to pretend they love them only to store them away and never look at them again…the turkey as well….everyone thinks we must have turkey on Christmas along with sausages wrapped in bacon, pork stuffing, roast beef and ham….now there’s no need for all that meat at one meal unless you want a heart attack for Christmas  you may be reading this and nodding in agreement but most people think “don’t be ridiculous”  but the festive period is doused in fat and sugar and high cholesterol foods…..plus think of all the waste!! all the paper we use to cover gifts only to be ripped off and binned or if your good, recycled…..then there’s the real Christmas tree….we cut down a lovely tree that’s grown and thrived in the forest to put in our home and watch it die….hoover up its needles and then chuck it outside when were done with it to rot…..i don’t get why we have to be so wasteful and rash…..next year i wont be sending cards, i will be donating to charity…..i will be wrapping presents in recycled paper or just putting money in the little ones savings account and giving a little present as a token of something they need……not a toy cos kids these days don’t need those….get your kids to make cookies or candy for family members….get the kids to make decorations….sew things ….make things and have family creative time…..i know no one has time these days but Christmas comes once a year without doubt, we need to be more prepared so that next year its stress free….start early 🙂 

 

This doesn’t make you cheap or not love anyone as much as the gift buyers its just kinder to the world we live in and kinder to our self’s as there’s less stress……..maybe instead of secret Santa we should all make our secret Santa person a tree ornament…..they keep that forever and its from the heart….not an after thought or panic buy that they wont use.

 

now im going to bed to read my book 🙂  see you all soon xxx

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“chicken” pot pie

hello everyone wherever you are in the world….i just thought id say how happy i am your reading this and hope you try out my recipes and love them as much as me and my family do 🙂   i hope you all take a second to give me some feedback or even if you have any questions id love to answer them…..or any requests of anything you wish to see veganised or if you have visitors who are vegetarian or vegan id love to help with that too 🙂   

   I first thought up this recipe years ago and just found it stored in my computer it needed a bit of dusting off and a freshen up but it was super yummy and worth a try…its great for a winter warmer to heat you up when its pouring of rain outside like it is here right now….its vegan but i serve it to meat eaters and they have no idea…..its so creamy and fresh you would never know…..i think that’s how you make a winning vegan dish, to make it so good that even a meat eater wouldn’t notice 🙂  Also you don’t need any accompaniments with this pie as it has everything all in one bowl 🙂 

 

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped

40g butter

100g button mushrooms, sliced 

40g plain flour , plus extra for dusting

400ml soya milk , (warmed in pot with a bay leaf, 5 whole black pepper corns and half an onion) 

1 cup vegetable stock

grating of nutmeg, (i love nutmeg so i use too much probably but id say about a quarter nut) 

1 heaped teaspoon mustard powder 

couple handfuls of vegan chicken style pieces 

2 bay leaf’s

200g mix of sweetcorn , peas, broccoli broken into small pieces, carrots chopped small 

4 new potatoes sliced, steamed slightly before adding

glass white wine

250g shortcrust pastry (you can make your own but its easier to buy pre-rolled its exactly the same just quicker and its vegan read the packet)

salt and pepper

chopped fresh chives and parsley about a handful all together

zest of 1 lemon and juice of half

soya milk, for glazing

sprinkle of poppy seeds to finish

 

METHOD              Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

  1. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and leave to cook for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. 
    add carrot and mushrooms to the pan with the onions, fry for about 5mins then add your flour a bit at a time to create a roux which is really a thick paste that will help your sauce thicken, and cook for around 2mins just so the flour combines well and the flour cooks so the dish wont have a floury taste.

  2. Slowly add the warm milk to the pan, stirring all the time.
    Once all the milk has been added, stir in the stock, wine, season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and mustard powder.
    Add the bay leaf and bring to the boil, stirring all the time to stop the sauce becoming lumpy and add your veg and vegan chicken style pieces, your herbs and lemon.

  3. When the sauce has thickened, simmer for around 20mins to cook the veg through.

  4. Put the pastry on a clean, floured surface. Make sure you also dust the rolling pin with flour.
    Roll out the pastry and lift it carefully over the dish and trim off the pastry hanging over the edge of the dish.
    Press the outside edge of the pastry with a fork or your fingers.

  5. Brush the top of the pie with a little soya milk and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
    Make a small hole in the center of the pastry top to allow the steam to escape.

  6. Place the pie in the oven for 25 mins. It is ready when golden brown.

*TIP* You can use any leftover pastry to decorate the top of the pie with pastry shapes i like to make a couple of little leaves or love hearts or anything that takes my fancy……like if you do individual ones you could put initials on them 🙂

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Enjoy xx

 

 

 

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Christmas and all the trimmings

hello everyone and merry Christmas ….well its not quite Christmas yet but i bet we cant wait for it to be over so we can relax in our new pajamas watching movies, eating home cooked meals and enjoying the company of our nearest and dearest without stress.   Christmas time is a time for joy and laughter but for some people of the world it just brings everything home to them…..memories of days gone by….people they have lost along the way…..family and friends who are no longer with us….our health….everything starts to get you down but before you stress about things you cannot change, for example the colossal amount of cash you spent on your kids to the colossal debt you rung up,  just remember that without love were nothing and without love we wouldn’t have bought all the junk the kids “need”  ……some people don’t have family…..some people don’t have love…..some people don’t have food or water….so lets try and focus on being our best self’s and making everyone around us feel wanted…..not unwanted !!!  if the German troops and the British troops can have a game of football on Christmas day on the front line then so can we all get on 🙂 !!    so now after that little Christmas rant i shall proceed with the food haha 

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this is one of the little turkeys i met that people will eat this year…….why choose to eat this when we don’t have to?? greed? 😦  

 

Since its Christmas iv decided to make dinner early and share it with you all (the photos are not very good but my good camera isn’t working)  i made Vegetable nut roast muffins, easy roast potatoes, balsamic roots, steamed veg, gravy and cranberry sauce …..all lovely and festive……if your vegetarian/ vegan or just have a visitor coming for Christmas and you would like to make them something so they feel included and wanted then i take my hat off to you….its the nicest feeling ever to go to someones house and they made an effort for you so you know your not an after thought 🙂  this is a easy recipe and with Christmas being the time everyone freaks out in the kitchen you need as little stress as possible……you can make everything in advance and just heat through,  i make the muffins and roll them into the balls and freeze them so i can take out however many i need for dinner and defrost over night….also the veg you just throw it all together and the oven does the hard work 🙂  lots of time to relax on Christmas day 🙂    

 

VEG & NUT ROAST

2 onions, chopped

6 cloves of garlic, crushed or grated

extra virgin olive oil to grease muffin tin

1 tbsp each of veggie Worcestershire sauce, dry thyme, black pepper

2tbsp passata

1 med potato peeled and grated 

2 carrots peeled and grated

310g cauliflower grated (dont grate your fingers lol) 

170g mixed nuts (blitz in food processor till they look like breadcrumbs)

2tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

100g breadcrumbs, i used seeded brown bread and blitzed it in the food processor 

1tbsp tomato puree mixed with tbsp water 

pinch of salt

 

Method:

  1. preheat oven to 190c / gas 5 and grease your muffin tray with extra virgin olive oil. 
  2. (use a big wok or big pot) cook the onions and garlic on a low heat with some extra virgin until soft and fragrant then add your grated veg and seasonings and passata and stir thoroughly until combined for around 3-4 mins …….remove from heat and add everything else to your pan stirring to combine thoroughly with your puree and breadcrumbs until it starts showing signs of sticking together.  Set aside till cool to the touch
  3. wet your hands and start to roll the mix into tennis sized balls and place them one by one in the muffin tin and lightly press down to flatten slightly into a patty.  cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45-50 mins then uncover for 15 mins or until golden.  leave to stand for 10 mins before taking them out of the tin.

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EASY BABY ROASTS

baby new potatoes 

5 garlic cloves (crushed but left whole) mixed with 2tbsp extra virgin & 2tbsp white vinegar and a tbsp fresh rosemary to make vinaigrette

salt and pepper

METHOD

  1. steam potatoes whole for 10-15 mins then remove and leave to cool…..once cool to the touch take a sharp knife and slice them (hassle-back style) 3 quarters of the way down being careful not to slice right the way through, make a few slices in each and set on baking tray, drizzle with the vinaigrette and some salt and pepper and roast for 20-30 mins till slightly crisp and fragrant.

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ROASTED ROOTS

carrots cut into batons

whole peeled shallots

red onions cut into wedges

parsnips peeled and cut into batons

sprouts

tbsp balsamic vinegar

extra virgin olive oil 

drizzle of agave nectar 

sea salt 

 

METHOD

  1. place all veg into a roasting tin making sure none are over lapping, drizzle with the remaining ingredients, cover and bake for 30mins and the open for 30 mins to caramelize

 

GRAVY

pint of veg stock (home made or vegetable bouillon)

3tbsp red wine vinegar 

1tbsp marmite 

1tbsp flour

1onion, chopped 

tsp garlic salt

fresh cracked black pepper

3 sprigs of thyme, left whole

tbsp vegan butter, foil packed stork is good

 

METHOD

  1. fry the onions in butter until soft and add your flour to make a roux then add everything else and stir until gravy consistency,  if you need to thicken your gravy just get a spoonful of flour and a spoon of butter and mix in a ramekin until combined and add a little at a time till its as you desire.

CRANBERRY SAUCE

4 cups fresh cranberry’s, washed and drained

cup of water

1/2 cup of agave nectar

1 little orange chopped adding juice too

 

METHOD

  1. pour everything into a pot and bubble until the cranberry’s pop and it forms a thick sauce and taste….adding a little agave if needed.
  2. leave to cool and serve in little dish with a spoon at the table…..this can be frozen too.

 

i hope you all enjoy the recipes and have a wonderful magical Christmas…… 

 

BUON NATALE xxx

 

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Mushroom Pate

Hey everyone….whats new? well iv been working very hard in the kitchen preparing some festive treats….. Christmas is fast approaching (as if anyone needed reminding lol) i hope you have all planned your festive feast, but if you haven’t or your just waiting for something yummy to stumble into your lap well here it is 🙂 This pate is very delicious and even meat eaters love it…..its not very pleasing to the eye but what pate, vegan or otherwise, looks appetizing  (lol)……this one is soooo yummy and its quite quick to prepare really, all you need is some hungry guests and the ingredients….oh yeah and a food processor haha The food processor is one of my kitchen essentials, we got one as a wedding present and its the most used small appliance in my kitchen aside from my steamer 🙂 This isn’t the most healthy of recipes but come on…its Christmas after all haha I hope you all enjoy this recipe and hope you take a second of your time to leave some feedback 🙂

Ingredients:

120g Pecan’s
80g finely chopped Shallots
120g vegan butter…..i use foil wrapped stork
120g Shittake mushrooms, chopped
120g Portobellini mushrooms, chopped
120g Chestnut mushrooms, chopped
1 whole garlic bulb, cut in half around the middle
handful chopped fresh Parsley
tbsp chopped Thyme
pinch sea salt
pinch white pepper
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil…..about 2tbsp for blending

To serve:

cranberry sauce

crackers or a slice of wholewheat toast cut into triangles 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200* / gas 6…drizzle two garlic half’s with extra virgin, cover with a little bit of aluminium foil over each half and roast in the oven for around 30mins then remove and leave to cool then smoosh with your hands until the cloves ooze out (yummy).

2. Turn oven down to 180* / gas 4 …..spread pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 10mins, or until fragrant or light brown.

3. In a large wok or saute pan add the butter and shallots until translucent, then add mushrooms, roasted garlic cloves, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper and saute until mushroom is soft and liquid has evaporated.

4. Once pecans are toasted and cooled slightly add them to a food processor and whizz with a drizzle of extra virgin until it forms a thick paste scraping the sides every so often, add the mushroom mix and whizz again until its at the consistency you like. (i like it on the smooth side but some like it a little chunkier)

5. Oil some ramekins and spoon in the mixture, cover and set in the fridge to set and cool for a few hours or over night.

6. Serve with toast or crackers and a small side salad…..and some cranberry sauce is very good with it too….match made in heaven.

 

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Hello everyone :)

Hey everyone…hope everyone is all organised for christmas, i am 🙂   im not posting a recipe just now as im working on a few to make them just perfect for you 🙂  im currently planning christmas dinner just now so your not missing out and you can relax in the knowing that you will have an amazing dinner with it all 🙂  its very cold today but i had some porridge for breakfast, just made it with water and a pinch each of sugar and salt….as a snack im having some wholewheat rice cakes with some marmite ontop mmmm yummy 🙂 some vegetable soup and then for dinner were having TACOS, L.E.L style.    Also squeezed in a hour on the crosstrainer……its all about the healthy eating and squeezing in a workout when you can……even if you just do 30mins in the morning an 30mins at night and keeping moving during the day……take the stairs….walk instead of bus….in warmer weather ride your bike…..i know you all feel great inside from eating all your vegan food and using my recipes but ita good to have a reminder 🙂  

We wont be like the masses putting on weight over christmas we will stand united and keep fit and eat healthy…..just cos its vegan doesnt mean its good for u 🙂

Xxxx love ya

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