Tuesday, 31 January 2012

What's in my lunchbox this week? In which I conquer TVP


Lunchbox with food

 I enjoyed last week's lunch so much I just had to run a repeat on some of the dishes especially the TVP.

Clockwise from top right:

  • Steamed Brussels Sprouts - my favourite vegetable
  • Asian style TVP - everyone probably discovered this years ago but it's an amazing new thing for me. I've always had difficulties getting TVP to taste of, well, anything. Following last week's Vegan with a vengeance Chorizo TVP I was inspired. So I mixed up the Asian marinade for tofu from Vegan with a vengeance, added some extra water, threw in the TVP and left it overnight. Then the next day I just stuck the whole lot in a pan and cooked the excess liquid off. Expect to see a lot more of variations on this.
  • Pear
  • Rice and lentils
  • I've also been nibbling on popcorn with ground herbs and salt


Monday, 30 January 2012

My weekend

 I had an amazing weekend packed with interesting things like the netsuke above.

* lots of coding lessons - loved last week's lessons on codecademy * time with my family * my niece demonstrating what fun chairs are in the way only  a small child can * a fab knitted dress from a 60s pattern * a car full of firewood (loading and unloading weren't exactly weekend highlights) * cooking including Gingerbread Apple pie (minus the ginger) and conquering TVP * a visit to the V&A including the netsuke in the top photo, 

Annie Lennox pictures



Annie Lennox items

An exhibition of Annie Lennox costumes and related items (alas none of the costumes photographed well) and a costume from Rhinoceros!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Things I Love Thursday - simplified, yoga in ten and office love

Stuff that's making my day at present based on Gala Darling's concept

Words Words Words - I popped along to Selfridges on Oxford Street on my way to London Vegan Drinks last week and discovered they have a fabulous concept store on their ground floor which is where the simplified card above came from. If you're in London to pop along and grab your own card from their fortune telling roller coaster contraption or visit www.itsnicethat.com/wordswordswords

Yoga in the morning - I'm doing a few minutes of yoga every morning inspired by Barbara Currie's book. It's something I've intended to do for years but I've tended to skip days and only do he exercises I like. The variety this forces me to do us great and it's having an impact. When I had acupressure earlier in the week the therapist commented that my back was much looser than usual. Only thing is the book needs to back to the library soon so do ibuy a copy (even though I'm not interested in the diet and beauty bits) or look for an app that will give me a couple of new poses every day?

Office space - I moved into a new office at the end of last week. I'm in the same building but on the second floor instead of the first. I'm loving it! The light levels are great and I'm enjoying the company of the colleagues I'm sharing with. 

Other Stuff - Shakeaway (love that they do stuff for vegans although not so enthusiastic about the cost) *trying new recipes *"I'm not brave enough to wear knickers" *strutting in high heels *how to remove a tie *playing bass and coming over all punk *porridge with dates *speedy delivery *sobriety January 

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

What's in my lunchbox this week? Two new recipes

I'm so enjoying cooking at the weekends and chatting about food, recipes and blogs at London Vegan Drinks really inspires me to try out new things. If they use up stuff I already have in the house better still.

Clockwise from top right 

Cream crackers

Curried carrot dip - from Veganomicon. The only snag with vitamix for things like this is that larger quantities work better in it. That said even thought its not entirely smooth this blend of carrots, sunflower seeds and spices is great. I will definitely make this again. I can see it going with so many things.


Rice and lentils topped with breakfast veggie chorizo. The chorizo was from Vegan with a vegance and so easy to make. It made top chunks actually taste good and used ingredients I had in the pantry. Another make again. 

Monday, 23 January 2012

What I did at the weekend (and at the end of last week)

I've had the busiest few days. I've been having much fun and thinking how great life can be but I seem to have been on the go non stop! Hence I missed doing Things I Love Thursday (or Friday, or Saturday or even Sunday).

*I started a new Burlesque class and the routine should find a use for that school tie I bought for a Hen night *moved offices at work - love my new bright, light office with fab colleagues * London Vegan Drinks!!!!

I always have a great time at London Vegan Drinks. The food is always amazing and you get to meet lovely new people. So in the dodgy photo below you can see fab  and Mendelian (as they are known on the PPK website) and the lovely Natalie (hope you made your train).

With two late nights out of the way the weekend then arrived and entailed:

* more cupboard clear outs * lots of Bass playing (still working away on Living' on a prayer) and recording stuff for YouTube and last.fm * working to get through the week's codecademy lessons * Sunday brunch * a through application of henna to my hair * getting creative in the kitchen * staying on top of the weeds at my allotment * Work on crazy patchwork *tons of paperwork

So with a wonderful Monday out of the way I'm fully prepared to embrace the rest of the week - bring it on. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

What's in my lunchbox this week? Lurking in the pantry

Such is my enthusiasm for using up odds and ends of food stuffs that I now have a basket in the pantry to put them in. Thus whatever I'm cooking I'll have a look to see what 'extra' I might be able to shove in. So here's what I've cobbled together this week.

Clockwise from top right:

Dried figs and dates - mmm

Pearl barley - amazed that I don't cook this more often. It's easy to cook, goes with loads of things and tastes good. Plus it makes me think of sugar puffs!

Steamed spinach. I've teamed this up with a ginger/miso/soy dressing from The Garden of Vegan.

Chocolate chilli cupcakes - I had a bag of mixed chillies and grated chocolate so I just stirred loads into the cake batter. I did plan to make icing but on discovering that I was out of icing sugar I cut out circles from a block of royal icing that was lurking in the pantry. These are seriously sweet- I can feel the sugar hit my system after eating one

Monday, 16 January 2012

My weekend - changing the world one shelf at a time

Before - what was my obsession with Clinique boxes?

 After - a slimmed down shelf but I bet there's more here to ditch!

 I had a real clear out thing going on over the weekend. I'd been rearranging a shelf and then wonder why I was even keeping the stuff I was rearranging. So a busy weekend even if things didn't turn out quite the way I expected. You live and learn.


*made chilli chocolate cupcakes* put a Supernatural poster* did a lovely 8km walk in the fresh, cold air*watched Sherlock and speculated on how he survived* caught up with various bank statements* worked on codecademy lessons* played Angry Birds* spent a morning weeding and digging my allotment * finished Case studies by Kate Atkinson - loved the ending - so happy, so unexpected, so right* worked on learning the main riff from Living' on a prayer - I've still got a long way to go* watched The King's Speech and enjoyed it Erne than I expected* finished knitting a dishcloth I started about 5 years a go - something else that needs some practice*cleared out various cupboards but there always seem to be more to do

My weekends currently leave me ready to face the week ahead and ready for another weekend of shelf clearing


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Things I Love Thursday - being busy, haircuts and codecademy

 Inspired by Gala Darling's Things I Love Thursday here is what is making my life great at present.


Being busy - I'm always moaning about how much I have to do and that I'm always busy but I'm coming around to the idea that actually I like being busy and that it makes me happy. I love being productive, creating  things and ticking jobs off lists. So I'm mega busy as ever but feeling good with it!

Shorter hair - I had a haircut today and as ever am amazed that I lasted as many years as I do with long hair. Plus I can never work out how I manage to go without a haircut for so long. It's like the long hair creeps up on me!

Codecademy - I spotted something about a coding course on Twitter so I popped over to codecademy to sign up. So far so good and it's giving my brain a workout in the evenings. Head over there and have a look for yourself

Other stuff - The kindness of strangers, daily yoga practice, sobriety January, sewing on Saturdays, Sherlock.

Monday, 9 January 2012

My weekend

I had a great weekend. I got loads done and by Sunday evening I felt fresh and ready for the week ahead.

Stuff I did

* sorted out my filing system all ready for 2012 * put a zip in a dress and did some work on a couple of little bags * further to above discovered that although my sewing machine is awesome it doesn't t actually thread itself and unsurprisingly don't work well when it's not threaded right * went for a walk * visited my allotment to do some digging and to try out my new apple green wellies and fleece boot socks. Returned with a bag of potatoes and spinach * had Sunday brunch with the Sunday papers * prepared lovely food to enjoy *Painted my toenails in a variety of shades of green * various bits of cleaning involving vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and the impressive No more chemicals cloth I have recently acquired. Amazed by how much gunk it removed from my desk!

Next weekend I've got plans to restring my bass, reorganise a couple of shelves and dress like a rock star

What's in my lunchbox this week? - just a little time

Cooking inspiration is kicking in once again and an hour in the kitchen on Sunday pays off.

Clockwise from top right:

Steamed setian and Branson pickle. I used the dregs of a bottle of BBQ sauce to flavour the setian and think it could have done with a bit more oomph. The experiments with steaming the stuff will continue.

Boiled rice

Gingerbread Apple Pie from VWAV and a square of ginger chocolate. This recipe always turns out great.

Steamed Brussels Sprouts and red pepper hummus. I can't believe I've only really started combining these in the last six months or so.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Things I Love Thursday - unexpected gems, pjs and tiny details

Things that are making my day in the first week of 2012

Unexpected lunchtime joy - In the summer months there are a variety of parks I like to have lunch in. One is attached to a museum and despite entry being free I never venture through the doors. Today I did and it was great. There was so much more than I expected that I'll be making return visits all year to take in the details. Being a Thursday lunchtime in term time the place was empty. I was taken by surprise by the art collection and by other gems. Imagine stumbling across an entire room of 18th century glassware on a rainy lunchtime in January.

Wearing pjs - although I don't tend to wear a suit to work (spare me from having to iron shirts) I do tend to get changed when I get in. This week I've taken it a step beyond jeans to put my pjs on unless it's band practice. The way I see it I'd happily answer the door with a wine glass in hand so why not 'lounge pants' and fluffy slipper boots!

Spotting the tiny details that make houses individual -the front hedge trimmed into the shape of the door number, various wind chimes, different paths, fences and front doors.

Other stuff - sober January, Turkish delight, routine, yoga in the morning, wonderful neighbours with a zen atmosphere surrounding them.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

My master plan for 2012

If my blog had a soundtrack there would be an evil cackle right now as I lure you into reading yet another photo free post where I set out yet another philosophy to live by. However philosophies for life have to change on a pretty regular basis because change is the only constant.
So my big ideas for at least the first few months of 2012 are as follows.

1. Accept that routine is a good thing that it frees the mind to get creative and ensures food is prepared, clothes are washed and that bills are paid. Also accept at I would be unlikely to be doing anything more exciting most of the time anyway.

2. Declutter one space in the house every week. Go for low standards on this and consider that even a single item counts as a declutter activity.

3. Sew something every Saturday. The same low standards apply but keep reminding self how nice it would be to clear my fabric stash.

4. Eat main meal at lunchtime on Sunday and embrace vegan brunch type dishes.

5. Spend an hour on Sunday preparing food for the coming week. Try to include a carb, a protein, a vegetable, a sauce or dip, a snack and a dessert.

6. Behave one weekend a quarter as if I am ill e.g. Do nothing, avoid alcohol, sleep, eat easy food and generally recharge my batteries.

That's it. Let's see how things pan out. Stay tuned.

Monday, 2 January 2012

That was the year that was - 2011 review

Here are my highlights from 2011. I must try to include illustration for the 2012 review!

January –  Has an alcohol free month with two exceptions and one major hangover. Visited the Future beauty: 30 years of Japanese Fashion exhibition.

February – Saw MCR in concert. Passed my driving test (after 19 years). Celebrated my unbirthday at a Beer festival.

March – Dressed up 60s style for my parent’s joint birthday party. Went to Yoshi Yamamoto exhibition at V&A. Bought my first car and terrified myself driving all over the place.

April – Went to Paris for the first time. Loved it. Went skiing for the first time. Hate is a strong word but… Had my first passenger in my car. Watched the royal wedding while wearing a Tinkerbell tiara.

May – Went to the Japan at Home exhibition. Got inspired by heatwave to change wardrobe over early. Walked a dog for the first time in my life.

June – Drove to Somerset and discovered that you can’t drive up really big hills in fifth gear. Stayed in an Easy Hotel. Dyed clothes green. Took part in belly dancing show.

July – Got stuck in massive traffic jam on M25. Celebrated my niece’s birthday with fairy lemonade. Drove around the countryside tracking down weights for a sash window.

August – Tried Zumba – energetic fun. Went to V Festival – loved Manic Street Preachers, You Me at Six and Good Charlotte. Enjoyed Judith Kerr exhibition at V&A childhood museum and bought my own copy of The tiger who came for tea. Hung out with my sister and grandparents for the day (and acquired a new green handbag). Spent a day recording with my band. Planned a fabulous west to East coast American road trip for 2014.

September – tried Burlesque and loved it. Dressed as Lara Croft for a fancy dress party and hung out with Hunter S. Thompson, Indiana Jones and a number of fairy tale princesses. Went to London Vegan drinks, met some amazing people and felt inspired.

October - a second night of Vegan London drinks and ate at Tibits – mmm! Went on Jack the Ripper walk. Joined a burlesque class and went to ‘an evening of Burlesque’. Enjoyed an afternoon of pumpkin carving and cider tasting.

November – Introduced my niece to fireworks (she was less than impressed). Discovered that one should always check the trains for engineering works before venturing into London. Went to the third London Vegan drinks and had even  more awesome vegan food. Made a skirt for a friend so that she could go to a party dressed as Jessica Rabbit (she did and looked so glam). Made steamed Setian. Went to Hogswatch in Wincanton and had a jolly time with friends and family.

December - Went to the Christmas without Cruelty fayre and enjoyed sampling various foods including cupcakes. Went to Westfield with my sister for a day of Christmas shopping. Hosted our 7th New Year party with 10 guests. My song of the year was Sure feels right by Sixx a.m. got  to bed at 4.31 ready to begin an awesome 2012.