Wednesday, 31 July 2013

What's in my lunchbox? Simply idyllic

The word 'idyllic' springs to mind as regards this lunch. It was a pleasure for so many reasons.

Food containers

From a food point of view:

It used lots of produce from my allotment, or lovely seasonal things from the market. It was easy to throw together as it used leftovers from the weekend. I got to try out some of the ideas in An everlasting meal simply by throwing a load of vegetables in the oven.

From the top down:

· Cherries, purchased from the market and gently cooked to make them extra yummy

· Popcorn, home popped and mixed with coconut oil, salt and nutritional yeast

· Salad with spinach, rocket, roasted chickpeas, peppers and onions, with a drizzle of oil and balsamic vinegar

River bank

From a location point of view:

I explored the other side of the river and found a new delightful location to eat in.

Wishing you green ink and good food,



Wednesday, 24 July 2013

What's in the lunch box? Chillies are not peppers

This lunch does actually look rather dull. A very limited choice of dishes, with a big sandwich taking up the bulk of the photo. It's not even an exciting looking sandwich. Frills of lettuce and layers of colour do not peep from between the slices. However the taste is certainly not dull. The filling is an olive and tofu spread from Veganomicon. The original recipe sounds pretty delicious, and I'm certain would have tasted it too if I'd followed it.
I made an alteration in the recipe that I haven't done in ages. When the instruction said to add red pepper flakes I added red chilli pepper flakes. I've no idea why Ido this. Any illusions I had that the two were interchangeable much have vanished years ago when I took my first combustible mouthfuls.
Maybe I felt that my food needed to compete with the ambient temperature.
Lunchtime offerings:
· Sandwich with hot olive spread, spinach, and rocket
· Melon
· Home popped popcorn
· HHhH by Laurent Binet

Monday, 22 July 2013

London Vegan Drinks invades Wholefoods Kensington

I really enjoy looking at food. Even if I have no plans to buy anything there’s a certain pleasure to be had in admiring produce of all kinds. As a vegan I’m always intrigued to go somewhere new and see if they have products I haven’t previously tried. So I was pretty excited to hear that the new home for London Vegan Drinks was going to be Wholefoods Market in Kensington. I’ve visited the Piccadilly store on a couple of occasions and was happy with some more time in a similar environment.

As LVD didn’t start until 6pm I had plenty of time to enjoy vegan goodies in Camden.

Stir fry

My first stop was Loving Hut for some stir fry and a vanilla milkshake.

The guys serving couldn’t have been more helpful. I also had a great chat with another customer who said the place had turned him vegan 3 and half years previously. He’d bought a bunch of work colleagues over for the buffet and been amazed at how good the food was. When he found out it was vegan he decided that he’d better become one.

I was too full for dessert but happily a stride around the market and stables area left me ready to enjoy some sweet treat at Cookies and Scream.

I turned up at Kensington Wholefoods market expecting a store similar in size to the Piccadilly Circus one. I had no idea that this was 3 floors of mega store. I could have spent hours browsing on the ground floor (vegetables without plastic packaging, open barrels of lentils, peanut butter grinders, vegan chocolates) but thought I should go and be social!

The second floor is perfect for London Vegan Drinks. The room with a view is glorious, and has the best fake grass I’ve ever come across. I must confess I did spend some time digging down trying to find the soil because I was convinced it couldn’t be fake. The food court has ample food and drink options, and plenty of seating. I had vegan beer and pizza but could see plenty of things to try in future months. Hey, they had root beer…

Vegan pizza

I was really impressed with how welcome Wholefoods made us. From goodie bags to menus to smiley staff, it was a really great experience. It’s clear that Wholefoods get that vegan like to eat and drink as much as anything else. Food is important to us and we like to enjoy a variety of food stuffs which don’t all have to be totally healthy. We love cake as much as the next person.

I couldn’t resist picking up some groceries before leaving and am determined to check out some of the other services on offer. I love the thought of taking my own bottle to fill with olive oil, and I’m sure I spotted a similar offering for wine.

So to sum up I’m really excited about what Wholefoods has to offer, and looking forward to the next London Vegan Drinks so I can explore more.


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Things I Love Thursday

Lunches in the sun - my new work location by the river makes me feel like I'm in the middle of the countryside. I can eat lunch under a different tree every day.

Foraging opportunities - so far this week I've identified Sweet cicely , Darwin's barberry, Fennel, and Hedge mustard. And on a similar note, I'm still drinking lots of nettle and plantain tea.

Dancing like there's no one watching - I'be really been enjoying burlesque classes and practice this week. It's been great to work off some energy and tension by pulling ridiculous faces, getting into character and stretching my muscles.

Warm nights - with sash windows open at the top there's a suitable breeze to make warm nights a delightful experience that says summer is here; enjoy it while it lasts.

Meetings in parks - I met with Carla and Naomi to plan our next stage of world domination, and the park was the obvious place to designate our board room.

Easy iced coffee - I froze, in a ice tray, the leftover coffee from the weekend. Today I blended it with vanilla syrup and soy milk. The perfect morning beverage. Alas I drank it all before I thought to take a photo.

Actually getting to wear my summer clothes - all my clothes that look wrong with tights and cardigans are getting worn, and will continue to be worn (until the heat wave ends and they go back in the wardrobe for a year or two).

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

What's in my lunchbox? Just for the dressing

Food and book

I made this lunch pretty much entirely for the delicious dressing. It’s from a recipe in The Garden of Vegan. It’s easily overlooked as the recipe title focuses on the spinach and tofu that form the salad, rather than on this delicious tangy dressing. It’s perfect for the hot weather we’ve been experiencing of late.

The hot weather has also made lunch outside a truly enjoyable experience. Having recently moved offices I’m getting to appreciate riverside walks and plenty of delightful spots for lunch right on my doorstep.

Clockwise from top:

  • Sex and Stravinsky by Barbara Trapido - enjoying this so much I might have to do a rare book review post
  • Home grown strawberries and dark chocolate
  • Twiglets
  • Wonderful dressing – a blend of miso, oil, vinegar, ginger, soy sauce and garlic
  • Salad – radishes, various leaves (spinach, rocket, Oak leaf lettuce) and Italian style tofu (yes, plain fried tofu would have worked fine but I was feeling inspired).


This is where I enjoyed my lunch while listening to birds and watching butterflies.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

2013 Mid year review

At the start of the year I made a list of things I wanted to do in 2013. I reviewed them recently and my performance has been mixed!

Definitely making progress

  • Start a burlesque troupe and perform with them - a definite 'yes' following the formation of the Paper Dolls and The Fling festival.
  • Develop different income streams - I've certainly put plenty of energy into this area! In addition to Ink Drops Boxes the stationery subscription service I run with Carla of Ducking Fabulous, I've also been experimenting with Etsy, Ebay, Flea markets, and am working on a car boot sale and the green shop.
  • Engage with people more - I've met loads of interesting people this year and said yes to far more opportunities to connect.

Could try harder

  • Explore geocaching - lost my vibe on this after several fails at finding my 2nd cache.
  • Make pasties, knickers and garters - made paper pasties in April, but bit of a fail on the rest
  • Spend less time doing unnecessary things - there still aren't enough hours in the day.

Things to read

  • The Woman in white
  • To kill a mocking bird
  • Treasure Island
  • Pride and prejudice
  • something by Ford Maddox Ford read The good soldier in April
  • Anna Karenina

So looking at what I need to do for the rest of the year it's go geocaching, make some stuff, read plenty, and do less!

Friday, 12 July 2013

The handbag 5:2 - make up

Make up bag and contents
My initial plans for the 5:2 handbag project were to go absolutely minimal 2 days each week. So I'd pretty much be carrying keys, purse, phone, glasses and handkerchief.
However the thought of continuing to cart so much junk for the other 5 days became massively unappealing. So I'm going through what I carry and seeing what I can leave at home.
My make up bag is pictured above. Theoretically it's with me so I can touch up my make during the day. The reality is I never bother and only use it on days were I have a burlesque class after work, or am travelling to work by bus.
I have no idea why I need to carry 4 lip colours with me. And the Dallas compact in the middle of the picture is shameful. Yes it looks nice and compact. But look at what's actually inside it...
Make up

So all that for 2 eye shadows!

My newly slimmed make up bag is a lot less weighty. I can actually do the zip on the pouch up. The eye shadows have been renamed in a smaller container.

Make up bag and contents

The most interesting thing though is that I keep failing to put it in my handbag, and so far I haven't really missed it.


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

What's in my lunchbox? Best in the sun

Lunchbox on grass

Given the amount of meals I base on pantry, fridge and freezer clearouts you could be forgiven for thinking that I either have massive amounts of food hoarded, or that I buy so much food I can't keep track of what I've got.

I must confess I'm pretty amazed myself when I consider what to make for lunch, and uncover ingredients that compliment each other beautifully. It's almost like I planned it. Maybe I'm subconsciously batch cooking!

Clockwise from top left:

Pasties made with sesame seed pastry and filled with home-made vege burgers (made from tofu, soy mince and …who knows). Both pastry and burgers were in the freezer just waiting for me to put them together.

Salad dressing (in red pot) – a blend of Safflower oil and balsamic vinegar.

Twiglets – I was given a box of these last week and decided they are excellent nibble sized food.

Snack mix – my favourite combination of dates, salted almonds, pistachios, dark chocolate.

Salad with spinach, rocket, red pepper, cucumber, hazelnuts, and the last of the Field Roast meatloaf. Utterly glorious sprinkled with dressing.

Best eaten in the sunshine. Preferably with grass to sit on and a cool breeze from the river.

Wishing you green ink and good food,


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Presumed having a good time


Tofu burger and potato wedges
I had a fantastic weekend. It started with lunch at Pogo café on Friday lunchtime. I was delighted by my first visit to this vegan café, run by very chilled out volunteers. A tofu burger and wedges, was thoroughly enjoyed. Desert followed in the form of gooey chocolate tart.

Then I headed into central London for the annual reception for Friendship and peace held at the Japanese embassy. Never mind the UK having a special relationship with the yanks; we’ve got one with Japan too. The Ambassador’s beautifully crafted speech touched on the five pioneers, and William Adams. I had a marvellous time reminiscing with other Pacific Venturers, and chatting with embassy staff about home-made tofu.

I spent Saturday with my burlesque troupe, The Paper Dolls, at the Fling festival in Chelmsford. We were hosting a tent with a mix of performances, crafts and opportunities to dress up. I also managed to wander round and spotted Juke Box Jenny, a beach, the Legs Akimbo sports day, a silent disco, trash to treasure craft (an opportunity to create fabulously crazy home made hats), and a cabaret tent (with performances from Helles Belles burlesque, and Ginger Blush). Happily we were right next to the acoustic stage so I got to enjoy live music throughout the day.

Late on Saturday night I waved goodbye to the fire garden, loaded the equipment into my car and drove back across the deserted park weaving between tents. It was eerie but beautiful.

I then proceeded to spend Sunday picking large quantities of allotment produce, making lots of jam, reading in the sun in the garden, and playing Bass in a hot attic.

And the only photo I took all weekend is the one at the top of this post which is my lunch on Friday. During the busiest and most exciting periods of my life I’ve often failed to keep a diary. Hence I can only assume that this weekend I was lost in the moment. Just too busy enjoying myself to record anything.


Saturday, 6 July 2013

Are you coming to the Fling?

My burlesque troupe, The Paper Dolls, were asked if we fancied doing our stuff at The Fling. As the Fling is a fabulous festival of music, arts and curiosities for over 18s we said 'yes', despite the rather tight time scale.

If you are going to the Fling do come and join us for some dance, crafts, and dressing up, and discover your inner showgirl or showboy.

I'm also massively excited because Leon's vegetarian food is going to be there. I love his food, and sure I'll need plenty to eat to keep up my strength for performing.

So see you at the Fling? I'll be the one in the green corset and matching top hat!

Wishing you green ink and good food,



Thursday, 4 July 2013

Things I love Thursday

  • My new spectacles – great service from Braintree Specsavers, especially Julie. I've never enjoyed choosing glasses so much.
  • Getting ready for The Paper Dolls to appear at the Fling – 59 and a half minutes of burlesque here we come.
  • Fabulous produce from my allotment – strawberries, rocket, spinach, and oregano.
  • Nettle and Plantain tea – still loving the taste and think it is helping with my hayfever.
  • Mexican millet – another amazing recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Veganomicon.
  • Reading in the sunshine – something I need to do more of (sunshine permitting).
  • Being complimented - on my speed and efficiency at tyre pressure checks by another driver!
  • Dark shadows - I found time to watch a little TV and this was a most amusing take on vampires (and it featured Alice Cooper).

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

What's in my lunch box? With extra ingredient

Food and a book

There is something momentous about the dessert in this lunch. It’s not that my allotment is having one of the years where it produces mounds of fantastic strawberries. Or that this is the first time I’ve tried Field Roast meat loaf, and it is as good as I’d heard.

No, this is to do with the Gingerbread rhubarb pie. I’ve made this recipe (based on the apple version from Vwav) many times, and it always tastes delicious. However, I’ve never actually put ginger in it because I’ve never had any to hand. Well no more –this time ginger was present as indicated in the recipe and I must say it did add a certain tang to the mix of spices.

Clockwise from top left:

Gingerbread rhubarb crumble and strawberries – home grown strawberries and rhubarb

Dates, pastachios, salted almonds and dark chocolate – I still can’t get enough of this combiantion

Salad with new potatoes, rocket, spinach, asparagus, spring onions, red pepper, cucumber, Field Roast meatloaf – this was an awesome combo. When I was ready for lunch I tipped it into a bowl to mix it up and poured the dressing over.

The passage by Justine Cronin – reminding me of Stephen King but with less hope

Salad dressing – cold pressed Safflower oil with cider vinegar and garlic powder

Bowl of food