I adore good, home-cooking and using vegan and SLO ingredients (seasonal, local and organic). Ever since I left the UK just before Christmas and have been traveling and living out of a suitcase (parted from my much-loved Le Creuset pots), I have really struggled to find the food I like. Plus, it can be so expensive eating out for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
One recipe I used for many dinners as I was traveling was this couscous dish. It’s easy, tasty and economical. Using a tiffin box I had packed with me, I simply poured some couscous into it and added boiling water from a hotel or motel kettle/jug and placed a lid over it for five minutes. Once the couscous had heated through, I seasoned it with a little natural sea salt and pepper and then I added marinated artichokes and peppers, fresh cherry tomatoes and spinach. The final flourish was a generous spritz of lemon juice. This is crucial because it gives a lovely zing to the meal. Delish!
Hopefully, you can give this idea a try when you’re next traveling and remember to bring your own cutlery! This way you can eat well but still save a bit of money and excess packaging and plastic.
I’ve just made these small focaccia breads today and they’re officially my new favorite things to bake! They’re easy, pretty, tasty and fill you up with a little baker’s pride. These small yet plump packages look rather stunning when studded with purple grapes (which were picked from outside the vines on our verandah). The sweetness is combined with a savoriness from the sea salt and rosemary and makes for a stellar combination. These would be ideal for picnics, snacks or with salads and soups.
To make the bread, I based it on a recipe by Delia which used –
2 1/3 cups plain white flour (I used organic)
1/2 t salt (Maldon sea salt)
2 t yeast
1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 t rosemary, chopped finely
1 t sea salt
3 T olive oil
- Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl and then add the yeast, approximately one cup of warm water and 1 1/2 T of olive oil
- Knead for 10 minutes and then let it rest for 1 1/2 hours (covered)
- Knead for 2-3 minutes and then shape into small circles
- Using your fingers, make indentations in the bread and then fill with seedless grapes and sprinkle with sea salt and olive oil
- Allow the bread to rest (covered) for 30 minutes
- Drizzle the bread with some water and then bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 190°C.
Vintage Suitcase – Guest Room Supplies
The next time you have people staying, why not try this cute way of storing towels? Fold them into a small vintage suitcase or vanity case and all of a sudden your room will look very ’boutique hotel-ish.’ I also like Country Living’s suggestion of adding some supplies for guests such as dried fruit and herbal tea.
Brass Bucket Sink
Using an old brass bucket as a vegetable sink adds such a rustic and charming touch to the kitchen. I’m on the look out for vintage brass buckets now!
Stick to using vintage mirrors in the same color and style for an eclectic but sophisticated look.
I’ve started planting things and I’m almost too excited about it (as shown by the amount of hay used on the lettuce pots above). Because I am struggling to find organic fruit and vegetables where I live, I figured I better start growing them myself. Not having a garden is no longer an excuse when I can plant everything in pots (terracotta pots made in Italy, no less). We’ve planted some organic broccoli, kale, spinach, lettuce and basil. That’s a good start and that’s a lot of green leafy stuff!
It’s only been one week and my gardening optimism has not waned. I continually carry the pots around to the sunniest spots outside the house and shoo away ominous looking insects with rosemary twigs!
Hopefully, I will be showing you luscious-looking vegetables in a few months time and raving about how good they taste. If I don’t mention container gardening again on this blog then it will be safe to assume that it has not gone well and my plants did not end up resembling anything remotely edible! I better go. There’s one of those pesky white cabbage butterflies near my broccoli!
If you love shopping for handmade goodies on Etsy but want to find the best vegetarian and vegan products, you must check out EtsyVeg. Their Marketplace makes it ultra easy to find just what you are looking for. Fashion, beauty, homewares. It’s all there and it’s all animal friendly!
Here are a few lovely things that caught my eye but there is much, much more to check out from the talented and conscientious Etsy sellers who are all vegetarian or vegan. Pop over to the EtsyVeg blog for more information or try searching for pieces labelled, ‘EtsyVeg Team’ the next time you are shopping on Etsy.
Thank you Heather (Etsy shop – Aktie9) for introducing me to the EtsyVeg team and a big thank you to all the EtsyVeg sellers who are making it so fun and easy for us all to shop for vegetarian and vegan products to suit our lifestyles. Keep up the good work!
Organic Cotton Forest Friends Pin Set – Vegan Craftastic ($6)
Upcycled Tire Tube Wallet – Derek Howlett Dot Com ($12)
Vintage Cake Carrier Tin – Mothrasue ($30)
I’ve been vegan for several years now and I was vegetarian before that but I still haven’t tried cooking with barley. You think I would have mastered several stunning barley-bountiful dishes by now and yet I have not! I think these recipes will inspire me to start cooking with this ‘low glycemic-index grain’ that contains, ‘calcium, phosphorus and B vitamins’ (according to Dr Weil
). I’ve got my eye on the salad above that is speckled with capers, olives, pumpkin seeds and basil.
Indian Winter Soup
– BBC Good Food
It’s summer here in New Zealand but I still want to make this with seasonal vegetables on the next blustery day.
Barley Soup with Greens, Fennel, Lemon and Dill – Epicurious
This can be easily veganised by omitting the feta.
Wild Rice and Barley Salad – Whole Foods Market
This salad looks easy to whip together and I like the inclusion of dried apricots and tarragon.
Barley with Apricots, Hazelnuts, Chocolate and Honey – Whole Living
For a sweeter, vegan barley bite, switch milk to your favourite non-dairy kind and use a good quality dark chocolate (non-dairy).
Warm Barley Cereal with Dried Cherries – Whole Living
I’ve mentioned this one before but had to include it here. How could I not? There’s almond milk and ground flax meal. I’d just use a more natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup along with any seasonal fruit.
Ah, baking without eggs, butter, milk, refined sugars and baking powder. I can almost hear Nigella scoffing and saying, ‘why bother?’ But bother I do and bake on, I will!
I made these apple and blueberry vegan muffins last week and now they are all gone (even the ones I froze). Granted, I was the only one that ate them and my health food palate is used to the wholegrain spelt flour and apple juice that I used. Other palates may think these muffins taste toohealthy.
I still need to perfect the recipe but these worked out pretty well. Considering these little things were devoid of many, many things, I am proud that they rose at all and came out resembling muffins!
As soon as I master the muffin recipe, I will be sure to share it here. Until then, the baking and tasting continues…
This is an Indian dish we have been cooking a lot lately. It’s one of those star recipes you find and just have to share with people. It’s great served with dhal and brown basmati rice, sprinkled with lemon juice and coriander (cilantro). The recipe is by Bal Arneson and the only tweaks I’ve made are to cook with olive oil and add some hot water (1/2 cup or so) when cooking the sweet potatoes along with a dash of red chilli flakes. You can also use dried ginger if you don’t have fresh ginger. Enjoy!
Indian Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Recipe
It’s amazing how organizing your kitchen can make you feel more on top of things. I’ve decanted all dried fruit, nuts, pulses and whole grains into lovely glass jars and what a difference! It’s great having everything on display. I’m now inspired to cook so much more (whether I do or not is another question but at least the culinary inspiration is there!).
P.S – To keep organic nuts, seeds and wholemeal flour as fresh as possible, pop them in the fridge and/or freezer.
I love it when a book seems to find you. Isn’t it always the way? When you’re not looking for something, that’s often when you make the best discoveries. This cookbook is one of them. The recipes and pictures in One More Slice (Leila Lindholm) make you want to dive into the pages and start snacking with the lovely looking people who are picnicking on beguiling delights such as wood-fired pizza, fresh pasta and fruit-filled pies.
I gravitated towards the alluring bread sections in the book. You can learn how to make your own sourdough starter or try brave new bread recipes such as a beetroot baguette or rye sourdough with apple and walnuts. I also can’t wait to make a tortano (an Italian bread that can be filled with luscious lashings of roasted vegetables or portobello mushrooms).
There is also an array of sweet recipes in the book and while the cheesecakes, waffles and pies aren’t vegan, they are of course, inspiring and may give you some ideas of how you could tweak them to suit your own tastes or dietary needs. Either way, if you love pretty cookbooks that are still practical and useful, then this is one to add to your collection. I’ve added it to my embarrassingly, expansive collection. If only I could pour over the classics as enthusiastically as I do with my cookbooks.