Thursday, 25 February 2010

Things I Love Thursday

Making stuff in the Vita–mix (even if it does scare me), Remoska – perfect bread, dancing, music, Lost on DVD, planning which seeds to plant and dreaming of summer abundance, Massage anticipation, realising that it might just be OK, home made pizza.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

What's in my lunchbox this week?

A week with nothing from Vwav and no white cabbage! What happened? It’s simple –the vita-mix has arrived. I’m completely terrified of it and attempting to overcome this fear by blending anything that happens to by lying around the fridge.

Clockwise form top left:
Apple – no vita-mixing involved.
Brussels Sprouts – no vita-mixing involved.
Parsnip, sweetcorn and vegan mayo – the parsnips were ground pretty much to sawdust in the Vita-mix. The mayo was whipped up in the Vita-mix using soya milk. I didn’t add as much oil as I should be I suitably impressed to be thinking that I’ll be making my own mayo from now on.
Rice with Cashew cheese sauce – this is a mix of a recipe from the Vita-mix cookbook and the garden of Vegan. The alarming colour is due to a roasted red pepper. It tastes good if not amazing. One to play around with a bit.

I haven’t abandoned Vwav entirely. I shall be making vegan cupcakes for a gathering at the weekend and have a recipe in mind for lunch next week. By then I may have got to grips with my fear of the fierce sounding motor.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Things I Love Thursday

Random people on Penny Farthings, sun dried tomatoes, pancakes that turn out eatable, potato wedges made in the Remoska, overhearing someone rapping to his mates (and thinking about literary theory), Indian Head massage, good relaxing sleep, Silken tofu, Lost on DVD, Raw mushroom sandwiches, the smell of hyacinths in the kitchen, Desk diaries blog, reading the manual.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

What's in my lunchbox this week?

Much as I like tofu I’ve always been a bit suspicious of silken tofu. It’s blancmange like texture and tendency to crumble (in a sloppy manner) put me off. Well Vwav has changed all that. I now appreciate the wonders of vacuum packed tofu. In fact I’m feeling generally inspired by the wonders of tofu.

Clockwise from top right:

Carrot sticks
White cabbage – this should be the last week to feature the giant cabbage I bought a while back
Sun dried tomato frittata – Made using a recipe from Vwav. Much easier than I expected and much tastier. Definite remake.
Apple – I bought these enormous apples at the weekend. It’s been quite a challenge to fit one in the laptop lunchbox.

Monday, 15 February 2010

The mysterious case of the missing maternity clothes

Life can just be so perplexing at times.

I’m expecting to become an auntie in the summer. So as a first time auntie to be who wants to support the first time mother to be I offered to by her some maternity clothes.

I’ve always liked the look of those maternity capsule wardrobe and did offer one of these initially. However after a bit of discussion the high street was deemed perfectly acceptable (especially if the shop was linked with Kidstart). Buying online is easy but being unfamiliar with maternity wear I thought I’d best go and check out the items in the flesh so to speak.

So at lunchtime I headed off. My destination was M&S but as my route passed Bhs I decided to pop in their and have a look at the Dorothy Perkins section which has just moved into the front of the store.

As I teenager I perpetually would find a garment I totally adored in Dorothy Perkins only to discover it was actually from the maternity range. Consequently I had high hopes. Well they were dashed when I couldn’t actually find any maternity wear. Then again the whole section was a bit of a mess. Wallis has recently taken up residence in Bhs too and the section seemed to be mixed up. Another issue was a range of clothes with a W and threaded needle on the label. I began to wonder if this was some kind of clever reference to something but then realised that it was actually a Bhs range. I stumbled around for a while and then off to M&S.

Stumble being the correct word. Had I thought it through I might have chosen a day that wasn’t the start of half term to venture into the shops. So trying not to tread on small people and avoiding being mown down by buggies and teenagers on skateboards I headed to reliable old M&S.

Alas I experienced the same problem. I just couldn’t find any maternity wear. I had lots of false hits. Current fashions for tunic tops and jumpers dresses fit right in with my concept of maternity wear. Likewise there seem to be a lot of skirts and trousers with elastic at the waist. However not a single one of these was labelled maternity.

So is maternity wear just not labelled anymore? Is it only available in stores at certain times of year? Do all expectant mothers just buy online?

I suppose I’ll have to either buy unseen or go to Mothercare.

Friday, 12 February 2010

What I read this week

Primal – Robin Baker
First thing anyone needs to know about this book – it’s awash with naked bodies and sex. Look past that and the inevitable comparisons with Lost and you’re onto some gripping fiction. The story of students stranded on an island when a field trip goes wrong is essentially told by an author (the actual author appearing as himself!) writing a book about the events. What makes it interesting is the different voices that appear in the narrative based on where his information from. While wondering what will happen next as a reader you are also questioning how true any sequence of the events is. The main characters (including the author) all have their reasons for manipulating the truth. Unfortunately this means that focus is on just a handful of individuals and the rest of the characters are a little on the generic side. I found that as time went on I disliked most of the characters but wanted to know more about their experiences. The descriptions of life on the island and the break down of social mores were interesting but I think the author’s background in sexual biology coloured his perspective. This is definitely worth a look at and make sure you don’t have anything else on when you start reading – you won’t be able to put it down.

Lost – Chris Jordan
Nothing to do with the TV series. A fairly standard crime novel story about a kidnapping and Private Investigator/consultant. What really made this was the characters. The telling is intriguing. Most of it is in third person. Big chunks are told in first person by Jane, the mother of the kidnapped girl. I liked Jane. What makes this nvoel more intriguing is that pretty much everything we know about the consultant, ex- FBI Randall Shane we learn through Jane with occasional bits from the third person. This distance increases his mystery. Parts of his story are fascinating. Like his inability to sleep when stressed. Other bits, such as his back story and nearly retirement seem more usual. It looks like this one of a series of book featuring Shane Randall. I’m wondering f the same style of narrative is used. I can see it’s a great way of humanising characters who would only appear in that book while keeping our main man suitably interesting.

A dance in time – Orna Ross
I’m only about fifth of the way through this. There are several story lines. One is around Izzy and her daughter, Star. The reader is learning something of Izzy’s life story with commentary from Star. Then there is another strand around Maud Gonne. It took me a while to get into it despite the early introduction of tension and mystery (Was Izzy responsible for her father’s death?). I always see it as a good sign when I find I am thinking about a book while not reading it so I think I’ve been success drawn in. The writing is well crafted and there is a clear change in style between the two stories. No idea where the plot might be heading so that means that just like real life it’s not predictable either.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Things I Love Thursday

Conveyor belt sushi, beer festivals, unbirthdays, wonderful friends, playing bass, compliments, red wine, Vwav, green nail polish, gripping novels, Postcard bags with ribbon straps, new notebooks, family, escape, blue skies, green stars, reminding myself not to worry, stretches before bed, Kettle the cat, future plans, ticking off jobs lists

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

What's in my lunchbox this week?

I’m beginning to wonder what I’ll do when I worked my way right through Vwav. Go back to the start and go again?

I bought cauliflower this week with the intention of either making the recipe that appeared in the Meat Out Monday email or just steaming the cauliflower. Then I thought I’d just have a little peep in Vwav and the die was cast.

Clockwise from top right:
*Steamed Brussels Sprouts
*Unsalted Cashews nuts and a piece of dark chocolate
*Cauliflower Kugel – I did a little playing around with the recipe for this (Isa would be proud). I skipped the leeks (didn’t have any) and subbed wheat germ for Matzos and ground almonds for whole roasted. It’s so good I had to resist going home and eating the whole pot. Bet it would be great with roast potatoes and gravy.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Celebrate whenever you like

My birthday is on a ridiculous day. It’s so close to New Year and Christmas that everyone is partied out. Celebrations as a result tend to be a little on the half hearted side. I also know that it’s usually the last day before going back to work and facing up to January.

This year I made the decision to hold off on celebrating until the first weekend in February. By a rather marvellous coincidence this turned out to be the same weekend as a local beer festival.

The result – a wonderful afternoon and evening with friends. The atmosphere at the festival was great. Everyone had been looking forward to getting together. No one felt under pressure to do anything. The selection of drinks on offer was suitable varied even to please the non-beer drinkers.

As a bonus I also felt less need to actually celebrate on the date of my birthday. This made for a relaxed day which actually lead to celebrating with a couple of neighbours.

It’s totally clear to me. Bah to old fashioned traditions of actually celebrating your birth on the day of the year you were born. Unbirthday celebrations are the way forward.

Friday, 5 February 2010

What I read this week

Weekend newspapers
Amazingly our paperboy managed to deliver a paper on Friday (The Times), Saturday (Saturday Guardian) and Sunday (The Sunday Times). Usually there is a problem with at least one of the deliveries. It’s taken me most of the week to work my way through the various sections. I’ve been enjoying some really good pieces covering Fat fashion blogging, Blair’s appearance at the Chilcot enquiry and the dress code for Tesco customers.

Lit riffs – edited by Matthew Miele
A collection of short stories inspired by songs. It’s taken me all week to work through this because the stories are all so different. I think this is because the only link the stories have to one another is that they are inspired by a song. Hence I’ve found it difficult to rush on and read the next story without stopping to think about and digest the one just read. Some are surreal. Some have a moral point to make. Others just capture a little snippet of life. It’s great if you know the music that was the inspiration, but they read perfectly well if you don’t. It’s got me thinking, if I was asked to write a story inspired by a song which one would I choose?

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Things I Love Thursday

Melissa shoes – I’ve always been told a bargain is only a bargain if you were going to buy it anyway. Well, I’d planned on buying some Melissa shoes from Bourgeois Boheme at the end of January. I was pretty chuffed to discover that they shoes I wanted where in their sale. I was even more chuffed when they arrived yesterday. They fit perfectly, are comfortable and look great. That’s my summer shoe needs taken care of then.

Environmentally sound packing and packaging – My Remoska and shoes mentioned above both came with paper based wrappings. Easy to recycle. None of this nonsense about putting it in a plastic bag for no apparent reason.

Waking up feeling relaxed – I slept really well on Saturday night and woke up without achy shoulders or tense muscles. It was a great night of sleep. I put I down to a combination of bass playing and red wine.

Other stuff -Playing Bass, vegan sushi, Whisky at the Cro Bar, seeing my niece/nephew 2B on the baby scanner machine thingy, making a summer skirt from two t-shirts, cooking in the Remoska, music, Vwav, tofu.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

What's in my lunchbox this week?

My obsession with Vwav continues. I understanding now why so many Vegan bloggers go on about it. It’s making me a less lazy cook (some of the time anyway) as it’s as much effort to follow a Vwav recipe as do something random. Also it seems to use ingredients that I already have.

Clockwise from top right:
Raw white cabbage – yes it’s back!
Italian marinated tofu – from Vwav and totally divine
Cream crackers and vegan cake – guess which one used a Vwav recipe? I intended to do pasta to go with the tofu but the crunch of the cracker goers well against the softer tofu.
Rhubarb – Gently compoted with no added anything.