Vegan Green Pasta

So. What you need to do is…..

…..get yourself some itty bitty pasta. The kind you put in soups. I found these teeny tube shapes in the ‘world food’ section of  our local supermarket – funnily enough, not in the Italian bit.

Then, you want to make a paste from just about any herbs hanging around – flat leaf parsley, coriander, basil. Sorta like a pesto ‘cept not. No pine nuts necessary but fennel, celery and onion are good components for flavour.

Put it all in a pan, cook it up and bingo, you’ve got yourself one tasty little supper dish. That easy.

Y’know, I need more simplicity in my kitchen, which is why I’ve been loving this paste thing so much. I’ve used it with rice, giant couscous and I plan to use it with other grains. It’s a winner.

And I think it’s only appropriate that I give credit to the magnificent Ms. Miers. That lady knows food. Big love.

ingredients

herbs –  flat leaf parsely, coriander, basil etc.

fennel, celery or onion  – some or all

garlic – big clove

lemon or lime juice – a bit

olive oil – glug

salt and pepper

mini pasta shapes – about a cup

1/2 vegetable stock cube

halved cherry tomatoes – a few

cubed basil tofu –  optional

method

make a paste. lightly fry. add the pasta and stir to coat it. add the stock cube and cover with water.

simmer until all the water is absorbed, add a little more water and continue to simmer until the pasta is fully cooked.

stir through the tomatoes and basil tofu. heat through. season. serve.

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Daily Eats….

Sweet mama, I am an eating machine these days. Cannot get enough of fresh food in this glorious weather!

Fresh fruit, salads, chilled breakfasts. I am in hea.ven.

Above is an example of what I’ve been eating on a daily basis lately. It varies but there is a lotta green and a good bit of flava going down in my meals recently, which brings joy to my heart. And my belly.

Bircher Muesli served with sliced nectarine and blueberries

My new discovery is green rice/couscous/pasta…..any other grain you care to use and holy moly it’s a goodun. It’s all about a making a paste, gently frying and then infusing all those wicked flavours into whatever carb you like. It’s criminally tasty and I am obsessed!

Bringing back the bircher muesli in the mornings was a shrewd move. Nothing like starting the day with oaty goodness and making it all summerified is what it’s all about. Very pleased. I’m totally loving prune (yes prune) soya yoghurt stirred through it. Amazing. Trust me.

Lunchtime salads – potato salad & carrot, sweetcorn and avocado salad

Carrot salad. Um, heart! The one here is just mixed with sweetcorn, avocado, chopped coriander and a dijon dressing. Simple. To the point. God damn delicious.

Put that mayo (and nayo!) away people – ugh, no gloopy goop goin’ on my tater salad. No siree. Wholegrain mustard dressing sweetened with palm sugar is what I’m talking about and plenty of finely chopped green stuff (oh, I just about throw everything but the kitchen sink in….capers, gherkins, celery, fennel – crunch, texture, flavour, love). Don’t forget the dill and you have got yourself one serious salad.

Chilled Chopped Melon and a Vegan Digestive topped with Vegusto ‘cheese’

Oh, and while you’re at it, why not try a little digestive topped with Vegusto vegan cheese on for size. My Husband screwed his nose up initially. After the first bite? Hooked. Will he never learn…..I am ALWAYS right about these things. Sheesh.

I’m giving you that ‘green pasta’ recipe, by the way, but I’m making it all proper for ya so you might have to wait a day or two. I promise it’ll be worth it.

Lordy, lordy, summer eats got me all hmmm hmmm, sassy and you knows it!

Yeah, I’m basically talking complete nonsense crap now…..forgive?

Green Pasta with cherry tomatoes and basil tofu

 

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Body Issues and Summer Frocks…

dress-h&m,  shoes-american eagle (purchased at payless),  belt-vintage (possibly episode in camden),  stripey bra-m&s,  glasses-specsavers (style -bunty)

Let me speak candidly.

My knees are, well, hmmm, how can put this……not pretty. Sorry knees! I’m not terribly fond of my legs either and don’t even get me started on my thighs. Wibble. Wobble.

I think I spent most of my teenagedom wishing I had super slender legs like the girls I went to school with – oh how I pined for long limbs and skinny pins –  but despite working out like a lunatic and continually watching my diet it never happened. I may have toned them up a bit but not enough for me to want to willingly show them to the world. Compulsory green knickers meant P.E. lessons were the stuff of nightmares – knees, legs, thighs, ahhhhhhh!

And so they remained hidden underneath 100 denier tights, flared jeans and mid length skirts. Until I hit my twenties when I said ‘to hell with it’ and fully embraced the dress.

Now, maybe it’s me getting older (possibly) and simply not giving a damn (definitely) or perhaps it’s just the realisation that they aren’t all that bad(they certainly could be worse!), which has given me the confidence to bare my legs……and actually feel good about it.

errr, i matched my bra with my shoes……

I view my body in such a different way now – praise be! When I was younger I focused solely on the exterior. Because skinny equals healthy, right? Oh, I wish I had the wisdom then that I have now. I might’ve been a little kinder to myself.

Us girls are waaaaay too hard on ourselves:(

My attitude towards weight? Simple. I don’t weigh myself. When I have to be weighed at the Doctors, I make sure to tell them I don’t want to know what weight I am. As long as I know I’m healthy and fall within the recommended bmi category thingy ma jig, I’m happy.

When I try on clothes, I take in a range of sizes and always go with the one that flatters my figure the most  – I don’t get hung up on a number.

dress-atlantic clothing in camden (now closed),  t-bar wedges-charity shop,  sunglasses-boutique in St.Ives,  bag-nica

I know that when I’ve been slacking on the wholefoods and relying a bit too much on convenience stuff it reflects in my appearance. I’m so aware now of what my body wants and needs (plant based diets are great for that!) that scales are completely irrelevant – stones, pounds and kilograms are not important as long as you feel good within yourself. Corny but true.

For me, it’s time to embrace what I’ve got and truly own it. Of course, it helps having a Husband who compliments you daily and isn’t that the point? I mean, who exactly are we trying to look good for? Girls can be terribly judgmental. Cruel even. It’s sad. It’s intimidating. It’s downright ridiculous. But, it’s habit and everybody does it.

Let’s be kinder to one another.

….a rough and tumble kid with the scars on knees to prove it….

So first and foremost I dress for myself and secondly I want to look good for my Husband. If I happen to please a few other people along the way then that’s a bonus and if not, then I take the ‘well, you can’t please ’em all’ tack.

Shoddy looking knees, wibbly wobbly thighs ‘an all, I’ve grown to love (ok, accept) my body – ain’t ever gonna have anybody elses, might as well make the most of what I’ve got. It’s not perfect and it never will be. But I look after it, it serves me well in the health department (thank you body!) and it even occasionally allows me to wear a summer dress without looking totally absurd. I hope….

working on my calivintage jump;)

 

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A day in the life of a……Stylist’s Assistant

what i’m wearing:

striped vest – gap,  skirt – vila (purchased at Oliver Bonas),  shoes – thrifted,  belt – oxfam,  bag – nica

If you follow me on twitter (follow me! @AineCarlin) you’ll know I’ve started this little series of tweets – a day in the life of…..

It’s just a bit of fun really and keeps me occupied when I’m on public transport on my way to return samples or attend a shoot.

Assisting has been a great way for me to cut my teeth in this seriously competitive industry-oh I just love making life difficult for myself! When I’m not assisting I am over at Sublime doing the online thang and currently the balance is just about right. A few tweaks before it’s perfect but I’m close. This a relief. I am too old for most kinds of stress (I exaggerate) – I have a self diagnosed weak disposition. Or maybe it’s just a propensity for laziness…you decide.

Anyway, comfort when donning the assistant hat is key. Something that didn’t even occur to me before experiencing this fashion world first hand. Like most people, I had glamour at the forefront of my mind whenever I thought of styling and photoshoots  – which, truth be told, was the bit that sorta repelled me. I might be an anti-glamourist. Probably harks back to my objectionable youthful self that poo-pooed anything mainstream.

But no, for the assistant, it’s more about flats than fancy footwear and less about appearance than doing a damn good job. This is when my perfectionist nature is actually welcomed (at home, not so much) and my stamina levels are put to the test.

Of course, the temperamental weather in London can often throw a monumental spanner in the works but I’ve learnt to roll with it and mostly (mostly) come out on top-nice try rain, maybe next time!

As I mentioned in my previous post we are in the midst of a heat wave here, which is awesome but can play havoc when it comes to dressing, especially when you know you’ll be trekking around London with a full to brim suitcase.

You get much tutting when you have a gigantic piece of luggage in tow and most of the time I feel like screaming “I AM NOT A TOURIST”. But, of course,  I’m way too polite so only say it inwardly. Oh to have a pair of balls. Metaphorically speaking.

Today was another scorcher so I decided on a loose skirt-nothing worse than being stuck on London transport in a pair of sweaty trousers, ugh. I’ve been searching for that perfect denim skirt for I don’t know how long and by total chance I came across this one at an Oliver Bonas the other day when I happened to be a few minutes early for a job. As soon as I picked it up I knew it was ‘the one’ and the best bit? Reduced to under half price!

This is the kind of skirt that has the ability to transform a wardrobe. Tops that I haven’t worn in an age have and will be given a new lease of life all because if this little denim number. To say I’m thrilled would be an understatement – I LOVE this skirt!

Also, what better way to stay cool in this heat than by sipping on a little coconut water. Dang that stuff is tasty. Bring it sun, bring it!

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A Sunny Day In London Town

 

Heads up! This is somewhat of a photo fest – I might’ve got a liddle bit trigger happy with the iphone camera, ahem.

Not usually one for checking the weather forecast I had no idea what was coming my way today – SUN, SUN, SUN!!! To my delight the grey skies I woke up to had transformed by lunchtime into the most glorious sunny day in London……gosh darn it but she is one pretty lady in the sunshine.

After finishing work early (woot!) we decided to go for stroll through Charlton House. The sun was high in the sky for most of the evening, which meant one thing had to be done……

….a cold beer by the river.

There isn’t a great deal of choice when it comes to pubs round these parts unless we want to go to Greenwich or Blackheath but we found a wonderful little place down by the riverside called The Hope and Anchor. With benches facing the water and an excellent selection of music piping through the outside sound system, what more could you ask for?

Obviously I didn’t dress specifically for summer weather (more casual office wear) but luckily all I had to do when I got home was swap my brogues for sandals and et voila, a perfect outfit to take a stroll in. The light cardi came in handy later on though when the sun went in and it was sooooo great to finally get a bit of sun on my pasty skin.

This weather looks set to stick around for the next few days (yippee!) and I’m sure we’ll be taking full advantage. I promise not to bombard you with more photos…okay, there may be a few but I’ll try my very best to keep them to a minimum, that’s the best I can do;)

what i’m wearing…..

bird print top (H! By Henry Holland), navy slacks (bullfrogs), belt (Dunnes Stores), grey cardi (zara), satchel (nica), green sandals (can’t remember!), sunnies (boutique in St.Ives), necklace (The Jolly Boat, St.Ives)

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Vegan French Toast

 

Isn’t is great when things turn out better than you expected?

The last time I attempted to make vegan french toast it was an out and out disaster – bread welded to the pan disaster, know what I mean? I was reluctant to try it again but this morning I decided to take the plunge and bingo, vegan french toast success!

Here’s what I learnt from my past errors:

1. stale bread works best – don’t even think about pre-sliced bread, it’s got to be a loaf and make sure to cut those slices thick!

2. oil that pan good! keep it well oiled and add more as and when required, particularly between batches.

3. keep that pan hot – medium/high hot, not smokin’ hot, if ya get me?

4. do not leave that toast unattended for a second. use a palette knife to loosen it from the pan.

5. fry the toast in batches. overcrowding the pan is a big no no – I did two at time.

And that’s it! Follow those simple steps and your vegan french toast experience should be devoid of disaster.

ingredients

four thick slices stale bread

1 cup coconut milk

1 banana

1 tbsp flour

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1 heaped tsp coconut palm sugar

oil

method

put the coconut milk, banana, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and palm sugar in a blender and blitz until smooth. transfer to a baking dish.

add two slices of bread and allow to soak for several minutes before turning over.

heat a good glug of oil in a non stick frying pan/skillet, enough to fully coat the pan. add two slices of soaked bread and fry until golden on one side before flipping them over. again, fry until golden – about five minutes should do it.

keep warm in a pre-heated oven. Repeat.

for the cranberry compote

1 1/2 cups frozen cranberry (or any other fruit)

2 tbsp coconut palm sugar

juice of 1/2 lemon

method

place everything in a pan, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer.

when the cranberries are sufficiently soft and beginning to burst, transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth.

transfer to a bowl and place in fridge to cool.

serve the toast with a dollop of the compote and a selection of fresh fruit. would also be great with agave or maple syrup – yum!

 

 

 

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Sublime Online has launched!

 

mango salsa recipe – post: ‘choose organic. change the world’

I feel a little bit like a duck on water at the moment – calm on the surface whilst furiously paddling away underneath. Don’t get me wrong, it is great (GREAT!) to be busy, although I can’t help but feel peasoupeats is suffering as a result. This new work juggling act (assistant one day, blogger the next, intern another) is all very new to me (i was an actor for pete’s sake) and I’m still finding my feet – and ways to keep some equilibrium. It’s not easy but it’s also kinda exhilarating because I reeeaaaalllly don’t do well not doing anything. I think the phrase I’m looking for here is ‘stir crazy’ – too much downtime sends me a little bonkers, as my poor Hubby and Family can testify.

Now though, I can finally reveal what I’ve been working on and whilst there are still some teething problems, I hope you agree (when you click on the link – CLICK ON THE LINK!) that it’s looking pretty impressive (toot toot!). A little something for everyone….. at least that is the aim.

I talked a bit about Sublime here but to break it down for you again, it’s a sustainable lifestyle magazine, available bi-monthly either via subscription or in selected shops. It’s international, so even if you live outside the UK you should still be able to get your hands on it.

I’m involved with the online side of things and have been working on posts and also finding appropriate contributors – in fact, if you are interested in contributing a little sumpin’ sumpin’ we’re on the lookout for like minded individuals who have a vested interest in all things sustainable. Shoot me an email (address in the about section) and we can talk it through.

chinti and parker heart striped tee – post: ‘the real price of cotton’

Unsurprisingly my interests lie between food and fashion although I am branching out and writing posts on other topics too. So far, I’m feeling challenged (always a good thing in my book), terrified (you put me in charge? say wha?!) and also somewhat fulfilled (my blog got me this gig – true story).

Please, please, please give me any feedback on what you think of the site (it’s the latest section only) – I really value your opinion, I have the best followers ever, so intelligent, savvy and stylish, I totally trust your opinion. We’re trying to appeal to a wide spectrum of people, which is tricky but maybe there’s something you’d like to see covered. If so, let me know and I shall endeavour to make it happen.

By the way, there is a totally awesome craft post coming your way very soon (via Sublime), which was kindly contributed by the super talented Cariad (she makes stuff, owns a shop in Wales, and is generally all kinds of awesome). Check out her website for an array of pretty gifts, stationary and more…ooh, and like her facebook page too!

Watch THIS space!

poola kataryna necklace – post: ‘ethical fashion with a POP!’

 

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Spitalfields Summer Dresses!

You’d think I’d be a Spitalfields regular by now seeing as I’ve been in London on and off for a decade and currently live about a 30minute journey away – for those outside of the Capital, this is considered relatively ‘near’. Truth be told though, I’ve only been to the place a handful of times and have never actually bought anything there. Shock, horror!

However, on my way to work the other day I was running early and decided to pay this famous Market a visit, not planning on spending a penny and ending up with two very sweet vintage dresses that are perfect for the summer.

In fact, I’ve been on the lookout for dresses like these for quite a long time but haven’t had much luck. I’ve tried etsy, ebay, searched many, many vintage stores/charity shops both here and in Cornwall all to no avail – it would seem vintage summer dresses of this sort are in shortage. So, as soon as I seen this adorable red one and its blue counterpart (I’m sure I’ll take a photo of myself in that one too at some point) I couldn’t resist and promptly made a double purchase.

I won’t deny going in for a bit of hard haggling, which meant I almost got two for the price of one but times are hard and money (my money) is tight. You gotta do whatcha gotta do, right? I’ll definitely be back to the guys stall (he was super nice too, facebook page here) at some point in the future anyway so he’s made a customer for life – he had way too many cute clothes for me not to return.

What I love most about these dresses are the sleeves. Whatever happened to sleeves? I think sleeves are the biggest downfall in current fashion. They’re just not given enough consideration, wouldn’t you agree? Nowadays, dresses, for the most part, aren’t made for real women with shape – I don’t have stick thin arms nor do I have tiny hips. Vintage dresses seem to accommodate my figure so much better than ‘modern’ dresses – unless you’re prepared to spend a small fortune at Anthropologie or some such place and whilst I’d love to have the funds to dress myself from these mid market establishments, that is currently not a reality.

Besides, what is more fun than finding a pre-loved garment and giving it a whole new lease of life. For me, that really is something money cannot buy.

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Vegan Coconut & Lime Drizzle Cake

One of my favourite things in the world to do is host dinner parties. Whilst I’m not exactly the ‘hostest with the mostest ‘ (although I do try) they used to be a regular occurrence (try once a week) particularly when we lived in Chicago – I miss my American chums – but have been a little scarce of late due to us settling back into London life. Still adjusting but we’re getting there.

Even in Cornwall we were marginally more sociable and enjoyed having friends and family over for drinks, nibbles and homecooked grub. I’m a self diagnosed feeder. You come to mine, be prepared to eat.

I don’t why then it’s taken us so long to have a guest over to our new London abode. It’s silly really. Of course, my parents came to stay over Christmas and I did plenty of cooking and feeding then but that doesn’t really count because well, they’re my folks, not guests. Not that I don’t treat them like guests but……ach, you know what I mean. Talking myself in circles again!

Anyway, we had a guest. I went with a (loosely) Mexican theme (it wasn’t ‘themed’ per se, just inspired by, if you get my drift…) and started with some guacamole and chips – blue corn, from a fancy grocery store in East London, called unsurprisingly The Grocery. Catchy!

I’d been marinading some potato wedges all day (cumin, cayenne, smoked paprika, chilli, salt and pepper and a little oil), which I roasted until golden – they would’ve been perfect had my guest showed up on time….

The wedges accompanied the main event, which was a large dish of enchilladas (spring greens and kidney beans – ooh, that rhymes!), which were pretty freakin’ spicy but also pretty freakin’ tasty. As this was our guests first vegan meal I kept the menu relatively safe and I think it paid off, having got a resounding thumbs up, which I believe was genuine. Or at least I hope so. If not, I know where they live…

A dinner party wouldn’t be a dinner party without afters and so I popped a little vegan cake in the oven. A coconut, lime flavoured number made with polenta and gr0und almonds – and some white flour but this could easily be subbed to make the cake entirely flourless. Let me know if you try this!

Our guest was surprised how moist it was, which never fails to surprise me – I mean their surprise surprises me, not that I was surprised the cake tasted good…. there I go again!

I’m not exactly sure where this notion all vegan baked goods are dry as cardboard has emanated from, do you? Maybe I haven’t had the misfortune yet to sample such underwhelming morsels but I can honestly, truthfully say I prefer vegan cakes, cookies, etc to their ‘normal’ counterparts. Besides, the good news is, apparently you wouldn’t know this cake is vegan until told so as per the words of our guest. He can come again.

Here’s how the recipe goes…..

ingredients

1/4 cup white flour (or any of your choosing)

1/4 cup fine polenta (cornmeal)

1/4 cup ground almonds

1/4 cup palm sugar

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp bicarbonate soda

zest of one lime

1 mashed banana

1/2 cup coconut milk (from a can) including some of the water

1 tbsp coconut oil

juice of one lime

pinch of salt

pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit.

place the flour, polenta, ground almonds, palm sugar, desiccated coconut, baking powder, bicarb, salt and zest in a bowl. Gently mix to incorporate.

Whisk the mashed banana, coconut milk, coconut oil and  lime juice together in a separate bowl.

Prepare a cake tin by either lining or greasing it.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the coconut, banana mixture. Using a spatula fold gently to incorporate fully and immediately transfer to the cake tin. Tap the tin on the surface a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, turning after 20 minutes to ensure it bakes evenly. After the recommended time insert a skewer into the centre – when it comes out clean, it is ready.

Allow to cool fully before piercing the top all over with a cake skewer.

For the drizzle….

1 tbsp coconut oil

juice of one lime

2 heaped tbsps palm sugar or agave nectar

bring to a boil and then reduce to a rapid simmer allowing it to reduce for a few minutes until you achieve a syrup like consistency.

Gently pour over the syrup allowing it to seep into the holes – I also like to use a pastry brush to ensure even coverage. Do this in two steps until all the syrup is used.

Before the second drizzle, layer the cake with freshly sliced lime and use the pastry brush to coat them with the sugary syrup – this will make them almost like candied limes.

Sprinkle with desiccated coconut and serve. Would be excellent with some sweetened whipped coconut cream or do as we did and have a dollop of banana soya yoghurt on the side, yum!

 

 

 

 

 

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60 second Beetroot Hummus

Well it would seem that Spring has finally decided to return to us. Hurrah! I mean a bit of rain never hurt anyone and all that but I sure do love those sunny skies. I even dared to don a dress today when I made a visit to the magnificent Ms.Cupcake bakery in Brixton – more on that at a later date!

It’s on days like these that I need wholesome, simple, goodness. Not that I don’t love to linger in my kitchen because I think we all know very well I do. But there’s nothing more satisfying than whipping up something in a matter of minutes – seconds even.

In this instance that something happens to be a beetroot hummus. Of course, you can use shop bought beetroot (not the pickled kind!), however, I’d already roasted some a few days back, which obviously adds a few minutes onto the whole procedure but lets just gloss over that little detail for now shall we….ahem.

beetroot hummus

1/2 cup chickpeas

1/4 cup chopped beetroot

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

pinch cumin

pinch smoked paprika

seasalt and pepper

method

put everything in a blender and blitz until smooth!

 

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