A Very Vegan Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Well, almost. Although by the time I publish this it will technically be Thanksgiving in the UK…even though we don’t celebrate it here….except we will be.

Having lived in Chi-Town for a couple of years we kinda consider ourselves honorary Americans and we even have one of our Chicagoan friends here in London joining us for a full on Thanksgiving dinner. Truthfully, we probably wouldn’t be marking the day if it weren’t for him, but hey, I’m thankful for friends so why the heck not eat some tasty grub whilst appreciating everything we have. Sounds like a plan to me.

Here’s my menu, which includes the pumpkin seen in above gif (I’m doing gif’s now, get me *cough* I didn’t even know what one was until about a fortnight ago). I pureed the sucker and made it into a pie with a ginger snap crust made with almost a full packet of ginger snap biscuits (cookies) mixed with about a third of a cup of melted vegan butter. Pat it into a pie tin and bake in a moderately high oven for 10-15 minutes and allow to cool a little before pouring on the filling, which goes a little something like this….

1 cup silken tofu

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup sweet freedom or agave

1 heaped tsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 heaped tsp cinnamon

1 tsp allspice

Blend until smooth, pour over the crust and bake (180 celsius/350 fahrenheit) for an hour until set but with a little bit of jiggle. Allow to cool completely before refrigerating overnight.

I’ll also be serving…

sweet potato casserole

green bean casserole

braised cabbage and apple (without the bacon and butter!)

sauteed brussel sprouts with pomegranate seeds and chestnuts

sage and onion stuffing balls

maple roasted parsnips

redwoods celebration roast

vegan gravy

cranberry sauce

and for dessert…

Pumpkin Pie! 

*with an experimental coconut and pumpkin ice-cream, which I made up in a moment of panic when I realised I didn’t buy anything to go with the pie. I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out.

Now that’s what I call ‘A Very Vegan Thanksgiving’ – Woot!

 

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Triple Berry Crumble

The lighting issues in my kitchen are becoming a problem. A proverbial  pain in the backside to be precise. And not that I’m one for excuses but this is partially why my recipe posts have become a bit too infrequent for my own liking of late.

I know I need to address this soon but what am I to do when it’s dark when I get up and dark when I get home? Sure, I have one of those detachable flashes but truth be told I hate it – nothing beats natural light. And so, I’m struggling to get the photos I want. So freakin’ frustrating!

To add to my woes, the light in the flat is generally dismal and even when the sun does come out, it doesn’t necessarily flood the flat with its rays – the downside of living in the eves of a Victorian house. Our (dream) flat in Penzance (oh, how I loved that flat) couldn’t have been more different (I miss that flat); light, bright and entirely white makes taking good food photos very easy…..man, I wish I still lived in that flat.

However! Instead of dwelling on my limited photography ability and totally unhelpful conditions, I decided to just go ahead and post what I made yesterday even though the photos are borderline. We ate it as a late afternoon treat but really it’s a pudding, best served after a hearty meal in my opinion. Inspired by Nigella’s Strawberry and Almond Crumble, this is a vegan version that quite frankly tastes better than the original…..I’m basing that entirely on the fact I grew up on crumble (mostly apple, never strawberry), which makes me an expert in such matters.

Strawberries in a crumble. My new favourite thing.

triple berry crumble

6-7 strawberries hulled and halved

6 blackberries

handful of blueberries

2 tbsp sugar

3/4 cup plain flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup chilled vegan butter

1/4 cup oats

2 tbsp flaked almonds

1/4 sugar and more for sprinkling on top

method

heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit.

divide the berries between two ovenproof bowls and sprinkle with sugar.

place the flour and baking powder in a bowl and gently mix before adding the butter and working into a fine rubble with your fingertips.

gently stir through the oats, sugar and flaked almonds with a fork and divide between the bowls. finally, sprinkle with a little more sugar before baking in the oven for 30-40 minutes.

serve with soya cream, custard or ‘ice-cream’ – or all three….triple toppings for a triple berry crumble!

 

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DIY Orla Kiely

 

I can never have too much Orla Kiely in my life. Those prints….well, I think you already know how I feel about those prints. Suffice to say when I got these postcards as a little bonus gift when I shopped the recent Orla Kiely for Uniqlo collection I knew exactly what to do with them.

However, it wasn’t until they were doing a recent clear out at Matches, where I managed to score some super simple frames headed for the skip, that I was able to put my little postcard arrangement into action.

All it took was some white paper, a little bit of blue tac and hey presto, I had the perfect addition to my otherwise dull staircase that had been previously inhabited by two fairly cheesy prints I bought in Poundland in a moment of desperation.

Orla’s delightfully retro prints continue to brighten my life and with ‘Orla Kiely House’ available imminently I’d better start saving my pennies and pounds for the many pieces I will no doubt need in my life. In some ways I wish she’d just stop producing so many awesome things I can’t afford but at the same time I’m thinking, ‘keep ’em comin’ Orla, keep ’em comin’!

 

 

 

 

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Ebay Bids and Vintage Wall Clocks

I like my home to reflect my taste and appearance. It seems odd to me that anyone would think they shouldn’t emphatically go together – I mean, if anywhere, you should look at place in your own home. Unsurprisingly I enjoy surrounding myself with accoutrements (I like that word) mainly from the Fifties and Sixties – or at the very least, items that take a lead from those eras and fit in with the general vintage decor vibe.

We’d been searching for a wall clock for quite a while before finding this one on ebay – it still has its uses even though I’ve virtually abandoned it for clothing purchases – and we instantly fell in love with it.

Westclox have a very distinctive Fifties/Sixties design. Almost archetypal. I adore the range of colours and very nearly went for a yellow one, however, this blue clock won out  in the end. I thought it would have more visual pop on the wall. Plus, we got it for a steal because the guy selling it wasn’t sure if it still worked, as it was missing the plug. We took the risk and luckily it’s all in good order and just needs a longer cable at the back, which is easily sorted.

If you fancy a wonderful Westclox clock yourself, there is currently a similar one up for grabs on ebay. Whatcha waitin’ for…..hop to it and GET BIDDING!

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Sustainable Fashion, Winter Coats and Me

what i’m wearing…..hat/vintage…shirt/vintage….v neck sweater/topshop…flared jeans/gap…coat and boots/h&m…bag/primark

Why, isn’t that the very same hat you’ve been wearing in virtually every outfit post since you purchased it, I hear you cry?! And while we’re at it, didn’t you promise us a vintage dress in your last blog offering? Well, yes folks, guilty as charged and I willfully take the consequences, whatever they may be – feel free to give me a virtual wrap over the knuckles for my empty promises for I deserve each and every one.

Onto the outfit at hand, such as it may be, focusing on the coat first. I don’t know about you but Autumn makes me want to purge my summer wardrobe for good (cue an earnest packing away of anything cotton, sleeveless or floral) and layer up in block colours and heavy coats. This one was a bargain buy at H&M last year and it has stood me in good stead ever since. I love the Sixties swing coat vibe and best of all…it’s WARM!

Problem is. As soon as I unleash the Winter coat monster it’s very difficult to reign inside again. Translation; there are currently about a dozen coats I have my eye on and I will not rest until I have at least one in my possession.

So, where exactly does this fit in with my ‘sustainable fashion’ outlook? Truth be told, it doesn’t. Whilst my diet may mostly align with my eco-friendly credentials, my wardrobe needs some work. But it’s more complicated that one may think.

I haven’t bought leather in three years. Yet within that time I’ve gone through dozens of pairs of plastic (vegan) shoes that haven’t lasted any length of time and will no doubt end up in a landfill somewhere. Does that sound very environmentally sound to you? Meanwhile, I rely on leather boots and shoes I bought prior to my ‘eco awakening’ that have been going strong for ten years or more and show no signs of giving up the ghost anytime soon. Even when they do eventually go to footwear heaven they will decompose back into the earth – it’ll take a while no doubt and I am aware of the chemicals used to preserve animal skin but it still seems like a better alternative to PLASTIC, ugh.

Look, I’m just thinking aloud here and am not about to run out and buy me a pair of calf skin ankle grazers but as my new boots (yes, the ones featured in my last post) have already started to ruin (imitation patent peels….obv.) I really am beginning to question what really is sustainable.

Fashion in of itself is not, of course, in any way kind to the environment – but is the solution to just not to add to your wardrobe? That seems somewhat unrealistic, so I’m thinking we need real solutions to this disposable fashion problem(answers or suggestions on a postcard please!). For now though, I’m content to wear my most coveted items to death (like this hat), continue to buy vintage/second hand and make better, more informed choices when purchasing new items.

Wish me luck.

 

 

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New Boots. Same old Wardrobe.

It’s November in London, which means it’s getting pretty darn cold. Staying warm, therefore, is my top priority with fashion taking a supporting role. As is evident from these set of photos, not only am I wrapped up to the max, I’m also wearing garments you will be more than a little familiar with – I’m fairly certain I’ve featured each of these items at least once before.

Thankfully I don’t feel obligated to wear an entirely new outfit for every post even though I do have a wardrobe full of clothes that have never graced the pages of the blog. I would say this is something I’d like to redress but in truth I think seeing how someone reworks items has its value. It’s certainly something Mary Quant approved of….

Fashion is a game and it is fun to work out the different ways  of wearing different garments.

…and working out this ‘jigsaw puzzle’ is something I take great pleasure in – and absolutely my idea of fun.

I do love adding pieces, whether it be accessories or otherwise, to my already existing ‘life uniform’ that I know will only enhance it, and these boots are just that – wardrobe enhancers. Why? Well, for one, I am very particular about the height of my everyday heel. Flats are great and all but sometimes you need a bit of a lift, preferably without the agony of full on heels. Some people might be able to do a full days work in two and a half inch heels but I’m not one of them.

These boots are the perfect height for me. I can wear them all day long without so much as an ache or pain and even though I’ve only owned them for a fortnight they’ve already become a staple; paired with jeans, dress, skirts and just about anything in my wardrobe. Black boot wonders.

what i’m wearing….skirt/vintage…scarf/can’t remember…jacket, tights and boots/h&m…bag/nica…hat/vintage…gloves/accessorize

Okay, so now that you’ve seen how often I wear certain items I think I owe you a pretty, never before seen, dress. Whaddya say I throw a little vintage  number into the mix next time? I have two recent purchases I have in mind for another post…..seventies and eighties galore! For now though, back to the fashion puzzle.

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