Sunday Solace

I almost didn’t post this but I needed to take my mind off some sad news I received today. Sometimes focusing on the small things in life can help you appreciate the bigger picture and this Sunday was an exercise in recognising how terribly fleeting our time here can be. With that in mind I might have clung a little tighter to my Husband, hugged my Sister a little closer and tried to be a little kinder to those around me.

These are just photos from our morning meal and I’m not even sure they’re blog worthy – other than to show you a glimpse into our weekend routine. I don’t always make a big hoohah at breakfast, so often rely on cereals and bread. Of course, I can’t resist multiple toppings and one of my frequent favourites is plain soya yoghurt, chopped dates, fresh fruits, nuts and date syrup.

I’m also obsessed with this rye bread, which toasts perfectly and is a staple in my cupboard. This morning I opted for cashew butter, chopped strawberries, desiccated coconut and date syrup. Not forgetting a good grating of nutmeg and generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Not exactly a recipe, I know, but still delicious and really satisfying on a lazy Sunday morning. Right now I’m preparing myself to travel back to Ireland to be with my family during this difficult time, and tonight I will be savoring every single second with my beloved Hubby knowing that these small moments matter.

 

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Baggy Trousers

I’m not sure these trousers could be any baggier – i’m almost in MC Hammer territory but I’ll be damned if I care. I was so chuffed when I came across these bad boys in a much needed charity shop haul last Saturday I couldn’t contain my excitement and had to wear them out in East London for a friends birthday shindig. There was me all excited about my street urchin get up when some guy at the bar tried to pay me a ‘compliment’ by telling me how much he loved my ‘1930’s school marm attire’…..erm, thanks?! That’s what I get for not wearing a bodycon dress i guess.

Anywho, doesn’t put me off them in the slightest and even though they might make my bottom half look disproportionately bigger than my upper, these uber baggy trousers are seriously floating my boat right now so I shall keep on wearing ’em until I get bored.

It’s been a while since we had a wander around this lovely park. It even has an animal area full of peacocks, deer (bambi ones!), horses, chickens, goats and other little lovelies I could admire all day long. It’s not a zoo type situation I hasten to add.

Why do weekends have to fly by so goddamn quickly? Seriously, I feel like life doesn’t stand still for one second – or at least enough for me to catch my breath. Luckily, we have a Cornwall trip planned for the upcoming Easter break and I am counting the days – it’s 12 in case you’re interested. I need to see the sea, be in the sea and generally be near the sea. What in the heck am I doing in the city, can you tell me that?

what i’m wearing….trousers/toast(secondhand)….striped top/billabong….cardi(underneath)/old navy….jacket/vintage….boots and beret/h&m….socks/tabio….belt/dunnes stores….bag/vintage

 

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Creamy Vegan Banana, Pb & Chocolate Ice-cream

When I first heard about this frozen dessert I was more than a little dubious – how in the heck can banana make ice-cream?! Like I said. Dubious. In my pre-vegan days I considered myself an ice-cream connoisseur and truth be told it was the one thing I genuinely missed at the very beginning of my journey. The lack of good substitutes didn’t really help either. In case you weren’t aware the dairy free frozen dessert section in most British supermarkets is not even worth talking about – apart from Swedish Glace there’s not much in the way of authentic tasting ‘ice-cream’, so I have to rely on myself to satiate those urges.

You could say then that this humble little recipe is a bit of a lifesaver for me. I’ve made it in so many variations – adding fruit, desiccated coconut, flavourings, and all with great success. The banana flavour is not terribly strong so even if you’re not a fan of the fruit you can still enjoy it. Texture wise it’s very similar to that glorious soft serve ice-cream you used to enjoy by the seaside (I’m sure you can enjoy it in city centre’s too but I always associate with small coastal towns).

Anyway, it’s a cinch to make, tastes delightful and best of all you can even have it for breakfast – at least that’s what I did when I enjoyed this peanut butter and chocolate version on Sunday. I can’t think of a better way to start the day, can you?

ingredients

3 frozen bananas chopped into pieces (chop it prior to freezing!)

1 tbsp agave or other sweetener

1 heaped tsp smooth peanut butter

1/2 small bar of dark chocolate finely chopped or grated

blueberries and strawberries to serve

method

Place the frozen banana in a hand blender and blitz until smooth – it will go through several stages before becoming creamy so just keep blending until it happens, scraping down the sides with a spatula now and then.

Add the agave and peanut butter and blend together before stirring through the chocolate.

Place a handful of blueberries and chopped strawberries in the bottom of a glass. Spoon over the ‘ice-cream’, top with a few more berries, a little more grated chocolate and serve.

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Ethical Basics

It’s not exactly t-shirt weather yet but I couldn’t resist wearing this new organic cotton one I recently acquired. Whilst I’m a firm believer in sustainable fashion, I’m also a firm believer in good design. If a design (even a simple t-shirt) can’t stand alone, relying on the ethical tagline to sell it then in my opinion it’s hugely flawed. Ultimately, the garment must have aesthetic appeal without having to explain itself – it’s doomed to fail otherwise.

I’m pleased to say this is the one instance where sustainability, quality and design come together in this basic but lovely tee. The fabric is seriously good with a fabulous weight meaning it drapes beautifully – I know I’m going to be wearing this a lot over the spring and summer months.

Basics form the basis of my wardrobe. Without them my mostly vintage closet just wouldn’t work – I like to balance out my love for all things retro with a touch of the contemporary and ethical clothing company Collective have a small but superb range that I hope to gradually add to my wardrobe (I’m particularly liking the box drape styles). Their ethical credentials are more than just a bonus. We should all be embracing a more sustainable approach to fashion and this company seem to have the right attitude with a great basics line that perfectly compliment their values.

These same ethics should also extend to where our clothing is actually made and the high waisted trousers I’m wearing here are a perfect example of a young fashion brand leading the way in locally made goods. Obviously their retro inspired range of clothing is bang on the money and as they only make a limited amount of each item the likelihood of bumping into someone else wearing the same thing is pretty slim. Never a bad thing in my book!

Finding trousers that fit, flatter, are comfortable and affordable is a tall order but these pants deliver on all fronts. Being a lady with curves and in possession of some, let’s say, substantial thighs, ahem, I’ve always struggled with leg width….and the rest. Lord knows how many times I’ve almost come to tears in the changing room after failing to get some trousers and jeans even past my knees – they will go up, they will!!

what i wore….organic tee/collection….high waisted trousers/tara starlet….black boots & blue cardi/h&m….faux fur coat/urban outfitters….scarf, brooch and bag/vintage….necklace/free gift at DAKS show

Thankfully there are some brands around that make trews with people like me in mind. You could say I’m completely bowled over by Tara Starlet and am coveting just about everything on their site – too bad I haven’t a penny to my name at the moment or else I’d be snaffling up everything on their sale page.

 

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Ultimate Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms

Let me tell you why I’m not shy about calling these ‘Ultimate Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms’. Not one for making big claims about stumbled upon creations that are bourne out of what I simply have in the fridge, this recipe was the fluke to end all flukes when it’s comes to stuffed mushrooms. It’s not just that they’re tasty, work well at every meal time or are stupidly easy to make. It’s the fact they put every other stuffed mushroom I have tasted to shame….and I’ve eaten my fair share of stuffed mushrooms.

If you happen to be vegan you’ll be rejoicing at the all encompassing flavour – that certain ‘umami’ you often hear people bang on about (mainly in reference to its apparent absence in vegan dishes) will be silenced because it is totally present here. In bucketloads. If you’re not vegan, I’d be more than a little surprised if you enjoy them any less than their usually cheese laden counterparts – trust me, they do not need it!

There are several secret weapons when it’s comes to achieving such stuffed mushroom greatness and eliminating even one of them will sacrifice an essential layer of deliciousness and may even render them simply good instead Uh.ma.zing.

The nutmeg and cayenne pepper are musts – omit at your peril and against my advice….I can be quite bossy when I want to be. The coconut milk could be replaced with soya cream but it would be a less healthy choice. At a push the leek might be swapped with half a very finely chopped onion but in all honesty the earthy flavour the leek lends to the dish would be sorely missed. I also insist on the double dose of garlic – fresh and pureed…it’s an absolute must! Oh, and the nutritional yeast is crucial in achieving that perfect stuffed mushroom crust.

Ready for the recipe? Here ya go….

ingredients

4 portobello mushrooms

1 leek

several handfuls of fresh spinach

3 garlic cloves plus 1 tsp garlic puree

generous grating of nutmeg

1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

method

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius/350 degrees fahrenheit.

Peel the mushrooms and remove stalks. Rub each with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper

Finely chop the leek. Heat a little oil in a pan and gently fry the leek until soft. Mince the garlic and add to pan along with the garlic puree (if using – recommended) and gently infuse for several minutes before adding the spinach.

Generously grate the nutmeg over the spinach and sprinkle over the cayenne. Season and wilt.

Add the coconut milk, gently heat through, season and set aside.

Fill each mushroom with the creamy spinach filling and top with nutritional yeast. Bake for 25-30 mins depending on your oven. Serve immediately with hot ‘buttered’ toast. For extra B12 goodness, spread marmite on one slice.

 

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