Vegan Thanksgiving Prep

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I don’t want to speak too soon but it would seem I am, for once, fully prepared for this little mid-week celebration that is not so little Stateside but is virtually unheard of here. Since we lived in Chi-Town though we have enjoyed adopting this day for ourselves – mainly because of the food but also because it feels like an additional Christmas day without the unnecessary present giving. This year, we’ve invited our usually grinch-like friend over to join in with our Thanksgiving fun, and I must say I cannot wait… friends, grub, cocktails, games, films and chat equals a perfect Thursday evening.

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I know it’s probably a bit late to be offering up any recipe advice (apologies for my general lack of posting at the moment too) but I thought you might be interested in how I cope with a half a dozen side dishes plus a starter, dessert, and not forgetting the all important cocktails – my bourbon, cherry brandy, lime and ginger ale mix will be on the menu tonight. I should point out that I was up to my eyeballs in cranberry sauce and cabbage until the wee hours, which urges me to stress the following point – prep, prep, prep! No advance cooking means a major headache on the day. Trust me.

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Pumpkin pie is a given, of course, and whilst I do have a go-to recipe (the one below) I have yet to perfect it to my satisfaction. Granted, it’s not exactly a pretty pie but I was pleased enough with how it turned out – just the right side of orange, perfectly spiced and my crust looks spot on.  So far, so good!

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Oh, and if you happen to see the SeaWorld float at the Macy’s Day Parade, make sure you give it an almighty ‘booooo!!!’ from me.

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Here’s how to make it the pie…

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ingredients

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for the filling

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1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup silken tofu (firm)

1 heaped tsp pumpkin spice mix (allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg)

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup agave/sweet freedom

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp cornstarch/cornflour

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for the crust

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2 tbsp butter substitute

1 cup ginger snap crumbs

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pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit

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melt the butter substitute in a pan and blitz the cookies into crumbs. combine the two and line the bottom of a pie tin. bake in oven for 10 mins and remove.

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blend all the pie filling ingredients until smooth. pour unto the crust and bake for 40 minutes, turning once. turn the oven off and let the pie sit in oven for a further 30mins.

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remove from oven and allow to cool completely before transferring to a serving plate. if you are making it in advance, refrigerate overnight.

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serve with soya cream or non-dairy ice cream.

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYBODY!!!!

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Winter Blues

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Where to begin with this blog post, that is most definitely the question?! There are so many conflicting issues making their home in my head at the moment I honestly don’t know whether I’m coming or going. I guess I could start with the recurrent pangs for my (only recently left behind) London life – and yes, I am fully aware of the irony…. couldn’t wait to get out and now I’m practically screaming to get back.

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I probably did take way too many things for granted, all of which have become crushingly apparent since we’ve come to Cornwall. No impromtu coffee/cocktails for me (my nearest girlfriend lives an hour away and I don’t drive!) – and even though she was rarely home, I do actually miss my Sister and her bonafide crazy ways.

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And then there’s the work situation. Working from home has its perks for sure but I’m genuinely craving the company of others during the day – there’s a lot to be said for background noise that is not the television. I’m not exactly a talkative person in the office but I’m a keen listener, and for some reason it does seem to help my concentration when writing.

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Ugh, and how could I forget the fact I’m miles from an airport – or at least one with direct flights to Ireland, which is also beginning to make me jumpy. Is this what feeling homesick is like? I can’t say I’ve ever really experienced it but I’m certain this might be it. I still haven’t managed to sort out my passport since it was stolen in Barcelona (why do they make it so f**king hard, it’s not like it was my fault?!!!) which is irritating my Mother as much as it is me. Today though I took the bull by the horns and went into town to try and get the correct forms (I’ve given up on replacing my Irish one because it was borderline farcical) and all important photos.

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Going into town shouldn’t be a big deal, especially as we live smack bang in the middle of it, but dragging my ass out of the house is becoming increasingly difficult. The only thing that makes it bearable are the copious charity shops that line the main thoroughfare and the fact I can be back at the house in minutes should the situation become all too much. Sound insane – and ever so slightly agoraphobic? Just being honest folks (not always a good thing I’ve discovered) but hopefully this whole ‘we’ve made a terrible mistake’ situation will resolve itself soon. In the meantime, I shall console myself with pistachios – worked when I was a teen so it’s certainly worth a go now. Oh life.

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what i’m wearing… rust cords/anthropologie… polo neck/primark… striped blazer/topshop… blue scarf/charity shop… faux fur hat/vintage… faux patent boots/h&m… faux leather satchel/nica

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Winter Squash & Cous Cous Salad

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Halloween is officially over and the holidays are on their way… something which excites me more than you can know. I love, love, love Christmas and all the special days that surround it, which since our two year stint in the States now includes Thanksgiving too. So over the next two months we will be eeking out every last second of festive fun in the only way we know how – food, drink, film and friends, and not necessarily in that exact order.

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Being the simple beings that we are, we relish any opportunity to cozy up and make the most out of these incoming winter months, and I will no doubt be making the most of all that squash and pumpkin, some of which will undoubtedly find its way on here. Let’s start as we mean to go on then and get cracking with a stonkingly good winter salad recipe – yes, the roasting might take a while but the rest is just a matter of simple assembly.

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It may sound like a weird combination but I served it with pie and kale – I used it as the potato replacement, and it definitely worked… Hubby heartily approved. The flavours are really reminiscent of stuffing rendering it a perfect Thanksgiving side dish and it’s already on my ‘planning way ahead’ menu. Eek! Cannot wait… holidays are comin’, holidays are comin’.

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ingredients

1 squash/gourd/small pumpkin

1 cup frozen garden peas

1 cup cooked cous cous

1/4 cup toasted flaked almonds

1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and black pepper

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method

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

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Halve, de-seed, roughly chop and peel the gourd, then chop into small chunks. roast in the oven with a tablespoon of oil, salt, pepper and chopped herbs for about an hour.

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Soak 1 cup of cous cous in 1 cup of freshly boiled water, cover and let stand for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

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Quickly defrost the peas by covering them in a cup of freshly boiled water, leaving for five or so minutes and then drain.

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Lightly toast the almonds in a heated skillet ensuring, tossing frequently so they don’t burn.

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Remove the squash from the oven and stir through the cous cous, peas and almonds along with a little more oil and seasoning. Serve warm, at room temperature or even cold the next day.

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