I like to think of this space as being a place for positivity. But seeing as it’s also a glimpse into my little world I can’t simply ignore events that are currently happening in my life – it would just be too weird for me to type away all chipper when the reality is quite the opposite. So, with that said, and as I sit in a hotel room in Belfast waiting for hospital visiting hours to come around again, it would only be fair for me to say that this is a bit of Debbie Downer post… you have been warned.
We all take our parents for granted, I’m sure, but none more so than me. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have had a Mum and Dad that have totally doted on me (and my Sister) and who’ve always supported me no matter what the crazy whim may have been. I had a pretty idyllic childhood and even as an adult have only ever experienced love, kindness and patience from them both. Whilst my Sister and myself no longer live at home we continue to be incredibly close and for that I am thankful – once a team, always a team.
Alongside taking their general parental presence for granted, I’ve probably taken their guaranteed health for granted even more. Perhaps it’s something we all avoid thinking about until we have no choice but to confront it, like the four of us did last Wednesday when my Dad took a turn at work. I won’t go into details but suffice to say his surgery went well and although we are just at the beginning of his recovery process we are all positive my he will be back to his usual self in no time at all.
That’s us you see. Positive to a fault. Especially my Dad. As many, many, many people will attribute he’s a pretty special person and a bit of a legend in our little town of Derry – just try walking down any given street with him and he’s sure to be stopped at least a dozen times. ‘Liked’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. Not only that but from our own close, first-hand experience we can honestly say he is the most selfless man we know…. always asking about others – even when he’s just out of major surgery. For real.
So, yes. It’s been a tough week. Emotions have run high and we’re all still in a state of shock but we know we will get there in good time. I may have created a new home with my Husband in Cornwall but I also know that I will always have a home here in Derry with my parents and Sister… it’s a bond that will never be broken.
I’ll leave you then with a few glimpses of our new home in Mousehole (it’s not quite there decoratively speaking but we like it) just because my Dad was so excited to be visiting (they were due to holiday with us until all this craziness kicked off). I know it won’t be long before he’s sitting by that harbour watching the boats bob up and down just like we had planned, and when it eventually happens it definitely will be all the sweeter.
Prunes are not the prettiest or indeed tastiest of ingredients. I can just about handle two in one sitting, which got me thinking about how I could transform this usually dull little morsel into something slightly more exciting. Now, I think there’s still a ways to go with this recipe because I find they really aren’t as sweet as I would like so perhaps next time I’ll use some raisins or dates as well. With that said, I really enjoyed the seriously sticky texture and the walnuts were the perfect pairing too.
Of course, I had to throw in a few added extras and even though it’s summer I went a wee bit wintry with my allspice and orange flavourings. A little strange for July but it worked. I upped the nutritional ante by chucking in a heaped tablespoon of hemp powder… well, why not, eh? I’m so delighted to have a mini-chopper again because I just love to have a batch of raw balls handy at all times – saves me from reaching for the chocolate. Just don’t do what I did and leave the remaining few uncovered next to some chopped peppers… that’s some funky flavour tranfusion you do not want to experience.
what you’ll need
120g prunes (about 1/2 cup)
75g walnuts (plus another 40g for coating)
1 tbsp hemp powder
1 tsp allspice (plus another 1/4 tsp for coating)
1 tsp orange extract
what you’ll do
put all the ingredients into a mini-chopper and mix until it form one solid clump, ensuring there are no bits.
turn out onto a clean chopping board, tear off teaspoon sized amounts and roll into balls.
put the remaining walnuts and allspice into the chopper and blitz. transfer to a plate. roll each ball in the chopped nut mixture not being afraid to press down slightly so it fully adheres.
keep in an airtight container in the fridge.
I’ve been wanting to shoot a little blog post in our teeny tiny patio since we moved in. Granted there’s not much to it but I simply adore the pretty arch and painted gate, and it’s just the right size for us – to be honest having any sort of outside space is a like a little piece of heaven after our garden-free London life. Not only do we have this patio but our spare bedroom also boasts a pretty sizeable balcony that probably should be used for sunbathing or something but truthfully it gets a bit too hot up there for my liking so I tend to stay downstairs.
These palazzo pants (a recent charity shop score) are a perfect manifestation of my current floral obsession – although this is the first time I’ve actually worn them. I’ve had a penchant for wide-leg trousers for years so I was thrilled to nab a pair that were able to fulfill both my need for comfort and flamboyance… even though I tried to counteract the crazy with some chambray.
The weather’s been a wee bit haywire over the last week so today was the first chance I’ve had to don these badboys – and may I say, they were the perfect option to wear to lunch… even after a hefty midday meal I had plenty of room to breath. I know I’m sporting yet another denim shirt but am I the only one who’s building a serious collection? It’s a problem that shows no sign of stopping – not that i’m complaining.
what i’m wearing… trousers, shirt and shoes/New Look … belt/vintage … jewellery/various
Afterwards, I realised that even though I’d bought the garments in separate places including ASOS they’re actually all the same brand (New Look) – unusual for me, but I guess I’m liking their collection at the moment. Not to worry though, our local vintage store has a pretty good selection right now that is bound to reset the equilibrium in my wardrobe.
I wrote a book. That’s a surreal sentence for me to be typing. Even though I had always hoped my recipes would be published, I could never have imagine how quickly that dream would become a reality… and certainly not with such an awesome publisher. Now that it’s here and I’m holding it in my hands it still hasn’t fully sunk in. I wrote that? And that’s my mug on the cover? Seriously crazy stuff.
Anyway, I thought I’d give you a bit of sneak peek of what to expect from ‘Keep it Vegan’ (that’s the title and trust me when I tell you we went through many options before deciding on that one) – I’ve obscured the actual recipes but you can get a good idea of the style, content and layout of the book, which features everything from one pot wonders to something a little more special. There are several raw recipes, as well as full on sugar-fest ones… an out-and-out health book this is not but there are still plenty of ‘healthy’ dishes in there too.
A handful have been featured here on the blog but have been updated and improved, however, most are ones you will not have come across before – although they have been staples in my kitchen for a very long while. There are oodles of brand new ‘created specifically for the book’ recipes that I am as excited about making again as I hope you are. Yes, there are several salads but even more wholesome fodder such as soups and stews, as well as a whole section on breakfast and brunch… possibly my favourite meal of the day!
I like to think of this book as an introduction to Veganism (although there will be plenty to interest the seasoned vegan too) because I felt I had to start at the beginning of my own vegan journey and work my way from there. In it, I’ll take you through my story and offer up tips I wish I had known way back when, as well as keeping a simplicity to the dishes whilst also packing them full of flavour.
What I will say is that this book is a labour of love and one I toiled over for many months with lots of incredible support from Kyle Books. I honestly can’t wait to share it with you guys when it’s released in August but in the meantime if you’d like to pre-order a copy you can do so now on Amazon. I’ll be promoting the book all over Europe in the coming months and once it’s released in the States in February next year I’ll be heading over there for a small promotional tour too… fingers crossed.
This whole process has been one of the biggest learning curves of my life but it has also confirmed in my own mind that food is my future – and for me that is beyond exciting. I’m already thinking of the next book (it’s how my head works) and have a whole heap of new recipes lined up, ready to be put into print. For now though, I’m delighted to be debuting ‘Keep it Vegan’ and really hope that it floats your boat. Thanks, as ever, for being such loyal, wonderful readers because really I owe pretty much all of this to you. Mwah!