What an insanely topsy turvy week. I’ve been up, down, basically all over the shop and can’t seem to get my head straight … I blame the heat – and the fact that last Sunday was my first Father’s day without Dad. I don’t want to dwell too much on that here but obviously it was a tough one and this week has kinda sucked because of it. The house renovations (or lack thereof) probably haven’t helped either and so I found myself procrastinating on just about everything – including getting dressed … jammies featured heavily but I’m grateful I still had the will to get my daily yoga practice in.
I guess I haven’t really talked much about yoga on here but it has been something of a salvation for me on and off for a number of years. Until we moved house though it had definitely fallen by the wayside, mainly due to the lack of room in our previous flat – there was literally no-where to get a good stretch going on. Something changed though when we moved into our new home. I suddenly felt the need to integrate it back into my life on a regular and more consistent basis. I know the ‘yoga every damn day’ mantra has been toted a lot on the internet (particularly instagram) and seeing it in hashtag form was previously a sure fire way to make me instantly feel terrible. Worse still … useless. How do these people do it(?), I would think to myself … it seemed so unobtainable at the time I completely dismissed the mere prospect of it.
Granted, I’m not exactly your typical self-styled yoga queen quite yet, however, I have found a way to make it work for me on a daily basis – whether it’s a series of simple sun salutations or a mini compilation of poses that change regularly, I’ve been trying to do something to keep my hand in (almost) everyday. I even went as far as to buy a mat in LA just so I could keep my practice going. It’s now gotten to the stage where I feel my day is incomplete without it. Even as I type, I’m planning to hit the mat as soon as I finish this post. My advice is to start small and don’t put yourself under any pressure to do a set amount of time or a particular series of moves – go with the flow and let your body decide what it’s comfortable doing on any given day. This flexibility will mean you’re more likely to stick to it. I’m only two months in but already I’m noticing changes, not only physically (although I am getting stronger and leaner) but also mentally … being prone to anxiety etc. means I can get overwhelmed very easily but I’ve surprised myself (and my Husband) lately by how well I’m dealing with certain social situations. I’m calmer, less fraught and I can only put that down to the yoga and mediation I’m working into my routine.
I’ve also been getting a lot of renewed pleasure from being in the kitchen (despite it’s currently ramshackle appearance) and have been lapping up all these wonderful new cookbooks on the market. One such book is the new paperback edition of The Virtuous Tart by the incomparable (and hilarious) Susan Jane White … the mistress of all things healthy and sweet, in my humble opinion. Her treats are uniquely awesome and the book is simply crammed with delicious recipes that will make you feel as ‘virtuous’ as that half hour on the yoga mat. Almost. Having already made her AmazoniaN Truffles (which are legit ‘to die for’) I thought I’d give her seedy soldiers a go … not just any old granola slice I can assure you – everyone that’s sampled them (Husband, Husband’s work colleague and our lovely central heating guy, to be precise) has had an ‘eye widening’ reaction to them. That good. And now I only have two left. Sob.
Almost entirely vegan, this is a cookbook for any keen baker that wants to eschew refined sugar and dairy but still enjoy the odd slice of cake. With substitutes for virtually everything (bar 2, maybe 3 recipes) Susan guides you through all the ins and outs of dairy-free baking, making it feel like an absolute cinch. Food aside, her writing alone is enough to make you want this book. Her witty titles and intros had me seriously lolling and that humour feeds straight into her recipes too … everything about it feels effortlessly lighthearted, approachable and fun – plus the images are flippin’ gorgeous, just like Susan herself. Luckily for a few of you, I have three copies to give away (hurrah!) – all ye have to do is leave a comment below, telling me your all-time favourite sweet treat (well, why not?!) … I’ll then pop the entries into one of those number generator thingys and I’ll announce the winners in a week. In the the meantime, why not head over to Susan’s instagram/twitter accounts and show her some love … oh, and definitely go check her out on youtube – I’ll eat my hat if you don’t instantly fall in love with her effervescent personality too.
*This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who took part! The lucky winners were Louisa, Laura Buckley and Sarah McKenna.
chocolate seed soldiers
taken from The Virtuous Tart by Susan Jane White (my comments are in italics)
what you’ll need
1 cup (140g) pitted dates, chopped
1 cup (120g) milled sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup (140g) cashew nut butter
1/2 cup (75g) raisins
1/2 cup (65g) coconut flour
1/2 cup (125ml) maple syrup
2 tbsp. raw cacao nibs
2 tbsp. goji berries, plus extra to decorate
up to 1 tbsp. tamari or raw coconut aminos
130g 75% dark chocolate
what you’ll do
In a food processor, combine everything except the dark chocolate and decorative gojis.
Spread it out over a parchment-lined shallow tin. The perfect size tin is a 20cm x 25cm rectangular one, a little larger than the traditional 20cm x 20cm brownie tin. I place another piece of parchment on top of the base mixture, pressing down firmly with my fingers, Once the base is smooth, you can ditch the top piece of parchment. Chill in fridge – I refrigerated it for 30mins.
Meanwhile, slowly melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. This is basically a pot of simmering water, 2.5cm in depth, with a heatproof bowl sitting on top where a lid might otherwise have gone. The contents of the bowl will gently melt form the steam of the water underneath. The trick is not to let the water boil or let the bottom of the bowl touch the water underneath.
Smother the base in melted chocolate and parachute a few goji berries on top (I minced mine with a knife) for colour. Refrigerate overnight … I can also confirm that these actually get even better with time. Side note: when you initially remove it from the fridge, let it sit for a little while before cutting to avoid cracking the chocolate on top.
Happy Friday Folks! Here’s hoping you have a great weekend in store – it’s our last here in Falmouth before we head south to Mousehole so we’re in big move excitement mode. To add to the cheerful disposition I’m currently in, the delightful peeps over at Vegfest Bristol are offering two lucky PeaSoup readers (and their chosen friend) the chance to attend this years biggest veggie event. Should you win, you’ll be attending either the Friday or Saturday evening shenanigans on the 23rd and 24th May, which will include performances from Boney M, Abba Gold and Goldblade… fun! The competition deadline is April 30th and winners will be announced in the 1st week of May.
And even if you don’t get your hands on these particular tickets, the daytime admission is priced at a ridiculously reasonable 3 quid with kids under 16 able to go in for FREE. There’ll be stalls, caterers, cookery demos and talks, as well as an arts and crafts tent, comedy hour and the all important all-day bar… five of ’em in fact, not that I’m counting, ahem. As far as I’m concerned there’s no better way to start your summer festivities.
To enter please leave a comment below this post outlining which day you’d like to attend. I will then put the names in a hat and pull two at random – all videoed for you pleasure of course. Good luck y’all!
I’m so excited to announce a really special giveaway from one of my favourite British brands, Seasalt! It’s no secret that I am huge fan of their designs and their ethics – in fact they have recently become the first fashion brand to win the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Sustainable Development category. Pretty cool, wouldn’t ya say?
You can get your hands on one of their super cute and super versatile neckerchiefs just by following the instructions below. There are so many ways to wear these scarves and are perfect for adding a bit of casual pizazz to any daytime outfit. Also, all of the Seasalt prints are designed specifically for the brand, so you’ll not find them anywhere else. Cute and original …we likey.
HOW TO ENTER: there are ten neckerchiefs up for grabs and all you have to do is head over to the Seasalt website, have a browse through their collection, pick your favourite item and leave it in a comment below. Easy.
I’ve even given you head start by selecting my own current top pick. This gorgeous ‘Eleanor’ brushstroke print skirt below is, for me, the absolute perfect skirt length and I adore the shape too. Great for a stroll in Cornwall (I wish!) or a relaxing lounge in a London park (reality bites).
If you win, you’ll be able to choose your own unique neckerchief print (subject to availability) and nothing says Spring like a pretty scarf, so get those entries in – best of luck!
on this occasion entries are open to UK residents only. winners will be selected at random and notified via email on Sunday 5th May – just in time for the Bank Holiday:)
Update 10th May – the giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered. I went old school by opting to put all the names in a (rather fabulous) hat to choose the winners – my little Vine vid can be found here. Congratulations to the lucky winners ….Jackie, Porridge Lady, Carol, Aoibheann, Elle, (Missy)Lisa, Heather P, Anne and Tracy. Well done and enjoy your neckerchiefs!
Karolina! Congrats – the beautiful Nyan Nyan candle will be winging its way to you very shortly my dear.
The winner was chosen at random – I used one of those random number pickers (these things are all very new to me).
Thanks to everyone who entered. There’ll be plenty more chances to win something delightful in the future so please do keep checking back.
Happy (ever so slightly belated) Birthday to PeaSoupEats! That’s right folks, my little blog has been going for just over a year now – where has the time gone, eh? So much has happened in the past year, I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say it was monumental! We’ve moved continents, changed jobs and went vegan – phew! Throughout all the ups and downs my blog has kept me going. It’s recorded my transition from omnivore to vegan, gave me a creative outlet when it wasn’t possible to act and allowed me to develop some dormant photography skills.
Whilst it has been an exciting year there have been some difficult moments too and quite honestly I don’t know what I would’ve done without peasoupeats. It’s been a much needed sounding board whilst on a frustrating tour, enabled me to share my favourite recipes and gave me the push I needed to experiment more in the kitchen – taking my passion for food and turning it into an obsession!
So, in order to celebrate my blog birthday in style I thought a giveaway was in order. I’ve been wanting to have a giveaway for a while now so this is long overdue really but, y’know, I needed to source the right gift first because you guys are special and deserve a special gift. I’d thought about a foodie gift or something for the kitchen but pots and pans don’t necessarily say ‘I love ya, thanks for reading, keep coming back’ so I was kinda waiting for the right thing to come to me and by golly that’s just what happened.
I’m crazy about candles (yes, I’m one of those people that dot them all over the place) and have a scary amount of candle holders with more been added with worrying frequency (I think I might have a slight problem). Since going vegan though I’ve had to be a lot more conscious about my candles to ensure they contain no animal products, i.e. beeswax or animal fat, which can be quite limiting, as soy/plant based candles aren’t as widely available much to my dismay. Therefore, when I discover any new company venturing into the soy candle market I want to jump up and down and shout ‘hooray’! That’ s exactly what happened (kinda – I managed to refrain from jumping and shouting) when I chanced upon Nyan Nyan Candles whilst surfing the web.
Not only are Nyan Nyan made from 100% Soy wax they are completely vegan friendly – in fact, their recipes and methods have been approved by The Vegan Society as being vegan, which means they’ll now be able to display that lovely flower symbol on their products. How magnificent is that? Their scented candles contain essential oils – none of this nasty perfumed business – and they come in various varieties so there’s something to suit all tastes.
You can imagine then how thrilled I was when the lovely Lucy (the clever girl behind the candles) offered a Large Mandarin and Sweet Orange Pillar Candle for this very giveaway. All you have to do if you want to win this super duper, vegan friendly, smells heavenly without hurting the planet candle is leave a comment below with your name and your favourite peasoupeats recipe. I’ll then choose the winner by entering the names into a random number generator thingy and et voila the candle will be winging its way to you pronto.
On this occasion the giveaway is for UK residents only.
p.s. I love ya, thanks for reading, keep coming back x