welcome vegan and non-vegan friends

love a good natter? are you vegan or curious about the vegan lifestyle? then you have come to the right place..a blog about being vegan,with recipes,tips and just general chit chat :-)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


We all love a good shampoo that makes our hair not just clean but shiny and healthy looking, because 'we are worth it' as the adverts tell us!.....but what about the animals, are they 'worth it'? What am I talking about you may ask, shampooing our pets so they are clean, shiny and healthy looking?
Many industries use animals to test the safety and effectiveness of products such as shampoos, conditioners (and cosmetics) in spite of the fact that there are alternatives to animal testing and despite the fact that there is huge evidence out there proving that there is no need for such horrific and unneccesary testing.Some of the common animals used in testing are Cats, Dogs,Chimpanzees, Ferrets, Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, Mice, Rabbits and Rats plus more. A small sample of companies that use the cruel practice of animal testing are Procter and Gamble, Lever Brothers, L'Oreal, Maybelline and Max Factor plus a lot more, to find a list of all the companies that test their products on animals check out the BUAV page at http://www.buav.org/ click on 'Download Cruelty Free Guide' in the bottom right hand corner. Here you will find also a list of all the companies that DO NOT test their products on animals :-)
Shampoo and conditioners may also CONTAIN animals in them like Protein obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones with water from cows and pigs, Spermaceti. Cetyl Palmitate. Sperm Oil. a waxy oil derived from the sperm whale's head or from dolphins, and even Placenta /Afterbirth, derived from the uterus of slaughtered animals! http://www.happycow.net/health-animal-ingredients.htm
So if like me you think animals are 'worth it' make sure you by shampoo, conditioners and cosmetics that are vegan and also carry the 'non tested' logo....
You could also have a go at making your own shampoo

For greasy hair a stimulating shampoo......
100ml Soap Stew
Rosemary 3 drops
Basil 1 drop
Lemon 15 drops
Cypress 2 drops
Rosemary 4 drops.   Mix well together in a blender and shake before use.
 For shiny hair.......
100ml Soap Stew, Thyme 6 drops, Eucalyptus 7 drops, Lavender 3 drops. Mix well before use.
(The Basic Soap Stew number 1...100g pure soap flakes (which can be bought from health shops or pharmacy)  1litre (2 pints) spring water.
Simmer the water and then add the soap flakes. Stir until the soap dissolves. Cool and bottle in old jar or similar container. Don't worry if the mixture goes lumpy - just beat in a blender before you add your essential oils to make up your shampoo.
The Basic Soap Stew number 2...100g grated pure Castile soap, 1litre (2pints) spring water.
Simmer the water, add the soap and bring to the boil until soap is dissolved. Pour into a jar and store until needed)

Im sure by taking a little more time out to buy or make shampoo that is animal friendly, not only will we feel better in ourselves for making such a loving choice but our animal friends will feel good too :-)



Monday, 19 September 2011

Solomon's crumble

''Comfort me with apples'' - The Song of Solomon........hence the name of this crumble. This is by far the most moist, sweet and tasty apple crumble I have ever tasted. I got the recipe from an old recipe book and just veganised it and 'tried' to make it a 'little' more healthy ( just an excuse so I can eat more of it!)

600g cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
113-170g unrefined granulated sugar
crumble: 56g plain white flour
              56g wholemeal flour
              56g porridge oats
              112g molasses sugar
              112g dairy free butter
              pinch of sea salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 190c/375f/gas5. Put apples into a pie dish and add the sugar all over apples with a very little amount of water (aprox 1-2tbls) For the crumble, put both flours, oats, salt (if using) and df butter into a bowl and work together with your hands until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the molasses sugar and sprinkle the crumble over apples. Bake for about 15mins and then reduce the temperature to 180c/350f/gas4 and bake for a further 35-40 mins or until the top is lightly browned......something that looks like this.........

Serves 4-6 thats if you want to share it! :-)

Monday, 8 August 2011

Peas in a Pod

Peas are a wonderful tiny little explosion of flavour that are full of goodness. They are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein so are definatly a good green food to have on your plate. You can buy peas fresh, frozen or in tins and any type is good but I personally like to buy them fresh in their pods. There is nothing more satisfying then 'popping' the pod and finding all those tiny little gems inside :-) the only draw back to me doing that is that my dog Rufus hears the 'popping' sound and comes running into the kitchen giving me his best 'puppy' look he can master until I give him some peas and if Im not carefull he ends up with more peas than we do!

So what can we do with peas.....we can steam,boil,saute them or even eat them raw (like Rufus does) all ways taste yummy but sometimes I like to do something a little different with them........
Peas in batter
Heat up some vegetable oil in a heavy based pan (enough oil to cover about a 1/3 of the pan) until nice and hot. 
150g S.R fllour, 1tsp baking powder, salt n pepper to taste,50ml/2floz soya cream. Mix flour,baking powder,salt n pepper and add cream, then mix to a batter. Add roughly 100g fresh or frozen peas and mix into batter. Put spoonfulls of the pea batter into hot oil and fry until golden (about 1-2 mins) remove with a slotted spoon and serve warm with a crisp salad and potato wedges or chips and a good dollop of tomato ketchup (vegan of course)
Rice and peas (this was given to me by a Jamacan friend)     (no measurements just however much you want)
Rinse rice of your choice (I usually use about half a pkt of a standard size pkt of rice) and put in a large pan with enough water to cover all the rice,bring to the boil and simmer,at this point add a piece of solid creamed coconut about the size of a matchbox (depending on how much rice you are using) and stir until melted,then add the juice of a large tin of kidney beans,then add a large handful of fresh/frozen peas (if using tinned peas dont add yet) When rice is cooked to your liking add the kidney beans (and tinned peas if using,juice drained) stir together and serve hot with crusty, buttered bread
Bubble and squeak peas
Mashed potato, onion which has been fried in little oil until golden and cooked peas. Mix altogether with a little pepper and place in a frying pan that has about 1tbls of oil in it. Cook of a medium heat until bottom is golden a crisp looking,remove from heat and (cover with dairyfree cheese optional) place pan under hot grill. Grill until top of bubble and squeak peas is brown in colour. Done :-)

Enjoy peas! :-)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

All creatures great and small

Summer time is here!
 We all enjoy sitting out on our garden, alone enjoying the rays and getting some needed quiet time or with family and friends, enjoying good company, good food and cooling refreshing drinks sparkling in the rays of the sun. And of course there is nothing better than a good BBQ to make summer feel even more like summer. If we are enjoying the warmth of the sun alone or with others, we always have more company than we think we would have....insects of all shapes and sizes :-)
Insects are fabulous little creatures who are good for our garden and plants and who all have an important job to do, but if like me you have an allergy to certain ones or just cant cope with insects crawling around you, then what should we do? Obviously it is absolutly unneccesary to harm them but we can keep them at a distance we are comfortable with, without harming or causing them stress and giving ourselves peace of mind :-)
There are many vegan insect repellents you can buy of the internet from sprays, soaps to candles but if like me you like to 'have a go' at making your own here's a natural insect repellent recipe that I found which works pretty well......
  • 10-25 drops (total) of essential oils
  • 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil or alcohol
The essential oils that work well against biting insects (mosquitoes, flies, ticks, fleas) are:
  • cinnamon oil (mosquitoes)
  • lemon eucalyptus or regular eucalyptus oil (mosquitoes, ticks, and lice)
  • citronella oil (mosquitoes and biting flies)
  • castor oil (mosquitoes)
  • orange oil (fleas)
  • rose geranium (ticks and lice)
Safe carrier oils and alcohols include:
  • olive oil
  • sunflower oil
  • any other cooking oil
  • witch hazel
  • vodka
Mix the essential oil with the carrier oil or alcohol. Rub the natural insect repellent onto skin or put in a spray bottle and spray on skin or clothing, using care to avoid the eye area.Re-apply after about an hour or after swimming or exercise. Any unused repellent can be stored in a dark bottle, away from heat or sunlight. You can also combine the oil with aloe vera gel to make more of a 'lotion' you can rub on your skin.

Different insects are repelled by different oils, so you'll get a more effective repellent if you combine a few different insect-repelling natural oils. If you are making large amounts of insect repellent, a good rule to remember is to mix the repellent so it's 5-10% essential oil, so mix 1 part essential oil with 10-20 parts carrier oil or alcohol.
( The essentials oils don't mix with water, so you'll need to add them to other oils or to alcohol. It's important to use an oil or alcohol that is safe for your skin. Also, don't go overboard with the essential oils. The oils are potent and could cause skin irritation or another reaction if you use too much. If you are pregnant or nursing, do not apply an insect repellent, natural or otherwise, until after you've gotten it cleared by your physician.)

The sun makes all creatures great and small come out and want to have fun so lets have fun together.HAPPY SUMMER TO ALL :-)

Monday, 18 July 2011

The humble Tomato

Tomatoes contain the carotene lycopene, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants.Eating tomatoes is believed to benefit the heart, among other organs and  has been associated with decreased risk of breast cancer, head and neck cancers and might be strongly protective against neurodegenerative diseases. Tomatoes and tomato sauces and puree are said to help lower urinary tract symptoms (BPH) and may have anticancer properties.100g of raw tomatoes contains 95g of water, 13mg of vitamin C and only 0.2g of fat. So in my opinion the humble tomato is not so humble!
So this year we decided to grow a different type of tomato to the ones we normally grow. The Bloody Butcher Tomato....a strange name and a strange looking plant, and although I personally found the skin of the tomato a little 'tougher' in texture than the normals ones we grow, the sweetness and taste of these juicy tomatoes is outstanding.
We've eaten them raw,roasted,blended,sauted and of course made them into soup! Here is my family's favourite tomato soup recipe,I hope you enjoy it as much as we do :-)
900g/2lb tomatoes, halved (or a little more if you like your soup extra tomatoe tasting)
2tbsp dairy free butter
1tbsp olive oil (or oil of your choice)
1large sliced onion (i use white but a red onion is also fine to use)
2 heaped tbsp tomato puree
850ml/11/2 pints of vegetable stock
2tbsp of sherry (or fortified wine, vegan of course)
1/2tsp unreifined sugar
salt and pepper

Preheat grill on high and put tomatoes, cut-sides up,on a baking tray and grill for 5mins until just starting to char.Melt the butter with the oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook for 5mins,stirring frequently.Stir in tomato puree and cook for another 2mins. Add tomatoes,stock,sherry,sugar,salt and pepper to taste and stir.Bring to boil, and reduce heat to low and simmer,covered for 20mins.Blend and pour through a sieve back into saucepan. Serve hot with crusty bread and decorate with a swirl of dairyfree cream and sprinkles of parsley if you wish. :-)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Starting out

Whether you have already decided to go vegan or are just thinking about it or have been vegan for a long time, its always good to have somewhere or someone we can contact for information or just general help. I know when I first decided to go vegan I was in a bit of a 'flap' not knowing what I could eat, never mind what to wear, make-up to chose or even household cleaning stuff to use! I didnt know of anyone that was vegan at the time until a friend of mine mentioned that she knew of someone that was vegan. So off I went to see this lady, she kindly had a chat with me and gave me an old copy of a magazine by Viva! (vegetarians international voice for animals) I returned home and eagerly read it. I then phoned a number that was on the magazine and spoke to a very lovely and helpful lady who sent me lots and lots of info through the post which helped me a great deal. So if you are in need of some help or advice about going/being or staying vegan and dont know where to turn, here are just some that I found helpful.

here are some sites on the internet I found useful.....  www.veganstore.co.uk  www.veganvillage.co.uk  www.veganforum.com  www.veganfamily.co.uk   http://www.cookingforvegans.co.uk/  

There are more shops that cater for vegans: http://www.superdrug.com/ type in vegan on the search button for a list of their vegan products or pop into superdrug store to check out their range of vegan stuff. Marks and Spencers offer a whole range of toiletries, household stuff and cosmectics plus more and Sainsburys label all their products that are vegan http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/ and of course your local health stores have lots of vegan stuff. I personally love http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/ 

there are also lots of books about veganism and vegan recipe books that you can purchase from ebay, amazon,viva! ect and your local library has enough to keep you going :-).....and of course there's alway me! follow my blog....


Monday, 4 July 2011

cup of tea and a slice of cake

There is nothing nicer than a cup of tea and a slice (or two) of cake, but if like me your trying to watch your calorie intake then try this low-fat spice cake, it tastes so delicious that you dont even have a hint thats its low-fat. So here's my recipe....
250g self-raising flour, 150g natural molasses unrefined cane sugar, 4 tablespoons golden syrup, 250ml soya milk or dairyfree milk of your choice, 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of mixed spice, pinch of salt.
Preheat oven to 180c / gas 4 and grease a 1lb loaf tin.
Sieve flour into bowl, add dark brown soft sugar, golden syrup, cinnamon, mixed spice and salt. Add milk and mix to combine. Pour into a greased loaf tin. Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 mins.