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31/01/2009

I'm so sad I just want to cry :(

I had my bag stolen from my local bar last night! Along with my phone, debit card and 1 euro in change my beloved camera was also nicked. I am so gutted. :( The person was caught on CCTV and the Guardia Civil will be taking a look at the footage later but I'm not holding out any hopes of getting my camera back. If you all could cross your fingers and wish really really hard for me and my camera to be reunited though, I'd be very grateful. The thief grabbed my bag in seconds and she's obviously a professional as there was a table full of people and no-one saw her commit the act. She scarpered off to the toilets, took out what was of any value to her and chucked the rest in the cistern of the toilet and replaced the lid. However, we didn't find it until today so last night we had to call a lock smith out to the house to bust the door open and fix a new lock. At least our car keys were retrieved which was really the most important thing as there was also a letter in my bag with our address on so she could have easily nicked the car too! I'm so angry with myself because normally I am so vigilante and I NEVER leave my belongings unattended. I let my guard down for 2 mins and that was all it took. Also in my bag was my newly purchased copy of Cruelty Free Shopper which is now just one big soggy mess (a bit like me really!!). I know these things can be replaced but I'm still sad and angry about it all. :(
29/01/2009

Beach, Salad and Bread Pudding YAY!

I don't wish to gloat but it has been a glorious day here on the Costa Blanca - the whiff of Spring is most certainly in the air and I feel my nerves a-twitching to do some much needed Spring cleaning and airing out of nooks and crannies. But rather than do that, I went for a walk along the beach instead. HURRAH!
Sea and fresh air always gives me an appetite and I enjoyed a delicious dinner of Tuna Friendly Tuna, Baby Leaf Salad, Avocado and Cauliflower Salad. It was gorgeous and I could eat it all over again. Everything except the Chickpeas in the Tuna Friendly Tuna was raw too!
Yummah!
But onto the Bread Pudding recipe 'cos I know I promised you all and I've been keeping you waiting long enough. This is a childhood favourite of mine and the fact it uses up old Bread just appeals to my thrifty nature even more than the fact it's delicious - well maybe not more but it's pretty darn close! My mum always made Bread Pudding by using Tea and though I've not tried this recipe with Fruit or Herb Teas - I'm sure keen on doing some experimenting with them 'cos I reckon that would be a winner too. Bread Pudding makes 8 slices Ingredients 8 slices stale white Bread (crusts or a mix of half and half) 1 1/2 cups (300ml) of cold English Tea Handful crushed Almonds 12 Dried Prunes, roughly chopped 12 Dried Apricots, roughly chopped 80 grams/half a cup Sultanas 1/2 teaspoon Mixed Spice 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup 60ml/1 third of a cup Soya Milk Method Tear the Bread up into chunks and place in a big bowl. Pour over the cold Tea and stir round. Leave for an hour stirring every so often to make sure all the Bread soaks up the Tea. Beat out any lumps. Add the Almonds and Fruit and give a good stir. Add the Mixed Spice, stir. Add the Maple Syrup and Milk and give everything a really good stir. Grease a 7 by 10 inch pan with Marg and spoon the mixture in, making sure to even it out with the back of the spoon. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for and hour and a half. Keep an eye on it and if the top goes really brown then cover with aluminium foil for the remaining baking time. Use a spatula to loosen the edges when it comes out of the oven but leave it to cool before removing from the pan. Sprinkle with white Sugar and cut into 8 equal slices.
Nom Nom Nom
27/01/2009

I made a Follywood!!

That title is probably the best thing about this blog entry.
Have you ever bought a new cook book and the first recipes you make out of it are really BLEURGH!!?? This happened to me last night, and I must say I'm rather reluctant to try anything else out of said book. The book I'm talking about is Complete Indian Cooking by Cara Hobday and Louise Steele (anyone else have this??) The first dish I made was Vegetable Curry (HOW could I have gone so wrong???) it was completely bland with no taste what-so-ever. Note to self: never NEVER use Turnips in Indian Cooking AGAIN. The second dish was Lentil and Vegetable Biryani and whilst it was very delicious and tasty (you had to use a LOT of salt however) it was WAY too wet for a Biryani. Biryani's should be dry shouldn't they??
Lentil and Vegetable Biryani
It does peeve me off because its reasons like this that I am always so reluctant to try new recipes and just stick to the already tried and tested recipes of my youth. BUT I do so want to be a bit more creative than I have been and start trying new dishes and what not. I probably will make a few more dishes out of this book - the Samosas look darn good and there's a few interesting Aubergine recipes in there as well. And as reluctant as I am to waste any more food making recipes from this book - I am equally reluctant to have wasted the 79p it cost me from the charity shop!! LOL!
21/01/2009

Tofu Breast

EURGH! I don't like that title. I was going to change it but couldn't think of anything else AND that is what this recipe is called after all. I've made this dish a lot of times and it is definitely one of my favourite ways to eat Tofu so I thought I would share it with you all in the hope that you'll give it a try too. I actually thought that this came from Every Day Dish, but a quick search on the site tells me that it's actually one of Bryanna's amazing creations. I did try to find the recipe over at Bryanna's site, but alack and alas I could not. Unfortunately it's not the easiest of sites to navigate is it. Bryanna - if you're reading this - let me redesign your site - I could make it SO much more user friendly. You could pay me with food! (hee hee hee) Anyway, enough with this tom foolery and on to the food.
The recipe for this can be found here with video instructions too!! I served mine with some new spring Potatoes (YUM) and a Salad of Rocket, baby Leaf Spinnach, Beetroot Leaves and Tomatoes all smothered in a dressing of Grapeseed Oil, Mustard, Red Wine Vinegar and Maple Syrup. YUM YUM YUM!
15/01/2009

Don't buy anything new for a year - and Carrot and Hazlenut Roast.........

A few of you have asked me about my "Don't buy anything new for a year" challenge, so I thought I would elaborate a bit more and let you all in on what it's all about.
I'm not sure who's responsible for starting this but many of the ishers are participating and the title basically says it all. Don't buy anything new for a year! I'm not an extravagant person but I do tend to buy a lot of tat. You know, pretty shiny things covered in glitter and the like, most of it ends up going to charity in a few years time anyway, so this is a really good opportunity for me to break my tat buying habits and save some pennies in the process.
Plus I think we live in such a throw away society with items being replaced at the first sign of a problem with a similar object all shiny and new. Our parents and grandparents were more from the "make do and mend" school of thought and this is more where I'd like to be too.
Now, because everyone is different and we all have different needs I have basically decided on my own rules and regulations for this challenge. Items not included in this challenge are as follows: Food Loo roll and cleaning products Medicine Anything that would jeopardize the health and safety of me and my family Certain people's birthday and anniversary gifts Tobacco I had started this on 1st January but I have failed dismally already so I am re-starting this again. Why did I fail? Because the gym I've just joined informed me that DM's are not suitable footwear for their gymnasium!! The cheek! I had put up a request on my local Freecycle group requesting for a pair of trainers any style, any colour, didn't matter if they were for men or women so long as they were size 6. I got zero replies so was forced to go out and buy a pair of shoes suitable. Trust me, I have come up with a garzillion excuses NOT to join my local gym, I really didn't need any help in this matter - but I was determined to join and get this aging body of mine back to a reasonable state of fitness. So suitable foot wear was kind of an emergency. Kinda. Loathed as I was to buy new anything, I was even more loathed to buy traniers, which I NEVER wear. So I managed to pick up a pair of black baseball boots for under ten euro and left the shoe shop feeling reasonably pleased with myself. At least baseball boots I will wear outside of the gym as well. Just to elaborate further, buying second hand is OK. Whether it be from ebay, Freecycle or charity shops and boot sales. Now onto tonight's food. This has to be the BEST Nut Roast I've ever had (yes, yes...I've had a few). It's the first recipe for me to try out of a book I bought myself for Christmas - Vegan Vitality by Dianne Hill. Holy Schmoley! Amazon have got this second hand from as little as 1p!! Go snap it up I say - it is an amazing book and even though this is the first recipe I've tried so far - I have my eyes on oodles of things in this book that all look fantastic. There's Cheez recipes in there too! Now obviously I can't print the recipe here because that is naughty BUT lo and behold the identical recipe can be found here HURRAH! Though it does miff me that no credit has been given to Diane Hill! HARRUMPH! The only thing I did different was I subbed Nutmeg for the Mace because that is what I had (who has Mace in their cupboard? 'Fess up!) Anyhoo - I'll let my GORGEOUS photos do all the talking necessary
served with Roast Tayties, Broccoli, Peas and LOTS of Onion Gravy. YUM!
As you can see, I have been acquainting myself with my new camera and these lush photos are all down to Vegan Yum Yum's most excellent post about taking photos for your food blog. If you haven't read this yet and want to learn all about the little tips and tricks to get the best out of your camera, then head on over there now. It is SUPERB!
12/01/2009

Pay it Forward and Cornish Pasties

GAH!
I knew there was something I'd forgotten. My apologies to everyone who entered and who have been waiting patiently with baited breath for the results and thanks to Guava for reminding me. Now...drum roll please....... The lucky three people who will be receiving a gorgeous home made gift from yours truly are: Georgia DJ Ginger YAY! Congratulations guys. Email me your addresses and I'll make sure to pop a little something in the post for you all within the next 365 days and go Pay it Forward yourselves. Now onto food...... I had a load of casserole/stew leftover that we had for dinner last night, and whilst eating it Mr treehugger declared how it would make nice Pasties. Not being one to disapoint, Pasties is exactly what the man got for dinner tonight. This a GREAT way to use up leftovers and they are so versatile and easy. Shortcrust Pastry Makes enough for 3 Pasties. You could make them smaller, but why would you want too!!!?? Ingredients 8 ounces Flour 4 ounces Marg pinch of Salt 6 Tablespoons ice cold Water Method Sift the Flour into a big mixing bowl, add a pinch of Salt and the Margarine. Using your fingers and thumb, rub the Margarine into the Flour until it resembles Bread Crumbs. Add the ice cold Water and gather the dough into a ball. Roll round a clean surface for a few minutes (DO NOT KNEAD) until it is all smooth. Set aside until ready. When ready, lightly Flour a clean surface and roll out the Pastry. Take a small plate, place on top of the Pastry and score round the edge with a knife. Gently lift up the cut out piece of Pastry and place on a lightly oiled baking tray. Gather up the remaining Pastry and repeat until you have as many cut outs as you can get. To make the Pasty Spoon filling of choice on one half of your cut out Pastry and lightly water round the edges. Fold over one half of the Pastry and press along the edge with your thumb, crimping the edges tightly together. Brush with Olive Oil and bake in a hot oven (200 degrees) for 50 mins. YUM!
(sorry about the poor quality of the photo - I am having issues with my lovely new camera and I'm not sure on the exact settings I need to take good pictures in my darkened kitchen at night - which is when we always eat)
10/01/2009

Thrifty Living Soup and Bread Pudding

It's no secret that I am a complete Soup addict. I will gladly and happily eat Soup for breakfast, lunch and tea (and I often do). It has to be my most favourite food in the whole world and the fact that it is cheap, easy and healthy, not to mention extremely versatile, are all added bonuses.
I am always looking out for new Soup recipes to try and Felicity over at Thrifty Living totally tempted me with her Black Bean and Sweetcorn creation. The best bit about making this Soup (apart from eating it of course) was toasting and grinding the Cumin Seeds. The aroma that those bad boys gave off when being ground was just out of this world. I can see toasting and grinding Cumin Seeds is going to be a regular occurrence in the treehugger household. I pretty much stuck to the recipe as well except I didn't have Black Beans so I subbed them for half of Kidney Beans and half of Pinto. Also, I added extra Lentils and used the whole tin of Tomatoes because I'm planning on eating this Soup for the next two days so a HUGE pot of the stuff was in order. Because I used extra Lentils I also had to add more vegetable stock otherwise I would have had a more stew like consistency, which wouldn't have been a problem but by adding more stock I got more Soup!! Genius! And just to tempt you with a little teaser, here's some Bread Pudding I made but which you'll have to wait for the recipe for as it needs me to be a better recipe creator and actually write down exact measurements of things. And that's not just an excuse to make it again......or is it??!!
Go on, bite me!
07/01/2009

Two Thousand and Fine

Happy New Year guys. Did you miss me?? Yeah...I know you did really. Thanks for all your lovely words of condolences, they all meant so much to me. I've not really had time to grieve as Salem passed away and then we left for England the very next day. Being home now I am feeling the full force of my loss - the house is so empty and lonely without him. But onto brighter and happier things and a chance to regale you with tales of my first Vegan Christmas. I am completely in love with Toffuti. It was my first taste of vegan cheese and I absolutely love it. The tubs of Cream Cheese are just amazing. I tried the French Onion, Garlic and Herbs, and Herbs & Chives and they are all AWESOME. I smuggled 2 tubs back with me which I am rationing myself to and I also bought some Cheezly but have not tried that yet, I'll give the verdict after I have. Bought some Cheese Powder, Bouillon, Custard, Mayonaise, Chocolates, Braised Tofu, Paté, Pepperred Steaks, Mince, Fry's Polony (sliced sausage), Agave Nectar, Reggae Reggae Sauce (OMG how good is that stuff!) and ...ummm....there's more I'm sure but you get the general idea - I WENT VEGAN SHOPPING MAD AND LOVED IT!! Santy bought me a nice new shiny camera so hopefully my photographic skills will improve and won't make your eyes bleed looking at my photos. Having said that - I have no photos of my Christmas dinner because Mr treehugger's family don't open presents 'til after dinner, which is around 6pm. Yeah I know!! But we had McSween's Haggis with all the usual trimmings and my plate was piled so high it wouldn't have made for a pretty picture anyway! Managed to see lots of people, missed a few too ;) and got out and about on lots of walks to the Forest, the river and the beaches. Went to Wagamama's (AMAZING!!) and visited two other restaurants where I had Spanish Tapas and Greek food. The Greek place, Bar Zuka, did the BEST Dolmades and Falafels I have ever had! All in all, I had a fantastic trip to England but I am glad to be home and looking forward to getting back to normal. Well, as normal as I can ever be. Cue the montage