Wednesday, 29 January 2014

What we ate Wednesday

I scored a really good deal on closed cap mushrooms at the market--600g for £2. So I divided them into 200g, 300g and 100g for meals for the next few days.

Last night we ate what I would call Sausage Mushrooms because they use all the spices from the Tempeh sausage recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen.

I had some frozen potato rosti in the freezer--they are like little latkes made of grated potato and onion--and my standard frozen peas. This meal was on the table in a half an hour as the rosti take 22 minutes to cook and the oven had to preheat.


To make the Sausage Mushrooms

1. Sauté one white onion  cut into thin rings while you prepare the mushrooms and cook the potatoes.

2. Wipe 200g of mushrooms with a damp cloth and cut in half if small or in quarters if larger. Throw them into the pan after the onion has cooked down a bit.

3. When the potatoes and peas are nearly ready and the gravy is heated, the onion should be golden and the mushrooms cooked down a bit.

 4. Add:

1 TB fennel seeds

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp mixed herbs (mine has thyme, sage and marjoram)

2 TB tamari soy sauce

Juice of half a lemon

Squidge of garlic paste (or 2 tsp minced fresh garlic)

 Stir to coat.

Serve sausage mushrooms with some sort of potato and vegetables and smother in gravy.


Tonight we’ll have mushroom and barley soup and the next day  potato pizzas--where you put all your favourite pizza toppings into a jacket potato. Then left over mushroom and barley soup  again (it makes loads) That will use up all the mushrooms and is a great way of making three cheap meals with £2 worth of mushrooms.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Crazy Delicious

That’s how Chocolate Covered Katie described this dip on her blog.

 And she was right.

 It’s insanely good. 

Like crack.

 Or how I’d imagine crack to be, not having ever smoked crack.

 It is high in protein and calcium and iron.

 Why says food can’t be healthy and delicious?

 It is also butt-ugly brown.

 But, hey…you can’t win them all.

Crazy Delicious Crack Dip from

¼ cup coconut oil

½ cup peanut butter

2.5 TB blackstrap molasses

1. Melt the coconut oil

2. Stir in the molasses

3. Stir in the peanut butter

 That’ s it!

 It is delicious warm when it is all gooey, but pop it in the fridge and it the coconut oil solidifies and it becomes a fudge like texture. It has a burnt caramel flavour that reminds me of that childhood favourite candy Burnt Peanuts. Do you remember those?

 What’s not to love?

If you can stop putting spoon to mouth long enough, it tastes lovely stuffed into dates.

Now go make it yourself.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Penultimate Munchkin

My heart is just broken because the penultimate Munchkin has died. Ruth Duccini who until yesterday was the last surviving female Munchkin, has died at the age of 95. This means that there is only one Munchkin left alive out of the 124 little people who appeared in the film.
in 2007 receiving a star on the Holywood walk of fame

She led a very interesting life post OZ. During World War Two, she worked as a riveter making planes and used her short stature (just under four feet tall) to squeeze into parts of the aircraft that most people could not reach.
She and other living Munchkins often made appearances, but she was one who never wore a replical costume like Margaret Pellegrini, Meinhardt Rabbe or Clarence Swensen. She said, " I know I was a Munchkin. Why do I need to wear a costume to prove that?"

Oz has been part of my life since about the age of six, both the book and the film. I have a collection of memorabilia that contains everything from Oz Barbie dolls (no really) to autographs of many of the cast members. I am lucky enough to have an autographed photo of Ruth Duccini. I will miss her.

Only Jerry Maren aged 93 of the Lollypop Guild remains.

When he goes, will the magic of Oz go as well?

A little spark of it, perhaps.

But we all go “over the rainbow” eventually.

Rest in Peace Ruth.

Friday, 17 January 2014

What we ate Wednesday

This is a feature on one of my favourite blogs Bonzai Aphrodite and I wanted to try to post at least one meal a week so you can see all the gorgeous food we eat. When my mum was here visiting over Christmas she couldn’t believe the variety of tastes and textures and flavours we enjoy. She kept asking, “Do you really eat like this ALL the time?” And the answer is  YES. Plant based eating, where you cook with whole foods, is definitely where it’s at. It’s delicious, nutritious and cruelty free. What’s not to love?

You may notice that this is not being posted on Wednesday. Well, we actually ate this on Thursday but What we ate Thursday doesn’t sound as good. Plus I wanted to post this pizza recipe as I just *knew* it was going to be freakin’ amazing.

I also wanted to show you how easy it is to veganise a recipe. I found this recipe in the free newspaper given out by the supermarket Waitrose. It is showing how you can make a copy cat recipe of the Rustichella  pizza you find on the menu at the restaurant Pizza Express.  


Basically they want you to buy the Pizza Express brand Margherita pizza (cheese pizza) in the chiller section of the store and top with pancetta, sun dried tomatoes, rocket (arugula), parmesan cheese and Pizza Express brand bottled Caesar dressing.

The problems here are several.

1. Their crust is made with wheat--which is definitely no-no for my tummy.

2. Pancetta is a smoky meat

3. Parmesan cheese is made from dairy

4. Caesar dressing is made with anchovies (and more parmesan cheese and egg yolk)

Did this stop me? Heck no! I made my own gluten free crust to start, but if you don’t have wheat issues then feel free to buy a ready made crust to make it go quicker.

I topped my crust with some homemade red sauce and caramelised red onion. I sprinkled on the sun dried tomatoes (chopped into bits)  over the top and then baked.

For the last three minutes of baking I added smoked tofu  I added this last as tofu can burn if cooked too long. After baking  I  sprinkled on vegan parmesan made with nutritional yeast and ground almonds and salt.

Then I added a handful of rocket and drizzled on some vegan Caesar dressing made from this recipe It was lovely and creamy and lemony and salty and tangy. The only change I made in the recipe was using my regular parmesan substitute rather than her recipe for parmesan.

Look at that creamy dressing up close! There was both rocket and Caesar dressing left over so I smell salad for tomorrow’s lunch!

It was delicious--it tasted just like a posh pizza you’d  get at a swanky pizza place.

 I can understand why people might be hesitant to go vegan--they worry that all the fun will go out of eating. That every meal will be bland. That it will be hard to find food to eat. That it will be hard to cook. I had those worries. I worried that if I cut our meat and dairy and eggs, what would I eat?

But being vegan is so freeing. There is so much delicious food out there. Food that involved no suffering and death. Food that tastes good and is easy to prepare. If you used a pre-made crust, this pizza would come together in a snap. I made the dressing the day before to make it go even quicker.

Now go and make it for yourself. 

Monday, 13 January 2014

Sweet dreams (and variations thereupon)

Confession time.

 There is this *thing* I like to do for fun.

 It involves rhyming words.

 As an only child I often had to entertain myself and this is just one of the ways I did it. When I wasn’t making up stories about undersea kingdoms and telling them to my bemused bus driver or writing and directing plays all about Oz with me starring as Dorothy or teaching kids at school to be pickpockets for 25 cents a lesson  based on scenes from the film Oliver! that  I had seen on the telly (yes, these are all things I *actually* did as a child) then I was rhyming.

 Spiderman likes to point out that Sybil’s mother, who was paranoid schizophrenic, used to like to rhyme as well. You remember Sybil don’t you? She was so abused by her mother that Sybil split into a dozen personalities to cope. It’s true. I saw it on telly. Although, apparently all that multiple personality stuff has been revealed to be a hoax (except the bit about her mum being mentally ill—that bit was true).

But liking to rhyme doesn’t make you crazy. Eccentric perhaps, but not crazy.  

The other night we were just going to bed. The lights were out and Spiderman said, “Sweet dreams!” and my mind suddenly started to race. As I began to giggle and spout off variations thereupon he said,

“I mean this in the kindest way possible…will you shut up and go to sleep, please.”

So there it is, best beloved. I only have you to share my rhymes with.

Sweet dreams.

Beat dreams--dreams of poets wearing black polo necks, smoking and drinking coffee

Bleat dreams--dreams about sheep and the noises they make

Cleat dreams--dreams of spiky shoes footballers wear

Crete dreams--dreams of a small Greek island or a friend from high school named LeCrete, if you happen to have had one (which I did)

Cheat dreams--dreams of winning dishonestly

DEET dreams--dreams of mosquito repellent

Feet dreams--dreams about…feet (obviously)

Fleet dreams--dreams about a group of boats

Greet dreams--dreams of waving hello to people

Heat dreams--dreams of being too warm

Keat(s) dream--dreams of a Romantic Victorian  poet (not to be confused with Shelley, Byron or Coleridge dreams)

Meet dreams--dreams of running into old friends (see Greet dreams)

Meat dream--dreams of being a carnivore (a nightmare for vegans!)

Peat dreams--dreams of bags of compost

Pete dreams--dreams of your least favourite member of the Monkees. Tork rhymes with dork for a reason.

Parakeet dream--dreams of small chirpy birds

Sweet dreams--dreams of small individually  wrapped chocolates

Seat dream--dreams of where to put your bottom

Tweet dreams-- dreams of the noises small chirpy birds make (see Parakeet dreams)

Teat dreams--dreams of milking a cow

Treat dreams--dreams of rewarding yourself with a bit of chocolate (see Sweet dreams)

Tweat dreams--dreams of rewarding yourself with a bit of chocolate if you are Jonathan Ross or Barbara Walters.

VEET dreams--dreams of using a stinky depilatory cream

Wheat dreams--dreams of bread (a  nightmare for celiacs)

So there you have it.

Wasn’t that fun?

Free entertainment for hours guaranteed, I promise.

Spiderman stop rolling your eyes at me.

Now go and rhyme it for yourself!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

What does George Fox say?

Those who read this blog know I am obsessed with that weird and wonderful song by Ylvis called What Does the Fox Say? But then the Quakers come along and make a parody of it and I love it even more!

 Whoever said that Quakers were boring and outdated clearly don’t know me and all my Quaker peeps at our local Meeting House. Quakers invented fun.

 OK, maybe that last bit is not true. But Quakers are alive and well all over the world and our sense of peace, justice, truth and simplicity shine in our lives made possible through our form of worship—a direct connection to God through listening to that “still small voice” in silence.

This song is about George Fox—the founder of the Quaker movement. It is a bit of history lesson as well as a bit of fun. There quotes by George Fox are used today to understand the nature of “that of God in everyone” and our purpose in this world.

Here is a link to the video:

There are also links at the top to click on to read the quotes by George Fox in full as well as other Quaker resources. Also, in case you’ve missed the original video, there’s a helpful link to see it so you know why this is so clever and funny.

But for those who are without the ability to watch youtube, here are the lyrics.


1650’s England

Kingless country

Civil war

Dudes in robes the only way

To communicate with God


All pay tithes

And all swear oaths

Churches full of empty forms

A shoemaker

Begins to preach


What does George Fox say?

"I saw, also, that there was an ocean of darkness and death; but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness. In that also I saw the infinite love of God, and I had great openings."


What’s George Fox say?

"Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you go.”


What’s George Fox say?

"Be still and cool in your own mind and spirit from your own thoughts, and then you will feel the principle of God.”


What’s George Fox say?

“I heard a voice which said, "Jesus Christ can speak to your condition"; and when I heard it, my heart did leap for joy."


What’s George Fox say?


Shaggy hair

Leather clothes

Comes for prayer then steps on toes

He can’t stand

Bad theology

He serves a jail term or three


His jailers rise

And follow him

He’s an angel in disguise

His piercing eyes

See your course

‘Cause he’s connecting to his





He’s connecting to his





What does George Fox say?

“The Lord does not dwell in these man made temples but rather in people’s hearts.”


What’s George Fox say?

“Christ says this, and the Apostles say this but what can you say?”


What’s George Fox say?

“Walk cheerfully over the earth answering to that of God in everyone.”


What does George Fox say?


The insight of George Fox

Was that the spirit can guide us.

It talks in a still small voice

Of Love and Truth.

What do you hear?


Will you keep yourself open

To peace and integrity?

What do you hear?


You have a guardian angel

Hiding in your soul.

What do you hear?

I want to know. 


If you are looking for a place of worship to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, a place to slow down and really be able to listen to the voice of God inside of you then check out the Quakers.
If you are looking for a place of worship that works hand in hand with justice and peace reconciliation, then check out the Quakers.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Half past Sylvester McCoy

Did you get that? Thats how you tell the time on my new Doctor Who clock. It simply means 7:30 because Sylvester McCoy was the seventh Doctor. Or to be even more complicated try this:

Pertwee past Tom Baker

Give up? 4:15 because Jon Pertwee was the third Doctor (5, 10, 15 past) and Tom Baker the fourth.

Confused? Dont worry about it. Those of us who proudly hold our Geek banner high will pick up the slack for you. We gave my mum a crash course on the History of Who while she was here so now she can follow our conversations.

If you want to make you own clock this is what you need to do.

1) Buy an inexpensive clock.


2) Carefully take your clock apart. (for me this involved unscrewing the back--save your screws in a wee cup! Then carefully removing the hands of the clock)


3) Find head shots of all twelve Doctors  on GOOGLE image or whatever browser you use (yes, Im going with twelve. I know the 50th anniversary film showed John Hurt, but he was only there for the Time War and so was more like 8.5. So sue me.) Size them so they will fit correctly on your clock without overlapping and then print on thin white card.

4) Find the Seal of Rassilon  on the internet and size it for the centre of the clock and a really teeny tiny TARDIS  for the hour hand.   Print on thin white card.

5) Carefully take the paper face off the clock and trace it onto white poster board or other thin card. Dont forget to cut the hole for the hands to poke through.


6) Cut out your Doctor heads, Seal of Rassilon and TARDIS and lay out to check everything looks hunky dory. Glue down. I used white glue thinned with water for the heads and seal but hot glue to stick the TARDIS on the hour hand. Stick it back in the clock.

 7)Put the whole thing back together. This involves putting the hands back on, putting the battery in to make sure it works, setting the time and then sandwiching it all back in reverse order and screwing it closed.

Thats it! I did it over a couple of days to let all the glue dry properly, but I did it all by myself so even if you feel mechanically inept, it can be done. I am the proof.

Now go and make one yourself.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Twenty Fourteen

Hello and happy new year! Did you miss me? I decided to take a bit of a sabbatical over the holiday season to spend time with my lovely mum who was here visiting. We had two wonderful weeks together and got to do many a thing.

Can you believe we are in the year 2014? This is significant for several reasons:

1) January 2nd marks ten years that Spiderman and I have lived happily in the UK. That was the best decision we ever made. It was certainly a leap of faith into the unknown, but we knew we adored Jolly Olde England and knew we needed a different life from the one we were living. As my mum can attest after two weeks of living with us and experiencing our lives--England is the perfect fit for us. While she was here we bought some art, saw a fantastic play, recycled oodles of stuff, ate delicious, healthy food, experienced a Pantomime, read heaps of books, made some crafty things and spent time at Meeting for Worship with an amazing group of Friends. We spent several days at church--mostly for worship but also for fun and games at our new year’s party. Pass the parcel, anyone?  

2) We are one year away from the future predicted in the film Back to the Future II--where are the flying cars, self adjusting, self drying jackets and power shoelaces?  Scientists you better get your skates on!

We heard from friends old and new and stuffed ourselves on puddings. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about--eating ‘til you spew? Or as our favourite musical comedy man Mitch Benn says, “The true meaning of Christmas is to eat until it hurts, then drink until it doesn’t hurt no more.” Or maybe that’s just here. We polished off a vegan version of Hello Dollies (using thick coconut caramel in place of sweetened condensed milk) and washed it down with a bottle of frangelico at Christmas and bottle of Buck’s Fizz at New Years.

We made crafty crafts--Mum and I made clove studded oranges. This was a childhood craft we used to make together every Christmas and makes your house smell lovely. I neglected to get a picture but they were wonderful.

I made a Doctor Who clock--stay tuned for a tutorial!

It was a lovely, restful, fun Christmas. I hope yours was too.

May we all have good health, happiness and a bit of mischief in the new year to keep us on our toes. Happy new year.