Archive for July, 2009

Finally saw Harry Potter!

July 29, 2009

I’ve been itching for weeks to see this film. I love the books and the other movies have impressed me so far. This movie was good too, although it did dissapoint me a bit, but maybe I was just over hyped to see it? It took a look of hassle to arrange seeing it. Started aranging it by text, then via facebook, then text again, then finally phone. It was quite stressful, actually! My phone broke half way through, nothing to do with me dropping it (again) I’m sure. I had to put my sim in my mothers phone for a little while. Luckily my phone is working again though. Roll on October so I can get a new phone for my birthday! (I’m thinking touch screen, they’re very affordable now!)

Anyway, the film. Well, I thought it got off to a bit of a slow start. I also thought that, although I cannot remember much detail from the book, that the film missed out some important bits. I understand this is to cut down the running time, but still. Hopefully though this will be resolved for the last film as it is being shown in two halves. I also felt that the acting by Ginny’s character to be dull and bland. Though she has been a good actress in the past, so maybe this is the fault of the director. The ending dissapointed too, there was a huge climax, a gentil bring down, then the ending scene, which felt like more of a filler to me. However, the film did have great moments in, too. I thought that the scenes involving Horace Slughorn were great, the actor was perfect for the role. And the scenes near the end were pretty exhilerating, there was one point where several of the cinema goers screamed, because there was a very ‘jumpy’ moment.

I took in my own pop corn and drinks. I refuse to pay the extortionate amounts for the refreshments there. I read somewhere that the cinemas make a 1000% profit on their pop corn! And £2.00 for a bottle of drink? No way!

Overall, it is a must see for all Harry Potter fans. Although I do get the impression if you haven’t read the book you may be left a little lost.

Vegans and Carverys Don’t Mix

July 28, 2009

There’s no surprise then. It was my sisters birthday the 11th June. She also graduated at the end of July. That means a cause for celebration! My family are big fans of a nearby pub/carvery, so that’s where we headed. In terms of the menu, there wasn’t anything for me, I was at least hoping for the bog standard jacket potatoes and baked beans. Instead, all I could get a long roasted stuffed pepper, stuffed with herby couscous and topped with a tomato and lemon sauce. It came with a small herb salad drizzled with olive oil. The thing was meant to come with cheese, but obviously I ordered mine without. It was pretty nice though, I have to admit. However, I just felt very pissed at the complete lack of choice. Of course, I know we were at a carvery, so I didn’t expect much. There were no desserts for me either, so I sat and watched everyone else guzzle down chocolate tarts, apple pie and cheesecake. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret not being able to eat much, it’s just a one off occassion. Hopefully I won’t have to go there for a while. 🙂

Hopefully I’m off to see Harry Potter tomorrow, not with the people I originally planned to see it with though. And next week, hopefully Bruno is on the list. Has anyone seen Bruno, is it good?

Vegeland is Vegeheaven

July 27, 2009

Once again, I found myself on a trip to Norwich, for some shopping. The weather, as you’d expect of England, did spoil the day a little. It was chilly and wet, but luckly this improved around lunch time. I came home with an extra pair of jeans (£10 marked down from £32!) and some yummy vegan eats. (Such as dark chocolate with a twist of orange, marinated dried tofu strips, dried sweet potato strips. I also got some Blue Sheese! I am so excited about trying this, as blue cheese was always a hit with me)

One of the highlights of my day though, was lunch. But then, when is it never? After reading its good reviews on sites like HappyCow, I thought Vegeland was definatly worth a try. It’s a chinese style take out, but you help yourself. It’s 100% vegan, all it’s food is vegan and the staff are all vegan too. It’s even in the UK top 100 in the Guide to Good vegetarian Food.

Picture from Happycow

Picture from Happycow

I was lucky to eat there at all though. Me and my nan got very lost looking for it. All we knew was that it was on Cattle market Street. Not much help when you’re in a big city. We asked some people, got halfway there, then got lost. Eventually, in a last ditch attempt, we went into the drycleaners to ask the worker there where it was. We followed her directions and, finally, Cattle Market Street! That was not the end though…We passed the taxi firm we were told was nearby Vegeland, but no Vegeland. We carried on a little way, but to no avail. We then asked a passing lady if she knew where it was – she did! She told us it was quite popular, and that her friends often ate there. When we got to it, we were pretty embarrassed to realise we’d walked right by it. In the end, it took us 45 minutes to find it! My gosh, but the food was worth it. For future reference, it is kinda near castle mall. You can go up to the 1st floor (with the Norwich football club store) and out the back way, you come out nearly opposite Vegeland.

You get a polystyrene tub and you fill it with as much food as you can. I had noodles, thai curry, prawn crackers, spring rolls, this tomato-y pasta stuff, sauteed potatoes and maybe a couple of other pieces, I can’t remember! they also had other things there too, but my tub was too full 😦 ) The man working there was very friendly, and answered my questions well and was generally chatty. It’s very cheap too, £2.50 for a medium tub, £3.00 for a large tub. I had a large tub, of course. The only downside is you can’t eat in. However, on a nice day there is the castle meadow where you can sit and eat, or on a day like today you can go into the castle mall and find some benches  to sit and eat on.

My thoughts on the food? Amazing! It was so yummy, the curry was my favourite. Everything was awesome though. My nan agreed too. Next time I’m in Nowrich, I’m heading straight there! Even if you aren’t a vegan, you will love the food, you can’t tell it’s vegan – honest! Some ingredients are also on sale, such as frozen meat alternatives, and also shelf stuff such as sauces, coconut milk ect.

Vinegar and Tofu Don’t Match.

July 25, 2009

After millet failed to impress me the other day as a hot breakfast, I decided to give it a chance to redeem itself. This was after I’d found that the clip had come off the packet and about a quarter of the bag had spilt into the cereal cupboard. Millet really wasn’t in my good books, untill now.

Saturdays, weather permitting, is barbecue day. If we’re at my grandparent’s, we have it for lunch, if we’re home, we have it for dinner. I decided to try my hand at marinating some tofu and making some veggie kebabs, to be placed on a bed of millet. I thought it might make a good sub for couscous. It was more  soggy than couscous, obviously, but other than it fared well. Instead of making it up with soyamilk, as I did the other day, I made 35g of it up with 250ml water, but mixed in half a kallo low salt stock cube once the water had come to a boil. The result was a yummy millet dish, which could easily replace rice or sililar things as a side dish.

milletThis prvoided a half decent bed for my kebabs.

veggie kebabsThe veggies were so yummy. Roasted veg always are. There’s aubergine, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and tofu on there. However, the tofu was ick. Yuckidy yuckidy yuck. I couldn’t eat it. My marinade sucked. I marnated the tofu overnight in a base of vinegar, mixed with a bit of vegan worcester sauce and some sugar. But the tofu just tasted so much like vinegar, it was euh. Next time, I’m going to find a marinade recipe, rather than making my own up. Don’t get me wrong, vinegar on chips is the best, but vinegar flavoured tofu? No, just no. Does anyone have any good suggestions for a tofu marinade?

The Early Bird Catches the Worm. Not.

July 24, 2009

Today has been one heck of a long day. I had to get up extra early, because we were going into town while the car was being MOTed, but because the car was booked in early, it meant leaving the house at 7:40! Erlack, I hate getting up before 8:00. It meant an extra early breakfast, and an extra long gap between breakfast and lunch. And I get very, very hungry if I have to wait too long for my meals! And now, to me it feels like a saturday, because we also went to my grandparent’s to visit, and we normally do that on a saturday. My whole body clock is messed up now D:

We got a free pedometer in the post today too, with the government’s ‘Change4Life’ pack. It’s a crap little thing, but hey, it’s free. It can go in the drawer with all the other pedometers we’ve accumulated. (All with good intentions, but the intentions never last long)

For a while, I’ve been looking for a little change up from peanut butter. And my trip to Poppy’s Pantry a few days ago provided that chance. But there was such choice! Cashew, brazil, hazelnut, almond, sunflower and pumpkin. The nut butters were pricey, £2.30 for 170g, but the seed butters were a bit better, £1.99 gor 170g. So I decided to go for pumpkin seed butter.

punpkin seed spread.I was super duper excited to try it, as I am with most new foods, and I fell in love. At first, the taste startled me. Not because it was weird, or unappetising in any way at all. It was simply because I was used to peanut butter on my ryvita, and to get a pumpkin seed taste was kind of unexpected (even though I knew what I was eating *eyeroll*). If you like pumpkin seeds, you’ll love this. I have to say, it may not look like the most yum thing in the world, but give it a chance!

yumI’m still a peanut butter fiend though. Nothing will ever replace it for me, ever. I still find myself with the spoon in limbo between the jar and my mouth in the evenings.

Not all things peanut butter work though. I had what I thought would be a great idea the other nut: Peanut butter hot chocolate. Sounds delish to me. It didn’t work. I added a fair bit of peanut butter to the hot chocolate, yet the peanut butter could not be tasted at all. 😦 Then again, I didn’t add sugar to the drink, maybe that’s what it needed…I just used plain soy milk and cocoa powder. Hmms.

Spot the Cat

July 23, 2009

Nothing here!My cat loves to hide in our veggie patch, especially between the sprouting broccoli. She isn’t very photogenic though, and abruptly ran away after I snapped her. Usually it’s very hard to spot her as she’s normally finds a better hiding place than this.

She’s either hiding in the veggie patch, or eating it. Both of our cats have a strange fetish for onion and garlic tops, and we often spot them chewing on them. And my other cat likes to sit on the garlic we already picked and put on the windowsill. Silly cats.

I decided to go on a new route this morning for my bike ride, and I enjoyed it untill I started going down a steep hill, as I knew a down hill one way means an uphill on the way back. I don’t think I’ll be doing the route i took today again though, because it didn’t go anywhere! I was hoping to come out at a small village, with maybe a small village store to buy a drink at, or a bench to rest on. but no, I had to turn round after a while because I wasn’t going anywhere.

At Poppy’s Pantry yesterday, I got some millet. My mother enjoys telling me how I am eating bird food, she doth mock me a little bit now that I bought some millet. I’ve never had millet before, and thought I’d try it as a hot breakfast cereal.

Milletmillet

I didn’t cook it for as long as the packet suggested, as I kinda like my grains slightly al dente and chewy. However, I think next time I will cook it for the full 20 minutes, as apparently it goes like mashed potato when you cook it for longer, and that kinda appeals to me. Taste wise, it’s a bit bland even though I made it with soy milk. I suppose I need to add something to it. It reminded of the coarse cornmeal I occassioanlly have for breakfast.

I think millet might make a better grain to use as a side dish rather than for breakfast. Some experimenting is required.


Mmm, Chocolate

July 22, 2009

Today was quite a nice day, I started off with a walk, then in the afternoon we went to Melton, tried to feed the ducks some of our old mouldy bread, but they (unsurprisingly) weren’t that interested. We went for a short walk, and finished by having a drink in the pub. Cola for me, of course. I’d never been in this particular pub, but it had a great atmosphere. I quite like pubs, they have a nice air about them, a friendly air. Although, I’ve only ever been in a pub during the day, perhaps in the evening they become a different place. It’s a shame so many are closing in this climate. We then went to ‘Poppy’s Pantry’, I love this store, it’s a social enterprise, meaning it works with disabled people, allowing them to work. I like this store for that reaosn, but also because they stock so many vegan goodies. If not for this small store, nutritional yeast flakes would still be on my wish list. I can easily get most kinds of ‘whole foods’ here, and they allow you to buy cases of stuff. So I took advantage and bought a 6 pack case of tofu (you can never have enough tofu).

Anyway, this guy familiar?

News1_0

To UK readers (and possibly world wide readers), do you remember that show, ‘Willy’s Wonky Chocolate Factory’, about the bloke who wanted to make the worlds best chocolate, he owned his own cacoa plantation ect. Well, I managed to get some of his chocolate yesterday. Waitrose is his main stocker, and we don’t often go in there. It’s a rather upmarket supermarket, and to do our weekly shop there would cost a lot more than going to Tesco’s. However, yesterday we visited, and my mother said she’d indulge me. (At and £2.99 a bar, it reallywas an indulgence!). There are two types of the dark chocolate bars, soon to be three. I got the San Matin Puruvian 70.

chocolate

You get two square blocks, each wrapped in a gold foil. Both are also stamped with Willy’s logo  on, it smells really good, very unique. The box says, ‘one for now…’, but honestly, it’s so rich you wouldn’t want one whole bar at once! (especially at the price – gotta make it last!). It would have been nice if the bars were divided up into squares, like your typical chocolate bars, as it’s rather hard to break up, especially straight from the fridge.

chocolateThe taste? What can I say, it tastes like it cost £2.99 a bar! It’s really good. It’s 70% cocoa, but to me it tastes stronger. You definatly get the ‘fruit notes’ that the box boasts. It’s very rich, as I said before, you definatly don’t want much at a time. If you’ve ever had 99% chocolate (more about that in a later post!), it’s similar to that, but with more intertwining of the flavours. Simply place it on your toungue and let it gently melt to take the most advantage of the flavours. If you’re a chocoholic, it’s definatly one to try. However, if you have a sweet tooth, and are used to sweet chocolates, then you may not like this. If his chocolate becomes popular, who knows, the ‘common persons’ supermarkets may start selling them.

Honey, I Melted the Laptop

July 21, 2009

My laptop is only just over a month old, yet, I have managed to melt it. Actually, that is a slight over dramatication, but I have melted some of the side. The culprit?

Laptop melter!My desklamp gets VERY hot. I never did like it, it hurt my eyes, even when I wasn’t looking at it. It must have got too close to my laptop, with evil intentions. I don’t think it’s covered by the waranty either. I always manage to break things. 😦 I’m at least thankful my laptop still works, in fact, it could have been melted for ages, and I just hadn’t noticed. I’m just surprised I never smelt it happening, melting plastics really honks. Sigh. Have you ever done anything so stupid?

SN850965SN850966

Mousse, Meese?

July 20, 2009

What would be the plural of mousse, because mousses just doesn’t sound right. This is another mousse post (remember chocolate mousse?). This time it’s for a banana mousse. Equally delicious, but in a different way. On to that later, though.

It’s day one of the summer holidays, and as I expected, I am bored already, 6 more weeks!? Surely not. I can only fulfill so many hours of the day. Though, other people don’t have this trouble, maybe it’s just me… I have a book, 101 things to do before you’re 16, I keep meaning to flick through it and do some things. (One of them was become vegetarian for a month – I think I have surpassed that :D). We went into Woodbridge today, there isn’t much in the way of shops, and it was windy and slightly chilly today. I am still waiting for that ‘long hot summer’ we are supoosed to be having. Hmph. But in the summer, Woodbridge is quite nice, the river makes for a nice walk, and if you’re up for it there’s tennis, swimming, and other stuff.

Todays recipe feature: Mouse! Same kinda thing as the chocolate one, just a different flavour. I made it for two today, too. My sister decided to join in, and I don’t think she regretted it! If anyone knows what ‘Angel Delight’ is, this mousse (and the chocolate one) is a very similar dish, but vegan!

banana mousseTo make a Banana mousse for two, you need:

  • 1/2 to 2/3 a block of tofu
  • soy milk (amount needed varies)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon Almond essence
  • 4 or more teaspoons sugar (depends how much you like)

Chuck everything in a blender (I used the magic bullet, since you can use a single person sized cup to blend in), starting of with 1/4 cup soy milk. Blend untill smooth. At the beginning, I had to stop every 10 seconds or so and give it a shake to get the blades going again. You may also have to use a spoon to remove unblended stuff from the sides. Keep adding soymilk, a little bit at a time, untill at the consistancy you like. (I used about 2/5 cup soymilk in the end). Place in a dish and refridgerate for about 1-2 hours. It doesn’t need refridgerating, it just makes it a little thicker.

I decorated mine with grated chocolate, and chocolate chips. Yum!

SOUPer soup.

July 19, 2009

Nothing beats a good batch of home-made soup. I love the vegan soups form Sainsbury’s, but the vegetable soup  I made today is soooo much better. Thick, vegetably, healthy goodness. The Co-op on a sunday morning is the best place and time to get soup ingredients, because so many vegetables are reduced to clear! Today I got a cheap aubergine (which is still really fresh), swede, celery, cauliflower. They were all under half their usual price. Soup was definatly in order.

soupThis was my first time making soup, usually my mother does it. I really enjoyed it (as I enjoy most cooking). It just passes time away and relaxes me – that is untill my cooking starts to turn into a disaster and I get stressed out. Thankfully my mother is usually on hand to help rectify it.

In today’s batch there was:

Swede, celery, carrot, mushroom, onion, cauliflower, stock cube, paprika, garlic, basil. All boiled untill tende,r then whizzed up. There tasted like there was a little something missing, and mother thought of it – Parsnips! Parsnips really make a soup, in my opinon. Next time, next time.

Also, you may be thinking, ‘Soup, in a mug?!?!’. But, I always have homemade soup in mugs! It’s a weird trait of mine. Tinned soup in bowls, home made soup in mugs. And it’s my favourite mug, I always am looking for excuses to use it. It’s so cute, I love the handle!mug If this mug ever gets dropped, I shall be heart broken.

On an unrelated not, remember the biscuits I mentioned in my last post? Well, I also made one for my mother, and she hadn’t eaten it untill today. She was rather apprehensive, as it had tofu in. She has a thing about soy. If something I make has something like soy milk, tofu, or similar stuff in, she won’t eat it, no matter how good it tastes or how much you can’t taste the soy. She says it’s because of bad experiences she had one with apple flavoured soymilk. (Well, duh, apple flavoured soy milk sounds gross!). But she’ll eat soya mince…

Anyway, she said, ‘I hate to admit it, but I’d have to give these biscuits 8 or 9 out of 10’. See, vegan biscuits really aren’t weird!