Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Falafel Dreams

...yes! Because I do not have a count of how many falafels I have eaten in my life!

Kev and I used to joke/point out when we first met, that no matter where our conversation went... I would at least mention falafel once... But it's so tasty! And versatile too, if you make it yourself.

So, after going over to a vegan diet this year (from vegetarian, so not a huge leap), I thought "but how am I going to make my falafels now?" cause I used to add an egg and a few handfuls of oats, but it turns out - if you are gentle - you can make them without!

Vegan Falafel
(Serves about 2-3...but usually just one if you are me...oops)

1 tbsp neutral oil,like sunflower
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Garam Masala
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander (or a handful fresh, finely chopped)
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Pita bread + whatever else you liked! In the picture I served it with hummus and red pepper paste - yum!

- Start by frying the onion for five minutes on medium heat, then add garlic and continue stirring for a few minutes. Add the spices, fry until fragrant (about a minute), then tip in your chickpeas. Heat through, and then turn off the heat. Mash thoroughly until it is sort of grainy and sort of pasty, basically the consistency that gives you the confidence that tells you "Hey! I can shape that!"

- Transfer the mixture into a large bowl. Wash your frying pan, and then start again by having a little oil in the pan. Shape walnut sized balls, and tip into the frying pan. Make sure you have an order so you know which ones to turn when! Fry a few minutes all over, until they are the way you like them! If you want to make them quite firm, you could also bake them.

- Serve on toasted pita with hummus, salad, pepper paste or whatever else you like! That's the beauty of it! :D

What is your favourite falafel recipe? I'd love to give it a go! One can never get to many falafel recipes... That's my motto!

Also, at the end of last year/beginning of this year - Glasgow got it's very own Purrple Cat Cafe! I went there yesterday to say hello to some feline critters... Here are a few of my favourites (Also - great selection of vegan and other cakes, and their coffee is deeeeeeeelicious!)

I think I will leave it with that cuteness fresh in mind! I have also been working towards a less plastic-filled every day and have been doing some DIY home products that I might share with you in the near future - is that something you might like to read about?
Today however, I went to Lush and got me some lovely things - sometimes you are allowed to be a little lazy and leave it to the professionals!

I hope you are having a lovely week so far!

xox J

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

A Small Feast feat. Hummus, Ful and Goodballs!

Hello and happy Tuesday!

Today I thought I would share with you this little platter of goodies that can be served up in no time at all! I have already got a few hummus recipes,but you can never get enough - especially when Yotam Ottolenghi gives you the how to! The "goodballs" are from a lovely Norwegian woman's cook book, "Kjøttfrie Burgere" - and they worked really well with these other dishes!

Hummus, Ful and Goodballs
(Serves 3-4 as a lunch with some pitta bread)

Let's start with the vegetarian patties:
70g dry soy granules
50g wholemeal breadcrumbs
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp stock powder (or 1 cube)
1/2 tsp salt
250ml cold water
2 tbspketchup

- Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Leave it for 10-15 minutes before crushing with a wooden spoon. Now roll them into small balls, brush with a little oil and bake in the oven at 225C for 15 minutes.

You can also fry them if you prefer, but it'll take roughly the same time.

For the ful
150g tin butter beans
50ml olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp cumin
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp salt

- Have the beans in a medium saucepan with the oil and fry for 5-10 minutes until the beans are tender, add the garlic and cumin and fry for a further minute. Season with the salt, take off the heat and add the lemon juice, and crush gently with a masher. Keep warm until serving.

For the hummus
400g tin chickpeas, drained
2-3 tbsp tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt to taste
A good splash of boiling water

Smoked paprika to sprinkle on top

- Have all the ingredients apart from the water in a deep dish or a measuring jug, and whizz totally smooth with a stick blender - add the water in order to fluff up the hummus. Sprinkle the hummus with smoked paprika - Et voila! Serve with the other two dishes and some toasted pitta bread - perhaps some mint tea just to take you into that relaxed almost holiday state of mind!

I hope you have a fantastic week so far! It's getting lighter out, which is much needed for me at least. And today it's so beautiful here in Glasgow!
Today I've got an assessment in college... just a small one, but still - wish me luck!

xox J

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Festive Cauliflower Patties (Vegisterkaker)


I hope your week is going well so far!

When I was a child back home in Norway, I was never really into the Olympics... Then, I sat down the other night when I couldn't sleep and watched some... and guys - the Olympics fanatic in me has awoken! I have been watching quiiiite a lot of it, and the snowboarding especially has been fantastic!

Anyways, I thought I would give you a vegan twist to a Norwegian favourite - particularly over christmas, but I never had them for christmas as usually each part of Norway has a different christmas dinner tradition. So when I had these, I thought: I could genuinely have these a lot more often!

And the recipe is easy! You just need a little bit of patience. Instead of fancy rice flour, we are using cooked rice as an actual binder! I made them bigger than the original, but the recipe should make about 30-35 mini patties, I think I got about 12.

Just remember that they should be eaten within 2-3 days, and re-heat properly since there is rice in these patties. I had them mainly on their own with some sweet chilli sauce or ketchup, you can make a fancy sandwich for lunch, OR have as a side to a main meal, or as a starter.

Festive Cauliflower Patties (Vegisterkaker)
(Makes 30 small ones, or about 12 big ones)

200ml white rice + 400ml water + 1 tsp salt
1 large cauliflower, cut into small florets
200ml fast-cook oats
1-2 vegan vegetable stock cubes (or 1-2 topped tsp stock powder)
1 tsp ground ginger
About 1 tsp ground nutmeg
Pepper and salt to taste
Oil for frying

- Start by cooking the rice with the salt and water, until soft, which should take about 20 minutes.

- Boil the cauliflower for a few minutes and the drain off the water.

- Have the cooked rice, cauliflower, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl, and use a stick blender to whizz to a rough paste.

- Shape into small patties, and fry in oil on medium heat until golden on both sides.

Et voila! Simple as that *smiles*

Original recipe can be found here.

Have you been watching the Olympics or tried these patties before?

I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day! I'm heading to the docs afterwards (fun, fun, fun!), but then I have badminton, and the last two episodes of Fargo Season 3 ahead of me... And probably some more Olympics, ha!

Take it easy!

xox J

Sunday, 11 February 2018

My Trip To Prague

Behold! This might be a little bit of a long post, but bear with me!

I decided not to cut it up into three parts, so that those of you who enjoying reading travel pieces can get the whole shebang here, OR if not - scroll quickly past it! Either way, there will be food blogs in the coming.... I have just been away for a few days :)

My wanting to visit Prague, was mostly after having discovered the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy, the main character having a flat in Prague (we actually walked past the place several times on our way to Elsewhere!), also the little side novel called Night of Cake and Puppets all take place mostly within the Old Town - my favourite scenes being by the Devil's Stream!

Day 1
So on day one, we were just trying to navigate our way through the city.... Kev has been here once before, but it was a few years ago, so we needed a little bit of time to put the place into context!

In the DoSaB series, there are several seraphim (angel warriors) as well as chimaera - you can only imagine my delight when one of the first things I saw was two angels guarding a bridge....! Then we walked up to the giant metronome on top of a hill to get a good view!

Theeeeen, we found the Charles Bridge along with locks of lovers attached to various pieces on and around the bridge!

A Chimaera!

I was determined to only eat vegan - as at home I find it quite easy, so on the first day I was quiiiiiite hungry... But we found a little cafe, and later on a schweeet restaurant!

We found the Cat Cafe Prague in the early evening, and got our cat cuddles on (already missing Alphonse like crazy!)

Lo and behold! It turned out there was a really lovely vegetarian/vegan place right on the street where Kev had stayed on his previous trip here, only a few minutes walk from the cat cafe, yarr! I had the Pannang Curry - which was delightful ^ ^

Day 2
On the second day, we had learnt from our mistake the following day about finding food... And you know what? It turns out that a few minutes down from Hotel Astoria (where we stayed), there was a FOOD quarter! And it had a place called My Raw Cafe - amongst other eateries!
Kev got the savoury stuffed pancakes, and I got kelp carbonara! We both decided mine was a little bit tastier, and kelp was a really interesting and tasty texture!

Later in the day on the Charles Bridge, three statues were talking amongst themselves: "You've got to read this here book! T's called the Daughter of Smoke and Bone!"

Fancy fluffy pigeons on the bridge....

And we found this lovely magical place hidden out of sight on the other side of the bridge, right next to the main road that was packed of tourists! Dvur Umeni - an art cafe, where the woman who runs is was welcoming us warmly... brewing me a special mixture of a herby tea leaves "Oh, I just put a little bit of this and a little bit of that in..." and it was delicious! They also had light snacks and some pastries as well... AND she had built a small beach - Kiwi Beach, to be exact, and we got to choose if we wanted to have our tea and hot chocolate there, but afraid to somehow ruin it - we sat by a table, later on she insisted we sit in the beach and she snapped a photo of us! It was 25C degrees in there, and close to -5C outside!

If you ever find yourself in Prague, I'd check this place out - it is magic!

Sea shell sand and banana trees! It was ashame we had to leave, but the rest of Prague was awaiting!
Outside the air smelled of sugar and cinnamon, wafting down the hill and across the river - because on almost every corner they sold Trdelník.

Every night when we got back to the hotel, my hair and clothes smelled like smoke! Not in an unpleasant way.... just unusual - part of the Prague magic I guess!

Day 3
I had stocked up on bread rolls just in case... because... vegan! But on our last full day here, we had some left and they were so dryyyy! So I decided we could feed the pigeons on the Charles Bridge. But first a little pitstop to My Raw Cafe to eat cake!

Banana and chocolate cheesecake - yum!

Me feeding pigeons, and a man playing the didgeridoo! When I flung 50cr into his bag, he started singing, and later on when we passed, he played the recorder with his nose (for real!).

The Devil's Stream <3

I don't know the story behind this... Perhaps John L himself stopped by for a pint?

Nearby, this busker man was playing Beatles covers!

Since this was the last evening, we decided to splurge, and upon suggestion we booked a table at Kampa Park. It was stunning! And we were practically sitting on the river - the Charles Bridge right in the background and boats ticking by every so often....

Every day we wandered around, we found new nooks and crannies with hidden treasures! And I definitely want to come back some day... Perhaps when the weather is a little warmer, but regardless - I know a place with a beach, and there is always hot wine being served, so we're good *smiles*

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

The BEST Vegan Brownies

.....yup - or the best ever brownies I have ever made anyway! And to quote Kev "Why did you do this to me, woman?!" when he tried a slice and reached for another one as soon as the first one had disappeared, hehe!

Cut them into small pieces as these are moreish - but rich! Also... a good excuse to have two slices ^ ^ The original recipe can be found here

In the meantime, give this a go - you wont regret it!

The BEST Vegan Brownies (Makes 1 square pan)

1 + 1 cups of flour (I used 1 cup plain and 1 cup self-raising)
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar (I substituted this for coconut sugar)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup neutral oil (I used sunflower)
1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips (I used Moo-Free)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

- In a medium sized pan, have a cup of water and 1 cup of the flour on low heat. Stir constantly until you have a gluey sort of paste, take it off the heat and let it cool. This only took me about 3-5 minutes.

- Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

- Now, in a bowl, mix all your dry ingredients apart from the flour and chocolate chips, and stir well to combine. Make a well in the middle and tip in your water-flour mixture, oil, and vanilla extract. THEN add the second cup of flour Stir until you have a really thick dough like consistency - this takes a bit of muscle, but it's worth it!

- Now, fold in the chocolate chips (and nuts, if using), make sure they are evenly distributed - then, line a square baking pan, and tip in the dough. Pat down firmly with your hands (I found this the easiest!) and place in the middle of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Leave to cool slightly, before cutting into ooey-gooey pieces of chocolate goodness!

So today, Kev and I are travelling to Prague! I have been wanting to go ever since I read the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series - which takes place in Prague, amongst other magical places!
So yesterday, when I was doing up the bed in the guest bedroom (my sister is a champion and is going to look after Alphonse and house sit ^ ^ ), new sheets and everything - this little rascal quickly claimed it as his own.

Just look at that smug lil' face!

Anyway, I hope you are having a lovely week so far! I'll be taking some photos whilst we're away that I miiiiight just share with you once we return!

Until then - eat cake, and be merry!

xox J