Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Vegan Blackcurrant Recipe Ideas

Blackcurrants are amazing in the sense that they really don't let you down in the quantity of harvest. What isn't so easy is working out what to do with all those shiny black treasures.  I have really struggled over the years to find recipes or think of ideas for them beyond the usual jammy solution.

Last year I did make blackcurrant cordial and that was a great success so this year of course I made sure I repeated that, this time experimenting with half the amount of sugar (and it worked fine and tasted great). I also make sure I freeze some for use in the depths of winter on top of my chai oats.  

This year I wanted to add to the blackcurrant glut ideas.  Firstly, since I have recently been eating more sugar free plain vegan yoghurt, I decided that I would use the left over solids from the juice myself (I have given it to the badgers and the birds in the past) and stir that into the yoghurt.  It works really well and I haven't even needed to add any form of sweetener. In fact I asked Phil if he would grab some more yoghurt when he was out shopping the other day because I had enjoyed it so much.  I have had this three mornings running now and I'm still not bored of it!

Then I wondered what blackcurrant muffins would be like. Blueberries work well but they have a more subtle flavour. There is the danger that blackcurrants hiding in a muffin might just add a touch too much 'tart'.  There was only one way to find out and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  Far from 'too tart' the blackcurrants really complemented the muffin mix.  It is definitely going in my file of 'uses for the blackcurrant glut' and indeed may have me running out to pick a few here and there just for this very purpose in the future.

Blackcurrant Muffins

250g self raising flour
80g sugar
pinch of salt 
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla paste/essence
340ml non-dairy milk
1 mashed banana
100g blackcurrants

1.  Get the oven heated up to 200 degrees C and a 12 hole muffin tray ready.
2.  Stick all the dry ingredients into a bowl and give it a good stir.
3.  Add all the wet ingredients together and stir.
4.  Add wet to dry and mix thoroughly till all incorporated.
5.  Gently stir in the blackcurrants until reasonably distributed.
6.  Fill the muffin cases or greased holes in the tray and bake for about 30 minutes.
7.  You'll know when they are done as they bounce back at you!

Enjoy and in the meantime I will continue to work on other blackcurrant ideas!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Holy Crap

Holy Crap Cereal
This looks like good shit!  Shame this super good for you vegan  breakfast cereal doesn't seem to be available in the UK yet.  

Holy Crap was developed by a husband and wife team in British Columbia and is making its way from Canada to the USA.  It contains only 7 unprocessed wholefood ingredients including superfoods chia and hemp seeds.

I imagine it tastes pretty good and there is no doubt that the name is genius too.  No wonder it is causing a bit of a stir!

1976 Vegans

We saw this in a recent Happy Cow Blog Newsletter and got around to watching it this evening. These guys were a good ten years ahead of us so it is really inspiring to see the vegan message being strongly and convincingly presented back then.  Apparently it led to 9000 new enquiries and 1000 new members to the Vegan Society.  

I feel very proud to have been vegan for over 27 years and even happier that veganism is so much more talked about and accepted.  The vegans in this film should feel this even more so.  I would however love to see more films like this on prime time TV now.  Imagine the impact that would have in today's society?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Close Encounters of a Badger and Cat Variety

If you have read other parts of our blog you will know of the regular badger exploits in our front garden. Some of these involve a cat we now refer to as Badger Cat due to its habit of hanging out with our black and white visitors.

The first time I encountered the two together was back in November 2012 and ever since then there has been quite a few meetings.  However, none have been quite as close as last night!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Easy Summer Breakfast

It was hot, hot, hot when we first got up this morning and we wanted something light, nutritious and tasty for breakfast so we broke open some Sojade plain yoghurt (no added sugar in this one).  To this we added a sliced banana, some raisins, a handful of cashews and a splosh of maple syrup. What a delight! There was a creaminess, a crunch and chew, with the hint of naughty sweetness balancing the fruity blast of the banana.  

Really should have this more often!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Holiday Season - Here We Go!

I just dropped down to the village shop for little bit of shopping and also to drop off some more of my landscape photo cards that they kindly sell for me.  It was busy and a chat with Emma, whilst she was putting my shopping through the till, confirmed that indeed today was kick off for holiday season.  The schools had broken up and Cornwall is about to have its population increased by around 60% until the holiday makers hand it back in September.  It has its down sides for sure but I never forget that the fact that people choose to come down here on holiday is because we are fortunate enough to live in an amazing place.  You can't blame them for wanting a piece of that and they are normally so happy about it which helps balance out the bad bits mostly.  The other advantage is that they buy my cards (the one above being a good seller) so you won't hear me complain too much!

For more of my landscapes of Cornwall (and other lovely places), please check out Travelling Light.

Making It Up As It Grows Along

The focus in the Driftwood household has definitely shifted from the kitchen to the garden (sorry about that but recipes and kitchen antics will resume shortly!).  In this beautiful warm weather, with the odd sprinkling of warm rain, things are really taking off.  

Phil has just dug up more potatoes.  Being out in the front garden, it seems the potatoes have survived and thrived despite a lack of regular watering and a few diggings up by our black and white friends.  

Meanwhile things in the back garden have been taking things into their own hands.  Our olive tree has acquired three new friends in its pot; a lettuce, a tomato and a Californian poppy. None of these were planted by us in this position but we feel no inclination to remove them as all seem happy just to do their own thing.  We will just wait to see what the lettuce and tomato produce and take it from there.

Meanwhile the Californian poppies spread themselves around other parts of the garden too.  I did seed them a few years ago but now they just pop up wherever they like.  I don't mind too much as they remind me of driving along the highways in CA where they seem to just grow like weeds on the verges. They also have the colour of the Dalai Lama's robe and that is a colour that always puts a smile on my face.  

A big patch of them has seeded on the edge of the carrot bed.  I had planted some red flowers (don't ask me what they are as I really am not very good at flowers!) around the bed because I had heard a theory about if you plant red or pink flowers it puts off cabbage white butterflies.  Other colours, including unfortunately orange, attract them so bang goes the chance of trying that theory out for sure as the poppies are now shouting out in big orange words to come take a look.  I'm not convinced it was working anyway to be fair as the wings of the munching caterpillar breeders have been flitting around for awhile before the poppies were flowering.  I think I will just have to rely on my homemade chilli spray to put them off our kale now.

Wild rocket was originally seeded by us in the first few years of living in our house and now it just moves itself around the garden as it pleases.  As ever, we really don't mind as long as the companion it chooses doesn't either.  This year it has chosen to snuggle up with our blueberry.  We may harvest some of it soon just to give the blueberry a little more breathing space but in the meantime we are waiting to see where else it will just pop up.

Our blackcurrant is, as ever, loaded with shiny black plump offerings.  Even the resident blackbird is welcome to its fair share of the glut as there is still more than enough left for us. This year the purple clematis on our wall has decided to help with holding up the blackcurrant branches from drooping to the ground with the weight of fruit.  It seems that the two like hanging out with each other more and more and there is no doubt that they are a handsome couple.

Ironically I spend some time over the winter months carefully planning the garden for the coming year.  It is a bit of a treat for me to sit in front of the open fire with a glass of wine perusing catalogues and drawing up plans.  There is however no accounting for what the garden will just make up as it grows along.  I won't give up my efforts to plan it but I do accept that nature pretty much does what it likes anyway and always does a much better job of it.  That is the best part of watching the garden grow really (although the wine aided planning in the winter is good too!).

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Cats or Badgers?

For the fourth day in a row I look out the front window to see our poor brussel sprout plants uprooted again. 
A quick dash for the trowel and out into the front garden, scattering the assembled early morning gangs of pigeons and jackdaws in the process, had them soon replanted before I had to then head off for work.  I found no evidence of cat poo so perhaps our ex-fishing net fencing is no longer keeping the badger bandits away from the crops.  Further investigation with a trail camera may be required if we have any hope of our own brussel sprouts for Christmas dinner!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Rebel Kitchen Mylk


We found this Matcha Green Tea Mylk from Rebel Kitchen recently on a trip to Somerset. Hmmmmmmm!  Super tasty, wholesome and simple with just four ingredients (water, coconut milk, date nectar and matcha green tea powder).  Sadly we didn't find the Chai flavour and even worse, we've not seen these down our neck of the woods at all (although a search on their website has revealed that Ethica health food store in Plymouth may be our nearest source - a mere 50 miles away!). Thankfully you can also buy on-line so check Rebel Kitchen and join their rebellion. 

Friday, 11 July 2014

I'm Going Vegan

Eating by Mike Anderson

This quote says it all.  We are going to search out the DVD and take a look.  This is the first time I have ever thought of how animals are actually acting a revenge on humankind for all its non vegan stupidity.  It is not the first time I have thought about how stupid humans are however. That kind of goes without saying.