Friday, October 17, 2008

Public Service Announcement..well, not really.....

Oh yes, I meant to say...the countdown to the Boston Vegetarian Society Food Festival has started.

Boston Vegetarian Society, Welcome to Bean Town

It is on Nov. 1st 2008 and is going to be brilliant!

Amongst others last year I met Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and Erin Williams, and I know that Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero were there too. Star-studded!!!!!!

This year I understand that celebs include - but are not limited to - Sarah Kramer, T. Colin Campbell and Hannah Kaminsky. Check it out here!

Also the food is outstanding, atmosphere uplifting and sense of celebration is palpable.

I cannot wait!

If you are in New England on Nov. 1st, attend the BVS're pretty much guaranteed a great time. Maybe I'll see you there?????

Stay Vegan, Friends!

'The Ladies'

Tonight I'm taking a break from talking about food, describing dinner and posting pix about what we ate. Instead, I just want to post something that reminds me of *why* I am doing this.

Of why I eat the way I do.
Of why I wear the clothes that I do.
Of why I avoid the products that I do.

And of why I think it's the single most important direction I've taken in my life so far.

This is the reason why:

These are folks I call 'The Ladies'. I drive by them every day on my way to work. Mostly, they pay me no heed as I flash past, late for my required 8am start. But I have noticed that, recently, they have started hanging out nearer to the road, just the other side of the electric fence. This morning, late or not, I could not resist stopping and just looking at them. For once, I actually had my camera with me (the one I nicknamed 'Constance', as it was supposed to be constantly in my bag, but is usually sitting on a shelf at home whenever something interesting happens...) so I took some pix to share with you.

I have watched the babies starting to grow, every day they're just that little bit cuter, bolder, and more confident. And the mothers, aunts, grandmothers - who knows what relationship, if any, the others are in the herd? - watch them calmly, quietly, gently.

And so, every day, as I drive by, I call out of the window 'Good Morning, Ladies!' because it *is* a good morning when I see them. A smile starts to play at the crinkly corners of my eyes and pulls the edges of my mouth northwards. I feel silly shouting a greeting - ostensibly to myself in the car - but I feel a connection with them.

I love them.

Especially this one.

You see: the fleeting and transitory satisfaction of our acquired taste for flesh could never be as sustaining as the simple act of meeting these beings face to face. Of looking into their endlessly deep brown eyes and recognising a soul looking back at you. From beneath long, luscious, creamy eyelashes.

Isn't that the craziest way to finish off the week?

Oh, there's that smile again....

Stay Vegan, Friends!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

On Weird Types, Curries and Cookies Sandwiches

After a bizarrely stressful day, culminating in some random man shouting at me on the street*, I arrived home tonight to find that My Beloved had made dinner. He'd started out with Sarah Kramer's Eggplant Bharta recipe, discovered we didn't have enough eggplant, combined it with an aloo concoction of some shape and description, added mushrooms and a side of chewy brown rice. And it was great. No real recipe, just good, honest, off-the-top-of-your-head kind of food. Like this:

A close up:

So to make some kind of contribution - unused as I am to having dinner fully made for me when I roll in from work - I decided to use up the chocolate-citrus cookies I'd made. Fortunately there were enough for all three of us, so I made cookie sandwiches with some Tofutti Vanilla Almond Bark Ice Cream, served with a side of fresh strawberries. Thus:

An easy, quick and fun dessert. And a way to strategically use up cookies which really need to be eaten, before I can make more!

Stay Vegan, Friends!


*OK, so here's the story. I went into Northampton to collect a bottle of my father-in-law's favourite tipple, Tio Pepe. Having parked, thrown 10c in the meter (for 12 minutes!), I made my way to the local wines/spirits store. On the way, I noticed a man having problems with 2 bags of groceries - the handle of one had broken and spilled his stuff all over the road. So, feeling like I didn't want to walk on by, I crossed over the road and asked him if he needed help. He turned to face me and said 'Are you talkin' to me??? Are you talkin' to ME???' in that kind of cinematic way. (I forget which movie it sounded like, but whatever that well-known movie was....)

I replied, 'Yes', because I was indeed talking to him....he being the one potentially in need of help.....To which he graciously replied 'Don't talk to me. Don't talk to MEEEEE! I don't talk to people!!!!!!'

And off he stalked.

'Oh, right', was pretty much all I could say in response. And then I wanted to burst into tears. Because it's pretty much been a day like that today. Full of weirdness. And silliness. And people jumping up and down about nothing at all. And questions screaming in my head along the lines of 'Why?????'

Why don't you talk to people?
Why do you eat a MacDonald's in front of me?
Why do you not see the connections?
Why don't you accept help you clearly need?
Why do you ridicule my choices?

Und so weiter. Und so fort.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

MoFo Wednesday

Sad to say, I am not above the influence. The influence, that is, of brightly coloured, pretty packaging of the eye-catching variety, enveloping what is sure to be a sinfully delightful treat.

Unless, of course, those treats are Not Vegan, and then I barely notice them at all.

Or unless they contain vegan, but yucky, ingredients, like...oh...spirulina, perhaps.

And so it was with a certain level of bemusement that I found myself inexplicably drawn to Betty Lou's Northshore Smackers. Specifically the Chocolate Spirulina Patties.


Yes,it's true.

The friendly, bright yellow packet enticed me and I succumbed to its wiles.

And I am sooooooo glad I did. The patty tastes like it should be a 'naughty' treat, but is actually not too bad for you. Four grams of protein, 180 calories and 0 cholesterol (of course!) make this a nice little pick-me-up on a Wednesday afternoon.

Try one - you might surprise yourself and actually LIKE spirulina!

Stay Vegan Friends!

PS: In case you're interested, here are the ingredients as listed on the packet:

Organic Dark Chocolate (Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Chocolate Liquor, Organic Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla), Organic Almond Butter, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Agave Syrup, Organic Oats, Organic Brown Rice Crisp (Organic Brown Rice, Sea Salt, Organic Brown Rice Syrup), Organic Gum Acacia, Organic Spirulina (1000 mg per serving), Organic Flavors, Organic Sesame Seeds, Organic Rice Protein Concentrate, Sea Salt.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Communing with Sea Creatures and Bakewell Tarts.....

I don't have much tonight - work was long, only marginally successful and the drive home seemingly un-end-ing. So tonight's offering is an 'encore presentation' of yesterday's bakewell tart. A reprise, shall we say, in raspberries and almonds. Here's a close up of the finished product...enjoy!

and more...

Am toying with the possibilities of quitting work, dedicating my time to veganizing old Brit recipe favourites, writing a highly acclaimed, super-popular and hugely profitable recipe book and retiring to a small island in the Caribbean. There to commune daily with the mischievious and enchanting sea creatures I have come to know and love over the last few years (in 10 day increments anyhow)...what do you think? Could this be a plan????

Please send answers on $150 bills to Cackleberry at the above blogspot address....

And Stay Vegan, Friends! :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday MoFo

Today is Columbus Day in Massachusetts and it is also - coincidentally - the first full day of my father-in-law's annual visit. He loves to come over in the fall - autumn - and see the colours change, and yesterday was D-Day - Dad Day!

Now, although he is somewhat...shall we say?...'indiscriminate' in what he eats, he does love a good Bakewell Tart. And who can blame him? For those unfamiliar with this particularly English (British?) treat it is basically a pastry crust, spread with raspberry jam and a layer of moist almond cake, topped with a thick layer of icing and a cherry. Possibly the best known commercial brand is Mr. Kipling and they come in individual tarts like this:

I also remember there being a family-sized tart when I was a child, but perhaps they don't do these anymore. Anyhow, I would no longer recommend them as they contain eggs and milk and all kinds of non-vegan things, so I guess that's something of an aside..... Anyways, in preparation for my FIL's visit, I made a vegan version, which I swear and declare is better than the original. It uses a pate brisee recipe which I found on Vegan YumYum along with an almond cupcake recipe from Isa's VCTOW (is that the right abbreviation??? the enormously successful cupcake book!) and I have to say the result is splendiferous! Here's how it goes:

Make the pate brisee and line a tin with a removable base thus:

Bake blind for about 10 minutes on approx. 400 degrees.

When it's cool enough to handle, remove the baking beans and spread wth raspberry jam. Raspberry preserves. Or raspberry jelly - whatever they call it in your neck of the woods!

Then make the cake-y filling and spread on top of the jam/preserves/jelly. It is a basic almond cupcake recipe and I used the full amount this time which is equal to 12 cupcakes...but worth it! (Last time, I made the bakewell tart shallower and got 3 additional cupcakes out of the recipe, but this time I splurged!).

When it came out of the oven, it looked like this:

Once it cooled, I make a very rough and ready lattice in icing - powdered sugar mixed with a splash of soymilk - and that was that.

The cake part was moist and deliciously packed with ground almonds. The jam lent a touch of sharpness to the overall sweetness of the tart and the pastry was divine - just thick enough to hold together perfectly but not so that it risked dominating the dish. Both my FIL and My Beloved enjoyed it and I have to admit it's one I'll be making again.

OK, that's all I have today. Am back to work again tomorrow so there might be shorter posts this week - what with work and a guest in the house.....Am still thinking through my ideas for the Iron Cupcake Challenge...'cheese' is hard!!!

OK, stay vegan, friends! :)