Tag Archives: Food

Plant Life

I’ve been thinking of going vegetarian for a while now. I love a good burger obviously or a nice hearty stew but I can’t deny that I’ve started to feel guilty about meat consumption and it feels like a habit most of the time. I’ve always been a meat and two veg kind of girl and I’d like to change that.

In my head I thought I’d just quit meat right now and that would be that but if I’m going to do this, I want to do it properly. So I’ve been looking online at the easiest ways to do it. The general consensus seems to be to start making changes slowly which isn’t as dramatic as I’d imagined but it is sensible. And I’m nothing if not sensible.

On my hunt I found this little checklist by Zen Habits and thought I would use it at the heart of this post. I don’t know anything about vitamin supplements or meat substitutes really but I’ll see what I can find on the old web and through speaking to vege friends.

Have good reasons…

I do feel guilty about animal cruelty and the damage we are doing to the planet by trying to sustain fields of livestock just for food. According to Peta, meat-eating is listed as the second-biggest environmental hazard facing the Earth. A fact I’ve ignored on purpose for many years.

Read up…

I don’t know of any specific resources but I’m sure they’re easy to find online. Any recommendations are welcome, obviously!

Find good recipes…

This will probably be the most challenging part, given my aversion to cooking. However, Quorn and meat substitutes seems to be so good these days I’m looking forward to a little experimentation.

Try one recipe a week…

See above. I’m really craving a massive meat-free spag bol – look I told you, I’m not a fancy person, okay?

Substitutions…

I only know about Quorn and Linda McCartney but I’m sure there are bajillions of options out there now. I know M&S have an impressive plant based selection, so I’ll keep an eye out.

Start with red meat…

This should be the easiest bit to be honest. Goodbye bacon and burgers.

Then the other meats…

I think fish might be the hardest for me but it’s going to happen, I swear.

Consider dairy & eggs…

Hm. We’ll see how far we get. Baby steps and all that… Jazzzzzz.

~

Joking aside though, I think it’s better to do something small to start than do nothing at all – and fortunately, Glynn’s been thinking along the same lines. So we’re doing it together.

We might not become vegan straight away or even at all but we can start here and see where it leads us, right? I mean the intention is there, surely that counts for most of it.

Are you vegetarian? Was it a hard change to make?

Autumn TV Recommendation: The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell

UGH. I’m completely obsessed with this woman – and now, this show. I woke up early (ish) this morning and have mainlined a handful of episodes in one sitting, while supping tea and being thankful for no work for another day.

This is my favourite month hands down and it’s because of little gems like this.

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

Inside the cooking lab of Christine McConnell, who has attracted hundreds of thousands of social media followers with her creepy edible creations.

Christine McConnell is a very clever woman (model, actress, baker and photographer), making unbelievably detailed baked goods and dishes with a heavy Gothic edge. Spiders, monsters, Ouija boards and eyeballs all feature heavily but really there is no limit to her imagination or skill.

While I suppose this is technically a baking show, it doesn’t stop there. Produced by The Jim Henson Company, Christine is joined by a band of weird and wonderful creatures who terrorise the neighbourhood with their beastly goings on – so it’s part Sabrina the Teenage Witch (particularly Rankle the Sphynx cat who’s been to Salem Acting School), part sitcom, part cookery show.

And it’s all brilliant.

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NBD, just an exact replica of her own house made out of biscuit…

Dita Von Teese even joins Christine as Vivian the enchanted mirror – and it’s so camp I just love every minute. So far (in the handful of episodes I’ve wolfed down as I type this), Christine has built a biscuit replica of her own creepy mansion, made chocolate chip eyeball cookies, peanut butter and white chocolate bones, constructed an entire tea set out of dark chocolate – and even made a chicken-shaped chicken pot pie.

All this while looking like a Queen and she still has time to romance Norman, the man she met at her grandmother’s graveside (is there more to Norman that meets the eye, I wonder? Of course there is!). While Christine’s creations are definitely inspiring, the show seems to be aware that not very many people would have the time or inclination to whip up their own so it doesn’t spend too much time going in on the recipes – it’s directive but doesn’t pretend that the whole process is easy or quick.

At one point Christine puts the biscuit mansion in the ‘chiller’ and I had to lament my lack of fridge space at home. A couple of jars of pickled onions and ours is packed. No room for a giant cake/and or an octopus called Millie, sadly.

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Dog days are over

I would say, even if you’re not into cookery shows (and I’m not really), there might be something here for you. Christine also makes candles and decorative pieces for the home and in one episode, even gives us a brief sewing lesson.

She rocks a lovely vintage look and is one of those women I absolutely admire, the ones who never seem to succumb to a jogging bottom or bedhead (there’s one of them in my office). It’s a total and utter dedication to her brand that I could never achieve but wish I could. She’s very cool and even though it’s all so tongue in cheek, the Tim Burton-lover in me adores the dark tones.

At one point, Christine’s live-in companions Rose (raccoon), Rankle (cat) and Edgar (beast) kidnap and plot to murder their busy body neighbour, until Christine opts to kill him with kindness (and cocoa) instead.

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I just want to watch this for the rest of the day (and my life) and eat candy-hued goods while I do it. Cancel all my meetings. Check it out for yourself on UK Netflix now.

You can follow Christine on Instagram here.

What are you watching?

The Reluctant Baker

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Baking the right way

I baked a cake this weekend.

I was going to wax lyrical for a while about how inept I am in the kitchen but examining the evidence, I’m not sure that is the case. Based on cooking Christmas dinner last year for five people (successfully) and now this cake, I would have to describe myself as a perfectly adequate chef.

However, unlike my talented baker friends, I do not class this past time as one of my favourites. Given the choice, I would set foot in my kitchen only to replenish cups of tea and to grab a biscuit every half hour. I do, of course, feed the family, sometimes without complaint and that is about as far as my affair with domesticity goes.

But Mr Bee needs a cake for next Thursday and I’m a nice woman. Oh and he wasn’t convinced I could do it successfully so part of the appeal of this experiment was to stick two fingers up at him. I hate being told I can’t do something.

So he gathered the ingredients and I mustered the enthusiasm and together our peanut butter cake was born!

It’s delish by the way. I won’t include a recipe as this isn’t a baking blog but I was so proud of my handiwork that I took a bunch of pictures and they tell the story just fine.

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Ingredients / So far unused baking goodies / Messy kitchen

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Fresh out the oven / Success! / Details

In your face Mr Bee! For the record I should say he wasn’t being mean about my skills really. And he did sort of help, making sure I had all relevant utensils to hand and washing things up as soon as I was done with them. Basically, he was the perfect assistant.

What have I learnt from yesterday’s Bake Off? Well, I now understand the joy baking can bring. I’m ridiculously chuffed that it turned out so well and am also proud I can take some to work with me tomorrow. The girls in my office have all had a go at bringing the homemade cakes in and I’m always only too willing to eat them. Now it’s my turn!

Incidentally, if you’re a baker and would like to add some gorgeous ideas and recipes to your collection, check out my friend Boo at Lip Smackin’ Treats. She’s really good.

Now, for a giant slab of MY cake and a nice strong cuppa. Happy Sunday all!