Challenge

Ok, so I haven’t really been posting on here as much as I would like to.

So I have decided to copy my blogging chums at Running-Jump.com and give myself a challenge (yes this does sound very lame, but I I need to give myself a kick up the backside and haven’t gotten around to asking people for challenges yet).

So my challenge this week is blog about cooking. Everyday, a new recipe. Though I must admit I have cooked three things today and may use them as backup blog material if I don’t get around to cooking something new everyday (the leftovers need eating you know!).

Maybe not disembodied head bread. . .but similarly awesome sculpted bread would be good

Anyway, I think this should be quite fun, and will give me the motivation to do some more experimental cooking. I have decided I want to throw a dinner party- I love hosting them but haven’t for a long time- but by the time that comes around I would like to perfect a wheat free, vegan loaf with no egg substitues. I’m sure I will get around to making some of that this week. . .  .

So look forward to recipes . . and perhaps a mishap or two. .

I grated the skin off my thumb today whilst peeling a lime.

Speak soon!

Charlotte

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My beautiful new-ish Kitchen equipment

My latest new bit of kitchen gadgetry is an ‘all waste kitchen composter’. Really it does what it says on the tin. Using a bit of bran based compost activator and a little time, you are able to compost all of your kitchen waste, cooked, meat, dairy eggs (ick) everything!

I really hate throwing things in the bin, and our compost heap really cannot be one to attract rats (it is behind the wooden shed which already has rat holes) so this find is great!

I have put off writing this review until I have some use out of it and can fully say how I find it. And really, it is wonderful. It says on the website, that the composter holds two weeks worth of kitchen waste- I have had this for two months now and it is not yet filled up! Though my family is three/four adults. I think it would be different with young children.

Before I got this I just had a box in the kitchen to fill up with raw waste and dig into the compost heap. But I didn’t get around to emptying it everyday and so it smelt. The wonder with this is- provided the lid is on- it doesn’t smell! We have it in the kitchen and (given that the kitchen bin is no longer accepting food waste) everything is actually smelling better. Even Cape’s leftover cat food goes in.

ok. . . today's drain off looks like pee.. .

It is a little more complicated than your average compost crock pot. It has a drain at the bottom with a little tap on the front. From this tap you drain off the liquid. This liquid comes in all different colours dependent on what is in the box. Once I got a marvelous bright dark green.  I mostly pour this down the drain to stop alge build up and smells (which is ironic, as the liquid itself really does smell gross). But it can also be watered down (alot) to be used as plant feed, I give this away to any visitors who do gardening as plant feed is so expensive and this is a waste product!

Yes there are two whole peppers in there. .. my bad

You also need to squish down the stuff that you put into your composter (they give you a squisher) to get all of the air out of it so that it decomposes faster- which seems a little odd to the average composer but hey ho. You then sprinkle on the bran stuff which really reminds me of something you used to buy at petting zoos. Yum.

I will update you all when this composter is full up and has ‘hibernated’ for its alloted two weeks to see how it has turned out.

Either way, I am loving this box!

Oh, and check it out properly here. And ban ban dan daaaa. . . .it’s on sale!! eee !:D:D:D

Charlotte

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The girl’s like spaghetti, the boys like spaghetti. Thus the boys eat the girl.

I haven’t read English at University, I haven’t even completed my A-level in English literature yet. But even with only compulsory education English, I know how to read and write.

Children from an early age are taught to look at written words in context to work out what they are, sound things out to spell them. Basically to work things out logically.

I suppose the problem there is that the English language is not always logical (I saw a hilarious news story about a man dressed as a bee outside a spelling bee protesting that English should be more logical). But it is a beautiful language and we really are loosing our first art.

A 'common' 9 year old's workbook. Check out the cursive!

I read a really eye opening article in the Daily Mail -not the most intellectual of papers I know- about a nine year old girl’s workbook. Doesn’t sound so interesting, but then you see, the workbook is one hundred years old. I would have really thought that as time has passed we have got better and better at things that we do. Granted we have become ‘smarter’, but it seems that we have also let our literacy rates slide dramatically.

Now we hardly expect 9 year old children to read fluently, let alone know how to read and write words such as this: ‘refluent, spectral, embargo, weird, shadowy, listless, engineer, gurgling, dissolve, alert, stealthily, leisure, companion, purify and venture’. Now those words are generally only known by upper secondary school on average, but it seems that in 1910 these words were expected of children.

Surely being able to communicate in your own language should be put before other lessons such as Business. How could you set up your own business if you are not even able to write a concise letter to your clients.

I have this book, but have yet to read it- the title is great though!

One of my pet peeves is misuse of grammar. Especially punctuation. There are very simple rules for punctuation, yet most people fail to use them correctly. My favorite punctuation mark (yes I have one) is apostrophes. They allow us to change the meaning of a sentence using a tiny fleck of ink. Take the title for instance. The arrival of an apostrophe within ‘girls’ changes a flock of pasta loving girls, into one strange spaghetti made girl.

Recently there has been talk of changing Waterstone’s name. Apparently the shop that belonged to Mr Waterstone should no longer reflect this in its name. The loss of the apostrophe would suggest that a Waterstone is a thing, and there are many of them in said shop. Doesn’t really make sense does it.

Anyway, I am sorry about tonight’s rant, but I have been looking on freecycle (if you haven’t heard of this before, you really should look it up!) and the literacy rates on there are abysmal. On the first page was a request for a ‘Chester draws’. Personally I didn’t know that Chester drew at all, let alone his availability for drawing on a voluntary basis.

Computers have spell check for a reason.

Right, I’m out.

Charlotte

Posted in slightly ranty | Leave a comment

Attempt #1 Tuna mayo

As I have probably mentioned before, I really enjoy cooking. And I love how veganism has pushed me to try new things and experiment. I enjoy the taste of non-vegan food items, I would never hide that, and that helps me to trial new ideas.

 

Lovely and everything, but I don't really fancy dead fish

Today, I wanted tuna, sweetcorn mayo.

Two thirds of this is easy peasy, canned sweetcorn and shop bought egg free mayo (lazy I know, mayo can be whipped up easily, but it has been a long day today). The ‘tuna’ however posed a bit of a problem!

I decided my best bet for the base of the ‘tuna’ was some canned braised tofu. It looks the nearest to canned tuna, and tastes best with the smallest amount of work. I squished the oil out of the tin as best as I could then shredded the tofu and popped it in a bowl. I then got out my trusty kelp tablets (really good at accentuating umami and really does give the flavour of the sea) gave them the old one two in the pestle and mortar and flung it in. Then was a sprinkling of lemon juice and a few grinds of sea salt.

I then mixed up the ‘tuna’, lashings of mayo and sweetcorn.Other than being darker in colour to my Mum’s tuna mayo (tinned braised tofu is brown in colour as opposed to pink tuna) and put it alongside a baked potato.

Well. . . .it looks about right

Now for the taste test. . .  .

It was actually a really good meal, one I will be repeating anyway.

There are still problems that need smoothing out – in my hungry haste to make my meal I didn’t fully pulverize the kelp, and so I could feel the gritty bits in some parts (if anyone wants to know, this means that the bits of kelp powder are more than 10mu g in size). This is none the less a super easy problem to solve.

The braised tofu comes in tins with oil, this gives a stark texture comparison to tuna, which if I remember correctly is quite dry (omnivores, please feel free to let me know your opinion on this matter!!). I am not sure how to resolve this matter though, as the general texture of canned braised tofu really is the best for replicating tuna (layered in flakes). I have thought of drying out in the oven, or pressing as you do with normal tofu to get the water out. Well, I shall see which one I have time for next time.

 

Overall, I think this is a win on the food list.

Next on the to do list:

Yorkshire puddings (decent ones that actually look right, my last attempt looked like little pies!)

Properly fudgey brownies 

And the big one: cheese that tastes right even uncooked (store bought vegan cheese tastes wondrous when melted in and used in recipes, but I don’t like the taste of it on its own)

 

Charlotte

p.s. I have just seen a face in the mayo on the photo of my meal. See if you can spot it.

Posted in Invention, recipes, vegan | Leave a comment

A whole new space

My sewing machine is currently having it’s first ever yearly service (fingers crossed!) and in its absence, I have finally properly sorted out my sewing room.

All you who have not before seen the photo of my fabric pile, it was a real problem. I had tried to organise it in crates. It was all sorted in colours, but because it was sorted into crates, to find the exact fabric you were looking for, you would have to dig through and so mess up the fabrics. This inevitably lead to a room full of messed up fabrics, also meaning there was no floor space to cut and pin fabrics.

A day and a half of tidying, sorting, and moving books about and I now have a lovely *tidy* craft room ! Even when it was a tip, it is a lovely place to be, and I enjoy being in there even just to look at the different threads and ribbons.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in SEWING! | Leave a comment

The perils of having a baby face (answer: not being that old as it is)

So many older women gripe about being wrinkly, and not looking young enough. But really, surely looking your own age is the best thing.

Aged 2 crying on a swing (I lost a welly)

I don’t think I have ever looked my own age, when I was very little I looked old for my age, and then that swung over to looking young for the rest of my time so far. Apparently I used to look like quite the wimp in the playground due to looking old for my age.

I am not quite sure when this all changed, but I know at least from year 7 I have always been mistaken for someone younger than me. Whenever it was pointed out that I was not in fact  really young, I am always told that it will be a blessing to look younger when I am old. Really, when you are a child and the badge of honor is your age (I am 19 and a half) it really is frustrating to not look the part.

Now that I am older, it is more embarrassing. Being asked for ID at every pub/club door is not so bad- most places ask everyone who looks under 25 anyway. But being asked ID for a rated 15 movie, is not so cool. Not to mention that when I was actually 15 I was refused to buy a rated 12 game- like who gives a darn for 12 rated games anyway! And being 15 I wasn’t really at the age for having an ID handy unless I was on my way to an airport.

Another of my finest moments was getting a hair cut about half a year ago, and my boyfriend came with me. Mid haircut/conversation my hair dresser adds in ‘is that your dad then’ -pointing to my then boyfriend-. Humph =/ Granted he was a few years older and looks old for his age, and she had never met my dad before. But still. That was awkward to answer.

Another actual problem of a babyface is trying to get dicipline in children. If they have known you since they were young, or are still under 6 it is fine. But much older, and you are seen as more of an older sibling than an actual authority figure. This is really frustrating when working with a large group of children that you need to get quiet. But then I guess this is after joining in their game of ‘stuck in the mud’.

Well. . . you gotta make an effort for haloween parties!

So maybe after all it is not just looking young that is the problem, given that for all of my birthdays even up to my 19th I have had toys for presents. For my 16th all I got from my friends was toys, racing dinosaurs, sponge tennis set, playdough etc. I also wore a cape made out of dinosaur wrapping paper for the entire day. Going to prom in a papier mache train wasn’t one of my most mature moments either.

 

All in all, this whole post is a rant about something that I am exploiting on the upside, but is still annoying.

A real babyface

Charlotte

(And looking back to the last post, it transpires: I was not really back!)

Posted in slightly ranty | Leave a comment

I’m Back!

Ok, so I haven’t posted in like forever but honestly, I have been trying (you can see my drafts bin!). I have so many half done posts it is unreal; I am hoping to finish some of these posts and publish at a later date, anyway, I will keep you posted.

Why haven’t I posted? Well a number of reasons, I haven’t really been feeling the whole writing business recently as I have been feeling rather under the weather. And as everyone knows, when one is ill, you have to prioritize what you would like to get done. As I have still been rather busy lately.

Since last posting:

My ever-so-slightly-childish certificate =D

  • I have *finally* become an ‘official’ Beaver Scout leader, which is a really lovely thing (though it means practicing getting my necker on right). It was a really lovely cerermoney, one hand on the flag which two beavers were holding and the other doing the Scout salute whilst reciting the ‘Scout promise’. After this I got my necker, world badge and colony badges (3rd Newbury oh yeah!).
  • I witnessed (on the same day as being initiated) two Beaver Scouts ‘swimming up’ into the Cub colony. This involved the other Beavers holding up our ‘river’ (a roll of fish pattern fabric) up at chest height, and the Cub Scout leader pulling the boys who were ‘swimming up’ along and through our river with them holding the other end of a bit of rope. It was quite possibly the coolest moving up ceremony ever!

    Remembrance service in Newbury

  • (The third and final Beaver related part) The Remembrance day parade. This was beautiful, sad and moving. Given that our pack had the largest turnout of all, we had a lot of 6-8year olds to keep in check. We needed to ‘march’ two by two in a line after all of the Soldiers and other Newbury groups taking part. I must say it was rather funny when the children walked into the person ahead of them when they stopped as they were looking out for their mums. We marched though town and into the Market place, where the service took place, the national anthem and honoring our fallen troops.
  • I have in the processes of starting to volunteer at my local furniture warehouse project doing upholstery. I really want to get more experience in upholstery and doing so requires money and a lot of space which are both hard to come by at home. Volunteering here will mean that I get trained up in upholstery, learning in my own time. I’m really hoping it goes well, as this is a possible career choice =]
  • In a fairly boring update: I have moved bank accounts. I have only just realized, after 10 years with the same savings bank account, I am only getting 0.1% on all my savings fml. So I have changed (and within the same bank!) have found a savings account with 3.65% winner!

    Winter Socks!

  • The lovely street stalls have come to Newbury, and a lovely woman (who was here last Christmas) is around. She sells fair trade, ethically sourced, handmade woolen clothing from Nepal. I have already got two jumpers and a pair of socks and may well get more. It is all really cheap as well (I, as a buyer, was trying to persuade hr to charge more!). Anyway, if anyone is in Newbury in the coming months, I would really encourage you to check out her stall. She is a really nice person to chat too.
  • I have finally gotten closure. Some of you know what this is, some of you don’t. But that’s fine.

    Online friend dating? Not too much different from facebook then!

  • I have joined a veggie ‘dating’ type site. Not for the dating mind you, but it has a thing to connect you with like minded people for pen pals or friends. Sound a little sad I know, but the local v*gans group is currently non active, and I really want to get to know some other vegans! I have only been on there one day, but have already someone has made contact. This was a good idea I think, even though it makes me confront my hatred of photos of my face.
  • I have sold and gotten orders for quite a lot of sewing bits, I also am making leiderhosen for a Beavers Christmas show for the leaders *cringe*. It is very fun, but very time consuming. I am hoping though that (once I get onto some proper research) that I can storm some local craft markets before Christmas.

Anyway, that has got yall up to date. ‘Service’ shall return to normal . . . at some point. . .hopefully now 🙂

Oh and also . . .I will be stealing this puppy . . .

Charlotte

Posted in Beavers, hobbies, SEWING! | Leave a comment