I eat out a lot and, although the food, service and everything else might be great, there’s usually something that could have made the experience more enjoyable. Here’s a list in no particular order of importance of what would make for me the ideal dining experience. If you want to find your ideal dining experience, click here.
I used to be a Cadbury’s Whole Nut kind of girl. In my younger, thinner days, I’d think nothing of eating a massive bar of it over an evening because health and weight didn’t really feature in my life back then, with my diet being based on cigarettes, alcohol and delivery pizza. Now that I’m a *cough* glowing beacon of health and vitality *cough* and can’t remember the last time I had any kind of Cadbury’s – Whole Nut or otherwise – eschewing those purple-packaged products and their ilk for something more refined (i.e. not full of shit). These days I much prefer a satisfying couple of squares of good quality vegan dark chocolate as opposed to a massive bar of sugary milky stuff. Which is just as well, as I am no longer in my younger, thinner days and can no longer eat an unholy amount of crap without any repercussions.
I didn’t think I had a particularly sweet tooth. Not until I stopped drinking alcohol, anyway, and now my diet consists mostly of ice cream and chocolate. Then The Vegan Candy Co sent me half a kilo of their vegan pick ‘n’ mix and now my diet consists mostly of ice cream, chocolate and vegan pick ‘n’ mix. I thought 500g of sweets would last me until Christmas, at least. I’m not sure it even lasted until the weekend and I didn’t even get it until the previous Thursday. It was soooooooooooo good, I kept grabbing handfuls of it and happily chewed and sucked in front of the telly all night. Sorry teeth.
I’ve been making these energy balls/energy bites/bliss balls/whatever you want to call them for a few years now, so I don’t know why I’m only blogging them now. Still, here we are. Or, rather, here they are.
Veganuary‘s over and maybe you took part and maybe you didn’t. Maybe you thought, ‘Pah, I ain’t jumping on no bandwagon. Especially one that involves not eating cheese.’ Or maybe you did take part but struggled in the supermarket trying to decipher what was vegan and what wasn’t and would have quite happily lived on non-dairy Ben & Jerry’s for the month of January had it not cost five pound fucking fifty pee a tub.
I’ve just realised I’ve put ‘cookbooks’ in the title when, actually, only one is a cookbook (clue: it’s not the one that says ‘skincare’). But, as the skincare book uses vegetables and other edibles, when you’ve finished making stuff for your skin, you can eat the leftovers, so it’s kind of the same thing, yeah?
I’ve had quite a few vegetarian and vegan cookbooks sent to me lately, so I thought I’d do a post introducing them all to you. Some names may be familiar to you (Meat Free Monday, Áine Carlin, and Simon Rimmer for example), some possibly less so and a couple of them are unlike any cookbooks I’ve seen before. In no particular order, here they are:
How are your knife skills? If they’re anything like mine, they’re absolute bobbins. Although I have a cool 5-knife set in the shape of a man being stabbed five times, I only use one of the knives on a regular basis – the utility knife. I like this knife because it’s not scarily big like two of the others in the set and it’s not too small like one of the others. The remaining knife in the set – the bread knife – does get used now and then on bread because even I prefer to actually neatly slice bread with a knife with a serrated edge and not just drag a blunt butter knife into the bread, forming two misshapen lumps.
My knife skills fall into two categories:
I can’t remember when or why I stopped drinking cow’s milk at home. It was definitely before I stopped drinking tea because I can remember using soya milk in tea and, although it was *okay*, the tea wasn’t quite the same, so it was probably around then I stopped drinking tea as well as moo juice. I remember *why* I stopped drinking it though and that’s because I decided drinking a cow’s bodily fluid was ick and so the only time I buy milk now is when I’m having work done to the house and need to make the workmen tea and coffee (except for the plumber who keeps things simple and has black coffee with no sugar). Despite my aversion to cow’s milk because of its ickness and my house being a dairy-cheese-free zone, hypocrisy kicks in when I’m out of the house and I want a hot chocolate or a pizza and no vegan options are immediately available. Luckily, dairy alternatives are becoming more and more available with vegan milk and cheese being offered in more and more places.
If you’ve been to the supermarket lately, you’ve probably seen all the different types of milks available in the fridge and on the shelf. Here’s a run down of some milk alternatives and what you can do with them.
Even if you’ve never tried a recipe box, I’m sure you’ve heard of them. Boxes of ingredients delivered to your door containing everything you need for two or more dishes, along with step-by-step instructions simple enough for even the most novice cook to follow. On the face of it, these boxes can seem like an extravagance or an unnecessary luxury but, when you think about it, if you had to buy all the ingredients you needed for a meal, you wouldn’t use in that one dish everything you bought – one tsp of a spice out of a whole jar/a handful of spinach out of a whole bag, for example – and, as everything’s pre-weighed for you (if a dish needs one tsp of a spice, one tsp of spice will be in the box) as well as there being no waste, there’s also no messing about with scales and measuring spoons or cups. I’ve tried a few recipe boxes in the past and have been impressed each time (especially as the portion sizes have been generous and usually stretched to double the quantities they say they serve).