Monthly Archives: August 2013

What’s in my lunch box? Post Reading

I was beautifully organised for the Reading Festival. I’d purchased my tickets well in advance. I’d coordinated transportation of the required camping equipment across our party. I’d bought Melissa boots in case the site was muddy. I’d washed my hoodie and dug out my ‘festival clothes’. I’d made a list of bands I wanted to see. I’d packed vegan food should the onsite offering disappointed (it didn’t but I never did find the vegan chocolate brownies which were supposed to be on offer).
So I had a splendid weekend watching bands I knew , discovering new ones, taking part in a mini remake of Back to the future with Videopia, drinking cups of tea under the stars, and noting with delight the makeover the female urinal area has been given (hello spotty curtains, fake grass, flowers and a general air of luxury). I delivered chums home on Monday. Ensured the tent was airing and got my kit put away in no time.
What I had totally failed to do in all my planning was make any arrangement for my lunchbox for the following week. In fact I patted myself on the back before leaving for running down supplies of fresh food.
But there’s always something lurking in my pantry, fridge or freezer. Plans to turn a stale baguette (I failed to put it in the freezer before departing) into vegan French toast reminded me of the wonder that is gram flour. So I grabbed a chunk of onion, rescued some wilting greens, dug out some recently frozen sweet corn, and stuck them in a frying pan with some oil (the dregs of various bottles – I really need to go shopping). Then I mixed some gram flour with water and salt and tipped it into the pan.
You never know quite how a batter with a random and unknown flour to liquid ratio will turn out. This wasn’t quite up to pancake standard but it did produce some chunks/balls. They worked perfectly well by themselves, but as the week has progressed I’ve also enjoyed them with pasta, and wrapped in Cos lettuce leaves. A handful of greengages followed up (finally made it to the market) and The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey (so gripping I couldn’t sleep) went alongside.
I’ve added ‘food for return’ to my planning list for future festivals.

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What’s in my lunchbox? Dio Loso Qua

In The Constant Mistress by Angela Lambert, Laura is teased about the habits of bachelor girls and asked if it’s her turn to cook the spag bog. She responds that it’s actually Dio loso qua on the menu. Apparently it’s Sicilian for ‘god knows what’.
This recipe was pretty much anything I had in the fridge mixed up together in a  frying pan. So some Mexican millet, roast aubergine, cooked runner beans, cooked potatoes, tofu, cooked peas, a chunk of vegan bratwurst, onions, garlic powder, and possibly a mystery ingredient or two. It tasted very good. Enough for me to want to try this approach more often.
I served with some tomatoes and Balzac’s The Girl with Golden eyes for a truly magnificent lunch.

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What’s in my lunchbox? V Festival 2013

An excellent rule of thumb for the vegan on the move is to carry your own food. I was very happy that I had some mini Mexican millet pasties, and some tofu with me at the V Festival.
The food choices were on the narrow side if you weren’t keen on burgers, hot dogs, or hog roast. And the queues resembled a theme park. Even the water point had a long wait at one point.
On the plus side, there seemed to be fewer things thrown around in the crowd. Or fewer things that hit me anyway. And the weather was lovely.
There was also some fantastic music. On my highlights list were James, Paloma Faith, Idris Elba, Goldie Lookin’ Chain, Tom Odell, Seasick Steve (with special guest John Paul Jones), Maximo Park, Of Monsters and Men, Labrinth, Stereophonics and Kings of Leon.

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Foraged mid morning snack – nettle tea and blackberries

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What’s in my lunchbox? Prepared in advance


I had a marvellous Saturday. I spent the morning at my allotment mainly harvesting produce. Then I devoted the afternoon to cooking said produce plus the goodies I’d picked up at the market earlier in the week. I was tired by the end of the day but so happy.

Clockwise from top right
Caramel apple peanut bar – This is divine. The photo does not do it justice. It’s from Veganomicon. And a tip for anyone else making this – follow the recipe. Do not decide that you will make some sugar syrup because you don’t have any date syrup, or believe that a microwave works just as well as a pan over a low heat. It still tasted good but I want to experience the ‘ribbons’ of caramel the recipe refers to.
Mexican millet – another Veganomicon favourite. I successfully deviated from the recipe by chucking a load of sweetcorn in.
Tortilla – This is my take on a Spanish omelette with potatoes and onions. I replaced the eggs with a gram flour batter. I am currently experimenting with the various approaches (fried potatoes? Boiled potatoes? Thick batter? Thin batter? How much salt? Add nutrition yeast?) in search of the perfect combination.

Radishes, cucumber and rocket

Wishing you all things green,


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Something green – giant emeralds

  I love my green jewellery. Despite being fake I like to admire the way those ‘stones’ look. Then there are other benefits like being lighter, and not needing insurance. If I misplaced them the loss would be sentimental rather than financial. H… Continue reading

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Things I Love Thursday – shoes, blackberries and help from the universe

What’s been rocking my world this week? Based on a meme by Gala Darling

Melissa shoes – I adore Melissa shoes. I first came across them on Amelia Raley’s blog Doublespeak and have since gathered a small collection. They are so comfortable. I love the variety of styles. I love the way they are perfect for wet UK summers. I love that they’re vegan. It’s been a good week for my Melissa collection. I bought a pair in cowboy boot style for festivals fromNonnon (who use the excellent and communicative DPD to do their deliveries). My parents bought me back a couple of pairs from the US where Melissa has done a collection for Forever 21.

The happiness project by Gretchen Rubin – Just reading this is making me happy. Having borrowed it from a friend I can see that I’ll have to buy my own copy so I can dip into it frequently for inspiration. I can see that I’m doing the right things – I’m being myself, I’m embracing novelty, I’m working on letting things go, I’m trying to get more sleep. It’s good to know that there are other people out there doing the same.

The universe sending me signs – Well ok it might not be the universe but it’s great that when you start thinking about something (like relaxing more) and then something to help appears – e.g. a one minute meditation film turns up in your inbox. Or the wonderful colleague who brings in her shoulder massager for you to try and as a result you feel calm, energised, and a tad floppy all day.

Family – You don’t realise how much you miss your family until you spend time with them.

Hand with blackberries

Foraging – picking handfuls of blackberries on my way to work is foraging at its easiest and most delicious. If only I’d taken a photo before eating most of them.

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What’s in my lunch box this week? In a hurry

Food and book

I had a rather extended weekend in Somerset clearing out sheds and cupboards. I arrived home on late on Sunday afternoon via a burlesque class with a carful of ‘things’. As I unpacked I happily patted myself on the back for having thought in advance about dinner. I was delighted with my menu planning abilities as I scrubbed up some new potatoes, and popped some vegan sausages in the oven. My self satisfaction lasted right until the moment I cooked the peas. That’s when the penny dropped and I realised that things were looking a little short in the Monday lunch department.

Clearly leftover sausage and mash (and let’s be frank on this leftovers were unlikely – I was rather nibblesome) wasn’t going to cut it. So I did a quick fridge and freezer raid. Rescued a rather shrivelled green pepper. Thanked the gods of kitchens that I had frozen some chickpeas and pitta breads. Uncovered a bag of allotment picked rocket. As the oven was already on lunch was created.

Clockwise from top left:

  • Mix of dates, twiglets, dark chocolate and almonds
  • Dead to the worldCharlaine Harris
  • Pittas filled with rocket, roasted chickpeas, and roasted green pepper.

Moral of this story? Don’t get smug. Always plan ahead.

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