Craving Vegetables

Something very strange is going on around here.  It has never happened to me before but it certainly is now.  I am beginning to get very excited about eating vegetables.  It seems that the more plant food I eat, the more I want to eat it.  It is a wonderful feeling.

This morning he sun shone brightly.  Of course it did – it was Monday morning!making breakfast 27-4-15 After the wet and cold weekend we just had it seemed irksome to wake up to such a lovely morning, knowing I had to head to London to sit in the office. I would have much preferred to be in the garden.sunny morning I made a large fruit salad for me and a yogurt and fruit bowl for Harvey, which he added some ‘Fruit ‘n’ Fibre’ to.fruit breakfasts My large bowl of black grapes, 3 figs, raspberries and blueberries was delicious.red and purple fruit I had a little visitor at lunch time.  Meet Coco.  She came up to the office with her lovely owner, Zoe, who I used to work with and they met me for lunch.Coco We bought lunch at Food For Thought and took it to eat in the little gardens near the office.  I had the mixed salad box which was lovely.  Well, I think it was.  I was so busy chatting I didn’t really think about what I was eating.salad lunch 27-4-15 Coco was quite content in her beach bag.Coco in beach bag For supper I fancied pasta with broccoli.  I also had tomatoes and garlic.  I cooked the pasta and steamed the broccoli.  I heated up, gently, a slug of olive oil and very gently heated through the garlic and then added the chopped tomatoes.  While I was in the garden picking some thyme I thought the Swiss Chard looked rather lush and so I chopped some of that too and added it to the pan with the garlic and tomatoes.pasta garlic toms broc One very quick and simple and delicious supper.pasta and veg 2 This probably took 15 minutes from walking through the door to eating it (the pasta took 8 minutes to cook).pasta and veg

An very good day of eating today.  Loads of veggies, lots of fruit, some wholewheat pasta and a bit of olive oil.  I feel good!

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A London Day

I had planned to spend today in the garden but instead I ended up in London and had a lovely day with Lara.

First though I ignored the cold and wet weather and went over the road for another go at interval training and managed 8 x 2 mins running with a minute walking in between.  I did have to walk a bit during 2 of them but I definitely found it a little bit easier this week than last.

I bought some fresh figs yesterday and enjoyed three for breakfast.figs I made a smoothie with spinach, strawberries,spinach and strawberries1 tbsp chia seeds,spinach and chia some cucumber, 2 frozen bananas and the figs.blender full of veg and fruit Not the best flavour but it was packed full of nutrients and I was hungry so it slipped down a treat.green and fig smoothie Lara and I went up to London and headed to Gudrun Sjoden’s shop on Monmouth Street. This is my favourite clothes shop.  The staff are so friendly and helpful, the clothes are colourful and unique and so very comfortable.  Lots of cotton, some of which is organic, and such beautiful patterns and colours.Gudrun Sjoden Gudrun trug I met Gudrun !!!!!  She was very charming and like all the Swedes I have met, speaks excellent English so we had a little chat.  It was great to meet her and I am glad we went.  Thank you to Stella for letting me know she was in store.Gudrun Sjoden herself We decided we fancied Mexican for lunch so wandered round the corner to Cafe Pacifico.  We were given corn chips and quite a spicy salsa while we perused the menu.  We had some more chips with guacamole which we shared as a starter.cafe pacifico menu I had a little margarita.margarita at CP For my main I chose the vegetable fajitas and the staff were very good when I asked them to make sure it was served with no dairy.guac and salsa Mine came with tortillas, black beans, salsa, guacamole, lettuce and a large sizzling platter of vegetables.  It all tasted good.  It was not excellent but it was good.  The service was friendly and efficient.veggies Cafe Pacifico The company was lovely :-) .  The bill was very hefty and I think I actually prefer Chipotle which although it’s basically a fast food chain, serves very reasonable food and it is much cheaper.  I wouldn’t go to Chipotle for Sunday lunch though and unfortunately, the price would put me off coming here again.Lara in cafe Pacifico Today was London marathon day and by the time we had eaten the streets were beginning to fill up with those runners who completed the event in 3 – 4 hours.  I would be so proud if I had earned one of those medals.Trafalgar Sq on Marathon day The streets around Trafalgar Square were packed and the atmosphere was very cheerful.marathon crowds We walked down Whitehall, passed the memorial covered in wreaths to commemorate Gallipoli.Gallipoli memorial We watched a little bit of the race.  This is Parliament Square which is near the end, between mile 25 and 26.  I am so in awe of these people who can achieve this.  I walked it once – never again as it is a very long way.  London Marathon 2015 1 It was fun to experience a tiny part of so many people’s big day.London Marathon 2015 I was not hungry in the evening so I made a very small blackberry and lime banana nice-cream.  I think this is my favourite flavour as it is so fresh and I love that blend of blackberry and banana.  The juice of half a lime makes it extra zingy and tasty.blackberry smoothie with lime The joy of the blender is that you can enjoy the flavour of blackberries and all their nutrients and fibre, but a good blender gets rid of all those annoying pips so it becomes a complete pleasure.  This was fabulous.blackberry and lime smoothie

A good end to a lovely day.  I didn’t eat perfectly as I had corn chips, a margarita and 3 small white tortilla wraps but everything else was plant food so not a disaster and I did exercise so an acceptable day, diet wise.

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Portobello Mushrooms

Annoyingly, when I could have had a lie in, I woke up very early on Saturday morning.  Maybe I was feeling guilty for eating 4 slices of this bread with cashew nut butter the night before and having a glass of dessert wine!    These are only very small slices but nonetheless, that was a lot of late night calories which I shouldn’t have had.  This bread is great.  No yeast in it, which I react badly to, and no wheat which I am trying to avoid.  Harvey loves it too so this will be making an appearance again.  We have not had standard bread in our house for a long time and often don’t have any bread at all but occasionally it is handy to have and I am pleased to have found one we both like.

Pauls wheat-free It rained overnight for which the garden was very thankful.cartouche 3 My Aunty gave me these tulips for my birthday last year and I planted them in prime position next to the greenhouse so I can be sure to see them at least twice a day.cartouche 2 They look even more beautiful with rain drops on them.cartouche I then decided to empty the fridge.  I completely emptied it and literally took out EVERY single item and every shelf and washed it all, including the sides and even the central drawer unit.

I have not done a supermarket shop or had a delivery for 2 weeks and have tried to eat my way through the fridge (and freezer and cupboards) instead.top half fridge I often eat the same things so challenging myself to eat the contents before refilling was a good thing to do.

Most of the content of the bottom 2 drawers was eaten for lunch or supper so before the Ocado cavalry came, the fridge really was nearly completely empty of fresh food.bottom half fridge fridge door

In my fruit drawer I was left with 2 avocados, some mandarins and these lovely oranges.os for oj The blood oranges had been in there for ages but I ate them anyway.  Once you cut the mould off the skin, the inside seemed fine!  I juiced about half of them and made two smoothies for myself and Harvey.oranges in bowl Mine had one whole orange, orange juice, half an avocado and about a cup full of frozen pineapple chunks.orange and avocado face It tasted so fresh it was a perfect way to start the day and it kept me feeling full for many hours.smoothie 25-4-15 I was out and about all day – Saturdays are often like that aren’t they?  I grazed on 2 apples, some almonds and dates.  Probably too many in the end but I just didn’t have the time or opportunity to make a proper meal until supper time when, I must say, I did excel myself.

I picked some swiss chard and thyme from the garden.swiss chard n thyme To cook with these beauties.portobello mushrooms in pack 6 perfect portobello mushrooms.portobello mushrooms I have read a lot of vegan sites recently promoting these mushrooms as apparently they taste meaty, or at least have the texture of meat.mushroom 2 To be honest I do not look for meat substitutes.  I am embracing the whole foods and plant-based diet for what it is but the many references to them had got me intrigued.mushroom 1I couldn’t find a vegan recipe for stuffed mushrooms.  They all have bacon or cheese in them so I made a recipe up.  Lara had come home at very short notice for the evening, which was lovely, and she really liked them too so I shall share the recipe.

Portobello Mushrooms with Rice, Pine Nuts and Tomatoes

Ingredients

6 portobello mushrooms
1 cup of brown basmati rice
2 tomatoes (medium sized vine tomatoes)
half a cup of pine nuts
half a cup of sultanas
1 stalk of fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper

Method

Cook the rice until al dente
Remove the stalk from the mushrooms*, wash the mushrooms and dry as well as you can
Chop the tomatoes and sultanas (my sultanas seemed very large which is why I chopped them)
Mix the tomatoes with the pine nuts, sultanas, thyme and garlic and season
Turn the oven on to 190 °
Place the mushrooms on to a baking dish and add a layer of rice, a layer of tomato mixture and top with another layer of rice
Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes
Remove foil and replace for 5-10 minutes until done to your liking

* I put the mushroom stalks away in the fridge for another day

I did have lots of rice left over but I like to have rice handy for a quick supper or lunch box addition.
stuffed portobello mushromms stuffed portobellos I served mine with swiss chard and broccoli which I stir fried in coconut oil with garlic.  Plus a dollop of Cholula (pepper sauce) on each one.supper 25-4-15 We both loved this and there are 2 mushrooms left over in the fridge for a mid week supper.supper 2-4-15 For pudding we had nice-cream made with blue and black berries.blue and black berries Blitzed together with frozen bananas and topped with coconut.  That was a top notch supper, enjoyed in girly fashion in front of the tv.  We watched ‘Diva’ which I have not seen for years and I enjoyed it again but was astonished at quite how old it all seemed and how bizarre!Banana blueberry ice cream

Whoever thinks vegan food must be boring doesn’t have any imagination.

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Losing Weight

It feels so good to be losing weight again.  Phew.  Since March 13th, I had been slowly but surely gaining weight thanks to weekends away and too many celebrations which then seem to make me fall off the healthy eating wagon and eat bad food again.  And way too much of it.  But I am so determined to eat better and feel better this year that I am back to whole foods and plant-based meals.  The ridiculous thing is that I feel so much better when I eat the Whole Food Plant-Based way; I feel more energetic, I sleep better, I feel more comfortable in myself, I am more alert and in general feel much happier.  I also told myself this week that it will be hard, there will be moments when I want to eat the cakes/biscuits/chocolates that others do around me but I can’t.  So I need to grit my teeth and get through those moments by taking myself off for a walk or making a cup of tea or having a piece of fruit.  That is what I have done this week and the scales have rewarded my efforts as I have now lost the 4 pounds I put on since the end of March so I am back to a 23 pound loss this year so far.

weight loss

I worked from home today so had time to make a lovely breakfast smoothie bowl.  This was delicious and I did actually lick the bowl!breakfast 24-4-15 2 3 frozen bananas, about 10 fresh strawberries, maca powder, green sea greens, cacao powder, coconut, almond milk and topped with coconut and cacao nibs.breakfast 24-4-15 1Thanks to having a long meeting between 12 and 2 I ended up having a very late lunch, by which time I was starving.  One baked potato and a heap of rocket, spinach and watercress.
potato and green leaves Plus the rest of the braised aubergine, tomato and onion dish I made last weekend.lunch 24-4-15 2 I really like that braised veggie dish and will definitely be making it again.  This was a great lunch.lunch 24-4-15 It was sunny today but not warm enough to sit outside as there is a chilly nip in the air.wooden table Wandering around watering, it was pleasantly warm though and the spring flowers are looking lovely.garden 24-4-15 I had so much for lunch and as it was so late I didn’t fancy supper so I just had some grapes.  As it’s Friday I may treat myself to a glass of wine too.grapes in blue bowl

I hope you all have happy weekends.

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Sweet and Simple

Sweet and simple eats today.

Breakfast was a bowl of berries (raspberries, blueberries and strawberries) with an orange.breakfast berries I went to Food For Thought at lunch time as I need to make the most of it before it closes down after 40 years.  They have added a letter to their noticeboard.Clsoing FFT I think it will be a huge loss to Neal Street and Covent Garden to not have this fabulous vegetarian and vegan eatery serving up wholesome and nourishing food every day.Closing FFT What shall I have today?FFT Menu I went for the Iranian stew with a babba ganoush (smoked aubergines) topping.Iranian stew Served with rice, it was made with green lentils, carrots, potatoes, spinach and a tasty sauce.  Quite small but very yummy and I would have that again.  If I can!  Sob.Iranian stew 1 Supper was chips.  Well, kind of.  I chopped up 3 sweet potatoes in to chip shapes and put them in the oven for about an hour.  I stirred them half way through and added some pepper and dukkah, a mixture of herbs, nuts and spices.sweet potato chips 1 I made a dipping sauce with 4 vine tomatoes, 7 Medjool dates and the juice of half a lime. I just blitzed them in the blender until it was smooth.tomatoes and dates Not bad at all.chip and dip Harvey had his with ketchup and I had the tomato and date dip.  Well, I had half of it and the rest is in the fridge and can probably be used tomorrow as a salad dressing.  These sweet potato ‘chips’ were cooked with their skins on for extra fibre and nutrients and with no oil or salt.  I am trying to eat natural, plant foods, with very little added and certainly no salt or oil.  It will take a bit of getting used to but I am getting there and so is Harvey.  He didn’t even ask for salt tonight which is a sign that we are getting used to it.tomato date

Three simple meals today, with no snacking in between.  I am definitely back in the diet groove :-)

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Chipotle

Another couple of busy days have flown by; I have been eating well and I feel good.  Really good.

Tuesday

A citrus breakfast made with a pink grapefruit and 2 juicey sweet oranges.  I also had 4 mandarins.  After that lot I was just buzzing with energy which is such a wonderful feeling.citrus brekkie 21-4-15 I enjoy Instagram and follow lots of interesting accounts, many of whom eat the same way I aim to eat – whole food and plant based.  One account I follow posted a photo last week of a vegan burrito from Chipotle.  I was intrigued because the chaps at work regularly go there as we have one very close to the office and their lunches do look very good.  I bought the Vegetable Burrito.  It doesn’t look that appetising from the outside, but oh my !Chipotle vegetable burrito It was fantastic.  perfect size portion wise and filled with brown rice, black beans, lettuce, peppers and red onion, chilli and guacamole.  It was perfect in every way except a little tricky to eat, especially when one is wearing a white shirt!  I managed to eat it unscathed thanks to a large amount of napkins.  Not quite the look I go for in the office but sometimes needs must!  Thank you @hippiehealing for the recommendation, it was great.Chipotle burrito I had received a text in the morning from my sister Lucy, asking me to pop round to Patisserie Valerie on Old Compton Street in the afternoon for cake and bubbles as it was her birthday – now that is the kind of text I like to receive.  Bizarre that I ended up back there again, just 2 days after going there with my family on Sunday and when I haven’t been there for years. It was very splendid to sit there beside the open window with some of my treasured family. Happy birthday again to my lovely sister Lucy.Lucy's birthday bubbles I avoided the cake and just had one glass of bubbles before heading home to more, er bubbles !  Well, it was going to be but I have realised now, seeing this picture, that I didn’t actually get the bubbles out and instead we had wine.  I was hosting a card night and had an apple and celery and houmous for supper.  Plus wine and fun with Sarah C. and Marion but we did miss Sarah F who had to make an unexpected rush to A&E.  Next time we can be a four again.4 glasses Wednesday

A whole sweet and perfectly ripe papaya for breakfast.  It was so good.papaya 22-4 15 At lunch time I went back to Chipotle.  I had been advised by my colleagues to go for the Vegetable basket instead of the burrito because it is much easier to eat and you actually have more filling than you do in the burrito.  Plus it is so much easier to eat and I am trying to not have wheat so there’s another bonus.  I had exactly the same as yesterday except with mixed beans ie black and pinto beans.Chipotle beans 2 This tastes excellent and although I will not be having it every day, I will be going back.chipotle beans 1 Dinner was super quick and easy.  Left over braised aubergine and tomato with a green salad made with watercress, spinach and rocket.  dinner 22-4-15 So two vegan days and apart from the bubbles, all very healthy, whole food and plant based.  I feel pleased with my eating and I am really beginning to feel very good on this diet.  I need to do the same tomorrow.

 

 

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Birthday Boys

This has been a busy couple of days for birthdays in our house.  Sunday was my husband James’ and Step-Father Ian’s, today was Milton’s (one of our dogs) and tomorrow it’s my sister Lucy’s.  Happy birthday to you all.

Sunday

Knowing we were out for lunch, I stacked up the nutrients for breakfast: chia and flax seed powder, coconut milk, spirulina, swiss chard, red kale, 2 kiwis, 2 strawberries, less than half an avocado, half a cup of sprouts and 3 frozen bananas.Smoothie ingredients 19-4-15 To be honest this was not the most pleasant tasting of smoothies but it had so much green and sprouted goodness in it, I drank it and thought about the nutrients in it.gren smoothie and strawberry We then headed off to London to celebrate James’ birthday and Lara met us.  We had some time to pass and the birthday boy chose to have a drink in a traditional London pub.  We had one drink in The Chandos near Charing Cross.The Chandos Then we moved along to The Salisbury.  I had a glass of red wine in each pub (medium).In the Salisbury Cheers !  I had some nuts with my drink in here.Inside The Salisbury There were some lovely features in this pub.  The pretty etchings on the glass and the large bar.Salisbury bar The stair well was covered in adverts for theatre productions.Salisbury stairs 1 I remember seeing this as a child.Beatrix Potter ballet Salisbury stairsOur next stop was Dishoom, at the end of St Martin’s Lane.
Dishoom menu and juice Inside Dishoom Dishoom wall I had a fresh squeezed orange juice and James had a spiced cider which he enjoyed.spiced cider I love these okra fries.okra fries I ordered the vegetable biryani which is cooked in the pot with a pastry top.  To be honest this was a bit mediocre.  It was ok but I wouldn’t bother having it again.Dishoom veg biryani I did have a delicious bread and their famous house black daal which is incredible.  Really amazing.  Unfortunately it’s not vegan because it contains cream and butter – no wonder it tastes so good!  It really is amazing.Dishoom 19-4-15 These were ok but I didn’t want to eat much.  This is the gunpowder potatoes which Lara ordered and I tried.  Gunpowder potatoes After Dishoom we walked along Old Compton Street and found a patisserie for cake and coffee.  I didn’t have any, I just had a pot of tea but I did have a mouthful of Harvey’s chocolate cake.

Apart from some green and camomile tea at home, I didn’t have anything else for the day.

Monday

A simple and satisfying breakfast of grapes and canteloupe melon.melon and grapes 20-4-15 Lunch was a salad from Wholefoods with a spoonful of pumpkin seed butter.Wf lunch 20-4-15 Mainly veggies, cooked and raw, with some noodles, rice and tofu.Wholefoods lunch 20-4-15I had supper with Lara and Harvey.  Harvey went to Lara’s for a sleepover yesterday and today she took him out and about in London.  After work they met me at my office and we had a quick supper together before heading home. It was great hearing about all the fun they had together.   We went to Wildwood Kitchen on Monmouth Street.  Lara and Harvey had pizza and I resisted and had a salad with walnuts and butternut squash and a side of fries.  The salad came with goat’s cheese which I gave away.
Wildwood supper

I managed to eat well (apart from the fries) and stayed vegan all day so I am pleased about that.  I now feel back on it and very positive about tracking 801010 again.

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Getting Back On Track

I have eaten too much recently and too much that is not whole food or plant food.  So I have focused on getting back to eating a diet made up of only whole foods and plant foods and then I can begin tracking to eat 80/10/10 again.  Although that is a demanding way of eating, I do believe it is healthy and when I was able to stick with it, it made me feel great.  But when, for whatever reason I struggle with 80/10/10, I have decided to aim for at least whole food and plant foods.

Friday

When I work from home I can make a smoothie for breakfast which I really like to have first thing.  This one was amazing.  I was sent a bottle of Plenish’ Cashew M*lk to try.  I didn’t like it on its own as it was too chalky but it was good in a smoothie.  I made it with 2 small bananas, half a punnett of frozen mixed berries, 1 kiwi fruit, a handful of spinach, 3 types of sprouts, purple kale, 5 Medjool dates and 1/4 of a teaspoon of blue-green algae.
Purple Power ingredients Garnished with blueberries and cacao nibs.  I would call this one ‘Purple Power’ as it was purple and made me feel amazing.  Really buzzing and it tasted fantastic.  I will be making this again for sure.Purple Power Lunch was a very simple salad eaten with no dressing and made with Romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, celery and mixed sprouts.  It was warm enough to eat it outside – first outside meal of the year.salad 17-4-15 The vegetable garden has this stunning clump of Swiss Chard growing.swiss chard red stems The magnolia tree next to the veggie patch is in full bloom.Magnolia in flower I left these spring onions in the veggie patch over winter and they have survived and flourished and are now ready for eating which is great.spring onions aprl 2015 The broad bean seeds I sowed a few weeks ago are doing well.broad beans seedlings As are the mange touts.mange tout I snacked on an apple and then some dried fruits followed by more.  I should have had a bigger lunch.red apple For supper I made ‘Mejadra’ from Ottolenghi’s ‘Jerusalem’.  It is cooked rice and lentils with fried onions.Majadra in Jerusalem Mejadra

Ingredients

250g brown or green lentils
4 medium onions (weighing 700 g before peeling)
3 tbsp plain flour (I used gram flour)
250 ml sunflower oil (I used about 80 – 100 ml of groundnut and coconut oils ie nearly 1/3 of recommended amount)
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
200g Basmati rice (I used brown Basmati rice)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I didn’t use cinnamon as I don’t like it in savoury dishes)
1 tsp sugar (I left this out)
350 ml water
salt and pepper

Method

Place lentils in a small saucepan with plenty of water.  Bring to the boil and cook for 12-15 minutes.  Drain.

Peel and slice the onions thinly and place on a large flat plate.
onions ready for peeling sliced onions Sprinkle with the flour and 1 tsp salt  and mix well with your handsonions in gram flour Heat the oil in a medium heavy based saucepan until the onion sizzles when you add it.  Once added, turn the heat down to medium, add 1/3 of the onion and cook 5 – 7 minutes until the onion turns golden brown and crispy.  Watch it to make sure it doesn’t burn and stir occasionally.

Use a mesh spoon and transfer the cooked onion to a colander lined with kitchen paper.  Do the same with the other 2 batches of onion.fried onions MejadraWipe the saucepan you used for the onion and add the cumin and coriander seeds.  Toast on a medium heat for 1 – 2 minutes.

Add the rice, olive oil, turmeric, allspice, cinammon, sugar, 1/2 a tsp of salt and back pepper.

Stir to coat the rice with the oil and then add the water and cooked lentils.  Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and simmer on a very low heat for 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes, with the lid on so the rice continues to cook in the steam.

Add half the onion to the rice and lentils and stir gently with a fork.  Serve topped with the remaining fried onion.

When I was frying the onion I lightly fried some cherry tomatoes because I wanted something juicy with it and this worked really well.  I also added coriander and mint which went perfectly with it.
Mejadra This was delicious.  Far too oily for a woman on a diet but the flavours were amazing and it did keep me away from chocolate, cakes or biscuits.  It was very different to what I usually cook, a bit time consuming and all those onions were literally eye watering to peel but worth it and we both really enjoyed it.Majadra 1 Saturday

Another sunny day – whoop whoop !!!

I began the day with some exercise.  I had seen a programme recently about losing weight and the recommended type of exercise to boost metabolism was to do some energetic exercise for 2 minutes (such as jogging, climbing stairs, walking uphill), rest for 1 minute and then repeat 7 times.  So Harvey and I went and did just that.  I haven’t jogged for many years but I did it and was very pleased with myself.  I was also very grateful to Harvey who was very encouraging and kind about my efforts and managed the stopwatch.    So what an awesome way to start the day – go me !!!!

A simple fruit platter for breakfast: watermelon, red grapes, pink grapefruit and orange.  Eaten in the sunshine and every mouthful was a complete pleasure.4 fruit breakfast I spent lots of time in this part of the garden today.potting area 2 This shady spot under the huge magnolia tree needs a good sweep and tidy up but it serves as my potting shed and is a pleasant place to spend the morning.  The trees have grown so much since we moved here and so this little greenhouse is too shady to use.potting area 1 This is the lovely greenhouse I had installed last year and which I love as it is so wide.  I sowed seeds this morning for rocket, mizuna, spinach, courgette, purple string beans, cherry tomatoes and plum tomatoes.  I wanted to sow lettuce but have no seeds so I must get some.empty greenhouse 1 Lunch was a bowl of brown Basmati rice and stir fried veggies, including the swiss chard and spring onions from the garden.  It was so good to be picking veggies from the garden, cooking and eating them – it doesn’t get much fresher than that!swiss chard and spring onions I stir fried in water rather then oil, the following: garlic, broccoli, red pepper, celery, mushrooms plus the swiss chard and spring onions.  Eaten with some soy sauce and chilli flakes.  It was so good.stir fry veg in bowl We sat outside but actually there was a chill nip in the air so we moved in to the greenhouse which was delightfully warm.  I could have stretched out in there and had a snooze it was so warm and lovely.chair in greenhouse Harvey thought that sitting in the greenhouse was a strange thing to do but I am thinking it is quite an obvious thing to do and will be doing so again.  A room with a view :-)lunch in the greenhouse The dogs liked it in there too.boy and dog For supper I made an oven cooked ratatouille from Hugh F-W’s ‘Veg Everyday!’ cookbook.  It is really easy to make and tastes amazing.  If you like ratatouille, make this version as it is fantastic.

Oven Roasted Ratatouille

Ingredients

2 onions ( I only had small red onions so used 7 of them)
2 peppers, cored and deseeded (I used 3 romano red peppers)
400g courgettes ( I didn’t have any so used celery instead)
1 large aubergine (I used 4 small/medium sized ones)
5 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

For the tomato sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 x 400g tins chopped plum tomatoes (I used 3 as I like lots of sauce and I used more aubergine than Hugh F-W’s recipe asked for)
1 bay leaf
A large sprig of thyme
A pinch of sugar

ratatouille ingredients Method

Preheat the oven to 190 °C

Cut the vegetables in to even sized cubes and tip them in to a large roasting tray

Add olive oil, salt and pepper and toss well together

Roast for 1 to 1 ½ hours, stirring once or twice, until all the vegetables are tender, reduced and starting to brown in places

oven roasted ratatouille

Meanwhile make the tomato sauce by heating the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat

Add the garlic and cook gently for a minute without browning

Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme and cook gently for about 45 minutes, stirring regularly.

When the sauce is thick, add salt, pepper and sugar.

When the vegetables are cooked, mix with the tomato sauce and return to the oven for 10 minutes.

bay leaf and thyme I served mine with a baked sweet potato which I popped in the oven while the ratatouille was cooking.

This was fantastic and exactly what I had been imagining.  It was full of flavour, soft, slightly sweet and fragrant from the thyme I had picked from the garden.  I relished every single mouthful and am looking forward to the next portion.  That is tucked away in the fridge, ready for 2 mid week suppers.ratatouille and sweet potato

So, 2 pretty good days of eating and exercising.  Too much fat and too many dried fruits but apart from that, it was all whole foods, plant foods and vegan so that is good.

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The Chaperone

Today was one of the most enjoyable days out with Harvey that I can remember.  Well, literally, most enjoyable “afternoon” as I had to work his morning but it was from home which is always easier.

A great start to the day as I blended up the bananas, frozen berries, spinach and avoacdo with a tbsp of ‘Out of the Woods’.smoothie ingredients 16-4-15 I also added 5 dates to the last bit of smoothie to make a sweet topping to my smoothie.  It tasted lovely.Breakfast 16-4-15 This is what we did this afternoon.Call sheet Well, Harvey did, I chaperoned.Harvey in black tie We went to Salomon’s Estate near Tunbridge Wells, which I have never been to before and it was fascinating.  At the back of the stage is a huge Grade 1 listed organ.Salomons organ The stage was in The Grand Theatre of Science which had an interesting history.Grand Theatre of Science We were there to film a music video which will be televised between May and July.Clapper Board This theatre was so beautiful.OCS 15 There’s my boy, the tall good-looking one in the band!OCS 14 OCS 13 OCS 12 It was fascinating pottering about behind the scenes.OCS 11 OCS 10 OCS 9 OCS 8 It was great fun, being able to watch the filming.OCS7 Go Harvey!OCS 6 OCS 5 This would be a lovely spot to sit and have a drink in, especially if it was sunny.OCS 4 Nearly finished.OCS 3 OCS 2 All pop stars have to cope with interviews.OCS 1 This lot were no exception!H being interviewed We left on a real high albeit a hungry one.  I had packed some fruit and nuts to munch on during the day but we were hungry when we left.

I made these for supper.  The vegetarian burgers from the same company were good but these not so good.soysauges I had a celebratory whisky and ginger ale with my supper of mashed potato, salad and a soysage.  The soysage was very peppery but other than that a bit bland.dinner and whisky

I failed to be vegan today because I had butter in my mash and some mayonnaise and I had way too many calories too so tomorrow must be better.  Back to 801010 tomorrow.

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Sunny London

I have found it so hard these past 2 mornings to go in to London.  I want to stay in my garden !

This is my view from the kitchen window and it was too good to leave alone.  I had to get outside.garden 14-4-15 I feel such a sense of peace and happiness amongst my vegetable garden.  I really must sow more seeds and Saturday will be spent doing just that.veg garden 04 2015 I prepared a huge bowl full of watermelon and, with reluctance, set off for London.

watermelon and tea

I sit next to a window and in the morning I have to have the blind down because the sun shines in my eyes so at lunch time I was very keen to get outside and to feel the sun on my skin.yellow building St Giles In the fieldsUnsurprisingly all the seats had people sitting on them, enjoying the warmest day of the year so far.
churchyard church in sun playground I found this little garden really close to my office.Phoenix Garden sign It is amazing that this tranquil little garden sits here, so close to the hustle and bustle of London’s Covent garden and West End.pod green juice I enjoyed a Pod green smoothie and a ‘Gymn Box’ which had broccoli, falafel, houmous and salad and was really good.Pod gymn box Not as good as sitting peacefully in here for half an hour though.Phoenix garden I certainly did make the time to ……smell the flowers This morning I made breakfast again and took it to work.  How I wanted to be at home to enjoy the sunshine and my garden again.  This was yummy.

orange, melon and blueberries

So was this.lunch 15-4-15 2 Pasta and broccoli left over from supper the previous evening, with tomatoes, cucumber, endive and red pepper.lunch 15-4-15 1 Ever since the weekend I have been really bad with snacking and today I vowed to get back on track.  I did fail but this was the only snack I had today which is a huge improvement on yesterday when I snacked on 2 chocolate bars !!!!proper corn Supper was very easy; banana ice-cream with mango and almonds.  A sweet ending to a good day.banana ice-cream with almonds

I did snack again in the evening but only 1 heaped tbsp coconut yogurt with some walnuts.  At least I was vegan today and mainly wholefood and plant based.  A definite step back in to the right direction.

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