Sunday, 20 September 2015

Vegan MoFo 2015 Day 20: Veganise an old family recipe

Today's Vegan MoFo prompt: Veganise an old family recipe.

I've not done brilliantly at posting this year for Vegan MoFo, mainly because I've been super busy with work, which you will be able to read about soon on my work blog. However, I did get a chance the other day to veganise a traditional British recipe I used to eat a vegetarian version of growing up: toad in the hole! I'll admit it's not the most appetising name for a dish (even for those who eat meat), but it's definitely delicious!

I used a recipe from the Guardian Witness website to make my toad in the hole, and it came out really well, served with some mashed potato, vegetables and gravy along with just a dollop of homemade quince jelly.

Plus, I enjoyed the meal even more because I got to share it with my old flatmate Robin, who moved out of our flat earlier this year and now lives in an awesome campervan. Good food with good friends always makes for a great combination!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Vegan MoFo 2015 Day 10: Something Blue

Today's Vegan MoFo prompt: Something blue.

I was running out of time and energy today for writing up a post for today's Vegan MoFo prompt, so I ended up going down the easy route and making something with blueberries in! These muffins are adapted from a super simple recipe for 'foolproof vanilla muffins' by Flickity which featured as the winning recipe in the Guardian readers' vegan recipe swap a couple of years ago. They were delicious and you can find the full recipe that I used to make them below.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Vegan MoFo 2015 Day 8: Make a New Vegan Friend

Today's Vegan MoFo prompt: Reach out! Make a new vegan friend & tell us about it.

Some of you reading this may already know that I am part of the organising team for Edinburgh Vegan Meetup, so after reading the Vegan MoFo prompt list for 2015 I felt pretty confident that I would be able to manage this one!

Last Sunday we held a new members' event at Meadowlark Cafe on Argyle Place in Edinburgh. It was great fun with a wide range of people attending: families, new vegans, longer-term vegans, people interested in going vegan and more. All in all, I would say it was a great success and hopefully the event will encourage people in the group to come to more events and hopefully one day organise some events of their own!

Check out this lovely, friendly, happy bunch of smiling faces:

Friday, 4 September 2015

Vegan MoFo 2015 Day 4: Weird Food Combo

Today's Vegan MoFo prompt: Tell us about a weird food combo that you love.

I know I've written about this recipe book before, but Vegan Pizza by Julie Hasson is absolutely way up there as my favourite cookbook that I use regularly. Her recipes are so simple and yet refreshingly innovative, which makes it a great contender for today's Vegan MoFo prompt.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Vegan MoFo 2015 Day 3: Quick, Easy and Delicious

Today's Vegan MoFo prompt: Quick, Easy and Delicious.

I've posted before about the cookbook Five Minute Bread, but I have to say that their recipe has become my absolute staple go-to bread making recipe. Maybe it's because I have so little patience for kneading bread, but I really do love the simplicity and reliability of this recipe. Even better, you can now find the book's basic boule recipe free online on their website, Bread In 5. Here's a loaf I made earlier:

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Vegan MoFo 2015 Day 2: Recreate a Childhood Meal

Today's Vegan MoFo prompt: Recreate a meal from your childhood.

I don't really have many fond memories of childhood meals; I was never that bothered by food or cooking until a few years ago, when going vegan finally pushed me into learning to make more interesting meals than pasta and tomato sauce or soup each evening. However, thinking back to my childhood, after deciding to go vegetarian way back in 1996 at the age of 8, I remember that the last type of meat I gave up back then was fish, as my parents were concerned about the health impacts of going vegetarian at such a young age and how they would feed me a balanced diet (remember: this was the 1990s, when being vegetarian was much less common than it is now and the internet wasn't about to provide such a wealth of information on vegetarian diets for children). They agreed that I could be vegetarian, but that I had to do it gradually in stages so that they could work out what to feed me.

From this train of thought, I remembered one British staple childhood meal of the 1990s that I wanted to have a go at recreating: fish fingers, potato waffles and peas. Even after I went vegetarian, I would eat vegetable fingers as a substitution for the fish ones. Whilst my first thought was that I could just make it all from frozen meals I could find in my local supermarket (Birdseye vegetable fingers, anybody?), I then remembered a recipe for Beer Battered Tofu that my friends Richard and Tracy had recommended to me from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Whilst they're not breadcrumb coated, the idea of slivers of fried battered tofu sounded a lot more appealing to me than frozen vegetable fingers!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Vegan MoFo 2015 Day 1: Breakfast!

I can't believe it's September already! August has gone by so fast (I'll be posting some more stuff to my work blog about what I've been up to soon). However, whilst the Edinburgh Fringe might be past, Vegan MoFo is only just beginning!

Today's prompt: Rise and Shine! It’s MoFo time! Tell us about your breakfast.

Most days my breakfast is nothing special; just some fruit and/or cornflakes with plant milk (the new Provamel rice-coconut-pineapple milk is my favourite for cereal). However, when I'm feeling in the mood, I love a full cooked breakfast! When I'm making one for myself at home, the key ingredients are definitely Isa Chandra Moskowitz's scrambled tofu, hash browns (most frozen supermarket brands are vegan) and baked beans. I'm also known to be partial to a veggie sausage and/or some VBites rashers. Here's one I made earlier:

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

I'm taking part in Vegan MoFo 2015!

Once again, this September will see the return of the Vegan Month of Food Writing (Vegan MoFo) and I'll be taking part for the third year running! In previous years I've posted without a set theme and using the theme of Vegan Scotland, but this year I'm very excited to see that the organising group have decided to set daily prompts for participants rather than suggesting people take on an overall theme.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

New and improved vegan food options in Edinburgh

Last year for Vegan MoFo, I wrote up a quick blog post listing my favourite places to eat in Edinburgh as a vegan. However, since then we've had some great developments of new and improved places to eat vegan in the city, so I wanted to share them with you! Hopefully they'll be of use if you're coming to the city for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015, or even just for a holiday in the near future. As always, you can click on any of the photos below to enlarge them.

Henderson's Vegan

First up we have the amazing news that Henderson's Bistro has become Henderson's Vegan! They are currently at the time of writing Edinburgh's only solely vegan venue. The menu looks great and everything I've tried so far has been exceptional. A small cosy space which is ideal for lunch or dinner, Henderson's Vegan is definitely a must-visit if you're in the city.


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Knockengorroch Festival 2015

Knockengorroch is one of my favourite festivals in the UK, and it's one I've been going to regularly since 2007, firstly with Weirdigans Organic Cafe and then with Greenpeace. I was really disappointed to miss it last year as I was unavoidably detained in Portugal, so I knew that I had to try my best to get along this year. Happily, we were offered a space for Greenpeace to have a small marquee once again this year, so I got the chance to go along again!

It was really nice to talk to people about Greenpeace and our current campaigns during the festival, and as always the polar bear was a huge hit! Children and adults alike queued for hugs and to dance with the bear. As we were so close to the main stage, it was also the perfect setting to sit back and enjoy the music whilst the bands were on. I wrote a bit more about what we did with Greenpeace for a post on the Greenpeace Greenwire website if you're interested in that kind of thing.

Friday, 24 April 2015

I'm learning cryptography!

One of the brilliant things about working as a freelancer is that while some weeks I'll be run off my feet working a lot of hours, other weeks I have more free time to pursue outside interests. After a recommendation from a friend, I recently had a look at the large number of free courses available online at Coursera to see if any took my fancy, and managed to stumble across one on cryptography from Stanford University.

The course started this week and I love it already! As a humanities graduate, I haven't studied anything mathematical or statistical since I left high school and studying this totally new subject is really stretching my brain in all the best kinds of ways. So far we've already covered the history of cryptography, discrete probability and stream ciphers. Plus it means for the first time in many years, I have sheets of notes which look like this:

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Scrap Trident

As always with any of my posts, you can click on any of the photos below to enlarge.

In April 2013, I went to the Scrap Trident blockade at Faslane in a non-arrestable capacity, to help with the buses and legal support for the event. 46 people were arrested for blockading both the North and South Gates, arrestees coming from a range of countries including France, Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand as well as Scotland, England and Wales. There were also significant numbers of supporters standing on the pavement around the blockaders who did not get arrested but were there in the important role of providing practical and moral support as well as legal observers for those sitting in the road. The photos below of the 2013 blockade are all from Scrap Trident:

This year, a demonstration and big blockade has been called once again to ask people to show their support for nuclear disarmament in Scotland the wider world. Last Saturday (4 April 2015) was the Bairns Not Bombs Scrap Trident demonstration in Glasgow, attracting thousands of demonstrators to march and protest in George Square. I was pleased to attend and hear speakers which included First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Green MSP Patrick Harvie talk about the importance of getting rid of the UK's Trident nuclear weapons system, and especially how vital it is to ensure that nuclear disarmament stays high on the national political agenda with a General Election coming up very soon on 7 May 2015.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

PhD, interrupted

This is just a very short post to say that for a number of reasons, I am currently applying for a 12 month sabbatical to my PhD. I know that I've been a lot more stressed and sometimes short-tempered than usual recently due to the pressure of writing up my thesis, so I apologise for that and hope that this break will give me the time and space I need to work out what I want to do over the next few years.

It's something I'm totally happy to talk about in person, but it does mean that I will be making a number of changes to my work and life pattern to reflect this decision, including working more on developing my freelance work skills and hopefully doing some travelling whilst continuing with political activism and campaigning.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Three's a Crowd Tour Dates

(Cross-post from my work blog)

As I posted about a couple of times in December last year, I'm working on a show with All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre called Three's a Crowd, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh on 31 January 2015, and you can book tickets for that show online here. We will then be going on tour over a number of dates across spring, mostly in Scotland but also down in Wales for one show in March. You can see where we will be and when on the flyer for the show below. It's a brilliant production, so I definitely encourage you to go and see it if you can! You can click on the flyer below to enlarge it.