Three Hundred & Sixty Five – Days at Home: Week Sixteen.

 

Homemade hummus made by my helpers and then wolfed on toast. / Finding my Grandmothers signature in books – I like to run my fingers over her name. She was the coolest and I miss her. / Theodore…why are all these spoons in your bed? / Oh. That’s why. Obsessed with spelling and reading. / Freesias on the mantlepiece. / So much better than the powerbill – postcards from adventures of a different kind. This one flew all the way from Wyoming. / Tiny dancer tutu legs from our nightly dance party. / Yep. This post is still my life. / These are the things you will get asked if you are Vegan: 1) BUT, WHAT ABOUT CHEESE? & 2) But…what do you eat? So I thought I might include a photo each week of something easy and Vegan that you might like to try to make for yourself. Or, for if you ever encounter this conversation in the wild, so prepared are you to answer; ‘well, actually! Vegans eat all sorts of things! For example…’.

Breakfast Shake. Throw a frozen banana (I am currently experimenting with the best way to freeze bananas. My life is very exciting, I know. Like, can you peel them first? Because freezing your mits off trying to cut the peel off post-freeze is the pits. Stay tuned!) in your blender with a cup of the mock milk of your choosing. Whizz on high and add something exciting. Here I used a heaped tablespoon of passionfruit pulp. It was delicious.

 

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Day-Before-Payday Romance: A Date with Quick Brown Fox.

Think only good thoughts on Valentine’s Day.

Because, really, it is never wise to be tricked by commercialism into thinking you are missing out on something. And you are quite lovely all days of the year; even though you get declined at the money machine and sometimes you say the wrong things and you put the bins out wearing only your knickers, certain that your vigilance somehow grants you the power of invisibilty. Your neighbours do see you, you know. But you look so adorable, all bed-ruffled and wild, they’d be fools to complain.

And though you get dressed from the washing pile and leave crumbs in the bed, and spend too much time on the internet and haven’t thought enough about current events or your savings account, and you complain bitterly about things you know don’t really matter and you didn’t go for a run today, I am sure there is someone, somewhere, who adores you completely.

And, sure, it may be your Mother or it maybe your dog or it may be your children or it may be your best friend. Or maybe you don’t feel you’ve yet met someone to adore you completely, in which case, you have so much to look forward to!

Or maybe you are lucky enough to already completely adore the person who completely adores you right back, and what a thing! For all of our foibles, there’s someone who loves us. And aren’t we lucky to be so adored.

So, today, let’s just love love. Let’s hug too long and say nice things and smile and show our teeth. And let’s be thankful that there’s air in our lungs and kisses to be kissed and chocolate to be eaten, no more today than any day.

And then, to celebrate all our good fortune, let’s make the most insanely decadent, sinfully delicious thing we can imagine.

And then eat it for breakfast.

Roast 3/4 of a cup if Hazelnuts in the oven at 175oc for 10-15 minutes. This helps seperate them from their skins, which will then come away when rubbed with a tea towel, or between your fingers, if you don’t mind the cursing it will entail as you burn your fingertips.

While these are roasting, pit 10 Medjool Dates. These are Dates for people who think they don’t like Dates. They’re huge and fresh and soft. They taste like caramel. If caramel came from heaven.

Place Hazelnuts in the food processor with half a block of good quality dark chocolate (I used Whittakers Dark Cacao), and half a tablespoon of brown sugar. Use Demerara, if you are feeling fancy – this will gives a great texture to the filling you are making for the Dates. Whizz on high while slowly adding a generous drizzle of Olive Oil to combine the mixture. (Pro-Tip: This is essentially Nutella in Veganism! You’re welcome!)

Now comes time for the secret ingredient! Booze! (I used Quick Brown Fox. It’s an organic-Coffee Liqueur, with a hint of cinnamon. It’s full and balanced and smooth. It’s flavours tell you a story. A story so delicious it’s ridiculous. It’s also accidentally Vegan! You can read more about it here: http://www.quickbrownfox.co.nz/) Add to suit your taste.

Once your mixture is combined, add just enough to fill the center of your Dates while still being able to close them seamlessly. This will be around half to a full teaspoon, depending on the size of your Dates.

In a double boiler, or a double boiler of your making (I find a bowl in a pot of shallow boiling water perfectly sufficent) melt the other half of your block of good quality dark-chocolate. With a spoon, roll the Dates in the chocolate until completely covered and leave to set on a plate lined with baking paper.

Once set, dip those suckers again! Because your decadence knows no bounds and maybe you are channelling Juliette Binoche in Chocolat and a Gypsy Johnny Depp was her boyfriend in that, so, you know. Sometimes, nothing succeeds like excess.

And now, to sweeten your day just that little more: A Valentine’s Day Giveaway!

In the spirit of the day, share the best compliment you have recieved; the one that tickled you pink, or put roses in your cheeks, or a spring in your step – on Valentine’s Day or any other day – and leave it in the comments section.

With help from Special Guest Judge: Arjun from Quick Brown Fox, a winner will be selected next Thursday the 22nd of February and sent a beautiful bottle of Quick Brown Fox all their own. Perfect for those loquacious evenings with friends, and for trying out this recipe!

(WINNER: Congratulations to ohdearred! That ‘your nose is as cute as all of Japan riding on a kitten’ is about the cutest thing we’ve ever heard. Enjoy your bottle of Quick Brown Fox – and make sure and high-five your darling from us, we’ll be using that line in future!)

So, Happy Valentine’s Day to you, dearheart. You look absolutely smashing (hunched over your monitor). xx

Day-Before-Payday Basics: Corn Fritters.

Be busier than is advisable for a person who only gets 4 hours sleep a night. Have tiny mouths that requiring feeding. Remember that if the tiny mouths are full then the chances of them being able to make so very much noise is ever so slightly reduced. Feel ever so slightly buoyed by this. Try not to think too much about Sisyphus.

Stand before your pantry with a large bowl. Conclude that you are simply too tired to walk to the refrigerator so this evenings meal must be able to be sourced without you having to move more than your arms. Open a can of cream corn you have had since you brought your house. 5 years ago. To this add 2 cups of the only flour you have enough of to fill 2 cups. It will be Wholemeal. That you brought in a frenzy of virtue that sometimes catches you, usually after reading some kind of printed-on-recycled-paper Wholesome Holistic Sustainable Living Magazine for people who make more money than you. Which isn’t hard. Throw in a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil (this combination essentially equals 1 egg in Veganism) and season liberally with salt and pepper.

Corn Fritters

You are too tired to chop an onion, I understand. If, despite your exhaustion, you are able to make it out to the garden, a handful of finely chopped chives wouldn’t go amiss.

Use all the energy you have left to mix that thing until it’s combined. That is your upper-arm work-out done for the day. Look at you! Multitasking!

In a frying pan heat a drizzle of oil and place generous tablespoon sized scoops of this ugly duckling mixture into the pan at medium temprature, turning once the underside is golden brown, to produce a beautiful swan of a thing. Makes 6 huge fritters or 12 tiny ones. Maybe 9 medium ones? It’s not an exact science. This mixture can also be used for muffins! I know! Just add 1 teaspoon of baking powder and cook at 175 for 30 minutes. Two things, one recipe! We’re like pioneers!

Corn Fritters

Serve with (one of the 50 jars of ) tomato relish (your Mother made you for Christmas.) And maybe some steamed vegetables? Look, just slice them up an apple and a carrot, call it a day and a half and send everyone to bed.

Day-Before-Payday Baking: Partially-Eaten-Apple Shortcake.

Find, in every room of your house, a partially eaten Granny Smith apple. This is your reality now. Don’t fight it.

In a large bowl sift 2 cups of self-raising flour, 1 cup of brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Add to the dry ingredients 1 tablespoon of vinegar (I use Apple Cider), 6 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 cup of luke-warm water. Mix until combined. Pour half of the mixture into a cake pan that you have either greased or lined or is made of silicone because you are terribly modern. Do this all very quickly, as to not attract the attention of the children. If they do wander into the kitchen, looking for something to eat or ruin, simply hold aloft one of the partially eaten Granny Smith apples and make leading and severe eye contact.

Thinly slice 2 partially eaten Granny Smith apples. Layer these on top of the mixture and sprinkle with brown sugar. Pour the last half of the mixture over top and smooth over with the back of a spoon until it is completely covering the partially eaten Granny Smith apples.

Bake at 175 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack, dust with icing sugar and serve.

Pro-tip: The children will still not eat the apples. But Partially Eaten Partially-Eaten-Apple Shortcake is so meta it’s best not to think about it.