Posts Tagged ‘food’

Foodie pen pal – another winner

Well just look at these goodies. All from the lovely Maddy Jones, a fellow Londoner.

The popcorn was eaten upon delivery – and very good it was too!  I’m saving the Montezumas chocolate for special ‘must have chocolate’ moment.  My favourite item though has to be the Bacon Jam – can you believe such a thing exists!?!  I haven’t tried it – but think it will be a great burger topper.

Yummy times, as always!


Raw vegan brownies

I just love a strong espresso and a brownie.  Coffee and chocolate go so perfectly together, to me an espresso and a brownie are the ultimate way to enjoy this classic combination, I love the intensity.

But what to do when this craving hits and you’re at home, and don’t have the ingredients to knock up a batch of brownies, or just can’t wait the couple of hours it would take?

But what to do when this craving hits and you’re at home, and don’t have the ingredients to knock up a batch of brownies, or just can’t wait the couple of hours it would take?

It sounds wrong, but you make raw vegan brownies.  It’s too simple and delicious to be true, but true it is.

All you need is ten minutes (even I can wait that long), and a few basic ingredients:

1 cup dates

1/2 cup walnuts or almonds

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup raw cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

And here’s what you do:

1. Blitz the nuts and coconut in a food processor, until almost ground. set aside

2. Now blitz the dates and vanilla until you have a sticky dough.

3. Add back in the nut mixture, blitz again.

4. Mould into a square dish so you have a patty.

5. Dust with cocoa powder if you so wish, cut into little squares and eat!

These are so much easier and quicker than actual brownies, and almost as delicious!  And you get to feel all smug and healthy, winner all round in my book!



Banana oatmeal cookies

You’ll love these babies – they’re totally good for you, delicious and so easy to put together.

The recipe is ever so slightly tweaked from the version on the clever Fuss Free cooking blog.  All you need is:

1 ripe banana

55 g Oats

40 g Chocolate chips (or raisins if you want to be super-healthy)

25 ml Low flavour oil (I used rice bran oil)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

(Makes around 8 small cookies)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, leave to sit so they combine nicely.  In the meantime pre-heat your oven to 150C and cover a baking tray in parchment paper.  Then place tablespoonfuls of the cookie mixture on the parchment sheet, they don’t expand much so size and shape them as you want them to turn out; place in the oven and leave for around 20 minutes, or until they turn a golden brown colour.

Leave to cool.  Then eat and enjoy!

What a great foodie pen pal

It’s Foodie Pen Pal time of the month again.  This month I was very lucky to receive a parcel from the lovely Rebecca Doyle.

There was so much inside.

Most of the contents were home-made, which makes it so much better.  The little silver bottle is a mix of lemon verbena, lemon vodka and lemon thyme vermouth – wow sounds amazing, I’ll save it for the weekend though!

Rebecca also included freshly ground spices to make Chai tea. Also included were two roasted sunflower and pumpkin seed mixes. Cannot wait to try these.  The real stars for me were Chocolate and pistachio biscotti; and vanilla marshmallow with white chocolate and toasted coconut.

Both were sampled almost immediately after opening and both were delicious.

Thank you Rebecca, for all the love you obviously put into this.

I have a touch of the lurgies today, so I’m off to try out the chai tea and maybe a couple of medicinal marshmallows too!


Why are women scared of chocolate?

It makes me mad and sad at the same time when women beat themselves up over what they eat.  What a waste of brain space.

I’ve pretty much managed to overcome such thoughts myself and most days eat delicious food that makes me feel good – lots of healthy plant based food that leaves me energised and happy plus plenty of treats along the, because well life’s too short to miss out the treats.  Every now and again those unhealthy ‘if I go on a diet and lose weight, life will be better’ thoughts cross my mind.  I’ve learned to bat them away, because really I know that being a few pounds lighter won’t improve my relationships, get me a promotion, or make my a better person in any way.

I wish all women could break free from such thoughts, and sometimes I think it’s really not such a problem.  But then, I have an experience that gets me all mad again.  Yesterday I went to a meeting, with five other women, we all had to wait in reception around a coffee table filled with tea, coffee, soft drinks, a rather sad looking fruit bowl, and plate of very fancy  chocolate biscuits.  I arrived last, during a conversation about the biscuits, one of the women was saying ‘I wish I hadn’t eaten that biscuit, I don’t know why I did, but I only had soup for lunch, so thought it would be ok’.  Much agreement and sad looks came from the other women.  I pretended I hadn’t heard, sat myself down and exclaimed the beauty of the offering especially the biscuits, everyone looked at my like I was crazy!  Later during the meeting hunger struck and I reached forward and picked up a biscuit and got a sympathetic smile from my neighbour!  No harm came to me, I ate the damn thing (which was almost, but not quite, as good as it looked), felt less hungry. and went about my day, end of!  So why the sympathetic look?

Why?  Why do women have to beat themselves up over eating a biscuit?

Wouldn’t life be simpler, if we just listened to our hunger signals and ate what we wanted when we wanted it?  If that”s a fresh salad, great, if that’s a piece of chocolate, even better!


Moroccan Lamb Stew

Meat and stews don’t tend to appeal to me, I’m much more of a goats cheese salad kind of girl, or a sweet red pepper risotto when I’m in need of comfort food for dinner. For some reason the arrival of Autumn put me in the mood for a meaty stew.  So I put together this fragrant Moroccan style stew.

It needs plenty of time to simmer away, but otherwise it’s pretty simple to knock together.  Here’s what you need:


butter and olive oil for frying

2 medium white onion, chopped,

2 cloves garlic, sliced

500g organic diced stewing lamb

1 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

400g tinned chick peas, drained and rinsed

400g tinned chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato puree

500ml beef stock

chopped green beans

50g dried lentils


1. In a large  sauce pan heat the butter and olive oil, then add the onion and garlic, cover the pan and lightly fry for 10 mins, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the paprika and cumin and fry for 1 min until fragrant.

3. Add the lamb, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and beef stock.

4. Cover and bring to the biol, then turn down to a gentle simmer.  Leave for 1 hour.

5. Add the green beans, chick peas and lentils.  Leave for another hour.

6.   Serve with rustic buttered bread and a glass of your favourite red wine.

This works wonderfully as a vegetarian dish too.  Simply leave out the lamb, in favour of some diced butternut squash, use veggie stock instead of beef, up the lentils.

Now time to find my slouchy jumper and slippers and I’m all set for a cosy night in.

Back form holiday and Foodie Pen Pal

I got back from holiday yesterday (a lovely two week break in Ireland), to find a pile of post waiting for me, including a beautiful looking box from my food pen pal, Polly.  Polly is the author of the wonderful baking blog Baking and Alchemy, go check out her inventive recipes.

This is what I found inside my box

This delightful selection included homemade Lavender Earl Grey Brownies!!

I’m afraid, I don’t have a picture of the actual brownie because I ate it as soon as I saw it – you know before it went stale.  Strange sounding combination, but it was delicious!  The recipe is available on Polly’s blog.

This will be a welcome addition to tomorrow morning’s cereal bowl.

Also included were popcorn kernels.

I have to confess to never having had popped my own popcorn before, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, so next movie night we have at home, that’s what I’ll be doing 🙂

Many thanks to Polly for such a wonderful box, which was just so nice to come back home to.  Just look how professional she is – with her own business cards!


Carol Anne over at This is Rick Salt runs the UK and Europe division of The Foodie Pen Pal idea.  This was my first month and I really enjoyed it – both the sending and the receiving.