Saturday, 15 July 2017

Vegan quiche

I was in the supermarket a week or so ago when I got chatting to a lovely young couple who told me that they were about to go vegan. I was really pleased by this as I've been a strict vegetarian for about 20 years and finally committed to a completely vegan diet in 2014. It's always lovely to meet kindred spirits, so I enjoyed telling them about my forays into vegan cooking and especially my recent mission to create the perfect vegan quiche.  


I think they took this to mean that I am a bit of a superstar chef and very kindly suggested that I open my own stall selling vegan food in the local market. I have to admit that this sort of idea occasionally crosses my mind (especially when I've made something that's particularly yummy) but there is also a huge part of me that also thinks it’s a completely hilarious idea. I am not renowned for my cooking ability and it’s really only since I’ve been vegan that I’ve devoted any significant amount of time into learning some new skills in this area, so I don’t actually think that this is a viable option (apart from on days when I'm feeling particularly deluded). 


I do think that my quiches look nice though and they are very tasty. This one is an onion, mushroom and spinach vegan quiche, made with tofu. I don't follow a recipe for this and have just used a process of trial and error to get the filling right each time.


I use tofu in my quiche filling as it binds the vegetables together and gives a nice consistency. It's excellent for reassuring the Protein Police and is a good source of iron and calcium, too. The shortcrust pastry recipe comes from my trusty Be-Ro book, but I make a couple of adjustments to suit my taste. I prefer a crumbly, cake-like texture to my pastry so I use self-raising flour instead of plain flour. I also replace the animal fats in the recipe with a dairy free alternative, such as Pure Free FromFlora Freedom Dairy Free or Vitalite, although I suppose it would work just as well if you were to use olive oil. 


I have also been experimenting with the idea of making a low-fat quiche. I think the best way to achieve this would be to make it without a crust, as the filling itself isn't made with any added fats anyway. The filling also has a tendency to pull away from the pastry while it is cooling after cooking and is solid enough that it doesn't really need the pastry case to enclose it. I won't be able to test this out for a while though as I'm currently trying to lose weight and sadly, tofu is not allowed on the plan I am following. 


I don't feel too deprived though as there is plenty to eat on this diet! I have put on a shocking amount of weight over the last few years (probably because of all the quiche I ate) and I really was struggling with my everyday life.  I have lost 30 lbs so far which I think is pretty impressive in 9 weeks. I still have a lot to lose though so wish me luck! x

Saturday, 8 July 2017

WIPS

Hello again! 

I feel a little bit sad that I haven’t been here for such a long time (again) but for a variety of reasons I've been unable to share any of my creative projects. A few things have happened over the last few weeks which have made me want to dust off my poor neglected blog though, so here I am.

I have made no progress whatsoever on the jumper that I started for EC just before Christmas 2015, despite having bought the yarn to finish this way back in January of that year. For some reason this project just hasn't inspired me at all but I'm just going to leave it close to my favourite seat so that it will be handy to dive into when the mood comes upon me to finish it. I fear that it could end up being another one of those projects which just never ends up being finished. 

I have abandoned all hope of ever completing the KCACO-Groovyghan Cal. In fact I spent a bit of time frogging the little I had completed earlier today so that I can use the yarn for something else. There were several reasons for abandoning this but the main reason was that I couldn't get the blocks to fit together for the life of me and the more that I tweaked the pattern, the more I hated what I'd made. It just didn't look like it was supposed to. It also didn't help because I hadn't thought my colour scheme out very well in the first place so I was left with a very limited palette of colours to work with. I have to admit that I found this massively restrictive -normally I take a fairly spontaneous approach to choosing colours and try not to over think the process as I find that it all usually comes together in the end no matter what you do. I didn't do that with this project and chose colours which 'matched' (in my head anyway!). Clearly it wasn't the best approach for me. 

Happily, I have managed to finish the Scarf which I started well over a year ago. I really like the mixture of colours in this and I feel like it turned out pretty well.



I have to admit that I wouldn't necessarily wear this myself but EC wore it quite a lot last autumn and throughout the wintertime. I think it matches her cheery, slightly eccentric personality perfectly!


I tried not to make it too long (it's about 6.5') because I thought that the drama of the flowers might be lost and overall I'm glad I stuck to this length because they seem to fall just at the right place on EC.


It looks a bit wonky from this angle but in person it is fine. You can just see Paul towards the top right of the picture. He really likes to be involved with whatever you may happen to be doing but especially when it involves crochet.



Here he is, sitting with his back to me in a huff because I wouldn't let him sit on the scarf for the photos. He is so funny! He made sure that I gave him lots of cuddles afterwards to make up for being so mean to him. I think there might even have been several cat treats involved as well. 


Overall, I was really impressed with the quality of the pattern for this scarf, which comes from Creative Crochet WorkshopThe instructions were straightforward and because it was a means of using up scraps of yarn, it is (theoretically) an inexpensive project to complete. I used a fairly bog-standard acrylic double knitting yarn, mainly because it was pretty much what I had in at the time, but also because I was on a tight budget. I really enjoyed making this scarf and would definitely make it again, although I do think it would be fun to use a mixture of yarns and make it truly freeform, a bit like I did Here with the little heart cushion. 

I have a few more projects to share with you over the next few weeks - some are still WIP's and others are complete (surprisingly enough). Until then, enjoy the summer sun! x

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Stress, Crochet and Graffiti

I can't believe that it's been over eight weeks since I've posted and that it's April already, but I've been so stressed and busy that (sadly) the last thing I was thinking about was my blog. 

Over the last year or so EC has been quite unwell and was finally diagnosed with Crohns Disease just before Christmas. Unfortunately (and really horribly) she developed serious complications and ended up having major surgery in March. She has written about her experience on her blog Cats, Crochet, Cooking and Crohns if you'd like to know more about it and if you'd like to see pictures of The Best Crochet Hoodie in The World!

As I'm sure you can imagine, much of my time was spent worrying about her, visiting her in hospital and looking after her three cats. Or it would have been if I hadn't had to spend so much time travelling from one place to another! I feel I like I wasted so-ooooo much time on buses when I could have been actually doing something productive to help. It was super-frustrating and at times the boredom was almost overwhelming. I felt like I was going slowly mad.

But then I started noticing things on my journeys. Some things made me smile, like seeing these crocuses peeking through the grass in the park... 

...and the forsythias brightening up the the gardens and hedgerows with their distinctive yellow flowers.


I saw some interesting graffiti which made me stop and think - like this presumably Rousseau-Anarchist inspired slogan which appeared overnight on a local wall...(the photo is slightly edited just in case you're easily offended).


...and this one which made me wonder if I do know whatever it is I'm supposed to be knowing(!)


I also saw this carefully- crafted masterpiece on a tenfoot wall.


Despite looking rather random, it's actually a very well-thought out piece of artwork with subtle layers of meaning. It includes quotes by Descartes, an anarchist movement and references to the Dutch Revolt lead by William of Orange. There is also an image of revolutionary Che Guevara as well as a icon from Vendetta, a classic graphic novel. In some ways the local references to Dead Bod and Settee of Culture make it feel like a bit of an 'in-joke' too - you can read about Dead Bod here and Settee of Culture here.



I think that seeing all of these things stopped me from going completely bonkers by giving me something else to focus on, especially as I haven't had much time to devote to crochet (which is my usual go-to if I'm stressed or anxious). Do you use creative things to chill like I do?

I have managed to do a little bit of work on my crochet scarfI finished the remaining two of the four granny flower squares which means I finally finished part 1 (Yay!)


I then moved onto part 2 and managed to complete two big flowers


Two scalloped flower circles


Four solid squares


and two long petal flowers


which means that I have also finished part 2!


It also means that I have finished all of the motifs for the scarf and can move onto constructing the scarf in part 3.


I'm really happy with the colours for this and hope it ends up being as lovely as Joanita's did. Hopefully next time I'll be showing you the finished scarf! x