Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Halloween....

So here's a recipe for pumpkin and caramelised onion tart...


Pastry (either a pre-prepared pastry tart case or make one yourself with either ready pastry or your own recipe - have it baked and ready to go)
25g butter (or margarine)
3 sliced onions
500g pumpkin (peeled and chopped)
3 eggs
300ml milk (or soy milk)
50g grated cheese


1. Heat the butter in a frying pan and add the onions and a seasoning of your choice. Cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes until golden brown and caramelised.
2. Steam or boil the pumpking for 7 minutes until soft. Drain well and mash.
3. Beat the eggs and milk together and stir in half of the cheese, the onions and the pumpkin. Pour the mixture into your pastry case and then scatter the remaining cheese over the top.
4. Bake on 180C (Gas Mark 4) for 20-25 minutes

Back from Turkey

I spent last week teaching on a retreat in Turkey for people with ME.

Some of the people I have been teaching have been so desperately ill with ME over the last few years that they have been housebound, bedbound, hospitalised, rendered unable to listen to music or read. A living hell. Which reminds me how blessed I am. Yes, health issues I may have but praise to all the gods for the ability to always listen to music.

The most beautiful part was none of these amazing people had forgotten how to laugh - and most importantly none of them had forgotten how to laugh at themselves. I have laughed until I've cried this week. I have also swum in the sea, eaten far too much food and taught a lot of yoga. I have been taught the rudimentaries of Argentinian tango by a fabulous gay guy who lives around the corner from my brother and who laughs in the face of HIV and ME. I went to a traditional Turkish bath (which was actually horrible and made me sick but everyone else enjoyed it and that was the important thing). I have learned that I am probably a far better teacher than I give myself credit for, that I need to ease up on myself and stop catastrophising and that I need to stop caring about what others think and lead my life from my heart.

And most of all I learned that it is your students that make you a good teacher.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Apple Porridge Pancakes

So Autumn is here - my favourite season. I love the crisp sunny mornings, the colours of the leaves and of course I love the food that is around right now. So as a little break from all the pumpkin recipes floating around in the internet at the moment, let's use up some apples! I'm afraid this recipe isn't completely vegan as I really haven't found a good substitute for eggs in the UK. If you know of one, use it instead. The yoghurt can, obviously, be non-diary.

30g wholewheat flour
50g rolled oats
1.5 tsp of baking powder
1 egg
Ground cinnamon
Half an apple, cored and grated
60ml fresh apple juice
50g natural yoghurt

Grind the oats in a food processor until they resemble coarse ground flour. Mix with the flour, baking powder and a couple of pinches of cinnamon in a bowl.

Whisk egg and add it to the flour mix

Whisk the yoghurt and apple juice together until you get a smooth batter about the consistency of double cream

Add the grated apple

Cook like fritters in a frying pan. Make sure the oil is really hot before you start.

They make the yummiest breakfast - served hot with some honey (or syrup for vegans!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tip of the Week: The wonders of white vinegar

White vinegar is a godsend to have around the house. If you use the homemade laundry detergent I gave the recipe for last week then you'll already know that in hard water areas it makes a great fabric softener. But what else can you do with it?

Firstly make a 50/50 water/vinegar solution in a spray bottle and use it for:-
  • cleaning out the inside of the microwave.
  • as a final rinse when cleaning out the fridge to stop mildew developing.
  • as a final wipe down after cleaning the oven to get rid of the oven cleaner residue.
  • the best way ever of getting rid of that black mould that grows between bathroom tiles. Give a good liberal spray, leave for 10 minutes then go back and scrub the grouting with a nailbrush and it'll just come off easily -- just rinse everything down with the shower head.
  • To polish mirrors and windows (wipe with newspaper to stop smearing)
  • cleaning sinks and taps.
Neat vinegar is a great descaler -- of taps and sinks (just soak a cloth in the vinegar and scrub), of kettles and coffee machines (half fill and boil - make sure you do at least two boil rinses though if you do not want your tea tasting of vinegar), to use instead of rinse aid in the dishwasher and you can also use vinegar (along with a spoonful of borax) to scrub out the loo.

Probably the most versatile kitchen cleaner ever!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Rachel's Vegan Banana Date Muffins


60z/175g of wholemeal self raising flour
1.5oz/40g organic caster sugar or demerara sugar
2oz/50g vegan margarine
4fl.oz/125ml soya milk mixed with about three tablespoons of water
1 mashed banana
2oz/50g chopped dates


Mix flour and sugar together in a bowl.

Melt the margarine in the microwave and add to the flour/sugar mix along with the soya milk/water mix and stir it all up.

Add the banana and dates - mix it up!

Divide the mixture into paper muffin cases in a muffin tin (should make between 6 and 9 depending how big you like your muffins!) and bake at 180 degrees C/350 degrees F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes.

Will take you about 5 minutes to whip up a batch of these -- they are low fat and great for breakfast.