Author: elizabeth

Rice Bowl with Greens and Tofu

Vegan meals don’t need to be time consuming or a faff. With just a few ingredients, it’s easy to put together a nutritious, delicious and satisfying dinner. This recipe is my go-to when I’m tired or just can’t be bothered, and is the epitome of what I like to call ‘jazz recipes’. ‘Jazz’, because it’s a bit free form. There are not any set ingredients or measurements. It’s all down to what you like and how you feel! You’ll need: Rice – cooked as according to instructions Firm tofu (I like silken – it’s a little more difficult to work with, but I think it’s worth it) Greens (Chard, spinach, kale, spring greens, pak choi – anything dark and leafy will work) Oil for frying (I like olive, but sometimes I go for toasted sesame) Soy sauce Sliced chilli pepper ( you can use dried, but fresh is best) Grated ginger (again, use fresh if at all possible) Minced garlic Salt toasted sesame seeds (optional) Start cooking the rice. I usually let it simmer while …

No Bull Vegan Burgers Review

A couple of Christmases  ago, I took it upon myself to try every mince pie on the market to see which one was best. Iceland’s offering was the clear winner, and even though I can’t even look at a mince pie now, I still remember being super-impressed by their attention to detail – crumbly, buttery pastry; the perfect filling-to-pastry ratio, and gorgeous, boozy flavour. Iceland is onto another winner with their No Bull Burgers. Of all of the veggie burgers I’ve tried, these are the closest to real beef I’ve found. Aside from the added beetroot to give them a ‘bleeding’ effect (not necessary in my opinion, as this could make vegetarians and vegans a bit squeamish), they are close to perfect. They actually taste like a burger cooked over an open flame. I’d recommend shallow frying them for a better texture, but you can easily bake them if you’re not keen on adding extra oil. We enjoyed ours on a brioche bun with sliced tomatoes, pickles, lettuce and onion, and could have easily believed …

Spanish Butter Beans with Tomatoes

It’s been quite warm in Scotland these last couple of weeks, and the last thing I want to think about is food. So what do you eat when you can’t be bothered? I suggest something than is just as delicious at room temperature as it is when it’s hot. This simple recipe needs only a few ingredients and a relatively short cooking time. It also happens to be vegan. Makes four smallish portions, perfect for lunch or a light supper. Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of olive oil 1 medium onion, diced 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped 250g dried butter beans, soaked and cooked (use tinned if you like) 2 400g tins of peeled plum tomatoes 1 vegetarian stock cube 2 tablespoons mild smoked paprika 200g baby leaf spinach 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped (optional garnish) In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until it begins to shimmer. Now add the onion and garlic and fry for two minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the tinned tomatoes. Use your cooking …

Lifeboats for All

As a new recruit to Yes, I’m flabbergasted by the number of people on the other side who accuse all indy supporters of ‘hating the English’. This is ludicrous. I don’t hate the English and I don’t hate England. What I hate is Westminster’s callous incompetence, and I think that Scotland would be better off governing itself. That’s all there is to it. For me, the independence campaign has nothing to do with hate, or nationalism, or some kind of ‘Braveheart mentality’. It comes down to the firm belief that the UK is a sinking ship unwilling to save itself, while Scotland tries its hardest to provide lifeboats for everyone. Yes, a lifeboat might not be as stable as a large ship, but that large ship is useless if it’s under water with no prospect of sailing again. I don’t think independence will be easy, but I know sticking with a failed state is a bad idea. We are in for a difficult road no matter what happens. Having watched the UK government flail while …

Cruelty Free Surprise

I was sad to discover my favourite day serum – the one I’ve been repurchasing for years – is not cruelty free. I made a bad assumption that because the brand is French and there are strict laws against animal testing in the EU, my serum would comply. What I didn’t realise is that this brand is sold in China which does require animal testing on any product that makes a claim about its functionality. So I’m in the market for a new daily hydrating serum. I know I’ll need to avoid brands sold in China (but not necessarily made in China – go figure), so I’ll be looking at smaller, niche brands many of the bigger brands are either sold in China or have a parent company who sells there. I had a look through all of the products I use and was relieved to discover no others are tested on animals, so I’m glad it’s just one product I need to replace. Sadly, it’s one I really love.

Gazpacho

I had the good fortune to spend a summer in Spain a few years ago, and I learned to make this version of gazpacho there. It’s a lovely, relaxed dish to have when the weather is hot and you can’t face turning on your oven or cooker. The secret to the authenticity of this recipe is the vinegar. It really needs to be sherry vinegar from Jerez. I buy Sainsbury’s own brand and it works very well. This is a smooth cold soup, so if you prefer a little texture, reserve and finely chop a bit of the pepper and cucumber. You can add this as a garnish just before serving. Ingredients: 2 slices of stale white bread  or 1 day-old petit pain 1 tablespoon good extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar from Jerez 250ml cup cold water 6 ripe tomatoes, quartered 1 red pepper, seeded and roughly chopped 1 cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped Salt to taste Place the first four ingredients in the blender and whizz until liquefied. Now add the …

Grow Your Own Country

The recently released Growth Commission report hasn’t had a universally positive welcome, with some critics arguing it isn’t radical enough. Fair enough – it isn’t possible for a document like this to be all things to all people. But the document, and the response to it, got me thinking. Whose responsibility is it to bring about an independent Scotland, and whose responsibility is it to make it work when it happens? For me, the simple answer is: All of us. We all have a stake in this. It isn’t up to the government to do the heavy lifting while we snipe from the sidelines. They can provide a framework, but it’s up to the rest of us to put the meat onto the bones. Business, citizens, and the government each have a role. We must become the change we want to see and there is no reason to wait. If you want a more socialist country, then start behaving like a socialist. Don’t sit back and wait for someone else to do it for you. …

Vapour Beauty

Vapour Beauty products tick a multitude of boxes for me. They’re organic and ethical, which means I can use them without guilt. They can be used to achieve a natural look, which is pretty much my signature these days. Because they’re mostly cream/stick formulations, they work well on mature skin, so I don’t have to worry about the products settling into lines and wrinkles, or making my crepey eyelids look worse.  They contain a wealth of skincare ingredients, such as antioxidants, which give my skin an added boost of health with every use. And many of the products are multi-use, so my makeup bag is satisfyingly lightweight. Here are three of my favourites. Multi-use Classic Blush. This ultra-smooth and sparkle-free formula can be used on lips, cheeks, and eyelids, or to give a sun-kissed look to other parts of the face. It’s dead easy to apply and it blends well without dragging on the skin. I went for the shade Spark – a fresh, light peachy-pink, but there are loads of other shades if you …

Liberal and Progressive

I was surprised last night to come across a tweet from a prominent historian insinuating that the independence movement in Scotland was neither progressive nor liberal. It seems extraordinary to me that any educated person can’t – or won’t – recognise parallels between 2018 Britain and the darker forces on the rise in the 1930s. My own history degree may come from a university in the American south and not a fancy British one, but it seems to me that the academic in question is tweeting up the wrong tree: Scotland’s clear and growing desire to reject these ‘values’ is definitely progressive and explicitly liberal. To put Scotland’s position in context, let’s take a look at what the UK government has been up to lately. Do any of these policies sound liberal or progressive to you? Ditching friends and partners and running into the arms of DJT in the hope of a trade deal. Bowing and scraping to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia in order to sell more weapons so more innocent civilians can be murdered in Yemen. State …

The Currency of Outrage

Back in the early days of Live Journal, one of my friends stated that attention is the currency of the internet. It didn’t sound nice, but she was right. How many times have we thrown our virtual net with the hope of catching comments, likes, and retweets? I’ve done it. I still do it. That little hit of dopamine we get when we get approval is hard to resist, and some of us have managed to turn it into an actual brand. When I think of the attention the Kardashians receive daily, I figure they must be high all the time. But sometimes, the hits don’t come and a certain personality type finds itself reduced to trawling for any attention at all – even if it’s negative. The idea is to post something questionable, controversial, or outright horrible in the hope of provoking a backlash. Then people are talking about them. They matter. They’re important. They get to revel in being ‘the person you love to hate’ – it becomes a brand, a stock in …

I Marched

A couple of weeks ago, I did something the me of 2014 could never have imagined I’d do: I marched for Scottish independence. Followers of my blog will know I was a no voter in 2014, but you might not know I suffer from social anxiety and the thought of walking with a huge crowd of people is pretty high on my list of Terrifying Things To Do. But I packed up my husband and my dog (not necessarily in that order) and hopped a train for Glasgow. We waited to join the march as it made its way from the west end to the city centre, and our first sight of it, as flags and banners crested the brow of a steep road, was astounding. I couldn’t believe how many people there were. Nervously, we joined the crowd and began to walk. My sense of calm was immediate, and I was surprised to find myself welling up. I didn’t expect I’d feel tearful, but I knew what we were doing was important, and I was …

Goodbye, Facebook

I’ve deleted my Facebook account. For years I suspected they’d been careless with data, and I knew they’d tracked my every move online, but when they helped deliver Trump and Brexit by passing data to nefarious companies and allowing them to target users with fake news and disinformation, it was a step too far. When I think of the misery of families torn apart by ICE and the Home Office, that bigots are happy to operate in the open, and that liberal democracy as we know it is in grave danger, I can’t willingly support the midwife. My leaving won’t make one bit of difference. And I do understand that Facebook is important to many people as a tool for keeping in touch with friends and loved ones. I’m fortunate that I can continue to do this in other ways. I certainly don’t judge anyone who uses the service. I do wonder what I’ll do with the time I used to fritter away. Maybe I’ll cook or go for walks. Maybe I’ll write a bit …

Glossier Lash Slick

When Glossier website went live in the UK, one look at the models told me it probably wasn’t the brand for me. Everyone looked so young and fresh-faced, so what could this company possibly offer a middle-aged woman? Well, a lot, actually! I’ve written about Glossier products in the past, and I’m still using their lipstick and concealer almost daily. Their newest offering, Lash Slick, is an instant favourite. It gives me exactly the look I want – long, lush, and healthy lashes without a hint of clumping or that weird spider-leg look. The flexible brush is brilliant, and the formula doesn’t smudge. Best of all, it doesn’t irritate my sensitive eyes. And at £14, it doesn’t break the bank.  

Yummy Vegan Burgers

My husband and I have been working on making the perfect veggie burger, and while we’ve found a few good recipes, none were perfect. So we’ve come up with our own. The burger we’ve created had the added benefit of being vegan. It’s also quite high in protein. Full disclosure: it’s a bit of a faff to make, but I promise the results are worth it. Using a 1/4 pound burger press, we got 15 burgers from this recipe. They freeze well, so it makes sense to make a lot in one go and have a couple of weeks’ worth of quick lunches. But if you’re not keen on making loads, this recipe scales down well. You can halve or even quarter it. You can customise your burgers using spices you like. Our favourite is Lakeland Burger Seasoning Mix. It’s surprisingly spicy! But if that’s not your thing, warm spices like smoked paprika, cumin, and chipotle work well. The trick to making veggie burgers with a pleasing texture is to keep as much excess liquid …

Daytime Skincare, 3 Easy Steps

Since simplifying my nighttime skincare routine, my skin is much healthier and happier. I  embraced a more refined approach my day time regime a year ago, simply to cut down on time spent in the morning.  My skin has benefitted from using just three products, and whether I’m wearing makeup or not, my skin looks and feels good. Step one: Hydrator. My favourite is Hada Labo Guko-Jyun Premium Emulsion. It contains five kinds of hyaluronic acid and is quickly absorbed by the skin. You can also add this as a first step to your nighttime skincare if you feel your skin is extra sensitive or dehydrated. Step two: Serum. I’ve been using Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Serum for years and I’ve never found one I like better. It hydrates and soothes skin while plumping fine lines and giving the skin a youthful glow. If you have dry or dehydrated skin, you’ll love this serum. Step three: Moisturiser. Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre is another product I repurchase again and again. It’s a great moisturiser and makeup primer, and …