Author: elizabeth

New Hens

After a couple of false starts, we were finally able to collect three new hens yesterday. We made the decision a couple of years ago to rescue battery hens instead of keeping pure breeds, but the poor ex-batts don’t live very long, so we’ve decided to add a few hearty birds to the flock. We’ve selected a white leghorn, a minorca, and an araucana (not pictured). The first two will lay white eggs (we were gifted one today!) and the araucana will lay either a khaki green or a blue egg. It’ll be some time until we find out. She’s very young – so much so that she still makes wee chick ‘peeping’ noises. It’s quite cute. I’d hoped to get a better photo, but they’re still quite nervous and move around a lot when I approach the pen. Once they’re out free-ranging with the rest, I should be able to get a better snap.

Rambling

I used to write every day, usually in the morning and always after a pot of strong coffee and a cigarette or two. Nothing quite fired up my brain as well, and since I’ve given up smoking and limit my coffee to one cup a day, my melty grey matter doesn’t work as well as I’d like. So I rarely write. In fact, I don’t do a lot of stuff. I don’t read books, I don’t play guitar, I don’t make soap. I don’t do many things I used to enjoy because for over two years, my sodden headspace has been occupied with the worry that Brexit will cost me and my family everything. My attention span is short. It’s hard knowing our current way of life will soon be over. It distracts from everything. For awhile I comforted myself with the thought that someone would see sense and stop this madness, but now we’re actually talking about stockpiling food and medicine – all because a slim majority voted for self harm in a rigged …

Wife’s Cuisine

I’ve been taking a little break from writing over the summer – mainly because it’s hot and I’m lazy. But I wanted to share this amazing YouTube channel with those of you who enjoy food and cooking. It’s called Wife’s Cuisine and it’s gorgeous. The channel will appeal to anyone who loves to prepare and eat delicious, beautiful food. Every recipe is made with the love and care we’d all like to put into our food. The videos are beautifully shot with pleasing scenes and lighting. I find them super relaxing. If you have any interest in Korean cooking, I recommend giving them a look.  

Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats

This is one of the easiest make-ahead breakfasts around, and it’s incredibly nourishing and delicious. You can easily scale this recipe up as it keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a week. Do use salted peanuts for your garnish. Trust me – it’s a lovely counterbalance to the sweetness of the banana and it lends a bit of texture as well. Serves 4 100 grams large oats 2 teaspoons chia seeds 350ml sweetened macadamia milk* 1 heaped tablespoon peanut butter Garnish per bowl 1/2 banana, sliced 2 teaspoons salted peanuts, crushed maple syrup, if desired Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl, stirring well to ensure the peanut butter incorporated into the mixture. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, put 1/4 of the oat mixture into a bowl and top with the sliced banana and peanuts. You can add a bit of maple syrup if you like a little more sweetness. Enjoy! * you can use any milk you like here. Unsweetened is fine.

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 …