Sunday, 10 September 2017

Cooking my way through....

Lately, I've got into a bit of a food rut.  As in, I've started to get a bit tired of the usual things I eat from day to day.  During the week, I rely quite a lot on, for example, pasta and pesto, because it's quick, easy and tasty.  At the weekends, I normally cook up a curry or a tagine of some kind.  But it tends to be the same things over and over again.  To the point where, lately, I'll find myself just having a bowl of cereal for tea rather than cook, due to a serious lack of inspiration.

Set against that, I have loads of cook books in the house, and with many of them, I've only tried one or two recipes and not explored any further.

So, with a pile of unused cook books, and a spell of eating ennui setting in, I've decided to choose one at a time and cook my way through it over a few weeks.  Not every last recipe, but picking out the ones that appeal, or that are a bit different to my normal fare. 

First up is Slim and Healthy Vegetarian, by Judith Wills, and modelled here by Daisy. 

This is quite an old book, it was published in 1994.  Nonetheless, I've held onto it as there's some good stuff in here.  Previously, I've made the Black Bean Soup, the Spanish Chickpeas, and the Bombay Supper from it. 

Glancing through it now, I really like the sound of the following:
  • Italian Artichokes
  • Marinated Aubergine and Tomato
  • Avocado and Tofu Dip
  • Hereford Hot-Pot
Hopefully, muesli as an evening meal will be put on the back burner for a while.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Yarrah Cat Food - Review

Just an update on my search for a more ethical brand of cat food, which I kicked off a few posts back.  After deciding against Lily's Kitchen, I got in some of Co-op's own brand cat food as in interim measure, but Daisy wasn't having it - just wouldn't eat it, so now there is a mostly full, rejected box of it in the cupboard.  I'll try and shift it on Freecycle before it goes stale.

As mentioned, I'm using the guide on the Ethical Consumer website to try out cat food brands that are more ethical than Go-Cat.  Whilst this is the majority of cat foods, the choices that I can buy locally were not inspiring.  So I took to the internet, and ordered the Yarrah organic dried cat food with fish from Planet Organic.  Yarrah scores 16 out of 20 on the ratings table, so it's pretty near the top.

With a 10% discount for my first order, this 800g bag cost £5.84.  I reckon I'd need two bags a month to keep Daisy fed, so it's expensive, but not prohibitively so.  Also, I'll be able to buy it in 3kg packs, which takes a bit off the price. 

The only issue with buying in bulk is that Daisy might go off it. But that's how it rolls with cats - their picky nature has to be accepted! 

But so far, Daisy likes her Yarrah!  I mixed it with her old cat food for a while to get her used to it, and all seems to be well.  The only problem is that, as with so many organic products, it comes in plastic.  I have no idea why this should be, but that may be a subject for another post. 

The verdict: we'll stick with Yarrah and see how it goes.  If I find a good alternative with better packaging, we'll try that, but for now it seems like a good choice.  Especially if it results in a content, well-fed kitty.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

The Vegan Kind Beauty Box - August 2017 - review

My TVK (The Vegan Kind) August beauty box arrived a week or two ago, and here are this month's goodies.   This box is quarterly, which works well for me as I don't get through the products any too quickly.  In fact, I'm thinking of stopping the subscription for a bit, as I've got quite a lot of stuff piling up now.

Of this box, my favourite is the little Eden 10ml perfume sample of 'Daisy'.  It's fresh, floral, and smells quite sophisticated.  I don't use loads of perfume, so 10ml will last for a while. 
The tin on the far right of the picture is Figs and Rouge Hydra-Activ 3 in 1 Hero Cream.  Unfortunately, I had to give it to my partner as I didn't really like the scent.  However, the cream had a good, rich texture, and I'd imagine it would do the job pretty well.  no feedback from my partner as yet...
In the centre is Chirp Body Softnest 100% Natural Hair Mask - it smells lovely, but I haven't tried it yet...
The Zerreau Waterless Body Wash is a foam that you apply to yourself, and then towel off again to, as is suggests, have a wash without water.  It smells pleasant, and produces quite a lot of foam which seems to work pretty well.  I wouldn't want to rely on it for too long, but it would work well in an emergency situ.
And lastly, the little Tisserand Happy Aromatherapy Roller Ball.  This contains bergamot, lemon tea tree and nutmeg oils, and it's quite a strong,earthy scent.  It's the sort of thing I would use at work, just to have a little rub on your wrists for quick burst of fragrance that won't overpower everybody.  I think it'll be a nice thing to use coming into the autumn months. 
(There was also supposed to be a little sachet of Faith in Nature shampoo, but it didn't make it into the box.  Never mind...)
This month's chosen charity is Animal Free Research UK, which I'm happy to see supported. 
Like I said, I may not get another box for a while - I need to prioritise using up the stuff I have already, but I'll be reviewing products in more depth as I get through them.  A TVK subscription is a lovely way to find new cruelty-free delights, so I'll be looking forward to my next one, whenever that might be.


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Charity shop mini-haul

Another mini-haul! I've noticed that a lot of charity shops are charging much higher prices than they used to.  Of course they have to make money for the charity, but when they start to charge the same as it would cost to buy things new, it gets a bit much.  Recently, I've seen things like cafetieres for around £10!  It's not really an incentive to buy second hand if you can buy new for about the same money.

Set against that, my local RSPCA charity shop likes to keep its prices down, and I picked up these little bargains on my last trip there.

1) A piece of fabric, £1.  The colours are so vivid, and it's going to be big enough to make a great shopping bag.
2) A little compact Denman brush/mirror, 20p.  I travel quite a lot for work, and this is a really dinky little brush that I can keep in my travel bag, all ready to go.
3) Food for Free, by Richard Mabey, £1.49.  This is a book about foraging for food, including plants, fungi and seaweed.  I'm kind of nervous about foraging, so I'll avoid mushrooms for now, but I want to give it a go with the non-fungi items. 

Food for Free was published in 1972, but is still in print, and has been updated with more colour illustrations.  The original has lovely little drawings of the plants, although I'd still want to cross-reference with another source before eating anything, just to be sure...

This is the little Denman brush opened out, complete with mirror.