Initially I was only going to write a post on how I was going to spend Earth Hour but then I thought about why I was creating a blog post and yes I want others to take part and yes I want to provide them with tips on a great evening but is that it? I asked myself. What about the rest of the year and doesn’t everyone need to know why we have initiatives like Earth Hour, so I have included a little about what it is and why you should actively take part. It’s not a big read, it’s just to make you aware of why it happens and why I choose to take part.
Earth Hour is a great initiative where everyone can get involved to make a difference and raise awareness of our sustainability issues. Every year millions of people around the globe take part in the project by switching of their city, town and house lights for just 1 hour, this year it takes place on Saturday 31 March at 8.30pm, will you be joining in?
Why do it?
Every day we have to endure living with daily effects of pollution, hearing about some sort of wildlife tradegy or watching helplessly as toxic and natural disasters occur one after the other, if it is harmful for us, can you imagine what it must be like for our planet to sustain. The soil that provides our food, the trees that give us oxygen and the land that holds up each of our little homes, it’s pretty important to look after it wouldn’t you say? I don’t know about you but I want to be able to say that even some of my actions could benefit one of the things that is the reason for human existence, planet earth.
I know there are many climate change skeptics but this is all about making a change. For me it’s about minimizing waste and conserving energy in any way I can because whether or not you believe in Global warming none of us really want to live in a world that looks and smells like a rubbish tip. That’s why even after Earth Hour, I carry on making a small change to my lifestyle, I know that it’s better for me, it does not harm anyone or anything else and I feel amazing about that.
What I’ll be doing
This year I will be spending the hour with Family, catching up and enjoying great vegan food and drink. I have got these amazing Soya candles that are much eco than your normal paraffin candles (actually I would encourage you to buy soya candles if you are planning to turn out the lights) I got mime from The Body Shop, they have a fantastic range, gorgeous smells, or you can get them online (I adore Love Lula and Neom)
When I was in India last year, I travelled to the small villages where the electricity used to go out at any time so we basically had to sit the dark in the evenings, but it was so much fun, great laughs, you would think we were living in the 1700’s, in fact at many times I felt like I did. It made me appreciate what I take for granted here and keeping the lights off for only an hour seems like a little thing so I am taking part this year. Plus I love living the way Jane Austen must have, with nothing to do but read by a candle and be near family, it does sound like a good evening to me.
What you can do
Get loads of friends over, get each of them to bring some veggie snacks, you provide the drinks and just talk and have a laugh. No mobile phones, no TV, catch up, make it a big deal and even get them to stay over, a grown up slumber party. It is a lot of fun. This way you can switch off for the rest of the evening, not just the hour.
If you want more tips and to see what everyone else is doing (I love this) and add your action go to http://www.beyondthehour.org/
As much as I love my breakfasts which nowadays consists of toast with peanut butter and bananas, I do think about going all out and have something entirely different, glamorous if you will. But really, getting ready for work and making sure I leave nothing important behind especially my books for the communte and my house keys means a glamorous breakfast is not always on the cards. However that is another reason to be grateful for the weekends! Get up late, laze around and watch TV (Usually some cooking channel in my case) whilst having a delish brekkie and don’t feel too guilty, this is not such an unhealthy one, there is fruit involved!
As I am not the biggest fan of too much sugar so I use agave nectar in the batter, a great substitute, you can use maple syrup or vegan honey, you won’t be compromising on the sweetness at all. To balance out the sweet taste and get some fruit in me, I make a fruit compote, you can use other fruits. To top it off, I make a dark chocolate (again good for you) sauce with added hazelnuts, mmmh! I hope you like.
150 gm organic raspberries
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Put the sugar on a low heat and add the vanilla essence, let simmer for a few minutes and add the raspberries, let cook on a low heat for 10-15 minutes until the fruit has softened and has produced a runny sauce.
150 gm dark vegan chocolate melted
3/4 tablespoon ground hazelnut
Melt the chocolate in a bowl, I do this in the microwave and add the ground hazelnut, so simple.
1 cup Organic soya milk
2 and a half tablespoons Organic plain flour
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 thick slices bread
Mix all the ingredients, I use a rectanguler oven dish, that way you can dip the breads in with ease.
Heat a non stick pan and place the dipped bread on, once both sides are crisp, golden to dark brown, you can plate up, sprinkle some powered sugar on top, this will also add a little extra sweetness to compliment the tartness of the fruit, pour the compote and hazelnut sauce and serve,
These are the easiest vegan sausage rolls to make. If you haven’t yet tried the Jus Rol Puff Pastry, you really need to. It is suitable for vegans and you can use it to create an instant meal with a filling of choice. I bought some Linda McCartney Sausages on Sunday and it was an easy and tasty dinner to make. Filled with a little rosemary, it ups the flavour of the sausages.
You will need:
6 vegan sausages
1 pack of Jus Rol pastry
A few sprigs fresh rosemary
Melted margarine for brushing
1. Take out chilled pastry roll and lay flat, sprinkle some rosemary on one end of the pastry and place the sausage on top.
2. Cut pastry around the sausage and cover to make a roll, with a knife score lines the top and brush with margarine
3. Repeat the process until you are ready to bake,
4. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 15- 20 mins until golden brown
Tip: Don’t roll out the pastry, this will allow all the layers to rise in the oven, making it flaky and crisp.
These are great to serve as finger food
Before I became vegan, I used to make Chilli Paneer, which is made using a mild indian cheese. Adding chilli peppers, garlic and ginger, flavours that seep into the cheese making it taste hot and spicy. So here I have done the same using Tofu, you can deep fry the tofu which will make it much crispier and give it a dark brown colour, or you can shallow fry the cubes, which will turn them golden brown, I do both but this time I did the latter, it’s healthier. If you want a milder flavour, cut out the amount of chilli peppers. If you are cooking vegetarian you can use the same recipe, just replace the tofu with Paneer.
To Make, You will need:
4 red chilli peppers deseeded, chopped in rings
2 green chilli peppers deseeded, chopped in rings
2 tablespoons fresh root ginger grated
8 garlic cloves
500gm tofu diced
1.5 tablespoons chilli sauce
2oo grams carton of creamy tomatoes
Salt to taste
1/2 tablespoon Ground coriander
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons soya sauce
handful lettuce leaves chopped
Fresh coriander for garnish
1. Dice the tofu and shallow fry in olive oil in a large pan until golden and crispy, this may take 15-20 mins. (or deep fry if you want)
2. In another pan heat olive oil and add the peppers, garlic, ginger and soya sauce, stir for 5 mins and add salt, ground coriander and chilli sauce, stir for a few mins and add the tofu and lettuce, let all the flavours seep into the tofu for 10 minutes on a low heat.
3. Add the tomato sauce and let simmer on a low heat for a further 10 minutes, slowly stiring at times.
4. Serve with brown rice and garnish with fresh coriander.
Will serve 4-5
I don’t know what it is about these tiny little cakes, but they make me tingle everytime I see them, it’s like they take over a part of the brain and fill it with utter fluffy-ness (or is it just me?)
Ever since I discovered Ms Cupcake’s Vegan cakes a couple of months back (I know, that long) I had been wanting to go and try them out so when I heard they were holding a pop up stall in Soho, I couldn’t resist.
Me and a friend (who isn’t vegetarian but loved the cupcakes) went to Fair Share, bought a box of gorgeous limited edition, fair trade cupcakes and also had a little chat with Jason, known as ‘the cupcake man’ (awesome!)
Jason was telling us about their new All vegan bakery opening up in Brixton, London on the 1st April 2011, (Will be keeping that date free, no fool’s day joke!) they have these amazing doughnuts and they have been working on a fish pie which suprisingly tastes a lot like cod but he can assure us it’s all vegan!
I loved that Jason said this is not about vegan politics, just great cakes, it’s not just for vegans to enjoy but everyone and I have to agree, keep the politics out and put a whole load of quality in, there goes the way to creating great cupcakes.
So as you can imagine the cakes had been devoured within the hour of bringing them home and why wouldn’t they, the sponges were incredibly moist and the buttercream melted in the mouth, I had high expectations for these cakes as I had heard people raving about them online and yes, I am now one of these people.
Delectable Chocolate, Mango, Peanut topped Chocolate and White Chocolate and strawberry, these were all limited edition flavours at Fair Share in Soho, today is the last day but they have a regular spot at Greenwich Market and Brick lane and a pop up stall in Brixton outside their new shop, for info and addresses, go to their lovely website http://www.mscupcake.co.uk/
A few weeks ago, I went to a health and wellbeing event hosted by Glamour Magazine and at the end we were given these huge goodie bags full of the new Limited edition sustainable make up range from The Body Shop. They are designed by The London College of Fashion and are quite Zazzy (fun word isn’t it!) Normally I would have given them away to friends and family but I love the fact it’s not tested on animals but these pieces are made from Certified Fair Trade ingredients (LOVE!!) and the brushes are totally animal free, so I decided to try them out.
I have to say, I only rave about products that are amazing and honestly I absolutely adore this range.! I started using the Illuminating Face Base, which adds this lovely healthy glow to my face, perfect with summer coming up. And then I use what I think is a wonder product, the Tailored Cheek Tint on top which comes out in a clear gel and adapts to my skin tone building a pinkish tint. Clever little thing ain’t it, I thought so too! I never carry any piece of make up around with me apart from a good lippie, but this is in my bag all the time now.
They also have their Lip Treatments and their eyes collection, 2 different palettes each contain 4 eye shadows, I have the Boho beauty because I adore the pale pink and bronzy colours.
If you are looking for a cruelty free eco range, I recommend you go in and try these out!