Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Guilty Pleasure

Yes I know everything about the following item and how incredibly bad it is for you, (not to mention your teeth), but I love it and can't help it and sometimes choose to drink it anyway.

Diet Coke, you are my vice.

(this was taken last month when I was lying on the beach in the sun reading alone - amazing day).

I drink it around once a fortnight, or whenever I am nauseas (I can't explain this with reason).

What is your vice?

Stay well,
Nat x

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Vegetarian Sheperd's Pie

Last week, a new lady at work started. Last Friday, she discovered I was a vegetarian when I grimaced at the beef stock in some soup I was about to eat for lunch. Shortly after, I received the age-old question asked by many when I reveal I am a vegetarian;

"So what do you eat? Just vegetables?".

Come on guys, it's 2011.

Vegetarian Sheperd's Pie, I've found, is one of those vegie dishes that even the meat eaters will get into. Make something hearty and warm, add mushrooms (or any protein that isn't tofu), and top it with cheese and most meat eaters will dig in.

Here is my version, sans quantities (sorry, I just can't do quantities for dishes I invent), and with a little touch of poor quality photography. True Nat style.

Fry off some diced onion, celery, zucchini & eggplant. At the end, add either fresh sliced mushrooms, or the champignons in the can (fresh is better, but whatever you have will be fine).

Add a can of diced tomatoes, a good wad of tomato paste, a can of rinsed brown lentils, a bay leaf, some thyme, and a tablespoon or so of hoi-sin sauce (trust me). Season. Add water until the mixture resembles a chunky soup and then simmer until a third reduced.

About now, be making mash potato.

Spoon mixture into large ramekins (remember to remove thyme sprigs & bay leaves). It will be more filling than it appears (with 'just vegetables'), so don't go too crazy with the servings.

Top with mashed potato and cheese. I like to use tasty or mozarella, with a sprinkle or parmesan, but most cheeses will work.

Put in the oven and bake at 160c. If it starts to dry out before the cheese is melted & browning, place it under a grill for a couple of minutes before serving.

Go outside to throw your scraps in your compost to discover you threw a fork in there yesterday.

Serve pies with a side salad and a big glass of red wine.
(and remember to tell your family or guests that the ramekin is too hot to touch!)

I love this recipe because I keep all of the ingredients in my house on a permanent basis.

Are you a vegetarian who adapts meat dishes?

Stay well,
Nat x

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Under the Pump

Just a quick post before I head off for work!

You may have noticed I've been quiet the past week or so on both blogs - a lot has been happening! Here's a quick update;
- I got offered a new role at work which I'm very excited about! But..
- Can't start as the other girl on my team had to resign, leaving us a staff member short. I'll start my new role when we get new staff.
- Still sore & having ultrasounds to be on the safe side after the kidney infection from hell.
- Have a horrible cold! A month of antibiotics & stopping on return to work after a week's leave will do that.
- I started pole dancing classes. I know, I know, but they were cheap, a friend has joined me and I actually think it's amazing fun.
- I also joined a gym, finally! Yet to do a session as I have a cold and only joined a few days ago.

I hope to be back and cooking soon! I made amazing peanut slice last night for Mum's birthday.

Happy Birthday to my Mummy!

Be back soon, blogosphere.

Stay well,
Nat x

PS. Happy CFS/ME Awareness day... spread the word!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


If I cook for you or want to cook for you, (like, ask you over for dinner), then I care about you. It's how I show affection and I really do think that cooking for someone is the greatest way of showing love. When I am having someone over for a meal, I put true thought into what I am going to make and what ingredients I'll use to make it - I even have planned on my head what I would cook for several people I haven't even asked yet!

It can go a step further. If you are very very close to M or I, I will spend hours preparing something from scratch. In this case, it was gnocchi for M's parents & sister, and it was the first time I've made gnocchi in our home.

Don't ask me for a recipe because I use the traditional Italian recipe (boil potato, mash it or put it through a sieve if you can be bothered, add a touch of self raising flour then knead with plain flour until it feels right. Some people put egg in it, I don't).

This gnocchi was served with a basic tomato sauce (cooked for 3 hours, of course), but I didn't get a photo. Some was also frozen as I, of course, made too much. The remainder fed girlfriends the following night.

Do you make your own pasta?

I want a pasta machine to make insanely thick fettucine - my favourite!

Stay well,
Nat x