Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Random Shizz

A few random photos of goings on in Velovegan world lately:

1. New haircut
2. Vintage bracelet & cheapo ring I bought
3. The Long Hall - a place I love to drink
4. Meat is Murder
5. Valentine's gifts from The Boy <3
6. Adventures with Lollipops

Yes, things have been quiet. We are planning to have regular music, games (Sega Megadrive, Xbox, arcade emulators projected onto the studio wall from the PC) and movie nights with friends soon to save money and have something to look forward to mid-week. Time to break out the vegan snacks.... popcorn, crisps, raw veggies with salsa and hummus.

It's getting near to the time that Gerry's large bag of Red Mills is going to be replaced with Yarrah Bio-Vegetarian dog food. Updates will follow!

My father is coming to visit at the end of March for a few days. I'm super excited. Lots of nice vegan meals out... and probably many home-cooking disasters, as I always try to re-create my favourite dishes when he's over and somehow end up messing them up completely and scarring him for life.

I am meeting my friends from Kildare on Saturday, one of whom is a vegetarian. We'll be going for a birthday meal with her and checking out a couple of art galleries. Doin all dem kultural fings, loike.

Other than that, life has been peaceful. Well, actually, two very good and spontaneous drunken nights the past 2 weekends, but quieter than usual.

How is everyone?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dada Moroccan Restaurant

The boy and I had a lovely meal the other night, to celebrate 7 years of eachother's wonderful company. I'd never been to Dada before but love Moroccan food so I knew it was going to be good. This restaurant is situated at the top end of South William Street, just down from Dunnes Stores and around the corner from the Hairy Lemon pub.

For starter I had fried spinach with olives and spices. It was so tasty, with a salty flavour and subtle spices. It came with a small side salad and three small slivers of pitta bread, which were soft and delicious - although this wasn't really enough bread for the amount of spinach to be honest. The boy had the harira, a soup made with lots of different beans, chickpeas and vermicelli noodles. This came with pitta as well and he enjoyed it very much, saying it was a warm, hearty starter that he would definitely order again.

Our food was served promptly, which was good, as we hate waiting ages between courses. The starters were not very large so they left us with a real appetite for what was to come! I ordered the pumpkin and carrot tagine with lentils and I really wasn't disappointed - to look at, it wasn't very exciting, just three slices of carrot and three slices of pumpkin with a tomatoey lentil stodge surrounding it. However, once I tucked in, I was really impressed at how tender and tasty the pumpkin and carrot were, and when cut up into smaller chunks and mixed in with the rest of the tagine there was a lot more carrot and pumpkin than I originally thought there was. It certainly was very good and I think it was actually a really healthy option too. The flavours were simple, not at all spicy, but went well together. Sometimes I think simple, healthy food works best, instead of those dishes with too much going on that confuse your palate. The boy got chicken cous cous with sultanas and caramelised onions, which he said was also quite plain but with a nice sweet kick to it. We also had a lot of lovely homemade bread with the meal, which was brought out to us after I'd finished the three small pieces that came with my tagine. Three pieces definitely weren't enough, so it was a nice gesture of the waiter to bring out more. I only asked for a couple extra but he brought out a whole small loaf, which was warm and freshly baked!

After our meal we were brought some traditional Moroccan mint tea, which was delicious. The boy isn't a big tea drinker but even he was dismayed when he finished the small shot glass and would have had more if he could!

I will definitely be coming here again. The two course early bird menu for €19.90 is pretty decent value, and with the bill we got a stamped menu offering us a complimentary glass of wine with our next early bird meal. The staff were very welcoming, friendly and attentive. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the décor! It was very traditional with lots of plush, velvety cushions. We had a corner table which was very comfortable indeed and it was nice to lay back and relax and have a chat after we'd finished. The Moroccan lanterns made fantastic patterns on the ceiling of the dimly-lit restaurant, and there were dried chillies and bottles of wine lining the walls above our heads. I'm going to bring my father here when he visits next month and try the seven vegetables tagine for my main with the Zaaluk for starter (here's a recipe, how good and easy does this sound?!) with a selection of Moroccan dips and breads to share. NYOM!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Award!

Wowzers! I was awarded the Stylish Blogger Award over at Tea & Sympatico and have to post 7 random facts about myself and re-award 7 more bloggers. So... here goes!

1. I only work part time and hardly have any money as a result, but keep putting off finding a new job because I love having so much spare time. It's far more important to me, to be doing the things I love, than to be working and earning money! Then again... some things I love are impossible to do without money. It's a Catch-22.

2. I am always hungry. I'm never satisfied. I always think about food. This is not a good thing when you're trying to stay slim!!!

3. There are very few people in this world who I can tolerate without getting majorly pissed off with after about a day. I can imagine I am a really annoying person too though. As a result I have very few close friends! I think I prefer my dog to most people.

4. My new love is my iPhone, I am just obsessed with the Instagram and Hipstamatic photo apps. I adore photography and have an account over at Redbubble which is really good fun. Although lately I'm using my iPhone way more than my Nikon D80, just for the fact that I take my phone everywhere I go and hardly ever have my big camera on me. Or maybe it's pure laziness...

5. Which brings me nicely to the fact that I am probably the laziest person I know. I can procrastinate all day, I could sleep all day. I start things and never finish them - especially when reading books, trying to follow up on ideas, or trying to keep up with a blog. However, that said, I am an extremely productive person when I do get my ass in gear. I'm excellent at organising and prioritising, so am a real quick worker when I need to be and always finish tasks super quick and super thoroughly when I put my mind to it.

6. There's nothing better than discovering new, amazing music. My new favourite band has to be Health, and my other favourites of all time have to be Black Dice, Holy Fuck, and Liars. I hate questions in quizzes like "what song sums up your life?", "what lyrics best describe you?" or "what is your favourite song of all time?". How are you meant to choose? That is ridiculous. The reason I never got an iPhone in the past was that they didn't make one large enough to contain all my favourite music - so how do you expect me to choose one?!

7. I have a few fears: Earwigs creep the hell out of me, I am extremely scared of dying before I get to do and say everything I want to do and say, and I get very panicked if my routine is disrupted in any form. Yes I'm rather OCD, I like to plan, I like to know what I'm doing, where I'm going, who I'll be with and what I'm eating well in advance of whatever occurrence is approaching... it's just one of my many idiosyncrasies!

I tag:

Identity V
Pixie Rose Dresses
Vegan Crunk
Maple Spice
Tofu Vegan Zombie
Vegan In Brighton
Vegan But Not Scary

Although I can imagine you guys have already done it...
I have done a similar one in the past too, but hey they are FUN!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentines Day, Pies, And Stuffing Kongs!

Just two more days to go til Valentine's Day! I'm not really a big fan of this over-hyped and overly-commercialised event and would never bother going for a meal out - but hey it's an excuse to spoil my Gerryboy and have fun making homemade cards. I really couldn't wait until Monday to give Gerry his treats, so I gave them to him today as he was such a good boy and because we are going out later to celebrate two family members' birthdays so I thought it would be a nice idea to leave him with some gifts.

Here he is totally enjoying his new LOVE pillow in fine greyhound style!

And his other Valentine's treat is a new Kong toy:

Er, yes, you non-doggie people must be thinking "what the HECK IS THAT"... yup, it does look a bit freaky/weird/dubious/scary... but I can assure you, it is the best present he could ever wish for! Kongs keep doggies entertained for hours. You stuff them with whatever food you want and it keeps them busy for ages trying to get at the food while they chew on the rubber and clean their teeth and gums!

Now, Gerry had a Kong ages ago, but it was a knock-off unbranded version and it slowly started to fall apart under the constant pressure from his greedy jaws, so I decided to go all-out and spend €14.99 on a super extreme strong Kong. I'd never really known what to stuff it with before, peanut butter was the only vegan thing that came to mind and that I'd heard worked well in a Kong, but with more research (namely THIS page) I have become really inspired to make Kongs Gerry's new vegan heaven! I have so many ideas.

Tonight his Kong is going to be stuffed with a frozen mixture of Mashed Banana, Peanut Butter and "The Organic Pet" Mini Biscuits.

Other ideas include:

- Mashed Peas, Broccoli & Potatoes
- Cooked Pasta & Mixed Beans
- Frozen Banana & Plain Soya Yoghurt
- Chopped Apples & Peanut Butter
- Frozen Oatmeal & Unsweetened Apple Sauce
- Chopped Carrots & Celery with Kibble

Yes, you read that right... Celery. He goes bloomin' mad for the stuff!! Is there anything my Gerry won't eat?! ;)

Anyway, What about human food for once?, I hear you cry! Well ok then, here's a few pics of things I've eaten recently.

First off, a bloody amazing pie the Boyfriend cooked for me - Curried Chickpea & Lentil. HELL-OH...!! SO GOOD! Mmmm - just fry some onions and garlic in a pan until browned, throw in a can of chopped tomatoes and loads of pulses and coriander, cook them for a while with some chana massala spice powder until some of the liquid has been absorbed, line a pie dish with pastry, pour in the yummy mixture, cover the top with more pastry and let the oven do it's magic:

(Yes The Boy was even artistic on the top, EXTRA KUDOS!!)

And here is my variation on the Veganomicon's Pineapple & Cashew Nut Quinoa. I used red quinoa and served it over a grilled portabello mushroom. I am a huge fan of pineapple in cooking (much to the disgust of many friends and the boyfriend), so this was right up my street. It's cooked in pineapple juice too which gives it a lovely sweet flavour, and the cashew nuts go so well with it and lend it a nice, crunchy texture. I will definitely be making this one again!

I'm going for an Indian meal tonight at the Royal Tandoori in Terenure. Pretty excited to try their Chana Massala and Mushroom Bhaji. They also have Chana Rice and Mushroom Rice... NOM! I'll be posting pictures! Then we're having a Chinese takeaway for Valentine's Day (Sczechuan Tofu here I come!) and going for a meal in a Moroccan restaurant in town on Wednesday which I'm particularly interested to try out - their Pumpkin, Carrot and Lentil Tagine sounds divine as does their Seven Vegetable Cous Cous. So look out for my next blog entry!! :D

Friday, February 4, 2011

I Love You, Gremlindog!

So it's been 4 months since I got my Lurcher pup Gerry. Wow he's grown, I didn't really realise how much till I was looking at some old photos of him today.

He's such a handsome lad now, and since cutting down his meat intake his skin has improved tremendously and he's so full of energy and is fighting fit. He's such a cheeky little lad, he makes me laugh so much... he spontaneously leaps in the lake to run after swans, he pulls this funny little gremlin face in the mornings when he stretches, he puts his head under the duvet in the morning and nibbles my toes to wake me up, and he'll chase me for miles on my bike. I'm also constantly amazed at how obedient he is... he woofs, twirls around and hi-5's on command, he always comes when he's called, he never does anything naughty around the house, and he is so good around other dogs and people. I just love him to bits and couldn't imagine being without him!

The only meat in his diet now is in his Red Mills kibble - and that is only a small percentage of Irish reared, organic chicken. Everything else he eats is vegan. I'm so glad I changed his diet and got rid of any indecent meat derivatives: the next order I'll be making is for Yarrah Vegetarian kibble at the end of March. Then in April, when he reaches a year old, he will be making his first trip to the vet to have a health check and get his boosters. Hopefully they will look at him and tell me what I already know - that he's on top form and that I'm doing well with him :)