Frivolous Friday: vegan foodporn of the Pacific Northwest

Happy Frivolous Friday! I’ve been on holidays for the last two weeks- doing some heavy-duty relaxing around the Pacific Northwest. I even got to spend a couple of days with a very familiar face (and a couple of familiar kitty faces!) who’s every bit as delightful IRL as online.

Remember how last month I wrote about deciding to go vegan? While that’s been really easy when I’m at home cookin’ up some yums, try and have lunch outside and it gets.. tricky. At least, back at home it does. If you’re very very lucky there’ll be one option. If that happens to be covered in things you can’t stand (my nemeses: onions, cilantro and mushrooms) you’re outta luck. Hope you’ve brought something with ya.

So when I opened up a menu to be told that every single item could be adjusted for omnivores, vegetarians or vegans? Oh myyyy. Yes please.

A few minutes later, this tempeh Oly Cheesesteak arrived. It did not survive much longer than it took to take the picture. Continue reading “Frivolous Friday: vegan foodporn of the Pacific Northwest”

Frivolous Friday: vegan foodporn of the Pacific Northwest

Bloody hell, I think I’m going vegan.

Photo of a small dog- a bichon frise- lying on a person's legs.
I do make friends with dogs a lot, though.

I have a friend whose conversion to veganism reads like a Road to Damascus moment. She met a cow one day. They had a moment of connection within which she realised- or felt, deeply- that that cow was as curious about my friend as she was about her. She says that in that moment she realised that her and the cow were both people, equal in dignity and worth. From that moment on, she was a vegan.

My story is far more prosaic. I’ve never made friends with any cows, chickens or sheep. I live in the city! Dogs, cats and crows are the only animals I tend to meet. And while I did make friends with a crow last year (more on that one another day) I’ve never been in the position of looking my future dinner in the eyes. I’m not a vegetarian because of an epiphany or any strong emotional experience at all. I’m a veggie because, given my circumstances, removing my support from the meat industry felt like the right thing to do.

Continue reading “Bloody hell, I think I’m going vegan.”

Bloody hell, I think I’m going vegan.

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup With Cumin, Thyme and Rosemary

One of the great things about being money-poor and time-rich in this part of the world is that you get to spend a lot of time cooking with fresh, tasty, seasonal foods. Doing it when there’s an internet about means you’re also never short of inspiration!

These days, ’round these parts, you can pick up a bag of parsnips, a great big turnip, or a bag of carrots for around 50c, and spuds are €1 a kilo. I don’t know about you, but in my world that means one thing: soup time!

Here’s what I’m making now. It’s ridiculously easy to make and incredibly adaptable- just substitute the veggies and herbs for whatever you’ve got around that looks like it’d be delicious.

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup with Cumin, Thyme and Rosemary


  • 2-3 medium-large potatoes
  • 2/3 of a turnip
  • 2 parsnips
  • 3 carrots
  • vegetable stock
  • a couple of cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • Cumin, thyme and rosemary. Fresh is great, but dried is fine too.

Preheat the oven to a low-medium heat- around 170C should be fine, if you’ve a fan oven. You want to roast the veggies slowly.

Chop the turnip, parsnips and carrots into nice chunky pieces a little under an inch across. Small enough to not take too long to cook, but big enough that there’ll be lots of soft, sweet roast veggie in between the crispy outsides. Arrange them on a baking tray big enough that you don’t need to pile them on top of each other. Give them a good sprinkling of freshly-ground cumin and a nice dollop of olive oil. Pop them in the oven for a half-hour or so.

Chop the potatoes into inch-sized squares as well. Put them into a big-ish pot. Grate the garlic over them, add a little olive oil. Toss them over a low heat- barely hot enough to sizzle- for a few minutes to bring the flavour out in the garlic.

Boil a kettle of water for 1L or so of stock. Probably more. Add the stock, as well as a generous pinch of rosemary and thyme, to the potatoes and garlic and simmer until soft. Remove from the heat until the veggies are done roasting.

When the veggies are soft through, add to the potatoes. Add more stock if you need to, and simmer for a few minutes.

Whizz it up in a blender until smooth. Realise it’s way too thick, make up some more stock, add more stock. As with most soups, this is even more delicious the next day. So make a bunch of it, leave it to sit overnight, and bung it in the freezer for delicious, warming soup anytime.

While I think this is delicious enough to not need jazzing up, if you would like a little more excitement in your soup I think it would be delicious with a dollop of soured cream or yogurt, or crispy chorizo bits for the omnivores. Chicken stock instead of/as well as veggie stock would probably be lovely as well, if that’s how you roll. This recipe is gluten-free as long as you use GF stock- there’s loads available and they’re yummy.



If this looks good to you, check out the rest of my recipes! They’re almost all veggie and almost all either gluten-free or easily adaptable to be, while being easy on the budget.

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup With Cumin, Thyme and Rosemary

Lunch! Toasty quinoa with raisins and almonds. Yum!

As some of you may know, a few weeks ago I moved house. In the process of moving house it became clear to me that while I am by no means a rich or wealthy person, I appear to have become someone who is the proud owner of an abundance of quinoa, and only a vague idea of what to do with it. Luckily, I am also a person with access to an astonishing repository of information at my very fingertips, so with a bit of googling, poking around in the cupboard and taking some inspiration from a recipe or three online, I ended up with this:

Almondy raisiney quinoa

Stupendously Tasty Toasted Almondey Raisiney Quinoa

As for how to make it? Well, nice that you asked! Since I can’t quite remember the precise amounts, so I’m going to go with the Dollop scale, instead of metric or imperial.

  • You’ll need some quinoa, a stock cube or so, some almonds (possibly other nuts like hazelnuts might be nice instead?), some dried fruit, a weensy bit of oil and a bunch of your favourite sweet spices.
  • You get a decent bit of quinoa- a handful or so, depending on how hungry you are- and soak it for about 15 minutes in cold water. Ten, if you’re in a hurry or hungry.
  • Put the kettle on and make up a few cups of stock- enough for your quinoa.
  • In the meantime, pop a bunch of flaked almonds* into a pan with a weensy bit of oil. Get ’em good and toasty- toast ’em till they’re lovely and golden and smell like toasted almonds. Take the almonds out of the pan.
  • Drain the quinoa, and pop it into the pan with just the water that remains in it, as well as a generous shake of whatever sweet spices you have lying around. Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and/or cardamom are lovely for this. You might fancy throwing in a bit of ginger while you’re at it. Whatever seems tasty to you. Have fun! Toast the quinoa like this until it seems toasty enough. Then pour in the stock and a good handful of raisins. Or whatever other dried fruit you have. I had raisins. I think that dried dates and apricots would be yummy as well.
  • When it’s cooked, mix in the almonds. Then eat up!

I had it today with some chilled chopped carrots and sugarsnap peas, and a generous handful or two of the spinach, watercress and rocket salad you get at Tesco. The chopped carrots and peas were too delicious to be sullied with a dressing. For the salad, I made up something involving honey, ginger and lemon juice. It was.. okay, but not spectacular. I’m still a novice at making dressings, since I was only recently converted to eating green stuff. But the rest of it? Awesome.

*I didn’t have flaked almonds so I made some out of whole almonds. It was perfectly lovely, and also it is very fun, if a tiny bit messy, to bash almonds with a meat tenderiser. Then I remembered that I did, in fact, have flaked almonds after all.

Lunch! Toasty quinoa with raisins and almonds. Yum!