Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Festive celebrations (basically loads of vegan food photos!)

As always, you can click on any of the pictures below to enlarge them.

I haven't posted much here over the last couple of months, mainly because I've been really busy with lots of brilliant rigging work which has been pretty time- and energy-intensive. You can read more about it over on my work blog if that's the kind of thing you might be interested in.

http://greysquirrelevents.blogspot.co.uk/
Photo from Three's a Crowd rehearsals in December 2014 at the Lochgelly Centre


Earlier this month I went for a fantastic festive meal with the great people from Edinburgh Vegan Meetup at Henderson's Restaurant. The food was a hit all round, and I especially enjoyed my choices of sweet potato fritters to start followed by a haggis money bag in creamy sauce and a fruit strudel to finish. It's been a really brilliant year with the meetup group and I'm looking forward to more events in 2015!

 



Friday, 7 November 2014

A quick update

I realised today that I haven't posted here in a while, which is partly because I've been busy with rigging work lately, which is great! I have been posting occasionally on my work blog though, including plenty of photos from my time rigging and performing at Enchanted Forest 2014. Later this month I'll be aiming to post some more on my work blog about the upcoming National Centre for Circus Arts (NCCA) roadshow in Edinburgh as well as the Rigging for Aerial Performance course I will be attending next week, kindly funded by the Federation of Scottish Theatre. Check it all out on my work blog here.

Photo credit: Kat Cooley

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Vegan Venues in Glasgow

Vegan MoFo 2014 is finally here, and my theme for this year is Vegan Scotland: veganising Scottish recipes and suggestions for eating out and socialising in Scotland.

Glasgow recently won an award for the most vegan-friendly city in the UK, and I was not surprised! Every one of the venues in this post is 100% vegan, which is brilliant for a city the size of Glasgow.


Monday, 22 September 2014

Prune-a-leekie soup

Vegan MoFo 2014 is finally here, and my theme for this year is Vegan Scotland: veganising Scottish recipes and suggestions for eating out and socialising in Scotland.

Cock-a-leekie soup is a traditional Scottish dish made from chicken stock and leeks, making it incredibly easy to veganise! Doing a quick online search for other people's recipes suggested adding prunes to the soup for extra flavour, which I loved. If you're not a fan of mixing sweet and savoury flavours, though, they can just as easily be left out. You could also add some rice or barley to thicken it if you like.


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Vegan Food in Edinburgh

Vegan MoFo 2014 is finally here, and my theme for this year is Vegan Scotland: veganising Scottish recipes and suggestions for eating out and socialising in Scotland.

This is a list with brief descriptions of my favourite places to eat in Edinburgh as a vegan. There are more places in the city with vegan options than those on this list, but these are my personal favourites! You can find a more comprehensive list on HappyCow. Unfortunately we don’t have any exclusively vegan venues in the city at present, but I’ve marked those which serve only vegetarian and vegan food with a (v).


Saturday, 20 September 2014

Flapjacks

Vegan MoFo 2014 is finally here, and my theme for this year is Vegan Scotland: veganising Scottish recipes and suggestions for eating out and socialising in Scotland.

After the disappointing result in Thursday's independence referendum, I needed something sweet to cheer me up, and as my theme is Vegan Scotland, my thoughts immediately went to flapjacks. Incredibly quick and easy to make, these tasty treats are a perfect snack or dessert. You can also use different kinds of dried fruit, nuts and seeds in them for variety and depending on what you like.



Recipe: Flapjacks



Friday, 19 September 2014

Referendum Night at the Bread Street Brasserie

Vegan MoFo 2014 is finally here, and my theme for this year is Vegan Scotland: veganising Scottish recipes and suggestions for eating out and socialising in Scotland.

I've written before about the vegan evenings at the Bread Street Brasserie in Edinburgh, but I thought I'd write up another post for this month's event, which I attended along with other members of Edinburgh Vegan Meetup. Of course, tonight was an extra-special night as today was the day that voters across Scotland went to the polls to vote on whether we should become an independent country. I went to vote with a couple of friends at my local polling station in Portobello this morning, adding another three yes votes to the total!

The photo didn't come out brilliantly, so in case you can't see it, Anna is pointing to her Yes badge :)

Once my vote had been cast, there was very little for me to do until it was time to collect in Green Yes A-boards from outside polling stations at the end of the night, so going to the Bread Street Brasserie for their vegan evening seemed like an excellent idea to keep me busy whilst anxiously awaiting for the results to come in. The official announcement of the result is expected at approximately 7am on the morning of Friday 19 September, so I doubt I'll be sleeping much tonight!

Look at this awesome group of lovely people from Edinburgh Vegan Meetup :)


Friday, 12 September 2014

Independence Biscuits

Vegan MoFo 2014 is finally here, and my theme for this year is Vegan Scotland: veganising Scottish recipes and suggestions for eating out and socialising in Scotland.

I haven't posted for a few days because I've been a little overstretched with trying to keep up with my work, take the cats to the vet for their annual check up, attend a very interesting and useful discussion to learn about non-binary gender identity and, of course, keep up with the latest developments on Scotland's upcoming independence referendum. Between all of that, I've let my Vegan MoFo blogging fall a little by the wayside, but I'm back today for a quick post.

In the fine tradition of intersectional vegan baketivism, I decided to make some traditional Scottish shortbread biscuits with messages supporting the Yes campaign, and particularly promoting the Green Yes. Directly below is the recipe, and underneath that I've decided to explain why I'll be voting yes in the referendum on 18 September.



Monday, 8 September 2014

Oatcakes

Vegan MoFo 2014 is finally here, and my theme for this year is Vegan Scotland: veganising Scottish recipes and suggestions for eating out and socialising in Scotland.

Oatcake topped with Vegusto No-Moo Walnut vegan cheese and homemade marrow and ginger chutney.

Oatcakes are a very delicious traditional Scottish food, and one that I love to make! Whilst there are plenty of vegan oatcakes available to buy in the shops here in the UK, nothing quite compares to the taste of a homemade oatcake. They’re really simple and quick to make in an oven, and they last for a while in a sealed container. They’re also very versatile, and taste delicious topped with vegan cheese and chutney, nut butters or even just dipped into soup.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Vegan cooked breakfast with tattie scones

Vegan MoFo 2014 is finally here, and my theme for this year is Vegan Scotland: veganising Scottish recipes and suggestions for eating out and socialising in Scotland.


Vegan cooked breakfast with smokey tempeh bacon, tofu scramble, toast, beans and tattie scones. I thought about adding some fried mushrooms and tomatoes but realised I would need a bigger plate and/or stomach!

Whilst breakfast for me is usually a light meal of porridge, cereal or fruit, I have always loved a great big cooked breakfast every now and again, and that hasn't changed since I went vegan a few years ago. Indeed, one of my favourite things about the weekend is being able to enjoy one at home or out and about if I can.

In the spirit of my theme for Vegan MoFo 2014, I decided to make myself a nice big plate of Scottish cooked breakfast today, which you can see in the photo above. The recipes for the tofu scramble and tempeh bacon both came from one of my favourite and most-used recipe books, Vegan With A Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and you can also find the recipe for the tofu scramble on her website here.

Here in Scotland, a cooked breakfast simply wouldn't be the same without tattie scones on the side, delicious fried potato goodness which, in my opinion, are far superior to the traditional English hash brown. Delicious, cheap and super easy to make, they're a great addition to your breakfast. Plus, if you have any left over, you can keep them in the fridge to either eat cold or reheat quickly in a frying pan the next day.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Mince and Tatties

Vegan MoFo 2014 is finally here, and my theme for this year is Vegan Scotland: veganising Scottish recipes and suggestions for eating out and socialising in Scotland.

Mince and tatties is a hearty Scottish dish which is fairly straightforward to make and is very tasty and filling! It’s one of my favourite meals on an autumn or winter night.Unfortunately, it's also one of the least beautiful foods in the world to try and photograph, so I hope you will accept that my photo simply doesn't do the tastiness of it justice!

For this recipe, instead of TVP, you could use 600g of store-bought vegan mince in this recipe if you prefer, which doesn’t need to be rehydrated. I’ve also had excellent versions made with cooked green or brown lentils. One of my neighbours also swears by adding a splash of red wine to the mince for flavour, and his vegan mince and tatties are very, very good.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Scotch Broth with Braised Tofu

Vegan MoFo 2014 is finally here, and my theme for this year is Vegan Scotland: veganising Scottish recipes and suggestions for eating out and socialising in Scotland.


Scotch broth is a hearty, delicious and traditional Scottish dish, perfect for an autumn or winter evening when you need to get some warmth into you! My veganised version uses braised tofu to add a bit of texture and chewiness to it, but you could use other ingredients such as chunks of pressed firm tofu or store-bought vegan meats in its place, or even leave it out entirely if you prefer! Many recipes also add in a couple of sticks of chopped celery at the beginning, but as I’m not a huge celery fan I tend to leave them out.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Local vegan and animal rights groups and organisations in Scotland

Vegan MoFo 2014 is finally here, and my theme for this year is Vegan Scotland: veganising Scottish recipes and suggestions for eating out and socialising in Scotland.

First of all, I wanted to mention that today, 2 September, is the birthday of Donald Watson, one of the early pioneers of the vegan movement and founders of the Vegan Society in 1944. He was born in 1910 and lived a very interesting life, including registering as a conscientious objector in World War II and being part of the group which coined the term 'vegan' in the 1940s. If you want to learn more about him (and you should!), you can find out more on the Vegan Society website, his BBC obituary or on Wikipedia.

In line with Donald Watson's life ambition of starting a movement which aimed to end the exploitation of non-human animals, this post is a list of some suggestions for local groups and organisations based in Scotland which promote animal rights and/or veganism that you might like to get involved with, whether you're interested in learning more about the issues, getting involved with campaigning or just socialising with like-minded people.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Porridge

Vegan MoFo 2014 is finally here, and my theme for this year is Vegan Scotland: veganising Scottish recipes and suggestions for eating out and socialising in Scotland.

I thought I'd start off with a nice simple couple of recipes for that traditional Scottish breakfast staple: porridge. It's a simple, tasty and healthy way to start the day, and there are so many different ways to enjoy it! Toppings I particularly enjoy in varying combinations include jam, maple syrup, agave syrup, a splash of plant milk, nuts, seeds, raisins, sultanas, sliced bananas, nut butters (cashew butter being my personal favourite) and even chocolate chips for a sweet treat.

I've included two recipes below, one using porridge oats and one made with oatmeal. Porridge oats tend to make a stodgier porridge which I personally prefer, while oatmeal has a smoother consistency. Traditionally, Scottish porridge is also made with a stirrer known as a spurtle, although this isn't compulsory!

The most important thing to remember about making porridge, however, whichever kind of oats you use, is to soak the pan immediately as soon as you've served the porridge from it! If you've ever had the misfortune to have to try and clean a porridge pan which has been sitting out you'll know what I mean.


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Coming to a blog near you: Vegan MoFo 2014!



 It's that time of year once again! The Vegan Month of Food Writing (Vegan MoFo to you and me) is returning in September 2014, and I will be taking part for the second year in a row.

In 2013 I took part for the first time and didn't really have a set theme, although I covered topics such as eating vegan in Brazil, couchsurfing as a vegan, the badger cull, vegan barbeques, vegans in prison and even a recipe or two. I managed twenty posts in total, and you can read them all here.

This year I've picked a theme to try and run with for my posts, and that is:Vegan Scotland! I'll be posting about veganising Scottish food, vegan food in Scotland (including a vegan haggis showdown) as well as suggestions for places to go to eat out and socialise as a vegan in Scotland.

Are you taking part in Vegan MoFo this year? If so, let me know your blog link (and theme if you have one) in the comments below.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Shows I think you should see at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe happens every year in August, and it's an excellent opportunity to see a range of different performances, including theatre, music, circus, comedy and spoken word. Depending on your budget, there are plenty of paying ticketed performances but also many free ticketed and non-ticketed shows too (usually with a collection at the end where you are encouraged to give a donation based on your budget and how much you enjoyed it). There are so many things on every year that it can be really difficult to decide what to go and see, so these are some of the shows and performers that I've seen and think are worth watching.


Sunday, 3 August 2014

A trip to Oslo, part three

Note: As with all my blog posts, you can click on any of the photos below to enlarge them.

This is part three of my series about my recent trip to Oslo in Norway. To see what I got up to in Oslo before this post, see parts one and two.

Following my coffee and pie, I took a short walk down to the Cultural History Museum. An interesting museum with displays of Viking hoards, cultural artifacts from people living in the Arctic circle and other objects from around the world, the highlight for me was the For the Love of Freedom exhibition taking place, and particularly the section looking at gay history in Norway and the history of Pride.


 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A trip to Oslo, part two

Note: As with all my blog posts, you can click on any of the photos below to enlarge them.

This is part two of my series about my recent trip to Oslo in Norway. To read part one, just click here.

The best advice that I was given to save money in Oslo was to eat a large breakfast in the morning, which I did each day that I stayed in the hotel. As they had soya milk, a selection of fresh fruit, cereals, muesli, dried fruit, nuts and seeds available each morning, I was able to fill up pretty well and only generally needed a light snack for lunch. Considering how much it costs to buy food and eat out in Oslo, this saved me a pretty penny!



On the second full day I had in Oslo (see day one here), I took the boat across to the Bygdøy peninsula, which has six excellent museums on it! Public transport is included in the Oslo Pass, and this includes travelling on the ferries across the fjord. It was a beautiful trip.

Friday, 25 July 2014

A trip to Oslo, part one

Note: As with all my blog posts, you can click on any of the photos below to enlarge them.

I recently went on a bit of a last-minute and unexpected trip to Oslo and it was awesome! I was completely blown away by the city, the surrounding natural beauty and the wonderful people I met there during my stay. Now that I'm back home in Edinburgh, I thought it would be nice to put together some blog posts about what I did with my time in Oslo, the things that I saw and, of course, the tasty vegan food I found while I was there.

Unfortunately, there is no simple and quick way to get from the UK to Norway overland (I looked it up the fantastic website The Man in Seat Sixty-One to check before my trip) so I ended up taking the plane from London to Oslo. As I had been told that British Airways would not provide vegan food options on my flight, I took some food with me. Handily, Pret a Manger have a couple of outlets in Heathrow Airport and mark their vegan options clearly, so I picked up a super greens sandwich and a pot of fruit to take with me, along with some lentil chips (yum) and an absolutely delicious apple patisserie thing which I picked up from Vx/Vegan Cross while I was in London.


On arriving at Oslo Gardermoen, it was very straightforward to get the train into the central station, where I arrived to the sight of a giant pride flag displayed on the side of the station! Oslo had hosted EuroPride 2014 the week before I arrived and signs were very much still in evidence throughout my stay, not least when I spotted trams moving around the city with pride flags attached to them!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Pride


Picture credit: Pride Scotia


This Saturday is Pride Scotia, which takes place in Edinburgh city centre every year in June. This year, I'll be going along for the first time ever, and this is why:

For most of my life, pride has felt like a bit of a strange word to me. It's not one that I've felt that I especially identified with or needed. I've never felt especially "proud" to be who I am (in this context, a cisgender queer/pansexual woman). I guess that stems from a long-held belief that my gender identity and sexuality are my own personal business, to be shared only with those in my circle of family and friends that I choose to speak with about it. If I were to choose my own adjective for how I feel about my sexuality and gender identity, it would probably be "comfortable". However, I don't think LGBT Comfort will be replacing LGBT Pride any time soon!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Some vegan eats in London

Having grown up in the city, I visit London pretty regularly, although these days it's mostly for activism-related things which keep me pretty busy! When I get the time though, I do have a few favourite spots for vegan meals and snacks that I like to visit. I've passed through London quite a few times in the last couple of months, and so I thought I'd share some photos of some of the places I've been to for tasty vegan food.

Firstly, the Black Cat Cafe in Hackney is a totally vegan, not-for-profit café and shop which does the most incredible vegan breakfasts on the weekends. I went on a Saturday in April and had their delicious fry-up with a black coffee. Highly recommended!



Saturday, 3 May 2014

Birthday celebrations

Last week was my birthday, and I had some truly wonderful celebrations in the evening, so I thought I'd share a few of my favourite pictures from the day here. It's pretty picture-heavy so I've made them smaller than usual, but you can click on any of the photos to enlarge.

The day started with Vegan With A Vengeance tofu scramble (yum!) and kitty snuggles. A good start :)



After a very relaxed day at home, I then went out with a few friends for dinner at The Auld Hoose, a pub in Edinburgh which has an extensive and well-labelled vegan menu, including nachos which come complete with vegan cheese! The Auld Hoose is definitely one of my favourite vegan-friendly pubs in the city.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Video: Bod Roll on Aerial Fabrics

I just thought I'd share a video of doing some aerial fabrics, as a few people I know seem curious as to what it involves.

Here's a video of me practicing a bod roll in class earlier this month:


It's the only video I have of doing aerial fabrics at the moment, but I'll try and add some more of different moves over the next few months.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Baking bread



I recently bought a copy of the cookbook Five Minute Bread, and I've been having a lot of fun with it! I really enjoy a homemade loaf, but I get fed up of kneading fast, so after hearing some recommendations of this "no need to knead" bread book, I thought I'd give it a try. So far, so good! The cookbook is not vegan and includes some recipes which are not suitable for vegans such as a bread salad and some sandwich recipes, but in general most of the bread recipes are vegan.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

It’s time for the end of ageing nuclear power stations in Europe



 Last month, I joined a delegation of UK Greenpeace activists going to Belgium to take action at the Tihange Nuclear Power Station on the Meuse River in Huy, which has been running since 1975. It was designed to have an operational lifetime of just 30 years, and yet decisions made by the Belgian government in 2003 and 2012 mean that it is now permitted to run until 2025, a full twenty years longer than it had been originally designed for. It should seem obvious to anyone that this extension is simply not safe, far above and beyond even the normal dangers of running a nuclear power station.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

What to do with my home-grown carrots?

As I blogged about last month, I was seriously excited to discover that I had carrots growing in my garden from some long-forgotten seeds planted the year before. The question is, what to do with these popular orange vegetables?

Firstly, I added some carrots to a delicious tofu scramble I made using a recipe from the cookbook Vegan With A Vengeance, which is also posted online on the Post Punk Kitchen. I served it with a side of homemade salsa and some hot sauce, and it was really filling and tasty. I never really liked scrambled chickens' eggs very much before I went vegan, but I love the taste of this.



Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Ackee and Callaloo with the Spy Club

 

Almost six years ago, I was involved briefly with a grassroots anti-nuclear affinity group we called the Spy Club, which went to Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment in Easter 2008 to take direct action, which resulted in two arrests. I wasn't part of the group which went over the fence into the nuclear base, but I was involved with the support on the day and prior to the action, and I wrote a bit about it in a reflection which was published in the Christian Anarchist publication A Pinch of Salt, despite considering myself to be neither a Christian nor an anarchist!

However, one part of the time we spent together preparing for the action really sticks out in my memory and yet has nothing to do with nuclear weapons or taking direct action: the food we ate together, and particularly one meal, a Jamaican dish called ackee and callaloo. I noted down the recipe we used, and have made it a few times for really special occasions, and I thought I would share it here. Whilst it does have a long list of ingredients, it's actually a deceptively simple dish to make! Plus, it clearly has activist-energising and inspiring (inspyring?) powers.

I don't have any photos of the dish available to me just now, but when I find one I'll add it in here.


Recipe: Ackee and Callaloo

Friday, 21 February 2014

Excitement in the garden!

Today was a very exciting day for me. There's a communal garden at the rear of my flat, which I'm lucky enough to have direct access onto from my patio door (one of the very few advantages of basement life!), and last year I planted a bunch of seeds and seedlings in pots; mostly vegetables, but also some flowers including irises. I hadn't been holding out much hope for anything much growing due to a number of factors, including (but not limited to) the fact that I was out of the country for three months last year; a tree falling in the garden in the summer and destroying quite a lot of stuff on the way down; and a neighbour's dog who is frequently let out unsupervised into the garden to poop everywhere, dig things up and jump on top of anything left out, which resulted in the demise of my small outdoor box for storing garden stuff. However, when I went out for a look this morning, look what I found in one of the pots!


Three whole carrots! Grown from seed with pretty much no interference at all! Plus, there are a number of baby carrots still growing in the pot!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

A chilly afternoon visit to Barton Moss


I'm going to start this blog post with a minor confession: as a general rule, I don't like marches/public demonstrations and avoid them as much as possible. In my experience, I find them frequently to be long-winded, ineffective, disempowering to participants, vulnerable to infiltration and manipulation by outside interests, and easily ignored by those in power. However, that didn't stop me going along with friends (including friend and fellow blogger Hazel Hedge) to the anti-fracking campaign solidarity march at Barton Moss in Salford last Sunday whilst I was in Yorkshire visiting friends for the weekend.

Despite my general reservations about marching and public demonstrations, I felt that this was likely to a worthwhile one to join as it wasn't claiming to be an attempt to close the exploratory fracking site or persuade stakeholders to stop the drilling, but rather an afternoon to show support for and solidarity with the campers living permanently on the roadside near the fracking site, and also an opportunity to visit Barton Moss and meet the campers in an open and family-friendly environment.