Home Grown

I love my garden. Well, the communal garden for our flats, that no-one else really uses.
In the year and a half we have lived here I have filled almost every available space with fruit and veg plants.

This year I’ve had purple sprouting broccoli, green beans, kidney beans, strawberries, raspberries, onions, courgettes, peas and about a million tomatoes.
The tomatoes have just been getting red and ripe enough to pick this week. One slight problem. I am not a big fan of raw tomatoes :/ Fortunately, a good proportion of the meal I cook involve tomato sauce (not ketchup, just a sauce made out of tomatoes), so after my first tomato harvest I set about cooking up my own sauce.

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Growing tomatoes is really easy, and making them into sauce is possibly even easier. More people should grow their own, it’s satisfying 🙂

All I did to make the sauce was wash the tomatoes, chop them up into a pan, add some boiling water, bring to boil then reduce heat to a simmer and leave for about half an hour, stirring occasionally (I am a compulsive stirrer of food in pans :/). I also added some seasoning to taste, just salt, pepper, mixed herbs and a bit of sugar this time, but you could add chili, garlic, basil or a whole range of other seasonings, depending on what you want. If you want a really smooth sauce you can strain it through a sieve to remove seeds and skin, I didn’t bother though.

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It’s times like these that I’m glad I inherited my mothers habit of collecting things that might be useful; in this case, jars!

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I haven’t used the sauce yet, but it was yummy when I was tasting it while it was cooking. I think there’s going to a lot more sauce making in the near future, there are so many tomatoes out there!!

Best Wishes,
Betty
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Painting Fun

I was playing with my new nail varnishes this evening.
I’ve gone with a base of Rimmel Portobello Pink with polka dots in Rimmel Silver Bullet.

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The Silver Bullet wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. It was a bit too thin and translucent for good polka dots. I just about managed to over come it by applying a few coats, but that was fiddly, getting dots right once is hard enough!
I’m very pleased with the results, shame it’ll only last a day or two :/

Hope you’re well,
Betty
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The conundrum of baking whilst on a diet

As you may well be aware, I have been on a ‘diet’ of sorts for about six weeks now. I say ‘diet’, it’s more trying to eat sensibly and with fewer snacks than I did before, significantly fewer snacks, with a greater awareness of the calorie content of things. Ever since sitting down and calculating the calorie content of a cupcake I have been too terrified to bake, with visions of taking a bite and every seam of my clothing splitting open as I instantly gain a stone. Ok, that’s a bit dramatic, but not actually a million miles from the actual fears racing through my mind.
Finally, this morning, I got on the scales to discover I had reached the weight that I had been hoping for, 10 and a half stone! Although I didn’t feel quite the level of elation that I had anticipated, I am still pretty pleased with myself. In celebration I decided it was time I indulged my baking passion once more, by breaking out my slightly-adapted-for-a-lower-calorie-content cookie recipe.

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The base recipe came from the Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar book by Isa Chandra Moskowitz except I replaced the oil for Pure Dairy Free Sunflower Spread and some of the sugar for Agave nectar, as both contain fewer calories than the original ingredients.
I wasn’t totally sure the recipe would work, as the recipe goes on about some sort of reaction between the oil and sugar, and I had no idea how essential this would be to the finished product! Fortunately, they came out well. The mix didn’t spread as much in the oven as when made with oil, but that’s hardly the end of the world. Maybe the finished products are a little soft, but I honestly don’t know if that’s down to the recipe or my rubbish oven, I’ll bake them longer next time to see. On the most important point, taste, they are definitely a success. Also, with getting 14 out of a batch, based on my calculations, they’re only around 100 calories each, which isn’t bad for a cookie!!

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Now my next task is to control myself so I don’t eat them all in one sitting :/
I have used the agave syrup before, but only in recipes where it was prescribed. I think I shall be trying it out as a sugar substitution in some other recipes. I had never heard of it before I started my journey into vegan baking. It come from the agave plant, which I have been led to believe is a cactus and is also used in the production of tequila. Apparently, it’s popular in vegan baking as an alternative to honey, as vegans class honey as an animal product. I’ve also heard things about agave being potentially suitable for diabetics, but I’d check that out for yourself, don’t take my expression of vague hear-say as fact.

Anyway,
Hope you are keeping well,
Betty
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