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Spoon Carving at The Cherry Wood Project

My spoons

Last Wednesday I spent the day in the woods learning to carve spoons from Tim Gatfield at The Cherry Wood Project near Bath. I was inspired to take the workshop after my brief but memorable brush with Spoonfest in Edale last June while road tripping around the UK. The trip was supposed to be all about walking and wild camping – and in many respects it was – but many of the trip highlights were found on my rest days. Spoonfest was one of them – thank you Gloria Nicol!

Spoon carving en masse.  I love seeing people geek out with their craft. #spoonfest #peakdistrict

I didn’t carve any spoons at Spoonfest, but I totally caught the buzz. Spoon carving en masse is an inspiring thing to behold. And it seemed a natural fit to my camping / walking / outdoorsy tendencies. And let’s face it, every good camper should know how to use an axe.

Spoon Carving Workshop at The Cherry Wood Project

Back home I decided to treat myself to a spoon carving workshop on my local turf. I found out about The Cherry Wood Project through Chris Allen (a spoon carver I am grateful to have met through Spoonfest who makes awesome whale spoons).

Spoon Carving Workshop at The Cherry Wood Project

The workshop with Tim left me wanting more – which is probably the best thing you can say about a day like this. I especially enjoyed getting to know the story behind The Cherry Wood Project, which you can read more about on their website. This excerpt from Tim is a good summary:

For many years I have had a keen interest in conservation, rural and craft skills, and living in a way that is more sustainable and sympathetic with nature. It had also long been a dream to own my own woodland, and I purchased Cherry Wood near Bath in 2005 with the intention of improving and managing the wood and setting up a ‘school’ to teach green woodworking skills to others, and pass on the pleasure of living and working in the woods. A previous career in the army has given me valuable knowledge of bushcraft and living outdoors, which I aim to pass on to students.

Spoon Carving Workshop at The Cherry Wood Project

I came home with two usable spoons, a knife, a hook knife and one small knick on my thumb. Now all I need is an axe and you all can guess what you’ll be getting for Christmas this year.

This was a happy day in an inspiring and beautiful place, a day spent carving wood around an open fire, with many tea breaks and an ace lunch in view of their enviable clay oven. I plan to return very soon (they have volunteer days everything Thursday). There is much to learn here, and really great people to learn with.

You can see all of my spoon carving pictures on Flickr. Here are a few favourites:

Spoon Carving Workshop at The Cherry Wood Project

Clay oven – me and my sourdough long for thee:

Clay Oven Envy

Crossfit skills finally being put to good use:

Spoon Carving Workshop at The Cherry Wood Project

Many tea breaks:

Spoon Carving Workshop at The Cherry Wood Project

Fantastic veggie / vegan lunch: Spoon Carving Workshop at The Cherry Wood Project Ewok Village Compost Loo:

Spoon Carving Workshop at The Cherry Wood Project

Froothie Optimum 9400 Blender Review

Froothie Optimum 9400

As many of you know, I’ve been a devoted user of the Vitamix for years, so when the opportunity came along to try out the Froothie Optimum 9400 Blender I felt a little bit like I was cheating on an old and very dear friend. But I decided to have an open mind and see what this new kid on the block could do. A few weeks ago I stashed away my Vitamix and replaced it with the Froothie to see how it worked for my daily blending needs.

Daily? That’s right. I’m a pretty heavy blender user – I make smoothies for breakfast every day and often (at least once per week) use the blender for other tasks such as pureed soups, custard for ice cream, almond milk, cashew gravy and on special occasions, raw raspberry cheesecake. I need a blender that can withstand my serious usage and heavy pureeing needs.

Over the past three weeks I’ve been using the Froothie for those daily smoothies, and have also used it to make oat milk and banana “ice cream”. I have yet to try more interesting tasks such as custard or hot soups, but those items will certainly have their chance because I don’t intend to stop using the Froothie anytime soon. So far it’s been a stellar performer and has performed at least as well as the Vitamix. If it excels in one area I’d say it’s noise: the Froothie is noticeably quieter than my Vitamix. I also like the clear jug.

Froothie vs Vitamix

Perhaps one of the reasons I haven’t missed my Vitamix is because the Froothie is almost identical in terms of looks and function. Under the hood sees a few benefits, too. The Optimum 9400 has a 2,238 Watt motor (compared to Vitamix’s 1,492), a 44,000 rpm speed (vs 37,000), a 6 blade assembly (vs 4) and one jug that works for both wet and dry blending (all of my flour- and spice-grinding dreams come true). At £329, it’s also cheaper than Vitamix which starts at about £465.

Yes, it’s still expensive, but having spent this kind of money on a high power blender myself, I can tell you that I’ve never regretted my purchase. A good blender is enabling. You could use a cheaper blender but you wouldn’t get the same silky smooth results, and you wouldn’t be able to blitz up great stuff like kale, broccoli and beetroot into perfectly smooth smoothies. At best, you might get smoothie salsa! A good blender also enables you to do fun things like make your own nut milk, nut butters, flour, cashew cheese and other things that are only achievable with a good motor and some strong blades.

Hemp Protein Green Smoothie

That word “enabling” brings me to another surprise plus I’ve found with the Optimum 9400. The blender comes with a quaint little booklet called “Deliciously Raw” full of recipes for raw smoothies, soups, dressings, nut cheeses and desserts. The book is written by Carmella Soleil of the Sunny Raw Kitchen blog and the stories she’s included with her recipes are down to earth and really inspiring. I especially liked her discovery story of raw nut cheese, having been unimpressed early on, but then having her interest “rekindled” by Chad Sarno’s Cashew Cheese Au Poivre. I just love origin stories like these and it really helps put a commercial product like a blender in perspective. It also really makes me want to have a go at making raw cheeses – particularly the nacho “cheeze” to have with raw tostadas (with raw corn chips made in the food dehydrator).

All this raw healthy vegan stuff certainly is hugely appliance heavy, and for that I’m often in two minds about whether some of this stuff is the way forward. Regardless, I know from experience that smoothies and juices have had a positive impact on my own health and wellbeing, so I’m willing to let these gadgets into my life. And like most gadgets, it’s better to get something of quality, that works well, and will last. So far the Optimum 9400 is ticking all of those boxes.

Speaking of appliances, I’m looking forward to trying out the Froothie Slow Juicer next, particularly for its bonus abilities as a nut butter machine and a tofu maker. Stay tuned!

You can test-drive any of Froothie’s machines with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Check out the Froothie website to see their full line of blenders and juicers including the Optimum 9400 and the Slow Juicer.

Snow Cones for Grown Ups

Grown up snow cone

As part of my supperclub earlier this month, I developed a signature cocktail - fresh pineapple margarita with jalapeno and strawberry infused tequila – inspired by my time spent in Austin and budding interest in fresh juice cocktails.

sno-cone-suppliesToday, inspired by my friend Kavey’s post about ye olde ice cream vans, and because it’s Friday, I decided to recreate my margarita as an adult version of the classic “Snow Cone”. This is also in vague tribute to another Austin favourite, Casey’s Snow Balls, which itself is a tribute to another one of my favourite city’s, New Orleans (it’s all about tributes today).

The snow ball concept is basically this: put some shaved ice in a cup (which you can sort of achieve by blending up ice in a blender with a little water). Pour whatever you want over the shaved ice – booze, fruit syrup, fresh juice, cordial, whatever – and serve. This makes the below recipe very adaptable for whatever margarita flavour you’d like (I pimped out the above margarita with some elderberry syrup I had left from last year).

For lack of paper cones, I find the cone-shape of the margarita glass makes a perfect substitute.

Snow Cone Margarita

Serves 1

  • 1 cup shaved ice (or ice crushed up in a blender with a bit of water)
  • 1-3 Tbsp agave nectar or flavoured syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 1 ounce tequila (or better still, jalapeno and strawberry infused tequila)
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • salt if desired

Method

  1. If you like a salt-rimmed glass, then take a lime wedge and use it to moisten the rim of the glass. Put some salt on a plate and rotate the outside of the glass rim in the salt (so that you salt the outside, not the inside).
  2. In a jar or any container with a lid, combine the agave, tequila and lime juice. Give it a good shake.
  3. Put the ice in the glass and pour the jar contents over it.
  4. Garnish with lime, pineapple or whatever you like an serve.

I’m including this in Kavey’s Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream round-up under the ice cream van theme.

Smarter Fitter Supperclub Recap and Recipes

Fwd:

Last night was my first ever Smarter Fitter Supperclub held here at my digs in the Cotswolds featuring a vegan, raw, gluten-free theme. There were 11 of us in total, and what fun it was having so many like-minded and adventurous people over to try some of my creations, share ideas, drink wine and have some great chat. It went amazingly well and I hope all of my guests had as much fun as I did. The stand-out dishes seemed to be the beetroot and walnut dip, sweet potato kofte, raw raspberry cheesecake and, funny enough, the “Juicer Dreg Crisps” I made in the dehydrator with leftover juicer pulp.

My only regret is not taking enough pictures! The only pictures I did take were of the beverages (which might explain a thing or two).

Infusing. #tequila

Will I do it again? I think so! The social opportunities alone make it worthwhile – I met some really interesting people and made a few new friends. Plus, it was great hanging out with people who are actually local to me – something I don’t do as much as I’d like to.

So I’m thinking a summertime veggie BBQ camp. Any interest?

The menu from last night is below, with links to a few recipes for some favourite dishes.

DRINKS

APPETIZERS

SMORGASBORD

DESSERT

Smarter Fitter Supperclub – with camping!

I am hosting the first of hopefully many Smarter Fitter Supperclubs at my home in the Cotswolds countryside this 12 April – and everyone’s invited! Read on for details…

Supperclubbing

The Basics

  • Date: Saturday, 12 April
  • Time: 7pm
  • Cost: £40 for a cocktail and 3-courses (£100 for camping option, see below)
  • Cuisine: Vegan (more on this below)
  • Drinks: BYOB
  • Location: My cottage near Cirencester (details will be emailed to you after you book)
  • Booking: Please book via PayPal below

The Food

Supperclubbing

The Smarter Fitter Supperclub will feature a 3-course vegan menu that features loads of seasonal produce and the kind of colourful, creative dishes that I’ve honed over my last 22 years of cooking and eating meat-free, with the last several years being heavily focused on developing all-natural vegan recipes that are satisfying and tasty for vegetarians and omnivores alike (check out my Instagram feed for a glimpse at some of my creations).

This isn’t a health food supperclub, it’s a real food supperclub. Yes there will be salads, but not like you’re used to! Expect lots of colour and yummy dressings and rich sauces and no doubt an avocado or two. Given my propensity for juices and smoothies, you can bet there will be some fresh juice going around. And you are welcome to bring your own wine, beer and spirits.

This supperclub isn’t just for vegans; it’s for anyone who likes good, wholesome, all-natural food. It’s also for people who are adventurous and want to experience some new ingredients and a new way of eating! You may even walk away with some inspiration for how to incorporate more vegetables, raw food, pulses and gluten-free grains into your own cooking in a creative way that’s equally satisfying, nourishing and delicious (I will happily share my recipes after the supperclub).

I can cater for all special diets – the menu will be primarily gluten-free as is. So if you have any dietary restrictions, just let me know.

The Venue

Farm life

The supperclub will be held at my cottage in the countryside, a hidden oasis in the middle of wildflower meadows with an orchard in the backyard and an awesome dog named Rocky. You can get a preview of the grounds and interior in my Airbnb listing. Like all good cottages, mine is cozy and so supperclub seating is limited. Book now to secure your place by clicking on the Paypal link below.

Camping Option

Particularly handy for those who like their wine!

Those of you who would like to stay the night and have breakfast in the morning are welcome to bring a tent and pitch in the backyard. I am really good at breakfasts and encourage you to take advantage of this offer!

Questions?

If you have any questions at all before you book, please contact me by email or on Twitter. I hope to see you soon!- Monica


Make a booking:
(If you’re booking for more than one, you will be able to change order quantities after clicking the Buy Now button.)



No Knead Bread

Courgette and Carrot Salad

From the orchard

Breaking down camp

Beetroot Gazpacho Soup

Mom made this awesome sign!

Pudding time

New Year Reboot Workshop Recap

New Year Reboot Detox Class at Demuths Vegetarian Cookery School

Last Tuesday I hosted my first cooking class ever! The title was New Year Reboot and the aim was to show people strategies and recipes to help them recover their body from a season of excess and get back to (or get started with) feeling awesome all of the time. The class was held in Bath at Demuths Vegetarian Cookery School, owned and operated by Rachel Demuth, one of the best vegetarian chefs in the UK (she’s been at it for 30 years so she knows her stuff!).

New Year Reboot Workshop

I was very grateful to work alongside Rachel as I taught the course. While I demonstrated smoothies, soups and salads, Rachel showed how to make your own veggie stock, quinoa and the ultimate soup garnish: kale chips!

New Year Reboot Workshop

I was so grateful to have Rachel there, along with my helper and friend, Marie Leggo of Lanyon in Cornwall. I now realise just how much effort goes into teaching a cookery class, and I have new appreciation for the work that cookery teachers like Rachel put into what they do. It’s quite possible that I bit off more than I could chew with the menu, but Rachel and Marie helped everything flow.

All of the dishes were vegan, gluten-free, soy free and dairy free. Here’s what was on the menu, with recipes where available:

The students made their own pear and avocado smoothies and quinoa bowls, and it was fun seeing the different variations they came up with (I applaud their copious use of fresh herbs – my students were flavour genius!).

I was further delighted by how much they liked my cauliflower soup, where the creaminess comes from cashews rather than milk or cream. And in another cauliflower trick, the raw winter tabbouleh used cauliflower in place of bulgar wheat (the cauliflower gets broken into bits in a food processor).

New Year Reboot Detox Class at Demuths Vegetarian Cookery School

Of course, the best part was meeting and cooking with a bunch of new people, all eager to learn a bit about this healthy eating stuff and exchange ideas. It made all of that effort worthwhile and certainly assuaged any new-teacher-nerves I might have had!

photo 2.JPG

A big thanks to Rachel for providing such a wonderful environment for teaching, and thanks in particular for all the help with preparation. And thanks to Marie who helped clean up our messes!

Finally, thanks especially to everyone who came on the course – it inspires me to keep on pushing with my own healthy habits, and healthy output like recipes, cookbooks and workshops. Beetroot smoothies all around!

 

Juice Feast in Review

So it seems spirulina makes smoothies look like something out of Ten Forward. This is cool to me. #trekkie

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently did a 7-day “juice feast” in which I drank only fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices for seven days in a row following Jason Vale’s annoyingly-named “7lbs in 7 Days Super Juice Diet”. I’ve already written about how stupid it all sounds (I normally wouldn’t buy or buy into anything involving the word “diet”, but even book publishers have to eat… or drink as the case may be). But I did it, not so much for the weight loss, but just to see how it would make me feel. I wanted an adventure!

Having finished the seven days (successfully!), I just wanted to share a few random thoughts about the whole thing.

Let me make this clear: THIS IS NOT FASTING

When I told some people about this juicing thing they were automatically like “oh my god, you’re going to to disappear”. I want to stress that this juice plan wasn’t a starve yourself plan. I drank 6 substantial juices throughout the day at 3-hour intervals. Some of those juices got blended with avocado or greek yogurt, so were more like smoothies. It’s tough to count how many calories I was eating, but as a very rough estimate, I’d say I drank 6-7 cups of juices per day plus 1-2 avocados plus 200-400g yogurt. If a cup of juice has 100 calories, an avocado 400 calories and yogurt (I chose Greek!) 100 calories per hundred grams, that’s about 1200+ calories per day. And the plan is flexible – if you’re hungry, have more juice.

Attempting the family jello 'mould' using fresh juice. Beet for colour!

In fact, I wasn’t hungry

As much as I was never full, I was never really hungry. There were some days when I didn’t even drink all the juices because I just felt satisfied with what I had.

No planning or thinking required: I like that

Well, there’s a bit of planning – you have to go to the grocery store and buy all the ingredients. And get a juicer. But the day-to-day stuff is completely laid out on a wall chart. There’s your seven days. No researching recipes or thinking up creative low calorie meals. The work is done. And as much as I normally love inventing recipes, this juicing thing was totally new to me and I appreciated the clear guidance.

Headaches

I experienced headaches on Days 2 and 3, in the evening, but these went away after that. Caffeine withdrawal? Kale withdrawal? Who knows.

Crazy amounts of energy

So after Day 3 is when things really got crazy. I suddenly had all kinds of energy that lasted from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed. It was marvellous. I got so much done. I was focused. I put in lots of time on Smarter Fitter Smoothies. I put in lots of time on everything. I had to force myself to go to bed at night even though I wasn’t tired. I felt like I did things with purpose. I wonder if…

Was it the superfood?

The plan calls for supplementing with wheatgrass (fresh or powder), spirulina, “friendly bacteria” and his “Superfood” supplement. I bemoaned the idea of buying more stuff, so I didn’t, but then had the great fortune of receiving some wheatgrass powder and spirulina samples from Naturya (more on that in a separate post). These arrived at the end of Day 3. So I’m left to wonder whether my energy came from the “superfood” or just the simple fact of my body settling into a juice routine. Regardless, I’m going to keep up with the superfood in my post-juice-feast smoothies and see if the energy wave continues.

Physical energy, too

Throughout the seven days I maintained my usual morning gym routine of swimming and weightlifting and even upped the ante a bit with some afternoon cycling on my new bicycle trainer. My workouts that week were better than they’d been in months. I was swimming faster, lifting more, and generally just feeling more focused on my activities, and thus, pushing myself harder.

Sorry to sound so smitten but

I felt better at the end of those seven days than I’d felt in probably years.

But I was glad when it was over

It felt so good to chew food again and to eat things that were (a) hot and (b) SAVOURY. In fact I made my first savoury smoothie the day after the juice feast.

Whole food is hard on the body after a week of juicing

Jason’s book stresses that you must ease back into normal eating slowly. Days 8-10 should consist of smoothies for breakfast, raw salads or soups for lunch and a protein-rich dinner. So that’s what I did – lunch was an apple, avocado and rocket salad and dinner was a thai-style fish soup with lots of vegetables. But even then, my stomach felt off on Day 9, like it was sore from all the hard work of digestion! So I kept Day 9 pretty light with a juice for breakfast, a small salad and juice for lunch, and another salad with grilled fish for dinner. Today is Day 10 and I am feeling much happier on the inside. 

What about those 7lbs?

I guess for a lot of people this is what it all really comes down to. I lost 6lbs. I wasn’t able to measure body fat so I don’t really know how much of that weight loss was water, fat, muscle, etc. As much as I didn’t do this to lose weight, when I looked in the mirror at the end of it and saw just a HINT of an abdominal muscle, I felt kinda pleased. Hello Christmas six-pack.

Expensive, but not as much as I thought

I put the vegetable ingredients into Tesco’s online shopping cart and the grocery bill came to £43.68 (with about £15 coming from the 85 apples!).To me that isn’t absurd for a week of groceries. The real expense comes with the equipment and the supplements, if using. The juicer alone cost £199 (you can get them cheaper, mind you, but expect to pay at least £80). And if you buy his recommended supplements, you’re looking at another £50 for spirulina, wheatgrass, psyllium husks, “Friendly Bacteria” and “Superfood” (I didn’t use the latter three). Plus the cost of the book and the iPhone app (which is awesome), about £10.

So in total it costs about £200-300 to do this thing.

But why?

I only wish I knew more about why the plan was laid out the way it was, in the given order on each day. Why did I have to wait three days to have the glorious yogurt and spirulina smoothie?! This was not covered in the book, or if it was, only in fluffy, non-scientific terms. I want someone to explain the way I’m feeling so I know how to make it last!

How long can I keep this up?

I’m still feeling pretty awesome and incredibly motivated to KEEP feeling this way. I just have this worry – now that I’ve stopped juicing, is all this awesome energy going to wear off? Well, I guess that’s the next adventure. Let’s so how I long I can keep it around for!

Cashew Curry

Cashew Curry

Given yesterday’s news that nuts are tied to lower risk of cancer and heart disease, I thought I’d share this cashew curry recipe which I made recently as part of an Indian feast for my friend Sam’s birthday a couple weekends ago. The recipe is adapted from Reza Mahammad’s “Cashews in a Rich Coconut Sauce” from Rice, Spice and All Things Nice. Yes, this is a curry based entirely on nuts! A strange idea, I thought, but it works really well and makes a most interesting option for a vegetarian curry.

And if you’re worried about the fat content of nuts, don’t be!  The study showed that people who ate nuts actually tended to be slimmer than their non-nutty counterparts. And, bonus, they also had:

  • 29% reduced risk of heart disease
  • 11% reduced risk of cancer
  • 20% reduced risk of death

The results applied to all nuts, even peanuts, which are actually a legume, not a nut (in fact, I’d be willing to bet that people who eat legumes regularly experience the same benefits as nut fiends).

Here’s a few other nutty recipes I like:

Cashew Curry
Author: 
Recipe type: Curry
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6
 

Skip the chillies if you can’t take the heat! Yes there is a 2-3 hour cooking time but this is MOSTLY unattended.
Ingredients
  • 200g raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1in piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 200ml coconut milk (1/2 can)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt
  • 2 green chillies, slit lengthwise

Instructions
  1. Cut the onion into quarters. Blend ¾ of the onion in a food processor. Finely dice the remaining onion.
  2. Rinse the cashews in cold water and drain.
  3. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the diced onion and fry on low heat for 10-15 minutes until it turns translucent and soft (do not allow it to brown!).
  4. Add the garlic, ginger, blended onion, turmeric and fennel. Pour in 500ml of water and stir well to incorporate.
  5. Add the cashews to the pan, return to the boil, lower the heat, cover, then cook slowly for 2-3 hours until the cashews are tender to the touch (stir the pot as little as you can during this time).
  6. When the cashews are soft, add the coconut milk, sugar, salt and chillies, then cook for another 30 minutes on a low heat.
  7. Serve hot.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 serving Calories: 350 Fat: 32g Saturated fat: 12g Carbohydrates: 16g Fiber: 2.5g Protein: 6g Cholesterol: 0g

 

In Search of the Perfect Veggie Roast

Thanksgiving veggie loaf experiments

Thanksgiving is upon us, a holiday which means very little to most people in the UK, unless you’re one of us American expats for whom the holiday seems to take on even greater meaning than it ever did when we were Stateside. Maybe it’s the ol’ ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder’ thing: because we can’t be home for Thanksgiving, we compensate, busting out every traditional recipe with can think of – from green bean casserole to pumpkin pie. And for lack of a central “family unit” to centralise the festivities, multiple people play host to Thanksgiving dinners, resulting in a multitude of Thanksgiving feasts, any one of which would probably put the family party back home to shame.

I am attending two Thanksgiving dinners this year, one of which I’m hosting here at the cottage. It will be a vegetarian feast, which naturally leads guests to the following question: “Will there be a nut roast!?”

To nut roast or not to nut roast? That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out.

Impromptu veggie loaf

The search for the perfect vegetarian holiday main dish seems to be a constant quest for me and my veggie mom and sister. Every year we scheme and plan. There have been lentil loaves, stuffed butternut squash and, one of our most successful attempts, a glorious vegetarian moussakka.

But what I’m after is something vegetarian that works with two of my favourite Thanksgiving hallmarks: gravy (cashew gravy in my case) and cranberry chutney.

Cranberry Chutney

So a veggie roast is in order, but what to make? Here in Britain, the classic veggie roast is a “nut roast”, for which numerous recipes exist. The problem I have with all of these recipes is, well, the nuts. I just really don’t want to eat a slice of nuts for Thanksgiving dinner, especially when there’s cashew gravy on the line.

Christmas Eve Nut Roast

Other options include a loaf based on lentils or grains, but the challenge continues… many of these veggie roast recipes take some of the key elements of the meal – namely roast vegetables and stuffing – and mush them up into one loaf – it’s like bubble and squeek on overdrive. Great for leftovers, but not the main event. So I’m seeking a loaf that really stands on its own, that works with side dishes like roast carrots and parsnips, mashed potatoes and stuffing, without being redundant.

Aside from all of this, the veggie roast should have great texture while still being sliceable. I’ve made my share of veggie loaves that crumble apart when you slice them. Not the best presentation!

Thanksgiving veggie loaf experiments

To that end, I’ve been researching recipes and practising and I think I’ve settle on something that does the trick. But I don’t want to give anything away before the big day. Instead, I’ll share with you a few of the more promising recipes I’ve stumbled upon.

I’m sure there are more out there but frankly I’m a little bit burnt out on veggie loaf research. So you tell me: what’s the ultimate veggie roast? Or is there no such thing? In which case, what’s the ultimate vegetarian Thanksgiving main?

Super Veggie Carbonara

Spaghetti, egg, green beans, parm, chilli. Family recipe. Comfort food.

My parents used to make a spaghetti dish when we were kids that involved the following ingredients: spaghetti, scrambled egg, crushed red chilli flakes, Lawry’s Garlic Salt, frozen french-cut green beans and parmesan.

I think of it as veggie carbonara, with green stuff in place of bacon, which some might say is an insult to carbonara, but I say what’s in a name? Regardless…

Whenever I’m feeling unwell, I always get a craving for this recipe. And so, dinner last night brought together: spaghetti, scrambled egg, crushed red chilli flakes, sauteed onion (everything’s better with onion), garlic and parsley (in place of the Lawry’s), fresh green beans (because that’s what came in the Riverford box this week), peas (cuz it didn’t feel right making this dish without tapping the freezer at least once) and, as ever, lots and lots of Parmesan.

Feeling much better now, especially after following my pasta bomb with this:

Peach frozen yogurt (from @davidlebovitz's Perfect Scoop).