Sunday, 31 December 2017

My 2017

Despite only being able to find a job I hated at the start of the year, and relapsing with depression, this year has also been pretty good! I had two amazing trips (Norway and the north island of New Zealand), because of my partner. I’d say I’ve had the time of my life. I can’t believe I’m so lucky to have found someone amazing to be with – where the relationship is easy to be in! I never thought it possible before, but here I am, and time is just passing by. I feel like the luckiest person to share my life with someone who is funny, intelligent, creative, sweet, compassionate, hot, and caring. He’s my best friend – someone I can talk with for hours and hours. Only downside is the distance, but it’s something we’ll work on closing, and the distance is, of course, worth it anyway.

In 2017, after the supermarket job - months and months later - I landed a job that doesn’t feel like work, because it’s fulfilling and enjoyable. How many people succeed in getting a job they like?!
I finally got my full driver’s licence at age 28. Again, I have the kind people to thank that were brave enough to let me drive their car (or mine when I got one) and instruct me. It happened years ago, but it is because of them I could get a bit further with life. To me, driving is liberating. In saying this, I
want us to all switch to renewable energy :P but we’ve made a big step in New Zealand this year by voting for a government that cares more about the environment than the previous one.

I got my ideal car: a manual Toyota Corolla 90’s (we’ll have to see how long it lasts. It was cheap and old, but it’s perfect to me).

I hope next year is smoother, for me and for everyone. I know 2017 was a brutal year for most people.

I hope to be able to focus on my health rather than just on my mental health; I’d love to start exercising regularly and eating better. I also hope to be more creative, spend a hell of a lot less time on social media (it only brings me down, makes me more misanthropic, and is an unproductive use of my time), and read more books. And I want to continue fighting for the innocent sentient beings that suffer terribly in our anthropocentric world. I’ve met such beautiful and amazing people this year, united in our fight for animals.

Here’s to a new year. I hope we all grow as people, learn, and enjoy the new year. Happy New Year! I wish you all the best!

Yes, there are a lot of cats in this video. Star (the one that likes to eat other people’s food) tries to eat my food. I avoid her, and I’m used to eating around her. But the scene with the spinach, I was bluffing. I didn’t think she’d take the spinach, let alone enjoy it! From then on, I’ve noticed that she tries to take the spinach from my plates/bowls. Weird weird weird cat. And the scene with the tomato, I didn’t give it to her. I used to leave tomatoes on the table with the bananas and the onions, but then she started kicking the tomatoes off the table and eating them under the table, so I’ve stopped that. I’m learning as I go along. A tactic that works is if Storm is there, to rest my plate in front of him. He’s not interested in my food, and Star is too scared of him to try and steal it. Although… once, I lifted my plate up, and she jumped where the plate was, only to be directly in front of Storm. She froze, as this was obviously not what she had intended. Not sure what was going through her mind then. I'm well aware cats are obligate carnivores.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Breaking My 365 Day Vow of Silence

On Sunday, I went to the University of Canterbury (C1 lecture theatre. Such nostalgia! That’s where I spent a lot of my first year…) to hear one of my heroes give a speech. James Aspey is inspirational, motivating, and extremely charismatic. I also had the luxury to hear him talk to us today about outreaching in activism, which was helpful. I wanted to get a selfie with him, but I guess that’ll have to wait for another time… or never :P - I can’t see myself being near him when he’s not off his feet being busy. But I did get to talk to him : O oh my god! Anyway, I’ll just share this video, which is where I first discovered him and instantly gained a lot of respect for him. It’s thanks to CARA / AV: Christchurch for organising his visit that we got to experience this.

Friday, 10 November 2017

What do you eat / What do you use? Part 36

Custard Squares!
You can veganise anything!
It took a while for the custard to thicken, maybe because I kept it on medium-low heat (instructions? What's that?) But once it started to thicken, it thickened a lot. Keep it on high though.
I substituted passionfruit for lemon juice as it was just cheaper, but lemon and custard go together so 

Friday, 3 November 2017

What do you eat / What do you use? Part 35

Wow, I’ve finally found a pizza base recipe I like and it’s by Gennaro Contaldo; for the video and for the website

For four pizza bases: mix 500 grams (4 cups roughly) of plain white flour with a teaspoon of salt. In a separate bowl or vessel, dust in 7 grams of yeast (or 2 ¼ teaspoons) with 325 ml of lukewarm water, and make sure to rub it into the water. Gradually add the yeast water to the flour mixture, and shape it into a ball (add some flour if it’s too sticky). Leave the dough for five minutes before doing some serious kneading for about 8 minutes… I tired after 5 minutes and gave up though. Divide the dough into four, then knead each ball for a bit before covering them under a damp towel for two hours. After, roll them out as thin as you can, and press the edges.
Add your toppings and bake it at 220 degrees for 7 minutes.

For toppings, I added on the tomato puree infused with herbs: fried onion, mushroom and chopped garlic; salted slices of courgette and red pepper; chopped pineapples slightly pressed; vegan cheese (Angel Food’s cheddar alternative); and fresh basil. 

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Lake Tekapo and Hooker Valley trip

I went to a Vegan Meetup on Sunday and met this adorable baby possum, four dogs, and two cats. I disagree with a lot of my fellow kiwis about pest control, as its animals like these that suffer for our ideological image of New Zealand. This possum's mother was killed by a dairy farmer who couldn't find it within him to kill this one too, so he asked someone else to look after this one.

(My opinion: it's too late to revert New Zealand back to how it was before the pakeha came. I argue before humans came, as without the humans, we'd have moas in New Zealand, but they were eaten to extinction. 'Pests' like rabbits and possums, don't deserve to be scapecoats. It's because of humans that they were introduced, and it's because of humans that the environment is suffering. I saw trees being cleared for farm land. If we want to focus on conservation, we need to look at ourselves most and make the changes within our society, such as our dependence on animal agriculture. The best we can do without causing the amount of suffering, is to have areas of conservation, dedicated to protecting native wildlife, perhaps large enclosures where creatures that are a threat cannot enter)    

Tried to make a Halloween themed tart... (meant to have a bat and a jack-o-lantern)

Such good food!

I had four hours sleep before waking up at 6am to get ready for a day trip to Lake Tekapo and to Hooker Valley, in Mount Cook. I hadn't been to either places since I was a child, so it was a great opportunity.

Candy goes to Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo is best on a clear night because of all the stars.  

It's a 'pest' a very cute one.

At Hooker Valley:

You walk through three of these bridges before you get to the end of the trail. It's roughly a 3 hour walk round trip. 

Look at the bushes as indication of how windy it was. It rained and occasionally we were pelted with small hail, which got painful over time. 

We made it to the end 😄

Trying to face the camera while the wind and hail were against me

Saturday, 7 October 2017

What do you eat / What do you use? Part 34

Been hearing a lot about Bacon Brothers’ vegan burger and fried cauliflower, so a friend and I went halves. We were pleasantly surprised by the fried cauliflower, which tasted the closest to KFC we have ever tasted, but without the animal cruelty. The burger was top-notch with *quoting the menu*: coconut bacon, kumara crisps, chilli jam, avocado, hashbrown, lettuce, tomato, beetroot, vegan aioli. The burger was $12 and Bacon Brothers is in the food court Little High opposite C1. 

Been hearing about C1’s vegan burgers, so a friend and I went halves on our order. I hadn’t been to C1 since the start of the year, and they’ve really upped their vegan game. What a delight! More vegan options! The burgers are cute, and it’s fun to have your food delivered to you via a pneumatic tube in a cool café. The three vegan burgers were: pumpkin, jackfruit, and cauliflower. I personally liked the pumpkin burger. The cauliflower was nice too, as it was battered and fried, but I missed out on the jalapenos, which my friend got a mouthful of in her half. I’ll probably dig out the jalapeno next time as they’re too spicy for me. Speaking of too spicy, the jackfruit one made my tongue feel like it was on fire, but I have a low tolerance for spicy food. My friend loved the jackfruit one the most, whereas I won’t be ordering it again as it was hard for me to eat. My friend ordered some pumpkin blue vegan cheese bread thing, which I wasn’t interested in until I got hit with deliciousness when I tried it. Another favourite is the Oreo Pretzel, which I suspect they heat up to make it a bit melty. Yum! We also saw waffles on their menu, but our bellies were too full and our wallets empty, so we’ll be trying them next time.     

Monday, 25 September 2017

What do you eat / What do you use? Part 33

Linda McCartney’s vegetarian sausages are vegan friendly. I tried them alongside gravy over some mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, and silverbeet. I thought they were delicious, but they do unfortunately have ‘sustainable’ palm oil.  

Oh my god. These cookies got me acting like Cookie Monster. I’ve made like five batches since discovering this recipe and have gotten a lot of compliments from those that have tried them. I LOVE The Vegan Corner. Even Star (the cat) thinks they smell enticing. I bake them for 12 minutes as I love them soft and kind of chewy.  The Vegan Corner's Chocolate Chip Cookies

·         * Domino’s Veg Trio Pizza is vegan without the cheese and cost me $5. I asked them if they could put some of my Angel Food Cheddar Alternative on when they make it, but they said they couldn’t due to store policy : ( … so, I kept the receipt and gave feedback – please put a vegan cheese alternative as an option on the menu. I ended up having to ‘complain’ rather than make a suggestion, but still! Put the pressure on them until it happens. On the other hand, Hell’s Pizza makes some good pizza with vegan cheese if you ask for it, and you can play around with the menu and make pretty good pizzas that way. Pizza Hut has started offering a vegan pizza for $7, so that’ll be the next one I try!
·        * Portershed’s coconut mochas are just 💗💗💗 322 Lincoln Road if you’re in Christchurch
·         * My friend made me this toasted sandwich with tahini, some greens, tomato, Orgran’s scrambled egg, sweet chilli sauce, and Fry’s schnitzel. Delicious and filling!   

This is Storm. Sometimes he wakes me up early because he wants to eat. There was one day where I got woken up at dawn, and it was beautiful outside. 

Star cuddles are always good

I'm keeping my drawing up

This is Sugar. It's my 'animal abuse' pose. Forcing her into cuddles, but I make up with it with pats and she purrs so... it's okay I cuddle her, right? I mean, sometimes she does like being cuddled... just not... as often as I would like... 

Oh yeah, made the newspaper on the 8th of September because Factory Farming is evil 

I cannot believe the National party are still popular despite the increase in homelessness, suicides, and fresh drinking water problems

We've sprung forward an hour for daylight savings and.... here are some spring photos

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

What do you eat/ What do you use? Part 32

·        * Easy Mediterranean Tart: I used one sheet of flaky pastry. I put about 4 palmfuls of frozen vegetables into the oven for ten minutes at 200 degrees. With the thawed sheet of New Way’s Vegetarian Pastry (available at Countdowns), I cut the sheet into four. I then spread tomato puree, added some herbs on top, then added the cooked vegetables, and sprinkled some pepper over it. I cut slits at the corner so that the edges can be folded in. I put this in the oven for 20 minutes or until puffed up. This is the recipe for four tarts, slightly adapted, from Tinned Tomatoes For the mashed sweet potato, I chopped a large sweet potato and boiled it for about 15 minutes I think. Test it by poking it with a fork and if it goes through smoothly, it’s ready. I sifted out the water, then mashed the sweet potato and added some paprika, garlic and herb salt, and pepper. I had the tart and mashed potato with Bistro’s Rich Gravy, mixed vegetables, and spinach.
·        * Chocolate Cake recipe is from The Buddhist Chef I just stick to canola oil, because it’s cheaper, and I omitted the cashew nut.
·        * Another hit from Loving It Vegan. Her cake recipes are the best, even if I find the icing too sweet. The cake tin I use is large, so I didn’t divide the mixture. I did, however, only made and used half the icing recipe. Strawberries (obviously you can tell I didn’t use any) are still on the pricey side, but I’m looking forward to trying this recipe with strawberries in summer. I use Olivani margarine for vegan butter but there are other dairy-free options popping up.
·        * Passionfruit custard triangle <3 322="" 7am-5pm="" always="" and="" are="" available="" but="" caf="" can="" check.="" custard="" favourite="" fridays="" from="" i="" lincoln="" monday="" my="" o:p="" on="" open="" portershed.="" ring="" road="" saturday.="" them="" these="" think="" thursdays="" triangles="" until="" up="" you="">

I have a reusable straw

This is super rich chocolate mousse to make when you’ve used a can of chickpeas but don’t want to waste the liquid. I used Trade Aid’s dark chocolate with this but any chocolate will do, although I think dark chocolate makes it richer. I didn’t follow the directions: after fluffing up the aquafaba (chickpea brine), you’re meant to add the tempered chocolate slowly, not adding it with the mixer still going on high. However, it still worked anyway. I added a teaspoon of vanilla to the melted chocolate as a pre-emptive measure after reading the comments. I also added a lot more icing sugar – I think about 3 tablespoons. It’s best to add the icing sugar to taste. After pouring the mousse into glasses, or whatever vessels you’re using, an hour in the fridge should be enough for it to sit. I think it makes two of those glasses pictured. They’re best enjoyed slowly. Recipe:     

If you’re new to aquafaba, mixing it on high for 10-15 minutes should make it have peaks. How to test if it’s ready? Stick a toothpick in and if it stands, as opposed to falling into the aquafaba, it’s ready. If it falls in, then you need to keep mixing until it doesn’t. 

·        * Chickpea Tikka Masala: I used this recipe Adaptions I made were: skipping the cayenne pepper, swapping a can of chickpeas for a large handful of chopped mushrooms, and missing the fresh coriander because, ew, it tastes like soap to me. I didn’t read the instructions and missed the cornstarch bit, so my curry was runnier than it was meant to be. But still, tasty : D glad I have a decent tikka masala recipe up my sleeve now. I forgot how much I like chickpeas.
·        * Apple Turnovers: I mainly followed this recipe but things are different in New Zealand. I thawed two sheets of New Way’s Vegetarian Pastry, then cut it into eight squares. I chopped up two apples, and put it in a pan with: a tablespoon of dairy-free margarine, ¼ cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of cornflour. I cooked it on medium-high for about 15 minutes, but it’s ready when tender so check. The apple mix is stretched thin, but I find putting a tablespoon or two of the apple mix at the centre of each square works – there’s just enough. Fold the square into a triangle, and press a fork on the open edges to seal it. Bake it at 200 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden. This is great with some dairy-free ice cream. If others are not into apple turnovers, or you’d rather eat them yourself over a longer period of time, 20 seconds in the microwave should be enough to warm them up. If it’s not warm enough, another 10 seconds might do the trick.    

Picture taken by my boyfriend on Skype. I was showing him my halo.