Sunday thoughts

Happy September! Tomorrow will be this blog’s first birthday – I don’t know what you all think, but I certainly think I have come a long way, though every step I discover just how much further there is to go…

Again, now that I am in France totally removed from any of my usual London lifestyle (having fresh baguette with Hotel Chocolate Chocolate & Hazelnut Smudge, playing online chess, attempting to do yoga before bed…), I am having serious trouble recalling what has gone on the rest of this week. But let’s try anyway:

New things I have learnt this week

I left this one blank while I wrote the rest of the post… but still, I can’t come up with anything groundbreakingly new that I have learnt this week. I have been giving my brain a workout by playing games on Lumosity and by practicing chess, but I am being very slack on the active research front lately. I know this needs to change!

New things I have eaten this week

  • It feels dumb writing this, but it wasn’t until I opened the carton of Alpro almond milk that I realised I don’t think I had ever had it before. I know I have had rice milk and oat milk and hazelnut milk, but despite seeing it everywhere these days and reading about it all over various blogs, I don’t believe I had tried it. The verdict? Well, I normally buy unsweetened soy milk and this was sweetened, so obviously it tastes nicer, but with a higher price and lower protein content, I probably wouldn’t buy it again.
  • Not a food, and I can’t remember my unwritten policy on including supplements in the section, but I have “borrowed” a bottle of Pukka Vitalise powder from Ben which he was never going to use. I have been mixing it with a scoop of chocolate MyProtein Vegan Blend, water, and a touch of plant milk, and I actually can barely taste the greens – even the strong fennel/licorice taste is masked. The ingredients list is impressive and, in my opinion, free of gimmicks, so I will keep using it at least until the bottle runs out.
  • I also attempted, last Monday, to make Ben a homemade spicy ketchup – it turned out more like a spicy sundried tomato relish but it was delicious if I do say so myself – and I can totally see one of these gourmet burger joints which are cropping up all over London serving it in a little ramekin with their skin-on fries and calling it a “Spicy Ketchup Relish” or something.
  • Mum made a surprisingly delicious chilled green melon and chili soup for a starter the other night, and today made an incredible zucchini bread:Zucchini breadShe threw it together using these “one-recipe-fits-all” guidelines, using white flour, flax “eggs”, extra ground flax, olive oil, grated zucchini, and chopped sundried tomatoes and olives. Topped with sesame seeds. It came out very moist which was just perfect!

Other highlights this week

  • At long last writing a letter to a friend in Southampton to whom I have owed a reply for almost 2 months. I love writing letters, I love writing to her, and I love getting things done. I also wrote to my grandmother which is something I do more regularly but always makes me feel peaceful and content.
  • Being able to get a huge chunk of reading done on my journey to France. I’m reading Flanagan’s Run which I had just half-heartedly picked off Ben’s bookshelf, but I think it’s official that I’m quite into it now!
  • I did a double training session on Wednesday, which wasn’t my best training session ever and in fact I am pretty sure I lost all my sparring rounds quite badly, but as the only grappling session this week I really enjoyed it, despite the spasm in my back which has awoken once again. The atmosphere was good as well, which always helps.
  • Giving my granddad his birthday present – a thick long-sleeved polo shirt from M&S which I initially thought was boring but actually now think is quite a classy garment. Especially for a 92 year old.
  • Getting a Karma Free pizza with Ben on Wednesday night – it seemed the only thing to do after a long and late training session, and before we both went away for a few days!
  • I am really enjoying doing lots of stretching in the evenings while I am in France, and can definitely see my flexibility getting better every evening, despite the spasmed back refusing to cooperate.
  • Booking flights to Luxembourg for early December for me and Ben, just in time for the International Bazaar!

I think that’s about it! This was another week that was mainly about ticking along. Here’s a gratuitous strawberry tart photo:Strawberry tart

My granddad had a highly non-vegan strawberry cake ordered, and mum thought I should have a strawberry-themed cake too, even though it wasn’t my birthday we were celebrating. She added almond meal to the crust which gave it a lovely marzipan-like quality, and the cream was a mixture of almond milk and cornflour (I’d have gone nuts making an almond-flax-date crust with an avocado-based cream, but this was simple and delicious).

And with that, I leave you to enjoy your evenings and get on with the first week of September. To all the bloggers out there who have just embarked on Vegan MoFo, good luck! I can’t wait to see all your wonderful posts. To everyone else, I just didn’t feel confident enough to take part in the Month of Food yet, but don’t forget my little blog amidst the beautiful photos and intriguing recipes and inspiring write-ups that will be offered by other blogs! I will try to make it worth your while 🙂