A man and his chicken…

Hi All
I think I am going to start making these blog posts a little bit smaller in words and a little bit more interesting with recipes and other things that might interest you. I am currently a vegetarian. I spent a long time as a vegan and only recently added the odd egg into my diet and milk in my tea. I started drinking milk because I am concerned about the use of too much soy in my diet. I only have it in my tea, but it takes me from vegan to vegetarian. I am a vegetarian in a vain attempt to control my weight which has been known to take over at various times in my past. I love the taste of meat and don’t think that it isn’t ethical to eat it, I don’t agree with intensive farming but I am not a fanatic. It’s quite strange, when I tell someone that I am a vegetarian, they feel the need to apologise for eating meat! Are most vegetarian’s assholes or something? Sorry to all of you meat eaters out there. It’s your choice and I support your right to eat meat, so long as you support my right not to. I had best get back onto the topic of this post which is about the relationship between Pingu and Steve. Steve brought Pingu back to life (albeit with a hairdryer) when I thought that he was dead. He gave him water in an eye dropper, he made him a little cage and he has steadfastly cared for Pingu and now, Pingu has started to grow. He/she is one of only 3 Plymouth Rock chicks that hatched out of the 2 dozen eggs that we bought. Pingu is quite a character now and very tame. He/she loves attention and now flies around the room and HATES to be grabbed and held. He/she likes to hop up onto your hand and look around.  Steve takes Pingu out every day (when it’s not pelting down with rain) into the garden to have a look around and to get used to the real world. Pingu loves his/her time outside and is starting to really look around and be interested in things. Here are a few photos of Pingu with Steve outside…

Heres our hero Pingu, out exporing the garden

Pingu doesn’t like to be held any more, he prefers to sit on your hand. He appears to be telling Steve something profound here…

Pingu’s new favourite place to sit

I posted the following song on my Facebook page back when I used Facebook. I gave it up as a bad joke as I was heartily sick of all the bampf that went with it and how slow the games were getting. I love this song and saw it on a re-run of Spicks and Specks last night. It’s a group of old aged pensioners singing The Who’s song “My Generation” and they have done the best cover version of this song that I have ever heard. To be honest, most of the Who could be in that group of elder statesmen now, but I had best not say that too loud or I might get sued! Here they are…check them out and admire them and know that the elderly man at the end flipping the bird is most probably Steve’s future!


The stress is finally over! I hate being out of my comfort zone. I have a problem with anything that I can’t work my way through and make sense of. It’s how I learn. Steve learns through chaos. He just keeps fiddling around with things until they work. I need structure, security and process…Steve needs his 2 hands, something to do at all times and a chaotic mess to unravel and he is happy. Now that we have finished off our draft copies of everything (see…I won’t say that we have completed it till Nick comes back with a “Pass”. I have learned to never assume because you can forget about making an “ass” out of me…you can be one if you like, I support your right to be an ass if you so choose :o) We have spent so very long studying that our holidays are going to be a blissful relief. We can settle down to make our Earth oven, to get stuck into the garden, to mess about taking some cuttings and planting out some seeds again. We really miss that propagation bug that bit us when we first started at Polytechnic. I mentioned that I was a vegetarian and previously a vegan for a reason. I have many recipes that I collated over the period of about 13 years as a vegan and 9 as a vegetarian that might be of interest to someone out there. It’s very hard when you suddenly can’t have something. Think about cheese. If you don’t like cheese, you are not human. Sorry people out there who claim not to like cheese…there is something mentally wrong with you and you should seek help immediately to sort it out and become part of the human race again. God gave us cheese so that Steve could be happy. Simple as that. A fair bit of my own happiness was tied up in that lovely substance and when I became vegan, suddenly there was no more cheese. I had to find substitutes and as most people forced into not having dairy will realise, substitutes are NOT the same. I have learned a whole lot about using fermented foods like nut cheeses to get that same tangy cheesy taste and can make you a dip that you would swear had cheese in it. I wanted to share a couple of recipes that I found online for dairy free products to replace those that are every day. Here’s one for margarine. Margarine is not healthy folks. It’s full of chemicals and all sorts of weird and wonderful preservatives to keep it from separating and turning rancid. It’s a toss-up between butter and heart disease and margarine and cancer. Give me butter any time! If you want to get a healthier alternative it costs you a small fortune and tastes like something foreign. Here’s a good recipe for something that actually tastes yummy and that you can use just like margarine or butter in cooking as a bonus.

How to make your own Margarine
This recipe comes from About.com and is by someone called Ashley Skabar

This margarine recipe is so easy to make, and it makes a delicious substitute to shop bought dairy free margarines. Use home-made margarine as a spread on toast or use it in stir fries, baking or grilling
Makes about 4 cups
475g solidified coconut oil (you can get this from Health food shops)
2/3 cup sunflower oil
2/3 cup canola oil
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons salt
• Fill a medium-large heatproof dish with cold water and ice cubes for an ice water bath. Set aside.
• In a double boiler or a heatproof dish, combine the coconut oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil over several inches of hot water over medium heat.
• Once the coconut oil has liquefied, add the remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine. After about 1 – 2 minutes or once the mixture has reached 50 – 55C, transfer the bowl to the ice water bath, setting the bowl in the cold water gently, and continue to stir until the mixture firms up.
• Once the margarine is firm, transfer to a container with a tight fitting lid and store in the fridge. Home-made margarine will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks

I tested all sorts of cheese substitutes and found this sauce that tasted pretty good. It’s not cheese, but its tasty and a very good substitute and it’s very healthy to boot. To make this, you need to track down Nutritional Yeast Flakes. They are totally vegan and full of important nutrients and make a great cheese flavoured substitute when teamed with tahini, lemon juice and a little mustard.

Easy Cheese Sauce for Nachos, Fries & More
This recipe is also by Ms Ashley Skabar who I shall not put her picture here because she looks like she hasn’t had a decent meal in over a month and is starting to resemble Madonna which is a terrifying thing indeed! Most certainly don’t mess with Madonna by the way, she will pull off your head…

Packed with B-vitamins, healthy fats, protein and flavour, this dairy-free Easy Cheese Sauce is thick and creamy, making it ideal for fun dishes like nachos, Cheesy Fries and other appetizers and snacks, though it is also tasty on burgers and melts. This sauce is best the day it is made, but to save even more time, you can mix the dry ingredients and store them in an airtight container in your pantry.
1. Combine the nutritional yeast and turmeric in a small dish and set aside.
2. In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, heat the soymilk and tahini. When just warm, add the nutritional yeast mixture, stirring until well combined, followed by the vegetable broth powder, stirring well until dissolved. Add the prepared mustard and cook until desired consistency, keeping in mind that it will thicken slightly as it begins to cool. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. Serve warm with chips, fries, veggies, or even burgers and sandwiches.

That picture is apparently of the non dairy cheesy sauce on fries…looks like mustard on toast to me, but it does taste surprising yummy as I have made this sauce many times and you can use it on macaroni for macaroni ‘cheese’

There you go a couple of dairy free recipes should you ever find yourself unable to eat cheese or if you want to eat a bit healthier or even if you want to make things for yourself (my motivation). I like to know about processes and making things for myself gives me total quality control over what I put into my food and what I end up eating.  It’s a bit harder than just reaching for something from the supermarket shelf, but in the end, you get the satisfaction of saying “I made that myself” which is about as satisfied as you can get.

Steve just made the warming/proving rack for our bread making ventures. It’s pretty awesome and again, I am reminded of how talented he is. You did a good job with him Pat and thanks for letting him head out into the colonies because if I had to make that warming rack, I wouldn’t have one. Simple as that… I will show you a photo of it in a later post as he needs to pick up some screws in town and we can’t be taking photos of unfinished things willy nilly just to satisfy impatient blog readers you know … It’s great to be able to hunt around for things online and say “can you make that?” and 9 times out of 10 the answer is “Yes”! I guess that’s the flip side to Steve’s impatience and his twitchy need to be constantly doing something…while those 2 characteristics drive me nuts, the creativity and skilled ability to build things are a positive joy. It’s all balance isn’t it (that is what I keep saying to myself…one day I will believe it! :o). I have great respect for Steve’s mum Pat because by all accounts, Steve is very much like his father Pete. A lovely man, the life and soul of the party but always on the go, no sitting still, impatient, twitchy and positively ADHD. I wonder if they actually had ADHD Pat? Would that account for it? No idea, but when Pete and Steve were born they broke the mould so that generations of woman in the future would be able to sleep in on a Sunday, sit still and enjoy their cup of tea for 2 seconds without interruption and not be coerced into doing everything that they wanted because it was simply easier to let them have their way. I will raise my glass to you this afternoon Pat. You did very well not to throttle the pair of them! I only have 1; you had 2…God smiled on you when he gave you Mark who by all accounts is one of the most laid back easy going people around.

Talking about raising my glass…I think its beer o’clock and time to take the dogs for their second walk so we will head out, walk the boys first and then answer the beer o’clock alarm for today. See you all tomorrow…


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 06:58:29

    We are lacto-vegetarian. I sometimes think dairy is my weakness. Cheese is just a couple of times a week for us probably, and some weeks none at all. Mostly people just think we are strange for being vegetarian, and we’ve even had people taunt us because of it. We are the only vegetarians in our community. We use a lot of nutritional yeast. It has that cheesy flavor.


    • narf77
      Apr 12, 2013 @ 16:58:09

      It took me a LONG time to give up dairy but I don’t miss it now. Like any habits, it takes a while to get them out of your system. I gave up cheese because I was considerably overweight. Cheese is very calorie dense and I couldn’t afford the amount that I liked to eat so I just gave it up cold turkey and lost weight. I did give up lots of other things at the same time so it wasn’t cheeses fault I was overweight, it was my large appetite and my complete hatred of moving 😉


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