Tips for Going Vegetarian

I’m a vegetarian, I have been for almost fifteen years. I wrote this blog originally as a place to share veggie recipes. I honestly think that everyone can be vegetarian. And I’m usually not too evangelical about it, but I just watched David Attenborough’s Extinction: The Facts and now I’m mad. The meat industry is destroying the planet. Intensive agriculture is harming the things that are most precious in our world.

Let’s be better

So I’m doing my bit. I’m going to write a few environmental pieces. I wrote for my handmade jewellery company blog. But one of the best things you can do for the planet is to cut out meat. If you can’t go completely vegetarian then cut down your consumption. And no, vegetarians do not eat fish. They have faces. Listen to Morrisey. Meat is Murder.

My top tips for going vegetarian

Here we go, if you only try one or two, it’s a great change you can make.

  • Try new things. Embrace new foods. Try okra and halloumi and seitan and goji berries. And if you hate it, you don’t have to eat it again.
  • Mix dishes. Previously, few places did vegetarian options so I would order a side dish and a starter. Garlic mushrooms and chips was always a good bet. Tapas places are brilliant for new vegetarians or flexitarians.
  • Get enough iron. One criticism of the vegetarian diet is the lack of iron from meat. However there are so many ways you can introduce extra iron to a vegetarian diet. Spinach, broccoli, legumes, leafy greens, cereals are all great sources of iron. You can also take iron supplements if you’re concerned.
  • Cook for others. Sharing veggie food with others is a great experience, and you can shock them with your epic meat-rivalling dishes.
  • Don’t worry if you slip up. You’re trying your best. It’s ok.
  • Cook soups and stews you can freeze if you’re short of time. Try learn a few super quick veggie recipes too.
  • Learn the phrase ‘no meat’ in the local language whenever you’re a vegetarian on holiday. Non Carne is a good one.
  • Choose veggie sandwiches if you’re on the go. There are some great meat free options in supermarkets now. Egg and cress is an old favourite, or a vegan falafel wrap.
  • Have your own dish to take to parties or buffets. I’ve been to a lot with no veggie options (that’s probably not a problem now with covid).
  • Try different cuisines. When I was in Texas I loved their Tex-Mex foods and found some great veggie dishes, like huevos rancheros, breakfast tacos and veggie quesadillas. In Italy we loved panzerotti, fresh veggies and foccacia and olives. Taste everything you can.
  • Get educated. Watch some documentaries about the impact of the meat industry and know your reasons for your choice. You will be amazed how many people decide they can cure you with a bacon sandwich. It’s insulting.
  • If there’s a meat dish you really like, find a veggie alternative. My husband missed fish and chips so we made beer battered halloumi and chips which is incredible. Still a family favourite after 6 years!
  • Try make some veggie treats to snack on.
  • Explain politely to family and friends you have chosen to not eat meat. Assure them you’ll eat exactly what they have without the meat. Make people at ease with your choice.
  • Try eat vegan options too, they’re totally vegetarian and great for the environment.
  • Subscribe to my blog (I mean you don’t have to but it might be a useful little resource, and I’ve got some great recipes to upload soon.

Enjoy as many vegetarian foods as you can!

Let me know how you get on in your vegetarian adventures. Do you have any tips for new veggies? Or a vegetarian recipe for any meat lovers that is always a hit? Comment below!

Transforming like a motherfucking butterfly

The Being Mrs Gardom Blog is Back

This blog hasn’t been written since cheesy garlic mushrooms. That was October 2014. That was 6 years ago. Bloody hell.

A lot of things have happened since 2014. And honestly, as a feminist mother raising a badass baby, my old content makes me cringe a bit. So the blog’s going to change. But it’s important that I keep the old blog posts so I can track transformations. Look at the above photos for example. I still like the beach a lot.

Anyway, I got lots of tattoos. I’ve got a dinosaur and a Megara and Pegasus. I’ve got flowers all over me and a storm cloud and a sun. I’ve got a nose ring. My hair has had dreadlocks, it’s been pink and long and dip dyed turquoise and it’s been bright blonde. It’s currently long and orange. I’m channelling Bouddica. The Horrible Histories version with Kate Nash. As she is a Celtic goddess.

Work, Play, Repeat

Oh, I had a child too. I bought a house. I’ve got really into gardening. Walter the chihuahua is 5 years old. I haven’t eaten meat ONCE. I’ve been to Italy (I’ve got recipes don’t worry folks). I stayed in Texas for a while and painted murals and swam in a river. I fell in love with art, I’ve seen Frida Kahlo exhibitions, and Yves Klein and Picasso and Dali and Matisse. I’ve painted so much. I have an art instagram. I painted a huge mural for Nina’s room with a forest, and a sloth and a fox and it’s amazing.

An Ode to Nina

She is also an angel sent from heaven. She is perfection in a tiny bundle of delight. Her giggle is the most beautiful sound that has every graced our ears. Nina is beautiful, she is so photogenic. She’s hilarious and she’s just got a tooth. She loves dancing to Elvis and she falls asleep when I sing to her. My daughter is nine months old and she says Mama and she is so bad at crawling it’s funny.

This is a bit personal

She also smashed her way into the world three weeks old, it was horrendous, we nearly died. I wanted a hippy dippy home birth with a pool. I had pelvic girdle pain, consistent all the time sickness and Pregnancy Induced Hypertension. I had an emergency C section. She was only 5lb 5. I had an epidural that didn’t work (That happens). She was born with a cleft palate, which I’m sure I shall blog about a lot. She couldn’t breastfeed. She had meningitis. Things didn’t go well. We lived in a tiny hospital room for two weeks. She went in and out of NICU and low dependency and with us and then back to NICU. I’m oversharing on my blog now. Deal with it (please). I might do a bit of mummy blogging. In a very niche way.

 

Working 9 to 5 ain’t no way to make a living

I worked a good writing job in the city. It was corporate, it was slightly like American Psycho. But it wasn’t exactly my natural habit. We’ve become members of Chester Zoo. This Material Culture is still going! We’re in a few lovely shops, I’m making Christmas decorations, I’ve been bead weaving and making custom pieces and we would be over the moon with any orders! I’ve been trying to live sustainably. I’ve recycled baby milk tins and composted and salvaged things. I’ve upcycled and handmade and reused and tried to reduce dairy. We’ve survived without a car. Then came fucking COVID. Sam works for the NHS, he’s not stopped working. But they’ve been amazingly supportive throughout. We’re trying our best at parenting, but it’s hard. I’ve written a lot of lists to survive. So here’s a summary list of my adventures.

Ticks on that bucket list

  • dyed my hair pink
  • got really good at knitting
  • went to many festivals
  • saw Regina Spektor
  • went to hospital
  • swam in the sea in a bikini (both in the UK and abroad)
  • learned all the words  to Stonehenge by Ylvis
  • taught my child to say mama (and laugh at farts)
  • saw The Flaming Lips
  • stayed married to my best friend
  • built a rockery
  • failed two driving tests
  • saw Liverpool win the champions league, the premier league and the other one
  • started a TikTok to pretend I’m young
  • learned to weave
  • read Octavia Butler
  • started several screenplays
  • developed my weird interests
  • went on the Chase
  • got retweeted a lot
  • was on the front page of the Echo
  • got into poetry
  • made lots of plant pots
  • cried in multiple time zones
  • went viral with wallpaper
  • painted a lot of huge canvases
  • went a bit crazy
  • learned some other languages (only a little)
  • watched Star Wars at midnight
  • did loads of epic craft fairs
  • went to Portugal
  • created a tiny human

It’s been busy.

I’ve transformed.

And broken and reformed. I’m wabi sabi. I grew wings and broke my coccyx.

But I’m back bitches. I’m revamping Being Mrs Gardom. We’re going to tear shit up. And start a revolution. We’re going to not kill animals and learn to make Panzerotti. We’re going to go travelling and camping and we’re going to fail and learn and I’m going to write. All the damn time.

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Adios Amigos

Cheesy Garlic Mushrooms

20141005_190719I love garlic mushrooms, there is something so rich and tasty and fab about them. But it’s always on the starter part of the menu wherever you go. Why can’t it be a main? I decided to rectify this situation with these slices of toasted baguette, piled with garlic mushrooms, covered in cheese and served on a bed of spinach. All in the comfort of your own home!

You will need: 250g chestnut mushrooms, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons garlic puree, a handful of spinach, one baguette, mixed herbs, coriander, 15g grated cheese (I used a nice mature cheddar).

Turn your oven to 160 degrees, slice your baguette into inch thick slices and pop into the oven to warm up. Place the butter into a frying pan, add the garlic puree (use fresh garlic if you wish, but I like the slight saltiness of garlic puree) and stir to make a sauce, then add a pinch of coriander and a pinch of mixed herbs. Quarter the mushrooms and fry in the garlic butter for ten minutes.20141005_183334 Take the baguette slices out of the oven, place the garlic mushrooms on to the slices and cover with grated cheese. Put back in the oven, on a low heat. In another pan, wilt the spinach for half a minute in a pan of boiling water with a pinch of salt and pepper, then arrange on your plate.20141005_185946

Take your slices out of the oven, place them nicely on your spinach and voila – a lovely restaurant quality dish that only takes a couple of minutes and is super healthy. And if you’re having a dinner party – this will really impress.

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Enjoy, Love Mrs Gardom

Saturday Night Curry

veggie curryFor some reason I haven’t put my recipe for curry up yet – I’m not sure why because it is one of my go-to dishes that you can pretty much throw anything fresh and veggie into. I like a nice strong curry, using madras paste, but if you’re not such a fan of the heat use a mild curry or tikka paste instead. This is the perfect meal for a saturday night in front of the telly, with a beer and some poppadoms, naan and chutney – awesome.

You will need: 1 onion, 100g lentils, 2 tbsp madras curry paste, 150g mushrooms, 1/2 courgette, 200g cauliflower,  1 tin chopped tomatoes, a handful of peanuts (and whatever else you fancy – chickpeas, raisins, aubergine – go crazy!), 50ml water and a little oil for frying.

Dice your onion and pop into a pan with a teaspoon of oil, then cook on a high heat until the onion’s soft. Add your curry paste so that it coats the onion and then add 1/2 tin tomatoes. Stir everything together, then chop all your veggies into good sized chunks. First of all add the lentils, leave for 5 minutes then add your cauliflower, then after a couple of minutes add your courgette, turn the heat down. veggie curryPop your rice in a pan of boiling water and simmer about now! Add your peanuts then your mushrooms, give it a good stir, then add the rest of the tomatoes and the water until the sauce is the consistency you like. Taste your curry, add salt if you fancy, then simmer for another ten minutes. veggie curryThere we go – serve with heaps of basmati rice, poppadums, naan bread, chutney and enjoy a proper feast on your saturday night.

Love, Mrs Gardom

Mushroom and Feta ‘Sausage Rolls’

20140817_203759Sausage rolls are one of those typically wonderful British snacks that you would never want to know what it’s made of, let alone make yourself. As a veggie, you are quite limited when it comes to pies and pastries so I decided to make my own version of sausage rolls – using feta, onions and mushrooms as a filling. These are lovely warm but make a whole batch so that you have some in the fridge to eat on a picnic – it’s still summer after all!

You will need: 700g Rough puff pastry – I made my own using Gordon Ramsay’s recipe on BBC Good Food – http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2403/roughpuff-pastry- which was fairly successful but if you want to use ready made pastry go for it! 250g mushroom, 1/2 large onion, 100g feta cheese (any greek salad cheese will do), 1 beaten egg, salt to taste.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius. First of all roll out your pastry to about 5mm thick on a floured surface. Then dice your mushrooms, onion and feta, mix everything together in a large bowl. Chop your pastry into large squares. Place two large tablespoons of filling into a column in the middle of the square. 20140816_114645Fold the top and bottom of the pastry square on top of the filling. Fold one third of the pastry over the filling, then the other half over that. Then gently roll the sausage roll on the surface to seal the pastry into a nice rolled shape.  Brush the rolls with the beaten egg then place your lovely sausage rolls onto an oven tray. 20140816_114758Pop in the oven for 20 minutes, until they are lovely and golden brown. Stab one with a knife to check the filling is cooked and then place on a wire rack to cool.20140816_122314These make a great summer treat, you could even make mini ones to serve at parties, or as aperitifs before a dinner party. You could also add some different fillings – but the mushroom and feta combination is really tasty and filling.

Enjoy,

Love Mrs Gardom

Cherry Chocolate Fridge Cake

fridge cakeThis is a great, indulgent no-bake cake. Lots of amazing rich flavours – fresh cherries, dark chocolate and crunchy granola. It’s a bit of a bodge recipe, chucking in handfuls of lovely tasty ingredients, you can add whatever you like – dessicated coconut, honeycomb, glace cherries, enjoy!

You will need:

350g dark chocolate, 120g butter, 2 tbsp golden syrup, 2 tbsp milk, a handful of – hazelnuts, fresh cherries, granola, raisins, and whatever else you fancy.

First of all melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. When the chocolate has melted add the butter and syrup and stir everything together. Take the pan off the heat when everything has melted together. Add the milk and leave to cool while you chop the cherries into quarters and remove the stones. Add the granola, raisins, cherries and hazelnuts to the melted chocolate and then stir everything again.

fridge cakeCover a 1 inch deep baking tray with cling film and grease it with butter. Pour the mixture into the baking tray and then pop in the fridge for 2 hours. Chop into nice chunky slices and enjoy.

This is a lot tastier and cheaper than shop bought cereal bars. It’s probably not the healthiest of snacks but it’s fresh, delicious and easy to make.

Love, Mrs Gardom

Tomato and Red Lentil Soup

20140612_122332Soup is normally a winter thing in our house, but I decided to try make a summery soup this week. It has a lovely Mediterranean flavour, it’s a nice healthy lunch and is dead easy to make. It could also be frozen and kept for when you need a lunch quick!

You will need: 4 fresh tomatoes, 1 onion, 600ml vegetable stock, 1 tin chopped tomatoes, 200g red lentils, a teaspoon basil, pinch of salt, a little olive oil.

Dice your onion and cook until brown in a large saucepan with a little olive oil. Pop the lentils in the pan, then pour 3/4 stock over them. Bring to the boil and then leave to simmer for 30 minutes. Chop your fresh tomatoes into lovely big chunks.2014-06-18 11.21.10 Add the tin of tomatoes to your saucepan and  give everything a good stir. Simmer for another 10 minutes and add the fresh tomato, basil and salt. Stir, leave for 5 minutes and you’re done.tomato lentil soup

This soup tastes lovely and fresh, even though the core ingredients will be in your cupboards. It’s a good one to make when you’ve ran out of food as well! If you want to add some more spice, I would recommend a little paprika and cayenne pepper for a nice smoky taste. It is quite a simple recipe so add as much or little as you like.

Love, Mrs Gardom

Easy Peasy Veggie Burgers

veggie burgersVeggie burgers are one of those things that you always  buy at the supermarket and pop in the freezer just in case, but they are ridiculously easy to make yourself. These ones are chickpea based, and seasoned with coriander and chilli flakes and they taste amazing. You could always make some up and freeze them instead of frying and save them for when the weather is hot and it’s BBQ time. These are a great, healthy alternative to beef burgers, and they taste even better.

You will need: 400g chickpeas, 1 egg, 100g breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon oil, 25g flour, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1 pinch chilli flakes, bread cobs, lettuce and tomato to serve.

Blitz your chickpeas with a blender until they form a paste, then add the egg and mix everything together in a big bowl. Add your chilli flakes, coriander and breadcrumbs to the bowl and stir everything together again. Add 20g of the flour and the oil, the burger mix should now be nice and thick – almost like a dough.veggie burgersNext, cover your hands in flour, and form the burger mix into round patties. Add a splash of oil to a large frying pan. When the oil is hot place the burgers into the frying pan and squish so they are about 2cm thick. Fry for about 3 minutes, then flip. Once both sides of the burgers are nice and crispy serve with loads of lettuce, tomato and mayo in big tasty burger buns. If you’re hungry make some of my homemade chips, or serve with some nice oven baked mash.

veggie burgersThere we go – ultimate veggie comfort food, that tastes good and won’t pack on the pounds. Feel free to season with whatever you fancy, or add some feta cheese or mozzarella if you’re feeling adventurous.

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Baked Asparagus and Kale Risotto

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I’ve been trying to back into my cooking, lots of healthy greens in the fridge,  lots of making from scratch. It’s getting nicer outside, so light healthy meals are a great way to enjoy it. This risotto just tastes of healthiness. It’s lovely and green and full of summer flavours.

You will need: 200g arborio rice, a teaspoon olive oil, about 6 asparagus sticks (are they called sticks? Or stems? You know what I mean), an onion, 500ml veg stock, 75g mozzarella (leave this out if you’re vegan), 300g curly kale.

Prep your veg, slice the asparagus into chunks and shred the kale. Pop your oven onto 160 degrees. Place the oil in a large saucepan and add your diced onion.  Cook for 3 minutes, add the rice and cook for 1 minute. Add half the stock and stir, then add your kale and asparagus to the pan, cook and stir for ten minutes, adding stock whenever the rice looks dry.

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Now pour the risotto mix into an oven dish. Make some little holes in the risotto and fill with little chunks of mozzarella. Sprinkle some kale on top – or goes lovely and crunchy.  Then just put in the oven and bake for about half an hour. Check the rice is nice and soft and then serve.

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This is a lovely dish, it doesn’t really  need any extras but some homemade potato crisps would be nice.  Eat this on a summer evening in the garden with a glass of pinot grigio – bliss.

Love Mrs Gardom

Cinnamon Waffles with Caramelised Apple

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I haven’t been well recently so I’m sorry for the lack of blogging! However I did make some pretty awesome apple cinnamon waffles! These are the ultimate feel better meal – horrendously bad for you but oh so delicious. These would make a great birthday breakfast or a lovely pudding after a fancy meal.

You will need: 250g plain flour, a teaspoon of baking powder,  30g caster sugar, 475ml milk, a teaspoon of cinnamon, 2 eggs, 30ml melted margarine
For the caramelised apples: 2 apples, 50g sugar, 50g butter, 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

Place the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar in a mixer and whisk them together.  Break your eggs into a jug with the milk in it and beat together.  Add to the mixer and whisk everything together until little bubbles start to form. Leave to stand.

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Turn the waffle maker on and when it is ready place a little bit of margarine on the plates to stop the waffles from sticking. Pour a ladle of waffle mix onto the plates and close the waffle maker until the waffles are cooked. Our machine has a light which says when they are done, check the instructions on yours.

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For the apples heat the butter in a pan until it starts to melt then add the sugar. Peel the apples and chop into slices.  When the caramel starts to bubble pop the apples into the pan. Leave on a high heat until the apples are soft – poke with a knife to check.

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Layer the waffles with ice cream and apples and then pour the extra syrup over the waffles.

This is a fab treat, if you have any extra waffles they will last for a couple of days.  The apples should be really sweet and tasty, with a crunchy toffee coating.

Love, Mrs Gardom