Homemade peanut butter

Making your own peanut butter is so easy and yet so rewarding – I would recommend it to anyone looking who gets through inordinate amounts of peanut butter and wants to reduce the amount they have to buy. This can be made in large batches (I put mine in old 1kg peanut butter tubs) and lasts for a lot time (or not, if you’re anything like me).

I find most recipes on the internet recommend blanched peanuts, peanut oil and honey, but unless you really enjoy ‘Skippy’-style peanut butter, ditch the honey. Vegetable oil works fine – the roasted peanuts is where all the flavour comes from anyway, and using peanuts with skins on gives the peanut butter more texture (not to mention nutrients).

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Peanut butter and cinnamon on soda-bread – heavenly!

 

Ingredients

  • 1kg peanuts (you can use blanched if you prefer a smoother texture, but I like redskin peanuts, or a mix)
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees C
  • Pour the peanuts onto 2 baking trays, ensuring they are are evenly spread out. Cook for 10 – 12 minutes.
  • Check the peanuts after about 6 minutes and give them a stir to ensure none get burned (this can happen very suddenly so watch out!).
  • When they are cracking and browned, remove them from the oven. The longer you cook the easier it will be to get a smooth nut butter, but you don’t want them burned or it ruins the taste.
  • Carefully pour 75% of the nuts into a food processor (if you want crunchy peanut butter, otherwise add them all) and blend for around 5 minutes until it is the consistency of couscous.
  • Pour in the oil and salt, mix around the blended nuts and blend for a further 5 minutes, or until smooth. If need be, add some more oil.
  • To make crunchy peanut butter, now add the remaining 25% of the peanuts and blend on a low speed until they are roughly chopped – this should take less than a minute.
  • Spoon out in to a jar and you’re all done! Enjoy 🙂

 

If you decide to give this recipe a go, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram so I can see!

 

Soy wax candles – the best startups

One of my favourite things about having a bit of a following on social media is being about to crowdsource information, like the best veggie restaurants in Copenhagen, what headphones you’d recommend and what podcasts I should listen to. I recently asked you guys what soy wax candles you’d recommend, after getting saddened by the dearth of ‘home comforts’ at my boyfriend’s place.

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Candles are a bit of a cliché when it comes to self care, but I have to say, I really, really feel better when I have a bunch of candles lit. I think it’s something to do with dedicating that time to myself, which I don’t often do in London – once a candle’s lit, that’s it, it’s ‘me-time’.

Anyway, I also wanted to support some small businesses and start-ups, but sadly can’t buy from all of them, so I thought I’d share with you some of the recommendations!

All of the below brands are vegan, eco-friendly, cruelty free small businesses. From what I can tell, they are all handmade, often by people with other jobs, such as NHS workers and students. I think they’ve all done an amazing job and I hope you agree! 🙂 Let me know if you buy from any of these companies- I’d love to feature you on my Instagram!

The Good Aura Company

The Good Aura Company was set up to create candles that melt evenly, and are made from a natural soy wax designed with specially blended scents created to actually last once lit. Each candle and wax melt is hand poured by us in house and are vegan and cruelty free.

 

The Eco Witch Co

From the founder: “The Eco Witch Co. candles have been created with both environmental and ecological consideration at the heart of the making process. Each candle is based on a positive intention which an individual may wish to draw into their life and every material element of the candle can be repurposed once it has burnt down. Hand poured from soy wax and scented with essential and fragrance oils that are both vegan and cruelty-free, you can enjoy a candle by The Eco Witch Co. with the knowledge that it has been created with thought and care, leaving minimal impact on the Earth.”

 

The Red Fox Candle 

 

Feu Candles 

Feu is a super small candle business based in Manchester who use crackling wood wicks, natural soy wax and a unique blend of fragrances. All the design and packaging was sourced or created in the hopes that all aspects of Feu can be used around your home, whilst burning your candle and after it’s finished!

 

Beer Candle UK

 

Pause UK

From the founder: “PAUSE aims to be a reminder to slow down. In this hectic, mad world we live in, it’s so easy to get caught up in the frantic twirl of everyday life and responsibilities. We forget to take mindful time to ourselves and we overlook the importance of caring for the places we spend most time in, in a way that they feel clean, safe, welcoming.

“It was both as a reminder to ourselves and the wish to reach out in small ways and help other people that PAUSE was born 🧡

“Personally, making candles and running a small business has been a wonderful tool in helping me deal with depression and anxiety. It gives me a sense of purpose and allows me to pour love into my craft.”

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Over the past couple of days, we’ve had a few orders placed as gifts. ⁣ ⁣ As quarantine extends for an uncertain amount of time, birthdays, anniversaries, and other celebrations get caught up in this time web, where nothing feels quite real or structured. ⁣ ⁣ We know how hard it is to be away from family and friends, especially in a time like this, so we want to remind you that PAUSE is here to help shorten that distance with little gestures. 🌿⁣ ⁣ We can get your order delivered to someone else’s house and include a personalised note for you. 🎁 We know it’s not the same as being there in person, but hey, why not ask them to facetime you before they open their gift? Then you can both “share” that moment.⁣ ⁣ Some of the notes customers have asked to include have moved me (Fil) to tears because of how sweet and thoughtful they are. It’s honestly a privilege to be the “middlewoman” for you. 🧡⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #candles #soycandles #handpoured #madeinmanchester #madeintheuk #vegan #vegancandle #veganuk #veganmanchester #crueltyfree #buylocal #sustainableliving #handmade #madewithlove #soycandlesuk #selfcare #pampering #selflove #etsy #etsystore #etsyseller #veganbusiness #minimalism #minimalist #mindfulness ⁣ #stayhome #supportsmallbusinesses #supportsmall #standwithsmall

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Twinings Home

 

Wildheart Organics

 

Ignite Candle Bar

From the founder: “My fiancé and I started this upcycling program earlier this year. Our goal was to reduce the amount of bottles going into the landfills. Living in Hawaii we’ve learned to become more sustainable and have done our best to reduce our eco footprint. We partnered up with local bars and restaurants on Oahu and collect all their empty bottles. We basically dumpster dive! We then turn each bottle into beautifully handcrafted candles with hand poured all natural soy wax, scented with our intoxicating scents”

https://www.instagram.com/p/B–OevdDMUd/

 

Vegan Bunny Co

 

Aery Living

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The Power of Aromatherapy. Envelope yourself in soothing environments and elevate your mental and physical wellbeing. Choose from 6 deeply relaxing and uplifting fragrances. . Essential oils can reach deep within the mind to restore inner peace, instil calm, evoke positive feelings, aid relaxation, anxiety, stress and sleep. . Aromas are sent directly to the centre of the brain, where it is processed and releases neurochemicals that can be calming or stimulating or sedative depending on the oils used. . There are many simple ways to look after our wellbeing from exercising to yoga and walking the dog to socialising with friends or harnessing the power of aromatherapy! . Our candles not only have amazing aromas but also proven wellness benefits. . Our fragrances are a blend of pure essential oils and fragrance oils designed to fill your room with effective, beautiful aromatic scents. . Why is Aery Different? . We take the time to perfect and craft all our original and totally unique and beautiful blends. . All our candles are made from sustainable European grown GMO free soy. . 100% Pure Soy Wax Candles Made in England. . We test our candles for the optimum amount of fragrance throw so as not to overpower and just the right amount of essential oils to yield the greatest wellness benefits. . We believe a balanced holistic life is vital to all our wellbeing. . We use 100% soy wax from sustainable European-grown soy for an eco-friendly, clean burn with lead-free cotton wicks. . Our candles are hand wicked and then poured and labeled by our team of experienced makers. . Our candles are: petroleum-free GMO free Cruelty-free 100% Vegan. . We are eco-conscious: We are Plastic Free Our Glass is Recyclable . We use: FSC, Recycled and fully recyclable plastic free packaging and Eco Shipping Materials including Paper Packing Tape. #aery #aeryliving #soycandles #soywax #sustainable #aromatherapy #mindful #calm #relax #heavilymeditated #happyspace #positiveenergy #andrelax #essentialoil #scentedcandle #madeinenglsnd #gmofree #plasticfree #vegan #meditation #yoga

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Avanti Candles

 

The Burning Bean Co

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-4YnbvHLue/

 

Chelsea Candle

Lemon drizzle cake

Lemon drizzle cake was once a staple recipe of mine, but for a long time I didn’t want to make it, because of how ‘unhealthy’ it is. This cake is, however, extremely good for the soul (doctor says so) and cheap and easy to make. Don’t forget to buy unwaxed lemons or you’ll be grating wax into your mixture.

Tag my Instagram if you give this recipe a go!

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Ingredients

  • 225g margarine (I use Flora, obviously)
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1tbsp almond butter
  • 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 250g self raising flower
  • 50ml non-dairy milk (I use soya)

For the drizzle

  • Juice 1 lemon
  • 100g icing sugar

 

Method

  • Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees (fan)/160 (gas)
  • Semi melt the margarine for 30s in the microwave
  • Add the caster sugar and beat (a fork is fine)
  • Add in the almond butter and try to mix in evenly. A few lumps aren’t the end of the world but will affect the final cake texture
  • Add the flour to the mixture and fold in, before adding the zest of both lemons
  • Pour in the soya milk slowly as you mix, until the mixture is a good consistency. I use the full 50ml.
  • Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before pouring into a lined loaf tin and placing in the oven for 45-55 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. If the top starts to burn but the insides are still wet, place tinfoil over the cake and continue to cook until a skewer comes out clean.
  • While the cake is cooking, mix together the juice of 1 lemon and the icing sugar and set aside
  • Once the cake is done, remove it from the oven and place the loaf tin on a wire cooling rack. Prick the tip with the skewer or a fork, and pour over the drizzle.
  • Once totally cool, remove from the cake tin and serve. Enjoy!
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Don’t forget to let the cake cool before turning it out of the tin!

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This photo was taken for an ad but I liked it enough to post here too!

Gingernut biscuits

I made falafels that ended up looking like ginger nut biscuits and then I wanted ginger nut biscuits so I had to make these. After looking at a few complicated recipes online, I decided just to make my own super easy recipe so here goes! These are the perfect mix of crunchy and chewy – enjoy!

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Ingredients

  • 50g vegan margarine
  • 150g muscovado (or dark Demerara) sugar
  • 25g vegetable oil
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 150g all purpose flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 3tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp all spice
  • Dash almond/soya milk (around 1 – 2 tbsp)
  • White sugar, for rolling

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a tray with baking parchment
  • Put all the dry ingredients (save for the white sugar) in a bowl and mix
  • Mix together the margarine, oil and muscovado sugar
  • With your fingers, mix the margarine/sugar mixture into the flour to form crumbs
  • Add a dash of milk (not too much!) until the mixture starts to stick together. It shouldn’t take more than 2tbsp milk to bind
  • Make walnut sized balls of mixture and roll in the white sugar. Place on the baking tray and press down with a fork.
  • Make sure the biscuits are placed evenly apart (they spread during cooking) and place in the oven. Cook for around 12 minutes (a little more if you like them very crunchy)
  • Once cooked, remove and leave to cool before eating. Enjoy!

 

Best (vegan) cafes – Paris

After a gorgeous weekend in Paris, I thought I’d write up all the wonderful suggestions you all sent us for vegan cafes in Paris. Whilst we couldn’t (by any means) visit all of them, so many of you have asked me to pass on the suggestions, I’m just going to write them all up with a little blurb about their general vibe. They’re not all 100% vegan, but in Paris ‘vegan options’ is still pretty good going!

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Versailles is not very vegan – bring your own picnic!

Cafés

 

Cloud Cakes

This cafe was recommended by 3 lovely people so it has to be good! This is a café that also serves light meals and vegan pastries until 7pm Monday – Saturday and Sunday for brunch.

Wild and the Moon

After receiving more recommendations for wild and the moon than any other place, I knew I had to visit! Fiann and I headed there for brunch on Sunday in the 11tharrondissement. They have multiple cafes, but this is the newest one, so we wanted to check it out. It had beautiful clean décor, plenty of plants and a good number of food options. It was a little pricey compared to what I’d usually spend on breakfast, but the food was indeed delicious, and good vegan food seems to be a bit of a novelty in Paris. I had a smoothie bowl (€10) and Fiann had a focaccia with beetroot hummus (€8.50), before sharing one of the nicest banana breads I’ve ever eaten (aside from mine of course!). Their smoothies are also to die for (they make their own nut milks). Would thoroughly recommend for food, but don’t expect to spend less than €15pp if you want food and a drink! See below for our delicious food.

Ob-la-di

Open 8am – 5pm Monday – Sunday serving coffees, teas and brunch/lunch food. Looks quaint but not cheap (yay Paris). Standard avo-toast affaire, but looks like it has pretty good reviews and apparently is one of the ‘most instagrammed cafes in Paris’.

Café Berry

Situated in the Marais, Café Berry serves healthy vegetarian food and drink and has received many great reviews since its opening in the last year. Looks cute, and I kind of wish I’d been when I was there!

Umami matcha café

Open 9am – 7pm Tuesday to Sunday, Umami matcha café is perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch and afternoon tea. It has 4/5 stars on Tripadvisor and looks like it is great for snacks and matcha, but the reviews about their savoury meals are mixed. Based in the Marais. Not vegan but vegan options.

Oni coffee shop

Based next to Strasborg Saint-Denis/Gare du Nord, this is a new café on a busy street. Out of 40 reviews it has 4.5 stars on Tripadvisor – all pretty positive! It offers lots of homemade cakes, as well as vegan and gluten free options. Expect €4 for a latte and 9€ for a sandwich/tartine.

Holybelly

From my research, Holybelly looks like a very interesting coffee shop. It has great quality coffee (reflected in the price) and 4.5 stars on tripadvisor (out of 802 reviews). The reviews suggest that there might be a bit of a wait, and it’s not cheap, but you get what you pay for here, and the service and quality of food is really good. If you are vegan, double check that your food is cooked without butter, as it’s not a specialty vegan restaurant.

Peonies

On google this simply says ‘coffee and flowers’, which I both love so not sure why I didn’t go here! It looks like a really cute café with good décor, situated near to Gare du Nord. Vegan options are offered but it’s not a speciality of theirs. Gluten free options offered too. Open 9am – 7:30pm Tuesday – Saturdays and reduced hours on Sundays. s

The hardware société

This café is based in Monmartre and has received great reviews for its food! The tripadvisor does not say that vegan options are available, but the vegetarian food looks amazing. Open 9/9:30am – 4/4:30pm everyday except Tuesday and Wednesday (when it is shut).

VG patisserie

VG patisserie is ‘vegan cake heaven’ and has received amazing reviews all round. It’s strictly desserts, but perfect if you want to pop in for a snack if you’re in the 11th arrondissement. Honestly I have no idea why we didn’t go here, it looks incredible!

Café Ginger

We went to café ginger after arriving at Gentle Gourmet only to find it inexplicably shut! I’m happy we did though, because this is an adorable small café/lunch restaurant that locally sources organic vegan produce to create 3 ‘plats du jour’. I have an aubergine ‘parmigiana’ and Fiann had a spring roll. Mine was insanely delicious (it is a favourite dish of mine), with plenty of vegetables on the side. I think our lunches were around €13 each I think. Despite being more than I’d usually spend for a lunch, I was super impressed with both the service and food!

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These delicious plates where from Cafe Ginger – 100% recommend if you’re in the area

 

Restaurants

Hanoi

This is not a vegan restaurant but apparently has a ‘large selection of vegan options’ so made it onto the list. It is an Asian cuisine restaurant open for lunch and dinner everyday. The reviews all comment on the really excellent food for a decent price. This is situated in the Marais.

Wynwood Paris

Wynwood is a restaurant and coffee shop open for lunch everyday and dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It is another restaurant with ‘vegan options’ (as well as catering to other dietary requirements) and has excellent reviews on Tripadvisor.

Jah Jah by le Tricycle

This is one of the few restaurants on this list that specialised in vegan (vegetarian and gluten free) foods. It is open everyday except Tuesdays for lunch and dinner is available Wednesday – Saturday. The cuisine is based on African foods, but crosses borders with Indian, Japanese and West Indies hybrid dishes.

Gentle Gourmet

This is another of the few vegan restaurants in Paris (though with the occasional addition of non-vegan products, which are marked clearly on the menu). The food is of top quality (with a price to reflect that). It appears to be open for dinner everyday (except Mondays) and lunch too on Sundays, but Fiann and I tried to visit within these hours only to find it inexplicably shut. Maybe best to call up in advance!

Brasserie Lola

Fiann and I went to Brasserie Lola as it was close to where we were staying (near La Motte Piquet). The place was friendly and had lots of locals, which was great. It used to be a solel;y vegan restaurant, so we were slightly disappointed to see only three vegan mains options on the menu. The vegan burger was incredible, but my tofu pad thai left a lot to be desired (it was over-sweet with pasta used, rather than noodles). Would probably not go back because of the price, but would consider getting the burger again!

Las du fallafel

This restaurant serves middle-eastern/Mediterranean cuisine that has received excellent reviews. It is situated in the Marais, but despite all the competition from other falafel stands, this (apparently) is the one to go to. This is more of a take-away lunch place than a sit down restaurant but is open late.

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Paris is an amazing place and whilst they’re not known for their vegan cuisine, there’s far more than when I lived there 5 years ago!

Problems with plastic

We all know we should be using less plastic and reusing what we have as much as possible, so I’m not going to preach on here. However, I thought I’d do some quick-fire facts about our incessant plastic consumption since it was world ocean’s day recently (8 June).

  • Every piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists
  • 160,000 plastic bags are used globally every second
  • Plastic takes around 700 years to start to degrade (depending on the type of plastic)
  • When plastic degrades it breaks into smaller and smaller pieces, which make it easier for them to contaminate the environment
  • Marine animals often mistake plastic bags for food, meaning they eat them, which over time can kill them
  • In the last 10 years, we have produced more plastic than in the last century. Our consumption is not going down (yet)
  • There is set to be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050

Plenty of reasons (although by no means all of them!) to reduce plastic consumption. Of course, NONE OF US ARE PERFECT, so this is all about reducing consumption as much as possible in a way that you can sustain. The more you do the better, and over time we should all be looking at our consumption habits and trying to do better. BE better.

Pretty much all industries are culprits in the excessive plastic use department, but both social media and wellness are pretty bad, with all their plastic bottles, straws and whatever else. So here are some simple ideas on how to reduce your plastic consumption. Tell your friends, make it cool, blog about it! Only in spreading the word and doing our part will we make a difference

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When your swell bottle is so instagrammable it makes it into every one of your photos

1. Don’t use plastic straws – such a simple thing, and yet it can make a huge difference. Plastic straws make their ways into our oceans by the tonne, and are an environmental disaster. They’re totally unnecessary and easy to cut out. Of course it’s easy to forget to ask for your drink without a straw, but try to make a habit of it when you’re ordering something. You can buy reusable straws if you’re keen on them, and they’re pretty easy to carry around with you!

2. Buy a reusable water bottle – if you’re getting a water bottle every time you head to the gym/to a class, you really need to rethink this. Buying and carrying around a reusable water bottle is SO easy, and also encourages you to drink more water, which is also a great thing. We’re lucky in the UK that tap water is totally potable, so refilling is easy and free. If you’re looking to make one change, this is a serious one to consider!

3. Carry a rucksack or have canvas bags in your everyday bag – I was going to say ‘don’t use plastic bags’, but often we forget and have to purchase those pesky 5p single use bags anyway. Carrying around a canvas bag in your handbag means you’re not ever caught short on that quick trip to the shops. Or, if you’re keen on walking everywhere like me, a rucksack has a multitude of benefits, and doubles up as a great way to carry your shopping! Here’s a great one that doesn’t make you look like a pleb (like me).

4. Say no to microbeadsMicrobeads are tiny plastic beads found in all sorts of beauty products. Thankfully, they are banned in some countries (including the UK), but when buying things overseas, this is something to be aware of. They are a complete disaster environmentally.

5. Don’t get takeaway (coffee) cups – annoyingly, these are 100% NOT recyclable, because even though they feel like paper, the inside is actually lined with plastic, making them one of the worst everyday plastic offenders. If you get a reusable cup/thermos, not only can you feel good about it/yourself, but a lot of companies actually give you money BACK, meaning over the long run you’re saving too! Here are some great coffee cups and my personal favourite – a swell bottle (or chilly’s).

6. Spread awareness/talk to local businesses – Making changes in your life is a great way to make a difference, but spreading the word can increase the difference you make. Encouraging businesses to stop using plastic straws, takeaway cups and plastic cutlery is a great thing to do, and could even save the businesses money. Why not speak to someone at your workplace to see what can be done there? My work has been taking steps to increase its sustainability (no plastic dishes, meat free Monday, no straws etc). It’s great to be a part of the change!

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