27 October, 2014

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad (BĂșn Chay)

I made this delicious Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad for lunch last week. When I cooked rice noodles for the first time I followed the directions on the pack and they turned out completely mushy. Since then I have done some research and discovered it's better to soak them in hot water than boil them. This is great news because it makes preparation much easier for a quick lunch.

I followed the directions quite closely for this recipe except for the tofu. Instead of simply frying tofu blocks, I used marinated extra firm tofu and blended it with the peanuts and a few spring onions. Then I fried the minced mixture and added a bit of sesame oil. I also added carrots and only used half the lettuce. I used my stick blender's handy chopping attachment for the tofu topping, the herbs and sauce. So despite all the ingredients in this dish, it was very easy to put together.

Thinking about it has made me very hungry and I think I'll make it again soon.

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20 October, 2014

De Villiers Artisan Chocolate

Our friends gave us this DV Chocolate Taster Pack and I love the packaging so much that I wanted to share it with you.  DV Artisan Chocolate in the Cape Winelands is one of the few ‘Bean to Bar’ micro batch chocolate makers in the world. They combine ancient chocolate making techniques with modern technology to optimise the inherent flavours in the cacao bean.

This taster pack is the perfect way to experience the incredible variety of tastes in their different chocolates. The pack contains 6 single origin mini bars complete with a guide to tasting chocolate. I couldn't always detect the specific hints of flavour they described, but each chocolate definitely had a very distinct flavour and is worlds apart from readily available commercial chocolate.

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16 October, 2014

Blog Action Day 2014: Inequality

Image by Paul Filitchkin via Snapwire Snaps

Today is Blog Action Day again and the topic this year is Inequality. I wasn't planning on taking part. There is so much inequality in the world and I had no idea what to say about it and I honestly don't see most of it ever being resolved.

But today I decided to share a little bit about something close to my heart that I think we can do something about. It's not something I thought about for most of my life and even when confronted with it directly I didn't agree until a few short years ago. I don't mention serious issues on here much, but I think today is the right day.

What I want to talk to you about is animal inequality. The way we decide that some animals are friends or part of our families and others are food. The invisible line we create, or are taught, that is different for everyone.

I have eaten meat for most of my life and I used to say that I could never be vegetarian. I have always loved cows, but I never saw them in the same way that I look at my dogs. It was always different. But a few years ago that started to change. It took me a very long time to see things differently and to then actively change what I did about it, but it happened.

Eventually I realised that I don't want to eat animals any more and I stopped. It wasn't as difficult as I had expected it to be. I do sometimes still miss the taste of meat, but when I think about what it is, it's not difficult to resist those cravings at all. When I see a cow's face now, it feels the same as looking at my dog.

I know this is a touchy subject and food is very sentimental to most people, but I don't intend this post to be preachy or judgemental at all. I simply want to share my thoughts on what I eat and why I eat it.

If you want to read more posts about bloggers' views on all types of inequality, you can search the hastags #BAD2014, #Inequality, #BlogActionDay and #BlogAction on social media.

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10 October, 2014

Vegan waffles

I tried making waffles a few years ago and they took ages and weren't completely cooked when we ate them. That experience made me think that waffles are tricky to make and I didn't try again until this year. I suddenly had a craving for waffles that I couldn't ignore, so I found a basic recipe to try. This waffle recipe from Killer Bunnies Inc. is so easy and we've made it several times this year.

The way we enjoy it most often is simply with syrup and bananas. I also like to add a bit of cinnamon sugar.

I also tried banana ice cream for the first time this year and it's perfect for waffles. You simple blend frozen bananas with a bit of soy milk and vanilla.

We tried this one morning when we wanted chocolate spread. The chocolate completely melted on the hot waffles, it was delicious.

I haven't made waffles in quite a while, so I think I need to make some this weekend. What's your favourite waffle toppings?

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My name is Natasha. I live in a beautiful coastal town in South African with my little human/dog family. I love cooking and share new recipes I've tried here. Sometimes I even create my own recipes. I spend way too much time on Pinterest and blogs, but I'd like to be a neat, productive person one day. We're also starting a new business. You can read more about that at terrapinandtoad.com

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