Hip Hemp & Hummus Burger

I adore burgers. Two buns that house a mouthwatering patty of your choice, salad and condiments. What’s not to like?

True say, as a vegetarian you will find that there isn’t much creativity going on in the restaurant scene when it comes to selecting which veggie/ vegan friendly burger to offer on their menu. In a bid to overcome this disappointment I have been picking my brain to try to come up with a real good vegan burger that I can easily make at home. Something that my daughter wouldn’t mind eating and which isn’t stuffed full of soya/ tofu.

Below you will find the method for the burger patty that I came up with, which is a hemp and hummus burger. I’d love you to try it and let it inspire you to come up with your own variations. 🙂

Hip Hem Burger

Ingredients
  • Wholemeal breadcrumbs, 1 cup
  • Oats, 1 tablespoon
  • Hemp flour, 1/2 cup
  • Mixed Seeds, 2 tablespoons – pumpkin, chia, sunflower
  • Chopped onion, 1/2
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Mixed herbs, teaspoon
  • Salt, to taste
  • Hummus
  • Hot water

Hemp Burger

Method

Blend all the dry ingredients for 5 seconds before transferring to a medium sized mixing bowl.

Cover the mixture with freshly boiled water and mix until all water is absorbed. Leave the mix to stand for 10mins.

Gently heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a frying pan.

Add 2 tablespoons of hummus to the patty mixture and stir. Scoop up a ball of the mixture, place between two sheets of cling film and flatten the ball to make a thin patty.

Now the pan is hot, simply fry each patty for 3 minutes on each side, or until golden.

On this particular occasion I served two parties in a wholemeal bun with lettuce, English mustard, a sun dried tomato and ketchup, complete with a side of chunky chips.

Enjoy

Advertisements

I am THAT Woman

Ive just cracked open the Baileys and slipped three ice cubes into an empty jam jar-come-tumbler.

You’d be forgiven for assuming that I have the Post-festive Blues, or that I am cleverly (and efficiently) disposing of the Christmas leftovers as I see fit i.e. down my oesophagus. The plain reality is that I am a single mother who has snapped.

I remember, aged 17, being told by a friend that one of our mutual friend’s mother drank an entire bottle of wine to herself each night. I was dumbfounded…

…Think of the damage she is doing to her body, she has kids, why is she so depressed, she is clearly emotionally unstable and using it as a coping mechanism.

How naïve yet simultaneously right I was.

The truth is this: being a single parent is tough. Being an adult is tough enough- don’t we all know- but there is a more sinister side to being a single parent that too few people talk about. No, it isn’t the fact that we scrounge off the benefits system, that we are promiscuous, don’t know how to handle our kids or give our kids diet coke in a teated bottle. It’s much worse than that. We, my fellow readers, are lonely.

We aren’t lonely all the time. If we are lucky enough we are able to take advantage of a sizeably healthy group of supportive friends and family members. The only problem is not all of them are empathetic to our needs. And I’m not sure about you but my mother refuses to stay the night for a slumber party. It means I’m often left alone on the sofa as soon as the clock strikes 7:30pm.

Meanwhile, being a single parent has afforded me many benefits. I get to sleep at whatever time I want after the golden hour, no matter how ridiculously early it seems to my childless peers. I get to spend the entire evening in my pyjamas writing poetry and shaking my bum to 90’s throwback hits or even knitting a string of bunting. I get time to blog and meditate completely undisturbed. But, I also have time to worry, become anxious and feel lonely.

Baileys has become my coping mechanism…well for tonight at least. And as I slipped the third ice cube into that jam jar my mind flashed back to that moment, aged 17, walking up the lane into sixth form…Oh gosh! I am THAT woman.

Sanitary Sanity

Since entering sexual maturity the topic of menstruation – how we manage it- has always perplexed me. I have always had a few concerns. This post attempts to provide progressive solutions for those concerns.

I remember, while attending my girl’s only secondary school, being sat in a year 10 English class and asked to choose a topic to present on. The presentation would form part of our formal assessment and we had around 3 weeks to prepare. The class was split up into pairs and we had to now inform the class and our teacher the topics that we had chosen. My partner and I had decided to invent a product and market it during out presentation. We thought we were being totally original and cool. But the pair of girls on the row behind me, after being asked what they would present, extinguished my apparent chutzpah announcing that they would be presenting the Mooncup.

“Mooncup. What? -They already have a name for their made-up product…and the reception it received from the teacher is incredible. Are they in cahoots?”

And so 3 weeks later I learned of the Mooncup. The girls delivered a great presentation and were given their very high provisional marks. But I was left pondering and worrying.

While writing this blog today in 2015 I found this information:

“Despite the government’s allocation of 300m shillings to provide sanitary towels to schools in primary schools, the sanitary towel market in Kenya is yet to gain notable tract among the consumers.

Today only 5.2 million women aged 10 – 45 use sanitary towels out of the 30 million women in Kenya. The low market penetration is blamed on the lack of education on sanitary usage and even awareness of affordable sanitary towels.

Procter & Gamble Communications Manager Salome Mwaura says that lack of awareness has resulted in women using tissue paper and pieces of clothing to contain their menstrual flow.

“Lack of awareness about what is available in the market coupled with product usage education has seen the industry grow at a slow pace,” said Mwaura.

With the entry of cheaper brands, Procter & Gamble is working to retain its market leadership through its Always schools programme which aims at introducing the product to young girls while still in school.” -P&G1

So, women in Kenya are said to be uneducated when it come to sanitary products and lack an awareness of AFFORDABLE sanitary products, right? And, in order to retain it’s market leadership, following the entry of CHEAPER brands, P&G is introducing their product to schoolgirls by way of a school programme initiative. There is something so Nestlé2 about this approach.

Another one of my concerns is centred on the fact that manufactures of disposable sanitary products are not required to list the chemicals that go into making them on the side of packaging3. Just think of the potentially harmful chemicals I am putting on, in and around my most intimate of regions without even realising…. Bleurgh. And most synthetic components are not biodegradable.

The problem for a woman of the first world who strikes issue with conventional disposable sanitary products is convenience. There are a host of alternative products, but sometimes just the thought of doing the research to find a product that is right for you can be daunting and at the low of the priorities list. It’s funny, because I remember spending at least 2 months of my pregnancy researching the pros and cons of reusable nappies and the variety of products available. When it comes to my period – something I will have for a proportionately large chunk of my adult life, as opposed to the two years my daughter was in nappies -I can’t find the time to research for appropriate alternatives? Isn’t it funny how life works 🙂

So, below you can find my list of suggestions all carefully thought out and with info on where to purchase. I haven’t included any reusable cup-catchers, although there are a variety and many blogs and reviews, simply because I have never used one and so cannot give my opinion.

Cotton (rather than synthetic) Disposable Sanitary Products

Cottons & Comforts: Although they do not hold any certifications Cottons and their sister brand Comforts are a fragrance -free alternative range of panty-liners, sanitary pads and tampons plus maternity and incontinence pads and liners. They can be purchased online and in store at Boots (earning you points) and a range of smaller online sites.They are made from 100% natural cotton and the Australian brand have committed resources to work with indigenous communities. Pads from £1.99 and tampons from £2.69.

Organyc: Holding a number of certifications including ones from the Soil Association and ICEA.  Praveera‘s selection of Organyc products include a range of Maternity and sanitary pads along with a Menstruation Starter Kit which includes a pack of super plus tampons. By shopping with them you can benefit from free shipping on orders over £10. Organyc also offer both an intimates range and baby range for items such as baby wipes, intimate wash and nursing pads. Typically sold in packs of 10, prices for pads start from £3.10 with boxes of 16 regular tampons starting from £2.59.

Veeda: My personal most-used, is a range of hypoallergenic, 100% cotton sanitary products. The company, started by two Australian males, focuses towards campaigning for affordable synthetic and chemical free sanitary products ( #Whatsinyourtampon ). These can also be purchased online and in-store at Boots earning you, yes you’ve guessed it, advantage card points! However, there is one particular qualm I do have with this company which I’d like to dress here. For a company that confuses to be inspired by a Brazilian friend and driven by a desire to provide Brazilian women an affordable alternative to chemical ridden, synthetic sanitary products there sure as heck is a lack of women of colour in their marketing materials! In 2010 less than 50% of the population comprised of white Brazilians. And even when considering Australia where this company hails from, it can be said that their marketing materials are committing some serious white-washing. Prices for pads start from £1.98 and a box of applicator free tampons start from £1.85, currently they are on offer at Boots from £1.23 and £1.32 respectively.

Reusable Sanitary Products

—– coming shortly, reader suggestions welcome! —–

 

 

 

Sources
1 Proctor and Gamble (P&G) , 6th link from the bottom as of 11.12.15

2 Nestlé Formula milk scandal

3 Disposable tampons are unsustainable but do women want to talk about it?

4 Demographics of Brazil

 

The Greatest Woman on Two Wheels?

A couple of weeks ago the Nottingham Women’s Centre asked me to take a group of women out to the theatre. Of course I jumped at the idea – a free day out and a chance to fill out my schedule, right?

On walking into the centre I was greeted by the inviting smell of homemade tomato sauce (that accompanied some pasta) and a plate of choc-chip cookies. I stuck the kettle on and smiled as I imagined what production we would be going to see. I hadn’t really bothered to do any research as I was just happy to do something for the day and be with a group of other women for a structured day out…

Beryl, by Maxine Peake, turned out to highlight two caveats that women all over the world face at the first hint of having any ambition beyond family and looks.  As a young girl, Beryl Charnock was told that she wouldn’t be able to achieve much, in terms of sport and physical activities, due to illness; she suffered from rheumatic fever and during her school years spent over 12 months  between hospital and a convalescent’s home. She was advised not to cycle, yet went strong even while heavily pregnant.

Curiously, after 90+ awards, cycling in such a way that she surpassed the men’s 12 hour time-trial record while setting the women’s, and receiving OBE status, she is an obscure figure (to many people) who hasn’t quiet benefited from the support and acclaim that she should – considering her monumental achievements as a woman, and in sport.

This play came at a time when I learned that there are plans to axe feminism and erase influential female figures who have contributed to theories integral to our social history and to the world we live in today. Ignorance towards the achievements of British women throughout our history is prevalent. I fear that by removing this aspect of education, all girls are being told, yet again, that they can not achieve great things and even if they do..nobody will take notice.  The women who do not oppose this proposal are saying, yeah there are women who have done big things for feminism, Britain and our society as a whole, but they aren’t the important ones, it’s the men that matter.

Please, if you have not already, consider signing the petition to include more female thinkers on the A-level syllabus. Tweet Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, and tell her what you think.

Can I also take this opportunity to personally thank the Nottingham Playhouse theatre for gifting the Nottingham Women’s Centre the tickets to this show. I am truly grateful to have benefitted from this gift and hope that you will continue to work towards making theatre accessible to all groups including the most vulnerable in our society and those who would not usually be able to attend such an event due to childcare issues, disabilities or caring responsibilities.

Ginger Carrot Soup

So, I’ve been living off a capsule cupboard for the best part of 3 months. For me this means sticking strictly to the ingredients I already have in my cupboard in order to make dishes, rather than dashing out for lunch or dinner. I love the social aspect of eating out – just being seated with other diners feels social – and as a single parent I often miss the chatter that can accompany family meals, so I knew that this would be a challenge for me.

Luckily the need to save pennies and the desire to create new concoctions proves a good enough motive for eating in. Below you’ll find the step-by-step lowdown for my newest tasty-teaser which is another soup! And perfect for these cold winter months.

NB: This recipe really is for one!! you can multiple the serving power by adding more of the ingredients at the same ratio.

Ingredients
  • 200g Baby Carrot
  • 160ml Coconut cream
  • Cracked black pepper
  • sea salt
  • Thumb & half size piece of fresh ginger
Method

Gently soften baby carrots in a pan of boiling water  (I boil it from the kettle first), over a medium heat for approx. 15 minutes. Ensure enough water covers the carrots, but not to excess, as you will use it when blending the soup so as to keep as much carroty goodness as possible 🙂

Peel the ginger and chop into manageable chunks.

Once baby carrots have softened pour the contents of the pan into the blender along with the ginger and coconut cream and gently wiz until smooth. Add cracked black pepper and a pinch of sea salt.

This time I also added a sprinkling of left-over pumpkin seeds which had fallen out of a packet at the back of the cupboard. As accompaniments I enjoyed this light meal with a jar of white tea and crispy breads.

Women’s Fears

Last week Wednesday I attended Voices of Change, a meeting at Nottingham Women’s Centre as part of #ParliamentWeek.  The centre had set time aside for three meetings aimed at promoting political engagement based around issues that affect women. Yesterday the centre had the last of those meetings.

Before the meeting my friend and I discussed the issues that annoy us and were pretty reved-up and thankful to be given the chance to rant about the issues that matter to us in a safe environment. I particularly enjoyed learning about the issues that are important to my friend specifically in her life. We have been friends for many, many years, but between moving off to uni, travelling, working, and a kid, the frequency of our meet-ups have been limited. This in turn has limited opportunities to discuss such issues on personal level. Voices of Change gave us that opportunity, and we relished it.

During the meeting a few questions were posed to help us give structured and meaningful commentary. For the motivation driving the event wasn’t just a long-due session of self-indulgence and cake eating (which I recommend EVERYONE makes time for every now-and-then), but to show us the channels which are available to ordinary members of society like us, in order to push for the social changes that we want to see happen. For me, I also got the opportunity to broaden my viewpoint on which issues were most important. Sometimes our own issues are so central to how we live our own lives, that we forget about the issues that affect the people around us. What is it, that if we changed it even just a little bit, would help my sister, my neighbour, my teacher, the lady across the road from me…Live a happier life?

Of course, since I took my 4 year old daughter with me, it was only fair that when she raised her hand to express her concerns we listened.

“Yes,” said Mel, humouring little Duran,”what worries do you have?”.

“I’m scared of skeletons and spiders.” Duran Confessed.

We all smiled, and I thought how oftentimes, the very real personal concerns that we have are brushed off or downplayed by people who do not have those same concerns – something that women face on a daily basis in today’s society. We worry about our daughters growing up and being over-sexualised by the media and their peers, we worry about taking full maternity leave, about breastfeeding, and about walking home in the dark after work. How many times have you been ignored or put down for expressing those very real and present concerns?

What other fears do you have as a woman?

Yes, I love food

Cooking for one sucks! But guess what, I’m not cooking for one. I’m cooking for one plus a fussy 4 year old who’s tastes change as frequent as the English weather!

Let’s not forget that I’m a single mother, meaning money is tight – two incomes are always better than one – and I am not a fan of wastage, whether it be food, clothes, partly broken pieces of technology or recyclable packaging. So you can guarantee that my recipes will not break the bank, and I’m a fan of using as few ingredients as possible (excluding the array of herbs and spices that you may or may not have in your store cupboard). These are recipes you’ll enjoy cooking and that are worth it!

I should also give a few disclaimers before we begin:
My daughter and I are HUGE fans of vegan baking! Also, we are a household considered to be pescetarian ( though we exclude dairy, except for the odd sprinkle of grated cheese ( her, not usually I)), 
 so there will be no other meat included in my recipes although you can include it when you make them yourselves at home 🙂