Coping With Life…and Waffles!

I can’t believe that I’ve not posted since February, the last 5 months have gone by super fast and the only excuse I have is that I’ve been busy and overwhelmed with life stuff.

Since my last post I’ve had so many things going on. Transition wise I’ve had a lot of appointments with my NHS Gender Clinic and a private appointment with GenderCare to get a referral for top surgery. This led to a consultation with my surgeon of choice, an amazing response to my GoFundMe page that helped me get enough money together to pay for my surgery and now I’m only 23 days away from having the first operation of my life and officially starting to freak out that it’s actually frigging happening.

I ended a 5 year relationship in January, which I never told you all about at the time because it was too soon and too hard to open up about but things are looking up. I’m still living with my ex but it’s going a lot smoother now and I’m in a new relationship that is the best ever and making me feel all kinds of love and happy.

On top of that I’ve been going to therapy to work through various things. It’s been helpful but also difficult, so a lot of time has been spent under my duvet to process it all. Overall I’m in a better place but I’m still cautious of slipping back to where I was before Christmas. I’m trying to practice this self care stuff, which definitely doesn’t involve yoga, exercise, ‘clean eating’ or just smiling more, but lots of sleep, cuddles and a hell of a lot of mac n cheese.

I’ve been wanting to post an update over the last month or so but I always feel I have to accompany these sorts of posts with a recipe and whilst I’ve been eating A LOT of food out and about, I haven’t been too exciting with my own cooking at home. But, I finally made something pretty spectacular yesterday that I wanted to share with you.

My boyfriend has just had surgery and is recovering at my place, so while he’s all weak and vulnerable, I’ve been feeding him ALL the tasty foods. Yesterday I decided to make him some surprise breakfast waffles, just some simple chocolate waffles I thought…until I came across some bourbon biscuits, Biscoff Spread, White Chocolate and Soya Cream…which led to the most spectacular breakfast I’ve ever made

Chocolate, Hazelnut Cookie Waffles

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Ingredients:

For the waffles:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 bourbon biscuits, crushed
  • 1 1/4 cups non dairy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp hazelnut butter

For the Sauce:

  • 1 bar of iChoc White Chocolate
  • 3 tsp Biscoff Spread
  • 2 tsp coconut oil

Extra Toppings:

  • Whipped non dairy cream
  • Chocolate Syrup
  • Extra Bourbons
  • Lots of Biscoff Spread
  1. First off, mix together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt
  2. Then whisk together the milk, oil and hazelnut butter
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined. Fold in the crushed bourbon biscuits
  4. Heat and oil up the waffle iron and cook 1/3 of a cup of batter each time.
  5. While the waffles are cooking, melt the chocolate, coconut oil and biscoff together.
  6. Assemble by layering waffles with plenty of Biscoff Spread inbetween, lashings of sauce, top with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and an extra bourbon.

I think these are the best waffles I’ve ever made, and that’s saying a lot considering I did a whole month of waffles a few Mofo’s ago. The look on Logan’s face when I brought these through to him was amazing.

We both felt pretty sick after breakfast and then slept most of the day, only waking up to eat huge amounts of vegan pizza from a new takeout that has opened down the road (I’m blogging about that soon, I promise!)

But yeah, that’s pretty much all that’s been going on over the last 5 months or so. I’ll have plenty of time to myself after surgery so hope to post more around then and I have lots of new places to review too, so I will be back in the very near future!

Until then folks!

Sesame Noodle Lettuce Wraps

Just popping in with a really easy and delicious recipe for you today. I managed to throw this together in about 10 minutes, so perfect for a quick dinner after a long day. As I’ve mentioned in recent posts…I’ve been exhausted just by existing recently, so I was really pleased that I could get some vegetables in my belly without falling asleep before they reach my plate.

Also a simple recipe to chop and change ingredients around if needed. I had an aubergine that was close to turning, so griddled some of that to pop on top but you could add crumbled tempeh, fried tofu or seitan, avocado, sesame seeds, it will all work well here.

Sesame Noodle Lettuce Wraps

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lettuce
  • a handful of black bean noodles
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • splash of rice vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1/4 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 a chilli, finely sliced
  • a few tbsp of roasted peanuts, chopped
  • coriander
  • aubergine, griddled (optional)

Directions:

  1. First off, cook the noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes before draining and rinsing with cold water.
  2. While the noodles are cooking, heat a little oil in a pan and fry off the garlic and ginger for 30 seconds or so.
  3. Add to the cooked noodles along with the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and lime juice. Use your hands to mix it all through until the noodles are coated.
  4. Line up your lettuce leaves, place a small amount of noodles on before topping with spring onion, pepper, chilli, peanuts, coriander and a sliced of griddled aubergine (I just brushed a little sesame oil on and cooked it through on my griddle pan, easy)
  5. Drizzle a little extra sesame and lime juice on before stuffing in yer gob

Super easy right? Also so tasty. I’m not usually a fan of wrapping things in lettuce over delicious carbs but I will make exceptions for dishes like this.

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I made the error of getting a baby gem lettuce so the leaves weren’t quite big enough, it was delicious and everything but I’m glad I was eating them alone in my bedroom…’cause I pretty much had to shove the whole thing in my mouth in one go and it was so not attractive.

Just a cautionary image for you all there…

Baaiii!

Feeling all the Feels. Baking all the Cakes

I’m back with an update and some cake, go me!

I’ve finished my second week of work now and as of today I’m back on full hours. I won’t lie, it’s been a super overwhelming experience. Getting back to normality has been hard and I’m still struggling to deal with a lot of strange and unexpected emotions that have been surfacing.

My first working weekend has been and gone, bringing up all kinds of extra feels. In my absence I’d forgotten what it’s like to be repeatedly misgendered all day, so that was painful. I’d finish a 2 hour till stint wishing for the wrath of Dark Willow to free me from the clutches of my skin cage. Warren, you are one lucky bastard.

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But, I persevered. I dealt with crowds, questions and small talk. I pushed through brain fog. I didn’t have a single panic attack, despite feeling on the edge of one for most of Sunday. These are all good positive things that I am trying to remind myself of because when I got home on Sunday, all of the feels in the world hit me…pretty much like this:

It really was enough ‘fun’ for one day. More than enough. I ended up crawling into bed and crying it out for a few hours because apparently I am a child again and that is how I must deal with all the emotions!

I woke up yesterday morning TIRED and not up for doing anything at all. I spent most of the day getting into a new murdery podcast All Killa No Filla and having a bubble bath. I didn’t want to sink back into my old routine of hiding all day, so I pushed myself to get up and do something.

I decided to make cake, because…what else is worth doing in life?

You got it.

Nothing.

I had some free bananas and a free lemon from work, so I decided to use them up. I added lots of coconut because why the hell not?

Banana Coconut Lemon Cake

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Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup dessicated coconut (plus a little more for decorating)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a loaf tin with parchment paper
  2. Mash the banana and mix in the oil, milk and vanilla extract
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, coconut and baking powder
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just mixed
  5. Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 45-55 minutes
  6. Once the cake has cooled, mix the lemon juice with the icing. Smother the cake in it and top with lemon zest and dessicated coconut

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This was super quick and easy and I like quick and easy rewards. I managed to end the day feeling like I’d done something worthwhile.

I’m always an anxious human, but I have a lot of extra fears now that my safety blanket of a phased return is up. I know I’m not better yet and I’m already feeling the pressure to be “well” again, whatever that means.

For now at least, I have cake to take with me to work this morning, so I’ll get through today. I’ll deal with tomorrow when it comes.

 

Choc Chip Pumpkin Banana Bread

I’ve been on a super tight budget over the last few months and it’s set to continue for quite a while as I’m saving for something huge. I will fill you in on that news in a future post.

It’s not been as bad as I was expecting, I enjoy challenging myself to make meals out of very little and it’s pushed me to be a bit more experimental with my cooking. But there’s one thing I don’t like about all this money saving business….lack of pudding! I’ve had to promise myself that I won’t go out of my way to buy sweet treats while I’m saving, unless it’s a special occasion.

Lucky for me, I do have a cupboard chock full of basic baking ingredients like sugar, flour, choc chips etc. So, when I came across free bananas at work and found myself with some leftover pumpkin puree, I knew it was time to treat myself. Here’s what I whipped up…

Choc Chip Pumpkin Banana Bread

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Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 140g pumpkin puree (approx 1/3 of a tin)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips or nuts (optional)

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 200C and line a loaf tin with parchment
  • Mash the bananas with a fork before adding the pumpkin, oil, sugar and vanilla and mix until fairly smooth
  • Add the flour and the baking powder and stir until combined
  • Fold in the chocolate chips
  • Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes
  • Leave to cool before serving

 

I served mine with some of the new Oatly vanilla custard that I had waiting in the fridge (this stuff is good by the way, really really creamy).  The pumpkin made the cake extra moist and delicious. It was so good. Just what I needed.

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I may even eat breakfast for the rest of the week if it means I can eat this.

New Finds & Banoffee Crumble

I might be skipping out on Vegan Mofo this year but I didn’t want to skip out on posting this month altogether. I don’t want to update too much on me because things haven’t changed much since my last post. I’m bored of the same old horrible stuff going through my head, I don’t want to torture any of you by writing it all down.

But, I am happy to torture you by gloating about a few new products I’ve come across over the past month or so. I was super excited to hear that Oatly Creme Fraiche has made it over here to the UK. I’ve wanted to experience the wonders of Creme Fraiche ever since I laughed my way through this South Park episode:

 

Less exciting is that this product is only available in Tesco at the moment. I hate Tesco, they’re not a company I like to support and I’m lucky to be in a position to avoid the likes of them and Asda. But I sold out because…La La La La…Creme Fraiche…I’m hoping that it will be available in some more independent stores soon.

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This stuff is pretty good, I’ve used it instead of sour creme in burritos, added some to my mashed potato along with a little wholegrain mustard and I topped a delicious crumble with a little of this mixed with icing sugar and vanilla extract. That was my favourite way to eat it, sweet and tangy.

My second exciting discovery was that Wing Yip are now selling tins of vegan coconut based condensed milk. They’re also doing coconut evaporated milk, which I’ve yet to use. Does anyone know the difference between the two? Can they be used interchangeably? This is another thing I never really had before I went vegan.

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As soon as I got my hands on this I could only think of one thing. Caramel.

So I decided to combine the two into one sweet tasty pudding. The results were excellent.

Banoffee Crumble

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Ingredients

For the crumble topping:

  • 120g plain flour
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 handful of almonds, chopped (optional)
  • 60g soya marg

For the caramel:

  • 25g soya marg
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 200g coconut condensed milk

 

  • 4 bananas, sliced
  • Oatly Creme Fraiche
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

 

Method:

  1. Firstly preheat the oven to 180C before making the crumble topping. Mix together the flour, sugar and chopped nuts if using.  Rub in the marg until you have a crumb like texture. Set aside
  2. Make the caramel by melting the soya marg, stirring in the brown sugar until it has melted. Add the condensed milk and bring to the boil for 3-4 minutes before setting aside.
  3. Put the sliced bananas in a baking dish, pour over the caramel and finish it off with the crumble topping.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes
  5. While it’s baking, mix together the creme fraiche, icing sugar and vanilla
  6. Spoon the cooked crumble into bowls, top with the creme fraiche and enjoy

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Frraaaiiiicccheeee

Fuck. Yeah.

Hope all my blogger friends are having a good Mofo, can’t wait to join you all next year.

Maple, Ginger & Sweet Potato Cake

I disappeared in a predictable fashion again, sorry! I was super busy over the summer with some fundraising stuff and then Pride. I was planning on writing a few posts and then my mental health nose dived.

I’m finding transition unbearable at the moment. I’ve been waiting 16 months now for a first appointment with the gender clinic and there’s still no sign of it coming along any time soon. I’m responding well to hormones which in some ways is exciting but the more I physically change the more terrified I am that top surgery is so far away. I’m overwhelmed with the whole situation but it’s too painful and draining to go into details. It all came to a head and I ended up at a  crisis centre a few weeks ago. Since then I’ve spent most of my time hiding in my duvet cave trying to recover.

I’m still pretty fragile but I managed to clean up the flat today and did some baking too, so thought I’d share a recipe with you. I offered to experiment with some Fava Bean flour for work recipes and I did a pretty good job. It sounds weird and totally wrong in a cake recipe, but trust me. I don’t encourage eating crap cakes.

Maple, Ginger and Sweet Potato Cake

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Ingredients:

  • 150g Fava Bean Flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 150g soya marg
  • 150ml maple syrup
  • 125ml soya yogurt
  • 150g raw sweet potato, grated
  • 50g creamed coconut
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a loaf tin with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and ginger.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, cream the soya marg. Add the maple syrup and yogurt and stir until combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix together. Fold in the sweet potato and pour the mixture into the loaf tin. Bake for 45-50 minutes before removing from the oven and leaving to cool.
  5. While the cake is cooling, melt the creamed coconut and maple syrup together. Remove from the heat and stir through the lemon juice and zest. Let cool.
  6. Once the cake is completely cool, top with the coconut lemon icing.

This cake was pretty damn good. Not as sweet as my usual bakes but I was amazed at how good the taste and texture were using the fava bean flour. Usually when I make gluten free bakes I use a mixture of gluten free flours, but this worked on its own. It was nice and moist and held together really well. It was also simple to make, I still have a load of the flour left so I will probably make this again…though cake always benefits from added chocolate chips so I may try that next time and skip the lemon in the icing.

I was hoping to get involved with Vegan Mofo next month, I had my theme chosen and some recipe ideas planned. I’d like to say it will go ahead but I’m still not in a good place. I also have a lot of voluntary work on, which is a good thing because the work I’m doing and the people I’m working with are amazing, it pushes me to keep plodding on. But this may mean I need to give this years Mofo a miss. It’s early days though and if I can do some prep before November, maybe I can pull it off.

Ups, Downs and Cookie Dough Pie

I’ve been away from here for ages and I’m sorry! A lot of stuff has been going on.

The saddest news is that we lost lovely Aidah on the 26th of May. I kept meaning to write a tribute post to her, but I’m still devastated that she’s not around and haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. She deteriorated really quickly after a good 2-3 months without having any seizures. On her last day Aidah was having one seizure after another, looking more miserable each time. The spark left her eyes and I knew it was time to say goodbye.

Aidah

The flat has been so quiet without her around, I miss the way she used to run and meow to her bowl in the morning for breakfast, or her following me around chirping for treats and cuddles. Or her jumping in surprise and excitement when I came home because being deaf, she couldn’t hear me coming in. Life is definitely not the same.

Not long after losing Aidah, a kitten popped up in a local Facebook group who desperately needed a home or would end up in a shelter. His owner was having to move into sheltered housing and couldn’t keep him. No one was saying they’d take him in and as I still had a litter tray and food left, I offered a foster home….which almost immediately turned into a forever home. How predictable.

Meet Kobi.

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He’s a little terror but absolutely adorable and really gentle. It was hard having another cat around so quickly after Aidah, but he’s settled and I don’t regret the decision to take him in at all. Not used to having a young cat around as I’m used to snoozing old lady cats, but he keeps us on our toes and gives amazing cuddles.

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Overall I’ve been pretty up and down. Testosterone has been great in lots of ways, hair is sprouting and I’m turning into a bear. My voice is also starting to break and my face shape has changed. There have been some really unpleasant side effects though, some I was expecting, some less so but whether expecting them or not, they are still hard to deal with. I also made the mistake of stopping my antidepressants when I started T, which, in the words of my GP was ‘a bit of a silly idea’ and will probably explain the lower moods.

As well as all these emotions, I’ve been pretty busy. I baked a shitload of cakes to help my local support group, Morf at Sparkle festival. Morf run an awesome binder scheme that distributes binders to trans folk for free. The weather was shit but we managed to raise a fair amount of money, though if you like the sound of the scheme and want to donate, we’re always needing more binders and are grateful for the help.

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I’ve also had an excellent weekend away in London with old friends, which involved eating lots of good food that must be blogged about. And, I went on a retreat last weekend and had one of the most amazing experiences ever. It’s too much to go into in this post, but stay tuned because I’ll be writing about it soon.

I thought I’d end the post with a filthy dessert creation I made with some leftover cookie dough I had from the bake sale…

Cookie Dough Pie

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Ingredients

  • Around 1-2 cups leftover cookie dough
  • 1/2 cup leftover frosting (I had chocolate)
  • 1 carton soy whipping cream

Method:

  1. First off, preheat the oven to 180C. Mould a load of cookie dough into a greased cake tin and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  2. While you’re waiting for the base to cool, bake a few cookies out of the dough. While they’re baking, roll a few cookie dough balls ready.
  3. Whip up the soy cream before assembling.
  4. Cover the base in a thin layer of cookie tough, then a layer of the frosting and top with the whipping cream.
  5. Decorate the top with raw cookie dough balls and broken baked cookies before devouring.

Fucking hell. This was one of the most outrageous desserts I’ve ever made. I’m not lying when I say that after one bite, I could feel the chin spots immediately grow under my skin. I was spotty for a week after eating a slice of this. Ah puberty!

Totally worth it though. A great way to use up leftover cookie dough

That’s about all from me now, but I promise I’ll be blogging again really soon!