Thursday, 14 April 2016

our new little son

so, i guess you're wondering where i've disappeared off to? well, i'm very pleased to say that about 6 weeks ago i gave birth to a gorgeous, and very large, baby boy.

he was 4 weeks earlier than scheduled, and the whole birth experience for me from start to finish was really special. it all started with my water breaking at 10:30 the night before (followed shortly by contractions 3 minutes apart), and then ended at 4:45 in the afternoon of the day after, when he finally made his appearance into the world. yes, that was a very long 18 hours! i'll tell you more about it one day if you like in a separate post...

he was very big when he was born (because of my diabetes) and also very healthy with a reasonable APGAR score. but because he was born at 35 weeks, he spent the first 3 weeks of his little life in the neonatal department of our nearby hospital. as you can imagine, this was a tough 3 weeks for us as a family, but we got through it with the help of our amazing friends and family.

we were so blessed by my mother coming to stay for 2 weeks and help cook us meals, make me lactation cookies, do our washing up, be there when i cried and tell me to have a rest when i most needed one. we were also blessed by lots of people in our church who shuttled me too and from the hospital multiple times a day, even through the terrorist attacks, and who also have brought us meals for the evenings these last 4 weeks. we couldn't have done it without their help. we were also really blessed by communications from our family back at home that really helped to keep us positive and make us smile when the going got tough.

our little boy will remain anonymous on this blog, but suffice it to say he has an awesome name that is a strong family name that he completely suits.

i loved being pregnant, absolutely loved it. there's so much i could say about the eight and a half months, but for now i will just say that it's an amazing feeling growing a human inside of you from the size of a grain of rice to the weight of three and a half bags of sugar. it made me truly respect God as a creator, because it is truly miraculous.

i'm happy to say that we're all doing well, now having been at home 3 weeks and settling into life with a newborn. motherhood has been so fantastic so far, and it's a great joy to be able to nurse him and hold him and cuddle him whilst he cries.

thank you to all of you that follow me on instagram who have been a part of the process and so lovingly supported us through this period so far, and to all those who've sent an email too. your love and support is so appreciated, and with every kind word i feel a real boost of energy.

much love, alissa x

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

vegan lemon-coconut baked donuts with maple glaze

you know, these are the happiest treat. donuts always are i suppose. especially with sprinkles. and what better than a vegan variety to top off the happy feeling?

these are light and fluffy, and i highly recommend you get your non-stick donut pan out and make a batch right now. or at least pin this recipe for later...

i also managed to create a glaze recipe that is sugar-free, dairy-free, easy and delicious, and i think i'll be using this one for most of my future donuts.

vegan lemon-coconut baked donuts with maple glaze
inspired by oh my veggies

makes 6

1 tablespoon flaxseed, ground
3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 cup flour (i used 1/2 cup spelt flour, 1/4 cup buckwheat flour and 1/2 cup corn meal)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon good salt
2 tablespoons solid coconut oil
1/2 cup soy milk
juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon soy milk
a squeeze of lemon juice (optional, see notes)
a pinch of good salt

a sprinkle of unsweetened flaked coconut

1. preheat oven to 175Âșc.
2. in a small bowl, mix together the flaxseed meal and water. set aside.
3. in a large bowl, mix together the sugar, lemon zest, flour(s), baking powder, and salt, stirring together with a whisk until combined.
4.  add the coconut oil into the flour mixture. using clean fingers, distribute the coconut oil throughout the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
5. add the milk and lemon juice to the small bowl with the flaxseed mixture. stir.
6. make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon just until incorporated.
7. scoop batter into a large zipper bag and squeeze the contents toward one of the bottom corners. snip off the corner and use the bag to pipe the dough into each donut cup. divide dough evenly between each cup.
8. bake for 8-10 minutes, or until donuts are puffed and spring back when gently prodded.
9. allow the donuts to cool in the pan for five minutes, then use a wooden butter knife to gently loosen the edges. invert the doughnuts onto a baking rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely.
10. to make the glaze, melt the coconut oil in a pan, then add in the maple syrup, lemon juice, salt and soy milk, and whisk by hand until fully combined and frothy.
11. place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to cool.
12. dip each donut in the glaze and set glaze-side-up back on the baking rack. wait 5 minutes and dip again.
13. sprinkle doughnuts with coconut.
14. either eat immediately, or pop them in the fridge so that the  glaze hardens (see pic at the bottom of this post.)

cook's notes:
- the lemon juice in the glaze is totally optional, you could omit it altogether, or add in lime or orange juice instead. you could even add in some zest into the mix.
- anywhere you see soy milk in the recipe, you could trade this for real milk or another non-dairy milk.
- the combination of flours in this recipe give it a lovely texture and depth of flavour, whilst still being very light. i would recommend you try out your own favourite combo of flours and see what you like best.
- for the sugar in the donut batter, you could replace regular sugar with coconut sugar or substitute your favourite sweetener.

these are so scrummy, and the perfect quick treat to make for when you've got guests coming over. i know it seems like there's a whole load of steps, but actually these take about 30 minutes to make overall because the bake time is so short.

of course, if you pop the donuts in the fridge for an hour or so, the glaze will harden and take on a more opaque appearance...

currently reading: the latest British Vogue - some stunning shots of a gorgeous house in the Hollywood Hills, owned by Leon Max - seriously luxury.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

a veggie lunch at mammouth

as you all know, i love vegetables. though i don't call myself vegan, i do love to eat as many vegetables in every meal as i can. so, i'm always looking out for places i can go out to eat that will serve lots of delicious vegetables.

from reviews online, mammouth seemed to fulfil my criteria. and i was not disappointed. in fact i left the cafe absolutely stuffed full of incredible veggies, with a big smile on my face.

i went with a friend of mine who was headed back to the uk, and was just about to take the Eurostar. mammouth is in the perfect location for anyone coming to and from the Eurostar, because it is right there next to Gare du Midi. it's not a particularly lovely area to hang out in around there, but this is a little haven. in fact, sat inside the cafe was a seriously chilled atmosphere, and i would go there to just sit for a little while and enjoy the calm.

part of the reason for the calm is the unique way they've organised the ordering system. you write down what you want on a piece of paper, highlight where you're sat and then take it up to the counter, and then the food you've asked for is just brought to you when it's ready.

i chose the 'petite soupe & grande assiette de legumes' (little soup and large plate of vegetables) option - which as it turned out was almost too much food for me to manage! but you better believe that i ate every last bite, because each and every part of the meal was perfectly flavoured and seasoned. my favourite salads were the riced cauliflower salad, beet hummus, cold grilled lettuce, and the cucumber had some sort of delicious citrus poppyseed dressing that was just so scrumptious.

the squash soup and sourdough bread was gorgeous, and particularly fantastic because of the seasoning that had been sprinkled on the top.

for dessert i had the chocolate pudding pie (moelleux), and my friend had the raspberry crumble tart. both delicious, both very sweet. really we should've got them to take away because we were so full...

so, next time you catch the Eurostar, or are around the St Gilles area, or fancy catching the metro there, i really recommend going to Mammouth for a big plate of veggies. or you can get takeaway too ;)

thanks for reading, have a lovely day!

currently watching: raw. vegan. not gross. episodes with laura miller - also love the foraging, kompot and wildcrafting episodes she's made, so watchable and interesting. i encourage you to spend an hour on YouTube watching some of her videos - i think you'll be inspired.