I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

So it’s probably time for an update on the big plan to change my life.

day 29 - international kiki day

I’ve heard back from Austria and, all being well, I should be fine for staying on there after my TTC (Teacher Training Course). I’ve sent the application anyway, so now it’s just a question of seeing how both sides feel during the TTC. I want to stay for 8 weeks, doing 8 hours of karma yoga (work) a day. That shouldn’t change, I don’t anticipate any problems, but you never know. I’ll be booking my flight back for the 25th of November anyway.

After that I’m going to start making my way round the world. I think maybe 3 weeks in California (San Francisco), with one of those weeks on silent meditative retreat at a cabin in the woods.

Then it’s off to Oz on about the 19th/20th December to spend Christmas at my boyo’s place near Perth. Stick around there until the new year, then head east. See some friends, chill out a bit, find some retreat to go to. 2013 is where the plan gets ultra vague.

the warlock of firetop mountain

I’m not getting too stressed about organising the after Austria part of the plan. That’s just stuff I can book, so there’s nothing needs doing on that apart from laying down the cash. I might not even book it until I come back from Austria. In fact I won’t unless there’s significant savings to be had. That’s something I need to check out this week.

Been delayed in my planning because of work. On the last of my night shifts this week and, man, is it tiring! I mean they were hard enough before, but now I know I’m leaving I can barely keep my eyes open. I just want them over with.

Got just two more to do, then 2 weeks of mid shifts (7 shifts, 11am-11pm), and that’s me done. I finish on the 23rd of August, which gives me 1 week to pack, move, dispose of my car oop norf, before jetting off to the Alps for 3 months. Crazy huh? Been planning this Brand New Life for ages and now it’s finally happening!

I don’t know what the future will bring (who does) but I look forward to finding out. Just 27 days to go and the adventure begins! Wish me luck. 😀

Vegan MoFo : Unthanksgiving Tofurkey Hunt

Much has been written in the blogosphere this past week about the elusive Tofurky, a mythical bird with meatless body and ricey giblets oft seen this time of year, so I thought it was about time I hunted one down and gave it a try.

Now I ain’t American (hence the ‘Un’ in Unthanksgiving) so I couldn’t be sure that any tofurkeys would have migrated their way over this way. But I do live in London, home to many a rich and fertile hunting ground, so if they had chances are I would find them.

I briefly toyed with the idea of staking out the Whole Foods Plains in the hope of a bite, but if I’d learnt anything from the Great Daiya Cheese Expediton of ’09, it was that the Whole Foods Plains were not the font of all things vegan. Instead a quick internet search brought up the possibility of a sighting at the fabled land of Planet Organic.

the tofurkey hunting ground

Armed with my Tofurkey Hunter Playlist (a nice bit of bluegrass to keep me going) I quickly boarded the 27 ‘express’ and soon found myself at the edge of a veritable cornucopia. Upon entry a cacophony of sights and smells wafted over me – mostly lentil soup and middle-class rah’s wielding over-priced veg – but I was not to be distracted. My mind was set firmly on the tofurkey! Making my way to the frozen wastelands at the back I came across my first piece of bird sign.

bird sign

I could tell right away that a tofurkey had passed this way recently; quite possibly a mother with it’s giblets. I carried on and sure enough there it was, nesting on it’s wire perch, the elusive tofurkey bird!

a nesting tofurkey

Larger than I had expected, with a heftier hunting tax upon it too (£26:99!), and being the last one remaining in the wild, I paused for a moment to consider the ramifications. But, faint heart ne’er won fair lady, so I snatched up the wily bird and made my escape.

Preparation of your tofurkey is simple enough. 24 hours in a refrigerator is enough time for the heavily frozen meat to ‘cure’ sufficiently for cooking. Then it is a simple matter of preparing it with vegetables and roasting it in an oven for 1 hour 25 minutes to bring out all the subtle flavours.

ready for carving

I tried putting the veggies in with the tofurkey as recommended by the game wardens, but if I go for it again I’ll probably do them separately so that they roast properly. I’d also be very tempted to do without the dumplings, as they didn’t really add anything to the whole experience.

my first tofurkey

All in all not a bad bit of grub. A little over priced maybe, but still very tasty and a good substitute for it’s elder brother the turkey bird if you’re craving in that direction.

That being said I think I’ll stick with the old nut roast this Christmas. Its a lot easier to find, a lot easier to prepare, and you can spend all the time you save watching movies and chilling out at home, rather than sitting on a smelly bus traveling at 5 miles an hour through Saturday morning traffic. 😉

Time to think

Took a mini hiatus from doing anything to think about what to do next. Here’s what I came up with.

1. Cook more. Gonna stop buying pre-prepared sauces and do more recipes, especially other people’s. Should expand my horizons a bit as well as increase my skill set.

2. Write more. This is actually a no-brainer as it’s what I’m doing already. Just need to make sure I keep making time to do it.

3. Yoga more. Loving the early morning sun salutations. Really looking forward to going to class tomorrow.

And that’s it really. No need to over complicate things. If I can do all of that I’ll feel like I’m getting somewhere.

And now for a couple of links:

Terry Wogan hosts Never Mind The Buzzcocks
I’m not one to push TV programmes, but I just watched this and it’s f-ing hilarious. Only available to bods in the UK I’m afraid, and then only until Sunday night (ah the vagaries of the BBC iPlayer).

Jill Bolte-Taylor’s Stroke of Insight
After re-watching this talk I’ve had to re-write this paragraph. This is the most amazing tale of one woman’s insight and understanding of the day she had a stroke, the profound effect it had on her life, and the monumental understanding of the Universe which she took away from it. Watch it! You will laugh, you will cry, and you will be touched by her story. I guarantee it!

Vegan MoFo : Tofu Cheesecake pt 2

Just a quickie for Vegan MoFo (the Vegan Month of Food). This is a slice of a double quantity cheesecake I made from the recipe I did the other week.

cheesecake pt 2

It was, quite simply, doubly delicious, and all for the same amount of effort! I had to cook it for 40-45 mins rather than the original 30, but as for everything else just do twice the amounts and you’ll end up with what you see above. Good stuff.

Chocolate Almond Crunchies

Here’s a nice simple sweet snack to make that’s well tasty. And I dare you to not lick out the bowl when you’re done.

tea and crunchy

150g dark cooking chocolate (I used Dr Oetkers Continental Plain Chocolate)
50-75g of cornflakes
1/3 of a cup of almond flakes
1/2 tsp almond essence

( makes 8 )

melting chocolate

Break up the chocolate and put it in a medium glass or ceramic bowl with almond essence. Put a medium pan on a high heat with about half an inch of water (so that it doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl) and bring to the boil.

Remove from heat and stir chocolate until melted. Return to heat as needed to achieve this.

adding cornflakes

Add the cornflakes and stir in until completely covered by chocolate. How much you put in is up to you, but if they’re not covered properly the crunchies won’t hold together.

Stir in the almond flakes until mixed. Don’t worry too much about covering them with chocolate too.

put in bun cases

Dish out into bun cases and then let cool completely. You can put them in the fridge if needed to cool them faster, it won’t make any difference to the flavour.

Enjoy with a nice cuppa char. 🙂

30 Days of Kiki : day 24

day 24- a letter to your parents

Dear Mum

Thanks for teaching me how to cook. I forgot it for a while, the baking bit anyway, but now I’ve gone vegan it’s coming in very handy indeed. I feel lucky I learnt at such a young age, so it comes kinda naturally, and I’m still a little surprised by people who don’t know how. It’s just something I thought people did.

Dear Dad

Thanks for teaching me to mind my surroundings and know where I was going, especially when going somewhere new. It came in pretty handy when I was in Peru. More than once I used my skill to find my hotel again. I mean I still get lost, sometimes that’s part of the fun, but at least I know how lost I am and can find my way home again.

Cheers both of you. See you at Christmas,

Keith