Bags of Goodness

Hello All

Just home from a quick shop in town and at the risk of looking like a short rations edition of BBC1’s “Eat Well for Less” * here are my purchases:

Kendal is a little foodie heaven these days. I remember when getting a Wimpy burger bar was BIG NEWS! Nowadays we have wonderful eateries catering to all tastes and today as I was on my lonesome I popped into one of the latest where I could have a super vegan lunch whilst I picked up a few essentials. Food Nude only has a few seats (bar stools) but the goodies on the menu can also be taken away.

Yum what to pick?

I went for the vegan ‘tuna’ sandwich. It was SUPER delicious. The tea with oat ‘milk’ washed it down perfectly.

Did you wonder? Here is what came out of the bags.

Top ups for my muesli, red lentil and buckwheat jars together with a good bowlful of cashew nuts. With the help of veggies and fruit that’s a few breakfasts and suppers sorted.

Greg Wallace and Chris Bavin* would be proud!

Until next we meet

Moke xxx

Trusty Steed

Hello All

New job, new place of work, new transport. Those of you that regularly visit me here at Casa Moke will know that I am very fond of a bus journey and failing that a train or perhaps even Shanks’ Pony. Prepare to be amazed. The easiest way for me to travel to work will be by …..

bike! Sorry if you were expecting a horse. Neigh! It is a two-wheeled steed that will see me hurtling to early starts come September.

Thanks to No 1 Daughter who left her bicycle behind and thanks to Bike Ranger Steve who took it away for a service I am almost road-worthy (just fitting the lights) and ready for a few test runs. Oh my lor’…they do say you never forget. Let’s hope ‘they’ are right.

I feel my (oops No 1 Daughter’s) bike is female and while No 1 Daughter did not give her a name I am toying with calling her Hecate. Hecate was the Ancient Greek goddess of crossroads who protected travellers from evil on the road. I am hoping that there is not a great deal of evil on the road from home over the couple of miles to work but being at a crossroads resonates. Let’s give Hecate a whirl.

Remaining pedestrian at heart I strolled into town yesterday for a little bit of shopping and look what you see when you are walking:

The Vegan Is Kind website set my mouth watering. What a fab idea hope I can try the supper club soon.

Inspired by the Heathen Vegan, hungry after the walk and topped up with the necessary ingredients from town I trundled home to make an asian themed supper of Tarka Dal, Saag Aloo, and Roti together with a simple salad of onion and tomatoes mixed with lemon juice.

Delicious if I say so myself. Making the roti was particularly satisfying! With heaps left over I am hoping it will taste even better today. Infact I am getting a little peckish as I type. Best dash.

Until next we meet

Moke x

Action-packed

Hello All

I love a bookend and who can deny that a few days that start with Vikings and end with Vikings are a good thing?…ok…ok….Franks….Anglo-Saxons….Celts…..

It appears Kirkstall Abbey was ready to let bygones be bygones

And happily allowed a Viking village to be pitched outside the Nave.

The Norse looked friendly enough but the re-enactors from Ormsheim Vikings showed us their more unapproachable side too

The smiley devils!

Set inside and around the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey

Kirkstall Festival was in full swing with choirs, hawks, stalls, ponies and dogs on show when we gathered en familie for a marvellous day in the sunshine. Peanut had a particularly good time being borne on Uncle D’s shoulders to watch dancers in the nave and later racing around the cloisters to the music of the wonderful Otley Ukulele Orchestra.

After all that excitement a genteel woman of Cumbria was just what I needed and last Wednesday JG and me continued our progress around the Women of Cumbria exhibitions with a return visit to The Ruskin Museum in Coniston for the small display on Elizabeth Smith (1776 – 1806).

Miss Smith is a rather elusive figure aptly described by twentieth century Lakeland poet Norman Nicholson in 1953 as:

A shadowy form … a ghost even when she was alive…’

Although she had an extraordinary talent for languages – she was fluent in French, Spanish, German, Latin, Greek and Hebrew – and was a geometrician, musician and poet it was her early death that aroused the interest of the Lakeland literati, especially DeQuincey (that well known self-confessed opium eater) rather than her accomplishments in life.

Elizabeth died of consumption living her last few weeks in a tent that her father had put up in order that she could breath more easily and enjoy the glorious views of Coniston. Yet even in death she seems to have just melted away.

To me she is an icon of the many similarly gifted women of her time who were invisible. She left me a little heavy hearted for all the talented women who have vanished from our consciousness.

Ready for a gear change? After the peace and wistfulness of Elizabeth Smith I was whisked away on Saturday by No1 Daughter to London for a fabulous Animals Asia Bear-B-Q right in the heart of the busy city.

Organised by fantastic Animals Asia supporter Sarah D on the roof terrace of Knight Frank at 55 Baker Street the event was a huge success. Sarah D is an absolute powerhouse of a woman with such compassion and commitment to the Animals Asia cause. Big thanks Sarah and to your wing-man Ray.

The setting was wonderful (as were the raffle prizes)

The food was the very best vegan food I have ever tasted (the veggie option looked scrumptious too).

And Animals Asia ace ambassador actor (who knew I could get so many A’s in a phrase) Peter Egan was super lovely – as were the chefs he’s standing with…did I mention that food…?

It was a day spent with some of the most amazing passionate people I have ever met. Everyone friendly, chatty and interesting. It was also a day that allowed me a proud mum moment. Well done No1 Daughter!

London was hot hot hot so it was a relief to return up North and enjoy a quiet Sunday sitting in a local nature reserve for a relaxing picnic organised by No1 ‘son-in-law’. Thanks RP.

Looking at the colour of the grass it is not only London that has been a tad warm!

Yesterday and flowers from friends herald

The arrival of another birthday! It really doesn’t seem like a year ago that I hit that significant 60. Eeeeek. Luckily before I could get too maudlin No 1 Daughter and Peanut lifted my day.

First we stocked up on goodies for lunch from The Garden Vegan Take-Away here in sunny Kendal.

Amazing victuals – pasties, salads, sandwiches, wraps – perfect for a happy day spent wandering the grounds of my favourite haunt Levens Hall. Peanut was in her element exploring and running around the gardens (a real must see if you are in this neck of the woods, the gardens that is not the running..).

Going …

Going …

Gone!

She humoured her Omi with a sedate walk around the cottage garden.

She was captivated by the blooms (it could also be the path, she has a penchant for gravel!)

And was fascinated by the squashes and courgettes.

What a fabulous day we had.

As for those Vikings! No1 Son knows me well ….

Until next we meet,

Moke x

Yorkshire Days

Hello All

Grandchild-sitting called with its joyous, exuberant and sometimes exhausting song. Bags packed I set off to help out for a few days in Yorkshire. Sitting at my usual bus stop I took in the view of the field opposite. Over many years I have watched this field change through the seasons. Sadly it is soon to be built on. I am savouring it while I can.

A bit of excitement followed while I awaited my Skipton bound train at Carnforth… famous acting couple Timothy West and Prunella Scales were filming! I really hope it was for another of their wonderful canal journey documentaries. These have been a huge hit here in the UK. We shall have to wait and see. Fingers crossed.

With baby-care handed over to me I found that I had a free day before picking Peanut up. Ilkley (of On Ilkley Moor bar t’at fame) was the day’s Elderado.

I had a short shopping list of sewing goodies to get and started with a visit to the lovely little Eme, in Brook Street.

This tiny shop has a wonderful selection of fabrics and is filled with inspirational patterns and projects. I couldn’t resist a couple of fat quarters for my patchwork stash. Keeping to a blue colour range I especially loved these.

And good old Boyes satisfied my interfacing needs. Fusible don’t you know! Useful for ‘holding’ patchwork before adding wadding and backing fabric ready for quilting.

Do any of you have Boyes shops? I think they are an ‘up North’ British thing. Boyes stores are an absolute hotch potch of goods – fishing tackle is next to card making and crafts; bird food near to toiletries – yet they have a fabulous haberdashery section and if I can’t find something anywhere else Boyes usually have it. To my mind Boyes may be slightly bonkers but it is always worth a look see.

Sewing needs met there was enough time to try out a local eatery

Daniel’s Cafe and Bistro had a great website (honestly read the bit about why is is called ‘Daniel’s’ it’s heartwarming) and more to the point there were plenty of vegan suitable goodies. The waiter was super-helpful and offered to adapt where possible anything on the menu. As it was there was no need as I went with the scrumptious home made veggie burger.

It was lovely to nibble my way through a leisurely tasty lunch with my latest read (thanks MB for the loan) and be ready for Peanut on my return.

Post-nursery swings and slides were demanded by my diminutive charge…oh how it took me back and oh how wonderful it was to have charged up my ‘batteries’ for a whole heap of pushing, lifting and spinning. Those playgrounds are brutal when a two-year old is in charge!

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

Happy Fortnight

Hello All

Apologies for last week’s lapse. Things are all good here at Casa Moke just a lot of to-ing and fro-ing. I warn you this is a l-o-n-g post. You will be rewarded with a cuppa if you make it to the end.

What have I been up to?

Cooking.

Delicious Beetroot, Mushroom and Dulse Seaweed Burgers. Grating beetroot always makes the kitchen look like a crime scene but the consequent mopping up was worth it for these tasty burgers packed with yummy goodness.

I love seaweed however often forget how scrumptious and beneficial it is. Thanks to Kate Humble’s BBC series ‘Back to the Land with Kate Humble’ I was reminded and have found some fabulous producers. For this recipe and the Seaweed Cookbook I turned to The Cornish Seaweed Company. The book is a wonderful resource: along with plentiful recipes for everyone (vegans, veggies, omnivores and more) it profiles a huge variety of seaweeds and gives a guide to foraging.

Crafting.

Simple patchwork and a teeny-weeny amount of quilting are helping me gain more and more confidence on my sewing machine (sorry Snail of Happiness I have still not tried stretchy fabrics!). I am also rather pleased with the results if I do say so myself. No 1 Daughter has put in an order for cushions to coordinate with her soon to be decorated living room. Praise indeed.

Hot off the press…

Another cushion made almost entirely from scraps from earlier makes including at least two outfits for my granddaughter. I am smiling looking at it.

Some of you may remember my HUGE over purchase of wool for the simple Fair Isle jumper for Peanut.

Well I have found the perfect project to use the surplus. A Guernsey Wrap.

The pattern by Jared Flood is on Ravelry here. Versions of it can also be seen on one of my favourite blogs ‘Foxs Lane‘ … but I can’t remember where! It is a fabulous blog well worth a visit and you may even stumble on the wrap along your way.

Walking.

Walking buddies JG and JF set off clutching maps (OS Explorer OL7 – The English Lakes, South Eastern area) and compasses – they are part way through learning about navigation – with me their hill-loathing chum (how am I Cumbrian?!) in tow to complete the Kentmere walk we attempted last year when snow and ice made us/me decide to turn back. With the weather much improved – a DRY yet windy day – we set off in high hopes of sitting by a beautiful reservoir to eat our lunches.

Our day started with a charming easy stroll based on No. 3 in Norman Buckley’s book “Lakeland Walking: on the Level”. However as the hills of The Kentmere Horseshoe loomed in front of us it did look as if we were walking into Mordor. But hey! We had that attractive ‘lake’ to look forward to.

With a very flat valley floor and glacial moraines it was easy to see how the Ice Age sculpted this landscape. Ice now a thing of the past…things warmed up around end of April this year…lunch was calling and thoughts of dipping my tootsies in the lapping waters of the man-made tarn were becoming increasingly pleasing.

But what’s this?!

Or should that be what is it not?!!! Where has our reservoir gone? A couple of fellow walkers seeing our dropped jaws told us, it’s the result of a leak! In the past I have had small garden ponds and yes they have suffered the odd pond lining incident but a whole vanished reservoir? That is something.

Abandoning our visions of picnicking on a beautiful shoreline we crossed the spillway. Having watched much too much Nordic Noir I confess I was looking out at the wasteland for a skeleton or two at least. Happily I have nothing untoward to report but it was a very eerie setting…movie location hunters take note.

So being a bit agile (it says so in Buckley’s book) we followed a rough and narrow path back along the opposite bank of the River Kent until the going became easy again and we could stop out of the wind for sandwiches (hummus, peppers and celery if you were wondering) and have a short rest.

The walk back was idyllic. We couldn’t help but laugh at the adventurous and frolicking lambs (I thanked their mums for the wool) some of whom had perched themselves all over this glacial ‘dustbin’.

We admired the bridges.

And held our breath waiting for the bluebells to bloom.

All this and we barely got wet. A rare occasion in them thar hills.

Marching … Women of Cumbria

JG and I managed another tick on our ‘Women of Cumbria’ spreadsheet. We boarded the 505 Stagecoach bus to Coniston and had a wonderful time at the Ruskin Museum looking at all the displays and the exhibition dedicated to Annie Garnett a nineteenth century community entrepreneur who founded a textile industry in Lakeland.

Annie was one of six siblings and while her brothers went to school she was lucky enough to learn autonomously at home and particularly through her love of gardening. Taking her vision from Ruskin’s linen ‘industry’ Garnett founded The Spinnery in Windermere which gave women homebased work spinning yarns which were then woven at the spinnery. Many of the designs were created around plant forms.

Annie Garnett’s knowledge of weaving and textile history enabled her to create new fabrics and dye swatches that reflect her love of Lakeland’s colours.

Beautiful.

Garnett was not only a knowledgeable, inspired artisan she was also an astute businesswoman. By 1899 over 90 women worked as home spinners and embroiders. These workers were given training and also loaned their equipment for free. Annie clearly saw The Spinnery as a business and not a charity and she worked hard to promote it. Her management style was most certainly hands-on!

Lastly we could not leave Coniston without a ratch around a graveyard. We were looking for two gravestones.

Ruskin’s.

And W.G. Collingwood’s. Mission completed.

Are you ready for that drink? You’ve done really well to get here.

Tea drinking.

With a lack of dairy I have missed a delicious cuppa so I went to the Mecca of tea and coffee drinking which we are lucky enough to have here in Kendal, Farrer’s. I went experimental and by serendipity discovered a delicious brew.

And here I sit supping. Time you got the kettle on too. You have certainly earned it.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

PS I receive no freebies (I can dream) nor payment (does that happen?) for anything recommended in my blog. Mx

Eat Copenhagen – Walk Copenhagen

Hello All

Friday 20 April 2018

Letting No 1 Daughter have a lie in I caught up with my journal and checked out the map for our planned trip to Norrebro. Lucky for us it was sunny and mind-blowingly I even discarded my coat…and May not even out yet! Shocking.

Copenhagen is a city of water, wide uncongested roads and greenery and now for us tasty eateries. To find them we ventured further afield and felt we were given an opportunity to explore the city.

We had a beautiful walk, ambling through parks, crossing over ‘lakes’ in the brilliant sunshine.

I couldn’t help but smile at the statute of the Nile on the south side of Dronning Louises Bro the bridge which crosses between the lakes Sortedams So and Peblinge So. Why all the little ‘Cupids’ are wearing red woolly hats I don’t know. But it was adorable.

It may be a ‘tradition’ as I have seen a photograph of them wearing teeny Santa hats too. If it is a custom long may it continue.

We timed our arrival in the Norrebro area to the north of the city perfectly for lunch. We had identified two vegan friendly cafes, Blue Taco and Cafe N, in the same street Blagardsgade. But which to choose?

Blue Taco won out with it’s scrumptious menu of Mexican street food and plentiful outdoor seating. Using blue corn the tacos which were indeed blue and filled with three different yummy fillings,

The deliciousness was washed down by a cool ‘Jamaica’ drink which had a refreshing ginger kick and a sprinkling of hibiscus.

Enjoying the combined warmth of the food and the sunshine we walked on to Assistens Kirkegard Copenhagen’s famous cemetery. It’s a lovely space for introspection and calm. It is also the final resting place for several well know Copenhagen-ites.

Touchingly ‘pilgrims’ have left pens and pencils at the foot of Hans Christian Anderson’s gravestone.

The lovingly kept graves of unborn children and young children were poignant yet appropriately captured the mourned for children. The cemetery is still in use and I understand that an area for the poor and homeless has recently been set-aside.

Rather wonderfully the living sat happily amongst the graves enjoying the Spring and the peace.

Sigh.

Unbelievably it was actually getting rather too hot. A good time for an ice-cream…oh dear perhaps not for us vegans..maybe a sloppy sorbet is the best we can do…but no! Nice Cream on Elmegade came to the rescue.

My vegan strawberry and lemon double scoop ice-cream was soooooo good and gave me the lift I needed for more walking before a grateful sit-down in the grass overlooking the Rosenberg Slot a beautiful 17th century castle complete with moat and gardens.

It is years since I just lay down in a park, soaked up the sun and read a book. Perhaps this is due to the fact that some unsavoury character normally breaks your reverie with all sorts of weirdness/criminality/lewdness and often all three. Admittedly I was with No 1 Daughter but I don’t think I have ever felt as safe sitting in a British city park. Here groups of students played drinking games – the rules of which we couldn’t fathom – enjoying themselves without f-ing and blinding, screeching and getting blind drunk. It was very convivial.

This little respite set us up perfectly for an evening in another kind of park. Copenhagen’s world-famous Tivoli Gardens.

We had held off visiting until Friday night so we could enjoy the added atmosphere of a free concert – turned out to be hip-hop! – and a busy vibe. Large numbers of teens thronged in front of the stage it all felt huge fun and despite gaudy lights, cafes, souvenir shops and old style fairground shies not at all tacky. I can see why Copenhagen is proud of Tivoli one of the world’s oldest amusement parks. In multi-generational Denmark this is a must for all the family.

We loved it and wended happily around the now still (no roller coaster for me …. what a shame!) but illuminated rides before toddling back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep before our last day in Copenhagen. Sob.

Until next we meet

Moke xxx

Roskilde

Hello All

Thursday 19 April 2018

Before I go on to extol the wonders of the very very delightful Roskilde just bear with me for that promised word about food…

After thirty or more years as a vegetarian bumbling my way along I decided to join No1 Daughter and take the plunge and become … vegan. I know just too hip and trendy for one such as me and good grief what a struggle to make a decent cup of tea without dairy milk! (If you are interested hemp milk has proved the most successful alternative).

Being shallow I turned vegan mostly for my own health and weight control but much as I love a salad sometimes – 12 hours on a train definitely qualifies as one of those ‘sometimes’ – I just want a calorific stodge-fest. On arrival in Copenhagen we had to resort to U.S chain Hard Rock Cafe. It was fantastic (fajitas if you are asking) but we really wanted to eat local and following a lunch at another chain Wok and Go the next day we were determined to make a better fist of things. Hurray for the Happy Cow app!

After a couple of foodie disappointments on Day 1 in Copenhagen we eventually got our act together in Roskilde so you will notice a spike in the ‘this is what we had for lunch’ pictures. Feel free to whizz past if they are not your cup of tea … no pun ….

Now to my happy place Roskilde. Only 20 minutes by train from Copenhagen Roskilde lies at the head of a fjord and is home to the (I have died and gone to heaven) Viking Ship Museum (brace yourselves for LOTS of ship photos) and the stunning Roskilde Cathedral.

But we start with our quest for good grub. Tucked away just off the main street on Rosenhavestraede we found the cosy little Satchmo Cafe. Lots of goodies were on show, our mouths were watering …. and bless her the wonderful owner and her colleague made us up a vegan platter each. Heaven. (Food photo alert)

She also threw in some energy balls and heaps of useful tips about where to go and eat in Copenhagen. As we sat chomping happily in the cafe’s sun trap terrace we were in no hurry to leave.

And yet the long ships were calling. After a quick visit to the local Tourist Information office where we were again given lots of information and two maps – one for following and one for inspiration – we set off through a sun-drenched park for the museum, those long ships have quite a loud call.

Pipe down boats … I am showing you off to the readers now.

To quote No 1 Daughter this is where I ‘got my geek on’ …. well really!

OK there may be some truth in that … here comes that photo fest of the 5 scuttled Viking ships used as barriers to Roskilde Fjord way back when (1060 to 1070AD). The ships are both trading vessels and long ships and the museum goes into depth about how they were resurrected and rebuilt. They are things of craft and beauty.

And with all this seafaring wonderfulness on view what’s a woman to do but have a go:

Erm may have been looking in the wrong direction … watch out for that iceberg…

As you can probably guess I had a fantastic time enjoying the displays about experimental and maritime archaeology together with the ships themselves and even a small hemp weaving display.

No 1 Daughter did very well. No doubt soothed by the wonderful location of the museum she humoured her old mum’s weakness for things antiquarian.

But the day was too glorious to stay inside for long. A stroll along the fjord was called for.

A walk back along the water and through the park brought us again to the centre of Roskilde and to it’s wonderful Cathedral.

Inside one can stop and think a while

And contemplate the intricate iron work and trolls!

The troll motif adorns the wrought iron grating to the Trolle family burial vault – definitely have a sense of humour these folks – where the Trolle tombs have been housed since 1600.

You can also view the tombs of most of Denmark’s royal family. Even the present queen, Queen Margrethe II, plans to be interred here. Ermmmm. Time to get back out and enjoy the evening sunlight with an al fresco supper and a short train trip back to Copenhagen.

I have wanted to visit Roskilde for many years it did not disappoint. Roskilde is now top of my must re-visit list.

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx