Saturday, 25 July 2015

Newcastle Grainger Market

Recently the Public Toilets in the Grainger Market have been closed. I was wondering if they were ever going to open again as other council run toilets have been getting closed due to persistent vandalism and costs of maintaining them.
However I was pleased to see the toilets open once more, with big improvements as a non-slip flooring has been installed and the steps up into the cubicles have been removed, making the access much better.
I also got a big bag of cherries for £1.50 at one of the greengrocers.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

2 new recipes with peas and rice

At the weekend I made 2 easy meals, which I am recording here for future reference, as I didn't use a recipe. These are my own recipes, which both worked really well. Serves 2 people.

On Saturday it was Veggie Chikn with peas and sauce.

You will need:
1 pack Tesco Frozen Meat Free Chicken Style Pieces (or similar);
1 jar Lloyd Grossman Tomato and Basil sauce (350 g)
1 cup brown rice
1 pack oatly cream or similar non dairy cream
1 cup frozen peas or petit pois
1 onion
oil for frying

Chop the onion and fry it in a little oil until golden
Add the Chicken Style Pieces (Not vegan contain Egg White) and fry some more until they are also golden
Add the Lloyd Grossman Tomato and Basil sauce and a little water, leave to simmer for about 20 minutes,
Add a cupful of frozen peas and cook until peas are cooked through.
In the meantime get your rice ready.
About 10 minutes before serving, add a tablespoon or more (to taste) of the oatly cream

Serve with the rice.

Next we have the Faken Baken risotto, being a fake risotto as well as using fake bacon. You could adapt this to cook it like a proper risotto but this is an easy way.

You will need:
1 pack tesco meat free bacon style rashers (Not vegan... contain Egg White);
1 cup brown rice
1 pack oatly cream or similar non dairy cream
1 cup frozen peas or petit pois
1 onion
2 teaspoons of marigold boullion powder
oil for frying
2 and 1/4 cup water

Put the bacon style rashers under a grill and grill according to package instructions. Allow to cool.
In the meantime chop and fry the onion in a large pan and then add the peas.
Cook the rice in the water, with the marigold boullion powder
When rice cooked add to the onion and pea mixture, with a little of the cream.
Cut the bakon into small pieces and add to the pot, with a little more cream. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

Both of the Tesco Meat Free products do contain Egg white, however if you want to keep your ingredients totally vegan the
Frys company do vegan chicken pieces, and the Redwoods Company do a couple of types of vegan bacon as shown above, available at Holland and Barratt, or other natural food distributors such as Suma.

At the risk of cheating myself, claiming to be a vegan and writing a "vegan" blog", I have found it pretty difficult to keep up the standard and sometimes just have to be a bit more flexible if I don't always get what I aim towards.

Saturday, 18 July 2015


I noticed that there is a large research project looking at the effect of mindfulness meditation on teenagers read about it here

I was interested in what one person said in the news story above that watching thoughts could be compared to watching buses go past.

The other evening a large Chinook Helicopter landed on the Castle Leazes Town Moor (maybe to get some emergency patients to the RVI) and it was quite dramatic. Usually an air ambulance helicopter
like these or these would land on the helipad at the RVI but that probably can't accommodate a Chinook.
I thought later about the comparison of thoughts passing during meditation as cars passing on a road, not getting in the cars, just noticing them. But sometimes a thought may seem very strong or important, and its hard to let go of. It seems to demand our attention, or we get taken away by it before we notice. These thoughts are like that helicopter!
I did find, during my last meditation retreat,that I finally got the message that all thoughts, no matter how important they seem, can be let go of during meditation.

Leazes Park Flowerbed and bees

Some detail of the flowers, with bees on some.

One of the main flowerbeds in Leazes Park is full of bee friendly summer flowers at the moment, poppies in particular, and the bees are going in the flowers to get the pollen and nectar. It does seem as if they are very excited, or having fun, happy or in bee heaven. Some are rolling around inside the flowers, getting covered in what looks like raw honey.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Recipe for Broad Bean and Artichoke Heart dip

Here is a very easy recipe I discovered for a green dip, which is a good source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins and fibre.
Get a jar of artichoke hearts in olive oil such as this one from Sacla. Also purchase a bag of frozen broad beans.
Many supermarkets sell the baby broad beans.
Take a quantity of broad beans roughly approximate to the quantity of the artichoke hearts.
Cook in a microwave according to the instructions on the pack.
Drain and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, open your jar(s) artichoke hearts.
Add them to a blender with the cooked beans, including all the oil, and set your blender to puree. You can add a little lemon juice or water if the liquid seems to be absorbed too soon. If you don't have a blender a potato masher would probably work too.
Blend until a rough consistency is achieved, store in the fridge and use as you would any dip.

Poem about a honeybee

I was happy to receive this lovely verse and photo of a honeybee or bumble bee, and permission to publish both, as long as the author remain anonymous.

Here’s a picture of a bumble bee

looks nowt like you and nowt like me

only difference is - he is free

from ever looking inwardly

sniffs the flowers and

then is gone,

never troubled by right or wrong

sun is out and the 

sky is blue

has no thought of me or you

he flies east and he flies west

flies to where the pollens best

now and then he’ll have a rest

in his black and yellow vest!

now my plan is to be free

like that little bumble bee

but we’ll have to wait and see

if I get a buzz from bee-ing me!

Laburnum Trees in Newcastle Near Castle Leazes (Town Moor)

Lots of blossoms on the laburnum trees this year near Barrack Road. The blossoms have finished now but make way for seed pods which finches and other small perching birds love to eat.

Cattle on Castle Leazes Little Moor enjoy hanging around the laburnum tree too.

Improvements to New Mills Estate (Fences)

On my walk today I saw the fences are being renewed on the houses in the New Mills Estate. Many of these fences were in dire need of repair for a long time, which made the estate look run down. It seems to be the metal fences at the front and wooden fences at the back. New Mills estate is a large council estate comprising of flats in a similar style to a maisonette, where there is a 2 story building and the flat occupies the upper floor (with balcony) or lower floor (with garden), mixed with houses.

I asked this joiner if I could take his photo.

He pointed to his mate and said "..wants to see a grafter working"
So here is a grafter working.

A Walk Around New Mills Estate

Some photos I took today showing New Mills Apartments, which are 5 bedroomed flats on the site of the former "New Mill" which the street and area called New Mills gets its name, also in more recent times there was standing here a Public House called "The Darnell", which is obviously no more, as it was demolished and the site was vacant for some time to allow planning permission to be granted for the current New Mills Apartments. Anyone reading about a pub called the Darnell or New Darnell on the internet should be aware that this pub is no more and has not existed for many years.

There were a number of mature street trees on the site after demolition of The Darnell, and in the planning application it was stipulated that the trees be preserved.

Staying at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey

Recently I stayed at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey (see link on right hand side).
I did manage to revisit the wall full of small plants, as the photos show.
The days were mainly full with meditation, working meditation and the various ceremonies which are part of the monastic day. I won't write too much about it as its the sort of thing which its best to have no expectations about. However a couple of things I am trying to incorporate into my life at home (as well as daily meditation) are spending more time preparing fresh food, and having hot water with meals (except for tea at breakfast). Please visit there for latest news from Herbwormwood