vegan

Delicious vegan tzatziki…


tzatziki#2 (1 of 1)Just as music can float us down memory lane, so can certain foods.

For me, I can be transported back to a Greek island by simply savouring tzatziki on a slice of warm, crusty bread.

However as a vegan, that perfect tzatziki, without the tangy flavours of yoghurt was difficult to find.

So I started scouring through foodie & vegan sites and stumbled upon a wonderful site called, Lazy Cat Kitchen where I found Ania’s perfect plant-based tzatziki recipe.

I was eager to try it, but discovered I didn’t have any cashews on hand. Seeing as I was impatient and didn’t feel like driving to the supermarket, then having to wait for the cashews to soak, I decided to substitute the cashews with tofu.

Ania from Lazy Cat Kitchen says using tofu can tend to leave an aftertaste. I didn’t find that so much, but I think it comes down to individual choice: some taste buds may go ahhh yuck, others may rejoice.

I plan to follow Ania’s exact recipe sometime soon and look forward to discovering the comparison.

Enjoy 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pkt medium firm tofu
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried mint, adjust to taste
  • a few pinches of salt, adjust to taste
  • ¼ tsp white (or black) pepper, adjust to taste

METHOD

  1. Grate the cucumber coarsely.
  2. Squeeze the water out of the cucumber using a fine sieve and a spoon to press the grated cucumber down.
  3. Place tofu, lemon juice and olive oil in your blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Season with raw garlic, salt, pepper, dry mint or fresh dill and some apple cider vinegar for extra acidity.
  5. Transfer into a bowl or container and mix in grated cucumber. Place in the fridge for about 3-4 hours to allow the flavours to deepen.
  6. Serve with crusty bread and an icy cold beer…
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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It's a dog's life

Dogs do speak, just listen to their ears…


Dogs can speak. Just as humans use sign language, I believe so do our 4-legged friends, but instead of using their paws, they use their ears.

If you take the time to listen to their ears, you’ll see they actually speak volumes.

I decided to gather a few images of doggy speak, and who better to demonstrate that speak than my beloved Stanley, Eddie and two other 4-legged friends I met on recent travels?

As I went about my business, so did they: sniffing, sleeping, catching a few winter rays, or simply going about the important business of being a dog.

But I did manage to capture a little of how their dogships communicate – with a little caption ‘translation’…

 

life

Still, stagnant water…


It’s that same road again,
the cycle repeats.
The scenery never changing,
it remains cold and bleak.
At times there is sunshine,
Rays of hope, light and love.
The clouds though take over,
Raining sadness from above.
Try to find light,
in the bleak, endless hail.
Searching for a rainbow,
To repair what’s now frail
The darkness, the shadows,
the whispering thoughts.
The endless days,
equating to nought.
Petalless flowers,
dry, yellowing grass.
Still stagnant waters,
a sad, heavy heart…

 

 

travel

In 5 years …


A good friend asked me recently, ‘Jen, do you ever think about where you will be in 5 years?’

On hearing his words, I did not need to think about where I’ll be, for I already knew as a destination has danced in my mind for many years. Now, as my life changes and my family now shape their own futures, the path to that destination is becoming a reality.

So where shall I be? 

I shall be somewhere in France, perhaps sipping a good Pinot Noir or Gris, whilst basking in the hue of glorious sunset from the verandah of my home.

Along the verandah’s balustrade, brightly coloured flowers stretch upward and fresh herbs, of which I use to excite my cooking adorn the ledge. In the garden, my precious sausage dogs are taking in the scents, before rolling with passion on the freshly mowed grass.

In the small, yet quaint living room an overstuffed sofa bed bought from a second hand store, lies in wait for my two grown boys who are soon to arrive.

My french is now reasonable and in the last 5 years I have trekked the Annapurna, floated in the Dead Sea and gazed in wonder at the natural beauty of the Northern Lights.

My life is full of simple pleasures. Daily jaunts to the colourful market where freshly baked baguettes and locally grown produce are in abundance. Summer evenings see friends gathering under the vine covered terrace, their faces taking on a warm, orange glow from the abundance of fairy lights intertwined through the vine’s branches. Soft music filters through the night air, as does the laughter of people living a life well loved.

In the winter months snowflakes dance through the frosty air before blanketing the ground, and transforming my garden into a shimmering winter wonderland. Inside, I’m curled upon that comfy sofa in front of a flickering log fire, with the company of a good book and my beloved dogs.

I am content, I have fulfilled long held dreams.

Mostly though, I’m full of love for my beautiful children and loyal dogs who are, and always will be my greatest achievement.

 

 

 

life

Dipping toes…


street14©jenhammer copyIt’s good to take risks, don’t you think?

At the same time, dipping toes into unclear waters is frightening for one can’t see what lurks below the surface.

But in order to grow, to learn and to embrace the new, risks must be taken.

Toes should be dipped. For who knows, that unknown water may turn out to be brilliant.

Crystal clear and filled with endless opportunities offering love, laughter and endless happiness.

And those ties that hold on to the past?

They can be released.

Given permission to float into the yesterdays, taking with them those long held regrets that blanket the todays …

 

 

It's a dog's life

A house full of Sausages…


I have a house full of Sausages. Not the greasy, squishy, edible variety, but more precisely, the loveable, quirky Dachshund variety.

Having my home filled with four sausages was not something I’d ever planned: it just kind of happened, as most things do in life.

And it all started with Kiri, or Saus as she was affectionately called.

Saus was a beautiful mini-wire haired dachshund who came to live with me by chance 10 years ago.

After having had 3 litters (grrr) and still only 3 years old, she was apparently no longer of  any ‘use’, therefore she was in desperate need of a new home. Mum had heard about her from a friend, so Mum called me asking if I’d consider adopting her. On hearing her story, I was more than happy to go and meet her to see if we got along.

The meet and greet did go well and Saus entered my life and touched my heart like no other. Her spirit had been severely broken at some point in her life, however she came to trust me and my love for her, in doing so, we became one. sunset and dogs 033

There are no words to describe the depth of her beauty and my love. She was simply Saus, a beautiful, yet incredibly shy being who gave me permission to be the centre of her universe.

I am, and always will be humbled by her trust.

We shared 5 magical years together, years filled with so much love, so much laughter and so many discoveries of her quirky, sausage ways.

Her passion for cheese. Her need to burrow into her doggy sleeping bag and most of all, her great love of being in the car. She didn’t have to go anywhere, just getting in and being in the car was her pleasure.

It was the getting out and walking bit she didn’t fancy: and her hilarious antics surrounding getting in and being out of the car can be read about here.

But sadly, on one tragic summer morning, I lost my girl unexpectedly from complications of the heart.

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I was devastated. And there are truly no words to describe my grief. In losing her, I too was lost.

She had become my world and when she died, part of me died with her. I was inconsolable.

Then the day after my Saus died, I had a call from a rescue organisation asking if I’d be interested in re-homing a male, mini-wire.  My response was instant. No, I could not imagine taking on another right now.

Yet a good friend had other ideas.

Despite my inconsolable grief, my friend talked me into going to meet this little fellow. ‘Jen, you might need him as much as he needs you…’.

As I sat on the grass in a park where his current owners and I had agreed to meet, I watched Stanley (then known as Joey) jump out of the car and cautiously walk toward me.  With his little wiry head darting from side to side, his body language seemed to scream fear, clearly he was frightened of what lay ahead.

Standing momentarily beside the man who held his lead, he looked around before tentatively walking toward me, cautiously sniffing the area around where I sat.

I didn’t speak, I simply let him do his thing.  Then without warning, he climbed onto my lap and buried his head in my arms. I was completely taken aback, yet held him close, hoping my touch would lessen his fear.

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A little while later I placed him gently on the grass, stood up and walked toward the picnic table to retrieve a bottle of water.  Stanley followed and would not leave my side. At that moment I realised he had made his decision, I was his person.

So Stanley came to live with me, and just as my friend said, we needed each other. In his company, my grief over losing Saus slowly subsided and I believe his memory of a life less than perfect also faded.

Four years on, his loyalty has never waned.

However in the early days of him being with us, that loyalty also seemed to cause him to suffer from separation anxiety.  Family told me that when I left the house without him, he would wait by the window, forever watching for my return.

And it was this anxiousness that led to Oscar’s arrival.

At the time I was also still working for an international airline as cabin crew, which had me jetting off to various destinations for up to 4 days at a time. This was hard for Stanley (and me, I might add), so I decided a companion may help ease his separation anxiety.

Enter Oscar aka Bear.

Oscar came to us as a pup, full of life and love and the perfect companion for Stanley. In an instant Stanley was his protector and the two became firm friends.IMG_1479

Whilst I’m told Stanley still ‘waits’ for me, it is not as prolonged as it was before Oscar’s arrival.

Oscar is a standard wire-haired dachshund, so now as an adult dog, he is quite a bit bigger than Stanley and gloompfs along like a big ole bear.  And that’s how he came to acquire his nickname, Bear.

About two years after Oscar’s arrival I had another call from Devoted to Dachshund Rescue (D2DR) asking if I would foster a male black and tan smooth, whose family were going through a divorce and could not keep him.  At nine years old Simon had only known one family, however within minutes of him coming to us, it was if we were that family.  His owner dropped him off and he didn’t look back. Simon seemed to love being with his new brothers, so the decision to keep him was made and Simon became part of our family.

A year later I had another call. Would I foster again?  Yes, of course, however Eddie was different. Whatever had happened to him was beyond tragic. You really have to wonder what possesses someone to subject a defenceless, sentient being to such cruelty.

Eddie, as we chose to later name him had been found in an industrial waste bin wrapped in wire. Extremely emaciated and terrified, he was allegedly taken to a pound where he stayed for 6 weeks before D2DR was called. On getting the call they drove 3 hours to retrieve him, and then called me.

When I first saw him I melted. The fear is his beautiful amber eyes was absolute. Ribs and spine protruded through his rich, copper coloured coat and on closer inspection, he had a severe overbite.IMG_3925

I knew that in time, his physical issues could be mended,  yet his emotional trauma was another story and would obviously take time to heal. His fear of people was deep seeded, but interestingly, just as Stanley made me his person, it was my son Max that became Eddie’s.

Two years on, Eddie still has an intense fear of strangers and also being outside of his comfort zone: his home.  Going for walks is not his thing, nor is being anywhere that involves mixing with people other than his own.  He is content to be at home, with his family.

So now I have a house full of Sausages: and what a house it is…

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Simon,   Oscar,   Stanley,   & Eddie