Monday, 30 October 2017

Journey to Vegetarianism leading to Veganism

In Spring 2016, my husband was talking to his brother who was on a journey to veganism and he shared a documentary with my husband called Cowspiracy.

Here's the link to the short 15 minute version & also the full documentary:
Cowspiracy 15 minute version
Cowspiracy Full Documentary

It talks about the impact on the environment by eating meat and dairy, it really struck us that we needed to change our diets and our families diet to do something to help the impact on our planet. Since watching the documentary we have been trying to reduce our impact on the earth through our diet and also the way which we shop.


We are heading towards veganism - we started this journey by researching and then became completely vegetarian in summer 2016. We have noticed some wonderful health benefits to vegetarianism and actually surprisingly have not missed eating meat at all. Once, we were comfortable with vegetarianism we have started to try to reduce the amount of dairy products we consume, mainly cutting out one by one. We're not quite completely vegan yet, but we're making good headway to being completely dairy free in our house.


We try to buy things locally, so we buy fruit and vegetables from a local farm shop who deliver a mixed fruit and vegetable box fortnightly directly to our door.
We buy as much as we can of our store cupboard shopping in bulk from a local ethical & co-operative wholesalers.
We do still buy some things from supermarkets but try not to shop at the big multinational companies ie Asda, Tesco, etc. Living in Bradford we get shopping from Morrisons as they're based in our city, so it promotes local jobs & employment, but the amount we spend in Morrisons has reduced significantly from a few years ago.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Coming Soon . . . Essencia by Ruth

Essencia is Portuguese for essence & means:
  • Nature
  • Soul
  • Being
  • Lifeblood

For some time, I've been on a journey to chemical-free living, ethical shopping and how can we help our environment through what we eat. I really feel I want to share this journey with you through my new venture . . . . ESSENCIA by Ruth!

The different aspects to this journey are:
  • learning about pure essential oils & their natural benefits to our bodies
  • being aware of what we eat & what we choose to eat especially in relation to vegetarianism and veganism
  • chemical-free living in keeping us and our houses clean

I will be sharing about my journey by:

  • running classes online & in person
  • running make & take parties
  • selling products which are ethical & benefit the environment
  • sharing recipes

Friday, 6 October 2017

Carrot & Coriander Soup


600-700g carrots, peeled & sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
Olive oil
Bunch of fresh coriander
1 large potato, chopped into chunks
3 stems of celery (optional), sliced
500-750ml vegetable stock (I make with 2 veg OXO cubes)
1 tbsp ground coriander
Pinch of cumin


  1. Heat the oil gently in a large pan & fry the onion until soft.
  2. Add the carrots & celery to the pan & fry for a few minutes.
  3. Add all the other ingredients to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Allow the soup to cool for 10-15 minutes, then blend the soup to a puree.

Serve with some warm crusty bread.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Lemon Honey Popcorn


1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 drops of Young Living Lemon essential oil (can also use lime or orange)
1 tsp runny honey


  1. Heat the oil gently in the bottom of a pan (must be a pan with a lid). Once the bottom of the pan is covered with oil, put enough popcorn in to cover the bottom of the pan & place the lid on the pan.
  2. Watch and wait until the corn begins popping & once it has finished turn the heat off & place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix the oil with the honey on a teaspoon and mix through the popcorn until evenly coated.

Great to eat with a good film!

NB I use Young Living Essential Oil due to it's known high quality grade & assurance that it is 100% pure essential oil, so completely safe to ingest. Other oils may not be safe to ingest.

Saturday, 16 September 2017


Just noticed this quote on the front my journal...
...why had I not seen this before?

It may soon be time for me to take that leap into the oceans of the unknown that need discovering! 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Mint, Pea & Halloumi Pearl Barley Stew

I love pearl barley and did you know it's just as good for you as the "superfoods" grain quinao, the difference is usually in the price! Pearl barley is really cheap to buy and is great to use in soups & stews and also as a replacement for risotto rice.


2 small/medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
olive oil
2 lemons, zested & juiced
200g pearl barley, rinsed
700ml vegetable stock (made with 2 OXO cubes)
250g halloumi, sliced
small handful of fresh mint, chopped
black pepper
400g frozen peas


  1. Heat a tbsp oil in a pan, fry the onions for a few minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and lemon zest and fry for another minute.
  3. Add the pearl barley and the stock, bringing the pan to simmer with a lid on.
  4. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.
  5. Whilst the pearl barley is cooking, marinade the halloumi in the lemon juice, chopped mint, black pepper and tbsp olive oil.
  6. After 30 mins remove the lid of the pan and add the frozen peas and the marinade from the halloumi, allow to simmer for another 5 mins.
  7. Whilst the peas are cooking, heat some oil in a frying pan and brown both sides of the sliced halloumi. 
  8. Serve the pearl barley stew in a bowl with the halloumi slices on top.


Friday, 18 August 2017

Chive & Mint Potato Salad

A dish that is great to go with a BBQ or as part of a fork buffet.


2kg new potatoes
2 red onions, sliced thinly
bunch of chives, chopped
3 large stalks of mint, chopped
2 tbsps of mayonnaise
3 tbsps of olive oil
1 tsp of mustard powder


  1. Half the potatoes and place in pan of water, bringing to the boil.
  2. Simmer for 20 mins or until soft but firm.
  3. Whilst potatoes are cooking, prepare the dressing - place the mayonnaise, olive oil, mustard powder and black pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Add the onions and herbs and mix well.
  4. When potatoes are cooked, drain and rinse with cold water.
  5. Add the potatoes to the dressing and mix until the potatoes are evenly covered with the dressing.

Serve either warm or chilled as part of a buffet or BBQ.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Pear Jam


2 kg of fruit, consisting of 2 peaches, 2 plums, 2 apples & the rest pears, peeled and cored
2 oranges, zested & juiced
1 kg jam sugar
750 ml water


  1. Place 2-3 plates in the fridge.
  2. Preheat oven to 140C.
  3. Place all the prepared fruit, orange zest & juice and the water into a large pan.
  4. Simmer until the pears are soft.
  5. Meanwhile wash the jars in warm soapy water & then place face down in the oven to dry & sterilise.
  6. Add the sugar & continue to simmer on a low/medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  7. Turn up the heat & allow to boil hard for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Test for a set, by drizzling some of the jam onto a cold plate from the fridge. Place the plate in the fridge for 2 mins. After 2 mins run your finger over the jam & if it leave a crinkly track then it is ready for putting into the jars. If it is still runny then continue to boil, checking it every few minutes.
  9. Once ready put into the jars & seal.
  10. Store in a cool, dark place until ready to use, then refrigerate.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Early First Blackberries

Blackberry picking the first weekend of August in Yorkshire is unheard of, usually it's the bank holiday or even September before it's time for the first fruits.

Here's our first crop & the bush is heaving with green ones & more flowers.

Think it'll be a bumper harvest this year....

Friday, 4 August 2017

Potato & Spinach Bake


1 kg potato, chopped into inch cubes
1 small swede, peeled & chopped
2 carrots, peeled & chopped
200g spinach
handful of grated cheese
500ml vegetable stock (made with 2 OXO cubes)
black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Parboil the potatoes in boiling water for about 5 minutes.
  3. Part steam the vegetables also for about 5 minutes until they begin to soften slightly.
  4. Place the potatoes into an ovenproof dish, with the softened vegetables, spinach and cheese and mix together well.
  5. Pour over the vegetable stock.
  6. Place in the oven for 30-45 minutes until the potatoes & vegetables have softened & cooked through.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Handmade Coleslaw


1/2 white cabbage, shredded
4 carrots, peeled & grated
1 small red onion or 1/2 a large red onion, sliced finely
6 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
black pepper


  1. Place the prepared vegetables in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Add the mayonnaise, mustard & lemon juice and again stir well to coat everything in the dressing.
  3. Chill & serve fresh from the fridge.
NB Will survive a few days in the fridge before being used but best fresh.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Vegetarian Herby Bean Hotpot


4 large potatoes, sliced
2 onions, finely chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin of baked beans
1 tin of kidney beans, drained
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp mixed herbs
1 handful of grated cheese
1 tbsp olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Place the sliced potatoes in a pan of boiling water & simmer for 5 minutes to allow the potatoes to soften.
  3. Heat the oil gently in a pan & fry the onion softly, until soft.
  4. Add the carrots to the pan & fry for a few minutes.
  5. Add the tins of tomatoes, baked beans, kidney beans, tomato puree and mixed herbs to the pan with the onion and carrot.
  6. Heat the pan until the mixture is simmering, allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Place into the bottom of an oven proof dish and arrange the sliced potatoes on top.
  8. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top of the potatoes.
  9. Place in the oven for 30 minutes until the cheese and potatoes on top are golden brown.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Roasted Peppers, Tomato & Goats Cheese Sliders


6 bread cakes or bread baps or bread rolls (depending on which area of the country you reside in!)
Jar of roasted peppers, chopped
Goat's cheese, crumbled
Slices of edam cheese
1 egg for glazing
Handful of grated cheese

Tomato sauce:

1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp dried basil

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Make tomato sauce: place tin of tomatoes, garlic & basil in a pan & rapidly simmer to reduce to a nice thick sauce.
  3. Cut the bread rolls in half and line the bottom of an oven proof dish with the bottoms of the bread rolls.
  4. Place cheese slices over the bread rolls.
  5. Spread the tomato sauce on top of the cheese slices.
  6. Sprinkle over the chopped peppers and goats.
  7. Place the top of the bread rolls back on.
  8. Glaze the top with the beaten egg and sprinkle some grated cheese on top.
  9. Place in the preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes or until the tops of the bread rolls are golden brown.

Serve with some green salad for a light lunch bite.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Nappy Changing Mat

My kids seem to destroy the plastic nappy changing mats that you buy from Boots or Mothercare or the supermarket & I get fed up of buying them new ones, so the challenge was there to make something difficult for them to destroy. When you have 2 in nappies it gets a lot of use as well.

Let's see how this goes...

My eldest came with me to choose the fabric, so after I'd finished it I couldn't get him off it, he wanted to lay on it all afternoon.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Spiderman Cafetiera Cosy

My husband wanted a cafetiere cosy to keep his morning coffee warm a little longer, so my challenge was set!

(Excuse some of the stitching it was a challenge & it's not exactly neat for the first attempt!)

Saturday, 6 May 2017

VE Day

Our choir sang at a VE Day event today, so the challenge was to dress 40s style...

...did I pull it off?

Friday, 5 May 2017

Savoury Cheese & Raisin Muffins

We're trying to reduce our sugar intake slightly so thought I'd try and make some savoury things to replace all the biscuits & chocolate we seem to eat. These are delicious and the raisins adds a little natural sweetness.


250g plain flour
3 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
50g butter
1 egg
250ml milk
120g grated cheese
100g raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 220C.
  2. Place flour, baking powder, salt and paprika in a bowl & mix together.
  3. Cut the butter into small pieces and using your finger tips rub the flour into the butter.
  4. Beat the egg and add the milk mixing together well.
  5. Add the milk-egg mix to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  6. Add the grated cheese and raisins and mix well.
  7. Place into cupcake cases or a muffin tin.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins.

Serve with soup or a stew. 
Cut in half and spread some soft cheese on them.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Baiao de Dois - Brazilian Rice & Beans

I lived in Ceara, Brasil for 6 months as part of my gap year....more years ago than I would like to admit, one of the lasting memories from our time there is some of the food we ate & this recipe is a rice & beans dish we ate many times a week.


1 onion
1 garlic clove
Drizzle of olive oil
1 cup rice
1 tbsp dried coriander
400g tin of black eyed beans
2 cups of stock
Handful of frozen peas
175g mozzarella, chopped into cubes


  1. Heat the oil & gently cook the onion & garlic until soft.
  2. Add the rice & coriander with another drizzle of oil & stir until the rice is transparent.
  3. Add the beans, stock & peas, bring to gentle simmer & cover the pan.
  4. Allow to simmer until all the stock is gone approximately 10 mins. Keep the pan covered & allow to rest for 5 mins.
  5. Add the mozzarella & stir in well. 
  6. Allow to melt for another 10-15 mins.

In Brazil you would eat this dish with meat, but being a veggie I would often serve some veggie sausages with it, but can be eaten as a dish in it's own right. Also nice cold as a rice salad.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Vegetarian Sausage, Orange & Root Veg One Pot


6 vegetarian sausages (I used Linda McCartney's)
2 oranges
1 red onion, chopped into chunks
1/2 a swede, peeled & chopped
1 small turnip, peeled & chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled & chopped
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Place the sausages and chopped root vegetables into an oven proof dish.
  3. Sprinkle the thyme and grind some black pepper over the sausages and vegetables.
  4. Halve and squeeze the juice of the oranges into a jug. Add the remains of the oranges to the dish with the sausages and vegetables.
  5. Add the olive oil and maple syrup to the orange juice, mix well.
  6. Pour the orange juice mix over the ingredients in the oven proof dish and stir well, so that all the ingredients are coated.
  7. Place in the oven for 45-50 mins, turn over in the middle of the cooking and remove from the oven when golden brown.

Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes.

NB Could probably be also made with meat sausages.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie


1 leek, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
150g mushrooms, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
3 tbsp dried sage (or 3 fresh leaves if available)
3 tbsp dried thyme (or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves only if available)
250g dried green lentils
750ml vegetable stock (made with 1 vegetable OXO cube)
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
200ml red wine
1 tbsp (vegetarian) Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
tbsp olive oil

2 large sweet potatoes
2 large potatoes
1 small/medium cauliflower, heads only
large knob of butter
handful of grated cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the leeks, until they begin to soften.
  3. Add carrots, mushrooms and garlic, continuing to cook for 4-5 mins, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the herbs, lentils, tinned tomatoes, vegetable stock, red wine, soy sauce & Worcestershire sauce and stir together well.
  5. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer on a low heat for 30-40 minutes to thicken slightly.
  6. Whilst the filling is simmering, boil the potatoes, sweet potatoes & cauliflower in a pan together for 15 mins until all is soft.
  7. Drain the vegetables and add the butter to mash until smooth.
  8. Transfer the filling to an oven proof dish and top with the mashed vegetables. Sprinkle the grated cheese on the top.
  9. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Cabbage & Leek Potato Skins


8/9 medium jacket potatoes, pre-cooked & cooled
1 large leek, sliced
several large Savoy cabbage leaves, chopped finely
handful of grated cheese
2 eggs, beaten
olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Halve the jacket potatoes & spoon out the potato insides into a bowl, leaving the skins intact.
  3. Gently heat the oil in a pan, add the cabbage & leek to cook gently, stirring constantly.
  4. Once the cabbage & leek have softened mix in with the potato.
  5. Add the grated cheese & beaten eggs and mix well.
  6. Spoon the filling back into the potato skins.
  7. Place on a baking tray & bake for 30-40 mins until golden brown.

Great hot or cold for a buffet.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Bean Enchiladas


2 small or 1 large onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, crushed
150g mushrooms, quartered
2 large carrots, chopped finely
An inch slice of a large swede
Few large leaves of kale
2 tins tomatoes
1 tin borlotti beans 
1 tin red kidney beans
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp ground coriander
Pinch of cumin
Sprinkle of dried coriander leaves (or some fresh chopped coriander if available)
2 tbsps olive oil
1 tbsp lime juice

Packet of tortilla wraps
Grated cheese


  1. Gently heat oil in pan. Add the chopped onion & garlic, gently fry until soft. 
  2. Add mushrooms, kale, swede & carrot. Fry for a few mins. 
  3. Add the paprika, coriander (ground & dried), cumin & lime juice and stir well to coat all the vegetables. 
  4. Add the tins of beans & tomatoes and mix well. 
  5. Simmer on a low heat for 20 mins or until the vegetables are soft. 
  6. Place a large spoonful into each wrap & fold them up, place them side by side in a rectangular ovenproof dish.
  7. Sprinkle lots of grated cheese on top & grill for a few minutes until golden brown. Or if you prefer a crispier enchilada place in the oven at 180C for 20-30 mins.

Serve with a green salad, guacamole, salsa & sour cream dips, tortilla chips etc for a delicious Mexican meal.

NB Alternative: the filling could also be served with rice

Friday, 24 March 2017



2x 400g tins of chickpeas
2x small or 1x large red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp dried parsley
3 heaped tbsp flour
Oil for cooking


  1. Drain the liquid from the cans of chickpeas & pat the chickpeas dry.
  2. Place chickpeas, onion, garlic, spices, parsley & flour into a food processor or mixer. 
  3. Mix together well until the mixture is smooth. 
  4. Take a tbsp of the mix & roll it into ball & flatten to make a patty shape. 
  5. Heat oil in a frying pan & place the patties in the pan for a few mins on each side to cook until golden brown.

Serve with salsa, pittas & green salad. 

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