Vegan Books

Vegetarian Awareness Month is now coming to an end and has really been a month of “awareness” for me. I have examined labels, read articles, studied websites and perused cookbooks. Being vegetarian is so natural to me, but veganism…?

Here in the heart of Bavaria there is very little choice in the shops in the way of protein and nutrient-rich alternatives to dairy or eggs. Although we do have a lovely (tiny) health food shop  in our little town that supplies the bare essentials, it naturally cannot stock up with products just for me!… The nearest larger store for such produce is a fair drive away, and does not stock such specialities as vegan cheese/vegan cream cheese/egg substitute/tempeh etc, which I keep reading in recipes on other blogs!

But I’m making headway!


This book is a gem:

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is an open and positive guide to going vegan. Never pushy, yet very convincing, it takes you through each step of eliminating animal products from your diet. I love the way it is written… it makes me feel good.


This book is also wonderful:

The Vegan Table

The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest for Every Occasion is also written by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. She has a lovely style of writing and comes across as a caring cook. The recipes are grouped according to seasons, occasions and as menus. There are thoughtful tips and both simple and slightly more elaborate recipes. Normal food, cooked to preserve as many nutrients and as much flavour as possible, is presented with clear instructions and colour photos. I LOVE this book!


And this book is fabulous too!

Vegan Cupcakes

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World: 75 Dairy-free Recipes for Cupcakes That Rule, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope. Now this is great, since I’ve developed a love of baking recently, and if I can avoid eggs and animal fat I will. I’ve already tried the pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes… deelish! Next to try is the cashew butter cardamom ones…. This will keep me busy for a few weeks. The best things about this book are, again, the clear instructions, as well as the amazing frosting recipes… all dairy free!

Suitable for non-vegetarians too!

NOTE: 1st November is World Vegan Day!

Winter quarters

There is still a pretty Fuschia on my front doorstep; a welcoming sight in the grey days we’ve had recently.

It was one of my bargain finds at the DIY store in the spring – covered in fly. Then it refused to flower in the summer heat. In September it began to flourish, and it is still looking good now, at the end of October! (This time last year we had already had snow!) It will have to come in soon though. A shame.

(By the way, the fuchsia was named after a well-known German botanist, Leonhart Fuchs, who came from Bavaria and studied not far from us.)

Another of my garden bargains was an Abutilon… again covered in fly when I bought it, but it recovered and was beautiful up until the beginning of August. The bees and insects love it.

Unfortunately the heat of August got to it, and I should have moved it to a shadier spot before it was too late… Still, I have taken it in, and it now stands at the window in the cellar, where I hope it will recover for next year. If it does, I shall find a better position for it as a reward!

Two years ago I was given this fabulous plant…

… a Dipladenia (or Mandeville)… and it has just grown and grown! (It’s a climber). I take it in fairly early and it is easy to care for through the winter… light and water are important, as it remains green and bushy. It loves  needs(!) heat and sunshine in the spring, otherwise it won’t flower so prolifically.

Other plants I’ve taken in are my Cordyline (Keulenlilien), one geranium and my baby Aeonium arboreum  ‘Atropurpureum’. Oh, and my rosemary and bay tree (which is only about 12cm tall!).

Everything else will have to brave the cold I’m afraid.


Nettles and dock leaves

When I was a child I used to roam around the countryside with my sister or with friends, climbing trees or crossing fields full of cows as a dare. (One of my friends was absolutely terrified of cows, so I always won!) My sister showed me how to suck the sweet nectar out of the flowers of white dead nettles/Taubnessel  (Lamium album)

…but  we inevitably walked by clumps of stinging nettles/Brennnessel  (Urtica dioica)…

…and frequently got stung… But this was not a problem as there was always a patch of dock leaves /Ampfer (Rumex) nearby…

…pick a nice juicy one, rub it on the sting quick, and no tears!

The dock, also called sorrel, is known to contain tannins and oxalic acid, which may cause the relief. Or is it all in the mind…? The leaves can be eaten in small quantities, as a salad leaf or like spinach, but due to the oxalic acid they can be poisonous to animals and are therefore not loved by farmers. I must admit that I personally don’t like their flavour in a salad as they overpower every other ingredient with their rather sour taste.

When I came to Germany I was surprised that nobody seemed to know they are a cure for nettle stings, even though the dock grows just as profusely near nettles here as in the UK, and appears to be the same broad-leaved dock Rumex obtusifolius that is typical in England. The Germans have their own cure: Spitzwegerich, which is Narrowleaf Plantain in English – Plantago lanceolata

By the way, nettles are great food for the larvae of lots of moths and butterflies, so we shouldn’t cut them down if we can avoid it… just make sure you have some dock leaves in your garden too! 😉


Wise Words

When the apple is ripe it will fall.

(Irish proverb)


Words of the Day

gobbledygook    (Another of my favourite words!)

  • overcomplicated and unintelligible technical jargon
  • nonsense



  • anger or annoyance about an unjust situation, or about the unfair or mean behaviour of someone

(He was seething with indignation at the suggestion that he might have known about the missing money.)

Book Review: “Sister”

“Sister” by Rosamund Lupton

Brilliant! This was a gripping “unputdownable”  book! Absolutely compelling, with the pace cleverly increasing until the climax. A really good read for evenings by the fire. If you like suspense, read this!

Although the story is about solving the mystery of what happened to the protagonist’s sister, it doesn’t feel like a “crime” novel as such. There’s some fine writing and powerful emotions in there, and relationships are examined alongside. I really felt as if I knew Tess – the sister who had disappeared – through her sister’s thoughts.

The ending was ingenious… I like a book to have an ending, as I otherwise feel deflated, and this one didn’t disappoint.

I will definitely make a note of Rosamund Lupton and intend to read her second novel “Afterwards” that came out this year.