Sunday, 16 November 2014

Smoky cheesy peas pasta and recent days out

It is true that sometimes life seems too busy for blogging.  Too busy for fancy meals.  Too busy for lots of posts.  To busy to put down on screen all the things I would like to share and mull over.  Hence today's post is a little eclectic.  It is a catch up on weekend activities and I have a recipe for a successful but simple cheesey pasta dish.

So last weekend started with the Pepper Tree Place Fiesta.  Pepper Tree Place is one of those local hubs that make me glad to feel I am starting to connect with my community.  It is a vibrant, colourful, interesting place to spend time, shady enough to cope on a hot day and full of friendly faces, including a few familiar ones.  We enjoyed the music.  I bought a crocheted poppy for Remembrance Day.  Sylvia did some craft.  I had some very yummy okonomiyaki and sample some pakora-style patties made by a Bangladeshi woman.

Continuing with the theme of feeling connected, on Monday I heard Susan Greenfield on Q and A discussing issues of social media and how connected it really makes us.  I understand her point but I was able to feel quite smug as I had just had three days in a row of real world interactions with people through blog connections.  (A dinner with bloggers, a meet up with a blog friend and a book launch that I was invited to by Dina who reads my blog!)

Firstly the dinner was at Loving Hut.  I was really pleased to finally get there after a few attempts when it was closed.  It was also great to meet up with bloggers, some familiar faces and some new.  In fact, I was too busy chatting to realise the paper menu had two sides.  (It was one of those days: my wooden spoon fell apart and I managed to spill my plate of sweet potato spring rolls!)  Despite that I pleased with the wanton noodle soup.  It was just what I wanted.  Light with enough vegies, satisfying dumplings and slurpy noodles.

Having participated in Vegan MoFo for the last few years has raised my interest in World Vegan Day.  This year I was able to go and I really enjoyed sitting on the grass, enjoying good food and catching up with a blogger and her kiddie whom I bumped into.  Browsing the actual stalls was less satisfying.  The sheds were busy and not so much fun with a 5 year old who just wanted chips and ice cream.  Meanwhile I could only find a 2 hour park and the clock was ticking away.

I mainly saw the food displays and they were interesting but no revelation.  I had a sense that there wasn't a lot of food on offer that I couldn't make at home or find in the shops.  Which is not to say we didn't enjoy sampling the products.  I had a scallion pancake, some crab cakes with aioli and coconut ice cream.  Sylvia had sweet potato chips with sweet and sour plum sauce and strawberry ice cream.  We also took away a box of cupcakes, a spicy kale and avocado dip and a bottle of kombucha.  Sadly the kombucha got spilled all over the car.  Sigh!

Today we went to The Scottish Fling Festival at the Immigration Museum.  It was great fun.  We saw country dancing, highland dancing, an ode to the haggis, and bands such as Taliska.  Sylvia rode on a shetland pony and did some tartan weaving with gaffer tape.  Sadly we were too late for much in the way of food.  In fact by the time we queues, the vegetarian pasties and tattie scones were gone so we had to exist on Tunnocks Caramel Logs and Irn Bru and eat some chips on the way home.

And finally here is today's recipe.  It is for a smoky cheesey peas pasta that I made to woo Sylvia last week.  Every now and again I make a big effort to get her eating the same dinners as us.  Often I make a vegan cheese sauce for pasta which I find lighter.  For an observant 5 year old, I was taking no chances.

I used the smoked cheese that she loves and a few vegies she often eats for dinner.  One challenge is that she loves many vegies raw rather than cooked, such as carrot and capsicum.  She was particularly displeased with the tiny scrap of capsicum I threw in.  However my trump card was the tofu bacon.  She loves it with a passion.  While she had her little complaints, she did eat this two days running.  I think I can call it a success.

I am sending the pasta to Eat Your Veg and Bangers and Mash for the Family Foodies blog event that is focusing on Vegetarian food in November.

More creamy pasta sauces on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Cauliflower cheese macaroni 
Cheeseless mac and cheese sauce
Creamy vodka pasta sauce
Hurry up vegan pumpkin alfredo 
Vegan cheesy peas pasta  

Smoky cheesey peas pasta
serves 3-4

250g pasta shapes
2-3 tbsp olive oil (or butter)
1 carrot, finely chopped
1/4 capsicum, finely chopped
2 dessertspoons wholemeal flour
2 cups soy milk (or milk of choice)
1/2 to 1 cup smoked cheese grated
1 cup green peas
Handful of fried tofu bacon bits

Cook and drain pasta according to the packet instructions.

Heat oil over medium high in large frying pan and fry carrot and capsicum for a few minutes until they start to soften.  Add flour and fry for a few minutes until it slightly darkens in colour and/or smells cooked.  Gradually add milk until mixed in and bring to the boil so it thickens.  Stir in grated cheese and peas.

Pour cheese sauce over drained pasta and mix well.  At first it seemed far too much for my pasta but it actually ended up coating it really well.  Serve with tofu bacon bits scattered over the pasta.

On the Stereo:
Super Trouper: ABBA


  1. This meal definitely sounds like a success, and I can see why life has seemed busy. You have been doing a lot! I missed any world vegan day celebrations here, but it sounds like your local event was fun even if lacking in exciting / novel food.

    1. Thanks Kari - the World Vegan Day was full of lots of good food and lots of interesting stuff - I would have enjoyed it more if I had more time to browse - and I think there was lots of exciting and novel food - it is just that we are very spoilt around us with vegan-friendly stores with such food and I also have found lots of great vegan recipes online. I had hoped for more vegan cheeses though on reflection there were a few there. But I didn't see any Daiya which I am still yet to try!

  2. I totally know what you mean that life seems to busy for blogging, I so so have to make the tofu bacon and your coconut bacon.

    1. Thanks Shaheen - you must try these facon recipes - they are so easy to put together that I make them often, esp the tofu bacon (coconut flakes being harder to come by for the coconut facon)

  3. I know how you feel! I feel pulled apart in six different directions at the moment! I wish I could just settle down and do one thing for a while!

    1. Thanks Lorraine - hope you get some Christmas/summer leave as the amount of posts you do is amazing!

  4. Oh I need to make that tofu bacon! Your outings sound like fun :)

    1. Thanks Kate - I make tofu bacon really often because my Sylvia loves it and it is great to add to so many dishes so highly recommend it

  5. You've been busy! I had a full own weekend myself, so have been a little slack with blogging for a few days. These peas look delish.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I meant to put this up last week but it was just too busy to get the photos organised

  6. so much to say, so little time - the lure of blogging eh (which for me is quite ironic since I'm quite the introvert in real life!) Definite success on the pasta front, E's having a ''no don't like dinner'' reaction to everything at the moment and then teddy bear pasta got a rather extreme ''mmm what a beautiful dinner'' response!

  7. Oh the World Vegan Day sounds so fun! I would love to go to something like that. They actually have something similar in San Francisco - but it's not very big and a little disappointing.
    Sounds like you've been keeping busy and having fun =)

  8. No wonder she was won over, it sounds a delicious pasta feast, especially with smoked cheese. Thanks so much for entering it to Family Foodies Vegetarian event.


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