Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Full English Breakfast

...I would define this as a fry-up, even though there's very little frying involved. Which, incidentally, makes it lower in fat than the average fry-up. Score!

Yes.  Yes those are chocolate jammie dodgers in the background.  They are vegan.  I am not sorry.

For this fry-up, I'll be making vegan sausages, toast, homemade baked beans, has browns, and baked mushrooms and tomatoes. Some days, I make the sausages from scratch too, but I'm hungover today.  Again, this recipe is for two people, but you'll also have two spare portions of baked beans, which you can microwave and serve with toast for a quick breakfast another day.

I really recommend reading the directions below beforehand, because you do need to be fairly organised to get everything ready at the same time.


  • 6 Tomatoes (Tesco, loose on the vine, approx 14p each) - 84p
  • 2 Field Mushrooms (Tesco, loose, large, open, approx 42p) - 84p
  • 4 Linda McCartney Veggie Sausages (Tesco, £1.60 for 6) - 80p
  • 1 Onion, diced (approx 24p each, Tesco) - 24p
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, crushed (30p per bulb, Tesco) - 8p
  • 1 Tin of Butter Beans, Drained (Tesco own brand, 400g) - 44p
  • 1 Tablespoon Sunflower Oil (£1.58 per litre, Tesco) - 3p
  • A few sprays of Fry-Light, or a similar oil spray (Tesco, £1.55 for 250ml) - 4p
  • 1 Oxo Vegetable Stock Cube (Oxo, 99p for two boxes of twelve, 99p store) - 5p
  • 1 Tablespoon of Tomato Puree (49p for 200g, Tesco) - 4p
  • Approx 100g-150g of Potatoes (Tesco, loose, approx 12.5p per 100g) - 20p
  • 1 Tablespoon Vitalite, or any vegan margarine (Tesco, Vitalite, £1.20 for 500g) - 2p
  • 4 Slices of Bread (Asda, discounted ciabatta rolls, 55p for 3) - 37p
  • Salt and Pepper

I really like hash browns.  The amounts given make slightly less.

      • Hash Browns - 22p, for two.
      • Baked Beans - £1.37 for four, 69p for two.
      • Sausages, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, and Toast - £2.08
      • All Together - £2.99 for two, £1.50 for one.


      No, those aren't field mushrooms, unfortunately.
      I couldn't find any.
      1. The night before, peel the potatoes and boil till tender, drain, and chill in the fridge.  Leave them in fairly large chunks, so they'll be easier to grate in the morning (this will also help to prevent them from getting too soft).
      2. In the morning, preheat the oven to 200 degrees c (approx 400F, or gas mark 6), grate the potatoes, dice the onion, and crush the garlic.  Fry the potatoes in the vitalite, in a frying pan, on medium heat.  Fry the onions and garlic in the saucepan, in the oil.  
      3. Spray two more tomatoes and the mushrooms with fry-light, and place in the oven to bake with the sausages for 15 minutes (if you use a different brand of vegan sausages,cook them however the packet says, and stick the fry-lighted up tomatoes and mushrooms in there too).
      4. While the onions and garlic are frying, deseed and chop the tomatoes.  Dilute the stock cube in 200ml of boiled water.  When the onions are translucent, add the stock and the tomatoes to the saucepan, and stir in the tomato puree.  When the hashbrowns start to brown around the edges, flip them.  
      5. Let the baked bean mixture simmer for five minutes, then add the butter beans.  Allow to simmer for another five minutes (this does not need to be precise).
      6. While the beans are simmering, start plating up; make the toast, and put two slices on each plate.  Take the tomatoes and mushrooms from the oven and divide; they're done when they're soft.  The hash browns are done when they're browned on both sides.  Salt and pepper to taste.

      Slightly browner than this.


        • 2 Portions of Baked Beans
        • 2 Veggie Sausages
        • Most of a bulb of Garlic
        • Most of a bottle of Sunflower Oil
        • Most of a bottle of Fry-Light
        • 11 Oxo Stock Cubes
        • Most of a tub of Vitalite
        • Most of a loaf of Bread

        In other words, apart from basic things like stock cubes, margarine, bread, and oil, you've also got a lighter breakfast for another two days.


        In making this, I was partially inspired by Gizzi's Erskine's griddled fry-up, which comes in at 639 calories, and 33g of fat, though it does include orange juice and blueberries.  In that episode, Gizzi was trying to cut the fat of a more traditional full English, which came in at 1270 calories per portion.

        According to My Fitness Pal's recipe calculator, each plate of this vegan fry-up has 654 calories, 80g of carbs, 38g of protein, 20g of fat, 13g of sugar, and 10g of fibre.  All of the fat comes from the sausages (10g in two), the sunflower oil, and the vitalite.  You can lower the latter two by using fry-light for everything.  As for the former, I would normally make my own vegan sausages, which only contain 6g of fat, for two, but which will bump the price and prep time up a bit. They are slightly higher in calories, but most of the calories come from protein, instead of fat, which means they are crazy filling.  Seriously, one is plenty.

        The majority of the calories come from the ciabatta rolls, and the sausages.  Using something like two slices of Warburton's wholemeal bread will knock off almost a hundred calories compared to the ciabatta.

        Wednesday, 17 August 2011

        My Opinion on Gender; A Clarification

        I would like to clarify what I meant when I stated that I think that gender roles are invented by society.

        What I meant was;  little girls don't have to like pink.  They don't have to like dolls.  They don't have to like playing house, or make up, or clothes, and they don't have to grow up to be mothers who watch soap operas and gossip.  Those things do not make you a woman, and, likewise, things like liking blue and toy cars do not make you a man.

        Baby Krav Vegan rejects your gender norms and replaces them with the Wombles.

        This doesn't mean that gender doesn't exist or doesn't matter.  Just that you don't get to judge someone as not being a 'real' man or woman based on such ridiculous criteria.

        I am cisgendered, and I think this is why my gender is not a big issue for me.  Air isn't a big deal for me either, and that's because I can breathe right now.  However, for those individuals who are not cisgendered, who, for whatever reason, feel that their outsides don't match their insides...I have no problem with them fixing it.  I don't see why it would ever be my (or anyone elses') business to have a problem with them fixing it.  I do not mind sharing a public bathroom with those individuals, or seeing them at a feminist meeting, or even having one as a rape counsellor.

        I felt the need to clarify this, as the statement 'gender doesn't exist' has been used by Julie Bindel to mean something very, very different to what I meant when I said it.  To my mind, her opinions are cruel, narrow-minded, self-centred, and reprehensible, and I do not wish my opinions to be confused for anything like hers.

        Transgendered people are not unhappy with the constraints of "their gender", by which Bindel means their biological gender.  It's more that their biological gender is not accurate, as far as I understand.  It's like calling me male, or a natural blonde; there's nothing wrong with those things, but they simply do not describe me.  It has nothing to do with gender constraints, it has to do with accuracy (as far as I understand, for most people I know, bearing in mind that I am both young and cisgendered).

        While on the topic of Julie Bindel's opinions, I was very surprised to find that sexuality came with a uniform, as she describes in the last few paragraphs of that article.  For reals?

        As a feminist, I do not object to anyone expressing their gender however they choose.  What I object to is other people telling them that this is wrong.

        Monday, 15 August 2011

        Feminista Summer School 2011

        This weekend was the Feminista Summer School, 2011, which was held in Birmingham. This Guardian article, which I'll come back to later, describes it as a training camp for Suffragettes, which is a very inaccurate description. They also describe feminism as "a set of decades-old beliefs being repackaged for the 21st century", which is not how I'd describe it.

        The Summer School, despite the name, didn't have "classes" as the article describes, and those attending weren't new recruits who were being trained in our way of feminism. Rather, the two days consisted of a variety of workshops, and were more of a way of getting together like-minded people to discuss issues they cared about, or to offer information on issues that some people may not have been able to find out much about, or may not have thought of before.

        Saturday consisted of a few rousing speeches, with an introduction to the way a few different women are living and working as feminists. One of the speakers was Hannana Siddiqui, who brought an interesting point to my attention. She represented Southall Black Sisters, a group of non-white feminists. It seems that the group uses the word 'black' to describe all non-white people, and I asked about the thought process behind this.

        I am writing this from memory, so it's possible I misunderstood, or misrecalled some points, but, as far as I can gather, the reasoning is that, as minority groups, non-white feminists in the seventies found it easier to band together under one collective name, for solidarity.

        This isn't something I feel comfortable with. For a bit of context, my father is Indian, while my mother is a mixture of English, Irish, and Welsh. I am a Balti - part Indian, part British, all Brummie. I am not black, in the same way that I am not a man, or I am not Chinese, or I am not in my thirties, and I feel that labelling all non-white people in that way is rather like putting the Smurfette label on all women. Of course, I am coming from a very different perspective - I was born at the end of the eighties, I have no idea how the world looked in the seventies.

        Later, there was a choice of workshops to attend, as you can see in this scan of the day's timetable (this is my marked-up copy, so apologies for the scribbles).

        On Sunday, I spoke as part of the Everyday Activism panel, as a member of the Birmingham Fems, and as 'the one who wore pyjamas at the SlutWalk'.  I think it went well.  My desire to have EVERYONE LISTEN TO ME far outweighed any nerves, and I hope I got my points across.  I had quite a lot to say, and I'm not sure it always came out in fully formed sentences.  Most of all, I hope people enjoyed the weekend, because I certainly did.

        Going back to the Guardian article; many of the commenters, apart from those who mutter darkly about lesbians trying to take over the world,  seem to feel that a feminist is a hypocrite if he or she is not concerned with male rights.  In fact, many seem to feel that the fact that the feminists commenting do not mention male rights until asked means that what they say doesn't matter.

        That is bullshit.

        I've seen the exact same argument in veg*n forums, against vegetarians.  The fact is, everyone does what they can.  There is too much to tackle in the world, and it's not hypocritical to not be too worried about leaving someone out to do anything.

        Personally, as I mentioned (I'm Bartelmy), I would be very happy to work with Father's 4 Justice, or similar groups.  This idea, that men are the "lesser" parent, while women are, naturally, the "primary care givers" is damaging to both genders.  It means women think of themselves as failures if they are not natural earth mothers.  It means men find it harder to gain custody of their children.  However, as a twenty-three (as of last Friday) -year-old, childless, single (in the sense of unmarried) woman, this is not an area that often comes to my attention.  It does not naturally pop up on my agenda.   That doesn't mean I don't care, or I don't agree, or that I wouldn't help if asked.  Just that I, like everyone else, don't have the time or energy to do everything., so, yes, I do focus primarily on the issues that I am most concerned with.  Just because you can't clear up the whole world doesn't mean you can't take care of your little bit of it.

        Wednesday, 10 August 2011

        In Which Kali Rants Uncontrollably in Order to Feel Slightly Productive

        From today's Metro.

        "It was good fun"? Destroying people's livelihoods, things they've worked hard for, is "good fun"? What the fuck is wrong with you, you sociopath? Would you think it was fucking fun if you were mugged, if it was your belongings that someone took?

        "Free things"? They were not fucking free, they were paid for by someone else. Put that back, you greedy fucking scumbag.

        "It's the government's fault. I don't know, Conservatives, whoever it is". Okay, new rule. If you don't know who our fucking government is, you don't get to state what they are or are not to blame for.

        "the rich people who've got businesses and that's why all this happened". Oh, sweet Jesus Christ. Those 'rich people' who own businesses worked hard for their money. They work hard on their businesses. What about Hat Man, that little family owned place that was looted to hell and back? They weren't taking home a fortune; if they were, they'd have opened another fucking branch.

        Okay, basic economics 101. No one leaves money on the table. In other words, if someone owned a store that was making a fortune, they would open another store, they wouldn't just take the money and run, not when there's more to be made. As long as a store is making more than its operating costs, there is a market for another one, if not of the same brand then selling similar products. Rest assured that no one is raking in tons of money from stores, whether independent or chains - they will be making their running costs, including all staff wages and a cut for the owner (which may be large, but will certainly not be unearned). No more.

        Furthermore, these people have a right to their money, even if they were raking it in. They earned it - they didn't steal it, which is certainly more than you can say for the fucking looters.

        Tuesday, 9 August 2011

        My Evening; Getting Home in the Birmingham Riots

        I got into New Street Station at 7:19pm - trains were running perfectly on schedule.  In Liverpool, all the jewellery shops I saw had removed their stock from the windows, and several places mentioned that they were closing early that evening.  However, shops in Lime Street Station were open, and expected to close at their usual times.

        It was very different in New Street.  Everything was on lockdown.  Absolutely everything, including the escalators to the Palisades.  So, instead, I went out of the ground floor exit, near the Bullring.  The path up to the bull was closed - by one lonely policeman who was being sworn at - so I carried on down Moor Street.

        See that figure in the lower right, with the backpack?  Yeah, fairly certain that's me.  I found this image on the Birmingham Riots Tumbler.

        I needed to be in Five Ways, but all of New Street and Corporation Street were closed.  There was also a fire starting in the grassy bit on the corner of Moor Street, but I stamped that out.  Don't think it helped much.

        I walked past Aston Uni, and managed to get onto the other side of Corporation Street.  Headed down the side of Lloyds House, but veered off into the side streets after that, rather than run into a group of people wearing balaclavas.  I ran into another group of officers in the Jewellery Quarter - which was guarded, with all the shops closed, but not actually closed off.  They advised me to get a taxi home, and to avoid the new Tesco in Ladywood, as there was a large gang surrounding it.

        I did, and ended up near Dudley Road hospital, where I could see smoke over the buildings, presumably from the cars on fire in Winson Green.  Most of the shops along here were open, though.  After that, it was mostly a case of cutting through Summerfield Park and the Edgbaston Reservoir, which were both refreshingly normal, and full of runners and dog-walkers.

        I'm now hearing reports that Paradise Forum has been wrecked, along with Broad Street.  Still hoping that VEGed Out Cafe, in Fletcher's Walk, is okay.

        Edit; Just heard that a friend of mine was attacked near Five Ways. If the roads hadn't been closed, or if I'd turned right instead of left from New Street, that's where I would have been.

        I'm also hearing that there are guns in Aston and Lozells, and that groups of young Asians are fighting back against the looters. I hope everyone's okay. Someone in my class in primary school, Aaron James, was shot in the Lozells race riots five years ago, and we don't need anything like that to happen again.

        Monday, 8 August 2011

        UK Riots

        I've been hearing bits about the riots all evening, but it's only the last hour that I've actually sat down to watch the news.

        I'm mostly concerned with Birmingham, obviously. I'm in Liverpool at the minute, and although there are riots here, there is very little information. Birmingham seems to be the second worst struck, after London.

        I called my grandmother a little while ago, at 1:45am or so, and although she can hear sirens, she hasn't been otherwise affected. According to this tumbler account, there's been some activity only a few minutes down the road from where I live, but it seems that this was only a small gang of youths, rather than any kind of organised, violent activity.

        The Bullring and Mailbox have both been broken into, although I hear that staff from the Bullring were all allowed to leave very shortly after the riots started. Shops on New Street and Colmore Row have had their windows smashed, and, from what I've heard, the rioters seem to be heading away from the city centre, along the Bristol and Pershore roads. That said, I hear that bars on Broad Street have been locked down - no one's going home tonight.

        Arrests in Birmingham have gone from 35, at 10:25pm, to 100, at 2:30pm. There are several fires in London, but I've yet to hear of any elsewhere.

        Tomorrow, I'm supposed to be travelling from Liverpool Lime Street to Birmingham New Street.  I don't know what the likelihood of that is, right now.

        Tuesday, 2 August 2011

        The Smurf Movie

        Honestly, I didn't even realise that the Smurfs were still a thing.  However, since a new movie has come out, all the unfortunate implications of Smurfette being the only female (and, furthermore, female being her only mentioned trait) have come to the surface again.  So, rather than make a long preaching-to-the-choir post, I have made a simple decision;

        ...I am going to refer to Smurfette as CEO Smurf from this point on.  Why?  For the hell of it.

        Join me.

        Monday, 1 August 2011

        How to Make the Best Hot Chocolate Ever

        This may seem really obvious, but, personally, it's something I didn't figure out until recently.

        See how foamy that is?

        • 1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
        • 2 Tablespoons Demerara Sugar
        • Non-Dairy Milk (to fill mug)


        1. Place the cocoa powder and sugar into your mug. Add a tiny bit of non-dairy milk - something like a tablespoon is plenty - and mix into a paste. Add more milk, slowly, stirring constantly, until your mug is about 4/5's full.
        2. Microwave for one minute, stir. Repeat.  Top up with cooler milk, if desired.

        That's it.

        Other Stuff
        •  If you don't mix it into a paste first, it's a lot harder to get the lumps out. 
        • You could heat the milk on the stove-top, but I always manage to burn it that way. 
        • You can make it with hot water, instead of milk.  In that case, add a tiny bit of boiled water, mix into a paste, and then add the rest.  Otherwise, lumps.
        • Don't try to save time by microwaving it for two minutes in a row, as it may become superheated and explode.
        • You could also add a tablespoon of peanut butter, some ground almonds, or some jelly tots (but that last one would be weird).
        • I used unsweetened cocoa powder and unsweetened soya milk, which is why I used quite a lot of sugar.  Use less, if you like.
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