Sunday, February 27, 2011

Meet Molly

Look who joined our household this morning! Molly is a gorgeous 9 month old malamute cross Australian cattle dog and she is already making herself part of our crazy family.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Peach and Apple Crumbles

Today at the markets I answered the call of some extremely ripe peaches. Once I got home I realized they wouldn't last the week for snacking fruit, however they were perfect for peach and apple crumble! The earthy smell of the macadamias and brown sugar mixed with the sweetness of the fruit as it bubbled and boiled in my oven. Then these emerged like fruity jewels out of my off to enjoy the fruits of my labour!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Look how clever my sister is!

My darling younger sister J made these cupcakes tonight for someone's birthday.
I firmly believe she is a frosting genius!

Here they are in their frosted glory!

Unspoken Acts of Kindness - To Tell or Not to Tell?

A question: If you do a good deed for someone, perform a random act of kindness and then tell someone else that you did it, does that diminish the act?
Should we just be satisfied and draw happiness from the fact that we have been able to be of service to another; or is it okay to tell someone in order to earn their approval or gain their opinion on just how kind the act was?
Perhaps it is self aggrandising to tell someone else when you perform a good deed. I wonder if it has always been this way, did heroes tell their own legends?
Perhaps it is the result of a world where we seem to constantly expose ourselves for other's comment, approval / rejection or interest.
I wonder if telling people reduces how much good such an act does for your soul?


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Sunrise

How would you like to wake up to this?

This morning I set my alarm clock for before dawn and drove down to the beach to watch the sunrise over the ocean. Although there were a few others on the beach when I arrived, with the roar of the waves and heat of the new morning washing over me I felt as though I was all alone in the world.

The hour of walking and just listening to the sounds of the coastline coming to life brought a peace and calm to my soul and reminded me just how beautiful this world is and why I choose to get up at crazy hours on the weekend.

Compost and cosmetology

Don't throw away those coffee grounds next Sunday morning! Today after enjoying two cups of beautiful Black Sheep coffee (a locally owned and blended brew that has me under it's spell) I put the coffee grounds on my newly planted seedlings and ended up with my hands covered in grounds. Instead of washing it straight off I added a little bit of olive oil and gave myself an impromptu hand scrub! So now my tomatoes are extra happy and my hands are soft and moisturized.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Memories of Rome

Last night after work had finished for the evening I was craving some vegetable love.
Looking in our refrigerator the whole of the world was at my fingertips; I could have had Asian (pak-choy), Greek (olives and other sundried goodies), Mexican (my favourite - kidney beans!) but then I felt it, the craving for a good Italian.
So into the pot went a can of tomatoes, some garlic, a whole onion, half a zucchini and a whole bunch of spinach along with some peas and half a can of chickpeas.

Just look at that sizzling away.

So there might not have been candlelight, and there may not have been a sweet Italian summer breeze floating past my window but somehow I let the herbs and the garlic and tomato transport me back to summer last year and my two magical weeks in Italy.

The picture above was taken just outside Florence. We were visiting a 12th century villa that had become a vineyard, producing the most beautiful red wine. I can understand why people fall in love with this country and never want to leave. The heat from the sun baking into the earth and filling the grapes to bursting with flavour and life that reaches right into your soul when you take a sip from one of their fine vintages.

I can't wait to go back in a few years and spend more time in Florence, and who doesn't dream of retiring to a beautiful vineyard in some warm and timeless spot on this earth...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up"

Here she is in all her coconutty glory!

Next time I am thinking of substituting some of the flour for cocoa, yummy coconut chocolate bundt cake.

Vegan Coconut Bundt Cake

There is nothing that smells like summer more to me than coconut.
It brings to mind the smell of sunscreen, cocktails and the heat radiating off sand dunes at the end of a tropical day.
So when I stumbled across this recipe for Coconut Bundt Cake at C'est La Vegan I knew that I just had to try it out and when a morning tea for a departing work colleague presented the perfect opportunity to share the creamy goodness of some coconut I knew that it was a sign.
So tonight, after my run I came home and whipped up this cake. It was so much easier than I thought it would be and after some doubt that it might not rise, up it popped!

Now it is sitting right side up on my counter it looks a little more like this:

So there we have it, one gorgeous coconut vegan bundt cake ready to be dusted with icing sugar and devoured in our morning meeting.
I will post a picture of it once it has it's dressing gown on, but even now it looks (and smells) so fantastically summery that I can tell that I won't be able to pay attention tomorrow morning until I have a piece safely tucked into my belly.

Why I Run to Find My Point of Grace

There are sometimes when you just have to trust that you can find the magic in the day. It might not be something big, in fact there may be chaos raging around you when you find that point of grace, you just need to be open to finding it, experiencing the peace it brings you and remembering it the next time you feel frazzled, disenfranchised and just plain lonely.
Today I knew that there would be a point of grace somewhere, so after eight hours of feeling chained to my desk I practically flew down the stairs, praying that the traffic would not be too hideous I made my way to the gym for a run, and there, after 13km came the point of grace. That moment where my feet were moving in perfect rythym with my heart and it all just felt effortless. That is why I run, because even when I feel like quitting I know that if I am just patient and give into the mechanics and the music of running that I will find a moment of peace where I wish that I could go on forever.
You might find your grace in running, or in another type of physical activity, your peace might be in painting, or baking or helping others; whatever it is remember the feeling it brings when everything else seems to be getting you down and search for new grace in whatever you do.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Inspiration in other's words

One of my obsessions is reading.
Simple sentence, however it is something that is truly important to me. I own hundreds of books, and there is nothing that pleases me more than taking a journey through the written word; whether fictional, factual or even instructional. Whenever I need comfort, entertainment, distraction or even the occasional wake-up-from-your-ivory-tower-princess I turn to literature and find my answer.
I was reading a post on today entitled Do What You Can...Today. In this post Angela talks about a Theodore Roosevelt quote that inspired her through her journey and this made me think of the quotes that I have tacked up in my home and at work.
These quotes are my everyday link to literature and the accumulated and condensed wisdom of minds greater than my own.
My three favourites would have to be:

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness - Eleanor Roosevelt

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself - George Bernard Shaw

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind - Albert Einstein

These three quotes remind me everyday to create something in my life that changes for the better my little corner of the world and to remember to both question and believe.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

The first six months

Sitting here watching Hawaii Five-o and dreaming of an island holiday I realized that today marks my six month vege-versary! After half a year living sans animal flesh I feel lighter and brighter and I can tell this is something I want to continue with my whole life; I want to keep moving my life toward a kinder practice more in tune with the earth, ebbing and flowing with the seasons. I feel as though this life is bringing out a light inside me; revealing what has hidden beneath for all these years. Now on to the next six months!

Lovely Light Lemon Cupcakes

Well, the February Vegan Cupcake Challenge went very well.
After being particularly precious and waiting until the kitchen had been vacated by lunch making family members I secreted myself into a corner and very carefully measured and mixed. All the while sweating bullets in the sub-saharan Sunday heat.
I finally presented a cupcake to each of my family members and awaited the results. There was silence while they chewed and considered the first vegan cupcake any of them had ever eaten. Then, smiles and positive commentary. Even my normally quite silent brother-in-law-to-be said "Amy, cupcakes were good"; coming from him this is practically Proustian praise.
One challenge successfully completed. So without further ado I present my Lovely Light Lemon Cupcakes.

Lovely Light Lemon Cupcakes

120g plain flour
150g caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbs grated lemon zest
40g non dairy margarine
120mL unsweetened soy milk
1 "egg" of egg replacement (I use Orgran No Egg), made up with water according to instructions on packet

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a 12 hole 1/2 cup muffin tray with cupcake papers
  2. Put flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and margarine in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on slow until you get a sand consistency and everything is combined.
  3. Gradually pour in soy milk and beat until just incorporated.
  4. Add "egg" mix and continue beating until mixture is smooth.
  5. Divide mixture amongst cupcake papers and place in oven
  6. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean
  7. Allow to cool and spread on icing.

Lemon Icing
350g icing sugar, sifted
50g non dairy margarine
2 tbs lemon juice
Few drops of yellow food colouring

  1. Beat all ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Spread on cooled cupcakes
  3. Make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy!
I hope you all enjoy my first ever attempt at vegan cupcakes (and food photography), hopefully my skills at kind baking will only improve over the course of this blog.

Happy Weekend everyone.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chic Chickpea Challenge for February!

Every month here on One Chic Chickpea I will set myself a challenge, it might be related to food, perhaps literature, or fashion; first up, baking.

As of Sunday the 13th of February, I will have been officially a vegetarian for exactly six months. In those six months I have done nothing but fall in love with the way that legumes, wholegrains and soy milk have made my body feel.
Since beginning this journey I have avoided adventures in vegan baking, possibly due to the enormous importance placed on baking in my family and certain strange looks I may get for trying to tamper with long treasured family recipes.
In order to celebrate my first six months as a herbivore I am going to foray into fields unknown and attempt to bake some vegan cupcakes. This is my challenge for February and with beautiful pictures of vegan lemon cupcakes dancing in my head, my mixing bowl at the ready and eager tastebuds I approach the kitchen to start my adventure.
I promise to post the results and recipe on Sunday afternoon.

Here it is!

Check out these beautiful cupcakes that my talented sister made. Ooh sprinkles...pretty...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Seems I still have some work to do on this blogging from an iPhone thing. Picture to come very soon.

Always have dessert first

Just thought I would post a photo of some gorgeous cupcakes my sister made the other day. Something about the smell of sugar and vanilla just makes everything okay in the world.