lactose free loves: pea and bean dip

I’ve been trying out some new recipes with all the free time I seem to have on my hands at the minute, and this one is one I’m really enjoying. It’s quick and easy to make, super healthy, and tastes really good! It is also suitable for freezing so I made a big batch and put little pots of it in the freezer ready for lunch at work, or when I’m fancying some!

Let me know what you think!

Ingredients –

1 handful of podded garden peas

1 handful of edamame beans (could also use broad beans)

1 small handful of basil leaves

1 small handful of mint leaves

1 large handful of Parmesan (to serve)

2 glugs of extra virgin olive oil

one lemon

salt and pepper

 

Method:

1. In a pestle and mortar (or a food processor if you have one) smash up a few mint and basil leaves with your peas and beans until they look like mushy peas. It’s better to start with a couple of each leaves and then add to your own taste.

2. If you aren’t freezing the dip, add some of the Parmesan to the mix. If you are going to be freezing some of the dip, keep the Parmesan for after.

3. Loosen the mixture with a couple of glugs of oil, and balance out the flavours with the lemon juice, salt and pepper.

4. Taste the dip and see if you need any more basil/mint.

5. Sprinkle a few bits of Parmesan on top of the dip to your own taste. You can either spread it on crostini/sourdough or use as a dip with crudites/pitta/breadsticks.

 

 

Super quick, super easy, super tasty!

Let me know what you think!

love sophie

the blog turns one

It’s our birthday *does happy dance* and officially one year since write me wild began… where did that year go?!

It’s been a weird one, full of finishing off third year, starting a Masters, and handing in manuscripts, along with some other bits of busyness in between, but I’ve enjoyed sharing my blog with you all and hope to have more time to blog this year.

I’ve continued my monthly soundtrack series, my lactose free loves recipes, and my book club, all of which will be staying, and I also have some more super exciting things coming that you can look out for…

More recently I’ve even added a tab for my artwork, for those of you who don’t have Instagram, and tried to keep on top of my ‘a letter from’ series, which relies on me actually leaving the writing desk!

I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading my posts, and although I haven’t updated Instagram as much as I’ve blogged, I hope you’ve still had a mooch when you got chance.

If there’s anything you’ve particularly enjoyed, or something you think I could do more of, let me know! I want the blog to be a space of interest, and something you want to read.

Thank you for sticking with me.

love sophie

lactose free loves: easy peasy pizza

I’m a Taurus, which apparently means I’m more than likely to become hangry if I’m left without food long enough. I’m not often like this, but when I am all I want is food, and quickly.

With the cold nights drawing in, I’ve also been craving some really hot food to keep me cosy. My easy peasy pizza recipe is perfect for a quick lunch, or a dinner. It can even be paired with my sweet potato wedges (coming soon…) for a real treat.

All you need is a tortilla wrap, some pesto, and any veg you can get your hands on! Simples!

I was very excited to discover that ASDA now stock a lactose free mozzarella which I would 100% recommend as it tastes/melts exactly the same as the good stuff.

So here’s the simple recipe, which can easily be adapted to suit the contents of your fridge, or to use up the leftovers:

(The recipe is based on one person/pizza)

Ingredients:

1 tortilla wrap (the multi-seeded ones are fab!)

3 tablespoons of sundried tomato pesto (can be exchanged for green pesto/tomato puree)

2 handfuls of spinach

3 mushrooms

1/2 red pepper

handful of plum tomatoes, halved

four olives, halved

1 ball of lactose free mozzarella

 

Method:

1.Heat the oven up to 190 degrees, and prep a baking tray. If you’ve got a pizza baking tray, fab, if not you can just use a normal one, or a bit of tinfoil.

2. Put the wrap on the baking tray, and dollop on the pesto, or alternative, spreading it around evenly so the wrap is covered.

3. Wash the spinach leaves and spread them around on top, covering the pesto.

4. Chop the mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, and pepper. Spread these all out on top, making sure the pizza is even (it’ll cook quicker). You can also add tuna/cooked meats to the pizza, but I made mine vegetarian.

5. Slice the mozzarella length ways, and arrange on top of the vegetables.

6. Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the edges of the wrap are crisp, and the mozzarella and veg are cooked.

Voila! So simple, so quick, so yummy!

It’s especially good seen as most pizza dough takes an age to make, and this one is so much healthier. If you’re having friends over, why not buy mini wraps and make a selection of different pizzas to share? Or each put toppings on your own wrap? This recipe is so adaptable it can suit anyone.

Let me know how you make yours!

love sophie

lactose free loves: chickpea and sweetcorn burgers

I always find it really difficult to find quick and easy recipes you can make for tea without either having the most random ingredients pre-stocked in your cupboard, or taking a shopping list longer than your arm to the supermarket.

I have finally found a simple, quick recipe for vegan burgers which relies mainly on a couple of tins and spices I usually have in the cupboard anyway.

Here it is…

 

Ingredients –

1 400g tin of chickpeas (drained)

1 can of sweetcorn (large)

3 tbsp flour, and some for the surface when forming the burgers

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 lemon

Optional to serve – 

ciabatta burger buns

salad leaves

tomatoes and gherkins (sliced)

 

Recipe – 

1. Drain the chickpeas and sweetcorn and pop them into a food processor. Whizz it up until it’s combined slightly.

2. Add in the flour and spices, as well as the zest and juice of the lemon. Whizz it up again so it’s all mixed together. It doesn’t have to be completely smooth – it’s good to have some texture.

3. On a floured surface, tip the mix out and divide into four burgers of equal size. It’s a good idea (if you have the time) to pop them in the fridge to firm up before frying so they stay together.

4. Fry them in a bit of oil on a medium heat until they’re golden brown, flipping them half way through.

5. Prep the bread/salad if you’re having it. Serve with any sauces you fancy. They go great with sweet potato fries!

Enjoy!

love sophie

lactose free loves: honey and poppy seed carrot

One of my least favourite vegetables (cooked) is carrot. It’s always been that way, so I’ve tried to find a way to make them taste more appeasing. This recipe makes a lovely wintry salad, on a cold day, and can be added to lots of things to make a lovely meal.

I’ve got a slight sweet tooth, so I found adding honey really made a difference!

Here’s the recipe – let me know if you like it! This was based on a portion for two.

 

Ingredients – 

2 carrots

2 tsp honey (add to taste)

small handful of poppy seeds

 

Method – 

1. Grate the carrots either in a food processor or by hand. Drain any juice that has collected.

2. Fry the carrots in a pan on a low heat for a few minutes.

3. Add in the poppy seeds and the honey. Cook for a further few minutes.

And that’s it! Super duper easy, and still veg (albeit covered in sugar). You can reduce the amount of honey you use, or increase the amount of carrots to make it healthier.

I hope you enjoy!

love sophie

a letter from: dublin

I spent the last weekend of February in Dublin with some friends. I have a huge crush on the rolling green hills of Ireland (and the Guinness) and I enjoyed being in the city for a change.

We did lots of initial exploring, with us all arriving at different times, and from different places, Meg and I (who arrived first) decided to find the accommodation and put our bags down before the others arrived.

The flight was grand, everything was going well, we managed to get the right bus to the centre of Dublin, and we had screenshots and an address of the accommodation. Very organised.

We headed out of the centre to the flat, using Meg’s phone as map, towards the rugby stadium which wasn’t far from where we were staying.

As we were walking along we were both in awe of the stunning Georgian terraces which lined the streets, four or five storeys high and absolutely gorgeous. There were several comments exchanged about how cool it would be to live here, and how soon we could get a job in a bar with live music. This continued for most of the weekend.

When we arrived at the supposed flat, we couldn’t find it. It had every number, every address but ours. But the map said we were in the right place. We spotted a pub across the road and made ourselves at home inside, the locals being super helpful and letting us borrow chargers, and their phones to try and find the flat. They were even looking themselves, and asking each other around the pub if anyone knew where it was. They were so warm, and welcoming – the classic Irish – and Meg and I were both grateful!

We set back on the flat hunt (after having a pint of Guinness whilst the phone charged) and were embarrassed to find it, quite easily, exactly where we’d been looking for about twenty minutes. Great start!

Dublin itself is busy, jam packed with buskers, travellers, back packers, tourists, families and young people. It is a city that has something for everyone, and the twinkly lights on Grafton Street reminded me in part of London, but the Irish charm gave Dublin the edge.

Once the others arrived (with ease) we talked over what we would do for the weekend, as well as headed over to the pub, so they could witness Dublin in full glory.

Over the course of the weekend we headed out to various pubs, bars, and restaurants, making a name for ourselves in Temple Bar.

The main reason for our visit was the Ireland vs Wales Six Nations match on the Saturday. Arriving on a Thursday meant we had loads of time to fit things in beforehand.

We scouted out the Guinness Factory (a must whilst in Dublin – I would recommend heading up to the top bar for a pint to watch the sunset – we did it by accident and it was ace!), as well as Cathedrals and shops.

With the Factory, I’d leave more time than you think. We walked from the flat into the centre and then went to the Factory after seeing some of the centre. Altogether we were in the factory for about four hours – it’s really interesting and interactive and you get to see all sides of Guinness as well as learn to pour a pint yourself.

The Temple Bar area was where we spent most of the evenings, or in the pub by the flat, if not the flat itself.

The Ha’penny Bridge is also a must see, and once you see it you’ll see why. It’s tiny, and in amongst lots of other bridges, but if you research into it, it’s actually really interesting.

We also found a Keats monument in the square near the flat which was well worth a look. People had attached lots of quotes and letters to it and I found it really interesting to read them, and see what people had written.

On a previous trip, I also visited Dublin Zoo, The National Museum of Ireland, and a Leinster vs Ulster match at the Ricoh arena.

These are also places I’d recommend to anyone going. It’s mainly all within walking distance, and easy to locate with a map of the city.

The live music in the bars on an evening is just amazing, and something I wish we had more of at home. Jigging around the dance floor and singing along to Irish classics at the top of our lungs became commonplace.

When the time came to leave on the Sunday, after watching Ireland beat Wales on the Saturday, we were all in high spirits and didn’t want to go.

I have no doubt I’ll be back again. It’s one of those places you can go many times as there’s so much to see and do.

Where have you been recently that you’d recommend?

love sophie

writing dates: do they help or hinder?

February was one of those head-down-get-on-with-it kind of months (as well as lets-hit-Sophie-with-the-flu-just-when-she-doesn’t-need-it.) With just shy of 15,000 words due, I was trying to save every ounce of energy up to write my essays, and assignments. But when you can’t even think straight and spend most of the day coughing (my whole January was more like dry cough January than dry January) it’s difficult to get much done.

Cue a lot of writing dates with other writers/peers/anyone who would take me up on my offer of free flowing tea and biscuits, in the hope of it being inspiring and actually making me do some work.

But did it really help?

Here are the things I noticed happening to my work/me:

1. It got competitive

I’m not a hugely competitive person *flips the board of monopoly if she doesn’t get Mayfair* but there’s something about people sitting around laptops, typing endlessly which gets incredibly competitive. Now, this in theory is great, it means that you’re in competition to write the most and do the most work. But actually, what comes out of this (unless you’re a Sara Barnard level A+writer) is a very very very first draft which makes no sense. Yes I managed to write lots, but it wasn’t necessarily good stuff and needed lots of editing when I managed to escape back under the blankets with a cuppa.

2. It can be the world’s best procrastination

So you’re sat with your laptop, you’ve got a brew and you’re ready to get cracking on your next chapter. WRONG. Instead, you end up listening to your friends detail the whole night out that you missed in the classic debrief. You get way too into it, completely forget the reason you’re there, and suddenly you’re watching videos of cute goats on YouTube? (please tell me I’m not the only one?) Three hours later and you’ve exhausted yourself to the point of no work, so you turn to Netflix and drown your sorrows in tea, saying ‘It’s okay, I’ll do it tomorrow…’ even if tomorrow is the deadline.

3. It can be very distracting

This is especially the case if you’re all working on the same assignment. Or even if you’re all trying to do the same kind of thing. When it comes to writing, a lot of research is involved, especially if it’s high fantasy or historical, or you need to be factually correct with characters etc. This is all good and well until someone whips out a truck load of information which is then put on you because you just need to know it too. I think I’ve learnt more from my peers who have been researching for their books than I ever did when it came to researching for my own things. And then there’s the breaks. If someone pops to the loo, makes a drink, or declares lunchtime, it only seems fitting to take a break too. Even if you’ve only written the title.

4. It’s an emotional battle

Just like reading a book, there’s a definite emotional rollercoaster that comes with writing dates. I don’t know whether it’s having someone you can complain to/talk things through with, or whether it’s just because it can be really hard, but writing dates often turn into therapy sessions punctuated with ‘you can do this’ and ‘just focus on writing this chapter’ which is all good and well if you have an idea you believe in. This is when those extra biscuits you brought (just in case) make their way out whilst you shut down all your word documents and cry internally over the fact you’re never going to get published. You then have to sit there whilst the other people, who are still tapping away on their keyboards, continue to casually mosey on through the brick wall ahead. Total writing torture.

5. Everything takes time

When initially planning the date, you have to bear in mind that at least 70% of it will be spent making tea, talking, scrolling through your phone, eating, giggling, watching funny videos, etc. So you only ever really get 30% maximum done. This is something you should take into account when planning when to meet and where. If you meet before lunch, you may be more productive in the morning but end up having more breaks. If you meet after lunch you might have passed the most productive part of your day. It’s a battle you sometimes just can’t win. I try and meet up as early as possible because then at least I’ve given myself the whole day to procrastinate. And even if I don’t manage the target of words I set (or even half of them) I know that it’s more than I would have done anyway.

Let me know if you have any tips on writing in a group, and whether there are any ways it helps you/any suggestions to make it work better!

love sophie

it’s good to be home

It’s only been two weeks since heading back to Bath after Christmas, but being in what felt like solitary confinement for that long was turning me insane (slight exaggeration, it wasn’t that bad.) I’ve been trying to utilise the free time to myself and finish off my work, but the temptation to binge watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S. on Netflix is just too big. And as much as I’ve tried to finish deadlines, and write more of my novel, I always find it’s on in the background (even when I do manage to make some headway!)

It was lucky that I was actually heading up to Leeds for some appointments, and I absolutely loved going home. (I didn’t get much done but how can you when those ‘you’re home’ treats are on the menu?)

I was back for hospital appointments on the Friday so Mum picked me up on the Thursday (legend) and we roadtripped back up following the scenic route. Anyone who knows me will know I absolutely hate motorways and would rather get there three hours later going the ‘pretty way around’ and avoiding all the traffic.

I had a busy weekend actually, from walking around the grounds at Harewood on Saturday morning (if you live in Leeds and haven’t been, go! The Harewood Arms do great pub grub for a post walk treat too, with Ve/GF/V options available which I was surprised by, and you can feed the penguins – what’s more to love!), to having giggles with the twins who came on Monday (babies are the best antidepressant in the world! Fact!)

In between hospital visits, long walks, and babies, there was lots of chocolate munching (thanks Em!) and binge watching property programmes on the TV (Mum and I love a good restoration.) I always enjoy going home because I write it off as a bit of a jolly. Even if I plan to do loads of things (which, let’s face it, I don’t) I always end up just sitting back with a cuppa, being harassed with constant offers of cake and asked if I want to do this or that (and isn’t that just the best.) I also love being home for the kitchen cupboards. There’s nothing more satisfying than looking in the cupboards and seeing everything you could ever dream of making or eating. I definitely don’t have that luxury at uni.

I’m also probably not the only one who absolutely loves the first couple of days of being home, and then just wants to leave. I always miss the independence of being away from home (especially if I’m having to share the attention with siblings who just so happen to be home for the same weekend… typical!)

I’m really weird in that I also enjoy just driving around. If Mum’s going to the shops, I’ll go just for the ride. I find being in the car really enjoyable, although I often get travel sick on long drives, and I always imagine I’m in a soppy film when it’s raining and a sad song comes on the radio.

I’m looking forward to going back to the tub, but it’s been nice to have some time back at home with my family, who have returned from down under. Getting home cooked grub and mugs of tea on demand is never a bad thing!

What do you like most about being home?

love sophie

 

lactose free loves: vegan burgers

I was sous chef for Chris at our post-Christmas family get together in December (I chopped tomatoes and buttered the bread) and he made the easiest (and tastiest) burgers in the world. It’s a really great and filling recipe for anyone who is vegetarian or anyone trying out veganuary. It’s also a cheap meal so good for students (it’s made up from easy kitchen staples too so no doubt you have some of the ingredients in the cupboard already so don’t need to venture to the shops.

I couldn’t quite remember the recipe so I’ve given it a go from memory. And it worked!

So this is what you need:

Ingredients:

2 chillies

1 onion

1 tin of chickpeas (drained)

half a punnet of mushrooms

salt and pepper

Optional to serve:

4 bread buns

salad leaves

gherkins and tomatoes (sliced)

 

method:

1.Slice the mushrooms and onion. Fry the onion on a medium heat until it’s soft. Add the mushroom slices and fry until they’re soft too. Put the oven on to 180 degrees.

2. Chop the chillies (you can use as little/many as you’d like) and add them to the pan.

3. Open the chickpeas and drain them, before putting them in a bowl. With a fork, mash the chickpeas until they’re all squashed. Add them to the pan and stir into the mushroom, onion and chilli, adding salt/pepper to taste.

4. Once it’s all mixed together, take off the heat and leave to cool. In this time, slice the tomatoes and gherkin (optional) and add any sauces to the bread buns.

5. Once the mix has cooled, ball the mixture up with your hands and place on a oiled baking tray. Pat them down into burger shapes. Once you’ve used up all the mixture, put them in the oven for 15 minutes (or until cooked).

6. place onto the bun and top with salad, tomatoes and gherkin. And enjoy!

 

I don’t think mine were as good as Chris’ (I could have cooked them in the oven for longer but I was starving so indulged too soon…) but the recipe was super quick and easy and I was able to do some work whilst they were cooking in the oven. Win win.

They’re so easy to make and require minimal effort (which is great for a busy day). You can alter the mix if you don’t like chillies, or add different sides too. I think they’d be lovely with sweet potato fries and homemade guacamole. And you can ditch the bread bun if you’re not keen. Make them your own.

Let me know what you think!

love sophie

new year, new pitch

Our annual new year’s day football fixture was turned on it’s head this year when we arrived to find the pitch waterlogged. Seems more convincing when you find out the pitch is actually a beach. *cue a sigh of relief from possibly hungover players*

I always say that my favourite day of the year is new year’s day. We’ve done the same thing every year, with the same people, and it has become a tradition. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like (we play in the toughest conditions) or whether we’re a couple of men down, we always have a highly competitive game of football on the beach each year.

Today, however, the tide was in, so we moved our pitch to a patch of grass near the park above the beach.

I watched on from the injury bench, laughing when the muddy ground (less waterlogged than the usual pitch) pulled down another victim. At one point the pitch was moved because the bog became so slippy. The rules were even adapted so that running wasn’t allowed, making for great entertainment.

We have some rather competitive players so selection is serious. It was actually very amusing watching from the sidelines for a change as the captains chose their teams.

Once the game is over (and we’ve changed out of our muddy/sandy clothes) we head on to the amusements. (Old school but I absolutely love them.)

Dad will send us in with one pound each and we will have the most fun. We can be in there for ages.

I’m absolutely rubbish at the machines, and have never won anything (I like the ones where you roll the 2ps down either side, not the ones that drop from the slots at the top).

This year, after changing my pound into 2ps, I had a scour around (you’ll be surprised at how many 2ps drop out of the machines when no one is using them) before sourcing what I thought looked like a good machine.

*The characteristics of a good machine include a rather large coating of coppers (preferably teetering over the edge), a reasonable prize or two, (things like magnets or keychains are among the usual tat), and a fully stocked back shelf.*

Now, people don’t always think about looking at the back shelf (the one that moves) but if it’s empty, you’ll use most of your 2ps patching it up before you can actually get started.

So, picture this: I’ve had a walk round, picked my machine, popped in a 2p, and out comes a sea of coppers along with a pencil topper. Success! The girl who never wins, has won!

I rinsed the machine dry of the nearest coppers and took off in search of another, quite confident in my new ability.

I found Chris, who’d been feeding one of the machines, and donated my remaining 2ps in the hope of having another win. The shelf had three magnets on, one very close to the edge and two just behind. After a couple of minutes, the first magnet was down. Cue a replenishment of pennies and a couple of random 2ps falling from the machine. We then succeeded in winning a second (to the amusement of our families who had now crowded around the machine to watch.)

Although we attempted to try for the third, the machine was exhausted so we cut our losses and left with just two. Between eleven of us, we managed to win five different things which I was quite impressed by.

Stomachs rumbling, we went for our fish and chips (the best time of day), amusing the waiters with our order, and rinsing them dry of tea (as usual.)

After a natter, new dates put in the diaries, and final sips of tea, we headed back to the car park, saying our goodbyes before getting into our cars and driving home. (If we’re lucky, we catch a few Zs whilst Mum drives.)

 

There’s a phrase: start the year as you mean to go on.

I definitely believe in it.

love sophie