Cloudberry Lane

celebrate the every day

learning the art of flower arranging

DIYRachel CaveComment
Step One: Roses and Coronations

Life is so much better when your home is brightened up with flowers. How pretty are these roses?! I just had to do something with them. But, learning the art of flower arranging is far from easy. As it turns out, you have to step back and plan because a random "I think this will work out", probably won't.

golden-stage-one-flower-arranging.jpg

Firstly, I got the oasis and holder together. I put the greenery in place, in this case I used holly. Hint: Make sure you keep turning your arrangement around so that you get an even spread.

Then I started trying to be creative and putting in the colourful roses. Then the coronations. 

I kept building it up, I probably should have made it all the same height so it looked neater and a bit more professional!

And voila! Here is the finished arrangement! Could I have done with a bit more greenery? Some more of those pretty roses? Of course, but there's a first time for everything. This was definitely a little bit harder than I thought. When I do this again, I'l be placing the flowers closer together, using a smaller holder and make sure that all of the flowers are showing out at the same height.  

Still, I've got to say - it sure was pretty!  

on a foggy day

reflectionRachel CaveComment

This harbour has been my home forever. My memories of it glide between it being beautiful to somewhere I saw a plethora of rubbish pass me by as I was sailing slowly from one end to the other.  

But, there was something uplifting about seeing this place once again shrouded in beauty. The rolling sea fog created quite the spectacle, becoming a thing of wonder.  The fog rolled in, but the sky was a luminescent blue - the sun shining like it was on holiday.

Moments of grey appeared, dazzling water as the fog rolled over. Ripples becoming the focus, fog the background. 

Surreal how the fog encases the harbour and our homes until then, it disappears. 

weekend link love

weekend link loveRachel CaveComment
weekend-link-love-daffodil-golden.jpg

I love coming across inspirational little gems on the web when you're least expecting it. So, I've decided to share these links I love with you and start celebrating the work of others.  I'm going to try to make this a weekly feature because I just realised how often I add these links to my reading list but never share them.

So, let's get started: 

First there was binge watching and now binge reading.

I loved reading this inspirational post On Changing Dreams.

There's bread and butter pudding and then there's salted caramel bread and butter pudding. I know which one I'm going to be trying out this weekend. 

A favourite band music map of the US. We need to do one of these for Ireland. Who wants to collaborate? 

Currently obsessed with Wes Anderson's incredible eye for zane, so here is the most overlooked of his costumes

And in case you didn't get enough, here's Wes Anderson's movies from above.

I can't believe I only just stumbled upon Caine's Arcade. So heartwarming! 

Now this is good advertising, Honey Maid fights hate with love.

This satirical art book, based on the learning how to read books Peter and Jane, is fabulous but of course the publisher didn't see it that way. 

Here's a reading list Hemingway created for a young writer in 1934.

And if you're still confused about how to use that semi-colon, here's a great infographic to help

herb couscous with toasted pistachios

recipes, vegan, vegetarian, saladRachel CaveComment
herb couscous with toasted pistachios makes a great vegan lunch or side salad | Cloudberry Lane

Give me couscous any day of the week. It's one of my favourites. My secret to great couscous used to be butter but now I realise that my once go-to method is completely redundant. The secret to good couscous is what accompanies it. The flavours you add. This means adding spices, subtle or in this instance, herbs. Lots of different types and you can never have too many, so versatile.

This works amazingly well by itself, but would be great with a poached egg (or two) on top. Dripping egg always works well with this grain. Also, I'm keen to try it out with tofu. Sometimes I make extra of the herb pesto and use it through pasta over the next couple of days. Other times I just add it all in and savour the result. 


herb couscous with toasted pistachios

When making the couscous, you might have to add more water if you can see that it's all been absorbed. Always add boiling water and add it bit by bit. Too much and you'll wreck it. Nice as a side salad to a meal. Try with any herbs you have to hand and exchange the pistachios for almonds if you prefer. I imagine it would work well!  It also keeps really well covered in the fridge, making it a great lunch the following day. 


Ingredients:

  • 150 g organic couscous
  • 200 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tbsp olive pol
  • pinch of salt
  • 80 g shelled unsalted pistachios, toasted and chopped
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • Half a green chilli, chopped

Herb pesto

  • 25g parsley
  • 25g coriander
  • 2 tbsp chopped tarragon
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions: 

Preheat the oven to 150 *c

Put the couscous in a large bowl and pour over your boiling vegetable stock to cover. Cover the bowl with cling-wrap and leave to steam until all the water has been absorbed. I usually check it after about 12 minutes. You want it fluffy but not clumpy.

Meanwhile, sauté the onion in the olive oil until golden and soft. Leave to cool.

Get out your food processor and place all of the herbs in it. Whizz until everything is mixed well. Add the olive oil and whizz a little longer until blended.

Meanwhile, toast the pistachios in the oven, Set a timer for 3 minutes and check to see if they are slightly browned. Reset timer for another minute if they are not. 

Serves 4 or more.    Cooking Time - 15 mins     Prep Time -  15 mins

This recipe was adapted from Yotam Ottolengi's Plenty. It's a super cookbook, you should check it out. 

Let me know how you get on with this recipe in the comments, always love to hear your stories! 

Hello, April

hello, goalsRachel CaveComment
Hello, April 2014 | Cloudberry Lane

Hello, April. You're already here.

Enjoying the sunshine, wherever it may be. 

Laughing at the little cat that has come into our lives, 

Hoping for travel adventures in the near future, 

Planning on growing this business of mine, 

Getting lost in a world of inspirational posts,

Walking through woods on rainy days,

Creating blog posts, 

Trying my best to blog consistently, 

Making something awesome with wool, 

Finishing a rebel county coloured quilt, 

Planning on making the most of each day, 

Watching the new series of Mad Men, 

Smelling the roses...err.. I mean camellias,

Hello, April. You're going to be awesome. 

This post is part of a blogging feature that I started last year celebrating each month. I hope to continue this as I try to blog my way through 2014. If you're curious, you can read last year's Hello April here

cardamon and cinnamon rice pudding

recipes, vegetarian, dessert, wheat-freeRachel CaveComment
Cardamon and Cinnamon Rice Pudding is comfort food at its best | Cloudberry Lane

We're back to the torrential rain, howling winds and grey sky here in Cork. Even though I'm ready for the sunshine and those first moments of spring to appear, I also love these winter days. We get to light fires, drink endless cups of tea and create a mess in the kitchen! 

Rice pudding is comfort food at its best. When I was younger I used to eat it rice pudding as a snack, almost straight from the can. Sometimes I'd put jam and some cream on it.  I'd eat it cold, and other times I'd warm it up in a saucepan on the stove. It would always leave a ring of burn on the bottom of the pans that I was reluctant to wash up. Then I started making it from scratch: Stirring the milk, cream and rice together in a big old pot. Then pouring it into an oven dish to bake, brown and bubble.

Now, there's a re-invention. And to be honest, who doesn't like a bit of cinnamon with their milk, or cardamon for that matter. It's a match made in heaven.


cardamon and cinnamon rice pudding

If you don't like cardamon this recipe probably isn't for you - or you could just omit and put in more cinnamon. Keep stirring the milk mixture and cool down slightly before you add to the egg yolks so they don't scramble, then pour back into the milk!  The flavours will get even stronger once refrigerated. Enjoy!


Ingredients:

  • 120g pudding rice
  • 4 cups of water
  • 5 cups of milk
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 7 cardamon pods (use the seeds, discard the pods)
  • 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • caster sugar to top
  • 25 g butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 170˚c and toast the pistachios until golden, usually 4 to 5 minutes does the trick. Remove the seeds from the cardamon pods and crush in a mortar and pestle. Boil the rice in the water for about 2 minutes, then drain off the water and add the milk, sugar, butter, cardamon, cinnamon and salt. Cover and simmer for 20 -25 minutes until the rice is cooked. 

Meanwhile beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl, mix with a small bit of cold milk, and then pour in a little bit more of the milk from the rice mixture. Stir, and pour back into the pan, stirring constantly.

Pour the pudding into a buttered dish and sprinkle the top with sugar, place in the oven until brown and looks set, this usually takes around 30 - 40 minutes. Serve with toasted pistachios and a smile :-) 

Serves 6  Prep Time:  10 mins          Cooking Time: 25 minutes + 40 minutes

Print this recipe

lentils with balsamic roasted tomatoes

recipes, vegetarian, vegan, salad, wheat-free, gluten-freeRachel CaveComment
Lentils with balsamic roasted tomatoes, red onion and parsley makes a tasty vegan lunch or snack

Sometimes I actually crave lentils: Not red lentils that disappear in to the water as you try desperately to cook them the right way but green Puy lentils. I was introduced to them by my food-wise cousins when I was living in London - they told me that the secret is to cook them in vegetable stock and not boiling water. And that's what I've been doing ever since. I put them in veggie burgers, mix them with herbs, serve them with mash. They are amazing. Do it, you won't regret it! 


Lentils with balsamic roasted tomatoes

If I had enough time, I'd make my own veggie stock, but I just use the quick pots of it which I think is completely acceptable! I make sure that I cover the lentils by about an inch of water and put the lid on. You want them to be soft, but still hold their shape. 

I've adapted Ottolenghi's lentil recipe from Plenty to make a vegan version, also omitting the red wine vinegar, dill and garlic because I didn't have those to hand. It's great warm, but also works well as left-overs. I tend to keep lentils in the fridge and use them for lunch the following day. 


Ingredients:

  • 200g puy lentils
  • 180 ml vegetable stock (add more water if necessary to cover lentils by 1 inch)
  • 20 g parsley (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tomatoes, quartered (I like organic vine tomatoes)
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced

Instructions:

There's no getting away from it. You need to preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Chop the tomatoes into quarters and place into bowl. Add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt. Place into an oven proof dish with the thyme and pop into the oven. It's a good idea to turn down the oven to about 140 degrees celsius at this stage and bake for about an hour or so until the tomatoes look like they are becoming caramelised in the sauce but not burnt! 

Meanwhile, marinade the sliced onions with the balsamic vinegar and the rest of the salt. 

Put the lentils and boiling vegetable stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. You want the lentils covered by about an inch or so. Cover with the lid and keep an eye on it. You want all of the liquid to be absorbed but you don't want to burn the lentils. 

Leave the lentils to cool slightly before adding to the onion marinade. Stir and add in the balsamic tomatoes along with the juice (if there is any left!), at this point you want to add in the herbs. 

Serve with anything you like, at any time you like! 

Serves 4

Prep time - 15 minutes     Cooking time - 1 hour

Celebrating the every day

goalsRachel Cave2 Comments

It's been a while in the works, and has moved from going in one direction to the complete opposite.

Since I started my own business towards the end of last year, I knew that my website would no longer be a space where I could blog about the things that I love. The space seemed somewhat closed off to me - juggling the creative blog with the formal side of a business just wasn't working. 

And then I was thinking that I needed to approach it as if I were a client myself.  If I were a client I would let myself go where I wanted to go, but I would advise them to have another space. 

Once I'd made that decision, the rest was easy. The typography, the design, setting all of the extras up. It was time, time for Cloudberry Lane to appear. 

Cloudberry Lane is a fictional place born out of a love for the poem Cloudberries by Michael Longley and the memory of eating a cloudberry pie in Algonquin National Park, Canada, while on holidays as a child.

Cloudberry Lane is now a space in the clouds of the internet, forging its own identity, slowly but surely. A place where you can come to find inspiration, vegetarian recipes and share in creativity. 

This space is a lifestyle blog. But I find that label awkward and the fact that you are somehow encouraged to label your creative space also has me feeling a little uneasy. I'm not going to be sharing a lifestyle that I think is amazing, or one that you should. Instead it will be the life that I live, in all its ordinary and unusual moments. 

Cloudberry Lane is here and it's going to get good.  I'll be posting on vegetarian recipes DIY, travel tips from places I've been and a series of inspirational quotes. You can follow along easily via email or my personal favourite Bloglovin. I can't wait to share this adventure with you. 

A hidden gem on a journey, Melaka

travel, South East AsiaRachel CaveComment

Melaka, oh Melaka. What an experience.

Apparently the cuisine in Melaka is to die for but holds a big sign "not suitable for vegetarians".  There were actually people queueing up outside one restaurant to get to taste the Malay food while I had to resort to eating pizza and veggie sushi. But, it was the first time I'd ever had sushi. Plus, plus. 

But, Melaka was awesome despite it. 

Outrageously kitsch, the trishaws are all lined up and blasted out 80s music. What an experience!

I never tried the durian but really should have! They make Durian Cendol, a lemonade with one of the smelliest fruits in the world. 

It's one of those places that is oozing with personality and colour. Everywhere there is something else to photograph and if you're into that you'll definitely be snap happy here.

Highlights

When you get to Melaka, make sure to put on your shoes and start walking around 

Try a Durian Cendol - I never did and really regret it

Take your camera with you, this place is colour central

Take a ride on the crazy Tuk Tuks! 

The Equatorial Hotel was well located, clean and the room had an awesome window seat with an amazing view of the harbour which equals an impressive sunrise and sunset. 

There are a million museums in Melaka, making much of it very touristy. Avoid! Spend your time looking through the colourful shops, queuing up for that outrageous food and chatting with the locals. You won't regret it. 

Inspirational Quote - Lou Reed

Rachel CaveComment
I think everything happens for a reason, everything happens when it's going to happen - Lou Reed
 

I used to listen to The Velvet Underground religiously in my teenage years - Lou Reed's lyrics always powerful, rhythm beating through the soul. 

This quote could seem a little odd, depending on how you read it. Everything happens for a reason, as in there are silver linings to everything that happens. 

Raw food - is it a fad or for real?

goalsRachel CaveComment
Raw Food Fad

It's true - it's a bowl of raw vegetables and herbs. My new "I'm a raw foodist" fad. It's taking my vegetarianism one step further, flirting with veganism, gluten-free and wheat-free. You wouldn't believe how good it is making me feel as well. In fact, I'm pretty much convinced that this is the kind of food that I should be eating, and also want to eat, all of the time. But, then you think - where am I going to get all of my protein? What about the chickpeas and the broadbeans, the hummus and oh my, what about the cheese!

Cheese is my complete downfall. I think it's also possible to wean yourself off cheese onto this raw food. So. Here's what I am prescribing myself as the days are getting shorter and it's beginning to feel like Siberia, even indoors: A juicing, raw foodist diet during the working week and then a vegan/wheat-free one at weekends. 

I'm not sure how long this will last. But I've put on my "I'm trying" outfit. Watch this space for some raw food and juice recipes like my green lemonade coming up in the near future.

Exams

goals, marketingRachel CaveComment
One step at a time | Cloudberry Lane

Wow, I can't believe how quickly the time has gone by. I have my last two exams today, Consumer Behaviour and Market Research. A whole three hours worth of writing spread over a day. 

It's funny, because I'm overly chilled out about these exams. I think that these past few months have allowed me to put things in perspective and I've been through enough exams to know that they'll go ok. Of course, I'm feeling a little bit rusty because it's been a couple of months since we've had lectures, and some subjects we studied last semester so it's not exactly fresh in the mind. 

I know I'm being overly positive but that's the only way to be right? This evening, they'll be finished and I'll be looking forward to doing things that I've been pushing to one side while I've been working on submitting one project after the other. I'll be able to tick another thing off the list and focus on the next opportunity, or doors that open. 

As you read this, I'll be busy writing as fast as I can, answering all questions marketing related to do as well as I can. Goals are inevitable right?! 

Party in St. Tropez

photographyRachel CaveComment
Party in St. Tropez 

There's something that I love about this photo. I was in St. Tropez last summer and came across this party that was happening down by the yachts and oh my, talk about exuberance. It was surreal.

I have no idea who was hosting the party, but seriously - I have never seen glasses stacked up like this before. It was incredible. I didn't stick around to see what happened when they attempted to pour the champagne but it was already pretty impressive, particularly with the beautiful background of the ships and stone pier.

Awesome. Happy Friday folks! 

Vegan Health Cookies

recipes, vegetarian, veganRachel CaveComment
Vegan health cookie recipe | Cloudberry Lane

These cookies are vegan and totally scrumptious. I've been searching for a cookie that was pretty healthy, without eggs or butter and I think that this one might just be it. I adapted this recipe from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day cookbook, and decided that I would not use the peanuts or popcorn this time. That means, they're no longer carnival cookies, but health cookies! 

For this recipe you'll need:

Ingredients:

  • 3 large mashed bananas,
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract,
  • 60 g extra virgin coconut oil - barely melted,
  • 120g rolled oats,
  • 60g almond meal,
  • 1 tsp baking powder,
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon,
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt,
  • 170g dark chopped chocolate.

This makes about 20 cookies. 

Vegan health cookie recipe | Cloudberry Lane

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, combine the bananas, vanilla and coconut oil.

  • In another bowl, whisk together the oats, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

  • Add the dry ingredients into the wet and combine. Fold in the chocolate.

  • Shape into small rounds, about 1 teaspoon each, and place them on greased baking trays.

  • Bake for 14-17 minutes, swapping the trays from top to bottom once along the way, until the cookie bases are deeply golden.

  • Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack.

These really do ooze health. But make sure that you eat them within the first couple of days. The next time I make them I'm going to try and freeze a batch and see how they'll cook up, they really do taste better freshly baked. Oatmeal cookies make great road-trip snacks too. Have fun baking! 

Capturing Prayer and Reflecting in Bali

travel, Bali, Indonesia, South East AsiaRachel CaveComment
Capturing prayer and reflecting in Bali, Indonesia | Cloudberry Lane

I was trying to think of the best possible picture that I could show you all this week, and I'm not sure if this is it. But I do love this photo and all of the memories of a wonderful day snapping these special moments when I was in Bali a couple of years back. 

This was one of those moments that you felt you shouldn't be capturing, like it was such a personal space of prayer that you were intruding upon. But, I was encouraged to take the photos and did ask permission to do so. And, I'm so glad that I did. My photos from the adventure of that day are some of my favourites from my trip and really encapsulate what Bali means to me. 

It's that breathing space. That space to take time out and reflect, but also to feel encouraged and do things that you wouldn't normally feel comfortable doing. 

Hope you like it too! 

Planning a vegetable garden

gardening, goalsRachel CaveComment
Planning a vegetable garden | Cloudberry Lane

So, it's time to start planning a veggie garden. All I have at the moment is this little basil plant and I'm so so excited to start thinking about other types of herbs and vegetables that I can plant up. 

I planted up some rocket and lettuce in some grow bags a couple of years ago and it went really well for the first month or so. But after getting accustomed to the lush taste of the fresh leaves, which taste totally different than what you would get in the shop, I got over ambitious and planted beetroot, radishes, leeks and carrots. Big, big mistake! Before long, all of my veggies were taken over with flies that ate the roots and killed all of my plants from the bottom up.

Then I discovered that it was probably carrot fly and I learnt that the only way to make sure that these bugs disappear from your garden is to destroy the soil. And you definitely wouldn't have any luck with any other vegetables in those grow bags. No more fresh rocket for me that summer, sigh. 

This year I'm thinking of rocket, lettuce, swiss chard, kale and I'd love to grow some broad beans and peas. I've also heard that potatoes are pretty easy to grow, unless we have another horrid summer of course, so they might be a good option.

Currently reading up about raised beds, so they'll be easy to maintain and getting lots of ideas from Pinterest. Excited about making this.... hopefully there'll be a bit of progress to report over the next couple of weeks.

Until then, it'll be back to the supermarket to get the veggies. I'd love any suggestions of what I should grow, leave a comment below if you've any ideas.

Hello May

goals, helloRachel CaveComment
Hello May 2013

Hello May!

I'm so excited for this month.

I'm hoping that it will bring my mum home from the hospital.  I'm excited to start a veggie patch and plant fresh lettuce, rocket, tomatoes.

I'll make bread, get my exams out of the way, watch the rhodos come into bloom, get some natural Vitamin D, hello sunshine!

There will be things to celebrate, things to be hopeful for.

This month, I will be drinking green lemonade every day. I bought a kilner jar to store it in so I don't have to make it every day and I know that this will make my body feel better. 

May is for detox, and yoga and walking in the sunshine. 

I'm going to get even more inventive with my cooking and will continue to experiment with Plenty, my new Ottolenghi cookbookLoving it! 

I'll be working on National Vegetarian Week 2013 campaign, which will take place from 3 to 9 June. You'll find me tweeting about it @IrishVegWeek and pinning wonderful vegetarian meal ideas on Pinterest.

Of course, i'll still be tweeting and typing on this here blog and drinking lots of tea, herbal tea - the detox kind. 

I have a huge goal of picking up a book which is staring at me from my bookshelf and actually read it the whole way through. Hip hip horray. Let's make this happen. 

Here's to never putting off what you can do today, for this month at least! 

Parsnip Dumplings in Vegetable Broth

recipesRachel CaveComment
Parsnip dumpling in vegetable broth recipe | Cloudberry Lane

This vegetarian parsnip dumplings recipe is just so good! It's the first time that I've ever made a clear vegetable broth from scratch.  This makes an awesome starter to a veggie meal, is so simple to make and has such depth of flavour. I made this for my Dad's birthday celebrations at the weekend and it was a hit. 

The dumplings aren't what you would traditionally think of either. They're light and made out of parsnip, potato aka there's not a whole heap of dairy in there which really ticks the boxes. This recipe is the most recent that I have tried from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty, my absolute favourite vegetarian cookbook at the moment. I'm pretty sure I love it so much because it's so easy to adapt the recipes to be vegan, a lot of them already are, and also the flavour is always there. It's like a Cafe Paradiso dish, but with half the effort. Win win.

A little bit of coriander on top and it's ready | Cloudberry Lane

Recipe

Ingredients

For the vegetable broth you will need: 3 tbsp olive oil, 3 carrots peeled and cut into chunks, 5 celery sticks also cut into chunks, 1 large onion quartered, 1/2 celeriac roughly sliced, 7 garlic cloves peeled, 1 bouquet garni, 10 black peppercorns, 10 prunes. 

For the dumplings you will need: 200g floury potato peeled and diced, 200g parsnips peeled and diced, 1 garlic clove peeled, 30g butter, 60g self-raising flour, 50g semolina, 1 free-range egg, salt and pepper. 

Method

To make the broth, put the olive oil in a large pot. Add in the onion and garlic and stir until browned a little. Add all the other vegetables, sauté until lightly coloured. Add spices, herbs and prunes, cover with water and leave simmer for up to 1 1/2 hours. Make sure that you add a little more water to it if you need, so you'll have enough of the broth for four portions. When I made this I thought I had loads, but didn't take into account how much would actually be left once I removed the vegetables. Keep the broth in a pot, ready to be reheated later. 

For the dumplings, cook the potato, parsnip and garlic until soft. Remove from heat, drain and dry out saucepan and place them back in to saucepan. At this stage you want to add your butter and sauté the potato/parsnips for a couple of minutes. Now you need to mash them and add the flour, semolina, egg, salt and pepper and mix through. Place in a bowl and put in the fridge for 60-90 minutes. 

When you are ready to serve, bring a pot of salted water to the boil and place a teaspoon into the water. Now scoop a spoonful of the dumpling mixture and place in the water until it slides off the spoon. You can make about four or five at a time. Serve up the broth and carefully place the dumplings into the bowls. If you want another layer of flavour, top with a decent helping of parsley. 

This is delicious, I promise. You will want seconds! I kept some of the dough in the fridge for the night and had some for tea the following day. Still really good. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did...