Bush Tea, Detectives and more Vegan WIN!

23 January 2014 at 19:09 (Plastic Vegan, Random Randomness) (, , , , )

bushteamugOne thing since becoming vegan: I’ve become a lot more health-conscious than I was before (more health-conscious, not necessarily more pro-active). Ground flaxseed can be liberally sprinkled onto a chip sandwich and you won’t even know it’s there. I’ve also been drinking bush tea now and then. It’s actually quite nice with one stevia tablet per mug. I’ve read a lot more about the benefits of rooibos (the proper name for the bush tea plant). It’s supposed to make a really good toner, so I’ve been trying it on my face, but not sure if it’s made much difference to my complexion (which, incidentally, is worse than Mma Makutsi’s).

Speaking of Mma Makutsi, I’ve been reading the Mma Ramotswe series again, and I’m finding Mma Makutsi really irritating. Sort of like a Motswana Maya Fey. After everything Mma Ramotswe does for her, she is so damn selfish and ungrateful. Take take take take, and then dream that Mma Ramotswe is her subordinate. Go set up your own detective agency, Mma Makutsi, and see how far you get.

Another thing, I get the feeling the author is getting a bit jaded with the series, what do you think? I mean, seriously, what happened to Mr Polopetsi? He appears frequently in Double Comfort, but then in Saturday Big Tent he gets one mention at the start of the book (he “occasionally” works for the agency), and then is never seen or heard of again, not even in the next book. I’m still waiting for the latest instalment to come out in paperback, but I get the feeling that this is the end for Mr Polopetsi, and he was one of my favourite characters.

The two foster children also seem to have become afterthoughts. Wasn’t Motholeli planning on becoming a mechanic? In the earlier books, she had her own modified bench at the garage, now there is little mention of her, and less (ie none) of her wanting to work as a mechanic.

I was looking at a review of The Good Husband of Zebra Drive on Amazon, and the reviewer mentioned that the hospital storyline was based on a South African urban legend. I looked this up and found the legend in question !!SPOILER!!: Cleaner Polishes off Patient. It makes me feel quite sad, and kind of cheated, because McCall Smith has taken this legend as-is and used it for the storyline. I’m all for being inspired, but he didn’t even change the details, it’s all exactly the same — except that no one got sacked in the Mma Ramotswe version. Dude, do better next time.

One more gripe is how many times the author contradicts himself. There were more, I’m sure, but the one I remember clearly is Clovis Andersen. First, there is a photo of him at the back of his book, and Mma Ramotswe is pleased to see that she doesn’t have to lose weight after all, because “Clovis Andersen was traditionally built”. Then in, I think it’s Double Comfort, he is described as being greying and wearing glasses. Wait till he appears in Limpopopo Academy and Mr JLB Matekoni asks why Mma Ramotswe didn’t recognise Mr Andersen when he arrived at her office. She replies that she didn’t know what he looked like, because there was no photo of him in his book. Also, read how his appearance is described in Limpopo Academy. The other contradictions were from early on, namely Mma Makutsi’s and Mr JLB Matekoni’s civil statuses (widowed, never married, then widowed again). I have a copy of both an early edition and a later edition of the first book in the series, and you can see that someone has called him (or his publisher) out on it and there is some serious backpedalliing going on there.

I have a lot of respect for someone who can churn out so many books in such a short time (coughcough why are you looking at me?), but at the very least, keep notes on what you’ve written, or find time to read over the older books before you submit your latest novel to the publisher. It’s sloppy, and leads back to what I was saying earlier: it’s starting to look like the author doesn’t care much for this series anymore. Maybe he is just contractually bound to put out a set number of books each year and has to write for dear life. Whatever, it’s affecting his work in a bad way. Maybe it’s time for a break, author dude.

PS I watched a bit of the TV series, and I didn’t like it one bit. It was nice to have a visual aid, but the storyline was changed too much and I HATE it when they change the original storyline. All for MOAR DRAMAZ!! or some crap like that. Ah well.

jaffacakespre

So what’s this about Vegan Win? I’m talking about the FABOO Ms Cupcake and her FABOO book! Who ever knew that baking could be so easy? Really. I loved baked goodies, except making them was so tedious and I also don’t have a good feel for this sort of thing (I still find it sooooo hard to tell when something is cooked). But the vegan way (I didn’t mention it yet, but eggs are also out of my diet now. Here’s why. I love baby chicks, and I do not want to be responsible for the fatal torture they endure). Messy Vegetarian Cook was totally right when she said the jaffa cakes would be the first recipe that 90% of British vegans would make.

jaffacakes

Yes, I made some all by myself and they came out okay. Two things I learnt: 1. don’t listen to my sister when she says to measure the oil into the same jug that the soya milk is in and 2. yes, cold-pressed rapeseed oil is better than the usual chemically-extracted crap, but the flavour is too strong for cakes.

Even so, they came out really nice, and the kids loved them and didn’t believe I’d made them myself. Wow! Praise indeed. Vegan baking is really simple. No creaming, or spending ages whipping air into the batter and so on. Just measure out ingredients, add wet to dry, mix enough to combine, and shove it in a tin to bake!

Total time to make these once you’re familiar with the recipe is about 15 minutes, and after they have cooled, about 10 minutes to decorate. Wow! I tried making her mint choc cupcakes, but only got as far as the cake bit. They are so yummy, they don’t need to be iced! Nom nom nom!!

choccakesNow if you’ve never tried a vegan bake before, you probably think a lot is being sacrificed in terms of flavour, but you’d be wrong. These cakes are as scrummy as any I’ve tasted in my pre-vegan days, and have absolutely no cholesterol and very low saturated fat. The texture of the cakes I made were slightly different. The chocolate cakes have a stickiness to them, but it’s not a bad thing. A+ for you, Ms Cupcake! Go to the top of the class! And watch out for my super squees if I can fight the laziness and visit your shop in Brixton! VEGAN YUM!!!!!

I’m also learning to crochet and knitting some matching sets for the Millie dolls, but that can go in another post.

PS I know how to knit mittens now.

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