How to be veggie at Christmas (and not just eat potatoes)!

Love Middlesbrough Lass Emma has been vegetarian for just over a year now and last Christmas was difficult to say the least. Nobody knew what to cook as a main vegetarian dish and it ended in a lot of “it’s ok, I’ve already eaten”.

So, this year I’ve done my research and I’ve found 6 amazing recipes for the vegetarians to try out, and for the non-vegetarians to feed their vegetarian friends.

My first port of call when searching for good food is bbcgoodfood.com. I found two recipes that sound filling and festive – and really seem to warm the heart as well as fill the stomach.

Savoury bread and butter pudding made me stop scrolling, pause, then scroll back up. I was so confused as to why anyone would think of that, then I read the recipe itself. I personally would swap out parsnips for carrots and forgo the truffle – my bank thanks me for that second choice. The great thing about vegetarian food is that you can sub ingredients you don’t like for those you do – helps when you’re a little fussy like I am. This would be great served with all the regular Christmas trimmings, so serve this alongside the turkey for your meat-eating guests, and your vegetarian guests as a main. Trust me, they’ll thank you.

Truffled parsnip brioche pudding with hazelnut thyme butter

I’m a massive fan of halloumi, and I also love Indian food. Naan, spinach and halloumi bites sound like the best appetiser to me – or just finger food at a Christmas buffet. I don’t like cooked spinach – I have a very odd thing where I don’t like something if the texture is weird to me, this is one of those cases – so I’d season the spinach in a bowl and then build my canapés. Finger food is my favourite food, so this may be my favourite recipe out of all of these.

Naan spinach halloumi bites

I’ve always had odd reactions when I’ve said that I didn’t have turkey on Christmas day. Last year I got more odd reactions when I told people I wasn’t eating meat at lunch full stop. My brother of course wasn’t the most sympathetic person, but what are older brothers for? My mum eventually found a vegetarian turkey roll purely by luck – this year we want to do something a little different and I will totally be sending her this link: whole roasted cauliflower. This is a super easy Jamie Oliver recipe which cooks quicker than any whole joint/bird you may have already bought for yourself. Once again, this can be served alongside roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips, all the usual festive trimmings.

Cauliflower

Like I said – I love spicy food and I would love to break the boring cycle of Christmas dinner by throwing something spicy in the mix. For those of you who don’t go traditional for your food, I recommend Jamie’s Christmas curry. This is vegan, gluten free and dairy free – perfect for everyone, so long as they like a bit of spice.

Jamie Oliver's Christmas Curry

Becoming vegetarian forced me to try new foods so I wasn’t eating the same boring meals every single day. Don’t get me wrong, mac and cheese and Pot Noodles are great, but you can only eat them so much before you slowly turn into a student. For years my mother had tried to get me to eat butternut squash and I eventually gave in, only to find it wasn’t unpleasant – still not admitting my mum was right all along. Roasted butternut squash with goat’s cheese is my last savoury recipe for you. I wouldn’t serve this for Christmas dinner but it would definitely find its way onto the table for any other Christmas meal!

Butternut squash

Time for some more memories! I remember being in year 9 in my German lesson at Christmas. My German teacher (a woman whose surname was quite literally Welsh and that fact is still mildly amusing) brought in a lot of traditional German Christmas food. We had a lesson of just eating – you can see why that stuck in my head!! Anyway, the one thing that was loved by pretty much the entire class was Stollen. It’s a German fruit bread with marzipan. It’s rather sweet in my experience and a pretty good alternative to Christmas pudding – something I’ve never really enjoyed.

Christmas stollen

Now go and enjoy some non-traditional Christmas food and Merry Christmas from me! 

Halloween horrors – warning, contains (fake) blood!

What you may have realised is that I, Love Middlesbrough Lass Emma, am rather fond of musicals and theatre . As a result, I have self-taught special effects makeup; due to it being Halloween, I thought I’d impart my knowledge with a little help from Kindamagik. I would also like to apologise for my feet in this – I wasn’t prepared to put my face online without any makeup… sorry.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating this look ️

What you will need:

Fake Blood ️
Liquid Latex
Face Putty (This can be used anywhere on your body)
Some form of “spatula” (I uses the smooth end of a metal nail file)
Makeup remover
make-up sponge and brushes
foundation
setting powder
red, brown and black powder
tissue

Step 1 – prep your skin and work surface, I would recommend shaving if you’re applying this anywhere with hair – latex is not fun to pull off hair. Also put down a non-absorbent sheet if you are using fake blood, fake blood stains everything and anything.
Step 2 – warm up your putty so it’s malleable, you can use a hair dryer to help you along but be very careful and quite quick with a hair dryer.

Step 3 – split your putty in two. Take the first half and spread it across your skin.

 

 

Step 4 – Use your spatula covered in makeup remover and smooth the edges down – this should sit flush to your skin now. You may have to keep applying make-up remover to your spatula

 

 

Step 5 – Create a sausage with the remaining putty and cut through it with your spatula.

Step 6 – Add the remaining putty to your cut. Use your fingers to help it stick to the already applied putty, then use the spatula again to smooth it out.

 

Step 7 – cover the wound in liquid latex. If you have time before hand, do a patch test. If you are allergic to liquid latex you can replace this with child safe, PVA glue from a supermarket.

Step 8 – Whilst the latex is still wet, cover the wound with 1ply of tissue or toilet paper to help with texture as well as to help it all stay in place. Wait for the latex to dry (perfect time for cake)

Step 9 – cover your wound in foundation (preferably one that matches your skin tone) and add some setting powder on top.

 

 

Step 10 – Work into the wound with some brown powder – the darker and more matte the better here.

Step 11 – Work into the bottom of the wound with black powder

 

 

 

Step 12 – Work into the wound again with red powder. The brighter the better if you want the wound to look fresh. If you want it to look a little older try using some brown, purple and orange powder around the outside of the wound for a bruising effect.

Step 13 – be very careful adding your blood into the wound. I used a brush to add the blood into the actual wound then carefully poured the blood from the base of the wound to add the trickles down my leg.

Kindamagik does also sell a thicker type of blood for long term wear without covering your entire house in the stuff – see my towel after I’d cleaned myself up.

And then you have your finished wound. Have fun creating this look and enjoy Halloween this year guys.

Behind the scenes of the Town Hall renovation

If you didn’t already know, the Love Middlesbrough Lasses are suckers for history; so when we were asked to tour Middlesbrough Town Hall whilst it’s under renovation, we donned our hard hats and high vis jackets and turned up with our cameras and smiles on our faces.

With the Health and Safety briefing over we went in – Friday afternoon wasn’t too busy luckily – and climbed right to the top of the building. This meant we were in the roof of the old courtroom.

The builders had discovered some amazing windows and have had them cleaned up and reinstalled – we’re slightly in love.

Just below this they were testing out new paint for the ceiling and walls to better match the original colour scheme, but also to look good in the modern world of colour matching. They had all the colours sat next to each other to compare. Does anyone remember the red from before the renovation?

The main hall turns out to be stunning from a height and there’s so much in the ceilings you’ve probably never looked at – the band is what you paid for though, right? We happened to find some dragon style gargoyles whilst a little higher than normal – they also happen to be holding the Middlesbrough Crest.

The cells must have been creepy back in the day with no modern lightbulbs, they’re a little creepy even with the modern strip lights installed down below. Could you imagine spending the night behind this door?

You might be impressed by the windows in the courtroom’s ceiling, but the windows in the main hall are also pretty beautiful. They must have taken ages to make and have a lot of skill behind them. We are stunned.

It’s not just the history we were interested in, the new boiler room looks like something off a Steampunk set and LM Lass Emma is super impressed. Also, would love to know how that works! Could anyone explain?

That’s all from our tour so far. Be sure to follow Middlesbrough Town Hall on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with what’s going on. We really enjoyed ourselves and would like to thank the Town Hall staff and Kier for letting us have a nosy into what’s going on in the Grade II listed building. And of course, thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the funding support they’ve given to the project.

We can’t wait to get back in again and see how the work is coming along!

A Note To Myself Review

As the other Love Middlesbrough Lasses know, I am a massive theatre nerd so when I was asked if I wanted to go see A Note To Myself, of course I said yes.

I went to see the show with my Mum (Mam) because I am a wonderful daughter like that, also I don’t drive and would need her to take me anyway 😂 . When we arrived and got our tickets, we were then shown to our seats and had a little bit of time to chill. I also managed to get a cheeky photo, something I do not recommend you doing – live action photos have come from MTH Performing Arts.

For those of you who are unaware, A Note To Myself is a show being performed at Middlesbrough Theatre by a group of young actors from the Middlesbrough Town Hall Performing Arts group.

I have to say, this is one of the best shows I’ve seen and definitely the best show from a group of young performers. The energy on that stage from the actors both young and old was amazing, especially considering they’d spent the entire day at school. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers so I’m not going to talk all that much about content but my theatre heart was pounding when I saw numbers from Matilda, Hairspray and Dear Evan Hansen *cries*.

I am entirely sure that some of those performers are going to go onto be major stars, either in music, dance or in the musical theatre world. The talent on that stage was immense. I would like to point out here that I am a pretty mean critic when it comes to theatre or film so take my word for it that this is a good show.

This is the perfect show to take the kids to if you want to introduce them to musical theatre as it isn’t too long and there is a nice interval for drinks and refreshments.

I must warn you that if you are emotional or have seen Dear Evan Hansen (if you didn’t cry at least once then you are made of stone) then you will need tissues for the last number – I was bawling.

There is still time to see this show tonight (Tuesday 18th July 19:30) and tickets are available to book online or by phone 01642 81 51 81.

I was also gifted with a leaflet on my way out for the Middlesbrough Town Hall Summer School where your own child can do a similar show with a weeks preparation.  Find out all the information on our website.

Orange Pip Market Summer Special

Well, Saturday 24th June was host to Orange Pip Market Summer Special in Centre Square. The build-up was incredible, and the day lived up to the hype. The day itself was the usual sunshine with only a little bit of wind; typical Orange Pip Market weather.

You can only imagine that I ate a lot, and I mean a lot. Usually I’m restricted due to being vegetarian, but not at Orange Pip, I was spoilt for choice for meals and it took me a good five minutes to decide on my first purchase of the day – I’d already seen the first band with Love Middlesbrough Lass Claire.

I went for a Burger from The Green Guerrilla first, with their entire stall being veggie or vegan I knew I was safe. I topped it with cheese, vegan bacon, coleslaw and a tomato relish and it was sooooo good. I hadn’t had bacon in ages and I have to say, this was better than actual bacon- top marks for The Green Guerrilla.

Now you can’t have lunch without dessert and what better than a Nutella crepe. La Petite Crêperie was amazing, authentic (at least from my experience) and delicious. The vendor was a good conversation partner whilst I waited for my food to be prepared and boy was that good food – I have to say it again, it was so good. Can we have them back next month please?

Taking a break from the food, I went to have my hair done by Twisted Sister for the first time (I’ve been to every market since the original blog post) and we went live with it. As beautiful as it was, I had glitter everywhere. It’s not too much of a pain to clean but because it’s all over my bedroom, I’m still picking it off various areas of my body. Still, totally worth it for this beauty. Photo credit to Claire.

Claire and I then made our way back to the stage to watch the next band, a group of amazing women (and their male drummer) with AMAZING harmonies. The Cornshed Sisters are empowering women with a female bassist (female musicians know that seeing a female bassist is life itself) and  – once again – awesome harmonies.

Whilst listening to The Cornshed Sisters, Claire and I ate cheesecake from Simply Cheesecake – something we’d both been looking forward to for quite some time. I had strawberry shortcake – summery, refreshing and delicious – and Claire had Ferrer Roche,  “creamy, delicious, fluffy” – Claire. My only wish is that I’d bought some more to take home.

I took a break from the band to grab us some strawberry lemonade and discovered I could not be a waitress in a bar – I spilt half of my own drink. Honestly, strawberry flavoured food on a hot day is the best thing and I think I may be becoming obsessed. My obsession with strawberry aside, I have found my new favourite drink, Tap Garden’s strawberry lemonade.

We have to mention of Bobzilla but Baker Street’s artist (of birds) was spray painting another bird onto cling film wrapped around two trees. The end result was amazing.

I had a delicious salt lake caramel cookie from Moka Coffee (with a diet coke but that’s nothing special) and I want them all. I really should have thought ahead and bought more food to be able to eat whilst writing this post. I did steal a corner of Claire’s peanut butter brownie from Moody Baker whilst we were snacking and Oh Lord was it good! You couldn’t turn in this edition of the market without being greeted with mouth-wateringly good food, and the desserts were the best. Moody Baker and Moka Coffee, do you do home delivery?

I finished off with a simple, stone baked Margherita pizza, which really hit that empty spot. Earth and Fire is one of the best pizza places ever, not greasy (I don’t like greasy food) not too heavy on the dough and always baked for just the right amount of time too. I think my phone enjoyed it also – clumsy moment of the day was when I dropped my phone into the pizza just after taking a photo. Here’s the photo that lead to the disaster —>>>

My phone is fine by the way, no damage, just smells like pizza sauce… aka awesome.

I have to give a massive mention to all the bands, the musical talent was superb and Northern Monkey Brass Band really upped the energy to end the market; we were even up and dancing and no, you can’t see the video.

Big shout out to Skins and Needles and their very brave models for tattoos – I’m a wimp and probably wouldn’t be able to have a tattoo. The art you produced was amazing from what I saw. Also shout out to the police officer who joined in the salsa class and to the wonderful people at the Men Tell Health and Middlesbrough Volunteer Centre (with their outdoor living room) apologies I didn’t manage to talk to you, but you’re doing a great thing. I didn’t personally experience the outdoor games but from the looks of it, they were very fun and the kids taking part seemed to be enjoying themselves.

This summer edition of Orange Pip Market was amazing, family-friendly and quite festival-like which was great for summer. Can’t wait for July; don’t forget to follow Orange Pip Market on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date.