Hello Gang!

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So if you’ve come here from my old blog, you’ll have noticed there’s been a few changes around here!

I wanted to create a place for all of my content where it can be neatly organised and easily navigated. Don’t panic, all my recipes will still be available under the WhatLeilaEats section I just wanted to include all my hobbies and interests on one platform.

 

 

So what else can you expect from LeilaBuffery.com?

  • Reviews on my favourite Cruelty-Free and Vegan products
  • New and exciting (even if I do says myself) recipes
  • My favourite Homeware products and looks
  • My favourite places to eat & hangout
  • Fashion
  • Funny shit that makes me lol

I hope you’ll enjoy my little site.

For collaboration and business enquires please email leilabuffery@hotmail.co.uk

Where else can you spy me?

Instagram: leilabuffery & whatleilaeats

Twitter: Leila Buffery

Snapchat: leilabuffery

ENJOY! Leila xxx

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Chargrilled Aubergine Risotto

Please note: for this recipe you will either need a gas hob, a BBQ or a lighter and a heap of patience!

For the Chargrilled Paste:

x2 Aubergine

x5 Garlic Cloves (trust me)

1/4 TSP Cracked Black Pepper

x1 TSP Salt

x3 TBSP Nutritional Yeast

x2 TBSP Sesame Oil

For the Risotto:

x1 TBSP Olive Oil

x1 Mug of Arborio Rice

x1 Red onion

x2 Vegetable Stock Cubes

1 + 1/2 Pints of boiling water (for stock)

250ml of White Wine

x1 TBSP Dried Chives

5-6 Fresh Sage Leaves

100g Green Beans

For the Garnish:

A large handful of Pumpkin Seeds

A Sprinkling of he dried Chives

Salt & Pepper to season

If someone had come to me a few years ago and told me that Aubergines would soon be one of my favourite foods, I would’ve laughed all the way out of my kitchen and into the slimy Aubergine patch where they belonged. Little did I know I just had no idea to cook them. They can’t be treated the same as a courgette or a pepper, which to me was outrageous, I’m a minimal effort kinda gal. With a little extra love and attention they can be transformed from overcooked, bland little slugs into crispy, smokey delights or even blended into a sauce like I’m doing here.

The chargrilling process is a little precarious but if you’re anything like me, you’ll love the danger.

Turn your oven on and let it preheat to 180, you can start chargrilling while you’re waiting.

Wash and dry the Aubergine, then cut off the green bit at the end. Pierce it a few times with a fork (so it doesn’t explode.. although that might be funny) and pierce it with a metal skewer. You can use a chopstick but PLEASE be careful when it’s near the naked flame. You have been warned.

Place the Aubergines onto the naked flame of the hob and leave for 2 minutes before checking to see if they’re starting to burn, which is exactly what you want. Make sure you check if the skewer is hot before you touch it so you don’t burn your fingers! When you can hear them starting to crack and hiss, they’re ready to turn. Repeat until all sides are nice and black and the middle is starting to soften.

Transfer the Aubergines onto a very well oiled baking tray (olive oil is fine, don’t use the Sesame yet) and use a knife and fork to open them up to let the insides cook. Scatter the uncut and unpeeled garlic cloves around them. Sprinkle with a large pinch of salt and put it the oven for 15 minutes, you can flip them over half way through. When they’re done, take them out and set to one side to cool a little.

Boil the kettle and prepare your stock.

In a large pan, heat the Olive Oil and when it’s starting to bubble, add the rice and chopped onion. Fry the rice for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously before adding the White wine.

Now the wine is in and immediately being soaked up by the dry rice, add the chives, chopped sage leaves and a good slug of the vegetable stock. Stir continuously to avoid sticking and when the stock has been soaked up, add a little more. Repeat these steps until all the stock has been used. At this point the rice will be cooked and you can add the chopped Green Beans, mix them in and turn off the gas, the heat from the Risotto will cook them.

Now for the fun part. Add the Aubergine, Sesame Oil, Nutritional Yeast, Pepper, Salt and Garlic which will need to be popped out of it’s papery cases to a high power blender and whizz up until you have a smooth paste with little black flecks from the chargrilled skin in it.

Use a spatula to scrape every last glorious bit of the paste into the rice and stir through until everything is coated. Don’t forget to give it a little taste at this point to see if you think it needs any extra seasoning. Everyones taste buds are different!

Leave the Risotto in the pan to keep warm and quickly heat some Pumpkin seeds to scatter over the top in a totally dry pan (aka no oil) watch them like a hawk because they toast very quickly and you can turn the heat off once the skins start to separate and they’re a nice golden brown colour.

Serve up your risotto and sprinkle with the toasted seeds and a few more of the dried chives to make it look fancy and VOILA! You’re ready to eat!

New Years Resolutions

Every year we try to set ourselves New Years Resolutions- but how many of us actually stick to them? My feeling is that most of this comes from setting unachievable goals. It doesn’t matter how big or small they were, if we didn’t do them, they were unachievable.

We see a new year as a good time for change, a good time to re-adjust all the things we don’t like about ourselves and somehow simply saying that we’re going to change things makes us feel better- short term. We also feel obliged to make a resolution because everyone does it, but if we felt that strongly about the change at hand, why would we need to wait for a new year? People often set dates as a way of procrastinating, I’m guilty as sin of it myself. The problem with sticking to resolutions, is there’s no consequences if we find that we actually can’t bothered after all.

We feel the need to create rules for our resolutions, for example “Once a month, I’m going to….” or “By this time next year I want to…” and by doing this, we’re almost setting ourselves up to fail.

The way I’m going to approach things this year is to take a long, hard look inside myself, into the bits that no-one sees (not even me) the bits that we’re all afraid to delve into and the reasons why we avoid “going too deep”or speaking to councillors, and start to work out who I truly am and what my soul needs. That might sound selfish but as much as the ego wants to be loved and to receive, the soul wants to love and to give.

If you’re doing something that REALLY makes you happy- it’s not a chore so it becomes far more achievable.

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I believe there’s an equilibrium where you can do something that makes your heart sing and also makes the world a better, brighter place to live in. So don’t be fooled into thinking that your resolution needs to start in the new year, or that it needs to be a grand gesture, whether it’s putting litter in the bin, making your friends laugh or deciding to be more open-minded with those you don’t understand- it’s making things better. Don’t be afraid to enjoy the feeling you get from doing these things, it’s ok to feel proud of yourself and it’s so important to show yourself love. It doesn’t matter how little or often you do these things, if you find a feeling of fulfilment from them, they’ll flow into your life more naturally.

Winter Pinterest Ideas

BlackBerry Mulled Wine

I know Bonfire night is long gone, but how magical does Blackberry Mulled Wine sound from The Veg Space?!

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Snow Covered Pine Cones

These little babies would be SO CUTE on the christmas tree or dotted around the bottom… unless you have a naughty puppy like us…maybe a garland would work.

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Vegan Peppermint Hot Chocolate

This would be so nice in chocolate Orange too, just replace the extract flavours. Also there’s a great brand of vegan whipped cream (creatively) called Soy Whip.

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Mushroom, Chestnut & Ale Pie

Winter is allllll about comfort food for me, and what says comfort more than a god damn pie amirite? This one from WallFlowerKitchen looks perf.

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DIY Glitter Twine Balls

Ok I’m not going to beat around the bush, the word’s “rustic glam” are making me want to   punch myself in the face but the idea is lovely and they do look sick.

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I think I’ll be giving some of these ago over Vlogmass, if you’re not already subscribed to my YouTube channel, head over to https://www.youtube.com/user/Buffers10100 IMMEDIATELY!!

That’s all for now gang, love ya xxxx

 

 

Food Shopping

So there’s a common misconception that being Vegan means spending way more on food, but I usually manage to make a £50-60 shop last me and Sam around two weeks, which I think we can all agree isn’t expensive at all.

The key is to have a full store cupboard of essentials which only needs to be topped up every so often and the main shop will be the fresh stuff! If you’re starting from scratch it’ll take a while to build it but when it’s done you’ll have the essentials for any good meal, just buy a few little bits at a time.

So what’s in my store cupboard?

Tins

  • Baked Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney Beans
  • Butter Beans
  • Chopped Tomatoes
  • Coconut Milk

Dried

  • Pasta
  • Brown Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Risotto Rice
  • CousCous
  • Red Lentils
  • Bulgar Wheat
  • Noodles
  • Oats
  • Dried Breadcrumbs

Condiments

  • Tomato Ketchup
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Sweet Chilli
  • Soy Sauce
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Maple Syrup
  • English Mustard
  • French Mustard
  • Lemon Juice
  • Passata
  • Tomato Puree
  • Olives
  • Miso Paste
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Vegan Pesto
  • Harissa
  • Jam
  • Peanut Butter
  • Marmite
  • Liquid Smoke
  • Apple Cider Vinegar

Oils

  • Olive Oil
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Sesame Oil

Fruit, Nuts & Seeds

  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Flaked Almonds
  • Sultanas
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds

Herbs & Spices

  • Smoked Paprika
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Dried Chives
  • Dried Basil
  • Dried Thyme
  • Dried Coriander
  • Dried Oregano
  • Garlic Granules
  • Gravy Granules
  • Stock Cubes
  • Turmeric
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Onion Granules
  • Cinnamon
  • Celery Salt
  • Curry Powder
  • Bay Leaves

Autumn Pinterest Ideas

So if you know anything about me, you’ll know I dread the winter with every fibre of my being. Not the winter days where it’s sunny and you occasionally get some snow, and I love Christmas but the January, February and even March days that are just grey and miserable. As I’m sure you know, it’s gone a little further for me than the winter blues in the past, but this year I’m without the help of the medication I was on and I’m determined to enjoy every second of it.

I love summer so much that the dread of winter often overlooks a real cracker of a season, Autumn. As weird as it sounds, sites like Youtube & Pinterest have helped to get me excited again for all the things I would’ve enjoyed as a kid so I’m going to throw myself into it this year and make every month enjoyable.

So I want to do collect a few of the things that are inspiring me each month through the winter (including the dreaded J,F & M) whether it’s D.I.Y, food, beauty, fashion or mindfulness and I hope it helps a few of you out too 😀

Please note, none of the images or ideas are mine- they’re from the bloggers who are linked  ❤

Autumn Herbal Tea by Wicked Spatula

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Pumpkin Bathbombs by Funathomwwithkids (or fun at home by myself)

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Essential Oil combos that smell like Autumn by HelloGlow

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Vanilla Spice Skin Rub by Happinessishomemade

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Homemade Autumn Spice Soy Candles by Annesentitledlife

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Autumn Simmer Pot by Melissa at TheHappierHomeMaker

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Suite One Studio

I stumbled across the incredible work of this North Carolina based Ceramicist, Lindsay Emery on Instagram about a year ago and I’m constantly falling in love with her pieces. I’m always on the look out for beautiful tableware as it makes photographing my food a lot more fun and when I read this on Lindsay’s About Me page it made me love her even more…

” I believe that your plates should earn their seat at your table, and that together we can make mealtimes everywhere more beautiful.”

The girl knows what she’s doing! While her work remains at the upper end of my budget (totally out of my budget), I’m more than happy to lust from a far until I eventually win the lottery and can buy it all.

So here are a few of the pieces that have stolen my heart. I’ve converted the price from dollars to pounds because I’m kind and lovely. Click the title and it’ll take you straight to the item!

Ring Dish in Cobalt Splatter with Gold Rim (£24.28)

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Confetti Mini Bowl in Rose with Gold Brushstroke Confetti (£24.28)

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Small Serving Bowl in Navy with Gold Splatters (£53.12)

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Dessert Plates in White with Gold Splatter (set of two) (£48.56)

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Lotus Flowers

My bitter sweet summer is finally drawing to an end. There have been times I’ve sat in disbelief at how hard my favourite season has been this year, but equal to that, there have been times I could describe as nothing less than beautiful and filled with the strongest kind of love.

Watching a dear friend’s path come to an end in this world has been by far the most intense period in my life, but it would do it a disservice to say that no good has come from it. Some of my already existing bonds have grown into true, life-long friendships and I’ve even formed some new ones along the way.

Seeing the human body deteriorate, although sometimes an impossible sight to endure, has only solidified my beliefs that our bodies are merely vessels for our souls, and even when the physical body dies, the soul is simply set free to go onto it’s next adventure. It’s only the human ego that wants to keep those souls in their bodies because we can’t fathom life without that physical embodiment of that person, but I am certain that there is so much more.

At times like this, it’s so important to seek out the good. It’s always there, even if you have to search for it. The good for me has come in the form of Sam, Amelie, Dan, Ali, Adam, Rosie, Ioanna, Sue, Chris and of course, Sophia. My Architects family. I’m so grateful I was let into this incredible circle of people and although the journey of grieving is far from over, I think all of us have eased the strain a little for everyone else in our own ways.

Now, I could bang on about how I’ve learnt to not take any day for granted and to live life to the fullest, but I hope you all know to exist like that anyway. The most important conclusion I’ve come to in all of this is that death, is not the worst case scenario.

There is only one certainty in life, and that is death. So if it’s something that every single being must experience why are we so afraid of it? We are afraid because we don’t know what happens next, there’s no answers until it happens but that’s the case with so many things in life and there’s actually a real beauty in that. I’m not saying that I don’t feel an acute pang of fear at the thought of my life ending, but I’ve certainly been thrown onto a path of beginning to accept it. We put so much importance on having physical objects/beings because most of us believe that if we can’t physically see it or touch it then it can’t be there. Now I know otherwise, I feel less frightened.

Witnessing Toms journey for the last three years has shaped me into who I am becoming now and being allowed to be present until the very end has allowed me to see what I needed to see to understand life in a way I thought impossible, yet another beautiful Lotus flower that has emerged from this dark time.

So I won’t look back on this as the worst thing I’ve seen and experienced, I’ll sight it as the most important lesson I’ve had so far and I’ll be grateful for all of my little Lotus flowers that emerged throughout this.

Nothing but love x

LOVE WHAT YOU DO.

I wasn’t planning on writing anything today, but sitting here at 8AM with a little dog on my feet, a snoozing boyfriend, a very delicious coffee in my brand new Pusheen mug and the sun creeping through the bathroom window, I suddenly felt inspired.

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I’ve touched on this subject before in my YouTube video What Am I? but that was over a year ago and I want to update my thoughts on it as I’m now moving into the next phase of my life.

Just over a year ago I had been fired from my job of making food for a little deli. On paper it was the perfect job for me, I had full creative reign over the menu, the food was freshly prepared (by me) every day and people were giving me rave reviews. One lady came in and bought 10 (I kid you not) tubs of the Moroccan couscous salad I’d made that morning with fresh figs and pomegranate because she was stock piling for her week of work in London (yes my head went through the roof and I had to be air lifted home)! The gratification from the customers was enough to keep me going there, but behind the scenes was a different story. The owners bought a terrible amount of negative energy into the space with them and listening to all their problems in a tiny, ramshackle kitchen when you have an enormous list to fulfil was very draining every day. I found that over time, more and more was expected of me for less and less reward. When I first started, my creativity in the kitchen was welcomed like a breath of fresh air, but towards the end I felt it was taken advantage of. Hearing the owners take credit for my hard work to cooing customers while I was scrambling over boxes of stock to reach the tiny baby belling oven which I had to preform miracles in was a little disheartening. I’d become so emotionally involved in their lives that I felt I couldn’t just up and leave as I was the only cook working six days a week.

Eventually the universe stepped in and helped me in a way that I couldn’t understand at the time. A customer came into the shop and bought back a bag of oats that were labelled as out of date, the owner spiralled into one of his many fits of rage and sent the customer packing. If there had been a member of staff working in the shop front that day, they would’ve got the chop but as fait would have it, it was just me (slaving away in the kitchen, I might add). Now my bosses way of letting of steam was firing people, the staff turnover in that place was unreal, but I, foolishly, always thought I was safe because of how hard I work… and the fact that there was no one else to do my job…but when I heard myself being summoned for a chat, I knew it was my time. I was told I was being let go because I had booked holiday at an inconvenient time but really, it was that out of date bag of oats coming to haunt me.

I was given a weeks notice, which I politely declined. Cleaned the kitchen, finished my shift and never went back. For a long time I went over and over the details, feeling more and more angry as the days went on. I had saved enough money to have a month off before looking for another job so I took a bit of time out to work on what I wanted to do.

I applied for a couple of chefs jobs, but I knew deep down that I’m no chef, I’m a home cook (a bloody good one at that heheheheh). Cooking under pressure is not my jam, I want to enjoy what I’m making a love every step of the process from peeling an Onion to decorating the plates to serve. I want to sip a little of my favourite Whisky, light a couple of candles and mince about the kitchen to my favourite music.. a few of the things I hear are frowned upon in a professional kitchen… Or i want to bake a cake and take my time with the icing and decoration, not just firing them out as fast as possible.

This was all stuff I knew deep down, but how can you have the best of both worlds? Well, I’ll tell you the first step is knowing what you want. This is actually often the hardest part as we’re conditioned to feel like work is just something you have to do and the weekends/evenings are for having fun and enjoying your hobbies. So the idea that you could make money doing what lights up your soul is a little far fetched to most. The few who have achieved their dreams and absolutely love their jobs all have one thing in common, they all believed they could. Everything you want and everything you could ever dream of is possible, the universe has the keys to it, you just have to work out what it is and ask for it, like really ask for it. Often you already know what it is but haven’t put the pieces together yet. I remember years ago, when I was working a rubbish admin job, saying to my best friend “I’m over work, I just want to bake cakes all day”… well be careful what you wish for because flashing forward to right now, I’ve got six cakes that need icing before delivery eeeeek.

Knowing what I wanted but also living in central Brighton with extortionate rent to pay left me with no other option other than to get a job after my month of contemplation, so I could keep putting that damn near delicious food on the table. This is when I realised that it didn’t matter what job I took, because I knew my end game. So I took a job in a little Vegan/Veggie cafe as a Barrista/Waitress and I worked my little socks off until I had the nerve to approach the owner about wholesaling them my vegan cakes. Previous to the Deli I had trained as a baker for just over a year, in that time I had decided to go vegan so although I had to re-adjust my knowledge of baking regular cakes, the basics were still there. I had been perfecting my products since leaving the bakery and although it’s taken me two years, I finally have a fool-proof cake formula that would trick even the biggest egg connoisseur.

So I had taken a step back in my employment career to take a step forward in my business. I waited a little while after starting my wholesale business before going part time at the cafe, I knew I needed to be making at least half my wages in cakes and when I was at that point, I dropped down to three days a week. My other days were spent, baking, blogging and YouTube-ing! When I was confident in my skill, ability and time management I decided to approach a few other cafes with my goods which resulted in me adding a few more clients to my books! I had business cards made and left them in all the cafes I was supplying to which lead to inflated private orders for birthdays, weddings, engagement parties, even work do’s. Six months went by of me cramming everything in and I knew the time to leave the cafe was approaching. The summer holidays were on the horizon and kids = cake sales. This brings me to a few months ago when I decided to take the plunge, it was time to rip off the bandaid and go it alone.

Although it’s still very early days, my sales have been going up every month and although I’m not a millionaire (yet) I’m making ends meet doing EXACTLY what I asked for all those years ago. I haven’t found it unbearably stressful and most of the time, business comes to me. I cast a little hook out there with a Facebook post or email and I wait to see who bites. I know that whatever is supposed to happen with this business is exactly what will happen, I just have to work hard, trust and be grateful every day.

I feel so privileged to be able to say that I love my life, but I remain firmly grounded by remembering that I haven’t always. I used to feed into depressive slumps and firmly believed that I had to do the jobs I hated, the jobs that weren’t feeding my soul because “that’s life” well, thats not life and it’s not living. We simply aren’t here for long enough to just dip a toe in the pond of things we love, you need to fucking dive in, head first or what the hell is the point?!

Do one thing every day that makes you truly happy, even if it’s small or seems insignificant because when you’re vibrating on the right frequency for the universe to understand you, you’ll start attracting in more of the things you love.

So for now, that’s all I have to say. Peace out.

*drops microphone and backflips off stage eating a vegan cupcake, smoking a cigar*

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xxx

 

 

An Evening at Morelli Zorelli

Sam and I have been patiently awaiting the re-opening of this incredible pizza joint since it shut for refurbishment a few months ago. Their vegan pizza menu is INSANE and very reasonably priced. There’s something for everyone whether you eat meat, veggie or vegan so it’s an excellent place to go with a big group but they also deliver around Brighton and Hove. YAAAAAAS SMELL YA LATER SUMMER PHYSIQUE.

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I’ve always thought the interior in MZ was pretty cool but they’ve totally re-vamped it and now you can tell they know they’re good at what they do, which is no bad thing, it definitely has more of a specialist feel to it!

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It’s always been a bit dark downstairs compared to the bright and airy shop-front seating but I’m a total sucker for the new lighting and having a big mirror on the wall makes them seem to go on forever! They’ve definitely played the cosy card but with a modern twist offering a wall of graffiti on the other side.

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I started the evening off right with a BREWDOG Vagabond Pale Ale which I’m a huge fan of. I’ve only ever had the PUNK IPA and this is similar but a little more floral, it also happens to be gluten free!

The Menu!

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We all started with the Rosemary, Garlic and Sea Salt fries which were SO GOOD! I love a crispy well seasoned chip and this is exactly what I got, the perfect balance of my favourite flavours.

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All the veggie pizzas can be made vegan and you even get to choose between Cheerly or  Veganic cheese. I always pick Veganic because I think it melts better mmmmmmm. I went for the Vegan Meat Feast because I’m a big, fat mock hog. Next time I’m definitely going to have the BBQ Chicken and the time after that I might make an exception and have the Artichoke.

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Apologies for the slightly over-exposed photo, as I said it’s pretty dark down there and I wasn’t about to be the loser taking a photo of my food with my flash on in a small restaurant.

This pizza was a masterpiece, a super crispy, chewy crust and a light doughy base. I’m always a bit of a wimp with my pizza crusts as I struggle eating so much bread but Sam very kindly offered to help me out… and they say romance is dead!

We opted out of dessert as we were all so full but they offer a Vegan Salted Caramel brownie and ice cream, which I’ll no doubt soon have an encounter with.

We sunk another couple of BREWDOG’s and headed out with very full and happy tummies!

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Until next time Morelli, you have my heart and stomach.

Also couldn’t resist snapping this beautiful pastel sky over Hove on our walk home, excellent end to an excellent evening.

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You can find Morelli Zorelli HERE

Gluten Free Vegan Pancakes!

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You can watch the tutorial here!

For the basic batter:

  1. Combine x1 Cup of Gluten Free Flour with 1/4 TSP of Salt, 1/4 TSP of Xanthum Gum, x1 TSP of Bicarbonate of Soda and 1 TBSP of sugar.
  2. If you’re adding fruit, stir it into the dry mix to avoid over beating once you’ve added the wet ingredients.
  3. Now add x1 cup of warm water and 1/2 TSP of Lemon Juice and mix! Not too much, you want to keep those babies fluffy.
  4. Lightly fry in a well greased pan and stack those pups as high as you like. This recipe makes 6-8 depending on how large you want them!