News Roundup By Mercedes Aspland / January 5, 2015 I am going to be honest I was nominated for this at the end of September and I really should have done it a lot sooner but with everything that I have had going on at the end of the year I honestly completely forgot so sorry! Before I even get into the questions I need to thank Cristina at Veggie Bytes who nominated me an apologise to her the most for appearing as thought I just ignored it. I loved here answers and maybe put off answering because I was not sure of exactly what to say and then I needed to decide on the blogs I wanted to nominate which has been even harder. So I will start with my answers to her fantastic questions: 1. What is your favourite herb? I have to be honest and say it has been almost impossible for me to pick just one herb so I thought I would give you a little run down or the herbs I use the most. Firstly there is mint, I love it in salads, baked goods and anywhere really plus it is easy to grow which is not bad. Then there is parsley and coriander (cilantro) which are great in almost anything but and Asian dish without coriander definitely has something missing not to mention how great it is in a salad. Then I have two more that I love, the first being basil for the obvious reasons, if you like Italian food in any form then really you need to love basil and the other one is thyme which I use in so many sauces and soups and just love the flavour it gives to things. 2. What’s the best vegan meal you have had in a restaurant? This is a really easy question for me to answer, it was on my birthday last year when I went to The Gate Islington and had a 3 course vegan meal. If you do not know this restaurant, it is a vegetarian restaurant that has loads of vegan options and the food is such high quality. I had deep fried risotto balls to start, vegan burritos and pineapple crumble all served with vegan Prosecco. It was one of the best meals I have had out, never mind whether it was vegan or not. If you can make it there I can highly recommend it and I am definitely going to go again soon so I can try their Winter Menu. 3. Where is the most awesome place you have travelled to and was it veg friendly? This is another easy one, I am always telling people about when I went to Bogota in Columbia and how much I loved it. Back in 2007 I travelled to South America with my brother and in an action packed 2 weeks we visited Caracas Venezuela, Bogota Columbia and Rio de Janeiro Brazil. It is probably one of the best holidays I have ever had and my 5 days in Columbia was just amazing and I know I need to go back some time. To be honest when I went I was vegetarian and not vegan but I found eating very easy. I did think it might be difficult in South America but it was the opposite, probably easier than many places in Europe. So what did I love about Bogota, well it was modernised and really trendy with great shops and restaurants, it was also packed full of museums and art galleries and so I just had so much to cram in. Then there was the people they were so friendly partly because tourism was so low so they were grateful to see you. My favourite story of my visit was on our very first day when we went to the Police Museum and the young man who showed us around was doing his national service and because he could speak English really well go the job in the museum. He was just wonderful spending over 2 hours showing us around the place, filling us in on all the history of the police (and believe me in Columbia it is vast). Then at the end of the tour he took us to the roof to show us areas to avoid and gave us his mobile number and email address in case we needed any help. It was just such a fantastic welcome and things just carried on that well for the whole time. 4. Is there a beloved food that you have yet to find vegan or a good vegan version? Yes, Roquefort Cheese. I have found recipes for blue cheese very hard to come by and sometimes I get these amazing cravings for Roquefort cheese and would love to find an alternative. 5. Are you an extrovert or introvert and what do you think your Myers-Briggs personality is? I have to be honest with this I have never heard of the Myers-Briggs personality so I had no idea with this. I thought I would put it in Google and see what came up. I did manage to find a personality test and I think it was the right thing but not use. What it told me was I am ISJF or 11% Introvert, 38% Sensing, 25% Feeling and 1% Judging. Whether this is right or not i am not sure but I gave it a go! 6. How do you feel about technology and social media? I love technology I think it makes so many things possible. Considering I studies maths at university I am all for new technological advances based off the great work of brilliant mathematicians. In terms of social media I think it has plusses and minuses, on the positive side it means that there is always to get a story out there so it is much harder for governments to control the information we get. However it can be a bit dodgy if you are not careful with it, keeping yourself private on social media is a balancing act but achievable. 7. Your favourite cookbook? This is a really hard one for me as I have so many and my favourite seems to change from one week to the next. However if I am being completely honest I need to pick a book where I have made most of the recipes and they are all great and easy to follow so it has to be Anjum’s Indian Vegetarian Feast. This question has just reminded me that I need to do some more cookbook reviews! 8. What’s the best recipe on your blog? There are lots of recipes that I love and make on a regular basis but for this I thought I would go for something a bit naughty but oh so lovely. If you really want to treat yourself then you cannot go far wrong with my Chocolate, Orange & Chilli Brownies which are not only vegan but gluten-free too. I have made them a few times, sometimes without the orange & chilli for a strong chocolate flavour or adding mint essence instead of orange for a mint chocolate brownie. 9. What is your dream job? Ok, I live a life where I teach some yoga, write this blog and do some other bits and pieces, I love it all and wouldn’t change any of it. Maybe I would have a yoga studio of my own but at the moment I am so happy with the way things are I am not really dreaming of other things and the thought of having a job where I was answerable to someone is my idea of hell. I know it is not really an answer to this question but it is the best I have got. I did read a quote the other day that said something like you should get 3 hobbies, one to make money, one for pleasure and one to keep you active and I sort of have that. 10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? This is an interesting question for me because when I was younger I used to think a lot about the way my life was going to go and have long term plans. Life has taught me that things rarely turn out the way you plan them and you need to know how to adapt. When you make plans it can make you become rigid and fixed and far more open to disappointment if you are not where you planned. I know this is sort of opposite advice to what many people will give but it works for me. This does not me I don’t think about the consequences of my actions but I just decide what it is I want to do right now and if it will work for me. Chances are in 10 years I will not want the same things as I want now. So where do I seem myself in 10 years? The only answer I can give is doing the things that make me happy. I hope you enjoyed the questions and I have now got together a list of blogs that I would like to nominate are Hungry Curious, Divine Healthy Food, Sweet Simple Vegan, Vegan Family Recipes, Blissful Basil, Fragrant Vanilla Cake, Connoisseurus Veg and Dishing up the Dirt. Here is the really hard bit my questions: 1. Who has been the biggest influence on your life? 2. What is the one thing that makes you the happiest? 3. What are the top 5 must haves in your kitchen? 4. What is your favourite quick cook meal? 5. How do you come up with new recipes and what keeps you going? 6. If you had to give up something that you do regularly what would it be and why? 7. What is your favourite style of cooking or cuisine? 8. What is your favourite vegan restaurant? 9. What are your best coping strategies for eating out in non vegan restaurants? 10. What is your favourite thing to do when not writing your blog? If you have been nominated and want to get involved just post your answers to the questions, nominate 8-10 blogs and think of some questions for them to answer. It is easier than it looks!