Chickpea Tomato Soup

Friday, March 22, 2013 - Posted by Kristina Manente at 10:21 AM
I sometimes make dinner for the family I nanny for and I wanted to do something quick because i was feeling lazy. There were LOADS of chickpeas in the cupboard and I wondered how to make a soup with chickpeas. After running around the internet a bit to no avail, I found a book I had about cheap vegan meals. I found this recipe in there and made a few changes, and voila!

This soup is super (haha) easy and tasty. It was a hit and it can literally be made in less than ten minutes. Instead of parsely you could use cilantro and add some jalapeños and lemon/lime juice for a Mexican version.


1 can of chickpeas, rinsed & drained

1 can of diced tomatoes
4 roma tomatoes, cut into quarters
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of soy/almond milk
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper to taste
Fresh parsley
Red pepper flake


In a blender combine chickpeas, garlic, diced tomatoes, and 1/2 of the milk. Blend until the chickpeas are liquefied and everything is combined. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and start to heat, adding the rest of the milk until you reach your desired consistency (this soup works well when it's thicker). Add in the tomatoes, cumin, cayenne, salt & pepper and heat through until the tomatoes are well done.

Top with chopped fresh parsley and some red pepper flake.

Sugar Cookies With Honey Coated Cranberries & Walnuts

Friday, January 18, 2013 - Posted by Kristina Manente at 8:20 PM
I was having a craving for dessert, but there wasn't a whole lot in my dad's place fruit wise, which I was specifically in want of. However, given that my little brother is a very finicky eater, I thought maybe cookies would be a good thing to bake. He seemed excited at the idea anywho, and so, voila, sugar cookies! While I left some plain for the bro, the others I dotted with honey coated dried cranberries and walnuts. Delish. While I cheated and they came from a bag, to coat your own would be easy, just  dredge them in some honey and then bake them until crispy and shiny and lovely.

My little brother LOVED these. He exclaimed, "These are VEGAN?! No milk? No butter?" He said I could stay as long as I wanted. Dad agreed. I don't mind baking for rent. Easy.

The problem I find with a lot of sugar cookies are that they're too crispy, so when I rolled out the dough for these to cut, I left them a bit thicker. They puffed up a bit and what was left was a perfect sugar cookie. Delightful.


1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegan room temp margarine
1/4 cup Almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Dried cranberries


In a bowl, mix confectioner's sugar, salt, margarine, almond milk, and vanilla until combined and there's no clumps. Slowly stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar until blended. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Divide dough in half. and roll each dough half to 1/4 inchish thickness on a floured surface. Cut out in whatever shape you desire, sprinkle some granulated sugar on top and add cranberries and walnuts, pressing them into the down slightly. Bake 10 minutes or until edges just begin to turn golden brown.

Lady Geek Of The Week at Being Geek Chic!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - Posted by Kristina Manente at 8:48 AM
I, and my other BSB cohorts in crime, are the Lady Geeks of the Week over at Being Geek Chic! Read the interview below! :)

As promised, The Baker Street Babes, Part 2 are our Lady Geeks of the Week! Last week, we interviewed Amy, Ardy, and Lyndsay. This week, we present Maria, Taylor, and Kristina
The Babes are a group of Sherlock Holmes fans who produce a (witty, charming, and highly successful) podcast in which they discuss “everything from canon to Cumberbatch, Charles Augustus Milverton to Jude Law, and dancing men to Jeremy Brett.”

Follow the Babes on Twitter @BakerStBabes.

Q: What has led you to your passion?

Maria: Concerning Sherlock Holmes: A general interest in Sherlock Holmes from my childhood on; but I only grew really passionate about it when I started looking into it during my British Studies classes at Uni where I went to several Doyle and Sherlock Holmes centered seminars. BBC’s Sherlock just rekindled that interest and turned it into something amazing. Concerning my passion in general, which is literature: Some of my oldest memories are of my parents of friends reading books to me. I started reading fairly soon, even though I am slightly dyslexic (which made writing essays and dictations in school extremely hard); I read fantastic fiction throughout my teenage years, but when I started University, I just fell head over heels for English Literature, mostly thanks to my extremely wonderful teachers (now colleagues). I just loved reading literature, talking about it, writing about it; and eventually I found that I’m pretty good at teaching it, too, so this is why I am now doing my doctoral thesis in EngLit and hope to stay at Uni and teach.

Taylor: I have a complete inability to simply like something. I have to become totally obsessed with things I enjoy. I like to immerse myself in things fully and always have. I became obsessed with The Lion King when I was in 5th grade and my room totally reflected. Lion King sheets, curtains, and even a laundry hamper. Now my room is like a shrine to all things British. My obsessions transfer into all forms of media too. Of my two favorite bands I have seen one live 50 times and the other, I lost count, but I think I’m somewhere in the 70’s now. No.

Kristina: Spontaneity. I’ve always been a geek, but about very different things. It changes ever so often and it’s mostly because I take a right instead of a left. It’s never planned. I got into the Holmesian world because I decided to see a play, met a Sherlock fan in line, and voila here I am. I’ve never been afraid of just taking the next step, okay, scratch that, I’ve been terrified, but I’ve never backed down. Passion is terrifying. Absolutely horribly terrifying, but that’s what makes it worth it in the end. I suppose I’ve always been very well mentored by so many amazing teachers, professors, and friends who have helped me along and pushed me when I needed to be pushed. While I haven’t always succeeded, I’d like to think I’m made them proud. That’s very important to me. I don’t really do things for myself, I’m always thinking of someone else.

Read the rest at Being Geek Chic

And leave comments!

Black Bean Pizza

Monday, October 29, 2012 - Posted by Kristina Manente at 1:28 PM
I was craving black beans, but I was also craving pizza. Finding myself without the tomatoes for normal pizza, I decided to try and make a black bean pizza. I had never had it and had no idea what it would taste like. Let's just say this is the best pizza ever. Ok? Ok.

I've found naan bread to be an excellent base for pizzas. You can make them really fluffy bases or really crispy, and the size of a naan is a perfect size for a personal pie. Ugh. So good. 

It'd be great to spice this up a bit next time with some jalapeños. I also think diced tomato on the top would be marvellous. It was amazing at is, but adding things is always quite fun. Plus this is so stupid easy there are limitless combinations to be made!


1 can of black beans, drained

1 small onion
1 large clove of garlic
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Vegan cheese of your choice (I used Cheezly Mozz)
Naan bread


Pre-heat oven to 190C/400F.

Dribble some olive oil in a pan and sauté your onions and garlic for a few minutes. After the onions are slightly soft, add the black beans. Add a healthy dash of garlic powder and cilantro plus salt and pepper. Cook together for around 3 minutes.

While that cooks, grate some vegan cheese/if already grated, put aside. 

Put naan bread on a cookie sheet and top with the black bean, onion, and garlic mixture, spreading it around. Should be quite thick. Top it all with grated cheese and with some more cilantro, salt, and pepper. Cook for around five minutes before switching to the broiler to melt the cheese for another five.

Moroccany Couscous

Monday, September 24, 2012 - Posted by Kristina Manente at 12:11 PM
I love couscous... probably too much. Something about it just pleases me to no end. I've made all sorts of coucouses... couscousi? What is the plural of couscous? Is it just couscous? Important questions people. Anywho, I just like experimenting with couscous and putting random things in it. So, as I was debating what on earth to make for dinner for Maria & I, I found some couscous and went to town raiding the fridge.

And this here is the result... with an extra bit of zing (and not because I accidentally dumped a whole lot of chilli flakes in there, not at all, I am as graceful as a swan). But basically, couscous is the easiest thing to make and it's also so easy to be vegan or anything!


2 cups uncooked couscous
1 zuchinni, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 small can of beans (I used kidney, but any would work)
Handful of raisins
Spices (I mixed together cumin, garlic, cinnamon, chilli flakes, salt, and pepper)
Olive oil


Pour couscous into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover the bowl and set it aside for 5-10 minutes.

Sautee the zuchinni, bell peppers, and carrots in olive oil for a few minutes until they start to become tender. Add in the beans, spices, and raisins. Leave some of the sauce/water from the beans. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Fluff couscous with a dork, drizzle some olive oil and combine with sautee mixture. Voila! Nom away!

Pancakes with banana, raisins, and coconut

Sunday, September 23, 2012 - Posted by Kristina Manente at 6:07 AM
One of the issues with going vegan was breakfast. I was never a huge brekkie fan to be fair, but sometimes I just REALLY wanted a freaking waffle or a pancake. My first attempts at vegan pancake making special. They were more like bricks made out of sweet potato.

I wanted to try something new and so I whipped this up, using baking powder as the eggs and the result was very very fluffy! They were a bit scorched, but in the end it was okay because covered in syrup, everything tastes good.

Next time I'd top with some margarine and I think I'd toast the coconut a bit, but these were very filling and were gobbled up by my non-vegan friend who said they tasted just like normal pancakes. Huzzah! These are stupidly simple too.


1 cup flour
1 tablespoon cane sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
Some vanilla (to taste)
1 cup "milk"
2 tablespoons veggie oil

Syrup, raisins, banana, and shredded coconut for topping


Combine your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) in a large bowl.

Add "milk", vanilla, and oil and stir until smooth.

Plop some batter onto a pan over medium heat. Flip when bubbles appear and the edges are stiffening.

Cut up a banana, toss some raisins, pour some syrup, and sprinkle some shredded coconut on top! Voila!

The Validation of the Internet Fandom: Bridging the Gap Between Traditional Fandom and the Age of Tumblr

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - Posted by Kristina Manente at 3:05 AM
Presented at  A Scintillation of Scions V on June 9th, 2012 in Laurel, MD.

To listen to this presentation, please click [HERE].


The Validation of the Internet Fandom: Bridging the Gap Between Traditional Fandom and the Age of Tumblr
By Kristina Manente
Scintillation of Scions V
June 9, 2012

            I have an addictive personality. I’ll get addicted to outfits or hummus sandwiches, movies and songs. I should have known I’d end up here at Scintillation for one simple reason: as a child I watched The Great Mouse Detective. I watched it so many times over and over again, I’m sure it’s melted my brain. And drove my mother insane. I was hopelessly in love with it. I still am. It was a staple of my childhood and while I was vaguely aware of whom Sherlock Holmes was growing up, I wasn’t a Sherlockian.
            I didn’t start reading the canon until last year. I thought Watson was always rotund with a bushy mustache (well, part of that is true), and I had no idea who Jeremy Brett was. In fact, when the Robert Downey Jr movie adverts first showed, my first thought (other than god Jude Law is hot) was that of Basil of Baker Street. Of the cartoon mouse who unashamedly stole my heart. I didn’t know what would happen in the next two to three years. I didn’t know about Sherlock or how it would change my life forever.
            Sherlock is my first fandom, and I use fandom in the sense of a distinct internet community. A community of thousands who all love the same thing, who write about it, laugh about it, argue about it, art about it, cry about it, and lust over animated gifs of Benedict Cumberbatch together. It’s a beautiful mad thing. I stepped in unaware and I have never been more glad. Fandom has introduced me and countless others to the original stories. It has celebrated these magnificent characters and it has changed my life, and many others.
            As such, Sherlock has one of the most vocal and dedicated fandoms out there. The Believe In Sherlock campaign should be enough indication of that. If you don’t know what that is, following the transmission of The Reichenbach Fall in the UK, a fan movement was started much akin to Frodo Lives. We had to restore Sherlock’s reputation and prove Richard Brook was a fake. The original post by earlfoolish on tumblr charged believers in Sherlock to take to the streets. It was a bit meta, but we did it. The Believe In Sherlock movement spread worldwide, popping up in schools, places of work, and along the streets of cities and towns. The campaign went completely viral and has been reported on numerous blogging sites and even The Radio Times. Fans are finding one another through the movement as well, going to tumblr to try and find original posters of the fliers and artwork. It’s bringing the Sherlock community together, promoting the show, and including the fans into the universe of BBC Sherlock.
          And it’s all fan made. Those involved in the BBC show have mentioned numerous times how staggered they were by the movement, and still are. Steven Moffat called it “the best viral marketing campaign ever,” and that he and Mark Gatiss didn’t need to do any promotion for Series 3 because we had done it for them. The parallels to the legend of Victorians marching along the Strand in black armbands are obvious. Just as they did, we mourned the “death” of our hero, allowing ourselves to enter the Sherlock world and bring it into our reality. Some have called it childish and ridiculous, but we had fun. And I won’t apologize for that.
            No one can doubt the sincerity and absolute dedication of the Sherlock generation of Holmesians. If Believe In Sherlock isn’t enough how about the thousands of votes that pour in when someone from the show, or the show itself is up for an award? Countless number of trending topics on twitter have been started by the fandom, and as I said before, those involved in the show have remarked multiple times how floored they are by their fanbase. We’re a fanatically dedicated bunch, which is why I get surprised when older Sherlockians get annoyed at us and fear us.
            Are we not the same? Many of you entered Sherlockiana through more traditional means. You might have read the canon and found a group. You might have started your own or subscribed to a newsletter. Some of you as Baker Street Irregulars and are quite distinguished. Others just run a blog or are Holmesian authors, both scholarly and pastiche. I like to yammer into a microphone with friends and it’s in that way I express my love. That and reblogging some gratuitous photos of the cast, because they’re gorgeous. And that’s okay. I’m sure Victorian women and men were oogling the Paget drawings. Don’t even try to tell me they weren’t.
            With Sherlock, and to a lesser extent the Robert Downey Jr films, has come a surge of new Sherlockians. Some very learned in canon, others encountering the characters for the first time. It’s a global Holmesian Renaissance and it’s come to life and spread rapidly through social media, primarily through tumblr, twitter, and the fanfic communities on livejournal and AO3. I can understand how the massive surge can be terrifying for the more traditional minded Sherlockian: hoards of teenage and twenty-some-year-olds descending upon their Holmesian world. They’re afraid of, dare I say it, The Cumberbitches, and afraid they aren’t in it for the stories. But if they took a moment to go beyond the surface of OMG and FEELINGS, they’re realize that it’s more than that. They may have come for the cheekbones and the dishy silver fox from Scotland Yard, but it’s not why they stayed.
            They’ve fallen in love. Just like everyone in this room has.
            Those of us from the Sherlock generation are vocal and opinionated. We care about this show an obscene amount and we aren’t afraid to show it. There are around 30,000 Sherlock tumblr fans and that is a conservative estimate. There are thousands upon thousands of fanfictions and beautiful, stunning pieces of art. A fanartist was actually contacted by Sue Vertue, producer of the BBC series, and her stunning portraits of the Sherlock cast will be going in a board room at Hartswood Studios. 
Along with the art are the essays and heated debates. Emotions run high in the tumblr world and never have I seen such detailed responses to questions. There is plenty of scholarships on tumblr. They research to an obsessive level and have enough references to even make Les Klinger happy.  I’ve read beautifully researched essays on the canon as well as on the BBC show. Character essays. Theories. Everything you can imagine. Where you all have journals and newsletters, we have the internet. 
They’re also not afraid to have fun, and will gladly trend topics on twitter like replace a Sherlock quote with pancake.
            Why so silly? Why not? Why is it a crime to have fun? We can interact in a whole new way: live chatting with writers and actors, Q&As, and spreading out ideas to the public. The Sherlock generation is a force to be reckoned with, and yes, some are silly, but so are some BSI members. They are, however, genuine fans, and you should never doubt their sincerity.
            When I was privileged enough to attend the judicial review for the Undershaw Preservation Trust, for which I am the London Ambassador, on May 23rd, I wasn’t surprised by who was in attendance. There were a handful of middle-aged and older people, but the vast majority of those who had come out to sit in court for seven hours were young. Teenagers. Twenty-somethings. It was the youth. It was the Sherlock generation.
            We love Sherlock Holmes. We are the same. The Sherlock generation just has more toys to play with. And yes, it is intimidating, and yes it’s all changing quite quickly. But it’s a good change. So this is an open invitation for every person who may ever hear or read this. Interact with the young fans. Invite them to your meetings. Talk Sherlock Holmes with them. Don’t underestimate them. Just because we blog doesn’t mean we’re not genuine and earnest, or intelligent. The hesitation goes both ways though. You young’uns, newbies, and those who only came in with BBC Sherlock, don’t be afraid. Read the canon. Explore the world. Be willing to be taught. I have never met a more gracious group of people in my life. Try. You won’t regret it.
            If you challenged me to a canon quiz you’d most likely beat me. And I am fine with that, because I am still learning. I’m still exploring these stories for the first time, as are many of my tumblr colleagues. We’re not subpar to those of you who can quote the canon word from word, because at our core we all love these characters. Some of you are just further ahead than us, but we’re on our way and we want to be on our way.  Those of us from the tumblr generation don’t expect some of you to understand our weird jokes about how John Watson is obsessed with jam or understand why animated gifs are perfectly acceptable responses to questions. That’s fine. We’re two different camps, but we have a lot in common and we’re starting to meld. I think it’s okay if we still have our own worlds, but coming together should be a priority. It’s starting, and it is my hope that we can all work together to enjoy the great consulting detective and his steadfast partner Dr. Watson as Sherlockians.
            I and the Baker Street Babes owe a lot to the Sherlock fandom. It’s where we came from and as such we are fiercely protective of it. We also couldn’t have gotten where we are without the acceptance of all of you and for that I offer my sincerest thanks. We’re flattered by our popularity, having hit over 110,000 listens as of June 7th. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to getting fanmail. We’re also frankly gobsmacked by the opportunities we’ve had. I remember literally faceplanting onto my bed when I got a DM on twitter from Sue Vertue and New Year’s Eve shall always be highlighted by Amanda Abbington, Martin Freeman’s wife, posting on our facebook wall about how to become a Baker Street Babe. A few months later we’d be having brunch with her. A month after that we’d be on the red carpet at the TV BAFTAs. I don’t think I’ve actually gotten over it. I don’t say these things to gloat and boast, but rather to count my stars. I’ve enjoyed every moment of this, even the masochistic sound editing until the wee hours of the morning and the terrifying moment when you send a query letter to an agent in hopes of an interview. Through the good and bad it’s been a beautiful time, and it’s a beautiful time to be a Sherlockian.
            Whether you’re a BSI or a Sherlock tumblr fan, you are a Sherlockian. Whether you’re 65 or 15, you are a Sherlockian. Whether you discovered Sherlock Holmes as a child or yesterday, you are a Sherlockian… and you should be proud of that.