Friday, March 30, 2007
I’ve always liked animals and when I was around 15 I used to see animal rights stalls in the city centre of Glasgow and would read the leaflets and sign their petitions. I made sure that my makeup was not tested on animals and discovered The Body Shop. My aunt is a vegetarian so I was always aware of what a vegetarian was, but at the time I never really connected the food on my plate to real life animals.
When I was 17 I studied Hospitality Management at college. Part of the course was a full day’s class in the kitchen where we learned basic food preparation and cooking skills. Some of the things we learned were filleting fish and preparing rack of lamb. I am really squeamish and I hated dealing with this kind of stuff and it was becoming much more apparent to me that the food I was eating was part of an animal that used to live and breathe. I decided to myself that when I moved out my parent’s home I would become vegetarian. But one day at home I was preparing chicken for dinner and there was blood on it and it just disgusted me so much that I decided there and then that I didn’t want to eat stuff like that anymore.
When I told my Mum that I was going to be vegetarian she was fine with it, but said to me, “I hope you’re not going to be one of those vegans”. I think she just gave me the idea, and within a year or two I had turned vegan. I was happy with my choice to be a vegan; I had never particularly liked milk or eggs and didn’t really miss them. When I was questioned about veganism I had a hard time explaining myself because I didn’t really know for sure why I was vegan. Sometimes I liked the idea that I was a bit different and other times I was mortified when put on the spot and questioned about veganism. I continued being vegan for about 3 years, but when Wee G and I went on holiday abroad I ended up eating cheese and eggs because I couldn’t find much else and I didn’t want to cause a fuss. When we came back home I realised that life was much easier being vegetarian. I continued drinking soy milk, but ate cheese and milk chocolate and eggs when they were an ingredient in something else. I didn’t like the idea that these products came from animals, and still thought they were pretty icky, but I chose to not think about it instead of avoiding them.
In 2006 it was almost ten years since I had quit being vegan. Every now and then I thought that it would be “ideal” to be vegan, but was just never motivated to do anything about it. My motivation initially came from reading the news that The Body Shop was taken over by L’Oreal. I still bought all my makeup there and loved their products and had more love for that shop than a person should have for a store selling bubble bath. But I have never bought anything from L’Oreal as they are notorious for testing on animals. I have never forgotten a leaflet I read when I was a teenager about one particular experiment for sunscreen that they carried out on mice. It still makes me ill to think about it so I won’t go in to details. I was hugely disappointed and outraged that The Body Shop would have anything to do with L’Oreal. I began searching online to find somewhere else to buy my makeup and somehow ended up on the PETA web site. There I ended up watching the Meet Your Meat video. Even though I was vegetarian I was shocked at the treatment of the animals and when it was stated in the film that the veal industry is directly linked to the dairy industry I decided right then that I would not consume any dairy again. I couldn’t believe that I had never realised this before. So that was it – I was vegan again!
This time round I’m much better informed and feel more certain about my reasons for being vegan. I know that I’ll be vegan for life now. I spent hours reading about veganism and animal rights on the internet last year. Wee G was very supportive of my decision, but didn’t like that I was getting upset over many of the things I was reading. I’ve never tried to get him to be a veggie, but if I could have changed one thing about him it would be to make him a veggie! One day I left this web site on the pc screen (accidentally-on-purpose :)). He read it and turned to me and said “I don’t want to eat meat anymore”. So, now we have a meat-free, almost completely vegan house and I have never been happier! I don’t miss any animal food products at all, but I still get a little sad when I get a whiff of The Body Shop as I walk by...
I continue to learn so much from the internet and my fellow bloggers. I appreciate all the help and support I have had since starting my blog... so thank you!
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Anyway, this soup is from Eat To Live. It’s call Dr Fuhrman’s Famous Anti-Cancer Soup. It’s made from split peas, onions, leeks and zucchini combined with carrot and celery juice with cashew nuts blended in. I don’t have a juicer so I just threw the carrots and celery in the soup without juicing them. I really liked it…it was creamy and delicately flavoured and a lovely colour! What I didn’t like about it is the name…so I’m just going to call it Veggie Cashew Soup. You can find the recipe here. I’ve bought these boxes of Cuties several times from Trader Joe’s and they are usually really good, but this box I bought weren't as great as usual and neither of us were eating them. So, I decided to juice them. As I mentioned above I don’t have a juicer so I threw them in the blender and then strained them. Unfortunately the handle on my sieve broke in the middle of it all, but the juice was sweet and smooth and strangley much better than the fruit as a whole! Yum!
Monday, March 26, 2007
Then on Sunday we went out to eat at Sharky’s, a Mexican fast food kind of restaurant nearby. I forgot to take photos, but I had a yummy fajita plate that had spicy tofu, veggies (onions, squash, courgettes), organic rice and beans and guacamole served with flour tortillas. Very tasty and I love that they offer tofu as a fajita/burrito/taco filling.
Mexican Recipe (Serves 2-3)
½ cup brown rice
1 cup water
½ medium onion, diced
2 tsps vegetable oil
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander seed
2 tsps paprika
1 pinch red pepper flakes
¼ tsp Tabasco sauce
1 green pepper
1 can tomatoes, chopped
1 cup frozen, sweetcorn, defrosted
1 cup cooked chickpeas
Salt to taste
Place rice and water in medium pot. Bring to boil and simmer for around 35 minutes until cooked. In a large frying pan heat oil over a medium high heat. Add onions and pepper and cook for around 5 minutes. Add garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander seed, paprika and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes, Tabasco, sweetcorn and rice and stir through until heated thoroughly. Add salt to taste.
Increase Tabasco and red pepper flakes if you like it spicy.
Serve topped with avocado/guacamole or vegan sour cream and chopped fresh coriander (cilantro).
Friday, March 23, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Next to the Balsamic Strawberries this is my new favourite thing – Bean Salad. Not very exciting, just a mix of chickpeas, edamame, green beans, sweetcorn, red onion, parsley and Simple Cider Vinaigrette from Vive Le Vegan! It is so yummy! I made a ton of Rice and Lentils so I had plenty left over and next day for lunch I had some with the bean salad on top. I added some home grown mung bean sprouts (that is about as green fingered as I get). Delish!
Monday, March 19, 2007
I made some seitan using the recipe from VWAV. Then wondering what I would do with it I flicked to the next page of the book and saw Jerk Seitan. I didn’t really know what it was supposed to taste like as it’s flavoured with lime, allspice, nutmeg and soy sauce among other things which sounded a strange mix to me, but it turned out really nice. Very tasty, but not the greatest dish lookswise.
Then with the rest of the seitan (I only made half a batch) I decided to make “meatballs”. I didn’t bother with a recipe, just mixed the ground seitan with breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, herbs and a “flax egg” to bind it together. Then I baked them in the oven and then served them with whole wheat pasta and tomato sauce. They turned out a little soft, next time I will need more breadcrumbs or something.
Now, for my new favourite thing in the world! Strawberries and balsamic vinegar! I adapted this from a Jamie Oliver recipe and it is so so so delicious! You can serve them with vegan yogurt or ice cream. I tried with vanilla soy yogurt and lime soy yogurt, both were super yummy, but they are also gorgeous all on their own.
Balsamic Strawberries (Serves 2-4)
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2-3 basil leaves, chopped
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Cover and let sit for at least half an hour at room temperature. Do not let sit for more than 2 hours. Serve and enjoy.
Friday, March 16, 2007
I made US style biscuits for the first time a few weeks ago and I have started making them quite frequently. They are a bit like savoury scones and are great to have with soup. Plus they only take half an hour (at most) to make. The ones pictured are Fancy Biscuits (with dill and spring onions) from How It All Vegan, but I have also made the regular ones and they are yummy too.
I made another “omelette”, this time with mushrooms, Italian mixed herbs and nutritional yeast added. And again I didn’t add the oil from the original recipe (from VWaV). It was definitely more flavourful than the last one, but also a little flatter because it didn’t have the potatoes and onions to bulk it up. I think I’d like to try again with different veggies. So many variations I could try...
And finally this is a stir fry that I threw together one night for me when Wee G was working late. I wanted to try using up some of my pomegranate molasses that I bought ages ago for making BBQ Pomegranate Tofu so I added it to this stir fry along with soy sauce, garlic and some other stuff that I can’t remember because I didn’t write it down...ooops! I wish I had written it down as it was really nice... I guess I will just have to experiment to see if I can make it again!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Calling it faux chicken salad reminded me of an episode of King Of The Hill I saw a while ago. Hank went to a health food store where they sold tofu and faux-fu which was for the “tofu-intolerant”. I’m sure it was meant to be insulting to vegetarians, but I thought it was quite funny… I’d like to know what faux-fu tastes like… :)
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
It was really nice with a delicate cinnamon/nutmeg flavour, unlike French Toast we used to eat when we were kids which was more savoury and flavoured with salt and pepper. I remember my Mum making it for lunch for my brother, sister and I. We would eat it faster than she could make it and then hover behind her in the kitchen demanding more! I wonder now if my Mum ever actually got to eat any or if the bread ran out before she even got a slice!
Anyway, this was delish and with the fruit and maple syrup added it was almost more like dessert than brunch. My only problem was that it stuck quite badly to my non-stick pan, but it wouldn’t deter me from making it again.
Monday, March 12, 2007
I bought white whole wheat flour recently and thought this bread would be great to try it out on. I used all white whole wheat flour instead of the white flour called for in the recipe. All through the almost 24 hour process I kept thinking that it wasn’t going to turn out well. The whole time it never really looked like bread dough and remained a bit sticky. But I popped it in the oven anyway and kept my fingers crossed. When it came it out it looked okay, but when I cut in to it, it was stodgy inside. And the taste? Yuck! It went in the bin.
Determined to get this to work, I mixed up a second batch this time using only 1/3 white whole wheat flour and 2/3 white flour. I almost made it with all white flour, but at the last minute decided it was just too unhealthy and removed a cup of white flour from my bowl and added back a cup of white whole wheat flour!
This time it actually looked like bread dough throughout and I was a lot more optimistic! I underbaked it a bit because I was scared that it might burn. It came out really nice, but probably with a less crispy crust than if I had just left it in the oven for as long as I was supposed to!! Anyway, it was tasty and soft on the inside and with a crisp crust. And yummy!
I kind of like the kneading part of making bread, but this is definitely a great recipe if you want home baked bread, but don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen. I would like to give it another go and hopefully improve it again, but it won’t be today. It’s supposed to be 34C (94F) and I don’t fancy the oven on for an hour at 450F when I’m not allowed the windows open (because our building is getting water blasted before it gets painted later on in the week).
To eat alongside our bread I made some soup. It’s New England Clamless Chowder from Vegetarian Soups For All Seasons by Nava Atlas. It’s a creamy soup filled with potatoes and sweet corn with tofu instead of icky clams. As with Lesley’s Tofu Noodle soup (which is adapted from a Nava Atlas recipe) it calls for salt free seasoning and baked tofu which I didn’t have so I fried my tofu along with the same spices from the tofu noodle soup and it turned out so good. I also switched a third of the corn for edamame. It was really yummy and I would definitely make it again.
Friday, March 9, 2007
Wee G was also disappointed. When he saw the he exclaimed that they looked like chocolate Jammie Dodgers! Yeah, but they don’t taste like them, sorry...
Thursday, March 8, 2007
The sauce is really yummy and I did put a lot on my omelette to flavor it up a bit. It was sweet from the red peppers and sugar, while lemon juice added a little zing.
I ate some the next day and I definitely think the flavour had improved and I think that the saffron seemed more prominent. While I don’t think my omelette turned out great this time, I would like to make it again and add some extra veggies and spices/herbs.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
It was so easy and really yummy. It was ready in the time it took to cook the pasta.
So, there I am sitting eating my pasta and Wee G is munching on his pizza (yes, he ordered a WHOLE pizza for lunch!) and he goes:
“That smells good, let me try it”
Grabs fork out my hand.
One mouthful goes in, “Mmmmm”
“You like it?” I ask, but he’s too busy shovelling in the second mouthful.
“Mmmmm” is all I get back.
When he’s on to the fourth mouthful I snatch the fork back, worried I might end up with no dinner.
And Wee G comes to the conclusion, “I don’t mind courgettes, y’know”. No kidding.
Here’s the recipe for one, but you could easily double for two, as I think I will be doing next time.
2 small courgettes (zucchini), sliced
6 cherry tomatoes
½ small avocado
1 small clove garlic
2 tsps lemon juice
2 tsps olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup wholewheat pasta
Cook pasta as per packet instructions.
Meanwhile mix remaining ingredients apart from courgettes in a bowl.
Heat a frying pan over a medium high heat and coat with spray oil. Cook courgette slices for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown.
When pasta is done drain and return to pot. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Place over a low heat for a couple of minutes to heat through, stirring often. Serve.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
According to Wikipedia Italians tend to eat their Ragu alla Bolognese with tagliatelle rather than spaghetti and some sources suggest that Spaghetti Bolgnese is a rather un-Italian invention. As you can see I served my Bolognese with fusilli, but Fus Bol just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
My recipe has varied over the years, but the one below is what I stick with as Wee G and I love it.
Spag Bol (serves 2)
2 tsps Olive Oil
½ medium onion, diced
1 cup mushrooms
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 can tomatoes, diced finely
1½ cups soy mince (soy beef grounds)
½ tsp Tabasco Sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp raw sugar
2 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
½ cup water
Heat oil in large pan over medium high heat. Add onions and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Ad garlic and cook for further one minute. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with whole wheat pasta. Sprinlkle with nutritional yeast if you wish.
This sauce tastes great the next day and can also be used to top a baked potato. You can substitute lentils for the soy mince, if you prefer a less “meaty” tasting Bolognese.
Monday, March 5, 2007
The restaurant we visited was tiny and the majority of the seats were at the u-shaped counter. Never having sat at a counter in a diner-type place we thought it was pretty cool…seems very American to us! We ordered our veggie burgers and within minutes we had fries in front of us and these cute plates of ketchup and mustard. Flowers for the girls and smiley faces for the boys. No mustard for the girls…seems a bit sexist to me :)
Not long after that our burgers arrived. They were Boca burgers in a white bun with mustard, tomato, grilled onions, pickle and iceberg lettuce. They were ok, just nothing special. The fries though were really good…straight from the fryer, hot and crispy. Not very healthy, but very tasty! I liked the service, the fries and the cute ketchup plates, but I don’t think I would go back because I could make a yummier veggie burger at home…with Vegenaise and a whole wheat bun…mmmm!
Then on Sunday we ordered takeout from Vegan Factory our favourite local vegan Thai restaurant. We got “fish” and chips to start. Chips twice in one weekend…we are so bad! They are so good though! Then for our mains I got Tofu Green Curry......and Wee G got Kung Pao “Chicken”. I love the food from this place and the service is great too.
Saturday, March 3, 2007
Friday, March 2, 2007
When it came out of the oven it wasn’t the most appealing dish. I served it over quinoa with some greens in Mustard Tahini Sesame Sauce which I’m not sure was the best combination. When I put it in front of Wee G I was not greeted with a joyful face. It seemed kind of dry and stodgy, but I forgot to set the timer when I put it in the oven so I think it might have been a little overcooked. The first few bites I wasn’t too sure, but by the end of it I thought it was pretty yummy!! I suppose it’s the taste that matters so I will be making it again, and trying not to overcook it this time :)
Thursday, March 1, 2007
This is a simple to make, spicy dish that was filling and aromatic. We loved it and had it for dinner one night and then lunch too the next day. The only thing I will do differently next time is that we will probably have some other veggie in place of the green beans as Wee G isn’t too keen on them. Head over to Melomeals.com to see Melody’s pic of this delicious dish.