Thursday, 2 December 2010

Online vegan shopping

I'm doing this one first because clearly mail order takes time, especially at 'busy' times. Many vegetarian, vegan and anti-vivisection organisations have their own online shops, which have the added bonus of raising funds for their work. For a wide range of vegan products (including loads of chocolate!) it is worth a visit to VeganStore. I have to admit that I've never shopped with them online, but I have visited their stalls at events and been impressed by what was probably a fraction of their full range of stock.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Veganicity in December!

Sorry for the lack of food blogging in the second half of November. Guess I'm not so cut out to be a prolific blogger! I still have many food pics to share with you, and hope to do that at various points. However, I'm switching tack a bit this month to look at some of the options out there for vegan holiday gifts. This isn't necessarily my wishlist (I have to say that as my other half reads this blog...), nor a comprehensive list, and the focus is on the specifically vegan rather than the accidentally vegan. It will also not be a daily feature, as I have a massive pile of coursework marking followed by my PhD viva (thesis defence for Stateside readers) on December 13. Nonetheless, I will *try* to drag myself away from these fun things and write some blog posts that are more interesting than this one...

I realise that there has been some buzzing lately about certain prominent 'vegan' bloggers dropping the veganism. I don't want to get into personal insults regarding people I don't know (I didn't even read either person's blog on a regular basis). However, I do find it sad that these people are padding out their personal health reasons for quitting veganism (however convincing or otherwise these may be) with universal condemnation of veganism as a whole and what strikes me as a lot of straw-grasping 'revelations' about how they suddenly realised carnism occupied the moral high ground. Yes, there are problems with seeing veganism as a miracle cure, but most of us (I hope) can see this without needing to hear about ex-vegans' meatgasms as a wake-up call!

On a more cheerful note, I have finally finished the first stripe of my blanket - this is being made as a succession of extra-large scarves which will be sewn together. I'll need to pick up the pace since Stirling is already ankle-deep in snow!

Oh, and I am filled with envy for the friends who have vegan chocolate advent calendars, where do you get these things folks?

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Sugar and spice biscuits

I made these to take to the Glasgow Vegans potluck last night. I have yet to adjust to actually owning cookbooks, so this was done without an official recipe.

Dough in the bowl - the white stuff is flour to make it easier to shape individual biscuits. This mix involves about half a bowl of white self-raising flour, enough margarine to make 'breadcrumbs' when rubbed into the flour, a fairly obscene amount of muscavado sugar (the sticky dark brown stuff) and - as the name suggests - a fair bit of spice. This time round I used mostly ginger, but also cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Getting it to the right consistency (sticking together but not runny) took about a mug and a half of water. This is also a good time to turn the oven on to preheat - 180 centigrade/celsius is my usual go-to temperature for such things.

The next step - after mixing the dough and flouring up it and your hands - is to shape the biscuits. This can be done by rolling it out on the table, but since I don't have any cookie cutters at the moment there wasn't much point. I just scooped out small lumps, rolled them into more-or-less neat balls, and squashed these to make something resembling a conventional biscuit shape. The mixture filled a large baking tray and two small ones. Then, predictably, I put them in the oven to bake.

After about 20 minutes (long enough to clean up the mess, haha) this was what came out. They puffed up enough to get mistaken for scones but tasted pretty good - my boy can testify to this! The little brown studded bits are lumps of sugar that didn't get broken up properly when mixing, I like them but your mileage may vary.

Monday, 15 November 2010


This was another date night meal, one which took a lot less effort than juggling four curries! Hence, more opportunities to stop and snap photos...

An onion and two peppers (one red and one orange, your preferences may vary) in the wok (yes, I make chilli in my wok) being cooked in hot oil.

The beans go in - one tin red kidney, one tin black-eyed. This is also where I add the chilli powder (maybe two teaspoons) and a pinch of paprika.

One tin of tomatoes, plus some water swilled around the tin to get the last bits.

Cornbread dough - I replaced about half the white flour in a normal mix with maize flour, and added some polenta instead of wholemeal flour. The more orangey one also has a bit of chilli powder in.

Cornbread fresh from the oven!

Nachos with mozarella cheezly, salsa and refried beans. This was our starter.

A bowl of chilli with rice!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Curry - a closer look

The other week I posted pictures from our last curry night, leading a certain person to suggest that we had another one soon. I thought that actually sounded like quite a good idea. So, here are the closeups that I didn't do last time!

Yellow rice, with cardamom seeds and cashew nuts. The yellow comes from turmeric - sometimes I use a bit of saffron, but this is more expensive and less strongly coloured.

Carrots, cauliflower and pepper in coconut sauce. I can't remember what spices went in this one.

Chickpeas with tomato, onion, fresh mint and garam masala

Daal. Sorry about the mankiness of this picture, I swear it tasted better! This was the faffiest of the four things I made that night. I made it nice and thick by boiling the lentils with minimal quantities of water, stirring constantly and adding more water as needed (read: as needed to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pan and ripping the non-stick off...) I 'fried' some cumin seeds and coriander in very hot margarine to get the flavour out: this took three attempts as I kept burning the seeds, they really only need to be on the heat a couple of seconds!

All the pans on the stove. The 'veg only' on the green saucepan dates back to when I lived in a shared house with people who needed reminding not to cook meat in my pans. The blue ones don't have this on because I lived alone when I bought them.

Of course, any single one of these can be made on its own or with plain rice! Sometimes having a few things can make it more fun though. Also, we had enough leftovers to make up the next day's lunch with minimal faff.

Saturday, 13 November 2010


I started making bread nearly a year ago, when I realised that wanting toast wasn't the best reason for making a trip to the shop when I didn't need anything else! I had a few early experiments involving beer, but ended up buying yeast and trying to make bread fairly regularly. My boyfriend is addicted to the stuff, which provides added impetus.

Loaves prior to going in the oven. This is mainly white with a bit of wholemeal flour and some seed mix.

And after coming out of the oven!

Making my own bread wasn't really motivated by veganism, as there is plenty of choice with shop-bought bread. Price-wise, it probably works out more expensive than Tesco Value sliced white, but I've calculated that it is cheaper than buying quality bread ready made. I make my bread by hand, hence the slightly uneven shape (that could be sorted by buying loaf tins, but why should I? My mother also makes her own bread, so I grew up with sandwiches this shape!). A breadmaking machine may simplify some things but is also a bit of a financial outlay, especially if you aren't sure how much use you'll get out of it. Incidentally, you can also get decent bread from quite cheap flour - some of the lighter, crustier loaves I've made have involved Tesco Value white flour, albeit with a dash of wholemeal. If I have to buy discount brands (which I do fairly often) then better to get the raw ingredients rather than the finished product!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Another Thursday lunchtime

My lunch yesterday:
-Half a tin of mixed bean salad
-50g or so of wholewheat couscous
-1 large carrot cut into sticks
-A banana

I think I should have incorporated ricecakes or a flapjack or something else extra and carby, because I was hungry enough to have to buy a packet of crisps in a hurry later.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

New sidebar

My sidebar now contains a blogroll called 'vegan blogs I read'. These are the blogs I feel the need to check every day or two for updates, rather than an exhaustive list!

Tofu scrambler

We don't have this as often as we used to, purely because tofu seems to be more expensive and/or harder to find the further north you get. (anyone want to confirm or deny?) Nonetheless, it is possible to get locally-made tofu - with a cool name on it, no less! - so this is one that comes out occasionally.

The empty packet

The crumbled tofu in a bowl. This particular brand crumbles easily after being pressed with kitchen paper to get the water out. You'll have to imagine me doing that, as the boy wasn't available for photographic assistant duties.

Crumbled tofu sprinkled with chilli, cumin and tumeric. Horseradish is the best flavouring to use but I haven't been able to locate any here yet.

Cooked scrambler in a wok. I fried the tofu mixture with a bit of margarine to start with, then added soy milk to give it a more scrambled-egg-like texture. Sometimes I add some vegan mayo (Plamil or Granose, would recommend the former for this as the latter is more like salad cream), but this is strictly optional.

I'm sure you'd love to see a picture of my boy in his dressing gown eating tofu scrambler and looking appreciative, but I'll spare him that one. For now. ;)

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


This is a bit of a regular around here - in fact, it is a week or so since I took these pictures, and I have another one in the oven as I write.

The basics: veg over dried stuff!

The raw veg - potato, parsnip, swede, carrot and tomato (I forgot the onion until after taking pics!) - sprinkled with pepper and paprika. I vary the vegetable content and spices each time. I think this one also has pearl barley and lentils under the veg. Today's offering has dried soup mix in.

Gravy - this can just be Bisto powder with water, but sometimes I add tomato puree or yeast extract for extra flavour.

Veg soaked in gravy, ready to go in the oven. I normally put it in at about 180 centigrade/celsius, and it needs an hour to an hour and a half to cook everything through. Not fast, but fairly low maintenance in that it doesn't need anything doing to it during this time!

Saturday, 6 November 2010


Pumpkin seeds, the by-product of both cooking with pumpkins and making halloween lanterns. They've been washed and dried and are about to go in the oven...

And here they are after half an hour or so! We've been snacking on them a bit, but most are going to be used for making bread...

Gap in posting!

Thursdays are my 'busy' day, my schedule runs from 9-630 and five hours of that time is spent directly in the classroom. I get an hour for lunch, and what I eat in that hour has to keep me going potentially from 1-9pm, so I tend to put a lot in there... This week it was:
  • Sandwiches (on homemade bread, more about that later) with herb pate
  • A Linda McCartney sausage roll
  • A small bag of carrot and yellow pepper sticks
  • A piece of homemade apple and pumpkin pie, again more about that later
  • A packet of plain crisps from the vending machine
This is a bit of a mixture of pure carbs and vitamin content, of fast and slow energy, which is what I need!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Curry night!

This is a more complicated meal than I'd normally make, but it was part of a 'date night' with my boyfriend. Of course each of the curries can also be made individually.

The whole plateful - spinach and chickpea, lentil dhal, bombay potatoes (a bit mushier than I'd intended) and yellow rice with sultanas.

The (slightly messy) table, showing vegan raita (made with Provamel yoghurt), poppadums and mango chutney.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Happy World Vegan Day!

So, I'm back. The reason for my absence is down to a couple of major events - submitting my PhD thesis and moving from Nottingham, England to Stirling, Scotland within the space of a week - and the aftermath: settling in in a new flat in a town I've visited once in less-than-perfect circumstances, adjusting to a new routine, going from living alone to cohabiting, planning new classes, trying to write articles to publish (ok, I'm doing that right now but procrastinating on blogspot...) - you get the general idea. I didn't consciously choose World Vegan Day to make a comeback, but it seems fairly appropriate. Although I haven't officially signed up for Vegan MoFo, I like the sentiments behind it, so this month I will be trying to keep up some kind of routine in order to show exactly what vegans eat and why (except for one of the meals pictured in this post) it isn't that scary!

So, without further ado, my halloween menu

Beetroot soup for lunch - looks gory enough but is in fact completely vegan!

Sunday dinner consisting of roast potatoes, parsnip and pumpkin, swede and carrot mash and stuffed peppers topped with cheezley. Not especially 'scary' but since Halloween was on a Sunday this year I thought it would work...

Friday, 6 August 2010

The price of being single

So apparently one of the disadvantages of being single/living alone is that you can't bulk-buy food. Not true! I'm not single now, but am in the last month of a three-year stretch living on my own. I was single for about three or four months of that time. The periods on either side of that have been spent in distance relationships. I've always bulk-bought food whenever I could, although for some things it depends on being able to get a lift from the shop.

Here's a list of stuff that can be bulk-bought in a small household:
-Tinned food - baked beans and tomatoes at least, these often come in multipacks or catering tins (if you have a freezer to keep the remainder of an opened tin)
-Dried beans/chickpeas - either store them dried and boil when needed or (more economically) boil a whole packet (or two if you have a big enough pan) and freeze what you aren't using that day or the next
-Pearl barley, on the same principle as above
-Rice and pasta
-Couscous and quinoa, if you have a weigh-and-save type shop around that sells these things
-Flour (but watch for damp and mites!)

And also a whole load of non-edible (well, I don't see them as edible!) things like loo roll and dishwashing liquid.

I know this isn't strictly a vegan issue, but it does at least highlight that being a vegan doesn't cost a bomb!

Saturday, 31 July 2010

The thinking vegan?

I came across this in the Guardian this morning. Now, I'm quite thrilled that veganism is getting any coverage in a mainstream newspaper from a vegan perspective, in particular coverage that is not about health scares or 'pushiness' or for that matter 'terrorism'/'extremism'. But I have to say parts of it make me wonder.

Now this first bit, I can understand:
I stare because I'm fascinated by the fact that these intelligent, thinking people actually eat the flesh of dead animals. This seems to be the point at which their ethics vanish. They recycle, eschew the use of cars, buy fair-trade coffee and bananas, use environmentally friendly detergent. But when it comes to the moral and environmental issue of meat consumption, their desire for food they enjoy the taste of, the sensual pleasure it gives them, overrides any ethical considerations.
I have, after all, been there many times - including with vegetarians who eat dairy and eggs. I can respect that you (anyone reading this who isn't vegan) might hold different opinions and make different choices to me. This isn't a boundless capacity - there are points where respect and even tolerance stop - but if you are actually friends with me then you are unlikely to have reached the boundary. However, if you are a friend or anything more than a casual acquaintance, you are likely to have a pretty good idea of where we disagree. So you know that I am at the very least curious about where your ethical standpoints come from.

This gave me more pause for thought:
Now, I avoid having meals at the homes of my meat-eating friends. I'm uncomfortable with the hassle that feeding me causes them, and the inevitable awkward conversations about food. I wouldn't express my real views, as I know I would offend them. I could never tell them that their lack of conscience about what they eat creates a barrier between us. Or that it means we will never be quite as close as we could be.
I don't think I've ever turned down an invite on this basis, although I may have been denied a few. I'm not secretive about being a vegan, so anyone who invites me over is likely to be doing so in the knowledge that there are certain things I don't eat. Over the years several non-vegan friends have risen to the challenge and done a bloody good job of it. Furthermore, on many occasions said non-vegans and their other guests have also eaten vegan or vegetarian food and, unless they are better bullshit artists than I give them credit for, seemed to rather like it. Oh, and there are also times I have had non-vegan dinner guests, given them vegan food because hey that's what I cook, and had more compliments than complaints.

I can understand, certainly, why this vegan and others might have issues eating at non-vegan friends' houses. If you don't have intimate knowledge of people's domestic habits, you might not know for sure how careful or otherwise they have been about avoiding cross-contamination. This boils down, no pun intended, to the relationship you have with the people in question beyond the vegan issue - the friends I mention above are all people I trust not to cross-contaminate, play stupid pranks and so on. (Including the guy who sees my meat avoidance as a good thing in the context of a tapas bar, as there is more left for him) There is an element of shyness to overcome about saying 'by the way I'm a vegan', maybe having to explain why you made that choice as well as the more prosaic details of what you do and don't eat. Sometimes it seems easier to say no. But being open about your choices (maybe not preachy in this context) and practical about what you do and don't eat, offering suggestions if necessary, is the best way to calm potential panic about feeding a vegan. (As a thought experiment, I have asked myself what I would need in order to deal with a guest with significant allergies - I'd want them to name some favourite meals, be specific about what I need to avoid, and preferably not cloud the issue too much with other factors) It occurs to me that avoiding interaction with non-vegans just fixes the idea that vegans are 'weird' and antisocial, that our food is strange and inedible to anyone else - whereas accepting these interactions, with the challenges involved, could go some way to normalising veganism in people's minds.

Sunday, 30 May 2010


Veganniversaries or other such expressions are something I miss out on a bit, because a) my veganism took a while to get going and b) it had a couple of 'off' patches so I've actually 'gone vegan' two or three times in the last fourteen years. But I certainly don't begrudge them to anyone else, so congratulations to Priya C of The Green Diva who has been vegan for a year!

Monday, 29 March 2010

Link lurve: Amy Clare on human privilege at the F-Word

I have seen too many feminists (and anti-fascists and other progressive types who I agree with on so much else) be derisory about animal rights, and far too many AR activists return the 'favour' and argue that any human cause is an unnecessary drain on time or even a conspiracy to keep activists distracted from the 'real' issue of animal rights. It is often posited as a zero-sum choice for what you believe in. What you do is a different matter - it is an individual choice how each person uses their limited time and energy, and choosing one issue over another is fine in that regard, but it doesn't mean you have to give up caring about anything else even if it does take rather slacktivist forms at times. Can you tell a raw nerve has been hit?

Anyway, this is meant to be link lurve not link whinge (although that might be a useful feature sometime, haha) I bring you the following post: Amy Clare at feminist blog The F-Word asks if you have 'Checked your human privilege lately?'

A quick sample: 'Some have likened becoming a feminist to taking one of the pills in The Matrix - suddenly, you can see the world as it really is. You become aware of every instance of oppression, and when others then dismiss this oppression, it is unbelievably infuriating. I feel the same whenever the topic of animal rights comes up in conversation, and omnivores shrug their shoulders at me and declare that they enjoy meat, so why should they stop eating it? For me, this is the same as hearing a man say that he enjoys rape porn, so why should he stop watching it?'

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Link love: Knocked up and vegan

To quell any rumours (and any fears on Ben's part should he see this post in google reader, haha! Really tempted to remove the disclaimer to see his reaction...) I am NOT pregnant.

That aside, Chloe Jo Davis at Crazy Sexy Life has made a post on being a pregnant vegan, which I felt like posting in case I or anyone reading my blog might find it useful now or (in my case) in the future.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Sweet potato and chickpea curry

I made this last night to keep my boy's strength up for couple of busy and stressful days ahead!

You will need to get:
-4 largeish sweet potatoes
-1 onion
-1 tin chickpeas
-Peanut butter
-Cumin and your preferred curry powder
-Cooking oil (I usually use sunflower)
-Tomato puree

And then:
-Chop the sweet potatoes
-Boil the sweet potatoes for half an hour and leave to stand for a bit so they go mushy
-Strain the sweet potatoes
-Heat the cooking oil in the bottom of the pan, add the sweet potatoes, a chopped onion, about a tablespoon of tomato puree and the curry powder
-Stir in the chickpeas
-Add some warm water until the mixture starts to look like soup. Simmer it for a while - stirring occasionally because this stuff can stick to a pan - then add a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter and stir in thoroughly.

Eat with rice. Not pasta this time!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Pasta with peppers and chickpeas

This one definitely comes into the erzatz-but-tasty category - I came back from a trip yesterday and launched straight into a day and a half of being constantly out at work, so needed to cook something nice from limited resources to sustain me for an evening working at home!

-Half a pepper (yellow in this case)
-Three small cloves of garlic
-Cooking oil (I use sunflower)
-Tomato puree
-Splash of balsamic vinegar (optional)

Put the pasta (about a coffee mug per person) on to boil, adding a splash of oil and a pinch of salt
Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan, cook the pepper in it for about five minutes and the garlic for a bit less
Add the chickpeas in with the pasta*
Add the tomato puree and some water to the peppers and garlic
Add the balsamic to the veg sauce bit
When the pasta is cooked, mix everything together.

*If you use frozen chickpeas, rinse them first with cold water to seperate them and take the freezer taste away. They will defrost while in the boiling water. Duh.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

30 Days of Veganism - my ideal experimental vegan!

Bryn Woznicki is a student journalist, a lifelong omnivore, and currently at the halfway stage of an experiment whereby she goes vegan for 30 days and documents this in her paper. I was dubious when I first heard about her - my experiences of omnis who do experimental veganism haven't always been the most positive, at best they manage it with a few fairly standard problems for the set period and are pretty happy to go back to their old diet at the end. Bryn, however, seems to be made of sterner stuff!

She sticks to be vegan diet with, as far as I can tell, only one or two slip-ups; makes more than the barest nod towards the wider vegan lifestyle, eats in mainstream food outlets and tries out vegetarian ones, and feeds her apparently very fussy meat-eating friend vegan food which he eats without complaint. She doesn't waste time being a martyr, which is very refreshing after the likes of Jay Rayner and Oprah. The jarring note seems to be the attitude of her vegan boyfriend to these proceedings - maybe she is just blogging the more newsworthy interactions and he is completely sweet and helpful behind the scenes, but he seems to do rather a lot of judging and hectoring.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

It's a pearl!

Today, I wanted a meal I would normally make with couscous. I have all of sod in the house of a couscous-y nature. It was 6pm on a Sunday, when shops tend to be shut, and I had very little energy to actually go out and hunt down grains that might not fill me up so well anyway. What I do have is pearl barley. And, amazingly, it worked out pretty well.

Pearl barley, I have to admit, takes a while to cook - basically you cover it with cold water, bring it to boil and simmer it for an hour. On the other hand, I've found it freezes pretty well (in terms of being edible afterwards), which means it is always worth doing double quantities and freezing some for another time.

So, today I did that - I used one of my smaller coffee mugs full of dry barley, simmered it for an hour, then took about half out to cool down ready for freezing. Then, to go with my stir-fried veg, I flavoured what was left in the pan:
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg
-a pinch of salt

Turned out ok and probably filled me up better than couscous would have!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Linky lurve - Barbies and bunnies!

In honour of National Vegetarian Week, the lovely Ms Vanilla Rose provides a list of ways to help animals, some of which translate beyond the Barbie arena!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Quick fancy pasta sauce

This was my treat at (almost) the end of the week, using up some courgettes and peppers I've had for ages and the rest of the tin of tomatoes I opened yesterday. It could have stretched to two helpings with a bit more pasta and some bread on the side. You could use a saucepan (tho not an easily heat-damaged one) or frying pan instead of the wok.

-Olive oil, heated in a wok
-Two large mushrooms, chopped
-One large courgette, chopped
-Half a pepper, chopped
-Three cloves of garlic, sliced
-Half a dozen or so olives, halved (very much optional, but I happened to have some in the fridge)
-Half a tin of tomatoes, with juice

Add the ingredients down to garlic to the wok in the order listed, unless you are the opposite of me and prefer nearly-raw mushrooms and overcooked pepper in which case do what you like. Cook the veg in the oil, stirring around a bit, until cooked. Make sure the olive oil doesn't start to smoke - turn down the ring if it sizzles too much. Add the tomatoes and a bit of water - simmer for 10 minutes or so. Eat with pasta, in case you need telling. (And no, Ben, I personally do NOT intend to use spaghetti, but make no judgement on what anyone else does. Except you because you expect me to eat what you make... I love you even if you do eat pasta that looks like WORMS.)

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Veganicity on a shoestring #3 - bean and veg casserole

Any raw foodists reading this will probably be throwing their hands up in despair at the turn my blog has been taking lately, but I am trying to eat healthily in the winter - with a very active life and no central heating at home - on a very tight budget, so the meals I've been posting fit that need pretty well. A lot of it is pretty consistent with 70s wholefood diets, except for the fact that I sometimes use tins! (oh and also white rice/pasta...)

This made one-and-a-half me-size helpings! (clue: I'm not small or currently off my food)

1 standard tin chickpeas
2 large carrots
Half a large onion
Half a standard tin of tomatoes (tomatoes are one vegetable that actually benefits healthwise from the cooking/tinning process, apparently it promotes some kind of useful nutrient)
3 teaspoons Bisto
1 tablespoon tomato puree
About two coffee mugs of water

Put the bisto and tomato puree in a saucepan and slowly stir the water in. Turn the heat on/up under it and keep stirring until the gravy thickens.

Slice the carrots, chop the onion, and put them in an ovenproof pottery dish (my blue glazed one is older than me, my mum had it first...) with the chickpeas and tomatoes. Stir so the ingredients are evenly mixed. Add the gravy so it covers everything.

Turn the oven up to 180/200 C (flexible depending on what else you want to put in there - I had it on higher at the start because I was making bread, since the oven happened to be on). Leave the casserole in for about an hour, until the carrots are cooked through. If you don't have either a dish with a lid or a handy piece of tinfoil, keep it on the bottom shelf and give it a stir at some point so the stuff at the top doesn't get burned!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Veganicity on a shoestring #2 - vegetable stew

Sadly I don't have my mother's dumpling-making talents! Anyway, this is what I was eating on Saturday - I had a 'crash' day where my body tried to recover all the energy used and not topped up over the past week, so although this made three or four helpings I ended up eating the whole lot...

A pot of stock - see the previous recipe for how I make this
One large potato
One sweet potato (or another normal one - I had these because they were on special offer)
Three large carrots (good way to use up frost-damaged ones)
Half a tin of tomatoes (leftover from the other day)
Beans, probably the equivalent to a normal tin - I used chick peas and butter beans from the freezer though.
Three cloves of garlic.

Basically you 'make' this by putting the lid on the pot and leaving it to simmer for an hour! You can also add pearl barley, pretty much any root vegetable, or indeed onions except I didn't have one to hand...

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Vegan on a shoestring #1 - 'Boring bolognese'

I hasten to add that this isn't actually boring, it acquired the tag in question when I was a student with limited cooking facilities and ended up eating the stuff several times a week. This made enough for two helpings, most of my day's food intake given that I was working from home. Just enough for it to be nice and not boring. Maybe the fact that I poured some leftover wine into it helped...

A pan of stock, either from a cube or from swilling out yeast extract jars. You know, the ones that don't have enough stuff in to scoop out and spread on toast but it seems wasteful to bin!
A tablespoon Bisto (powder not granules)
A tablespoon tomato puree
Three largeish carrots
Three sticks of celery
Half an onion
Half a normal tin of chopped tomatoes

Swill the yeast extract jars out with warm water. Stir slowly into the bisto. Add the tomato puree. Top up with more water and bring to the boil.
Chop the carrots, celery and onion and place in the boiling stock. Add the tomatoes. Turn the heat down and leave to simmer until the liquid has thickened and some has evaporated.
Eat with pasta. You don't need me to tell you how to cook that.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

A health post

Before I embark on a series of cheap recipes, here's a list of vegan superfoods from the Green Diva.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


With Valentines day less than a month away I want to put a plug in for my friend Wendy, who runs a one-stop shop for vegan chocolate! She has flavoured truffles, creme eggs and chocolate hearts, among other things. Oh, and keep the site bookmarked for Easter as she also does large eggs and chocolate bunnies, if you can bring yourself to eat animal-shaped chocs which I never can.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

New Year Veganicity

I'm not keen on the idea of new years resolutions, but a few have occurred to me regarding veganism so here they are!

  • To be less guarded about my veganism and the reasons for it when among non-vegans, and not interpret questions as jibes unless they are really obviously meant in that way.
  • To try to rise above jibes, assume that the person is either masking genuine curiosity or else not worth my energy getting angry with.
  • To join in discussions at work about food and cooking even if it is sometimes very frustrating to hear about meat etc.
  • To get involved in activism again, although this may have to be after submitting my thesis!
  • To make myself available to people who are curious about veganism (eg through formspring)
  • To be more proactive in raising the subject of veganism, although I may stick to 'safe' situations for the time being.
  • To make more effort to share food, subject to affording to do so, in particular to make more from-scratch food for parties and so on since (amazingly) no-one in my life (apart from my friend's pre-teen daughter who now avoids meat herself) has ever objected to chocolate cake or pizza even when they know it is vegan.
  • To avoid factional bickering in the vegan/AR movement - I do have a horrible tendency towards morbid curiosity about these things, not to mention getting embroiled in them (particularly when my personal feelings about individuals get into the mix), and this isn't healthy. Negative energy is the most painful sort to expend. Pretty much every approach is useful and necessary, and I need to remember that regardless of feelings about the individuals concerned.

Vegan pledge

This is a bit late for new years resolutions, but still worth posting now as it can be done at any time of year. The Vegan Society is running a Vegan Pledge initiative encouraging non-vegans to swear off the animal products for 7, 14 or 30 days. You will be sent a special vegan starter pack and linked up with more experienced vegans to get advice. I would recommend that people starting from complete omni-ness should probably do 7 days - vegetarians might like to consider starting with 14. Of course there is nothing to stop you doing one after the other, or indeed sticking with veganism afterwards.

At a more personal level, I can be found on formspring if anyone has vegan-related questions.