World’s best guacamole recipe…

Thanks Flicka for this insanely delicious guacamole recipe.  Tried and tested it today and it is indeed the world’s best guacamole!

3 garlic cloves, 1 to 2 chillies depending on fire requirements, 1/2 large red onion wizzed up so its in tiny chopped pieces, so you can still get some crunch but it flows through all avocado beautifully

2 avocados whipped up in the processor with juice of 2 small limes or 1 very large lime, this keeps the guacamole its vibrant bright green colour even after sitting in the fridge for a day

1 ripe mango fairly finely chopped

handful of very finely chopped coriander leaves

2 large ripe, smelling gorgeous tomatoes ,quartered, deseeded and chopped into fine little squares. Keep middles for bean stews etc.

decent sprinkle of Himalayan salt and some freshly ground pepper.

drizzle of E.V.O oil

mix together and serve with pittas etc, or cos lettuce leaves for guacamole boats.

Domestic Vegan Goddess!

So I cooked up a vegan storm last night and am feeling a touch smug this morning.  I should mention ahead of my smug gloating that I am not a good cook.  I can’t make anything without a recipe and nothing I make ever looks like the picture and most times that I do go to great lengths to make something entirely from scratch I end up wondering why I didn’t just call on Lloyd Grossman or his brethren for a far less stressful, quicker, cheaper and tastier cooking experience!

Anyway, this was a rare occasion where I did everything from scratch and it was totally worth it – knocked the socks of Mr Grossman and I danced around the kitchen dreaming of my own vegan cooking series… ‘Tasty Tempeh’ or ‘Hemp Happiness’ perhaps…?  Hmmm… can work on the title – meanwhile back to what I actually cooked:

So we started with a fiery guacamole and toasted pitta – dead easy, dead delish.  Then sat down for the most creamy and delicious Malai Kofta with brown basmati rice:

Chandra malai kofta vegan recipe.

The sauce was thick and creamy, the dumplings were zingy and tasty and even held their shape (a revelation!), the rice was soft and fluffy (never get brown rice right usually) and it even looked delicious on the plate with a flourish of coriander from the garden – oh stop it now you’re showing off!  Plates were licked clean, seconds were proffered and taken and pleasant noises were murmured all round.  Success!

Then we had the Pièce de résistance –

10 best Chocolate and pecan tart

This chocolate and pecan tart.  Homina homina homina.  And so easy to make that even I couldn’t f*** it up!  Bloody ruddy yummy.

Gogo was most helpful…

torte torte1 torte2

Recipes for you here:

Chandra malai kofta

(Serves 4)
For the kofta:
½ x 425g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup slivered almonds
1½ tsp cumin seeds
225g courgette, shredded
¼ cup finely chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp salt
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1¼ cups Panko breadcrumbs

For the sauce:
1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp refined coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, very finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp mild curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 400g tin lite coconut milk
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt
1 cup frozen peas

For everything else:
Refined coconut oil, for frying (2 tbsp or so)
Cooked basmati rice, for serving
Fresh coriander, for garnish (optional)

Prepare the kofta mixture
In a medium bowl, mash the chickpeas until they are mushy but not quite pureed.

Preheat a large, heavy pan over a medium heat. Toast the almonds for about 7 minutes, tossing frequently, until they are golden and browned in some spots. Transfer immediately to the bowl containing the chickpeas. Next, toast the cumin seeds for 3 minutes or so, until fragrant and a shade or two darker. Transfer those to the bowl as well.

Add the courgette, coriander, ginger, garlic, salt, and black pepper, and mix well.

Now add the breadcrumbs and use your hands to mix and mush until it holds together. Cover with plastic wrap (or a plate) and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare the sauce
Drain the cashews and add to a blender along with the broth. Blend until very smooth. This could take from 1-5 minutes depending on the strength of your machine, so give your blender a break every minute or so and test the sauce for smoothness. It should be very smooth, with only a slight graininess. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula to make sure you get everything.

Preheat a pan over a medium heat and add the coconut oil. Saute the onion in the oil for about 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook just until fragrant, 15 seconds or so. Add the curry powder, garam masala, and cumin and toss for a minute or so, just to toast the spices a bit.

Add the coconut milk, tomato paste, blended cashews and salt. Bring to a low simmer and let cook for 15 minutes or so. It should thicken up nicely. Add the peas and let them warm through. Taste for seasonings, then turn off the heat and cover until ready to serve.

Cook the kofta
Preheat a large cast-iron pan (or any pan that is nonstick and good for frying)over a medium heat. Line the counter with some parchment paper to keep the formed kofta from sticking. Scoop up a scant ¼ cup of the mixture. Roll between your hands to pack it well, and then roll into a football shape. Set on the parchment and continue to form all 12 kofta.

When the pan is hot enough, add some coconut oil and make sure it coats the bottom of the pan. Now add the kofta, rolling each one around in the pan when you add it, making sure to coat all sides. Use a little extra oil, if needed.

Fry them for about 7 minutes, rolling them around in the pan to get them browned on all sides. They don’t have to be uniformly browned; just do your best. Once browned, turn off the heat.

To assemble
Scoop some rice on to each plate, place 3 koftas on top of the rice, and cover with sauce. Garnish with coriander, if you like, and serve.

• This recipe is taken from Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, published by Sphere, price £20.

Chocolate and pecan tart (from Jordan Bourke, jordanbourke.com)

The rich fruitiness (and extra vitamins) provided by the avocados, dates and coconut oil here add hidden depth to this chocolate tart. Best served from the fridge, within two days of making it.

Serves 8
150g pecans, plus extra for decorating
10 dried pitted dates
125g oatcakes
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted
3 tsp cocoa powder
Pinch of sea salt

For the filling
3 large ripe avocados, peeled and destoned
6 tbsp pure maple syrup
3 tbsp date syrup (or more maple syrup)
6 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp sea salt
5 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted
100g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids

1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and roast the pecans for about 4 minutes, or until they are a shade darker and aromatic – watch them carefully as they burn very quickly. Leave to cool completely.

2 In a food processor, blitz the dates for a few seconds, then add the rest of the ingredients for the base and blitz until everything is very finely chopped and sticks together when pressed between your fingers. Very firmly press the mixture into a 20cm-diameter springform tin, so that you have an even, smooth and compacted base for the tart. Place in the freezer to set for 15-20 minutes.

3 For the filling, place all the ingredients into a food processor, apart from the coconut oil and dark chocolate, then blitz until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as you go. This could take a few minutes, depending on the strength of your machine.

4 With the processor still running, pour in the melted coconut oil until just combined. Pour the mixture on to the set base and smooth out the top. Place in a fridge to set for at least 4-5 hours.

5 When ready to serve, remove the tart from the springform tin and place it on a large white plate. Liberally grate the chocolate over the tart and scatter with extra pecans.

 

The Vegan Inquisition…

As I said in my first ever post, the social aspect of going vegan has been by far the hardest and most challenging part.  The decision to switch and making the switch was actually very easy.  But the social side continues to catch me off guard all the time.  I never expected my decision to go vegan to be questioned, attacked and ridiculed by so many people.  I had no idea what a contentious issue it would be for so many people and how many tricky situations it would throw up –  from friends, family, colleagues and the occasional complete stranger too!

I should mention of course that there are a huge number of people who have been remarkably supportive, encouraging and understanding of it too which is great.  But I had naively thought this would be the norm… not the exception…

Things I’ve had said to me:

“You do know that your going vegan isn’t going to make the slightest bit of difference”.  This is one of the first things someone very close to me said when I told them I was going vegan.  I was quite taken aback as, of all the reactions I might have anticipated, this wasn’t one of them. I’d hoped that it might matter to them at least as someone who cares about me and knows me well.  On a more rational level – I also think it’s a very strange reason to give someone for not bothering to do something.  Imagine if no one bothered to ever try and stand up for women’s right, or to end apartheid or any great or small social movement – I think we can all agree that even tiny steps, when strung together, make large steps and huge leaps – so of course tiny steps matter!  I’d also hoped that this person might be curious to ask why I was doing it.  The feeling of resignation and helplessness this statement purveys implies that they can easily imagine why I was doing it, but the fact that I wouldn’t make any difference was reason enough to not bother.  This kind of apathy infuriates me and has always been like a red rag to a bull.  Does recycling my yoghurt pot make any noticeable difference to land fill and climate change?  No.  But is that reason to not do what you know is the right thing to do?  Of course not!

But were they right?  Does it make a difference?  Well firstly, it certainly makes a big difference to me – to my conscience, to my carbon footprint, to my reduced risk of getting heart disease, cancer, high cholesterol and osteoporosis, amongst many other diseases proven to be directly linked to animal products.  Secondly, it makes a difference to the animals I have chosen not to eat – this has been calculated for a ‘typical British carnivore’ to be roughly 30 land animals a year or around 255 if you include fish.  So yes, calculate that over the rest of my lifetime and I’d say that’s a pretty enormous difference!  Thirdly, it raises awareness and certainly gets people talking; it makes a difference to the vegan movement.  My choosing to be vegan is commented upon several times a day – and that’s still happening a year on – this undoubtedly encourages people to question their own food choices.  In one year alone I have had more interesting conversations about climate change, global poverty, animal rights and animal welfare, the ethics of what we eat and how, industrial farming practices and slaughterhouse regulations and dietary health than I have in the rest of my life put together.  I already know of several people who, because of mine and Ed’s commitment to veganism, have already cut down their meat, dairy and egg consumption and masses of people who have told me that they are much more committed to supporting only the very best, most sustainable meat and dairy producers they can.

“But I only eat the most expensive, grass fed, organic, free-range, heritage, sustainable meat, dairy and eggs I can  – so none of this factory farming and cruelty stuff applies to me”.  This comes up a lot.  A LOT.  I have a pretty conscientious bunch of friends – some boycott Unilever, most would never shop at Primark, some would always buy Fairtrade coffee, sugar and chocolate and most buy expensive meat most of the time.  So I get this thrown at me a lot.  I never know if I should just nod because they are not asking me a  question – they are telling me that they are innocent in regard to any animal cruelty I might be pertaining to.  So sometimes I nod (in a way which I hope isn’t that convincing and might encourage them to ask if I agree or not) and sometimes I’m braver and will say well sadly no, it doesn’t quite work like that.  On the one hand – if you are determined to eat meat, dairy or eggs then of course please buy the least cruel, most ethical version that you can.  But sadly, within the very best farming practices, within the most compassionate livestock systems, there are still huge problems.

1. The culling of millions of baby male chicks every day!  I worry I’ve repeated this too much on this blog already – but I’m sorry if this makes you uncomfortable.  I will go on repeating it until it stops happening.  Chick culling is the process of killing newly hatched poultry for which breeders have no use. Due to modern selective breeding laying hen strains differ from meat production strains. As male birds of the laying strain do not lay eggs and are not suitable for meat production, they are generally killed soon after they hatch.[ Most of the male chicks are usually killed shortly after being sexed. Methods of culling include cervical dislocation, asphyxiationby carbon dioxide and maceration using a high speed grinder.  If you don’t believe me  – watch this footage which was videoed under cover in a UK hatchery in 2010 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6i2zg-dkOs

2. Male dairy calves – about 100,000 bull dairy calves were killed in the UK last year because we have no need for them.  They are no good as dairy calves obviously and the demand for veal isn’t big enough to provide a solution.   A further 11,000 are estimated to have been shipped abroad to be turned into veal in France and elsewhere.  The life of a dairy cow is one you wouldn’t wish on your very worst enemy – regardless how humane the conditions they are kept in are.  They are impregnated roughly 6 times, pretty much back to back, (with a long steel rod which artificially inseminates them – which is the equivalent to rape to you and I), each time their calf is taken away within the first week or so and they are then forced to produce at least 4 times more milk than they would naturally for their newborn calf.  We then steal this milk of course – this milk which we in no way need.  Another amazing myth of the dairy industry – what a clever marketing campaign it is that has the world believing you need to drink cows milk in order to maintain healthy teeth and bones.  Complete rubbish!  Cow’s milk actually depletes the calcium for your bones and increases your chances of developing osteporosis.  Read this article here for more info: http://saveourbones.com/osteoporosis-milk-myth/

3. Animals raised for meat and slaughtered at a horribly young age:

Cattle – should live to 25 – 30, typically killed at 1 – 2 yrs

Sheep – should live to 15, typically killed at 3 – 10 months

Pigs – should live to 15, typically killed at 3 – 6 months

Chickens – should live to 10, typically killed at 6 weeks

Egg-laying hens – should live to 100, typically killed at 18 months

Turkeys – should live to 10, typically killed at 12 – 26 weeks

I’m not sure how slaughtering them this early in their natural life cycle can ever be justified as ‘a good life!’.  Is that how we would describe the life of a child who dies under the age of 5? (the equivalent in relation to our life expectancy here in the UK).  No.  We call it a tragedy.  We say they’ve been robbed of their life.  We say their life had barely begun.  What a cruel loss!

4. It is still a grossly inefficient use of resources – meat production requires a much higher amount of water than vegetables. 1kg of meat requires between 5,000 and 20,000 litres of water whereas to produce 1kg of wheat requires between 500 and 1,000 litres of water and 1kg of potatoes for example uses 287 litres of water.  Beyond this, consumption of animal products contributes to global warming, pollution, land degradation, deforestation and loss of biodiversity – in other words, all the major environmental problems we face today.

5. Sheep and cattle (however loved they are) still produce a huge amount of methane emissions (meat eating is responsible for at least a third of all biological methane emissions.  Methane is produced by bacteria in the stomachs of sheep and cattle and is released through the animals’ bodily functions.  Yes farting and burping!  Molecule for molecule, methane is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas and the livestock industry is responsible for 18 percent of those greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent.  This is a higher share than all the world’s transport put together – yes really!  All planes, trains, cars, buses and boats!

6.  However responsibly and ethically you try to eat – you are still contributing to the demand for animal products – and so long as the world population continues to grow, the methods via which we are able to produce these products on the scale that is needed are only going to get further and further away from the nostalgic, happy farm images that we like to keep in our minds.  Industrial farming is the only way to supply this growing demand and I hope we can all agree that factory farming is just plain unacceptable!

7.  However humanely you try and slaughter an animal – however fastidious your methods and controlled the environment – it is still slaughtering an innocent animal for no good reason (other than it tastes good…!).  I just don’t think it can ever be right to purposefully take another animal’s life for such a self-serving purpose.  We do it because we can and that’s it.  It’s the most appalling demonstration of the abuse of power and I honestly think we will look back in 30, maybe 50 years and be absolutely disgusted by what we turned a blind eye to and allowed to happen.

“You’ve grown up hunting, shooting and fishing so how on earth can you suddenly turn around and say you’re vegan?”.  I can understand that given my upbringing it might be more surprising that I have turned to a vegan lifestyle.  But the idea that your past should somehow prevent you from using your brain to make your own informed choices is rather frightening.  If that were the case then most of my generation would still be going through pregnancy on 20 fags a day and a bottle of gin; smacking our children as an effective form of discipline; making racist jokes at dinner parties; calling each other spastic and mongs as harmless putdowns; and believing in Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy!

What is the point in having a brain, after all, if it is not to question and to continually seek the most honest truth you can?  How would anyone ever learn from their mistakes or other peoples’ mistakes otherwise?  Isn’t this the whole point – to question, to learn and to evolve as best we possibly can?    Inevitably this means that occasionally you decide that you disagree with some of the things you may have been told as a child – and that’s ok!

“We are designed to eat meat and evolved to do so over thousands of years so veganism isn’t natural”.  Yes we have eaten meat for a very, very long time.  But we don’t live back then.  We live now – today. And today is what we should base our choices around food on.  And today we know that we have absolutely no need whatsoever to eat animal products so why on earth would we?  It tastes good, everyone else is doing it and we’ve always done it just aren’t good enough answers.  Not when there is animal cruelty (and far far worse!), environmental disaster and our health and our children’s health at stake.

“If you care about the environment so much then how can you drive a car or travel on an aeroplane?”  This I found hilarious – the suggestion that it must be all or nothing.  You couldn’t possibly care enough to make some changes and not all the others!  Imagine saying to someone, just because they recycle their jam jars and cardboard boxes, that they should really think about living off grid or walking to work barefoot… Or to someone who grows their own tomatoes and cabbages that they should really stop buying coffee that’s been grown in Ethiopia or tea from Uganda.  Surely “well done, I wish everyone would recycle as conscientiously as you do” would be a more positive and supportive reaction.

“What about your shoes, belt, wallet, watchstrap, jumper, hair dye, nail varnish, car tyres….?”  It’s extraordinary how many people’s first reaction is to attack and pick holes in anything you might not be doing vegan rather than encourage you in what you are doing.  Presumably they must be feeling attacked or judged in some way to feel the need to attack back in so curious a way.  Why else would their reaction be one of such an aggressive and attacking nature?  Imagine if someone said to you “I’m trying to read more as my New Years Resolution” and your reaction was to immediately say “but you don’t have your book with you right now so ha, you’re clearly not that committed”.  Your reaction would be considered suspicious, unkind and frankly very odd.  People would be forgiven for thinking that perhaps you were feeling a little competitive or inferior for not having this resolution yourself.

Incidentally I have changed my watchstrap, my wallet, my handbag, my trainers, my flip flops, my belt and various other every day items to animal free versions (and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy saying “well yes actually these are all entirely animal free”) but that’s not the point.  This reaction tells you a lot about how uncomfortable people are having these issues laid out in the open.  On some level we all know that there is a lot of unnecessary suffering and cruelty that goes on in order for us to enjoy pork chops, leather shoes and make up that’s been tested on animals.  We’d just far rather not think about it and let it continue to go on behind abattoir walls and factory farm fences – out of sight and out of mind.  Vegans bring attention to this and people are not always very comfortable with this.

“You can’t have this – bad luck!”  This is another rather curious reaction you get quite a lot – firstly, yes I can.  There are no rules – just a succession of choices.  I can eat whatever I like –  I just choose not to eat that.  And why would someone who normally would say, (say if I had an allergy or something), ‘oh poor you, you can’t have that’, now choose to gleefully try and rub your nose in it.  It usually seems in these instances that someone is leaping at anything that reassure then that veganism is unenjoyable, miserable, boring – anything that helps to rid them of the lingering doubt, somewhere deep below, that maybe it is a more humane and compassionate and environmentally friendly way to live….  or maybe they’re just not very nice and take joy in seeing people not be able to partake in what they are partaking in.

“Why are you vegan?”   I know that this is a very normal question and you should expect to be asked this if you’re going to ‘swim against the tide’ and be vegan but it still strikes me as strange each time someone asks me this (often at the table as we are eating a meal – them meat, me not) when surely a far more obvious question would be “why are you eating a dead animal when you have absolute no need to?” or “why are you eating a dead animal which you know must have suffered in order for you to eat it”.

I have no idea what the best way to answer this question is and will continue to struggle to come up with an answer that’s suitable for every time this question is asked – which is a lot!  I suppose that it depends on the situation and the intent of the person asking it.  If someone is genuinely interested then I would probably recommend saying something pretty general like “various things led me to do some research and that led me to being vegan – I’d be happy to talk to you about it in more detail if you’re interested or give me your email address and I’ll send you some info”.  If someone is clearly on the defensive, attack or ridiculing you in some way – then there’s no point in engaging with them, no matter how much you’d love to sit them down and make them watch the documentary Earthlings from beginning to end, or show them a video of the millions of baby male chicks that are macerated alive every day just so that they can enjoy plump chicken breasts or take them on a tour of a slaughterhouse facility or take them along to see a cow when her calf is removed so that we can steal her milk or any number of issues that you hope would make anyone with an ounce of humanity and compassion question eating meat – the best thing is to avoid it altogether and change the subject entirely.  I’ve learned enough over the last year to promise you that unless someone is remotely sincere in their questioning, there is absolutely no point in discussing it for a minute.     I now just usually limit my answers to “I’m vegan for lots of reasons ranging from climate change to animal welfare and I also feel a zillion times better physically for it so it seems to suit me very well” and leave it at that.

“Why would meat taste so delicious if it wasn’t meant to be eaten?”

My daughter’s cheeks, I guarantee you, would taste divine but that does not justify me slapping them under the grill and making myself a cheeky sarnie! (geddit?)  Can ‘it tastes good’ honestly ever be an adequate justification for the unfathomable number of animals killed every year for our pleasure?  It’s estimated to be around 150 billion animals a year worldwide.  Shall I say that again? 150 billion. No I have no idea what that means either.  A lot.  Alottalot even.  150 billion. 150,000,000,000.  I’m afraid that something tasting good just isn’t a good enough answer to justify the way we treat animals the world over.

In ‘Eating Animals’ there’s a paragraph which shows I think rather well, what an odd thing this is.  It says, how would people react if someone said “I’m really horny, I’m going to go and shag an animal”.  We’d all be horrified – not just because it suggests a perverse sexual tendency in that person but also because we all (I hope) abhor the idea of an innocent animal being raped.  Yet we barely bat an eyelid when, because “it tastes good”, we slaughter and eat animals by the billion the world over.  Surely being raped is preferable to being slaughtered and eaten?  Or maybe not… I don’t think either sound particularly good so I’m happy to have absolutely nothing to do with either atrocious and cruel act.

“Where do you get your protein?”  People love to ask this.  It’s another example of the total bullshit we have been raised to believe – that you NEED to eat meat in order to get enough protein in your diet.  Total rubbish!  If you’re eating a healthy balanced vegan diet it’s actually quite hard not to get all the protein you need.  There’s protein in everything – even potatoes!  particularly good sources of protein are all soya products such as tofu and tempeh as well as quinoa, millet, pulses such as lentils, peas and beans, oats, nuts and seeds and of course all whole grains.

There are many more which I haven’t listed and perhaps I will continue this posting another day…. but I think that is plenty to digest for now…. all thoughts very welcome!!!! x

NOPI (Restaurant review)

   

I was so excited about my first trip to NOPI and had heard such great things.  I have all Ottolenghi’s cook books and they have been faithful friends over the past year, comprising of mostly vegetarian recipes which are easily reconfigured to vegan ones and many many vegan ones too!  So for vegans – Ottolenghi is our friend!   Or so I thought….

The whole evening was probably the most stressful restaurant experience I’ve had since going vegan (except possibly for the French chef who slowly garrotted and then quickly guillotined me with his eyes when I asked whether his chips had been cooked in animal fat….!).  Being an Ottolenghi restaurant, I didn’t bother phoning ahead (which I usually do) to ask whether they would be able to cater for me.  I just assumed it would be no trouble.  1st mistake.

I then had a 20 minute very confusing conversation with a very sweet but seemingly clueless waitress who insisted on showing me the lactose free menu when I asked what vegan dishes they had.  Everything listed on this menu had either goats cheese, yoghurt, cream or some such included in it and it was impossible to ascertain from her whether these were vegan versions (which would have been unexpectedly wonderful!) or if they were just going to remove the non-vegan elements from the dish and give me the remaining bits (not so wonderful).  I tried to explain that if they didn’t really have anything vegan then I would rather have a vegetarian meal and enjoy it rather than a really badly thought through vegan meal; I felt it was my fault for not calling ahead and this was a special night out with friends I really didn’t want my veganism to cause any fuss…. The waitress repeatedly reassured me that the whole lactose free menu was all vegan and would be delicious.  Fine.  So I ordered three tapas dishes:

Roasted aubergine, lemon chilli feta, pistachios

French beans, sugar snaps, edamame beans, yellow mustard seeds

Roasted sweet potato, burnt aubergine yoghurt,basil, maple roasted seeds

Mistake 2.

What I knew would happen was exactly what happened.  The plates just came with the non-vegan bits removed.  So dry roasted aubergine & pistachios and dry sweet potato with seeds – all horribly dry and turning my mouth into an endless cement mixer.  This obviously really annoyed me as I had tried to be as cooperative and respectful as I could be by offering to forego my veganism for the evening in favour of sampling their amazing food.  Having said that – the edamame bean dish was incredible so it was a complete disaster!

I really don’t know what the right answer to do in these situations is.  My instinct is to try your best to stick to your principles but if that doesn’t seem to be feasible at the same time as having a great meal then you have to decide to either opt for the vegan but poor quality meal or a non-vegan one-off meal out of respect for the chef and their cuisine.  I’ve done both probably in equal measure and I still don’t know what is right.  You feel a bit pissed off either way really!  Having said this, these are the exception and not the rule.  Nearly all restaurants I’ve been to in the last year have had a vegan option available and if they haven’t then I’ve called ahead and they’ve been only to happy to whip up a vegan something so it really isn’t a very big problem.  It just poses another interesting social and moral dilemma of what choice to make…

I didn’t say anything of course and just put it down as a good lesson learned.  Remember – always phone ahead and don’t let waiters and waitresses bully you into ordering something you know is not what it seems!

So I sought solace in a delicious soya latte.   But I should hasten to mention that everyone else’s meal looked absolutely delicious and every plate was licked (quite literally) squaky clean!

The rise of the part-time vegans (BBC article)

Hoorah!

This article was featured yesterday on the BBC Magazine Online and was written by Vanessa Barford.  I’ve come across so many people who’ve said “I could  easily be vegan, except for cheese…” Or “I’d love to be vegan but I could never give up eggs..”.  This notion that it has to be all or nothing is really problematic (and another reason why labelling these food choices – vegan – is so dangerous) as it’s stopping people from making any changes whatsoever for fear that they can’t do it all.  We have to invent new labels – part-time vegan, flexi-vegan etc.  Why not be vegan at home and eat whatever you want when eating out.  Or avoid animal products before 6pm each day and don’t worry about it in the evenings.  This kind of gentle leaning into veganism should be encouraged.  Just think – if everyone in the UK decided to cut their animal product consumption in half, then it would be like half the population were vegan! 

Any small steps towards an animal-product free lifestyle is a step in the right direction and whether it’s ‘Meat Free Mondays’, ‘Veganuary’ , ‘Beyoncé & Jay-Z’ or peopl’s own moral conscience that is inspiring them, it’s all good! 

 

Veganuary could be a stepping stone to more sustainable eating

This article was featured in The Guardian on Jan 17th 2014, written by Damian Clarkson

tomatoes veganism sustainable eating

 

There are over 300 comments made on this article (and growing) which make for amusing reading if you’re interested – http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/veganuary-campaign-sustainable-eating-vegan-diet?commentpage=1

Mildred’s

Had another great evening at Mildred’s last night.  Got there at 7pm and it was absolutely rammed.  Mildred’s has been going since 1988 and is probably the most famous vegetarian restaurant in London.     It’s nestled in Soho and always has a great atmosphere.

photo 1

I had a delicious Sri Lankan sweet potato and cashew nut curry which was incredibly creamy and tasty and Ed had the Special burger which was Pumpkin, parsnip and courgette and delicious!

curry       bun

Here’s the menu and the Specials board – everything’s reasonably priced and they are huge portions.  I was completely stuffed and we had only shared a starter and had a main each.  Food comes really quickly as they don’t do reservations so it’s a quick turnaround.  Perfect for grabbing a quick bite.

photo 2    photo menu

I had a Freedom beer which was very tasty – quite expensive at £4.25 a bottle though…

photo 3

The whole meal came to about £40 (2 beers, 2 mains and a starter).  Great place, def recommend.

45 Lexington Street, London , W1F 9AN 020 7494 1634       email: info@mildreds.co.uk