Vegan

Magic Ingredients, Rainbow brushes & the legalese Of Alcohol Free beer…

So today, another one of those “I wonder what that is really like?” questions have been answered…Nutritional Yeast – and I’m somewhat surprised…but more of that later on!

I met a pal (Anthony) for lunch today – I say lunch, but we very rarely have lunch –  instead, we try and seek out the most pretentious coffee shops in the Southwark/Waterloo area and judge them accordingly…they’ve ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous; we’ve had coffee served in chipped mugs, cakes served on the top of an old skateboard and all manner of unsuitable, painfully hipster ways to convey coffee and cake!

When we aren’t doing this, we gravitate towards Borough Market for a mooch about and look at the produce – and today we had a task to find the hallowed spaghetti squash…alas after 30 mins of searching, we drew a blank – I’d even perfected the mating call of the squash – but seems that there’d been bromide sprayed o’er the allotments as there wasn’t even a twitching in the long grass…

Anthony and I like beer. We both love the huge variety of craft beers and the almost endless of combinations of hops, malt and yeasts. we’ve both done lots of all-grain home brewing . But he, like so many others, is having a dry (ish) January – and so we wandered into “UtoBeer” at Borough Market and he picked up 4 no-alcohol beers ranging from an IPA to a dark stout…I didn’t know these artisan breweries had moved into no alcohol beer, but was very glad to see it…but I noticed that they said “not more than 0.5% alcohol” which worried me, who is being strict tee-total this month – however a brief chat with the Beer man who ran the shop explained that this is legalese, rather like the stuff that is largely vegan, but may contain traces of dairy as Mike, who stirs the vat, had a particularly milky bowl of Frosties 2 weeks ago…A “just incase” approach which undoubtedly keeps us all safe – especially those with allegies…But in reality there is no alcohol in these beers (good) just that there’s a chance that maybe, perhaps, if, on the off chance that there could potentially be a minute trace of alcohol somewhere in the beer (Your Honour…)…So next week, Carly and I will be doing a testing!…

Dinner today, senza Carly who is off at a friends, is creamy mushroom pasta bake…So using buckwheat penne, 57 tons of mushrooms, some tarragon and then a truly magic combination of boiling water, chickpea flour and nutritional yeast I constructed this…

Sooooooo tasty, and this is where the 2 most amazing things of being a vegan explorer come to the fore & the question is answered…

1) Chickpea flour is something astonishing – whisked into boiling water and it changes into a silky beautiful sauce that is a blank slate vehicle for whatever you fancy…but the most important thing is that it’s basically fat free and low calorie (compared to a white sauce made with butter, flour and milk)…

2) Nutritional Yeast…I always wondered about this last year and never got around to trying this as an additive to food to give a cheesey edge. I assumed that it would be a chemically/plant/synthetic taste and approached with caution…but even just a pinch on the tongue sets off all manner of wonderful senses running – it has so many facets to it and it changes as you let it dissolve on your tongue from nutty to biscuit to cheesey…astonishing! It definitely embodies the “umami” sensation and I can think of so many ways that this can enhance and develop flavours in dishes – but of course, used sparingly! Another experiment answered to the positive…

But the sauce was amazing, I’d worried that it would be like a bland cheese sauce made from a cheap mix, but no it had all the tang and multifaceted tastes that a good cheese sauce has!…Enough for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow

When I arrived back from work (carrying the sack of mushrooms), I was glad to see that a surprise package arrived in the post …4 toothbrushes from the “Giving Brush” company :

https://givingbrush.com/

They specialise in sustainable toothbrushes that wont contribute to the “plastic crisis” we are facing – they’re made of bamboo and come in a variety of colours, and will help a small bit to address our over reliance on plastics – These came free from an offer on Facebook – and if you look on the website you’ll see they are still free (just pay postage) so why don’t you get some…I got 4 🙂 (Carly will get one too)…Oh and of course they are Vegan too…huzzah, every little helps…

The reminder of the power of chickpea flour has spurred me experimenting with the aquafaba phenomenon this weekend – another egg replacement…so I think we may try meringues or something else, but this journey of culinary discovery just keeps on surprising and delivering amazing results…

Where’s my clipboard and whitecoat?…Igor, fetch the brains….

1 thought on “Magic Ingredients, Rainbow brushes & the legalese Of Alcohol Free beer…”

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