So, Veganuary has been all about experimenting in the kitchen, and for the most part things have gone very well. Occasionally though (such as when we cremated a whole bag of hazelnuts, or the sad death of our first loaf), they haven’t…
Today was one of the latter days. To make all our vegan noms, we’ve been buying and using a lot of fresh veg, and at lunchtime I was guiltily aware that leftover bits of some of these were on the verge of going off – so I decided to make a healthy ‘fridge soup’, blitzing them all in the food processor and making the next few days’ lunch.
Into the blender went half a white onion, a chunk of red onion, a red pepper, four spring onions, a hunk of cucumber, some celery, a couple of carrots, four cloves of garlic, and some sprigs of coriander. So far, so healthy! That all went into a pan with some vegetable stock, and it was a beautiful ‘cream of tomato soup’ reddy orange colour.
I then blended up a big chunk of red cabbage (separately, as it wasn’t making contact with the blades properly when the processor was full of the other veg) and a handful of wilting spinach, and proudly added this to the other veg. Immediately my soup turned a deep brown colour, with a greenish sheen – more pondwater/witches’ brew than an appetising soup!
‘Hey ho’, I thought, ‘I’m not serving this to anyone else’, and I went ahead with cooking the mixture. Initially, though, it had a surprisingly bland, if earthy, flavour, so I experimented with adding spices, more garlic, and black pepper. Nothing was quite hitting the spot, though… until I added a good dollop of ketchup. The sweet-vinegary flavour cut through all the vegetable tastes and suddenly it was interesting! You live and learn… and served up with a couple of bits of home-made bread, it was perfectly nice as a warming working-from-home lunch. The colour didn’t improve, mind!
Dinner was rather more successful, mind – I’d offered to cook for Si, and knocked together a couple of Indian dishes: a cheeky chana masala (which, I didn’t realise until he arrived – eek, pressure! – is Si’s favourite), and a roasted cauliflower dhal, following the recipes linked to above. I served up half and half in each bowl, topped with fresh coriander, and I was really proud – I don’t do a lot of Indian cooking, and learning about spices is something that I’ve only really begun since starting Veganuary, but they were really tasty. Tomatoey and satisfying, packed full of lentils and chickpeas and spices… and you really can’t go wrong with roasted cauliflower! And there was plenty left over for Si to take as a packed lunch the next day 🙂
Better still, the meal was really filling, so we didn’t need a snack at choir – nor did we regret the fact that we hadn’t had time to do any baking, and therefore couldn’t eat any of the biscuits at tea break. After rehearsal we all trooped off to the lovely gin place once more… this is the last week that we couldn’t partake of anything, and we held strong – to be honest, I’m getting a taste for ginger beer (if you cover most of the label, you can even pretend that you’re also drinking gin! 😉 ). That said, I am looking forward to being able to order normally again – when you go to a gin bar and ask for ‘a diet coke and a ginger beer, please… Sorry, that is non-alcoholic, right?’ and then have to chase the barman down the counter before he opens the bottle to squeak ‘oh, and is it vegan??’ – they really must have looked at us and wondered ‘why are you even here?’
Can’t believe we’re so close to the end of Veganuary… I’m actually a little sad! But Dry January, I will not miss.
Today I ate/drank…
- Tea with almond milk
- Fridge soup with bread
- Chana masala and roasted cauliflower dhal
- Half a can of alcohol free Heineken
- Mug of hot water
- Two ginger beers