Day 11: Pine needle soup

Today I learned an important culinary lesson – and made my first not very nice vegan meal. Still, Si always says ‘no such thing as a failed experiment’, and I guess that’s true. I didn’t spoil my lunch beyond repair either, so could have been worse…

Basically, I’ve been trying to use up some of the older veg in the fridge, and as I forgot to use rosemary as planned when I made cauliflower and potato soup┬áthe other day, I figured I could just sprinkle some on top of my veggie soup leftovers and have a nice fragrant tang to my mix of broccoli, carrot and cabbage… ohhhh no. Bad idea.

I have learned the hard way that while you can shred ‘soft’ herbs like basil and coriander leaves straight onto your food, you don’t want to do that with ‘hard’ herbs like spiky rosemary – you want to add it while the food is cooking. I did not. Turns out that scattering the surface of your beautiful soup renders it akin to eating pine needles. So chewy and sooooo bitter! Well, I wasn’t in the mood for Christmas tree soup, but happily as I’d only scattered the needles over the top of the soup it was easy enough to skim them back off again. Well, you live and learn!


Dinner was a speedy one, as we were off to the cinema tonight – but it was super tasty nonetheless. Si whipped up a batch of sweet potato gnocchi (using mashed sweet potato, flour, nutmeg and nutritional yeast), and served them on a gorgeously sweet and rich roasted red pepper sauce. The gnocchi had a really good firm texture, and it was a seriously satisfying bowlful. Healthy too!

Veggie virtue aside, we do like to have a little snack when we go to the cinema, but we were worried that we wouldn’t find anything vegan friendly, so we popped into a nearby Sainsburys for some contraband treats from the ‘Free From’ section: a bag of ‘chocolate’ buttons (the first things we bought during our first Veganuary!), plus a peanut ‘Trek’ bar for me, and a ‘blueberry muffin’ Nakd bar for Si. The peanut bar was pretty nice, though with a fudgier texture than I’d have liked – it was about 33% fig – I’d hoped it would be more peanutty and crunchy, and the aftertaste was a bit too fruity too. But not bad! The film, though (Stan and Ollie) was excellent.

On the way home we stopped into a bigger Sainsburys to get some supplies for vegan baking – Si has promised me a carrot cake tomorrow! ­čÖé So we grabbed some vegan ‘cream cheese’ and pecans, as well as some naughtier treats: a multipack of hummus, lentil, and quinoa crisps, and a bag of vegan-friendly gummy sweets, which I know Si has been missing.

We also bought some more milk substitutes – a carton of my absolute favourite, hazelnut ‘milk’, and something new: tigernut milk. We’re really enjoying working our way through as many milk substitutes as we can!┬áThe tigernut is certainly interesting – sweet and vanilla-y, it tastes just like rice pudding!


Today I ate/drank:

  • Tea with almond milk
  • Leftover cabbage, broccoli, and carrot soup (with rosemary… error…)
  • Sweet potato gnocchi with roasted red pepper sauce
  • Peanut protein bar, a bite of Si’s ‘blueberry muffin’ bar, free-from ‘chocolate’ buttons
  • Fizzy squash
  • Sip of tigernut milk
  • Strawberry gummy sweet

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