Vegan

Partying like it’s 4am…*thump*…

So Day 21 began with chia seed pancakes but this time with some pre cooked mushrooms in the batter which gave a lovely earthy taste to the start on Sunday morning…

I’m surprised that I made it up before noon as the inconsiderate neighbours (that’s the nicest thing they’ve been called today, trust me!) in the Flat next door we’re having a loud and annoying party until 4am…I’m sure it would have gone on as they had clearly all forgotten their watches but I went to update them on the time by banging on the door and shouting the time & they soon stopped with the revelry so snoozing could commence…

However today we had things to do & on the menu we had Tofu Korma, some vegan baking which Carly will cover & a bucket of hazelnut “Not-tella” which we had been meaning to make since I incinerated (well, it was the infernal oven really) the first batch of hazelnuts…

Buoyed from the teriyaki type tofu which was super tasty I thought that this would go down well, especially since I had cut it thinly and marinated overnight in slices and lemon juice…

So the korma sauce was made with light coconut milk, a blend of onion, garlic and ginger with a bit of chilli, cardamom, garam masala, cumin & coriander – and with some ground up cashews to thicken it…blend and then pitch in the tofu which is dry fried and crisped up…

To go with this I rustled up some carrot and onion bhajis which were just shredded onion & carrot with lots of salt & spice and just enough gram flour to stick them together…super tasty Indian feast indeed!…

Then onto the “Not-tella” – I managed to heat 380g of hazelnuts and then Carly “winnowed” the skins off them between a folded tea towel – then they were blended with cocoa, agave nectar and almond milk…and it made a huge amount of very truffly, tasty nutty goodness!…ideal for breakfast and smearing in anything that stays still long enough…

So now we are sat in Hornchurch Conservative Club (Carly is hissing at the pictures of Thatcher on the walls) awaiting this evenings trad jazz entertainment courtesy of Hugh Rainey & his jazz band…

Good job I brought my dancing shoes – we will be road testing our sequence, hot & fresh from the Lindy hop kitchen…

Ambulance on speed-dial…

Vegan

Man Vs. Oven.

I’m in the mood for Dancing…

So…we are off to a swing dance class tonight, only a beginners one (everyone has to start somewhere!) – and seeing as I move like a paralysed wardrobe on dodgy casters, it’s probably for the best!…

So as we won’t be in to cook & I’ve got a stupidly early start tomorrow morning (a 9am in Hammersmith isn’t the most positive start to the day) I thought it whip up a vegan pizza using the left over BBQ sauce, the vegan cheese (but not the blue cheese of death) and a few things grabbed from Tesco this morning…asparagus, mushroom, sweetcorn…

There’s always that defining moment in the kitchen with an oven you don’t trust…and Carly’s oven is the least trustworthy of them all…on the Oven scale of misdemeanours & untrustworthiness it’s a veritable serial killer and Weinstein rolled into one. It’s the embodiment of the Fox in the fox and the gingerbread man story…”oh of course Simon, just pop that pizza in here and I’ll make sure that I don’t incinerate it or just breath tepid air lightly on it like an asthmatic sparrow…and yes it will be cooked to perfection in exactly the time you think”…time passes leading to either cinders or it being more raw than when it went in, somehow reduced to its component atoms, floating round in the void…irrespective of cranking it up to 250 and leaving everything in there for 3 days…

Today was no exception, apart from me forgetting to turn it on in the first place which try as I might, I can’t really blame it for that…the pizza went in on a pre heated tray and after 15 mins was cooked to perfection…on the top…yes, I know I should have used a pizza stone, but that’s at mine – I am not!

But on getting out to cool, I couldn’t help but notice that it was suffering from “Soggy Bottom Syndrome”…which is a bit of a drag as any longer in the oven of roulette would see the evil side come out and ensure that the bottom was cooked to perfection, but the top would look like yesterday’s BBQ on the beach…

Necessity is the mother of invention it would appear…so to avoid a swing dance class weighed down with doughy stodge, I constructed an ingenious oven thwarting device by putting the baking tray it had been on, upside down over the two lowest gas rings…turning them on and “hey presto” – a hot plate & way of cooking the base independent to the topping…take that Mr Sneaky Fickle Oven…

Alas the hob and the oven are clearly in cahoots…and whilst I achieved a perfectly cooked base – we had another casualty in the kitchen…seems that whilst lifting the tray to redistribute the heat, the underneath is somewhat furnace like and poor old Shetland Isle tea towel was flamed by the easily influenced hob – just a stooge!, a canary!, a patsy!…

This time only a battle scar, so no need to update the marble plaque on the wall detailing the utensils and kitchen aids that have given themselves so selflessly in the pursuit of Veganuary (ah Spoony, how you would have laughed)…

But this battle is won…I am Victorious…though I know that oven lays in wait. Waiting for it’s next prey to hove into view like an indifferent puma (a Pu-‘meh’)…”Should I rip its face off? Or just bat it about like a mouse?”…thank goodness there’s no vegan soufflés on the horizon…

For Sale: One Oven – absolutely rubbish, would suit a crematorium or cold store – would also make an excellent plant pot…buyer collects…

Vegan

No Pigs were harmed in the writing of this post…

However, please could I ask for a minutes silence in respect for Spoony McSpoonerson who fought a valiant battle with the jackfruit but lost out to its tasty yet robust flesh…we will remember him…

However his neck was not accidentally snapped in vain, for this evening we dined like kings on a splendid BBQ pulled pork and red cabbage slaw burger…

And this is how we did it!…

First of all it was time for another meta-recipe for BBQ sauce and created a lovely tangy one using passata, molasses, sofrito, chilli powder, smoked paprika, maple syrup & apple cider vinegar…amazingly tasty & just right for this (again, the food processor earned its keep)

The processor barely had chance to cool down and it was in business again hacking up red cabbage, onion, carrot, cucumber & sweet potato for the slaw – a nice slug of vegan mayo and away we go!

Taking the remaining tin of jackfruit we drained and rinsed it, cut it radially (from the core to the outside) then dry pan fried it with onion and then sautéed it in some water until it was reduced to nothing & then the potato masher did its thing after Spoony went to the Great Utensil Drawer in the sky…

Then, in a somber mood and heads hung low, it was into the oven for 20 mins to cook down further and loose some of the inherent moisture…

Then it’s on with the BBQ sauce for another 15 mins…then just give it a mix

Some ordinary burger buns and then it’s chowdown time…lovely lovely lovely!…the texture was amazingly like pulled pork (but without the suspicious crunchy/gristly bits that crop up) and it was complimented by the creamy slaw…oh and there were some homemade dill pickles on there too (made in Oct 2017 & ageing beautifully!)…

Another experiment which has ticked the various boxes of veganism but also of taste and flavour!…as Carly said, “as an omnivore, this is the closest and most satisfying as a vegan “version” of a meat containing dish…

It was a relatively small dinner as there’s something very fun coming up this evening…stand by your beds…look busy…

…and the Results from the Belgian jury are as follows….

Vegan

The One where they find Vegan stuff & walk forever…

Evenin’ all!…after this morning mixed blessings breakfast we set it on the train to get a little closer to the vegan market, but then we walked from Aldgate up Kingsland Road to the hallowed land of Hackney (thaaarrr be hipsters!).

On the way I decided to try and unearth another spaghetti squash (please can someone send me one through the post from a land with sensible grocery variety?!?) – but as you may guess; nada, zip, diddly squat…I’m starting to think I’m trapped in a vivid coma dream where I’m chasing the elusive squash…But squash failure aside, we picked up 2 cans of jackfruit to make into “BBQ pulled pork” in the next week or so, so it wasn’t a walk in vain!…

We met up with Anthony over a delicious coffee whilst Carly had her first taste of hazelnut milk (“the most beautiful thing I’ve ever tasted” says she)…and we then brokered a good barter deal where Anthony had brought me a bottle of his home brewed coffee porter to taste (aaarrrggh, have to wait until Feb) so I gave him a tin of jackfruit! We’d been talking about it in the week & he couldn’t find any, so alls fair! We then set out into the market which wasn’t very big but was 100% vegan friendly…

Our initial plan was to see if there was a cheese stall where we could pick up a few different cheeses for the “almost halfway vegan cheese board tasting platter 2018” (needs a catchier name!) but sadly they only had one, well two – mozzarella with and without basil…but we tasted both and they were really nice so we picked up a basil one!…

A few stalls along and Anthony picked up some cookies whilst me and Carly (Carly and I, please…) tested the samples…and in doing so, stumbled upon some vegan marshmallow.

I wish we hadn’t….texture was crazy wrong, not even close – and more like a curious Turkish delight than marshmallow, but even though it was tooth crackingly sweet, it was “meh”…actually “bleurgh” (universally panned, zero stars…)

The market was redeemed, albeit temporarily by a stall selling hazelnut spreads (plain, with and without sugar versions) These were all super tasty, but the lack of visible prices gave away that they would be eye wateringly pricey – a snip at £11 and £12 for a small jar (they were good, but not THAT good)…

Anthony went off with his bag of vegan cookies in hand and we set off in a southerly direction, via a health food emporium to grab another vegan “cheddar” for the board tomorrow, to another market (Broadway Market by the canal) – although not specifically vegan, there were still some Ve. gems hidden amongst the spit roasts, cheese and temptingly delicious cream cakes…so we fortified ourselves with a Cherry vanilla ball & a salted Carmel choc brownie…

…..before heading off en route to a Vegan grocer/cafe at Kings Cross called “Vx” : I went last year and it was 99% Grocer and they hadn’t even started serving coffee yet – but this year the ratio has sadly shifted with the emphasis being on the cafe and take away/eat in food rather than for picking up comestibles – which was a shame as I’d gone here to pick up some lovely burger mix I’d previously had…but luckily of the few things they still sold of that nature – the mix was one of them! Yay, victory screech! But also Vegan cat and dog food which I am wondering if this is “too far”…

We carried on the “Great Western Exodus” towards Baker St and headed to the IKEA at Neasden (I used to work at Neasden, and apologies to anyone who lives there, but my sentiments towards it may have been used already by Trump earlier in the week – it was a horrible time and place, being mugged for my phone whilst at lunch and general work discord made it an unpleasant time indeed!)…but we kept walking quickly and acquired a decent haul of stuff at IKEA (including more rye bread mix! Woot woot!) and may have had some fries at the cafe as we seem to have neglected to eat lunch! Then, heading back to the station, we nipped into the massive conurbation-esque Tesco to grab 2 more cheeses (smoked and blue), lentils and some hazelnut milk (Carly smiles)…

We are currently heading back East on the tube having walked 30,000 steps (15 miles) and planning the lentil and mushroom pie with roasted mediterranean vegetables that we will have tonight!…

Unless we fall asleep on the sofa…

Looking likely…

Very lik…zzzzzz…..zzzzzzzzzz

Vegan

“Breads dead Baby, breads dead….”

So, this morning, full of the joys of the prospect of freshly baked bread we bounded out of bed and ran toward the kitchen with hope in our hearts and tears of anticipatory joy already welling up in our expectant eyes…

My nose was the first thing to notice something was wrong…there was no delicious smell…there was a smell, however it was more of a “half way to bread” smell…but I ploughed onwards thinking that the cold “that won’t bugger off™️” had affected my olfactory senses…

Alas…I fear we may have put too much liquid in the mix – damn you soaked malted rye grains…it had risen, but then sunk underneath the crust so there was a thin skin of a crust but the a gaping void of nothingness beneath…until you hit the stodgy, uncooked lumpen dough…hooooowwwwwl…

Hmmmm, so making the best of a bad do, we sliced off the bottom of the loaf longitudinally…twice, cos there’s two of us, and toasted those whilst I set about bleary eyedly (though tiredness I hasten add, not through a veil of dough related tears *sniff*)trying to cook mushrooms and made a chickpea flour creamy sauce – another #fail this morning as it all just went to bobbly lumps and even the stick blender wouldn’t fix it…”IN THE BIN” with you my friend – well actually down the toilet as there was washing up in the sink!…

At this point I remembered that the toast was sub-grill and saved it from the third culinary fail this morning just in time to flip it over whilst the mushrooms sautéed happily away…

So…simple breakfast victory seized from the jaws of defeat (just)…and now we are off to a Vegan Market up in Hackney to see if we can source some “cheese” as a half way treat and have coffee with my pal Anthony who is currently making Kimchi in his cave at Stoke Newington…

Then…off…to…IKEA….

Vegan

Can’t see the join?…Well theres a line – but where?

Today is a classic Friday – seemingly not much to do, but then at the last minute everything goes a million miles an hour and you wish it had kicked off much earlier!…

However today did afford some idle pondering time on what it means to be Vegan and this was catalysed by the toothbrushes that I received declaring themselves Vegan.

*** WARNING : contains idle thoughts and conjecture and hypothetical/rhetorical questions…all of which need more thought and I would welcome your input”…***

Obviously the first port of call with this, to the man in the street, is with food and the eschewing of dairy, meat etc…and this seems to be the perceived limit of the vegan ethos.

But no, there’s a wider scope to be explored here; clothes and other products which similarly fall under this definition from the Vegan Society..

“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

Now, in my head for the last 12 days I have thought that I was living as a Vegan (albeit a teetotal one, to add hepatic insult to culinary injury) but its seems that I have been falling somewhat short of the mark…

Yes, I’ve got leather shoes and a belt and that never really dawned on me that they would have to go if I where to embrace this 100%, no questions asked. But do you really have to sign up to something entirely to make a difference or to start to make a difference or change.Also there’s the “silent” animal products in cosmetics and medicines which need considering…

That’s before we even get onto the palm oil debate, which in itself begs the question; how many steps removed from cruelty do you have to be before it is “allowed”?…Is it cruel to use leather that’s a bi-product of the meat industry?…The animal is dead and the leather may end up rotting away, surely gaining some tangible benefit is better that outright waste?

Its only through a bit of reading and thought that it became abundantly clear why honey isnt vegan…not an insurmountable task, I grant you – but one that many refuse to consider doing! It’s a learning curve full stop, unfortunately many vegan blogs and discussion groups come down very hard on “new” vegans almost in a “one strike and you are out” approach which I don’t think helps anyone achieve anything!

Even before Veganuary, overt food choices aside, I tried to ensure that I reduced my carbon footprint, recycled, minimised my plastic usage, not use products that were harmful or tested on animals etc…and I though that I was doing almost as much as I could – but I see that in the eyes of the vegan society, that I am not doing nearly enough…

But I think that the knowledge and exposure to this way of thinking has had its desired effect. Its communication, knowledge, understanding and learning which brings about wide sweeping changes in behaviour. It really is a “hearts & minds” issue in order to effect a sustained and stable change and I cant deny that already after 12 days that I’m spending a lot of time reflecting on my own choices and behaviours in the light of veganism.

I’m glad to report that the above thoughts and realisations haven’t got me huddled in a foetal position in the kitchen sucking on a gluten free rice cake – quite the opposite; I have more understanding and knowledge about the aims and goals of Veganism, where the hidden traps are and most importantly WHY, I should be mindful of it as a movement and this has equipped me to make better informed and educated choices going forwards.

Life isn’t black and white. We cant operate and single entity, untouched or unaffected by the decisions or behaviours of others. We can only forge our route the best we can, in the hope that even if just one other person is doing that, then the world will slowly become better for the majority, which will in turn convince more people to evaluate their life choices and consider changes they could make.

What happens at the end of the month?…off on a hunting safari whilst chomping down on an Endangered Snow Leopard Sandwich?  – No, I don’t think so…but all in all going forwards, I’m taking the Vegan ethos as a guide…not as a restrictive strict doctrine to live/die by – but rather a series of signposts and choice points to help me be, and continue to develop, as a better person in relation to my and our place in the world.

Vegan

“N” for Normality…

Day 11 arrived like a lion and went out like the same lion, but nicely cooked in a boiling hot caramel (no lions were harmed in the typing of this paragraph)…

I was woken by some crisis or other down at Aldgate East station which was one of those things that had to be dealt with before the plague of crippling stupidity crept like an oozing ineptitude boil, weeping, across the arse of common sense…

That’s a long winded way of explaining that I jumped out of bed and flew to work and didn’t have breakfast…(bad thing happened)…but I did remember to grab the left over mushroom pasta from last night (good thing happened)…

Having stuck my finger in the dyke of ridiculousness to stem the flow, I should have expected it to come gushing out elsewhere…and it did…

That’s another long winded way of explaining that time was broken today & I was always 20 mins behind myself so I had to eat the pasta on the train between meetings with a fork I stole from the canteen (Culinary Ninja Mk. 3)…But it was delicious, if possible, moreso than last night…all hail the nutritional yeast!

So as a welcome distraction from the trials of day was dinner this evening which was Broccoli and Tofu “Take out” style accompanied with some multigrains from Ikea (with lemon and jalepeño bits!)…

I’ve never really got along with Tofu…I’ve found it in the past to be like some horrid spongy egg white block with some sort of weird “green” plant like after taste…so it wasn’t without a certain amount of trepidation that I approached dinner!

Carly had splendidly remembered to squeeze the tofu between two plates in the fridge this morning to squish out the tofu juice pre cooking…

So after being microwaved and then fried in a bit of sesame oil, I can state that I must have had a dodgy batch of tofu in the past – it was really quite tasty, still a scrambled egg like texture but nice and crispy on the edge…add salt and pepper and we were 90% of the way there…

Add in broccoli, ginger, garlic and a lovely sauce of maple syrup, soy and apple vinegar…reduce…

…and serve…

Oh what a lovely dinner – all the flavour and a great variety of textures – and very filling!

But after a brief relax, we polished off the last of the pineapple, but this time in a vanilla infused caramel sauce that I made using half white/brown sugar…I’m sure that must be one of our 5–a-day!

I’d almost forgotten the title of this blog post : but it’s down to the fact that we are ending day 11 and this vegan diet, vegan approach to food with its associated broadening of culinary ideas and scope is becoming a pleasant norm. Gone is the panic when I get hungry and that almost resigned thought of “oh I’ll just have some rice” or whatever else is just hanging about without any thought or preparation needed…gone is the feeling or thought of restriction as I know that I will find a way to make something super tasty!…

…oooh that reminds me, today I found a huge butternut squash that someone had left on top of one of the telephone exchange boxes…waste not, want not – that’ll be grand for something next week!…huzzah!…

Tomorrow’s dinner is an aubergine pad thai with about 1000 individual ingredients…I am looking forward to that very, very much – I’ll just have to get up early and search the streets of a Whitechapel for the ingredients that fate has hidden, or balanced on stuff…

That’s a long winded way of saying that it’s time for bed & hopefully tomorrow is a little less vexing!…and I hope Carly’s commute is less fraught with delays, squashing & armpits…

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….

Vegan

Out, out Plague…Begone!…

Hmmm…Apologies for my absence – the plague reared its head again which was a shame as yesterday was a quiet day which started out absolutely fine with skipping to work and chatting and “doing” stuff…a few cups of coffee and all the things that make up a decent day at work (no beheadings, wailing or overt idiocy!)…and I cannot deny that I was reading lots of vegan blogs and recipes throughout the day too!…

Another tasty fruit and rice cake lunch – but started to notice at this point that the cold/flu feeling was coming back again after abating some 2 days since…but I though nothing of it and cracked on…

A great article in TimeOut about “Vegan London” which outlines vegan food markets in Hackney on Saturday, VeganLive events and lots of other info – not forgetting a vegan waffle bar at Selfridges!

So that’s put a few stakes in the diary for the forthcoming weeks…and hopefully Saturday’s market will furnish us with a vegan cheese man who can give us a Ve. cheeseboard for Sunday’s celebration of Week 2 being over (it really is flying by though)…

As I headed off home and remembered I still had a few hours access for the Boris bike and so did an extended cycle home in the drizzle – which was nice and cycled past my old flat in Westferry so was also wallowing in nostalgia!…however the combination of exercise and breathing in gulps of cold air seems to have angered the phlegm-demon that’s currently inhabiting my lungs/head…

Popped over to Carly’s for dinner and also went shopping to buy all the stuff for the next few days of creation (Filo Lentil Pie I am particularly looking forward to!) – another excellent cheap haul at Lidl (shares anyone?)..and then we made the blackbean burgers which Carly has posted – they were really tasty indeed, and probably could have stood a few more beans, maybe of different kind which would have been less “wet” than the black ones…that said ‘twas very flavoursome and full of the right textures and all that good stuff (my vocabulary has gone out of the window with my hearing it seems…eh?..pardon?..)

But very quickly after that when we retired to the sofa and began the nightly shouting at the indoor TV aerial which is sporadic in its usefulness the coughing and sniffing and dying in general commenced…and so when it came to sleep time, I was dead to the world before Carly even finished penning her blog so I never got a chance to put pen to paper (finger to key)…

Home alone this evening and I’m going to create a spelt pasta mushroom bake…and I’m going to finally make the leap of faith and pick up some of that nutritional yeast that seems to pop up in loads of vegan recipes – and use that, with chickpea flour to make a lovely creamy sauce…baked in the oven…and put into face…more of that anon!

Right, work calls…pass me a rice cake, Jeeves…

Vegan

No-one Blinked an Eye….

Today was a good day at work, lots of new starters and it was nice to see enthusiastic people to whom their new location was a novelty and who were keen to learn and get going…

Owing to the demographic of the East End of London and the nature of the job I do a large number of my staff are Sikh, Hindu, Muslim – and of them, a large proportion are vegetarian and some have chosen to further that into being vegan…without giving too much away, I’m an area manager for an underground railway company based in London (ahem)…no, and if you needed them, no more clues for you!

And so it was lovely today in the office to discuss the concept of a teetotal Veganuary and a) not to have the rye-rolling, judgey faces that seem to be prevalent when you mention it (its sad really that the majority of people hear “Vegan” and the prejudices pour forth in a torrent without stopping and listening…I blame the intolerant and also preachy, shouty Vegans – but that’s not the Veganism; that type of person will tub thump/‘bandwagon jump’ over any topic just to be noticed/carve themselves a personality from the void that hitherto existed…and spoil whatever they’ve “Cuckoo-ed” for everyone else…But I digress…)…and b) to chat about how simultaneously difficult and liberating having a restricted diet can be when you have only mainstream shops close on hand…plus the concept of fasting and how that is seen to sharpen ones mind and make your thinking clearer and also reflect on the worth/purpose of food…

All in all a wonderful, cerebral experience – which is sometimes a sensation somewhat lacking at work!..but the fact that it was an accepted & normal thing was the most heartening!…

So the day pootled by with the usual blend of meetings, chats, emails and stuff – all grand…

I was so caught up in stuff that I almost forgot to have lunch, but then when I thought about it, I didn’t really fancy anything big as I knew what we were planning for dinner (wait…waaaait for it)…so I nipped to Tesco and got one of their veg and fruit pack things – peppers, carrots, cucumber sticks but then pineapple and melon wedges too…tasty & ably complemented with a few rice cakes…just what was needed really to give a bit of energy for the rest of the day…but I noticed that Tesco have launched a new vegan range across the board as “Wicked” kitchen – so this will need a bit more exploring over the next few weeks!

https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/tesco-launches-major-new-vegan-range-in-600-stores-nationwide

We are both in a choir which rehearses on Monday and so we ventured, pre rehearsal, to “Pixxa” which is a pizza place on Whitechapel Rd – and they do a vegan pizza (no cheese, but lots of flavour instead)…so artichokes, mushrooms, tomato sauce etc – and augmented with some chilli oil & flakes it make for a lovely dinner & good to see a dedicated vegan choice 🙂

Handily the “pizza power” assisted as I had to zip to another part of East London to pick up an electric spice grinder that I’d snared on “Freecycle” – as it was about minus 15 degrees outside, I opted to bus it…but then reasoned that it was lazy and I’d have to wait for one to get back and then I’d miss more of the choir rehearsal- so it was onto a trusty “Boris Bike” and a short 10 min speedy cycle back to Aldgate East…so a useful bit of exercise, even though my fingers fell off at Bethnal Green…(useful weight loss by any other name)…

As Day 8 draws to a close, I’ve transcribed a load of vegan recipes for this week from that FB post I shared on here a few days back and am thinking how quickly we have fallen into this and how little real negative impact, in the scale of things, it is having…its fun, educational and soulfully rewarding…and that’s what keeps me coming back to it!…

…And So to Bed…