Almost 3 years ago I came home and opened my kitchen food cupboard to be greeted by a whole host of utterly baffling packaged stuff. Pulses and seeds and lentils and powders and beans and legumes. Not a chocolate digestive in sight.
Mr G had gone vegan.
And I was in a huff.
His story is a commendable one; man turns vegan initially for the undeniable health benefits but stays vegan for the sake of our planet and the animals.
But god I loved eggs.
Milk I was never bothered about. It was just something that went in my sugary tea. Cheese, I was. I used to host Christmas cheese night for Christ sake.
Beef, pork and lamb, again not bothered. In fact during one trip to Gaucho in Hampstead just before his departure as a carnivore I was really ill. The whole place just smelt like blood and flesh to me. Death. And I literally had to sprint to their loos. So I was on board with the no meat thing really easily.
Anyhoo, fast forward to now and it’s been very difficult for me to not adopt a mainly vegan diet, especially at home – I sometimes have fish and local organic free range eggs elsewhere. And once you start eating that way, you become more conscious as to the compassionate side of veganism too. You know, the bit where we have our heads in the sand about animal cruelty. How calves are ripped away from their mothers while her milk is prepared for humans. How such animals are proven sentient beings, feeling fear and pain.
This stuff, once you open your eyes to it (and we must) then starts creeping into more of your life decisions. The products you use at home and for beauty. The clothing brands you choose. The holidays or daytrips you take (i.e never going to Seaworld or zoos, not riding elephants in Thailand). Consciousness is the key and Mr G has signed up. I’m getting there too. I avoid leather as much as poss and wouldn’t take my kid to a zoo even before all of this perceived tomfoolery.
Even reading through menus in restaurants I am now sickened when scanning past an item like ‘baby suckling pig’. Let’s just break that down;
Baby – cute, new, innocent, bubba, tiny, needs love and warmth and care.
Suckling – still feeding from its mummy, like a human baby on its mums boob…dependent on its mummy for life. Slaughtered between the ages of two and six weeks for humans to shit out the next day.
Pig – Babe. Peppa. Percy. Kinda cute, funny and really intelligent. Sentient being.
Anyway, back to grub.
For other health reasons and on the recent advice from an Ayurvedic doctor I am also gluten and soy free…and currently nut, tomato and spice free. Worst dinner party guest ever? Barrel of laughs? I really don’t care. I’m looking after myself as best I can these days and if that means forgoing certain foods without passing away then so be it.
The vegan thing is really growing, and Veganuary this year seems to have been taken up by tens of thousands of people giving it a gentle, compassionate stab.
So because I was like a rabbit in headlights upon opening my kitchen food cupboard that day, almost 3 years ago, I’ve compiled a shortlist of the recipe resources we regularly use to help you on your way…
1. Oh She Glows
This is where we started with our vegan recipes and still we return.
The Roasted Buddha Bowl is a firm favourite of mine and this is the site where I discovered cashew nut cream. SO DELISH.
2. The Happy Pear (UK friendly, none of this ‘cups’ shit)
Two Irishmen, REALLY excited about cooking and swimming in the cold Irish sea.
3. Minimalist Baker (UK friendly, has worked out the grams or ml equivalent to ‘cups’ for you)
Good mix of savoury and sweet. The Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl gets a thumbs up.
4. Laura Miller
If anyone can convince you to go vegan it’s this babe. She specialises in raw vegan.
Check her on Youtube too…she’s sassy as hell.
5. Aine Carlin – (UK friendly)
Our main resource for Aine’s recipes are her beautiful cookbooks; The New Vegan and Keep It Vegan.
I’ve made her Santorini Style Spaghetti a ton of times.
6. Thug Kitchen
We have the book jeez does it give it to you damn straight.
‘Eat a goddman salad. Your asshole will thank you.’
’Eat like you give a fuck’.
‘No time to eat breakfast? Fucking drink it’
Mr G whips up their Sweet Potato, Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas and they are FUCKING GREAT.
7. VEG by Jamie Oliver
Great book on all things VEG. Not just for vegans but a fab smattering of vegany things to choose from.
8. The Green Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer
Take some ingredients and one roasting tin. Pop it in the oven and done? Sounds bloody good to me!
Lastly, let’s talk about chocolate shall we?
Milk chocolate obviously has to go if you’re doing the vegan thing. And I was a milk chocolate devil woman.
Now, if I accidentally eat it, the taste of milk makes me want to vom. Taste buds do change. It might not seem that way at first but they do.
Personally, I’m biased toward Vego bars (even though currently I am nut free) plus their packs of praline bites. The Raw Chocolate Company’s Vanoffee bar, the Seed and Bean Cocount and Raspberry bar and Montezuma’s Sea Dog Lime and sea salt bar.
And of course, Booja Booja. Yep anything at all from them.
Good luck Veganuaryians…
Thought to finish, i’d share some pics of food i’ve made or eaten in vegan restaurants over the past year. And pics of our local cow friends…