Saturday, 27 December 2014

A Year of Living (and saving) simply

As I sipped my blackberry and  banana smoothie this morning,  frozen berries; frozen spinach;  chia and flaxseeds - totally delicious - it occurred to me that I could do with a little less packaging around the place. I went to the boxing day sales and threw my elbows into the backs of people to get the sheets I've wanted for three months, I got my shoes and a beautiful quilt set. Then I came home to find that the bags from Christmas are still littering the hallway and I have dresses,  still in bags, from the June sales, never worn. Plastic bags rule my life! They're quite handy for picking up little man Joey's business on our daily walks, but otherwise there isn't even enough room in my bin for the amount of rubbish I accumulate.  And what for? There has to be a better way.

I will embark on a new endeavour: an aim to unpack (age) my life, one supermarket bag at a time. Don't get me wrong,  I'm not giving up on the essentials - my essentials: toothpaste DOES come in a tube, and I doubt chia seeds are sold loose - but hey, if they are, let the good times roll! But I will not buy ANY packaged food.
I will not buy pre-bottled drinks, or coffees in takeaway cups.
I will not buy commercial chocolates,  but rather (vegan) ones that are wrapped in paper.
You get the picture.
Very excited about my next new years project!

Monday, 21 October 2013


This is just fantastic – seriously! Cauliflower is fast become my best favourite, most versatile food!

2 leeks, sliced
1 whole cauliflower head, cut up
2 beef stock cubes (yeah, yeah – stock’s not an animal. Shh. Fine, use vegetable).
Some canola oil (again – never use vegetable oil as it’s basically the ground up carcasses of orang-utans.)

In a low to moderately hot oven, place the sliced up leeks and tablespoon of oil. Give them a good stir even as they cook, so that they cook evenly in the oil. You want the oven to be low to moderate so that they caramelise rather than cook quickly – 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in 6 cups of water, dissolve the cubes of whatever fucking stock you use and simmer the cauliflower until it’s nice and tender – about 15 minutes. The water will evaporate too much if you boil it, in which case you should add another cup at the end.
Add the leeks and, with a stab blender, pretend there’s a wanker who just had a go at you for using a beef stock cube, and stab the shit out of it until it’s beautiful and smooth and – somehow – creamy.
God I love cauliflower; the chameleon of food.
This has next to no calories, and it’s very filling on its own. If you want to impress someone who isn’t a vegan, you can also add bacon.
p.s. vegetable oil isn’t really the ground up carcasses of orang-utans, but it’d be good if people thought they were cos vegetable is palm oil which is just as bad.


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Confessions of an experienced veggo

I'd like to share a little secret with you.

I've dabbled in being vegetarian for the last 14 years or so - no, that's not the secret.
When you live in the UK for 16 months just after the last major Mad Cow scare, and get fed nothing but two day old lamb left overs for every lunch and dinner, the toast you get at breakfast becomes your favourite meal and when your tour of hospitality duty is over, you become a vegetarian. True story.  Foodwise, hotels in England were my Nam.

Am I allowed to say that? I really like tenuous metaphors; I'm sorry.

Part of my secret is that in the 14 years that I have practiced being a herbivore with far more frequency than I've sharpened by canine teeth on the bone of a steak, there is one staple food that I have never been able to come at. Never. Not once. Tofu.

Tofu is disgusting.

I've tried everything. I've tried having it sitting there brazenly on my plate, standing out like rubber amongst the vegetables. I've bought the really soft stuff, and mashed it in amongst potatoes to conceal it. I've minced it and pretended it's spaghetti sauce, and tried to mask it with a very potent cocktail of  herbie tomato sauce. But no matter what I do, tofu is stealthy. You might not even be able to see it, feel it or smell it but then suddenly it's there, tasting like tofu on your plate.

Today, whilst in the ghetto province of Seymourland, I didn't like my chances of getting my favourite vegetarian sausages (which do, I admit, have tofu in them but not much); and I was right - they didn't stock them, but I was quite taken aback by their range of vegetarian burgers and sausages. Certain brands - the more expensive ones with less preservatives and palm oil - are already favourites, and they stocked varieties I'd not seen in three Woolworths in Melbourne. This ghetto might be vegetarian! This now brings me to the real dirty little secret - the first one was just a decoy.

I am an idiot.

I am an idiot who keeps going back for more. Give me a bad relationship, I'll plug away at it. Give me an abusive friendship and I'll still be there like a masochistic freak. Give me tofu and I will keep on trying to like it! I am an IDIOT!

So, yeah. All these amazeballs looking sausages and burgers and I bought home tofu. In ginger sauce - cos I like ginger so well. Maybe I think two hideous components of the food chain combined will ignite an as yet unimpressed tastebud? So why did I do it? Because I am a brand new vegan, and I'm sick of bloody beans so I'm ready to give anything a crack!

This is my tofu.

If I'm honest, it didn't taste too bad - but it's real success was that it didn't taste like much of anything at all, except chilli. Is cooking a success if I've only managed to bring tofu up to being hidden by an ingredient that also tastes like nothing, it's just hot?

I think so - to be honest, I just had an orange and I couldn't taste that either :-) So, really hot chilli masks all.

Still, I do like food and I don't want the next odd months of my life to be about buying shares in Mexican bell chillies so I can burn the upper layer of tastebuds off my tongue, thus forever negating the horrible taste of any food at all. For sheer convenience, I'd really like to be ale to eat tofu. So, because I am an idiot, I will persevere!


Friday, 27 September 2013

Facebook addiction

 I have a Facebook page!  Exciting! Now I can continue to abuse my addiction to social media - Feel free to follow me for my daily recipes, exploits and follies as I delve an animal free existence.

P.s. I feel amazing two weeks in! x

Warning: if you can't cook normal desserts ...

Then you probably can't cook vegan ones.

'M having a lot of fun experimenting with the new parameters of my diet. I have discovered that I love love LOVE cauliflower and avocado.  I have discovered that if you mix it with homemade hummus and some salsa, it's the best thing on corn chips that's ever been invented. I've found out that even when you go to the 'organic' aisle, corn chips have the power to kill orangutans. Woolworths: I'm looking at you; smarten the hell up with your macro range or I'm permanently defecting to Coles.
THEN there's toffee. D'you know, I've never for the life of me been able to make it.  I've made accidental butterscotch that was too buttery, hard rock candy when I wanted fudge. And I don't know why I thought it would be different after spending a ransom on pure maple syrup and organic coconut oil, but I was keen enough to try a great vegan caramel. 3rd time's a charm? Not too hot not too cold just right?

Try runny, run run runny! A good advisor suggested I drop some into cold water to see if it would set. Filled with optimism I ladelled spoon after spoonful into a cuo of cold water, each spoonful dissipating, sugar crystals morphing into the water like that creepy monster (aka hot xfiles detective) from the Terminator.  It's still sitting in the fridge; every so often I test it and - though definitely more viscous, it would barely suit any purpose better than as a topping for ice cream.

And therein, ladies and gents,  lies the rub. For not only would this be a suitable caramel for icecream, it would be AMAZING.  Just when I can't eat ice cream, I have accidentally manufacturered the world's BEST caramel topping. And before you suggest I buy some soy conconction, let me assure you that I would rather lose my sense of taste!

So. Here's a tip: coconut milk and oil make really good tasting toffee, but if you can't make it the regular way you might struggle here too. It may also be that these two ingredients simply weren't designed to set. I won't lie; the original recipe called for trans fatty margarine and I simply wouldn't do it!!

What also to do with a big jug of maple syrup?  Anyone got a good recipe for vegan (dare I say gluten free)  pancakes?!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

no-Spaghetti and meat(less) balls!

THIS was sheer brilliance - and so clean and simple: avocado and cauliflower mash (a surprise new favourite) and homemade falafel with a dash of spaghetti sauce!

I Just took a falafel recipe from - no dairy mind! Some do and some don't.

To be honest, I could eat this delightfully creamy mash (1 avocado and half a caukifkower for two with just a dash of salt and some chilli infused olive oil) and nothing else.

Cheers m'dears!