Tag Archives: S

The countdown is on…

6 Sep

I have a cake in the oven.  A good old Red Velvet Cake – it’s S’ favorite and I promised I would bake one for his birthday dinner tomorrow night.  I have big plans for the decorating, which I am going to attempt to keep a secret!

We started the ordeal of saying goodbye this past week, and our imminent departure is starting to feel very, very real.

I am feeling very scattered.  I am sad, and excited, I feel full of hope, and I feel full of apprehension.  I am oscillating wildly between consuming enthusiasm and intense terror: but, in a good way (if that makes any sense?)

The next few days, weeks, months and years are going to be hard, they are going to be filled with adventure and sadness, laughter and rage, exhaustion and hope.  I cannot imagine embarking on this adventure without S by my side: my best friend, my soul mate, my lover.  My other half.

The countdown is on… and it is bittersweet.

This is what a vegan weekend looks like.

9 Aug

Go Pies!  (and, for S… Go Dees!)

Lentil Vol-au-Vents with roast vegetables

Angus reading the Eumenidies

Red Kidney Bean and tomato sauce

S hangs out in the backyard

Sunday Morning Scrambled Tofu with Onion

The S Special: Triple-decker sandwitches

Angie-Pants hanging out under the ferms

Oliver in the Sun

My back-pyramid…  after a painful trip to the osteopath

And – that’s what our weekends look like (when not studying or knitting!)

I heart Nacho Pizza!

1 Aug

Now, obviously everyone has a weird or crazy pizza that they just love.  S’ is cheese.  I know what you’re thinking: that’s not weird or crazy.  That’s just the kind of guy that S is.  Usually when we have pizza I have some kind of mix of veges – usually just whatever is in the fridge.  But, this is my favorite pizza, it just requires a little bit more preparation that throwing a bunch of veges on a pizza base.

I didn’t make these bases.  We bought them from our crazy organic supermarket.  They’re rye, and let me tell you they were both expensive and delicious.

The base-sauce on the Nacho Pizza consists of a can of Red Kidney Beans, half mashed and with a bit of tomato, capsicum and chili stirred through.  On top of that went the corn chips.  On top of that went a fresh salsa of tomato, coriander, cucumber and red onion.  On top of that I grated some super melting Edam Style Cheezly.  Bake until it’s looking deliciously pizza-ish and top with guacamole and more fresh salsa.

I have made this without the Cheezly, and I kind of think it might be better without it.  I’m starting to go off the ‘substitutes’ for two main reasons – 1. I don’t need them, and they’re generally not super healthy and 2. I’m not going to be able to afford them in the U.K so I should get used to not having them now.

Anyway – we have just pulled dinner out of the oven, and a glass of wine has just landed on the table in front of me!

The Omnivoresque Vegan

22 Jul

I used to cook every night.  I used to cook amazing, wonderful, sometime-slightly-horrific meals for S and I to devour or throw in the bin.  One of the things I love about being vegan is the baking, broiling, poaching, toasting, grilling, simmering, cooking.  Our diet was wide and varied.  Now, two things have changed.

The first is the disconcertingly ugly thing you see above.  My thesis.  And, that’s one of the old drafts…  I’m sure you get the picture.  Only weeks away from submission and I have little on my plate (and mind) that does not revolve around Aischylos’ Eumenides.

The second is my parents.  The un-labeled non-meat eating S and I have moved in with my parents in preparation for our move to the U.K (which, incidentally, is occurring in fifty days!)

Because of these two things I have practically stopped experimenting in the kitchen and we have begun to eat like meat and 2 veg omnivores.  Now, firstly I want to say that both my parents are wonderfully supportive of our non-meat-eating ways and have accommodated us in every way possible.  Secondly, if I had the time to cook for all of us I would, but the simple fact is neither mum or I have the time to cook and so we inevitably fall back on the staples.  For example, last night mum and I filled up the steamer with corn, potatoes, and carrots and went for a walk, came home put on some peas, some steaks and sausages (for them, obviously) and some vege sausages (for S and me).  It wasn’t because we didn’t want to make dahl bhat, its because no one has the time to simmer down a beautiful yellow dahl, make vege curry and pickles and plate it all up in some beautiful fashion with naan delicately resting on the top.

But, its starting to take its toll on me.  I feel bored by food for the first time in a very long time and as a consequence I am starting to loose my passion for cooking.  I no longer unwind on Sunday afternoon by creating delicious baked goods for S to sample.  And, this is my pledge to begin to do just that.  Even if I have to force myself.

One of the wonderful things about veganism is the variety of wonderful, amazing, cruelty free foods that are just begging to be turned into delicious meals.  On top of that, it’s been a long time since I have eaten so many processed foods.  I now eat vege burgers from the frozen section where I used to make my own.  I eat packet pasta where I used to love nothing more than rolling up fresh gnocchi or fresh lasagne sheets.  I haven’t made dahl – something we used to have at least once a week – for ages, but the other day I considered buying a tetrapack of ready made dahl (how bloody lazy!).  For the record, I didn’t.  But, I also didn’t make dahl.  Something must change or I will lose my mind.

I think the simple fact is that meat and two veg – even if that is meat-substitute and two veg – shouldn’t be the staple diet of anyone, anywhere.  It’s just so damn boring.

Mushroom and Walnut Roast

18 Jul

This roast loaf will not win any prizes for beautiful food.  But, it is tasty, easy and cruelty-free – which makes it good in my books!

Let’s begin with the actual roast loaf.

You’ll need:

  • 250g cooked chickpeas (or 2 cans)
  • 2 shallots – diced
  • 1 onion – diced
  • 1 leek – thinly sliced
  • 6-7 medium sized mushrooms – peeled and sliced
  • 1 big handful of walnuts
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 big tablespoon parsley (or finely chopped spinach would also be good!)
  • 3/4 cup pre-made vegetable stock (either home made, cube or powder)
  • 1/4 – 2/3 cup nutritional yeast (if desired)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a much-too-big saucepan and a small amount of oil, saute the shallots, leek and onions until translucent.  Take off the heat and set aside.

In a food processor, very quickly wizz up the chickpeas – you still want to have a fair amount of whole and half chickpeas.  To this add the walnuts, parsley, and a small amount of the olive oil and wizz a bit more – keep adding oil until the mixture is very well combined.  It’s not very important for all the chickpeas to be mushed up – having some whole chickpeas can be advantageous!

Add the vegetable stock to the onion mix, then add the chickpea-walnut mix and the nutritional yeast.  Stir over a low heat until the two are well combined.  Spoon the mix into a lined loaf-pan and bake in a 180 degree oven for about 45 minutes.  If you like, you can take the roast loaf out at about 30 minutes and invert onto a flat baking tray to finish off the last 15 minutes.  Doing this will have two results: first, it will crisp up the outside of the loaf and, second, you’ll have to wash up a baking tray on top of everything else.

After you take the loaf out of the oven, invert (if you haven’t already) onto a serving plate and slice.  It’s designed to be very moist and a bit ‘sloppy.’  The slices won’t stay in very nice little rectangles unless you are very careful when plating up.

Now, the sauce!  Well, to be honest, this is not exactly a sauce and more of a ‘topping’ but, it’s still good!

You’ll need:

  • 1 leek – diced
  • 1 onion – diced
  • 4 medium mushrooms – thinly sliced and cut into halves
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Nuttelex or similar non-diary ‘butter’
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-2 teaspoons of vegetable stock powder or a bullion cube (alternatively, replace water with home made vegetable stock)

The easiest way to dice your leek is this: cut the leek in half lengthways and pull out the little center bit.  You’ll then be able to flatten out the rest of the leek into ‘sheets’, cut lengthways into thirds and then cut those long strips into squares.

To begin the sauce, melt a decent spoonful of Nuttelex on a fairly hot heat.  Once melted, put the diced onion and leek into the saucepan and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes, remembering to scrape down the sides fairly regularly.  Once the mix is well coated and starting to look translucent, add 1/4 cup of water and 2 teaspoons of stock powder (or 1/4 cup of pre-made vegetable stock).  Put the mushroom in, turn the heat down a little bit and put a lid on the saucepan and let it simmer away, stiring or shaking occasionally.  Once the mushroom has softened up take off the heat, and let rest with the lid still on for a few minutes.  It will thicken up a bit, but not heaps.  Serve either on top of or on the side of your roast loaf.

The loaf is great with roast vegetables.  Last night we had ours with crispy roast potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes and pumpkin with peas.  Tonight, we had the loaf with mashed potato, peas and carrots.  S also had chips from the fish and chip shop – but we won’t talk about that…

Meaty Revulsion

17 Jun

S and I had lunch at Southland earlier this week, and it reinforced how much I despise shopping center food courts.  It’s not having to question the ingredients of every dish – on the contrary, I am more than used to the ‘does this contain dairy?’ ‘is this made with vegetable stock?’ ‘can I have this made without cheese, please?’  It’s having to watch other people devour over cooked chicken without thinking about the animal behind their greasy fingers, or burgers that are so far removed from ‘natural’ food that you actually can’t equate what is in your hands with a cow being beaten with a steal pipe.  And, even if the cow that ends up in that particular burger wasn’t belted, what the burger represents is ‘the cow’ being beaten.  But, the very worst thing about it is adults feeding their children these things.  Young children who just don’t know better because they still believe what their mother tells them.  It’s just revolting.

Each day, my revulsion at meat, dairy and egg eaters gets worse and worse.  I turn away in disgust from people eating ham sandwiches.  It is actually starting to make me sick.

On a fairly unrelated note: I have recently finished reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals.  As many, many veg*ns have already read – or at least heard of – this book, I don’t want to say too much about it.  When I went up to purchase the book S and I were asked if we were already vegetarians, I replied that I was vegan and that S was vegetarian.  The bookstore lady told us that the book changes people.  I’ve no doubt that it has, would, will change people.  I suppose it did reinforce the beliefs that I already hold, but I find it odd that a number of (prior to reading the book) veg*ns have told me that reading this book has changed them.  Still, I think everyone should read it.  I would love my mum to read it.  People are just so resistant to anything they feel will force them to reevaluate their lifestyles.

But, reevaluation doesn’t stop.  After I read the article Can Meat Eaters Also Be Environmentalists? I was reminded that in terms of my responsibility to animals, just not eating them is not enough, and in terms of my responsibility to the environment, not eating animals or using animal products is not enough.  We should always strive to do more – encourage people to educate themselves and to cut animal produce out of their diets and lifestyles (whether that means ‘meatless mondays’, vegetarianism, veganism, or any other manifestation of decrease).  Not only that but we should remember that by eating over processed, non-local and over-chemical’d produce we may as well erase the good work we do by not eating animal products.

Be kind to the earth, be kind to animals, and don’t eat greasy chicken near me in a food court (actually, please just don’t eat chicken at all!)

Stew, stew, and fly away…

1 Jun

Yesterday, S and I booked our flights to London, via Doha where we will spend a few days, including his birthday.  It means that there is a lot of work ahead of me over the next few weeks and months.

I haven’t had the time to do much of anything – beyond working on my thesis – for the last few days (and I fully expect that to continue) so when S said this afternoon that he wanted a stew I breathed in relief that it was really something I could just throw on the stove and leave to simmer away.  As S has Scottish heritage, and as were exactly one hundred days until we leave, I thought I’d do something a bit Scottish-inspired.  While I’m not really sure how well I did with that, it was one big pot of tasty, tasty stew that S absolutely devoured (and that’s always a good thing!)

I started by soaking

  • 1/2 a cup of pearl barley,
  • 1/2 a cup of split green peas and
  • 1/2 a cup of red lentils.

Cover them with just enough water and soak for about an hour.  I had to refill the water twice.

While they were soaking I cut up (honestly, very very roughly):

  • 9 potatoes (for some reason my mum gave me a huge pile of absolutely tiny potatoes – this really would have been 4 alright sized potatoes)
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 huge onion
  • 1 huge leek (but, I love leek and I have instilled S with a love of leek – so if you’re not as bit a leek fan, maybe just a small one)
  • 2 medium sized parsnips
  • 3 decent sized potatoes

Once the peas/lentils/barley were ready, and S was on the way home, I heated a big stew-pot with a tiny bit of oil in the bottom, threw the onion and leek in first for a few minutes, before putting in the rest of the veges in for a few minutes, before about a liter of vegetable stock, and the now-soaked-and-rinsed peas/lentils/barley mix.  I like thick stew, so if you wanted something a bit more soupy – you could add up to 1 3/4 liters if you wanted to.  At this stage add salt and pepper to taste.

Bring the whole thing up to the boil, then down to a simmer and throw the lid on – with the occasional stir – until the veges are ready and the whole thing is delicious!  Spoon into a bowls, sprinkle a bit of fresh parsley over the top.

Now, look – this is not the most awesome looking dish you’ll ever see, but seriously, what stew is?  (That’s why you got a photo of S enjoying the stew, rather than the stew itself.)  This has made a HUGE pot – enough for us both to stuff ourselves silly and we’re looking at lunches tomorrow and another four serves (probably) in the freezer.  That’s the great thing about stew, though!

This weekend S and I are hosting a dinner party – Tapas style.  While I doubt the entire affair will be vegan (as its us and three other couples, and everyone is bringing food, and we’re the only veg*ns) obviously everything that I make will be – so, now I need some amazing Spanish inspiration!  (My first, and currently only, idea is bean-balls).  So – any ideas, please, please let me know!