Life BV….

One of the tricky things about turning vegan, is what to do about your life before vegan (BV).

Chances are, in your BV days, you bought stuff you wouldn’t dream of touching with a barge pole now.

I got lucky when it came to food:  I turned vegan before the husband so I just sent him into the cupboards like a human hoover, clearing out all the lactose and honey ridden naughties. By the time of his AV (anno-veganni?), I’d long since secretly veganised our food hoard.

My BV clothes were a little less easy to deal with, apparently dressing your husband in your leather purses and cute woollen sweaters is less acceptable than having him polish off the Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. Besides, he would never have been able to squeeze his big man toes in to my pretty little lady shoes.

I took a picture of my hoover wearing shoes and a hat. I have way too much time on my hands.

I took a picture of my hoover wearing shoes and a hat. I have way too much time on my hands.

I donated a lot to the PDSA for onward sale (I didn’t feel right e-baying things and making money out of something I no longer ethically agree with), other items were gifted to friends, but some things I have continued to use because I was concerned that they were not of sufficient quality to be re-sold or gifted and because it felt wrong, and disrespectful, to simply dispose of them.

One of those things was a leather purse. I probably bought it about five years BV and it was pretty tatty last January when I turned vegan, but this week, some eighteen months after my transition, it finally gave up the ghost, the lining now ripped beyond repair and the clasp distinctly unclaspy.

At last…

At last…..

A new purse!

And check it out, its soooooooooo pretty. Why did I ever think I needed leather anyway?!

non-leather purses

Yay, another step toward a life free from animal products.

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Sunday Treats – Mmmmmm nut butter cups….

I happened across a cracking recipe over at ‘this world i live in’ for nut butter cups.

These amazing little treats are raw vegan (and possibly also paleo friendly – but don’t quote me on that cause I can never quite keep up with what is and what isn’t pale-ok)

Had to share the link to the recipe here because they are simply divine…..

 

Raw Vegan Nut Butter Cups

 

I strongly recommend that you all go straight to your kitchens to make some for yourselves!

Happy sunday people, mwah xxx

 

 

btw you guys on Instagram? If so hunt me down @sookisu or post me your user name and I’ll pop by to admire your pics xx

VB6 : Yo Sis…. (Basil and Tomato Pasta)

 

she’s got that VIBE (she’s got that vibe) VIIIBBEEE (that vegan vibe) VIIIIIBBBBBEEEEEEE!

Nope, not me: My big sis who texted me this week to tell me that’s she’s going to try VB6.

Even though I consider myself a vegan officianado (I have three cookbooks and a t-shirt), I hadn’t heard of this before, but check it out:

Mark Bittman's VB6

Mark Bittman’s VB6 (don’t click to look inside, I blatantly stole this image from Amazon, I’m hoping I won’t go to jail if I post the hyperlink here)

There’s a whole book about being plant based before 6pm.

Super cool.

Now, you guys all know that I’m down with this whole vegan thing because I think pigs, cows, chickens, even tuna and monk fish in the right light, are cute*. But anything that gets people thinking about an alternative way of eating, for health or any other reasons, is good with me.

Sooooo, any hoo, Big Sis texted me for ideas for lunch and that was the inspiration I needed to hop back on here and share a recipe.

Vegan Lunch Ideas

I’m not going to lie, there are days my lunch looks like this:   

IMG_0689

But there are other days that I get it right, and then fail to take a photo.

I’m a huge fan of salads for lunch but when I suggested this to my sister, she surprised me by confirming that salads are a no go for her (apparently the leaves get in her files, wtf?).

So I had to come up with something else. I think this recipe has a lovely mediterranean vibe and so is perfect for this summer heat wave we’re having. It’s also one of those meals that is super simple, it will serve for both dinner and then as a cold lunch the next day.

Simple Basil and Tomato Pasta

(Serves four (two for dinner and two for lunch))

  • 300 grams penne pasta
  • 3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
  • 300 grams cherry tomatoes (use smaller sweeter tomatoes such as cherry or baby plum, not huge great hulking things) – halved
  • 2 good handfuls of fresh basil leaves
  • Salt for seasoning
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • A generous drizzle of Garlic Oil

IMG_0993

Method

1. Put the pasta on to boil. Follow whatever method works best for you here, I’ve always followed the principle that you should allow 1 litre of water for every 100 grams of pasta and salt the water well, but I get that tonnes of salt is considered baaaad, so do what works for you. I spend a little extra on pasta to get a good quality thick shell that tastes good a al-dente.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry off the garlic on a low heat, you don’t need to brown it off just soften it ever so slightly then add the tomatoes. Continue to cook for no more than two minutes – you want the tomatoes to be warmed but not to have lost any of their structural integrity.

3. Drain the pasta and drizzle with the garlic oil. Add this back into the pan with the garlic and tomatoes for a quick stir, season to your taste and then serve.

4. Put your lunch allocation in your lunch box and leave it to cool before adding your torn basil leaves (otherwise they will be wilted and mushy by the time you come to eat it at lunch tomorrow). Serve the remainder piping hot on the plate and tear the basil over the top.

IMG_0995

Super simple, super delicious. Also being as it is, a pasta recipe, this is probably the kind of food you should be steering clear of if you’re making the switch to VB6 for health reasons (white pasta = simple carbs and processed = not soooo good).

Mmmm, I’ve not had this in so long, I think I know what I’m having for lunch today…..

 

*Before anyone gets over excited about that little comment I’m just going to confirm that I’m being glib: there are a whole series of ethical and spiritual reasons I chose this lifestyle

Cinnamon Breakfast Pancakes : Let’s not kid ourselves ….

Vegan Cinnamon Pancakes

…. no matter how much coconut oil and wholewheat flour you throw in, pancakes drenched in maple syrup are never going to be a healthy breakfast, but still, let’s give credit where credit is due, they are healthier than the average pancake.

I spotted this delicious recipe for vegan cinnamon breakfast pancakes on The Sparkle Side Walk and I’ve literally been looking forward to trying them ever since!

Just one little over share before I go, hangover clothing is sooooo not my strong point:

This is not a squat booty

This is not a squat booty

oh yeah, that’s how I’m rollin’ this morning.

 

Mmmmmm Sandwiches (and a mushroom pate recipe)

I love bread. Bread, bread, bread.

I read so many blogs of people who are well behaved and who don’t touch the evil spawn of grain. But I do.

I’ve been having a sandwichy couple of weeks recently, I blame my sister for buying me this bit of neatness for my Christmas present:

Re-usable sandwich wrapper

Best present ever – a reusable sandwich wrapper!

My favourite sandwich at the moment is mushroom pate with sliced cucumber. Go on, have a go, it’s delicious:

Reusable Sandwich Wrapper

Sandwiches and saving the world all in one lunch break? Oh yes.

Peppery Mushroom Pate with Thyme

Ingredients

  • 250 grams chestnut mushrooms
  • 50 grams bread crumbs
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • Half a fresh chilli de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 good handful of fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp course ground black pepper
  • pinch salt

Homemade mushroom pate

Method

  1. Fry off the onion and mushrooms in a frying pan until the onion is just beginning to brown then add the chilli, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and sizzle for another five minutes
  2. Allow to cool and then place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and blitz with a hand blender.

Voila – a delicious herby and very peppery mushroom pate!

This isn’t a sponsored post but if you did want to grab yourself the bit of neatness that is the reusable sandwich wrapper they are available here : Ananda Foods

Starry Starry Night…. (and a history lesson)

…..well, here you are, the proof that I was brave enough to get the camera phone out in a michelin starred restaurant.

Vegan Michelin Star Food

Top : Apple Crumble; Pannacotta; Amuse Bouche
Middle : Carrot Appetiser; Heritage Beetroot Salad; Butternut Squash and Orange Chanterelle Bottom : Salt Baked Celariac; Beetroot Verjus and finally, my plate – not quite, but very nearly, licked clean 

I cannot praise the chefs at the Burlington enough, they cooked up an absolute storm. The food was so well thought through with incredible flavours and textures. I loved the salt baked celariac which I thought had drawn inspiration from a traditional white fish dish, the beetroot verjus was to die for, the amuse bouche amused my bouche quite delightfully.

The highlights for me were the butternut squash and chanterelle mushroom starter, the incredible baked apple pudding and, because I’m a child at heart, the beetroot and fennel agar jelly sweets that were served in the lounge with our coffee.

Look posh vegan fruit pastels - amazing

Look posh vegan fruit pastels – amazing

The waiting staff, sommelier and everyone else who looked after us were so lovely. I was worried we would get a few raised eyebrows or possibly some snotty comments being vegan in a michelin starred restaurant (believe me, it happens), but everyone was keen to stress that they catered for everyone and the whole team couldn’t have been more helpful.

The best bit of the evening for me though is that I feel like I’ve exorcised one of my vegan demons: it is possible to still enjoy fine dining as a vegan.

In an odd way, this is so important to me because I’ve actually only really developed an appreciation of food in the last seven years.

The History Lesson 

As a child, I was not a fan of food. At All. I pretty much refused to eat anything that wasn’t either beans on toast or cheese sandwiches.

Mr HFTB on the other hand, was a born foody: A fan of fine dining and fabulous flavours.

The first few years of our relationship were a procession of awkward restaurant encounters: I would spend the evening staring forlornly at the menu before meekly ordering a couple of side dishes (bread and fries anyone?), Mr HFTB would order gleefully, whilst desperately try to encourage me to try something new.

Then, over time, something changed, it started with goats cheese, then progressed to mushrooms, there was probably a souffle, definitely a jus, followed by confit and pate.

Slowly but surely, I developed a genuine love and appreciation of food. My new found love followed me into the home and I began spending time cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. But my favourite thing remained eating out, especially at fabulous spangly restaurants who served things like mushroom cappuccino, celariac and truffle foam and puddings with popping candy.

And then.

Then I turned vegan.

I would love to say eating out is easy, but honestly, it quite often isn’t. A visit to a restaurant since turning vegan is an exercise in trepidation: Will there be anything on the menu? If not, will the chef cook something to order without the waiters being too rude? Will the salad be dressed with honey and the soup topped with cream even though I asked for it not to be?

Whenever possible I phone in advance to check that the chef is happy to cook something (especially if I’m going out with clients: there is nothing worse than having a menu meltdown when you’re trying to make a good impression) but to be honest, since turning vegan, I had assumed that fine dining and, in particular, michelin starred dining, would be out of the question:

I am pleased to report that after last Sunday evening, I was wrong. Vegan demon, officially exorcised : thank you to everyone at the Burlington!

Devonshire Arms