When we first started this website and journey in 1998 veganism was quite a far throw from the mainstream. Vegan cheese was only to be found in health food shops and newspapers reported on the lifestyle as if it were something akin to a cult.
We remember the excitement when the first vegan white chocolate came out and the delight taken in a simple vegan sausage roll.
What changes there have been since then! And so many of them in the last couple of years.
You can now choose from a huge variety of vegan cheeses in most supermarkets. Tesco sells ready to eat vegan macaroni cheese. Both Asda and Tesco have a value garlic bread that is vegan. And Quorn – finally – have a few vegan products.
Since this article on restaurants missing out on half a million vegan diners many chains have come out with vegan menus. MacDonald’s have removed that beef ingredient from their fries (in the UK at least) and do a vegan burger. Wagamama, Costa, Pret, Starbucks, Handmade Burger Co., Las Iguanas, Yo Sushi, Zizzi: they all cater for us, and well. Ben and Jerry’s have three new vegan flavours of ice cream…
Yes. It’s wonderful! Long may it continue and grow!
Was not expecting to find vegan recipes in this extremely informative title, in fact did not know it would contain recipes at all and bought it to learn about slavery, but African Soul Fried Rice sounds good! A great mix of autobiography and history.
500ml soya milk
half teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
200g pudding rice
85g. dark chocolate (80% best), broken into small pieces
Bring milk, sugar and salt to the boil then add the rice. Stir occasionally while cooking for about 20 minutes – add more milk if too sticky. Stir in vanilla. Divide between 4 ramekins and insert the chocolate pieces into the middle and push down with a spoon. Leave at room temperature for a few minutes and the chocolate will go all melty like a rich sauce…
Room by Emma Donoghue. You’re best going into this knowing only that a five year old boy and his mother live in a tiny room and that the child, the voice of the novel, has never left it. So intriguing. Scary and thought provoking too. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
The Bones of You by Debbie Howells is a chilling and gripping murder mystery and a good exploration of narcissism. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
And if you need to laugh after those, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion should have you doing that from the opening pages as obviously autistic Don Tillman sets out to solve ‘the wife problem’. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
Smoothie of the moment:
Bramble, quantities are for four people, adjust as required. Ingredients: a quarter blender jug of brambles (blackberries); 100g of walnuts; 5 bananas; 1 large apple; orange juice to cover. Blend and enjoy the tart sweetness of the season.
Book of the moment:
Beauty by Sheri S. Teper. A stunningly well written, time-jumping, retelling of the sleeping beauty story for adults with a strong environmental message. Buy UK or Buy US
Horse Chestnut is very much the tree of the moment:
Chocolate Chilli Cupcakes
4 tablespoons of self-raising gluten free flour
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 quarter teaspoon of hot chilli powder
4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
1 box of rice cream or something similar (we got this at Approved Food, always worth checking for vegan goodies), a vegan yoghurt or soya cream would do, even a chocolate pudding
Mix the dry. Add the wet. Stir thoroughly and divide between 12 cake cases. Bake at 200C/400F for up to 20 minutes or until risen and firm. Once they have cooled: ice them!
For the spicy icing:
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of caster sugar (or icing sugar)
2 tablespoons of marg.
a pinch of cayenne pepper
a pinch of salt
Melt it all up in pan over a very low heat. Once well mixed, allow to cool and thicken a little before spreading on the cakes.
Perfect for Valentines Day, as is our little friend Egbert:
And books, they always make perfect gifts… Here’s two involving love that we’ve read and enjoyed in recent months:
Matt Haig’s ‘The Humans’ is compassionate and funny and deeply moving. When Professor Andrew Martin solves an important mathematical problem, he is replaced by an alien who is charged with eliminating all evidence of the discovery and Professor Martin’s wife and son. It’s one of those books that is so good you nag other people to read it…
Set in 17th century Amsterdam, Jessie Burton’s novel follows the lives of newly married Nella Oortman and her family. Intrigue surrounds the dolls house that Nella is given as a wedding gift and the mysterious miniaturist whose wares echo the lives of the people in the real house. Gripping and unputdownable.