Tag Archive: Food

Proposed Return to Veganism

The more I’ve interacted with Krishna Das’s page and those of his friends, the more I have felt I really should return to veganism.  On my last few shops I have felt really bad about stocking up with meat and fish and thought maybe next time I’ll cut it out and buy vegan.

A couple of days ago I did it!  I submitted an online order then went back to it and cut out all the meat and dairy and replaced them with vegan products.  I had a serious wobble about it when I went to see my mum.  I think I’m a good cook for my own purposes (and actually I’d love to cook for more people, but I AM a bit slow so I don’t think I could make a career out of it) and I was saying how much I would miss everything, named each meat, fish, dairy and honey product with great anguish!  And all the things I won’t be able to eat in restaurants . . . .

The last time I went vegan, about 10 years ago, I was very evangelistic and Pentecostal about it. Everything had to change all at once, very fervent and much resolve.  Took all my meat and whey protein powder to a local homeless project.  This time, however, I’m being much more – organic? – about it, more relaxed and liberal, less intense.  I’ve still got a lot of meat and fish in my freezer so I’m going to eat it.  I’ve got a whole jar of delicious honey, I’m going to eat that, too.  I’ve got dairy cheese (I expect to miss that, especially Stilton) and one egg left, and I will enjoy those, too.  But once they have gone I’m intending not to replace them (I feel I should make a more committed statement than that, but I won’t – what I write here won’t change anything anyway).

When I’ve heard people talking about changing to veganism in the past and doing it gradually, choice by choice, that’s been an approach I have despised as ethically inferior.  I don’t know now, though.  It took me decades before I actually got to grips with making the leap in the first place.  And maybe it is more realistic to think that ethical actions don’t have to be backed up with self-conscious, anxious, instant conversions. No one’s life is 100% ethically pure, anyway.

This post is not a statement or commitment, just an account of my thoughts and recent choices.  I expect a more relaxed approach than before to work better for me this time, it will be easier to maintain and integrate psychologically, I am sure.  I maintained it for about six years last time, it wasn’t a flash in the pan.  So I’ll try this approach and see how it works differently, if it does.  I think it may be like slipping into something more comfortable.

Oh, also, I’ve managed to find some vegan wines, stout and cider at Sainsbury’s online, much cheaper than going to specialists.  Just put the word ‘vegan’ before what you are looking for and the options appear.  The wines I expect to be fine, they are varieties I like, anyway.  The cider and stout is a bit more of an experiment for me.

I just made this tonight.  To say I didn’t have the amount of cheese (Sheese) I thought I had it worked well enough.  I think I made enough for two generous portions.  It was all guesswork, this is a near approximation.

125g    Wholewheat fusilli (penne, farfelle or macaroni would be as good)
200g    Mixed vegetables (broccoli, carrots, peas, sweetcorn, in my case)
25g       Sunflower spread (I use Pure)
2 tbsp   Plain wholemeal flour
225 ml Soya milk
50g        Blue Cheese style Sheese grated (I get mine from a local wholefood shop or http://www.veggiestuff.com)
Salt and pepper to taste



Preheat the oven to 200 C, gas 6.  Simmer the pasta in a large pan with plenty of boiling water for the time on the packet (usually about 9-12 minutes), steam the vegetables, boil if you can’t.  I use microwave steamer bags.  That way the vegetables cook in self-generated steam and retain their taste.  I bought them for £1 in Poundland or World or something like that.  They take 5 minutes on full power for this recipe.  Otherwise about 10 minutes to steam in a basket over a pan, 10-15 minutes to boil.  These times are variable depending how much bite you want in the vegetables.

While this is happening make the sauce.  Melt the spread over a low heat taking care not to brown it.  Add the flour and stir for about a minute to cook the flour.  Take off the heat and gradually add the soya milk and beat in after each addition to make a smooth roux sauce.  Keep going until all the milk has been incorporated, then return to a low heat and bring to the boil stirring all the time.  It will thicken during this process.  Add the grated Sheese and stir until melted.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Combine the vegetables and drained pasta in a casserole dish, pour the sauce over and combine.  Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until the top is brown and crispy.

Serve and enjoy, as they say!

Variation On A Theme.

I adapted one of Nigel Slater’s simple meal ideas tonight, and it worked perfectly.

One of his ideas is to have pasta and peas, tossed in olive oil and garlic, I think, but I’m not sure about that bit.

I did pasta and peas with black olive tapenade.  Beautiful, with ground black pepper and a glass of white wine.

Really quick, really simple, really beautiful and spot on and delicious and I couldn’t have been better pleased with a meal which had taken a lot of preparation.

I first came across him when I bought one of his books, ‘Real Fast Food’, and I was attracted by the idea of speed and simplicity with delicious substantiality and unpretentiousness.

I can’t remember if I had ever been there before, with anything in a different class from beans on toast.  His book gave me the ideas, and the vision, and the enthusiasm, and the confidence and permission.

Another one I like of his is green lentils boiled with a bay leaf and topped with butter (sunflower margarine now, which to me is just as good) and black pepper (or is that my addition?)

I love his style anyway.  Really, really fantastic.

So, Nigel, many thanks for the introduction to simple and delicious good cooking.  It is a pure delight.

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