Vegan Cheese, Chilli and Mustard Straws

vegan-cheese-straws

My friend Jacqui (who I interviewed here and who wrote about her stay at Jacob’s Ridge/The Pig Village here) mentioned the other day how much she and her family like the Tesco Free From Soya Medium Cheese. Although there are almost as many opinions on vegan cheese varieties/makes as there are actual vegans, I took her recommendation in good faith, especially as she’s the only vegan in her house. I mean, if dairy-cheese eaters like it, it must be good, right? Wrong. Really wrong. So wrong I immediately unfriended her and asked her for the package of chocolate orange I gave her back, even though I hate chocolate orange (this isn’t actually true (the unfriending bit, that is – the ‘I hate chocolate orange’ is most definitely true) and she’s probably eaten the chocolate already anyway).

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Vegan Oaty Cranberry & Coconut Cookies

flora-dairy-free-spread

This is a sponsored post

There’s a misconception that dairy-free spread tastes weird. I’m not sure why people think this – I mean, yes, it’s not quite as rich and creamy as full-fat dairy butter but it’s usually made with plant oil and there’s nothing weird about that. Flora Freedom is a new dairy-free spread that tastes the same as the regular spread in the Flora range but is suitable for vegetarians, vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Made from rapeseed oil and sustainable palm oil, it contains 60% less saturated fat than butter and is free from artificial preservatives, colours and flavours. And you can do whatever it is you do with the dairy Flora: frying, baking, spreading, or just eating straight from the tub (really? You do that? Ick).

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My Week at Jacob’s Ridge (Pig Village) – A Volunteer’s Story

My friend Jacqui (who I did a Q&A with about becoming vegan last year) spent a week volunteering at Jacob’s Ridge (better known as  The Pig Village) and you can read all about it here. Thanks, Jacqui!

My week at Jacob’s Ridge (or Excuse me Miss, but there appears to be a pig trying to get in my tent)

Early last summer, when I was a relatively new vegan, I posted on a vegan Facebook group asking if fellow vegans could suggest suitable food that I could cook while camping in Norfolk. One of the responders, Lynn, told me to forget Norfolk and instead to get myself over to a place called Pig Village, an animal sanctuary based at Jacob’s Ridge in Southern Spain. This vegan idyll offered opportunities to volunteer with the day-to-day care of the animals, sleep in a glamping style bell tent and eat lashings of home prepared vegan cuisine. I didn’t need to be told twice, so I contacted Jacob’s Ridge for more information and, when the dates were announced in September for the upcoming summer season, I was one of the first in the queue to book.

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Vegan Haggis, Mushroom and Cabbage Pasties

Vegan haggis pasty

What do you do when you’ve got half a block of puff pastry and half a vegetarian haggis in the freezer, a leftover field mushroom in the fridge and a cabbage in your veg box delivery? Make vegetarian haggis, mushroom and cabbage pasties of course! I love finding leftover pastry in the freezer as I haven’t found anything that isn’t improved by being wrapped in pastry. Well, ice cream might be a bit rubbish, I suppose, but the combination of vegetables and pastry is always a winner.

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Giveaway & Review: The Vegetarian Italian Kitchen by Veronica Lavenia

The Vegetarian Italian Kitchen by Veronica Lavenia

The Vegetarian Italian Kitchen cookbook has only one thing about it that annoys me – Veronica Lavenia uses a few cheeses that are NEVER vegetarian and not once does she suggest a vegetarian alternative*. I don’t know what will happen when/if we leave the EU and whether we can happily sod their laws and make our own cheese and call it what we want but, at the moment, as any self-respecting vegetarian can (and will) tell you, Parmesan/Parmigiano-Reggiano is an EU Protected Designation of Origin product and has to be made using calf rennet, therefore making it unsuitable for vegetarians. And if you don’t believe me, you can read The Vegetarian Society’s cheese fact sheet which also points out that Gorgonzola (also used in the book) is never vegetarian either.

[*The author, Veronica Lavenia, has seen this post and here’s her reply:

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June Round-Up (and why I’m probably banned from Papa John’s)

june-roundup

I would say this is the first in a new series of monthly round-ups but, knowing me, it’ll be a haphazard monthly series that doesn’t appear monthly as one would reasonably expect a monthly series to do. This haphazardness is especially likely as I had planned to start my round-ups with a round-up of May’s recipes, reviews and samples at the beginning of June, but when it got to the 28th of June, I thought that was probably a bit too late for a May round-up. (Update: Writing this post has taken far longer than I thought it would when I started it on 6 July – it’s now the 11th.)

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Quick and Easy Spinach, Pea and Spring Onion Flan

vegetarian-spinach-pea-spring-onion-flan

I used to resent quiche. I resented it for looking like a pizza but having neither the taste nor the texture of one but I mostly resented it for usually being the only thing available to a vegetarian at a buffet. It was also – to my mind – the realm of little old ladies who had that little old lady smell about them. Therefore, I avoided quiche for years and it’s only been in the last few years I’ve been able to eat it without feeling like I’m punishing myself. I still ignore it at buffets though as a matter of principle.

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Dehydrated Mushroom Jerky

Vegan mushroom jerky wrap

I dropped some tofu jerky on the kitchen floor the other day. This saddened me because it was the last of the current batch and even though I scooped it up within the three-second-rule thing, I know how often the kitchen floor gets cleaned and therefore I apply something more akin to a three-foot-rule thing as far as any food/floor contact goes. I wiped the jerky with a bit of kitchen roll but I still didn’t fancy my chances and I wasn’t about to bleach it then eat it, so into the bin it went. Sniff.

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Review: Mueller Spiral Pro 4 Blade Spiralizer

Mueller Spiral Pro 4 Blade Spiralizer

A spiralizer has been the must-have gadget for a while now and supermarkets have cottoned on to this trend by selling their own ready-spiralized vegetables for three times the price the veggie noodles would be if you made them yourself. I can see the attraction of the ready-spiralized veg though – no getting any gadgets out, no cleaning up afterwards and if you’ve got arthritis or something else that means your grip’s not great, then it’s the only option available (on the assumption you’re not rich enough to pay someone solely to come around and spiralize a couple of carrots for you while you doss about watching Loose Women on the telly).

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