I’ve had quite a few vegetarian and vegan cookbooks sent to me lately, so I thought I’d do a post introducing them all to you. Some names may be familiar to you (Meat Free Monday, Áine Carlin, and Simon Rimmer for example), some possibly less so and a couple of them are unlike any cookbooks I’ve seen before. In no particular order, here they are:
How are your knife skills? If they’re anything like mine, they’re absolute bobbins. Although I have a cool 5-knife set in the shape of a man being stabbed five times, I only use one of the knives on a regular basis – the utility knife. I like this knife because it’s not scarily big like two of the others in the set and it’s not too small like one of the others. The remaining knife in the set – the bread knife – does get used now and then on bread because even I prefer to actually neatly slice bread with a knife with a serrated edge and not just drag a blunt butter knife into the bread, forming two misshapen lumps.
My knife skills fall into two categories:
I can’t remember when or why I stopped drinking cow’s milk at home. It was definitely before I stopped drinking tea because I can remember using soya milk in tea and, although it was *okay*, the tea wasn’t quite the same, so it was probably around then I stopped drinking tea as well as moo juice. I remember *why* I stopped drinking it though and that’s because I decided drinking a cow’s bodily fluid was ick and so the only time I buy milk now is when I’m having work done to the house and need to make the workmen tea and coffee (except for the plumber who keeps things simple and has black coffee with no sugar). Despite my aversion to cow’s milk because of its ickness and my house being a dairy-cheese-free zone, hypocrisy kicks in when I’m out of the house and I want a hot chocolate or a pizza and no vegan options are immediately available. Luckily, dairy alternatives are becoming more and more available with vegan milk and cheese being offered in more and more places.
If you’ve been to the supermarket lately, you’ve probably seen all the different types of milks available in the fridge and on the shelf. Here’s a run down of some milk alternatives and what you can do with them.
Even if you’ve never tried a recipe box, I’m sure you’ve heard of them. Boxes of ingredients delivered to your door containing everything you need for two or more dishes, along with step-by-step instructions simple enough for even the most novice cook to follow. On the face of it, these boxes can seem like an extravagance or an unnecessary luxury but, when you think about it, if you had to buy all the ingredients you needed for a meal, you wouldn’t use in that one dish everything you bought – one tsp of a spice out of a whole jar/a handful of spinach out of a whole bag, for example – and, as everything’s pre-weighed for you (if a dish needs one tsp of a spice, one tsp of spice will be in the box) as well as there being no waste, there’s also no messing about with scales and measuring spoons or cups. I’ve tried a few recipe boxes in the past and have been impressed each time (especially as the portion sizes have been generous and usually stretched to double the quantities they say they serve).
Back in my alcohol-free beer review last April, I said I thought spinach would be better for a broken foot than alcohol (I know, I obviously have untapped potential as a doctor and should have gone to medical school) and so I was currently living an alcohol-free life. Well, guess what? I still am – almost six months later – and, according to my drinking app, that’s 120 bottles of wine I haven’t had, £755 saved and 73,100 calories not consumed in alcohol. Although a broken foot, coupled with being fed up with drinking anyway was the catalyst for my new-found sobriety, it’s also been massively helped by drinking alcohol-free or low-alcohol (up to 0.5% ABV) wine, beer and cider. As evidenced by mutterings on Facebook groups, a lot of people don’t agree with those who want to cut down on their alcohol intake by drinking alcohol-free beers, ciders and spirits instead but, frankly, they can piss off.
I ate my first ploughman’s lunch last year. I’d seen other people with them on numerous occasions and they looked interesting – all that picky stuff to eat looked right up my street. Whenever I saw it on a menu though I always swerved it for a hot meal instead because who the flipping flop goes out to eat a bit of bread and cheese and pickle? Then one day last year I thought I MUST HAVE A PLOUGHMAN’S and off in search of one I went.
This tofu burger isn’t like the others. It’s not one of those yes-it-has-tofu-in-it-but-it-also-contains-about-twenty-six-other-ingredients-and-will-take-about-sixteen-hours-to-make-and-use-a-load-of-pans-you’ll-need-to-wash-up-after. This easy vegan tofu burger contains one ingredient and I’m not going to insult your intelligence by making you guess what it is because it’s obvious to even the most stupid person.
I went to buy almond milk in the little Tesco the other day hoping it was on offer for £1 like it is sometimes, as I’m too tight to pay the full £1.80. While, yes, it wasn’t on sale for £1.80, instead of going down to a budget-friendly £1 as I’d hoped, it had gone up to £1.99. Yeah, one pound flipping ninety flopping nine! Well, fuck that, I thought, and went home and made myself some cashew milk instead.
As I mentioned before, in an effort to try and minimise any weight gain and hopefully accelerate the healing process while I’m housebound with a gammy leg and can’t exercise, I’m off the alcohol (40 days so far, go me!) Although come the weekend the wine has been calling me from the little Tesco down the road, despite me being able to limp down there, I’ve ignored it and stuck to water. I got bored quickly with water though and started making my own drinks – I made lemon barley water, dandelion and burdock soda, lemon, ginger and mint lemonade, and ginger lemonade. I even bought swing-top glass bottles to store the drinks in. Despite these drinks being refreshing, tasty and healthy, they weren’t really doing it for me on a Saturday night so, when Wise Bartender offered to send me some alcohol-free drinks, I thought I’d give them a go.
When I make this mushroom soup, I eat at least two servings of it, it’s that good. Despite mushrooms being filling and substantial, there are only about 20 calories in 100g of them and although they don’t have the vibrancy you usually associate with healthy eating they: