Forget Kim Kardashian and her oversized bum, Zizzi almost broke the internet a few weeks ago when they revealed their new vegan menu. Vegans are used to visiting chain restaurants and adapting items already on the menu and asking the staff to omit cheese from their orders but Zizzi is the first (as far as I’m aware) to offer a vegan cheese on their pizzas. The vegan cheese is MozzaRisella, which is made from germinated whole rice made without milk and lactose, making it suitable for vegans and those who are allergic to dairy, gluten and soya.
I’m neither vegan nor suffer from any allergies and although I make a conscious effort to eat fewer animal products, when it comes to eating out in restaurants, ‘without cheese please’ just doesn’t manage to leave my mouth when the waiter comes to take my order. So, when I heard about Zizzi’s new vegan pizza, I had to give it a go.
Zizzi, Charlotte Street, London
A friend and I visited Zizzi in Charlotte Street, London and I’m hoping the smiley-but-slow service isn’t indicative of all their branches. The friendly waitress seated us immediately, handed us a couple of Zizzi’s usual menus but rushed off before I had a chance to ask for the vegan one. A long time passed until she came back for our drinks order, which gave me the chance to ask for the vegan menu which she immediately brought to me, but then we had a long wait for our wine to arrive (by the way, most of the wines are vegan and the ones that aren’t are listed on the menu).
To be fair to the waitress(es) though, there did only seem to be two of them but, even so, the restaurant was empty and even the chefs were standing around in the kitchen not doing anything, so I’m not sure why the service was so slow. Slow service is one of my bugbears and the reason I no longer go into my local Pizza Express (I gave them four chances but the service never got any better).
Starter – Vegan Garlic Bread
Still, we eventually managed to order and our shared starter of garlic bread arrived. Despite – as you can see – the bread being covered in lumps of garlic, it wasn’t particularly garlicky and it was also a bit dry. I did like the green ‘vegan’ sticker stuck to the plate though (that’s as in ‘liked Zizzi thought of doing it’, not ‘mmm, yummy sticker’).
Main Course – Zizzi Vegan Pizza with MozzaRisella Cheese
But I didn’t go to Zizzi for their garlic bread, I went for the vegan cheese I’d heard so much about. Zizzi offer a vegan Margherita (including a gluten-free option), onto which you can add your own toppings. Unfortunately, my pizza was a bit burnt and I considered sending it back as I hate burnt food even more than I hate slow service but given how long my pizza had taken to arrive, I kept it. Luckily, only a part of it was burnt and the rest of it was fine and I soon cheered up and enjoyed the rest of my pizza. The vegan ‘cheese’ was more of a sauce and not the stretchy mozzarella pizza lovers have come to expect on their pizza but there are no complaints from me as it was tasty, cheesy and not artificial tasting at all (unlike a lot of vegan cheese). As someone who loves sauces and hates dry food, a sauce-like cheese on top of my pizza is fine with me.
My vegan Margherita cost £7.95 and I chose toppings of olives, green chillies and mushrooms so, with toppings being 80p each, this meant my pizza came to £10.35 which is excellent value in my opinion, especially when a lot of pizza restaurants charge around £12 for a pizza and extra toppings at £1.50 a pop. Unfortunately, I can’t gush about the garlic bread and, at £4.50, I won’t be getting it again.
I’d definitely go back for the vegan pizza though and hopefully more Italian/pizza restaurants and chains will follow Zizzi’s example and start offering vegan cheese on the menu.
For more information about Zizzi, view their whole menu, find your nearest branch and book a table, visit the Zizzi website.
If you’ve been to Zizzi to try their vegan pizza, I’d love to know what you thought about it.
When the postman knocked on the door and handed me the Tofuture Tofu Press, I hadn’t been so excited about a few pieces of plastic since getting my first Spirograph in the early 80s. As you’ve probably guessed, you don’t draw pretty pictures with the Tofuture Tofu Press though; you press tofu with it.
As anyone knows, tofu needs pressing. It needs pressing to make it edible; unpressed tofu is a gungy, spongy, soggy block of slime and I wish I’d learnt about pressing it earlier than I did. Now I have learnt to press tofu, I eat it regularly (you can check out my tofu recipes here) but the one thing I was missing was something practical and convenient to press it with. My method was to wrap the tofu in reams of kitchen roll and then press it between two saucers – either quickly with my hands or for longer with heavy objects balanced on top. Although both methods work to an extent, they have their failings – I had visions of the saucers snapping and slicing my hands with the hand method and the last time I used the heavy objects method, I balanced a cast iron frying pan on the top saucer, then balanced my Nutribullet on top of the frying pan. I was happily playing on my computer upstairs when I heard a crash in the kitchen. On investigation, I found the frying pan had slipped off the saucer and bashed into the wall, breaking a kitchen wall tile. A brand new kitchen wall tile in the BRAND NEW KITCHEN THE MEAT EATER HAD ONLY JUST PUT TOGETHER WITH HIS OWN FAIR HANDS. Oh man, was I in trouble. Luckily, the Meat Eater had had a tax rebate or something and was in a good mood and when I confessed what I’d done (I couldn’t really not confess – there was a big hole in the kitchen wall where a tile should have been) he just shrugged.
Unsurprisingly, ever since then, I’ve been nervous about using the ‘stack a load of heavy shit on it’ tofu-pressing method, so when Tofuture offered to send me one of their tofu presses, I got mega-excited. As in HALLELUJAH PRAISE THE TOFU-PRESSING LORD excited.
The Tofuture Tofu Press is small, compact and no bigger than it needs to be. It comes in three pieces, which all stack neatly inside each other.
I had a block of tofu (just the normal block of Cauldron you can find in all supermarkets) in the fridge, waiting to be pressed and because I’m a geek and wanted a before and after comparison, I measured it first. Please excuse the dirty ruler (and in case you’re wondering what para it’s ruling out, it’s parasites [the ruler was a freebie from the vet]. I have nothing against paramedics or paralegals).
The tofu fits perfectly inside the inner tub.
The inner tub is placed inside the main tub (which will catch the water), then the top is placed over the inner tub and you pull down the elastic bands over the hooks, then pull the clasps back, which will cause the top to press down on the tofu, squeezing the water out.
The elastic bands are quite difficult to get over the hooks but if the bands were slack, then there’d be no pressure on the tofu and no water would get squeezed out and then it wouldn’t be a tofu press; it’d just be a tofu container.
As mentioned above, the tofu press is compact and when your tofu is sitting safely inside it, it fits beautifully in your fridge, nestled in amongst whatever it is you keep in your fridge (mine had a respectable amount of vegetables in it when I took this photo; sometimes it only contains beer and chocolate, but I didn’t borrow these vegetables just for the photo, honest. Although, that’s an embarrassing amount of plastic *makes mental note to reinstate Riverford veg box and stop buying plastic-wrapped veg from Tesco*).
Although I’d planned to leave the tofu pressing for a few hours, after an hour, I couldn’t resist a peek. I took the tofu press out of the fridge and could feel the water sploshing around in the bottom and when I poured it out, there was 100ml of water.
After five hours had passed, I took the tofu out of the fridge and poured out the water that had collected since I’d emptied it and there was another 25ml.
And as you can see, the tofu had shrunk by about half (in case you can’t be bothered to scroll back up, it was 4cm high before being pressed).
And guess what I made with my newly pressed tofu (after marinading it in the press – another use for it)? I’ll give you a clue – it was on a Friday. Yep, tofush! I’m not lying when I say this is the best tofush I’ve made so far – whether that’s down to the Tofuture Tofu Press or my immense tofu-battering skillz or a combination of both, I don’t know. All I know is that I’m very happy with the press and will be using it to press all my tofu in the future. No more broken kitchen wall tiles, yay.
How to get your hands on a Tofuture Tofu Press
Okay, so now you want one of these tofu presses, don’t you? You’ve got a few options: you can either:
Since Veganuary finished, friends have asked me if I’m still vegan. My answers usually began with, ‘Um…’ and finished with, ‘Well, no, not exactly. Well, no.’ It’s a ‘no’ because – before the vegan police shout at me – I’m aware there’s no such thing as being ‘mostly vegan’, just as there’s no such thing as being ‘a bit pregnant’ – you either are or you aren’t. And although I haven’t eaten much dairy since January, I have eaten some, so no, I haven’t stayed vegan.
I’m also aware being vegan means more than just eating a plant-based diet: It’s also about not wearing wool, silk or leather. It’s about not using lip balm containing beeswax and avoiding shoes that have glue. It’s also about animal rights, the environment and living compassionately. And it’s also – going by what I’ve seen on various vegan Facebook groups – about wearing t-shirts with vegan slogans on, getting the word ‘vegan’ tattooed on to your arm (with vegan ink, obvs) and telling people to watch Earthlings. Oh, and arguing amongst yourselves about who’s the best at being vegan (if you eat anything containing palm oil, then it’s not you).
Why I took part in Veganuary
If you know me in real life or are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I have strong vegan/plant-based diet leanings (I really can’t be arsed to keep typing ‘plant-based diet’ so I’m going to write ‘vegan’ in this post from now on) so it probably wasn’t much of a surprise that I wanted to take part in Veganuary.
I’ve been vegetarian for twenty-four years and that’s not your willy-nilly fish-is-a-vegetable/parmesan-is-cheese-and-therefore-must-be-vegetarian-innit vegetarian – I know what I’m doing. I know Parmesan and Gorgonzola are never vegetarian. I know to ask in a restaurant or cafe if the stock in a seemingly vegetarian soup is vegetarian because just because it’s a vegetable soup, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been made out of chicken bones.
But – and I shouldn’t generalise but I’m going to anyway – most long-term vegetarians know vegetarianism is a half-hearted attempt at doing the right thing for animals. We know veganism is the only way to show you’re serious about animal cruelty. Yes, we don’t eat meat, but the dairy and egg industry is just as cruel, if not crueller. There’s no such thing as humane slaughter and there’s definitely nothing humane about stealing cows’ milk and taking their babies away from them or chucking live male chicks into grinders.
Most vegetarians don’t bang on about being vegetarian because, secretly, we’re embarrassed about not being vegan.
I’m sitting here trying to think of a good reason why I haven’t changed my diet from vegetarian to vegan before (except for one month in 2008) but there are no good reasons. My only excuses are a) lack of choice when eating out; and b) living with an anti-vegan. But I could live with a) for a month and, happily, b) didn’t make any fuss when I said I wanted to take part in Veganuary and so I took the vegan pledge and signed up.
What did I think would be difficult during Veganuary?
Given that my diet is mostly plant-based anyway, I didn’t think I’d have too much difficulty during Veganuary, other than finding a month’s worth of main meals the Meat Eater would like. I’d happily have omelettes made from chickpeas and cashews made into cheese but I knew the Meat Eater wouldn’t be impressed. So, I made a list of meals that were vegan, simply by being vegetarian meals that didn’t contain eggs or dairy anyway, e.g. stew, curry, stir-fry, etc., and if I made something that traditionally (but doesn’t have to) contains cheese, e.g. pizza, tacos, jacket potatoes, then I could make two of them – one for me and one for him.
So that was the main meals sorted and I was happy that the only problem I might have was finding enough variety and not ending up having curry three times a week, but a bit of meal-planning (which I do anyway) took care of that.
My main concern was hot chocolate. I drink about three mugs of it a day and before Veganuary I used the instant low-calorie stuff that contains milk, so that had to be swapped for a tub of drinking chocolate and soya milk and whenever I’ve done that in the past, I’ve burnt the saucepan while heating the milk.
But Veganuary doesn’t care about burnt saucepans so I decided to experiment by heating drinking chocolate and soya milk in the microwave and, do you know what? It works fine! All those burnt saucepans were for nothing, dammit. Now I’m a convert and have a couple of cups (not massive mugs – yes, sometimes I can do moderation) of Cadbury’s Drinking Chocolate and soya milk, heated in the microwave a day. Yay.
Cheese is obviously the big ‘BUT I CAN’T GIVE THAT UP’ thing when it comes to veganism. I knew I’d be fine indoors and would be happy to put Violife on my pizza, jacket potatoes and tacos while the Meat Eater had dairy cheese on his but eating out would be a problem, even in a cafè. In fact, especially in a cafè, as I love me a toasted cheese panini. As it turned out, Billy-no-mates here didn’t have any dinner engagements during Veganuary (probably because I’m a ponce who calls ‘eating out’ a ‘dinner engagement’) and the only time I ate out, I had a houmous and falafel wrap in Caffè Nero to go with my soya milk hot chocolate, and very nice it was too.
I didn’t have to go without garlic bread with my Violife-covered pizza, as I made my own vegan garlic bread (along with a non-vegan one) and it’s better than any garlic bread you can buy in the shop.
Friday night is chippy night in this house and pre-Veganuary, my usual order was battered halloumi, onion rings and chips (and curry sauce in a jar, heated up at home as I don’t think curry sauce in the chippy is vegetarian). Obviously battered halloumi was off the menu during Veganuary so I had the brainwave of making tofush and what a fucking brilliant brainwave that was, even if I do say so myself.
I made this vegan tofush (tofu and nori covered in batter) and had it with chips from the chippy every chippy night during Veganuary. It’s fantastic and you can find my recipe for tofush here.
Everyday vegan food/snacks that are easily available in the supermarket
A lot of food is vegan. Or, ‘accidentally vegan’, as the vegans like to call it when talking about food that doesn’t scream VEGAN quite like, say, a lettuce or a bag of lentils does.
I’ve already mentioned above it’s easy to find vegan hot chocolate. Most of the tubs of drinking chocolate are vegan – just avoid the instant ones, as they usually contain milk. I started off Veganuary by treating myself to a tub of Green & Black’s cocoa but I didn’t like it much, so I ditched that and bought a tub of Cadbury’s Drinking Chocolate instead. I liked that so much, when it was half price in Tesco last week, I bought another four tubs of it.
I’m not going to lie and say supermarkets all carry a vegan range of Snickers, Twix, Dairy Milk, etc. (DAMN YOU, SUPERMARKETS) but if you like dark chocolate, a lot of that is vegan (just check the label for milk) and most supermarkets sell their own ‘free from’ range and/or Mini Moo dairy-free chocolate, so you don’t have to go without your chocolate fix.
It’s not all ready salted and salt and vinegar crisps when you’re vegan. Bacon Wheat Crunchies, Skips and BILLIONS of other flavours are vegan. Unfortunately though, while manufacturers will happily create artificial pig flavours for their crisps, there aren’t any artificial cheese flavours in the supermarkets. Sob. If you’re lucky though, you might find some Ten Acre vegan cheese and onion flavour crisps in your local TK Maxx.
I don’t eat many biscuits but I ate Oreos during Veganuary purely because they’re vegan and everyone goes on about them in vegan Facebook groups (please note, not all the Oreo range is vegan, so check the label).
There are many, many ‘accidentally vegan’ snacks you can buy. For a list far better than mine (let’s face it – it’s a shit list), Vegan Womble’s your man (or woman – I have no idea if it’s a boy or a girl womble)
Side effects during Veganuary
I had no side effects. Nothing. No hunger, no tiredness, no urge to get a tattoo, no nothing. I didn’t at any time feel any different. I was expecting to feel something; at least a little bit of ‘holier-than-thouness’ but nope.
One side effect I thought I might have, especially as it was coupled – nay, tripled – with not drinking during January (except for a couple of days) as well as doing Janathon, was a bit of weight loss but I was disappointed there as, although I did lose weight, it was only two pounds during the whole of January. Still, that list above of crisps, chocolate and biscuits might give me a bit of a clue why not much weight loss happened. Just because something’s vegan, doesn’t mean it contains no calories.
February and the future
At no point during Veganuary did I announce to anyone – either in real life or online – that I’d stay plant-based after January but I think most people, including myself, thought I probably would.
But, here’s the ‘but…’
I’ve already admitted that, although I haven’t instantly gone back to instant hot chocolate and cheese and onion crisps, I have eaten dairy. In fact, I know I said I’d only eaten some, now I’m thinking about it, it’s actually quite a lot and I was talking bollocks.
I ate a cheese and tomato toastie on the plane back from Tenerife, along with a slice of pizza when I got home from the airport. Since then, I’ve been out for a friend’s birthday where I – with only a slight pang of guilt – ordered a cheese-laden pizza in Strada. In my hungover state the next day, with it being Friday, I – again with only a slight pang of guilt – ordered battered halloumi from the chippy.
On Saturday, I decided we should use up the Papa John’s leftover pizza that had been in the freezer since December and when the Meat Eater made some garlic bread, I didn’t insist that my half be vegan (or make any myself).
This week, I’ve had a bad cold, thought ‘sod it’ and had a couple of bags of crisps that contained milk (WHY DO ONION RINGS HAVE MILK IN THEM YOU FUCKERS?) I’ve also cooked meals that contained honey and cheese (admittedly only a tiny bit that I could easily have left out) from a Riverford recipe box that I’d already agreed to review.
My only excuse was ‘I couldn’t be bothered because I was on a plane/tired/ill’ but when I thought about it, I thought, ‘not being bothered’ wouldn’t make me not be vegetarian so why should it be any different now? Even if I couldn’t be bothered to make my own tofush last Friday, I didn’t have to order the battered halloumi – I could have just had chips. Using up leftovers is fair enough but I didn’t have to have garlic bread with it.
I haven’t totally fallen off the wagon though. I purposefully checked the labels in Tesco last week on their chilled soups to find vegan ones to have for lunch this week (their Mexican Chilli Bean one and their Minestrone ones are vegan, cheap and delicious) and yesterday, I fancied some biscuits and spent about half an hour studying labels before settling for a packet of Oaties. I’m still drinking my Cadbury’s Drinking Chocolate and soya milk and haven’t gone back to my lazy but quick instant stuff that contains milk. Tonight is chippy night and I’m going back to making tofush.
So, now I haven’t just got off a plane or have recipes containing dairy to review and my cold is clearing, next week will be a new start and I’m going to resume my plant-based diet. I just need to find onion rings that don’t contain milk. I think Asda do them and although Asda is a two mile bike ride away, I will cycle for crisps.
I’m not saying I’m never going to eat a pizza with cheese again and I’m not going to call myself a vegan, but I’m going to do my best to stick to a plant-based diet.
‘I can’t think of any way this would be improved by adding meat to it’, The Meat Eater said as he ate this gobi (cauliflower) masala. I’d been tasting it as it was cooking and knew I wasn’t going to get any comments about it being thin, as this dish is tasty, thick and substantial.
The original recipe came fromIsa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. The main difference is that Isa’s recipe contains okra (therefore making it a bhindi masala), while I used cauliflower instead (therefore making it a gobi masala). The Meat Eater doesn’t like okra and while I don’t eat much cauliflower, I’m happy to have it in a curry. I’m definitely happy to have it a curry as wonderful as this one. If you like neither okra or cauliflower, you could use any other chunky vegetable, for example aubergine – which would make it a brinjal masala.
Vegan Gobi (Cauliflower) Masala Recipe
Gobi (Cauliflower) Masala
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Cathy @ Planet Veggie
Adapted from [url href=”http://amzn.to/23tcy3B” target=”_blank”]Isa Does It[/url] by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/3 cup chickpea (gram) flour
1 onion, diced
1 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 cans chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp mild curry powder
300ml vegetable stock
1 small cauliflower, broken into florets
1 can black-eyed beans, drained and rinsed
Heat 1 tbsp of the coconut oil and toast the cumins seeds for 1 minute
Add the remaining 2 tsbp coconut oil and sprinkle in the chickpea flour and stir consistently for 3 to 4 minutes
Add the onion and salt and stir to coat the onion in the flour mixture and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add the garlic and ginger and stir for 1 more minute
Add the chopped tomatoes and curry powder and stir for a few minutes
Add the stock, cauliflower and black-eyed beans and bring to the boil
Simmer for about 30-45 minutes until the cauliflower is tender
Bread Machine Onion Bhaji Bread
I hadn’t planned for today’s blog to have an Indian theme to it but I wanted to share with you the bread machine onion bhaji bread I made the other day from The Complete Bread Machine Book by Sonia Allison (there are currently loads of copies on Amazon for 1p if you want to snap one up). Unfortunately, it doesn’t taste like onion bhajis but it’s tasty all the same, and was nice toasted and spread with Vitalite, and also as the bread for my chickpea ‘tuna’ salad sandwich (that I had today, so I’ll post a photo of it tomorrow).
The recipe below is almost exactly the same as in the book but I used those dried crispy onion things you find in the salad dressing bit of the supermarket. I had thought about drying onions myself in my dehydrator but on reading up about it, I decided against it as apparently it stinks the whole house out and all the articles I read said it can be dangerous to pets and advise having all the doors and windows open while you’re doing it, which may be okay if you’re living in Hawaii or something but it’s not okay in January in the UK.
Onion Bhaji Bread Machine Bread
Recipe Type: Bread machine
Author: Cathy @ Planet Veggie
Adapted from a recipe in [url href=”http://amzn.to/1PSCr2Q” target=”_blank”]The Complete Bread Machine Book[/url] by Sonia Allison
400g strong white bread flour
50g gram (chickpea) flour
6 tbsp dried onions
1 tbsp oil
2 tsp salt
2 tsp caster sugar
3 tsp garam masala
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp fast-acting dried yeast
Thoroughly mix together the two flours
Pour the water into your bread machine bucket, the add the oil and half the mixed flours
Sprinkle with the salt, sugar, garam masala, ginger, cumin and dried onions
Cover with the remaining flour mixture and mound the yeast into the centre
Fit the bucket into the bread machine and set to a medium size, basic loaf
Don’t worry, I haven’t fallen off the Veganuary wagon, I just didn’t get round to posting on Saturday because I got excited about a friend inviting me to Tenerife this coming Saturday and then on Sunday I was too hungover after celebrating being invited to go to Tenerife this coming Saturday (yes, I fell off *that* particular wagon again).
So, here’s a quick catch-up of Veganuary Days 22, 23 and 24.
Veganuary Day 22
Leftover smoothie from Day 21.
Spinach, olives, cucumber, tomatoes, sundried tomato paste and harissa paste wrap, and an Ainsley Harriot Szechuan Hot & Sour Cup Soup (which, as far as I could tell, is vegan).
I keep reading about how most of the Betty Crocker mixes are vegan and you can add a can of fizzy drink instead of egg to keep them vegan and I’ve wanted to test this on the packet of Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix I’ve had in the cupboard for ages (so ages it was out of date).
I’d read that you should use a bit less than a can’s worth, so I used 300ml of Coke but this was too much and although the brownies taste divine, they’re a bit gooey. But, who cares about a bit of goo when you can have a vegan brownie, eh?
Veganuary Day 24
Nothing, as was too hungover.
Nothing as I’d gone back to bed at lunchtime because I was hungover.
The Meat Eater made a tortilla pizza and even made some vegan garlic bread (it wasn’t as good as mine though). The photo above is from a couple of weeks ago.
I thought I’d give these vegan Free From chocolate desserts from Tesco a go and I wasn’t disappointed. Yum.
So. Just a week left of Veganuary, although if I can’t find anything vegan to eat in Tenerife my Veganuary’s going to end before February. The friend I’m going with though is also a vegetarian (in fact, she’s practically vegan as she’s intolerant to dairy) and I’ve got a list of vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Tenerife so hopefully we can find something to eat that’s not pizza (which is what I usually eat when I go abroad) although I suppose I could ask for pizza without cheese.
Two weeks of no dairy or eggs. Two weeks of no alcohol. Two weeks of exercising every day. And have I lost weight? NO, NOT A FUCKING OUNCE. Surely my diet hasn’t been that bad? Okay, so I’ve had a few Oreos over the last couple of weeks and a mug of hot chocolate every day but what about the four thousand calories I haven’t drunk in wine and the four thousand calories I’ve burnt off at the gym, huh? DON’T THEY COUNT FOR ANYTHING?
Oh well, maybe this is my body’s way of telling me I’m perfect as I am and don’t need to lose any weight.
I’ll just keep telling myself that.
Veganuary Day 15
Anyway, back to my Veganuary food diary. Yesterday I had wheat grass for the first time. Have you tried it? If you have, you feel my pain. If not, I can tell you it’s not quite as bad as spirulina and doesn’t taste as grim as it smells but the taste lingers afterwards and is as difficult to get rid of as LinkedIn notifications. If you can get over the taste though, it does give an instant energy boost.
On Thursday, I told you I’d planned to go to Caffè Nero and get a hot chocolate with soya milk and hopefully one of their vegan houmous and falafel wraps. My luck was in – there was a houmous and falafel wrap left, I didn’t get a funny look when I asked for hot chocolate with soya milk and there was even an empty table in the corner in which I could go and hide and read my Kindle. Result.
After last week’s success in making tofush to go with my chips from the chippy, I made it again last night. For some reason, the nori didn’t want to stay on the tofu this time and fell off while I was dredging the tofu in batter but that didn’t ruin it. Here’s the photo from last week and if you want the recipe, it’s here in last week’s post.
So, that’s two weeks of Veganuary done. I’m not tempted to eat cheese but I’ve got to admit my resolve when it comes to wine is weakening. And it is Saturday now, after all…
Isa admits in VWAV this is most definitely not an authentic Pad Thai but, inauthentic or not, it’s a dish I always enjoy and even The Meat Eater didn’t feel the need to de-veganise it by covering it with salad cream.
Isa’s original recipe has roasted peanuts and coriander (added at the end as a garnish) – I didn’t add either but as I was eating it, I could see how peanuts would give it that extra something.
Brooklyn Pad Thai
Recipe Type: Thai
Author: Cathy @ Planet Veggie
Adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
1 pack straight-to-wok rice noodles
[b]For the sauce[/b]
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp sriracha
1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
[b]For the Pad Thai[/b]
2 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 block firm tofu, pressed and cubed
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tbsp lemongrass
2 large handfuls beansprouts
4 spring onions, sliced
1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
Mix together the ingredients for the sauce
Heat 1 tbsp of the peanut oil in a wok and fry the tofu for about 5 minutes, until golden and crispy. Remove from the heat and set aside
Heat the remaining peanut oil in the wok and fry the red onion for a couple of minutes
Add the garlic and lemongrass and fry for another 30 seconds
Add the sauce and the noodles and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly
Add the beansprouts, spring onions, chilli and tofu and cook, stirring for another 30 seconds
Veganuary Day 14 – Lunch
Lunch was, again, another salad wrap with olives, spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, hummus and vegan mayo. It wasn’t just an excuse to use my new black spiral plate, honest.
My friend Jacqui (who I interrogated about her transition from meat-eater to vegan, which you can read here) asked me at the beginning of Veganuary if I liked cake. Of course, I said yes, and she said she’d send me some from a local bakery. I’d completely forgotten about it until the postman arrived yesterday morning bearing cake-based post and so, to accompany my hot chocolate today was this beautifully moist vegan almond and cherry cake from the Riverbank Bakery in Norfolk. Thanks, Jacqui!
This post is a bit backwards today but Thursday’s breakfast was a bit backwards as it was some of Wednesday’s superfood smoothie that was left over. I’ve never had left over smoothie before – purely because there never is any smoothie left over, but it had kept well.
Vegan out-of-house experience (not to be confused with out-of-body experiences)
You know yesterday I said today I was going to venture into Caffè Nero and have my first out-of-the-house vegan meal? Come back tomorrow to see how I did (it’s not that exciting really, so don’t go changing your plans or anything).
I may not know whether they do any good or not but I do like to add superfoods to my smoothies. Except for spirulina – there’s just no disguising the rancid taste or smell of that stuff.
I’m happy to say the acai berry powder Selva Organic sent me neither smells nor tastes rancid. It’s also a dark purple colour, which pleases my inner goth. Acai berry powder is loaded with omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, fibre, protein and other nutrients and yesterday a spoonful of it went into my lunchtime smoothie.
Despite moaning inwardly there weren’t any bananas left to have in my smoothie, this smoothie of kiwi fruit, frozen summer fruit, cashews, dates, acai berry powder, soya milk and water is now up in my top ten smoothies. It goes to show you should always keep a bag of frozen fruit in the freezer for those bananaless emergencies.
Selva Organic don’t just sell acai berry powder – they have a 14-strong range of South American superfoods starting at £5.99. To check out their range and for more information on the benefits of superfoods, visit the Selva Organic website.
Veganuary Day 13 – Dinner
For dinner last night we had vegan chilli on jacket potatoes again, with mine being topped with Violife vegan cheese and home made vegan sour cream. As I made it last week and posted a pic of it then and it didn’t look any different last night, in true Blue Peter style, here’s one I made earlier.
Tomorrow (Friday), I’ve decided I’m going to go into town and be brave and order a hot chocolate in Caffè Nero with soya milk (I know… I know… on a bravery scale of 1-10, it’s not even on the scale. My scale begins at minus-something). I’ve checked Caffè Nero’s website and they do a vegan houmous and falafel wrap and if they’ve sold out of them when I get there, I’m going to have the hump as it will be my first purposely vegan meal outside of the house.
I’ll report back on my vegan food foraging on Saturday.
If you’ve been following my journey through Veganuary so far, you’d be forgiven for thinking I’ve turned into a junk food vegan. And I’d have to forgive you for thinking that because, apart from my Nutriblasts/smoothies, my Veganuary diet has been – to be blunt – shit.
Even if my main meals haven’t been that bad, my snacks have been – I’ve been munching Oat Flips, Oreos (not all Oreos are vegan so check the packet for milk), crisps and chocolate on a daily basis and vegan junk food is still junk.
The snacks below were sent to me at the end of last year for a ‘healthy new year’ type post but fortuitously enough, they just so happen to be vegan, too. So, if you’re still in the post-Christmas slump and haven’t quite worked up the energy to make yourself some healthy snacks yet, have a look at these.
The Snack Organisation – Lightly Salted Rice Crackers
Don’t confuse these Lightly Salted Rice Crackers from The Snack Organisation with those round polystyrene ceiling tiles you can get (although I do like those); those are rice cakes, not crackers and a completely different thing. For one thing, you couldn’t shove a load of those in your mouth at once like you can these, if you’re that unladylike (or ungentlemantly like), that is. If you are that unladylike and want to shove a handful in your mouth at once, that handful will only contain about 100 calories, and they’re low in fat, too.
Say yay to the rice cracker.
There are two other flavours in the range – teriyaki, and sweet chilli – but as they contain milk, they’re only suitable for vegetarians, not vegans. These lightly salted ones are suitable for vegetarians and vegans though.
The Snack Organisation’s Rice Crackers are available from Tesco, priced at £1.
Perkier Quinoa Bars
In case you aren’t annoying your friends enough with your healthy lifestyle, you can annoy them even further by acting like a smartarse by correcting them when they see your new snack bar and ask you what ‘quee-noah’ is.
I first saw Perkier’s quinoa bars in Asda (which, to be honest, isn’t the first place I’d go to to look for quinoa-based noms) and picked one up out of interest/because it was on special offer and only cost about 10p. I enjoyed it and so when Perkier emailed me and asked if I’d like some to review on my blog I wasn’t going to say no.
These quinoa bars come in four varieties:
Cashew, Chia & Pumpkin Seed
Goji & Cranberry
Cacao & Cashew
Cranberry & Cashew Oat bar enhanced with sprouted buckwheat
and all have ‘vegan’ printed on the label, so you don’t even have to take my doing-veganuary-and-now-you-think-you’re-a-flipping-expert-on-veganism-don’t-you word for it.
Tribe Snacks are a bit different as they’re not something you can buy in the shops – it’s a box subscription service which means you subscribe to Tribe and they send you a box of snacks on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis.
Although they’re geared mostly towards runners and triathletes, they’re suitable for anyone who has an active life and is looking to eat healthily.
Veganuary Day 5 started off with a Nutriblast as usual (for my review of my Nutribullet, go here) and today’s Nutriblast was a combination of spinach, apple, carrot, clementine, chia seeds and coconut water. I haven’t had a carrot in a Nutriblast before but I had half of one left over from Monday’s stew, so I chucked it in. I’ve said before, it doesn’t seem to matter what I chuck in my Nutribullet, it always turns out fine, unlike when you juice without a recipe to guide you and it turns out like swamp water (she says, immediately before posting a photo of something resembling swamp water).
Lunch was another Nutriblast but, unlike my breakfast ones which I make into more of a juice, I like my lunchtime Nutriblasts to be more substantial and to contain more protein, so I filled up the tall Nutribullet cup with spinach, banana, kiwi fruit, passion fruit, dates, cashews, cacao and topped it up with soya milk and water. This filled me up to the verge of needing an afternoon nap.
Despite my Facebook friend Pete declaring a pie isn’t a pie unless it’s made of lard (forgive him, he’s northern), dinner was a Linda McCartney Country Pie, mashed potato (mine mashed with soya milk and Vitalite) and baked beans.
For a snack, I had hot chocolate and an Oat Flip (see yesterday’s post for hot chocolate and Oat Flip info and photo).
There’s nothing I’ve missed yet (what’s to miss when you can still eat pie and mash, huh?) and I definitely haven’t been hungry – I haven’t been snacking as much as I did before taking part in Veganuary and although I was having a couple of Oreos a day before January, a packet remains unopened in the kitchen (that’s probably because I’ve discovered how nice Oat Flips are).
Come back tomorrow to read about my bravery in Wetherspoons.