Veganuary Day 6 and I haven’t leapt face-first with my mouth open into the cheese counter at Tesco because of any overwhelming cheese-addiction withdrawal pangs – hurrah! Not that I was expecting to; although, seeing as I’ve used Violife vegan cheese three times already during Veganuary, you’d be forgiven for thinking I’ve got a bit of a thing about cheese.
Where I would find cheese tempting, however, is in restaurants but, as old Billy-no-mates me hasn’t got any nights out planned for January, temptation shouldn’t get in my way. I did, however, meet a friend at lunchtime yesterday in Wetherspoons and checked the menu beforehand, in case we were going to eat. Do you know what one of the first things on the Wetherspoons menu is? It’s halloumi. Yeah, halloumi. You know, halloumi – one of my most favourite food things ever. So, I thought I might get some chips (even though I read here yesterday that the chips in Wetherspoons are barely vegetarian as, even though some of the branches cook the chips separately to meat, the oil is all filtered together at the end of the day, so there’s always going to be a problem with cross-contamination) but the 955 calories put me off. I’m not a calorie-dodger on the whole but 955 CALORIES IN ONE PORTION OF CHIPS? Jeez.
You can filter the menu on the Wetherspoons website to show only vegan menu items. There aren’t many, I can tell you. If you filter down the burger category, you’re offered the avocado topping and BBQ sauce – that’s just the avocado topping and BBQ sauce, not the burger. Woo.
Still, it wasn’t really relevant to my particular circumstances at the time, as I didn’t think we were going to eat but I just wanted to have a nose anyway, out of interest. What I did want was some hot chocolate and although when I filtered out hot drinks containing milk on the website, hot chocolate was left, I was sceptical and thought I’d be brave and ask when I got there.
It may not sound like a big deal to you, asking the bar staff if something’s vegan but, although I’ve been vegetarian for 24 years and have no problem asking if something is vegetarian, I’ve always felt shy/embarrassed about asking if something’s vegan. I don’t know exactly why this is – maybe it’s because I’m not a vegan and feel like I shouldn’t be asking if something’s vegan, or maybe I’m just too timid. Anyway, I was brave and asked the barman if the hot chocolate contained milk and he said yes, it did. Bah. Still, the pint of lime and soda I bought instead was a lot cheaper at just 80p.
Anyway, back to my food diary and, for breakfast, I had a – yes, you guessed it – a Nutriblast. This morning’s one was my usual spinach, clementine, apple, chia seeds and coconut water. You’re only getting a bog-standard photo today though, not a pretty one, sorry. I gave my inner David Bailey (or should that be Lebovitz?) the day off.
As mentioned above, lunch was two pints of lime and soda in Wetherspoons, then I came home and had hot chocolate and an Oat Flip. Oats are healthy, yeah?
For dinner we had tacos. Tacos are my new favourite thing (after halloumi, obvs), ever since Old El Paso sent me their Stand ‘n’ Stuff Soft Taco Kit to review. On top of the tacos, I had some grated Violife and a couple of blobs of home-made vegan sour cream (for more information on the sour cream, see my first Veganuary post). I accompanied the tacos with home-made spicy potato wedges and steamed broccoli and green beans. I’ll share the recipes for the tacos and home-made wedges with you below.
- 4 Old El Paso Soft Stand 'n' Stuff Taco Shells (heated as per packet instructions)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 150g vegan mince (I used Tesco's own meat-free mince)
- 2 tbsp Old El Paso Taco Seasoning
- 50ml water
- 2 baby onions, sliced
- Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the baby onions and fry for a few minutes until soft.
- Add the vegan mince and fry for about three to four minutes.
- Add the taco seasoning and water and bring to the boil.
- Simmer for about five minutes.
- Share the mince between the heated taco shells and top with jalapenos, salsa, salad, cheese and sour cream.
- 4 medium potatoes, cut into wedges
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- a few drops of liquid smoke
- Cook the potato wedges in boiling water for about 5 minutes, then drain and put in a roasting tray.
- Mix together the other ingredients and pour over the potato wedges, turning to coat thoroughly.
- Bake in the oven at 200C, turning occasionally for approximately 45 minutes.
It’s not too late to take part in Veganuary – for more information and to sign up, visit the Veganuary website.