Being Vegan on a trip to Broadstairs

I started this blog exactly 3 years ago on 6th February, 3 years and 2 weeks ago, wow!
It’s changed a bit but the aim is the same: what can we do, what new things can we learn to enable us to live our everyday lives while considering how the consequences of our habits affect the environment and our future? A mix of light and heavy stuff :)

 

Despite the lack of concrete new year resolutions, I hope to be travelling more in 2015.
A monthly trip somewhere new, locally or further away, would be great… I find visiting new places makes me love this planet even more… and makes me ever more passionate about doing what I can to live in a way that is sustainable.

I started off well with the first trip of the year in January to Broadstairs, which is on the almost-most-Eastern part of Kent, to see my lovely mate C.
I hadn’t even heard about Broadstairs until she told me about it and the great time she had at Folk Week 2 years ago, so I went there in August last year.

Folk Week is an amazing week-long festival in Broadstairs where tons of talented musicians, singers and song writers perform anywhere from small pubs to bigger venues such as the Pavilion. It is a week of celebration where this small seaside town is at its fullest and liveliest.
This year is Folk Week’s 50th anniversary, I bet it’s going to be ridiculously good!

But Broadstairs is a lovely town to visit any time of the year. Charles Dickens lived there for a while, so did JMW Turner; you can go on walks which allow you to discover the exact locations where they lived, wrote and painted around the town.

 

Viking Bay

Living in a postcard: Viking Bay

 

Apart from great music I was also happy to go to a great place for vegan food: The Intolerant Wife.

It’s right on the high street towards the sea front and caters for different food intolerances: it has many gluten and dairy-free alternatives, vegetarian and vegan options. The only thing is that the service is slow, but apart from that it has a wide variety of vegan food.

Back in the summer I had a vegan English breakfast there, it was really tasty and reasonably priced too.

 

Vegan English Breakfast

Vegan English Breakfast

 

On a different occasion, I went there for lunch and had a baguette with vegetables and houmous. They have many other dishes such as chilli, pasta, salads, jacket potatoes, pies…

 

Veg and Houmous Baguette - the Intolerant Wife

Veg and Houmous Baguette – the Intolerant Wife

 

They also sell many types of tea, milkshakes, cakes, cakes to order, chocolate, snacks, afternoon tea…

 

The Intolerant Wife

The Intolerant Wife

 

This time, we went back there for a coffee – they have soy, almond milk and Rice Dream.
We wanted to eat there too but the slow service meant we had to dash out before even getting a chance to order anything, so we crossed the road over to the Albion where I had sweet potato chips – sweet potatoes are just so amazing, I could have them everyday! :D

 

Sweet potato chips :Q__

 

If you get a chance, visit the Italian restaurant Posillipo: the bruschetta and the pizza there are, well, good enough for someone who grew up in Italy with high pizza standards :D

The Botany Bay Hotel also veganised their artichoke, tomato and walnut risotto for me, it was delicious!

 

Artichoke, tomato and walnut risotto

Artichoke, tomato and walnut risotto

 

While hunting for vegan treats, one thing that was easy to notice in Broadstairs is that there are hardly any shop chains.
Except for a few supermarket chain branches, most businesses are independent and it makes the town feel even more of a gem. People support local businesses, whether it’s the bike shop, the bakery or…the trophy shop. Each is different and makes the town look diverse, rather than homogenised. There is a tiny cinema too, close to the beach …unfortunately it was showing Taken 3 when I went a few weeks ago, therefore I could not go.

Punch and Judy show on the beach

Punch and Judy show on the beach

 

Then my friend C told me that a Costa coffee is about to open in Broadstairs.
It’s odd, I felt there were quite a few places where you can get a coffee… so how come a chain shop like Costa is opening, what does that mean and what will it mean for other businesses and the general feel of the town? Is its opening due to the demand of the residents or people visiting the town?

Part of the fun of going somewhere new is also going to local shops that are typical or only present in that particular place, rather than going to a chain that is practically the same as in another town…that, together with the consciousness of supporting independent businesses, makes me think of the ways a town like Broadstairs may change with chain businesses.

Would Broadstairs be as lovely with a Costa coffee shop? Yes, probably.
Would it be as much of a different, fresh setting to enjoy for a few days away from London or indeed to live in if it was made up of a row of chains?
– I know this is not what’s happening, but the point is – I am just thinking and imagining different potential scenarios…yes, it’s what goes on all the time and town landscapes change progressively… but how do these changes shape people’s lives?

 

What experiences have you had of the opening of new businesses / closing of old businesses and their effect on their surrounding area?

What do you enjoy doing when travelling and visiting places you haven’t been to before?

What It Really Means To Be Vegan.

greentrailsandteapottales:

I am reblogging this as I have been thinking about something very similar for a while.
Sometimes things don’t make sense but it’s best to know something about what and who we judge before making assumptions. Having a vegan life is beneficial for the environment, others and animals.

Originally posted on theveganbox:

If you are vegan, chances are you have that friend/cousin/stepbrother. The one that can’t let a family dinner or social outing go by without taunting you and your vegan ideals for the world to be amused by. You may love them to bits, you may wish they would very quietly disappear into the cracks of the floorboards, you may be used to the jabs and over the bickering, but either way- a vegan lifestyle seems to require constant defending and ongoing justification.

I guess at some point you get so used to it and just take it as part of the meaning of being vegan. But sometimes, I look at it- I really deconstruct it and look at it. And when I do, I get confused.

vegan-lifestyle-green-hotels-paris-france

Why does someone with a vegan lifestyle feel the pressure to explain and justify his or her choice to live a cruelty-free lifestyle? Why…

View original 659 more words

Vegucation, Indieness and Filth

It’s half past January.

Happy new year!

 

2014's last sunset I captured

2014’s last sunset I captured

 

How are you finding 2015 so far?

I’m not sure I have any particular new year’s resolutions, but I do hope this year is even better than last year with more trips, new discoveries and inspiring people.

 

I keep having new ideas and thoughts in my head about how to do what I most love in a way that doesn’t directly or indirectly damage our planet’s environment, which is what I love anyway = DOUBLE LOVE!

These flying drafts “Wingardium Leviosaing” their way inside my skull may sound like heavy stuff, but they’re more like the colourful balloons allowing dear Mr. Fredricksen‘s home to reach Paradise Falls, and it’s the same thing that’s been happening since before starting this blog, almost 3 years ago.

 

I remember my best friend G, during a classroom debate about who-knows-what, when we were maybe…15? say: “The steps we can take may be small. But look at a lot of small steps put together: they become a big step”.

I have this memory clip of her saying these words saved in my real-life quotes database and it is what, in a way, I like to do in my head, in my life and share with my blog.

Small changes, embracing new knowledge and new habits to reduce the impact on our surroundings. And if people feel inspired…great!

 

On New Year’s Eve I started watching the Vegucated documentary, paused it to make a ton of guacamole and finished watching it on New Year’s Day. Well, I’ve never been so happy to be vegan!

I liked the documentary because it covers a lot of aspects of vegan life in a light-hearted yet serious way: 3 New Yorkers try going vegan for 6 weeks and “learn” how to live choosing non-animal products.

Health plays a big part in it and is covered extensively along with animal rights, intensive farming methods and their environmental impact, vegan clothing, animal and cruelty-free beauty products, vegan food shopping, eating out when you’re vegan…

Needless to say, they are very different by the end of the 6 weeks.

 

So if you’d like to expand your awareness and find out how it went by watching it, this link shows where it’s available (Netflix, iTunes, XBox, for rent on Youtube…).

Or if you want, have a look at Vegucated’s trailer first.

 

As I wrote in my last post about independent businesses, I am more and more aware of what I purchase and where, and in the process I have discovered some really good places.

Some shops encourage and promote small producers and businesses, some choose to only serve vegetarian or vegan food, others pay particular attention to avoiding food waste and running their business in an eco-friendly and fair way. There is a lot to discover and I’ll be sharing about them soon!

 

So, eating less energy-hungry (haha!!…) food, spending more wisely…but also buying less when possible.

I have another swap-trade day lined up for February, it’s the third time this is going to take place to swap and get rid of unwanted stuff and acquiring new things from others. I got so many good books last time! I look forward to the next.

 

"I'm reading Filth!"

“I’m reading Filth!”

 

It’s amazing just how amusing it was to say things like “I was on the tube reading Filth when…”

I also got many other good books from the previous swaps, including A Spot of Bother and Darkly Dreaming Daniel which was read, given to my flatmate, then I took it and now it’s up for grabs for the next set of eyes.

 

Tons of free books

Tons of free books

The swaps are good to pick books you may never read otherwise and learn about new things that can take you to new places – I am currently reading Kurt Cobain’s biography and listening to their music in a completely different way; it was only after a friend gave me her copies of the Millenium trilogy that I became interested in and then actually visited Sweden.

As you can see, (as usual!) I have a lot I want to write about.

So for now, thank you for reading :)

 

Had you heard of Vegucated? If you’ve seen it, what did you think of it?

Do you have any Planet wishes for 2015?

So Indie

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about everyday actions and how they affect our society and the world in general.

Ever since living in China for almost a year, I’ve been growing up in different ways, I feel I’ve become more aware about how everybody’s choices shape our society.
Every action has a consequence.

While I was in Hangzhou I was exposed to a completely different culture, people who lived in stark poverty and people who were saturated in luxury, we waded through massive crowds and I saw mountains of rubbish, then people going through that rubbish and trying to make a living from it.
All these new experiences changed me and started making me think of how things work.
What can we do to avoid fuelling such a disparity?

 

China: a turning point

China: a turning point

 

From my – perhaps overly naïve – point of view, most of us have the power to make every day choices go further.

 

I go to work, I work, I earn money.

 

I use that money for the rent, bills, transport, food, activities, etc…

Every time I spend money I am creating demand for something.
So every time I pay for something I am supporting that “something”: that company, that business and what they stand for.

Personally, I would like to support something that shares my values, something sustainable for the workers who enable this “something” to get to me as a consumer and which hasn’t got an awful impact on the environment.

 

Most of us spend money, even if only a little, every single day. So if we were more conscious of where and what we are spending our money for, wouldn’t it be a bit like having a small opportunity to “vote” for something and support what we like with every purchase?

Of course, I am only 1 person.
It seems like all of this consciousness may be ridiculously diluted in the ocean of purchases made every day. However the more people can give a little thought to what they are supporting, the bigger the change.

I would rather not support businesses that favour making as much money as fast as possible over caring about their workers and respecting the environment.

I would rather support businesses that are more conscious about how and where they produce their products, how workers are treated and which care to make their products in a sustainable way with Fairtrade and/or organic standards, companies which regularly give money to charity etc.

For example, I do not want to support the production of Styrofoam, an expanded plastic foam that is (too) often used for take-away food containers and coffee cups that usually get used for a few minutes, that is then discarded and then take hundreds of years to decompose.

So, I don’t buy Styrofoam.

Just suppose everyone stopped buying Styrofoam: with no demand, things would soon change.

 

-And if your favourite take-away place used Styrofoam but customers shared their thoughts about it and encouraged to use greener alternatives such as moulded pulp, or took their own reusable containers (optimistic scenario, yes, but completely doable too), that would be enough of a nudge too…even better together with a tougher ban on EPS and a clear legislation with a need for greener and cheaper alternatives, rather than them being a merely preferable option.-

 

Styrofoam-producing /using companies and businesses would research the market and find out where the demand has shifted, trying to make money there instead.
If that happened to be a more sustainable option, then that would be a favourable change which would have a lower impact on the environment. Small change -> BIG change = YAY!

 

Favourite take-way from "The Lady" who set up her little stall beneath our dorm every night in Hangzhou. Before I gave a tossed noodle about polluting packaging

Favourite take-way from “The Lady” who set up her little stall beneath our dorm every night in Hangzhou. Before I gave a tossed noodle about polluting packaging

 

 

Small / local / independent businesses are usually a better option in order to support more sustainable companies.

They provide jobs and help the economy of the area they are located in – for every £1 spent with a local, independent business, between 50p-70p circulates back into that local economy whereas shopping online or away as little as 5p out of £1 crawls back into the local economy – and they include family businesses, local shops, small manufacturers and producers which provide food, clothing, entertainment and different kinds of services.

I’m not saying all chains and big businesses are evil, but when I purchase something from an independent business I know more about what I’m supporting, I can get to interact directly with the owners, I can talk to people who are really passionate about what they do, what they offer to the local community…it’s a pretty different experience where quality is more important than quantity and cost is more related to value.

 

Supporting local, small, independent businesses can save you money too.

I go to our local farmers’ market pretty much every week and get really good deals on organic, local produce – even better than at the supermarket!- when I go there towards closing time.

 

I found an article which lists 10 Reasons to Support Local Businesses, additional favourites of mine are:

  • The more successful a business becomes, the more likely they are to employ local people
  • The more vibrant a local business community is the more ‘influence’ they will have as a collective for things that really matter in the area
  • Independent retailers often stock items that the larger chains don’t

 

There are initiatives that I find akin to this sort of thoughts that have been storming in my head, so one thing we could do is simply be more aware of, and support, small businesses.

Small Business Saturday, which happens to be this Saturday, 6th December 2014.
Great if you still need to buy some Christmas presents :)

Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots, non-political, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.

 

Here is an interesting article from last year’s Small Business Saturday, Support Your Local Shop and Join the Counter Revolution, giving a few examples of independent businesses that have sprouted in place of tired shops and how they employ more people in proportion to their turnovers, while keeping prices low and quality high.

 

I am but a small ant in a jungle, but if being more sensitive to where I make my purchases can make a big difference for small establishments around me then I’m more than happy to.

 

A few useful links:

Independent Shops Directory

Independent Retail

Indie Retail UK Twitter

 

How do you feel about shopping in independent businesses rather than chains?

What do you take into consideration when you choose where to buy?

I Wish Every Day was VegFest Day!

Yesterday 27th September I went to Kensington Olympia for the London VegFest event. I was very excited to be going for the first time and rightly so: it was great!!!

VegFest is a 2/3-day vegetarian & vegan lifestyle show that takes place in London in September, in Brighton in March and in Bristol in May.

There were more than 200 stalls with great food, beauty products, clothing, cooking tools, tons of delicious samples offered by the food stalls, talks about vegan food, lifestyle, vegan raw diets and campaigns, book signings, performances, cooking demos, a cinema area, workshops, live music and comedy and more. Here is the pdf of this year’s programme just to give you an idea of how much there was going on.

It’s a great event for anyone who is interested in trying vegetarian and vegan products alternatives, looking for good quality sustainable brands or for people who already know some of these brands and want to have a great day out discovering more.

The best thing was to step in there and not have to check the ingredients for everything: I just ate anything I wanted to eat knowing it would be vegan and sustainable!! :D I even finally got to try Kombucha, I loved the ginger Equinox Kombucha they were offering tasters of.

 

At first my friend and I just walked around and tasted a few raw bars, chocolate, puddings, Rawlicious crackers, kale crisps, Sheese (really nice, surprisingly creamy, vegan cheese)…

It was really busy and everyone seemed happy and friendly and there were many children running around too – there was something for absolutely everyone to enjoy.

 

I tried Koko dairy free coconut milk, which was really delicious in all its flavours: chocolate, strawberry and plain.

It’s sold in Holland and Barrett and in some bigger supermarkets so I’ll look out for it as it was that nice.

 

Koko Coconut Milk

Koko Coconut Milk

 

There was a Nakd stall and I pretty much tried all of their raw bars, including several I hadn’t tried before. Then I bought a whole box of 18 mixed and matched flavours for £8! They even have a Christmas pudding bar now…

 

I tried hemp milk for the first time too, in a nice, smooth latte

Hemp milk latte

Soy cappuccino and hemp milk latte

 

Something else I finally tried was pecan butter…oh…WOW!

Pecans are my favourite nuts in the world and I’ve dreamed about trying them in butter form for a while…then I found a wonderful stand where they had pots of butter from any seed or nut: macadamia, pistachio, pine nuts, walnuts, sunflower seed in addition to others I’ve tried before such as almond, peanut and pumpkin seed butter. The pecan was the best, so rich and buttery!!

 

GreenLife ecological fashion caught my eye, they had eco underwear and socks.

Their items are made in Italy with natural fibres such as organic bamboo, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties and is 100% biodegradable. They felt SO soft, so I invested in a pair of pants.

GreenLife Eco Underwear

GreenLife Eco Underwear

 

My friend bought a really cute mug of a whale ejecting hearts from its blowhole: so cute!!

Magpie‘s  lovely crockery is all made from bone-free vegan bone china, 100% of their proceeds went to charity – this year’s charity is Cats Protection – and they regularly collaborate with illustrators…I’m happy to have found this brand, it would be great for gifts :)

Bone-free bone china

Bone-free bone china

 

Upstairs there was a stall with pastries from the Big Fat Vegan Bakery which had enormous pastries covered with sticky glaze, chocolate and filled with cream.

Massive Pastries at BFVB

Massive Pastries at BFVB

 

There were loads of food stalls to choose from: Lebanese food, meat-free hot dogs, chips and burgers, the Honest Carrot we first saw at Reading festival, sushi, Creole vegan food, roti wraps and more…all vegan. We chose to share 2 meals so we could try both the Pad Thai noodles and the Jamaican pumpkin vegetable curry.

 

BangWok Noodles

BangWok Noodles

 

There was a queue for them throughout the day, but it was definitely worth waiting a while…

 

BangWok Pad Thai Noodles

BangWok Pad Thai Noodles

These were rice noodles with tamarind sauce, 2 types of tofu, beansprouts, spring onions, chilli flakes, crushed peanuts and lime. TASTY.

 

Jamaican-style vegetable curry

Jamaican-style vegetable curry

This was pumpkin and vegetable curry with rice and peas and salad it was sweet, creamy and comforting. I would have liked it to be spicy too, but then I’m someone who adds West Indian sauce to pretty much anything except granola :P

 

 

In the afternoon we went upstairs and listened to a talk from the lovely lady from Ms Cupcake, she was talking about how to replace animal ingredients with vegan ingredients when baking.

She was really funny and informative, it was a pleasure to listen to her and I really want to go to her bakery in Brixton soon.

Something I found out: sugar in the E.U. is all vegan as it’s illegal to produce it using animal bone char, however in the U.S. around 60% is made using animal bones so it’s not even vegetarian and you need to look out for organic sugar or brands which specify they don’t use bones in the refining process :\

 

…Goodies!

My VegFest Goodies

My VegFest Goodies

 

These are the lovely things I came back with from VegFest. I wanted to buy more vegan and natural deodorant so I got 3 for £12 from Jason, they’re usually at least £4.99 so that was pretty good.

These deodorants are made of more natural ingredients and contain no aluminum, parabens, phthalates or propylene glycol which are chemicals I’d rather do without.

The paper bag has my super-soft organic bamboo pants in it and I got the granola box on the left for free when I subscribed to a newsletter, the Aquapax carton was simply water and the man who saw how much I liked it said it can be reused for a while too.

Just above the deodorant there’s an eye liner and lavender soap I got with a draw the Vegan Society was holding. They just asked for a donation, then you could pick a ticket and get a prize! Apparently that eye liner alone is usually £18! My friend got the Blackfriars flapjacks and gave them to me :)

Those are the 18 Nakd bars I chose, the Bakewell Tart ones are so nice! Nakd bars are just great when travelling or anytime you need a good healthy snack. They’re raw and 1 of your 5 a day.

The 2 Provamel almond and cononut milk cartons were free with a freebie ticket I got at the entrance and the milk cartons on the right are from another Italian company, Isola Bio, who make milk out of any grain, including a quinoa chocolate milk drink. I chose the barley and oat milks after tasting them as I liked them a lot, who needs dairy milk when there are so many alternatives?!?

 

Calendar and Cookies!

Calendar and Cookies!

I also got a calendar for next year from the Hillside animal sanctuary and two massive cookies from Ms. Cupcake.

 

I had a great time going around exploring and finding out about great businesses that I share ideas with and consider the environment and sustainability as a priority.
I loved trying or seeing what they make and giving a little support.

Now I just want to go to the next Vegfest in Brighton! :)

 

Have you been to or heard of VegFest before?

Do you know any other eco events?

Sustainable Technology: What do you know about it?

If you are reading this, the chances are you are doing so while being connected to the internet and reading these words on a screen, whether it’s a smartphone, laptop, tablet or desktop computer.

Many of us spend hours in front of a screen and search all sorts of things every single day.

 

But what is the environmental impact of all this?

It seems so ethereal, intangible and yet it’s all around us: invisible waves of nothing and everything, we are swimming in this imperceptible information that lands on our devices with a few clicks and taps.

With the internet, a person could potentially live their lives from a single room.
It’s possible to work from home, order food, manage your bank account, exercise with online videos, find a date, listen to music and watch films…pretty much anything.

I have only really read about technology-related sustainability once before, so it was a good opportunity to research this further when David from SingleHop, a leading global provider of hosted IT infrastructure and Cloud computing, asked if I’d be interested in writing about being “greener” with a more informed approach to technology in our everyday lives.

 

There are millions and millions of machines all over the world, running non-stop so that we can have access to all this information online, and all the electricity needed to keep them running has a carbon footprint. And a BIG one.

According to this article from the Guardian: What’s the carbon footprint of…the internet? it’s about 300m tonnes a year… considering this article was published 4 years ago, I expect that to be even higher now.

Every e-mail we send, every document or image we attach to e-mails, every search we make…they all have a carbon footprint. Multiply that by the number of e-mails and searches made every day and you can see how it has a big effect on the environment.

 

I like to be practical about sustainability matters, so what I want to know is: what can I do to decrease my online carbon footprint?

SingleHop’s post How Green is Your Tech? is useful to turn good intentions into useful actions. My favourite tips are:

 

  • Send less e-mails. If you work in an office, when possible, try to communicate with your colleagues instead of via e-mail. This is a frequent tip to ensure you move around more and sit down less too.

 

  • Avoid clicking “reply to all” unless it is actually necessary.

 

  • Unsubscribe from newsletter you don’t actually read.
    It’s easy to scroll down and click on the unsubscribe button, and after that you will also save a lot of time and won’t have to repeatedly go through unwanted e-mails.
    If you don’t read some newsletters but still want to hear about them, follow them on Twitter instead and read about them whenever something really catches your eye.

 

  • Delete unused accounts, use up less web space and protect your privacy

 

 

You may have heard of cloud storage before, it is “internet-based computing in which large groups of remote servers are networked  to allow sharing of data-processing tasks, centralized data storage, and online access to computer services or resources”.

 

Above the clouds - Booking a flight is one of the innumerable things you can use the internet for

Above the clouds – Booking a flight is one of the innumerable things you can use the internet for

 

So how is the Cloud more sustainable?

“Relocating information and data systems to the cloud not only saves money but reduces wasted resources. Companies no longer need to purchase hardware and systems that need installation and maintenance.”

“A 2010 study from Microsoft, Accenture and WSP Environment and Energy found that moving business applications to the cloud could cut the associated per-user carbon footprint by 30 percent for large, already-efficient companies and as much as 90 percent for the smallest and least efficient businesses.”

And if the servers themselves are powered by sustainable, renewable energy sources, it looks like this could really be the best option.

So whether your business is small or large, you could benefit from cloud computing.

I sometimes wish I could have writing this blog as my main job, spending my days researching and visiting new places, looking for new sustainable options for every facet of life.

If I could, now I know a little more about it, I would consider relying on cloud computing, and looking at managed hosting services would be a good start to do so.

 

Were you aware of the internet’s carbon footprint?

What do you think are the best ways to use the internet sustainably?

3 Mushroom Recipes – For those who don’t like mushrooms

I love vegetables.

I am probably made of 73% vegetables. The rest is made from tomatoes, houmous, dates, peanut butter and porridge. And Green&Black’s dark chocolate.

But there are some vegetables that I have unreasonable intolerant feelings toward. Namely mushrooms. Or that was the case.

On my way back from Reading festival, I felt it coming. Like the vegan Hulk in one of Dexter’s Laboratory episodes (it’s called Hunger Strikes in case you want to watch it), I started feeling like I was going a bit mad, as I had spent a few days without eating many vegetables.

I started daydreaming about Japanese curry while on the train.

After I got home and had an amazing shower (aren’t post-showerless festivals showers the best?!) I went out and bought 2 big bags of vegetables, nothing else.

I was craving them so much that I even bought button mushrooms for the first time in my life. How adventurous. I was determined to restore my faith in the apparent palatableness of these gummy entities.

Mushrooms are an important source of vitamins and minerals. So what’s all this hostility about?

My mate C inspires me to be more open-minded with everything, including vegetables, as she always adds them to pizza, for example.

So her good influence me made me open my mind and try to make something good.

And what’s better than start off by coating them in delicious Japanese curry? That just makes anything taste delicious.

What I don’t usually like about mushrooms is the texture and sometimes the flavour.

They are a common vegetarian option protagonists, but they are usually in big chunks or whole, watery and like soily rubber bands. No thanks.

Whenever I ate them in China however, I always liked them. So I thought it was because of how and what they were cooked with. The key? Finely chop them.

 

Vegetable Japanese Curry

To make it, the instructions written in my past post about my Oriental feast are applicable, this time I just added fresh vegetables and parboiled sweet potatoes and added them to the mix, with no rice.

It was just what I needed…

 

Vegetable Japanese Curry

Vegetable Japanese Curry

 

A couple of days later, I made Korean udon noodles with vegetables, including mushrooms of course, and tofu.

 

Udon Noodles with Vegetables

I followed Well Vegan‘s recipe. The only thing I changed was that I used 2tbsp of mushroom soy sauce instead of miso, so mine was extra mushroomy.

 

Mushroom Soy Sauce

Mushroom Soy Sauce

I sliced the mushrooms quite finely and…I liked it!  A rubber-less soup. :)

It is very easy to double the quantities to make additional portions, I made so much soup!! It was tasty, filling and vegan.

 

Korean Udon Noodles

Korean Udon Noodles

 

Udon noodles are the really thick ones, you can get them from Korean, Chinese, Japanese or multi-national Asian shops. H said she saw some in a medium-sized Sainsbury’s last week, vacuum packed like these ones, in the Eastern food section.

 

Fresh Tofu

Fresh Tofu

 

I buy fresh tofu from Rice and Wine in Soho, a block like this is only about £1.55.

M (who really knows her tofu) said that the fresh, Made in London organic tofu from Clean Bean is delicious.

 

This soup is fulllll of vegetables. Perfect to use seasonal Summer produce.

 

 

I like to use Kallo’s organic vegan stock cube or some home-made stone soup.

Just chop and add to the stock :)

Look at my carrot sharpener!! :D

 

Chopped!

Chopped!

 

I also bought some vegan sushi, this one was with pickles

 

Vegan Sushi

Vegan Sushi

 

The soup!

Udon, Vegetable and Tofu Soup

Udon, Vegetable and Tofu Soup

 

My flatmates tasted it too and liked it. :)

I added some chilli sauce to make it spicy and C suggested it could also be made using dried mushrooms, the ones you can rehydrate before adding them to a recipe, for those who actually really like a mushroom flavour.

 

It seems like Asian flavours really inspired me to get around my irrational mushroom intolerance as the 3rd recipe is Chinese-inspired.

 

Black Bean Sauce

Black Bean Sauce

 

You can also find black bean sauce in international Asian shops and probably in most big supermarkets too. (Annoyed-looking lady brand optional).

 

Mushrooms with Chinese black bean sauce (2-3 portions)

This was inspired by the recipe from the Vegetarian Society that I found just as I was thinking of what to make with the rest of my button mushrooms.

Of course, you can vary the quantity and type of vegetables as you like :) I made it like this:

 

Ingredients:

-1 tbsp vegetable oil

-1 onion, chopped

-2 peppers, (any colour), chopped

-1 medium head of broccoli, chopped

-10 button mushrooms

-200g tofu, in cubes

-4 tbsp black bean sauce

-a handful of cashew nuts

-Rice to serve

 

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and fry the tofu until golden on every side.

Add oil if necessary, add the nuts, the vegetables and fry until almost cooked (just a few minutes). Add the black bean sauce and mix everything.

Serve with rice.

Vegetables and Black Bean Sauce

Vegetables and Black Bean Sauce

 

Success!

Mushrooms are no longer my enemy.

There are so many types of mushrooms too, I will stop thinking “I don’t like them, I won’t try them”. I grew up in the woods in Italy and there was people regularly going mushroom-hunting. I just want to make up for what I missed out then and try all sorts of mushrooms, vegetables in general and enjoy what nature has to offer.

J also said they’re great on the BBQ, I imagine they’d be nice grilled too, as that would eliminate the spongy texture element that some don’t like. I found some inspiring recipes on yummly.

 

I think it’s good to find ways to eat other kinds of food, and trying new, different ways to use these ingredients would be useful even when making food for children, for example.

 

Additional tasty recipes recommended by M:

Mushroom Baguette

Shiitake Ramen (vegan with no egg added)

 

Are there any vegetables you particularly dislike?

Do you have any ways you try to eat vegetables/food that is healthy but you don’t love?