November 2, 2009
For those of you in the south Dublin area, a new shop has opened recently in Blackrock village that is definitely worth a look.”The Organic Supermarket” has bunches of interesting vegan items and everything in the shop is organic. I got a great Mediterranean Marinated Sesame Smoked Tofu that tasted delicious. Be warned, it has an extremely strong flavour so you need very little of it. A small amount (no more than a quarter of the pack per person) diced, fried and dropped into soup or salad brings a great depth of flavour.
They also have a fab selection of wines that are not much more expensive than your average off-licence and some lovely dairy free breads as well. I found a great substitute for Nutella – Carobio Hazelnut Spread, which is a little stronger that chocolate spread but just as delicious.
The shop itself is a little on the small side and can get a bit overcrowded at lunchtime but they have such a selection of goods in store that I completely forgot to go back to work when I wandered down on my break today. Luckily for me, they also have a good website (listed here) for all the essentials so no more murderous glares from the boss in future.
November 1, 2009
Just back from a long walk up the hills. The smell of Hawthorne and nettle is amazing up there. And having a nose at the big country mansions is fun too. But as it starts to get dark it gets a little creepy and when I start to hear the small animals in the ditches beside the road I tend to walk a bit faster.
The house feels lovely and warm by comparison. And all I want for dinner is a nice big bowl of warm creamy soup and some fresh browm bread covered in soy butter. Because I’m not eating dairy, I decided to make mine with pumpkin for nutty sweetness and soya milk for thickness.
- 1/2 small pumpkin of onion squash
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 3 small waxy potatoes or 1 large floury potato
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 pint vegetable stock
- 1/2 pint soya milk
- 1/2 pint hot water
- dried rosemary
- olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Cut the pumpkin half into four or five strips with about a two-inch thickness. Place onto a sheet of tin foil or baking parchment and season with salt pepper and a pinch of rosemary. Put a clove of garlic next to each slice and drizzle olive oil over the top. Wrap the tin foil or baking parchment up tightly to keep in the steam.
Roast the parcel in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile saute the onion and carrot in a little olve oil and add the potato after two or three mintes. Add half the vegtable stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes and top up with stock if it starts to look a little dry. Don’t forget to take the pumpkin out to cool a little.
Once the pumpkin has cooled a little open the parcels, and add all the contents and juices to the pot. If you have left the skin on, as I did, it comes away very easily with a spoon of fork.
Once all the veggies are in, take the pot off the heat and top up with the hot water and soya milk. Then, if you like your soup creamy, whizz it up with a handheld mixer. Tasty! Serves four small bowls for lunch or two big monters bowls for a hungry post walk din-dins.
November 1, 2009
This week, I looked around on-line and found a fab company called Home Organics that delivers locally grown high quality organic fruits and veggies to your door. I was surprised because a whole bag would last a small family for a week and costs only 22 Euro. If I tried to buy that amount of organic produce in a supermarket it would cost me twice as much so I pounced on the site and ordered my bag to be delivered to my job. The link is displayed here so if you live in the Dublin area look it up online.
October 31, 2009
This is my first blog, another first in a year of first experiences that I have been forcing upon myself, like it or not.
Next February, I will be 29. One more year and my twenties will be over. I can look forward to wrinkles and sagging skin and an escalating amount of tiredness (not to be confused with the utter laziness of my first thirty years of existence).
In an effort to make my existance somewhat original and try to protect my body, and my extremely unwilling boyfriend’s body, from the ever-increasing unhealthy commercialism of the global food industry, I have decided to try a natural vegan diet.
This is not to be confused with taking up the activist approach to veganism, for which I have a slightly yuppyish dislike despite my love of animals and abhorrence of violence.
This is simply a showcase for people thinking of a more natural vegan diet, a guide that will show the recipes that I found to be great and the ones that turned out to be unbeleivably awful, so that maybe you can avoid throwing your dinner in the bin and reaching for the rashers and white bread.
Here’s how it all started for me.
Along with my boyfriend Dave, I went to visit his brother in Arizona. I might have prefaced this with my life-long love of food because my main wish for the trip was to try all the America food that I had been reading about and watching in sitcoms and movies all my life. I was not dissappointed.
In the three mile radius from my future brother-in-law’s “McMansion” in the desert, were no less the five fast food restaurants, one gourmet pizza place and two pubs that served all manner of American classics. I have never eaten so much meat in my life. By the end of two weeks there I had forgotten what salad tasted like, much less was I actually craving it for lunch.
Taco Bell was the best; mild chilli sauce on crisp genetically modified lettuce and tasty breadcrumbed meat that came from poultry, at some point in time. And the nacho’s… don’t even get me started on cheap american cheese (the more luminous yellow the better it would seem) This type of food is seriously tasty and truly addictive.
The portion sizes were more suited for some type of prehistoric remnant of humanity. No-one could finish a three course meal in that place without expanding their stomach to at least three times it’s regular sizae. It was not difficult to undertand that growing weight problems that is spreading accross that continent.
While I was there, I gained six pounds. That’s nearly half a stone for Americans and over 2.5 kilograms for Europeans.
What I have not mentioned is my meeting with Dave’s sister in law. A beautiful American girl who grew up on a farm in Utah. Her experience of life is so different from mine that I had to constantly refrain from asking questions about her childhood and early life. What little information I gathered was inspriring, a dream. A massive farm, one that I could not quite imagine having come from an island that you can drive accross in less than a day. No supermarket for a hundred miles in either direction. Her mother made her own ketchup, such was the extent of their corn-fed, healthy, rumbuctuous upbringing.
Having loved cooking since my early twenties, I decided that I would cook a meal for the family and some friends while we were visiting. I made a dinner for eight. Seafood Risotto to start followed by Salmon Encroute and Potato Dauphinaise and Strawberry Tart with Mascarpone Cream to finish.
I had served something similar to friends before but, next to this gorgeous healthy American’s food, I felt that I was poisoning the entire family. The amount of fat in all those dishes is really considerable, despite their organic ingredients and green veggie side dishes. I felt unhealthy. I felt my veins getting tighter as I sat beside this girl who could put together an organic fat free meal for her son in the blink of an eye.
I decided to make changes based on her lifestyle, which I envied in a way I never thought I would. I read a book she recommended, “Skinny Bitch” and I was very suddenly convinced that I should make a change in my eating habits. I even stopped eating cheese…
So here I am, back in Ireland and my tan is fading about as fast as my choices are. There is no such thing as a Boca burger here… I ordered this in a restaurant for lunch in Phoenix and sent it back thinking that they had mixed up my order and given me meat… there are also no vegan ricotta’s or cheddar’s and I am finding that I have to be creative if I want to maintain this meat free, egg free existance without feeling as deprived as famine victim.
Having found nothing hugely enlightening on the web that was specific to Ireland, I realised that it must be quite difficult for everyone to start along this course without outside assistance. So I decided to try it myself, with no expert guide to cloud my own judgement and that’s what you’ll find here.
I’m certain that I will fuck up on several occasions, but I really want to start living a more healthy existance. I want to have natural food on my dinner table every day; no more processed salty crap or sugary vitamin-deprived nonsense. I want to make good, meat and dairy free, food that satifies my nasty fast food apetite without the celulite causing side-effects.
My goal is to update this once or twice a week to show any new recipes that I come accross that actually taste nice, pictures of each recipe, at as many stages as possible, will be provided, including the gloopy messes that I will inevitably have to eat at some point in my experimenting!
So keep reading and see how I get on if you fancy it! :-)