Ninety Per Cent Vegan

“So what’s the other ten per cent?” asked Cousin’s Husband, “Do you eat sausages?”
I don’t think it was a serious question, and certainly he was quickly shushed by others in the room, but given the attitudes of some vegans, my other ten per cent might just as well be a love of rare steak.
It’s not though, it’s vegetarian. The odd bit of dairy, usually in the form of a hidden ingredient, still creeps into my meals. Then there are the eggs from hens kept as pets. I don’t have them very often, but they are there. A lot of my food is made from the same ingredients it always was, but used in different ways. I never used to eat butter beans in salads, or tofu in sandwiches. I didn’t have tahini spread on toast in the morning topped with fresh fruit, or with tomatoes, capers and olives. But the tahini, the tomatoes, the olives, the fresh fruit, the tofu, the butter beans were all staples.
The capers? I used to love capers, then suddenly, inexplicably, went off them. I haven’t eaten them in years. Then a neighbour brought some to our Equaliteas event, and since then I have eaten loads of them.
As I have said before, I don’t know that I shall ever be fully vegan. It is more of a lifestyle than vegetarianism. To reach nirvana all animal products including wool, leather and honey need to be excised. I still have quite a bit of honey inherited from Aunt. As I don’t eat it often, that statement will probably be true for some time to come. Equally most of my footwear is leather and unlikely to wear out overnight. Despite the best efforts of the moths (London has suffered a moth invasion this year) I still have some wooden jumpers. Now I am wondering about silk. I guess that might be on the forbidden list too. Maybe I am only eighty or eighty-five per cent vegan. Continue reading

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Here Come the Hols

Two and a half weeks to go until I cross that little strip of water known variously St George’s Channel and the Irish Sea for my hols in Northern Ireland.
Can’t wait.

Oh hang on a moment, I need to sort out some photos first. Maybe I can wait.
The plan hatched earlier in the year, which i hope is still live, is to have a family day with Uncle Bill, with as many photos as we can lay our hands on, and have a good session of family stories. Continue reading

Captain’s Log: Sunday

I wrote this last night,but could not post as I had no internet. Surprisingly,this morning, which is wild,cold and wet, I’m able to get online. I hope it lasts and I may be able to post again later.

Well, we had a lovely day. Not the weather; that was resolutely grey, threatening, and occasionally delivering, rain, cold, and generally sulky. But Octavia made her first trip to das Boot and on it, with Older Nephew piloting, me on coffee, washing up and other Anneish activities as in the Famous Five. It is my boat after all, so it is only right and proper that I should be the chief wielder of duster, wet wipe, and wearer of rubber gloves.

We drank an impressive amount of alcohol while still remaining coherent and relatively sober. What that says about our livers I don’t know, and I’m not sure I want to know. MasterB, who had been distressed during parts of the car journey, voiding his bladder and bowels somewhere near Bow, spent most of the journey to the pub, The Shippe at Brandon Creek, where we enjoyed a very late but satisfactory lunch, under the pillows in the rear cabin. On the journey back to the marina he was keener to be near us, albeit hidden from view in a citadel of cushions in the fore cabin. Continue reading

Pitta Pattying!

I’d been thinking pitter patter when I wrote last night’s post, but today that became pitta patty. I was working away from home this morning, but back in time for a late lunch. I stopped off at Oli’s and bought some pitta bread, the wholemeal type. While my patties cooked, I prepared salad and warmed the bread, slitting one to slide one patty inside plus a lot of greenery and some hummus. It looked good, but how dud it taste?

Pitta patty

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Cooking for the Fritterati?

I’ve got so many ex-hummus pots in the fridge harbouring fritters, left-overs, fritters, baked beans, fritters, cold potatoes, fritters again that finding the one that has hummus in it is like Edgar Allen Poe’s Purloined Letter.

The builders were supposed to be coming tomorrow to do the tiling in my kitchen. Back in 2016 I had a new kitchen fitted and the guy who did a great job on the floor tiles was not around to do the ones on the walls. The result was amateur, so they’re going to be redone. One day. I think I have had four dates so far for this work. To be fair, I dodged out of one of them, the builder had the ‘flu for another, but it is beginning to feel like the cleaning of the Augean stables, a job that’s never finished. But until it is I can’t contact Tony the painter to begin the other less well known Herculean task of repainting the flat. Continue reading

What the GF?

One of the worrying things that has come to my attention during my Veganuary journey is how many vegan products and recipes are also gluten free.

Believe me, I’m not trivialising Coeliac disease. It runs in my family and I know how devastating it can be, especially when it goes undiagnosed for decades. My mother had it, at least one of my aunts, and we reckon an uncle died undiagnosed. But gluten free has become ubiquitous. A neighbour, who to be fair does have health problems, told me she was giving up gluten. Why? I asked. She looked surprised at the question, then assumed a slightly martyred expression and said it was for her health. But she hasn’t been advised by the GP to give it up, has not been tested for Coeliac disease, she’s just decided that for some reason gluten free is a healthier option.
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Carry On Veganuarying

Heading into the final week of Veganuary, and like my compatriots doing dry January, this could be a watershed moment, to continue or not. I think I know the answer, which is I shall return to being a flexi-vegan. Once I have eaten the few things already stored in the freezer that contain dairy I don’t think I’ll be hurrying to replace them. Consciously eschewing dairy has been easy, though I haven’t been to the pizzeria yet, and it’ll be the end of M&S meal deals as they barely manage a vegetarian option, let alone vegan. I’ve not bought eggs from a supermarket in months, so until and unless I can get them from hens kept as pets, eggs will be off the menu too. I have quite a bit of honey at home, and that’ll gradually be consumed as well. Whether I replace it or not remains to be seen.

So no, I don’t think I’m going to be a full-time, banner-carrying vegan, but 90% of the time you wouldn’t be able to tell. I’m certainly going to be eating a lot of fritters. After the success of the beetroot and spilt pea fritters I decided to play with my recipe, swapping the split peas for lentils, adding broccoli to the beetroot, and putting the rice flour in the mix to bind everything rather than the tahini. There were more ingredients – tomato purée, garlic, onion, turmeric, soy sauce if I recall correctly. The rice flour didn’t work as well as the tahini, I had to dust them all with more flour after I’d shaped them, yet still they were crumbly. I decided to cook two and have them with mushrooms and kale. I admit my hopes weren’t that high. Continue reading

Veganuary, An Undisciplined Cook, and Delicious Fritters

Half way through January, aka Veganuary, and it’s going well. I still don’t know how to pronounce veganuary, but that’s a minor issue. A advert on television last night pronounced vaginal in a way that was wholly new to me and because of that caught my attention. Clever marketing or something else? For me vagina and vaginal are pronounced with a strong i so vaginal whereas the ad was more vadge-in-al. Bizarre.

Pronunciation aside, vaginal has little if anything to do with Veganuary. My twitter followers who are legion (not) will know I have been tweeting both pictures of some of my meals and my failures with split pea rissoles. While the flavour had me wanting more, the falling apartness was something of a failing. More frittata than rissole. that thought was a bit of a breakthrough. That and advice from Sabina via twitter. I know Sabina from our MyT days, which in blogosphere terms means we go back generations. She thought the mix was not fine enough. I intended to have a break and come back to the fray in a week or so. But a lone beetroot in the fridge got me thinking. So tonight I tried again, with a radical change in the recipe. Continue reading