Cheesy Tofu Pie

Traditionally in the UK the summer seems to only last a couple of weeks and then we have lots of rain and a few mild days before it gets cold again. Well at least for the past ten years anyway and they tell us the climate isn’t changing yet! This means we still get to have pies in the summer to keep us warm and fill us up.

I wouldn’t say this is a particularly healthy recipe, but it’s a lot better than it’s non-vegan counterpart.

Blog pie

The best thing about my recipes is that you don’t need anything fancy to make them work. All the ingredients should already be in your house or easily available.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tins of braised tofu (I got mine from Holland & Barrett.)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable bouillon powder
  • Half a carton of passata
  • Water as needed
  • 2 large potatoes
  • Half a block of Violife original cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Vitalite dairy free spread
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

Blog Pie 6

Method:

  1. Get the oven on full whack.
  2. Have a pan of salted water heating up to boil.
  3. Fry the onion, garlic and carrots in an oven proof pan, for about three minutes.
  4. Empty the contents of the tofu tin into the pan, including the juices. Break up the tofu into smaller pieces and allow everything to simmer for about two minutes.
  5. Add the bay leaves, red wine vinegar and passata and turn down the heat. Allow to bubble gently for about 10 minutes until the carrots have softened.
  6. Taste the mixture. Add salt and pepper if desired. Turn off the heat.
  7. Slice the potatoes thinly and boil in salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and place back in the sauce pan where you mix in the Vitalite and any extra salt and pepper you require.
  8. Place on top of the tofu mixture, layering if you need to. Cover in grated Violife and nutritional yeast.
  9. Put in the oven, in the oven proof pan for approximately 15 minutes or until the top has a nice crunch.

Blog pie 5 Blog pie 3 Blog pie 2

Enjoy on it’s own or with some steamed vegetables. It’s very filling!

Stuffed Sweet Peppers

I already know what you’re thinking. BORING! Everyone always makes stuffed peppers for vegans and it’s getting really old. Well think again! This is a revamped recipe that you’re not only going to want to eat yourself, but rustle up as a great starter for a main meal. One thing this dish isn’t is pretty. I suppose if you fannied around for a little while with some rocket, you could make a meaningful display, but I don’t have time for that sort of nonsense. :P

DSC_0078 DSC_0079 DSC_0080

Ingredients:

60 grams cous cous (2 servings)

Half a jar of sun dried tomatoes, chopped

Half a jar of artichoke hearts, chopped

1 vegetable stock cube

Wholemeal bread crumbs

Nutritional yeast

6 sweet long peppers of varying sizes

DSC_0077 DSC_000001(10) DSC_000001(8)

Method:

  • Turn the oven on. Slice your peppers down the middle. Season with a little salt and pepper, then place in the oven for 10 minutes to begin cooking.
  • In the meantime, prepare your cous cous as per packet instructions, mixing in a vegetable stock cube to give flavour.
  • Now add the sun dried tomato and artichoke to the cous cous. Don’t worry about any extra oil. It all adds to the Mediterranean flavour.
  • Remove peppers from the oven and fill with the cous cous mixture.
  • Top with a generous helping of nutritional yeast and bread crumbs for that extra crunch.
  • Place back in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes so the peppers can soften and the top can go crispy.

Serve as a light lunch with a salad or on it’s own as a starter.

DSC_000001(6) DSC_000001(7)

Deconstructed Sushi Salad

Be Funky 5

 

We’ve been living in South Wales for a year now. The culinary options in the valleys aren’t exactly amazing. It’s one of the only things I miss about London really. I used to have sushi on a regular basis because I’ve always been rubbish at making it. What’s not to love about sushi? Crisp nori, salty rice and a crunch in the middle topped off with some soy sauce, ginger or wasabi. I came up with this dish to satisfy my sushi craving.

Ingredients:

Half a pomegranate (Seeds only)

1 Avocado

A large handful of kale

2 servings of sushi rice or normal white rice

A dash of mirin

A dash of soy sauce

A sheet of shredded nori

Black pepper

Be funky 4

Method:

  • Cook the rice as per packet instructions. Drain and season with pepper, mirin and soy sauce.
  • Stir fry the kale in a hot pan for about a minute and then mix in with warm rice.
  • Plate up rice and kale mixture, then top with chopped avocado, nori and pomegranate.
  • Eat warm straight away or cold later on.
  • Eat with chop sticks if possible. ;)

Be Funky 2 Be Funky 1

Not only is this dish really delicious, it’s full of folate, good fats, vitamin C, iron, iodine and protein. It’s perfect for your post-workout recovery meal, especially with a hydrating green tea.

 

Enjoy. X

 

Chocolate Mousse

It’s really hot in the UK right now. Like, we are literally having a heatwave. This is unusual for us so of course I need to make something yummy and refreshing to deal with the heat.

A chocolate mousse garnished with orange and lime sounds perfect.

20150420_112919

 

This is really easy to make which is great for me because I am absolutely rubbish when it comes to sweet food.

20150420_112936

Here’s the ingredients:

1 avocado, peeled

A shot glass full of soya milk

2 tablespoons of coco powder

Here’s what you do:

Blend it all together

Put in fridge for about 5 hours

Garnish with lime and orange

Eat in your garden in the sun

Feed to your Beard.

20150420_112924 20150420_113048 20150420_113043 20150420_113036 20150420_113117 20150420_113158 20150420_113211With this little treat you get good fats without tasting the avocado at all. If it’s not sweet enough for you, you can always add a teaspoon of agave nectar, golden syrup or sugar. I liked it just the way it is.

 

Enjoy friends and remember to stay hydrated in this heat.

The Face of Trans*

In the media lately there has been plenty of coverage of the lives of Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox. Even Aydian Dowling has been on the Ellen Show. The point is that these people are seriously privileged.

2014-10-11-COX_LAVERNE_4671_XRET 1378646_411282918996277_1125559941872956105_n download

What’s it like to be transgendered in everyday life without celebrity privilege? I asked some members of the trans* community to give an account of what life is like for them. I think it’s important that we educate the general public so we can end the travesty that is transphobia. I also want those who are trans* to know that they are not alone.

This is James. He has preferred to remain anonymous. I’ve known him for a few years now. We met as part of an online vegan community.

12198090531909861341man silhouette.svg.hi

“I don’t know when I realised I was trans. Or maybe I did and just didn’t have the words to convey a sense of unease; a disconnect between my mind and my body. I only noticed how alien my chest feels once I began binding. Since discovering my transness, the feelings of discomfort with my body have located to very specific areas and I’m trying my best to modify the physical map of my body to match my mental map, though last summer I decided that I feel the best route for me would to go through the NHS and see if I can get some treatment. To this day I’m still waiting for my first appointment.

I never really knew any (out) trans men. I began identifying as non-binary around the age of twenty seven, when for the first time in my life I became exposed to spaces where it was ok to be queer and where binary gender concepts were scrutinised. I moved to a new city around two years ago and I began masculinising my appearance, though I initially found the word “trans man” difficult because “man” to me had so many negative connotations which where embedded in my mind from encounters growing up.

I didn’t want to be associated with “that guy” and I associated masculinity with misogyny and entitlement at the time, though subsequent conversations with a variety of people have helped me make a distinction between the concepts which helped me a lot. It took me a few years of knowing, but not admitting to myself that I’d need to take this step, to really come to terms with who I am, despite the fact I still often get my brain in to knots dissecting the crossroads between gender and the body and probably always will. In short, I don’t know how to explain how I got here because it’s complex, but I’m here and I’m way happier.

Life and day to day stuff? I’m a support worker for disabled adults. My job is very gendered and I’m out to my employers and they’ve been great. I’m really lucky that I haven’t experienced a great deal of transphobia so far, though I admit I’m also protected by the fact that I have a sibling and mother who’re very supportive and other amazing people in my life. I’m not saying I don’t struggle because I do still have periods of not being able to get out in public and I do get in to very negative thought patterns. I’m also worried about the content of gender clinic appointments, about medical gatekeeping and about how I’ll deal with transition, not only in changes to my body, but changes socially.

I’m hoping that this time next year I’ll have a bit of stubble coming through and a deeper voice. The process feels slow and I imagine there will be more challenges ahead than what I’ve faced so far. I have a roof over my head, people who love me and a lot of security in my life that I know many trans people don’t have. It’s for these reasons that we need to be working together, whether we’re trans ourselves, friends or partners of trans people, or individuals who just give a damn. It’s society and the oppressive systems under which we live that are the problem and we need to keep working together to fight them.”

This is Syluss. We met about 4 years ago through a mutual friend. Syluss has done two of my tattoos with a third booked in soon.

10885242_372982062862752_8835828111650057569_n

“I always knew that I didn’t feel the same as anyone else or how I was expected to be from a really early age. I remember when I was a child, probably around the age of 9 or 10, praying to whoever every night that I would wake up being a boy as I didn’t feel right in my body. Fast forward to the age of 21, it all surfaced again after years of just being a gay girl. I discussed it with a couple of people and a friends mum and she mentioned that I was too pretty to be a boy. During that time the internet wasn’t as readily available to get all the information you needed to discover what was out there and who can help. So time went by, I got involved in music and travel and after living in Australia and seeing a great Trans and Gay community in Melbourne and how it’s much more accepted there than in England, I finally made my mind up to go ahead with it when I came back. So at the age of 36 I started the process. That was March two years ago and on September the 9th will be my 2 years on hormones. I get asked a lot why I waited so long to do it. In a way I wish I had just gone for it sooner. But mentally, I don’t think I was ready for it. I had to go through the path in life that I did in order to gain the experience and back bone to face life’s challenges that would come with transitioning.

10612720_330572533770372_5067245928131327557_n

I am a full time tattoo artist and completely out about my trans-ness and am blessed with a couple of thing’s really regarding that.
Number one is working with a group of people that don’t see me any other way than who I am and treat me as a regular cis guy. Also this makes for a great environment for other trans men and women to come and feel comfortable to get tattooed in a non judgmental space. Even though the studio is on the High Street in Exeter, we are on the first floor making the area private and relaxing and not your usual fishbowl parlor. So people are safe in the knowledge that they can just be who they are and not worry about anyone infiltrating their personal space. We have a few regular trans-guys that come and get work by us for this exact reason.

11014956_438979959596295_6033169593221056480_n

I really am grateful for my job and I work really hard and am pretty booked up. Because of that, a lot of my time when not tattooing, is drawing up designs, painting and designing custom work for other people etc. Summer is my busiest period so I usually book off time throughout the Winter/Spring and Autumn to go for long weekends or epic road trips in other countries. I love to travel and its my biggest passion other than art. I’m in a fortunate position that I have no dependents so I make the most of my own time. So I save, travel, repeat.

I can honestly say that I have been very lucky with regards to my transition so far. In the beginning I lost a couple of people because I think they didn’t know how to handle it but I think it was more due to people worrying about what their own friends and family would think of them knowing a “trans” person. To be honest, there is no love lost as It weed’s out the weaker people who I wouldn’t be able to rely on as a supportive friend. And I have plenty of those that do care greatly about me. So what more can a guy need.
Devon is very conservative and a bit more insular than nearer to London for example, so I am a minority here. There is only one gay venue in the city. And the whole Trans thing is more taboo down here. Touch wood, I haven’t had any abuse from anyone and to be honest, if I did, I am not afraid to name and shame people on their ignorance, so maybe that’s why I haven’t had anything done to me personally.
People will always talk and criticise something they don’t understand. If customer’s want me to openly talk about it and they ask me questions, I am happy to answer because it’s important to educate people on the subject. A lot of ignorance come’s from a lack of understanding. But when people get to know me then they realise that I am just like every one else.. Maybe just a bit cooler hahaha.”

11075253_416326605194964_5719826493404786230_n

This is Gracie. They identify as gender variant. (The * is used at the end of trans because it can be an umbrella term. People with variant genders or no gender at all, like myself, also come under that banner and I think are probably very unrepresented, even in trans media.) She has also decided to remain anonymous.

sandiemap011

“I first knew when I tried on women’s clothes and realised how comfortable I was in them and how they suited me. Then I realised I’ve always had feminine behaviours and I’ve liked girly stuff since I was young so it kinda all made sense.

 Work wise I continue to be a guy, but I much prefer to be a girl because I am able to express myself without being restricted by ‘expectations’ of a masculine man so I would say I’m female 75% of the time now
I love women’s fashion and adore being beautiful, getting my nails painted, trying on clothes and I’m a shopaholic who can’t stop buying! I’m still interested in railways though.
I’ll be honest, bigotry exists and it generally comes from ‘alpha males’ and proper narrow minded men who think that being a woman is somehow below being a man and so they find it funny. I just shake off these irrelevant comments because my friends have all been amazing.”
This Ben. We’ve known each other on Facebook for about a year. We met through an abolitionist vegan network.
11301561_10153033605762017_1862027169_n

“My name is Ben, and I’m a 45 year old Australian male. I identify as transsexual, transman, male, man or bloke with a cunt, depending on who I’m with. I wrote a memoir of my life’s journey (so far), so in that way I’m fairly open and candid about being trans. But in everyday interactions, I don’t particularly share my gender story. I felt strongly like I was a boy, or meant to be a boy, when I was about eight years old, in the late 1970’s. But I didn’t really understand how that was, or what to do about it. Puberty when I was eleven really threw my life out of kilter, and my teenage years were hellish. There were other issues around family dysfunction, abuse, and my sexuality that meant I never revisited my gender issues until I was thirty-two. I identified as a lesbian from thirty, but was probably really bisexual, if I’m being honest. My transition to Ben was fairly easy – certainly in comparison to what I expected. I had much greater support from work-colleagues and friends than I imagined, but my already strained relationship with immediate family meant their acceptance of my true self was never going to happen.

11414496_10153033632032017_1305063023_n

My sexual self awakened after two years of testosterone and a bilateral mastectomy, and I spent some time “catching up” on sewing my wild oats with male partners. Not long after this I met my cisgendered male partner, and we’ve been together for eight years. We describe ourselves as a gay couple with a twist.

11421434_10153033632087017_28278593_n

I’m very comfortable in my own skin – apart from the getting older bit – and despite some sacrifices from my old life, transitioning has been the best decision I’ve ever made. Being Ben has truly been lifesaving.”

Unfortunately none of my transwomen friends were able to write me anything in time because they were too busy. I hope this gives you an incite into what the trans* community is really like and that it has helped to educate you and dispel any myths. Please feel free to ask as many questions as you like.

Your gender queer vegan. X

Slow Cooker Saag Aloo

I made this to liven up my midweek meals. All you need is a slow cooker. I picked mine up from an ethical house clearance charity near by for £5.

Please feel free to pin the below image on Pinterest.com. :)

BeFunky Photo2

Ingredients

800 g potatoes, chopped (I don’t peel mine, but feel free if that is your thing.)

1 tbsp of oil

1 tsp mustard of choice

1 tsp turmeric

2 tsp garam masala

140 g frozen spinach

Stock

Method

Place all the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on a medium heat for 5 hours. When it comes to the water, use as much as you need to fill up the slow cooker pot. Serve with garlic bread.

Nice and easy. :)

BeFunky Photo

Vegan Poached Egg

As someone who has been vegan for near on a decade, I’ve never really missed eggs. It’s only because a newbie vegan said they were missing them, that I even considered making them.

I can’t take all the credit for this. I got a lot of inspiration from the internet on ways to make this actually happen.

Also because of where I live, lots of fancy ingredients just aren’t available here. I wanted to make a poached egg any one, anywhere could make. I’m also unable to eat the Vegg due to production methods. (Made in the same factory as crustacean products which I am allergic to.) With that in mind, here are the ingredients for the yolk:

120 ml water

1 teaspoon of vegetable stock powder

1 teaspoon of cornflour

1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric

2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast

1/2 a teaspoon of English mustard

1/2 a teaspoon American mustard

1 tablespoon of vegan butter (I used Vitalite.)

Blend everything in a food processor, except the butter and pour into a hot pan. Turn the heat off and melt the butter into the mix straight away. Drain into a small bowl and leave to cool.

Ingredients for the white:

600 g of firm silken tofu

3.5 tablespoons of arrowroot powder

2 teaspoons of vegan gelatine powder (I used vegan non-sweetened powder.)

1/4 teaspoon of salt. (If you can get black salt, even better.)

Blend all the ingredients until entirely smooth. Now get your poaching device and fill it with the white mixture. Make a well in the middle and fill with yolk. Depending on the size of your device, 1 or 2 heaped teaspoons. Cover the yolk with white until it isn’t visible and drop device into boiling water.

20150414_141103

Cover the pan with a lid so the top is also cooked. (For about 15 minutes.)

The first egg was actually crap. Why? I put the yolk in whilst it was still warm.

20150414_133712The second one I thought I’d cracked (no pun intended) so I served it on spinach, maple bacon and an English muffin. It fell apart because I only cooked it for 8 minutes.

20150414_135503

20150414_133950

 

Then I made this little diamond. 15 minutes, gently simmered and lovingly turned onto a plate without breaking.

20150414_141118

20150414_141232

The yolk is thick and mustardy, just like a chicken’s egg. The white is soft but bouncy. It’s also not as fatty as an egg because you are not adding much fat, but it is still high in protein and B12.

I left some of the 6 I made, in the fridge and heated one up for later. Although it fell apart a bit, it was very tasty with a home grown herby freekah salad.

20150414_182709

 

I hope this helps anyone craving chicken’s eggs as a new vegan and changes the lives of those of us long term vegans who never dreamed this would be possible.

 

(N.B I know it doesn’t look pretty. What do you want? A perfect vegan egg? Hahahahhaaha! :P )