Butter bean, aubergine and paprika stew

I found this recipe whilst in my local Tesco recently and instantly believed I could veganise it. It even has a top tip for a veggie version. This is a low-calorie, but filling dish. Each serving is only 92 calories, however if you are looking for more calories, the recipe suggests to serve with toast. I just had a double portion because I was hungry!

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Ingredients:

A whole aubergine, chopped into half moons.

1 onion, chopped.

1 garlic clove chopped.

2 tsp. rosemary

1.5 tsp. paprika

1x400g tin of peeled cherry tomatoes. (Tesco actually sell these in their Finest range and they were worth the extra few pennies.)

2x 400g tin of butter beans, drained.

230g red peppers, sliced and chopped.

Method:

Place the peppers and aubergine in a roasting tin, drizzle some oil on top and cook in the oven for 25 minutes.

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In the mean time, fry the onion is a small amount of oil until soft. Then add the herbs, spices, butter beans and tomatoes and leave to simmer on a low heat. (This will allow the flavours to mix together properly.)

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When the peppers and aubergine are cooked, mix in with the butter beans etc. and cook through for about five minutes.

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Marinated Italian Tofu

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Flicking through the great book that is Veganomicon, I found a recipe called Marinated Italian Tofu. I decided to make it, even though it was slightly time consuming and the results were fantastic. This was a lovely weekend dinner and for an extra treat I made some garlic bread and I had a rocket salad on the side. Mykey’s favourite food is Italian so you can imagine he was over the moon helping me cook and prepare this meal.

Ingredients

Pack of tofu

Marinade

250ml    white wine (make sure the brand you use is vegan.)

2              tbsp. olive oil

2              tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2              tbsp. tamari

2              tbsp. lemon juice

2              cloves garlic

A handful of fresh basil

1              tsp. marjoram

1              tsp. thyme

Directions

Prepare marinade. Combine all ingredients.

Preheat oven to 400. Cut tofu into eight equal pieces. Marinate for an hour. Flip after 30 minutes.

Place tofu on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake for 10 minutes. Place in broiler for 3 minutes. (I didn’t do this. I left the tofu in the marinade and baked for 15 minutes each side in a really hot oven.)

Garlic bread

Ingredients

  • A small loaf of sour dough bread sliced into four. (Mykey and I munched the end pieces he he.)
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Three garlic cloves
  • Margarine (Various vegan brands available.)

Method

 

  • Place all ingredients except bread into a pestle and mortar and grind into a paste.
  • Spread on sour dough and bake for 8 minutes.

Salad

  • A pack of rocket leaves
  • A handful of sun dried tomatoes chopped
  • Fresh cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing (mix the two together.)

Then all you have to do is mix all ingredients together and sprinkle some nuts and seeds on top.

Low cholesterol

Low in sugar

Very high in calcium

High in phosphorus

Very high in vitamin A

Very high in vitamin B12

Very high in vitamin E

Approx nutritional values: 450 calories, 10 g fat, 38g carbohydrates and 14g protein.

Abokado

I was having a rough time one evening so I decided to go and stay with Mykey in Catford and drop him off to work the next day in Farringdon. Of course as always he was a great help in lifting my mood and keeping me company.

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When I went to drop him off at work the next day, I was left with an hour to burn before I could catch the train home and decided to have a look around for somewhere to eat. I stumbled across a small Japanese café that appeared to have a few things I could eat. I was amazed when I walked through the door to find a treasure trove of not only vegan but seriously healthy options for me to have for breakfast. I stood there for a good ten minutes before I finally decided on a falafel wrap (not very Japanese I know), sea weed salad and a soya latte. All of this cost me under a fiver! What a result!?

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I told Mykey about Abokado and every day that week he sent me pictures of all the yummy food he was having whilst I was at work. Nice of him wasn’t it?

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I have since discovered that Abokado have 13 establishments throughout London and have a dedication to providing healthy food for all. Most vegan meals tend to be less than 400 calories and are certainly filling. The website also has extensive nutritional information and everything which is vegan is marked with a VE.

Pros

  • Healthy
  • Cheap
  • Friendly and knowledgeable staff

Cons

  • Only available in London currently
  • Not an entirely vegan chain
  • Not really any bagel or cake options for vegans

Check them out! 8/10

http://abokado.com/

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What the hell do you do with tofu?

First of all, let’s get something straight: you say it toefu not toffu. Get it? Got it? GOOD! Now we can move on.

I’ve been vegan for 8 years in September and when I first made that step I had no idea what to do with tofu. It was just a big white sloppy mess that I couldn’t get to taste of anything. I had an email from a friend at the weekend saying that it was too soft for him and it was the first time he had cooked with it and that has inspired me to write this post.

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First of all, let us talk about the health benefits of tofu.

  • In 100g there is 17.9g of protein. This makes it a high protein food.
  • It contains isoflavones which can neutralise free radicals i.e. cancer causing particles.
  • Yes tofu does contain phytoestrogen, not oestrogen as the beef industry would have you believe. These phytoestrogens help neutralise the effects of human oestrogen which can cause bone density loss in later life.
  • It’s also full of calcium, manganese, iron, omega3 fats and it’s relatively low in calories and fat or what we would call a lean protein.

Now what can you do to make it super tasty? Here are some ideas:

When my recipe section gets a little larger there will be plenty of tofu recipes. I eat it quite a lot because of the protein vs. fat content. It really helps my training. In the meantime, enjoy and get some tofu down your necks!

beet_tofu_burger tofu kabobs (4)

Simple Quinoa Salad

This is often a staple for me when I am out on the road driving all over the country, or if I have a busy day at work. As you can see from the picture below, I am eating this at my desk.

Ingredients:

A handful of quinoa

½ Courgette

A few strips of dulse

¼ Cucumber

A handful of sprouted beans

Basil

Soy Sauce

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
  • Chop the courgette into half-moon shapes and place in a baking tray with a drizzle of coconut oil. Then sprinkle with sea salt. Place in the oven for 20 minutes and then leave to cool on the side before mixing with other ingredients.
  • Heat up a small pan of water and cook the quinoa as per the packet instructions. (You can set this up whilst the courgette is baking.)
  • Chop up the cucumber and tomato and place in a bowl.
  • Mixed in cooled and drained quinoa and courgettes.
  • Sprinkle with dulse strips, basil, soy sauce, sea salt and black pepper.
  • Mix with a spoon to give the ingredients good distribution throughout the dish.

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Animal Rights – You are failing!

This is going to upset people on both sides of the fence I imagine, but you know what? I don’t care! It needs to be said and it needs to be said now. I’m sick and tired of not getting anywhere because all the time, effort and money of people who genuinely care about animals, most of which are vegan, is being spent on campaigns that do not and are not working.

In my previous blog post about abolitionism, I talked about how single issue campaigns were not working. I also spoke about how abolitionist theory was too complex for the majority of us working class folk and we needed a more simple way of understanding it. So here we are my friends, a week in the world Animal Rights, but not the movement I belong to.

Cheltenham race weekend.

One of the top stories on the Animal Aid website is called, “Deathwatch 2012.” It relates to the number of deaths at various horse racing events in 2012. There were a total of ten horse deaths at the Cheltenham festival last year and there will probably be plenty more this year. Animal Aid’s solution is to ask for stricter sanctions and hold a demonstration outside of the racetrack over the course of the weekend.

1)      At no-point is veganism mentioned. Vegans do not support horse racing because it is the use of an animal for entertainment i.e. human pleasure.

2)      By not calling on the absolute abolition of horse racing and indeed all animal use, they insinuate to the non-vegan that it is ok to use animals as long as you stick within certain guidelines. In Cheltenham’s case this means a few quid to make people feel better about an industry that is as full of bloodshed as a slaughterhouse.

3)      Cheltenham still continues and the number of people who attend each year is growing with an estimated 220,000 due to attend this year.

4)      This article says it all really: It’s ok to do whatever we like as long as it is with the regulations. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/cheltenham-festival/9920927/Cheltenham-Festival-2013-officials-say-new-measures-should-ensure-no-repeat-of-last-years-tragedies.html

My verdict? FAILURE! Go vegan, spread the vegan message and end animal slavery once and for all.

Horses_Costwolds Jump Racing

 

CCTV for all slaughterhouses.

This first started to be talked about in 2011. All the standard “AR” groups jumped on board and welfare organisations such as the RSPCA joined the cause too. (Don’t even get me started on them.) It was made public knowledge by newspapers such as The Guardian and the campaign even has a Facebook page. Morrisons, M&S, Waitrose, Co-op and Sainsbury’s all forced their suppliers to fit CCTV in the stunning and slaughtering areas.

1)      The CCTV does not cover the entire process of raising an animal on a farm, feeding her, breeding her, shipping her in a lorry and then the entire rest of the abattoir before the stunning and murdering takes place. How then can they be sure that the animals are not being abused, outside of the confines of the normal abuse endured by being a slave, in areas which are not covered by the CCTV cameras?

2)      The supermarkets were only insisting on their own brands. The protest groups did nothing to call them out on other brands that they would continue to sell anyway.

3)      This was done to make consumers feel better about eating animals. If they believe that the animal was not abused, then they are more likely to continue eating meat. This article says this clearly: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/03/abattoirs-supermarkets-cctv-cruelty-welfare Check out this quote from Animal Aid (*sigh*) “Animal Aid said its undercover footage revealed “serious systemic problems” in six abattoirs, including substandard treatment of pigs, sheep and cows before slaughter, and improper stunning. Of all the abattoirs where it had filmed, the campaign group gave only one a relatively clean bill of health.”  So they are clearly saying to the whole of the country that they support the slaughter of animals and consumption of their flesh as long as it is done within a set of regulations. At no point do they mention veganism, which would release all of these animals from the bonds of slavery in the first place.

My verdict? People feel better about eating meat because they believe that the animal carcass they are consuming was treated well before his life was ended. FAILURE!

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The horse meat scandal.

Well you know what doesn’t contain horse meat don’t you? Fruit and vegetables! 😉 On a more serious note, this is a perfect opportunity to promote veganism in the mainstream media, yet have I seen any of the big organisations out there on the news, in the cities and in the newspapers? Nope! They believe that the concept of veganism is too hard for people to understand. Given the right discussion, nothing is too hard to understand and if they spent half as much time and money as they did on promoting single issue campaigns, half the country would be vegan by now. True facts!

A production line at the Spanghero meat processing company in 2011

 

The EU ban on testing cosmetic ingredients on animals.

This particular news has filled up my Facebook newsfeed for a couple of days now. Everyone from your average non-vegan Joe to The Body Shop (a non-vegan establishment that is owned by animal testing giant L’Oreal) are shouting from the rooftops about what a great achievement this is. Sadly whilst they were busy signing petitions and holding demonstrations outside the European parliament, a new directive called R.E.A.C.H was being approved in the background. This directive means a possible end to all cruelty free cosmetics because it demands that all chemicals and compounds used within them must be tested on animals if they have not done so already. That means companies like LUSH (also a non-vegan company, but with a good vegan selection) are in deep shit and more animals than ever will be vivisected all in the apparent name of our safety as human beings. If any of these campaigns had promoted veganism with the money they spent here, there would have been a seismic shift towards vegan cosmetics thus giving vegan companies a larger market share and a bigger voice. No fuck that! We’ll just take each hurdle as it comes with our stupid little baby steps and end up in more shit than when we started.

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So, as you can see I’ve been getting progressively angrier as I have been writing this post, but I cannot help it. It’s so crystal clear to me and you all need to wake up. Non-vegans, go vegan. It’s really easy and it’s good for animals, the environment and your body. Vegans, stop supporting single issue campaigns and start supporting veganism as the only way to end animal slavery once and for all.

Happy-Animal-5

 

I’m done now.

Vanilla Cupcakes – Literally!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m rubbish at making cakes. I don’t know why I bother most of the time because with amount of sugar and other crap in them, I can only have one and then I have to give the rest away. (Living clean and training dirty!) I can’t decorate them to save my life either which is why they look like a five year old has made them. Meh! They tasted good and that’s all that really matters. The below recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.

Frosting Ingredients:

½             cup nonhydrogenated shortening (Trex)

½             cup nonhydrogenated margarine

3½          cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (Caster sugar)

1½          tsp. vanilla extract

¼             cup plain soy milk or soy creamer

1              tsp. red food colouring

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Cupcake Ingredients:

1              cup soy milk

1              tsp. apple cider vinegar

1¼          cups all-purpose flour

2              Tbsp. cornstarch

¾             tsp. baking powder

½             tsp. baking soda

¼             tsp. salt (increase salt to ½ teaspoon if you’re using oil instead of margarine)

½             cup non-hydrogenated margarine, softened, or ⅓ cup canola oil

¾             cup sugar

2              tsp. vanilla extract

¼             tsp. almond extract, caramel extract, or more vanilla extract

 

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Whisk the soy milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled.

If using margarine: Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix.

In a separate large bowl, use a handheld mixer at medium speed to cream the margarine and sugar for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. (Don’t beat past 2 minutes.) Beat in the vanilla and other extract, if using, then alternate beating in the soy milk mixture and dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times.

If using oil: Beat together the soy milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, and other extracts, if using, in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix until no large lumps remain.

Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before frosting.


Giant ginger bread cookie

Sometimes you just need to indulge, so I made a giant ginger bread cookie. This is the crunchy, dry kind that snaps like a biscuit rather than a cookie. It’s full of flavour and full of calories. Keep it for a treat or a party. (Just a heads up, I’m rubbish at making cakes and biscuits etc so the presentation isn’t marvellous, but it tastes good none the less.)

Ingredients:

256g of all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling)

1 ½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon salt

60g of molasses

 A few teaspoons of melted coconut oil

60g of brown sugar

32ml of almond milk, soy milk, or rice milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Sift dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl.

Whisk together the oil, molasses, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract.

Mix wet ingredients into dry, using a whisk, an electric hand mixer, or your hands, untill uniform.

Flatten the dough into a disk and refrigerate, for 30 minutes (or overnight).

Dust a clean surface with flour. Roll the dough out untill it’s about a 1/4 inch thick.

Cut into desired shapes if you wish or keep as a large biscuit as I did.

Bake for 8 minutes, or until the edges are just browning.

Let cool before serving.

 

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Subway: Do we love it or hate it?

Now we don’t have the veggie burgers and other mock meat in Subway in the UK, but there are still plenty of options especially for someone who travels a lot like me.

Some vegans I know refuse to eat there, stating that they don’t like salad and bread. I say you should make the most of what you have got. Healthy food at a cheap price, available nearly everywhere. It beats grabbing a bag of over salted peanuts.

Here are some of things that I have when I visit Subway either when I am out on the road or have to take a working lunch.

6” Veggie Delite (no cheese) in a wheat bread sub. I have this with literally all of the salad they have on offer and sweet onion sauce.

Veggie Delight

A foot long Veggie Delite (no cheese) in a wheat bread sub (There are other types such as Hearty Italian, but I’ll only really recommend whole wheat breads.) with all the salad again, but this time ketchup.

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A Veggie Delite Salad Box (no cheese) with all of the salad and hot chilli sauce. The picture below shows Redwood’s Chicken Style Pieces scattered over the salad. It tastes good on its own, but sometimes I need some extra texture and protein and I’m lucky that the subway I visit most often has a Nutricentre next door.

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There are also ready salted and sweet chilli crisps which I never have, but hey whatever floats your boat.

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The drinks however are all owned by Coca Cola. If you choose to support them, that’s up to you. I personally avoid them where I can.

 

At least three healthy lunch or dinner options which is a lot more than can be said for most places. Still hate Subway?

Where do you get your protein and calcium? *Sigh*

The animal agribusiness giants have certainly been successful in their plans to indoctrinate the general public from the mid-20th century onwards. Nearly everyone I speak to including some vegans, believe that it is hard to get protein and calcium from non-animal sources. This is due to a massive advertising campaign by the meat and dairy industries in newspapers, on television and now on the internet.

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The funny thing about the image above is that Hugh Jackman employed Brendan Brazier, a well known vegan ultra-marathon champion and nutrition expert to help him slim down the fat and bulk up the muscle for roles such as Wolverine in X-Men and Charlie Kenton in Real Steel. Brendan only promotes a high raw, vegan wholefood diet. Interesting?

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Then you have all the vegan bodybuilders and sports people who have more muscle than the average non-vegan Joe could ever dream of. How do you explain that?

It’s easy really. Protein and calcium can be found in a variety of foods. If you have a varied and healthy diet, there is no reason you won’t be meeting your daily recommended intake whatsoever. Calcium deficiency is quite rare in the wealthy nations of Europe and America and protein deficiency does not even have a medical term anywhere in the world because it’s practically impossible. Everything has some protein in, even potatoes.

There is evidence to suggest that over consumption of meat and dairy can lead to bowel cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and even early onset dementia. Also there is a positive correlation between the consumption of dairy products and the incidence of osteoporosis in countries that consume it as a staple part of their diets. (Books such as The China Study and Diet For A New America go into to more detail, but I wanted to keep the health implications of animal product consumption brief.) Sadly this isn’t common knowledge because of the influence animal agribusiness has on all forms of media and the government. (Remember learning about protein at school?)

Let’s look at some protein rich foods to start with:

Beans & Legumes

Beans

Beansprouts

Sprouts

Tofu

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Wholegrains

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Nuts & Seeds

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Hummus

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Now let’s look at some calcium rich foods:

Kale

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Oranges

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Soya Milk

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Oats

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Spinach

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Dried figs

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The above protein and calcium rich foods are just some examples of vegan food that contains both of these important building blocks. There is a huge variety across the board to suit all tastes.

Here is a tasty brunch that is rich in protein and calcium. Spinach, carrot and onion salad, raw orange peppers, soy yoghurt and mint dressing, baked beans and scrambled tofu.

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So there you have it!