Caramelised Red Onion Tarte Tatin

This recipe’s inspiration comes from a non-vegan. His name is Mat Follas. He has won Masterchef and also owns a restaurant down in Dorest.

Ingredients:

2 red onions, halved

4 tbsp caster sugar

2 cloves of garlic

250 g fresh puff pastry (in the UK we use Jus Roll)

Vegan butter alternative (I used Vitalite)

1 block of soft white Cheezley cheddar (by Vegideli)

1 carton of single soya cream (I used Alpro)

1 carton of plain soya yoghurt

1 tablespoon dried chives

Salt

Pepper

1 tablespoon corn flour

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 squirt of vegan mayonnaise

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Method:

  • Heat the oven to 160C.
  • Place your chopped onion halves in a pan, add enough water to cover and then simmer for three minutes. Leave to cool for ten minutes.
  • Cover the base of a frying pan with the sugar, warm until just melted, then add the onions and cook for a few minutes until everything is caramelised.
  • Add a strip of baking paper to each hole in a muffin tin and lightly oil.
  • Fill each whole with some caramelised onions and some chopped garlic before placing a cutting of a puff pastry sheet on top. (Make sure you tuck the sheet into the tin and around the onions.)
  • Glaze each one with a bit of “butter” and place in the oven for 40 minutes.
  • To make the sauce, pour the single cream into a non-stick pot and turn up the heat. Now add your block of cheese chopped into smaller pieces and stir whilst it melts.
  • Next add the yoghurt, chives, salt, pepper, Dijon mustard  corn flour and mayo. Now turn the heat off.
  • Pour into a food processor and pulse blend for a minute. Now is the time to add any extra salt, pepper or for extra creamyness, a dollop of “butter.”
  • Pulse blend for another minute.
  • Once the tarts are done, remove careful from the oven and place the right way up on your plate with a rocket salad and your cheese sauce.

I actually could not believe the flavours of this dish. I put the some tarte, some rocket and some sauce on my fork and it hit me in the face. Sweet, then peppery and then creamy. This dish is absolutely divine and whilst not the healthiest of easiest to make, it’s worth all of it just for that flavour.

Now check out the two styles of dish I did trying to be posh and shit!

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Enjoy! 🙂

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Mushroom Pate

The Facebook group, “What Fat Vegans Eat” has spoken so here is my famous mushroom pate recipe. So far served to Mykey, Herts Vegans and probably quite a few others after this post.

When I made this for my Christmas spread blog, I added dark ale and it tasted divine and for the Herts Vegans potluck, I substituted the dark ale for extra mushrooms and garlic and it worked just as well.

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Ingredients:

1 whole pack of mushrooms (will make two ramekins)

8 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

2 red onions, peeled and diced

2 table spoons olive oil

1 table spoon of vegan butter

A teaspoon of herb of choice. (First time I used dill and the second time I used parsley)

Salt

Pepper

2 table spoons of dark ale (optional)

 

Method:

Heat a pan with the olive oil and literally put all of the ingredients in that pan straight away.

Cook whilst stirring every couple of minutes for about 10-15 minutes.

Leave to cool for 5 minutes and then place in a blender.

Blend until it resembles a chunky paste. Taste test and add more salt etc if needed. I’d also recommend adding some more olive oil here just to make it extra creamy.

Enjoy with toast, crostini, soya cheese or homemade wholemeal bread….or take to a potluck with some peanut butter cookies! 😉

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Some things I have wanted to say for a while……

1)      What made you decide to go vegan?

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My first steps into exclusively plant based living was in 2003 when I was 17. I saw it as something I could do to be more extreme than my peers. At the time I was just getting into really extreme metal, oh and I still ate bee’s puke aka honey. I wasn’t vegan.

We didn’t have loads of vegan products at the time either. We had tofu and vegetables. I got bored really quickly because I couldn’t cook and just went back to being a fussy omnivore aka a vegetarian .  (I’d been a vegetarian since I was 14, having seen something similar to the Meet Your Meat video in a food technology class. I wish someone had told me I could do more then, I might have listened.)

It was a few years later when I was 20 that I started to read disturbing things about the way that we use animals in society online. Before I’d just been concerned with whether an animal’s life was taken from them. Soon and after not much reading, I realised that we could not justify the use of any animal for human pleasure. That’s what eating animal products is after all, palate pleasure. I watched some videos and I read some recipes.  I went vegan and have been that way ever since.

2)      How do you live without cheese?

How do you live with it? It’s a great big lump of fat, blood and pus. It’s also not addictive, so stop using that excuse.

There are vegan cheeses available with some that are better than others. You  However and to be honest, I very rarely buy them. When you become vegan the way you cook changes, especially if you are not eating a ton of replica meat products, which are processed to hell and everyone should keep to a minimum.

You also eat different foods. Here’s my pre-vegan diet:

Breakfast: Toast and cereal with cow’s milk and cow’s butter.

Snack: Snickers bar

Lunch: Processed meat with processed potato with spaghetti hoops.

Snack: A clementine

Snack: Ham sandwhich with cheese

Dinner:  Bird’s Eye chicken lattice with new potatoes and spaghetti hoops

Supper: Sardines on toast

 What I eat now:

Breakfast: Porridge with a nut and seed mix and soya milk

Snack: Banana smoothie

Snack: Apple, orange

Lunch: Three bean soup

Snack: Banana

Dinner: Kale with Eygyptian spiced leek, potato and beetroot topped with two soysages

Snack: Peanut butter on a rice cake

….and it’s different every day. I can’t stand eating the same stuff now. I remember my pre-vegan diet because it was the same, always. Everything was centred around something from an animal and now there is no centre piece. If anything the centrepiece is the flavour.

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3)      What does GQ actually mean?

GQ stands for Gender Queer. Wikipedia describes it quite well:

Genderqueer (GQ; alternatively non-binary) is a catch-all category for gender identities other than man and woman, thus outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity.[1] Genderqueer people may identify as one or more of the following:

  • having an overlap of, or blurred lines between, gender identity and sexual and romantic orientation.[2][3]
  • two or more genders (bigendertrigenderpangender);
  • without a gender (nongendered, genderless, agender; neutrois);
  • moving between genders or with a fluctuating gender identity (genderfluid);[4]
  • third gender or other-gendered; includes those who do not place a name to their gender;[5]

Some genderqueer people[6][7] also desire physical modification or hormones to suit their preferred expression. Many genderqueer people see gender and sex as separable aspects of a person and sometimes identify as a male woman, a female man, or a male/female/intersexgenderqueer person.[8] Gender identity is defined as one’s internal sense of being a woman, man, both, or neither, while sexual identity refers to an individual’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to others.[7] As such, genderqueer people may have a variety of sexual orientations, as with transgender and cisgender people.[9]

In addition to being an umbrella term, genderqueer has been used as an adjective to refer to any people who transgress distinctions of gender, regardless of their self-defined gender identity, i.e. those who “queer” gender, expressing it non-normatively.[10] Androgynous is frequently used as a descriptive term for people in this category, though genderqueer people may express a combination of masculinity and femininity, or neither, in their gender expression and not all identify as androgynous. However, the term has been applied by those describing what they see as a gender ambiguity.[11]

Personally I really dislike being called he or she. I’m just Emz.

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4)      How do you fit it all in? (Training etc.)

I think if you want something bad enough, you’ll make time. It’s hectic, but it gets the job done.

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5)      What does Child Free really mean?

To me it means that I am choosing, purposely not to have biological children. People choose this for various reasons, but for me the main one is over population.

When my mum was born, there were less than 2.5 billion people on the entire planet. By the time I was born in 1985 (37 years later) there were 4.8 billion people on the entire planet.  In forty years we more than doubled the Earth’s population.  As we come into 2014, we are looking at a human population of 7.1 billion. Many scientists believe that the tipping point for resources, land, water, food etc is 9/10 billion. After that we will begin a downwards spiral of mass starvation, fresh water wars and possible extinction. Up until that point it is believed that if we reduce our population expansion, we may actually have a future. This issue is more important for our long term future on this planet than climate change.

My opinion as to why people aren’t talking about it and don’t want to change is simple:

a) People are inherently selfish and do whatever satisfys them regardless of the consequences for others.

b) Governments and religion actively encourage people to breed so that they have a larger work force, army, following and are therefore more powerful.

c) There isn’t any money to be made from a child free person.

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6)      Do you hate children?

No. I just think, on top of what I have said above, that we should look after the ones we have properly before we even remotely consider bringing more into the world.

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7)      What is your favourite animal organisation?

I don’t support animal organisations. They do not promote veganism as the end goal to ending all animal exploitation and many of them are in business partnerships with animal agribusiness. For example Peta and KFC.

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8)      Where do you get your protein?

Everything has protein in it, even lettuce and potatoes. I eat food so question answered.

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9)      How much time should we devote to reaching out to other progressive groups about veganism and what are effective ways to do that?

I think we firstly need to concentrate on getting a mass turnaround from single issue and welfarist campaigns by animal rights activists. All major change happens at the grass roots of movements. However on the otherhand,  if we had more groups such as Viva, Peta and Animal Aid promoting a purely abol;itionist agenda, I think more people might start to see the light without the constant backlash upon entering discussions with them now.

This is a difficult question to answer because I’m not sure there is a right or wrong answer.

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10)   Do you believe in conspiracy theories?

I believe sometimes that there is more to a story than the official version tells the public. I take each individual incident as it comes. I wouldn’t consider myself a conspiracy theorist, no.

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11)   Why aren’t you pro-life?

By pro-life, this question means human life.

I believe that every human being should have free choice to do what they want with their lives and their bodies as long as it doesn’t hurt others. Having loads of children hurts others. Using animals as resources hurts others. (As detailed above) However removing a ball of cells from a woman’s womb does not hurt anyone. Even later abortions where the ball of cells looks like a miniature human, it has been proven time and time again, by medical science, that there is no consciousness and there is no pain, pretty much like a plant. If the ball of cells cannot survive outside of the womb, then an individual woman has every right to remove it from her body. If the ball of cells can survive outside of the womb, without massive 21st century medical intervention, then you probably left it a bit late and I don’t agree with that.

In my opinion you shouldn’t be pregnant in the first place for reasons stated above, however if I found myself pregnant I would get an abortion without a second thought or hesitation. Mykey agrees with me wholly.

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12)   How do you feel about direct action?

Direct action is a single issue campaign and therefore does not coincide with abolitionist vegan methodology. (You can read more about this in my animal rights section.)

Let’s take the action of the Hunt Sabs in the recent, “Sab the Cull” campaign. I am yet to hear how that has actively created a vegan world or even a substantial move towards it. Why? Because it hasn’t! By focusing on a single issue, it has made others feel better about different types of animal use i.e that the type of animal use they are participating in is not as bad because you aren’t protesting against it. (Again this is detailed greatly in my AR section, read it.)

If an animal was in trouble for whatever reason and we were able to help her, then we would. However I wouldn’t spend my valuable time and money running around a field before light, because that is not an efficient way to create more vegans. Me talking to, cooking for, handing out leaflets to and promoting veganism to people does.

I know the mainstream animal rights movement sees the Hunt Sabs and ALF as some sort of gods, but we have to be realistic. This type of activism has been around for 40+ years in the UK and is it working? Have we seen an end to the use of animals in medical experiments or a complete ban on hunting? Have we seen a sizeable change towards veganism? No! Stop wasting your time, effort and money on things that aren’t creating a vegan world and start creating it. You owe the animals that as an absolute bare minimum!

 

 

Christmas Tapas Menu

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I’ve only really come around to the idea of Christmas this year. Every year previous I’ve organised an event called Big Gay Christmas, where we would typically avoid general Christmas activities, get drunk and have a laugh with our friends. I would host an open house party and people would drop in and out all day, eat food and play video games with me. It also meant CHAMPAGNE FOR BREAKFAST and who doesn’t like that one day a year? Last year unfortunately I was severely let down. I spent most of the day by myself, until a kind friend invited me over and by which point I was so drunk and upset I fell asleep on her sofa.  With that in mind I decided that my generosity was no long appreciated and therefore would no longer be offered. Luckily I have a lovely Beardy who has a great family and they are having us and the woofer over for Christmas. This gives me great joy because for the first time in ten years, SOMEONE ELSE WILL BE COOKING! (Although I have agreed to make mulled wine.)

I’m at Mykey’s family for Christmas, so that means I’m at my parent’s for New Years. I promised them I’d make something tasty, so I decided I’d do a bit of a random tapas menu. Clearly I needed to practise it as well, due to my family being rather large. (Quite ironic for someone so avidly against population expansion.)

The menu is as follows:

  • Parsnip soup
  • Home made bread
  • Plant based cheeses
  • Chutneys and jellies
  • Bread crackers
  • Dutch apple cake (blatantly store brought)
  • Sweet, breaded and roasted “ham”
  • “Steak” and ale mini pies
  • Fruit jelly and custard
  • Roast potatoes
  • Thai “fish” cakes
  • Mushroom pate

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Obviously you need to like make gravy and steam some vegetables of your choice, but that is a 4-6 person spread right there.

The Vegan Kind: A Product Review

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I’ve been meaning to do a review of The Vegan Kind subscription box for a while but I’ve been having problems with my camera and my life. 😦 Anyway, enough of that.

The Vegan Kind subscription box costs £10 a month with £2.95 post and packaging charge. I’ve been signed up for two months now. You get a range of stuff each month including recipes, a newsletter, accessories, cosmetics, food stuffs and cleaning products. Some of it is sample size and other stuff is full size.

The packaging is also great outreach. It has vegan and the website in bold letters on the outside so plenty of post people see it on it’s way to you. The box is really sturdy so your stuff isn’t going to get mangled by those dumb fucks at Royal Mail.

Let’s have a look at what I had in the first box:

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My only issue was that The Vegg is made in a factory that handles shellfish. I wouldn’t care if it was anything else, but I’m severely allergic to shellfish. So I had to put that in a draw somewhere until I can find someone to give it to.

Box number two came with a few more food related items which is always appreciated. However this is where my camera fucked up. 😦

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All of the stuff I’ve received so far has been high quality and in good condition when I’ve received it.

I’m certainly not going to cancel my subscription any time soon. 9/10 – more food stuffs please! 😛

 

Sourdough Toast & Home-made Pine Nut Pesto Salsa

I found a magazine stashed away under the sofa called, “Summer Vegetarian” recently. I had a look through and decided that pretty much everything could be veganised or was already vegan. I looked at the first recipe and instantly wanted to make it. It was called, “Ricotta toasts with rocket and pine nut salsa.” I’ve put my Queer hands all over it, veganed the shit out of it and below is the result:

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Ingredients:

* 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped.

* 50g bag of wild rocket.

* 20g of fresh basil.

* A whole small jar of capers, drained.

* Juice of half a fresh lemon.

* 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.

*  Half a small bag of pine nuts.

* 1 loaf of sourdough bread.

* Two fresh tomatoes, sliced.

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Method:

Put the garlic, rocket, basil leaves, capers, lemon juice and olive oil into a food processor and pulse blend until you have a chunky, bright green sauce.

Stir the pine nuts through the sauce and give another quick pulse blend.

Slice your sourdough loaf and toast under the grill or in the toaster.

Spread your pesto salsa on your toast and top with fresh sliced tomatoes. You can also add a dash of balsamic vinegar here for a little extra flavour.

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The original recipe suggests that per serving you’d be looking at 279 calories. Personally I’d guess that it was much less than that because I’ve not used any animal derived ingredients.

This took approximately ten minutes to make and it will use the entire loaf.

I’d serve this as a snack, a starter or a light lunch. It’s full of protein, vitamin C and vitamin E. Enjoy! 🙂