I can’t believe I’m writing this in 2017.

As you may have noticed, I’ve been moving away from recipes and more towards all the fucked up shit that is going on in the world. This doesn’t mean I’m not going to throw one in every now and again, but what it means is that with social media being the way it is for exposure, things have to get shared a lot or you have to pay for that exposure. Sadly my format of recipe writing just doesn’t cut it in 2017. Look at Bosh for example. They show you a whole recipe video in about 1 minute and it’s beautiful. I can’t compete with that.

https://www.facebook.com/boshtv/?fref=nf

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Anyway what I really wanted this blog post to be about was social injustice. The more I educate myself, the more I feel like we’re drowning in some sort of discriminatory hell that half of us won’t even admit exists and the other half actively promote.

I think what has really got on my nerves this last week in the idea that reverse racism exists. I’m a white, working class queer and I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous in my whole life.

Let’s give everyone the benefit of the doubt and explain this from the bottom up so that there is no excuse

White people for the most part, own and run the Western hemisphere of this planet and have done much of the last 500 years. Not to mention European colonialism (the expansion of empire) and the slave trade.Straight, white men in particular have created a system that protects them and their wealth. Racism is endemic in every Western nation.maxresdefault

What do I mean by racism? I mean having all of your life choices and opportunities hindered by the fact you are not white. It may not be as blatant as it once was with the abolition of slavery and segregation, but it’s still there. It’s the black guys getting shot by the police. It’s the transgender people of colour who aren’t even important enough to have their names printed in the paper when they are brutally murdered. It’s the native populations who have to protest their right not to have oil pipelines pollute their water supplies.The list is never ending.

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This is why it surprises me when white people say they have been a victim of racism. The above is racism. Getting called names because you are white or not getting a job because the manager wants people of their own race to work there, is racial discrimination, but it is not reverse racism. That’s not possible. Am I making sense? Racism can ONLY be something people of colour experience because it is a system of oppression built by white people to keep them in their place: in servitude of white people.

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I tried to explain this to a couple of my white friends lately and they lost their shit. We’ve been friends for years and yet their inability to accept that reverse racism isn’t a thing ended our friendships. I could not believe the white privilege I was seeing in them. It was making me fucking sick. I cried all night to think that I’d associated myself with people like that for so long and not once had they mentioned that they believed it to be a thing.reverse-racism

Is it racist to believe reverse racism is a thing? I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that it down plays the true racism that people of colour face every single day and that just ins’t acceptable in my book.

(I hope I’ve done this subject justice and I apologise if I’ve missed anything out or written an incorrect term. Please inform me and I’ll correct the blog.)

 

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Brunch Burrito

I’m a big fan of jack fruit and this recipe is perfect for it. A burrito needs to be flavoursome and filling. Jack fruit takes on any flavour you give it but like tofu, doesn’t taste of anything on it’s own. Let’s pack in the herbs and spices!

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Spice mix

  • 1 tsp dried chilli
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp cumin

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Make up your spice mix and place to one side.

Filling

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 peppers, chopped
  • 1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained
  • 100 grams of cooked brown rice (cook this yourself first if needs be.)
  • 1 avocado
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Salt
  • Half a tsp of dried chilli
  • BBQ sauce
  • 1 tin of jack fruit in salted water. (Do not get the one in syrup.)
  • Pack of wholemeal tortillas

Method

  • Dry fry the onion and peppers until they start to soften.
  • Add the sweetcorn and brown rice to the pan and mix in.
  • Turn heat to low and stir every couple of minutes.

Now it’s time for the jack fruit. I warn you if you haven’t used it before, it’s some weird stuff. Drain the can in a sieve. It should look like this:

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Weird huh?

  • Pull it apart into shreds and add to the pan. (This can take some time if you haven’t done it before.)

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  • Add your spice bowl and mix in.

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  • Keep the heat on low, stirring occasionally.
  • Now let’s make some awesome mashed avocado! Peel the avocado and mash with the chilli, lime and salt to taste.
  • Heat yourself a tortilla in the microwave or in the oven.

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  • Mash some avocado onto your warm tortilla then place the filling along the middle. You may wish to add some sauce now too. I used Levi Root’s BBQ sauce.

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  • Wrap into a burrito by folding both ends in. Then slice down the middle to make it more manageable to eat.

Eat that baby warm. I managed two before I was stuffed up to my eyeballs.

Variation:  Don’t add the jack fruit until wrapping burrito. Make sure you give it some flavour though. 😉

Where do I get jack fruit? 

You’ll often find jack fruit in Asian supermarkets and the world food isle of the bigger chain supermarkets, depending on where you live.

 

 

 

Apple & Rhubarb Crumble

Yay! It’s autumn! Leaves on the ground, a chill in the air and a yummy pudding for your tummy.

I like to keep my baking really simple because I do not excel at it. I’ve lost count of the amount of desserts I’ve tried to make and they have turned out as a pile of slop. Tasty slop mind.

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Ingredients for filling:

  • 5 stems of fresh rhubarb or a bag of frozen. (I used the last of my home grown stuff.)
  • 1 apple, diced. (You can peel if you like, but I’m not fancy.)
  • A handful of frozen strawberries.
  • 1 TBSP sugar.
  • 1 TSP cinnamon
  • 1 TSP all spice
  • 1 TSP ground cloves
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1 TSP vegetable oil

Ingredients for topping:

  • Enough plain flour to cover the filling, depending on what size dish you are using. (I used about 400 grams.)
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 2 TBSP semi-solid coconut oil or vegan butter.
  • 1 TSP almond extract
  • 1 TSP good quality vanilla extract

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Method:

  • Heat up a pan with the vegetable oil.
  • Fry the chopped rhubarb and apple for 2 minutes before adding the sugar.
  • Stir continuously until the sugar and oil start to form a caramel.
  • Now add the spices and maple syrup. Mix to insure everything is fully covered and turn off the pan.
  • Add the frozen strawberries at this point but don’t mix in.
  • Pour into a baking dish and turn on the oven to pre-heat.
  • Now get all the topping ingredients and place in a large bowl.
  • Rub the mixture through your finger and thumb, to create breadcrumbs.
  • Distribute the crumb over the top of the fruit mixture and place in the oven on a medium heat for about 25 minutes.
  • Serve either on it’s own or with vegan ice cream.

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Certainly not healthy, but bloody tasty. Get it in your face.

 

 

 

 

The Last Taboo

If there is anything that people don’t like talking about, of course I want to discuss it. I don’t think any subject should be hidden or casually swept under the carpet.

We need to understand why certain! subjects are still taboo and how we can work towards making the apparently awkward part of everyday conversation.

Whilst I was away at Vegan Camp, I surveyed the adults asking what they thought were some of the last taboo subjects. Here is what they came up with:

  1. Sexual fetishes. Anything that isn’t considered “normal sex” by the majority of people, regardless of sexuality.
  2. Periods and period blood.
  3. Human overpopulation and how to deal with it.
  4. Nakedness in general.
  5. Poly relationships.

I spent two weeks talking about 4 out of the 5 things above without any negative consequences. When I talked about 1 of those things, people would get up and leave. It would generally make them feel uncomfortable. Guess which one it was.

Number 3. Human overpopulation and how to deal with it. It’s not just whilst on holiday with vegans. It’s all the time in everyday life.

I’m going to try and be as honest as possible without being offensive. So here goes;

The human population of Earth has gone from 2.5 billion in 1950 to 7.4 billion in 2016. That’s mainly due to advances in medicine, better living standards and more advanced ways of producing food.

I can hear the deniers now. They are sat there saying that 7.4 billion people can all fit in California. I don’t deny that at all. Listen up, I’ve researched this. If we got the entire human population of the world and dumped them into California, we wouldn’t be able to move. We couldn’t work, eat, play or sleep. We’d just have to stand there. So ultimately we’d die. Not really a great solution.

Ok so here’s the current situation in reality. 7.4 billion people spread around the world. Some of us live in luxury, but most of us live in abject poverty, war zones or on the brink of starvation. Most of us don’t have access to an adequate diet, medical care and every single day is a struggle just to survive.

Out of the 230,000 people that increase the human population every day (after deaths), how many of those do you think live in luxury and how many of those do you think struggle and live in misery?

I don’t like the idea of anyone being born to suffer, that’s why I’m vegan. I follow that principle for humans too.

Why are so many people suffering? War, pollution, climate change, governments feeding grain to animals instead of the local population and then exporting the meat, dairy and eggs to the West.

More people doesn’t help solve any of those problems. It only makes them worse. It doesn’t matter whether you live in luxury or not. Every added person on the planet will contribute to one of these issues in one way or another.

As a Westerner, I’d like to look at climate change and how we’re fuelling that by adding more people. After all, that effects the rest of the world and leads to war and food inequality.

Every new human needs shelter, food/water and energy at a bare minimum. Shelter requires land and resources. So we take land and resources from nature and incorporate it into a town or a city.

Then you need food. 95% of people will eat animal products, which is the most inefficient way of producing food. It uses more land and creates more pollution than any other food source. The 5% will probably eat plant based for a few years before moving onto animal products and 1% will remain vegan for life. Even a plant based diet uses massive amount of land that should be filled with forests and meadows. All food production leads to habitat destruction and therefore species extinction. Look at the decline of butterflies and hedgehogs in the UK over the last decade. It’s horrific!

We also need resources to power our lives. Water for us and our food, of which there is only a limited supply that is usable and we are polluting more everyday. Electricity which is produced by exploiting and polluting the environment in most cases. The more of us there are, the more we have to exploit the environment for power. What happens when we run out of fresh water or we run out of environment to exploit? We go to war for more. This is exactly how the war in Syria started. Don’t think it won’t happen here. It will.

I’ve never met another person who actually wants war, famine and suffering. So what are the solutions? Let’s put them in order of importance.

  1. Do not have children.
  2. Adopt a plant based diet.
  3. Live with the environment in mind.

People never seem to have a problem with points 2 and 3. (Sometimes 2 if they aren’t vegan already.) If you mention to people that a lot of world’s problems could be eased if we decided not to have children, that lose their shit.

Over the last year, I’ve lost a good deal of people who I cared about because of my views on reproduction and how they relate to actually saving our species a lot of suffering. It’s something I’ve had to get used to, like with being vegan, once you know you cannot unknow the damage you do to the planet by having children. People don’t like it. Sometimes they even get violent.

If you are in a position to chose not to have children, you should. You should also support:

  • Education for girls and women to help them make informed decisions about reproduction.
  • Free contraception, abortion and sterilisation for anyone who wants it.
  • Fostering and adoption of children who are already here.

I don’t hate kids who are already here. I don’t really hate anyone. I just wish people would be more informed about those choices. If you chose to have children knowing the world they are going to inherit, that says more about you than it does me. I don’t want anyone to suffer, remember?

(Obviously I understand that it’s not possible for everyone not to have children due to lack of contraception, education and cultural restraints, hence points we should be supporting above.)

As a last point and something to think about going forward, which I’m sure will make me popular:

Why do we advocate spaying and neutering of non-humans to control their population, but when it comes to us we let our population run rampage over the planet regardless of the consequences? Isn’t that speciesism if you’re already vegan?

Have a nice weekend!

http://www.breathingearth.net/

http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock/

 

 

Faking it.

Ah yes! The great fake debate. Whether we should or shouldn’t consume vegan products that imitate non-vegan products of animal exploitation. As always there are two sides to every debate and I’ll try and cover each side and then give my opinion at the end.

I think first of all we need to look at why a market for vegan foods that mimic animal products exist.

  1. Taste: Most people like to stick with flavours and textures that they know.
  2. Comfort: Certain foods may bring comfort to people for different reasons. For example, when I’m upset a strong but milky tea comforts me.
  3. Childhood: A lot of our likes and dislikes are formed in childhood. If you grew up in a household that didn’t eat many vegetables, you’ll inevitably find it harder to eat a high vegetable diet when you’re older.

 

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There are some quite intrinsic reasons and they make a profitable plant based mock meat, dairy and egg market in the UK and around the world. Even the supermarkets have jumped on the band wagon, with most having their own branded vegan cheese, milk and meat products. If people weren’t buying these products, they would stop making them and or we certainly wouldn’t have the variety we have now.

The question now is, does having imitation products make going vegan easier?

On one hand you could say that veganism is about ethics. If you understand the ethics, it doesn’t matter what culinary options there are for you, because the alternative is unthinkable. To a certain extent, those who have been vegan for over ten years will have lived in that world. (Myself included.)

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On the other hand when you initially talk to people about veganism, they often ask whether there are vegan alternatives. These days the answer is normally yes. That gives them the comfort they require and then you can move on to talk to them about the ethics. As a new vegan, it might help them from giving into cravings through familiar tastes, comforts and childhood memories.

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Can we even call these vegan products burgers, cheese, yoghurt, mayonnaise and sausages etc? How does vegan chicken or beef style pieces sound to you? Do we need to reclaim some words or should we celebrate plant based foods for what they are and move away from from comparing them to animal based foods?

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I think words like sausage and burger absolutely have a place in our movement. After all, they refer to shapes more than content. Hence you can have bean burgers without anyone batting an eyelid. Sometimes though non-vegans pipe up and it causes conflict online and possibly at the dinner table. Something we all want to avoid, obviously.

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It might be a good idea to celebrate plant based foods differently for the above reason. At the moment we call things, “chicken style” or “mock duck” for example. Great for new vegans looking for a familiar taste of course. Even people who have been vegan a long time find this helpful when searching for things that remind them of certain flavours and textures. What other names can we use to distinguish these products? Shall me move away from using words like mock and fake? (Genuine questions. Feel free to answer them because I don’t know the answer.)

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As a whole consumers are disconnected from the animals they are eating. Even when they have bloody burgers, meat on the bone, fried eggs or grated cheese. They rarely give a thought to that which they spare themselves the sight. Therefore as long as a product is vegan, does it matter if it replicates something which isn’t? I think a very small percentage of vegans really want an imitation bleeding burger, but if they do, does it matter?

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Some might say that eating that burger perpetuates animal use because others will see you eating it and assume you’re eating a burger made from a cow, giving them comfort in their continued animal use. Where do we draw the line? A lot of vegan cheeses look like their animal based counterparts, as does the mayo, yoghurt and the cakes etc. Is it a personal choice or is there more at stake than that?

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All in all, I think this blog probably throws open more questions than it answers. I’m not sure it needs to be as complicated as I have made it.

If you like a certain food that is vegan, eat it. Does it make your life easier? Does it give you comfort, satisfy your taste buds, remind you of your childhood? Then eat it. As long as you aren’t exploiting animals, carry on in my opinion. No lines to be drawn. No picking and choosing. Just doing what feels right for you and what IS right for the animals.

Let’s have a proper discussion about this.

Frankie

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(NB – I’m one of those vegans that after 11 years still eats vegan “meats” etc because they give me comfort and remind me of what I used to eat.)

 

 

 

Chorizo & Rosemary Pearl Barley Risotto

I love risotto and I love chorizo, but I’d honestly not thought of combining them until recently. I’m so glad I did because the flavour and texture of this dish is unrivalled.

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of VBites chorizo style pieces
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • Approx 300g of dry pearl barley
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock
  • 1 stalk of fresh rosemary
  • 1 can of higher end chopped tomatoes

First up get a nice big pan on the hob, warming up. Soy based chorizo isn’t as fatty as it’s pig’s flesh alternative, but it still produces a small amount of oil when heated up. Pour the entire contents of your chorizo pack into the pan and allow to frazzle for about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and place to one side in a bowl.

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Now the pan should have a thin coating of oily, spicy, paprika goodness. Chuck in your chopped onion and minced garlic. Allow them to brown a little before adding in the pearl barley. Stir well ensuring that the barley is well coated. Add in your chopped tomatoes. ( Look I don’t normally go in for high end products, but I would recommend a higher end tinned chopped tomatoes in this recipe, because they tend to use vine tomatoes and they give a more intense flavour.) Mix and then add all of the vegetable stock. Unlike arborio rice risotto you can chuck it all in at once, but you need to sir it often.

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You may have to add extra water as the sauce thickens because the pearl barley takes about 30 minutes to cook.

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When you’re happy that the barley is cooked and the sauce has thickened to your liking, add the chopped rosemary and chorizo. Turn off the heat and serve.

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Full of punchy flavours for you to enjoy. X

The Vegan Police

This subject has been simmering in my head for quite some time. It is a subject for contention within the vegan community and it needs addressing.

Let’s start with the Vegan Society and their definition of veganism:

Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

The Vegan Society are these days a bunch of welfarists, so I came up with an abolitionist definition too:

Veganism is a way of living that supports the social justice movement of the abolition of animal use by humans. Vegans seek to exclude all forms of exploitation as far as possible in a non-vegan world.

That’s pretty simple, right? If you’re vegan you do not support or promote any type of animal exploitation. That includes vegetarianism, honey, horse riding etc too. Veganism isn’t a diet. That’s pretty clear in both those definitions too, right? So why is the internet full of people confusing what veganism means? What do they have to gain by doing that?

When I went vegan a decade ago, the term Vegan Police was little heard of. I had only heard of it because I was part of The Vegan Forum. (We didn’t have Facebook then.) The term was used for vegans who took things too far. For example people who wouldn’t buy a vegan product from a company because the director played golf with someone who wore fur once. That’s really ridiculous and it does nothing for animals.

In 2010, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World changed all of that. In the movie there is “vegan” guy who has his super powers taken away by the vegan police because he was caught eating chicken. With the availability of social media such as Facebook, the meaning was soon lost, even though clearly in the film, the vegan police are calling out actual non-veganism.

Now, if you call out any non-veganism you get called elitist or my favourite, the vegan police. Why? I’m defending what veganism is. You’re either vegan or you’re supporting the exploitation of animals.

Facebook is full of this, especially the Vegan Humour group where people seem to endlessly worship celebrities, who 9/10 are not vegan at all. Let’s take Leonardo DiCaprio. Yes he’s a good looking man. Yes he was a producer for Cowspiracy. Yes he spouts a lot of environmental stuff. No he isn’t vegan and when I last checked, he didn’t even follow a plant based diet, synonymous with his environmentalism. He’s just full of shit.

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Credit where credit is due? Do I need to explain this again? This is a vegan, promoting non-veganism. This person is saying we should support Leo because he speaks out for the environment. That’s great, but it still doesn’t make him vegan or even moving towards veganism.

Adopting a plant based diet and being vegan are two very different things. People don’t stop wearing leather for their health or stop going to the zoo for the environment. They adopt a plant based diet and continue to exploit animals in other ways. People who are on a plant based diet still exploit animals and promoting that isn’t vegan because it hurts animals. Does that make sense?

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Here’s another one and this time it’s Miley Cyrus. She is on plant based diet the last time I checked, but she isn’t vegan because she exploits animals in other ways.

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Grow up? What for standing up for animals? For not accepting less than veganism because less than veganism hurts animals?

Here’s another one where someone posted a recipe with honey in a vegan food group. For pointing out that honey isn’t vegan, I was told I was rude. No, I’m not being rude. I’m standing up for what veganism is.

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Due to the internet, it seems to meaning of veganism is being diluted again and again. You have vegans promoting people who aren’t vegan. You have vegans saying it’s ok to eat oysters, backyard eggs and honey. You have people interested in veganism, going WHAT THE FUCK!?

Let’s be consistent. Let’s call out non-veganism and those who promote it.

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That’s not to say we shouldn’t help those trying to go vegan. Of course we should. That’s what we want right? When someone takes a step towards veganism, I find that this sentence is my best weapon and often results in full on vegan transition in a short period of time.

“That’s great! Just remember that only veganism ends the exploitation of animals.”

Imagine how many “vegetarians” would wake up with just that sentence. After all most people are vegetarian because they care about animals. That’s not being preachy, elitist or rude. That’s being honest, but supportive.

In conclusion, we are a fractured movement split even more by the internet and it’s ability to be faceless. I will always stand up for what veganism is and I will never suffer anyone who wishes to water it down. It doesn’t make veganism more accessible, it just hurts the animals.

Lot’s of love, Queer Vegan .

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