My thoughts on Vegan Pride.

In June 1969 the movement for LGBTQIA+ equality and liberation began. A series of riots took place centring around the Stonewall Inn in New York. These riots were instigated by transgender women of colour and the next year, the first Pride Parade was held.  (You can read more about the history of Pride HERE.)

In recent years Pride has been the victim of commercialisation, police acceptance and the perpetrator of documented trans and bisexual erasure. We are fighting a battle within our own movement to reclaim our heritage and our purpose. We forget that trans women of colour started our journey to liberation because of police aggression and centre our celebrations around cis gay men.

All is not lost however. Various Pride’s around the world now incorporate political blocs. I was part of one that was removed from Pride by the police in the summer of 2017. Those who are fed up of Pride being taken from us, have splintered and created their own after parade parties, much of them political in nature and centring around queer and trans people especially those of BAME origin.

In the world outside of Pride and our little queer families we tend to make for ourselves, the struggle for LGBTQIA+ rights continues. Transphobia and homophobia are rife in schools, workplaces and the media. There’s a moral panic about trans children in the UK media which is damaging communities already on the edge of society. We’ve already had one trans woman murdered in 2018. How many more are we going to lose?

Then there’s the intersex babies that no one talks about. The babies who’s sex and gender are decided for them at birth and surgery undertaken to change their ambiguous genitals so they match the sex the parents have decided for them. There are many documented of cases of ongoing psychological damage in intersex adults.

So with all of that to contend with, I was surprised to see an event in London calling itself, “Vegan Pride.” It takes after various events around the world, including one in Toronto which after it’s first year had to rename itself due to uproar from the LGBTQIA+ community.

So why “Vegan Pride?” Why not any other number of names it could have been that doesn’t have any LGBTQIA+ association? London Vegan Parade? March for Veganism? Vegans United Parade? Nope. They HAD to appropriate queer culture and use it for themselves.

Some people have mistaken it as a parade for LGBTQIA+ vegans, but it’s anything but. If you go onto the Facebook event you’ll see a big group of privileged cis white vegans claiming they are oppressed for an ethical choice they have chosen to make, “all lives matter” rhetoric and certain people who have known Nazi affiliations. I even saw a cis friend of mine silence queer people’s objections to them stealing our culture. I was shocked and suddenly felt really unsafe. I’ve yet to confront him about it. Maybe he’ll see this and realise what he’s done. 😦 The event organisers are banning any LGBTQIA+ people who comment objecting, thus silencing our objection.

The whole event is really off putting for vegans and non-vegans alike. It waters down everyone’s message. The message for queer liberation, the ongoing struggles of queer POC and it screams of human centricity. What about the animals?

The worst part? It clashes with one of the biggest and most prolific Pride events in theUK: Brighton Pride.

Please remember that vegans are not oppressed. Oppression needs a power structure to uphold it. Your uncle making bacon jokes or you not being able to get a decent sandwich for lunch is not oppression. It’s just difficulties from a life choice that you have made, a choice which so many other people do not have, putting you in a position of privilege not misfortune. Queer and trans people did not choose and cannot unchoose who they are, like you can with your veganism.

In closing I would like to ask you to boycott this event and tell people why you are doing it, especially if you are an ally. We need you more now than ever.

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Mushroom Pie

Autumn is here and that means only one thing: pie! With that in mind I thought I’d share one of my old pie recipes with you. Instead of going for creamy, I’ve gone for a super savoury rich sauce which will have your taste buds dancing on the ceiling.

Let’s get the ingredients sorted:

  • A tablespoon of all purpose flour
  • A tablespoon of corn flour
  • Two carrots, peeled and diced
  • One onion, peeled and diced
  • One stick of celery, diced
  • Pre-rolled puff pastry (I used Jus Rol.)
  • Vegetable stock (I used a tablespoon of paste.)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Two different types of mushrooms. (I used chesnut and dried shitake.)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 5 bulbs of garlic, peeled and diced
  • Tablespoon of dried parsley

Let’s get going:

Chop and mix the mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the vegetable stock and all purpose flour. Heat some vegetable oil in a pan and add the mixture. (The picture below is before I added the flour and mixed.)

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Stir fry for about three minutes, or until mushrooms are soft. Remove the mushroom mixture from the pan and place in a bowl of about 250ml of water. This will create a lovely rich stock.

Now place the onions, garlic, carrot, parsley and celery into the pan, making sure you scrape up all that lovely flavour left by the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms and stock back in. Mix everything together and then add the corn flour, mixing continually. Turn the pan right down, cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

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Check on the mixture occasionally to make sure it has not become too thick. If it has, add some water and stir.

Once the carrots and celery are nice and soft, take the pan off of the heat and allow to cool.

Roll the pastry out and cut into shapes larger than the dishes you plan to use. Heat the oven to about 3/4 of top heat. Fill the dishes and cover the mixture with the puff pastry. Don’t forget to poke some holes in the pastry to allow steam to escape.

After 20 minutes in the oven, your pie(s) should look like this:

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Serve with green beans and mashed potato. Enjoy as a small pot pie or a a huge slab of deliciousness.

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I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s one of my favourites!

Frankie 🙂

Too Much Information

Since February 22nd 2017 I have been acutely aware that I am autistic. It has opened up my world significantly and lifted the severe burden I’ve felt for my behaviour all my life.

I have a good friend of mine to thank for this awareness. Her name is Selena. She is also non-binary and autistic.

I struggle around people in general, but I don’t struggle around Selena so we tend to do social things together. Last night she invited me to a bit of a DIY, house party gig.

We got fairly wasted. Towards the end of the night, she got up and did this spoken word piece. The room was silent and enthralled by her every word, especially me because every word rang so true in my heart and in my head.

I’ve asked for her permission to share this here and she delightfully agreed.

Too Much Information

Aut…ism

Aut meaning self

An ism of oneself

A glass jar I live within

As I watch you all

Detached from your presence

I watch

I see you

I see your silver hooped earings

As you tick tock your head to the rhythm, they dance along

They snatch the light, bright

Like floodlights in my line of sight

 

I see you.

I see the gravelly knit of your sweater

Like volcanic pebbles

Tumbled and tossed for a million years

And for a moment I am there

Wading, my toes cold in the spring water

 

You, I see too

Your hands clasping the tight lens of your camera

Twisting your fingers around the dials

I see the grain of the wood

The dampness of the soil in the jars and the harp and the German stoneware

I dive into the pattern of the mandala-like tapestry behind me

I’m hypnotised and I count

Mandala, mandala

I like that word

I repeat

Mandala

Like a mantra

Mandala

Mandala

 

I obsess

In my head (mandala)

My head is tight

I’m taking in too much information (mandala)

The light from your earrings

They’re beautiful because

(Mandala), because

They match the solver of your hair

Is that ok to say?

I never really know you see

Do you like this pattern?

It reminds me of a mandala

Mandala

I love that word

She’s not answering me

Her earrings are so shiny

 

It’s loud in here

I can hear the people breathing

Their sleeves rustling as they lift their arms

Slurp of their lips on their cans of SA

My heart is racing

I look at the mandala

I want to be here in the room

But I’m not

I’m in a glass jar

I can see you

But I’m not really here

On my face is a smile and my tongue is rowdy

Yet inside I’m shrunken

Drunken with over stimulation

I’m curled up in a ball, small and tight as my fist

Shielding my brain from all the information

Cos it’s loud and inside I’m screaming

It hurts and it’s really, really uncomfortable

I may look like like I’m not paying attention

But I want to be here

It’s just too much information.

 

By Selena Caemawr

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/

 

 

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