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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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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Vegan Cheese & Chutney Parcels

I don’t very often cook with pastry. It’s far too much like baking for me. However with the availability of fresh vegan pastry now widespread, I thought I’d give it a go.Blog 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of JusRol fresh filo pastry
  • Poppy seeds
  • 5 small new potatoes
  • 1 carrot, peeleds
  • A small handful of curly kale
  • Caramelised red onion chutney
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • Black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 block of Violife vegan cheese, grated

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Method:

  • Get the oven on a medium heat.
  • Dice the potatoes and carrots and place in a pan of water, allowing to boil before turning the heat off.
  • Heat a pan, drain the potatoes and carrots and place in the pan with the kale and chutney.
  • Stir in the herbs and spices. Stir occasionally until the potatoes and carrots are soft.
  • Roll out the pastry and cut into squares. Place a large spoonful of the pan mixture into the centre of the square and top with cheese.
  • Fold the edges up over the mixture and sprinkle with poppy seeds. (You should have enough for four large parcels.)
  • Place in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Serve warm with ketchup.

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If you want to make your pastry, feel free. This isn’t Masterchef so I’ll take that short cut. 🙂

Blogs on Mushroom Laksa and The Vegan Police coming soon.

 

 

Anna Loka: A Review

Anna Loka is a brand new vegan restaurant in the Roath area of Cardiff.  I had  been hearing some great things about the day time cafe menu, but they didn’t have an evening opening so I held back on visiting.

Recently they started to open in the evenings from 6pm. We booked for a table of ten to celebrate my imminent marriage to the bearded one.

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They offered 3 courses for £19.95, so of course we had the full lot. Here’s what was on offer:

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I had the pumpkin arancini. It was crunchy on the outside and  gooey on the inside. The sweet tomato and herb sauce really complimented the the richness of the arancini. wpid-wp-1445193405256.jpeg wpid-wp-1445193583241.jpeg

My friends and family all had different dishes and were very happy with their choices. I had a few bites of everyone else’s, including eating the pansies from my mum’s salad, which the whole table found amusing.

Falafel.

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Beetroot Cappaccio.

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Southern fried vegetables.

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The main course was something altogether. Mine was absolutely mind blowing! I had the seitan steak. It was like roast beef, smothered in a beautiful gravy with perfect mustard mash and crunchy green vegetables. They even made the seitan themselves.

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My brother had the baked aubergine. He said it was good. I didn’t like it. I thought the aubergine was under cooked and the flavours didn’t seem quite right. Mismatched almost. It looked great though.

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The rest of the family had the raviollo. I tasted some and it was herby, fresh and full of flavour. It was a great dish, but I preferred my steak.

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We tried each other’s puddings and agreed that they were all amazing. I’d order any of them again. Personally, even though I ordered the creme brulee (and it had the crack when I broke the crunchy topping) , I thought the parfait was the star of the desserts.

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I give Anna Loka a 9.5 out of 10. The 0.5 will be remedied when I can have a nice glass of red wine with my steak. (They intend to bring in alcohol in the future.) The service was excellent and the food outstanding overall.

I’ll be popping in to try the breakfast and lunch menu at some point in the future too.

 

Jerk Pulled “Pork” with Banana Salsa & Peach Cobbler Pudding

This was a bit off the cuff. I just decided to take pictures of a two course meal I cooked my friends. The pictures therefore aren’t amazing, nor is there enough of them showing different elements. I’d like to apologise for that now. However, I couldn’t deny you this recipe because it was so damn good.

Ingredients

Salt

300 g brown sugar

4 cans of braised tofu

4 tbsp of jerk seasoning or hot fajita spice

A small glass of pineapple juice

50 g golden syrup

2 cans of black beans or pinto beans (Or a mix of both)

Lots of soft flour tortillas

Natural soya yoghurt (I just used one small pot)

3 medium bananas, not quite ripe, peeled and chopped

1 red onion, peeled and chopped

2 just ripe avocados

Juice of half a lemon

Juice of half a lime

Fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped

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Method

An hour before, mix the salt, sugar and drained tofu in a large bowl and leave to marinate.

Once the hour is up, mix in the jerk seasoning, pineapple and golden syrup into the bowl.

Place in a hot pan and stir occasionally until the liquid starts to evaporate. Then turn down to a low heat whilst you break apart the tofu into pulled strips.

Leave to slowly cook off the rest of the juices whilst you make your salsa,

Put the diced banana in a bowl with onion. Peel, chop and stone the avocado and add that too. Mix in the lemon, lime and coriander and you’re done.

Reheat your beans and warm up your tortillas and your done.

Check it out.

Ready Made Ready made 2 Mixed beans Dollshouse

Serve with natural yoghurt for a cooling effect.

My friends had 3 each of these bad bois. I was stuffed after two.

When this has gone down you can serve your pudding. Obviously you would have had this prepared and in the oven before hand because you’re sensible like that right?

Being me, this is a super simple pudding and not too heavy on sugar.

Ingredients

2 tins of sliced peaches in juice

The zest of one lemon

2 tbsp golden syrup

140 g plain flour

50 g porridge oats

25 g cold vegan butter (I used vitalite.)

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Method

Get your oven on at about 200 degrees.

Drain the peaches and reserve the juice. Tip them into a deep baking dish. Toss with the lemon rind and 1 tbsp golden syrup.

In a bowl, combine the oats, flour and butter. Add the remaining golden syrup and peach juice.

Mix with a spoon until you have a crumbly mixture.

Scatter over the peaches and bake for 30 minutes.

Serve with any leftover natural soya yoghurt you have.

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I hope the pictures weren’t too bad and you have a rough idea of what I’m on about.

Enjoy. X

Spiced Squash Pasta: A Thai-Italian Fusion

This is entertaining made easy and it’s extra tasty.

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Ingredients:

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Red curry paste to taste (I used roughly 100g)

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 can of coconut milk

Fresh coriander

1 tbsp lemon grass paste

500g tagliatelle pasta

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Method:

  • Heat the oil in a large pan or wok.
  • Add the curry paste, squash and lemongrass. Fry for 2-3 minutes on a medium heat.
  • Pour in the coconut milk, stir well and bring to the boil.
  • Allow to simmer for about 25 minutes. Add extra paste and coconut milk if sauce becomes too thick.
  • When the squash is almost done, cook the pasta according to packet instructions, then drain well.
  • Pour half the sauce from the pan into a big bowl and mix with the pasta.
  • Plate up and place remaining squash and fresh coriander on top.
  • Add siracha if you fancy some extra spice, which I always do.

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