Making kind choices in your everyday life.

Soup

The Highs and Lows of Veganuary

Posted by on Feb 5, 2017 in Recipes - breakfast, Recipes - Savoury, Recipes - Sweet, Soup, Topical | 2 comments

“Animals are my friends…and I don’t eat my friends.” – George Bernard Shaw

 

It’s been nearly a week since I proudly completed Veganuary, along with my very un-vegany partner – which makes me doubly proud. It has been a brilliant show of solidarity with nearly 60,000 people world wide joining together to abstain from all animal products for the month of January. My pre January diet was about 80% plant based with the remaining 20% made up of a tiny bit of fish, a fair amount of eggs and the occasional product containing dairy. Here’s what I discovered / learnt from the full experience :

PROS

People are overwhelmingly kind

My partner’s very blokey fire brigade crew all decided to have vegan meals for all of their shifts together – entirely off their own bats, to show their support for him ! Bless !

I found a couple of working week staples which I fell in love with

Overnight oats (1/2 cup of oats, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup coconut/almond milk, 1 tsp acai powder, 2 tsp chia seeds, 2 tsp sesame seeds, 1 tbsp maple syrup – mixed together and left overnight) every morn’ and

a quinoa buddha lunchbox creation (1/2 cup cooked quinoa, 1 tbsp kimichi (from green street kitchen), 1 square of flavoured tofu (Thai, Japanese etc)  1/3 avacado, 1 tbsp sesame oil, chopped capsicum, shallots, a few spinach leaves), every lunch.

Dark chocolate

Happily munched on the 90% Cocoa Lindt variety and adapted to it’s bitterness with ease (as opposed to my super sweet, milk containing Caramel variety which I usually eat).

Greek Delis are a good source of great vegan cheese

I was pleasantly surprised by this.  I learnt that Greek people abstain from animal products leading up to (and perhaps during) Easter. My purchase of a big block of their most popular vegan cheese (name unknown) from a big Marrickville Greek deli has kept me going all month. They told me that more options will be available closer to Easter.

Dairy Free Kingland  yogurt is delightful

Particularly the berry / chai one. It does not have that overwhelming soy or coconut flavour that some non dairy yogurts have.

I am in good company

There are many but my new discovery this month was the tennis champ William sisters.

My friends were happy to give a bit of vegan eating a go and joined us for a brilliant feast at :

The Green Lion – the new vegan pub in Rozelle, Sydney. It was a big hit and I’d thoroughly recommend it.

The list of sublime things to cook up is infinite. The standouts this month were :

Spicy Braised Tofu Tostadas,

*this ridiculously easy chocolate cake

Corn Zuchhini Fritters (in which I replaced the eggs with the aquafaba from the chickpea can – 6tbsp for the required 2 eggs) topped with avocado,salsa and Toffutti creme cheese

* even in the midst of a horrendously hot summer, this spicy Thai soup went down a treat.

* I am yearning to try this baked spinach and artichoke pasta. It’s on the menu this week.

My go to recipe sources just keeps expanding

The Happy Pear was my favourite discovery this month. I could happily live on their recipes alone. These healthy, inspiring Irish brothers are utter gems. I love their instagram feed of their early morning Irish sea swims.

Other people have removed the hard work / label stalking in supermarkets

Thank you Vomad. Your free guide specifically for Australia is outstanding (helps to identify products containing palm oil too).

I’ve scored a good one.

Not only did my fella dedicate 31 days to a plant based diet with no slip ups or complaints but he upped the anti at the end of the month. I had used some bribery to get him to commit to Veganuary by promising him that I’d make a $10 a day donation to his favourite charity (Medicens Sans Frontiers) per day that he made it through unscathed. He ended up donating the $$$ himself, enabling me to donate the same amount to my charity of choice (Project Hope) to let me say thank you. They have helped a situation I have been closely involved in over the last few days which is not my story to tell here. Suffice to say, the staff over at Southern Cross Vets are phenomenal.

CONS

  • Spending $12 on 3 miniscule donuts and cupcakes at a way too trendy little vegan Sydney place.
  • Put on a couple of kgs – too much good food to try !
  • I didn’t achieve the full conversion (or even partial really) of my fella as I had hoped – alas, he is adopting a couple changes (like my overnight oats) so I am happy.

So, looking at the pros versus cons…the way forward for me looks pretty clear. For me it is the most intentional way that I can express my love and respect of animals. It is also the most practical way that I can do my bit to fight against climate change (google animal agriculture and climate change, pick a reputable source, and you’ll see what I mean).

Despite it’s name, if you want to dip your toe in and give it a try, you can sign up with Veganuary at any time. The resources, information and recipes are great.

As per the beautiful words of Pam Ahern from Edgar’s Mission “If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others, why wouldn’t we?”

Why not indeed ??

 

 

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Best Pumpkin Soup EVER

Posted by on Jul 27, 2014 in Soup | 2 comments

I implore you to make this heavenly soup.  Not only is it one of  the most scrumptious soups I have ever tasted but it is also quick to make, nutritious and incredibly thrifty (I worked it out to be $1 per hearty serve). It will undoubtedly give you chronic garlic breath but that is a common trade off in my house. It will make 4-6 servings.

You will need :

* 1.5kg butternut pumpkin.

* Olive Oil

* 8 – 10 large cloves of garlic (make sure it is the nice Australian grown garlic) – leave skin on.

* 2 brown onions – diced

* 2 tbsp grated ginger

* 1.5 litres of “chicken style” stock (I use the vegetarian Massel brand cubes)

* 2 potatoes peeled and diced

What to do :

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Peel pumpkin, remove seeds and chop up. Put in baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic cloves (skin still on) to the tray and roast in oven for about 30 mins.

Heat large pot over medium heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the onions and ginger and cook on low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove pumpkin and garlic from the oven. Allow the garlic to cool a bit before squeezing the garlic from their skins and into the pot, along with the pumpkin. Add the stock and potatoes and bring to boil and then simmer for about 20 mins.

Puree soup via food processor or hand held mixer.

 

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 

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Lemon and Barley Soup

Posted by on Jun 21, 2014 in Soup | 1 comment

Having not mastered the art of food photography,  with most of my dishes looking plain (but tasting sensational !) you can have an autumn leaf / Garp photo instead !

 DSC00007

 

Ahhhhh, winter and soup…..there are few finer things for the soul.

This recipe (thanks to Sanitarium) is delicious….quick and easy…..and healthy…..and filling…..so, get to it.

Ingredients

* 6 cups of water

* 2-3 heaped teaspoons of Vegi Stock powder (I use Vegeta as it is palm oil free)

* 1/2 cup of pearled barley

* 1 onion cut into quarters

* 1 peeled garlic clove

* 1 bay leaf

* 3 sprigs thyme (very easy plant to grow by the way).

* 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

* 1/4 cup of lemon juice

* 1/4 cup of chopped parsley

* olive oil to drizzle

* Pepper to taste

What to do

Bring water, stock and pearled barley to the boil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add onion, garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Simmer for 45 mins. Remove from heat and remove the thyme and bay leaf. Add cannellini beans and process the soup (I use a hand held mixer but either wise a food processor would do the job).  Stir through lemon juice and serve up. Sprinkle parsley on top and drizzle with olive oil.

Makes 4 generous servings.

 

 

 

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