Friday, 31 December 2010

Wetherspoons, the New Year, and Kali's Last Hurrah

Wetherspoons sent me a letter (an actual, honest to god, sent-through-the-post letter) to tell me that their sausages were not vegan, but that I could eat the hash browns and the baked beans.  Joy.

I'd have been happier if they'd emailed me, with a more comprehensive list, or, at the very least, mentioned that I can look for vegan options on their website.  I knew that, but still.  It would have been thoughtful.  I do like hash browns (they're pretty good value there, and would only be completely unhealthy if I didn't desperately need the fat), but I've never liked baked beans.  If I were going to eat them, I'd pinch Gizzi's recipe, leave out the bacon, and use vegetable stock.

Anyone following this blog might know that I'm not fully vegan until tomorrow.  That is, although I have been eating vegan for the past few months, I always told myself that I had the option to eat vegetarian, one day a week.  Today, I took advantage of it, and ate a pizza.

Not pictured; flavour.

It was awful.  It tasted all bland - basically, fat and salt, and grease, and relatively flavourless - and I kept wondering why I bothered.  And now I feel awful about the poor veal calves and their mothers.  Plus, the customer service at Dominos was horrendous.

Never again.  Never, ever again.

Happy new year, people.

Thursday, 30 December 2010


The journey to Aberdeen was fine, foodwise.  I didn't even eat half my sammiches.  Scotland itself was full of delicious teenage angst, forbidden fruit, and romantic moments which can never go any further, but which left some of my favouite memories of 2010.

Anyway.  My hair and skin have been really dry recently, and I posted on a couple of forums about this.  One person suggested that I might not be getting enough fat.  I'd already been writing down what I was eating, since I'm trying to stick to Canadian Nutritional Guidelines, and cut down on my carbs, so I looked over the list, and figured out that I wasn't getting more than 20-30g of fat a day.  Not nearly enough, considering I need something like 60-70g a day.

I was a little surprised at this, but probably shouldn't have been.  I'd cut dairy and meat out of my diet, which are the two major sources of fat (and the reason most people get enough).  Without them, it becomes trickier.

So, I went out earlier, and did some shopping.  I bought an iPhone first, so this next bit will be filled with pictures.

Hi there.

In tescos, I bought some fresh salad leaves (two bags of mixed leaves, one of green), two kinds of salad dressing - I've never tried salad dressing before - some pine nuts, and some other stuff. Some Innocent Smoothies (I was looking for veg pots really, but couldn't be bothered to keep looking after the staff had steered me wrong twice), and some rice chocolate bars. Oh, and some more soup. It's ridiculously salty, but it's good. Oh, yeah, and some veg that was half price. A pack of mangetout peas, carrots, broccoli, and baby corn, and some "winter soup vegetables", which are basically chopped spring onions and baby carrots and whatnot. I have plans for those, to be detailed at the end. Anyway.

Look at me, being all healthy.  You can barely see the chocolate hiding under the lettuce.
When I got in, I made a salad. I mixed together about a cup of green leaves with another cup of the mixed salad leaves, added two tablespoons of pinenuts, and doused the lot in three tablespoons of french dressing. In retrospect, this was a tad too much. It was pretty good though.

Also pretty good; Wetherspoons sweet potato, spinach, and chickpea curry. Ask for extra poppadums instead of naan bread, and it's totally vegan.  See?  Only £4.99 on Thursdays, too, with a drink.

Going back to the sweet little salad, I figure I can take those to work, in that little tub. Two cups of loose salad leaves amounts to one portion (well, it's somewhere between one and two cups for a portion, but I prefer to round up in this case), and I have a tiny little jar around here somewhere that should hold about 30ml of salad dressing, or two tablespoons. That would be nice to take to work, a little tub of salad with dressing. Incidentally, I got the tiny little tub from Boots; it's designed for people to decant make-up into, when travelling. They have a whole range, and they're so handy.

Bukkake effect imminent.
Incidentally, that's what I wanted the innocent veg pots for. Partly to, y'know, eat them, and partly to reuse the containers.

Speaking of reusing containers, I've also been having trouble hitting my calcium intake. Going by Canadian nutritional guidelines again, an adult female requires two portions, which, in fortified rice milk, is 500ml, or two portions at 250ml a portion. I found an old plastic 500ml bottle, filled it to the top, and managed to drink the lot - with my salad - without noticing.  Which is an improvement, because if I'd tried that with cow's milk, I'd have been very sick.

As well as the salad dressing, fried food tends to be higher in fat, though I gather this is less good fat and more bad fat.  It's probably still worth being unafraid to fry veggie burgers, since they tend to be fairly dry anyway.  Nuts are good too - peanut butter, for instance, is almost half fat.  Avocados, too - I'm going to have a go at making guacamole.

Got milk?  Fortified with calcium and B12.
Now, for my plans.  Every month, I'm going to make a three-course dinner for myself, or for whoever else I feel like inviting.  A starter, a main course, and a dessert.  I want a different vague theme each time, and I want to make things that are new to me.  I don't want to get stuck in a rut.

This month, I'm going to go with a vaguely English winter theme.  The other day, I went to The Shepherd's Rest, and they had this amazing vegetable soup.  It was the soup of the day - which, I gather, is whatever the chef feels like making - and, presumably involved saute-ing the vegetables in vegetable oil, before adding them to vegetable stock.  Just a guess.  It was good though, and I plan to recreate it as the starter, along with freshly baked bread, ie, par-baked rolls from Tesco.  I can bake my own bread, it's just a pain. The entire process of baking bread is evil; there's the whole heating and multiplying thing, and then you have to pummel it, and it breathes, and pushes back, and then you kill the whole thing with fire and it's all right. But, anyway.

Dessert will be chocolate fudge cake - that is, a recipe for chocolate cake nicked from Chef Chloe, coated in Becky Crocker's Fudge Icing (once I've checked what "may contain traces of milk", when the ingredients list is fine, actually means - I suspect that it was made using equipment which is also used for products containing dairy, which would be fine by me).

It's the main I'm finding a bit tricky.  I'm thinking mashed potato with some of that french dressing on it - all tangy, and creamy, and oily, and garlicky, yum.  Plus, some of those mixed vegetables, the broccoli, mangetout peas and so on, with a green salad.  And what else?  Perhaps some kind of nut roast, or a new kind of seitan.  I know Holland and Barrett sell vegan seitan mixes and things, but I always think I could do so much better by myself.  And they tend to be expensive (much like those veg pots).  I'll have a think about it, as well as a think about future themes.

Oh, while in Scotland I also snacked on stuffing sammiches.  That is, stuffing mix (the kind that you add water to), spread out flat on a plate, and cooked in the microwave (the intructions are on the paxo mix box itself).  Then put it between two slices of buttered toast.  Et voila.

You could try adding cranberries or seitan to that, but I kind of like it by itself. Weirdly, I can also imagine it going well with some kind of cooked slices of apple, if they were all soft and yummy. Might try that myself.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


I'm off to Scotland tomorrow.  Two trains, and just under seven hours.

I won't be stuck for things to do - if I weren't going, I'd be using those hours to read or get some work done, or watch TV programs on my laptop.  No, the problem is, snacks.  We lack lettuce and tomatoes, I haven't made seitan in ages, no tofu...

I've finally settled on PB&J sammiches, ready-salted crisps, and fruit.  Should keep me going.  I'm broke, you see, so I don't want to buy stuff if I can avoid it.

Oh, I'm also making a batch of vegan muffins for a friend of my grandmother's tonight.  Maybe there'll be some leftovers.

The other thing I'm doing tomorrow is heading to a Wetherspoons for breakfast.  I emailed them, but they've yet to get back to me about whether or not the sausages in the veggie breakfast are suitable for vegans.  If they are, I'm fairly sure I can sub out the fried eggs for extra hash browns, and have it totally vegan.  Otherwise, it'll just be a side of hash browns for me.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Marmite and Onion Roast Potato

This recipe isn't quite perfect yet, but the first try went pretty well.  I'm trying to recreate the taste of cheese and onion crisps.

I basically made my cheat's roast potatoes, only using the margarine/marmite mixture and onion salt.  There's an odd kind of beef gravy flavour on the bits where there's more marmite mixture than onion salt, but some are just perfect.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Marmite Pasta

Adapted from this recipe by Nigella Lawson.  And by "adapted", I mean I didn't bother to measure stuff, and I made it vegan.

  1. Cook some pasta in very salty water.
  2. When the pasta is nearly done, put a nob of vegan margarine into another saucepan (a 'nob' here meaning a lump about the size of an egg.  And another half an egg).
  3. Add a teaspoon of marmite, and melt.  
  4. Add a tablespoon of the pasta water.
  5. Drain pasta, mix together, eat.

It tastes a lot like pasta and cheese - it has a sharp tang, very reminiscent of cheddar, and the oil in the margarine helps, too.  Not terribly healthy, but I guess you could put broccoli in there too.

Speaking of which, I gave blood the other day, and my iron was way higher than it was as an omni. I blame the broccoli.  I'm also losing weight still; down from nearly eleven stone to 9 stone 5, this morning at least.  That's as much as I weighed at sixteen.
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