Monday, 8 November 2010

VeganMoFo for non-vegans (I hope that is allowed)

For those of you who don’t know, November is VeganMoFo (the vegan month of food), where vegan bloggers all write about vegan food (obviously, they tend to do this anyway, but in November it is a bit more structured). I have been reading Moomin Mamma’s posts about VeganMoFo on her blog, where I was encouraged to see that pressing tofu brought on the Skeleton Dance, and it got me thinking. I once tried being vegan, and, (says she thoughtfully), it didn’t work (no comment on anyone else though – clearly lots of people do get on really well with it!), but, this is the thing. I actually still really love vegan food, and I think, whatever you think about eating meat and dairy, a world in which everyone ate less of them, and definitely less that was industrially produced, would be better for our health, environment, and everything. So, I thought I would talk a bit about how great vegan food is, even though I am not vegan, and big it up, because I really think there has been such an explosion of creativity in the vegan food sphere over the last few years that anyone who thinks vegan food is depressing these days is operating on a very old paradigm (or has perhaps got this book.
Yes, God forbid it should taste of anything. I rest my case
Please do not buy it and think vegan food is like this. If Gary Francione, Pete Singer and Heather Mills read this book they would all go straight out and clamp their respective teeth around a cow’s behind, that is how bad this book is. You can do better). Anyway! Here is one of my favourite vegan recipes, I hope you like it.

Vegan curry feast (this serves about 4 people but it all freezes if there are fewer of you).
Why yes, that is a whole clove of garlic. It's good for you!
For the dal – takes about 2 hours
Put 8oz red lentils in a pan with 2 peeled garlic cloves (halve them if they are big), a couple of slices fresh ginger, 2 bay leaves, half a cinnamon stick, and 3/4 teaspoon turmeric. Add approx 1.5 pints boiling water, and simmer, gently, for about 1.5/ 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the lentils have absorbed the water and the dal is reasonably thick. About 30 mins before serving add some salt and 2 slices lemon to flavour.

For the veg. curry – takes about 1 hour
Chop and fry in veg oil 1 onion, 1 aubergine, a couple of potatoes (don’t peel them. Life is short), and some chopped mushrooms (you can vary this depending on what you have). Fry for about 15 mins until they look a bit fried (I know that’s a crap description - it doesn’t matter too much). Add about 2 dessertspoons of Patak’s Madras Curry Paste (I am pretty sure this is vegan, but if not, another curry paste would be fine). Stir to combine. Add about 3/4 tin of coconut milk (I once read the ingredients and I would advise you to buy an organic one) and about 1/2 pint veg stock, Marigold or a cube. Simmer until reduced (I do it for about 3/4 hour). Serve.

For the rice – takes 10 mins
Rinse basmati rice until it runs clear. Boil basmati rice for 10 mins, drain. (Do this just as you are about to eat, obviously. Don’t do it at the beginning).
O What would I Do without Marigold Stock Powder (this is not the vegan one, but you can get a vegan one)
This is Partner’s top favourite meal. He loves it and would eat it every night but I make him have a balanced diet with variety and change, so he can’t. It is one of those meals that you can cook even when you are half asleep and annoyed about something. If you get yourself together you can make some parathas or something to go with it, which really are beyond delicious (tell me if you want the recipe). I also sometimes make the Aloo Gobi recipe from Paku Paku instead of the dal (although I use two teaspoons of coriander, not two tablespoons, which seems like an awful lot), and it is quite delicious. (Well, I’ve persuaded myself, at least. I will make Vegan Curry Feast, with parathas and everything, as soon as we have given up on the bathroom and moved out into a guest house like Alan Partridge finished the bathroom. Hooray!).


Moomin Mamma said...

:O Oh my! *grins and maybe does the skeleton dance*
You've actually made my day Susie, in two ways.
Firstly, as far as I'm aware no one has ever linked me in their blog so I'm feeling super duper special. :D
And secondly, that is the stock powder I use, which I just found out tonight as I was cooking isn't vegan, so I was feeling kinda bummed out that I'd have to find a new one, but there you go saying that Marigold make a vegan one! Hurrah!
I hope you have a lovely evening :D x

Maria S said...

Patak's curry pastes are definitely vegan. I wrote and asked them a couple of years ago, and got a very nice reply back reassuring me.

I do love your blog. There are so many out there, but yours is without doubt one of the most entertaining and best written.


Susie said...

Yes, Moomin Mamma, there is definitely a vegan Marigold stock powder! Hooray indeed (if anyone took my Marigold away from me I would have to stop cooking. It is a terrifying thought). Thanks for your lovely comment ;-). Maria, thanks for your lovely comment too! (And that is good news about Pataks).

Anonymous said...

I am a vegetarian masquerading as a vegan. (The only non vegan food I eat is chocolate and the occasional coffee made with cows milk.) People think vegans don't like food or eat boring food. In my experience they are completely obsessed by food (by which I mean finding and eating delicious food) and devote rediculous amounts of time to the quest and then talking about what they have eaten to anyone who will listen.(I do it too). There are many great blogs and cook books. My daughter is a vegetarian so I buy and cook with organic cheese but I am not tempted as I have my own yummy food. Vegan food tastes great and even vegetarians don't want to eat cheese in every meal but it is so hard to find a sandwich that hasn't got cheese in it when out - or actually anything at all. I make and eat delicious vegan cakes and lovely tasty food. If it was dull I wouldn't like it so much but I love it; although I can eat far fewer kinds of foods than the average person, I tend to find I eat more variety than they do as they stick to what they know and like - no quinoa for them. I even make non cheese scones (which do taste like cheese scones - it's true, my daughter says so), non cheese sauces, dips, macaroni cheese etc. I don't even miss cheese which I used to love - I make cheesy things now more because it's such fun making the flavour without the cheese; you get to play. Thank goodness though for Marigold, I am proud that I found that myself way before Delia popularised it. Have been using since the 80's. It would make cardboard edible. I would surely die without it. Thanks for your post. Thanks for your blog. You write about such a variety of interesting and yet important things as well as showing us some pretty things. Rare in a blog. I like it. I think I like you.

Susie said...

Aww, thank you ;-). I think Marigold need to use that as their new slogan: 'It would make cardboard edible'. Because it is true!

And you are so right that vegetarians don't want to eat cheese at every meal (and nor do non-veggies want to eat meat or fish at every meal!). Nice vegan food benefits us all!