This blog is a celebration of the wonderful world of vegan cooking. Enjoy!

* The title of this blog refutes the dangerous idea that veganism is a weight-loss diet and that all vegans are skinny. Conversely, being a-not-so-skinny-vegan is also not the same as being overweight or unhealthy. All food intake must be part of a balanced lifestyle.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Vegan Camping

Geoff and I are doing The Overland Track in Tasmania in a few weeks. We are also doing overnight walks on the Gold Coast next week and Mt Warning for Geoff's birthday on the 31st Jan.

We needed a few items for overnight camping that we didn't already have so after buying six bags of books at the Lifeline Bookfair yesterday I went into the Valley to do some indoor outdoor shopping.

Most of the stores were either just clothing or the shop attendants were too busy discussing their private lives to assist me. One store I did find that was fantastic was K2 Base Camp. The assistant I had was fantastic and friendly and helped me out a lot.

However, he did suggest I get a new sleeping bag that went into the minus degrees. He suggested down. I told him I couldn't have down because I was vegan. He said: "A vegan camping? Good luck." He then said no offence to my beliefs but down was better than synthetic because it is lighter and I should therefore get it.

I was a little confused. All these people spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on gear to go experience the "great outdoors" and be "one with nature" etc etc but don't stop twice to think about where these products are coming from and how it may be making the very animals they want to "be one with" suffer.

Everything I do I try think about how it affects others. Albeit a lot of the time I come to the selfish conclusion where my comfort comes before the environment or whatever. But this guy didn't seem to even be able to put two and two together. It's like he thought down was just some magical material made by fairies who like making down for his sleeping bag. I'm not asking him to give up his magical down. I'm just asking him to think about how it came to be and whether or not using it to go camping and be all minimal impact camping dude might be a bit hypocritical.

In the end though lighter will be better so I probably will go with the down. But I'll buy it second hand. Because I think.

P.S. Can anyone think of any good food to take on a several day hike where there will be no food available? It needs to be light. Think freeze-dried soy ice cream. If only it existed.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy 2010

I spent my New Year with these hooligans. My New Year's resolution was to work harder at my PhD, do weekly reports for my supervisor and to do more dancing, play more tennis and to not be as cranky/bossy. Eeek.

Two years ago my New Year's resolution was to go from being vegetarian to being vegan. I look forward to seeing it through another year (and many more).

I am very lucky Pimm's is vegan. :)

Happy New Year everyone!

I always did like quiche...

and so does Geoff. So I think I might try this recipe.

A Vegan Christmas: Part Four (final)

Well Christmas day was a bit hectic. Brett was working downstairs from 5am until 1030pm (after heavy Christmas Eve drinking at the Pacific Hotel) and we all helped out during the day although by the afternoon my brother and I were screaming at each other and so I went upstairs to prepare dinner for the arrival of the Welch family.

I made more gingerbread (using a wine bottle as a rolling pin). The gingerbread is fantastic.

Gingerbread Cookies
from The Joy of Vegan Baking

advanced prep required

3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup marg (at room temp)
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer powder (don't mix it with water)
2/3 cup golden syrup (original recipe has unsulphered molasses but gs works fine)

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
In another bowl beat together marg and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg replacer powder and golden syrup and beat for another minute. Add flour mix and beat until you have a smooth dough. You may need to add 1-2 tbspns of water to get right consistency.
Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1hr (preferably overnight).
When ready preheat oven to 180C.
Roll out the dough to a 6mm thickness one at a time leaving the second in the fridge (although if you've left it overnight you can take them both out) onto lightly floured surface. Keep turning the dough as you roll. I found it easier to work with the dough as it gets warmer but if it's too warm to keep the shape of the cookie then stick it back in the fridge for a bit.
Cut out the cookies using cookie cutters and transfer to lined baking trays/sheets. Bake until they begin to brown around the edges.
Remove from oven, let cool on baking tray for a few minutes then transfer to wire rack.

I made the usual potato salad and Chang's Noodle Salad to go with everyone's ham and chicken (which I did not eat). I made sticky date pudding for dessert which Uncle Shane loved so much he now swears I cannot be my mother's daughter (Mum can't cook). Geoff and I made vegetable and seasoned tofu kebabs (on sticks) which were yummy. And I received many, many presents so all in all it was a pretty good Christmas.

Siena Cake recipe to come.