Vegan MoFo 2019: Wrap up day

I had three intentions this year: post everyday, cook from The Nordic Baking Book, and cook outside. Well I did manage a lot from The Nordic Baking Book but my other two intentions were defeated by exhaustion, sickness, and bad weather. Still it’s been fun.

To wrap up I cooked a meal inspired by another blog. I figured at the start of the month that I was probably going to cook something from Herbivore’s Heaven and her trip to Japan but until yesterday I wasn’t sure what I wanted it to be. I mean ideally I’d have gone to that dog friendly theme park with my Dad and Watson but that wasn’t in the budget. I made Curry Udon instead.

I used the recipe from Just One Cookbook veganised by using kombu dashi and chickwheat shreds in place of the meat. It was a perfect way to end Vegan MoFo 2019.

Vegan MoFo 2019: Cocktail/mocktail

I never know if I should call myself Straight Edge or not because honestly I’m just not that cool. I mean I haven’t been to a gig since my early twenties. Unless you count escorting my Guides to Wellies and Wristbands or Big Gig. Last time I went to Big Gig I actually fell asleep during it. So I don’t have the hardcore thing down but I don’t drink so I’m making mocktails today.

The other thing that’s inspiring my post is my fabulous collection of souvenir mugs! I was inspired by my pineapple to google pineapple mocktail and find this recipe. And then I put my serving into my favourite gaudy goblet from Be Our Guest. It lights up. It’s awesome.

Vegan honey from apple juice?

This post is part of VeganMoFo 2019, a month-long celebration of vegan food. This week’s theme is travel, and today’s prompt is a dish that transports you back to a vacation.

Many vegans feel guilt about their pre-vegan days, particularly when in comes to treasured memories that are decidedly non-vegan. My advice? Be kind to yourself: you were brought up in a society that normalises the consumption of animal products, and you didn’t know then what you know now.

Seven and a half years ago, Clare and I went on holiday to Center Parcs with Clare’s dad. After a morning swim and an afternoon of archery, Clare’s dad wanted to relax in the lodge, so Clare and I went swimming again on our own. Afterwards I suggested we try Ortega, the tapas restaurant in the Center Parcs village. I made three discoveries that night: that not drinking alcohol doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy cocktails (virgin piña colada for me and Spanish sunset for Clare); that sweet and savoury can work together (honey and cheese croquettes); and that having a meal with your girlfriend in a dimly-lit and otherwise empty restaurant, followed by a lakeside walk under lamplight, is incredibly romantic.

Seven and a half years later, we’re married and vegan. This evening Clare returned from a long weekend camping with the Guides, and I welcomed her home by restaging that meal. But what could I do about the honey and cheese croquettes? Fortunately Marks & Spencer have ‘not-zzarella sticks’ in their Plant Kitchen range, so I just had to make the honey.

honey

Search for vegan honey recipes and you’ll find dozens of variants on the same theme: combine two parts apple juice with one part sugar and boil down to half the original volume. I used golden syrup for the sugar. The result had a pleasing colour but still tasted strongly of apple juice. It worked well with the not-zzarella sticks, but no-one is going to be fooled into thinking it’s honey. The romantic meal, though? Just perfect.

 

French onion soup (recipe)

This post is part of VeganMoFo 2019, a month-long celebration of vegan food. This week’s theme is travel, and today’s prompt is favourite international dish.

I’m not usually keen on onion-centric food: onion rings have too strong a flavour for me, and I don’t like the crunch of lightly-cooked onions when they’re part of a larger dish. However, at my company’s annual conference last year the vegan option was French onion soup, and to my surprise I enjoyed it.

This is proper slow food: I put on the deluxe edition of London Grammar’s Truth Is A Beautiful Thing as I started, and I was still cooking when the album finished an hour and twenty minutes later. The long cooking time makes the onions soft and silky, and mellows their flavour.

soup

Ingredients (per person)

2 onions
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon brown sugar
200ml vegetable stock (or water)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
¼ lemon
¼ teaspoon salt
Several pinches of black pepper

Method

Finely slice the onions and garlic.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onions, garlic, and a tablespoon of water.

Cook over a low heat, stirring every few minutes, until the onions start to brown. This may take up to an hour. If the onions start to stick to the pan, add a little water.

Once the onions have started to brown, stir in the sugar and add the stock (or water) and vinegar.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for fifteen minutes. Season with the juice from the lemon, salt, and pepper.

Serve with slices of crusty French bread.