The Great British Bake-Off Vegan Style: Episode 4 – Dessert Week

No favourites here but…

…DESSERTS! My favourite!

This week is going to be a good’un because I know it involves meringue and if I had £1 for every time someone told me you can’t make meringue without eggs I’d have about £64.

Let’s get dessert-ing!

Disclaimer: I have not tested any of these recipes, but if you do, please tag me in your photos on Instagram or Facebook.

Challenge 1 – Signature Bake – Roulade

So, a bit of a different approach this week. I’ve found this cracking vegan meringue roulade recipe from The Vegan Pantry, so I’d suggest using this recipe as a base then switching up the fillings depending on your preference.

Terry – Terry’s not well. Poor Terry.

Briony – Treacle Tart Roulade

For the filling: A firm go-to favourite for these vegan alternative recipes, I suggest using the filling from Lucy’s Friendly Foods’ vegan treacle tart recipe.

Dan – “Florida Roulade” – Coconut, Mango, Strawberries and Lime

For the filling: Coconut cream frosting from Cotter Crunch and mango compote from another one of my favourites, Veggie Desserts.

Jon – Mango and Passionfruit Roulade

I found: The recipe I posted above from the wonderful The Vegan Pantry. Hurrah!

Karen – Coffee Cream and Praline Roulade

For the filling: The kahlua whipped cream from this deconstructed roulade recipe on The Vegan Word.

ceramic mug with coffee

Kim-Joy – “Sweet Dreams” Roulade – with cream, raspberries and passionfruit curd.

For the filling: The cream from this vegan raspberry cream cake from Vibrant Plate and vegan passionfruit curd from Grace’s Vegan Pantry.

selective focus photography of sliced passion fruit

Manon – Amarene and Kirsch Cherry Roulade

For the filling: Vegan cherry pie filling from Carve Your Craving and the cherry buttercream found in this chocolate cherry cupcakes recipe from Little Swiss Baker.

cherries close up close up delicious

Rahul – Rhubarb and Custard Roulade

For the filling: The frosting from this AMAZING looking rhubarb and custard cake from The Happy Foodie.

Ruby – Pina Colada Roulade

For the filling: The lime, coconut and pineapple layers from yet another cake I’m going to have to make, Deviliciously Raw’s vegan pina colada cake.

Technical challenge – Raspberry Blancmange with Langues Du Chat Biscuits

I found:  This vegetarian strawberry blancmange recipe on Tin and Thyme. In order to make this vegan you’ll need to switch out the double cream for a vegan version (perhaps coconut cream?) and the milk for a non-dairy milk. Oh and switch the strawberries for raspberries if you want to recreate the Bake Off one!

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For the biscuits I suggest Vegan Langues Du Chat from The Veggy Side Of Me.

All done!

Please remember to tag me on Instagram or Facebook if you make any of the recipes above as I’d love to share them.

donuts and bagel display

The Instavegan Interviews – Part 7

Getting to know my favourite vegan Instagram accounts.

Part 7 is here! Here are the answers Claire aka @our.veganlifestyle had for me.

Hi I’m Claire, I’m 44, a mum to 3 boys, Dylan Fin and Marley, wife to Matty and host to Indi the cat! We live in a village outside of York.
I love the sunshine, nature, flowers and rainbows . I study nutrition and homeopathy. I try hard at the gym even though I hate it and do a bit of running!!
I do as much vegan activism as I can whilst running around after the boys.
I’m a 90’s child so love all thing grunge & indie and I love Pearl Jam!!

How long have you been vegan and what initially motivated you to make the change?

Myself and Matty decided to become vegetarian after years of drug and alcohol abuse. I lost my mum in 2005 to suicide and it was a massive wake up call to how we’d been living our life. It was part of getting sober and living a healthier life.
I had no idea about the animal abuse that went on but as soon as we went veggie it was like opening a door to a completely different world.
We got a lot of stick when we became vegetarian from friends and family members and especially when people realised we’d be bringing our kids up that way and when we went vegan all hell broke loose!
We’ve had our fair share of ridicule and fall outs but it feels so nice now that it’s actually acceptable and no one bats an eyelid these days!
We didn’t just decide one day to become vegan, it was just how our journey developed over time – the more we learnt the more changes we made.
So we’re are coming up to our 6th year being completely or “officially “ vegan….. as in we were able to replace our leather couch!
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What inspired you to start posting about your vegan journey on Instagram and what have been the best bits so far?

I started posting online because people always ask me “what do you eat though”!!! So I thought “I’ll show you”!!
Although in my stomach I wanna scream and shout at people to go vegan I find the most effective way to influence people is to lead by example. I get a lot of positive comments about the food we eat and people can see how easy it is to do!!!!

 

If you could only follow 5 instagram accounts for the rest of your life which ones would they be?

If I had to only follow 5 Instagram accounts for the rest of my life they would have to be: Seb Alex who does such an amazing job raising awareness. Earthling Ed who I had the privilege of meeting at a lecture last year, he has such a calming  demeanour and his dedication is mind blowing.
Kyle O’Sullivan because he is so bloody funny and such a talented guy  and doesn’t give himself enough credit and he just makes me laugh!
My sister dizzyd1981 who lives far away from me so I can see my nieces and also follow her vegan journey which started 18 months ago and is doing an amazing job raising her new baby vegan from birth!
Proveguk are my good friends who do incredible work through schools and cooperations – check out their campaign School Plate which I had the honour of doing my bit for them! There are sooooo many more though! I feel mean for not mentioning them!!

 

Can you list the 10 ESSENTIAL food items you always have in your cupboard, fridge or freezer…you know, the stuff you NEVER let run out because you use it so regularly.

Cacao
Maca Root powder
Huel protein powder
Cold pressed hemp oil
Nutrition yeast
Almond butter
Peanut butter
Frozen fruit
Bouillon stock powder
Bananas

 

What’s your favourite vegan recipe to make?

 

One of my favourite recipes is chickpea squash salad which I’ve taken from Deliciously Ella, it’s the dressing that makes it.

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Is there anyone you follow or admire that you’d particularly like to meet in real life?

I’d absolutely LOVE to meet Seb Alex! I’ve chatted with him on Instagram several times and he even made the boys some t-shirts! He’s such a nice guy and does endless work for animal liberation and Anonymous for the Voiceless. He’s a real inspiration and I’ve recently done a Cube of Truth in York which was amazing.

 

 

Tell me about your friends and family. Are any of them vegan too? How have people close to you as a whole embraced your vegan journey?

My sister is and her family are vegan My best friend has been veggie since she was 10 and her family are on their vegan journey…… one of my friends had just started her vegan journey and her family are following too!! People are definitely starting to realise how animals are treated and the effect it’s having to their health.

 

Would you rather have an avocado for a nose or slices of tofu for ears?

Although I have a thing about my nose I think I’d rather have tofu for ears!!!! That way I can hide them with my hair!

 

What’s your greatest vegan food creation?

My best vegan food creation HAS to be my vegan Raspberry Cheesecake!

 

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If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is interested in taking the leap to being vegan, what would it be?

The one piece of advise I’d give to anyone starting on their vegan journey is…… don’t take any notice of what people say to you!!!!
People are always there to put you down and it’s ALWAYS to make themselves feel better.

 

Which 5 words would you use to describe the vibe/ethos of your Instagram account?

Truth
Colour
Food
Fun
Boys

 

What is the question you’re most regularly asked by your followers? Or the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked?

The weirdest question I’ve ever been asked was quite recently actually and it was “Why do you recuse dogs and let them run wild in the woods?”
I honestly just laughed! I didn’t know what to say!

 

Do you have any big plans for the next few months that we should look out for?

My plans for the up and coming months are definitely more activism when the boys go back to school…..I really need to concentrate on my website…… sell some of my tshirts  and my lovely Instagram buddy @lynds_wildandfree has inspired me to start drawing again!

The Great British Bake-Off Vegan Style: Episode 3 – Bread Week

Bread Week Bread Week Bread Week!

Did I mention it’s BREAD WEEK?

I’m so excited about this episode…firstly because I love a bit of bread and secondly because cake week was pretty labour intensive because of all the components of each bake I had to find. I’m hoping that, because bread is USUALLY vegan, this week’s bakes should be a bit easier to find recipes for.

I’m doing this post live, as the episode goes out, so let’s see what they have in store for me…

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Disclaimer: I have not tested any of these recipes, but if you do, please tag me in your photos on Instagram or Facebook.

Challenge 1 – Signature Bake – Chelsea Buns!

Terry – Tangy Citrus Sticky Chelsea Buns (with lemon, dates and apricots)

I found: Vegan Lemon Blueberry Rolls from Domestic Gothess.

baking bread breakfast bun
Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

Antony – Decadent Breakfast Chelsea Buns

I found: Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cinnamon Rolls from Fooduzzi

Briony – Balsamic Strawberry Chelsea Buns

I found: Vegan Strawberry Sweet Rolls from Yup, It’s Vegan! (if you want to add the balsamic element just reduce the strawberries in balsamic vinegar at the filling-making stage)

white bowl of whole strawberries

Dan – Spiced Orange Chelsea Buns

I found: Anna Banana’s Orange and Cranberry Chelsea Bun Tree

baking bread breakfast bun

Jon – Cardiff City vs Chelsea Buns (salted caramel and pecan buns with marshmallow topping)

I found: Vegan Salted Caramel Pecan Rolls from Veggie and the Beast

Karen – Peak District Christmas Chelsea Buns

I found: Vegan Christmas Tree Chelsea Buns from The Rose & Bean

anise aroma aromatic blur

Kim-Joy – Pistachio and Cardamom Tangzhong Chelsea Buns

I found: For the dough I found this Tangzhong Vegan Rolls recipe from Veganize Everything. Then for the filling I’d suggest using the filling part of this recipe from The Red Lychee (just swap out the butter for vegan butter)

Manon – Apricot, Cranberry and Marzipan Chai Chelsea Buns

I found: Marzipan and Mincemeat Chelsea Buns from The Veg Space

Rahul – Mango and Cranberry Chelsea Buns

I found: Cherry and Mango Cinnamon Rolls from One Green Planet (I have to admit I much preferred the idea of cherry to cranberry for these, sorry Rahul!)

Ruby – Gujarela (Gajar Halwa?) Chelsea Buns with Dates, Almonds and Raisins

I found: The World’s Easiest Sticky Buns from Minamilist Baker and Vegan Gajar Halwa from Vegan Richa.

vegetables market basket carrots

Technical challenge – Non-Yeasted Garlic Naan Breads (YES!! LOVE A NAAN!)

I found: SO MANY! So here’s a couple because I couldn’t just do one:

Vegan Garlic Naan from Vegan Vigilante

Easy Vegan Naan from Minimalist Baker

two white garlics

Yes! I’ve loved finding all these recipes and I’m definitely going to give some Chelsea Buns of my own a go. Please please please tag me on Instagram or Facebook if you make any of the recipes above as I’d love to share them.

The Instavegan Interviews – Part 6

Getting to know my favourite vegan Instagram accounts.

Welcome to part 6 of the Instavegan Interviews – I’m absolutely loving all of the responses from the people involved and still have a few more lined up for you. So without further ado, please say hello to Gemma, aka @veganfoodie_gems.

Gemma is a foodie from Glasgow who loves sharing how delicious, fun and  fabulous living a cruelty-free lifestyle can be!

You can find her on Instagram at @veganfoodie_gems and on her blog veganfoodie-gems.com which is packed with food, events, beauty and reviews.

How long have you been vegan and what initially motivated you to make the change?

I had been vegetarian since my early twenties and always opted for plant based milks but truth be told I was an absolute cheese addict! Then something just clicked – I love animals, I care about the environment and I value my health so it just didn’t make sense to eat a diet that contradicted these facts.

What inspired you to start posting about your vegan journey on Instagram and what have been the best bits so far?

I absolutely love food so socialising for me always centres around eating so naturally my Instagram became a bit of a food diary, this then led to creating my blog. I have been lucky to have connected with some amazing people and brands while avoiding any nasty trolls thankfully.

If you could only follow 5 instagram accounts for the rest of your life which ones would they be?

VeganDailyUK – Who doesn’t like looking in other peoples trolleys in the supermarket? This account regularly posts shopping hauls by other plant munchers amongst other food shares.

AccidentallyVeganuk – Life is to short to read labels so I let them do the hard work!

Thefeedfeed.vegan  – gorgeous feed full of recipe inspiration

Venetiafalconer – My not so secret girl crush! A great mix of food, fashion, beauty and fun.

NASA – just blows my mind.

Can you list the 10 ESSENTIAL food items you always have in your cupboard, fridge or freezer…you know, the stuff you NEVER let run out because you use it so regularly.

Sweet potatoes, hummus, beans, oats, coconut milk, frozen fruit, bananas, nut butter, a good sourdough loaf and fresh coffee (I am a self confessed coffee addict!)

What’s your favourite vegan recipe to make?

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Overnight oats – not the most exciting but definitely one of my go to recipes! I just mix oats, flax, chia and milk the night before then topping with fruit and nut butter.

We have a massive collection of cookbooks, easily over 50 and growing, so love trying new recipes.

I am a bit obsessed with the Bosh cookbook just now, the chilli crispy tofu is better than any takeaway.

During the Summer we  made Mexican burgers from Avant Garde Vegan cookbook for a BBQ and they were a total showstopper!

Is there anyone you follow or admire that you’d particularly like to meet in real life?

Oh this is a tough one but I really admire Derek Sarno – he is responsible for Tesco stocking so many new vegan brands which encourages other supermarkets to do the same making a vegan diet much more accessible for everyone. I would love to spend an afternoon cooking with him, he is an absolute genius. Seriously the dishes he can create using the humble mushroom is mindblowing.

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Tell me about your friends and family. Are any of them vegan too? How have people close to you as a whole embraced your vegan journey?

My husband decided to go vegan for a week to support me but has never looked backed!  This came as a total surprise as he previously would tuck into a meat packed omelette for breakfast. Since then we have noticed we save about £10 on our weekly food shop and both being vegan has been great for eating out as we can order loads to share! Friends and family have been brilliant too and are constantly sending me recipes and vegan finds. In fact, I would never have launched my blog if it hadn’t been for some forceful friends.

Would you rather have an avocado for a nose or slices of tofu for ears?

Tofu for ears or I’d be picking at my nose all day haha.

What’s your greatest vegan food creation?

Last year we hosted a 3-course Christmas dinner and it got a big thumbs up from non vegan guests! We even served up a homemade tasty trifle for dessert – I love taking a classic and recreating a vegan version.

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If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is interested in taking the leap to being vegan, what would it be?

There has honestly never been a better time to go vegan with supermarkets and restaurants constantly releasing new options! It’s okay to aim for progress over perfection – don’t beat yourself up if it takes time, it took me years! It could be starting with meat free Monday then gradually making other swaps.

Which 5 words would you use to describe the vibe/ethos of your Instagram account?

Fabulous vegan food porn & more! (& is not a word!)

What is the question you’re most regularly asked by your followers? Or the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked?

Most common messages are asking for recipes for food I’ve shared on Instagram and eating out recommendations.

Do you have any big plans for the next few months that we should look out for?

I have some more collaborations with great brands coming up, I’m doing some exciting guest articles to spread vegan vibes and I’m already prepping for Blogmas!

The Great British Bake-Off Vegan Style: Episode 2 – Cake Week

It’s week 2! As I explained in my post on why everyone should watch Bake Off’s vegan episode , it’s a common misconception that cake has to have butter and eggs to make it work. This is not true! So I’ve scoured the internet to find recipes that get as close as possible to each of the remaining contestants’ cake creations, to help you make cruelty-free versions of whatever you fancy from this week’s episode.

So, here we go with cake week, no eggs required.

 

Disclaimer: I have not tested any of these recipes, but if you do, please tag me in your photos on Instagram or Facebook.

Challenge 1 – Signature Bake

Terry – Rum & Raisin Traybake with dark chocolate ganache and candied walnuts

I found: Peveril Blog’s  Vegan Rum & Raisin Cake with Happy Healthy Mama’s Vegan Chocolate Ganache and Minimalist Baker’s Spiced Candied Nuts.

variety of brown nuts on brown wooden panel high angle photo

 

 

Antony – Cardamom and Coconut Burfi Traybake – almond frangipane, pineapple jam, coconut buttercream

I found: Love Food Eat’s cardamom scented white chocolate cake with Yumsome  coconut burfi. vegan frangipane from Lucy’s Friendly Foods, pineapple jam from Light Orange Bean and coconut buttercream frosting from Baked By An Introvert.

Briony – Turron and Orange Traybake – orange pastry base, almond sponge, chocolate ganache on top of turron.

I found: Vegan chocolate turron from Simple Vegan Blog, vegan sweet shortcrust pastry (just add juice and zest of one orange to this) from Charlotte O’Leary on BBC Food and almond cake from The Buddhist Chef.

Dan – Black forest gateau traybake with vanilla cream

I found: Black forest cake from Lazy Cat Kitchen (just make this in traybake form instead of as a cake – and add vanilla extract to the cream – done!)

red cherry fruit on brown tree branch

Jon – Lemon Meringue Traybake, lemon and rosemary sponge, white chocolate topping

I found: Wallflower Kitchen’s  lemon meringue cupcakes – just make the sponge into traybake form and add finely chopped rosemary. For the white chocolate topping I’d go for another one from Wallflower Kitchen, this vegan white chocolate buttercream frosting.

sliced of citrus lemons

Karen – Almond and marzipan traybake with rhubarb jam, custard royal icing, custard powder. Edible food paint.

 

I found: Almond cake from Cute + Delicious, rhubarb jam from Holy Cow Vegan, vegan royal icing from The Blenderist and these amazing edible food paints from Amazon!

Kim-Joy – Pandan chiffon cake with palm sugar cream – pink royal icing, sugar spirals

I found: Eggless pandan sponge cake from Vege Angel, The Blenderist’s royal icing again (just add pink food colouring,) and coconut whipped cream from Minimalist Baker 

coconut fruit sliced into two

Luke – Lemon and poppy seed traybake, white choc and mascarpone topping, candied lemon

I found: Vegan lemon poppy seed loaf from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken, the topping from One Green Planet’s pistachio cake and A Clean Bake’s candied lemon peels.

Manon – Rosemary and honey cake with pistachio nougatine

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Photo by monicore on Pexels.com

I found: Honey cake from Epicurious (just add rosemary), and nougatine, also from Epicurious (just sub out butter for vegan spread).

Rahul – Lemon and Cardamom Traybake – italian meringue buttercream, lemon curd, cardamom pods

I found: Lemon and cardamom cake by Cook A Life By Maeva, aquafaba Italian meringue buttercream by Gretchen’s Vegan Bakery and lemon curd from The Loopy Whisk

Ruby – Boozy black forest traybake (kirsch syrup, dark chocolate ganache, white chocolate drizzle, chocolate sponge)

I found: Vegan black forest cherry cake by Allison Duncan on Shape, with Happy Healthy Mama’s ganache again and to make the white chocolate drizzle simply melt dairy free white chocolate in a bain marie and drizzle it over your cake. Voila!

 

Technical challenge – Le Gateau Vert-Vert De Claude Monet.

bamboo bamboo whisk board bowls

I found: vegan pistachio cake from One Green Planet, vegan buttercream (add crushed pistachios and spinach colouring for a super-green colour) from The Spruce Eats.

Cake week done! Please let me know if you end up making any of these – tag me on Facebook or Instagram for a chance of a share.

The Great British Bake-Off Vegan Style: Episode 1 – Biscuit Week

As you saw from my recent post, I am very excited that Bake Off will feature a vegan episode this year! However, I’m a strong believer that pretty much everything has a vegan equivalent out there. So I’m using this year’s Great British Bake Off as a challenge. I’m going to try to source or suggest vegan alternatives to most of the recipes the bakers make each week. I’ll be listing each contestant’s signature bake as well as finding an alternative to the technical challenge.

I won’t be tackling showstoppers because I think you’ll all get bored by the time you get that far in each post, and also I’m not entirely sure how many of you will even want to recreate a puff pastry castle with sugar-spun drawbridge. I mean, we don’t want food that’s too pretty to eat, do we?

Onwards! Week One was Biscuit Week and I reckon this isn’t going to be too hard. Wish me luck!

Disclaimer: I have not tested any of these recipes, but if you do, please tag me in your photos on Instagram or Facebook.

Challenge 1 – Signature Bake

Terry – Lake District Ginger Shortbread

I found: Wallflower Kitchen Vegan Shortbread

Tweaks: Add finely chopped crystallised ginger, as suggested by a commenter on the recipe page.

heart shaped biscuits on white bowl

Antony – Turmeric and Caraway Goosnargh Cakes

I found: Baking For Britain Goosnargh Cakes

Tweaks: Just switch butter for dairy-free spread (Vitalite or Flora Freedom works for most bakes in my experience)

Briony – Apple Cider Empire Biscuits

I found: The Vegan Kind Empire Biscuits

Tweaks: Use apple jam instead of strawberry.

coffee in white coffee cup
Bit Christmassy!

Dan – Lemon and Strawberry Shrewsburys

I found: I Heart Healthy Paleo & Vegan Shrewsbury Biscuits

Tweaks: Add zest of 2 lemons.

Imelda – Cherry & White Chocolate Oatmeal Biscuits

I found: Globalmouse Travels Vegan Chocolate Chip and Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Tweaks: Use vegan white choc chips or chunks of dairy free white chocolate instead of the standard dairy-free choc chips.

round pastries pack

Jon – Aberffraw Creams

I found: Wales Land Of My Fathers Aberffraw Biscuits

Tweaks: Switch out the butter for non-dairy as above.

Karen – Yorkshire Parkin Biscuits

I found: I actually struggled a bit to find a decent-looking biscuit version of this so I’ve gone with this Vegan Parkin recipe by Lucy’s Friendly Foods. Looks deeelish doesn’t it?

Tweaks: None, but if you find a biscuit then send me the link and I’ll post it here!

Kim-Joy – Orange Blossom York Biscuits

I found: The Camberley Bed and Breakfast Harrogate’s York Biscuits

Tweaks: Switch butter for non-dairy spread, and milk for a plant milk of your choice.

Luke- Yorkshire Gingernuts

I found: Loving It Vegan’s Gingersnap Cookies

Manon – Hazelnut Cornish Shortbread

I found: Mindful Avocado’s Vegan Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

Rahul- Fennel and Coconut Pitcaithly Bannock

I found: The Everyday Veggie’s Vegan Scottish-Style Shortbread

Tweaks: Make with coconut and crushed fennel seeds to recreate Rahul’s bake.

Ruby – Masala Chai Devon Flats

I found: Not much! There are plenty of Devon Flats recipes out there but I’m not proficient enough a baker to guess what alternatives might be able to be used in a vegan version. Here’s a recipe from the Devon Live website….can anyone veganise it for me?

person flattening dough with rolling pin

Technical challenge – Wagon Wheel

I found: Crazy Cucumber’s Vegan Wagon Wheels (IF YOU ONLY CLICK ONE LINK CLICK HERE!! THESE LOOK AMAZING)

So there you have it, my quick attempt to veganise an episode of Bake Off. Please don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or Facebook if you try any of these. See you next week!

Why Isabella Tree’s Rewilding Is Not The Answer To The Planet’s Problems

It seems every week there is a new take on how we should be eating and living in order to avoid Earth’s (inevitable?) demise. Veganism is in the press almost daily, and the meat and dairy industries are in a state of panic over the rise of plant-based alternatives. As the world becomes more educated on the practices that contribute to the production of their food, and the health benefits of reducing your consumption of animal products, there are lots of little scraps going on about what THE RIGHT THING TO DO is.

Now, I’m not pretending, nor am I under any illusion that switching to veganism is some kind of silver bullet that will end all animal suffering, human exploitation, poverty and health issues. But the whole concept is that we’re doing the best we can to minimise those issues to the best of our ability.

When I read Isabella Tree’s article in The Guardian on Saturday a lot of it made sense to me. I mean, who wouldn’t think it sounds wonderful to turn over a traditonally-run farm in favour of rewilding? Allowing the animals to roam, to eat what they want to eat rather than industrially-produced feed, and to choose where they sleep, free of routine antibiotics and much more healthy and happy as a result. This in turn naturally fertilises the soil, encourages smaller species to thrive and restores a balance to the ecosystem that intensive meat and dairy farming is destroying. Sounds idyllic doesn’t it? 

Until that is, you realise that whilst all this really makes sense up to this point, there are a few fundamental flaws in the argument:

  1. This is the big one. The animals are still slaughtered. Unfortunately, when I read the words “75 tonnes a year of organic, pasture-fed meat contribute to a profitable business”,  I realised that this wasn’t the well-balanced defence of more sustainable ways of farming I originally thought it was. No, this is just someone defending what they do because the rise of people being informed and compassionate consumers has already destroyed what they used to do. So now they’re trying to find a way of justifying slaughtering and eating animals to keep their current way of working profitable. Sadly, having had my eyes opened, no matter how much you talk about biodiversity, snuffling pigs and animals living “healthy lives”, the killing part undoes it all.
  2. Stop blaming vegans for soy production. I hear the argument that we’re going to destroy the planet if we keep eating so many soy products, and that the rise in veganism is only making that problem worse. Not true. In another article in The Guardian in October 2017, it was reported by The WWF that it’s the growing of these crops to produce animal feed for the meat and dairy industries that is the undisputable culprit. There are some hard-hitting statements in that report, such as “If everyone ate the nutritionally recommended amount of animal products, we’d need 13% less land to grow feed. This means we’d save an area the size of the European Union from agricultural production.” – imagine how much more we’d save if everybody ate NO animal products. Also, “In 2010, we needed an area the size of Yorkshire to produce enough soy to feed our livestock. If global demand grows as anticipated, we’d need to step up our feed production by 80%, which just isn’t sustainable”. I’m not going to post the whole thing here but you get the point. And if you don’t, go and give it a read now.
  3. Rewilding is not sustainable on a global scale. Veganism is. Yes, it’s lovely that Isabella Tree and her husband, and maybe a relatively small number of other rich (and when I say rich, I mean in world terms) people, can have a small group of animals living and roaming on a relatively large plot of land. However, we simply cannot apply this principle to a large enough proportion of the planet to be able to significantly reduce the environmental impact AND feed everyone. That is, without either keeping some intensive meat and dairy farms or not consuming animal products. I’m happy with the latter.

I think it’s really important to provide some balance and a counter-argument to some of these articles. A lot of people will take them as fact, because of the nature of the publication they’re reading them in. People might be impressed or have their judgement clouded by the authoritative, scientific language that is used. Isabella Tree appears to be promoting a fantastic way of operating, with really great practices that a lot of conventional farmers can learn a lot from. But we need to remember that this is also a businesswoman protecting her interests, so her way might be the best way for her profits, but is it really the answer for the planet?

 

5 Reasons You Need To Watch Bake Off’s Vegan Week

Why The Great British Bake Off’s vegan episode is great news for everyone, even non-vegans.

I’m not the only one who was happy to hear that Channel 4 and Love Productions’ series The Great British Bake Off will feature a completely plant-based week in its upcoming series. Vegans everywhere are feeling a little bit more included in a world where, frankly, you can be looked on as a bit extreme or weird.

When I first went vegan, I stopped watching cookery programmes, mainly because I couldn’t really stomach seeing meat being prepared anymore (I was always squeamish about it, even in my meat eating days). It’s a weird feeling, feeling alienated by mainstream culture. I was always a bit of a follower of the mass-market, popular stuff in the past especially as a teenager/young adult when I was desperate to FIT IN and be ACCEPTED. I wanted to be able to go into school or work and be up to date on what everyone was talking about. This was especially true when I was working in the actual TV industry when not knowing what was going on just wasn’t an option. But recently I’ve entered a new era of my life. These days I’m comfortable with who I am, not worried about what people think I should be, and I’m not just going to blindly watch what everyone else is watching. It’s got to appeal not only to my interests but to my morals, which until recently I hadn’t even acknowledged myself, let alone publicly voiced.

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Inclusiveness aside, here are my 5 reasons why everyone (even non-vegans) is going to benefit from Bake Off’s vegan week.

1. It’s not that weird or extreme after all

I’m not going to go into why consuming dairy products is actually a bit weirder than drinking plant-based milk and eating non-dairy cheese (although if you’re interested, drop me a message, I’m happy to answer any questions). However, it’s still a very widely-held view that us vegans are pretty extreme in our approach to what we will and won’t consume.

I think that by showing that some of the alternatives to animal products that we use in our cooking are actually things you’ve already got in your cupboard or can be easily bought in a normal supermarket could really start to shift the view that we have to get everything from health food stores and it’s all made of hemp and twigs.

2. You don’t need eggs in cakes.

“What do you use instead of egg?” is one of the questions I’m most asked by non-vegans (and some non-baking vegans) when I post a photo of a cake on my Instagram feed. A lot of the time my answer is “absolutely nothing” – see my recipe for banana bread as an example. I made a lot of cakes before turning vegan and something ALWAYS went wrong. Too dry, too flat, cracked, whatever, there was always an issue. For some reason (and I’m not blaming eggs for all my baking failures), ALL of my vegan cakes have been moist, tasty, have risen perfectly and have gone down a storm with everyone who has eaten them. Having a Bake Off episode which removes eggs as an option in baking will really open people’s eyes to the fact they’re really not necessary.

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Delicious bake by @abbyavocado

 

And if you’re interested in my favourite EVER (vegan or not) cake, this is it. Seriously, try it, it’s AMAZING.

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Best ever chocolate cake

Also a massive mention here for Tiny Sarah’s Cakes. (whose delicious vegan Oreo cupcakes are the cover image for this article – thanks Sarah!) This lady really is an absolute cake making genius and when Bake Off is fully vegan every episode she should totally enter. I mean, just LOOK at these works of art…

3. Loads Of Stuff Is Already Vegan

There are many many different things that we call “accidentally vegan” – basically things that aren’t aimed at a vegan market but are staples/treats. These include some supermarket jam doughnuts, most bread (no, yeast is not a sentient being), loads of biscuits, and the majority of ready made pastry to name but a few. I hope that a few of these things (probably not the ready made pastry!) will pop up on Bake Off and make people realise that a lot of the stuff they already buy or make is vegan by luck rather than by design.

4. It’s A Whole New World

I have to admit that before making the change to being vegan I was thoroughly bored, stuck in a rut and, at times, a bit grossed out by cooking. I would default to the same old stuff every. single. week. Spaghetti bolognese, fajitas, chicken curry of some description, bacon sandwiches or duck wraps for lunch. Now though, it’s like a secret door (that isn’t actually a secret at all) has been opened and the options are ENDLESS and EXCITING. We generally try at least one new dish a week and I’ve totally fallen in love with cooking again. It’s made me feel more creative and i love it – I’d love for that possibility to be opened to the mainstream market too.

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The possibilities are endless

5. It Feels Like The Start Of Something Big

I really think that this is a teeny, tiny glimpse into the future – not just the future of TV either. I see a world where we’re all aware of the impact our choices make on others and on the planet – and one hour of television might just be enough to help some people start to make different choices.

Bake Off has taken the first mainstream step, but the wave is only just beginning to form and I’m excited to see who follows in its wake.

 

The Instavegan Interviews – Part 5

Getting to know my favourite vegan Instagram accounts.

Whoop! Number 5. I love the fact that even though all these people are so different from one another, there are always some consistent points that come up that tie each of them together (mainly reasons for being vegan and some of there storecupboard essentials) – it all reminds me about the lovely sense of community between us all. Anyway, on to this week’s interview – with the lovely Lyndsey.

Lyndsey is a 27 year old mum of 2 from Yorkshire, she’s raising her little boys vegan whilst growing her own food and spending lots of time in nature. She loves painting, being active and is animal mad. You can find her on Instagram at @lynds_wildandfree

How long have you been vegan and what initially motivated you to make the change?

It will be one year on the 30th September this year! I’m really excited to celebrate one whole year, I feel amazing since going vegan! I actually went vegan in quite a funny situation. Our friends had been for a bbq and said they’d watched Cowspiracy and were having a meat free month.. so a few days later when me and my partner were eating a roast beef dinner, we were browsing Netflix and I saw Cowspiracy. I laughed and said let’s watch it for a laugh, bet it’s so stupid! We started watching it (whilst eating our beef dinner) and by the end of it I put my fork down and looked at Mark. He looked back at me and said ‘don’t you dare say it’ and I said ‘I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry I’m going vegan.’ That was that! Mark went vegetarian a few days later and a few months after that was fully vegan! We are raising both our children vegan and our youngest has never had animal products at all!

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What inspired you to start posting about your vegan journey on Instagram and what have been the best bits so far?

I started out posting my vegan meals to show my friends and family what I was eating and maybe inspire them to try vegan meals. I don’t post my food as often now but that’s a lot down to I don’t get chance to take photos before it’s devoured! I’m hoping to get back into it now my youngest is a bit older. We are also trying to be as whole foods as possible so I’d like to start posting more to show how easy it can be and maybe inspire others!

If you could only follow 5 instagram accounts for the rest of your life which ones would they be?

I’m going to list 5 accounts that truly inspire and change my life daily rather than my friends accounts who I love if that’s okay!

The first one is @vegannkittenn because she is incredible, she inspires me to exercise, lead a healthier life and to get shit done! She also opens my eyes to a lot of stuff and educates me. PLUS she’s so super beautiful and her daughter is the sweetest little thing. She is to me what @andyfrisella is to her!

The second one has to be @theminimalists because alongside veganism I discovered minimalism. In my opinion the two go together hand in hand because being vegan is about being compassionate and making better choices and nourishing your body and minimalism is very very similar! It’s all about living a more meaningful life and this account really inspires me to do that.
The third account would be @matt_cama – he is an absolute beautiful soul. I found him through vegan accounts and he educates me daily on personal growth and understanding your mind. He’s truly changed my life and continues to do so.
The fourth is @barefootfive because the posts are SO relatable. I read them every day and almost always repost them on my stories because they’re so accurate and relevant! If I could I’d have barefootfive quotes all over my house!
The fifth account would have to be @conscious_muscle because first of all he’s incredible but mostly because he inspires me to do better and be better. I have recently started exercising and working on my body and his account keeps me focused AND I could not live without his insta stories when he’s gobbling at his turkeys and chatting to his pigs.

Can you list the 10 ESSENTIAL food items you always have in your cupboard, fridge or freezer…you know, the stuff you NEVER let run out because you use it so regularly.

1 – Soya milk
2 – Coconut oil
3 – Nutritional yeast
4 – Chickpeas
5 – Spinach
6 – AVOCADOS
7 – Garlic
8 – Onions
9 – Tinned tomatoes
10 – Tinned coconut milk

What’s your favourite vegan recipe to make?

My favourite recipe to make is my own vegan mac n cheese! It’s our naughty meal and we always eat far too much in one sitting. The recipe is super simple, fry onions and garlic in a bit of oil, then add a tin of coconut milk. In another pan cook the macaroni then drain and add to the pan with milk, add some black pepper, bit of salt, some violife cheese slices and LOADS OF NOOCH. Sooooo tasty!

Is there anyone you follow or admire that you’d particularly like to meet in real life?

I’ve met quite a few people from Instagram which has been amazing but I’d love to meet more. I’d love to meet @vegan_lucy_york and @elephants_and_cleaning!

Tell me about your friends and family. Are any of them vegan too? How have people close to you as a whole embraced your vegan journey?

The only vegans are me, my partner and my two children. Going vegan was met with a lot of concern and confusion as people hadn’t heard of it and were concerned about our children’s health. People now accept it and know a lot more about Veganism and it’s benefits and I’m hoping one day my whole family makes the connection with animals and they stop eating them! Ive made some wonderful vegan friends on Instagram which I’m super thankful for, I’m sure we’re the only vegans in our village! Some of the lovely vegan friends are @abbyavocado, @elephants_and_cleaning, @vegan_lucy_york, @our.veganlifestyle and @vegantruckdriver.

Would you rather have an avocado for a nose or slices of tofu for ears?

Tofu for ears so I could laugh at jokes I hear and say ‘that’s tofunny’ haha.

What’s your greatest vegan food creation?

It has to be my vegan mac n cheese but sadly I don’t have a photo! Then next best thing would have to be the James Aspey pancakes! So simple yet so so delicious!

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If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is interested in taking the leap to being vegan, what would it be?

Go for it! You won’t regret it! If you want to do it for animals then watch a documentary and it will happen instantly for you but if it’s health or environment then switch your non vegan meals one at a time and before you know it you’ll be eating completely Vegan!

Which 5 words would you use to describe the vibe/ethos of your Instagram account?

Wild, free, natural, vegan and sunshine.

What is the question you’re most regularly asked by your followers? Or the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked?

A lot of my followers are from when I had a house Instagram and aren’t vegan so I often get asked ‘don’t you miss bacon and cheese?’ I also get a lot of messages from people saying ‘I could never be vegan, I love cheese too much!’. The weirdest question I’ve ever been asked though is by a close friend who said when Mike Wagowski closes his eye is he blinking or winking and honestly it’s haunted me.

Do you have any big plans for the next few months that we should look out for?

YES! I’ve started pole fitness which I want to post more of, I’m attempting to be a lot more whole foods and raw, I’ve started yoga and I’m back into painting. My youngest baby is finally being less attached to me so I’m starting to make a life for myself again so I’m hoping as I come alive so does my insta!

Why The Meat Industry DOES Need To Panic About Instagram And The Rise Of Veganism

An article was published in The Times today, claiming that the meat industry is “fighting back” against the rise of veganism. The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board say that, apparently, veganism is a fad, a way for young people (“temporary vegans”) to show publicly that they are compassionate and ethically aware, and that “the growth in veganism has partially been fuelled by the growth in Instagram.” Whilst I disagree with the majority of what they say, I agree with the last part but can’t see why that’s a negative thing. Surely the rise in social media fuelling the rise of a more ethically-aware group of young people who are willing to talk about these issues more openly is a GOOD thing, not a reason to be turned off or discouraged from taking the same path? Surely having a ready-made, knowledgeable support network at the tap of a smartphone screen is exactly what people need to take their first steps or to find out more?

The Great Fake Meat Debate

They also say that “pseudo meat” products are “far from natural”. News just in: we know this! We LOVE processed/junk food too – we just don’t want that process to involve unnecessary killing or harm of animals. Also, as for a meat industry source saying they will pay bloggers and high-profile chefs to draw attention to how highly processed much of our food is – go on then, I’ll bet my last Oreo that for every one of your paid posts, there will be 10 on our side with a better counter-argument for eating plant-based rather than animal-based food.

As most of you know, the majority of the content I produce and interactions I have are within Instagram and, contrary to what the board says, the connections I’ve made, the people I follow and the sense of community and support we all feel makes me even more sure I will never, ever go back to eating meat or any other animal product, and I’m pretty sure my followers will all say the same.

Change Of Perspective

This way of life has also made me question other areas of my life, like the amount of plastic packaging the things we buy is covered in, or the fact that until recently I was just blindly reaching for the baby wipes to clean up ANYTHING when a cloth and some water would have done just fine. This whole Instagram vegan community is constantly conveying a strong message that we need to reevaluate what we consume and how we consume if we care about our planet.

The final point I want to address is that the report states that according to market research, “long-term adherents are even more of a minority with only one in ten vegans having followed the diet for more than ten years”. This might be the case now, but that’s because being vegan and finding alternatives that literally cover every single taste and cuisine is becoming easier by the week. I’ve only been vegan just over a year, and even since then I’ve found that the options, resources and support available to me has exploded. Assuming the demand continues to grow, which I can’t see NOT happening, try asking people in another ten years and see what they say then.

At the end of the day, having a report that’s been written by the people who are most scared about making these changes published in a national newspaper just screams desperation. Maybe, rather than telling farmers not to panic, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board should be telling them that now’s the time to make changes, ride the crest of the vegan wave and not to get left behind with what will one day become a completely redundant practice.

All I know is that it’s going to take more than an article in the national press to make me, or any of my followers change our minds – we’re here to stay!

If you’d like to find out more about some of the stories behind real people in the vegan Instagram community please have a look at my Instavegan Interviews series – real insights into why people make the change from non-vegan to vegan and how it’s affected their lives so far.

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