Making the Change: Vegetarian to Vegan

Veganuary, the perfect time to talk about my journey to veganism!

I’ve been a vegetarian all my life. I was raised by a vegetarian mum and a vegan dad. We never had meat in the house but the lifestyle was never forced on me. As a child raised as a vegetarian, I hated the unfamiliar smell of meat and fish, to the point where sitting next to anyone eating it would make me feel sick (still true to some degree!) and I would have to hold my breath and look the other way going past the fish counter in supermarkets (also kind of true now!).

Being a vegetarian kid there are certain things that were a bit different. For one thing, shoes for school were a bit harder to find. As I got older we mainly went to ‘Vegetarian Shoes‘ in Brighton for them, that way we knew we had the whole shop to choose from! When I was old enough to understand, my parents explained to me what Gelatine was, and I remember walking home with a packet of Fruit Salad sweets, and my dad checked the ingredients for me and told me that they had gelatine in. I asked him “does that mean I can’t eat them?”, and he said that it was up to me, that I knew what was in them and that the choice was mine. I didn’t eat them.

With a one vegan parent and one vegetarian, we always had both cow’s milk and soya milk at home, neither one pushed on me more than the other. Everyone is always surprised when I tell them that I chose the soya milk from a really young age, never wanting dairy. I think this has really made my journey to veganism a LOT easier! I grew up watching my dad struggle to find anything to eat at restaurants, especially on holiday where he would often just have to get a plate of chips, and I think this put me off veganism as I was growing up, it all seemed so much of a faff! But I have really noticed a positive change in the availability of products for both vegetarians and vegans which I think is fantastic!

In the past I’ve said to people that I would be vegan it weren’t for: 1. Maltesers having milk in them, and 2. Brie. With that said, I never really knew the extent of cruelty to animals in the dairy industry. Now that I am more informed on the subject- mainly due to the fact that it is being talked about more with social media, netflix documentaries etc., the switch to veganism is less about what foods have to be cut out, and more about the ethical considerations and how my choices can make an impact, for better or for worse. Christmas has just been and gone with the bountiful cheese selections (including brie), and people say “aren’t you tempted by it?”, and I say no. It isn’t like a diet where you feel deprived of certain foods that you aren’t allowed. Once you take a look into what happens to the animals that are unfortunate enough to be born into the industries that make these foods, you can’t forget it. However, if a vegan-friendly malteser-style chocolate was invented, I’d be more than okay with that!

I think going vegan is a big step for a lot of people, maybe less so if, like me, you’re already vegetarian. But it is so worth it! There is so much support, and so many like-minded individuals out there that it is easier than it has ever been! There’s the age-old question of “but, what do you eat? Salad?”. I think from now on I’ll just direct anyone asking that over to my Instagram!

I’d love to hear from anyone who has made the change to veganism, or even if you’re trying vegetarianism for the first time, it all helps towards the same goals! Let me know your experiences in the comments 🙂

-B x

Vegan for the Animals

Vegan for the Planet

Vegan for myself.

 

 

Sweetcorn Chowder

Perfect for this cold weather, here is the recipe for a tasty sweetcorn chowder with a great chilli kick!

The weather is getting colder, so I recommend making some of this yummy, spicy gorgeousness!

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

1 medium potato, diced

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves

Oil for sautéing

1 medium leek, sliced

200g Tinned Sweetcorn

1 cube vegetable stock

200mls water

1 tablespoon flour

1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced

Salt & Pepper

 

Method

In a large saucepan, sautée the onions and garlic for 3 minutes. Add the leek and potato and continue to cook on a low heat for another 3 minutes or so.

Add the flour to the vegetables, mix together, then add the vegetable stock, water, sweetcorn (saving some sweetcorn for after blending) and chilli.

Bring the chowder to the boil, then simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the potato is soft. Blend together to your desired consistency, then add the rest of the sweetcorn and heat through. Season with salt & pepper then serve!

Enjoy & Let me know what you think!

 

 

Tomato, Olive and Pesto Tofu scramble

A gorgeous vegan dish- super quick to make, and so tasty! 😍 DELISH!

Serves 1, or 2 if as a side.

This is what I made when I fancied a cooked breakfast… but also wanted to have Pesto 🙄

Ingredients

-tablespoon (ish!) of vegan margarine or oil to fry

-1/2 block Tofu (I used cauldron), liquid drained away and crumbled

-6 cherry tomatoes, halved

-olives, however many you like!

-Pesto, 3 tablespoons, or however much you want (I like to be quite generous!)

Method

Fry the tofu and tomatoes in a frying pan, seasoned with salt to your taste, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick.

Once the tofu is starting to brown, add the olives.

When the tofu is well browned, add the pesto and mix well.

Fry for a further minute or so then plate up!

Enjoy! Let me know how you get on and share your photos with me on Instagram!

-B

Curried Squash Pasties

100% vegan, totally Autumnal, completely yummy pasties! What’s not to love?

Serves 4

I LOVE Autumn! One of the best things about it is the many amazing seasonal foods that come with it, one of which being squash! I have had some beautiful squash in my kitchen for a while (which I bought mainly because I thought they were pretty!), and thought it was time to use them in something.

IMG_4144This is super easy (like everything I make!) and absolutely delish!

Ingredients

Pastry:

  • 230g Plain flour
  • 120g Vegan Margarine (I used Pure Sunflower spread)

Filling:

  • 1 Red Onion, finely chopped
  • 400g Squash, chopped into chunks
  • ½ teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mixed herbs
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon Ginger
  • 20g Margarine
  • 2 Tablespoons water

Method

Prepare the pastry: rub the margarine into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add just enough water so that it combines into a stiff dough. Chill while you prepare the filling.

Preheat the oven to 200ºc

Prepare the filling: lightly fry the onion in the margarine, add the squash, herbs spices and mix until well coated. Continue to cook gently for a few minutes with the lid on. Add the water and mix again, then leave to gently cook for around 15 minutes (or until squash is cooked).

Roll out the pastry to about 5mm, and using a small circular plate (I used a saucer), cut around to make 4 circles and place on a greaseproof paper covered baking tray.

Divide the mixture between the 4 pasties, then fold in half (dampening the edges so they stick). Crimp the edges with a fork if you wish. Poke a few holes in each pasty to allow steam to escape, decorate if you wish (and can be bothered!) and put in the oven for around 20 minutes, or until cooked!

Enjoy!

Please let me know what you think, and if you try making them use #veggiebeckyblog on Instagram so I can see what you’ve been up to!

-B xx

Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Any excuse to have cake for breakfast! (or lunch, or dinner…)

Makes 12 Muffins

I LOVE a good blueberry muffin, so since I’ve been doing a lot of vegan baking I thought I’d give a vegan version a try!

I pretty much always have a stash of frozen blueberries and all the other ingredients are things that I think everyone probably has in their kitchen cupboards! These are super quick and easy to make, and taste darn good too!

Ingredients

1½ cups of plain (all-purpose) flour (and a little to coat the blueberries with before adding to the batter, this helps to stop them sinking during baking)

½ a cup of sugar

¾ cups of soya milk

¼ cup oil

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

1 cup frozen blueberries (I used a bit more than this as I like mine quite fruity)

Method

  1. Line a muffin tin with cases. Lightly coat blueberries with flour and set aside. Pre-heat oven to 200°c
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl and combine
  3. Add the soya milk and oil to the dry ingredients and mix
  4. Add the flour coated frozen blueberries and mix until they are evenly distributed
  5. Spoon the mixture equally into the cases and bake for 25-30 minutes
  6. Leave them to cool for a couple of minutes in the tin before removing the muffins.

 

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! Please let me know how you get on, and also if you have any tips/improvements you’ve found!

-B x

 

Gingerbread Men Recipe

These are super easy to make and totally vegan friendly- what’s not to love!

So I know that it is WAY too soon to mention the C-word, but that said I really fancied making some gingerbread men so what can you do?! These are super easy to make and totally vegan friendly what’s not to love!

Makes: approx 24 small biscuits

Time: 60 minutes (including 30 minutes cooling time/cup of tea time 😉 )

You will need: A medium sized saucepan, mixing bowl, wooden spoon, sieve, baking tray(s), rolling pin, cooling rack.

Ingredients

190g Plain (all-purpose) flour

60g Margarine (vegan-friendly)

½ teaspoon Ground cloves

1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1 teaspoon Ground Ginger (more if you’re like me and like them super ginger-y!)

90g Brown sugar

2 tablespoons Golden Syrup

1 teaspoon baking powder

Method

  1. Put the margarine, golden syrup and sugar in a medium sized saucepan on a low-medium heat and stir every now and again until melted and combined.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and spices into a bowl and mix until well combined.
  3. Taking the saucepan off the heat, mix the dry ingredients into the margarine mixture until it resembles a dough (adding more flour if necessary)
  4. Make into a ball shape and wrap in cling film. Chill in the fridge for 30 mins or so.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 180°c
  6. Unwrap the dough and on a floured surface, roll to approx half a centimetre in thickness and cut out using whichever shaped cutter you like.
  7.  Transfer to a baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until they are firm.
  8. Cool on a wire rack before icing (if you wish).
  9. ENJOY!!

Let me know what you guys think and any tweaks or adjustments you suggest!

p.s. I also like putting some orange zest in them for an even more festive treat!

Vegan Blueberry-topped Waffles

Prep: 5 minutes

Cooking: 5-10 minutes (depending on waffle iron)

Serves: 2

Who doesn’t love waffles?! Being vegan (or running out of eggs) shouldn’t stop you from enjoying them. Here is a super simple recipe for some Vegan waffles topped with a blueberry sauce and fresh blueberries and strawberries. Served with soya yoghurt for a bit of freshness.

Ingredients

Waffles:

70g Plain flour

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

240ml Soya Milk

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Low-cal cooking spray (fry-light or similar)

Sauce:

2 Handfuls of fresh or frozen blueberries

2 tablespoon Agave Nectar (or sugar if you don’t have this)

4 tablespoons water

Toppings:

Fresh blueberries, strawberries and soya yoghurt

Method

Turn on waffle iron to start it heating up.

  1. Put all the ingredients for the blueberry sauce in a small saucepan, give it a stir and start on a medium heat. Leave your sauce to start cooking (gently stir occasionally) and get to work on the waffles.
  2. Measure out all ingredients for the waffles and whizz up in a food processor! (I used my smoothie maker as it’s less washing up and easy to pour from)
  3. Before pouring the mix out, give the iron a couple of sprays of oil. Cook as per your waffle iron instructions.
  4. By the time your waffles are cooked the sauce should be gorgeous, thick and dark purple in colour.
  5. Dish up however you like! (P.s. start the pan used for the sauce soaking straight away to make life a lot easier!)

Hope you enjoy- let me know any top tips and ideas in the comments ❤️

-B

Being Veggie in Paris: Honeymooning!

So a little over two weeks ago I married the man of my dreams… We then went on a honeymoon to somewhere we have both wanted to go for a REALLY long time…Paris!

So I won’t pretend that while we were there we tried to eat even remotely healthily, or even that we had structured meals every day, but we had some really good veggie food whilst we were there and I want to share it with you guys so that if any veggies (or non-veggies like my hubby) are going to Paris, you might have a few ideas for places to go!

DAY 1

We arrived pretty late in the day, however our hotel was in the gorgeous Saint-Germain des Prés so there were plenty of options for a light bite.

We opted for the legendary Café de Flore, where I had ‘tomates, mozzarella di buffala’, and the hubby opted for an omelette with a side salad.

After this we went for a late-night stroll around the Louvre which was breathtaking.

DAY 2

On our second day we took a walk to the Arc de Triomphe and down the Champs-Elysées. I was a little side-tracked by the Ladurée store, which was heavenly, and after a Starbucks and a bit of shopping we wandered back to the hotel. That evening we decided to go up the Eiffel tower, where we accidentally ended up in the queue for the stairs- all 669 (I think!) of them.

DAY 3

We started the day at another legendary café, the main rival of Café de Flore – Les Deux Magots. As it was our honeymoon, we decided to spoil ourselves and go for Le Petit Déjeuner JP Sartre- Choice of hot drinks with one refill, The baker’s basket: two Danish pastries and bread with Poitou-Charentes butter, hand-crafted jam or honey, Freshly-squeezed fruit juice (orange or grapefruit), Plain yoghurt or fruit salad (according to the season)

Deciding on a day of exploring the neighbourhood, we took a wander over to Notre-Dame. On the way back, a little bit peckish, we stopped of at the local branch of Ladureé’s Salon de Thé, which was fantastic!

Now, one of the only things I remember reading in my guide book was that you should avoid pizza when in Paris; so of course we completely ignored that advice and headed to Vesuvio, and I have to say, as a vegetarian it was really nice to not have to think about what to order as there were so many veggie options. It really was a lovely meal out, so much so that we returned there on day 5 for more Italian loveliness!

DAY 4

Versailles! What an amazing, stunning, awe-inspiring place! We went there with the intention of having a picnic in the sunshine (which is what all the guidebooks suggest), however we didn’t realise that you aren’t allowed to take in alcohol, so that bottle of champers that we’d planned on having was then drunk over the road by the ‘Pièce d’Eau des Suisses’ which was actually still a very picturesque picnic spot so it worked out well in the end! Our picnic was very simple, a baguette, brie and crisps all from Monoprix (a supermarché)- I think it’s safe to say that it was the cheapest meal we had all holiday! After that, we then went back to the Palace/Château and had a proper walk around the gardens, including a row on the ‘Grandes Eaux de Versailles’ which was great fun.

That evening we had the best meal of our whole honeymoon. If I could recommend only one thing to do in Paris, this would be it- The Calife dinner cruise! I can honestly not rave about this enough, it was romantic, divine food, brilliant service, and maybe not cheap but given what you get scenery-wise throughout the whole cruise, the quality of the food and the excellent service I felt that it was well worth it! I would go on this cruise again in a heartbeat. The menu is fairly set- being that the dinner is being cooked on a boat, however there is a meat option and a veggie option for the starter and main meal, and some gorgeous choices for pudding. I am a rather fussy eater (even for a veggie), and if I can find something to eat that says something!

DAY 5

On our last full day we were starting to flag a little after all the walking we had been doing, so we went shopping! The weather wasn’t amazing, with quite a lot of rain, so we stayed in the Les Halles shopping centre. On the way back to the hotel area we (somehow) ended up getting some more macarons in Ladurée! As I mentioned earlier, we had dinner at Vesuvio again, which was fab!

IMG_3531

DAY 6

Our last day 😦

Exhausted, aching from all the walking, and completely lacking in funds, we had our last coffee and croissant (with the obligatory people-watching) from the terrace of Le Bonaparte which was the perfect end to our trip.  Then came the hours of waiting at the airport for our delayed flight!

Paris really is the most enchanting place I have ever been, I really don’t think I’ve seen felt so in awe as that first night seeing the pyramids at the Louvre. Everything after that was just as jaw-dropping, and I really can’t wait to go back!

Let me know in the comments if there’s anywhere that you would recommend, or if you’ve been to any of the places I’ve mentioned!

-B

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Vegan Chow Mein

A healthy alternative to a takeaway, great for lunch or dinner, and 100% vegan!
463 Calories per serving.
Complete with Nutritional info!

SERVES 2

Nutritional info (per serving): 

Calories – 463, Carbohydrates – 63.7g , Fat – 11.6g, Protein – 26.3g

Ingredients:

  • 2x 150g Ready to Wok Soft Noodles (Aldi)
  • 200g Babycorn & Mangetout (Sainsbury’s)
  • 200g Original Tofu (Cauldron)*, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons Light Soy Sauce (Sainsbury’s)
  • 2 tablespoons Sweet Chilli Sauce (Sainsbury’s)
  • 1 Red Pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
  • Frylight Olive Oil cooking spray

*this tofu has a lot of fluid in it, so, before you cook it wrap it in kitchen roll and sandwich between a chopping board and something heavy (I used a casserole dish). This squeezes the excess fluid from it and means that the flavours don’t get diluted when you cook it. Another option is always to buy a pack of firm tofu instead!

Method:

Lightly fry the garlic, then add the tofu cubes and fry on a high heat for 3 minutes until  browned.

Stir in the babycorn, red pepper, mangetout and fry for 2 minutes.

Add the noodles, soy sauce and chilli sauce and serve once the noodles are heated through.

Enjoy! Let me know if you try it and also if you have any ideas for improvements!

-B x

Blueberry & Apple Oaty Crumble Recipe

Serves 4

Nutritional info  (per portion): Calories 428; Protein (g) 8.4; Carbs (g) 62.6; Fat (g) 16.2

Fruit crumbles are a fantastic way of using up old fruit in your fridge/freezer, whipping up a quick and yummy dessert in the process! I love a crumble, however this post is going to be about the crumble that I fell in love with as a child. It doesn’t have that same overly sugary topping that so many crumbles have, and it is better for it; it also (because of the seeds and oats in the topping) has more texture and bite to it, which (surprise, surprise – I LOVE!).

A standard crumble topping would normally consist of: butter/margarine, flour and sugar. This crumble has a few added ingredients, as you can see below.

Ingredients

  • 55g/2oz Margarine*
  • 55g/2oz Sugar
  • 40g/1.5oz Sunflower seeds
  • 110g/4oz Jumbo oats
  • 55g/2oz Plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 350g frozen blueberries and 400g apples (or whatever fruit you want to use!)

*Of course you can use butter here, but as I wanted to keep this crumble Vegan-friendly, I used ‘Pure’ Sunflower spread (see photo), which works really well in everything and is used in nearly all of my baking and cooking.

Method

Step 1: Melt the margarine in a saucepan, then add the sunflower seeds and cook (on a low heat) for a couple of minutes.

Step 2: Take the pan off the heat and mix in the oats, followed by the flour and sugar. Set to one side.

Step 3: In a saucepan (on a low heat) partly cook your fruit of choice.

Step 4: Spread the topping over your fruit, and cook at 180°c for 20-25 minutes (or until golden brown). Don’t worry if fruit bubbles up through the topping, it just adds a rustic homemade touch to the crumble!

 

 

Note on nutritional info: 

All the Macros shown at the top of this page are calculated using the ingredients listed; and to do this I entered them into MyFitnessPal (which I use ALL the time!). So you can get a better idea of the products I used and the calories for each so you can tweak it in any way you like, I have taken a screenshot of the crumble as a meal in the app.

IMG_0064

Let me know what you think in the comments and if you have any suggestions feel free to let me know! Enjoy!

-B x