Saturday, November 10, 2012

Vegan Junk Food. Wicked and Delicious!

 Healthy food is fab, but every now and again, it's nice to eat junk food. vegans are no exception to this (well I'm not at least!).
What better on a lazy Saturday, than to have a delicious fat full dinner.
First, saute a mix of chopped onions, (red and white), cubed courgette and diced chestnut mushrooms. Let the smell of fried mushrooms fill your senses, I love it.
Put this tasty mix to the side (keep warm).

Put some spicy wedges in the oven to be cooking, while getting on with the rest of the food.
Then get the Fry's ' Spicey Burgers. Mmmmmm delicious.
You can use the same frying pan to fry these, the juices from the above season the burgers nicely. Turn occasionally, and try not to burn them (my usual type of cooking!)

 Next we have the 'Chicken' pops, another tasty savoury from Fry's.
The don't take long to cook, just light oil, turn regularly, and add the fruit seasoning right at the end. They're delicious. A bit of a treat - as not easy to find in shops!

All done. Find a lovely soft sesame burger bap. make up your burger, add to your plate, the spicy potato wedges, on this occasion I used McCain's lightly spiced wedges. McCain's have a vegan suitable list. Complete it with the mushroom mix, and 'chicken' pops, you have a truly, tasty, satisfying, junk food, meal. Now where's my glass of wine ! Perfect!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

simple, easy way to stop those cold sores!

As a former cold sore sufferer, I know how painful, and nasty they can be. Not to mention unsightly.
A few years ago, an alternative therapist, who was also a qualified doctor (medicine), told me that to stop a cold sore breaking out, take a multi-b-vitamin at the very first sign of a tingle. I was sceptical at first, but decided to give it a try. Couldn't do any harm, anyway! So over the last few years I have taken different brands of multi-b-vitamins, and different strengths. It doesn't make a difference, but it does work! The latest ones I've bought are from Sainsbury's, were reasonably cheap, and small enough to swallow easily, and are labelled as vegan. I have not had a cold sore since I have started to take a multi-b-vitamin at the first sign of one. Mind over matter? I don't know. Does it matter? It works for me. When I tell cold sore sufferers about his, I can see the scepticism in their face, so I doubt very much whether anyone actually tries it. Why not give it a go, it could be the end of those miserable cold sores.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Trigger Finger - a natural vegan cure

I have been suffering from trigger finger for a few months. What is trigger finger you may ask? At least that's what I thought when someone mentioned it to me. My middle finger of my left hand locks, and is painful. When I force it to release, with some effort, it shoots out, hence the name 'trigger finger'.
It has been getting slowly more painful. I researched the Internet, and found a heap of remedies / advice, the main medical one being a steroid injection into the affected digit  - ouch! A few places mentioned Evening Primrose Oil and Vitamin B6, and this seemed the least invasive remedy, and readily available. Finding a vegan Evening Primrose Oil wasn't as easy as I thought. Eventually I found some EPO vegecaps on the HealthSpan website. So I ordered some EPO and vegan B6. Healthspan sell lots of vegan suitable supplements, but unfortunately, you have to trawl through the ones you want, looking at the listing for the 'suitable for vegans' listing, more time consuming than I would like, but hey-ho, got what I wanted.
Now for the million dollar question - do they work? well, yes, they do. When I take one of each, a day, I notice that my finger is less painful, and although still locks, not nearly as much. On the days I forget to take to supplements, I certainly notice, after a few days, the pain increases, as a not so gentle reminder, that I haven't taken them. I'm hoping that by taking them regularly the symptoms will disappear, in time.
Just a word - I believe the trigger finger is caused (for me) by increase use of computers, well that's not going to change in the foreseeable future, better stock up on those supplements.

Vegan wine, nice choice at Sainsbury's

Now, I'm all for that sumptious bottle of locally made, organic, vegan wine, bought at a local health food store, or market. Perfect. But occassionally, I don't have that luxury. sometimes, after a long, hard, day at work, I just want to pop to my local shop and get a bottle of wine that I know is suitable for vegans. Convenient, affordable, and palatable.
I'm lucky (?) enough to live near a Sainsbury's local store, so when finishing work, after a late shift, popped in and scoured the wine. I wanted red wine, seems to be my preference lately. I usually opt for category 'C' being middle of the range, in sweetness, as I'm no connoisseur  on wine, so I take no chances! I found these two bottles of red wine, labelled suitable for vegetarians and vegans, each under a fiver, job done! I did not drink them all at one (honestly). I spread them out over a week or so, enjoying the odd glass, in the evening. In terms of taste, they were both acceptable, both tasted a little sharp on first sip, but nicely mellowed as the wine level lowered. The Claret was the cheapest, at about £3.50 (I think), it was on offer. An acceptable red wine, that was easy to drink, fruity, suprisingly rich tasting. The other, the Merlot, was softer on first tasting, and slightly smoother than the Claret. Sweet and fruity, and again easy to drink. Both measured up as affordable, available, and palatable. And being labelled vegan makes buying so much easier, so thanks to Sainsbury's for that.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Vegan cupcakes - new finds for decoration.

When I make cupcakes, I use my favourite cupcake book " Vegan cupcakes Take over the World". Their basic vanilla cupcake, or chocolate cupcake recipe works every time, and is easy to follow. The cupcakes are a little too sweet for me, so I need to try adjusting the sugar to taste, also the topping seems like a very large amount, so I tend to half the ingredients suggested for the topping.
While browsing the baking section of my local Wilkinson and The Range stores, I came across some cake decorating foodstuff that were labelled 'vegan'. I always have to try things labelled vegan, it seems like my duty, that if a company has gone to the effort to make and label vegan products, I can at least try them! So, there they were, amongst non-vegan items: Sprinkles labelled vegan, and colouring labelled vegan. Not all the products were vegan suitable, so my choices were limited, but here are the ones I bought:
Kylie and Georgina's Cake Sprinkles
and PME food colouring.
Both labelled 'vegan'.

The resulting cupcakes. Hmmmm, maybe 'yellow' was not the right colour for these, but they were tasty, and looked adorable.
PME do a whole range of colours, and it's easy to pick out the vegan suitable colours as they are labelled vegan.
Perfect excuse to make cupcakes, and I can't wait for my next 'find' to try out some more decorations!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Another fabulous cider suitable for vegans

I was lucky to find this fresh and fruity Woodland Berry Cider by Belgars at an Asda Store. it's a large 750cl bottle, and reasonably priced at £2.35. A lovely light fruity summer drink, best served chilled. Labelled suitable for vegans, which is always a bonus when shopping, I'm a sucker to try anything labelled vegan, just because the company has gone to the trouble to label it. This cider is definitely worth a try. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and look forward to buying it again.

A white chocolate spread, for Vegans !

At last there is a vegan white chocolate spread. I found it on the Vegan Store website, and just had to try some. This chocolate spread is simply delicious. I love white chocolate, and to have it in a jar to spread is just heaven! I would so love to see this product in local shops, but I guess since it's come all the way from Germany, it'll be a specialist item, at least for now it's available at the Vegan Store. I always like to keep an eye on the Vegan Store, as they have new products in all the time, and sell everything a vegan could want (although you don't have to be vegan to shop there!!!!!) mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Monday, May 7, 2012

More Vegan Suitable Ciders.

My latest mission seems to be to find cider that is suitable for Vegans. Hmmmm, nice mission! The latest finds are these two, scrumptious, yummy ciders. Strawberry cider from Brothers. Wow, this cider is so delicious. It's easy to forget it contains alcohol. it's sweet, it's strawberry tasting. Makes a lovely summer drink, on a hot day - not that we see many of those in the UK. I love this sweet cider. I look forward to finding more sweet, fruit ciders. Also I found this refreshing cider, which is more traditional tasting (that is just apples!), from the wonderful Welsh Cider company Gwynt Y Ddraig. I'm not sure if all of their ciders are vegan, but this one is labelled as suitable for vegans making it sooooo easy to buy! I can't wait to try their Cider and Blackberry.
A good reference for vegan alcohol is Barnivore. Check it out, make a not of your favourite vegan drinks, and head to your nearest stockist, in some cases, supermarkets, making it easy to get those drinks in, and when the next sunny day happens, fire up the barby and enjoy. next mission is to check out the barby treats for vegans!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Peace to all Creatures this Easter Time.

 Whether Religious or not, Easter is a time for reflection. Spring is here, the world is showing us hope for new life, and abundance. How will you use these precious resources?
We are what we eat, so what are you made of?
Animals are slaughtered, in fear and pain. Do you absorb the terror they feel?
Beautiful lambs and chicks are born, innocent and free. Or so they think, they do not know what horrors lie ahead of their brief, pitiful lives.
At the same time, trees bringing forth an abundance of fruit, vegetables are starting to grow. There is nothing in a vegan diet that is lacking for health and nutrition. Nature gives us an abundance of delicious vegetables, grains, pulses, herbs, fruit. Colourful, fresh and tasty. These days, vegan foods can be easily bought, ready made, so even the most time pressed or laziest cook, can have a quick nutritious vegan meal. Food with a clear conscience.

Spring. Little rabbits being born. Domestic rabbits make wonderful pets. But please remember that just like any other animal, they are for life not just for Easter/Christmas/birthdays etc. Not usually a good idea to buy someone a pet for a present. The recipient may not really want it, and the novelty soon wears off, leaving a poor abandoned animal, that has gone from having a warm , loving home, to being neglected and discarded. At this time of year, rabbits are becoming more popular to give as Easter gifts. Research rabbit care first, only give as a gift if the recipient really wants it, and is able and willing to care for it for it for the whole of the rabbits' life. Or better still wait until after Easter, and give a home to one of the poor abandoned rabbits that were given as an Easter gift.

Sir Wilfred Grenfell 1865-1940
Kindness to all god's creatures is an absolute rock-bottom necessity if peace and righteousness are to prevail.
The Adventure of Life

Pythagoras, 6th century B.C.
Alas, what wickedness to swallow flesh into our own flesh, to fatten our greedy bodies by cramming in other bodies, to have one living creature fed by the death of another1 in the midst of such wealth as earth, the best of mothers, providers, nothing forsooth satisfies you, but to behave like the Cyclopes inflicting sorry wounds   with cruel teeth! You cannot appease the hungry cravings of your wicked, gluttonous stomachs except by destroying some other life.
depicted in Ovid: the metamorphoses, translated by Mary M. Innes

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Probably the best vegan cheese for pizzas.

Since Heather Mills bought the Redwood Wholefood Company, their products have increased to satisfy a wide range of tastes. mainly savoury, but also some sweet.
The Cheezly range is a delicious range of cheeses, styled in familiar flavours, such as Cheddar, Edam and Mozzarella. Also more adventurous flavours such as Pepperjack, and Cranberry, mmmmm very nice! Some cheeses come in super melting type, so perfect for cheese toasties or pizza.
Redwoods produce other delicious savouries, such as their Cheatin range, which are 'fake meats' sure to satisfy vegans and non-vegans alike. Different shops stock different bits of their products, so it can be pot-luck as to what your local wholefood shop sells, but most well stocked wholefood shops will have something in their chiller cabinet from Redwoods.
While talking heather Mills and Redwoods, it's worth a mention about VBites. Based in Hove near Brighton, this fabulous vegan cafe has just re-opened for the summer, and has a new menu. The cafe is family friendly so a welcome break on a warm Spring day.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cider with Raspberry on a hot sunny day...........................

Sometimes you just have to thank supermarkets for their vegan products, especially when they are labelled as vegan, making shopping so much easier.
Here's a gem of a find - Sainsbury's Cider with raspberry. Serve chilled. I'm not a big cider drinker, but on a hot day, a glass of Sainsbury's  Cider with raspberry, served chilled, really does hit the spot. Pure refreshment! It tastes quite mild, neither too much apple or raspberry. It reminds me of summer, and I will certainly be buying the odd one or two when the weather is hot.
It's got me thinking about other flavoured ciders, and which ones are vegan, so I'll be on the look out, and checking, and will report back my finds, and my thoughts. Now, if only the UK had more sunny days......................

Thursday, March 22, 2012

the Extended Circle - A Dictionary of Humane Thought edited by Jon Wynne-Tyson

I am inspired by the book 'The Extended Circle' A Dictionary Of Humane Thought edited by Jon Wynne-Tyson. It makes me think, it makes me cry. It is a collection of phrases, quotes and short stories about animals and the way they are treated, by humans. It is hard to read in places, and some stories have left a deep impression on me that will haunt me forever. This is the most harrowing tale I have ever read:

Joseph Addison 1672-1719
 A person who was well skilled in dissection opened a bitch, as she lay in most exquisite tortures offered her one of her young puppies, which she immediately fell a-licking; and for the time seemed insensible to her own pain; on the removal she kept her eye fixed on it and began a wailing sort of cry which seemed to proceed rather from the loss of her young one than the sense of her own torment.
Spectator, No 120, 1711

I will from time to time relay quotes and stories from this thought provoking book. Read it and weep.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vegan 'cheese' from Tesco

Well done Tesco for adding a new line of dairy free, vegan suitable chilled foods. they have yogurts, desserts, milks, cheeses.
Good news for vegan pizza lovers, the cheese melts, and tastes quite good. Makes fab toasted cheese and onion sandwiches!
the more mainstream vegan products become the more accessible to all, and a good way to promote veganism. Suddenly not so freaky that people have to ask 'where do you get that' or' and where is that- I never go there!'. Anyone can get to Tesco's, and try delicious dairy free foods. Now all we want is other supermarkets to follow their example and stock such delights! the vanilla desserts are delicious, and their caramel desserts are wonderful. I also like their natural yoghurt, which is unsweetened, and tastes quite creamy. Hey tescos, how about bringing out a whole range of vegan suitable savoury products, vegan burgers, ready meals etc now there's an idea.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fabulous soaps from a lovely company in Wales.

I have discovered the most wonderful soaps. Made by a local couple, Derec and Rhian, who call their company 'Sebon Soaps'.
I chose two adorable soaps, one lavender and one patchouli and sweet orange. I really can't decide which I like best, as both are gorgeous. They are vegan suitable, and environmentally friendly, they are all natural and do not contain palm oils (which destroy the habitat of animals, and the rainforest). They lather nicely, and feel smooth and creamy on the skin. They smell divine. The soaps are sold on the website Sebon Soaps, or if you're in Cardiff on a Sunday morning, they can usually be found at the Riverside farmers market,  where you can also pick up delicious fresh fruit and veg, and get a vegan takeaway, from Fran, who also makes the most wonderful vegan welsh cakes. A lovely way to spend a sunny Sunday morning - a leisurely stroll alongside the Millennium Stadium, and check out the Riverside market.