Well, Veganuary is offish over. Here’s my two pennies’ worth at the end of the month (find out what was surfing the waves of my mind during the month here).
- It is not, contrary to some opinions, a radical lifestyle. I’ve eaten quite a few more beans and developed a terribly sophisticated taste for dark chocolate but asides from that? The transition is not gigantesque – it is easy to eat vegan without necessarily meaning to.
- What I thought would be the most creatively stifling and disappointing would be vegan baking. I’m still a bit suspicious of baked goods with veggies in them (I’ll pass on sweet potato brownies and courgette cakes), but I was proved utterly wrong in my chocolate coconut cupcakes – I actually preferred their taste over the often-sickly, overdone cakes of today.
- I still find milk a bit of a problem. Don’t get me wrong, I love the alternatives. But these last couple of days the thought of an English Brekky tea with cow’s milk has drifted seductively through my brain.
- It is easy to get yourself in knots about the ecological impact of every single food you consume. I feel guilty for eating almonds, wonder about tofu and I wonder whether I should look up the environmental ethics of beans.
- It can, sometimes, be a bit unsociable, for example when you don’t partake in two lots of birthday cake in a row lolz. But I’d honestly say try – you’ll be surprised how natural it is.
Personally, what I find most encouraging about being vegan is that it is a commitment to act in the most environmentally-responsible way you can. So it is not about growing your own apple tree and living off that for the rest of your days, but finding, in your own way, a lifestyle that minimises damage to the environment. I find it a super positive message!
So I’ll leave you with a recipe for chilli con tofu – it has a great ring to it, right? I made it in my slow-cooker but you can adapt this for the hob too.
200g firm tofu
2 handfuls of peas
One can of kidney beans
Seasoning: salt, pepper, chilli flakes, paprika, mixed herbs, cumin, asafoetida (or onion/garlic, vegetable stock powder)
2 tbsp oil (vegetable, sunflower, olive, go with your heart)
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp harissa
- Drain tofu and press down into it until it is reasonably dry.
- ‘Mince’ it in a mixing bowl (I used a fork)
- Chop the carrot, and add it with the beans and peas to the crumbled tofu
- Add the seasoning
- Add oil and, when warm, chopped tomatoes, tom purée and harissa
- Pour the tofu mixture in
- Leave to cook for 5-6 hours on medium
- Enjoy with rice!