Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: vegan (Page 1 of 2)

Vegan Musings

Yesterday my boet was in town and we went out for lunch. I chose Massimo’s in Hout Bay because I have never been and I know that they have an omni and special vegan menu. I had a most delicious vegan pizza (my only mistake was adding vegan cheese to it; horrible, unmelty coconut oil flavoured lumps) and everyone’s food was good. They even had a selection of vegan wines to choose from. I like that. It was all expensive. Eating out is expensive which is why I don’t do it that often.

It is so important for me that being a vegan isn’t about having to spend more money on food. Eating out is an absolute treat. Buying ingredients is not about buying expensive meat or dairy substitutes. In fact the only thing I don’t resent spending money on is cashew nuts, after discovering how they grow when I was in India.

Although I adore the brilliant sharing of information, recipes and advice on social media, the curse of belonging to Facebum vegan groups is that they can be both judgemental and snobby. This is a problem when vegans are trying to convince the average Joe that being a vegan is both accessible and affordable.

So when I am Facebum invited to a pop-up dining experience at R450 a head, or I read about a vegan high tea that costs the same as my weekly veggie purchase, I get a little antsy. When I read that soy milk is out and almond milk, at double the price is in, I do have a bit of a knee jerk response that omnis who might want to transition would find that off putting.

Big Friendly and I popped into De Waal Park on Saturday. I dragged him because I saw on Facebum that there was a vegan bake sale on and I wanted to support it. I want to support as many vegan initiatives as I can so that they continue to happen. I didn’t tell him that the teeniest crunchie and minute lemon poppyseed square cost R40. The poppyseed cake was ok. Big Friendly didn’t even remember to eat the crunchie I bought for him. It was too small to notice on the kitchen table.

And I am left feeling a little grumbly. This is what I think. Animal based protein is expensive. If a restaurant needs to ‘veganise’ a recipe they are leaving out the most expensive part of it. Vegan dishes cost less to make than omni ones. Soy milk costs only a teeny bit more than cow’s milk. Anything with cheese in should be more expensive, not less expensive than the non cheese version.

We vegans should be able to convince people that veganism is not a pastime for the well-heeled. But we need to demand that it is more affordable.

 

Vegan Lasagna Supreme

I spent the day cooking – a rare occurrence, but very successful. I made vegan kneidlach (matzo balls) in non-chicken soup, and then I made my first ever and definitely the best vegan lasagna. I scoured vegan lasagna recipes online and loved parts of them, but not the whole ones, and so I took the bits I liked from the recipes, adapted them, and combined them, and it was a total success.

I am going to try and write up the whole thing, and all the parts.

The parts

Italian tomato sauce, made from scratch, mushroom and spinach filling, cashew ‘cheese’, bechamel, lasagna sheets

  1. Tomato sauce

Ingredients – half onion chopped, clove of garlic, 1 fresh chilli, olive oil, dried thyme, sweet basil, oregano, 1 tin tomato puree, a small tub of tomato paste, water, a handful of fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, salt, black pepper

Fry the onion and garlic in a splash of olive oil, adding the dried herbs and chilli. Then add the tomato paste and stir before adding the tin of tomato puree (you can use a tin of whole tomatoes too), balsamic vinegar, half a tin of water, salt, pepper to taste. Cook on a medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly and bubbles. Then add chopped fresh basil and mix in.

2.  Mushroom and spinach filling

Ingredients – half a punnet of button mushrooms, a bunch (or packet) of spinach – washed, de-stemmed and shredded, half an onion, Italian dried herbs, clove of garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Fry the onion, garlic and herbs. Add the finely chopped mushrooms, and when golden, add the spinach, salt, pepper and lemon juice.

3. Cashew cheese

Ingredients  – 1 cup pre-soaked cashews, clove of garlic mashed, 3 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, 6 tbsp water and 3 tbsp nutritional yeast.

Blitz everything in a food processor until smooth.

4. Bechamel

Ingredients – 1.5 cups soya milk, 2 tbsp flour, 3 tbsp olive oil, salt pepper

Heat the olive oil and add the flour, whisking fast until smooth. Add the milk slowly, whisking all the time, over a medium heat. Stir until sauce thickens, adding salt and pepper to taste. When sauce is thick take it off the heat.

Build the lasagna by putting dry lasagna sheets down first, then layering mushroom and spinach, tomato sauce, bechamel and blobs of cashew cheese. Do this three times in this order, ending up with a béchamel and cheese top.

Bang into a preheated (180°) oven. I used a casserole dish with a lid, and I baked it for 40 minutes.

I have made myself a bit sick. I have eaten half that dish. So good. So amazingly good.

 

 

Accidentally delicious Vegan Salad

Sometimes I’ve just got to blog about it. I am currently eating and blogging at the same time because I have to tell you about this morning’s accidental salad.

Quinoa left over salad (quinoa – my special recipe, diced cucumber, snap peas, spring onion, blanched green beans, basil, flat leaf parsley), shredded cabbage (my new obsession), diced avo, tablespoons of chia seeds, goji berries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, tahini, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar. So completely delicious.

In the Presence of

Last night I went to see something quite transformational and spiritually injectifying. My ex student Melanie Aiff organised a sort of concert/gathering/jam/witnessing of creative live performance and music in which she was the thread, voice, word, move with all these other amazing people in the space (the totally transformed Theatre Arts Admin Collective).

She advertised it as Mel Mwevi Shares, and there was a lot of sharing. It was like being in her crazy lounge and reading her diaries (entries of which were played as a slide show on the big screen), while sitting on cushions on the floor.

She sang, performed poetry, spoke rambling personal stories, got outraged, introduced us to her friends (and some fellow performers) from Breaking Bread, a one woman organisation who takes care of and feeds the homeless and helpless of Salt River, Woodstock and Obz, and we ate delicious vegan food, and fell in love with Mel and her friends.

Mel is the easiest and most charming person to watch. Somehow she combines the deepest emotion with the lightness of touch, and sheer enjoyment, indulgence, arrow sharp point slash of intention, trivial tantrum are all combined to make everything she does real and meaningful.

We sat transfixed for two sets that lasted almost three hours and I (who can barely manage a 55 minute play) was happy to be there until the full moon rose again.

Now here is the thing. Mel Mwevi is a true artist. She is a goddess of the word, a siren of sound and a wizard witch of the performance space. She needs to be able to make and share in every crevice, corner and stadium of the world. She is unique and inspirational. She needs to be given lots of hard cash to do what she does, and to pay the troupes of people that will work with her. I know there are people who have managed to get this right, with patrons and crowd funding. So, people who have, or who know of people who have, please let her know how. I will connect you up.

PS. Photo stolen from Facebook. Taken by Jono Tait.

Princess Stuffed Mushroom Magic

Sometimes I get so obsessed by a recipe I invent I have it three times in a row. This is one of them, so I thought I would put it down here, for everyone.

I bought big brown mushrooms but didn’t really have a purpose in mind and then I bought a jar of Pesto Princess Red Pesto (sun dried tomato and pepper) because it was dairy free, and wasn’t sure what I would be doing with that either.

Then, when I opened the fridge, I saw them both and an idea sprang to mind.

Oh, and coconut flakes? They have been sitting in my cupboard since I bought a stash from Komati Foods in Obz for very cheap. I don’t know how to use coconut flakes.

Long story short. I allowed the inspiration to flow, stuffed the mushrooms with the pesto, sprinkled chilli flakes over and topped with handfuls of dried coconut flakes.

Then I bunged them into the oven and waited until the coconut flakes went brown before hauling them out.

In this first version I sliced them, and put them on a bed of sautéed spinach with nutritional yeast, and sliced avo, all on a warm roti.

There are no more pics, because, eaten.

I also did these mushrooms with fresh tomatoes and lettuce (and a drop of tahini and lemon) in a roti, and one with just mushrooms, lettuce and avo. All were equally delicious.

Princess Stuffed Mushroom Recipe

Ingredients

Pesto Princess dairy free red pesto

Big brown mushrooms

chilli flakes

Coconut flakes

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200°. Scoop a heaped teaspoon of pesto into each mushroom and spread it around. Sprinkle chilli flakes over and put coconut flakes on top. Bung in oven and watch for the coconut flakes to go brown.

 

 

 

The Best Vegan Cottage Cheese

I can’t help myself. I am so busy getting ready to go and visit my bestie in NYC, but I had to stop and write this post because every vegan and wanna be vegan I know will delight in this unbelievably easy vegan cottage cheese recipe.

Aside from the soaking of the cashews, it also took about 4 minutes to make, including picking the basil leaves.

I will share exactly what I did, making it up depending on what I had.

Ingredients

1/2 cup soaked cashews (mine soaked for so long they may have fermented slightly;good for cheese)

1 handful fresh sweet basil

1 stem flat leaf parsley

1 clove garlic

salt

1 heaped tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

dash of olive oil

Method

Blitz all ingredients, except for oil, in mini food processor. I like mine a little grainy, so I didn’t blitz until it was a paste. Add oil and blitz again. Put in container and refrigerate, if you can stop yourself from eating it all.

 

 

 

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén