Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 30: Vegan Covent Garden

Some of you will probably already know it but even after my eleven years of London living I had to double check. The wonderful little hidey hole that is Neals Yard in Covent Garden, has plentiful vegan food options as well as back rubs, hot skaters and nice stuff for your face. When my folks were in town we paid the Neal's Yard Salad Bar a little visit. 

Ignoring the hideous orange and purple decor, they have quite a good, welcoming menu that caters for meat eaters, veggies and vegans. With food codes ahoy all over the menu, I think they've probably got all picky eaters covered, so it's a good place for varied palates. Generally, the prices are really low, especially considering that they offer open air dining right in the heart of Covent Garden. I do, however, think some things are most offensively overpriced especially as the food has a definite canteen, reheated feel and the service we received was a long, long way from special. £5 for peanut butter on toast? Do me a favour you greedy hippies.

Sadly I didn't have my camera on hand for documentation but I gave the vegan pizza a go. It was odd. Passable, if for nothing more than offering a starting point for my own vegan pizza trials. There was nowhere near enough herby flavour, yet there was definite potential. The vegetables were good and the vegan cheese gunk stuff ok but the lack of definite flavour of any sort meant I was enjoying the consistency of the base more than anything. 

Although I find it very easy to linger and amuse myself writing about the bad bits, it's a lovely place to sit on a sunny afternoon and with so many vegan options, I should probably shut the fuck up and make the most of it. However, I refuse to be grateful when I'm paying for the pleasure. Pictures like this epitomise what pisses me off about vegan dining thus far...

Colour scheme and smiley sun imagery aside, seriously?! This picture is on the gallery page of their website. The first and only picture in the gallery, to be precise. Do I need to point out how shit it is? I'm no photographer but did someone really fail to notice Mrs 90s bedcover jacket, standing smack bang in the middle of the shot?!! Sort it out. It's ugly, lazy, hippy vegan and you know I'm hunting sexy, slick, chic, affordable vegan. So far Ms Cupcake is the only one who's made it anywhere close. Where is everything else?!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


In lieu of more grovelling about my cyber slacking, I thought I'd write you a late night post about baking and fish & chips instead. Apologies get boring, chips and cake do not.

This month has been a real test and I have more than failed, however I have discovered a lot about myself, my terrible habits and what I really enjoying sliding between my lips. I thought I would die without butter. You heard all about it here. Well. I have not consumed even the tiniest bit of it this month and I tell you now... I've learnt to survive. It's salty goodness only made me fat so I'm over it. Savlon spread is my new friend. Butter is merely a memory of pregan past.
I awoke this morning to that moment of terror most of you will have experienced at least once. The one when you realise the sheets are not yours and you have little recollection of events leading to your nudity and/ or geographical location. Thankfully, I was at my friends house and had innocently passed out, mouth gaping, clutching my toothbrush. Anyway, she's a terribly healthy lass and has cupboards that are more vegan than mine will ever be, so had loads of legal hangover help in food form. The visit also brought back an old memory...

Vitalite! You'd forgotten about it too hadn't you?! Well, in addition to producing one of the most memorable adverts/ catchy jingles about a fake butter ever, they also still make VEGAN fake butter. I've even double checked the site as I could barely see this morning so missed the stamp on the tub!

Among the key learning of the month have been that I need to do considerably more intense and focused research on two topics: CHIPS & CAKE! I know that publicly blogging offers the chance to create the sophisticated, demure, groomed persona you potentially dreamed of, however I decided against that from the very start. Why waste your energy bullshitting? I don't want to be fat but I do occasionally enjoy the most quintessential of British fodder: chips and cake, and I may as well tell the world about it. I love them so much so that I have failed the challenge twice due to consumption of chips. One was Day 24, the other was.... today. I'm hungover, it was out of my hands. My body did the talking, forgive and forget jaaa?

Now chips came up in discussion way back on Day 5 with a friend who is very well informed on the Fish & Chip industry and it's techniques. Having a father who owns multiple Fish & Chip shops around central England, this particularly enterprising friend initiated a concept called Celiac Tuesday where, yup, you're there, every Tuesday saw specific oil and equipment used to enable all the local sufferers to creep from the woodwork for their fishy fix. Now, why the hell aren't there vegan chips out there??? Well, some quick googling tells me that there are, you just have to find them. If any of you are in the North, perhaps you could whizz over to Manchester to the Chorlton Big Green Festival and find the folk at Something Fishy to try some for me? Until I get back into my freelance world, I'm trapped down south plotting and planning, so could do with some roving reviewers to do some legwork for me...

Today really was an eventful one and at last, it saw me cross the threshold into the wonderful Brixton world of Ms Cupcake. I've talked about her a lot but hadn't actually tried a full cake, only a bit of icing at Brighton shamblefest. Well worth it, is my summation. Although terribly, terribly sweet, those cupcakes are seriously good and motherfuckingveeeeegggaaaaannnn. You really wouldn't know it either. The Triple Chocolate one is yet another specific item that I can honestly say will keep my on that vegan wagon. If I can get sweet hits like Booja Booja and this super, rich, incredible delicious chocolate cupcake, vegan life will be ok. I've discovered that butter can go to hell but cake is here to stay, so it better be vegan!

Despite the stupid hour already, I'm popping out to one of those evil 24hr hypermarkets around the corner for some vegan items to whizz up into the following cakes. I've got folk to thank and I want to do it with cake. If I don't make the bloody thing, some other dickhead will go and buy one full of earlobes and little eggy foeti that I can't eat. That's not happening.

I'll try and take some pics and give you a review of how these two bad boys work out;

I wish I didn't but I really enjoy late night baking! Right, I'm off...

Day 27 and 28: DID NOT EXIST

Yesterday, 27th March 2012 basically did not exist. It didn't happen. It was a blur or a day that began on Monday 26th 2012 after 2hrs sleep. 

Bad planning, procrastination, chaos, disorder, lacking confidence in my own decision making and a disturbing lack of technical skills are many of the reasons for this ridiculous behaviour. I punished myself brutally for being so chaotic and now feel like absolute shit. If any of this sounds familiar to you, it won't come as much of a surprise that I had a college deadline yesterday. 

After surviving my all night marathon and dragging myself, an A1 portfolio and a bag full of sketchbooks etc 20 mins to the train station, I was then forced to stand on the packed train for the entire journey between Brighton to London. Ouch! I was so tired that I kept falling asleep standing up, waking up as I was about to fall over. I can only imagine how funny that must have been to observe. Can you believe that even with that kind of display, not one person wanted to volunteer their seat?!

Day 28 was much the same, blur blur, invigilation, hanging out with my parents and then going to my own private view. Yes that is the truth. MY OWN PRIVATE VIEW. It wasn't a solo show sadly, just a tiny space within the City Lit Foundation Course show, but one day. You have to start somewhere right? 

So forgive me for slacking but I have been arting and socialising. I have also been thinking very hard about how to continue from here on. Blogging daily is tough, tough, though and I just don't understand how people do it in their spare time alongside real life jobs etc. I'm thinking about it.. 

Monday, March 26, 2012



But I have some very good news. More sweet snacks have made it through my rigorous taste tests....

Montezuma's Orange and Geranium Chocolate... delicious AND vegan!

and Provamel chocolate desserts. Yum, yum, yum. Buy them here if you so wish.

Having a mental week with far too much time either spent in London or travelling one way or the other. It's taken over three hours door to door, on three of my return journeys this week - aaaagh! Anyway, it means that I've been living on Pret Hummus wraps and ready salted crisps. I don't know if either of those are officially vegan but seriously, what are you supposed to do? Anyone who knows me knows I get a bit mad if I have too big a gap between meals and my willpower is severely waning now. I don't know where any more mystery body parts hide. I've got the obvious ones down, but I just don't know about anything else and no-one seems to bother with labelling anything for vegans, so it looks like the dull side of this will continue long into April.

Balls. I've just looked online and no, the Pret wrap is not vegan. I HATE THIS! I swear the label in the shop doesn't mention the yoghurt dressing, I swear it. Either way, the website lays it all out for us. Ball, balls, balls.

That reminds me, M&S have really fallen to an incredible depth way into my bad books. I've been into two different Simply Food stores this week to grab something in a rush and could not find a single thing that stated it was vegan. Am I looking at the wrong food or do they in practice, not bother with the vegan label? The website says they do, but of course it does. Has anyone ever seen one in real life?!

Sunday, March 25, 2012



So, in the wee small hours of Day 26, I write about Day 24's realisation that led to Day 25 and the topic I will discuss now. Boundaries.

Wikipedia provides an explanation of some appropriate terms; 

"Personal boundaries define you as an individual. They are statements of what you will or won't do, what you like and don't close someone can get to you. Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for him- or herself what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how he or she will respond when someone steps outside those limits".

"A guideline is a statement by which to determine a course of action. A guideline aims to streamline particular processes according to a set routine or sound practice. By definition, following a guideline is never mandatory. Guidelines are not binding and are not enforced".
"The Chandrasekhar limit (/ʌndrəˈʃkɑr/) is the maximum mass of stable white dwarf starIt was named after Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Indian astrophysicist who predicted it in 1930. White dwarfs, unlike main sequence stars, resist gravitational collapse primarily through electron degeneracy pressure, rather than thermal pressure. The Chandrasekhar limit is the mass above which electron degeneracy pressure in the star's core is insufficient to balance the star's own gravitational self-attraction. Consequently, white dwarfs with masses greater than the limit undergo further gravitational collapse, evolving into a different type of stellar remnant, such as a neutron star or black hole. Those with masses under the limit remain stable as white dwarfs. The Chandrasekhar limit is analogous to the Tolman–Oppenheimer–Volkoff limit for neutron stars."

As you can see, I'm having some technical issues today. I'm not in the best frame of mind right now. Kind of hallucinating through lack of sleep and excess time infront of a computer. FCP maaaaaannn. If anyone would like to fix them, do let me know. Otherwise I vow to do better tomorrow.

SO basically, what I'm saying about boundaries is that they are frameworks we create for ourselves and the lives that we are building around us. Sometimes it's nowhere near a conscious thing but we do often also have a remote view, even if purely instinctual about where we are heading and in what we believe.
This project has questioned so many things, not least where I would like to set my boundaries in terms of what I wish to be prepared and consumed, to then be broken down and become a part of what and who I am. 
This really is how I began to think before I became a vegetarian. After being repeatedly ill in Bolivia. Really, really ill, unable to leave my bedroom for days because of fever and the stomach pains. It was really horrible and I began to wonder if the animals were trying to send me a message. I know it sounds ridiculous but what other option would they have?! They couldn't exactly schedule a meeting or contact me through my website could they? What's a dead cow to do?

I would like to remain vegan, particularly removing all dairy products from my diet, for good. I just think it will be really difficult, especially while I am not entirely prepared for a life of vegan cooking. So I think that from April, I will try to live as a vegan full time, sometimes permitting a wander off piste until I really get the diet right. 
If someone makes a cake using a dairy product, I happen to "knock on" (Sharpe, N. 2012. February 27th, Hackney) and I am promptly offered tea and a piece of said special homecrafted baked good of sorts, what point is there in me not enjoying a piece of the cake that already exists and will exit regardless of what I believe in? 
Or is the hope and perhaps intention that the world will become less reliant on animal products and their derivitives, so that a vegan diet becomes inherently more possible, supported and widespread. Information is the main thing that limits the vegan community. People really don't know what they are eating and for a large part, do not seem to care. However, much as I'm not a huge fan, look at what Jamie Oliver did with his school dinners programme? He really got in there and made people think. 

I'm rambling, farewell.

ps- Jamie goes vegetable for a month.



Day 24 was an accidental, massive, failure in almost every possible way. I failed because I;

  • Didn't write a post
  • Ate chips, from a chip shop cooked in from non vegan oil.
  • I also had mushy peas. I have no idea how you would even begin to make mushy peas but I guess butter and possibly milk? cream?
  • The above offending items were accompanied by sugary, sugary ketchup and a can of tango. Tango?! I never, ever drink tango, so I really don't know what I was thinking. 
  • Tried to guess which beer would be vegan. Secretly thinking I knew the answer, I chose Kronenbourg. A few sips in, my friend whipped out his clever internet phone and used veggiewines to confirm that of all of the beers in this particular pub I had inadvertently selected the wrong one. The barman wouldn't change it so I decided that having already failed on a huge scale, the reign may as well continue. The fish had already been de-bladdered. Wasting the rest of the delicious pint was not going to take that back.
At the end of what was a very long day, I made my friend promise never to speak of the repeat failing. Instead though, I've decided to discuss it myself as I did promise to be honest here and a day of shameful introspection has given me an interesting perspective. I have returned to a topic that has popped up in my thought process a few times; the notion of boundaries. As this is technically day 25, I am signing out here, to return to discuss this further....

Friday, March 23, 2012


As promised, here's today's guest blog post from a dear friend in faraway lands. She's been on a big adventure and as mentioned, has spent the day under house arrest. Apparently the pain was softened with a vegan lunch, alas an irritating ipad and other difficulties meant that a blog about today was not possible. Who cares though right? So long as my cyber world knows I have well travelled friends thinking of me and the vegan trial with every vegetable they consume, everyone's forgiven.

She's most definitely not vegan but a food pig after my own heart who does like her vegetables and can put a few nice words together. Now let's hear what she has to say:

"I am indeed in Bali, but I as I am trapped in the hotel celebrating the new years day in the wildest fashion possible by staying silent and still I cannot fully contribute about vegan Bali let's start with what I found in India....
.....Potatoes! Potatoes and more potatoes! I'm so sick of potatoes! Don't get  me wrong the food there was amazing but I have a rule when I eat - my food must have at least three different colours in it, always including green. Now when every meal is yellow in colour (like me) it doesn't matter how almost-vegan it is or healthy, it's just boring....yellow, ochre, I resorted to raw salads and juices (erm don't try it unless you're up for projectile vomit from both ends, I didn't mind that too much as I had no time for ashrams and Ayurvedic treatments so I saw that as my detox enema sessions). 
But what I really want to tell you about vegan finds in India is the cake man of Pushkar.   There's a man pushing a cake cart from 8pm every night in Pushkar selling vegan cakes that he makes himself. They are soooooooo good. Banana crumble anyone? Spiced cake? Apple pie? He even makes gluten free raw chocolate balls. 40 rupees a slice, divide by 77, it's like, 0.00000008 micro pennies per slice.  Ok its got honey but its so bloody yummy. He wraps them in pages from a manky old book he keeps in the cart. Oh and for the non vegans, the lassi in Jaipur is to die for. Sure you might die in that awful city but at least have a lassi first". 

(I don't know who or what this last pic is, but it's beautiful and I would rather have spent three hours there today than travelling back from London. thisisveganmarch)


That's right cyber family, today you're getting a real treat. Instead of a bad, hastily written post by a lazy trial vegan who has had very little sleep and is incredibly sick of looking at a computer screen, you are going to get a little taste of vegan Bali thanks to a good friend who is currently trapped in a hotel room as part of the National New Year 'celebrations'...


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day 22: CITY SNACKING - 9bar, 9bar, 9bar


As a vegan commuter, city snacking is a very important topic. While I often bring my bike for the commute, sometimes I can't or won't, so do not have a huge rucksack with enough space for a pre-prepared day of vegan dining. While you can always find a (shit) vegan supermarket salad of some sort, it's the rest of the day that's the real problem. We all remember the school days of finding your banana squashed all over your schoolbooks. It certainly doesn't have the same charm when you're a 30year old, trying to sound important with a banana mangled over a moleskin. 


So far during Vegan March, the only quick snack that has been able to simultaneously satisfy my brain, sweet tooth, budget and portability needs is the mighty 9bar. They're healthy, delicious and give off  a marvellous, wholesome feeling as you crunch through them.

I've tried anything that looks remotely sweet and vegan this month with Nakd bars the only other thing coming anywhere near to hitting the spot. The problem is Nakd bars look disgusting and the consistency is vile. They're mushy and feel almost lukewarm, a little like eating baby food for grown ups. Admittedly they do taste good but this newbie vegan still needs to satisfy the mind. I won't be going anywhere near any more baby food unless I'm about to die of a hunger and/ or stealing it from my own baby. Should you want to sample some, you can order some here


The reason this post comes today is that I haven't had a 9bar for a long time as I just never see them anywhere, that is until I found one yesterday in Ground in Hove. I joyously devoured my soya latte with the 9bar, delighted to have been reminded of it's existence and smug in the knowledge that it must be vegan. When you look at the front of the bar you will see every claim know to man; a vegetarian society stamp, gluten free, dairy free, can make you fly etc etc. I even checked the ingredients and saw nothing suspicious. 

Before writing a post about 9bar being the best vegan snack in the world I thought I would double check on their website. Again, loads of claims but nothing specific about being vegan. This made me suspicious and start to hate 9bar for being so sneaky, so I wrote a rambling message on their contact page asking whether they were vegan or not. I was not expecting a response so quickly, let alone from the MD! At 7.30am I received the following reply. 

So, I'd missed the honey and therefore failed yesterday as a vegan. Damn you 9bar, I was so busy looking for regular sugar and butter that I missed the honey! This post ends on a positive note as overall I still love 9bar. After an email exchange between 9bar bigman and myself I concluded that...

I LOVE 9bar for tasting so amazing, 

I HATE 9bar for being made with honey, 

I LOVE 9bar for having an MD that responds to idiots himself at 7.30am and.... 

best news of all...

I LOVE 9bar for having a brand new, fully legal honey-free vegan version in the pipeline. It's expected in all major supermarkets in June, so militant vegans, get ready!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Try really hard not to sing that terrible UB40 song as you take that title in. It's true, there indeed was a rat in my kitchen. For weeks I had suspected a mouse to be the one scuttling around as I moped around the kitchen at weird times of the day searching for inspiration. Tonight I confirmed the truth. I saw the rat a. on a wok and b. hugging a bottle of olive oil. With the oil living on the worktop, I am slightly concerned that filthy rat feet could be the reason for me feeling so deathly. Either way, living nowhere near any vegan food retailers meant that I needed to bleach the shit out of the kitchen and crack on. In my haste I bleached, cooked and devoured so quickly that there was no time for (my rubbish) photo documentation. I whipped up some bombay ish potatoes and a bizarre combination of curry spices, coconut milk, onion, chickpeas, cauliflower, raisins, peas and carrots. It was all I had and it worked out quite well. I won the vegan fight for another day.

Feeling rather stressed due to current very important non blog activities I am not feeling my most inspired. To help with todays post I enlisted the help of our good friend google, using the trick that reaps rewards aplenty for birthdays and special events: I perform one google search using a phrase, few words or something that amuses me with it's relevance to the recipient. I then select my favourite result, ideally from the top row. In this instance I used two combinations as the first was such a long shot:

Search 1. "Big grey rat hugging olive oil"

Result: Man pulling corn on the cob inspired silly face

My second search had to yield better results so I kept it simple;

Search 2. "Rat in a wok"

Result 1: Rat in a wok

Result 2: Dried Rat jerky 


Result 3: Rats that have probably been nowhere near a wok

Result 4: My next holiday?!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 20: AM I DEAD?

Call it bad time management, call it my new ridiculous diet, call it too little sleep, call it a combination of all three. Whatever it is, I am virtually dead today. I've had lots of stuff, vegan and otherwise whizzing around my head, but nothing seems to be making it's way out retaining any type of sense. Today's post will therefore be short.

Today's food consumption:

Breakfast: Toast with avocado and hummus

Snacks: a banana, 3 oatcakes with chopped dates and a soya latte

Lunch: vegan burgery thing with potato wedges and lettuce, cucumber, tomato, carrot, sunflower seeds, almonds and apple

Dinner: I could not wait until I got back down South so went to Govinda's in Soho as I knew that was a safe one. It was ok. For £5.95 the small thali includes 2 vegetable dishes, rice (white, brown or vegetable), 'salad' and either a bread roll or a papadum. It was pretty good, but the broccoli dish was not exactly spectacular and the salad was a bit of sad looking lettuce and some tomatoes. The staff were all lovely and the relaxed environment was quite a nice hidey hole in the middle of London but I just don't want to be forced to eat in this way. I feel really sad that eating out is either going to take permanent planning ahead, sticking to vegetarian places or worse becoming a Hare Krishna. Very few of my friends are vegetarian let alone vegan so this is going to get really annoying. I LIKE EATING OUT ALMOST AS MUCH AS I LIKE BUTTER!

The main outcomes of the day are that I don't want to have to find entirely new friends so that I have dining companions and I no longer understand how the term Vegetarian became so widespread and quite so misunderstood. I now see it to mean something more like a vegan that doesn't have a clue what they're eating. I really think that if you're going to eat animal derivatiVes in every meal, you may as well just have a bloody good steak. 


Monday, March 19, 2012


So Vegfest came to Brighton this weekend and I went. I came home armed with freebies from the lovely, generous folk at Goodlife, as well as shocked and delighted tastebuds from the endless samples.. sweet... savoury.... sweet... savoury.... weird... repeat, repeat.

I accidentally spent all of my money in the pub the previous night, so couldn't buy anything but tried...
  • seriously good carrot, cardamom, quinoa and something or other flapjacks... from a lovely lady representing Flaxfarm in Horsham
  • pretty nice chocolate milk from the folk at Kara
  • Diary free chocolates from Moo Free (I wish I didn't hate the packaging but oh I do)
  • A big squidge of icing from Ms Cupcake as the last cake samples had been devoured as we approached the Ms Cupcake guy.
  • A delicious wild mushroom burger from Vegusto. I was too busy eating it to pay attention to it's official title so just tried to find it online. While it tasted incredible and I was totally sold when the guy told us about the mushrooms being picked by fairies in the wild Swiss hills there's a large part of me that hopes it's not this! When a product tastes this good, there is simply no need to kill it with pictures that make it look like some sort of emergency organ delivery.
  • Moving on... I was impressed with my little taste of Bessant & Drury ice cream in chocolate and strawberry. For me the strawberry was very good but Booja Booja stil far outshines in the chocolate field.
  • I got info'd up about Veg boxes delivered to your door by Riverford
  • Finally, Good Life  were giving out cool bags containing four boxes of their frozen lazy vegan food.. ta very much! (sorry for such a rubbish pic)

I left with lots of new information and tastes for my vegan mouth but opinionated as ever, I have a fair bit criticism for Vegfest.

(The more forgiving vegan blogger in Brighton had much more positive words to say so why not have a little read here before being poisoned by my vitriol)

There were so many positives about what was there; the scale of the event, the amazing freebies, tasters, generally wonderful, friendly folk and good good vibes, that it's even more of a shame that it left me so confused and irritated. It looked like a cross between a jumble sale, 1980s corporate function and a school cake sale. I think the horrendous rabbit warren inspired venue paid a huge disservice to the stallholders who had largely made a serious effort to make their wares look fantastic and marketable.

There was no visible promotion from the busy main road. Had I gone alone and not with a friend who knew where it was, I would have had no idea where I was going, got mightily fucked off with sat nav chirping away telling me to turn around and would have gone home. Luckily my friend led the way.

Once we arrived, there seemed to be no signage to help navigate the two floors, instead there were some green, boring looking flyers on a few tables and people milling around in big groups very very slowly. It was all just too much like slow, meditative chaos for my liking. I like chaos elsewhere but not in my trade shows! MAKE IT SIMPLE!

The layout was just confusing, with rooms appearing to give birth to other little rooms, that led back to the original rooms, slightly Alice in Veganland.

Overall, it really was just far too disorganised to be taken seriously, which just seems so unnecessary. It serves as a reminder that if I continue with a blog after thisisveganmarch, it will have to encompass the other areas in which I have experience and passion... fashion... art...interiors... film... infact anything beautiful! I really think that in order for, what sadly is, 'the alternative way of eating' to be sold to the wider world, things need to be done differently.

Why can't being nice to the world just be a little bit sexier?

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Where oh where is that wagon? I fell off it at some point last night and have been scrambling after it all day. I went for a friends birthday drinks and did my absolute best to stick to vegan booze. The pub staff were wonderful and really helpful, recommending their (fingers crossed) vegan friendly organic red wine. Ding. The night carried on merrily until a stupid drunker than drunk man plunged down a flight of stairs, breaking his fall with his elbow on my right shoulder blade, WITHOUT HIM EVEN NOTICING! The bar manager witnessed it all and promptly whizzed over with a shot of something rancid by way of an apology. I will declare that I didn't wait for the response to the words 'is this vegan?' before it was down my throat. This was repeated a couple of times. I'm sorry Salmon, I really am. I'm going to chase up Mr Booze and get him to give me my ultimate vegan drink list ASAP so this never happens again.

As I suspected that today may not quite go to plan, I got this post ready in advance. It's a goodie though. Who knew that the vegan thing was well in motion long before dreadlocks or rainbow coloured knitwear were invented? The mighty Mr Trall, among others it seems.

Basically, in an time where people think it's acceptable to consider stuff like this..

 this..or these..

vintage, we can very safely say that R.T Trall's "Hygeian Home Cook Book" from 1874 is a bone fide vintage/ antique/ almost jurassic find...

It's a cookery book giving instructions for 'palatable food without condiments', using exclusively plant-foods and water, thus omitting i.e. butter, salt, lard etc. I found it here, not at a car boot sale which means that it doesn't smell like a dead person, the pages are all present and correct,  there are no slimy/ mouldy favourite pages,  and most importantly there are definitely no residents from the Psocoptera family.

There's an entire chapter on PIES! PIEESS!! VEGANVEGANPIES! When I get my life back, I will be going up North to visit a dear old friend who ate nothing but Fray Bentos during her formative years. She's obviously the piemaster, so we are going to have a pie-off. Here's a little vid to get you in the mood...

Saturday, March 17, 2012



Of course I don't really, the well known phrase referring to the polishing of a turd springs to mind, alas I wouldn't mind being a bit more of a sophisticated lady vegan blogger, perhaps occasionally rolled in glitter.

A friend has the very slick lady blog The Big Mac Blog and today she mentions yet another slick lady blogger Food Coma, who blogs about her mean food including loads of vegan stuff. Her selection of hummus recipes leapt out at me. I'm keeping it real, rather than going straight for anything more complicated or ambitious at this early stage of vegan life. I've already linked loads of sexy, slick blogs but I particularly like this one thanks to the personal mentions about making a mess, having a messy kitchen table etc etc. Please let there be other honest, messy people out there, especially ones that make and beautifully photograph vegan food this simple and incredible looking. I just hope that it tastes as good as it looks and that she's telling the truth about the mess.

Check our her beautiful pics and super simple Curried Pumpkin Hummus, Sundried Tomato and Coriander Hummus (let's forgive for the use of the word Cliantro. I've googled it to double check. Apparently it's just Coriander with an American accent) or the Herbed Hummus.

Two more bonus mentions for today.... on googling to double check Cilantro, I discovered an amusing hate site called I Hate Cilantro

I also had a little play on StumbledUpon and stumbled very quickly upon what might just be future staple dessert; Tofu Peanut Butter Pie...


(NB - this isn't the original pic of the pie as they made it look pretty disgusting. I'm aiming more for something like this, which also came with a heart warming story. You can read that yourself here without my sarcasm accidentally ruining what is a beautiful idea sprung from a desperately sad event)

Friday, March 16, 2012



Eleven years of living in or running away from London, meant that my London eyes were pretty much glued shut. Beyond my thrice weekly bicycle voyage from North to South and a few well ridden paths around the East End I'd become thoroughly complacent, thereby self-mutilating my innate sense of direction and hunger for all things new and interesting. Being the self proclaimed world's laziest vegetarian with mainly meat eating friends, living a minutes walk from City Kebab, Itto and Whole Foods in Stoke Newington meant that both my convenience and overpriced whole food needs were well catered for.

The vegan lark means life is different. My eyelids have been wrenched apart again and it almost feels like I'm seeing london anew. For the first time, I am grateful to say that no longer living in the metropolis has some benefits, not least that you get your eyes back. I'm putting mine to good use as there are a lot of hidden gems out there, today's No.1 a shop called Vx in Kings Cross, run by a lovely, vegan Frenchman called Rudy. 

Pronounced Vee Cross, the shop stocks all sorts of things alongside a selection of vegan friendly clothing and footwear; lunch type take away food, as well as an array of snack food, chocolate, hot dogs, ice cream, marshmallows.. etc etc and of course the main reason for my visit.. CAKE! 

I found Vx through hunting for a stockist of Ms Cupcake but when I arrived Cat & the Cream poached my custom. Their individually packaged (albeit slightly excessively so) beatifully perfect little cupcakes just looked that bit more beautiful, more couture and it's been two whole weeks without cake, so I wanted the finest. As I was also hoping to post one to my mum the plastic tub gave the impression that it might survive royal mail. In the end, I missed royal mail and subjected the cake to a journey through my digestive system instead. I hate to admit that the cake was good but not incredible (I'm very fussy with cakes if you dont know me) so Ms Cupcake I promise to be faithful next time.

As you can see from the shop front, this is not your stereotypical type of vegan place, it's a nice little shop that's bright and stylish and has a really nice feeling amidst all of the new, mysterious vegan treats. I didn't venture far into the clothing but as 'the first one stop vegan shop in UK', their ethos is bang on. Location wise, I initially thought it a bit awquard with Kings Cross often seen as a middle ground, populated with commuters and their silly foldy bikes and tourists. It's actually bang in the middle of absolutely everywhere meaning that all self respecting vegan Londoners should take note and get down to support their local vegan shopkeeper pronto. 

Hurrah to Rudy (and helpers?) for getting his/ their shit together and getting this shop and sentiment out there, it's now up to us to support them.


One more thing, if you do go to Kings Cross to hunt down Vx and the shop full of magic, maybe try this place while you're in area. I haven't been so can't give you any ruthless wisdom but it's on the Vx site as a nearby landmark so surely that says something. Vegan and Japanese. DING!
Happy Friday! X

Thursday, March 15, 2012



The main thing I have learnt, or confirmed, over the last fifteen days is that I have been a seriously lazy eater over the years. I didn't think I'd survive the end of my daily mid morning pastry, drinking soy milk in my tea or going anywhere near a cheese counter without mounting it. I now see that was pure, luxurious stupidity talking. I passed a cheese filled shop window last night and felt nothing at all. In my head a tiny part was screaming gloop, gloop, filth, die, die, but in reality I felt nothing. No pangs. Dead inside. I'm not sure which is worse.

In a bid to move on from the peanut butter security blanket and overspending by eating out, I have been doing more research. Eating out has been a great way for someone with limited vegan cooking skills to learn how to eat in but it's a habit I do not intend to maintain. The following sites are going to save the day. Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation, thank you for your official guiding light and Vegan wolf, I'd like to shake your skinny little vegan hand. I just needed to see some of this in writing (again). I need words, lists, details, done for me, thank you kind internet vegans.

Meal plans here:

and everything on earth including dinner party planning here:

So it looks like I've been really productive today, here is a run down of where you find what, courtesy of Am I alone in only just discovering that Vitamin U exists?!

Complex carbohydrates: Found almost exclusively in plant foods. Whole grains, beans, legumes, and vegetables

Protein: Beans, legumes, seeds, grains (especially quinoa and amaranth), leafy green vegetables, lentils, tofu, nuts, tempeh, miso, and peas

Fat: Avocados, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds

Micro nutrients

Vitamin A: Green leafy vegetables, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, wheat grass juice

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): Whole grains, nori, wakame, legumes (especially peanuts)

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Green vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nutritional yeast, hiziki

Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Whole grains (especially brown, black and red rice), posole, masa, nori, wakame, peanuts, nutritional yeast

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid):
whole grains, beans, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, nutritional yeast

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine):
Whole grains, leafy green vegetables, dulse, nori, nutritional yeast, carrots, peas, sunflower seeds, walnuts

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin):
Nutritional Yeast, fortified cereals, fortified soy products such as soy milk, tempeh, and miso.

Biotin: Soybeans, nutritional yeast, whole grains

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid):
Citrus fruits, bell peppers, chilies, amaranth, berries, cabbage, parsley, sprouts, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts

Soybeans, whole grains, legumes

Co-Enzyme Q10:
Peanuts, spinach

Vitamin D: Sunflower sprouts, fortified soymilk, fortified vegan cereal, sunshine.

Vitamin E: Nuts, seeds, wheat, oats, quinoa, brown, red and black rice, broccoli, cauliflower, dandelion greens, sprouts, asparagus, cucumbers, spinach, wheat germ oil

Folic acid: Microalgae, sprouts, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nutritional yeast, dates, beans, legumes, mushrooms, oranges, beets, fenugreek and root vegetables

Whole grains, nutritional yeast, beans and legumes, especially soybeans)

Vitamin K:
Alfalfa sprouts, asparagus, hemp seed, blackstrap molasses, dark leafy green vegetables, green tea, kelp, soybeans, oats, rye, wheat

Vitamin P (bioflavonoids):
Peppers, buckwheat, black currants

Vitamin U:
Green cabbage


Seaweed, alfalfa, unrefined sea salt, nuts, carrots, leafy green vegetables, apples, pears

leafy green vegetables, broccoli almonds, nutritional yeast, sesame seeds, figs, dandelion greens, wakame, hiziki, kelp, kombu, amaranth, quinoa, oats, beans, legumes, microalgae, fortified soymilk.

Seaweed (especially kelp and alaria), whole grains, mushrooms, beets, nutritional yeast, beans, legumes

Seaweed, whole grains, raisins, apricots, garlic, mushrooms, beets, nuts, leafy green vegetables

Seaweed, rye, brown rice, parsley, avocados, cabbage

Seaweed, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, aloe vera, ginseng, onions

Seaweed and unrefined sea salt

Seaweed, molasses, whole grains, nuts, beets, sesame, seeds, beans, legumes, prunes, raisins, dates, dried apricots, almonds (taken with a vitamin c source will boost the iron absorption) cashews, tomato juice, rice, tofu, lentils, and garbanzo beans (chick peas)

Seaweed, whole grains, microalgae, amaranth, beans, legumes, leafy green vegetables

Seaweed, whole grains, nuts and seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, avocados

Seaweed, whole grains, beans, legumes, dried fruit, garlic, nuts, seeds

Kelp, dulse, carrot juice, whole grains, beans, legumes, bananas

Seaweed, whole grains, beans, legumes, garlic, mushrooms

Seaweed, whole grains, bib lettuce, parsnips, dandelion greens, strawberries, celery, cucumbers, apricots, carrots

Seaweed, celery, unrefined sea salt

Seaweed, cabbages, beans, legumes, onions, garlic, nettles, soybeans

Seaweed, whole grains, vegetable oils, dill, radishes, green beans

Seaweed, legumes, beans, seeds, mushrooms, nettles, soybeans,whole grains (especially the germ and bran of the grain), nuts, tofu, leafy vegetables (lettuce, spinach, and cabbage), and root vegetables (onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, and radishes)

 and for just a few more of the folk who do the work, so I don't need to:

ps - I promise that at the end of the month, once my other deadline is finished with and I decide what happens from April onwards, I will make some of my own charts that are much prettier than the big list above. It needs to look beautiful to really sink into my brain, so it will be done.