Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Using up some of the million carrots that are always lurking at the bottom of the veg box

I never used to eat carrots all that often before starting the veg box delivery thing, but they are very good for you so making me eat the things isn't such a bad idea. If you chuck them in a pan with some red lentils and curry paste, the result almost passes for a vegetable dhansak. Well, it's slightly more complicated than that, but it did turn out to be surprisingly tasty.

200g red lentils
700ml water
4 tbsp madras curry paste
1 onion
many carrots
half a butternut squash
pineapple chunks
pineapple juice
frozen peas
green beans
creamed coconut

Fry the onion and curry paste, add the water, lentils, carrots, squash and green beans and simmer until almost cooked. Add spinach and peas and simmer until everything is cooked. Add pineapple chunks and juice and coconut. Done! Eat some with rice or chapattis and freeze the rest for some day in the future when you can't be bothered to cook but want something warm and nice to eat.

How to use up lots of spring greens in one go

Veg boxes. Great idea, but when you look inside your latest delivery, all excited to see what the lovely fruit and veg shop people have brought you this week, and see one lettuce, one cabbage and millions of carrots, sometimes you do wonder why you bother. I seem to be ending up with stuff left over out of the box, usually cucumbers, lettuces or one or two of the aforementioned million carrots, so I'm trying to think how to use it all up, given that throwing food away is the new air travel these days. Yes, even eco-vegans get sick of all the trendy climate change babble that goes on in the media. I'm just glad I don't have a telly...

Anyway, today's veg box challenge was "what the **** can I do with a whole head of spring greens, preferably today because they're about to go off and we've just had this week's box delivered and I've still not used the celery from the last one". Solution: pretend it's spinach.
- Wash spring greens leaves, chop off biggest bits of stalk, place in food processor and blitz until finely chopped.
- Place in frying pan for a few minutes with a small amount of olive oil and fry gently until wilted. By this time you should have about three tablespoons of spring greens left - hopefully at least some of the nutrients are still in there!
- Add balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, nutmeg, straight to wok noodles and a handful of pumpkin/sesame/sunflower seeds, and fry for another couple of minutes until it's all cooked and warm and ready to eat.
- Eat!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Interesting-looking new vegan book

Found an interesting-looking book today. "The Complete Book of Vegan Cooking: Everything You Need to Know About Going Vegan, from Choosing Ingredients to Advice on Health and Nutrition" by Tony Bishop-Weston and Yvonne Bishop-Weston. Here it is. It hasn't been published yet, it's out in November and looks like it contains recipes, info about various ingredients and nutrition and health information too. And lots of photos. I like photos in recipe books.

Monday, 18 August 2008

I wish killing was not acceptable

Sometimes I just get disheartened that it's acceptable to kill animals. Like it's a desireable thing to do to create living beings, then take their lives, then cut their bodies into pieces and eat them. Why would anyone want to eat a dead body? Why do they not realise that it's killing, taking a life? Why is killing accepted without another thought?

Two phrases which really annoy me: "humane slaughter" and "locally-reared meat" (or indeed "humanely-slaughtered meat"). Right, first of all: "Humane: having or showing compassion or benevolence" (Oxford English dictionary). There is nothing compassionate or benevolent about killing a healthy animal. Maybe if we're talking about an animal who is suffering and is not going to get better then sometimes euthanasing it could be considered humane, but not just killing a healthy animal, no matter what method is used. Why do people believe that animals 'don't suffer' when they're killed? Apart from the fact I don't accept they don't notice what's happening to them, you're still KILLING THEM. They do not exist any more, their world is gone for ever. In what way is killing them part of good treatment? Ethical meat my arse. Like it's ok to kill as long as you cuddle first? So as long as the animals are 'treated kindly' during life it's ok to inflict death? Surely bringing about an animal's death counts towards its welfare or its treatment. People seem to think that animals don't mind being killed, that it's just part of the meat harvesting process. Would it be ok if your neighbour shot his dog through the head after a couple of years, as long as the dog had had a happy life up to that point? Course it bloody wouldn't, your neighbour would be all over the local papers held up as a savage and the RSPCA would most likely be on to him pretty sharpish. And rightly so.

"Locally-reared meat". "Locally-slaughtered meat". Can you spell D-I-S-C-O-N-N-E-C-T? MEAT is not reared, MEAT is not slaughtered, ANIMALS are reared and slaugtered. Stop looking at a cow in a field and seeing walking beefburgers. It's a living creature, at least give it a bit of respect and acknowledgement for what it is while it's still alive.

So much violence, so acceptable, even so encouraged. But so unnecessary. What started me off this time was some omnivore on a vegetarian food discussion board saying that if people are vegetarian for ethical/animal welfare reasons they should eat "locally-reared, humanely-butchered meat". The thought of vegetarians or vegans going back to eating meat is quite honestly disgusting to me, so being told to do so on a vegetarian food forum didn't go down well. I tried to explain why it wasn't an option for a lot of us (killing is not separate from the animal's welfare or treatment) and that 'humane slaughter' was a contradiction in terms, and I got a load of patronising bull**** back about how they'd seen animals being killed, it's not as bad as people try and make you think it is, they don't know anything about it, blah blah blah and talking to me as if I knew nothing and was stupid. Yep, delusional omni. I woke up last night thinking about it, about animals being shot in the head and their bodies chopped up into pieces and people gorging themselves on the dead body. Why do people want to kill living beings and eat their bodies? I just don't get it.

I need to take a break from forums and posts like that. Anything where omnivores are likely to be saying stupid, provocative and/or ignorant things. It's depressing me too much. I'll stick to support forums and I might answer questions where someone genuinely wants help with becoming/being veg*n, but if they're just debating stuff I'm not going to try and put anyone right, even if they're talking the biggest pile of offensive, ignorant bollocks. I'm going to concentrate my energy on positive action, doing my website, cooking food for other people, and don't get into debates.

Something both vegan and folkie

We played for a 40th birthday party near Doncaster last Saturday. Now, normally at gigs in South Yorkshire it's meat, meat and cheese (although Sheffield is sometimes slightly better), but when we got there it went like this:

Party organiser: We're still eating but there's plenty of food, please help yourselves before you get going
Us: Which things are vegetarian?
Her: Everything's vegetarian
Us: Is anything vegan?
Her: What's vegan?
Us: No dairy products or eggs
Her: Well... that dip has yoghurt in it, but everything else is vegan

It turns out the person organising the party (sister-in-law of the birthday girl) was Indian and had made all the food and she, birthday girl and husband were all vegetarian, so there were loads of vegan samosas and some other fried things I don't know the name of but were very nice, and salad and crackers and dips. Usually when they say "help yourselves to the buffet" it's like "ooh, I'll have some tomato and cucumber off the side of the sandwich plate, and oh look, a plain piece of bread! How exciting" so it was nice to be able to take a full plate of nice food! Although for this gig we were two vegans, one vegetarian and one omni, so we weren't in the minority. I like those sorts of gigs too - when they're giving us food and instead of saying "who's the veg*n" it's "who's the meat eater?".