Saturday, 31 October 2015

Fill My Vegan Love Pot

You can have as many vegan cookbooks as you want but nothing is better than having another vegan pass on that recipe that they have just made up or tried and really enjoyed.  It feels good to receive it and it feels good to pass on the vegan foodie love.  The world of blogging and the Internet in general has made the sharing of recipes even easier these days.

To celebrate the sharing of vegan recipes and to enhance the Vegan Cook Book stall I am having at the Cornwall Vegan Festival on 5th December, I am having a free recipe lucky dip.  It will be in a big cooking pot named 'The Vegan Love Pot'. 

I'm looking for contributions far and wide for my Vegan Love Pot so if you would like to 'add to the mix' and share your favorite recipe I would love to hear from you. You can email us at or paste a link in the comments.  Please only send your original recipes or share links to recipes that are already out there and available to print from the public domain (e.g. no scans or prints from published books).  I will only print out the recipe for the pot (no personal details) but if you would like to include your name, where in the world you are from and how long you have been vegan (if you are) then that might add to the interest for the lucky dipper who is fortunate to pick out your contribution.

I really look forward to hearing from people all over the world so please, fill my Vegan Love Pot and share your vegan love with the lovely people of Cornwall on Saturday 5th December!

The Cornwall Vegan Festival takes place at the Hall for Cornwall in Truro on Saturday 5th December.  Visit the official Cornwall Vegan Festival Facebook page for more details

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Hugs For the Nutribullet

I bought a Nutribullet back in the spring for my mum.  She has cancer and was having a pretty rough time with chemo.  We'd had a pretty good discussion about nutrition and how that might help not only support her immune system against the chemo but with fighting the cancer generally.  

However my mum, despite being vegetarian, doesn't really enjoy cooking and doesn't have the same connection with food that Phil and I have. Credit to her she did go vegan for a while but somehow the medical profession persuaded her she needed to go 'full fat' to build herself up again after a particularly bad chemo session (go figure).  

So apart from feeding up my mum and dad on healthy plant based meals when they visit (they live over 300 miles away), I decided buying them a Nutribullet was a great and easy way for both of them (my dad has also recovered from cancer) to increase their nutritional intake.  There is very little to clean up after using the Nutribullet so immediately that was a hit with them too. My dads yearly glut of homegrown strawberries also gave them a constant supply of fruity goodness over the summer.

There is B17 in strawberries and reports have shown that B17 can help in the fight against cancer.  This is another reason I encourage mum (and she does) to take bitter apricot kernels which contain high levels of B17. She had a good time over the summer when she was able to take a break from her treatment and enjoy a family visit from overseas.  In fact she was positively brimming with energy; not bad for a lady in her mid 70's!

I held off buying Phil and I our own Nutribullet for fear that mum and dad would not use theirs and we would end up with it ourselves. However, with that not being the case and with autumnal fruit being at its peak, I took the plunge and am loving it.  The good timing was equally confirmed by two other recent things.

Firstly I found a couple of good books in charity shops which have some great recipes for the Nutribullet.  'Roots and Bulbs - Pure Juicing for Living', which I got for £1, is chock full of juices, shots, smoothies, milks and butters all of which, apart from the odd mention of bee products, are vegan.  All the recipes are beautifully illustrated with creative photographs. The All Day Breakfast smoothie recipe, a combination of almond milk, banana, oats, almond butter, sesame seeds and cacao nibs, has been a real hit with me in particular.

The other book I purchased for a mere £2 was 'Everyday Raw Express'.  What made this book different from the other raw books I have dabbled with is that the recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less; so no dehydrator required here! However a high speed blender seems pretty essential and with my 20 year old blender struggling a touch these days, step up the 'new kid on the block'; Nutribullet.  Cream Chowder or Maple Creme Brulee anyone?

The second additional thing that confirmed the timely purchase of the Nutribullet was a bout of illness on my behalf (which as I write I am still recovering from).  It is the kind of illness where the intake of food is essential but not particularly welcome (if you get my drift). Nutritional liquid forms however are a little easier to partake of and indeed the All Day Breakfast mentioned above was very welcome this morning.

So hurrah to the Nutribullet I say and I may even affectionately name it Steve after Steve McQueen from the film Bullitt because it really is that funky in my opinion.

Meanwhile, here is my suggestion of a B17 smoothie combo which I will name 'Super Trouper' for my mum (for reasons that will make her laugh I'm sure).

Super Trouper Smoothie

Handful of strawberries
1 kiwi (skinned and roughly chopped)
Handful of blackberries
Handful of Spinach
1 teaspoon of flax seeds
1 cup of coconut water (or more for thinner version)

Blend, blend, your own Steve.

By the way, I haven't tried this yet as it only just occurred to me!  However, it's next on my list.  What can go wrong with such healthy ingredients though?!


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

For All You Chickadees

You know sometimes you have the kind of day that gets you down for important reasons or sometimes for no apparent reason.  Either way, you need to keep yourself afloat.  Music always really helps me.  In fact on occasions it has been my saviour, even if that means I am unintentionally brought to tears as part of the listening process.  That is what makes music so amazing and also so important and influential in my life.  It is also very much part of my creative process. Without it I cannot write, photograph or in fact feel alive.  It feels like that sometimes.  

This evening I was listening to one of our favourite radio shows which we play constantly over and over; Lou Reed's New York Shuffle when Feist's track 'Caught A Long Wind' came up. I love this track anyway but this evening it really got to me. So apt to the way I was feeling and yes, I admit, I had a little tear here and there.  

So my little chickadees, if you are feeling a little jaded, have a little listen and consider it a little hug from me to you as well.  

And in the meantime, have a listen to Lou's show from the link above.  The Feist track is about 45 minutes 45 seconds in and the comments after always put a smile on my face.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Saving My Gentle Bacun

Some vegans like fake meat and some don't.  I've been through both stages in my vegan life.  At the moment though seitan is most definitely 'in' with me; particularly so since discovering the 'Bacun' recipe in my recently purchased copy of The Gentle Chef Cookbook by Skye Michael Conroy.  Let's just say it's been hard trying to 'save my bacun' and not just scoff it all in one go.  Phil said he much preferred it to the shop bought stuff.  The recipe makes a great big chunk too which really should last you quite a few bacun sandwiches here and there as long as you can contain yourself.

With its four separate lists of ingredients and its 90 minute baking time you would be forgiven for glazing over a little.  However, the lists are short, the technique quite simple and just think of all those things you could get done whilst it's cooking (I cleaned the house!).  Did I also mention it is very very scrummy too?!

Now obviously, as it is in this wonderful cookbook, I would be wrong to just give you the recipe (copyright and all that).  You really should get the book if you haven't got it already as it is packed full of great 'make it from scratch' offerings and actually I consider just the Bacun recipe alone worth buying the book for.  That said, I think I have probably teased you enough and I did actually find the recipe already published online on the  Free From Harm website so check it out along with other free recipes on The Gentle Chef website itself. 

Now, time for another bacun sandwich I reckon............

Monday, 12 October 2015

We Need Your Vegan Books!

Do you have a vegan cookbook kicking around that you don't use?  Did somebody buy you one that you already have and you've never had a chance to pass it on to someone else who is vegan or interested in vegan cooking?  Well now is your chance!

Driftwood Vegans are having a stall at the Cornwall Vegan Festival on Saturday 5th December.  We are hoping to represent what written information is 'out there' for vegans.  I will be displaying my personal collection of over 60 vegan cookery books (sorry not selling them!) to demonstrate that there are now masses of cook books available these days. Alongside that we plan on selling vegan books on the day at as cheap a price as we can.  We've already been buying them in cheap where we find them but we would like as many as possible.  Any profit we make we will be forwarding to Cornwall Animal Action (who have organised the festival) as a donation.

So please, if you can spare any books or indeed, see any going cheap anywhere, please do give us a shout at .  If you happen to be in Truro on the following Saturdays (17th October, 31st October, 14th November and 28th November) between 10am - 4pm you could also drop any contributions into Poppy at the Oxfam book shop who is more than happy to pass them on to us.

More about the stall in future posts including a call out for your favourite recipes!!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Eden Project Petition for Vegan Food

Many a time I have written to the Eden Project to ask why they do not provide more vegan options. Nothing seems to change and to be honest, I've seen more choice at places that don't profess to be environmental educators.  The thing is, we all know as vegans, that the first thing they should be doing is pushing the environmental benefits of a plant based diet and here we are begging for just a better choice of vegan food in their restaurants!  

If you live in Cornwall you can get a cheaper 'locals' pass for year round access to Eden. We normally renew this every year as there is something really lovely about walking around the tropical biome in the midst of a Cornish winter when it's lashing it down outside.  At the moment however, I'm really not feeling inclined to renew it this year.  I'm getting a little tired that Eden, after all these years, still hasn't developed their thinking and shed the shackles of profit over the true message it was originally created for; the protection of the environment.  

This petition, started by a Cornish vegan, has been around for a couple of months now and I am surprised it hasn't had more interest.  As I write it is only 19 signatures away from a 500 target, which is great, but I believe it should be able to easily surpass that to send a really strong message to Eden.  So come on vegans of the world, give this world renowned 'tourist' attraction the proverbial kick it needs to ask them to have a little think about their environmental priorities.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Karma Kitchen Supper Club

The Karma Kitchen Project are three friends who are working their way through cookbooks. They create vegetarian and vegan recipes from three different perspectives and lifestyles. They also present supper clubs in Wadebridge in Cornwall every now and then.  The next one is a vegan Middle Eastern Feast on Sunday 1st November.  Check out the full details on their blog - Karma Kitchen Project and be sure to book early to avoid disappointment.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Staycation, Sunshine and Mushrooms Galore

Everyone knows the Brits like talking about the weather but it has to be said that for once, it really is worth talking about.  We are taking full advantage of it at the moment and spending our weekends away in Miles our camper van. You don't have to go far in Cornwall to feel like you are on holiday.  In fact we headed 30 minutes from north to south coast and pretty much had a tucked away space overlooking the sea to ourselves all weekend.

On the Saturday morning we awoke and headed out for a walk along the coast path to look for mushrooms for breakfast.  Not only did we succeed in our hunt but we did so in shorts and vest tops in gloriously hot sunshine.  It was indeed a summer's day at the beginning of October!  

Other amazing things about the weekend were seeing a shoal of at least 20 large Barrel Jellyfish and as usual bumping in to our friends the Choughs (although in an area we didn't even know they were established in!)...and in case you were wondering it was an amazing breakfast of sauteed parasol mushrooms (Macrolepiota procera) with some lovely cranberry and pumpkin seed bread.  These are pictured above before harvest and at the bottom on the plate.

Later that day we chanced upon some more mushrooms just off the coast path, a short walk north from our 'campsite'. This time we found some field mushrooms (Agaricus campestris), and some Agaricus macrosporus (no common name in the UK).  The former are in the photo below left. A few of the field mushrooms made it into that nights dinner, of Mediterranean veg. and mushrooms in a sun dried tomato sauce, with pasta.  The rest were packed into the cool box to come home with us along with handfuls of plump sloes, to get the sloe gin going in time to add some natural cheer to the dark days of winter ahead.

As well as 'making hay while the sun shines' we will continue to explore the many varieties of edible mushrooms this time of year can provide, as well as any other seasonal wild edible treasures.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Big Vegan Count

THE BIG COUNT vegan survey
Check out The Big Vegan Count.

According to most statistics only 1% of the population is vegan. These guys want to see if that is right with The Big Vegan Count. More that 25,000 people from 150 countries have already taken part.  It doesn't take more than a minute to complete so why not add your voice?

How the statistics are going to be accurately worked out from this is a little bit of a mystery to me but hey, I'm not a statistician! 

What I liked about this is it is a way of holding your hand up with all the other vegans and saying "we are vegan and we are proud"!

Monday, 5 October 2015

The Dark Night of Soul Fundraiser

Fancy a night out with a bunch of groovy Cornish vegans?  Well get your dancing shoes on and head over to Whiskers in Newquay on Saturday 17th October for a night of funk, soul and jazz.  

This fund raising DJ night has been organised by and for Cornwall Animal Action (CAA). Not only could you enjoy a rare groovy night of dancing and laughter in good company but you could be supporting  the great campaign work that CAA do because, as if things couldn't get any better, there will also be an amazing raffle and auction on the night. The prizes and auction lots are increasing day by day so you'd be a fool if you didn't take a whole load of wonga to 'be in it to win it' and to make sure you get those winning bids in too.

For more details on the event, including those amazing prizes, please visit the Facebook events page The Dark Night of Soul CAA Fundraiser.

.......and in the meantime, start practicing throwing those shapes and searching for that big box, little box and cardboard box to take with you.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Hazelnut Heaven

Anyone who has foraged for wild hazelnuts will know that it can be a bit of a hit and miss affair. Sometimes you find a good spot and the nuts are plentiful, and other times they seem scarce and hard to find. Some years the nuts are well formed inside the shells, and other years it hardly seems worth the effort for the meagre results you get.  Whether all this is a result of poor timing on our part, or just a 'bad year' is hard to say.  Probably a bit of both.  

As the weather has been superb lately, we took the opportunity last week to get out foraging locally after work.  The idea was to look for more edible mushrooms, but that idea was soon scrapped when we failed to find a single edible specimen in the area we chose.  We did however chance upon some hazel trees, and spent about an hour picking and eating the delicious nuts.  We were not expecting to find any nuts, so the '2 rocks' approach was taken to opening the shells, revealing the slightly 'green' juicy nuts within.  The 'hit rate' for these nuts straight off the trees was really good, with nearly all of them having well formed nuts inside the shells.  In the photo above, the rewards from that evenings work are displayed in the plastic bowl top left (what's left of them).  

Today was another glorious day, so I headed back to this spot to see if there were any more nuts going free.  As you can see from the photo above, there certainly were!  Taking my place among the cows and bulls also foraging their way through the woodland, I set about gathering all the nuts I could find.  This time I took to collecting the good looking windfalls as well as nuts fresh off the trees.  By the time I'd finished I had about 5 lbs of nuts!  The quantity of good nuts wasn't as high as only picking them straight off the tree, but this still struck me as quite a good few hours of foraging. Especially as I also picked some great blackberries on my way out of the woods (apple and blackberry crumble Scooby?).  

The great thing is that this area offers many more hazel trees that I didn't have the time to explore today.  After searching for a good area for hazels in the past and coming up short, I have now found my very own version of hazelnut heaven! This is great timing, as Scooby has just found a recipe for chocolate hazelnut butter!  Two of my favourite things in one! (plus a few other ingredients like coconut oil).  I just hope our old blender is up to the job. As I was rooting around in the trees with the cows, I also spotted quite a few mushrooms poking their way through the earth, so this spot could also deliver on that front as the autumn progresses.  

As I was out in the woods today it struck me just how important an environment woodland is.  As contented as the cows seemed in the woods today, a sustainable future won't be secured by animal agriculture and pasture land.  We need more land given over to planting trees, and rewilding.  If any of you reading this can influence things in that direction, then please do so.  Sign petitions to stop logging companies destroying old growth forests.  Take an interest in natural processes and spend some 'down time' in nature (you'll probably find yourself calling it 'up time' afterwards, for it's positive effect on mood).  Plant some trees if you have space, or take part in some 'guerrilla gardening'.  Being vegan is a huge step in the right direction, and 'the future may well be vegan', but lets also look at the bigger picture and try and prioritise the most important steps we can take to ensure we have a world that's worth living in, with space for as much natural diversity as possible. And don't forget to plant more hazelnut trees!