Sunday, 29 November 2015

Cornwall Vegan Festival 5th December

The time is almost upon us for the much anticipated Cornish vegan event of the year; The Cornwall Vegan Festival 2015. The Hall for Cornwall will be bustling on Saturday 5th December with oodles of  vegan vibes, food, talks, film screenings, crafts, fun, demos, live music, vegan goodies to buy and so much more.  If you are a vegan in Cornwall, it surely will be too hard to resist and if you are a vegan outside of Cornwall, how can you resist coming to Cornwall and being able to visit a vegan festival at the same time?  It's all too exciting right?

The Festival will be sure to draw on those already enjoying a vegan lifestyle (for a big Cornish vegan hug), but it is hoped it will also tweak the interest of those veggie or vegan curious among us, so please spread the vegan word and love far and wide.  Take a non vegan friend out for a day in Cornwall's capital and then feign surprise at how fortunate it is that there happens to be a vegan festival taking place on that very day!  It could change their world and so much more.

The Festival kicks off at 10am and runs till 5pm.  It is free entry and due to vegan karma all Cornwall County Council car parks are also free on the day.

Driftwood Vegans are having a stall at the festival too (up in the room where the talks are taking place).  I will be there showing off how many vegan cook books there are available on the market now, with a wide selection of new and second hand books for sale at bargain prices.  I also have a special free recipe lucky dip called 'The Vegan Love Pot' representing the sharing of vegan recipes by word of mouth and blogs. Be sure to come say hello, bag yourself a bargain cookery book (we are donating all profit to CAA who organised the event) and have a free dip in my Vegan Love Pot!  

For full details of the festival check out the website at Cornwall Vegan Festival.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Cowspiracy Continues to Rock The World

There can't be many vegans that haven't seen Cowspiracy but there are still plenty of non vegans yet to see this hugely influential, game changer of a documentary.  
Some people won't want to sit down and watch a feature length documentary about a subject that they would rather blissfully be unaware of.  However, this little short may well be the answer to getting the message through and maybe, just maybe, will lead to them watching the whole feature.  At 1.5 minutes it is 'easier to swallow' and perhaps it will make what they actually eat a little less 'easy to swallow'.
So let's keep the Cowspiracy message going and at least sneak this little 'taster' into all social media we can to reach more and more of the masses.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Mayo Madness

We are sooooo naughty!  We have no self constraint; not when it comes to Vegenaise (and okay quite a few other things too but let's just stay on subject here).  

On Saturday, whilst up in Exeter for the Animal Aid Christmas Without Cruelty Festival, we took the opportunity of also visiting Seasons, a health food store that is now 100% vegan.  There was a plentiful supply of vegan goodies inside this wonderful little shop but I gasped just a little too loudly when I saw jars of Follow Your Heart Vegenaise in the fridge.  We haven't seen this stuff since travelling in America a few years ago and put it this way, it wasn't an option to leave without any.

Problem is, I got carried away and somehow two jars of it found their way in to my basket. Big deal you might say.  Look carefully at the photo above however.  It's only Thursday and one of those jars is already empty and the other has been opened.  The side of the jar states that it contains 24 portions.  Clearly we have a bit to learn about portion control if we want that second jar to last more than 5 days.

The moral of this story is; always buy two jars and enjoy vegan goodies when you find them. Oh and to hell with being good.  I'll do that when it's all gone.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Mozzarisella Pizza Chain Deal?

I recently received an email about Mozzarisella, a relatively new vegan cheese on the market from Italy made from germinated rice.  I had heard a little of this new brand but hadn't really investigated it as we haven't seen it anywhere locally or on our travels. However, upon reading the email, there were several things that tweaked my interest a whole lot more.  

Firstly, it is 100% organic which we are becoming more and more fussy about.  Secondly, there is no soya contained in it; another thing we are moving towards reducing in our diets a little more.  There are four products in this range; MozzaRisella, CreamyRisella, SmokeyRisella and BlueRisella.  The latter is the newest one in the range and it contains seaweed, another factor that we found interesting.  However, contained at the bottom of the email was something which sounded really quite exciting, and that was they may be signing a contract with a well known pizza chain!  Imagine that; not having to take your own vegan cheese along for a pizza treat?  Who this pizza chain is remains a mystery at this stage but hopefully it would be one that offers vegan dough.

Guess what too?  This cheese is also said to melt pretty well!

So now my investigations will turn to actually hunting down some of these cheeses to try out.  Via their website I have discovered three health food stores within a reasonable range that stock it - St Ives, Wadebridge and Falmouth. Hmmmm, pizza night Saturday night me thinks!

If you want to hunt some down for yourself and there is nowhere nearby that stocks it, looks like you can also order it on-line from either VeggieStuff or VeganCheese.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Vegan Christmas Festivals Abound!

We are getting really spoilt down here at the moment as over the next couple of weeks we have two amazing Christmas Festivals to enjoy and ethically spend our pocket money at.
First up is a yearly favourite of ours; The Animal Aid Christmas Without Cruelty Festival.  It takes place tomorrow at the Exeter Corn Exchange slap bang in the city centre.  This year there are more than 40 stalls, featuring ethical traders and organisations that promote human, animal and environmental causes.  Products on sale will include fair trade clothes, vegan chocolate, local arts and crafts, cruelty free cosmetics, quality bric-a-brac, delicious cakes and vegan beers. 
In addition, a visit would not be the same if you don't indulge in the delicious food on offer throughout the day from local caterers Fairfoods.  It is normally our first port of call and be prepared to be dazzled and confused by the amazing choices on offer.  No belly is big enough to help ease the decision making process of what to have.
To check out full details of the Exeter festival go to Animal Aid's website or tune into the Festival's Facebook event page.
If the excitement wasn't enough, in a couple of weeks time and closer to home we have the anticipation of the Cornwall Vegan Festival.  Truro on Saturday 5th December is definitely the place to be!  More details on this will follow soon but if you really cannot wait any longer, check out the Facebook link above and remember to pop it in your diary now.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

A Perfect Match For a Veggie Perrins

We love wine. Fact. Our favourites normally involve either French or Portuguese offerings (less food miles and all that).  Neither country may be known for its understanding of vegan but by god (whatever god that fits your spiritual needs) they make good wine, and both countries do indeed indulge the vegan if you do your research enough.  

However, we are always open to new frontiers.  One such frontier opened up to us recently in the form of an Indian wine.  Yes, you did indeed hear that right; an Indian wine!  We bumped into this particular offering in an infrequent visit to Marks and Spencer's (not a regular haunt of ours I might add but they do appear to be particularly thoughtful at labelling up the vegan stuff they do offer).  

Well, what a peculiar, interesting and intriguing offering this Indian wine turned out to be. Any vegan/veggie- centric 'locals' will be familiar with a certain amazing Indian vegetarian establishment called Veggie Perrins across the border in Plymouth (Devon). If you are not; shut up!  Seriously, why haven't you been there? Regardless they do a certain dish called Bengan Bhartha; a wonderful aubergine dish with a certain unmistakable smokiness about it.  So amazing and different is this dish that they give you due warning of this upon ordering. It is exquisite and one that we always order.  Well let's just say that this wine somehow captures that taste, and indeed the taste of India itself. The first sip leaves you wondering what exactly you have bought, as it's not exactly easy on the palate to start with.  After a few sips though, and especially if you're about to eat curry, it all starts to make sense. There's a definite 'spiciness', maybe a hint of garam masala, but somehow, if you've ever been to India you'll recognise there's a certain 'Je ne sais quoi' that is evocative of India, and nowhere else. 

So our message is simple;  don't dismiss Indian wine and clearly you need a visit to Veggie Perrins to understand what wonders you are missing out on.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Simple Quick Tasty Italian

Zest Mushroom & Smoked Garlic Sauce  355gViolife Prosociano With Parmesan Flavour Dairy Free Cheese Gluten Free, Vegan

We were driving home from work and as usual our conversation turned to 'what shall we have for dinner?'.  It's mid week, we are both tired after work and although the idea of a tasty plateful of food was very high in our minds, neither of us were in much of a mood for doing a massive amount of cooking.  I was quite adamant though; I wanted pasta.

It was time for a rummage among our food supplies.  We had pasta.  That was a good start. I screeched with delight when I found a forgotten jar of Zest Tomato, Mushroom and Smoked Garlic Pasta Sauce.  Quite how it had been forgotten is beyond me as this stuff is amazing but I blame Phil's ample supply of chili sauces that appear to have been building up in front of it in the cupboard.  Now, it is a rare thing that we will buy a jar of pasta sauce but we make the exception with this one.

So pasta and lush pasta sauce; obvious huh?  A second screech of delight emanated from me when I realised that perhaps this whole sudden desire to have pasta had been a subconscious desire or excuse to dip into the Violife Prosociano (Parmesan) we had recently bought on a visit to the Country Store Health Foods in Redruth.  Surely this was a perfect moment to grate a whole heap of that on top of a steaming plate of saucy pasta.  Oh yes it certainly was.

However, it would be pretty lazy if we didn't add in some additional veg to the equation and we had some mushrooms and a pepper in need of use, along with an aubergine.  The pepper, mushrooms, and an onion were sauteed up to bulk out the sauce but I had special plans for the aubergine; simple Sicilian baked aubergine slices.  I'd made these as part of a bigger recipe some months back and had loved them.  They were the perfect easy top off to this plate of simple pasta. These slices sound too simple to be true but seriously the combination of just aubergine, flour and olive oil adds up to so much more than you think it would.

So grab yourself a jar of Zest sauce, treat yourself to a hunk of Prosociano (but leave some for us in the Country Store!), stock up on the pasta and give this aubergine recipe a try to top it off.  You'll have yourself a simple, quick and tasty solution to those 'I really can't be arsed to cook much but I really want something damn good' evenings.

Sicilian Baked Aubergine Slices
Enough to top off a plate for two

1 large aubergine
Touch of salt
Bit of plain flour
Bit of good quality tasty olive oil

Pop the oven on to around 200 degrees C.

Slice the aubergine into thin slices (about 1cm/third of an inch), sprinkle them with salt and leave for about 10 minutes before washing off with clean water.  This supposedly draws the excess water out of the slices and is also meant to make them less bitter.  You don't have to do this but I generally do with this recipe and they turn out real good.  

Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil on a baking tray.  Coat each side of the slices with the flour and pop on to the tray and then drizzle more olive oil on top.

Bake for 10 minutes and flip the slices over and bake for another 10 minutes.  They should be nicely browned and slightly crisp.

Pop them on top of that steamy saucy pasta and grate some of that lush cheese on top.


Sunday, 1 November 2015

Free Neighbourhood Harvest

We have an unheated utility annex in our house where we tend to keep produce; a kind of nature's larder if you will. Yesterday our neighbour Ged passed a big pumpkin over the wall to us as a gift; a great Allantide/Halloween offering which no doubt will end up in a pot over the course of the next week or more (they keep so well).  I added this to the developing pile of produce in the utility and suddenly realised how much we had and, even better, that most of it had been free!

The apples were a present from our other neighbour Pete.  He has an apple tree in his front garden but doesn't tend to pick them.  Not wanting to see them go to waste I asked whether he would mind if we picked some over the coming days and he agreed wholeheartedly.  The next day, and before we had managed to pick any, we found a basket full of apples outside our back gate.  A few days later we found a bag with the cauliflower in hanging on the door handle of our back door.  This again was Pete, who had been out doing a bit of work in the local cauli fields and brought back some of the fruits of his labours.

The nuts are from Phil's recent foraging activities locally and the long squash and herbs from our garden.  The only thing that was purchased was the Crown Prince squash (the greyish one) that Phil got in a local farm shop recently for £1.50.

So the nights may be darkening and the air becoming slightly crisper (although what an amazing autumn so far), but nobody can deny that this time of year is wonderful for filling natures larder whether that be from the garden, local countryside or a friendly neighbourhood gesture.