Friday, 28 October 2016

The Hectic Vegan Magazine

Circumstances at the moment have got us more than a little behind in blogging activities recently.  The beginning of October saw the launch of a new vegan magazine called The Hectic Vegan and I am ashamed to say that it is only just now that we've had a chance to take a look.

The magazine is the brain child of Rich Underwood, a Herts based vegan.  It all started a couple of years ago as an Instagram account which then led to The Hectic Vegan Blog, both with a view to demonstrate that even if your life is super hectic, you can still eat well and lead a healthy vegan life.  To spread this message far and wide, the next natural step was the magazine.

The 45 pages of the first issue include everything from exciting recipes and travel guides, to articles covering ethics, spirituality and community, as well as competitions, a vegan diary, and reviews (including a cheese review!).  Whether you are a long term vegan or just starting out on your amazing vegan journey, the magazine is inclusive and interesting.  I particularly enjoyed the 'Day in the Life' Plant Powered article and I always love a recipe or two to salivate over.

So take a peek at the newest 'vegan mag on the block'.  You can download a free copy of the first issue here.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

South Coast Wild Mushroom Harvest

Around this time last year we were camped out in Miles the Camper Van on the South Cornish coast.  The weather was unseasonably warm last year, but was a little chillier today on our day trip. However we were still lucky to discover the same amount of amazing wild mushrooms in the exact areas we had found them before.  The gorse and bracken were a little higher so it was a little harder to search them out but find them we did.  

We also had a visit from our old friends the choughs.  We had hoped to see them when we first arrived, but they only appeared at the end of our walk when we had nearly given up hope.  At first it was hard to definitely identify them from a distance, and we doubted our initial sighting of their acrobatic flight. However, a ray of sunshine revealed the banded orange legs, and orange beaks in all their wonderful glory.  The sightings were topped off by the distinctive 'cheow' call of this charismatic Cornish bird.

We weren't camping out on this occasion, so we retreated home with our mushroom haul and Phil cooked up a Spanish inspired seitan, mushroom, and tomato dish to enjoy for dinner, whilst we mused over the delight of yet another Cornish chough experience and successful mushroom forage.

This time of year will definitely be marked in the diary for returning to this special spot to stock up on wild mushrooms and hopefully see the choughs.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Cheeky Vugga

Image may contain: drink, outdoor and waterWe reported back in March that our favourite local pub had introduced organic vegan ale on cask.  Well since then the wonderful ales from Atlantic Brewery have proved to be a real hit at The Bowgie, with each cask selling out so quickly that you can be guaranteed to experience a different ale flavour experience each visit. 

With ales ranging from red, pale, blonde, and porter, to ginger, elderflower, earl grey, masala chai and smoked green tea (to name a few); there are plenty to try.  We were also extremely pleased to see Atlantic Brewery included in the Bowgie's very successful annual August bank holiday Ale and Cider Festival this year too.

To add to the excitement, The Bowgie are now having their own signature Pale Ale brewed and have chosen Atlantic Brewery to produce it for them.  There can't be that many pubs in the country that have a vegan organic ale as their signature ale on cask!  How amazing!

The call was put out on Facebook to name this ale, which had to be inspired by The Bowgie, Crantock or the surrounding area.  Cheeky Vugga was the chosen catchy name.  Vugga is a narrow sandy cove tucked away on Crantock beach and it is a short stroll after a nice pint!  Kind of catchy too huh?

So if you want to experience the wonders of another amazing vegan organic brew from Atlantic Brewery, from a pub with an amazing view, get yourself to The Bowgie Inn pronto. Neither the view or the ale will disappoint.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Cornwall Vegans Fundraising T-shirt

The Cornwall Vegans Poster fundraising campaign continues with a chance to get your hands on a fabulous 'We Are All Earthlings' T-shirt designed by Hepzibah Pink's Lulu Baker complete with the proud 'Cornwall Vegans' branding.

These unique hand printed T-shirts come in black on white or white on black with organic (£14.99) or non-organic (£9.99) on offer. The Cornwall Vegan word mark can be put on the sleeve or across the top on the back. For more details, sizing and to place an order, please visit the 'We Are All Earthlings' T-shirt Shop Facebook page. 

What better way to spruce up your vegan wardrobe and spread the vegan message; both via this lovely T-shirt and also by contributing towards the poster campaign?

A bulk order is being put together now so get in there whilst you can!

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Phil's a Fun-guy!

We've recently been out foraging for wild mushrooms. At the start of every autumn we head off into the woods and onto the commons in search of free fungi.  It's one way we console ourselves with the end of summer and the onset of the colder seasons.  As well as our spirits, it keeps our vitamin D levels up; not just from the fact that we might be out in sunshine and getting our vitamin D directly, but also due to the fact that mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D.  Last year we were fortunate enough to find a wide range of interesting wild edible offerings.  This year has so far been less prolific but we have still managed to prepare a few mushroomy meals as well as drying some for future meals.

Phil is the 'fun-guy' identifier in the Driftwood household. Scooby is the mushroom 'hound' that sniffs them out and points, awaiting the verdict on whether the results would be edible, hallucinogenic, or deadly.  Fortunately our relationship is based on trust!  So far, so good!

The results have been really tasty.  There is nothing that compares to wild mushrooms. The shop bought varieties are a world away. However, here is the standard disclaimer; you have to be sure what you are looking for.  There have been times when Phil has been 99% sure of what he has identified but that's not good enough.  You have to be 100% sure unless you want to risk a trip to the hospital, or of another kind!  There are quite a few experts out there so do seek out their guidance. For instance, one such local expert on wild foraging is Jon Dale and this Saturday there is a chance to join him for a local foraging session courtesy of Sprout Health Foods in Newquay. Check out the Sprout Health Foods Facebook page for details.

On our own recent forage for mushrooms we found some Deceivers, Amethyst Deceivers, Agaricus Macrosporus, Wood Hedgehogs, Oysters, Bay Boletes, Pine Boletes, and some King Boletes.  Some of these we dried both to preserve our haul, and to improve the flavour, and some of them we cooked up for the next meal.  Risotto is one of our favourite uses of wild mushrooms as it really concentrates and enhances their earthy flavours.  Below is Fungi Phil's recipe.  If you don't find wild mushrooms then you could just use shop bought ones.

Fungi Phil's Risotto

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion
1 clove of garlic
Pinch black pepper
200g mushrooms (we had a mix of Amethyst Deceivers, Hedgehogs and Boletes)
1 cup Arborio rice
1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder 
Sprinkle of nutritional yeast to taste

In a frying pan saute the onion in the olive oil until translucent and then add the thinly sliced garlic clove and the pinch of black pepper.  Continue to cook for 1 minute more.  Add the chopped mushrooms and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes before adding the rice and stirring in well.  Add enough water to just cover the rice, and then the vegetable stock powder, stirring well to ensure the rice doesn't stick. From there it's a process of just adding water 1/2 cup or so at a time, until the rice is cooked but still has a little 'bite'.  Then stir in the nutritional yeast powder.

If you are wondering what the other dish in the photo is then let's call it 'Phil's Saucy Risotto Accompaniment' and here is that recipe.

 Phil's Saucy Risotto Accompaniment

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
1 clove garlic crushed
1 red pepper
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Pinch of chilli flakes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
Portuguese butter beans from our garden (or broad beans as our beans are ours!)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Fry the onion in the olive oil until it starts to brown and then add the garlic.  Add the chopped pepper and continue to fry until soft.  Add the salt, paprika and chilli and fry for 31.5 seconds :)  before adding tomato puree and stirring well.  Add beans and enough water to just cover and cook for 15 minutes, adding the balsamic vinegar just at the end.