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Thai Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato, Lemon Grass, Spinach & Coconut Curry

Yes, before you ask ALL of the above ingredients I intercepted before going into bins!

Having never in my life even seen lemon grass, let along received it in the palm of my hands I was overjoyed – yet rather perplexed – to have the opportunity to see what I could do with this treat.

My first thought had to be a Thai dish because that was the only thing I’d ever associated lemon grass with….I could be wrong of course, but as I’d never cooked a Thai dish before I was more than up for it!

Then I came upon this beautiful post by Chilli & Mint and hey presto this beautiful dish was born!

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So what do you think? Up for it?  You can omit a few of the ingredients if you don’t have them, I tend to add a few bits here and there and adjust to whatever I have in my cupboards or that I’ve saved so don’t stick to it 100% if you don’t have the stuff!

What you’ll need:

Serves around 4-6 people (hopefully!)

3 tbsp of oil
3 shallots
1 tbsp of salt
2 lemon grass (both ends removed and then crushed a little)
1 heaped teaspoon of ground ginger
2 cloves of garlic
2 small chilli’s (I chose red)
1 tsp ground turmeric
200g tin of chopped tomato’s
bag of chopped butternut squash & sweet potato (about 350g)
500 ml of vegetable stock
1 x can of 400 ml coconut milk (or the fresh stuff in cartons, works just as well!)
1 tbsp of soy sauce
200 tin of sweetcorn
200g tin of spinach (or fresh whatever you have)
fresh coriander and mint to serve (if you have it)

What you’ll need to do:

Firstly, slice the shallots and then heat them in the oil in a deep pan, not too hot mind. Add the salt and then fry on a low heat until they soften.

Add the garlic and ground ginger. Add the chillies, lemon grass and turmeric.   Then add the chopped tomato’s, then the butternut squash and sweet potato chunks.

Now add the stock, soy sauce and the coconut milk and bring it to a gentle simmer for around 20 mins or so, the vegetables should then have soften by the end of the 20 minutes.  Don’t over cook the vegetables as you won’t want it to end up all mushy, then add the sweetcorn.

Lastly turn off the heat and add the spinach so it all mixes up nicely.

Stand back and enjoy the beautifully colourful dish you’ve just created!

As  last bit of colour and flavor, chuck in any parsley or coriander that you have moping about the kitchen.

And serve 🙂

Mmmm mmmmm

Let me know what you think!

Px

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Over-ripe Mashed Banana Fritters

Yep you’ve guessed it we’ve got loads of banana’s again. This time they are all really over-ripe – which means they are really REALLY tasty!

Because, as you know, I hate waste…..I also LOVE breakfast!  So if I was going to be eating a good hearty breakfast, then the banana’s had to be used!

Plus as we are always getting these babies; I wanted to find something that you’d use too 🙂

These are soooo tasty; that tasty I’ve been having them every few days – either for breakfast or for desert!  As a new found vegan, it’s not been that easy to replace the donuts I loved or the milk fueled puddings I used to adore!  So this is a great replacement!

I guarantee you WILL love them!

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What you’ll need:

(Makes about 4-5 fritters)

2 largish banana’s (over-ripe only!)
4-5 tablespoons of flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of bicarb soda
1 teaspoon of sugar (if wanted)

What you’ll need to do:

Mix the flour, baking powder, soda and sugar in a bowl.  Then mash the banana with a fork in another bowl and stir the flour mixture into it.  Heat the frying pan to medium hot, coating the area with oil (bottom of the pan).

Once it’s warm enough (starts to bubble slightly), scoop a tablespoon of the mixture into the pan and flatten it slightly.  Fry one side until it’s a medium brown colour and then flip over and do the other side.  Once both sides are cooked you can lay on a sheet of kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil and then serve.

I served mine with a drizzle of maple syrup, but you can leave it as it is or add whatever topping you fancy!

Now tell me you don’t love them!

p.s thanks to this great recipe from Food.com

 

Px

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Easy Courgette, Lemon & Chilli Spaghetti

Need something quick, yet satisfying AND with a little kick?

I came across this after we’d intercepted a load of courgettes.  Not one for knowing what to use courgettes for – other than in my tomato gratin – this popped up via a wonderful blog called ‘House and Garden’.

So far I’ve experimented with recipes which have quite a few herbs and spices – as coming from a ‘non-cooking’ back ground I felt it was about time I used more than just salt and pepper – this recipe however has chilli flakes and/or raw red chilli’s (whatever you prefer).

p.s if you’re not one for really hot spicy food, stick to the chilli flakes – my lips were red raw after using the raw chilli’s!

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What you’ll need:

(this will serve 2)

a splash of oil
about 200g spaghetti
2 courgettes
1 red chilli or a shake or two of chilli flakes
a dash of lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
2 cloves of garlic (cos 1 just isn’t enough!)

What you’ll need to do:

(using a wok if you have one!)

Cook your pasta according to instructions, or until the spaghetti sticks to your kitchen tiles (throwing them at the walls and they stick, means they are done!)

Whilst they are cooking, slice the courgette length-ways or using a potato peeler so you get long strips of courgette.   Heat the oil in the wok (or similar) and fry them over a medium heat along with the garlic and the chili – then the dash of lemon juice.   Fry them all together for around 3 minutes, or until the courgette is soft and all the flavors gathered together.

Serve on the bed of spaghetti and add chopped parsley if you fancy it!

Let me know how you get on!

Px

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Protein Packed Brown Lentil & Veggie Bolognese

This recipe I adapted from a brilliantly easy recipe from the I Quit Sugar website.

To be fair most of my inspiration has come from other people’s recipes and ideas, because I’m not quite there yet on the creative flair when it comes to good food.

The reason I wanted to make a bolognese this time, was merely down to the fact that we’d received, via the project, a few packs of diced vegetables brilliantly described as a ‘veg base’.   As the kind of person whom no longer frequents large supermarkets (only on the odd occasion where needs must), it somehow doesn’t surprise me that people are buying these ready made pots of diced veg.

Sadly, in today’s society people are in a rush. They want things now, rather than taking the time to pick (or even grow) their own veg.  They want things already peeled, already washed and now it seems – cut and diced!

Makes me sad, but as I’m not one to throw anything away I had to find a use for these before their use-by date really did go out of date!  Just so you know we’d received these on Friday, 25th March and the use-by date had already passed by two days!   But, funnily enough, they were still OK to cook, let alone eat!

So here’s what became of them!

What you’ll need (if you’ve not got one of those ready packaged diced veg!)

A bit of oil
2 celery sticks diced
1 onion diced
2 carrots diced
1 tin of chopped tomato’s or a jar of pasta sauce (I used a basil & tomato one)
1 tin of 400g brown lentils (mine were out of date by about 3 months)
1 cube of stock (vegetable) plus some water if required
2 cloves of garlic
2 handfuls of chopped fresh parsley (but I’m sure the dried stuff will do just as nicely)
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of chili flakes
a dash of salt and pepper (to taste)
some pasta of your choice (up to you)

What you’ll need to do:

Stick the oil in a wok or pan (non stick), throw in all the diced veg and garlic. Slowly cook on a medium heat until the veg softens, then stick on the lentils, tomatoes (or pasta sauce), the parsley and other herbs and crumble in the veg stock cube.  If the consistency is a little too thick throw in some water to loosen it up a bit so it’s not too dry.

Allow to heat through and simmer for 10-15 minutes or so.  Whilst that’s simmering cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet or however you like it!

Then serve, with a little pit of parsley to make it look pretty!

Nice yeah?

Enjoy

 

Px

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Red Lentil, Chickpea and Turmeric Curry

This recipe is to die for!

No seriously it is, it’s actually inspired by an even more delicious (if it can get better) recipe by Ella Woodward.  Ella’s ‘everyday’ cookbook contains a rather splendid recipe by the name of Chickpea, Quinoa and Turmeric Curry.

Instead of using quinoa, I wanted to make use of the kind of ‘ordinary/everyday’ ingredients we all have in our homes.  The kinds of things lurking at the back of the cupboard or fridge, things that are half used or on the way out!

It also requires coconut milk, which I didn’t have. Instead I found this, and voila with 200ml of water & a splash of soya milk – you get coconut milk (sort of!)

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You’ll notice the curry is a magnificent vibrant yellow-orange colour (the turmeric) which is contrasted by the delicious green of the spinach.  Making it, a pretty good dish even before you’ve tried it!

You won’t look back after creating this dish. It’s easy and so moreish you’ll keep going back for more – that I promise you.

What you’ll need:

Serves 2

1 large or 2 medium sized potato’s – unpeeled – cut into bite sized chunks.
1 garlic clove, chopped very finely
1.5 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes or powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
200g coconut milk or like me you have pure creamed coconut. Use about 50g, just add 200ml water and a splash of soya milk – add more coconut if it’s too watery although the chopped tomato’s will help thicken.
1/2 tbsp tomato puree
200 can chopped tomato’s
salt & pepper to taste
100g red lentils
200 can of chickpeas (or half a can of 400g)
70g spinach

What to do:

Place the chunks of potato’s in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil, cook until they just start to go tender (you can stick a knife in without them breaking up). Then drain.

Place the potato’s into a large pan, add the garlic, turmeric, coriander, chili, ginger, pure creamed coconut (or coconut milk), tomato puree and chopped tomatoes.  Bring to the boil, add salt and pepper as required.  Then add the lentils, adding around 150 ml boiled water.

Lower the heat to a simmer.  Add the lid and allow to cook for around 20 minutes, stir every few mins or so.  Halfway through throw in the chickpea’s and add the spinach when the 20 minutes is up.  Checking the lentils are cooked and not mushy.

Serve as it is in a bowl with lovely crusty bread, or place on top of nutty brown rice to give it contrast.

Let me know what you think 🙂

P x

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5 Reason’s why it’s best to start as a Veggie when ‘going’ Vegan

Ever been laughed at or ridiculed for your diet choice?

Perhaps you have.   Perhaps you’ve been on all kinds of diets that you’ve simply lost count of which one you’ve tried.  People have said that you’ll never do it, that you simply don’t have the willpower or wherewithal and perhaps those people could be right.  After all changing your diet is a big thing, isn’t it?

You see, food is important and more so when there’s a big old microscope coming from all different angles pointed right at you and your eating habits!   Because, people love nothing more than to point out that what you are doing is pointless.  Or point out that it’s a waste of time and that millions of other people are eating that food you are trying to avoid, so why bother?

It’s been just over a month since I decided to ‘go vegan’ and I am tempted to say it’s been hard (and it has in small ways). However in general , it really hasn’t been as tough as I led myself to believe and that because, in my opinion, became a vegetarian first. I felt it made the transition easier and probably not for the reasons you are expecting either.

You’ve done the hardest part (or so you think)

Most people, and I’m not one of them, find it harder to give up meat when they decide to go veggie.  We are brought up on the stuff, things like bangers and mash (if you are in the UK), toad in the hole and roast dinners are what us Brits are known for. So to be brazen enough to question it, even change it, can be a bit of a taboo subject even these days. It’s like you’re not a ‘real man’ if you don’t eat meat, or you’re losing out on vital vitamins and such like if you cut it out altogether.  Suddenly everyone is more concerned about what you eat than you are!

For me however, I didn’t really eat much of the stuff.  Granted I too had been brought up on roast dinners every Sunday, but as the 15th year of my youth fast approached (coincidentally at the same time my parent’s divorced which left me, my mum and my sister homeless for 6 months), I kind of stopped eating the stuff anyway.   However, going vegan and deciding to no longer have my boiled eggs for breakfast on a Sunday morning, or my cheese toasties at lunchtime – now that was waaaaay more of a challenge.

You see, once you are through the other side of the leaving the meat behind side of things, you’ll see giving up anything to do with animals at all that little bit easier – unless of course you are like me that is! But even so, being a vegan is more than giving up what you love and I’ll explain more about that later.

Just remember you’ve done the hard part!

You’ll know how to deal with the non-vegan nosy parkers and jokers!

Believe me when I say it, going Vegan isn’t something you want to tell everyone about.   Especially, like me, in your ‘day job’ you work in a small company making sandwiches when the only thing that resembles anything even remotely vegan is a cucumber and red onion sandwich!    Plus your boss actively tells you how he ‘hates’ vegans and continually takes the p**s out of you for not eating meat.

To be fair, I wasn’t a ‘tell everyone about it’ vegetarian in the first place.  I kind of came to being vegetarian in a haphazard way, with no real reasoning about it so I never felt the need to preach.  Yet, you’ll come across situations where you have to declare it.  Perhaps you share lunch with your friends, you need to book your place on the staff Christmas lunch and you have to state if you have any dietary requirements – then you have no choice.

If you become a vegetarian first, well you’ve already put yourself through the p**s-taking mill already. You’re an old hand at the witty comebacks to someone’s not so witty jokes about how animals need to be eaten; otherwise they’ll take over the earth or some other rubbish.  You’ll probably have lost count of the times someone has asked you why you decided to go without meat, or the stupid question ‘what do you actually eat?’  Believe me that question is asked ten times more when you finally decide to go all out and do the vegan thang!

So look at it this way, you’ll be a pro. You’ll be able to knock those jokes right out of the ball park and shrug it all off with a quick little retort – or worse say absolutely nothing.  You’ll, no longer care what others think and at the end of the day you know you are part of the solution rather than being part of the problem.  So go you!

You’ll love food all over again, like it was something you thought you invented!

I can’t cook, or at least that’s what I thought for over 20 years.  My ‘signature’ dish was shepherd’s pie, and believe me it was hit and miss at the best of times!  To be fair, since starting to cook for The Real Junk Food Project Portsmouth my cooking repertoire has improved significantly.  I can now cook curries, tagine’s, soups, casseroles, chili’s, bakes and other such vegetarian delights.  But I’ve never cooked, or been so interested in my food since becoming a vegan.

I mean I’ve started a blog about it – that must tell you something!

You’ll already feel like you are doing something astoundingly kind and unequivocally compassionate

Yep, you knew this was coming right?  Look, I’m not one for preaching about how not eating meat or anything derived from animals is the only way to go and if you don’t you’ll end up in hell.  It’s just not how I do this.  But, there are times when you might slip up, become tempted or even worse you end up eating something you thought was vegetarian but instead later (usually pointed out by a non-veggie person) that it’s not cruelty free after all (like who are they to judge huh?!!)

It’s going to happen, like it or not and you know what – who cares!?!

OK, perhaps those were the wrong words, but it goes like this. You are on a journey. A blinking good, kind and compassionate journey at that – make no bones about it.  You, actually give a damn about others.  Not just people, but other living human things. You are also giving an actual damn about the environment and this beautiful planet, and rather than sitting on your bum following the masses you, yes YOU, are doing something about it.  You’ve given up meat, something some people can’t even imagine doing in their life time, just cos ‘that’s how it’s always been’.

Deciding to start somewhere is not only amazing, it’s monumental.  Because ‘you are the change, you wish to see in the world’ (isn’t that a quote??!!)  It’s good, caring people like you that will make a difference, albeit a small one at first, but so what – it’s better than not at all!

Being a vegetarian will give you ammunition towards then deciding to go all out and becoming a vegan, cos you’ll not want to stop – believe me – it will come a ‘knocking!

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Me and Tommy at our allotment!

You’ll embrace your own weirdness and love it!

You know there are many stereotypes of a typical vegetarian.  The ‘tree hugger’ or ‘hippie’ or any other weird and wonderful descriptions.   People will see you as ‘weird’.  You don’t fit in like you used to and more so with the people you used to spend time with, especially your family.   Its part of the process I’m afraid.  Going vegetarian first will alleviate that pain and the loneliness at first.

The thing is when you decide to actually think for yourself, and do something about what you put into your body you begin to find out who you really are.  You’ll dig into your own uniqueness and actually spend time looking at why you make the decisions that you do.    It’s a big giant step into the unknown, which is by far the biggest way to grow both mentally and physically.  You’ll, start to rediscover things about yourself that you never knew existed and believe me being ‘alone’ isn’t a bad thing at all.

Embrace that weirdness, cos believe me when you go vegan that will only increase tenfold – and that can only be a good thing!

So dare to be different.  Go vegetarian first, if that helps because it’ll put you in good stead for when you decide to go the whole hog.  You’ll thank yourself for it.

Let me know how you get on.

P x

 

 

 

 

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Garlicky Kale with Tomato’s & Cashew Nuts on a load of Spaghetti!

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What’s all the fuss about with Kale?

OK, I’ll be honest with you.  This is the first time I’ve ever cooked and eaten kale (let alone saved it from going to landfill!).   Whilst we get quite a bit of veg from our waste food collections, kale isn’t top of the list, that is until last Monday night when we rescued bags of the stuff!

Kale has many great benefits, even if your’e not a vegan (obviously), but more so because it’s a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron and Vitamin K (and so much more!).   So I was as eager as a child at Christmas to get my mitts on a bag or two – so this Monday was my lucky day!

It’s a great vegetable to use with pasta, so that’s why I chose to use it with spaghetti, tomato’s, lashings of garlic,  a handful of cashew nuts and sultana’s to give it that extra dab of deliciousness.

And for a change, I wasn’t wrong!

Try it, and believe me you’ll be asking for more – I know I did.

Garlicky Kale with Tomato’s & Cashew Nuts on a load of Spaghetti

What you’ll need (feeds 1-2)

A couple of handfuls of spaghetti
2 table spoons of olive oil
2 Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 Onion (chopped)
2 handfuls of kale (torn up into bit sized chunks, remembering to remove the stalks)
A dash of salt and pepper
A handful of cashew nuts
A handful of sultana’s
A splash or two of lemon juice
2 handful’s of cherry tomato’s (cut in half)

What to do:

Cook your pasta and put to one side (making sure it’s not too overdone) or use up any that’s sitting in your fridge (like mine was after Monday night’s cafe night) – wondering what to do with it!

Whilst that’s cooking, heat up a frying pan or wok with the oil.  Add the chopped onions, garlic and a shake or two of the salt and pepper.  Let them cook, but not brown, for a couple of minutes letting the onion become infused by the garlic.

Then add the kale, the tomato’s, cashew nuts, sultana’s and a splash or two of lemon juice.   Fry them on a medium heat, stirring constantly coating the kale with the oil and the garlicky onions – until the kale is tender and the tomato’s soften.

Once all mixed and softened take the pasta off the pan or boil a kettle and pour the hot water over the spaghetti (whilst in a jug) to reheat it.    Drain the pasta, place in a bowl and then top that with the garlicky kale mixture.

All done.  Let me know what you think 🙂  I especially loved the sultana’s added to it – just gave it that little bit of extra sweetness to the savoriness of the dish.

Enjoy!

 

Px

This recipe was inspired by a similar recipe on RealSimple.com

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Why The Real Junk Food Vegan? Warning: this is a long story!

So, I’ve decided to finally come clean on why I decided to start a blog call The Real Junk Food Vegan and why now.

The day I decided to go ‘Veggie’

It was just after my 15th birthday my twin sister and I both decided that we’d stop eating meat; actually it may not have been quite so clean cut as that but I am sure it happened about the same time.   Now, for many people deciding to stop eating meat is a very important time in one’s life; it can be a defining moment and the reasoning behind it a very passionate one.  However, personally it wasn’t like that at all.

I can’t actually remember why, it certainly wasn’t anything to do with the cruelty involved, the barbaric torture some animals can endure I;m sad to say.  No in actual fact it was because I just wanted to and if you’ve ever met me,well you know I don’t normally do things by halves.

Back in the 1990’s being a vegetarian wasn’t as widely known as it is today, perhaps that’s to do with social media, the celebrities that love to tell the world that they are one or the numerous animal welfare charities these days.   I do however; remember BROS highlighting Lynx fur and the unnecessary breeding and killing of them; so it could have been that!  Or I distinctly remember being fed the chewiest meat, taking too big a bite sat at the dinner table desperately trying to swallow it even when the taste had long gone – never a nice way to digest your food – when you’ve chewed the hell out of it and try to swallow it whole.  

Anyway whatever it was, I just remember telling mum that I’d no longer be eating meat and that was that.

Luckily for me and although I’d grown up with meat being the staple food on my dinner plate; my mum was supportive of us.  To her credit she’d always fed us on lots of veg anyway, so taking just one thing off our dinner plate was no big thing at the end of the day!  We’d sit at the dinner table most evenings with a plate of veg, or a quiche or even a Linda McCartney pie if the pennies would stretch that far.  It was a straight forward transition from meat eater to vegetarian, no questions asked.

Yes I did slip ‘off the wagon’

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I guess when there is no real reasoning behind something, no real justification or heart wrenching emotion behind the decision, slipping off the meat ‘wagon’ was bound to happen from time to time.  I’m not averse to admitting that I’d sometimes nick a bit of chicken from someone else’s plate when it was my time to clear the dishes away, just for ‘old time’s sake’.  Yet it never really made much difference to me, there would never be any real guilt because what was I to feel guilty for?  It was just decision I’d made when I was 15, nuff said.

So 9 years I continued to not eat meat, and the majority of that time I stuck to it like glue.  That is until I met a chef, he offered me a Kentucky Fried Chicken (yeah I know – what the? right?) and the rest they say is history.  I have to be honest though, fast food has never appealed to me and certainly not Kentucky Fried Chicken, I think I’ve eaten it twice in my entire life – so I guess once I popped I just couldn’t stop.

The next 10 or so years I did eat meat, never a lot mind you, but I did and it was just what I did at the time.  Looking back now, those where the years I didn’t really know much about who I was, what I stood for and my values……..well I didn’t really have any.  I went through a pretty turbulent time from my early 30’s until about 2/3 years ago.

And then…….Then The Real Junk Food Project happened!

If you’ve been following the progress of The Real Junk Food Project, you’d know it’s a project aiming to abolish food waste within the next 10 years.  Starting back in 2013, Adam Smith wanted to turn the whole food waste thing on its head and decided that doing what others did wasn’t going to do it for him anymore.

He was, or rather IS, a man after my own heart.  He’s not a follower of crowds and certainly doesn’t conform; and neither do I!   So in March 2015 I started The Real Junk Food Project Portsmouth, intercepting waste food in my local area and feeding it to bellies rather than to bins!  It wasn’t a scary thing to do, in fact it felt like the right thing to do plus I was going through a pretty difficult time financially so it felt like the ONLY thing I could do with what little I had.

You see, its right when people say ‘you only understand what it’s like to be poor, when you’ve been poor yourself’ and that is too true.   Although what we do at The Real Junk Food Project Portsmouth isn’t about feeding the poor, it’s about three things in my eyes.  It’s about educating people about food waste, that the food labelled by these big corporate companies isn’t really about your health but more about how they can get you to keep buying more and more.   It’s about looking at what you eat, why you eat it and where it comes from.  It’s also about creating a place for anyone to come to with no rules, no judgments and doing it on a regular basis.  It’s also about caring for the planet and sticking two fingers up to the system and doing what we want, when we want to.

The hardest times are our biggest lessons

You see, whilst doing all this I was going through the mill myself. I didn’t have food in my cupboards and yet I wanted to feed others.  I’m no Mother Theresa, but it’s when you have nothing that you finally understand what it is to be grateful for what you have – and that’s how I felt.  Doing this project has not only given so much gratitude for what I have, it’s had a profound effect on how I eat and how I cook.  You see, before I started this project I never cooked for myself. I think my only real ‘signature dish’ was Shepherd’s Pie!   Yet, having little food meant that I had to experiment and make good food out of what I already had.   Plus, I went back to being a Vegetarian.  Again, not through any real sense of injustice but because meat just didn’t figure in the whole food waste thing for me.   You see, I started to appreciate the odd carrot, the apple and even the rotten banana – like I’d never ever done before.  Meat for me just wasn’t doing it for me anymore.

So what’s the Vegan bit all about then?

Ha! I knew you’d ask that!   The funny thing is becoming Vegan has meant a lot more to me than becoming veggie.  You see, through the project I’ve met a diverse set of people.  From ethically minded people, passionate people, vegetarians, meat eaters, vegans, parents, the lonely, homeless and ‘ordinary’ folk.  Yet, we all share one common thing we all want to eat and eat good nutritious food (I am going somewhere with this, so please bear with me!)  – Whether they know it or not!

Yes, becoming Vegan this time around, has a lot to do with animal suffering, the cruel way animals are used as commodities rather than seen as the beautiful creatures they are.  But through the project, I’ve developed a heightened sense of compassion, a kindred spirit with fellow human beings and most of all I feel huge amounts of responsibility for my role in this world, whilst I am here.   You see, being a Vegan (for me) is about standing up not only for animals, for the planet but also for all living things.

It’s not about the ‘them and us’ thing, perhaps some vegans do feel like that, I don’t know (just guessing here). But it’s about making sure that if I am going to live this life, and see a big change in the world – then I’ve got to be that change too (yeah that’s not my quote by the way!).  So it means doing, saying and being the person I really am and doing so straight from the heart.   Yeah,  I may be a stubborn, selfish prat sometimes (which I fully acknowledge), but it’s having a moral obligation to the rest of the world that really matters.  Putting aside what I ‘think’ I want, and finally standing up and doing what I am here to do cos ‘this ship aint gonna turn around’ on its own is it?

So The Real Junk Food Vegan is about making a stand.  It’s about making a difference and it’s about living in a way that creates goodness, that no longer accepts ‘the way it is’ and doing it the kindest most loving way.   If we can stop cruelty not only to animals but also to the planet, they why wouldn’t we at least try?

Are you with me?

p.s if you’ve gotten this far thank you for reading…..if not I’ll see you on my next blog post – probably the one where I’m cooking up a nice vegan cake! 😉

Pxx

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SAM_4594

French Toast with a Banana & Cinnamon twist!

Call me a ‘French Toast Virgin’ but I’ve never had the stuff, not even in my carnivore days (I’ll explain that one to you some day).

So why now?

As per usual we’d had a stack load of banana’s from our latest, Real Junk Food Portsmouth collection/interception at The Fruit Basket in Stubbington (a little village not far from me).   Most week’s we get shed loads, and Banana Bread (albeit scrummy) does get a bit boring after the third slice or two…..

So, in my limited capacity as a new vegan; I wanted to use up the banana’s in my breakfast rather than in ‘just another cake’.  So I Googled it, saw a few idea’s and rather than copy completely I took a snippets of ideas from a great blog by the name of Fettle Vegan – just on this very theme!

So here it is – looks good right?

SAM_4595

If so check the recipe below – and let me know what you think – or if you’ve made any additions or changes!

French Toast with a Banana & Cinnamon Twist!

Ingredients (you’ll deffo need)

3 ripe banana’s (very ripe in my case – they taste better that way)
177 ml of soya milk (or any vegan milk – I reckon almond would be even better!)
1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
4-6 slices of vegan bread

Additions:

A squeeze of lemon juice
A sprinkle of chopped almonds (flakes I used)
A drizzle of maple syrup (yep used that again!)

What you’ll need to do:

Mash the banana’s (peeling them first of course!), pour in the soya milk and the vanilla essence and mix all together.  Then dip and cover both sides of the bread, whilst you grease up a non-stick pan or griddle heating it gently.   Once dipped and fully covered place on the pan and let it cook each side for about 5 minutes, until the edges stop bubbling and both sides are golden brown.  It’s up to you how much you cook, I left mine a little bit soggy (truth be told) as I quite like the bread and butter feel to the dish – but if you like it crispy then go for it!

Once done on both sides, drizzle with the flaked almond and the maple syrup!

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did – I’m off to make a little batch now – it’s 8.30pm and I’m feeling it again after writing this!

Px

 

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SAM_4535

Tomato Rice (without the furry bits)

Do you have slightly furry Tomato’s back of the fridge?

I normally do.  I don’t know what it is about them, but I just can’t seem to use them up.  I can eat and use chopped tomato’s till they are coming out of my ears but those very ripe, juicy tomato’s, well that’s something a little bit harder to cope with.

Well, that’s a thing of the past.  Since deciding to finally go vegan, and the fact that our ‘waste food’ collections from our local Fruit Basket always (well nearly always) we has the odd tomato or two lolloping about.  And if you know anything about what I do at The Real Junk Food Project Portsmouth, cutting off the odd furry bit on a Tomato isn’t something to be afraid of!  So there I was, slicing off the furry bits, I finally decided it was time to find something good and proper to use them in.  As with most of the food I cook, I like it simple, quick, cheap (well it’s waste so it’s gonna be cheap!) and easy.

Being a new vegan, I am finding rice a great thing to utilize with most of my cooking – plus it’s a good , quick, easy and filling ingredient!    This dish is a Tomato Rice recipe, I’ve tried it a couple of times and both time’s I’ve polished both portions down in the same night!   With a few simple ingredients that you’ll no doubt have in your pantry (or cupboards as I don’t think many people have pantry’s anymore!) you’ll crave this one again and again.

So here it is!

Tomato Rice (after the furry bits have been cut off!)

Make’s enough for two portions:

1 Tablespoon of Oil
2 Pinches of Salt
Cooked Rice ( 4 handfuls of the stuff)
Tomato’s (about 4/5)
1 Pepper (if you have one)
1 Onion
1 Shake of Ground Ginger
2 Cloves of Garlic
Bunch of Coriander Leaves (fresh) or 2 shakes of Dried Coriander
1 and a half Shakes of Turmeric
1 Shake of Chili Powder
1 Shake of Cinnamon

In a hot pan add the oil. Add the cinnamon and then the onion. Let them all come together so the flavors bind together to give a good intoxicating flavor, allow it all to fry.

Now add the gorgeous tomato’s (cutting them up in quarters) and allow them to fry really well.  Add the turmeric and salt.  Now add the chili powder, add as much as you wish (don’t always listen to me) as you know best how hot or spicy you like it!

Now that’s all added, fry it all up together until it all becomes a mushy consistency – it will take 5-10 minutes depending how firm your tomato’s are.   Once they start to look like a chutney, or thereabouts, add the handful of coriander leaves, or 2 shakes of dried coriander.   Mix it all up and once it’s all mashed up together (looking a bit like an orange mash potato) then add the cooked rice (about 4 handfuls of the stuff) turn off the heat and mix it all together.

Once it’s all mixed together and heated through serve with a garnish or two of the coriander.  Or failing that it’s even better served the next day.  You can eat it cold for lunch, or keep it in the fridge overnight and re-heat in the microwave (remembering to ensure you heat it as hot as you can).

I normally serve it with a nice bit of soya buttered bread (Soya and Linseed is my favorite if I can get my hands on it!)

Let me know what you think!

Enjoy!

P x

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