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Vegan Feast at Brookhouse Mill

The week after my Dad died I went to Brookhouse Mill for a drink with my family before my brother returned home to Spain. Once there we decided to have some food, but ordinarily I would book in advance so they would be prepared to make something vegan for me. When I don’t book, I usually get something like jacket potato wedges or anything I can adapt easily.

On this particular night I said I was happy doing that unless the chef wanted to make me something. He said he would, and I was presented with this:

I had peppers stuffed with couscous and topped with courgette, Cajun potato wedges, deep-fried polenta, homemade hummus,  sauteed mushrooms and walnuts, and poppadom crisps (not pictured). It was delicious and I felt so guilty that I couldn’t finish it.

I would highly recommend Brookhouse Mill (facebook and twitter) for any food, and also if you’re looking for a really good vegan meal. If you book in advance they can come up with something really amazing. The head chef Aaron used to be vegetarian so creates really special meals, and the other chefs are all excellent, including Nigel who made this feast.

Disclaimer: I worked at Brookhouse Mill for 8 years.


Vegan Pancakes

A day late but I couldn’t use being vegan as an excuse not to have pancakes! I used the recipe from the Eighth Day website. When I get it right they work out really yummy.

I had them with strawberry jam and raspberry and passion fruit yoghurt. I meant to do a batch of savoury pancakes as well, but only remembered after I put the sugar in the mixing bowl. So 11 sweet pancakes instead!

I reckon the recipe could be easily adapted to make scotch pancakes by using self-raising flour or adding baking powder.

I also made vegan Danish pastries the other day which were quite yummy. I’ll post a photo of the next batch, which will hopefully be a bit more successful than the first!


Vegan Snack Recipe

I had a great idea of making Christmas presents this year, partly to save money and partly cuz I thought it was nice. Turns out it’s been quite a lot of work and not all that cheap!

However, one thing I did want to mention was my copy of the Cocoa Orange Nakd Bar.

I kinda love these snacks, and according to the packet, it’s just a bunch of raw ingredients blitzed together. So I took their percentages (10% = 100g) and made my own version. All the ingredients went in a blender to break down and mix together, then got blended with the mini-whisk until fine. The only thing I did differently was add a bit of water to the cocoa powder, and that was probably a mistake cuz they’re a bit soft and squidgy!

So now I have some pretty tasty, healthy, vegan snacks to give out to my friends and family for Christmas. Along with not so healthy flapjacks.And tomorrow, I’m going to try to make the Apple Pie bar.

FYI: ingredients are:

  • 400g dates
  • 400g cashews
  • 140g raisins
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • juice of 1 orange

Celebrity vegans

I have decided to blog a list of unlikely celebrity vegans. By this I mean people you wouldn’t expect to be vegan because they do not conform to the stereotype. Judging by the number of comments I get about ‘looking healthy for a vegan’, it’s fairly obvious that veganism needs re-branding. I haven’t worked particularly hard to put this list together: it’s basically a mash up of lists from Wikipedia and Happy Cow.

I’m going to start with actor James Cromwell, simply because he became vegan after playing Farmer Hoggett in Babe. Other vegan actors and actresses include: Woody Harrelson, Daryl Hannah, Casey Affleck, Ed Begley Jr, Joaquin Phoenix, Tobey Maguire, Olivia Wilde, Jenny McCarthy, Darren Boyd, Vanessa Williams, and Jared Leto.

There are also a lot of vegan musicians, many of which are punk or straight edge. I won’t go through all of these, but I will mention Tom Gabel of Against Me! simply because I adore him. Others include Bryan Adams, Brian Bell (Weezer), Johnny Marr (The Smiths, Modest Mouse, The Cribs), Michael Franti, Anthony Keidis, Jason Mraz, Adam Yauch (Beastie Boys), and Geezer Butler and Bill Ward from Black Sabbath.

Against Me!

‘Business type’ vegans include: Anu Garg (founder of; Gulu Lalvani (founder of Binatone); William Clay Ford Jr (Ford CEO); Russell Simmons (co-founder of Def Jam records); and Biz Stone (co-founder of Twitter).

Deceased vegans include River Phoenix and Cesar Chavez. There is also some dispute over whether Leonardo da Vinci was vegan. He certainly did not eat meat and also released caged birds, but it unclear whether he consumed eggs, milk, etc.

A couple of odd ones: Steve-O from Jackass has been vegan for a couple of years. Howard Lyman is a former cattle rancher and now a vegan writer and speaker. And Mike Tyson has been vegan since 2009.

And lastly to the sportspeople. The following people have chosen to become vegan for either ethical or health reasons, but there has been no negative impact on their performance due to their diet:

  • Carl Lewis: track athlete, winner of 9 Olympic gold medals and 8 World Championship gold medals.
  • Scott Jurek: ultramarathon runner, winner of: Hardrock Hundred (2007), Badwater Ultramarathon (2005, 2006), Spartathlon (2006, 2007, 2008), and Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run (1999-2005).
  • Brendan Brazier: winner of Canadian 50-km Ultramarathon Championships in 2003 and 2006.
  • Fiona Oakes: cycling and marathon runner, and former Olympian.
  • Georges Laraque: recently retired Canadian ice hockey player.
  • UFC competitors Mac Danzig and Luke Cuomo.
  • Professional wrestlers Bryan Danielson and Taryn Terrell.
  • NBA players Salim Stoudamire and John Salley (retired).
  • NASCAR driver Andy Lally.

So there you go. By no means a full list: I have deliberately avoided unhealthy looking and more stereotypical vegans, but it is a growing celebrity and sporting trend. I think it is particularly encouraging to see the number of models and ‘fashionistas’ who are becoming vegan. Hopefully that’ll give a boost to more stylish vegan shoes (and clothing), and once again put fur where it belongs.


Resolutions 2011

Yep, that time of year again. Looking back on 2010’s resolutions:

  • Become a vegan: started late and probably made a couple of errors along the way, but I’m getting better at it.
  • Reduce emissions: no idea! Heating and electric has been easy but not the car, until I moved to Newcastle in September and I’ve been walking much more.
  • Exercise more: I haven’t made a concerted effort at this. I joined the gym in uni which started out pretty well but has fallen away recently.
  • Become an activist: I have been doing more petition signing and writing to politicians and decision makers, but I could definitely do more.

And ones for 2011:

  1. Go teetotal: I did it for 14 months then stopped for no apparent reason. I’ve had a good time whilst drinking again, but I think it’s time to stop again. It was about proving I could enjoy myself without alcohol, be fun without it, and also as a rebellion against what’s expected in our drinking culture. I’m more nervous about it this time round with my new university friends, but I’m willing to give it a go.
  2. Stop torturing myself: I’m expecting (or hoping) certain people will change. And they won’t. And it’s about time for me to be honest with myself and give up on it. Just stop pretending.
  3. Work hard: So far I’m on the cusp between a first and a 2:1, and I’d really like the first. As well as the grade, the lecturers can probably do a lot for me in terms of internships and work, so I need to make the most of this time.
  4. Be an activist: I really need to do more on this. It’s who I want to be and I shouldn’t be afraid of sharing my knowledge and expressing my opinions. It’s the only way to change the world.

I’ll also be continuing the veganism, exercise, keeping my emissions down, and as always, try to blog more.


Veganism inspiring creativity

Just a quick post about an article/review in the Big Issue I bought today. It started off about Gillian McKeith reaffirming the stereotype, but then goes on to review a vegan restaurant (link broken) in Whole Foods Market, Kensington.

The writer was not vegan and admitted that she was not sold on the idea. But, having eaten at Saf, she stated that:

“the apparent limitation of using only vegetables in fact seems to inspire much creativity”

So, people, no need to worry about me not eating interesting food.



What should’ve been a very enjoyable weekend at home, celebrating Pop’s 80th and seeing my friends for the first time in 2 months, was somewhat ruined. I’m getting just a little hacked off with two things in particular.

First of all, that people think that because I’m vegan I’m somehow starving or only able to eat food which has no taste. And that being vegan is the most difficult thing in the world. It really isn’t. Yes, my choices are constrained, but more so by the fact that you can have 10 choices of meat to put on a sandwich, but it is apparently impossible to get just salad. Ask me all the questions you want about being vegan and the food I eat, but please stop assuming I’m living a hard life because of it. If it carries on I might turn into a militant vegan and start telling you the nasty realities about the food you eat. I actually quite enjoy going to places and ordering my vegan food, or else being able to say, ‘well why can’t you do that?’. And if you happen to serve me food, stop looking at me strangely when I ask for ‘just salad’ on my sandwich.

Secondly, the automatic assumption that because I only have lectures on Thursdays and Fridays, that I’m doing no work and having an easy life as a student. I work hard. I’m in the library or at home reading every day of the week (yes, weekends too). I might not get to uni until 10am, but I don’t leave until late either. And as well as my coursework I also have RAG, Photosoc and course rep responsibilities, and I’m in several other societies. And I still want to go out volunteering. I enjoy my course and everything else that I’m doing. I enjoy being busy. But don’t assume that just because I enjoy it that it must be easy or that I’m never stressed.

I’m biting my tongue at the moment but I will start giving as good as I get if I have to put up with much more of it. You want to give me a knowing smile about how many taught hours I do? Please explain what exactly it is you do outside your 9 to 5, your hobbies and your social life? Oh, and you’re being paid? You didn’t have to save up, take out a loan and live on a budget? No, you’re right, I’m the one with the easy life. Please accept my apologies for being so narrow-minded.


Resolutions 2010 – so far…

Just a quick word about my 2010 resolutions. To recap:

  1. Straight edge
  2. Welsh
  3. More money to charity
  4. More time with friends
  5. Blog more
  6. Become vegan
  7. Reduce emissions
  8. Exercise more
  9. Become an activist

(Apparently I’m not that bothered about boys anymore?)

So the first 4 are still going well. I’m doing a Welsh exam this summer – eek! #5 is going alright. I don’t have the motivation or discipline to blog as much as I’d like, but it is better than it used to be.

#6 got off to a slow start. I was ill for the first few weeks of the year and couldn’t be bothered trying to deal with that and think about being vegan. Its been just over two weeks proper though and all going well. It requires more planning than I’m used to and shopping takes longer as I have to read all the labels. But I’m not starving as people expected!

I haven’t really been actively pursuing #7 yet, but I have installed an energy monitor. I need to start #8 simply because I need to build my strength to vault and stop looking silly because I can’t! And it would be nice to have the flat stomach in the photos from Cat’s party for real!

My facebook page looked quite interesting yesterday: I went through my ‘ethical’ emails and signed up to a bunch of petitions and shared via facebook. So I guess that covers #9! I do want to blog about some of it too because just signing petitions makes me feel like a bit of a ‘passive’ activist.

The Boys thing… I think I need some ground rules more than anything. I’m not actively looking for a guy because I’m quite happy single. But I wouldn’t turn offers down unless I had a bad feeling about the person asking. So…

  1. Fun on my terms
  2. Guys must be interested in more than how I look and able to comment on more
  3. No waiting around
  4. Get shot of him of he’s not chasing me, because he would be if he was interested
Round the World 2007 USA Vegan


So I got to Portland at 7am, but my hostel wouldn’t open until 8am, and apparently it was only a ten minute walk. Luckily I found a Starbucks en route (and one with pleasant staff no less). I managed to pass the time there until about 8.30am, then continued walking.

I checked in but my bed wouldn’t be ready until after 2pm, so I put my bags in storage and went for a wander. Northwest Portland is well-organised: the streets are named in alphabetical order, and the avenues that cross them are numbered, so you know pretty soon if you’re travelling in the wrong direction.

So I wandered around 21st Avenue, whch is full of coffee shops, bars, and little boutiques. Then I went into the city centre (Downtown) and found an internet cafe called Backspace, which wasn’t just cool, but also vegetarian! After spending a little time on the internet I walked towards Pioneer Square and found a vegan cafe. I got a little lost in Downtown, and went back to the hostel once I found my way out!

It’s very hot today, and I’m feeling extra smelly since I haven’t showered since my bus journey! After cooling down in the shady courtyard of the hostel, I walked up to Washington Park, saw Mt Hood in the distance, and read for a while.

I walked back down to the hostel via 23rd Avenue, another one filled with cafes and bars. I finally checked in and went for a shower, then wandered back to Backspace to upload photos and charge my MP3 player.