The Economical Vegan

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A long ‘week’ of Vegan Food

Sorry to all of you who have been wondering where I’ve been – it’s been a busy couple of months and the publication of my book threw my usual schedule out. Anyway, I’m back with more vegan recipes and experiences to share with you.
It’s been a strange week. After coming back from a trip to Amsterdam, where I ate salads, Italian, Lebanese, and home made mushrooms and beans for breakfast, I was craving some home cooking. The first night, however, we were very late back, but the local village Chinese takeaway was still open. It’s a good takeaway who are very positive about providing me with vegan food. They couldn’t however provide me with my usual fried rice with no egg, as they had no egg-free rice instead – so I had my usual vegetable curry with some chips instead, as well as some vegetable spring rolls. It was a blessing after a long afternoon travelling. I had some reservations about ordering Chinese again, because a different takeaway that we usually order from (and have delivered) have twice now given me a vegetable curry which has tiny pieces of pork in it. It’s a serious issue of cross-contamination, resulting in me deciding not to buy from them any more.

After four days of not eating home cooking, I made vegetable stew with dumplings the next day. I didn’t have much veg in the fridge, but I did have some dried vegetables in the cupboard, so I put these to boil for about ten minutes then left them in the pan for a couple of hours to soak. I had fresh onions and potatoes, so I put these in a pan with lentils, and soup mix (including barley), a couple of stock cubes, some marmite, salt, pepper and fresh parsley, plenty of water, and the dried vegetables.
I made dumplings using a mix of stoneground wholemeal and self-raising flour. I had no vegetable suet so used olive oil and chopped fresh parsley, and a little water. As soon as the stew came to the boil, I shaped the dumplings and dropped them into the pan, then put the lid on. I cooked this for 40 minutes, then adjusted the seasoning and served with plenty of freshly ground black pepper. There was enough for several helpings, so I had it for lunch the next day and froze four portions as well. It will make a couple of easy dinners in the future.
The following day I made chilli – a pack of Tesco’s frozen vegetarian mince/Bolognese mix, chopped tomatoes, fresh chillis and onion, fresh coriander, and extra tomato puree, with a stock cube, a tin of red beans, and some fluffy white rice cooked using the lost liquid method.
The next day was a simple curry and rice – onion, garlic, fresh peppers and mushrooms, curry powder, stock cube and creamed coconut.
The following day my stepson came home, in preparation for his birthday barbecue. We had an easy dinner – frozen chips, and home made mushroom burgers and salad. The mushroom burgers were made using 1 large onion, eight mushrooms and a clove of fresh garlic (all finely chopped) mixed with stock powder, salt, pepper, a dahs of marmite, oats and self-raising flour. The mix was shaped into patties and baked in the oven.
Friday was the barbecue – more home made burgers, hummus, and plenty of corn on the cob, plus my speciality tofu wraps. I took firm plain tofu, cut it into cubes, and dipped it in a batter made of salt, garlic powder, pepper, and self-raising flour, then shallow fried it crispy. I put the pieces into tortilla wraps with green salad and sliced peppers, with some finely chopped raw onion, vegan mayo and vegan cream ‘cheese’ with garlic and herbs. I wrap them tightly then slice in half diagonally. We had a mixed salad, some fresh tomatoes, hummus and baked potatoes as well. One of my stepson’s friends, standing in front of a table full of vegan food (having just been to the meat barbecue) said, “you’re vegan? Oh, that must be really difficult. You must have a very limited diet.” I just laughed and pointed to the table!
Saturday was a quiet day after drinking far too much punch at the barbecue, so we went out for dinner, trying out a new Indian restaurant. I had a lovely meal, but my partner was very disappointed. We won’t be going back.
Sunday we had pasta with a tomato sauce, simmered with plenty of fresh garlic, fresh basil, and full of chopped vegetables.
After the debacle of a meal on Saturday, I did an Indian Feast – we had freshly cooked popadoms, a chutney tray, onion bhajis (from the freezer), and then a vegetable Balti (very spicy) and a Goan dahl with two types of lentils, and creamed coconut, along with Jeera rice. Lovely.
Tuesday was a Mexican day. We had a chopped, mixed salad, fajita peppers and onions friend well with a little barbecue sauce mixed in, smoked tofu, and home made coleslaw, along with some sweet potato chips.
And today – we had mixed salad, Moroccan hummus, couscous with roasted vegetables, felafels, and some lovely mixed olives.

As you can see, it’s a hard life being vegan!