Friday, 14 April 2017

But how can you be vegan at a BBQ?

Last weekend in London the weather was fabulous. Lovely and sunny, warm with a slight breeze. On Saturday morning my housemate and I decided we'd take advantage of the weather and have our first BBQ of the year! I sent a message around to friends to invite them and the general reply was 'But what are you going to eat??'

Before I started taking the steps to become vegan I never thought it would be possible to really enjoy food living without meat AND dairy. During lent, and adopting this diet full time, I've had some highs and lows. Mostly I've not had too much trouble with it. The BBQ was no exception! In the end there were only three of us at the BBQ, the other two ate meat and we all shared the other dishes. We actually had far too much food and I was able to pack a lot of the leftovers up for a picnic in the park the next day.

Whilst I've been fully vegan, I made the decision that during this time I would eat plant-based food but if these dishes were cooked alongside meat or dairy that was fine. So at the BBQ we used to same grill to cook my vegan 'pulled pork' burger, coconut sweetcorn and the sausages. In reality there really wasn't much contamination and since this isn't something I am sticking to because of an allergy it was more practical this way.

So, vegans at a BBQ... we can eat just as much as meat eaters, and we can all enjoy food together!

What did I make? Hummus, guacamole, falafel, coconut corn, baked baby potatoes & plantain chips (mostly Deliciously Ella recipes). We also had vegan friendly flavoured crisps, olives, bread, carrot/cucumber sticks & vegetable skewers & salad. I had a Linda McCartney 'pulled pork' burger and the others had special German sausages. 

:: What's your favourite thing to eat at a BBQ? Could you ever imagine giving up meat? What would you miss most? ::

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Wanderings Lately :: March

I'm really quite glad March is over. It was a month of travelling around and not spending a lot of time at home. Although I appreciate having a change of scenery and variety in work, this year my two trips to Oxford were one after another with only a few days in London in between. So rather than only a week away, this became most of March. 

I have ended March with a sore throat and chesty cough, which I am hoping does not end up as a full on cold. I haven't been ill for quite a long time, and I think this is because I have quite an active life - cycling to work most days and netball-ing twice a week. Whilst I was travelling, I couldn't do either of these and only managed a couple of at-home work outs.

Nevertheless, March gifted me the opportunity for a couple of afternoon teas, lots of strolling around Oxford, a trip to Leeds Castle and some ups and downs of my vegan adventure through lent!

Books & Printing

Just before the first week of the program in Oxford, I visited the Oxford University Press museum. It is very small and you need to make an appointment to visit but it was very interesting. Above are some pocket prayer books (how small!!) and correspondence with the writers of the Oxford English dictionary suggesting new words to be included.

The only weird thing about the museum is that a member of staff stays with you throughout your visit. Since I went alone, it was just me walking around reading the information, and a man from the OUP sitting at the entrance waiting for me to finish. A little awkward to say the least!

Vegan Life

Well, vegan life has been a bit up and down to say the least. Photos here are my particular highs and lows... Firstly some terrible pancakes that did NOT turn out the way they were supposed to. A great salad that I added some flair to with croutons, and a second attempt at baked plantain which turned out a better second time round (although still a little burnt).

I've found that it's not been as hard as I thought and there are still options at most places I've been to. The only problem with this is that you get even less options than as a vegetarian - for example last week in Pret I had two options. It's a shame but I think this is a good step and will probably only grow as time goes on.

Good things

 This month I received a new donor card for giving blood. This signifies 5-24 donations which is quite exciting. Now that they have my phone number I also get a text to tell me which hospital has my blood!

I also went to a talk this month with Bea Johnson this month. She is credited with starting the Zero Waste movement so it was great to hear what she had to say. It's inspiring but also intimidating as I don't think I could ever get to her level. It did make me want to continue with the things I have started and try to remember to ask for no straw particularly!

Tasting Tea

For Christmas 2015 (!) I bought my brother a tea tasting experience at Twinings, and we finally booked it this March. We were given six different teas to try, and then we had to identify flavours and tastes. It was fun and we tried some really different teas that I had no idea existed.

Something new in London

For work this month I was in charge of organising a staff training day. For this we visited a few places that students can visit in London or check out new locations for possible visits. I saw on the news a few weeks ago that The Charterhouse in Barbican had opened for the first time in many years. So I organised to have tour of the building. It was really interesting and a beautiful old building - parts from the Tudor period and newer areas too. Many notable men attended the school; Baden-Powell, Roger Williams (founder of Rhode Island state) and William Makepeace Thakeray to name three.

We also witnessed some very early graffiti on the windows and pew seats in the Chapel from the school boys which was cool. Especially since we had just finished a street art tour of East London looking at modern graffiti down Brick Lane. Some things don't change over the years!