Hey everyone! It's a brand new year and I've been so busy with my family and friends over the holidays. I had the best Christmas for some time now and I mentioned in my end of year highlights video which I'll pop below! I spent time with my sis & brother, my great aunt, my mama and got the chance to catch up properly with my dad.
Now I think I kinda went over all the details of this year in my previous blogs and videos, I essentially spent the first half of 2017 working through my health and the damage caused to my left eye. I regained my sight, met the baron. Started to negotiate my move and reconnected with my family in the best way. So one thing I've been keeping super quiet is my bff my sisterrrr was pregnant with a babbbbby!!!!!!!!!! So we weren't allowed to say anything but I think a few times on twitter I drunkenly let the ball slip. I have been so excited because my sister is the best mum & Darius is the best dad, and baby Malaika came the first week of the year. I'll do a blog later when we get the parental approval aha! So my family is extended. She is the most precious baby ever she looks like a mix between me and my sister with her dad's brown eyes. Love her!
So let's talk food!
Now vegan is a hot topic of the moment and I'm not entirely sure why. I think in the US there has been a movement of people saying, the environment is out of our control, so one thing we can control is our diets. And veganism is a huge step in the right direction. To detail this, the food that actually is required to grow livestock, so cereal like Alfalfa is grown in northern California and is more water retentive than figs. Which means the plant pulls an extraordinary amount of water to itself and the repercussions are obvious. It affects the ecosystem, it causes drought which is why in California the weather has been absurd and there's been such a water scare. Secondly, the amount of methane that livestock produces is one of the most significant additions to carbon emissions in the world. It's a horrible fact of the situation. Wide areas of forest that are undocumented are being sold to farmers to grow livestock on, things that we may find uses for in medicine or study are being destroyed. So there is a huge situation at hand in relation to our choice of diet. And an emphasis on choice.
Now, the sad reality of today which get's bypassed by a lot of militant activists in this area is that no one in the western world can avoid harm to animals. The Baron, owns forty or so venues up and down the country. You may have just seen one of his pubs sold to Jodie Kidd, so I was astonished to find that in each beer barrel there is some sort of intestine byproduct used to maintain the product? So even in beer... There is an animal-free allocation on the product because of a filter, but the product has been sitting with some sort of dead thing floating around the entire time and I find it abhorrent. Fish bones are used to filter wine. But the worst thing which I think comes to a shock to most people is the fact that we are very conscious of organic produce, well instead of using the chemical fertilizers they use bone and fish meal, a by-product of the meat industry. So our organic vegetable crops may be grown in the remains of the meat industry. It's a horrible symbiotic industry and I haven't even gone into the full spectrum of issues because I can save that for another moment. But hey... I appreciate anyone with the intention to do better and I encourage people to look into their lifestyle and try and remove the options of meat and dairy at all costs. Most people are allergic inherently to dairy food so the issues like psoriasis, dermatitis, allergies, asthma, eczema, they are significantly reduced when you're not consuming something that your body has a biological argument with. The hormones use in the dairy industry to keep the cows in season, to then produce the milk is also a key thing I'd love to touch base on because it is a poison you to sell you the cure style industry and is very disturbing to me.
Now let's talk food. I am a vegan, I have been vegan for over ten years. I stopped eating meat as a baby when meat made me very ill, I also was very highly allergic to fish and seafood. I have never been able to eat it. Now on an ethical scale, I honestly think that's the least important thing to me. I am fundamentally concerned with people poisoning themselves. I think that's my main contention with meat. Environmental factors come secondary. Ethical cruelty reasons come sadly last. And that is not to say that I would ever encourage cruelty to animals because I'm not a sadistic fruit loop but I understand that jaguars rip the heads off of a crocodile and pull it up a tree for afternoon tea. I get the dynamic and I also get that some people need the iron and the other health issues. If you can do it as humanely as possible and you are the person chopping the head off, I don't think it's as horrendous as being poisoned without knowing. I think it's gross, I wouldn't ever want to do that, but I can see some cases of the natural protocol. But we're greedy and we over farm the creatures and create environments of shameful, inhumane cruelty. It's just not checked and monitored rigorously enough and I've seen some very disturbing images of men beating animals for entertainment, doing horrific things and it's the awful truth in the meat industry.
But this vlogs not so much about this, as it's about my kind of cooking & my kind of veganism.
So sorry to put people off their appetites by being so honest but I would love to share some of my favorite meals I've been making since staying with the new babyyy! I cook out every day and I love a huge range of different kinds of meals. I'd love to share a gallery below!
So here in my mama's zebra print shenanigans is some of my favourite dishes!
So I try to avoid gluten which means instead of eating pasta, I eat rice pasta or noodles. Instead of using white flour as a bread base for a pizza, I'll make it from gluten free bread. Instead of using cheese I use the free from range of cheeses you can grab in Sainsburys in the UK. I love the greek style cheese, the grated and so on. My trick to making any kind of cheese sauce is to start with a roux base and then add some mustard seeds and the vegan cheese, works a treat. I often substitute meat for nuts, like cashews in stirfrys, toasted pine nuts in a pasta dish. I use pesto a lot, I use chilli sauces I make from scratch alot. I love to use sweet potato and chickpea flour as a base for a lot of fritatta style things, like I'll make meatballs from sweet potato and then bind it instead of using eggs, the chickpeas or flour do the same thing. I also love to bake cauliflower either in steak shapes or like bite size nuggets, you just whip up some simple batter and roast it for half an hour, then add your sauce of choice, bbq or chilli and roast for another ten minutes. I use vegan sausages a lot as pizza toppings or for roasted food. Sauces are super simple. When I'm out I tend to have a wide range of choices in Brighton as a lot of vegan recipes are here. I use sweet salad leaves in place of wraps and make soups from scratch. I also love to make potato salads from vegan mayonnaise or garlic cream cheese and scallions. I love it!
I tend to try and make all my salsa, pizza sauces, bean base, anything really from scratch. I love making bread at the moment and pastries, it's so easy to do vegan you just simply substitute the butter.
I'd love to do some fun recipes if anyone would like! I often think that people think of vegan food as basically the meal without the 'main' which is just so wrong. I grew up with carnivores so I had to learn early how to make something substantial and packed full of taste. So I love cooking basic kind of home meals but with a spin. I love also using onion salt, nutritional yeast and peppercorns a lot to add extra flavour!
So I hope you guys love that, I'll bring some new bits out this week and stay tuned!