Monday, 24 September 2012

Keeping taking those steps forward

After almost a year of blogging about my quest to lead a plant-based, more environmentally aware lifestyle, I've decided to post my final entry on free-range carrots.
I'm still as committed as I have been for the past twelve months, probably even more so, but now feels the right time to bring it to a close. Otherwise, there was a danger of be boring you with a daily run down of what I ate for every meal and what I bought on every shopping trip.
It doesn't mean I have to say goodbye though. My new blog, Sasieology, combines my experiences of living a plant-based lifestyle with my resolution to visit at least one new place and try at least one new activity every year. I hope you'll join me at Sasieology soon.
Bye for now :)

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Vegan South Wales

As you know, I love discovering new things, so to discover two new things on the same day is a bonus. Whilst guiding my visiting parents around Cardiff one day, I got the opportunity to try a café I had seen a few weeks before and wanted to check out. The Embassy Café, situated in Cathays Community Centre, is a totally vegetarian café with plenty of vegan options. The staff are very welcoming and knowledgeable, so you can tell them your dietary requirements and they will come up with suitable options for you. It was perfect for me and my parents, I could get decent vegan food and they, as omnivores, could also have a coffee and snack with me.
Whilst waiting for our coffees, I found my second discovery of the day. The Embassy has a book swap and DVD rental table (fab idea!) which is also home to leaflets and flyers about local activities. ‘Vegan South Wales’ caught my eye immediately. This fantastic pocket-sized booklet lists loads of vegan options in South Wales, all categorised by area, so wherever you are you know where you can find something to eat. I carry mine with me whenever I’m out now, and it is so handy. It saves so much time, especially when you’re eating with people who aren’t vegan and you don’t want to appear fussy. Other areas of Wales are covered in separate booklets, and all the information is available on their website

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Almond Milk

Over the past six months, I have grown quite accustomed to my unsweetened, organic soya milk. So, when the health food shop runs out of it, I feel a little lost. My usual back-up was rice milk, but now that I’ve found out I’m allergic to that, I’ve had to look at other options. I’d heard loads of people raving about almond milk. It’s quite a bit more expensive than soya milk, but everyone said it’s worth the price because it tastes so nice. Unfortunately, I don’t agree. You know when you get yourself hyped up about something that’s over-sold to you? Well, that’s what happened to me. Everyone’s tastes differ, but personally I find almond milk too sweet, even sweeter than rice milk. Although, on the plus side, it’s thicker than rice milk, so you can use it as you would soya milk.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Sushi’s Surprising Secret – It’s Simple!

Do you want to create a dish that looks amazingly complicated and professional, but is actually very simple to prepare? Sushi could be your answer.

Whenever I tell omnivores that I love sushi, their response is usually ‘I couldn’t eat raw fish’. Well, I can’t eat fish cooked either. Sushi also comes in vegetarian form, and I love the stuff. A friend of mine owns a Scandinavian sushi restaurant in Rhodes, Greece (it’s a bizarre cultural combination I know, but it works) and I always go there to eat when I’m on the island. I’ve also eaten sushi in a Japanese restaurant in the Venice hotel in Las Vegas. I think the best veggie sushi I have ever tasted was at Boston market. No matter what diet you follow, you could spend days in Boston Market trying all the food and you would probably come out weighing about a stone more.

I’ve been keen to try making sushi at home for a while, and I wish I’d tried it sooner because it is sooooo simple.

Here’s what you need:

  • Nori seaweed sheets
  • Sushi rice
  • Something to put in the sushi. Anything that you can cut into thin strips will do. Personally I like cucumber, peppers and chillies.
  • A sushi rolling mat – I’m not sure how essential this is, but I’d recommend investing in one. They only cost a couple of pounds, and if it turns out you don’t like sushi you can always use it as a decorative place mat.
  • Pickled ginger, soy sauce, wasabi paste etc to accompany.

You should be able to find all these ingredients in a good health food store, or in the specialist section of large supermarkets.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Prepare the sushi rice as directed on the packet.
  2. Lay a nori sheet on your rolling mat so that the longest side is along the top.
  3. Spread a thin layer of sushi rice on to the bottom two thirds of the nori sheet.
  4. Lay the cucumber/pepper, or whatever you are using to fill your sushi, along the top of the rice, about halfway down the nori sheet.
  5. Wet the top edge of the nori sheet with water.
  6. Using the rolling mat, roll the whole thing into a long tube. Make sure the final edge sticks where you have wet it.
  7. Cut the sushi into 2cm thick pieces.

Sushi will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

Here are some top tips that the sales advisor in my local health food shop gave me about preparing sushi:

  • You can use sticky brown rice if you can’t get hold of sushi rice.
  • The instructions on the sushi rice will tell you to soak it in water for 40 minutes before cooking it. If you’re short of time, this soaking time can be reduced and the rice will still taste OK.
  • Don’t be too generous with the sushi rice. Only spread a thin layer on to the nori sheet. If you use too much rice, it will all spill out the ends and your sushi won’t roll together properly.
  • Use a really sharp knife to cut the sushi rolls.
  • Be careful if you decide to prepare wasabi paste from powder. You only need to use a little bit. One teaspoon wasabi paste to two teaspoons water is enough for a 6 piece portion of sushi.

I was so proud of my sushi that I took these photos to show you.

Friday, 3 August 2012


Eating out seems to be a big issue for me at the moment – it must be the weather! So, I have to mention a fantastic meal I had at Milgi ( on City Road last week. Even if you’re not vegetarian or vegan, Milgi is just a cool, eclectic place to hang out and have a drink. It’s so popular as well. Me and a friend went in there late one night, and the only place we could find to sit was in the bath tub in the beer garden (as I said, it’s eclectic).

The kitchen at Milgi is now totally vegetarian, voted for by the customers, and the food is really tasty and very reasonably priced considering the huge portions they give you. Even Milgi couldn’t provide a menu to fit my weird dietary needs, though. However, have no fear, the staff are extremely helpful and offered to make me a vegan breakfast with polenta cake (gluten-free) instead of sour dough toast. Unlike some of the restaurants in the area, they don’t charge you for the switch either. They just want to make sure that everyone can get a meal. Along with the great atmosphere and good food, Milgi also has an impressive drinks list and vegan and gluten-free options amongst the desserts.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

New Discovery – Kallo Soya Milk

I remember a time, only a few years ago, when there was only two choices of non-dairy milk in supermarkets, sweetened and unsweetened soya milk. Nowadays, ‘free-from’ aisles are big money, and are literally getting bigger. It’s great that we have so much choice now, but one downside is that it takes longer to do your shopping. Instead of just finding the one product you can use, you now have to actually choose from the array on offer. I don’t know how omnivores do it on a daily basis J

I usually buy my soya milk (unsweetened) from the health food shop, but due to supplier issues with Provamel I found myself in front of the non-dairy section at my local Tesco. I was lost. I had no idea which one to choose from the many brands with varying degrees of sweetness and added vitamins that were in front of me. Did I want soya, rice, oat or almond? Then something new caught my eye – Kallo soya milk. As a regular user of Kallo stock cubes, rice cakes and corn cakes, I know they are a reliable and quality brand. So I decided to give their new soya milk a try.

Kallo are the UK arm of Wessanen, a company with a 250 year history of producing natural and organic food throughout Europe. They also produce breadsticks and gluten-free cereals. Other brands under the Wessanen umbrella include Whole Earth, So Good and Rice Dream.

After buying the soya milk, I popped in to the health food shop to pick up some other bits. The sales advisor told me that she’d tried Kallo soya milk and didn’t like it, so when I first opened the carton my expectations weren’t very high. I have to say, though, it’s really nice. It’s a slightly different taste to Provamel, but the consistency is about the same so it’s perfect for adding to hot drinks or making porridge/oatbran etc.

Although I still stick to my Provamel unsweetened soya milk, I’d definitely sub it with the Kallo alternative again.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Caffeine Cold Turkey Update

If anyone is wondering if I'm still functioning with no caffeine, the answer is yes. One week on, I feel absolutely fine. It's like I never drank coffee. After the first three days of extreme tiredness and a constant headache, I was back to normal. I'm determined to keep it up even more now.