I was going to call this post something about the kindness of strangers, until I worked out most people involved weren't actually strangers to me. So, I guess, it's just a post about the kindness of vegans and vegan-enablers!
I recently made a new friend - seems odd talking about making friends when you're beyond your teenage years, right? - through school. She invited me and another classmate over for lunch, and lunch turned out to be an enormous South Indian feast - poppadoms and chutneys, loads of veggie dishes, rice, something exciting involving tapioca, and halwa for dessert. Not once did she utter the dreaded 'you don't even miss the meat, do you?' or comment on how difficult eating out as a vegan must be - she just served up an entirely vegan meal to a mix of meat eaters, veggies, and vegans that tasted amazing.
As if I needed another reason to like my new friend even more, she even packed me off with a carrier bag full of her homegrown chard, chasing me down in the rain after I'd left to put it into my hands.
It made it into three separate meals - as chipotle chard with a Mexican scramble and guac, in a Korean stir fry type thing, and as an attempt to make a quiche with butter beans. It didn't look pretty, but it sure sure tasty.
More food-related gifts came via my other half's mother, who's a lovely woman. When we went to see her recently, she me a present of a sprouter she'd picked up in a charity shop, which I was overjoyed with. I'd been wanting to get one for ages but had been put off by the price. Knowing this one came from a charity shop was great - my partner's mum didn't pay too much, gave me a present I really liked, kept something out of landfill, and gave some money to a charity to boot. Got to love charity shops, right?
I had to get some stuff started as soon as I got home: first off, some alfalfa, which made it into some sandwiches...
And some adzuki beans that have been gracing my salads ever since.
I don't know about you, but my life is sadly vegan free. The only real life vegan I know is hours away on the train, but I never feel cut off from the vegan community, if that's the right term, due to the wonderful world of the internet.
I get so many great ideas for recipes, recommendations on where to eat, vegan product news, cute animal pictures, and big belly laughs from reading lots of vegan blogs and hearing what the bloggers behind them have to say.
This week, I have to give a great big thanks in particular to Tea and Sympatico, a blog which reminds me why I need to get to Manchester more often. After I posted about having trouble with my oven, she only went and solved the problem for me! She spotted what was going wrong with a bit of Googling (we'd just assumed it would be dodgy wiring that we couldn't afford to repair and ignored the problem for weeks) and now, with a £13 new oven element in place, we have a fully working oven again.
Tea and Sympatico, thank you so much for your help!
With the oven back up to speed, I turned to a recipe I'd had my eye on for a while - coconut bacon from Green Gourmet Giraffe. I baked mine, rather than frying it, and think I left it in for a little too long.
That said, it still tasted AMAZING! I love burnt flavours, so I think the slight extra char on the bacon went really nicely with its smoky taste.
I put it to work in what may be the best bagel sandwich I've eaten in the last couple of weeks: jalapeno hummus, coconut bacon, a potato waffle, tomato and cucumber. It may sound wonky, but trust me, it was phenomenal.
Not everyone was so impressed with my bagel creation - my partner looked askance at me, and asked if was pregnant. (Answer, nope, it's just a food baby!)
My kitchen further paid out this week when I unearthed a brownie from Boho Gelato, a Brighton ice cream shop that always has amazing vegan flavours, that I had stashed in the freezer a while back. Despite its spell in the deep freeze, it was still delicious, with a strong, sharp raspberry flavour - an Isa recipe maybe? Either way, it quickly met its demise with some ice cream.
Since I went vegan, I don't think I've ever eaten so healthily (no, I don't just eat brownies all day!), so tastily, or with so many kind inputs from friends, family and internet helpers. I can't help but be happy I made the change when I did - for all you vegans and vegan enablers, thank you once again!
I was going to call this post something about the kindness of strangers, until I worked out most people involved weren't actually stran...