Welsh Witterings: What is Veganuary all about?
With the task of New Years Resolutions out of the way, and mumblings about going dry (going alcohol-free ) for January you may well have missed Veganuary.
Veganuary is a charity inspiring people to try being vegan for January and throughout the rest of the year. Now, you may cry it’s cold outside I need my comfort food and a lettuce sandwich won’t help to keep me warm; but I can tell you that going vegan isn’t going to render you hungry or stuck for recipes to cook.
Let’s face it lots of what you already eat is vegan! There are many well-known and popular food-stuffs that just happen to be vegan. The obvious ones are dried pasta (the ones without egg), baked beans, marmite, most fresh bread, many sauces, relishes and pickles, rice noodles, rice, crumpets and even doughnuts. When you start looking into the quick fix foods and convenience foods it is amazing what is vegan…many bourbon biscuits are for example.
Then of course when you come to cooking there are boundless recipes and the great thing about cooking a vegan dish is that it really makes you think about flavours and can push you out of your comfort zone. I think many of us are guilty of getting in a dinnertime rut; by which I mean we end up cooking a handful of the same meals over and over again. We can become reliant on dairy or indeed meat to make a meal and so going vegan gives a great opportunity for cooking up new recipes and getting inventive in the kitchen.
Indeed becoming vegan or even consciously introducing some vegan recipes into your weekly menu gives some great opportunities for more exciting meals, for example instead of cauliflower cheese you could have a vegan cauliflower dahl and there is nothing more comforting than a big bowl of sweetcorn chowder with a hunk of crusty bread.
Seren’s Vegan Sweetcorn Chowder
- tbsp olive oil
- 1 leek finely sliced
- 1 red onion, roughly chopped
- 1 orange pepper, finely sliced
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- ¼ tsp chilli flakes
- 300g tinned sweetcorn (drained)
- 800ml vegetable stock, hot
- 400ml coconut milk
- 1 rounded tsp smoked paprika
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
- handful fresh coriander leaves
- Handful flat parsley leaves
- Juice of one fresh lime.
- In a large pan with a lid, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and leek, then add the pepper, celery, garlic and chilli flakes and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften slightly.
- Add the sweetcorn, vegetable stock and coconut milk, then increase the heat to high. Stir in the smoked paprika, then partially cover with a lid. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then.
- Remove from the heat and season with sea salt and lime juice. Ladle half the soup into a blender and whizz until smooth. Pour the smooth half back into the unblended soup and mix to combine. Serve hot, scattered with the spring onions, coriander and parsley and enjoy with crusty bread
If you are worried about food on the run or grabbing a quick snack then I must say that there are an abundance of vegan quick, fix snacks you can enjoy and one that I have particularly enjoyed is Mr Lees, zen vegetable noodles. These are nothing like a dreadful pot noodle, instead miso rice noodles are combined with asparagus, green beans, spinach & ginger. These were super easy to prepare and I must say really rather satisfying. I loved the ginger kick they offered and they are something I would consider keeping in as store cupboard staple. I also tried the Dragon Fire Noodles from the same range and these certainly had a bit of fire to them. The Dragon Fire noodles are hot and sour and again rather tasty, but I must say my favourite is the zen vegetables. They make a great standby for writers on deadline when you really don’t want to break you chain of thought; in actual fact they are great food for those who can’t get way from the desk. If you fancy trying these then take a look at them here
Whether you are inspired to try going vegan or just fancy spicing up your weekday meals I suggest you have a look at the veganuary site they have lots of recipes and advice and they do say that variety is the spice of life.