Week 3 of the Vegan Challenge.

Well folks, I am now on week 3 of my vegan challenge and I have to say that I am still loving it.  In hindsight, I now realise that my first week, I felt very tired and didnt have much energy.  I now know that that was my body purging itself of dead animal flesh.  Lol.  So I am feeling a more permanent change coming on…In this post, I am going to share some of the things that I have been cooking and how I have been feeling generally.  Image

Above was last weekends masterpiece – thyme and onion tart in a black pepper pastry and I have to say, it was a roaring success.  And I found vegan margarine!  YAY!  In a local supermarket might I add!  It wasnt there last time I went but I got very excited about it, let me tell you.  Anyway…the recipe called for soy cream…which of course I could NOT find…so I mixed a little soy milk with some cornflour and hey presto, it did the job.  I will make it again in a few weeks.  The delicious treats that you see to the left of the tarte are vegan brownies.  Oh. My. Word.  I have since made them 3 times to share.  And eat.  But mostly share.  Well…kind of.  The good thing about them is that the whole family loves them.  I have since fiddled around with the recipe, substituting the flour with organic spelt flour, the sugar I have halved and also made it raw and I have tried it with canola oil and coconut oil.  I think I now have it down to a fine art.  Here’s the recipe for a standard brownie tin.  Preheat oven to 175 c (dont ask me what that is in F!)  Take 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of brown raw sugar (should be two but you really dont need it), 1 cup of Cadbury Bournville Powder – vegan!, 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of baking powder.  Mix.  Then add 1 cup o’ water (I also substituted that with coconut juice – from a coconut which I opened with my BARE hands…and a hammer and a screwdriver!), 1 cup o’ oil and a tsp of vanilla flavour.  Mix, pour into tin and bake.  De-LISH.

Another dish that I made was stuffed peppers.Image

These bad boys are stuffed with cous cous, raisons, chopped almonds, cinnammon, fresh coriander, chopped dried apricots, paprika and salt n pepper.  Oh, and olives.  You gotta have olives.  And when you bake these bad boys, you’re supposed to put a bit o water around the peppers so they cook too.  Really successful food. 

My final piece de resistance…Image

This bad boy (and please excuse the shoddy photography!) is eggplant stew.  Basically, take one huge ass eggplant, cube, put into colander and sprinkle with salt so bitter juices are drawn out (Who knew??).  Leave to sit for about 20 mins.  Meanwhile, cook up a couple of red onions with fresh garlic in a bit of olive oil.  To this, add a good spoon of cumin powder, cinnamon and paprika.  Mix well and add washed eggplant.  Put lid on and stew for a bit.  Then add a tin of chopped toms, a tin of kidney beans and/or a tin of chickpeas and just stew the ass off it until the eggplant is all mushy and it thickens.  Add some water if need be.  Serve with brown rice and fresh coriander on the top.  Absolutely top, delicious and filling.  I have a batch in the freezer.

One thing that I am still loving about the vegan-ness is having to explore everything again as far as food goes.  I realised so much how we depend on animal produce.  The quick choccy bars I used to grab in the supermarket has stopped and I am really happy to report that my craving for all things naughty has stopped – I am sure that has nothing to do with the brownies…

I drink far less coffee now and I dont eat out anywhere near as much as I used to.  I went to the Organic cafe with Safia the first week and I think that is the last time I ate out.  For someone who lives in Dubai, that is pretty good…all people do here is go out to eat!  I have also rediscovered the supermarket – and how much vegan stuff is out there.  I have to say that I didnt really go into this with an open mind and thought that I would really struggle  with finding stuff.

One thing that did surprise me is that some soy milks actually contain moo juice!  This really upset me and I kind of felt betrayed!

I am also trying to move away from wheat…I bought gluten free bread from the organic store and   when you slice it and toast it its like eating an english muffin (the savoury, flat kind – for all you ‘Muricans!).  Wonderful. I also got some other bits and pieces there too.  Like my very first jar of organic peanut butter.  I totally didnt realise how much crap is in the normal stuff!

I also found…vegan chocolate…which is like 20dhs per small bar (about 3 quid) but it is the most exquisite stuff ever. Very decadent, almost specialist.  But you know something, the money I am now saving on normal groceries allows these treats occasionally.

I’m not planning on chucking out all my cleaning products, shampoos etc but I have decided that once these products are finished, we will be moving towards, environmentally friendly, chemical free, against animal testing products.  Oh, by the way…The Body Shop and Bath and Body Works are against animal testing.  YAY!

A bit about mood…my mood has changed.  A LOT.  I’ve become more placid and relaxed.  Nuff said.

So thats it!  Until next week… 

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