Category: Vegan

Just a little vegan note

By , December 31, 2019 8:43 am

The Guardian‘s vegan recipe columnist is not a vegan. I do find that odd. Or maybe she is now.

Here’s what Meera Sodha says in her Dec. 27 column on meal-planning for Veganuary.

When I first started my vegan column, I gave myself a month before I’d have to hand in my notice. As an omnivore (admittedly one that ate little meat but a lot of dairy and eggs), I just couldn’t imagine writing recipes week after week with such a strict set of rules, let alone enjoy eating plant-based food on a regular basis. But then, something wonderful happened.”

“I am doing Veganuary this year in the main because I want to show you how enjoyable it can be.”

I do like her recipes so I’m not trying to be critical. Just a bit surprised.


Cooking More

By , December 8, 2019 7:22 pm

I have always liked cooking; however, I haven’t always followed through on my passion. I come from a culinary family; my grandmother (Bubi Lil) was a baker, baking teacher and cooking and baking book author. That said, she wasn’t exactly the most experimental cook. I’m not sure what she would make of me being vegan. My mom is an amazing cook – she’s very willing to experiment and always trying to find new ways to feed her vegan daughter and step-daughter.

This year I vowed – as I always do – that I will cook more and rely on frozen and delivered meals less. So far I’m doing well, I’m happy to report! Val has even followed in my path. One thing I’ve stuck to very well is reducing my pasta consumption – I totally OD’d on pasta last year, truth be told, especially when I was stressed out.

A staple for me has become roasting vegetables on Sunday: carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, sweet potato, onion, and whatever else is on hand (if we happened to have grocery shopped appropriately). We’ve been having our roasted vegetables with quinoa and an occasional tahini/lemon/maple sauce. I’m a plain eater so I’ll eat the vegetables and quinoa by themselves. Val may not exactly be happy with that but he doesn’t say so directly.

Over the last few weeks I have gone back to an old standby: bulgur. Though I’m trying to reduce my wheat consumption (and bulgur is just little bits of wheat), I am magnetically attracted to the simple ease of cooking bulgur – it’s even easier than quinoa. One of my favourite recipes of all time is bulgur with carrots and cabbage. It couldn’t be easier – bulgur, chopped carrots, sliced cabbage (red is prettier than green in combination with the carrots), tamari or soy sauce and veg stock. It’s done in 15 minutes. I like soft food so I tend to over cook it. It’s supposed to be garnished with parsley and peanuts but I never plan ahead so I just eat it as is.

Another staple has been mushroom ginger soup. It’s from a recipe I picked up in one of those grocery-store magazines promoting their products. Well, Longo’s did a good job on this one.

Cook leeks and assorted mushrooms – cremini, shiitake, oyster – in a bit of canola oil for about 10 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, soy sauce and miso. Add vegetable stock and cook for about 10 minutes. Add spinach and remove from the heat. At the end garnish with enoki mushrooms and sliced green onions. Recently I’ve been adding black rice ramen noodles (which I found at the health food store in Peterborough). They thicken it up massively.

Makes a lot, easy to reheat. Yummy. Did I mention that I love mushrooms beyond words?

Note: good miso (AKA more expensive) is worth it. The brand I got from The Big Carrot has the most amazing nutty scent. I used to use a brand that came out of a and was relatively cheap. Needless to say, I won’t be going back to it.

Val uses the instant pot a lot. I am afraid of this appliance!!! Lately, he has been making his vegan pot roast (a stew with potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, parsnips, etc.) accompanied by vegan corn bread. OMG, so good. The secret ingredient is pomegranate molasses. Sweet yet tangy.

On a parting note, the best vegan snack is fennel. I love seeing people’s reaction to it when I bring it to school and eat it raw – they think I’m eating an onion.





Oh no, vegan baking!

By , December 28, 2018 1:31 pm

I made my first vegan dessert: vegan trifle. It was no trifle to make, let’s just say. A lot of assembly was required. Though I did not eat it (because I don’t eat chocolate), I did construct a small chocolate-free one just for myself.


Step 1 – make vegan spongecake – very easy

Step 2 (not shown) – make coconut cream (refrigerate a can of full fat coconut milk and then pour off the liquid, leaving the solid cream that you can whip in a mixer just like whipping cream)

Step 3 (not shown) – make chocolate mousse (avocado, banana, dates, cocoa powder) in the vitamix – my first time using this insane appliance

Step 4 (not shown) – bake brownies (I bought pre-made batter from Sweets from the Earth)

Step 5 – make cherry sauce


The final product assembled in (sort of) layers, garnished with cocoa nibs and shaved vegan chocolate


Val also made a dessert: not vegan.

Val’s New York cheesecake made in the InstantPot


As usual my mom was a lovely host and the setting was perfect

Food Photos

By , August 12, 2018 12:22 pm

I’m learning how to take photos of food. It is not easy. Here are some of my favourite concoctions from the last two weeks.

The Vegan Who Can’t (or Won’t)

By , August 5, 2018 11:02 am

I have been organizing my bookmarks on my laptop, which means I have been procrastinating: avoiding school work I need to get ready and blog writers I need to search out for the fall issue of Rapport.

I checked out a bunch of vegan blogs thinking they’d give me lots of ideas. They have, of course. I’m not culinarily creative so I rely on other people to catalyze my thought process. However, I find very few vegan recipes I can use “as is”. That’s because I have a list of things I can’t or won’t eat (in addition to the basic things vegans don’t eat). My poor mother!

  • chocolate or cocoa
  • nuts and seeds (except for peanuts and peanut butter)
  • beans and lentils in large amounts
  • tempeh
  • nutritional yeast
  • pre-made vegan mayo or butter
  • fake cheese/vegan cheese
  • pickles
  • deep fried food
  • fake bacon and veggie dogs
  • any kind of “milk” (with the exception of vegan ice cream)
  • most desserts (with the above-mentioned exception of vegan ice cream and sorbets/gelatoes)

Practically a staple in our house.

I hope you can see my problem. Yes, it is self-imposed due to stomach problems and personal dislikes (or super likes, as in the case of chocolate). But it’s my reality. Again, my poor mother!

I wondered what my title would be if I were to start a vegan blog. That’s how I came up with “The Vegan Who Can’t”. Sounds bad. Sounds bathroom-related.

Maybe this fixation on a vegan blog is just summer boredom. Or maybe it’s just to keep my mind occupied so I don’t think about all the bad things that have happened lately (the barn burning down, Danforth shootings, Bailey’s death).

Sometimes my fixations turn into real things; I did learn to play guitar in this obsessive way. And anyone who does macro photography knows it only works (not to say mine does) if you’re obsessive. Yesterday, I went out around the golden hour and took macro photos down by the shore of the lake. Only a few worked out despite the time it took to set up the tripod and get down on the ground to be at eye-level with the “greens”.

Tangled garden twirly is minuscule in real life.

Other times, fixations don’t work out for me. After going to one of those group painting sessions, I bought a small set of acrylic paints and some starter canvases. I tooled around for a few weeks and even created a little kit that would make it easy for me to set up and clean up. But nothing came of it, mostly owing to my very uncreative mind. I love colours but I don’t know what to do with them.

I have even been practicing taking food photos. Val definitely sees this as a fixation. I told him it won’t last once school starts; who wants to see photos of a frozen meal fresh out of the microwave?


Maybe I’m just temporarily challenged by the “if they can do it, I can do it” of looking at so many blogs. I already have a blog – why not do it? Maybe the fear is that it would just become one more project started and not finished. Probably the fear is that my life is just not that interesting. I’m not complaining: I have a great life for me.

At any rate, if I do decide to blog about my version of veganism, I’ll wait until I’m finished with Rapport. My history blog – as I call it – is taking up too much of my time during the school year so I am sadly but smartly (I think) quitting as editor as of mid-November.

For now, I will just go along with whatever happens. It is summer, after all.

At the lookout near our house after my 43 km ride day.





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