A Vegan Food Shop

So I decided to join in with the current trend and become a vegan. For a week. I love my food and the thought of having to cut stuff out of my diet filled me with fear, but I wanted to try a different kind of food lifestyle and figured it can’t be too hard if I only have to sacrifice some of my favourite things for just a week. Right?

‘Why bother?’, I hear you ask. Well, veganism is on the rise as more people learn of the damage caused to the planet by consuming animal products. There is also a belief that following a plant based diet is better for you health wise. So if we can help the planet, save a few animals and nourish our bodies in a better way surely it’s worth trying. I don’t think there is any scientific proof behind the vegan health claims but if people feel better for eating this way then good for them. I’m trialling it to see if I feel any different from cutting out all animal based products. I keep getting a mental image of a little lamb skipping away from the slaughter house saying ‘Thank you Tania!’ as it bounds into freedom.

The first thing I did in preparation was a food shop to stock up on the right kinds of foods. I’ve already got a huge stash of cooking ingredients such as grains and loads of spices and condiments so it was mostly fresh fruit and vegetables I needed as well as some tinned goods. Tyler, my partner, has decided to meet me halfway and will be eating some of the food I make along with fish and has a few emergency meals planned for if he just can’t take it. I thought about making the cat vegan too but she begged me not to, so she’s eating the rest of the ham that’s lingering in the fridge from last week. Our food shopping, including Tyler’s cheat additions (not pictured) came to just under £80.

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Here’s what I bought:

  • Mixed leaf salad
  • Baby plum tomatoes
  • Avocados
  • Jersey Royal potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Mixed peppers
  • Spring onions
  • Cucumber
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Courgettes
  • Mushrooms
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Pomegranate
  • Bananas
  • Medjool dates
  • Raw cacao powder
  • Pecan nuts
  • Maple syrup
  • Mixed herbs
  • Gherkins
  • Coconut milk (tinned)
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Butter beans (tinned)
  • Kidney beans (tinned)
  • Chickpeas (tinned)
  • Black beans
  • Beetroot juice
  • Coconut milk
  • Coconut yogurt
  • Bean burgers

So I’m all ready to tackle a week without meat or dairy. I’m OK to forgo meat for a while, I like meat but actually don’t have that much of it, but cheese. Oh God. Cheese. And to be super helpful, my food processor has just broken so I can’t make the raw brownies from Deliciously Ella which I think would have made this week so much easier! Never mind. I will let you know how I find my week as a vegan in a later blog post, stay tuned!

 

 

Recipe: Sea Bass with Sweet Chilli Veg and Noodles

This is a gorgeously simple dish which takes less than 15 minutes to go from fridge to plate, making it perfect for a week night meal. It’s damn tasty too.

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 4 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  •  1 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 2 boneless sea bass fillets
  • 2 nests of dried egg noodles

What you do:

  1. Start by thinly slicing both peppers, thinly slice your onion into half moons and shave delicate strips off the carrot using a vegetable peeler.
  2. In a wok, heat three teaspoons of the sesame oil and stir fry the garlic and ginger for a minute until your entire kitchen smells heavenly. Add your brightly coloured vegetables and cook them over a medium heat, stirring frequently. This isn’t a stir fry, so although you don’t want the veg overcooked, you also need them to soften enough so they start to become sweet and sticky. This should take about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan until it is very hot, then carefully place the sea bass fillets into the pan, skin side down, and press down with a fish slice for a minute or two to ensure the skin goes gloriously crisp. Cook the sea bass for about three minutes per side, it should be wonderfully soft and flaky when it is cooked with a nice crunchy skin.
  4. Whilst all this is going on, cook your noodles according to the instructions on the packet, and once cooked, drain well and toss with the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil and 1 tsp of soy sauce.
  5. Go back to your veg and add the other three teaspoons of soy sauce, the sweet chilli sauce and the water and bubble for a minute until you achieve a shiny, sticky sauce. You can add more water if it’s all a bit gloopy.
  6. Plate up your noodles first, top with the sticky vegetables in their sweet chilli sauce, then place your sea bass fillet on top, drizzling over another few drops of sesame oil to finish. Some finely sliced spring onions or coriander leaves would be lovely as a finishing touch. I, sadly, did not have either in my fridge.

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Number of Injuries: 1 – along with my carrot shavings, I treated myself to some added protein with a thin slither of thumb. Yummy!

Washing Up Score: 6/10 – a wok, a pan, a saucepan, a colander…all large, bulky items that can’t be easily hidden and must therefore be seen to swiftly. Bore.