Tag Archives: vegan

Nailsworth helps to celebrate Animal Aid’s Vegan Festival of Britain

30 May

Nailsworth’s shops and cafes will be taking part in a national celebration of cruelty-free food and living by highlighting their vegan options and produce during Animal Aid’s Vegan Festival of Britain (20th May – 20th June 2017).VFOBlogo-992x561

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A list of participating venues

A list of participating stores and restaurants/cafes can be found above.

On Saturday 27th May 2017, several Gloucestershire Vegan Group members held a stall at Nailsworth Farmers Market, to publicise the Vegan Festival of Britain and promote cruelty-free living. Lots of people stopped by to sample vegan treats, chat to our friendly crew, and pick-up a leaflet promoting veganism. We’re grateful to Nailsworth’s very own vegan dining spot Asparagasm, who kindly donated some delicious treats for market-goers to try.

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Gloucestershire Vegan Group’s stall at Nailsworth Farmer’s Market

Nailsworth is a fantastically vegan-friendly town to visit, with the world’s first vegan-society certified football club Forest Green Rovers and the vibrant Asparagasm, a vegan eatery, with a workshop/kitchen space running cookery lessons. There are two independant health food shops selling vegan ingredients (which can sometimes be hard to find in supermarkets); Shiny Goodness and Green Spirit. All of this packed into a small Gloucestershire market town. If you stop by during The Vegan Festival of Britain, be sure to try out some of the participating venues.

 

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The vegan-inspired window display at The Yellow Lighted Bookshop

You may also spot the vegan window display on show at The Yellow Lighted Bookshop, a perfect place to stock-up on a new vegan cookbook to inspire some cruelty-free culinary adventures in the kitchen.

 

If you’re curious about veganism, and want to know more, here’s a copy of our leaflet, giving a brief intro to veganism, and some great reasons to give it a try.

 

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Reasons to go vegan…

Volunteering at Dean Farm Trust

11 May
The weeding gang starting work

The weeding gang starting work

Earlier in the year Dean Farm Trust – a charity which provides a ‘forever home’ for a family of rescued farm animals – reached out to us to come and help with their spring-time tasks and we were only too happy to oblige. As a result we spend yesterday enthusiastically helping out at their beautiful farm animal sanctuary, situated in a secluded valley near to Chepstow.

We split into working groups, one gang helping hand-weeding and clearing a new paddock, to free the grazing from being overrun with dock and burdock. The other group of us helped weatherproof the stables, giving the wood a spring-time coat of paint. It was hugely enjoyable to work together to help out a great cause.

A beautiful spread at our bring-and-share picnic lunch

A beautiful spread at our bring-and-share picnic lunch

At lunch-time we took a break, for a bring-and-share vegan picnic. As usual we collectively created an epic spread, and an incredible range of yummy stuff, demonstrating the variety and deliciousness of vegan food.

Whilst we ate Janette and Mary from the sanctuary gave us a overview of their work and their motivations to start the sanctuary, along with brief history of Dean Farm Trust. I was impressed with how carefully they had researched, funded and planned their sanctuary. This forethought is clearly a large part of their success. You can read more about how they started here.

We learned that Dean Farm Trust doesn’t simply seek to give a home to the animals they take in at their sanctuary, they want every animal they rescue to have the best possible care and health. This is why they will not take in more animals than they have the resources and grazing to support at the sanctuary. Dean Farm Trust cannot rescue all farmed animals, but for every animal they provide a home for, the difference to that individual animal’s life is immeasurable.

Dean Farm Trust have the ethos “protecting, informing, educating” and so they also work as animal advocates. Their website and excellent monthly newsletter not only provide details about their heartening work at the sanctuary, but raise awareness about animal exploitation; providing facts about animal farming and campaigns to stop animal cruelty such as the ‘Ban Foie Gras‘ Campaign. They also promote veganism and other positive actions you can take to live more compassionately.

I felt that the rescued animals who are living out the rest of their natural lives in happiness at Dean Farm Trust are a totem of the millions of farmed animals worldwide who are less fortunate than them. They are a few happy endings in an otherwise grim industry, and a constant reminder that animals should not be treated as mere commodities in the brutal and inhumane world of animal farming. (continued below >>)

a most contented pig

a most contented pig

Gloucestershire Vegan Group and Burrito the donkey listen to Mary from Dean Farm Trust talk about their work.

Gloucestershire Vegan Group and Burrito the donkey listen to Mary from Dean Farm Trust on a tour of the sanctuary.

Compassion for animals is an important lesson for everyone

Compassion for animals is an important lesson for everyone

After lunch we were taken to meet the animals. Our tour led us through a paddock of cheeky donkeys, who jostled for attention, and a few leftover carrots from lunch. We met the two boisterous pigs who came roaring across the field to greet us, and saw the ex-battery hens contentedly dust bathing in little pits they’d dug out in the soft spring soil. Dean Farm Trust is also home to several sheep, rescue ponies, and a small and affectionate team of ex-puppy farm Cavalier Spaniels. It was a real highlight of our visit to meet the animals we were volunteering to bring benefit to.

Ex- battery hens re-discovering the joy of natural behaviours such as dust-bathing.

Ex-battery hens re-discovering the joy of natural behaviours such as dust-bathing.

We carried on working in the afternoon, and went home tired but happy from a great day volunteering.

Thanks to Dean Farm Trust for being so welcoming to us all, and thanks to all of the Gloucestershire Vegans who gave up their sunday to come and help. We’d love to come back and volunteer again in the future.

You can subscribe to Dean Farm Trust’s newsletter on their website (subscribe box at the bottom of their homepage).

Unstoppable vegans dig deep for the animals!

Unstoppable vegans dig deep for the animals!

Favourite Vegan Cookbooks

31 Jul

There are many vegan cookbooks available out there, on all types of cooking and a varied range of cuisines. Here are some recommendations for books with tasty recipes and lovely layout:

Veganomicon – The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook

by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

Da Capo Press (2007)

This really is the ultimate vegan cookbook. Not only is it humourous – there are witty anecdotes and stories next to each recipe, it’s got a huge breadth of different recipes. It starts small with how to cook vegetables and pulses to perfection. This section could sound unnecessary if you’re not a learner chef, but it is actually really helpful in inspiring new methods to cook your favourite veg, or tasty ways to prepare foods you’ve previously dismissed as not yummy enough! After this initial “how to cook a…” section, Veganomicon then moves onto more complex recipes such as the incredible vegan moussaka topped with a cream cheese made from pine-nuts, yam-ram roll sushi, rosewater & pistachio cookies, and amazing layered sandwiches.

There is a blend of cuisines, and exciting new methods to try. This book really has changed the way I cook, and when I’m not following one of the many excellent recipes from here I often find that I thinking about combinations of ingredients and methods I’ve learnt through following these recipes.

I’ve found these recipes to be very reliable, almost all turning out to be completely delicious. Some of the recipes are quite long-winded, and others are really quick, but the time it takes to make is listed next to each recipe which is really helpful.

Its a US cookbook, so a few of the ingredients are hard to find here, but the recipes are measured in cups rather which I find infinitely easier and quicker than using scales to weigh quantities.

Another Dinner Is Possible – More than Just a Vegan Cookbook

by Isy & Mike

AK Press  (2009)

This cookbook is written by a couple of folks from Anarchist Teapot Mobile Kitchen who make amazing food at demos and protest camps in field kitchens with limited resources. It’s got a great selection of easy to make recipes. Not only that but there are sections on nutrition, vegan cooking for families, animal rights and food politics.

Some of my favourite recipes are: the Potato Provencale – a delicious tomato, potato and olive herby stew, perfect for winter months, the raita is amazing, and the potato stuffed chapattis are great with curry.

There’s a good selection of sweet stuff too, including a raisin scone recipe that would impress anyone’s grandma. There is also a section on Korean cooking, on how to make home-brew, and on home preserving. An eclectic mix of recipes, advice and information.

Hot Damn & Hell Yeah

by Ryan Splint

Microcosm Publishing

A fun southern-style inspired cookbook, featuring illustrations of skeletons in cowboy outfits enjoying vegan food!

The recipes in this small and affordable cookbook are easy to follow and simple to make. Great for spicy & southern vegan cuisine.

I particularly like the cornbread recipe, which goes nicely with a hot chilli.
Also there are some excellent recipes for burritos, gravy with biscuits, tacos and many other tex-mex inspired foods.

Vegan Pie in the Sky

by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

Da Capo Lifelong ( 2011)

Another super cookbook by some of my favourite vegan cookbook authors. This is one in a series of cookbooks on vegan sweets, following on from the also excellent Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World and Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar. It has a wide-range of pies, cheesecakes, pastries and flans. I’ve yet to bake them all, but have made the maple and pecan pie, which is a gorgeous, sticky, chewy nutty pie, with featherlight pastry.
The citrusy little lemon pies went down well with guests, who said it was the best pudding they’d ever eaten! The blueberry cheesecake is also divine.

There is masses of information on how to make pastry and different imaginative pie crusts such as olive oil crusts.

Dakshin – Vegetarian Cuisine from South India

 This is the choice of Gloucestershire Vegan Group member, Nam – she writes: “A South Indian Cuisine book – this is not strictly a vegan cookbook as it is lacto-vegetarian, but you can easily substitute any dairy ingredients. South Indian food is less oily than North Indian. One drawback is that is can be hard to find some of the ingredients specialist cooking pots (like an idli steamer) which may have to be bought in Asian stores (such as Motala 95-99  Victoria Street, Gloucester, or the World Food Shop (opposite Sub Room) in Stroud. Idlis can be made in ordinary steamers. Just line the base with muslin cloth.”

Do you have a favourite vegan cookbook? Write a review and it can be added to this post.

Raw Food Feast

20 Jun

well-dined and happy vegans!

Gloucestershire Vegan Group’s latest get-together was a sumptuous raw-food feast cooked by vegan group members and raw-foodists; Nam, her daughter Sahaya and her husband Micheal. For many of us Gloucestershire Vegans it was an introduction to raw food cuisine, and what a delicious introduction it was.

For those of you who might think raw food simply consists of a load of old salad – think again! Nam and her family treated us to some gourmet cuisine. They “uncooked” raw lasagne, quiche, cauliflower tabbouleh, blueberry pie and mulberry biscuits – to name but a few of the many amazing dishes lovingly prepared for us.

gourmet raw food

Below are a few of the recipes for inspired Gloucestershire Vegans to try at home, Nam cooks by approximation so has not given quantities. More recipes from the day available here.

Lasagne

“Wheat” Layer Sheet: Peeled Cucumber or Courgette Slices (very thin with mandolin or potato peeler in strip/slice. Overlap narrow strips to form a square of the size you want)

First paste from the bottom: Nut Paste

• Suflower & Pumpkin seeds (soaked for an hour)
• Sun Dried Tomatoes (soaked an hour) or Red Pepper for Tomato-free
• Dates (1 or more to taste)
• Fresh/Dry Sage
• Dry Oregano
• Cayenne (optional)

Blend until crumbly

Second paste: Green Pesto

• Fresh Basil
• Fresh Parsley
• Almonds (soaked few hours & drained)
• Garlic clove (to taste)
• Courgettes (half piece)
• Lemon Juice (to taste)

Blend until smooth or chunky

Third paste: Tomato sauce

• Sun Dried Tomatoes (soaked an hour) or Red Pepper for Tomato-free
• Tomatoes or Red Paprika Powder
• Dates (4 or more as thickener, depending on quantity made)
• Dry Oregano
• Garlic clove (to taste)
• Lemon Juice (to taste)

Blend until smooth

 Fourth paste: Nut Cream Cheese
• Cashew (soaked 4 hours)
• Courgettes (for low-fat) or Macadamia nuts
• Yellow Pepper
• Fresh Parsley
• Fresh Thyme

• Lemon Juice (to taste)
• Water (as needed)
Blend until fluffy

1. On a  “Wheat” Layer Sheet put nut layer, green pesto, tomato sauce & nut cream cheese and repeat all the layers once. Then place wilted Spinach (destem & soak in Olive oil & Sea/Himalayan salt (optional).

2.Place final “Wheat” Layer Sheet and sprinkle some nut cheese, black pepper & Olive Oil over it.

Inspired by original recipe by Russell James

Blueberry pie

Blueberry Pie

 Filling:

• Blueberry Or Mix Frozen Berries (that has Blueberries)

• Ripe Banana

Blend until smooth
 Pie Base:
• Dates
• Dry Coconut
Blend until dough-like

1. Press the pie base dough on the cake tin into any thickness you want.

2. Pour the mousse on top of it. (Place a plate under the cake tin in case it leaks.)
Then place in the fridge overnight, or for at least 10 hours

3. Sprinkle Blueberries over the pie before removing the cake tin and freeze for an hour.

Nam recommends the following websites for more information and gourmet raw food recipes:

Ani Phyo: Eco Stylist and Organic Food Author

The Raw Food Coach

Sweetly Raw

delicious ‘date cups’ – these tasted like trifle!

raw courgette rolls, sushi, stuffed mushrooms and pizza

gingery-pecan sweets

Reasons to be Vegan

19 Jan

This is just a few of the many reasons to be vegan, there are many more, please add your own below in the comments section if you feel inspired.

To explain why to be vegan I must first answer the question- what is a vegan? This is the Vegan Society’s definition:

A vegan is someone who tries to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with nothing coming from animals – no meat, milk, eggs or honey, for example. A vegan lifestyle also avoids leather, wool, silk and other animal products for clothing or any other purpose.

 A short explanation of this is that vegans, neither use or eat products of animal origin.

 

Three reasons to be vegan:

 1. Not wanting bad stuff to happen to fluffy things

One of the principal reasons for a person to adopt veganism is to avoid causing any animal suffering. Meat, leather, dairy and eggs, to name but a few, are products made from animals. Animals endure pain, are abused and killed, merely because people enjoy the products they provide. Vegans find this unacceptable and choose not to support these practices through avoiding the consumption of any product of animal origin. Some vegans term the way animals are treated in our society as “speciesism”-  where animals are treated as a commodity; existing to serve us, clothe us and provide us with food. Vegans are aware that people do not need to use or eat any animal products to live a happy, healthy and fulfilled life – veganism is an alternative to causing suffering.

To find out more about how animals are farmed visit the vegan society’s webpage on animal farming

factory farm run-off

2. Wanting to make less of an impact on our planet

Vegan diets can be better for the environment because they are more energy efficient. Animals consume much more energy than they produce, therefore it’s more efficient for humans to eat plant-based foods directly, than to consume them indirectly – further up the food chain – by eating animals. Because of this increased efficiency, vegan diets have the potential to feed more people on less land than diets that require conventional livestock farming.

Animal farming can also directly harm the environment; fishing destroys ocean ecosystems, and over-grazing of marginal lands can lead to desertification. Another example is factory farming which causes local pollution problems such as slurry run-off contaminating watercourses, as well as global pollution problems: the greenhouse gas methane, a by-product intensively farmed animal waste which contributes to global warming.

To find out more on this topic visit these sites:

www.vegansociety.com/resources/environment.aspx

www.veganoutreach.org/whyvegan/environment.html

3.Wanting to eat better

Although this is not usually the main motivation for people becoming vegan, and vegans enjoy plenty of yummy and indulgent food, a nice perk of a vegan diet is that it can be easier to eat healthily. Many people find that as a result of becoming vegan they eat more home-prepared food, fresh fruit and vegetables and think more carefully about meeting their nutritional needs in their diet.

For more info on vegan nutrition visit:

www.theveganrd.com/food-guide-for-vegans

www.vegansociety.com/lifestyle/nutrition/