I used the recipes in A Season in Moroccofor everything I made this time, so I wont post a recipe. If you like what you see, head to your library
I used the recipes in A Season in Moroccofor everything I made this time, so I wont post a recipe. If you like what you see, head to your library
In an earlier post I covered our tips for traveling on the cheap while vegan. However based on some of the things I find across the net (sad stories of how so-and-so had to start eating fish, or gave up veganism because of travel) I decided it was time to give our tips for staying vegan.
What are your tips for staying vegan (or vegetarian) during your travels? Leave me a comment if you have ideas – I always love to hear them
Ease of being vegan around the world (in order of easiest to most difficult place to be vegan based on my totally subjective experience of being an English-speaking, relatively wealthy, white, traveler):
Last night I had a crack at some creole dishes: Tomatoes and Okra, Dirty Rice, and an Eggplant Casserole. Last night I also got a call from my boss asking me to come in for a shift that would start at about dinner time. Not the best combination, as it turns out.
I rushed home with the groceries, and got into it.
For the tomatoes and okra, I used frozen okra from the Middle East Bakery instead of fresh, and I used Cheatin’ Bacon Style Strips instead of Tasso (whatever that is). I otherwise followed the recipe, and as it wasn’t disastrous, I suppose I can say it turned out well. I wasn’t fond of the okra, which I hadn’t eaten before. I thought it was odd, and furry, and generally not my thing. Sorry Okra lovers everywhere, I’m just not a fan. That being said, the tomato and bacon combination is always a winner.
Dirty Rice usually calls for rarely used parts of a chicken- gizzards, livers, necks, and backs. Yuck! I substituted with some tempeh and some smoked tofu. Again, I otherwise followed the recipe, and it turned out awesome! Flavourful with the creole seasoning, fluffy, grainy rice that wasn’t too mushy, and an interesting brown-ish colour (which I assume is where it gets its name from.
The loser of the night was the eggplant casserole. I have used recipes from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen many times before, and can generally recommend them. It wasn’t her fault my version failed, it was mine, all mine.
To get an idea of what happened, here’s what is was supposed to look like:
And this is what it did look like:
Something I know about myself, but always forget, is that I tend to overreach when I’m in a hurry. Especially in the kitchen. 20 minutes before guests arrive? Lets make lasagne! Tired and grumpy already? Try something fiddly and new! Desperately hungry? Bake something that takes an hour! And so it goes.
And so it went last night. I looked at the picture on the website, vaguely read the ingredients list, and thought, “yeah, I know how to make that”. Apparently not.
See I had read that this recipe require silken tofu, rather than the white sauce I use for bakes. What I hadn’t read were the instructions, or the rest of the ingredients list, that clearly stated you should add cashews, then blend the cashew/tofu mixture before adding it to the eggplant.
I don’t have a blending device capable of mushing cashews anyway, but still. So, rushing through it, I deflty plopped the tofu out of its packet and right into the pan of eggplant, and gave it a good stir. It didn’t look very creamy. Instead it looked like the solid bits of curdled milk floating and a sea of thin, unappetising, eggplant gravy. With bits of capsicum, our household’s least favourite vegetable.
To put this into context, I had also run out of pots (we own 2 saucepans, a frying pan and a wok) and as such run out of time to finish, having to do things in stages due to the pot shortage. And the oven started smoking a little because something had overflowed the last time I used the oven (unbeknownst to be), and was now burning on the bottom. Also, I get up at a bit after 5am on Wednesdays, and so was tired. This is my defence for what happened next.
Mr* arrived home in the midst of the pot cursing fury. What should I do when things go wrong? Laugh, and get on with it, would be the appropriate answer. What did I do? Asked for Mr’s help, then got grumpy at him when he asked me questions, like what to do or how to do it, or got in my way (i.e. in the kitchen), of course. Great idea!
Thankfully my partner is a wonderful, caring, patient man, and this didn’t erupt into any kind of actual argument. *Note to self, thank him for that again*
So, Mr quietly mashed some potatoes, then skedaddled out of the kitchen and retreated to the safety of the bathroom had a shower, while I poured the sorry-looking eggplant mixture into a baking dish, and topped it with mashed potato (which I had swapped for the much simpler and quicker bread crumb crust the recipe cals for, because I’m a glutton for punishment. And i like mash).
Finally, and just in the nick of time, all was ready to eat, or in my case, pile into a container to take to work.
Myself, Mr and a meat-eating workmate of mine (hi Dan!) all ate the creole offering, and all came to the same conclusion: The tomatoes and okra were tasty, but the okra itself was a but weird (Mr likes it slimy, Dan and I both hadn’t had it before), the rice was good, and the casserole- just glad it had mash, because that was the only edible part.
*It occurs to me I may not have explained this. Mr is my partner. He has a name, but doesn’t like the idea of having it on the internet, so I’ve nick-named him. Also, he works days and I work odd, part-time hours (early mornings, nights, and weekends), so I do most of the cooking now.
***Oddly, I published this yesterday, but it isn’t there. ??? anyway, if it comes up twice, that’s why.***
Tex-mex food is a sort of knock-off of actual Mexican food, eaten and created in Texas (and all over the States). I can’t find reliable info on who created these dishes, but it was either Mexican people working in Texas, or white people with a penchant for Mexican food.
For tex-mex night we had nachos and fajitas, both of which, as it turns out, were created in the US. I also made Key Lime pie because our limes were starting to look a bit un-limey and couldn’t wait to use them (they lose their colour as they get too old).
Nachos are one of my favourite junk foods. I love their mixture of crunch and smoosh, spicy and cooling, and of course the always tasty combination of cheese and tomato. I wasn’t dissapointed this time- the nachos were a pile of warm, gooey, cheesy wonderfulness.
I used plain corn chips, mozzarella cheezly, tofutti sour cream and easy guacamole (just mash avocado with lime juice, salt, tobasco and some chopped onion). For the chili I used SusanV’s recipe from FatFreeVegan. I halved the beans and added a packet of vegan mince. The chilli tasted so good, deep, not too spicy, and we had the left overs for lunch with bread. It felt like a real treat, as usually I just use bought salsa.
I didn’t use a recipe to make the fajitas. After finding out what a fajita is supposed to be, I fried up some tofu strips, green and red capsicum and garlic with some cumin and chicken flavoured stock powder. I put the mixture in some tortillas, with some coriander and Jack Daniels BBQ sauce (accidentally vegan, very smoky and flavourful).
Key lime pie was for dessert. It is named after Key Limes, which grow in Florida. Usually it is made similarly to lemon meringue pie, which is more familiar to us here in Aus. Before you read on, please know that I don’t have access to key limes, don’t know how to make a meringue without eggs, and didn’t realise it was supposed to be yellow.
I used a recipe for Keylimish Pie, in Lickin’ The Beaters, a vegan sweets cookbook given to me by a friend, who knows the author, Siue Moffat. The book is full of low fat vegan sweets, and while some recipes may be tricky to make outside of Canada and US, the vast majority are simple and yum. You can find out more about Siue here.
The recipe called for a crust made of crackers and apple sauce. I used Nice biscuits, margarine, soy milk and golden syrup instead. I followed the rest of the recipe, and added a little food colouring to make it green.
It turned out to be a very tangy, but delicious lime dessert. If I make it again, I might add a bit more sugar, and make sure I use limes that aren’t just about off! We had it with a little ice cream, to cut through the tartness.
In all I was impressed with our tex-mex night. I’ll be making the chili again, and I might have another crack at the Keylimish Pie, too. I’m loving having a good excuse to eat junky food.
Next stop, mac and cheese!
I have these cats, and they need homes. Can you help?
(Just to be very clear, this is NOT a food related post. Kitten meat isn’t exactly vegan, and also, that’s horrible!)
Let me tell you the story of Frances and Tobi/y. (or you can scroll down for photos of kittens). One day some months ago our neighbors knocked on our door. “Can you hear… kittens?”, they asked us. We went out the back, and after a bit of poking around between the two ‘courtyards’ (read: cement hallways behind the flats) we found one pissed off mumma cat and 6 gorgeous kittens. They were so tiny they still hadn’t opened their eyes, and couldn’t walk. They kept mewing and waddling into each other, falling over and dragging themselves by their front legs.
Mumma hissed and carried on, and took the kittens and hid them behind a surfboard while we went inside to work out what to do next. With intentions of catching, desexing and re-homing them all, we went to the corner shop, bought cat food, and fed her. She let us, but as soon as she was done she started jumping over the 6 foot high fence moving the kittens, one by one. We tried to track her down, but didn’t see her again.
2 months later (maybe more) who should turn up on our doorstep, looking much friendlier but still pretty skinny? And she had one kitten with her. Only one, we don’t know what happened to the others. We fed her (she ate a LOT, as did the kitten), and we’ve been firm friends ever since.
That was last week, so now we are again in the process of taking them in, with the view to getting them desexed and re-homed. Currently they come over at night for food and they sleep inside our place where it is warm, and then take off in the morning. They refuse to go to the toilet inside, and we can’t just keep them in until they explode. We don’t yet have a travel box, but once we do we’ll get the vet to check them out.
But here’s the rub. We can’t keep them forever, as we’re away too much. We will hold on to them until we can find them suitable forever-homes, but we need you (yup, you) to help us find one.
We have named the mumma cat Frances, and she already responds to her name, although chances are she will respond to anything said in a high, sing-song voice by a person who gets the food. She is friendly, though a little timid, and fluffy and gorgeous, and really still a kitten herself.
The kitten is Tobi/Toby, although he/she/? is so wild and timid that we can’t even get close enough to check for balls. Tobi/y doesn’t really interact with us, except to bite our toes, stalk our shoelaces, and eat the food we offer. S/he comes inside, eats, then hides under the couch, purring loudly and swiping at things that go past. S/he sleeps on a comfy chair in the loungeroom and likes to attack our front door mat (but not the carpet or couch, hooray!). We have been playing with Tobi/y using a scarf I don’t like. The kitten chases it, but if you make eye contact it freaks out.
Frances would suit just about any home, although she likes to be outside during the day. She is gentle, but will need some training if you don’t like the way she scratches/bats at you and then walks to the door when she wants to go out (repeatedly if you don’t get it right away).
Tobi/y is, as stated, very timid, very active, and would suit a home that give him/her the patience and love s/he will need to become people friendly. Tobi/y is a kitten, and will chew things and scratch things for a while, although so far s/he’s kept it to stuff we’re ok with.
I don’t mean to make them sound like hard work, I just don’t want to send them home with someone only to be dumped later.
If you feel you could provide a home for either or both of these delightful creatures (forever- no unsure or irresponsible people need apply), please let me know. We will ask you questions, would prefer families or those in stable living arrangements, and would appreciate a donation to the cost of the vet visits we make, if we don’t find a home before we take them (I know, stingy, but we’re pretty stuck at the moment).
Comment to get in contact with me.
It was a challenge to veganise this food, and the results would likely be unrecognisable to someone from Azerbaijan. The food we ate this week was tasty, warm and filling. I liked the different flavours, and the buttery, faux-meatiness of it all.
Some recipes, such as the sherbert, khangal, plov and eggplant rolls will probably get made again. The Zebra cake and kufta will stay on, with some changes. I didn’t get to make the dolmasi (stuffed vegies or vine leaves), or the shekerbura as I ran out of ingredients and time, but I’m sure they would have been delicious, too.
From this little expedition into Azeri food, my verdict is that it very flavouful and filling, but vegans are likely to have a lot of trouble finding real food in or from Azerbaijan.
First, I’m having some time out (as promised, blogging one week on, one week off) to visit some family and eat some healthy vegies and tofu. Then… I don’t know yet. Where do you want to see us go next?
Extra points for suggestions of countries that consume a lot of pumpkin, as my Aunty and uncle have kindly given us 3 whole pumpkins from their garden. Pop them in the comments section.
Had to go to the hospital yesterday, and it turns out I have acute gastritis.
It should go away in a day or two, but the doctor has told me I can’t eat anything interesting for a week or more. No salt, no sugar, no spices, cinnamon, chilli, acidic fruit, saturated fat, and not too much of anything else with fat or flavour.
So, bland food diet for a week or so means no tasting the food of Azerbijan for the next little while.
I’ll be back online as soon as my tummy is back in action.
I’m vegan. I love food. I love cooking. I love travel, but am too broke for it. I’m a pretty good cook, but I’m bored.
This combination of factors has lead me to my newest project: Cook the food of the world, vegan style.
Each fortnight (2 weeks) I will pick a country, head to my local library, read up, and make their food at my place. My partner and I will eat the food, I’ll take photos, and I’ll write about it, post recipes where I can, and post veganising hints where necessary.
Why each fortnight? Because It takes a while to find recipes and ingredients. Also, I’m a little lazy.
Hope you can join me. Wish me luck, I’m going on a kitchen adventure!