Vegan Dishes and a Few Thoughts…

Courgette pasta
On spotting some courgettes going cheap at the supermarket recently, I snapped up a couple of packets. Yes, ok they’re not in season right now and I’m not really a big fan of eating food out of season, but I felt that I could cut myself a bit of slack as I’m going through this vegan lark.

I’ve been using this slow cooked courgettes on toast recipe for a few years now. It’s so simple. I just heat oil (rapeseed and olive) in a pan, add finely sliced courgette along with chopped up garlic and salt & pepper and cook it down on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Once the courgettes have broken down and turned all creamy and unctuous, it’s ready.

It’s great on toast, but this time I stirred in some pasta. And, although I usually have it with a little Parmesan (or Ewes’ Natural Rind cheese from Mr P), it was damn fine on its own. Salty, garlicky and delicious.

Roasted Cauliflower Dahl
Oh man… this had so much going for it. Dahl… roasted cauliflower… what’s not to like? Well, although it was tasty enough, it wasn’t as tasty as the dahls I’ve been cooking over the past couple of years. But, with so few spices, how could it be?

However, there are positives. It was clean tasting and healthy and I’ve learned that roasting cauliflower is the way to go when using it in a curry. Normally I find it can be a bit insipid. So, it wasn’t a complete fail.

Lentil bolognese with greens stirred in
I’d made the bolognese last week and frozen some. This week I just added some chopped spring greens when reheating it.

Pasta with Cheese Sauce and White Sprouting Broccoli
Cheese. Ahhh cheese… a lot of people say they could go vegan if they could have cheese and I totally get where they’re coming from. I mean, cheese is a bit like bacon; it makes EVERYTHING BETTER!

So cheese sauce is something I’ve been wanting to try, but I haven’t quite pinned down all the ingredients I need yet (I’m trying to put off a ‘big shop’ until after pay day). But the other day I was home alone and I fancied pasta. More to the point, I fancied pasta with some form of sauce, preferably cheese based.

So, I grabbed the crap supermarket vegan cheese spread out of the fridge along with some particularly vile soya cream. Then, on the basis that I wasn’t going to make either item taste any worse, I melted the cheese spread (probably just a tablespoon or so) over a low heat (and yes, it will melt when forced, just not on hot toast) and whisked the soya cream in (around 50-60 mls). And then, because I wasn’t convinced on the flavour, I added some chopped up cherry tomatoes and cooked them until they broke down into the sauce.

And, well, it was pretty good. I mean, obviously it wasn’t AS good, but it was pretty good stirred into my pasta with white sprouting broccoli that I’d roasted with garlic and chilli. Good enough to try again anyway!

This vegan eating lark has really got me thinking about what I consider to be right and wrong when it comes to food. And, rather than proving to be a nice compromise between a vegan and non-vegan diet, this little experiment is raising more questions than answers and it seems that I have quite a lot of issues to ponder over.

I am beginning to wonder whether a lot of vegans simply only eat for fuel. That their food only has to be bearable and nutritious, rather than enjoyable. I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with this, but it’s a trap I don’t want to fall into. For instance I don’t ever want to find myself eating crap supermarket cheese spread just because I can’t be bothered to cook something tastier (and healthier).

A lot of specialist vegan food isn’t made locally and is made by big faceless companies. I suspected this wouldn’t sit well with me, and it doesn’t. Why would I want to give Alpro (who have their HQ in Ghent of all places) my money when I could be giving it to Our Cow Molly (a dairy farm based in Sheffield, and yes, I do know the family who own it), and the milkman, instead? Hmmmm…. Maybe this Provitamil oat milk is the best compromise I’m going to get (it’s the only dairy free milk alternative made exclusively in the UK). I’m not convinced it’s good enough…

Anyone know of any Sheffield/Yorkshire made vegan products?


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