To be vegan or not to be vegan: Cookery class inspiration

My minimalist journey is more than a decluttering experience and as a long standing vegetarian since the age of 12, I am also looking to simplify my food, and live a healthier lifestyle through the choice of 10 key meals that I will learn off by heart, that we will love to eat and that will use healthy, clean ingredients (obviously mixed with the odd dirty as hell takeaway).

Veganism is something I’ve been interested in for a while, from an animal welfare perspective but also as someone whose body seems to have a disliking for dairy (cue rashes and sinus issues). However until this weekend it’s seemed a bit of a far off goal. It sounds fussy, difficult and a lot like hard work, and I am more in the ‘Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook’ camp. Then I met Debbie Daly, and took one of her cookery classes. Debbie is the ultimate vegan enthusiast, and her enthusiasm is infectious. Check out her page here Vegan at Heart for dates of her cookery classes and information.

Her cookery classes are homely, inspiring and what’s more delicious…and sooo easy. I was expecting complicated mixing, spicing, and simmering, but actually she taught us to make a bread and two cheeses, all in the space of an hour. Who would have thought you could put courgette in a bread and not use yeast? Who would think you can use cashew nuts to make a parmesan cheese replacement? My eyes have been opened, and widened.

20150919_142636 (1)

The thing I loved about the cooking is that it was something I could do. The bread; courgette, carrot and walnut was literally chuck some ingredients in a bowl and a mixer, knead together and cook for 30 minutes…

From this

Bread before

To This

Bread on plate cropped Bread close up Bread extra close up

OK so we did have it with butter on at home, which felt slightly wrong, but it was so good, the moisture from the vegetables and the crunch of the walnuts goes really well together. Debbie also gave recommendations for other suggestions so you could make it with chilli, other herbs…I am definitely under orders to make it again.

We also made a parmesan cheese alternative from cashew nuts, salt and garlic powder.

I was completely new to this nut making dairy produce idea (although I have sampled almond milk and am not keen). A taste of this was a little bit frightening, it had a really similar taste to parmesan, a lovely saltiness, and a garlic kick. Perfect for pasta, moussaka (vegan of course), and anything else you can think of to throw parmesan cheese on. We also made a soft cheese. For me it was a little like houmous, but I thought it was a perfect accompaniment to the bread. Using cashew nuts, garlic, a bit of seasoning, some water…it’s really simple stuff and that’s what got me. Being vegan doesn’t have to be complicated. You can find these ingredients at home or at a local supermarket. You don’t have to be off to your local wholefood store with a hessian bag every day looking for a battered turnip.

So inspired was I in fact that I made Debbie’s suggested oat milk that night. I admit it I’m struggling with a milk replacement for my dearly beloved cup of tea…the oat milk is so easy to make. Will blog a recipe for it and tell you more on that in another post…


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