Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My bleeding heart story about animals and being a kid.

I haven't always been vegan, or vegetarian. In fact, I spent the first 20 years of my life on a mini farm where we ate our sheep, cows, pigs and eggs.

When I was about 3yrs old I got a little pink plastic comb and mirror set from Santa because I was such a good little girl. And Mum found me in the paddock one day sitting with a calf combing his hair and showing him in the mirror how well I had styled his quiff.

And as I got older I was responsible for feeding the new calf we would buy each year for the freezer. Morning and evening I would be out there feeding him, letting him suck my fingers gazing up at me with those gorgeous eyes.

And then I would get served up roast beef and steaks and I knew where they came from and I hated it. And I still ate it whilst threatening my parents with vegetarianism.

When I was about 8 I adopted an unwanted, sick lamb from one of our sheep and called him Smiley. The farm vet told us that Smiley probably wouldn't make it through the night but I sat with him in his cardboard box full of towels in the laundry and sang him songs out of my piano lessons book and cuddled him. He made it through and was one of the few sheep that didn't get buried in our freezer. Even when he got huge and old he would come running up to me in the paddock - I would have a moment of anxiety wondering if he was running to say hi or running to bowl me over. It was always to say hi and get a pat and a cuddle round the neck. He died of old age and I never had to farewell him on my dinner plate.

Whenever Dad went out to the farm with his gun, and with a particular knife and bowl, I knew what was about to happen and I dreaded hearing the gunshot. I would make sure to stay on the other side of the farm until I knew it was all over. But I was horrified to come across Dad one day, straddling a terrified kicking sheep whilst trying to cut his throat yelling at me to go away. That disturbed me no end. As an unreligious child who had attended but a couple of bible classes a year at school I actually wished I could be the animal Jesus so no more animals would have to feel pain. What a martyr child. And a hypocrite. I still ate meat. As a teenager I moved my bedroom into the shed. The same shed where the sheep's carcass would hang for a couple of days, outside my bedroom. I had nightmares about it's ghost coming into my room.

When I was 9 I saved a baby sparrow from the jaws of a cat while we were on holiday. Inspired, I called him Tweety (look, I was 10, ok?) and brought him home to look after. Tweety was great. When he was big enough we would let him outside on our 4 acres to fly around during the day and at night he would come back to sleep in his birdcage. I could call him from anywhere on the farm and he would come sit on my hand. I could even recognise his tweet out of all the other birds. It sucks but eventually Tweety ended up mauled by my own cat. Sob! Mum and Dad did surgery on Tweety's leg and put a little bandage on it and I prayed and cried myself to sleep. He lasted a few days looking thoroughly miserable and when he died Mum threw him into the trees without telling me, to be kind no doubt. But I spotted her from the window and put two and two together and made a little cross out of icecream sticks and put it in my diary with his tearfully written obituary. After Tweety I rescued a few more birds who eventually stopped coming returning at night but would still come visit us on the farm.

This doesn't even touch on the 'traditional' pets, the cats, dogs and rabbits I have loved in my life.

Sometimes I'm a glutton for punishment and I go ahead and read the ignorant and uneducated anti-vegan comments at the end of various relevent articles and the like. And I wonder how on earth these commenters can even be the same species as me, and how some of the things they say I could NEVER fathom thinking or feeling as far back as I can remember. I always ate meat but I also always felt bad about it. It NEVER sat ok with me and I wonder how there are people who go beyond defending eating meat to being unaffected by animal abuse, or worse, find it fun.

Are some people just born that way?

All I want for Christmas (aka: World, leave my family alone)

Woohoo! I got some great news today. Mum told me that Dad's blood sugar monitor read 5.9 the other morning. After years of meds keeping his blood sugar down in the 7's and 8's this is the first time it's ever been in the 5's! For those that don't know, normal blood sugar for non-diabetics is around 5 so this is brilliant news. He is still on meds, but to see that his new vegan diet has already had this much effect at reducing his blood sugar in just a couple of months is really exciting. Yay yay yay! I want to stand up in the office and shout it out to everyone.

[Skype 9:26:09 AM] Mum: i screamed with delight

And check this:

[Skype 9:31:45 AM] Mum: He said to me that i didn't have to do the vegan thing with him if i didn't want to. Doh!!! I believe in it!

Nothing can make you believe in something more than actually seeing results.

It was only a few months ago that Mum came to stay and the whole idea just didn't resonate with her to the point I got a bit mad (so much for vegan peace and love). I'm so glad something has clicked and she's had the mental shift that I think all vegans get. I just hope Dad can make the shift in his head too, because my fingers are crossed now for more 5's and less meds.

That's all I want for Christmas.

Subnote: Ok, I lie. I also want my brother to beat his brotherfucking cancer. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, December 21, 2009

The tragedy that is my love life

Whilst I would love to meet a veg*n guy, sadly (and amazingly, cos I'm a such a catch) I don't have a long queue of men beating down my door allowing me to pick and choose only the sexiest veg*n ones who also like great music and don't love Two and a Half Men. And considering I only know two vegetarian guys and don't actually know any vegan people in real life except my family then I don't have much of a choice in the matter.

I haven't dated anyone seriously since I have been vegan (9 months) but in this time I have had dalliances with blokes who bring sausage rolls back with them for breakfast in bed. And guys who don't give up trying to get me to go to the races with them and 'we don't have to watch the horses.' Or make jokes about getting a housepig so they can peel them for crackling on demand. And guys who take a pig trotter with them to a party to shake hands with people.

I can't not notice these things, and whilst I can ignore them it hardly makes me want to jump into bed and ravage them.

And in Carrie Bradshaw SATC styles, I couldn't help but wonder, if you can't get exactly what you want, where do you draw the line on just how much you want it? Can you ever really get serious about someone who has a fundamentally different belief about how we live our lives? When it comes to matters of the heart, am I fucked?

And, if this means anything, I'm still giving the housepig peeling guy a go.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Comfy, trippy, grumpy gluttony.

I have been doing a few bits and pieces in the last week, nothing worthy of a whole post, but perhaps all together they will equal more than the sum of their parts.

Comfy Chair
I believe in fair trade. So in return for my mate Nick trying out my Grumpy Bastard trivia, I tried out his at Comfy Chair. Nice place, nice couches, average chips. Mine wins. Nick is now a convert and a dedicated Grumpy attendee.
98 Lygon St
East Brunswick

Paris Cat
We hosted our client xmas party here this year. What a GREAT venue! The size and layout of the place make it look busy even before your guests arrive. Cute, cosy, intimate, great service, gorgeous little jazz trio and yummy food. Well I assume the food was yummy, I didn't arrange a whole lot of vegan options. I only ate one miniscule bruschetta and a spring roll and then had a bad moment of weakness and had an oyster shot. Actually, two. Why am I revolted by meat and dairy yet I loved the oyster shot? Anyway, my badness aside, if you are thinking about venues for next year The Paris Cat is a winner.
6 Goldie Place
Melbourne CBD

Republica Amello
Our evening at the Paris Cat was followed by a nice messy sales team boozey lunch afternoon session love-in downstairs from Soul Mama. Food was a mixed bag, some (omnis) said theirs was great, others were average. Republica got points for being able to serve me something vegan considering the veganless menu, but really I owe the thanks to the other table who had called in advance to arrange vegan options then didn't all show. I ended up with a bread flavoured rissole which was not particularly edible with a somewhat redeeming but really small salad on top. Thank god for chips. And wine.
16 Jacka Blvd
St Kilda

Trippy Taco
Finally made it here! On my way back deflated from a failed bad taste prom dress shopping trip at Lost & Found Markets I stopped by for a vegan taco. $5.50 gets you a soft taco (or, small tortilla if you ask me) with a pile of chili, beans, salsa, lettuce, avocado and vegan cheese. Yum and cheap and not too big so I didn't feel like a fat bastard afterwards.
48 Smith St

Japanese place on Smith St on the Collingwood side, south of Stanley St, north of Gertrude (this probably narrows it down to about 5 places).
I'm so sorry Japanese place but I can't remember your name. But we met on Saturday and you sell a delicious vegan handroll that I hadn't seen anywhere before - you had divine spicy tempeh with dark miso sauce. I was the girl in the faux leather jacket. Call me.
Japanese place on Smith St on the Collingwood side, south of Stanley St, north of Gertrude

Cute! I hadn't been here before despite having walked past and been enchanted by the warmth emanating from the place. I love a good tapas bar, especially one that's chilled and more on the cosy pub end of the scale than the upmarket bar end. With a cute little jazzy band (I'm ignorant, I don't know if it was actually jazz) playing in such a small space, and with those windows that open out completely so you are almost seated on the pavement it made for a feel-good way to spend the evening. But I only tried one tapas dish (Pea and a-herb-I-have-forgotten dip with bread) because I am a gluttonous pig and had a pizza before I went out for dinner. And speaking of Gluttony...
325 Smith St

Gluttony it's a Sin
Somehow I managed to swing a random breakfast date and headed to Gluttony with a rotten hangover and unsure of whether I could actually face food. Luckily for my hangover, Gluttony doesn't have much in the way of vegan breakfast so I opted for the lunch menu which meant I got a great gnocchi salad (mostly salad, little bit of gnocchi, perfect). End result was that I didn't feel revolting afterwards as I can imagine my date did after his big bacon and eggs breakfast (he said it was average btw... so this just confirms all the average breakfast reviews about Gluttony and if you were thinking about getting the spud jack to see what it is, don't). I have read mixed reviews about Gluttony, but I have always enjoyed it (opt for lunch not brekkie) and love the fact they have a whole vegan page in the menu and it actually changes sometimes! No way!
278 Smith St

Hell's Kitchen, Section 8, Double Happiness, B3 Cafe Patisserie
My mate is writing an article on alley bars in Melbourne so being the good friend that I am I obliged by joining her for a few at a few. Hell's Kitchen always feels super cool hipster trendy scenester stylee to the point that, while I like it, I feel out of place (which is incredible cos I am so fucking cool). Section 8, I'm obviously not cool enough for either. Why is it meant to be good? Double Happiness, you're alright but you don't do pints. Have I got fitzroyalty problems? B3 Cafe, thanks for the $4.50 rice paper rolls to line my stomach. I like you. I even thought it was cute that when I asked if they were vegan you said you don't know what that means so we went through what's in them. Considering the list was basically rice noodles and lettuce I think we're safe.
Melbourne CBD

Grumpy's Green
I still love you Grumpy and I promise I will stop seeing other people. Despite getting off to a rough start because I don't like your bands on Friday I do love your trivia nights. And now I love your chilli infused vodka shots. I heart chilli in drinks and last night's was something special. A mere sip to level it in order to carry it to my table was spicy enough to bring on hiccups which lasted a good 30 mins and made me appear more of a drunken lout than I actually am. I was even scared that if I did the whole shot I might puke from overdose of chilli. (I didn't). Also tried the chocmint and the redskin flavours, but chilli wins by far. We sucked at the trivia and came 5th. I'm sure we would have come first if it wasn't for Cindy and Michael's team having one hundred million people in it. But that's ok. If we ever win the $40 bar tab (or any bar tab, ever) at least we might get more than a sip each.
125 Smith St

Good tempeh. Take 2.

I have found out that baking tempeh in marinade is the best (and only?) way to eat it. And the recipe Theresa gave me in the comments on my first tempeh post was even better than the Swell Vegan one (sorry A-K!). If I was a good foody blogger who took photos I would have. But I think my flatmate thinks I'm weird enough as it is...

Theresa's tempeh - if you haven't tried it, um, try it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Farmers must act to preserve animal agriculture

I find this article a little bizarre. And not just because it's big-ag being honest (about being dishonest).

The premise of the article is that meat and dairy farmers need to fight to bring their story to consumer markets to ensure people keep buying their products.

The strange part is the complete transparency which usually isn't evident, and in fact probably isn't intended.

Check out this quote here:
“The problem we have has almost doubled because we have allowed the activists to define us, we have allowed the activists to tell the public what we do and how we do it and frankly, we’re sitting back and continuing to allow that to happen”

So he's not denying that the activists are telling the truth. What he is saying is that people are hearing the truth and not liking it and it's the activists fault, and the farmer's fault for letting them.

So if activists are telling the truth, exactly which stories is he suggesting farmers bring to the table to refute it?

And, you know what? If something unnecessary appears to be getting phased out precisely because the truth of it is abhorent, how on earth do you justify trying to hold onto it?

Collingwood Dirt Cheap Foody Books

Somehow I have been there a bunch of times, spent way too much on stuff I still haven't read, and never actually paid any attention to the food and health section (no, I don't understand this brain lapse either). This time I did check it out and found some great foody books, a couple of which I had been after for a while. Woo!

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
The End of Food by Paul Roberts
The 30 Day Diabetes Miracle by Franklin House, Stuart Seale, Ian Blake Newman
Food Matters by Mark Bittman

Is it too much to hope that I will find the new Eating Animals there?

All I want for Christmas is more vegan foody ethics conscious eating books. Am I a psycho?

Dirt Cheap Books
222 Johnson St

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Activists owe thanks to factory farmers

If you want to hear a new stance on the pros of factory farming check out this link.

Well, I will give this guy a few points for trying a completely different tact from the usual anti-veg, pro-big-ag arguments.

But, unfortunately not enough points to balance out the huge deficit he's taken by presenting his completely nonsensical point.

His premise is that animal activists should thank farmers because, through farming, they have given activists time to pursue their activism as opposed to spending their time hunter-gathering.  In a roundabout way this makes sense.

But then he goes off on such an irrelevant tangent with this quote:
"Pacelle spends his days trying to abolish animal agriculture. Even as he spends his time in this manner, he should be thanking farmers that he's able to do so. If he had to find his own berries and leaves, not much time would be left for working against the so-called "factory farms.""

Perhaps the farmers could grow berries and leaves (because that's all veg*ns eat) instead of killing animals - this would also free up time for Pacelle to do his thing. Does it really follow that farmers have to kill animals to free up other peoples' time? Is this why they do it? So it's not about profit after all? (And what does he mean by 'so-called "factory farms"' anyway?)

Beat this even more irrational argument:
"Let's take this a step further. While Pacelle and other animal rights activists do not agree with meat consumption, they should at least realize the contribution to society. How many engineers, scientists, teachers, doctors, etc. were able to purchase a turkey at the grocery store for the holidays? Without animal ag, these folks would have had to raise their own turkey. To me it's a no brainer. Society is better off with these folks working in their chosen field, not raising backyard turkeys. "

No brainer? Try no brain. I think this guy has completely missed the point. Just don't eat a turkey. Then no-one has to raise it.

I'm not sure if this is a joke, but heres the next well-thought-out logical conclusion to be made:
"Unless Pacelle and the other animal rights folks have completely surrounded themselves with vegetarians, they should be thanking our country's meat producers. That means the postman, car dealer, waiter, mechanic, etc. Unless all these folks are vegetarians, animal ag has benefited Pacelle."

Why don't we also thank the tobacco producers? Whatever would we do without them? Imagine if the smokers had to quit their jobs to grow tobacco. Probably better thank the fast-food giants while we are at it. Would suck if we had to grow our own greasy burgers.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tempeh doesn't suck after all

As I have mentioned in my previous tempeh post, I have never made tempeh that doesn't suck. I'm an eating machine and can eat anything (non-animal) but the tempeh I have made before has been so damn hideous I have binned it every time.

But Anne-Kristen from SwellVegan has shown me the tempeh light. I bought her very cute little veganzine which she posted me from the US for a measly US$5 incl. postage. And I tried out her recipe for Orange Glazed Tempeh. Not just on me, but on my poor guinea pig parents. In hindsight I realise that was a pretty risky move, but it all worked out well. It was great! And my traditionally meat&3veg parents actually ate it. All up. So big thanks to SwellVegan <3

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Strokes. Diabetes. Veg eating. Avoidance issues?

Right, that's it. I'm biting the bullet and just making any old post on my blog so I can get back into the swing of things. Somehow, since my last post about going to NZ for a week, I haven't wanted to write. I think it's because I didn't really want to write about how it all went in NZ, because, despite the fact it was great to see my parents (and my cat!) it was actually pretty tough too. Dealing with my own emotional rollercoaster about my Dad and about my brother's cancer is hard enough without having to deal with my parents' own rollercoasters.

So, I just won't write much about it! In brief:
- I bought 'Simply Raw - Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days' on DVD and watched it with them
- Mum was brilliant and jumped right into the whole vegan thing and now has a wonderful positive mindset about it (This surprised me)
- Dad complained BITTERLY about his meals (so did this)
- Dad's blood sugar improved just in the week I was there
- they have been vegan for about a month now and Dad's blood sugar used to be in the 7's and 8's. Now it's in the low 6's. 5 is what non diabetic blood sugar looks like.
- Dad's recovering REALLY well from his stroke

And that's the end of that for now.

Because what I really wanted to write about was some positive stuff that allowed me to remain the emotionally devoid and heartless sod that I am. Who needs a heart when you can have a lump of coal?

Las Vegan Bakery
I have finally checked out a couple of veg*n joints I have been promising to try.  One is just round the corner from me so really I couldn't delay any longer.  I grabbed my only veg friend (thanks Una!) and checked out the cute little Las Vegan Bakery (that's not really a bakery).  The very modest and homely interior combined with the animal lib mags and the sweet old dude who served us made for a relaxed and positive dining experience where I didn't have to try and not notice the huge slabs of animal bits on my fellow diners' plates. I went for the tofu and tempeh chips in satay because I have never had tempeh prepared for me before which was the reason, I decided, I hated tempeh.  And it turns out tempeh doesn't really taste like ar5e at all! Una got the faux chicken shnitzel. Surprisingly convincing what with the stringy texture and all that.
22 Smith St

Lentil As Anything
My other foray into veg dining was a trip with my brother, sis in law and gorgeous 3 yr old niece to Lentil as Anything. This place is great! How exciting getting to fill your plate with as much vegan food as you can fit on there and having more options than salad! With eggplant curry, sweet potato curry, pasta salad, meatballs (these were the best!), salad, roti, papadums, and a soy latte how could I complain? I'm such a fat bastard that when I saw the selection I swapped the plate I was holding for a bigger one. And then you can pay whatever you like! How cool is this?  I love Lentil As Anything's philosophy - they are a not for profit community serving veg*n food and fair trade, organic coffee and tea. They have no set prices, you simply drop some money into the box on the counter. This allows everyone in the community to enjoy eating out, having fresh and healthy food without placing a focus on their financial situation.
1 St. Heliers St

Umago Cafe - Pizza
Yum! Not much needs to be said really, it's pizza. But what does need to be said is they have soy cheese available, and it's great! Admittedly, I have more love for Mr Naturals simply because I know I'm putting my money into a company that doesn't sell meat. But Umago's is delish and more like 'normal' pizza, and not quite so pricey!
171 - 173 Brunswick St

Grumpy's Green
Good ol' Grumpy's on Smith.  Vegetarian, locally sourced booze, grey water loos, recycled furniture, spunky pub quiz dude, friendly barstaff. What's not to love? All that aside, I'm trying out the pub quiz at The Comfy Chair in Brunswick next week. I'm sorry Grumpy. It's not because I'm not feeling the love. More like an exchange of pub quizzes among friends.
125 Smith St

And on that note I have got it all out of my system and can get back to normal.

PS. Endless thanks to all you lovely people who wrote all those supportive comments re: my Dad.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vegan cooking for diabetics - I need your help!

As some of you know, my brother has cancer and my Dad has diabetes. My brother has been on a predominantly vegan diet for the last year or so to try and beat his cancer. This has only reinforced my belief in the vegan diet and maybe even made me a bit vegangelical toward my parents because I really want Dad to get his diabetes under control.

Here was a skype conversation I had with my Mum a couple of weeks ago on a Friday afternoon before I went away to Bright for the weekend:

Niki: you know, even if you can tell the difference, it doesnt really matter. its not like you have to make stuff thats the same as meat/dairy. its just important that its nice, because really, if he can reverse diabetes in a month thats surely worth it.

Mum: sure is but dad's mind is fixed, working on it

Niki: fixed that meat/dairy is good for him?

Niki: right im off to Bright now. i really wish he could understand that he can actually be healthy, no meds, no diabetes and all that bullshit... is it really worth being sick for the taste of something??

And 3 days later my Dad had a stroke.

Obviously this freaked me out. 2 out of 3 diabetics die from strokes. These are extremely shit stats.

Luckily, Dad is ok. His left side is a bit weak and he has to rest a lot so his brain can recover and retrain. But I am worried about him. So I have (probably to the annoyance of many) become more adamant about them trying to go vegan to beat this.

And on Saturday I am flying to NZ to hang out with my parents for a week. It will be good medicine just to be there with them. But I will also be helping with lots of vegan cooking and getting them into it. And since I have been vegan I haven't really cooked for anyone but myself!

So what I really could do with from you guys is some absolutely tried and true recipes for dinner. My parents are only new to this and I know Dad doesn't feel like he's had a whole dinner if it's missing meat! I'm looking for recipes that are not too fiddly because I have to make sure they like cooking them AND eating them. I don't know about the availability of tempeh or seitan in NZ, or any other specialty ingredients so I really need it to be made of 'normal' stuff.

And, importantly, they will be for a type 2 diabetic, so gotta be careful of sugar and fat!

I will do my best to review each one I make and try and get photos too :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Animals Australia - National TV ad campaign

Animals Australia are releasing a new ad on TV to raise awareness about where pork products come from. It is all too easy for Australians to believe that factory farming is mainly in America and whilst it is heartbreaking to know that most animal products in Australia are in fact factory farmed, it is great news that this national TV ad campaign will be reaching millions of people.

Watch it here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Operation Chocolate Covered Kindness

Ok, I realise this is my fourth post for the day (but then again, I WAS away for 4 days too, so I'm gonna stick with that excuse).

I thought I better just sneak this one in as well because it's for such a great cause and because it's an easy way to do something good.

Katie is running Operation Chocolate Covered Kindness. So every click she gets to her blog this month will raise money for The Enough Project. Head over there to help her out and don't forget to
link her from your blog!

The no-shopping dinner menu

Having discovered I had completely well and truely blown my budget for the month I decided I would have to eat only what I have in the house for as long as possible - allowing no veg to go to waste and getting creative with what I had in the freezer and pantry.

And somehow this is the most fun and interesting my vegan cooking has been! AND actually quite delicious.

Tuesday: I started the week with teriyaki tofu steaks, with asian mushrooms and bok choi sauteed in garlic and ginger.

Wednesday: I was off to the pub so could get away with a meal consisting solely of two cobs of corn and a few crackers with hummus. Followed by a main course of a few pints of the finest vegan beers at Grumpy's.

Thursday: A quick stirfry of bell peppers, bok choi, asparagus, onions and mushrooms in Braggs, mirin and blackstrap molasses with tofu steaks on the side.

I then went away for the long weekend and came back with some leftover veg - and whipped up steamed asparagus spears and fried eggplant rounds with quinoa on a bed of rocket and red onion salad with cider vinegar and tahini dressing. (This was surprisingly great! The bitter rocket was great with the slightly salty eggplant and the nutty quinoa and the delicate asparagus, topped with the vinegary dressing. Or maybe I was starving.)

And last night was a few crackers in beetroot dip whilst waiting for my entree of steamed mushroom dumplings with sweet chili and soy dipping sauce, and a main of corn on the cob. Ok, not such an obvious combo but I was getting a bit desperate and determined to eat my fridge empty! I made up for it with dessert: Purely Decadent Cherry Nirvana soy icecream with grilled banana patties, maple syrup and cacao nibs. Divine. Even better if I had fresh strawberries.

And what's great is I think I can keep going through to next week also and use things I have bought but not got around to trying yet! So going by the success of this last week I think I will make this a permanent addition to my cooking: 1-2 weeks of eating the place bare.

Vegan cookbook - for beginners

My Mum is getting more into the idea of going vegan for Dad's diabetes so I am keen to encourage her and get her a vegan cookbook. Any suggestions? I would want something easy, quick, healthy, low GI, with pics, not too many weird ingredients, and preferably metric or cup measurements (not imperial).

Would love to hear your suggestions!

PS. She is in New Zealand, if this makes any difference on ingredient listings etc...

Costco in Docklands, Melbourne

I have been contemplating forking out the whopping great $60 membership to go to Costco in the vague hopes they might have some great vegan options, cheap.

Anyone been there?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Agribusiness exposes the lies of climate change.

What an intelligent argument against climate change - from Agribusiness.

From declaring Meatless Mondays dangerous to telling us environmentalists have to convince us of climate change or they will no longer get funding (What? Is agribusiness exempt from writing in favour of agribusiness to keep the public thinking they need to consume animal products?)

What a surprise.

I wonder why agribusiness should be so opposed to the idea of climate change being real - is it because of profits? Surely not.

Agribusiness never lies for the sake of profits. They don't really employ illegal immigrants because they will take low pay and unacceptable working conditions, or provide the West's most dangerous employment via slaughterhouse processing, or slaughter sick animals for public consumption, or engage in horrific animal cruelty from rubbing salt into cut off snouts to cutting calves out of the sides of dairy cows, or let millions of tonnes of manure run-off into nearby rivers, or let their manure lagoons infiltrate the water table.

All this for profits... and I haven't even touched on climate change.

What a horrific article riddled with faulty logic.

The Center for Selfish Consumer Freedom

Has anyone seen this website?

The Center for Consumer Freedom

They are here to dispel the lies from the various 'do-gooders' of the world.

The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices. We believe that the consumer is King. And Queen.

A growing cabal of activists has meddled in Americans’ lives in recent years. They include self-anointed "food police," health campaigners, trial lawyers, personal-finance do-gooders, animal-rights misanthropes, and meddling bureaucrats.

Their common denominator? They all claim to know "what's best for you." In reality, they’re eroding our basic freedoms—the freedom to buy what we want, eat what we want, drink what we want, and raise our children as we see fit. When they push ordinary Americans around, we're here to push back.

Whilst they claim they are against personal finance do-gooders, trial lawyers, and meddling bureaucrats - all of the sections and articles on their website are based around food and animal products. So really, the only lawyers, bureaucrats and finance types that they are against are the ones who have a problem with the food industry. And anyone who has ever taken the time to look into the food industry in depth will see there are plenty of causes for concern.

Some of their points:

Do you have a bias?
Yes! We believe that only you know what's best for you. When activists try to force you to live according to their vision of society, we don’t take it lying down.

So what exactly is "consumer freedom"?
Consumer freedom is the right of adults and parents to choose how they live their lives, what they eat and drink, how they manage their finances, and how they enjoy themselves.

Do you guys support gluttony?
Of course not! No one would endorse the "Super Size Me" diet. Like all things in life, moderation is key. Eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of physical activity is crucial. Unfortunately, Americans have been force-fed a diet of bloated statistics hyping the problem of obesity. Those statistics have been used by Big Brother government bureaucrats and greedy trial lawyers to justify a host of noxious "solutions," like extra taxes on certain foods and lawsuits against anyone who grows, makes, or serves anything tasty.

I wonder if they also promote and encourage you to do as you wish in all aspects of life? Who cares if child abuse is wrong - you know what's best and others should let you live your life how you see fit. Who cares about sweatshop children making your clothes, it's your life, right? What does it matter if your activities pollute and destroy the environment, it's all about you and nobody has any right to tell you what to do.

They claim people know best what's right for them - yet are publishing article after weak article with a bias against a healthy lifestyle and opposed to animal welfare or rights.

They are a not-for-profit organisation funded by over 100 companies and individuals... despite saying they are fully disclosing who funds them they don't actually tell you who because the contributors want to remain anonymous . But it's not so hard to guess is it?


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dumbest comments of the day re: Lord Stern

Lord Stern's urging us to go veg to save the planet has had a lot of publicity (which I posted about here) and a lot of unsurprising backlash from the devoted meat eaters and global warming doubters.

Now, I know it's not nice to laugh at others, but as I have some sort of masochistic gene and I love reading shit that gets me shaking my head in amazement and wanting to punch some peoples' stupid faces I have amassed a nice little collection of idiotic comments for your viewing pleasure.

Eugene Says:
October 28th, 2009 at 12:22 pm
Major consequences of not eating meat:

1. Wild boar population of US and especially TX will exponentially grow making ruined farmlands. This is due to boars not having any natural predators except humans.

2. All major sports and Olympics would be pitiful ghost of strong athletes. When is the last time you ever saw a vegetarian linebacker in the NFL. No more tailgates!

3. Vegetarian children will be making civil rights claims due to being beat up all the time by the meat eating children.

4. Jesus ate meat (fish) when he visited the disciples after he died. People won’t be like Jesus they will be like Judas.

5. No more BBQs – this idea seems anti-American.

Hey, wait Eugene has another stroke of genius:

Eugene Says:
October 28th, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Most vegetarians are a bunch of cry babies when it comes to animals they put animals on the same plane as humans so lets apply animal rules to them. We can spade or neuter animals so they don’t breed. Animals are kept in cages. Animals don’t vote. Animals don’t have government benefits such as medicare or social security.
People are higher than animals thus we can eat them just as animals are higher than plants.

Sadly, I haven't come across anyone else quite so "enlightened" (but it is only 10am so I still have the whole day...) but here are a few more tidbits.

Lawrence Hendry wrote:
Get out of our lives you enviomental nuts!
If you want to live in the woods and eat berries then don't let me stop you, just stop trying to ruin the lives of the majority who know that global warming is a lie.

And if anyone was wondering about the riots, plagues and cave dwelling that would result from shunning dairy, don't worry cos Victor has thankfully put in his two cents.

Victor Southern said...
No milk, no cheese, no dairy farmers, no cheese-makers, no butter churners. Vast numbers of jobs lost. Ruined economy, malnourished babies, abject poverty, riots, mass starvation, plagues, cave dwelling, no carbon emissions, ice age returns, begin again.

Ahhh... don't you love it?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kind veal. OxyMORON anyone?

I really shouldn't read these articles - all it does is rile me up.

I can't believe how much of this article is just ridiculous, hypocritical and oxymoronic (yep, that's a word).

Check out some of these quotes if you are a masochist or you hate cows.

What if, under the right circumstances, eating veal were actually more ethical than shunning it?

I have no words for this one.

For example, one common consumer complaint is that the animals are killed so young. But veal calves are in fact older than chickens, turkeys and pigs and about the same age as lambs when they are slaughtered.

Don't chickens get killed at 6 weeks? Is a 6 week old calf considered old? Why are they comparing them anyway? Does that make it ok?

Most important, dairy cows must give birth to provide milk. Their male calves are unsuitable for beef production and too costly to keep on the farm. "It's a resource that needs to be utilized," said Nancy Pritchard, who raises calves at Smith Meadows Farm in Berryville, Va. Or to put it more bluntly, as producer Sandy Miller of Painted Hand Farm in Newburg, Pa., does: If you consume dairy, you should eat veal.

Ok, Nancy and Sandy are right, the two 'resources' are inextricably linked. Isn't the answer to produce/consume neither, not both?

The animals are not raised in confinement and live their whole lives with their mothers on open pasture.

Their whole lives? Their whole lives which are cut short whilst they are still babies?

The industry spent years trying to convince consumers that veal was another white, bland meat. "Veal from an authentic cow-calf relationship is pinker," Strauss said. "But the richer, redder color is your assurance that it's humane and compassionate."

Compassionate? What's compassion got to do with bringing a life into the world to kill it?

In 2006, celebrity chefs including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall championed a Good Veal campaign, which argued that eating humanely raised British veal prevented the calves from being either shipped to continental Europe, where animal-welfare standards can be less strict, or killed shortly after birth. "It's a more responsible way for everybody, including the animal," Armstrong said.

Yes, I'm sure the calves would choose this over the other unmentioned option of not getting killed at all.

How's that for a good news story?

Self absorbed and smelly vegans

Check out this post.
Great picture. Shame about the uninformed article, I only hope he's joking.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dropping meat to fight climate change

It makes me glad to see stuff like this in every day mainstream newspapers, because a lot of people just don't know this stuff.

But it makes me want to punch the screen (in a non-violent vegan love kinda way of course) when, otherwise probably quite intelligent, people make comments like this bloke from the National Farmers Union.

Jonathan Scurlock, of the National Farmers Union, said: "Going vegetarian is not a worldwide solution. It's not a view shared by the NFU. Farmers in this country are interested in evidence-based policymaking. We don't have a methane-free cow or pig available to us."

A methane-free cow? What sort of ignoramus is he? Did he mean to expose exactly the reason why going vegetarian isn't a view shared by NFU - that is, not because of his doubt it would reduce climate change, but because farmers would have to stop making money from animals because, yep, animals produce methane.

Going veg might not be a worldwide solution for livestock farmers to continue making money out of torture but that certainly doesn't mean it wouldn't reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

If he really wants a methane-free option for feeding the world maybe he should educate himself on the topic that cows aren't a necessity in our diets.

Methane-free cow? Is he serious?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Karma, baby.

I spent my lovely, sunny Saturday at a friend's place for my first BBQ of the season. Armed with veggie sausages and some massive mushrooms I turned out to be one of 4 veg people there (ok no one else was vegan but in this situation it was mostly one and the same) which was possibly the most veg people I have ever been in the same room/backyard with in my life!

This, to me, seemed to be the biggest sign of proof that more and more people are going veg - the typical Aussie BBQ used to be based entirely around snags, prawns and steaks on the barbie with the wilted lettuce salad shunted to the side.

Dessert was another thing however, non-veg cupcakes and a strawberry cream pie. The pie looked incredible, although my stomach felt a bit queasy just looking at all the cream. But in order to not feel like the freak who avoids dessert I took the strawberry garnish that was on the side.

And then realised it was coated in red jelly which would have been gelatine. Sob! The (not very strict) vegetarian I was sitting with, whilst I love him, told me to stop being crazy and just eat it anyway. I told him not to give me shit for avoiding animal products and that I don't want to eat hooves and hair and he agreed he should shut up with his heckling. And then for some crazy reason, I thought "Sod it, it's one strawberry with a thin coat of gelatine, I have already taken it - I can surely just do it." I took a bite and the jelly was pretty gross. But that was the least of it... I bit a huge chunk out of my cheek on that one bite and ended up nursing a saw mouth for the next half hour whilst my heckling veg mate laughed at my expense. Needless to say the rest of that strawberry ended in the bin.

That's karma baby.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Exciting new ingredients

I can spend hours in asian grocers and healthfood stores, I love checking out all the weird and exciting bits and pieces. I usually end up buying a bunch of random things with all the best intentions but never actually get round to doing anything with them. I really should make a rule that I'm not allowed new stuff until I have mastered the old stuff....

Anyway, today I went to the South Melbourne Markets and picked up a few things I had been thinking I should try.

Virgin Coconut Oil
Blackstrap Molasses
Chia Seeds
Cacao Nibs
Chewy dried bananas (ok, so these aren't new to my pantry but I am in love with them)

I don't actually know what to do with these, but I'm gonna try the seeds and nibs with my muesli. Maybe um, mix in a teaspoon of the molasses with my muesli too?? Perhaps a tahini and molasses 'coffee' - surely that would be great? Perhaps the molasses can go with soysauce, mirin, and rice wine for a richer teriyaki?

And I'm thinking the coconut oil can go in stirfries and curries. No other ideas for it though.. not sure how coconutty it tastes and smells.

Does anyone use these ingredients regularly?

I also spotted some chili fermented tofu in a jar which I think I will have to try next time - Chinese Blue Cheese so I hear. Has anyone tried it?

Plus I saw Rose Water - I loooooove rose flavoured stuff (ok, I've only had icecream and turkish delight and tea, but I looooove it). What else can you do with it?

Conquering the cheese addiction

You know, I used to be omni 'til about 2006 when I went lacto-ovo vegetarian (ok, I ate fish too, I really wasn't very vegetarian at all!) And it's only this year that I have been vegan. I, like so many others, thought I could never go vegan because I could never give up cheese. Oh how I loved super cheesy pizzas, cheese plates with the stinkiest bluest cheese available, good ol' comfort foods cheese on toast and macaroni cheese, ricotta and spinach anything, parmesan with pastas and risottos... I loved it. I had already stopped drinking milk and using butter but cheese was so hard! Cheese was the last thing for me to quit.

The only way I think I managed it was by educating myself on the horrific truth about it - about the miserable, painful and short lives of the cows, the millions of newborn calves born to keep their mothers lactating then sent to veal crates before being slaughtered as babies, the no longer profitable cows sent to slaughter whilst pregnant and the unborn calves being cut out of their stomachs. For some reason I had always thought cows just produced milk all the time and never really thought about how that makes no sense. Of course, these details are kept secret from the general public, the dairy industry doesn't want people to know the nasty side of it.

Add a little common sense in there - why on earth would the human body be so poorly designed as to need the milk of another animal, past weaning, to survive? Touted as being a good source of calcium and protein (ignoring the high saturated fat content) it could still be good for you, right? The protein provided by milk releases acid into the blood, and in order to neutralise this acid your body draws calcium from your bones which is then excreted in your urine. The calcium in milk is not easily absorbed by your body, hence the HIGHER rates of osteoporosis in dairy consuming populations. If that wasn't enough, the high mineral content of cows milk puts a dangerous strain on human infants' kidneys hence the recommendation that infants don't drink normal milk in their first year.

And if all this was not strong enough for me to rely on when confronted with a cheese plate, I could count on reminding myself what it was I was tempted to eat. Secretions from an animals reproductive organs, full of both cow hormones, artificial growth hormones and antibiotics, mixed with the pus that inevitably gets squeezed out of the cows udder due to the mastitis most dairy cows get from constantly being milked (there is actually an acceptable level of pus allowed in milk measured by the 'somatic cell count', gross). To aid in the cheese making process, juice from a slaughtered calf's stomach is also added. Then this already revolting mix is left to rot, for bacteria and mould to cover and predigest it.

And people look at tofu, essentially mashed up beans, and think THAT is revolting...

But, through all of this I knew I would always love the taste of cheese regardless. I could quite happily not eat it anymore because the thought began to really gross me out. But I knew it would still taste DIVINE. That is until I ordered a takeaway pizza from Mr Naturals and asked for vegan cheese as usual. But halfway through the pizza I realised something tasted funny, that it tasted a bit weird but familiar. And realised that the strange flavour was real cheese on the pizza - they must have mucked up my order. And it was gross. It tasted a bit rancid, was cloying, and overpowered the other flavours on the pizza. I couldn't be 100% sure that they mucked up my order but it made me feel sick and I couldn't finish it. That was my first realisation that I really no longer liked cheese at all.

This wasn't a one off either. Having found bits of cheese hidden in things I have found the familiar flavour rancid and rotten tasting.

So the good news is the one thing I thought I would always secretly want is now repulsive to me. Cheese addiction conquered!

I really don't think I could ever go back to an omni or lacto-ovo diet, it repulses me so much. So what really puzzles me are vegans who go back to a diet with dairy despite knowing all this? How do they do it?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Despressing and ignorant article of the day

Have these people been hiding under a rock?
I thought everyone knew the links between meat and cancer.

Sucked in.

Eschewing dairy makes so much sense if you even take a moment to think about it logically.

I enjoyed this story today on Animals Australia which just makes it so crystal clear you wonder how anyone can be confused.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Eating 20,000 calories a day

My workmate always comes up with inane bits of news to tell me, and today's topic was the world's fattest man. The discussion about him personally lasted about 3 - 5 seconds, but the discussion about what you gotta eat to manage his whopping 20,000 calories a day went on for a good hour. And as a vegan, trying to meet that challenge is even tougher!

But we worked out I could meet my 20,000 calories a day if I had any of the following:

110 slices of wholegrain toast with margarine and peanut butter (that must be only about 5 loaves, right?)
90 pints of cider (that's only 1 every 10 mins for 16 hrs, I'm sure one of my mates has done that before)
95 pints of Guinness
58 cups of vegetarian penne arrabbiatta

And if I was omni:

10 Bogan Burgers from The Napier Hotel

Only 10! Not surprising as it contains enough crap to give you a heart attack halfway through.

Right, I'm off to Grumpy's Green tonight for the Wednesday Grumpy's Pub Quiz and something much nicer and more animal friendly than the above. The only problem with vegetarian places is I get lost in the menu - not used to having more than 2 options!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Reviewing The Vegetarian Myth

Wow, I am quite amazed at this review written by a raw vegetarian. All I can guess is that this is the only 'educational' book she has read on the matter because the arguments against a vegetarian diet are poorly thought out and inadequately researched - from obligate carnivores to vegangelical ideas caused by brain problems due to a lack of saturated fat. And how does the author's arguments against soy, valid or not, give animal products a big tick?

The reviewer's 'realisation' that agriculture is murder because mice, etc, get killed when harvesting crops is a bit slow off the mark, and really, quite irrelevant. What has that got to do with going veg? Does she think that eating meat will actually stop animals dying? Does she know that animals raised for meat eat most of these crops?

Does she really think "Grains kill"??

The solution is that we should buy locally and animals belong on ecologically sound farms. With the demand for meat to be part of billions of peoples meals every day there is no ecologically sound way to farm all these animals. The ecologically sound way to save the planet is to stop with the animal products!

Admittedly, I haven't read this book myself, but the arguments raised in this review are naive and simplistic non sequiturs. And I am surprised that the reviewer has not heard them all and debunked them before.

Has anyone else read this?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Things I wish I could find in Melbourne.

Hooray for Asian Grocers.

I started writing this post just before the weekend when I was lamenting the fact that whilst Melbourne is voted as Veg friendly, I couldn't find lots of items I have been after. I don't even have particular recipe plans, I just wanted them, just in case!

And then I went to the Asian Grocer on Brunswick St in Fitzroy, and after wondering up and down in awe for about 30 mins I found a few bits and pieces off my list, woohoo! And then some additional weird bits and bobs just to top it off.

My Where-oh-where-do-I-find-you? list:

Black Rice (found it)
Fermented Tofu
Nut Cheese
Cactus or Prickly Pear or Nopales
Coconut Milk Icecream
Fresh Edamame
Hemp Milk
Pearl Couscous
Sticky/Sweet/Glutinous Rice (found it)
Red Rice (found it)
Dutch processed cocoa
Black Sesame seeds (found it)

And I also managed to pick up some sesame rice paper which is like your normal rice paper for making fresh spring rolls, only filled with sesame seeds and you can get it in black or white sesame. How exciting!

I picked up a bunch of fresh asian mushrooms (oyster, shiitake, shimeji) at exactly half the price of those at Woolworths.

Plus a few different brands of silken tofu (I usually only find the firm or GM stuff at Woolworths) and fried tofu puffs. And some dried tofu which was in a bag and is dark orangey brown and kinda looks a little like beef jerky. Sadly, it wasn't really my thing to snack on, but I'm guessing maybe I am meant to use it in cooking?? I might add it to a stiryfry tonight. Has anyone else had that before? All the dried tofu I have looked up on the net still has the appearance of normal tofu.

And they had heaps of frozen vegan dumplings, yum!

And I grabbed up some of that vegetarian Mock Duck in a can... I'm a bit scared...!

Things I didn't get but were tempted by:

Heaps of different dried seaweeds
Coconut Jelly (in the freezer)
Ginger tea that looked like marmalade (plus other fruity kinda flavours)
Frozen Red Bean buns

So overall it was a great success and I can't believe how long it took to get my arse down there!

Review: Shakahari Restaurant, Melbourne

Sadly, I won't be able to do this place justice with only my words, I didn't take any photos sorry!

But I have to tell you it was DIVINE.

For those of you who don't know, they are exclusively vegetarian and most of their items are also vegan. Woohoo!

I had actually been once before and thought it was average and wondered why so many people raved about it. And boy am I glad I gave it another shot! All of us, omnis and vegans alike, couldn't stop raving from entree right through to dessert.

We got all the entrees (exluding the soups and salads) which included Gnocchi in Balsamic Reduction, Papaya Salad, Lentil Dumplings, Avocado Tempura Rolls and Asparagus with Wasabi dressing. They were all to die for! I am determined to make the Papaya Salad and the Gnocchi (mostly cos I think they would be the easiest).

Mains were also brilliant. I am used to having only one or two options on the menu so I really struggled big time trying to choose from 8 or so delicious sounding options. I usually like to pick something quite different from what I know how to make at home, but I was stuck as they were all quite different from anything I ever make. I opted for the Satay Skewers with Tofu and Seitan - mostly because I have never had seitan prepared for me before.

The sign of a great restaurant for me is when I even want to try dessert, and that's saying something considering I never do dessert. So despite my being uncomfortably full and my dress no longer looking cute and more like I was squeezed into a tube I got the Black Sticky Rice Pudding with mango which I loved. But it was a tough choice between that and the Tofu Caramel (luckily my mate got it so I could try it - it was perfect!) and the tofu icecream - I have never tried tofu icecream, sounds exciting!

S0, now I can't wait to go back!

Shakahari, I apologise for thinking you were only average for the last 18 months. You have won me over.

Friday, October 16, 2009

That vegan question and answer thing doing the rounds!

I thought I better get a post up before the weekend seeing as I have almost been on a roll lately.
So I opted for this easy survey thingamy.

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
I'm easy - I just go for whatever has whole soybeans/grains as opposed to isolates, the simplest ingredient list and unsweetened. I mainly use it in cooking anyway.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
This one took me the longest time to answer, and because I copy heaps of recipes from the net into a word doc I no longer know where they came from. Probably Tempeh Bacon, Tom Yum Soup, and Coconut Rice Pudding.

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
I never eat popcorn but probably salt. In the old days it was butter.

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
Pre-vegan days I made a lemon pasta with fish for my flatmate and her boyfriend. However the fish was completely flakey and almost dissolved within the dish. And I put way too much lemon in - you couldn't taste anything else and it was barely edible. Shame!

5. Favorite pickled item?
I love pickled stuff. Probably a toss up between jalapenos and dill pickles. Oh, and I love pickled onions but don't eat them much for fear of stinking out my company! Are olives considered pickled? If so then they take first place.

6. How do you organize your recipes?
Ermmm, organise?

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
Recycling bin and trash. Composting in an apartment doesn't work.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods…what would they be (don’t worry about how you’ll cook them)?
My island is going to have a bountiful supply of native fruit and veg, so I would only need to bring gin, pasta and tofu.

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
My mum's self saucing chocolate pudding. It was always cooked for dessert for our birthdays. Time to veganise it!

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
Purely Decadent Cookie Dough. I'm not even an icecream fan but I'm hooked on this! Or at least I WAS until I discovered I couldn't get it in Melbourne anymore. SOB! In fact, I don't even need the icecream part - just the cookie dough. MMMMmmmm.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
I only have a few and have only used one of them - so I guess it's my blender! What I would really like is a masticating juicer though, they produce twice the juice of a centrifugal juicer. Cost twice as much though!

12. Spice/herb you would die without?
Chili. No, basil. No, coriander. No, cumin... argh!

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
Gourmet vegetarian, beautiful book but probably only made 5 things from it. I am terrible with cookbooks. I own a dozen and never use them and wonder why I always cook the same stuff.

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
Spinach and tofu 'ricotta' cannelloni. It's not far off from a 'normal' cannelloni so it doesn't really get questioned and looked at strangely. And I LOOOOVE it.

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
Tofu is the easiest and most flexible. But I do love seitan. Whenever I have cooked tempeh it tastes like the devil's *%@! - I'm still working on liking it.

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
Dinner. Breakfast I have no time for anything other than tea and toast and I am much too lazy to bring preprepared lunch to work.

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
Ermm.. no idea. Things my flatmate owns?

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
Fry's Vegetarian Shnitzels, Purely Decadent Cherry Nirvana Icecream, and some strange Banana Fritters I found at Woolworths (which, btw, are divine with icecream, fresh strawberries and maple syrup... mmmmmmm). Wow, how grossly unhealthy do I sound? I could at least trade in the Banana Fritters for real bananas freshly fried!

20. What’s on your grocery list?
Fresh produce. Canned lentils, chickpeas and tomatoes. Tofu. Hummous. Does this redeem my answer for question 19?

21. Favorite grocery store?
Don't really have one. I'm a store whore. I might love Macro Wholefoods in Richmond, if it wasn't in Richmond! Bring it Collingwood way!

22. Name a recipe you’d love to veganize, but haven’t yet.
Hmmm.. the aforementioned (failed) lemon pasta with fish. And the also aforementioned chocolate self saucing pudding.

23. Food blog you read the most?
I read heaps, too many to count. I even get Google alerts multiple times a day emailed to me with keyword 'vegan'. But perhaps Planet VegMel has been handiest for me to find other Melbourne bloggers which is great! And I love Natala's Vegan Hope because she is so positive and inspiring - and she's beaten diabetes with a vegan diet. My Dad has diabetes and I wish he would do the same.

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate. I wish the flavoured dark Lindt was vegan too! I wrote to Lindt asking why they need butterfat in the Dark Chocolate with Almonds flavour.. their response was pretty weak and they didn't respond again to my reply.

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
Loving Earth raw chocolate. Sadly I found the texture awful and couldn't finish even one small square of it.

26. Ingredients you are scared to work with?
I'm not sure if I'm scared or just plain lazy. But if we are combining the two, anything that needs soaking overnight! Who can plan anything that far in advance?? (see question 6 above). Also, pumpkin! Not only is it an absolute bitch to cut, but what girl who goes out a lot can eat all that pumpkin before it goes off? I do love it though. Maybe I should get a pumpkin and a weeks plan of pumpkin meals. And making my own seitan - sounds tough!

Have a great weekend everyone! I'm going to try and head to the Rose St Artist Markets in Fitzroy on Saturday to check out some vegan bits and bobs, (thanks Miss T!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vegan Meetup Group in Melbourne

After getting all excited about World Vegan Day in Abbotsford and then getting all gutted that I can't make it cos I'm away that weekend I decided to get a little more proactive about meeting fellow vegans in Melbourne - I don't know any!

So in case any of you are feeling the same, there is a new Veg*n Meetup group on They are meeting up this Saturday (which I also can't make) but I thought I would spread the word! I could always do with some real life vegan friends who exist beyond blogs!

Vegan 100

Ok, I have buckled and joined the masses in doing this Vegan 100. But I was feeling a bit left out about the items that were dependent on being in the USA so have changed a few of those to Australian places so I could join in! (and perhaps so my list wouldn't look so pathetic...)

1) Copy this list into your blog or social networking site profile, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out or italicize any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment on this post linking to your results.

The Vegan Hundred:

1. Molasses
2. Cactus/Nopales
3. Scrambled Tofu
4. Grilled Portobella Caps
5. Fresh Ground Horseradish
6. Sweet Potato Biscuits
7. Arepa
8. Vegan Coleslaw
9. Ginger Carrot Soup
10. Fiddlehead Ferns
11. Roasted Elephant Garlic
12. Umeboshi
13. Almond Butter Toast
14. Aloe Vera
15. Hot chips with cheese and gravy from Lord of the Fries, Melbourne
16. Slow Roasted Butternut Squash
17. White truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - Ginger wine??
19. Freshly ground wasabi
20. Coconut Milk Ice Cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Orchard-fresh pressed apple cider
23. Organic Australian Mango
24. Quinoa
25. Papaya Smoothie
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet or Habañero pepper
27. Goji Berry Tea
28. Fennel
29. Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie
30. Radishes and Vegan Buttery Spread
31. Starfruit
32. Oven fresh Sourdough bread
33. Sangria made with premium fruit and juices
34. Sauerkraut
35. Acai Smoothie
36. Blue Foot Mushrooms
37. Vegan wholemeal pizza from Mr Naturals, Melbourne
38. Sweet Potatoes and Tempeh combo
39. Falafel
40. Spelt Crust Pizza
41. Salt and Pepper Oyster Mushrooms
42. Jicama Slaw
43. Pumpkin Edamame Ginger Dumplings
44. Hemp Milk
45. Rose Champagne
46. Fuyu
47. Raw Avocado-Coconut Soup
48. Tofu Pesto Sandwich
49. Apple-Lemon-Ginger-Cayenne fresh-pressed juice…with Extra Ginger
50. Grilled Seitan
51. Prickly pear
52. Fresh Pressed Almond Milk
53. Concord Grapes off the vine
54. Ramps
55. Coconut Water fresh from a young coconut
56. Organic Arugula
57. Vidalia Onion
58. Coconut Sticky Black Rice Pudding from Passion Foods, Melbourne
59. Honeycrisp Apple
60. Poi
61. Vegan Campfire-toasted Smores
62. Grape seed Oil
63. Farm fresh-picked Peach
64. Freshly-made pita bread with freshly-made hummus
65. Chestnut Snack Packs
66. Fresh Guava
67. Mint Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
68. Vegan Fish 'n Chips from The East Brunswick Club, Melbourne
69. Fried plantains
70. Mache
71. Golden Beets
72. Barrel-Fresh Pickles
73. Liquid Smoke
74. Meyer Lemon
75. Veggie Paella
76. Vegan Lasagna
77. Kombucha
78. Homemade Soy Milk
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Lychee Bellini
81. Tempeh Bacon
82. Sprouted Grain Bread
83. Lemon Pepper Tempeh
84. Vanilla Bean
85. Watercress
86. Carrot you pulled out of the ground yourself
87. Vegan In-Season Fruit Pie
88. Flowers
89. Corn Chowder
90. High Quality Vegan Raw Chocolate
91. Yellow fuzz-free Kiwi
92. White Flesh Grapefruit
93. Harissa
94. Coconut Oil
95. Jackfruit
96. Homemade Risotto
97. Spirulina
98. Seedless ‘Pixie’ Tangerine
99. Gourmet Sorbet, not store bought
100. Fresh Plucked English Peas

42 - not as bad as I thought!
It's certainly inspired me to try more stuff.

Monday, October 12, 2009

World Vegan Day

Hooray! World Vegan Day is coming up!

I have never been before - I thought about going last year (I was vegetarian then, vegan curious) and now I'm EXTREMELY keen to go. I am yet to recruit anyone to come with me though... probably go on my lonesome which is fine, at least I can revel in the vegan glory without having to feel silly and obsessive in front of my omni friends!

Having checked out the list of sponsors I'm definitely interested in popping by a few of their stalls assuming they have them. In particular Animal Liberation Victoria as I am a member but yet to do anything productive to help them, despite my lame attempt at offering my help.

I don't really know what goes on at this thing. Has anyone been before? You going again this year? I did see that last year they had Speed Dating. Hahahahaaha! (I laugh now but I will probably be first in line on the day...)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Review: Gurkha's Nepalese Restaurant on Lygon St

I do love finding restaurants that are not marketed as veg*n but cater as well for vegans as they do for omnis.

Gurkha's is one of these. They have heaps of vegan options.

I went there last night for a quick meal before a Fringe Festival show (Philip Escoffey - mind reader if you care) and was actually a bit overwhelmed with all the options! Usually choosing from the menu is a simple process of picking one of perhaps two or three options.

Gurkha's had a dozen vegan mains, half a dozen vegan sides, and about 5 vegan entrees! Wooohooo! I opted for the vegan steamed dumplings, spinach and potatoes, and potato chickpea curry all of which were vegan. I did forget however to check whether the roti bread was vegan or fried in butter - oops!

And with all that and half a bottle of wine, at just under $50 I will be back for more!

I would love to know what your favourite 'normal' restaurants are that have heaps of vegan options.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Laziest Argument

There are few anti-veg arguments that bother me more than those that are lazy and miss the point entirely. Uneducated views about protein, iron and calcium I can handle because we get told from day 1 that you need meat and dairy for optimal nutrition and some people just haven't discovered that's not the case.

But arguments that say being veg is pointless because rodents get killed by harvesters is just defeatist and misses the point that we should all do the best we can to reduce animal suffering. People who go veg realise they can't save all the animals in the world from suffering but that does not mean we should contribute to more suffering! To be fair, he does point out that vegetarians may use dairy and eggs, etc, but rather than suggesting going vegan as an option he suggests we just protest against seal clubbing!

Imagine the author of this piece had a sick child - would he be satisfied if the doctor told him "We can't save everyone, so we won't bother trying to save your child either"?

Surely doing what you can is better than doing nothing at all. It sounds as if he has never given serious consideration to animal suffering and is happy to have found an argument where he can relinquish all responsibility and wipe his hands clean of the whole debate.

Tempeh or not tempeh? That is the question.

Tempeh. I just can't work it out. I don't think there is anything I don't eat in the vegan world, I'm open to it all - but I just can't figure out how to cook this so that its not mushy and slimy and just plain hideous. And I have never had anyone else cook it for me so don't really know how it's meant to turn out.

I have tried steaming, then marinating and frying but it still remains an unpalatable mess. What am I doing wrong? Do I have to fry it in a LOT of oil? Is it possible to dry fry it? Slow cook? Really hot pan? When should I marinade? Should I use premarinaded stuff? Before or after? Thin or thick slices? Crumbled like a mince substitute? If anyone has great tips on tempeh I would love to hear them. I would prefer not to have to shallow fry as I'm not overly keen on frying everything in oil.

I am happy with tofu and seitan as it seems they can work out well regardless of my lack of cooking skills. But tempeh? Help!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Passion Foods and Purely Decadent Icecream

Wow! I just discovered an exciting health food and organics store in South Melbourne called Passion Foods. I am a little bit pathetic and get excited discovering new stores like this because there is usually something new I can add to my array of 'weird vegan foods'.

And the best thing about Passion Foods is that they stock Turtle Mountain Purely Decadent vegan icecream. Perhaps I have not been privvy to this information that there is still somewhere in Melbourne that stocks this stuff - but I haven't been able to find it since I first tried (and devoured in record time) their Cookie Dough flavour over a year ago!

Admittedly, they only had one flavour at Passion foods - Cherry Nirvana. But I will definitely be going back there and asking if they can get in other flavours for me. Has anyone else found a stockist in Melbourne for this stuff?

Oh, and Passion Foods also make their own Coconut Black Sticky Rice PUdding. No weird ingredients, preservatives or numbers, and freshly made. I ate a whole tub of it for breakfast (ok, not the healthiest breakfast food. But it WAS my birthday!)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Review: The Palmerston Hotel - could it be more vegan unfriendly?

The Palmerston Hotel in South Melbourne

I don't always expect the best vegan fare at your average Melbourne pub but usually I can get by on turning up without researching it first. And when a colleague picked this spot for his birthday lunch I assumed I would be fine.

Despite the decently sized menu at The Palmerston the vegetarian options were slim, and the vegan options non-existant. I'm somewhat used to this and have found that in veggie-friendly Melbourne you can usually let the waiter know you are vegan and they can whip up something for you or adapt a recipe from the menu.

Not so at The Palmerston. After a shocked "What?!" from the waitress when I told her I was vegan she proceeded to ask what that means exactly and did an appalling job at hiding her near disgust at my eating habits. Which I probably wouldn't have minded if she came back with some decent options or at least pasta in napoli sauce. Instead she returned asking if I could eat fish and when I said no I was presented with the following choices:


Resignedly I opted for both. But in hindsight should have opted for neither.

The salad was shredded iceberg with a few slices of tomato and cucumber on top. I was actually insulted by how bad it was and how boring it implied my tastebuds to be. And the average fries came with a nice generous dollop of sour cream so obviously it was only the 'boring' part that registered in the waitress' head as opposed to the 'no dairy' part.

And all that aside, it was embarrassing having such an unsatisfying meal in front of everyone. For those who didn't really know what vegans eat I was ashamed to have that sitting in front of me as an example.

The Palmerston Hotel
0/10 Service
0/10 Food

Can vegans eat flour? Coffee? Alcohol??

Since becoming vegan I have had countless weird looks and questions assuming that a vegan diet isn't just about avoiding animal products but avoiding anything nice or normal. It’s quite amazing how misinformed the general public is about what vegans do and don't eat. I think many do actually know that vegans don't eat animal products so I'm not sure about where these weird questions come from.

If I went by the misinformed publics' understanding of vegan, in the 6 last months I would have eliminated the following foods from my diet:












Fried foods

Even when people know that it means no animal products there are still questions like "What about flour, can you have flour?" and comments that we can go get a dandelion coffee assuming I can't have normal coffee.

It seems that many of the foods that get questioned are just yummy things or possibly unhealthy things as opposed to animal products. Is it just that everything yummy in peoples' minds can't be vegan? Or is it just that people have no idea what is in their food and where their food comes from? What is the weirdest thing you have been questioned about eating?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Outrage against CSIRO's green vegetarian advice

If you care about the planet you must be a 'tofu-munching climate change extremist animal libber.' According to Western Victorian Liberal MP John Vogels.

When I read about CSIRO releasing a green living book which, amongst other things, promoted a vegetarian lifestyle I was surprised but delighted nonetheless. In their own words, CSIRO are all about "Large-scale, long-term, multidisciplinary science to address Australia's major national challenges and opportunities."

And I agree, going veg has got to be one of the best long-term, large-scale ways of reducing environmental impact and improving health, and both of these things, among others, is what CSIRO is here for.

However, Mr Vogels declares this a "kindergarten view" and we should spend taxpayers' money on improving the efficiency of coal-fired power stations. He, in effect, denies that agribusiness has a negative impact on the environment.

It's not hard to see which side of the fence he sits on. His concern isn't about green living, it's about industry. He claims the CSIRO was created 90 years ago to support these industries and, through this book, is now being used to close down agribusiness. Perhaps, Mr Vogel, through all the research and science they have been doing in the last 90 years they have realised that living green and living healthy are no longer linked to eating meat - and in fact are rapidly aligning themselves to be polar opposites to agribusiness.

If you care about climate change, you don't deny the facts in order to maintain the industrial status quo. The fact that his concern is so clearly about the risk of forcing farmers off the land and doesn't even brush upon the realities of climate change and the effects of agribusiness makes it worrying about where his heart lies.

To quote Mr Vogel: '"It seems tofu-munching climate change extremists and animal libbers have taken over the CSIRO, wasting taxpayer funds to publish books designed to wipe out our agriculture industries with the ultimate goal of forcing farmers off the land," Mr Vogels said.

"As a nation we need to move beyond the kindergarten view that livestock generate greenhouse gas emissions and focus climate change strategies on reducing those emissions which are genuine pollutants."'

Yep, it's bad. You couldn't even make this stuff up. Read the rest here.

It's not hard to see why many would opt for making the coal-fired power stations greener, as opposed to going veg. The former doesn't require any personal commitment of your own and wipes your hands clean of any responsibility.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Vegan horse racing and an unexpected ray of vegan sunshine

After much umming and aahhing about whether I could go to the races and feel ok with myself, I have decided not to go and to try and find someone to sell my ticket on to.

The fact that I am no longer feeling confused and unsure of whether to go and am feeling almost relieved is a good sign I kicked my cognitive dissonance. So thanks to everyone who let me know what really goes on.

The part I was kinda dreading the most was telling the guys that I had changed my mind and having to explain myself without coming across badly. I usually don't like to discuss vegan issues with omnis as I'm not great at dealing gently with the more, for lack of a better word, ignorant and argumentative questions. You know the ones - "But humans need protein", "Eating meat is what made us smarter than the other apes", "We have canine teeth..." etc. I wasn't too sure what I would get this time.

But it turned out I didn't need to worry... people were surprisingly understanding about it. I did get a few comments that the horses are treated really well but being armed with the info from Miss T's blog about horse racing they actually understood why I couldn't do it and maybe even learnt something about it that made them think twice. I told them I thought it was ok before and didn't really know much about racing but have since learnt about it and don't feel ok going - that it isn't in line with my being vegan and against animal cruelty, that I don't want to put my money into something that hurts animals, and money aside, I wouldn't want to give my tacit vote by being there. And for perhaps the first time people nodded and looked like they agreed with my decision. Someone even told me that cancelling was a commendable thing to do. (And he is one I was going to the races with!)

So, on those days where you think it's all a bit hard and depressing seeing the near universal acceptance of animal suffering there can be a little ray of sunshine where you least expect it. In fact, it made me realise that just being vegan and being normal is influence in itself amongst my workmates, friends and family who knew very little on what being vegan is all about. In less than a year my mates have gone from thinking I'm kinda weird and not even knowing what vegans eat, to understanding what I do and don't eat and why, and accepting it. None of them have gone vegan, but I'm happy that their awareness has been raised. And that's the first step isn't it?

Maybe a really dedicated vegan would not even sell this ticket on and instead bin it so as to not provide the opportunity for someone else to pour money and support into the whole affair. But I'm not quite that good.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vegan Beauty Products

I have only been vegan for about 6 months, and am still making the transition of using up my makeup and beauty products before buying new vegan items.

I have already managed it for the basics like soap and shampoo.

But I'm now onto the serious stuff - makeup!

I'm a big make-up and product fiend and I own more stuff than I could ever use up in the quest to find the perfect holy grail of mascara, moisturiser, foundation, cleanser and lippy! Having spent years finding the stuff that works best (for me, at least) I now am faced with the daunting task of finding them all over again, in a much smaller niche market.

I have checked out The Body Shop and see that their stuff is vegetarian and not tested on animals.. but this doesn't eliminate dairy products (and honey) in their items. Lush and Aveda are both friendly sounding but aren't. So far Origins seems to be the winner but I'm yet to try any of their stuff - and I don't think they do makeup. *Sob*. Natio also offer what appears to be vegan products, shame I have already tried a bunch and while they do the trick ok, I haven't fallen in love with them.

Would love to hear what your best vegan beauty buys and products are. In fact, I wouldn't just love it - I'm desperate to hear it!

Monday, September 21, 2009

How to gain weight on a vegan diet - for those with cancer

My brother has had cancer for 2 years - an ongoing and frustrating battle.

In good news, he is still around and there are still treatment options available to him.
In bad news, he still has cancer and he's losing weight - he's now 70kg which is pretty slim for a 6' tall man.

He has gone vegan for the last year which is great. But its very hard to find good advice from doctors on what he should eat to gain weight. For a start, doctors get very little tuition on nutrition, diet and disease. Many tell him to eat meat because he needs protein (which immediately shows their lack of knowledge on vegan diets).

Visiting the cancer websites and their offerings on how to gain weight all suggest very unhealthy options (and most of them are non-vegan) such as cheese, cream, full-fat milk, fatty meat.... all the worst culprits for cultivating this disease in the first place.

My brother is avoiding all fried foods (not even cooking with oil, just adding it raw), and all animal products except the odd egg. And he is incredibly unhungry.

I would love some ideas on what high-calorie, high protein, high fat vegan foods I could feed him. Anything to keep the weight on, without having to resort to processed or unhealthy foods would be great.

The China Study. Manipulated facts?

I recently picked up a copy of The China Study after having seen it referenced countless times in veg*n sources. I was hooked from the moment I picked it up and thought it was a great (if a little dry) and informative read.

I did kind of wonder if I loved it because it reinforced everything I believe or if it really was that great and conclusive. Perhaps I did notice that experiments were done using casein instead of whole food with protein, or instead of using meat, eggs, and so forth. Also, linking saturated fats to disease is fine with me, but to make the assumption that saturated fats equal meat was I feel perhaps one step too far as there are plenty of saturated fats in plant foods.

Either way, I was happy to ignore these kinds of things and went away with the message that a plant-based whole foods diet is the healthiest.

I since lent this book to my sister-in-law who lives on a mostly vegan diet as my brother has cancer and has since turned vegan to try and beat it. And she is finding it incredibly sensationalist and patronising. I was going to lend this to my mother to help change her views on vegan diets (in the hopes Dad can kick his diabetes), and now I'm reconsidering.

I'm wondering what other peoples views were of The China Study. Were you already vegan? Did you read it doubting vegan diets and it actually made you decide vegan was great? Or did it just reinforce what you already think?

Do you have any other book recommendations which are science and vegan vs disease based? I have read Skinny Bitch and loved it but wonder if it would really influence my parents on beating diabetes as it seems quite light and based on losing weight more than anything else.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Vegan Horse Racing?

I have never been to the races before having only been in Australia for 18 months.
And this year I have been invited along to the Caulfield Cup Young Members with a bunch of mates.

I have said yes and have even bought my dress and got excited and listened to countless warnings about pacing myself and not carrying my shoes and puking at the end of the day.

But it's not the pacing myself, puking, shoe carrying, slutty outfit issues that are my main concern. It's the inherent cruelty of horse racing itself. Am I a vegan fraud for going to the races? Or is it ok that I'm deciding it's something you gotta do once and by this time next year I may well be even more against the idea of the races to the point I never go.

Abolitionist approach aside, how cruel is it? I'm a bit clueless on it and only know of the whipping, and the deaths associated with jumps. Do I even want to know now that I am going for certain this year? Do vegans go to the races?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Vegan Activism

I have only been vegan since early this year, for me what seems an inevitable transition from becoming vegetarian about 2.5yrs ago.

And since becoming vegan I have become unbelievably wrapped up in it - which I never expected at all.

I have gone from eating everything (mostly unhealthy stuff), to lacto-ovo pescetarian, to vegan in 2.5 yrs and now it still doesn't feel enough.

Ashamedly I have only just stopped buying leather, and am still slowly converting my cosmetics, household cleaners, etc, to vegan options.

And the next step now is for me to actually do something, as opposed to stop doing something.

I already donate to a few organisations and sign petitions, but now I am volunteering to help Animal Liberation Victoria and it just turns out the first thing I can help on is the 30 Day Vegan Easy Challenge campaign. Brilliant! I have been a bit scared of volunteering at animal shelters and the like, I can't watch Meet Your Meat or Earthlings and wouldn't be able to cope with seeing the cruelty we inflict every day. But doing something positive like this is definitely a good feeling.

I have my first meeting on Saturday to see just what I'm in for!

I'm curious to hear what other vegans do, if anything, in addition to their vegan lifestyle?

Monday, August 17, 2009

RSPCA Cupcake Day - exploiting one animal to benefit another?

Ordinarily I would welcome a fundraising day for an animal welfare charity. However, the RSPCA Cupcake Day reeks of hypocrisy.

Basically you make cupcakes and people give you money to eat them which you donate to RSPCA. And then the RSPCA use this money to help the cuter, fluffier animals we love, at a cost to the cruelly treated cows and chickens who have suffered to make the cupcakes.

Just in case there was a loophole in the RSPCA's policy for which animals they protect, I checked:

'No animal should be used for the production of food or fibre, either by farming practice, transportation, or method of slaughter which in any way may cause suffering, injury or distress.'

And as any well-informed and well- researched vegan knows, there is no egg or dairy production without suffering, injury or distress.

So, giving them the benefit of the doubt, I checked out their website to see if they offer animal-friendly recipes for these cupcakes seeing as the RSPCA aren't making them themselves. I couldn't find a recipe at all, but I did find a whole list of great ideas on decorating your cupcakes with jelly lollies, marshmallows, chocolate chips and so on. All animal based products.

RSPCA, how disappointing.

Needless to say, I won't be purchasing a cupcake, or even donating to them for that matter.

PS. I did write to them about this. And got no reply.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Vegan Spinach and 'Ricotta' Cannelloni

I have been a fan of cannelloni for years, and it was still my fave once I went vegetarian. However, now that I'm vegan I have had to adapt this recipe. Turns out it was easier than expected and my first go at it was a complete success! I could barely tell the difference between this and my original dairy and eggs laden version, and even my anti-vegan-food flatmate liked it, a lot!

(serves 4)

1 200g pack cannelloni tubes
3 tbsp Tofutti cream cheese (optional)

1 400g can tomato puree
1 small onion
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tomato chopped

1/2 vegan cheese sauce from Vegan Dad's Mac n Cheese Recipe
100g tofu, finely chopped or mushed with fork.
250g frozen spinach
1 - 2 garlic cloves finely chopped

1. Boil the frozen spinach as per packet instructions. Squeeze out excess water and stir in the rest of the filling ingredients.

2. Heat oil in a pan and add onions, cooking until translucent. Add remainder of sauce ingredients and simmer for a few minutes.

3. Pour a thin layer of sauce into a baking dish then fill each tube with filling and line them up in the dish. Cover with remainder of sauce.

4. Melt 3 tbsp tofutti and pour over the top (optional). Top with more cheese sauce and melting soy cheese such as Cheezly if you like.

5. Bake for 35mins at 180 C. I found that without the soy cheese on top it got a little dark so could do with a little oil on top and being covered for half the cooking time.

6. Pig out.

I'm making this tonight for 8 people, most of which are omnivores. Fingers crossed.

PS. Sorry no pics, maybe I will update this post with pics next time I make it!