Monday, 28 February 2011


I was in a good mood this morning. The sun was shining, the day seemed promising. But 5 hours in a dimly lit room in front of my computer wrestling with a human rights assignment and I'm fed up. I don't have any plans for this week other than uni work, because I have a presentation for Wednesday which I have no time to look at, and an assignment for Thursday. I can't concentrate. I always seem to write blog posts when I have a hundred other things to do.

I handed in my notice at work yesterday, I've only been there six months so it was not a big deal, but I will feel so much free-er when I'm finished there. I need the time to get my assignments done, plus after uni finishes I already have a couple of trips booked, to Dundee and to London, and I'd like some time to myself as well, which would be difficult if I was working. I already volunteer two full days a week, so working three days plus being a full time student wasn't working out and I was constantly complaining about it!

I am going to do an Easter post soon, I'm getting excited about it already. It's not as good as Christmas, but it involves chocolate, and that's good enough for me.

As I mentioned I'm going to London in April and I'm hoping to visit the Secret Society of Vegans when I'm there. I'm going with C and I'm not sure how many, if any, veg restaurants he will be willing to visit, but there are literally hundreds! So I'm hoping to sample at least one. I'll do a post about it when I get back.

One thing I don't want to sample though, which has been in the news recently, is this:

It's weird to me now to think that adults drink any kind of breast milk, and I suppose it's more natural to drink it from your own species than from another one, but it still makes me feel like this:

I don't have any problem with breast milk in general, clearly for babies it should be their first source of sustenance, and usually the only thing they should consume for six months. When I have kids I will try my best to breast feed them. Some people assume vegans wouldn't breast feed because technically breast milk is an 'animal' product, but the whole point is not sticking stringently to some definition but avoiding the unnecessary suffering of sentient creatures, and obviously breast feeding doesn't involve that. I suppose this breast milk ice cream might be vegan too, there being no exploitation involved. Nevertheless there is something really bizarre about it, and it screams fad, done for no other reason than to seem edgy and different. Really it's just wrong.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Ogres are like Onions

Well for the past three weeks boyfriend and I have actually managed to find time when he's not working, I'm not mad stressed with uni, and we've been having a weekly dinner-and-a-movie date night, which has been nice. The first week we had pizza hut (I think I haven't mentioned before that I am a bargain hunter/ voucher fiend, and managed to get a buy-one-get-one-free pizza hut voucher) which was yummy although it was a Saturday night and there were a lot of kids parties going on, then we went to see Tangled, which I loved (well I am not denying it, I love disney films, but I thought Tangled was hilarious and even the bf liked it!). The following week we hit pizza hut again, although it was a week and a half later and we were going for Orange Weds, I had found another 2 for 1 voucher. We ordered two mediums and were given two larges for the price of one medium as they had run out of medium bases- result :). I was still eating that pizza two days later- I usually have 2 slices left from a medium, I had 4 slices left from this one! Anyway that is not an interesting story. We went to see Black Swan and I barely watched it, spent a lot of the time with my eyes shut whispering to C "what's happening?" because I found it quite scary, wimp that I am. It made me feel on-edge and uncomfortable so I didn't really like it, although I could appreciate that it was a very good film and particularly thought Natalie Portman's performance was amazing. She is one of my favourite actresses anyway (and incidentally is vegan, not like the majority of slebs who do it for health reasons, but for ethical reasons).

So that was the prologue to what I really wanted to talk about, which is onions, and how they are like ogres, in that they are ugly and unwanted. OK I am being unfair to ogres. I just really hate onions.

The relevance of this is that for the third weeks dinner and movie, I persuaded C to try something different and go to Chiquitos. As a follow on from last time's 'night out' post, here's the vegan options at Chiquitos (there is no allergen list, I am relying on my server's knowledge and as you will see shortly her trustworthiness is in doubt, so please don't rely on this without making your own enquiries):

Sloppy José Nachos- with the veggie bean chilli, no cheese and no sour cream.
Fiesta Vegetable Wrap- ask for without cheese
Veggie Bean Quesadilla- ask for without cheese
Fajita roasted vegetables/ Veggie bean chilli: enchiladas, burritos, tacos or chichimingas
(No cheese, sour cream, I forgot to ask about the guacamole)
Fajitas with roasted vegetables
Veggie Jambalaya
Fajita Roasted Vegetable Salad (no dressing or sour cream)

I didn't ask about dessert but there's 'Sorbet Margarita' which looks fine (zesty lime & tequila
flavoured sorbet).

So, heaps to choose from, right?

Anyway there were loads of free tables but it was ages til we got seated because they were massively understaffed. Then, when we were seated and served, I asked for the fajitas with no onions (because I don't like 'em). The waitress was like, 'oh, well to be honest the veggies are all precooked together and will taste of onions even if I take them out.' She then proceeded to tell me everything on the menu I could eat. I felt a bit rushed to decide, and went for the Fiesta vegetable wrap, no cheese. So we waited for our food, munching on some complimentary nachos and salsa, and smiling at the cute baby who kept randomly yelling for no reason who was sat beside us, and discussing the laws on statutory rape, as you do when you're a lawyer and a police constable going out together and you disagree on what the law is (the lawyer is always right... ok not always). And then our food came.

The first thing we noticed was the sparsity of chips, which were meant to come with it. There were about 8 chips each. C in particular was annoyed because unlike him I was going to eat a huge bag of popcorn afterwards so he was relying on the meal to sustain him.

The second thing I noticed was the the vegetables in my veggie wrap were not very evident- I could only see one piece of courgette. No sign of the 'fresh spinach', and a pretty lame attempt at roasted vegetables, I thought. Then I started digging in, and I discovered that there were lots and lots more roasted vegetables. Or rather, bits of one particular roasted vegetable. I'll give you a clue, it's round, can be red or white, goes translucent when cooked, makes you cry, bears a resemblance to an ogre... yes, after being told not to go for the fajita in case the surrounding veg was flavoured with onion, I was instead given a wrap containing no other vegetable content than a small piece of courgette and about 10 large slices of onion, plus what seemed to be a whole baby onion.

Did I mention that I hate onions?

Besides the onions, the wrap was populated with rice and beans, so I had the healthy dinner of chips, rice, tortilla wrap and beans.

I'm not really that mad- it would have been much more annoying if there had been meat or cheese or egg in there- but on top of the fact that we were not offered any condiments and she rushed off before we could ask, we were never offered drinks refills although we'd finished our drinks long before the food arrived, and we were just generally waiting around for everything for ages, it was not the greatest experience.

We went to see Paul after, and I liked it. But not as much as Tangled :P.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Out and About

Well, Valentines day meal went well, even though I put too much soy sauce in the burgers and the mushroom paté was too runny, he enjoyed it (or said he did convincingly), and I thought it was pretty yummy myself, although I made way too much salad.

I had an idea for another topic on here: Eating out in and around Glasgow.

A lot of people assume that if you're vegan, you can't eat out. In France, I think that was true- I didn't eat out once in France after I went vegan (except when we went to Disneyland, see my post below). In Glasgow, I'd estimate I've eaten out around 30 times since last June. Usually about once a week. I go to the same places quite often though, but I thought I could do some reviews on vegan eating options in Glasgow, based on my experiences.

There are some all-vegan eateries, namely, Mono, Stereo and the Thirteenth Note. These are all great, but I wasn't going to do them first. Where I eat out more often are non-vegan restaurants, and I was going to list some options available at a few of the chains first.

Pizza Hut - I eat at pizza hut now and then with my bf- maybe not classy but it's cheerful, easy and close to the cinema, and I can usually get a buy-one-get-one free voucher. They have a pretty thorough allergen guide here which states the vegan status of all menu items:

Here's the vegan options summary:

Side salad
Nachos (hold the cheese and sour cream)
Potato Wedges with ketchup, sweet chilli sauce or BBQ dip
Pasta with Arrabiatta Sauce
House salad (Happy Hour)
Pizza Base and Tomato sauce (Pan or Italian)
Vegetable Toppings (Olives, peppers, mushrooms, onions, sweetcorn, tomato, chillis, jalapenos, cherry tomatoes, pineapple, peas, asparagus, rocket)

Some things I haven't seen that apparently you can get: Couscous, crispy onions, diced beetroot, fruit salad, humous, orange ice lolly.

Aside from the fruit salad and ice lolly which I've never seen, there's no desert options here, but since we usually go just before the cinema, this leaves me room for popcorn and chocolate (I bring ruffle bars or rice milk chocolate, I've found one that tastes like galaxy :) )

At pizza hut I usually have potato wedges with BBQ dip and a pan pizza with mushrooms, tomatoes and peppers.

PRICE: ***

Pizza Express- I've heard they are considering putting an actual, listed as vegan pizza on the menu. Til then, the base and sauce are vegan so it's a similar to pizza hut choose-some-toppings. Here's the allergen info

Veg toppings: capers, olives, onions, pine kernels, sultanas, mushrooms, spinach, garlic, walnut halves, sundried tomatoes, rocket, green peppers, red peppers, fresh tomatoes, leeks, petite pois & artichokes.

Dough Balls (Ask for garlic oil instead of butter)
Mixed Salad (no dressing)
Caffe Reale Desert (without the mascarpone)

I never mind going there and getting dough balls and pizza. I haven't tried the caffe reale, but it's "Baby figs, cinnamon & white wine spiced syrup" and comes with a coffee.

PRICE: ***

Wagamama- There's quite a lot of choice at wagamama, and all servers are trained to know what's vegan (I know because I asked once and she spent 20 minutes talking to me about it!), here's the site info:

That link is pretty comprehensive. I've tried the yasai gyoza, edamame, and the yasai cha han.

I can't find much info on desert. The kids menu offers natural fruit ice lollies.


Bella Italia - I can't find any allergen info, but I know from asking what is available.

The usual pizza- base plus sauce plus toppings
Fusilli Pomodorini — roasted red peppers and onions in a cherry tomato sauce (ask for without mozarella)

Desert: Lemon and blood orange sorbet.

PRICE: ***

Here's an info page with more on vegan chain restaurants:

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Vegan Valentines

Well, I've had my first Vegan Easter, my first Vegan Birthday, my first Vegan Trip to Disneyland, my first Vegan Halloween and my first Vegan Christmas... now for my first Vegan Valentine's Day!!!

Normally valentines day would be much less challenging than any of those other things because we would just go out to eat, and I can almost always find something at restaurants.

But this year I said I'd cook.

I love cooking, but I normally prefer to cook for myself because I worry that I will disappoint other people with my food. Particularly my counterpart, Mr nonVeganBean, since his favourite foods are:
1. Pizza
2. Beef burger
3. Chicken

And that's pretty much it, well, except for garlic bread, salad, and tiger rolls. So my plan is to make a meal that involves garlic bread, salad and tiger rolls. The obvious solution is to add pizza to the meal, since vegan pizza is easy to make and he's had it before and liked it. But pizza isn't very valentines-y, particularly since we have it all the time. So I've settled on a slightly more ambitious menu, and tomorrow my culinary skills will be put to the test. I've picked a couple of recipes from Veganomicon.

Oatcakes with Mushroom Paté

Chickpea cutlet in a tiger roll with fried onions, spicy tomato relish and melted mozarella cheezly
served with
Green salad and home-made italian dressing
Garlic ciabatta

Fresh fruit salad

Personally I'd have a more ambitious desert involving cake and ice cream, but he wouldn't eat it as he doesn't really 'do' deserts, probably just as well as I'd get carried away making the desert and mess up the rest of it!

I'll post at some point saying how it went. I probably shouldn't be nervous, if I mess up there's always pizza as a back up, but I really hope it goes down well. Oh yeah and he does know I'm making a vegan meal and it didn't seem to bother him at all, so at least I'm not dealing with a big-fat-greek-wedding-style horrified face and 'what? no meat?' :)