Day 2 of our vegan adventure and now we are starting to get organised. Supplies of some types of fresh food are not reliable around these parts, particularly in the winter, so it is sometimes difficult to plan ahead.
This morning, when we were out for a walk in the absolutely glorious sunshine we are enjoying at the minute, I popped into the little Migros supermarket in our marina, which often stocks items that aren’t available elsewhere. Triple score. Beansprouts, fresh coriander AND oat milk. I feel a Thai curry coming on.
When we first decided to take part in Veganuary, I had a trawl through some vegan websites to get some ideas of what we might eat (largely because we were going on a trip to Europe, and I thought I might bring a few goodies back with me). Although I did find some good ideas, many of the sites seemed more like a chemistry lesson than somewhere I might find a recipe for something nice I would like to eat.
I do realise that if you adopt a vegan diet on a permanent basis, then it’s essential to ensure you’re getting the entire range of nutrients you need, whereas we can be a little more cavalier about it, as we only have to survive to the end of the month. However, a lot of the sites I looked at seemed to have lost touch with the idea that you could just eat normal food, and seemed obsessed with trying to create milk, yoghurt and cheese from cashew nuts or the dehydrated poo of a sloth monkey. (OK, I might have made that last one up, but you get my drift). And nutritional yeast seemed to appear with alarming regularity – although these sites assured me that it tastes ‘just like’ Parmesan, I must say it sounds disgusting (and I don’t imagine the good cheese-makers of Parma would necessarily agree with them either).
So, when I decided to post some recipes of some of our vegan dinners (and treats) here, I decided that everything we eat this January would be made from entirely normal food that people would eat as part of a normal diet, rather than loads of weird things that are trying to taste like normal food, but clearly aren’t. Of course, I did discover the wonderful aquafaba, but that is just something I would normally pour down the sink when I open a can of beans or peas, so that is a real bonus.
As I had loads of the stuff from the giant can of chick peas I opened yesterday, I decided to have a go at my usual carrot, apple and banana muffin recipe, replacing the yoghurt with almond milk and a splash of vinegar, and using some of the aquafaba instead of the egg. The mixture was sloppier than usual, so it took a bit longer to cook, and I fancy that the muffins may not have risen quite as much as they usually do, but they taste really good and the texture is indistinguishable from the originals.
These freeze perfectly, so just take them out of the freezer as you need them. They are full of goodies and don’t have a great deal of added sugar, so they make a perfect afternoon pick-me-up or even a mobile breakfast if you are in a hurry.
Carrot, banana & apple muffins (vegan)
Makes 12 – 15 (my mix made 14)
You will need a muffin tin, lined with muffin papers
1 medium apple (cored but not peeled)
1 medium carrot (no need to peel – mine weighed 110g but no need to be exact)
2 bananas, broken into pieces
80g brown sugar
60g oats (any sort will do)
60g wholemeal or rye flour
120g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
A teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger (or 1 tablespoon mixed spice)
1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
120ml milk alternative (I used almond, but soya, oat or rice would all be fine)
4 tablespoons aquafaba
60ml vegetable oil
A couple of handfuls of sultanas and/or chopped walnuts
A few pumpkin seeds or chopped walnuts for decoration (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
Cut the carrot and apple into chunks and put into a food processor* – pulse until they are fairly finely shredded.
Add all of the rest of the ingredients and whiz again. The mix will be bitty because of the oats and the carrots, but that’s what you want for a nice chewy texture. Stir in the sultanas and/or chopped walnuts (if using).
Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups, filling them about three-quarters of the way up – the mix will be quite runny. A spring-action ice cream scoop is a good tool for this process. Sprinkle with brown sugar and scatter with pumpkin seeds or nuts (optional).
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (mine took the full 30), until the muffins are golden brown and firm to the touch.
*If you don’t have a food processor, grate the carrot and apple fairly finely, and mash the banana. Then just mix with the rest of the ingredients.
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