My wife and I started a food blog!

β€œVeganism is not a “sacrifice.” It is a joy.”
Gary L Francione

This is just a short one in the grand schema of things, you probably all know that I enjoy blogging but a lot of my posts end up quite long and rambling. This one however will be quite concise.

My wife and I started a food blog.

There. I said it.

She had been saying to me for some time that she wanted a place to take all the vegan recipes we make and to put them up on the interwebs for people to find and make and get as much joy out of as we do, so we finally did it. It stalled a few times and then eventually, like 2 weeks ago, we finally got the first couple of posts up.

If you’re interested in the sort of plant-based cooking we do at home, you’re looking to go plant based or just looking to help the animals out, you can find our blog right here:

https://TheSnugVegans.com/

We look forward to dining with you!

The Snug Vegans

5 Awesome family-friendly vegan lock-down recipes

β€œOne cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
Virginia Woolf

Working from home these past couple weeks has been, well… different.

At this point we’ve gotten used to working next to one another on the dining room table (HUGE shout out to my wife for putting up with me), we’ve blasted through a lot of movies across Disney+, Netflix and Amazon Prime (we’re well stocked) but most importantly… we’ve cooked.

Now this blog was never intended to be a food-y cook-y recipe blog by any means, stay tuned there because there is something much more exciting in the works in that arena!!!

Excited Minions GIF

However there have been some recipes that have just been an absolute blessing to have in these times. The ingredients for them are reasonably simple, can be substituted fairly easily where necessary and they are thoroughly nourishing (and normally last us a good period of time too!)

  1. Making Thyme For Health – Chickpea Frittata

I really enjoy this frittata, we use the base recipe for the “egg” replacement mixture and it’s delicious – a variation we make in our house though involves cooking off 2 sweet potatoes in salt, pepper, oil and some smoked paprika, then adding red bell pepper, and Violife Vegan ‘Feta’, and instead of a skillet, using a baking dish. Honestly discovering this recipe was one of the best finds I ever made – yum yum yum!

Good for: Saturday or Sunday mornings as it is easily thrown together, and the recipe is easily doubled so you can save the cold leftovers (which are also great) for a quick lunch/brunch later in the week

2. The Happy Pear – (Oil Free) Vegan Enchiladas

This one is self-explanatory. It’s wonderful, warming, quick, easy and delicious and if you don’t already follow the Happy Pear where have you been??? Check this one out because we are already looking forward to making it again. We didn’t have sweetcorn so we subbed in Kidney Beans and we added nutritional yeast to the cashew ‘cheese’ for an extra cheesy recipe πŸ˜‰

Good for: A very quick and healthy midweek dinner, fed 3 but could easily feed 4 or even 5!

3. Amuse Your Bouche – Vegan Slow Cooker Tagine

This combination of Sweet Potato and Chickpeas should be illegal, it tastes JUST SO DARN GOOD. I have nothing else to add other than dig out your slow cooker and get going!

Good for: Any weekday dinner, the amount made will easily server 4 over two nights if served with rice or couscous etc. especially handy because you prep it and leave it in the slow cooker whilst you work. Minimum hassle.

4. Buddha Bowls! (Examples here)

Ok this one is a cop out. Buddha bowls are by far the easiest thing to make on this list because you basically throw a bunch of things in a bowl and it’s nourishing, delicious and a bit of fun! The basic “formula” for a Buddha bowl though can be seen here on Eating Well.

Good for: Fast, healthy meals that can be changed up or perfected to your taste. There are so many permutations that there’s no real limit to what you can have. Really great also when you have young-ish kids who want to help and can pick and assist with the cooking of the various ingredients!

5. The Busy Baker – Oreo No Bake Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

So we missed off a treat that you can make easily, everything else just seems a bit… healthy. Well this is still kinda healthy but comes with a beautiful, rich and very easy to devour chocolate filling that involves very few ingredients. All you need is a fridge and a short list of ingredients to create a deliciously indulgent vegan dessert.

Good for: Treats, birthdays, celebrations even under lock-down, anniversaries, romance or simply because it’s Tuesday. This dessert can be made by pretty much anyone on the go, and you can make small versions in little pots too if you want to spread the goodness out, or keep little ones busy!

So, these are my top 5 lock-down / isolation recipes that are easy to make, easy to have fun with and VERY easy to eat! What’re your go-to recipes?

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay happy!

The best vegan salted caramel apple and pear crumble/crisp I ever did see!

β€œPull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
Ruth Reichl

Imma stop you right now. I know how this goes, you open a blog post about food and you expect 3 things. A story about why I made it, the recipe and pictures.

I have no pictures. We ate it. I’m sorry, I couldn’t wait.

There’s no story either. My mum and step-dad were coming round for dinner last night (we made a roasted cauliflower, new potato and mushroom curry which was insanely good – yay, go my wife for being an awesome cook!) but we needed a dessert.

I found a couple of recipes I liked but each had elements of the other I wanted to include. So I made my own! Specific thanks to Bosh! for the Salted Caramel recipe in particular from their UK show “Living on the Veg“.

So without further ado, or description of the weather outside or why I love comfort food. Here’s a recipe you should try!

For the filling:

  • 1 x Pink Lady apple
  • 1 x cooking apple
  • 1 x braeburn apple
  • 3 x rocha pears
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

For the salted caramel:

  • 100g pitted dates (Medjool desirable)
  • 120ml hot water
  • Large pinch flaked sea salt

For the crumble/crisp topping:

  • 75g vegan butter / coconut oil
  • 50g Soft Brown Sugar
  • 115g all-purpose flour
  • 1 heaped tablespoons ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 small handful rolled oats

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C (350 F)
  2. Peel, core and chop apples and pears into cubes, about the size of a large thumbnail
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat and then add the apples, pears, salt, cinnamon and maple syrup then cook for 10 minutes until soft
  4. Whilst the fruit is cooking add the topping ingredients to a bowl and (using your hands) combine into a breadcrumb style texture
  5. Add the dates, water and salt to a blender / nutribullet and blend until smooth
  6. Take the fruit off of the heat and stir in the date caramel mixture to combine then pour contents into an over proof dish
  7. Top with the crumble mixture and lightly press down to ensure all gaps are filled
  8. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes then serve piping hot with vegan custard or cream-alternative

Enjoy!

A brief history of PlantBasedSQL

There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.”
Charles Darwin

Note: The post below is my viewpoint on going Vegan and is not designed in anyway to attack or criticise anyone for the choices they make. I will not describe in depth what I witnessed during my research into making this choice for myself but I will provide optional links at the end of the post if you wish to start looking into Veganism. Thank you.

In December 2016 I went vegetarian. I had been living with my then-partner, now-wife for about 9 months and things were going great. When we got together though, I was a vehement meat-eater, in fact eater of all things animal; meat, dairy, eggs, you name it.

I even remember arguing with one of our friends over Christmas in 2015 that, and I quote, “I can’t see myself ever NOT eating meat. Ever.”

My wife though, at that time, was mostly pescatarian and therefore we never really had or cooked meat at home. I love to cook so from the moment we moved in together into a tiny (TINY!!!) flat in March 2016 I saw it mostly as a challenge that I could rise to, to cook more vegetarian food; so I started doing some research.

What I found horrified me to my core.

Many of the vegetarian and vegan bloggers I started to check out included (as part of their blogs and recipes I was following) justification for their lifestyle, reasons why they chose a vegetarian or plant based lifestyle and I was intrigued. I checked out the references, the sources and studies and documentaries, I made notes and discussed my thoughts with my wife and family and others I knew who were veggie or vegan and realized I had lived a life in ignorant bliss of the suffering that took place to fulfill my need for a burger, or bacon, even sweets like wine gums (which I loved but are full of gelatin).

So I made the switch and honestly, it shocked everyone around me (particularly my family) that I, the meat eater, the lover of BBQ, meaty curries and Tex-Mex, would give it up for the rest of my life. But everybody blamed my wife for this. Perhaps blame is too strong a word though… they attributed it to my now living with a mostly-vegetarian.

But no, I came to this conclusion myself. From pictures of slaughterhouses, caged animals and intense farming of everything from cows to pigs to fish, I realized that I would never see meat in the same light again, and it’s not as though I didn’t KNOW this happened. When I was a meat eater of course I knew this was the case, but when I really looked, I realized that my personal dinner preferences should never, ever cause something like this.

The research continued and just over 2 short years later on 1st January 2019 I did something great, I tried Veganuary. Veganuary is a vegan-January challenge that asks only that you give up animal products and try eating and living a Vegan lifestyle.

At this point the teenager in our house had already been vegan for some time; she had come from a predominantly meat-eating country (Romania) and so at home we were mostly cooking plant-based so we could all eat together anyway! Curries, stews, soups, pasta, pizza, nut-burgers, salads, buddha bowls, our diet was not restrictive – but i was still eating eggs and cheese at work, and when we went out for dinner. It wasn’t long before the articles and documentaries led me to look at the dairy and egg industries.

Again, absolutely terrifying.

Shortly before trying Veganuary, in September or October 2018 I had a nightmare. I won’t go into detail but involved trying desperately in vain to free cows from a dairy-slash-slaughterhouse and it was harrowing. I woke up completely drenched in a cold sweat and decided that it would not be long until I completely phased out all animal products, and January was the time to do so.

I don’t miss cheese, or eggs. I thought it would be hard, but it wasn’t. Yes, vegan cheese isn’t quite there yet (unless you’ve tried the new Applewood UK Vegan cheddar OHMIGOSH) but honestly, even if the alternative isn’t there yet – it’s still better than the version requiring we first exploit a living being that doesn’t have the means to defend itself.

Now, almost 12 months later, I still maintain that (besides the decisions to marry my wife, to look after our teen and to join Redgate) it was one of the very best decisions I have ever made.

I encourage you, if you’ve ever been curious, to try it for yourself. It’s surprisingly easy, but most of all it gets you to think about what you eat, how you fuel yourself and about the well-being of all life on the planet. If you need some resources, or want to answer some common questions, I’ve included some resources below:

Where do I get my B12 and Protein? Watch the Game Changers Netflix Documentary – trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSpglxHTJVM

Is a plant based diet healthy? Watch the Forks Over Knives documentary on Netflix or Youtube – trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZb-35oV_7E

How would eating vegan help to stop animal cruelty? Watch the Earthlings and Cowspriacy documentaries – trailers here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hm7Babs_FJU and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV04zyfLyN4

Where are some good resources for plant-based cooking? You can follow the below leaders in this arena (there are loads on YouTube in general though):

Where can I eat Vegan? There are tonnes of good places that have their own vegan menus and options, a few chain restaurants in the UK who offer great vegan alternatives inlclude:

  • Bella Italia
  • Pizza Express
  • Frankie & Benny’s
  • Zizzi
  • Wagamama
  • Byron Burger
  • Pret a manger
  • Giraffe
  • Pizza Hut
  • Papa Johns
  • and Subway!

Happy holidays and here’s to a happy 2020!