My Vegan Journey – Fiona Carter from Vegan & Glo
I have been a vegetarian for nearly 30 years and always had a passion for cooking. When I first became Vegetarian there wasn’t the choice as there is now and I longed for food with taste and variety, so started my passion for cookery from an early age! Then I fell into the trap of actually being an unhealthy vegetarian, lots of processed fake meats, loads of cheese and dairy, alongside a lot of carbs and not much veg! But calling yourself a vegetarian, people seem to assume you are automatically healthy.
I now find myself on a similar journey with veganism. Having moved to a vegan diet when it wasn’t as popular as it is now, the choices in restaurants were poor, often having a side dish of veg and a portion of chips and falling into making the same food at home. Fed up, I began to create dishes full of flavour and goodness. Very quickly I saw a massive change in my wellbeing, my skin, sleep and energy levels improving. My asthma disappearing and generally feeling healthier and with that happier. As my recipe repertoire improves, so does the choice now in restaurants and supermarkets. People often say they would like to adopt a more plant based diet, but don’t know where to start.
So that is what I do now – I teach people simple recipes, that are free from animal products, but full of flavour, vitamins and minerals. Being a working mum means I also don’t have time to make 2 meals, so my children eat a vegan diet at home as well.
You can pretty much “veganise” anything. You learn how to make a béchamel sauce with cashew nuts and plant based milk and that gives you, mac and cheese, lasagne, moussaka, cauliflower cheese back.
Blitzing some mushrooms, can be a replacement for mince – spaghetti bolognaise and chilli or just using beans and lentils.
Criticism of tofu is that it can be bland, but by simply marinating it and mixing it in with some herbs and spices and it’s a revelation.
I am also a fan of batch cooking, making a big lentil cottage pie and freezing some to get out in emergencies.
Simple swaps can mean a reduction in animal products, which in turn is good for the animals, good for you and good for our planet.
Lentil and Watercress dahl.
This recipe is a firm favourite in our house and the kids love it
- 100g red lentils
- 1 clove of garlic chopped
- 1 tsp of gram masala*
- 250g of watercress
- 1 tablespoons of rapeseed or olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- Put the lentils and garlic in a saucepan with 400ml water and bring to the boil, then simmer for around 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft, keep your eye on them.
- Meanwhile lightly sauté the onion until translucent in a separate pan.
- With the watercress, I take off the big stalks and chop the rest. When the lentils are ready add in the onion and watercress and stir until it has melted.
It can be served with rice or nan bread. I make this for the kids, when I have some, I whack on the salt, pepper and chilli flakes!
*if you don’t have garam masala, ½ tsp of ground cumin and ½ tsp of ground coriander work well
READY TO GLO
Our planet needs healing and we have the power to nurse it back to health.