All posts by 3valleyvegns

A local group to support and encourage a compassionate, cruelty-free, vegan lifestyle. We hold cooking sessions, tasting sessions, information sessions on everything from cruelty-free moisturisers to leather-free walking boots; vegan textiles to the best dairy-free cheese for cheese sauce!

Your 6-step approach for Veganuary 2020

An amazing quarter of a million people took part in Veganuary 2019.  January 2020 is set to see even more people trying vegan for a month, as we become ever-more aware of the benefits of following a vegan diet for animals, the environment and human health.

If you are thinking of going vegan, January is the perfect time to try.  It’s easier than ever, and by taking part in Veganuary you’ll be joining thousands of others gaining support as part of an international community of like-minded people.  

Chrissy Leyland from The Vegan Approach says,

“We are super-excited about Veganuary, as our mission is to help others to go, stay and enjoy being vegan.  Our 10 minute video 6 steps to going vegan, shows you how to do this the easy way.”  

The Vegan Approach’s experienced vegan volunteers include 3 Valley Vegans’ very own Elizabeth King, who delivers the 6 steps to going vegan talk at festivals around the north.  After being awarded a university certificate in plant-based nutrition, Elizabeth is now also offering talks on vegan nutrition, where she will share her expert knowledge and passion on how to be a healthy vegan.

People attending a Vegan Approach presentation
Photos from Northern Vegan Festival via Facebook

After years of experience of supporting others to go vegan, The Vegan Approach have devised these 6 steps showing you how to go vegan the easy way.  

    1. Find your motivation – working out why you want to be vegan and researching the many benefits will keep you on track.
    2. Decide what to eat – there’s so much choice on a plant-based diet.  To help you make the transition, The Vegan Approach give handy hints on menu ideas, recipes, food swaps and where to shop.
    3. Find out about nutrition – there are many benefits to a plant-based diet but you may be concerned about meeting your nutritional needs.  Follow The Vegan Approach nutrition tips to make sure your diet is balanced.
    4. Find vegan friendly restaurants – you’ll soon find being vegan at home is easy, but may wonder where to eat out.  The Vegan Approach guide will point you in the right direction.
    5. Veganise your life – during Veganuary you may just want to eat a plant-based diet, but once you have this sussed you might choose to follow a vegan lifestyle, avoiding animal products in clothing, cosmetics and household products.
    6. Think about friends and family – before starting your vegan journey you may think that the hardest part will be missing certain foods, such as cheese.  However, people often discover that the most difficulties come from being vegan in a non-vegan world. Meeting other vegans can really help, and  the great news is that 3 Valley Vegans are hosting an event in February for local Veganuary, where you can meet like-minded people and find out even more about how to go and stay vegan.

So that’s The Vegan Approach 6 steps in a nutshell.  Visit www.theveganapproach.co.uk and follow them on social media for more tips on how to go vegan the easy way.  

Good luck with your vegan journey and if you are already vegan please share their video and help us create thousands more vegans!

Festive seitan skewers by Chris (Christmas 2019)

Ingredients

Seitan:

  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten (you can buy this at health food shops or online)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (you should be able to get this at the same place at the wheat gluten)
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock
  • A pinch of black pepper

Vegetables:

  • 80ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 250g cups Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3 medium parsnips (about 150g), cut into 3.5cm thick slices
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes (about 150g), cut into 3.5cm thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

Equipment

  • 1x Large Mixing Bowl
  • 1x Wooden Spoon
  • 1x Rolling Pin
  • 1x set of measuring Cups and Spoons
  • 2x Large Oven Trays
  • 1x Chopping Board
  • A pack of skewers

Method

Roasting The Veggies

  1. Start by pre heating your oven to 180℃
  2. While you are waiting for the oven to heat up peel the parsnips, sweet potato and remove the outer leaves of the sprouts
  3. Chop the sprouts in half and dice the root veggies into thick circles around 3.5cm in size
  4. Grease a large baking tray with olive or sunflower oil and place vegetables, adding the dried herbs, garlic cloves and salt and pepper – leave these to cook whilst you prepare the seitan.

Making The Seitan Steak

  1. Firstly, put all your dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well
  2. Add in the veg stock and liquid smoke and knead together until it has a dough like feel to it (you might need to knead it more it if it’s being unruly)
  3. Pop the mixture onto a lightly greased oven tray and use a rolling pin to help the dough cover as much space in the tray as possible (again, the dough is notoriously unruly so don’t be afraid to use some elbow grease)
  4. Pop the dish into the oven and bake for 10 minutes each side at 180℃ (356℉)
  5. Take out the oven, cut into the steak length ways and then dice into bitesize pieces for your skewer.

Preparing the skewers

Pierce the roasted veg and seitan onto the skewer in any which way you fancy – like to wedge the seitan steak pieces between the veggies.

You should be able to make around 8 skewers in total depending on how much you have loaded them up.

For an added festive touch, I like to add balls of vegan stuffing and drizzle a small amount of cranberry sauce over the skewers – you can make you own or most shop bought cranberry sauce is vegan (but always check the ingredients are vegan beforehand).

That’s all there is to it, tuck in and enjoy

 

By Chris

Seed and carrot roast loaf by Hilary (Christmas 2019)

20191129_192918This recipe original featured in the book ‘Trinity’s Conscious Kitchen’. We found it on Kind Earth. It is gluten-free.

Ingredients

  • Carrots 3 large sized (or 400g approx)
  • 150g ground sunflower seeds (1 cup)
  • 150g ground pumpkin seeds (1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 heaped tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 heaped tablespoon fresh parsley (or 1 heaped teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Method

  1. Chop the (unpeeled, but scrubbed) carrots into small pieces. Boil or steam until soft. Drain and then mash. Grind seeds in a nut mill to make seed meal.
  2. Crush garlic and finely chop rosemary and parsley. Mix seed meal, carrots and all other ingredients together.
  3. Firmly press mixture into a loaf tin (lined with parchment paper). A 1kg loaf tin works well (approx 20x10x6cm). Make sure that you press really firmly to encourage the binding process – if you are too timid, it tends to fall apart. If you get it just right, then it magically forms into a perfectly sliceable loaf.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven at gas mark 6 (200˚C/400˚F) for approximately 45 minutes.
  5. Gently lift from the loaf tin by pulling out the loaf along with the parchment paper. Turn over onto a bread board and slice with a bread knife.
  6. Big bonus – it freezes really well (just slice up before you freeze and either grill or bake when you take back out again after defrosting). Yay!

20191129_192918Notes

Grinding the seeds works best with a seed/nut/coffee grinder, although you can use a blender to roughly chop the seeds instead. If you roughly chop the seeds, then add a heaped tablespoon of spelt flour to the mixture to encourage the binding process. The other alternative is to use a pestle and mortar.
If you have neither a grinder nor a blender, you can substitute the ground seeds for pre-ground nuts or seeds.

By Hilary

Strawberry trifle by Phil (Christmas 2019)

Strawberry trifle

Ingredients

Method

  1. Smash up the biscuits and slice the strawberries. Make the jelly as per the instructions on the packet. Arrange the biscuits and fruit into a large bowl and pour the jelly into it. Chill until set (I left it 8 hours but I think it would have been set sooner had I checked).
  2. To make the custard, I loosely followed the instructions on the packet but had to change the proportions (perhaps because I was using soya milk?). Mix 1 tbsp sugar, 4 tbsp custard powder and 1 tbsp soya milk into a paste in a bowl then heat the rest of the milk until nearly boiling. Pour the hot milk into the bowl gradually and whisk in thoroughly. Return the mixture to the pan and heat up for another minute, mixing continually. You should start to get a thick mixture but may need to add a little more custard powder.
  3. Pour the hot custard over the set jelly and return the bowl to the fridge to set for an hour.
  4. Whisk the rice cream in a bowl as per the instructions on the packet (2 minutes with an electric whisk on full power). Spoon this over the custard and sprinkle grated chocolate on top. Chill for another hour.
  5. Serve the trifle chilled to a room full of non-vegans and watch them lap it up!

By Phil

Celeriac, saffron and orange soup by Elizabeth (Christmas 2019)

Ingredients

For the soup:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 celeriac (~600g), cut into chunks
  • 600g potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp saffron strands, lightly ground in a mortar
  • finely grated rind and juice of 2 oranges

For the gremolata:

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • handful of flatleaf parsley, leaves only
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve

Method

  1. To make the soup, heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion for 3-4 minutes until softened, but not coloured. Add the celeriac and potato. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the vegetable stock, ground saffron, orange juice and half the orange rind. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  2.  Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth (you may need to do this in batches). Return to the pan and season to taste.
  3. To make the gremolata, pound the garlic and sea salt to a paste with a pestle and mortar. Add the parsley leaves and olive oil and pound until a fairly smooth paste is achieved. (Alternatively, puree all the ingredients in a food processor.)
  4. Reheat the soup and ladle into individual bowls. Spoon the gremolata onto the soup and scatter over the reserved orange rind. Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

By Elizabeth, originally by Burza via Epicuria

Chocolate peanut butter bites by Tanu (Christmas 2019)

Ingredients

  • 8 medjool dates, stoned, or 150g raisins
  • 50g pecan nuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon date syrup

Method

  1. Line a plate or baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
  3. Turn out the mixture into a bowl and roll it into 12 equal-sized balls. Place on the lined tray or plate and chill in the fridge overnight.
  4. To serve, place a little sifted cocoa powder on a plate and carefully roll each ball until coated. Shake off any excess cocoa powder before serving.

By Tanu