Cheerio MoFos! See yuzu later!

VeganMoFo-2019-carrotsVegan MoFo 2019: Saturday 31st August:

Wrap up day – what’s been your highlight of VeganMoFo? Make something inspired by a recipe from one of your fellow MoFo’ers!

I’ve really enjoyed blogging for Vegan MoFo this year. I made my first cookies, got to show off my Frida Kahlo cake and tried out a few new recipes including my first experience with jackfruit.  I made dumplings and cocktails… remembered how existential Peanuts was, laughed at Piers Morgan, made coloured space food and talked about Twin Peaks and Class War. I experimented with puff pastry for a friend’s birthday and made my first afternoon tea gaining a new-found respect for those who do this kind of work for a living!

I’ve been very inspired by Jenny’s blogs Herbivores’ Heaven – especially her food adventures in Japan. I loved her  blog on Kyoto that asked if bad science puts me off eateries, or can I let it go? As a greedy scientist, I have to say it can get my goat but it depends on a) how good the food looks and b) how hungry I am…

I just wanted to add a last word on yuzu, inspired by Jenny’s pictures of Japanese food. Yuzu is a citrus fruit used in some Japanese cooking, a kind of hybrid combining lime, lemon and grapefruit flavours – zingy!! I first came across it in a cocktail in a fancy restaurant in Bristol. Next time I encountered yuzu was in some lovely raspberry truffles in a smart vegan tapas bar near Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Even better than Booja Booja!


More recently, Wagamama have introduced yuzy in their new vegan dessert: Mango and Matcha layer cake which is made up of layers of matcha cream, vanilla sponge and yuzu cream with a mango and passion fruit purée served with a raspberry compote. It’s delicious! Cheerio MoFos, see yuzu soon!




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Vegan Spag Bol with carrot!

VeganMoFo-2019-peasVegan MoFo 2019: Friday 30th: Inspired by your favourite city – a Bolognese to make Bologna proud

I’ve done a U-tune on using carrots in Bolognaise! I used to sneer at the idea of adding them, then after reading up on it and hearing several different people describe how they make their Bolognaise sauce, I’ve changed my mind.

This video from Alpro was the final decider for me. The little old Italian lady puffs away on her cigarette describing how you start your sauce off by frying onions, celery and carrots… I am born again! Well, in terms of adding carrots to my Bolognaise, that’s all.

Ingredient – serves 4

  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, sliced
  • 200g (half a pack) soya mince
  • A large squirt of tomato purée
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large splosh of red wine
  • Large pinch of oregano
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Spaghetti (around 100g per person)


  1. Fry the onion, carrot and celery in olive oil for a few minutes until soft.
  2. Add the soya mince and fry for a minute or two.
  3. Add the tomato purée and cook for a couple more mins.
  4. Add the tomatoes, wine and herbs.
  5. Season to taste and cook for 20 mins.
  6. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti as directed on the pack.
  7. Serve spaghetti and Bolognaise with vegan Parmesan.



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Posh beans on toast

VeganMoFo-2019-mushroomVegan MoFo 2019: Thursday 29th August:

Hearty breakfast – something to set you up for a day pounding the pavement in a new city.

My son has gone to a festival and left some onion bagels in the bread bin. They won’t last until he gets back, well not with me around anyway! I made toasted onion bagels and mixed beans for my hearty breakfast. I now feel like I need to go back to bed…


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Vodka martini

VeganMoFo-2019-beetVegan MoFo 2019: Wednesday 28th:

Cocktail/mocktail – a drink for letting your hair down!

It’s got to be a vodka martini, as James Bond says: “Shaken not stirred”. It’s made with good quality vodka and vermouth. I used to know someone who said the closest your vodka should get to the vermouth is you telephoning someone with a bottle! I like to add a tiny amount to the bottom of my glass, swill it about and tip any leftovers into the cocktail shaker loaded with ice. Add the vodka and a small splosh of olive brine if you like it dirty! Give it a good shake and strain it into your chilled glass. Kick of your shoes, get out the cards or backgammon and welcome in the weekend!




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Guernia and gelato in Madrid

VeganMoFo-2019-carrotsVegan MoFo 2019: Tuesday 27th August:

A cuisine that inspires you to travel – would you book a trip to Italy just so you could get that perfect gelato? Tell us which cuisine has you eyeing up flights!

Last year I went to Madrid to see Picasso’s Guernica, eat lots of lovely vegan food and meet up with an old mate who lives there.

Picasso’s painting depicts the pain and suffering of people and animals that occurred when the Basque town Guernica was bombed in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. It is one of the most moving and powerful anti-war paintings in the world. The bombing was carried out at the request of Spain’s fascist General Franco by the Nazi German Luftwaffe’s Condor Legion and the Fascist Italian Aviazione Legionaria.

It was market day and hundreds of people were gathered in the town’s main square. Over three hours, the planes dropped 100,000 pounds of high-explosive and incendiary bombs, reducing Guernica to a smouldering ruin. A deliberate attack on a civilian target from the air, this war crime is considered the first of its type – years before the bombings of Coventry, Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki and decades before Aleppo.


Be careful, the Reina Sofia Museum is closed on Tuesdays. For free admission, visit Monday to Friday from 7pm to 9pm or Sunday from 1.30pm to 7pm.

Madrid has many lovely vegan cafes and restaurants but if you fancy a quick ice-cream while taking in a breath-taking view (for free) head up to Amorino on the top floor of the El Corte Inglés  at 2 Plaza Callao. Make sure you ask for the vegan options and they will make you a pretty flower-shaped ice-cream.


The view from the top of El Corte Inglés…




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Vegan Paella

VeganMoFo-2019-beetVegan Mofo 2019: Monday 26th August:

A dish that transports you back to a vacation – what dish do you associate with a favourite vacation?

Sic years ago, I had the most delicious vegan paella in Barcelona at a community event organised by local neighbourhood project Recreant Cruïlles, who were running a campaign to reclaim land on an abandoned site for public use. At the street even they cooked several giant pans full of paella, enough to feel 400 people! To my delight, it was vegan!

I’ve tried to recreate it several times and think I’ve now cracked the recipe. The seaweed gives it something extra!

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 300g Calasparra (paella) rice
  • 200ml sherry (I like Tio Pepe)
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 900ml veg stock
  • 100g broad beans, blanched and peeled (I used edamame as it’s now passed broad bean season)
  • 6-8 mini plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp arame seaweed, soaked for 20 mins in water
  • 20 pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 6 lemon wedges
  1. Heat oil, fry onions for 5 mins
  2. Add peppers and fry till golden
  3. Add garlic, 1 min
  4. Add bay, paprika, turmeric & chilli, stir in for 1 min
  5. Stir in rice
  6. Add sherry & saffron, boil down for 2 mins
  7. Add stock, simmer for 20 mins (don’t cover or stir)
  8. Blanche and skin beans
  9. Soak arame in hot water for 5 mins then drain
  10. Remove from heat, add beans, toms, artichokes and arame
  11. Cover tightly and leave for 10 mins
  12. Scatter olives and parsley on and serve with lemon wedges


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Mexican blue maize mushroom tortillas

cornwebVegan MoFo Sunday 25th August:

Favourite international dish/product – what non-local dish or product do you dream about? Recreate it!

One of the most memorable meals I’ve had was the spicy mushrooms in a blue maize tortilla I had in Mexico City six years ago for my birthday, which falls on the same day as the Day of the Dead and World Vegan Day!

It was our first night and we had arrived as the sun went down. The hotel staff looked a bit alarmed that we wanted to go out in the dark searching for food! This worried me but my fella wasn’t put off. We found a little street café serving food and frozen margaritas, a few of them helped me find my confidence and we went off in search on adventure.

Frozen tequila.jpg

We ended up at a gig, invited in by Paul, the lead singer of one of the bands who turned out to be the son of the actor German Robles, who played the vampire in the Mexican film El Vampiro. He also gave advice to Christopher Lee on his performance as Dracula! We had a great night not least because of the lovey warm welcome we received. I’ve stayed in touch with Paul and some of the others I met that night. This dish reminds me of that brilliant evening we had in Mexico City.

A shop selling Mexican food in Bristol has started stocking blue maize tortillas. To make this dish, fry some sliced field mushrooms in a little olive oil with some chilli flakes. Then put them in the tortillas with some grated vegan cheese and some sliced spring onions (scallions). Fold them over and cook on a griddle until they look done!

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