Outdoor activities with a healthy dose of curiosity, brought to you by Laure Latham
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This is Day 10 of my 30-day pledge to eat vegan to save the planet. With one third of the pledge under my belt, I’m getting the hang of this and today, I’m testing Veganuary at a professional event plus making the best of a slow cooker.
As is now the norm, I find vegan breakfast boring. I eat my home-made granola dry, without soy yogurt or almond milk or even oat milk, even if all are sitting in my fridge. My breakfast enthusiasm must be in the fridge too. Where’s my happy breakfast vibe?
The truth is, I must run to a professional event at Liverpool Street station and need to dash out the door. It’s mildly possible that I went to bed late last night, didn’t get enough sleep and unfairly blame Veganuary for a boring breakfast.
In the professional events category, this one is a killer. First off, it’s a morning session. That usually means breakfast and tea. Second, it’s a Corporate Social Responsibility training session sponsored by a large bank in the City of London. Therefore, killer breakfast and awesome tea selection.
I’ll give you a brief rundown of the options, in case you have any doubts.
To the left, the good stuff: croissants, pains au chocolat, raisin rolls.
To the far right: fruit.
Guess what I have? Yes, fresh fruit.
I turn a blind eye to the lovely morning pastries and grab a banana and grapes on a plate. It looks like I’m the only not stuffing my face with a mini-scrumptious-something. Coincidentally, I’m also the only one not wearing black, dark grey or a combination of both. My red sports jacket and purple backpack stand out in the lobby. Even after they disappear to the cloakroom, I’m still the only one wearing brown bellbottom trousers with a fushia top. Why is color such a corporate fashion taboo? Mind you, I do look like I’m off to a picnic. I wonder. Is anybody else doing Veganuary here? Hard to tell but it’s a CSR event. Why not. I’m really looking forward to discussing physical health and the environment later this year. At the end of the session, it’s a cinch for the guy from the cloakroom to find my purple backpack.
Note to self: color makes it easier to find stuff in the cloakroom.
By the time I get to the office, having walked over 4km since this morning, I’m downright hungry and frozen. The wind outside is enough to chill anyone to the bone. Good thing I’ve got a food container ready to go in the microwave with Sunday night’s leftovers.
Well, hello vegetable stew in coconut milk. You were unremarkable on Sunday night, that was the general consensus. You still are unremarkable (sorry, not sorry), but I’m hungry so off with your broccoli heads! Warm food in my tummy makes me feel better.
Dessert could be a kid snack after school: banana, fruit leather and chocolate coconut macaroon. The coconut crush macaroon is absolutely splendid. It’s part of the three sweets I bought last week for emergencies and I consider the chilly wind as an emergency. Plus, the building’s heating is playing hooky so we can’t even warm up properly. I’ll have a second teapot of that nice Japanese green tea. I’m considering bringing a blanket to the office tomorrow. Wouldn’t that be dandy?
Do you use slow cookers? Because if you don’t, you should seriously consider it. Last night, I decided that I would make a butter beans dish tonight but how am I going to cook them while I am at the office? Damn right, I use the slow cooker. And wonder of wonder, it works! I soak butter beans in cold water in the slow cooker overnight and switch it on to low setting before leaving in the morning, secretly saying three prayers to St Rita, patron saint of desperate causes. My two last beans experiments ended up with hard beans on plates.
By the time I get back from the office, I crank up the slow cooker to High and get chopping. Tonight, I’m cooking Thai, a dish I could make blindfolded: the veggie equivalent of a larb gai.
I also cook black Thai sticky rice in the rice cooker (what, you don’t have one either?) and miracle of miracles, the beans are done just right. Sound the trumpets! This butter beans larb includes lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, spring onions, cucumber, coriander leaves, lime juice, palm sugar and Thai soy sauce. It works a treat. My youngest has seconds. It may even be nutritional. Dare I dream?
To finish this wonderful day, I have homemade apple-quince sauce with maple syrup and walnuts. Actually, I finish our last walnuts. Guess we’ll have to invest. Our consumption of nuts must have tripled since the start of Veganuary.
Good thing we’re not allergic to nuts.