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    > Veganuary Day 12: 30 Days of Vegan to Save the Planet

    Veganuary Day 12: 30 Days of Vegan to Save the Planet

    On Day 12 of Veganuary, I finally decide to roughen up my breakfast routine and create a vegan pancake recipe without coconut oil, almond milk or tapioca flour. In the evening, our friend Liz outdoes herself with the most creative vegan dishes. Yes, weird vegan ingredients finally get in the limelight and it’s fascinating.

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    Breakfast

    Most vegan pancake recipes have weird ingredients that I don’t have in my pantry. This morning, I’m excited to eat something else than granola or toast. Checking my cupboards, I decide to create an almond flour-based recipe and find a paleo vegan recipe that’ll do as pointers. In it, I substitute:

    • oat milk for almond milk
    • olive oil for coconut oil
    • oats for tapioca flour

    I also forget maple syrup but that was not intentional. No worries on the maple syrup front, it ends up as a generous topping on the pancakes.

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    As far as texture, they are gooey and thick, tasting faintly of marzipan. I guess that’s to be expected and I’m loving it. Though it looks like they’ll crumble in the pan, they keep their shape by miracle and I can flip them without problems. I am totally making these again before the end of Veganuary.

    Lunch

    Fortunately, I made large quantities of Day 10‘s Thai dinner and can enjoy reheated sticky black rice with larb beans. It’s as good as it was two days ago. Why knew butter beans could stand for ground pork so well? As much as I would like to end on a sweet note, I am totally uninspired and end up eating five dried figs because they are conveniently within arm’s reach on the kitchen counter top. Love dried figs. These satisfy a sweet tooth craving.

    Veganuary

    Got Snow?

    I’ve been following Twitter alerts on snow in the UK and it looks like the northern part of the country is enjoying true wintry weather (maybe having too much fun in Scotland, in fact). From my dry and chilly London, any old field covered in snow looks like winter wonderland. Suddenly, I feel the urge to find some snow and make a weekend out of it. As a result, I spend a couple of hours on Twitter and Instagram checking the latest updates in various parts of the country. It’s a toss up between Hadrian’s Wall and the Peak District. Both look pretty awesome. Elina suggests that I call the rangers to find out more. A phone call later, I’m buying train tickets for Heydon Bridge. Hadrian’s Wall! On that note: does the excellent English breakfast at the Twice Brewed Inn accommodate vegans? I’m about to find out.

    Dinner at Liz’s

    Liz is a friend from the Serpentine Swimming Club who is afraid of nothing, as you are about to find out. When she invites us over for dinner with Jeremy, another swimmer, she is sweet to say that she knows about my Veganuary pledge and will do her best to cook accordingly. I admire her because as for Stefan and Mila, I know that my dietary requirements are a royal pain. Let’s see what she makes and most importantly, which ingredients she used.

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    No quiche-quiche! Who knew? Here’s a rough transcription of the recipe.

    Dough = flour + olive oil

    Batter = no-egg egg substitute + almond cream + red onions + possibly coconut flour (Liz might confirm)

    When Liz brings it first on the table, it’s wobbly as a custard and so, returns with a good telling off in the oven. A few minutes later, it’s more set, the top is golden color but it’s still very creamy inside. Ah, what the heck. Let’s try this creamy vegan quiche. It’s creamy indeed. Very creamy. It’s the first time in 12 days that I eat something with the consistency of egg and cream. On the bottom, I discern shades of crust and it’s nice to chew on the different texture. Tastewise…it’s not there yet. Liz gets A+ for effort. The egg substitute gets A+ for texture. The quiche gets C for taste.

    Good thing Liz is an excellent cook and she’s cooked other vegan foods to serve. I help myself generously to roasted root vegetables, baked potatoes and steamed cauliflower, all of which are really good. Hey, no substitutes here.

    The next item is close to a science experiment, particularly for a French person, but at the same time it’s very surreal. Wait for it.

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    No cheese-cheese! Now that, really takes the cake in the world of bizarre vegan substitutes. You can’t read the small print but it’s fake cheddar and fake blue cheese made out of coconut cream. Jeremy, being adventurous, tries both with me. We start with the cheddar, agree that the texture is close but we can’t put the finger on what taste it reminds us of. What does it taste like? The jury is still out.

    We move on to the blue. Again, great texture and this time, there’s no beating around the bush for taste. It’s mold. What can I say, blue cheese is made with natural mold. Tesco (a British retailer) has managed to turn coconut into a moldy no cheese cheese. How did they do that? I weep for the coconut trees and at the same time, I’m beyond intrigued. Do they do this in underground labs with radioactive mushrooms? This no cheese-blue cheese is a scientific wonder to behold.

    Last, dessert or rather, pudding. Liz innovates once again. Is there no limit to her imagination?

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    Apparently not. No cherries-cherries with oat vanilla custard!

    I’m kidding. The cherries are authentic. It’s a mix of fresh and canned. The custard is really oat vanilla custard and believe it or not, it tastes like the real thing. I’m not a huge vanilla custard expert but blindfolded, I’m not sure I would be able to tell the difference. A+ for taste and texture.

    We conclude this lavish vegan meal on a spicy note with Bengal spicy tea. What a treat.

    Before we leave, I photograph two ingredients that played key roles in tonight’s performance.

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    The olive oil is outstanding and I later find out that it is a single varietal olive oil made in Croatia and sold at Borough Market. Delicious.

    As I am about to go to bed, I am completely impressed and grateful that friends go to such lengths to accommodate my New Year’s resolution. 12 days done, 18 more days. Looks like I still have a lot to discover in the world of Veganuary.

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