Parveen The Spice Queen: Veganuary is in vogue again

Stuffed peppers
Stuffed peppers

So many of my friends are trying “Veganuary” which means “vegan” for the month of January. As the name suggests - it’s an amalgamation of the words vegan and January. I don’t know about you, but I have noticed that veganism seems to be everywhere, It’s on the increase, and very much in vogue.

So, there I am watching the latest goings on on the cobbles of Corrie and low and behold there is Eva in the Rovers Return talking about vegan nail polish!

James Martin

James Martin

Then I am merrily tapping away on my laptop working on a new recipe and watching This Morning (well, I am a woman and I CAN multi-task - that’s not me being sexist, that’s me being a realist) Ruth Langsford was interviewing someone following a vegan diet. It is actually not too difficult when you put your mind to it, however the thing that surprised me the most was the fact that she couldn’t correctly pronounce the word Veganuary. She tried several times, but couldn’t seem to grasp it, so here is how to say it phonetically “vee - gan - u -ary”. Ok, now you can pronounce it, let’s talk about what I usually talk about; food and recipes - vegan style!

What is a vegan diet? Essentially, a vegan diet means you cannot consume any produce that derives from an animal, so that includes meat, fish, eggs and dairy, but there is so much more to this than meets the eye. There are many hidden ingredients that one would just not think about. Therefore, if you have vegan dinner guest, just be careful and read labels and ingredient lists properly. On the surface of it, to the lay person (or carnivore) a vegan diet may sound similar to a vegetarian diet but it’s actually much more than just not eating meat. For example, you cannot use ingredients such as pasta, mayonnaise and coleslaw - as they contain eggs in one form or another. It may seem a daunting task to cook vegan food but once you get into the zone, it’s all about organisation and looking for animal-free food alternatives. I have designed two very different vegan menus for you this week; one is Indian (naturally, that’s my forte) and the other with English and European flavours.

Of course, in terms of Indian food, the world is your oyster I don’t mean literally folks, as oysters are not vegan, I mean figuratively speaking. This is because Indian cuisine lends itself so well to veganism and there is a huge range of recipes to choose from, so try either one of my menus.

I hope you like try them and get into Veganuary, do a Madonna and get into Vogue.

Si King and Dave Myers of the Hairy Bikers.

Si King and Dave Myers of the Hairy Bikers.

Menu 1

Starters: Tomato & basil soup, crusty bread.

Main Dish: Roast peppers stuffed with tomato risotto (made with vegan cheese - see photo), sweet potato fried & ketchup, green salad with balsamic dressing.

Dessert: Apple & pear crumble, cinnamon cream (use vegan cream made with soya milk).

Menu 2

Starters: Onion & potato bhajis, mint dip (made with soya yoghurt).

Main Dish: chick pea masala, pilau rice with peas & potatoes, plain naan.

Dessert: Sweet coconut rice served with mangoes or strawberries.

Food for thought

Vegan alternatives are now widely available in most supermarkets. Just use, milk, cheese, cream that is made with soya.

Where can I eat vegan pizza?

Many places make vegan pizza and I recently ate at The Pizza Parlour & Music Cafe in Cowgate. Their pizzas are cooked in a woodburner oven and are just divine!