I thought 2017 was the worst year yet, reminiscing over the dreams I didn’t bring to realization, the immense heartache I endured, the pain I caused others, the deep depression I fell into, and the person I didn’t become. But it wasn’t until this morning, when I looked at my social media feeds, that I realized how awesome this year has really been – it was filled with so many highs that I overlooked. This post isn’t to get your kudos for what I achieved (although I do love hearing how amazing I am 😉 ), but rather to remind myself that I was happy, blessed, loved and successful this past year, to reinforce the fact that we should remember the good over the bad, and to inspire me to be excited for and accomplish even more in 2018!
I convinced Africa’s top-ranked university, the University of Cape Town, to implement vegan options in their residence dining hall menus (daily) and then I trained 29 of their chefs on plant-based cooking, before launching the program in October.
I also convinced the University of Witwatersrand to implement a plant-based menu in all their dining halls, making one dining hall completely plant-based on Green Mondays, and scheduled training with their chefs for this January.
I paid off my car!
I saved up half of what I need for a deposit on a little housy.
I started seeing a psychologist and embraced personal growth and good mental health. It was the best decision ever (thank you), I’ve never learnt so much about myself than I did this past year.
I met the most incredible people, some of whom have become my best friends.
I raised R2 580 for GreenPop’s reforestation project when I “ran for trees” during the Sanlam 10km Peace Run.
I worked at two outdoor festivals (Reforest Fest and Rocking the Daisies) to promote veganism to the masses (mostly millennials 😛 ).
I was part of an amazing team who organised and ran the Cape Town Vegan Challenge in October this year. We hosted over 20 events in 4 weeks and signed up 1150 participants to eat plant-based during this time!
I got offered a new position at work, this year I will be the communications manager for HSI, Africa – working on both wildlife and farm animal issues.
I was featured in the Wellness Magazine – and one of my recipes is featured again in the January 2018 issue (get your copy now).
I signed a deal for a VERY exciting project launching in 2018 – watch this space!
And finally, I cooked some really good vegan food!
I said goodbye to 2017 with a heavy heart, and I know a lot of healing still lies ahead. It is the first time in 7 years that I’m starting a year off alone, which is super scary for me. But even though it seems daunting, and even though I’m a bit anxious for what lies ahead, I feel strong, present and ready to embrace every opportunity and challenge that comes my way. May 2018 be the year I become still and mindful, at peace in my own company. May I be present, not dwelling on the past or stressing about the future. May 2018 be the year I find myself (so cheesy) and be authentic. May I have fun and may I fall. And may I look back in a year’s time and write a blog post twice this size 😉
Christmas is a time of love and togetherness, but being the only vegan at the table brings about another level of loneliness 💔 On 1 January, I’ll be vegan for four years and this was the first Christmas I’ve ever … Continue reading →
This week, I was at it again! Afternoon Express invited me back to the studio to show their viewers just how easy and delicious plant-based cooking can be.
The brief was simple – create something scrumptious using Clover’s soy milk as a dairy alternative. My initial idea was to dish up a dessert, however, I’d rather help South Africans replace their meat-heavy main meals than their sweet treats. Leaving meat, eggs and dairy off your plate one day (or even one meal) at a time can make a massive difference to our environment, and obviously our animals. One beef burger requires the same amount of water than 60 showers, and with the detrimental drought South Africa is facing, we can’t risk wasting one drop. So I encourage you to join the Green Monday SA movement and simply reduce the amount of animal products you consume. Vegifying your favourite food is easier and tastier than you think! My favourite food is pasta, so for this week’s show, I created a velvety pasta bake with roasted broccoli, butternut and sundried tomatoes. I usually use Happy Earth People‘s red lentil pasta for this dish to increase the protein content, but you can use any (egg-free) pasta of your choice. You can also swap the veggies with whatever you have available in your fridge – think peppers, mushrooms and sweet potato. It is a quick and easy dinner that the whole family will enjoy!
Pasta Bake with Broccoli, Butternut and Sundried Tomatoes
1 cup Woolworths sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped
3 cups unsweetened soy milk
1 cup cake-wheat flour (all-purpose flour), sifted
100ml sundried tomato oil (from the packet)
Salt & pepper
1 cup breadcrumbs
Sriracha (or another hot sauce)
Cook pasta according to packet instructions, drain and set aside.
Place broccoli and butternut in an oven-proof dish. Sprinkle with olive oil. 3. salt and pepper and roast for 30-40 minutes until soft and caramelized.
While veggies are grilling, make the white sauce: Sift flour into cold milk and whisk until combined. Transfer to a pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, add the sundried tomatoes’ oil and whisk continuously over very low heat until thick and lump-free. Add salt and pepper to taste. If your white-sauce becomes lumpy, transfer it to a food processor and mix until smooth and velvety.
Add the pasta and chopped sundried tomatoes to the dish with vegetables. Mix to evenly spread the ingredients.
Pour over the white sauce and mix.
Top with an even layer of breadcrumbs and bake for about 30 minutes.
Cut into squares and serve with a squirt of Sriracha and fresh parsley.
Today, on the 1st of November 2017, we are celebrating World Vegan Day! This annual festivity marks the start of world vegan month, 30 days of eating plant-based to give our farm animals (as well as the environment) a break. … Continue reading →
If you love the aromatic ambiance of curried Indian cuisine as much as I do, you will adore this recipe! Recently, Afternoon Express phoned me up with another incredible opportunity to feature on their lifestyle show. From the 17th of September to the 17th of October the Indian community celebrates Purtassi, an annual festival during which the community only feasts on vegan foods. To make it as easy (and tasty) as possible for their viewers to eat vegan during this fast, Afternoon Express asked me to whip up a traditional Indian recipe with a plant-based twist.
Since Indian cuisine already consists of many vegan curries, I wanted to create something out of the ordinary and challenged myself to vegify a creamy Butter Chicken using Quorn’s vegan savoury pieces. These little nibbles are one of my favourite products in their vegan range as they are super versatile and mimic the texture of chicken incredibly well. I was inspired to give it a go for the show, and to my surprise this spicy dish knocked the saucy socks right off me.
Even though summer is on its way, this still makes for a delicious dinner or left-over lunch. It is a get-together meal best enjoyed with good friends, red wine and crispy naan on the side.
VEGAN BUTTER CHICKEN WITH QUORN
1 box Quorn spicy patties, cut into bite-sized chunks
FOR THE MARINADE:
1 can coconut cream
2 tsp garam masala spice mix
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
Juice of 1/2 lime / lemon
FOR THE SAUCE:
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight in 1 cup of water
1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
1 small white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon garam masala, plus additional to taste
½ teaspoon paprika
1 ½ teaspoon turmeric
1 ½ teaspoon cumin
6 tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper, to taste
Fresh coriander to garnish
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the Quorn cubes Set aside and let it marinate while you prepare the sauce.
Blend the soaked cashews with the water until it becomes a creamy sauce, scoop a dollop out and keep aside for garnish
Heat oil in a deep non-stick pot. Add chopped onions and cook over medium-low heat until translucent.
Add garlic, ginger and garam masala, paprika, turmeric and cumin and mix until the onions are coated and fragrant.
Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and a pinch of salt to the pan and mix. The tomatoes will release a lot of liquid.
Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, until all of the excess juices have evaporated.
Once mixture is reduced to a paste, add it to the blender with the cashews and blend until smooth. Add additional water if needed.
Return the sauce to pan and add the Quorn cubes along with the marinade. Simmer until heated through.
Add cayenne pepper, nutritional yeast, and salt & pepper. Taste and adjust flavor, adding more garam masala if needed.
Serve hot with basmati rice or naan bread. Garnish with the dollop of cashew cream and fresh coriander.