Author Archives: beckles23

About beckles23

A vegan, gluten free who enjoys charity work and writing

Should Vegans Eat Honey? – Vegan Life Issue 3

When you tell somebody you’re vegan and they ask you what it entails the honey aspect is usually what tips them over edge to thinking you’re ridiculous. “What harm can a bit of honey do? The bee’s give it to us for free!” is one of the most common arguments I hear. It’s not just between vegans and meat eaters either, I’ve seen many vegans arguing about honey online. So what’s the real answer?

honey_apple_glass_240494_l

Vegan Life Magazine have tried to tackle the controversial argument in their January/February issue by comparing the for and against arguments. As usual they have left it up to their readers to decide what to believe but I don’t think this is a difficult decision at all.

The yes camp use the argument that not eating honey is what gives vegans such a bad name. People think we’re pedantic and over the top. Why do we care about bees? It can’t have escaped your attention that bees are in dramatic decline all over the world. Colony collapse disorder is causing hives to literally become empty shells overnight and scientists are baffled as to why. It is thought that it could be pesticides which are killing off our bees or possibly the changes to their natural environment. What is certain is that the extinction of bees would be extremely dangerous to human kind with many of our foods disappearing with them as they are not being pollinated.

flower_insects_animals_278723_h

Honey is a natural food and can be harvested without harming the bees but unfortunately that usually isn’t the case. Bee’s create honey so that they have food to eat over the winter when pollen is hard to come by. If we take that honey we have to then feed them with an artificial alternative so that they can still feed. This is usually made with processed sugar, a very unnatural alternative. Honey is extremely nutritious which is one of the reasons we take it, can you imagine what happens to the bees that are fed this ridiculous alternative?

To keep up with the demand for honey beekeepers often add new layers to the hives so that the bees carry on reproducing and therefore produce more honey from their offspring. This is not natural and causes increased stress and often death. A bee would rather work itself to death than let it’s offspring die and yet the honey isn’t going anywhere near the young but being taken for humans to enjoy instead.

abeille-miel-honey-44419-h

The vegan lifestyle is about caring for animals and not taking advantage of them for our own benefit. While people may argue that keeping bees is stopping them from becoming extinct, nothing could be further from the truth. Keeping these vulnerable insects in hives and stealing the food they would give to their children is not what I call care. Someone who exploits bees by eating their honey cannot call themselves a vegan.

Advertisements
Categories: Vegan Life, Veganism | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Chickpea, Carrot & Coriander Falafel Burgers – A Girl Called Jack

IMG_0715

 

A couple of days ago I told you all about the number of vegan recipes you could find in Jack Monroe’s first cookbook and on her website. I tried my first recipe out of the book this week and since I’d been craving falafel it had to be the carrot and coriander falafel!

Anyone else who is gluten free and vegan knows how difficult it is to find some ready made falafel that is suitable. Most varieties have wheat flour in which I’ve never completely understood! The recipes I’ve seen to make them at home tend to use dried chickpeas and require quite a bit of effort. What makes this recipe different is that it uses tinned chickpeas for convenience and texture. The grated vegetables mix with the chickpeas to create a nice soft inside while the outside crisps up nicely in the frying pan. I made mine into burger shapes and topped them with hummus, avocado, tomato and lettuce.

IMG_0716

I’ve never had better burgers in my life. If you want to give them a go the recipe can be found here.

Categories: Other Recipes | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Individual Bramley Apple Crumbles

It came to my attention over the weekend that this week was in fact Bramley Apple Week! Obviously this was an opportunity to make my favourite dessert, a buttery and spicy apple crumble. It also inspired me to find out a bit more about Britain’s favourite cooking apple.

I grew up with the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” which I used to take literally. Now I know there are plenty of other factors in keeping good health. Apples are well known for their health benefits though and are full of vitamin C and fibre! Does this make my favourite pudding any less virtuous? I don’t think so!

IMG_0685

I actually used frozen apples for this recipe. I’d never used them before so I was apprehensive but they worked fantastically! These only cost £1 from Ocado and they saved us the peeling and chopping that usually comes with an apple dessert. I also decided to make two smaller crumbles rather than a normal family sized one. Me and my boyfriend like slightly different flavours in our apples so this was perfect!

IMG_0690

First I split the frozen apples between the two dishes and we both added our own flavourings. We both used maple syrup then I added mostly vanilla to mine and Steven added mostly cinnamon to his. Then it was just a case of whacking the crumble on the top and putting them in the oven for 20 minutes!

A gorgeous, comforting dessert in half an hour and a perfect way to celebrate Bramley Apple Week.

Recipe

Ingredients:

One packet of frozen apples or 4-5 fresh apples

2 cups of gluten free plain flour

1 cup of vegan margarine (I used Pure Sunflower)

1 cup of sugar

Cinnamon to taste (around 1/2 tsp)

Vanilla sugar

Cinnamon sugar

Chopped nuts (optional)

1 tbsp maple syrup (for each pie)

.

Method:

1) Split the apple slices between the dishes and add 1 tbsp maple syrup and cinnamon/vanilla to taste. Give a mix to coat all of the slices.

2) Add the margarine and flour to a bowl and crumble together with your fingers until it looks like breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar with a wooden spoon.

3) Cover the apple mixture with the crumble mixture and sprinkle with cinnamon/vanilla sugar and chopped nuts.

4) Place in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes or until the apples are bubbling and the top is golden

5) Enjoy while warm!

.

IMG_0699

Categories: My Recipes | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fruity Friday (MOFO #12) – Tea Poached Pears in Chocolate Sauce

fruityfriday

It’s the end of the third week already, can you believe it? Some chocolate covered pears will cheer you up though right?

Today’s recipe is from Veganomicon and didn’t take any adaptations to make it gluten free. It makes a change to not have to edit a recipe that tastes this good!

040113_1835_marchcookbo1

I’ve never made or tasted a poached pear before but I loved the idea as soon as I saw it on the page. The recipe uses black tea, orange zest and vanilla extract to poach the pears in and then mixes some chocolate with some of the tea mixture to pour over the top. I used Earl Grey teabags for a bit of a lighter flavour and my pears turned out beautifully soft and had a comforting tea flavour. I loved the idea of using the leftover tea to make the chocolate sauce as it gave the sauce a bit of depth.

WP_20140912_005 (1)

I added some crushed almonds to the top of my pears to give a bit of crunch and ladled the chocolate sauce over the top. I managed to eat my way through 2 pears before I could stop!

.

Have you ever poached a pear?

Categories: Cookbooks, Vegan MOFO 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stress Free Saturday (MOFO #9) – Aubergine, Potato and Pepper Stew

stressfreesaturday

We’re halfway there guys! Today is Stress Free Saturday which is the day where I share a recipe with you which does not need adapting. Today’s stew is from the Meat Free Monday Cookbook and is my all time favourite aubergine recipe!

WP_20140912_002

This book is an excellent one for both veggies and vegans alike. It’s based on the idea of eating only vegetarian food on Mondays and is broken down into seasons. The aubergine, potato and pepper stew comes under Autumn which means it’s perfect for this time of year.

WP_20140912_003

I followed the recipe exactly but left out the feta to make it vegan. Once the veg was prepped and it was simmering away I could relax for half an hour until my bowl of comfort food was ready! The stew is made with peppers, courgettes, aubergine, potatoes, butter beans and olives and is beautiful served with rice.

WP_20140912_001

.

What is your favourite aubergine recipe? Maybe I need to expand my repertoire!

Categories: Cookbooks, Vegan MOFO 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday (MOFO #8) – “Fronch” Toast

throwbackthursday

We’re almost halfway through Vegan MOFO and it’s going too fast! Today I’m carrying on with my theme of making recipes from my pre-vegan days suitable for my gluten free and vegan diet.

Today is Throwback Thursday and I want to talk to you about french toast (aka eggy bread!). Before I was vegan my birthday breakfast was always eggy bread with a dollop of ketchup to dunk it in. For those of you not familiar with it, eggy bread is slightly stale bread which is soaked in an eggy mixture and then fried. It’s deliciously naughty!

WP_20140911_001

Today’s recipe comes from Vegan With A Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. This was one of my very first books when I turned vegan but since I went gluten free and started avoiding soya I’ve not used it much at all. The Fronch Toast recipe is very easy to make gluten and soy free though and makes an absolutely perfect Sunday breakfast.

WP_20140907_001

Isa recommends a baguette shaped loaf for this recipe but I used a DS Ciabatta which I cut in half. It soaked up the mixture delightfully because of the air pockets inside. Instead of soy cream I used the new Alpro rice cream which was surprisingly thick and creamy! I also replaced the soy milk with some unsweetened almond milk.

The eggs in this recipe are replaced by cornflour and chickpea flour which is a combination I would never have thought of. They worked perfectly though and created a gorgeous crispy coating. This is definitely going to be a regular in my kitchen!

.

Which breakfast treats do you miss from your childhood?

Categories: Cookbooks, Other Recipes, Vegan MOFO 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Wildcard Wednesday (MOFO #8) – Mushroom, Asparagus and Cheese Omelette

wildcardwednesday

 

Welcome to the second week of Vegan MOFO! I’ve already fallen behind a bit as I didn’t post yesterday or the day before. Sorry for my absence but I was exhausted after work!

As it’s Wildcard Wednesday I have a quick recipe for you which doesn’t fall under my “Veganising Recipes from Cookbooks” theme. This omelette is adapted from a recipe from A Vegan Obsession for a Vegg frittata. I make these frittatas all the time when I’m too lazy to cook properly and I’ve made lots of different varieties! Yesterday I decided to add some cheese into my frittata to make it into a cheesy omelette. Here’s my adaptation!

WP_20140909_006

Ingredients

5 tsp Vegg powder

1 cup of gluten free flour

1 cup of water

Handful of mushrooms

A few asparagus stalks

 2 slices of Violife Hot Pepper cheese

.

Method

1) Thinly slice your mushrooms and cut your asparagus into pieces

2) Fry the mushrooms in a small amount of olive oil

3) Blend the vegg with the water using a handheld blender

4) Add the flour and blend

5) Add the asparagus to the frying pan and pour over the vegg mixture

6) Cook for around 4 minutes or until the sides of the omelette can be lifted with a spatula and bubbles are forming on top

7) Shred the cheese and sprinkle on the top before placing under the grill

8) Cook until browned on top and cooked all the way through

9) Enjoy with a splash of worcester sauce and some ketchup!

.

How do you enjoy your Vegg?

Categories: Vegan MOFO 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Stress Free Saturday (MOFO #6) – Peas, Leeks and Spinach

stressfreesaturday

Welcome to Stress Free Saturday! My MOFO theme is adapting your pre-vegan cookbooks to match a gluten free and vegan diet. I don’t know about you but the last thing I want to do at the end of a week is spend lots of time in the kitchen trying to figure out how to veganise a recipe. This is why on Saturdays we will be doing Stress Free Saturday – recipes from non-vegan cookbooks that just happen to be vegan and gluten free!

WP_20140906_001

Most chefs love vegetables  and there are a million and one different ways to prepare them. Jamie Oliver really likes to make his veggies shine and I found a beautiful side dish in one of his early cookbooks, The Return of the Naked Chef.

WP_20140906_002

In this recipe Jamie cooks sweet peas with spinach, white wine and spring onions to make a fresh and tasty side dish. Whilst the recipe is completely vegan I did make a few changes. In mine I used leeks instead of spring onions as they were what I had on hand. I cooked the vegetables in some vegetable stock instead of wine and added a bit of dairy free margarine at the end.

WP_20140905_003

It’s nice to do something different with vegetables and this was a beautiful way of serving peas and spinach! These kind of recipes can be found in most cookbooks so it’s worth flicking through any old books you’ve had to see if there are any hidden gems.

Make sure you come back tomorrow where I will be rounding up my favourite recipes from the first week of MOFO!

Categories: Cookbooks, Vegan MOFO 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Throwback Thurday (Mofo #4) – Peanut Squash Stew

throwbackthursday

We’re coming to the end of our first MOFO week! Hasn’t it flown by? I’ve been enjoying reading everybody’s posts. Make sure you keep an eye out on Sunday for my seven favourites!

My theme this year is making recipes from pregan cookbooks both vegan and gluten free. On Thursdays I will be sharing recipes that you will have eaten before you went vegan but with a conscientious twist!

WP_20140904_003

Delia’s how to cheat at cooking is a 2008 book aimed at the more “lazy” cook. This is a book full of frozen mashed potatoes and ready made pastry – not something I would usually be interested in! Then I thought why shouldn’t we get to make easy recipes too? The recipe I’ve chosen includes spices from jars and tinned tomatoes which makes it just that much easier to pull together.

WP_20140904_002

Delia’s West African Groundnut Stew is a spicy stew made with braising beef, onions, carrot and swede. Rather than use a meat substitute here I realised that the flavours of the chilli and allspice would go fantastically with some butternut squash and my vegan version was born!

WP_20140828_004

Peanut Squash Stew

(Inspired by Delia’s West African Groundnut Stew)

.

Ingredients

250g Butternut Squash (cubed)

100g Potato (cubed)

50g Frozen Sweetcorn

1 onion (chopped)

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp allspice

3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter

150ml vegetable stock

.

Method

1) Add a small amount of oil to a heavy bottomed pan and lightly fry the onions and spices for a few minutes

2) Add the squash and potatoes, stirring to coat in the spices

3) Add the tinned tomatoes, peanut butter and stock to the mixture and bring to the boil

4) Simmer for half an hour or until the vegetables have softened

5) Serve with rice and poppadoms!

.

.

This stew was warm, comforting and peanut buttery! Exactly how comfort food should be!

Categories: Cookbooks, My Recipes, Vegan MOFO 2014 | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Wildcard Wednesday (MOFO #3) – Should Vegans Eat Eggs from Rescued Hens?

wildcardwednesday

Welcome to day 3 of Vegan MOFO! My theme for the month is making recipes from non-vegan books both vegan and gluten free. However, on Wildcard Wednesdays I will be taking a break from my theme to discuss topics about veganism.

Issue1_Cover (1)

I hope you’ve come across the brilliant new vegan magazine that hit the shelves this month! It’s full of recipes and insightful articles and is a thought provoking read from cover to cover. One of the interesting articles in the first issue of Vegan Life was a discussion called “If you have rescued hens, is it acceptable to eat their eggs?”

In my opinion eating any kind of eggs is against the key principle of veganism which is that we don’t eat animal products. No exceptions! This does pose the question of what to do with eggs that are lain by your rescued chickens. The article argues that food waste is a huge problem in this country and therefore throwing edible eggs away would be criminal.

I agree with the point that if you eat eggs you cannot call yourself a vegan. But is the label more important than the lifestyle? I’d like to know your opinions on this controversial topic! Would you eat eggs?

.

Related Posts

Vegan MOFO 2013 – Why I Don’t Eat Eggs

Categories: Vegan Life, Vegan MOFO 2014, Veganism | Tags: , , , , | 12 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.