Friday 1 November is World Vegan Day. Many interesting events are planned throughout New Zealand including special restaurant menus and potluck meals.
There are two types of vegans — dietary and ethical.
Dietary vegans abstain from eating all animal products lowering the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and possibly some types of cancer. And, they declare, there is the feel-good factor — energy levels shoot up and weight is likely to drop.
Englishman Donald Watson coined the term ‘vegan’ in 1944 when he co-founded the Vegan Society of England, to promote ‘dairy-free vegetarianism’. From 1951, ethical vegans extended their views to other areas of their lives opposing the use of animals for any purpose.
If you plan to become a vegan then remember that eggs, yoghurt, cheese, honey and jellies prepared from gelatine are sourced from birds, animals and fish and need to be removed or substituted in recipes.
However, today there are many vegan products readily available from supermarkets. Rice and almond milk can be changed out for dairy milk. Table spread such as Olivani (made from olive oil) is a great butter substitute and check out the growing range of vegan cheeses.
Auckland’s Heritage Hotel has a special vegan menu commencing 1 November. A Vegan Day dinner is available for just $55 per person. This recipe is based on one from Gerrard O’Keefe, exec chef of the hotel’s vegan-certified Hectors restaurant
Dressing: 3cm piece palm sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 teaspoons sesame oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon finely grated root ginger
2 teaspoons diced chilli
1/4 cup coriander leaves
Lime juice to taste
Vegetables: 250g purple cauliflower
160g green cauliflower
3 tablespoons hemp oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup edamame beans, cooked
1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
3 tablespoons mixed toasted almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup mung beans
2 teaspoons each: fried sliced garlic, fried sliced shallots
To make the dressing smash the palm sugar and mix with the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, chilli, coriander and lime juice.
Cut the purple and green caulis into florets. Blanch quickly then refresh in icy water to retain the colours.
Very thinly slice the courgettes lengthwise. Blanch quickly. Refresh in icy water. Roll each slice into a coil
Place the hemp oil in a hot pan and add the thinly sliced garlic and the florets and toss. Add the edamame beans and heat through.
Place the spinach, toasted seeds and the mung beans in a large bowl. Add the cauli mixture and toss. Add the crispy garlic and shallots with a splash of the dressing.
To serve, make a ring with the larger cauliflower pieces and fill the centre of the dish with the salad. Place courgette coils in between the larger pieces on the outside so they can be seen. Drizzle with more dressing. Serves 4.
EAT YOUR COLOURS PAD THAI
200g Pad Thai (rice) noodles
2 tablespoons peanut or rice bran oil
2 medium carrots, julienned
1 each: red, green capsicums, seeded and julienned
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 cup each: tiny broccoli florets, thinly shredded red cabbage, diced fresh pineapple
2 teaspoons each: chopped garlic, chilli paste
2 tablespoons each: water, tamarind paste
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 cup roasted peanuts
Boil the noodles in water until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Drain and mix with a little peanut or rice bran oil.
Heat half the remaining oil. Add the vegetables and pineapple in the order listed. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the garlic, chilli, water, tamarind paste, sesame oil, noodles, and peanuts. Return to the heat and toss until warmed through.
Great served garnished with coriander and extra peanuts. Serves 4.
GREAT GRAPE & WALNUT SALAD
150g packet Italian-style Salad
200g green grapes, preferably peeled
70g walnut halves, lightly toasted
1/4 cup cider vinegar
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Place the salad on a platter or in a bowl. Top with the grapes and walnuts.
Whisk the vinegar, seasonings and olive oil. Drizzle over the salad just before serving. Serves 4.