"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet"
Albert Einstein

Monday, 10 September 2012

Eating out as a vegan

A week has gone by now since i decided to go fully vegan for a month, The highlight has been having a re-kindled appreciation for the food that i am eating.
It has been a week full of challenges, overcoming hurdles such as not wearing my cherished woollen socks on these chilly spring mornings through to highlights such as being able to order a tasty meal off a menu without complication.
I am still a little objective towards not being able to enjoy honey as part of a vegan diet, as its an ingredient I've always loved working with both in sweet and savoury dishes. However i now understand the reasoning behind this and would like to add to this my way of thinking, which is that if you make an exception it nearly always opens the flood gates for further exceptions, which would in turn tarnish the incredible significance of a vegan lifestyle, that is being entirely free from all animal protein (I intent to research the health benefits of reduced animal protein in a dietary intake this week so any resources appreciated)
 My wife and i enjoyed the weekend visiting our families in Nelson, this also included a few challenges such as eating out, shopping and eating and cooking with family. The weekend started with me preparing the evening meal for my wife, my mother and my two hungry adult brothers. As we were arriving late i preroasted some chunky vegies in some fragrant whole spices and took some tasty lentil soup from the cafe, It was a case of reheating and simply adding some fresh spinach, served with some fresh bread, dukkah and a local olive oil it was a hit.
However I'm still looking out for a quick, tasty and easy vegan dessert....
The next morning we trotted off to the famed Nelson Saturday market which unfortunately was a dud as the weather simply wasn't playing ball! Disillusioned after making the hr long drive in for the market we headed to Yazza cafe, (Which is located in montgomery carpark) for some brunch and a much needed caffeine pick me up. The cafe has long been a reputed haven for alternative customers serving amazing vegetarian food. The coffee with soy was incredible and from the regular menu I was able to order a mushroom and tomato take of a bruschetta style dish which was filling and tasty, I highly recommend YAZZA CAFE for accommodating vegan requirements fantastic!

That evening we were booked to go to Riverside cafe  http://www.riverside-cafe.co.nz Located in the moutere valley 10 mins drive from Motueka. Being part of a group of 6 in their first week of reopening for the season I was excited to see what the chef would whip up. The lovely host barely flinched when i said i would like a vegan meal despite there being no vegan options on the printed menu. I felt at ease, despite her not being able to tell me what it was that i was going to be eating with her simple smile and the comment "the chef is very flexible". The meals came and i had a wonderland of organic cafe grown vegetables including zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, pumpkin & baby brussle sprouts served with fresh foccacia and a lovely thick coconut sauce it was a really nice dish. Well done to Riverside cafe and congratulations to them for their recent appearance on TV3's cafe secrets!
The next evening it was off to the inlaws house for the night and the first decent test for my new found allegiance to veganism, Whats for dinner?
Pork roast with apple sauce and crackling followed by Apple crumble with icecream.
Oh boy here we go!
No problem, but my inlaws do make a really nice well prepared roast dinner. I was content with a good selection of roast vegies with fresh herbs and garlic with whole baked field mushrooms and a tomato relish, pheww I strategically filled up on my main course to make the absence of a vegan dessert less noticeable but Linda had gone to the effort of preparing her crumble with no butter and i simply couldn't say no! The crumble was yummy and tasty enough even without the icecream.
Thanks Guys
All in all it was a great weekend


Anonymous said...

Hi Ben,
Good on you for giving being vegan a go!

Here are some resources about health: http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vegdiets/frequently-asked-questions-about-nutrition (the whole website has lots of info too)


As for desserts this is one of my favourite simple ones: http://safe.org.nz/recipes/desserts/page-2/#ChocolateMoussePie

And have you heard of cashew cream? http://talronnen.ca/recipes/cashew-cream/ Can be used in savoury or sweet.

And a whole bunch of vegan resources for NZ for you:


Anonymous said...

And...are you watching River Cottage Veg?

Camino Walker said...

Hope you didn't cop to much flack from the father in law.

Unknown said...

Hi there Ben,
This is a never fail recipe and is a hit with every non-Vegan I have ever made it for. BROWNIE!!!!

Vegan Double Chocolate Brownie

2 cups flour
2 cups caster sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Half a block of wittakers dark, chopped into chunks
1 cup canola oil
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine dry ingredients (leaving choc chunks til last). Then add wet ingredients, pour into a greased and lined baking tin. Bake at 180 for 30 minutes. You can play around by putting in raspberries or making it peppermint with some essence.