I fell behind in MoFo-ing a little. This has been my busiest month of the year since driving halfway across the continent for 4 long damn days. So, in an effort to redeem myself, I give you: my (short-ish) answers to all of the 30 writing prompts… almost.
Your Origin Story (what led you to become vegan?)
I wanted to go vegetarian since I was about 10 because I loved animals and thought raw meat was a pretty gross and obviously cruel. I tried going veg at 19 when I went off to university, and a doctor told me I had a cold and would stay sickly because I was lacto-ova vegetarian, so I quit. (This is also why I don’t pay a lot of heed to doctors in-general these days! With very few exceptions.) At around 23-24, I woke up after a dream (I can’t remember now) and hopped straight on the internet to order go vegetarian starter kits and google all the things. I also had a vegan pal on Livejournal inspiring me. A year later, after Vipassana meditation and reading Animal Liberation while travelling around Asia (and missing the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in Phuket/Phang Gna by mere hours), both myself and my boyfriend (now husband) went vegan: for the animals, although we were incredibly impressed with the fitness improvements as rockclimbers, and the significant impact that ditching animal products – especially dairy – had.
Share your first experience cooking with tofu.
I remember my 1st experience eating tofu! I was about 10-12 years old, and we had a Buddha’s hotpot at my grandpa’s favourite Vietnamese-Chinese restaurant. It was really spongy tofu, and people were complaining about how weird it was, but I thought the texture was freakin’ cool… But also, the earliest cooking experience I can think of: tofu scramble from Leah Leneman’s Vegan Cooking For Everyone.
A food / ingredient you didn’t used to like but now you do, how did the transition happen? (Mine is pickles, Isa’s is Celery!)
I never ate avocado before I was vegan. I thought it was slimy. When I went vegan it started turning up in dips and burgers and on toast, and it just wasn’t slimy at all. Who the heck gave me slimy avocado when I was a kid is what I want to know?! All those years without avocado in my life: sad.
Five vegan foods you cannot live without.
Mushrooms, bananas, kale, coconut, avocado.
Five kitchen utensils or gadgets you cannot live without.
High-speed blender, food processor, bigass sharp knife, grater, and my twirly whirly spiral slicer/spiralizer – I don’t use it often enough, but it’s oodles of noodles of FUN.
What was your first vegan cookbook?
Leah Leneman’s Vegan Cooking For Everyone – I found it in a bookshop and was totally STOKED and had to buy it. This was probably in 2005, right before the great vegan cookbook explosion. Pre-Isa, even!
Pick a historical figure and discuss what you might cook for them.
Leonardo da Vinci. Scrambled tofu, with many awesome brunchy sides. Because vegan breakfasts are the best, and a good scramble with Italian herbs, MMMMMMM. Also because I am a tad obsessed with how cool his brain must’ve been. Rumour has it he was a veghead, and I want to know.
Tell us about a herb you use in a unique way.
Toast with vegemite/marmite (that tar-like salty yeast extract only Australians seem to love), slices of tomato, and fresh thyme or mixed dry herbs on top. That’s a little odd, I think. But I’m always trying to shove green things onto everything. Greens greens greens.
Take us on a (pictoral or video) tour of your kitchen.
I’ll do this in an upcoming post… In the meantime, here’s a Fuji pic:
What’s your newest foodie discovery and how did you discover it?
Dulse seaweed in place of salt/soy sauce on all sorts of things: a winner. Also, I’m still pretty hung up on the rosewater-ish taste of a papaya + strawberry smoothie.
Your vegan heroines / heroes.
Joaquin Phoenix. He amuses me no end.
Is there something you do in the kitchen that you know you’re not supposed to (knives in the dishwasher, soap on cast iron etc)
Knives in the dishwasher. Yep, that’s me. Oops. I know, I know. Bad lady.
Hidden vegan gems in your town, city or village.
Did you see my From Earth And Water pics? Whoa mama.
Veganise a local speciality / food that’s popular in your area.
Coming up in a post soon… In the meantime, KITTEH:
Veganise a family recipe.
We’ve done rather good vegan croissants, and they’re coming up very soon on this blog! Method, recipes, the whole process.
What’s the best vegan meal you’ve ever eaten?
Possibly in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, before I was vegan. There was a restaurant who had a huge menu, and you could order anything with dead meat or faux-meat. ANYTHING. That was a big unreal meal.
Describe your fantasy meal, money and time are not an issue!
An awful lot of vegan crème brûlée that doesn’t fill me up so I can eat more without feeling too stuffed/ill.
What’s your favourite accidentally vegan product?
I don’t really have one… I’m not very impressed with processed food, I tend to do 99% of meals from scratch, so hmm. Once upon a time it might have been Tofutti Cream Cheese (not all Tofutti products are vegan)… wait, wait. Any dark chocolate that’s vegan!… which really isn’t an accident, it’s just properly-made chocolate, isn’t it?
How do you feel about leftovers?
Fuck yeah, easy meal time.
Your top five vegan products (including clothing, cleaning supplies, make up, shoes, soap, whatever)
Ok, in the non-food department – Alba cocoa butter moisturiser: smells like vanilla marshmallow. Everyday Minerals make up. I love my old blue Montrails I bought from Vegan Essentials several years ago, but they’re starting to fall apart! (Like a filthy hipster, I might have to invest in some Vibrams.) No Miss nail polish in silly colours. Lush Demon in the Dark soap.
Your top five store cupboard essentials?
Apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, sprouting seeds (alfalfa, lentils, fenugreek, beans), red lentils, buckwheat (for sprouting and grinding into flour)
Post a picture of a cat!
I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
What’s the first vegan meal you ever cooked from scratch?
It was probably either a vegan Thai curry night we did once for our vegan friend and a bunch of other non-vegan friends before we were vegan, or it might have been a homemade pasta with marinara sauce night for friends… It was over 8 years ago, guys! Memory fail! *pops some B-12* We’ve always been from-scratch sorts of people, a tad more difficult to pinpoint. I cooked vegan pasta and homemade sauce for years before I went vegan, so. Shrug?
When is the last time someone cooked for you and what did they make?
My housemate and Notzarella-maker, Angela! She made stirfry with potatoes, eggplant, greens, small capsicum peppers, crumbled tofu, in a great sauce. You know that sort of flavour that tastes like the best Chinese take-out you’ve ever had? Like that, but with extra homemade tastiness. Angela lived near Beijing growing up. She knows her stuff… It was a really good lunch, damn it.
Do a cookbook challenge!
I’m about to do Thrive for a change of pace! The cover says it contains 100 recipes. It has heaps of mad combos like popped amaranth and rooibos tea in pizza bases… Let’s do this thing.
Throw cookbook names into a hat, use a random number generator to pick a page and make whatever comes up.
I shut my eyes and picked a book off my messy shelf: classic! How It All Vegan! by Sarah Kramer.
Random page: p130! Applesauce Muffins. I can do that. I’ll Hipstagram pics tomorrow.
Your favourite vegan food pairings (Yes, we kinda pinched this one from Vegetarian Times!)
Some basic wholefood stuff: avocado and thyme, tomato and rosemary, pineapple and ginger, bananas and carob/cacao, oranges and pecans, watermelon and mint, papaya and strawberry, sautéed mushrooms and silverbeet, pineapple and kale… All pretty simple, I know. Have you looked up Food Pairing on Wikipedia? Intimidating and/or cray cray… Don’t get me started on molecular gastronomy. Can’t even.
Talk about your favourite place to buy vegetables.
My fave in the Northern Territory: Rapid Creek Markets: so much super-fresh tropical and Asian food! But here? There’s a bulk produce outlet a town over. There’s a nice market at Byron/Bangalow but that’s a 90 minute drive. Nothing as spectacular as what we had in the tropical end of the Outback… but I don’t miss bitter melons – aren’t they just the most disgusting thing ever? Horrific. No, just no.
Your ultimate cooking playlist.
Late 90s/early 00s indie and various fun poppish junk, baby… Actually I usually listen to swing jazz (Ella!) or Jean Sibelius.
What’s your killer dish when you’re cooking for non-vegans?
Curry, curry, curry. Pretty much Thai food. That’s what happens when Ye Olde Husbandie went to cooking school in Chiang Mai.
Goodbye, MoFo 2013. Meow.