More and more foods on offer for vegans say Radmore Farm Shop
I always hear people talking of how bleak and miserable January is, but I really like it. The shop keeps busy as we're great for winter and comforting foods, and there's time to think about our long-term plans, now that the chaos of December has passed.
A plan that is very-much in the thinking stages is Radmore recipe boxes. I love that our online store is bringing us together with more independent producers; people who are passionate about what they make, the ingredients that go into it, and how it is packaged. These people are not only keeping traditional and artisan crafts alive, but reinvigorating them. And it’s this that has us thinking about recipes that combine the best of what these producers make, together into collaborative meals.
So, this means we are cooking (and then cooking some more) at home to get ideas, and test out a few things. For me, this is brilliant fun and I’ll keep you updated as to how it goes.
But there is one problem (or two): my not-quite four-year-old and not-quite two-year-old! I’m sure I’m not the only person to have this problem, but their palettes are quite limited and new things that they are not familiar with sometimes poses a problem. My solution to this is to get them cooking with me. This makes the ingredients more accessible, and as a result the meal is more approachable for the younger family members. And I tell myself that even if they refuse to eat it, they will have learnt some vital skills that will help them later in life.
Veganuary is something we hear more about every year. The market has really changed in the past 10 years we’ve had a shop, there are more products made and sold than ever before that cater for a vegan diet. And they’re good. When people used to say they were vegan, my initial response was ‘what do you live on?’, but now it’s easier than ever to have nice foods and a balanced diet. Snacking is one of the categories that I have noticed the most growth in.
During a spell of eating a dairy free diet last year, I really got to appreciate first-hand how good this area really is. A lot of the products I tested back then, I have stuck with and are becoming my favourites.
Plain ‘really dark’ chocolate used to be the only mainstream dairy free option for chocolate but now there are not only lots of different variations of flavoured dark chocolates, there’s a huge range of dairy free milk chocolates too, and raw chocolates. Plus, the range of milk alternatives available now is astounding. Where there was just soya, there is now hazelnut, tigernut, almond, rice and oat... to name only a few. And don’t get me started on the range of beans that are available. A special mention must go to a company we love – Hodmedods, which sells British-grown grains, beans and pulses. It even does snacking beans and peas. Yes, it’s a great time to test being a vegan, especially a part-time one so that you can still enjoy meat and fish a couple of times a week.
You may think it odd that a butcher writes so highly of eating more vegan foods, but here’s what I personally try to do... eat meat less often. But when you do make sure it’s the highest welfare and quality you can afford. Just to balance things out I’ve included a meaty recipe!
Vicky’s Beef & Butternut Chilli
Glug rapeseed oil
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
Glug red wine
500g grass fed minced beef (I use Dexter)
1/2 large butternut or 1 whole small
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 tin mixed beans
Beef stock pot
1 tin tomatoes
1 tsp Hot smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
Rice to serve
Heat oil in a large pan, brown the diced onion, garlic (crushed) and finely chopped chilli. Add a little of the wine to deglaze pan.
Add beef and brown, add remaining red wine
Stir in butternut, peeled and cut into large dice
Add in diced peppers and drained mixed beans
Stir in the stock pot and chopped tomatoes and stir well.
Add paprika, salt and pepper and leave to simmer, stirring occasionally until the butternut is soft (about 15-20 minutes)
Serve with rice