What’s that ingredient? Cheat sheet for new vegans

Panko Bread Crumbs

Yesterday I found Panko Breadcrumbs in the supermarket! This was exciting stuff for me. I come across lots of recipes that use them (thank you Isa Chandra Moskowitz!) and have never had any idea what they were or where to get them, and I’d given up looking. This time, I wasn’t even looking for them but they practically jumped off the shelf and hit me in the face.

This reminded me of all the ingredients I’d never used before I went vegan – and how much time I spent trying to figure out what they were, and then find them.

To help new and confused (particularly Australian) vegans, I thought it might be helpful to put together a list of the ingredients that stumped me.

So, if you don’t know your nooch from your Bragg’s, and have no idea where to start in finding besan flour or vital wheat gluten, this is the list for you!

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Save the chickens!

Partially de-feathered chicken, running free on the grass

It seems like everyone’s talking about chickens lately! If you were in Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall a couple of weeks back, you might have seen the inaugural Melbourne Chicken Save rally. A few days later, Animals Australia launched their new campaign to raise awareness about factory farming of chickens, and finally, the chicks (do you like that?) at Our Hen House aired the first episode of their community/online TV show.

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Cruelty Free Shop & Vegie Bar takeaway

Green Matt and Nat purse

I had another blog post to publish, but I had so much fun today that I’ve put that aside and written a new one. What was so much fun? I made my first trip to the new Melbourne Cruelty Free shop in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, and then followed it up by taking Vegie Bar takeaway over to my mum’s place to share for lunch.

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Wisdom teeth and a heatwave

Spaghetti with tempeh meatballs

Last week, temperatures in Melbourne crept up 44° Celsius (about 111°F for those who measure temperature in Fahrenheit) during a heatwave that lasted for 4 days, but seemed much longer!

It’s always tricky to cook and eat when your head is foggy, you’re dripping with sweat and can barely move, but we had further complications – H, my 17-year-old daughter, had mouth surgery, including wisdom teeth extractions, so anything crunchy was definitely out.

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Movies and treats

Puffy Pillow Pancakes with blueberry ginger sauce

I’ve been in a bit of a funk (for want of a better word) lately. The behaviour and reactions of a few people I’ve met recently (meat eaters and vegans) blew the wind out of my sails for a while…but I’m back today to tell you about a little vegan feast that H and I shared. We chomped into some excellent nut cheeses, a pre-packaged dessert and a recipe from Isa Does It (even though my copy of the book hasn’t arrived yet).

If I can muster the energy I’ll explain what caused my ‘funk’ in a later post. (Don’t you love the word ‘funk’? Makes me think of grooving around the disco floor – which isn’t really how I’ve been feeling.)

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Vegan products in mainstream shops

Soy condensed milk and cream

When I first stopped eating meat, in the early 90s, the range of ‘vegie’ foods in my supermarket was VERY limited. I had to make a special trip to a ‘health food’ shop to get some of the foods we ate. Over the years, the range has increased, but it’s great to see that over the last few months, there has been a HUGE expansion of vegie choices in my regular supermarket. It’s a good sign!

Vegan MoFo 2013 banner image

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