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Sonya Meagor
07773 298 269
Sonya Meagor
07773 298 269

Eco Cuisine Blog

What is a Vegan and Veganism?

This weekend there was a vegan festival here in London and you may have seen Instagram feeds filled with #vegan and #plantbased or perhaps you attended the festival yourself. What with veganism hitting the headlines recently and more and more people adopting a vegan diet, we thought we’d explain a little more to those of you who aren’t sure what veganism actually is.

 

vegan bowl food

 

The Vegan Society define veganism as:

 

“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

 

There are many ways to embrace vegan living. Yet one thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey – as well as products like leather and any tested on animals.”

 

You can read more about this here. But people follow a plant-based diet for a variety of reasons from health considerations to environmental due to intensive farming or for religious reasons.

 

One of the biggest misconceptions about vegans is that all they can eat is a plate of greens but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Options are actually very broad but it is important to ensure you get all the nutrients you need from eating a varied and balanced vegan diet.

 

It is quite easy as a vegan to eat five portions of a variety of fruit and veg a day but it can be tricky getting enough protein from fruit and veg alone (though it is possible!) So eat some beans, pulses and other proteins too – have some dairy alternatives such as soya drinks, which are enriched with calcium. Choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat in small amounts and as with omnis, it is important to have plenty of fluids – around eight glasses a day. If you’re having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt or sugar, have these less often and in small amounts.

 

If you are exploring veganism do take a look at the Vegan Society website, or there are a lot of support groups online too.

 

At eco cuisine a dish which is very popular with our vegan clients is a chickpea curry.

 

vegan vegetables

 

For two persons

 

Sauté two onions and add two chopped cloves garlic – cook until soft. Then boil four tomatoes and skin then chop and add to the onions. Next add 1/2 inch piece of grated ginger.

 

After 10 minutes add a teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, garam masala and turmeric and sauté for a further 10 minutes.

 

At this stage you can taste and if you want more spice for a bit more kick, add chopped fresh chillies to your heat tolerance.

 

Add your tinned chickpeas with water and then add some seasonal veg to bulk it out – if making now, I’d be adding some lovely kale for texture and flavour  – just simmer for 20 minutes and serve with brown rice.

 

Yummy!!

 

Tried it? Share with us over on our Facebook page.

 

Remember we cater for a variety of dietary requirements and provide meat/fish/vegetarian and vegan catering.



Seasonal Shopping List for September

Autumn is just around the corner – next week in-fact on the 22nd September and it feels as if it is here already with the sudden weather change.

At eco cuisine we are all about sustainable food and eating seasonally is a big part of sustainability. When buying British seasonal produce you are supporting your local economy, helping the environment and it is of course cheaper too.

There are arguments for seasonal eating being a healthier option too.

With this in mind we create a seasonal shopping list so you are aware of what will be in season this autumn and can make informed decisions when buying your weekly food shop.

 

Seasonal Pumpkin Soup

 

Fruit and Veggies

Artichoke, aubergine, beetroot, broccoli, sweetcorn, cucumber, courgette, kale, spinach, onion, tomato, lettuce, mangetout, runner bean, pumpkin and squash, leek, plum, blackberry, apple, fig, damson, grape and melon.

 

Meat and Fish

Autumn lamb, partridge, wood pigeon, duck, venison, grouse, brown trout, oyster, mussel, sea bass, clam, cod, crab, dover sole, grey mullet, haddock, halibut, herring, john dory, lemon sole, mackerel, monkfish, plaice, salmon, sardine, scallop, squid and turbot.

 

Seasonal Meat Pie

 

I know what you are thinking… all this delicious produce sounds perfect for hearty soups to start and warming fruit pie for dessert and you are right!

 

Let us know what you whip up in the kitchen this month over on our Facebook page

 

 

 



Thai Green Curry Recipe

14-20 August was National Allotments Week – the National Allotments Society’s initiative. On their website they say:

 

“This year our theme is “Growing the Movement” a celebration of all the hard work put in by voluntary association management committees, plot-holder volunteers and councils managing, creating, developing and safeguarding sites.”

 

They safeguard allotment sites and the British tradition of  allotment gardening. They work with the government and other bodies to promote and educate on allotment gardening too and even offer support and advice for people on the subject matter. You can find out more about them here

 

Whether you have an allotment or grow your own at home, August is a great time for seasonal produce.

 

We’ve already had blackberries aplenty, strawberries, plums, cherries, and Bramley apples as well as broad beans, runner beans and cabbages, lettuce and celery too.  August is a great time for carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherries, courgette, cucumber, marrow, and sweetcorn as well.

 

I like to make the most of the abundance of readily available seasonal fruit and veg and whip up a storm in the kitchen with everything from salads to apple crumbles and even curries.

 

Why not give it a go yourself? Here’s my recipe for vegan Thai Green Curry, you can make it omni simply by adding some chicken or prawns…

 

Thai green curry paste

Thai curry ingredients chilli ginger eco cuisine

 

2 x lower part of lemon grass stalks

1 tablespoon galangal or ginger

3 tablespoons shallot

2 tablespoon garlic

2 teaspoon salt

10 small dried chillies

3 kaffir lime leaves

 

Take the above ingredients and add a small amount of water then whizz in processor. Remember, you can use what you need and freeze the rest by spooning into an ice cube tray – then each ice cube equals one portion depending on how hot you like your curry. Give it just a couple of tries and you will know. You can always adjust the above to suit your taste with regard to the chillies used too.

 

At this time of year, seasonal squashes and pumpkins come very soon and make a lovely base for a filling veggie curry, then you need only add green beans and broccoli. You can even buy British choi sum or pak choi to add some South East Asian authenticity to your curry.

 

seasonal butternut squash

 

Dice your veg – add the paste (one tablespoon per person or ice cube of from frozen) and  stir and mix into your vegetables for a few minutes. The next step is to add either coconut milk from a tin or if using dry coconut cream  add some slivers and boiling water and stir in.

 

Next, just simmer until your veggies are cooked. You could add tofu to this or if you are a meat eater of course diced chicken, prawns etc.

 

Enjoy! With a glass of sauvignon blanc or maybe a chilled beer. If you don’t drink alcohol, why not have it with a glass of tonic water with lots of fresh mint… Delicious.

 

white wine with Thai curry eco cuisine

 

If you tried it or even if you have just enjoyed a crop of gorgeous goodies from your garden or allotment, do share with us on our Facebook page.

 

Until next time…



Afternoon Tea or High Tea

My last blog post was all about Wimbledon – of course strawberries and cream came up and as a natural progression, [perhaps because I am Cornish?], Cream Teas were mentioned too. That old argument of cream or jam first…

 

This month has seen me cater so many teas from a smart classic tea for newly qualified teachers as a celebratory event, to an Afternoon Tea for Trip Advisor.

 

I’ve had to bake scones in their dozens, so I thought what better subject than Afternoon Tea for my next post.

 

Trip Advisor Afternoon Tea

 

If you already like and follow my Facebook page you will know I posted some of the pictures of the teas I had catered for this month. These featured dainty chicken salad sandwiches, beautiful patisserie cakes and hearty scones with ample lashings of cream and jam and more. In the caption we called it “High Tea” but we were told by one of our sharp-eyed followers that in-fact, it is not a High Tea, but an Afternoon Tea.

 

Whoops! We may bake a mean scone and would like to think we know a lot about sustainability and ethical eating but we learn something new every-day too.

 

This felt like the perfect opportunity to learn about the difference between High Tea and Afternoon Tea and share it with you too.

 

We found out that High Tea is actually usually eaten between 5pm-7pm and must feature a warm dish. So the traditional teas with sandwiches and cakes that we have been serving recently do not fall in to these criteria at all.

 

After a little more digging we found out that High Tea was essentially what we call dinner or supper these days, but back then it was a very classist affair and was something for the working classes. It involved bread, cheese and veg and occasionally meat too, not forgetting a mug of tea as well.

 

Afternoon Tea was a social event for the upper classes and bridged the gap between lunch and the evening meal as many of the upper class didn’t eat until 8 or 9pm. Afternoon Tea usually involved cakes and bread with butter as a light bite served in a parlour on low comfortable chairs. Whereas High Tea was eaten at the table and so dining high back chairs were sat on to eat this.

 

Afternoon Tea for Three

 

More history for you, as we learned that Afternoon Tea originated in the early 19th Century by the 7th Duchess of Bedford and was enjoyed at home with friends. But soon it took off as a trend and in the Edwardian times tea houses and lounges started to pop up and Afternoon Tea was fashionable to be served in these luxury surroundings at around 4pm.

 

This is quite similar to the teas served at hotels and high-end department stores that we still have to this day – think tea at Sketch, The Dorchester or even Selfridges. Or if you are from up North, Betty’s is the perfect example.

Wedding Afternoon Tea

 

When enjoying an Afternoon Tea catered by eco cuisine, you know that we use the highest quality British ingredients from local suppliers. This means your food is more eco-friendly than when buying from a caterer who isn’t concerned with ethical and sustainable eating. Plus, it is of course delicious!

 



Wimbledon and Food Traditions

Woman serving - Wimbledon

 

It is that time of year again, sun and showers, tennis, champagne or Pimms and of course strawberries and cream! I am referring to Wimbledon of course. At the time of writing this Andy Murray has just lost his game on centre court in the Quarter Final… it was nail biting but whether you are a tennis fan or not, it is a great excuse to eat strawberries.

 

They are in season and British strawberries are delicious. Wimbledon actually sources their strawberries from the Hugh Lowe Farm in Kent, who have supplied the championships for more than 20 years!

 

 

Apparently, 28 tonnes of strawberries were sold last year and Wimbledon do actually subsidise the cost of strawberries to their customers – a bowl of strawberries and cream has remained at £2.50 for the past seven years. You can find more facts and figures on Wimbledon catering here.

 

This got me thinking, what have strawberries actually got to do with tennis anyway? It seems no one really knows where the tradition came from but if you are interested in the history of it, you can read more about it in an article the Independent published here

 

Strawberries and cream seem to be the hot picnic piece again at the moment and we have been catering a huge amount of cream teas too.

 

eco cuisine cream tea scones cream and jam

 

You may know that I am Cornish so it goes without saying that I follow the Cornish tradition of jam and then cream on my scones – those from Devon do cream then jam. But it seems like everyone has a different preference.

 

The same goes for other traditions too – Pimms for example. How do you have yours? I love mine with lemonade, a slice of cucumber and mint to garnish. I know often people have orange slices too but it isn’t my cup-of-tea. I went out for drinks with friends… We were served ours with borage, which is pretty standard, but also elderflower instead of lemonade and had passion fruit and strawberry added into the mix too. Sacrilege!

 

Roast Dinner

 

People do get passionate when it comes to food traditions, probably the way I feel when a classic chicken roast dinner is served with Yorkshire Puddings -everyone knows these should be saved for a beef roast surely! Or equally when a beef roast dinner isn’t served with Horseradish sauce. Roast lamb and mint sauce is another one people feel strongly about. I am not a fan unless the mint is made with fresh herbs. The unusual fact about this is, mint sauce with roast lamb became essential thanks to Queen Elizabeth I. She was actually trying to help the wool industry and prevent her subjects from eating so much lamb and mutton and she commanded that lamb could only be eaten with bitter herbs. She thought this would put people off but they soon discovered that mint made the meat taste even better!

 

Some would say an Indian takeaway with a beer in front of Netflix is the new tradition of Friday nights and given it is the most popular takeaway in the U.K. – who are we to argue?

 

Are you a strawberries and cream fiend or do you have a particular “food tradition”? Let us know your favourites.

 

Thanks,

Sonya