Counting on … day 1:011

11th January 2023

Swopping from animal to plant based foods can make a considerable reduction to our carbon footprint. According to Exeter Council’s website:-

  • 1 vegetarian day per week (52 days a year) can save nearly 100kgs of CO2 per year.
  • 1 vegetarian week per month (12 weeks a year) can save nearly 153kgs of CO2 per year.
  • 1 vegan day per week (52 days a year) can save nearly 143kgs of CO2 per year.
  • 1 vegan week per month (12 weeks a year) can save nearly 231kgs of CO2 per year.

The BBC has an interesting calculator that compares the footprint of different types of food – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46459714

Further information – 

Counting on …. Day 424

31st December 2022

12 Days of Hope 

Tomorrow is the start of Veganuary. This annual campaign encouraging people to rescue their consumption of animal products. 600,000 people officially taking part in 2022, up on the 580,000 who took part in 2021. YouGov tracker data suggests 2-3% of the UK population are now vegan and 5-7% vegetarian – and growing!

Counting on … day 415

22nd December 2022

Ginger biscuits have the smell of Christmas. Rather than using just ginger, add other spices too such as cinnamon, allspice  and cardamon. 

The following is a simple recipe 

75g margerine, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of syrup. Melt these gently in the microwave. 

Add 225g plan in flour plus 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 1 tsp of more of your choice of spices. Mix and add oat milk/ the juice of an orange to bind as necessary to for a firming dough. 

Chill.

Roll out and cut into shapes. 

Bake at 180C until cooked. They will still be slightly soft but leave on the baking tray. This completes the cooking and gives rise to the term biscuit meaning twice cooked.

Counting on … day 410 

17th December 2022

Delegates at the Biodiversity COP are working to define what it is to be ‘nature positive’. I would hope it means a default of working with rather than against the natural environment wherever possible. One of the Guardian correspondents commented that little is being said about how we as individuals can be ‘nature positive’, adding “Dietary changes, for example, is one of the most significant things people reading this could do to reduce their impact on biodiversity, namely cutting meat consumption.”

Counting on … day 393

30th November 2022

Another food associated with Scotland are oatcakes. I make these on the days when I am baking bread as they can go in the oven whilst the oven is warming up to the high temperature needed for the bread.

Oatcakes

In a bowl mix 2 tablespoons of flour (white, wholemeal, spelt or rye) and 8 tablespoons of oatmeal. Add a half teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and a generous tablespoon of oil. If you wish, add a little salt/ black pepper/ chopped rosemary. 

Add sufficient boiling water to bind to a stiff dough.

Grease a baking tray and spread out the dough into a large rectangle (about 30x25cm) either patting it with well floured hands or using a rolling pin. 

Cut the dough into about 16 pieces (you don’t need to separate them as the mixture doesn’t spread).

Bake for 20 minutes or until firm at about 160-200C. Cool on the tray before removing to any air tight tin.

As a variation you incorporate sunflower or chia seeds etc. 

Counting on …. Day 392

29th November 2022

Tomorrow is the feast of St Andrew, patron saint of Scotland. Here is a recipe for vegan haggis, not entirely my own, but  having no note of the original recipe, I cannot credit its creator.

Haggis. Serves 2-3

50g  Puy lentils

50g pearl barley

oil 

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

75g portobello mushrooms, finely chopped

½ tsp ground allspice

 ½ tsp ground black or white pepper

90g pinhead oatmeal

½ tbsp marmite

1½ tbsp brown sauce or treacle

Sauté the onion and carrot in a little oil till soft. Add the mushrooms and the spices. If need be add a little more oil.

Add the barley and lentils. Add about 400ml hot water and yeast extract. Feel free to add a sprig of thyme. 

Simmer until the mixture is very thick, adding more water if necessary. 

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

Stir in the oatmeal and brown sauce and tip into a greased loaf tin and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 30. 

Leave for five minutes, then turn out and serve.

 Counting on .. day 365

31st October 2022

Can you challenge yourself to a plant-based November? With squashes and pumpkins and mushrooms and brassicas very much in season, lots of delicate and hearty meals await you. Try out a whole range of different plant-based proteins – fava beans, pinto beans, cannelloni beans, Puy lentils, Carlin peas, blue peas, black badger peas, tofu, walnuts, almonds …. I am sure you can have a different one each day!

Counting on … day 350

15th October 2022

Baking without using the oven. Ovens use a lot of energy, so  if you can avoid using them it helps reduce your carbon footprint. Instead you can use a heavy frying pan as a griddle and bake foods such as Welsh cakes, soda farls and potato farls, drop scones, griddle scones and Staffordshire oatcakes. 

Welsh cakes

250g plain or half and half plain and wholemeal plus baking powder

75g vegan butter

75g currants/ raisins

1 tbsp chia seeds soaked in a cup of hot water

1 tsp Nutmeg

A little oat milk

Lightly oil a flat based frying pan and set over a medium heat to warm up.

Rub the butter into the flour and add the remaining ingredients using enough oat milk to bind to a dough. Roll out about the thickness of a thumb and cut into rounds. 

Place the rounds into the pan. When they are browned on one side turn them over. 

Counting on …. Day 340

6th October 2022

According to Chatham House ‘a 15% reduction in pig and chicken consumption across the EU would have nullified the global grain shortage caused by the War in Ukraine.’ Eating less meat and dairy produce reduces demand for grain and other animal fodder, allowing production to be redirected to feeding people.  

Aubergine with almonds

Chopped a couple of cloves of garlic and half an onion. Fry together with a chopped carrot and an aubergine, allowing the ingredients to cook and soften. 

Add 50g of chopped or roughly ground Spanish almonds.

Add a little miso sauce, a little tahini and enough water to bind into a sauce. 

Meanwhile cook some pasta  and (separately) fry a couple of portobello mushrooms.

This serves 2.