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!
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.”
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.