Tag Archives: kitty!

I love my freezer (and typing, it seems!).

Phew, it’s been a crazy few weeks. I went on a cruise holiday, then developed both a sinus infection and a chest infection at the same damn time within a few days of getting home, which totally wiped me out for a fortnight. I’ve been back at work since last week, and figured an update was necessary.

So, cruise ships then. They are to vegans as garlic and crosses are to vampires. While there is an entire lack of photographic evidence, it’s entirely possible to eat well and be vegan on a cruise, despite their “catering for vegetarians, but not vegans”.

While I may have had a both a good choice of cruise company (Royal Caribbean) and a little repetition in my meals, I ate like a king while on board and was not once made to feel like an awkward guest.

Breakfast:

We went buffet style every morning. My plate largely involved a trip to the huge fruit salad bar, plus fried potatoes and mushrooms from the grill, then a sweep over to the bread baskets for fresh rolls and margarine. No soy milk, unfortunately, so orange juice and herbal tea for me.

Lunch:

When on board, we went back to the buffet for lunch, and I had loads of options. Huge salad bar, including multiple kinds of salad leaves, lots of different vegetables and awesome toppings like sunflower seeds and walnuts and dried fruits, with an assortment of dressings – though I stuck with my “boring” favourite of balsamic vinegar for the most part. I usually went with a vaguely small portion of pasta and tomato sauce of the day after that, often with some sauerkraut on the side as they had dishes of it for hot dog toppings and I took advantage of it being accidentally vegan! I could have asked for a pizza to be made up without cheese, but I didn’t bother as I couldn’t have eaten a whole one by myself!

Dinner:

Formal dining room for dinner, except one night when we hit up Johnny Rockets upstairs and I got to have my first vegan boca burger, which was good, but not as good as my usual Fry’s burger. Still, I’m glad I have now tried one and can move on with my life (unlike my obsession with getting my mitts on some Veganaise and Justin’s PB cups). Service in the formal dining room was amaaaazing. There was always a vegan starter and the mains included a vegetarian special which changed each evening, and was pretty much all vegan without the condiments. I had homemade soy meatballs in lentil chilli, tacos (minus the sour cream), an amazing spinach salad…if by some chance the main veggie option wasn’t vegan, their “classic” menu always had a pasta dish with tomato sauce. The only thing lacking was dessert, which was very heavy on the dairy and eggs. I asked on my first night if they had anything vegan and they made me up a fabulous fruit platter, which I had most nights.

Downsides….you’d want to like veggies and fruit, as you’ll eat a lot of them. Probably for the best though – I didn’t put on any weight during my trip, which is possibly a record for me.

Repetition does happen, especially on the pasta front, but I ate really well for the week. I’d really have liked a non-fruit dessert on even one evening (that wasn’t just cookies in my bunk that I brought on board myself). If you can do strawberries, and you can do strawberry souffle, then you can dunk a few in some dark chocolate without too much hassle.

Whole grains. With the exception of the (non-vegan) soda-type bread, there were none. Pasta was white, bread was white, rice was white. I’m used to brown rice and pasta and not much white bread these days, so my stomach got a little unhappy towards the end of the week.

If you’re not ok with filling your salad plate within ten feet of cheese pizza or a carvery station, then this might not be for you. Personally, meat doesn’t make me feel ill (with the exception of really disgusting things like veal or foie gras) so I can just look past it and get to the good stuff.

Another note – it’s best to avoid looking at other people’s plates. The sheer gluttony is astounding. I’m not talking about a second slice of pizza here…I’m talking about people eating 3 double cheeseburgers with sides for lunch, then getting seconds. Yes, it’s personal choice, but I just don’t get it….eating oneself to death just seems like an awful waste.

 

The day after getting home, some vegetable-and-bean overload was required, along with some cake, in as short and low effort a manner as possible 🙂

2013-10-08 18.06.49Giant cauliflower from the organic farm down the road. Best bargain I’ve ever had!

Apply rice of choice to rice cooker, or to pot.

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Chop (some!) cauli into small, bite sized florets (makes for fast cooking!) and sprinkle with salt, turmeric and whole cumin seed and dribble over a little olive oil, if that’s your thing. Stick in oven.

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Take that tub of leftover chana masala out of the freezer, run under the cold tap….

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…then upend into saucepan over the lowest heat possible. Once it begins to loosen up, have at it with a butter knife to break it into smaller chunks. Once it has defrosted, turn up the heat and warm through, watching for rogue ice cubes.

Stick all of the above unceremoniously on plate, with some chutney if you have it, wish that the lighting was better, then shrug and devour.

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Remember that your cat missed you too as he purrs like a steam engine.

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Then have some cake and tea on the sofa…

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…before cursing when you remember both the giant pile of washing and the  block of tofu in a tub of water in the fridge that you meant to chuck out before you left and will now be demanding voting rights. (It’s Isa’s pumpkin muffin from VWAV, turned into a cupcake, with cream cheese frosting).

Nothing’s ever perfect!

 

Delicate and decadent

First confession of the week. Despite knowing that my alarm clock would go off at 6.20am, I stayed up far later than was sensible last night, reading graphic novels. This morning I paid for it dearly and by the time lunch rolled around I was in serious need of some fresh air and fortification as I was still feeling pretty delicate (despite drinking enough tea to float a dingy).

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Avocado, roasted red pepper, red onion, sweetcorn and lettuce on an enormous poppyseed roll. This particular beauty came from The Runner Bean, beside Trinity College. It’s an itty bitty deli that, from the outside, looks like a fruit and veg stall. Inside the sandwich bar might look very meat heavy at first glance, but it’s actually one of the best spots in the area for a really delicious, filling vegan sandwich. It was consumed with gusto while enjoying the sun and sitting on the grass in Merrion Square park, watching the butterflies having a great time in the flower beds.

I’ve learned to appreciate a good sandwich bar already, having ended up with a iceberg-tomato-sweetcorn-no relish “special” on more than one occasion out of sheer desperation. Why must so many of the options at the average sandwich bar be covered in mayo? Surely it’s not just a problem for vegans – what about people watching their health in general?

I was more than ready for dinner this evening as well. I’m trying to avoid junk snack foods during the day, which I succeeded at today at least.

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This is my giant 5kg bag of pinto beans, which Osiris seems to think has kibble hidden somewhere inside. We eat quite a lot of these beans, mostly in the form of refried beans. I get them in bulk from the fabulous Dublin Co-op and they work out really cheap this way. I have an equally big bag of chickpeas as well – they’re the two we get through most of.

So tonight refried beans were on the menu. I don’t actually refry them though. I tend to soak and then cook in a large pot, and when they’re soft (as opposed to tender) I give them a smash with a potato masher and add boullion powder, cumin, salt, garlic powder and onion powder to the pot, then let them cook down over a low heat, stirring every once in a while. While it’s not exactly labour intensive, it does take a while so I tend to cook several meals worth in one go, usually at the weekend when I can get on with other things at the same time. They’re well worth the effort and as there’s no oil I have no feelings of guilt when I over indulge in them.

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Flour tortilla, refried beans, yellow rice, roasted sweet potato and red onion (done in oven with a little olive oil and dried oregano) and topped with avocado (I may have a problem!) which was mashed with a squirt of lime and some coriander (cilantro).  Absolutely delicious. I haven’t used sweet potato for this before and after tonight I think it’ll be a regular feature. All that was missing was a blob of plain yoghurt, but I’m having terrible problems finding unflavoured stuff in my brand of choice, Sojade.

Time for a rum and Fentimans, a movie, and an early night.