Diary of A Virgin Semi-Veggie, Part 4

Hard to believe I started this in mid-Jan and we are just about to bounce into May.

Plenty of activity in the past month, some good, some bad. Variety and texture remain problematic but overall, sticking to veggie and fairly vegan for the past few weeks.

Some product updates to share. First, the good ones:

  • Sojade - A bifidus soya yoghurt-alternative. This is a shocker. Smells and pretty much tastes like natural yoghurt. Has that lactic tang which is so missing in most soy products. Used it in a curry instead of yoghurt and could not tell the difference. Pretty sure you could add pureed fruit to it to make normal yoghurts and not be able to tell it lacks dairy. Got it and several other recent products in Quay Co-Op in Ballincollig. It’s not as big as the Cork one but handier for me to get to.
  • Silken Tofu - Found this shelf-stable stuff in Scally’s in Clon. Total disaster when I tried to fry it and use in curry. It just melted. However it makes a brilliant dairy alternative for many recipes where smoothness and creaminess required. I used it in a pea puree recipe instead of cream and it worked a treat in the food processor. I’ll post that recipe soon, it was a big success.
  • Quorn Mince - Yesterday I made traditional spag bol for the kids but used Quorn instead of minced beef. All of the kids loved it and rated it delicious. I told none of them what they were actually eating. Proves, yet again, my point about a lot of foods being easily replaceable with plants, if you can get the texture right.
  • Dal - After reading most of an Indian Vegetarian cookbook, I finally did one of the recipes yesterday (minus the relentless Usli Ghee on every page). This was a spicy dal with 6 chillis and red lentils. Utterly gorgeous. Had more of it today and will have more again tomorrow. Total win, full of protein.
  • Darina Allen’s Cucumber Pickle Recipe - if you loved the jars and miss them, her recipe is identical and only takes a few mins with a mandolin to do. Apparently they cancelled the supermarket product as the stuff was fermenting and blowing the lids. You can still get it fresh in Midleton Farmer’s Market. I’ll post the recipe here soon with full attribution. Now for the failures:

  • Quorn Smoky Bacon Slices - Horrible. Imagine a plate of BBQ-flavoured Rancheros with the rest of your food. Nothing is right about this product from taste to smell to texture

  • Quorn Chicken Pieces - I’ve gone completely off this. Texture is just so wrong.

  • Some veggie sausages with leeks - You can’t just mush spuds and leeks together into a tube and call it a sausage. It’s a bloody croquette. Nothing wrong with the taste, it’s just false advertising. Apart from that, still doing some Oatly but finding it too much in every cup of tea. Tea is really my downfall for the vegan bit. Still doing low-fat milk there and in the morning porridge. A bit of goat’s cheese in the two-weekly homemade pizza too. That’s about it for dairy.

More stuff on recipes in the coming weeks. But in the meantime, seek out that Sojade, you won’t believe how good it is!


Conor O'Neill

Tech guy who likes running slowly

Bandon, Cork, Ireland http://conoroneill.com