Monday, 28 October 2013

If I can't bring you to my house, I'll bring my house to you ...

Earlier this year, I sold my much-loved campervan which I'd had for over 4 years to a good friend here in Edinburgh, so I wanted to write a short farewell post with some photos of the places we've been and things we've done together.

When I bought the van, it was a fairly standard Mercedes Sprinter van which had previously been a carpenter's van, and was pretty much empty inside except for some panelling on the lower parts of the walls. I had a lot of help from friends and family around the UK with fitting it out to be a proper, full-time live-in campervan, and I'll always be grateful to them for helping me make it such a wonderful space to live in which is associated with so many happy memories.

 The wood-burning stove was an absolute necessity for getting through a winter in the van in the UK, and although the one I got was significantly larger than what I needed for the space, I got it extremely cheap and it certainly kept the van warm even on the coldest nights! Huge thanks must go to Pete in Cumbria, who helped me put it in, to Cathy who made such a wonderful denim curtain and bedcover for me, and to Geoff who showed me how to make better joints with wood to put the furniture together.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Trying out the Vegg

Last week, I received a free sample of a new vegan product, the Vegg, in the post. It's an egg yolk replacer which comes in powder form, and so far I'm really impressed! The company also included a free copy of their Vegg Cookbook, which is a beautifully put together book of a wide range of recipes (many of them written by different bloggers, so there's a real variety of styles and uses) using the Vegg, including really beautiful pictures.

Unlike many vegans, the last thing which I gave up from my pre-vegan diet was not dairy cheese, but chickens' eggs. Growing up in the south of England, my parents kept chickens in their back garden (long before it became fashionable!), and so did my grandparents. One thing which was always in abundance in our house when I was growing up was fresh chicken's eggs, and they were delicious and very flavourful. Whilst I know now that there are huge problems with keeping hens in your back garden, and that male chicks born as a result of breeding chickens to lay eggs are killed at just a day old, as a child I honestly believed that these hens were our much-loved pets who happened to lay tasty eggs which I enjoyed eating, and the meals we made from those eggs remain linked in my mind to many happy memories. Needless to say, I don't eat chickens' eggs any more, regardless of where they come from, but I still miss the taste of them from time to time.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

A couple of sweet treats

This week, I've been making a couple of sweet things using recipes I've found on the internet. One of the great things about being vegan in the twenty-first century is that you can find so many amazing and diverse recipes online to make pretty much anything you fancy! These were two recipes that I tried making for the first time this week:

First of all, I made a chocolate truffle torte using a recipe submitted to the Guardian Readers' Vegan Recipe Swap earlier this year. This was surprisingly easy to make, even though it involved quite a lot of ingredients and different steps. It's really chocolatey, nutty, orangey and delicious, and unlike many vegan cakes which call for silken tofu as an ingredient, you really can't tell it's in there.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Scandalous Edinburgh!

Yesterday I went on a 2-hour walking tour around Edinburgh, organised by the World Development Movement as part of the 2013 Edinburgh World Justice Festival, which took us to a series of locations around the city linked to the fossil fuel and finance industries, explaining their links to government and responsibility for contributing significantly to climate change. All in all, it was a very informative and entertaining walk around Edinburgh's historical finanical district, and I highly recommend going along if you get the opportunity.

We started in St. Andrew Square, visiting the numerous sites around the square which are linked to finance and fossil fuels, and particularly a number of banks which are involved with bankrolling carbon-intensive, dirty energy projects. A particular highlight was the inside of the building of the Royal Bank of Scotland on the square, which was incredibly beautiful and ornately decorated.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

A weekend at VegFest UK in London

Last weekend I went to London for VegFest UK at Kensington Olympia, which was an interesting vegan event that I was really glad I went to. I was amazed to see how huge it was, with over 9000 people attending!

Unfortunately, apart from the photo above, I didn't get a lot of photos myself as they all came out a bit blurry for some reason, but there were a few highlights of the show that I'd really like to share here, and a few photos that other people took of the event I'll include as well.

As I wrote in an earlier blog post, I do already have quite a collection of vegan cheese in my fridge at the moment, but that didn't stop me making sure I tried as many free samples of the cheeses at the festival as I could, especially as we still don't get a great variety of vegan cheeses up here in Edinburgh yet. I was really impressed with the quality of the different flavours of cream cheese at the Sheese stand, as well as the multiple varieties of Vegusto they had there, and particularly the walnut flavour one. So good!