I've been craving my mom's Mac 'n Cheese for years now and manage to resent my whole family to death every time I smell it in the oven. It's very different to the American Vegan Mac 'n Cheese versions I've tried - a weird yellowish mustardy thing that I can't really convince my tastebuds is anything like it should be.
My attempt at duplicating my mom's egg and milk filled Mac 'n Cheese is still a long shot from what it should be, but bear with me and try it out! It was a little bland, but so was my mom's, but perhaps I'd add some shaved carrots and garlic, or something to add a little more flavour next time. Will add photos then.
Boere Style Mac 'n Cheese
1 litre Soya Milk Unsweetened
Salt & Pepper
1 Tbsp Ina Paarman Chicken Flavour Stock Powder
3 Tsp Maizena or other egg replacer
Equal parts cake flour and softened (but not melted) baking margerine - I don't know what my measurements were exactly but about a cup of each
1 bag egg-free macaroni pasta
1 block of Firm Tofu
1 Brown Onion
1/4 Tsp Marmite/Vegemite/Nutritional Yeast Flakes
Oil for frying
Nature's Choice Mock Parmesan
1 deep baking dish with or without lid - 2 litres at least
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Partially cook macaroni by boiling, remove from water and add to the oven dish. Add a lump of margerine to the pasta and mix it in to keep everything from sticking together.
Béchamel: Mix together the flour and the margerine blending them together by hand, slowly adding the flour to the margerine in a mixing bowl. I use a fork to blend them at first and once a thick paste starts forming I change to a wooden spoon.
Transfer margerine/flour mixture to the saucepan and stir over a low heat to release the gluten and melt it down, slowly adding soya milk after 3 minutes or so. Adding the soya milk slowly prevents lumps from forming, and instead you get a lovely smooth paste, stirring constantly.
Once the béchamel is more liquid than pasty, you can add the rest of the soya milk, the maizena and the stock powder. Be sure to have added water to the latter two ingredients and beaten out the lumps before adding to the béchamel. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Stir over the heat for a couple of minutes, remove and pour it over partially cooked macaroni that is already in the oven dish. You don't want the béchamel to boil down because it will reduce in the oven.
Fry up the chopped onions (and some garlic if you wish, but I didn't use garlic for a change!). When golden and translucent crumb in the tofu, unflavoured. Fry tofu for 2 minutes with onions, pour into dish with macaroni and béchamel. Stir in.
For a crusty top we sprinkled some of the Nature's Choice Mock Parmesan liberally as well as lots of Life Cheddareze. We also added sliced cherry tomatoes on top, as they bake and become a little brown and crispy, finishing it off perfectly! Ryan insists that we should have added the Mock Parmesan to the béchamel mixture as well, so we will do that next time. I will probably also make some cashew nut cheese or cream for the next batch as it will add a little more cheesyness to the dish.
We baked ours for about an hour without a lid, but it depends on your settings and how creamy you want it. Ours was exactly the consistency I was looking for! Soft and fluffy, without being runny!
Good luck making it, and please let me know how it turned out and what you changed!
My lovely friend Bianca, who passed me the Skinny Bitch book in the first place and nudged me toward veganism, lives far away in the city of Paris (the one in France, not Parys). She comes from an Italian-Afrikaans family and has a mother that cooks the most incredible food, and a father who enjoys her food as much as my father enjoys my mother's cooking. Everyone else also enjoys her mom's food a little bit too much when its in front of them! So I'm so flattered that it's my basil pesto recipe that she asked for...
I gave it to her over Skype last night but thought that perhaps it was time I share the magic between Ryan and I tonight, and perhaps with the rest of you! Vegan basil pesto is phenomenal. So you don't get the stringy cheese bits, but this actually tastes better than any other basil pestos I've ever tasted.
There are lots of variations that you can exercise with this recipe. Always make the basic pesto, and add lots of different stuff like roast cherry tomatoes - those things are magical, fresh cherry tomatoes or add soya cream and facon (or fake ham).
Pesto is also not limited to normal pastas by any means, pesto gnocchi is a favourite (perhaps you can even work the pesto into the gnocchi dough if you're making fresh) pesto risotto is phenomenal, pesto salad dressing, pesto lasagne, pesto jacket potatoes...
So here is the recipe and it makes tons!
Best Vegan Basil Pesto
150 g fresh basil washed and chopped
100 g blanched almonds/raw cashew nuts
Tbsp Pine nuts
Salt and Pepper to taste - I'm pretty liberal with both
Garlic to taste
1/4 Cup Olive oil
3/4 Cup Canola Oil (approx)
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
A food processor/hand held blender/mortar and pestel
Pan for frying/roasting
Chop up the washed fresh basil leaves - include any that have gone black or wilted, they'll still taste great. Put half the leaves in the blender and pour in the olive oil.
Attempt to blend. A hand held blender or a mortar and pestel work wonders with this because with my food processor, it can be a nightmare trying to get it to chop up the leaves. It needs a lot of oil as encouragement.
If you have the same problem I do, don't worry too much about the leaves that won't blend, start dry toasting the nuts in your pan and ensure that you DO NOT BURN THEM. Only toast until golden, if they're starting to look brown toss them out of the pan immediately! Placing these nuts on top of the stuff in your blender is a great way to get some weight on top of the leaves and get the blender chopping.
Fry the roughly chopped garlic a little and add it to the mixture. Season. Blend.
You will notice that the mixture becomes increasingly difficult to blend so keep adding little bits of oil to lubricate the process.
Please don't add all that canola oil at once! Blend until its the consistency that you wish for - I like mine really choppy with whole nuts all over the place.
After my hand blender moved on I have been relegated back to my processor and it over does it a little so this particular batch of pesto photographed is super smooth.
You will now have the most delicious pesto ever so don't over cook your pasta! Heehee! Enjoy!
If you're ever worried about which beauty products to buy as a vegetarian or vegan, the Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) logo is on lots of products, and even more products have been listed on their site. They also approve products that contain beeswax, honey and other bee related by-products, so if you don't want to use those products, keep your eyes out for those ingredients on the product. Also check out their Facebook Page!
Beauty without Cruelty celebrates 35 years of work defending animal rights in South Africa and acknowledges that much work remains in the fields of vivisection, animals as entertainment, factory farming, cosmetic testing and the exploitation of our wildlife.
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The oppression both of humans and of other species of animals is inextricably tangled within the structure of social arrangements. There is an assertion that human use and mistreatment of other animals are not natural and do little to further the human condition. Historically grounded, oppression is primarily underpinned by economic gain and supported by state ideology.
The exploitation of other animals and the justification of their mistreatment not only closely resemble human oppression but are inextricably tied to it. Such oppression is motivated primarily by economic interests and, what is more, that it is profoundly and permanently entwined with human oppression of other humans.
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What is Animal Rights?
Animal rights is the philosophy of allowing non-human animals to have the most basic rights that all sentient beings desire: the freedom to live a natural life free from human exploitation, pain and suffering, and premature death. This is what the animal rights movement is about; it is not about working for equality between human and non-human animals.
How is Animal Rights Different from Animal Welfare?
Proponents of animal welfare seek to alleviate the suffering of animals while they are being exploited -- without attempting to question the fundamental basis of whether it is acceptable to exploit animals in the first place. Animal rights beliefs reject the idea that animals need to have a value to the human species in order to be deserving of rights.
In other words, Welfarists work with what is, while Rightists work toward what should be!
In order to help ourselves, we must learn to protect both other humans and non-human animals. How does humanity intend to solve differences among its own species when it cannot learn to make peace with the other animals on earth? Humans need to start thinking and living in terms of co-existence, as opposed to dominance. You certainly do not have to love your neighbours, but you should be able to get along with them. Peace begins with the individuals who make a conscious effort to go through life making the least negative impact possible.
It is a mistake to see issues of human and animal exploitation as mutually exclusive. On the contrary, all exploitation is inextricably intertwined. All exploitation is a manifestation of violence. All discrimination is a manifestation of violence. As long as we tolerate violence of any sort, there will be violence of every sort.
Recent responses on my restaurant page prompted me to contact Duke's Burgers in Greenside at which I hadn't eaten in a very long time, for no reason in particular. I remembered that they had several issues that had not been addressed properly so I emailed them. The response I received was wonderful! Not only are they incredibly friendly but they are also very vegan friendly. We ate the Lark burger there last week and it was fantastic. It was so good that I forgot to take a photo! Sorry!
Ari Shapiro answered my following questions:
1. Do you have a Vegan Bun Option?
Our wheat free rolls are made from rice flour and no butter and no egg orderd from Dalia (brynstone organic market)
The vegetarian and vegan menu has always been a strong focus for us , my sister and her friends follow this life style and we know how frustrating and unsatisfactory some of the veg meals offered in most restaurants.
3. Do your falafel on the falafel burgers contain egg?
Falafel is not made with egg. Chick peas, coriander,onion,spices and wheat free roll as a binding agent.
4. Do any of your veg patties have egg in the mixture?
No of our veg patties contain egg or wheat.
5. Is you hummus vegan, and are the other sauces on the vegetarian burgers vegan (with the exception of those clearly marked as cheese sauces, of course)?
The hummus never made with dairy or wheat. Cooked chick peas ,techina,oliveoil and spices , our hummus is nice and ‘creamy’ because we add extra sesame seed oil.
6. Please could you send me the menu description of your Lark burger, and is it only available on Wednesdays?
A Patty made from nuts/seeds/cumin/carrot/black bean/buckwheat/courgettes/wild mushroom home made mago&pepper chutnny drenched in a chunky home made tomato sauce a served on a lightly toasted wheat free bun 'buttered' with a garlic/herb/olive oil/white bean mayo garnished with fresh herbs, diced jalapeno and grilled red peppers.
For now its only on our Wednesdays night Rock Menu 2, but we are printing a new menu in two weeks and have chosen 3 more veg burgers to add to the menu .
7. Are your vegetable and meat prep sections in your kitchen separate?
Our kitchen is small but WE DO NOT mix the meat prep and veg prep. My wife is the chef and she comes from a Jewish home where she knows not to mix between the two.