I’m not a particular fan of parsnip, but I received some this week in my local farmers’ market delivery box, so I thought I would make some soup with it and include some Delicata squash that was getting a tad old.
1 large parsnip, chopped
I large Delicata squash, peeled and chopped
I large onion, diced
Garlic cloves, to taste
1/2 cup cooked soldier beans
Vegetable stock, to cover
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt, to taste
I didn’t roast the squash, as I was short on time, but this would certainly be a good option. As usual, I don’t measure the wet ingredients; I simply pour enough stock to cover the vegetables. You can always add more water if the soup becomes too thick. I didn’t blend the soup, as I wanted to keep the chunky texture.
All the vegetables and the soldier beans were grown in Nova Scotia.
Canadian company, Globally Local, started as a vegan restaurant in 2014, in London Ontario. So far, the restaurant has locations in Toronto, Windsor, and London; naturally, I hope this company will make it to Halifax eventually. This company is more than a restaurant, however, as it has a manufacturing centre where it makes its own meat and dairy alternatives, and conducts research and development. The company has gone public and is now on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The plan is for the company to have twenty locations across North America by 2022.
The restaurant offers a variety of breakfast sandwiches, burgers, wraps, and tacos. Their burgers are made from chickpeas, seitan, or tempeh, for example, rather than meat alternatives. The College Street location in Toronto is on my list when it’s safe to travel to my home town.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much of a shoe person. I keep my collection of shoes as small as possible. My favourite type of footwear is an ankle boot, but clearly this won’t do for the summer months. When I did my wardrobe inventory two weeks ago, I was down to two pairs of summer shoes: A pair of pink sneakers (the only pink thing I own), and a dressier pair of black sandals. I wanted to add a third pair in a brown shade. I’ve wanted to add a pair of Birkenstock-type sandals, but vegan versions aren’t easy to find. Birkenstock does carry some vegan sandals, but only in black, white, and light cream. Light cream shows dirt too easily, and I never wear white shoes. After some searching, I found exactly what I was looking for at Call It Spring, a Canadian company that makes only vegan products and is PETA certified. The Firewia sandal, pictured above, is exactly the colour I wanted, and comes in half sizes, which isn’t true for a lot of shoes. I’m not sure about the long-term quality of these shoes, but they do seem well made so far, and other shoes or boots I’ve bought from this company have served me well.
Cooked chickpeas. I used about 1.5 cups. I prefer to cook beans from dry in my pressure cooker, but tinned chickpeas as fine, as long as you rinse them well.
3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise, or to taste. I use Hellman‘s.
1 tablespoon relish, or to taste
1 tablespoon capers
Kala Namak salt
I use a food processor to pulse the ingredients, but you can simply mash the chickpeas with a fork if you’re not too fussy about having a consistent texture. I like to keep this salad simple, but you can add other items such as green onions and pepper. I always add fresh chives when they are at hand. Other variations include adding some avocado to the mix. The Kala Namak salt is a key ingredient, as it gives the salad an egg flavour; it can be hard to find, unfortunately, but I’m lucky that a local health food store carries it.
I thought it would be useful to provide an updated list of my favourite vegan dining options in HRM especially since, as I’m delighted to report, these options have increased over the past year. I won’t provide too much information for the locations for the sake of efficiency. My focus is on establishments that are either completely vegan, or have a large range of vegan options (one veggie burger or the dreaded and cliched falafal wrap won’t suffice).
Wild Leek Food and Juice Bar: At Wild Leek the focus is on seasonal local ingredients made into familiar vegan comfort food. Everything is made in house daily using whole natural ingredients and our juices and smoothies are made right before your eyes! With fresh and flavorful daily specials, vegan breakfast served everyday. We strive to create delicious food that vegans and non-vegans can enjoy.
Envie: A Vegan Kitchen: Our mission is to inspire people to choose a healthier, sustainable and more compassionate lifestyle through plant-based eating by making information and education accessible, so that we can create a healthier community and planet.
Heartwood: Vegetarian. Most of the dishes have vegan options.
Springhouse: Vegan grocer. We’ve got lots of locally-made goods, frozen meals to-go, fresh produce, body care products, groceries and specialty items you won’t find anywhere else in the city. Some products are made here in-house, and the rest we thoughtfully curate from top-notch suppliers. We’re also a little take-out restaurant, with a tasty lunch menu.
Real Fake Meats: A small Vegan Butcher Shop that includes take-out and delivery.
The Wooden Monkey: Omnivore menu, but vegan options are available for many of the menu items.
I treated myself this weekend to an old classic: Bangers and mash. I used Montreal-based Gusta’s Italian seitan sausage, as well as Yukon Gold potatoes mashed with Becel vegan margarine and soy milk. I added lots of caramelized onions, as well as peas. At this time of the year, fresh peas aren’t available, but frozen do well. I sauteed the peas with the onions after the latter were caramelized. I topped this with a simple gravy, which is a combination of water, flour, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, gravy browning, and a touch of soy sauce.
I’m very glad to have found a local bakery that makes two vegan tarts: Cherry and coconut lemon. Dinah’s Sourdough is a bakery located in the north end of the city. I’ve not been there in person yet, but I’m very happy to see that the bakery has been offering online shopping and delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am looking forward to my first order of both tarts today. They are destined for the freezer, as I like to discipline my consumption of baked goods; these will be Saturday afternoon treats with espresso or herbal tea.
Pour the soy milk into a pan over medium heat. Although you can use other plant-based milks, soy milk works best for custards, as it thickens well (almond milk for example, does not), and does not impart a strong flavour (unlike oat milk or cashew milk, for example).
Stir the cocoa powder and sugar gradually into the soy milk. I find a balloon whisk works well for this.
Add the vanilla extract, to taste. I like to use a full teaspoon.
Add the cornstarch paste.
Whisk the milk until boiling point. It’s important that you stir constantly, as you don’t want any lumps to form.
When the milk boils, remove from heat.
Pour into individual containers of your choosing. The custard will continue to thicken.
My preference is to eat the custard when it’s still warm and a crust has formed, but it’s equally good cold. It will be thicker when cold.