Last Saturday night I experienced my first vegan meal out. I really expected this to be more of a challenge but I was pleasantly surprised. I went to an upscale pub I’ve been to a few times before which I knew had at least a few vegetarian options on the menu. I felt a bit nervous but went ahead and asked a server if any of these options could easily be made vegan. I guess I expected her to look at me like I had two heads or ask me lots of questions but she didn’t bat an eye, it was as if vegans ate there all the time. She pointed out a few menu items and after I asked a few questions, she offered to speak to the chef to confirm that these items could easily be made vegan without the cheese or yogurt toppings. Indeed, they could. So just like that, I ordered a vegan meal and it felt completely normal. I started off with a lovely bread board which consisted of freshly baked breads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping along with a tasty bowl of olives. I then followed this up with a Chickpea and Aubergine Tagine (minus the Harissa yogurt topping to make it vegan friendly), served with a roasted vegetable couscous and some Moroccan style flatbreads. I also ordered a side of sweet potato fries and shared a bottle of wine with my husband (ok, I’m not very good at sharing so I had most of the wine). A pic below for your viewing pleasure:
It was very tasty! The tagine was a little mild for my taste, I guess the harissa yogurt must have contained most of the heat. I should have asked if I could have some harissa paste on the side to swirl in, perhaps I will do that next time. The couscous alone is worth going back for, it was packed with flavour and the veggies were chopped very small which gave it a nice texture. The sweet potato fries were crispy and so delicious. Did I mention that I drank a lot of wine, too?
So the next day when I woke up, I was feeling a little fragile. You know how some mornings you just wake up and need a cuddle? Then there are those mornings when you wake up and decide you might just tear the arm off the next person who tries to touch you. Or maybe that’s just me. But on those other kinds of mornings, when a hug and a bowl of something warm and comforting for breakfast sounds like the right start to your day, you should try this porridge. I can make this in 10 minutes and I know it’s going to be delicious every time. It’s like a hug on the inside!
By the way, have you ever tried Sweet Freedom sweetener? I think I’ve fallen in love with this stuff! It is made entirely from fruit extracts and has a light, almost honey-like flavour that gives a gentle sweetness to whatever you add it to. It’s perfect in tea and porridge and since it’s low GL, it doesn’t cause your blood sugar to go through the roof. Huzzah! (And no, they haven’t paid me for an endorsement on my near empty blog…maybe someday!)
Cinnamon, Raisin and Chia Seed Porridge
1/2 c. rolled oats
1 c. any non-dairy milk (I normally use almond milk, hazelnut milk is also really nice)
2 tsp. chia seeds
1/4 c. raisins (I prefer organic raisins… I’m a bit of a raisin snob)
2 tsp. Sweet Freedom Light sweetener (or maple syrup)
So that’s it, folks. Just toss those ingredients into a saucepan on low heat, continuously stirring until it becomes thick and creamy. It should only take about 5 minutes to cook. The chia seeds will absorb the liquid so it does get nice and thick, but you can thin it out as much as you like by adding more milk. If you want to be fancy like me, top it with a few more chia seeds, raisins and another drizzle of Sweet Freedom or maple syrup. Then you could add some almond slivers on top if you really want to go all out. Chopped toasted walnuts are nice, too, but then I’d just be showing off.