To launch Farmdrop’s new vegan range, Amelia Conley from our Buying Team, quit animal-based ingredients to find out first-hand the best, ethical alternatives on the market. We like to call it method buying. Here she reveals her ups, downs and advice on what it takes to be vegan.
Amelia from Farmdrop’s Buying Team turns vegan for a month
I’ve already made a blunder and put whole milk in my tea. I luckily realise before the first sip and reluctantly hand it over to a grateful colleague. As an avid tea-drinker, I’ve since tried and tested almost every alternative milk out there. Rude Health’s Ultimate Almond Drink is the best, creamy alternative.
It’s also relatively easy to make your own dairy-free milk at home. Here’s a guide that might help.
Steak and wine night. Certainly a different kind! Tried the Turmeric Cauliflower Steaks & Coconut Sauce recipe on farmdrop.com. Marinated in garlic, turmeric and ginger, they’re delicious. Best vegan wine to accompany? Meinklang Grüner Veltliner.
I notice I’m feeling a little tired and realise I’ve not been thinking about what I might be missing in my diet. After a bit of Googling I’ve started using Engevita B12 Flakes. B12 is usually found in animal-based products so vegans can suffer from a deficiency that leads to fatigue and low energy levels. I start to add it to soups, pasta dishes and salads. It adds a nice cheesy flavour.
I venture into the world of meat alternatives. I’ve tried a couple of vegan burgers around London and have to say the best is at Beer + Burger in Dalston. A quinoa and chickpea patty with aubergine, pickled daikon and a sumptuous vegan ranch dressing. They also have a great bean burger with smokey chipotle goop (pictured). The fries are also vegan. Phew.
I try recreating my own vegan ranch dressing at home. Turns out Rubies in the Rubble make a great Chipotle Mayo, which works really well. Rubies in the Rubble are a brilliant company, using otherwise wasted (but perfectly edible) wonky fruit, veg and other produce that gets commonly thrown out to make their chutneys, jams and condiments. This mayo is made using aquafaba – the protein-rich water leftover from cooking chickpeas. They collect the aquafaba from local hummus producers that have otherwise no use for it.
Recipe testing in the Farmdrop kitchen today. How to make the best roast potatoes? Coconut oil makes for a crisp potato, and if you don’t mind the sweet, coconut taste, it could work. Ghee is rated as the best, which is unfortunate for me, but rapeseed oil comes a close second for both taste and crisp texture.
As a vegan novice, I’ve begun to identify what works for me and what doesn’t. I’m impressed with how many delicious alternatives there are. I feel more energetic without dairy for breakfast (tofu sausages and tofu scramble are both decent in a Full English). Also, I’m finding there are plenty of delicious ingredients and recipes out there that are naturally animal-product-free and I’m getting more experimental with how I use them in the kitchen. Some things I still miss though; Parmesan on my pasta, a good Vietnamese pho and fresh fish. Still, I’m now well into my second month and feeling good. Missing fish a lot and considering ‘seaganism’…
Find the full range of vegan alternatives here on farmdrop.com.
The latest fad or a cultural shift that’s here to stay? What is veganuary all about?