For my first post, what better to blog about than another newbie experience I recently tried?
For the first time, this month I participated in a vegan food swap. This is where you exchange details with another person who has signed up to the process, and send a food parcel full of goodies at a predetermined value. Earlier in the month, I stumbled upon a blog that in turn led me to To Happy Vegans, a website where they randomly select a swap mate for you. Well, I just had to have a go at this. I love getting parcels.
What fun this has turned out to be, although not without its challenges. My first box was to to out to someone whose handle was: "Big cook tiny kitchen". Well, I was absolutely delighted at this. That could easily be a description of me! I decided to take a more bang for your buck approach, and filled a box with lots of budget finds. Of course, with postal rates being as scandalous as they are, the shipping costs turned out to exceed the price of the contents. A bit of a re-shuffle resulted in lightening the box and the making contents a bit more of a luxury. I always intended to include something that was local. Rather than opt for homemade jam or chutney from the nearby fruit farm shop, I put in some curry sauce packets that are made by a company that ran successful chip shops in my childhood town of Willenhall, in the UK. Got me all nostalgic, it did!
"Lucy the vegan" sent me a lovely selection which consisted of:
- Onion bhaji mix, from the Simon Rimmer Range: (Rimmer is a UK celebrity chef, who isn't vegetarian himself but runs a veggie restaurant.)
- Sticky soy marinade: Great for tofu or vegetables.
- Nando’s Peri-Peri sauce: (Always a versatile ingredient.)
- OMBAR: A raw chocolate bar with coconut. This is going straight into my work bag!
- Soba Buckwheat noodles. Oh how I love these.
- *Chocolate wafer rolls: These were new to me, and I can tell you they are absolutely delicious.
- *Primal jerky strip: Which didn't even make the picture I took because I ate it on the way home.
Here is recipe that I tried, incorporating a few of the ingredients.
Marinated Tofu with Soba Noodles and Vegetables
• 1 x 395g packet of tofu, drained and cut into cubes
• 60g of marinade sauce, shop bought or homemade
• 1 x 250g Soba (buckwheat) Noodles
• 1 ½ tablespoon oil
• 3 x small shallots , halved and sliced finely
• 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
• 2 x small carrots, cut into thin juliennes
• 100g of edamame (soya) beans
• ¼ cup water
• 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire or ‘oyster’ sauce (optional)
- Cover your tofu in the marinade and leave for the requisite time, usually one hour
- Put the noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 5 minutes. Drain well, give them a quick rinse then use your fingers to ensure the noodles are separated.
- Fry the tofu in the oil- you may need to do this in batches- until it is a nice golden colour. Transfer to a plate. Set aside or keep warm whilst you cook the veg.
- Using the oil in your pan or wok, fry the shallot, pepper and carrot. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes.
- Add the edamame beans and water, and cook for a further 2 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
- Finally, add the noodles, the sauce if you are using it and any extra marinade that you have to the pan. Cook until the noodles are fully coated in the sauce and warmed through. Add the tofu and toss well to combine. Dish up, perhaps garnished with coriander or thai basil leaves.
This program is definitely something I will do again, bearing in mind that sending glass jars results in astronomical costs. In fact, I feel quite motivated to arrange something similar myself. I don't know if this has been done before, but I quite like the idea of a monthly vegan health and beauty essentials exchange. Your thoughts and feedback on this would be greatly appreciated
To find out more about this swapsie scheme, whether you are the UK, United States or Canada, click HERE.
Who knows, we may even end up exchanging boxes in the future!
Many thanks to www.lucythevegan.blogspot.co.uk