Last week when Janelle and I were up in Auckland, we visited a woman by the name of Alice … She told us the story of how she fell quickly in love with her current partner Billy and out of love with animal products (albeit at a slower pace on her favourite, smoked salmon).
Alice invited us into her beautiful little kitchen in an artsy suburb of Auckland, not far out of the city. The first thing I noticed about the first vegan kitchen I had ever been in, was the intimidating set of cooking knives hanging on the wall. However, remembering the results of struggling with my last wobbly pumpkin and a blunt knife I realised their place in the kitchen.
Janelle and I set up the camera and decided on the kitchen as the best place to interview a chef. We didn’t have to worry about lighting as a beautiful soft natural light came straight through a window reflecting onto the blades of the knives. Alice began to tell us the story of how she met her current partner Billy, but it had to be cut short as we noticed a cloud passing over blocking all our lovely natural light. After some fiddling with the exposure we began again but soon came to a halt as the sun came out from behind the cloud. We realised we would have to pick to expose the shot for either brightness, cut when the light changed and start again when it returned – so we went for sunshine.
So six years ago a wannabe but couldn’t quite be vegetarian, Alice met Billy the dedicated and passionate vegan. In order to make an already smitten Billy even more interested, Alice decided to go with her lifelong erg to try and omit meat from her diet. Successful as she was, Alice admits smoked salmon was the last and hardest to give up because their was really no replacement for it. She said that it became easier and easier to not eat meat because when she stopped, “suddenly the piece of meat I had been chopping up became more and more like the piece of dead animal flesh”.
Six years later Alice and Billy are still together but Alice has a new love, running her online shop, Angel Foods as well as running a plant based cooking school. Angel Foods is well worth a visit for anyone in New Zealand as they do mail orders and also have lots of information regarding outlets.
We left as two happy students with two rolls of generously given packets of vegan cheese to try, tucked under each arm. And how did it measure up as a replacement for the salty, fatty melted dairy cheese in our toasties that night? Well it’s definitely not the same. It lacked the layer of fat and the stop heart attack time quality of dairy cheese but it did however still sooth my salt and creamyness craving. Which although important to my tastebuds is probably more important to the calf that was deprived of it – Like our little Hansel.
And while Alice would never look back she admits that she is still yet to find a replacement for smoked salmon. It leaves me wondering if some foods just weren’t meant to be replaced. HOWEVER when I got home that night I found this amazing recipe for soy mayonnaise and when I made it I realised that perhaps some foods are even better plant based. I must share.
Recipee from “Martha goes green” by Rosie Percival and Ruth Friedlander
1 ¼ Tbsp white Vinegar
½ Cup good quality soy milk
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp mustard powder (I used real mustard)
½ tsp honey (I used organic blue agave)
1 cup vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
… I also added garlic and lemon juice
You pop the vinegar into the soy milk and let sit for 10 mins until it curdles. Then put the soy milk, salt, mustard powder and honey (and anything else you want to add) into a processor and blend until combined. Then while processing, or electric whisking (or hand whisking – but prepare for a sore arm) SLOWLY add oil until combined – like a tiny drizzle. Mixture should be thick and creamy consistency. Refrigerate until ready to use – Great with potato salad!
And thanks to Janelle, who stood me up for dinner because I got to have it all to myself!
Until next week… Eliza