Chapati/roti

Chapati/roti

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The fella mentioned making a vegan curry this morning, then again this afternoon; so I struck a deal with him…He washes up = I make vegan curry with naan.

Having searched through the pantry and cupboards, the realisation hit…No gram flour. But I was stocked up on gluten-free flour. Not wanting to risk it, I went with making Roti instead. After all, isn’t it the most favoured Indian bread anyway? It’s certainly quicker to make, and as I couldn’t seem to locate the dry active yeast in the cupboards either, roti was a perfect accident!

As I hadn’t make roti before, I decided to have a little Google. I’m not the best judge when it comes to measurements, so I find it best to stick to well-practiced measurements (but not when it comes to herbs and spices!) and have fun experimenting with ingredients.

I liked the process and timing required for the roti recipe I found on Veganchef.com (http://www.veganchef.com/wwchapatis.htm); and decided to go from there.

I ended up actually making the most successful dough mixture thus far that I’ve tried to create, so was very happy with that…Not too dry, not too sticky. Awesome.

Ingredients

  • Half a cup of water
  • Two tablespoons of soybean oil/or canola oil
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • Two cups of Chappati Atta flour

 

Directions

- You’ll need a large bowl; grab the water, oil and salt, and mix it all up whisk well to combine the ingredients.

- Now you can mix the flour into the wet mixture to form a soft dough – it’s better to use your hands.

- If the dough is dry – add a few more tablespoons of extra water; if it is too sticky, add a little more extra flour.

- Now you can pop the dough onto a floured surface and knead for five minutes. Pop the dough back into the bowl and cover with a towel to rest for approx 30 minutes.

- After 30 mins, separate the dough into 10-12 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough to form a 6-inch circle approx and keep the circles of dough covered with a towel while you roll out the remaining dough.

- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and cook each roti for 1-2 minutes per side (or until puffed and lightly browned in spots).

- Keep the cooked chapatis covered with a towel until serving. According to Veganchef.com; you can serve the roti with dips, dal, stews, or curry dishes; I served mine with mango chutney, cous cous, dal, beetroot and spinach leaves.

 

Nom!

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The Change Initiative

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I checked out The Change Initiative on Sheikh Zayed Road. Al Barsha for the first time recently and was pleasantly surprised.

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According the their website; “(The Change Initiative) is making an effort to equip people to make responsible lifestyle choices. It is an exciting new one stop destination, providing sustainable solutions for the community, business and government”.

“These include a carefully selected range of household products, appliances and building solutions that combine technology and good design. From ideas to improve insulation and lessen energy use, to eco-friendly furniture, paints and fashion accessories, The Change Initiative delivers products that are stylish and ecologically sound”.

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There are quite a few vegan items on their shelves in the food sections.

However, whilst the cleaning products may be plant-based in the house-hold section, they do still seem to be tested on animals. So that is extremely unfortunate.

Another thing I noticed was that there doesn’t seem to be any change initiative for the palm oil in a lot of the products on offer. So this too was disappointing as was the chickens in heir freezers…’Organic’??.

Especially as within their intro paragraph on their website they speak of sustainability.

There are hundreds of very graphic pictures of the internet concerning Orangutans due to palm oil. A few seconds can show you the true horror. I won’t post them here.

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You can learn all about palm oil and the horrors of it here; especially for the lives and indeed existence of Orangutans, of whos numbers are plummeting at a dangerously swift rate; for the ridiculous ‘reason’ of sugary foods, prepackaged snacks, shampoos and the like. 

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Check for Palm Oil before you buy!

http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/palm-oil.php

 

(Palm Oil can be also known in many guises;…

30 NAMES PALM OIL CAN BE LABELLED UNDER

Foods, Body Products, Cosmetics & Cleaning Agents:

-Vegetable Oil
-Vegetable Fat
-Sodium Laureth Sulfate (in almost everything that foams) ^
-Sodium Lauryl Sulfate ^
-Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS) ^
-Palm Kernel#
-Palm Oil Kernel #
-Palm Fruit Oil #
-Palmate #
-Palmitate #
-Palmolein #
-Glyceryl Stearate #
-Stearic Acid #
-Elaeis Guineensis #
-Palmitic Acid #
-Palm Stearine #
-Palmitoyl oxostearamide #
-Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3 #
-Steareth -2 *
-Steareth -20 *
-Sodium Kernelate #
-Sodium Palm Kernelate #
-Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate *
-Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate ^
-Hyrated Palm Glycerides #
-Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylaye ^
-Cetyl Palmitate #
-Octyl Palmitate #
-Cetyl Alcohol ^
-Palmityl Alchohol #    
          

# These ingredients are definitely palm oil or derived from palm oil.

* These ingredients are often derived from palm oil, but could be derived from other vegetable oils.

^ These ingredients are either derived from palm oil or coconut oil).

I spent around ten minutes looking in the crisps/chips section to try and find some that were 1) vegan – that contained no casein, and 2) that contained no palm oil, or derivative of it.

I was quite unlucky in the latter.

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But after some searching, I did find a few variations of chips; such as Corn salsa chips that are gluten-free, vegan and contain no apparently palm oil. So that was a win-win.

They would taste great with some hummus too!

 

I picked up some really nice cereal there – it too is gluten-free, vegan and are very similar to corn flakes.

I was very impressed by the selection of plant-Based milk on offer, all of which I could see that no dairy by-product in.

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I also picked up some soya-based dairy-free yogurts, vegan chocolate-chip cookies and gluten-free bread buns.

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All in all, success!

 

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They also have some super cute teacups and kitchenware on offer, an upstairs homeware department, and a cafe! (although it doesn’t feature any vegan items; beyond a salad). However they have a lot of teas on offer.

 

http://www.thechangeinitiative.com/

 

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Interviewed for Marhaba Magazine

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The lovely Sarah at Marhaba recently interviewed me on the House of Vegan blog, being vegan and being vegan in the Middle East.

Knowledge is power and education is key, share! :)

 

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I explain that the House of Vegan blog “is not geared toward a certain age group, gender, nor nationality. It isn’t about segregation, nor separation. It is about enlightenment from knowledge and education”.

Asked about  House of Vegan, I detailed that “(House of Vegan) is a blog about recipes, kindness and compassion. In wanting to educate and show others just how easy it is to live a kind and cruelty-free life; not just for health benefits, but – most importantly – ethically. The centric value of the blog is positivity and education. I am a great believer in action through positivity, and through this I aim to pass knowledge onto others, and for them to do the same”.

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On the Gulf region in terms of being vegan-friendly; I stated that “In the past year especially, I have really noticed a rise in even the word ‘vegan’. In Dubai, for example, I see the phrase ‘vegan-friendly’ crop up more and more. It is a wonderful thing. Especially with the surge of social media; it makes the world; a village. So the amount of forums and groups with Middle East and GCC-based veggies running and populating them is so crucial for educating others. It really is a matter of ‘paying it forward’. And in this case, ‘it’ is knowledge…We plant a seed of knowledge and it shall grow”.

It has been making the rounds via Facebook also; which is great!:

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You can find the full interview at:

http://blog.marhaba.com.qa/2013/06/19/marhaba-interviews-vegan-blogger-kirstiie-j-cullen/

 

 

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USA Road-trip 2013

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For my fella’s 30th Birthday this year, we took ourselves on a three-week road trip across America.

…IT. WAS. GLORIOUS.

 Whenever we go to the States, we always experience the most amazing vegan cuisine, and I can happily states; that was again the case across the West Coast. From actual vegan Fast Food joints, to vegan cookies and juice bars galore. From Vas Vegas, to San Diego, from LA to Santa Barbara, from Heart to San Fran – we ate very well, very vegan and VERY often! Nom.

The above picture demonstrates the areas we drove through and from visiting The Grand Canyon, to The Gentle Barn, to Universal Studios, to Sequoia National Park (with awesome friends), to San Francisco (with awesome friends again!), and much more! We had the most amazing time.

 

Here’s a small peek into our trip, the yummy vegan foods we scoffed, and the things we saw;

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Update: Back to Dubai, USA Road-trip

Hi guys and gals,

 

Following a 3-week road trip across the US, I haven’t even had time to do my much-awaited posts on vegan eateries and yumness that I discovered on my journey, before another gust of news appeared.

 

I am now UAE-based once more!

You heard it here first!

 

After having been offered a job as Director at a successful Advertising Agency in Dubai, it’s back to Dubai with me. Yes!

I already have three posts in mind; The Change Initiative – Al Barsha, The new Organic Store & Cafe – next to Time Sq Mall, and a vegan meet-up next week with ‘UAE Veggies’. Exciting times ahead. So stay tuned!

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Almond Milk!

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Making Almond Milk is what what I thought I’d be doing…I mean, I LOVE the taste, but making it? Isn’t that difficult? Isn’t that expensive?

The answers dear friendos, is no, and indeed nopes!

It is super-duper easy funnily enough!…I know, I couldn’t believe it either.

Almond milk is one of the most nutritious non-dairy milks available. It doesn’t contain saturated fats or cholesterol, but it does contain omega-3 fatty acids, so it’s very good for your heart. Almond milk is high in protein; the typical eight ounce serving of almond milk contains about one gram of protein. One serving of almond milk also contains about one gram of dietary fiber.

Almond milk is very low in calories; it contains only about 40 calories per serving, and it’s low in carbs at only two grams per serving. Almond milk contains about three grams of fat per eight ounce serving, making its fat content equivalent to that of rice milk.

Almonds are rich in vitamins and minerals, so almond milk doesn’t need to be fortified. Almonds contain vitamin E, manganese, selenium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, fiber, phosphorous and calcium. The flavonoids in almond milk help prevent cancer and slow the signs of aging. The high levels of antioxidant vitamin E found in almond milk make it very effective in the prevention of cancer.

The fella grabbed a whole bunch of packets of almonds (around QAR26.50 per packet) about $7.30, or in GBP just under five pounds.

You only need one cup per recipe. You also need a blender. And some cheesecloth, or new unworn hosiery (tights) – clear/light coloured ones are best.

After seeing Almond Milk for what can only be described as disgustingly over-priced in MegaMart (and literally nowhere else in Qatar), I thought…Yep, that’s it, we’re a’makin’ it! And we did!

After some inspiration from VEGGIEPLANEGIRL aka Tessa, and some Googling; we grabbed our blender, the almonds my fella got, and some new tights from H&M, and did it!

It is crazy creamy! You’ll need to add some flavours to it, unless you like a strong taste of almond. I prefer the flavoured with dates and vanilla approach.

It is essentially a blank slate that you can play and experiment with, with all sorts of pleasing additions. In recipes, you can use cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup, and nutmeg, but you could easily use agave, honey, or dates to sweeten it too along with any spices you fancy.

Besides creating delicious almond milk, this recipe delivers a bonus byproduct: ground up

Find this below!

In the Middle Ages, almond milk was known in both the Islamic world and Christendom. As a nut (the “fruit of a plant”), it is suitable for consumption during Lent. Almond milk was also a staple of medieval kitchens because cow’s milk could not keep for long without spoiling.

Historically, almond milk was also called amygdalate. It was consumed over a region stretching from the Iberian Peninsula to East Asia.

The Viandier, a 14th-century recipe collection, contains a recipe for almond milk and recommends its use as a substitute for animal milk during fast days.

Yield: About 4 cups
Time: About 30 minutes, partially unattended, plus 8 to 12 hours for soaking the almonds

1 cup raw almonds
1 tablespoon maple syrup or 6 mejooj dates.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Salt
Ground cinnamon to taste
Freshly ground nutmeg to taste

1. Put the almonds in a large bowl and add 4 glasses of water. Soak the almonds at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours. (The almonds will look visibly plumped after soaking.)

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2. Drain the almonds and transfer them to a blender or food processor. Process for 1 to 2 minutes. The mixture should have the consistency of a thick paste. Transfer the paste to a medium bowl.

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3. Working in batches, ladle the almond mixture into a medium- to fine-mesh metal strainer/tights/cheesecloth/nut milk bag; set over a large bowl. Press the ground almonds with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. (Reserve the ground almonds for another use.)

4. Add the maple syrup or blended down dates, and vanilla, plus a pinch each of salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, to the almond milk; whisk to combine thoroughly. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve at room temperature or chilled. (Store almond milk in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a few days, stirring before use.)

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Now, Gluten-Free and Wheat-Free!

 

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Knowing something is bad for you but consuming, or doing it anyway is a common occurrence. Telling ourselves that “Oh, it’s just my one negative habit now”, or “I’ll just eat this one and I’ll be done tomorrow!” is a common practice also.

What if I told you that to draw solid guidelines for yourself would be the most helpful thing to do?

What if I told you to go completely wheat-free and gluten-free and notice a considerable difference in your skin, weight, health, overall well-being and energy-levels?

Well that is what my fella and I did on Saturday 6th April 2013, and I can report that we have indeed noticed all of the above changes so far, and it has only been nine days.

 

My fella was sitting there reading an article to me about bread; wheat in fact.

It being our only ‘negative nelly’ in our food intake now I think (other than the occasional coffee, and of course gluten previously)

We knew bread wasn’t great for us. We had known this for quite sometime; refusing to buy white bread for home, only buying seeded nut and brown bread.

But we still consumed it heavily.

I read that sometimes when people go vegetarian, they can often tend to go too heavy on dairy. I have often noted that sometimes when people go vegan, they can sometimes go to heavy on carbs…Bad carbs.

This is what I had done.

I had of course experimented with foods etc, as per the recipes on this blog, but I still had a bloated stomach after eating, even since abstaining from dairy.

My fella read on with the article, explaining that bread bread and refined grains in general aren’t particularly nutritious. Nutritionists and dietitians all around the world have encouraged us to eat whole grains instead. But grains, especially gluten grains like wheat, have been under intense scrutiny in recent years.

Taken from another article I read states:

“Even whole grain bread usually isn’t made out of actual “whole” grains. They are grains that have been pulverized into very fine flour. Even though this process reserves the nutrients, it causes these products to be digested rapidly. The starches in bread get broken down quickly in the digestive tract and enter the bloodstream as glucose. This causes a rapid spike in blood sugar and insulin levels.

Even whole wheat bread spikes blood sugar faster than many candy bars

Wheat contains a large amount of a protein called gluten. This protein has glue-like properties (hence the name gluten) responsible for dough’s viscoelastic properties.

Evidence is mounting that a significant percentage of the population is sensitive to gluten. When we eat bread that contains gluten (wheat, spelt, rye and barley), the immune system in our digestive tract “attacks” the gluten proteins.

Controlled trials in people without celiac disease show that gluten damages the wall of the digestive tract, causing pain, bloating, stool inconsistency and tiredness.

Gluten sensitivity is also associated with some cases of schizophrenia and cerebellar ataxia – both serious disorders of the brain.

Gluten is probably harmful for most people, not just those with diagnosed celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

The only way to really know if you’re gluten sensitive is to remove gluten from your diet for 30 days and then reintroduce it and see whether it affects you”.

http://authoritynutrition.com/why-is-bread-bad-for-you/

 

“Most commercial types of bread contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup, just like other processed foods. Sugar causes many adverse effects and eating processed foods that contain it is likely to have detrimental effects on health.

Most grains also include the “anti nutrient” phytic acid. Phytic acid is a molecule that strongly binds essential minerals like calcium, iron and zinc, preventing them from being absorbed. Soaking grains before baking can degrade the phytic acid, which should improve the availability of minerals.

There is NO nutrient in bread that you can’t get from other foods in even greater amounts. Even whole wheat bread isn’t as nutritious as you may think.

Not only is it low in nutrients compared to other real foods, it literally reduces the absorption of nutrients from other foods.

  • Calorie for calorie, whole grain breads contain a low amount of nutrients compared to real foods like vegetables.
  • The phytic acid blocks absorption of minerals like iron, zinc and calcium.
  • By damaging the intestinal lining, gluten decreases the absorption of all nutrients.
  • Grains do not contain all the essential amino acids and are therefore poor sources of protein for humans.
  • Wheat fiber may cause your body to burn through its Vitamin D stores much faster and contribute to vitamin d deficiency, which is associated with cancer, diabetes and death”.

http://authoritynutrition.com/why-is-bread-bad-for-you/

 

From then on, having completed the article that my fella initially read us…We were wheat-free, and while we’re at it we thought; gluten-free too!

 

Our first wheat-free, gluten-free, vegan shopping trip enabled us to REALLY open our eyes to great, great food! Proper, real, nutritional food! We got a juicer the week before and are using that often. We even got a breadmaking machine!

It is actually very exciting, and has enticed the fella into the kitchen, all this baking and cooking, it seems he’s a natural with bread making.

That coupled with us making our own milk (almond milk), we feel stronger, better – inside and out.

Check out the goods from our first shopping trip:

 

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So far, I have no bloating after everymeal! I feel much more energised, I am eating more vegetables and fruit than ever before, cooking and baking more, and feel complete.

My skin has very much improved.

When I became vegan, my skin started to glow and my bad skin cleared up.

Since going wheat-free and gluten-free aswell, my skin has lost all pimples, is beyond soft, no dry and/or oily patches and is hydrated.

 

My abs are becoming more noticeable everyday, and coupled with cardio fitness classes and weightlifting, I feel stronger and better than ever.

 

First gluten-free, wheat-free and of course vegan meal (for fella and friend):

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APPROPRIATE GRAINS

WHEAT-FREE:

If you are eating wheat-free, you could still consume these grains:

Kamut (an ancient form of wheat that many people tolerate even if they can’t eat wheat), spelt (same ideas as kamut), rye, barley, oats and any of the gluten free grains listed below.

GLUTEN-FREE:

If you are eating gluten-free, these grains are appropriate for you:

Rice, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat (technically not even a grain, but usually classified as one due to use and taste), millet, sorghum, cornmeal (I recommend organic only), coconut flour (again, not a grain, but a flour with growing popularity for those with allergies), nut flours (like almond flour- also not a grain, but a very versatile and delicious flour for baking and cooking).

 

There’s a great table that can be found at the below link:

http://www.grandtimes.com/Whole_Grains.html

 

If you have recently gone wheat and/or gluten free, how are you finding it? Any recipe suggestions and/or tips – I’d love to hear from you.

 

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Cucumber, Apple, Lemon, Basil and Mint juice

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Having been wanting to juice for a while, the fella and I decided to go find a Juicer; and find one we did!

I was surprised how quickly the fella took to it, but he is more into it than I am. His favourite is his take on the ‘Water Melon Frescas’ (adding more lemon, juicing the watermelon instead of blending, and adding ice via chopping it up in the blender).

Wanting to make a sweet juice, the fella came up with the below:

  • 1 huge handful basil from our herbie garden.
  • 1 huge handful of mint from our herbie garden.
  • 2 apples (we used two green Granny Smith ones)
  • 4 cucumbers
  • 1 lemon
  • ice!

Juice the fruit and cucumber. Add juiced concoction to the blender with as much as you’d like (we use a tray of about 12 cubes), add the mint and basil; churn that stuff up!

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And voila! Serve in a cool martini glass…Or a regular tumbler…Whatever tickles your fancy!

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