Category Archives: Vegetarian
Who doesn’t like cupcakes – those petit, individualised cakes you can enjoy with a hot cup of tea or coffee, and devour in two bites or savour with little nibbles? We don’t care that they’re so two-seasons-ago among trendy foodies. We still relish peeling back their paper or foil wrappers and sinking our teeth into their spongy and moist goodness. Now that the days are getting a bit cooler, we crave some of the tastes and smells that go along with autumn. Of course, chocolate remains a perennial favourite, but we also like to use in-season ingredients, when possible. So here is a recipe for scrumptious chocolate-avocado vegetarian cupcakes (makes 12). The creaminess of the avocado adds a wonderful texture to the cake.
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
1 cup pure maple syrup
¾ cup plain soymilk
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Line 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl.
Purée avocado in food processor until smooth. Add maple syrup, soymilk, oil, and vanilla, and blend until creamy. Whisk avocado mixture into flour mixture.
Spoon batter into prepared cupcake cups.
Bake 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into centre comes out with some crumbs attached. Allow to cool before icing.
For the icing you’ll need:
100 g soft silken tofu, drained and patted dry
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
115 g semisweet vegan chocolate, melted
Blend tofu, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in food processor until smooth.
Add chocolate to tofu mixture and blend until smooth. Transfer to bowl.
Dip tops of cupcakes into glaze, pulling straight up from glaze to form peaks.
Below are even more scrumptious autumn cupcake recipes.
Brown Sugar and Butterbeer
Harry Potter loved his butterbeer and you will enjoy these butterscotch flavoured cupcakes.
Carrot with Maple Cream Cheese
Real maple syrup is essential for this recipe.
The tart cranberries pair perfectly with the warm chai spices.
Pumpkin Spice with Cream Cheese
The pumpkin in this recipe makes this cupcake rich and moist.
Shaved coconut tops these decadent chocolate cupcakes.
For the past six months or so here in Australia there have been debates about how livestock are slaughtered.
Many say stunning an animal first is more ethical.
Others believe that no matter how humanely an animal is killed, eating any kind of meat can never be ethical.
Still others think what matters is how smart or sentient the animal is (an oyster versus a pig), how much cultural affinity we have with that animal (the Lassie factor), or the environmental impact of eating that animal.
How do different people justify eating one kind of meat over another?
Can one type of meat be deemed more or less “ethical” than another?
Does it make a difference what type of animal this piece of meat came from or how that animal was killed?
Why or why not?
I’m unable to embed the video of the SBS “Insight” episode on meat eating, but if you go here, you can watch it online.
Please note that this post is not an argument for or against eating meat. We’re more interested in questioning cultural assumptions and judgments.
Recently, “reality” show personality Kristin Cavallari admitted that she wasn’t able to maintain a vegan diet, but in an effort to stay healthy, half her meals are vegan.
Although we don’t really care much about “reality” TV and its so-called stars, Kristin’s admission brings up an interesting predicament for many people.
There are many reasons people choose to be vegetarian, including health and ethical considerations.
But how easy is it to be truly vegetarian/vegan? Beyond the obvious steps taken to avoid eating meat and other animal products does one also have to become hyper-vigilant about everything including clothing, cosmetics, and cleaning products? The simple answer is yes, if your vegetarian diet is ethically driven.
The BBC has produced a series called Kill it, Cut it, Use it. Host Julia Bradbury uncovers the surprising animal origins of our most popular items by following the transformation of each leftover body part all the way from the abattoir to the shop floor. From the sheep parts hidden in your soap to the fishy ingredient in your favourite pint, though you probably don’t know it, the bits of the animals we don’t eat for dinner often end up being made into the products we use every day. For example, in the episode on sheep, we discover how everything from their skin to the placenta can be turned into comfy boots, cosmetics, and even condoms.
And guess what, even tattoos are not safe for the ethical vegan. As Tim Donnelly wrote recently in The Atlantic, “The ink and processes at your average shop contain a veritable buffet of animal detritus: charred bones of dead animals in the ink, fat from once-living things in the glycerin that serves as a carrying agent, enzymes taken from caged sheep that go into making the care products.”
Below is a list of some common animal products and a few of their uses.
Ambergris is a solid, waxy, flammable substance produced in the digestive system of and regurgitated by sperm whales. As it ages, it acquires a sweet, earthy scent making it a popular additive in perfumes.
Chitin is a glucose derivative that can be found in crabs, lobster, shrimp, squid and octopi. It’s similar to keratin and is used for a wide variety of purposes. It’s a binder in dyes, fabrics, and adhesives. It’s used to strengthen paper. It makes good surgical thread because it is strong and flexible, while its biodegradibility means it wears away with time as the wound heals.
Gelatine is derived from the collagen inside animal skin and bones. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography, and cosmetic manufacturing. It is found in some gummy sweets as well as other products such as marshmallows, jello & puddings, and some low-fat yogurt. The shells of medicine capsules are made from gelatine to make them easier to swallow. It makes beta-carotene water-soluble, which gives yellow soft drinks their colour. It’s also used as a binder in match heads and sandpaper, as well as some glossy printing papers, art paper, playing cards, and it maintains the wrinkles in crêpe paper.
Isinglass is harvested from the dried swim bladders of fish. It is a form of collagen used mainly to clarify wine and beer.
Keratin is a kind of protein found in our skin, hair, and nails. It is also found in other mammals, as well as reptiles, birds, and amphibians. It is currently used in a popular hair treatment, as well as various medical applications, including tumour diagnosis.
Tallow is a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, used primarily in soap production and animal feed.
Earlier this week the Earth’s population reached 7 billion, prompting renewed concerns about sustainability, including the issue of food production. Several weeks ago we mentioned the locavore movement, and this week the topic has been raised in many news reports, opinion pieces, and blogs.
More communities are also developing gardens and farms, partly as a way of greening the urban environment and partly in response to the increased demand for local sources of food. New York has its Riverpark Farm, located in the heart of Manhattan, and a program called Local Roots, which supports local farmers. Meanwhile, in London there’s FARM:Shop, part of an initiative to convert unused urban buildings into indoor gardens, highlighting how much food can be grown in a confined space.
Some non-vegans argue that, in terms of the environment, the most important consideration is the distance various foods travel to reach our supermarkets and restaurants. They advocate eating locally-produced food, not eating vegan.
For some vegans, the choice to be locavores is the next logical step. But for most of us, the choices seem more complex and it’s a matter of priorities.
Steph Larsen, who links the concern with food availability to food justice (see Food Democracy) and the current Occupy movement, chooses to grow her own produce. She does point out, however, that there are some limitations to the locavore way of life:
Of course, I don’t grow everything I eat. Flour, for example,
takes a lot of work to grind in small batches, and I much prefer
someone else to rise at the crack of dawn to milk a cow or goat.
For these things, I do my best to shop at small, locally owned
businesses to keep my money circulating in the community, and
bypass the corporate control that the 99 percent are protesting.
We’d love to hear your opinion. What do you think of the locavore movement? Are vegan’s better environmentalists? Can we still enjoy good food AND care for the environment?
Below are seven articles on the locavore/vegan discussion (reblogged from Vegan Soapbox).
1. The Locavore Myth: “There is one thing you can do to shrink the carbon footprint of your dinner: Take the meat off your plate. No matter how you slice it, it takes more energy to bring meat, as opposed to plants, to the table.”
2. Green Your: Meat: “A study by Carnegie Mellon University scientists has concluded that eating less meat will reduce carbon emissions even more than purchasing food locally.”
3. Food miles don’t feed climate change – meat does: “An analysis of the environmental toll of food production concludes that transportation is a mere drop in the carbon bucket. Foods such as beef and dairy make a far deeper impression on a consumer’s carbon footprint.”
4. Why In-Vitro Meat Is Good For You: “Arguments against eating meat are often made on grounds of cruelty and personal health, though, ultimately, the most compelling argument may be ecological: Meat requires extreme amounts of resources to produce, and consequently carries a vast environmental footprint.”
5. Even If Meat Isn’t Murder, That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good For You: “A meat-eater driving a Prius contributes more to climate change than a vegan driving a Hummer. By now, it is broadly understood that eating less meat would relieve a bit of pressure on our sullied atmosphere by lightening the methane load.”
6. Food That Travels Well: “Buying local is not necessarily beneficial for the environment.”
7. Going Veggie Can Slash Your Carbon Footprint: “What counts is the way we feed ourselves … production and consumption first and foremost of beef and milk must be cut drastically.”