Tag Archives: Food

Dear Airlines, I’m Hungry

Plane

Long-haul flights are painful. No matter how many baby wine bottles or Blood Marys you give me, they are still painful. The highlight of the flight is the meal sessions, because something is going on and we can do something while watching movies (when is in-flight Internet going to be a thing?).

What makes it even more painful, is the illogical ‘special meals’ system that you have going on.

I’m a vegetarian. Not anything too weird, I just don’t eat meat. I’m not too anal about the whole thing either, as long as there is not a dead animal in my meal and it’s decent, I’m happy. Now I understand that there are some anal folk out there, and that you have tried to trick us all into thinking that you cater for everyone by your very many types of vegetarian options and special meals, but it really doesn’t make too much sense.

I’ve always chosen the vegetarian lacto-ovo option, which is really just a normal vegetarian meal that includes eggs and dairy (it took me a while to figure out what it was in the beginning). I.e. Normal people food, without dead animals. Not vegan – vegan is all about not consuming any animal by-products, so eggs or dairy is definitely not an option in these kind of meals.  It’s really not difficult to understand.

So PLEASE tell me why I always get a vegan meal, labelled as vegetarian lacto-ovo? No cheese, no dairy, not anything much, really. Even when there is a perfectly suitable vegetarian option on the ‘normal people’s menu’, I’m not allowed to have it, because I ordered a ‘special meal’ (which does not actually match the ‘specialness’ that I ordered).

So while others are happily munching away on their pumpkin ravioli with Napolitana sauce, cheese and biscuits and nice full salad with dressing and cheesecake for dessert,  I am picking at a vegetable pasta and a dry salad, topped off with a bunch of grapes. Well, to be more accurate, because I got my ‘special meal’ early, I’m looking at the leftovers of my disappointing meal while drooling over the cheese on the tray next to me.

Yeah, don’t judge me on the number of Bloody Marys I’ve ordered, I’m hungry, dammit.

Kind regards,
The Hungry Vegetarian


The art of frozen yoghurt

What does it take to get a decent frozen yoghurt these days? Between the rubbish in the freezers at our supermarkets and that silly little place where you make your own tub of artificial flavourants and sugar (you all know which one I’m talking about), the Joburg froyo situation is hopeless!

Or is it?

Having heard about a sneaky little place called Filo, in Victory Park shopping centre, I decided to give it a go.

I am happy to announce that I am well-impressed. It’s a funky little shop, with well-thought flavour combos in froyo soft serve machines. ‘Virtually fat-free’ (not entirely sure about that, but it’s enough to make me enjoy it without the guilt) and ixnay on all those revolting artificial flavourants and who knows what else is usually in these kind if things.

Happy Candi.

I would recommend the Greek and Caramel combo – YUM!

Go visit and taste for yourself 🙂

image

Filo


Today I learnt…Fast fasting

If you follow me on Twitter, you will have noticed some moany-moany tweets about starvation and wanting to eat a vegetarian. I am on a 3 day juice fast, people. Bear with me!

Why?

We put so much food through our digestive system day in and day out, without a break. Imagine all the gunk in there!

The theory behind fasting is that it permits the entire digestive system to rest while ridding the body of toxins. It cleanses the body and the energy that is usually used for digestion is available for the repair and healing of the body.

People also fast for spiritual reasons, in that it gives them an opportunity to focus their thoughts towards God/spirituality/whatever they’re into.

I just felt like I needed a bodily spring-clean.

How?

I chose a 3 day juice fast. Detoxification programmes and fasting can be dangerous, if not done properly and for long periods of time, so a 3 day juice fast is a safe and relatively fast way to get the job done.

So all it is, is 3 days of only fresh fruit/vegetable juice and water/herbal tea. Sounds easy enough. Ha ha ha ha!! I laugh so!

A fridge full of apples, pears, carrots, lemon and ginger and motivation on Day 1.

Today is Day 3. The fridge holds a few carrots and a cucumber. I nearly ate my roommate yesterday.

I feel amazingly light and energetic now, though…

And?

Day 1 and 2:

Mornings were fine. Afternoons filled with starvation and detox headaches. Juice fasts tend to detox you quicker than normal fasts and the toxins released cause intense headaches. This is apparently a good thing, though. But Oh My Soul…they hurt like mad. Sweating it out, drinking lots of water and peppermint tea helps though.

Day 3:

I’m still alive! I don’t want to kill or eat anyone. Whew! I feel great. No hunger. Glad that it’s nearly over!

So?

Again, I have realised how much I love food and wine and the social aspect of eating. I chose a time when there was nothing really going on socially, and I could relax and take it easy while my body does it’s thing, but I would have struggled a lot more if I had to decline a meal out or a glass of wine with a friend!

I am impressed with my own willpower and inner strength.

I’m sticking out the last few hours on a positive note – Gold Stars to me…


Fine Brandy.By Design – at Taste of Joburg 2012

Cool name, huh? Fine Brandy.By Design “is a collection of fine brandies that are changing how people see brandy, more especially how one consumes it.”

In plain English? Brandy cocktails, baby!

Introducing…The Franklin!

OudeMeester Demant, bitters and ginger ale, with lemon rinds. Oh Em Holy Crap – favouritist favourite!

Do yourself a favour and get down to the Taste of Joburg show at Monte Casino (started last night and on all weekend) and hit the Fine Brandy.By Design stand. They have the most delicious brandy cocktail and food pairing. Being a veggie, I had the mushroom risotto paired with The Franklin…twice…it was amazing.

For the meaties, they also had two meat options – I didn’t pay too much attention, but I seem to remember that they were some sort of pork belly and lamb dishes paired with brandy cocktails.

I am an absolute convert to the brandy revolution, if you haven’t realised yet. It’s no longer a drink for the old man in his library leather chair with his cigar, it’s freshened up and funky.

P.S. The Taste festival this year is really something to try out – I had so much fun tasting everything! I’d really recommend it for an evening out in Jozi. If you’re tweeting, hashtag is #TOJ2012 and handle is @TasteofJoburg


Salvation Cafe, 44 Stanley

I am a little bit in love with Salvation Cafe lately. Situated in the heart of 44 Stanley in Milpark (an old series of industrial buildings, transformed into a meander of trendy boutiques and restaurants), it offers everything that I admire in food creation. Prepared with love and their own freshly grown herbs and greens, it offers a trendy buzz of deliciousness, complete with organic ingredients and plenty of vegetarian options.

According to their wesite:

All true!

Try creating your own fresh juices – a good ol’ ABC – apple, beetroot, carrot – with a twist of ginger is divine.

Get there early on a Saturday – before 9.30am – or make yourself comfortable with the idea of waiting for a table. It’s a comfortable environment (and they have wine) so tables don’t turn over so quickly.

Being in the centre of the buzz, it’s always  a good place to play ‘which hipster has the weirdest hairdo’ too 😉


Gingko Restaurant – Parkview

Always on the lookout for a hot wi-fi spot, I came across Gingko Restaurant in Parkview today. Although not a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, it boasts a menu with extensive vegetarian and organic options, with all fresh ingredients, free from preservatives and all that other rubbish that molests our food these days.

Jozi has some vegetarian and natural food restaurants (check them out here), but they tend to have a very cafe kind of feel, which is great, but Gingko is more of a ‘real’ restaurant in its’ setting.

I’ve only tried their breakfast menu, which has extensive options – enough teas and smoothies and shakes and and and to make anyone drool. I’ll definitely be back for some more and to relax on their deck with my Mac-Baby to get some work done from time to time.

They also have a small section where you can buy healthy foods. I think it’s great.


The Fat Vegetarian

If you read my blog often you’ll know that I am quite peaceful vegetarian and don’t push my dietary choices on anyone else, ever. From time to time, though, I do need to have a rant at the ignorance of others towards vegetarianism.

I am a firm believer in accommodating others’ beliefs and most people generally are too…except when it comes to vegetarians. It’s like as soon as you utter the ‘V’ word, you become a disgrace to society and a disappointment to the human race. If certain religious beliefs require you to abstain from certain foods, e.g. Pork in the Jewish faith, how is this acceptable to others whereas vegetarianism is not?

From now on I’ll just call it ‘V’ so as not to offend anyone. Like the ‘F’ word sounds much more PC than swearing directly on my blog.

I think it is far more difficult in a rampant meat-eating country like South Africa to have a non-meat diet, which is why you lucky readers get to hear my rants from time to time.

I’m at a beautiful resort in the Transkei at the moment, which I’ll blog about when I’m back, with fully catered meals 3 times a day. The mass of food is insane, and the variety is crazy…yet I am still struggling to have a healthy ‘V’ diet here.

Any other ‘V’s out there will know how this is so, as the mentality seems to be: ‘What should we feed these stupid ‘V’s? I know, whatever we would feed the ‘normal’ people, but without the meat.’

So we end up with side veggies and potatoes most of the time (Oh ‘F’, should I have used the ‘V’ for that too?). Or a ‘V’ pasta with leftover veggies and loads of oil tossed in pasta. Or some sort of pasta bake drowned in a creamy cheese sauce. Or my personal FAVOURITE…spinach and feta in some sort of oily pastry.

I may be a bit dramatic in this post, but it honestly does not make sense to me. Generally speaking, ‘V’s are health-conscious people, so why would caterers want to feed us such rich and starchy rubbish?

In a world that is falling apart and being raped of resources (much of this is attributed to meat production) many people are already more socially aware of their impact on the environment and their general health. Where is South Africa in this debate? Nowhere.

At least be accommodating of other people’s beliefs and lifestyles, whatever they are. It helps. A lot.

On that note, let’s all go hug a tree and pray for a ‘V’.


Leafy Greens Cafe, Muldersdrift

Here’s another vegetarian gem, just outside of Jozi. Take a relaxing drive towards Muldersdrift and you will find Leafy Greens Cafe, just opposite Casa Linga (they share the same premises). Their website is not very good, but their vegan buffet is delicious.

All their food is vegan and organic and they have their own veggie garden on the farm that they use for their dishes. Every meal sold at Leafy Greens Cafe gives R1.00 to feed a child in Africa through the JAM Movement. They also have a shop inside the restaurant with all sorts of health foods (try their agave and vanilla pecan nuts…holy crap!)

Sounds like a decent way to spend a Sunday afternoon, right? Give it a go.


So I don’t eat meat…*shock horror* – Vegetarian Rant

So I don’t eat meat.

Is that such an issue? I am constantly ragged about the fact that I choose not to put animal meat into my body and it annoys me to no end, so this is my little rant to release all of that negative energy.

I live in South Africa, which means that a lot of the culture in this country surrounds meat – hunting it, eating it, drying it, braaing it, which makes it a big issue to some people when they meet a vegetarian. So let me address a few “oh my god, you’re a vegetarian” comments:

1. Why would you choose to stop eating meat?

There are honestly hundreds of reasons for not eating meat, which I have never pushed onto anyone at all. If you are interested in understanding this, there is a brilliant list here on the Greenside Cafe website which state very simply 101 reasons to go veg. Some will really make you think more about what you put into your own body and also the impact that it has on the world we live in, so I hope you do read it.

2. But what do you eat?

This is my absolute favourite. Because clearly if you don’t eat meat, there is nothing in the world that you can eat and you will starve and die a slow, tasteless death. Vegetarian food is far tastier than any meat dish I have ever had (I have not been vegetarian my whole life, so yes, I have eaten meat before and no, I don’t miss it). Vegetarian food is so much tastier than meat dishes because it doesn’t rely on the taste of animal juices for its flavour. You actually have to think about the different tastes and textures that you are putting into your food and end up with a far more creative and flavourful meal. They are also far healthier because as a vegetarian, you always need to ensure that you are getting enough protein, fats, omegas etc. in your food and so actually design your meals around nutrition as well as taste.

3. So how do you go to a braai without meat?

The last time I checked, a braai (barbecue) in South Africa was about the social gathering, not the meat.

4. So how do you get your protein?

You would actually be surprised at how little protein you actually need in a day and at how many different kinds of foods contain protein. I’m not going to go into a technical discussion here, but yes it is possible to get enough of the right kind of protein without needing meat.

5. Isn’t it boring?

Refer to point 2 above. I LOVE food, and I mean really LOVE food. No, it isn’t boring, it’s very very interesting…try it, I dare you.

6. Do you mind if other people eat meat around you?

Of course not! Who am I to judge other people’s eating choices?

7. But is that healthy?

Ummmm….Yes!

Seriously, it’s nothing to freak out about.

In the end, it is my body and my own well-being and I definitely get to decide what I put into my body without having to explain myself at every meal. If someone doesn’t like olives, for instance, it would really not be a big deal, you would just say “Oh”. But say the “V” word and the whole world falls apart.

My body, my mind, my decisions.

*Rant over*


Tashas – Yum!

Okay, so Tashas is amazing. This is definitely another fairly hidden gem. I had lunch there today in Gateway, on my post-Durban July day. The decor is just gorgeous – you can see that a lot of thought went into decorating this place. The food is just plain delicious and they serve very healthy-sized portions, with a lot of vegetarian variety on the menu.

Serious mouth orgasms happening in this place!

The pics below were taken in the Gateway branch, but are also a few in Jozi that is just as impressive.

Eat your heart out!