Hello all! As mentioned in my last post, I went home to Italy for a week and now I am back in London! 🙂
It was the first time I went back home as a more-sustainable-eating-vegan so I was curious to see how it would go. I can safely say it went very well as my main occupation there was actually eating…!
My mum bought a ton of fresh vegetables for me to have and my friends also made an effort to feed me (after a few panic moments trying to figure out what to make!) 😀
I started off my trip well with the usual super food salad from Pret A Manger.
This has really become a sort of ritual, a bit like some who always have a McDonald’s breakfast before a trip, only healthier and more sustainable 😛
I had a delicious innocent mangoes and passion fruit smoothie, which has 2 of your 5 a day and is so thick and delicious… and a cocoa delight Nakd bar, which is 1 of your 5 a day!
With the salad I’m sure it made up 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, all in one meal! I certainly eat a lot more vegetables now I eat vegan food 🙂
My mum didn’t only buy heaps of vegetables, she also bought me several other vegan goodies such as soy milk so I could have cereals for breakfast.
My sister tasted soy milk for the first time and said she really likes it! She said it’s sweet and tastes good. I personally don’t really like it much on its own but it’s perfect with cereals and other recipes.
The day after I got there some of my friends and I went to visit another friend who invited us for lunch.
I asked her if I should take some food over to make things easier (she seemed a bit alarmed when I told her what I choose not to eat!), but she made a delicious asparagus risotto (and simply added butter and parmesan to it after dishing mine out). I also had the chips (only skipped the meat rolls) and yummy apple pastries she made.
My sister also had some really nice baci di dama biscuits, their name means “dame’s kisses” and they are like 2 little biscuits sealed with a kiss of hazelnutty chocolate.
Lucky for me, these were dairy free, made with rice flour (so probably gluten-free too) and egg free.
They were particularly lovely with citrussy Twinings lemon tea 🙂
Out of the mountain of vegetable my mum got, there was a really big bag of fresh spinach and bietoline, so I used them to make a lovely vegetable pasta which also had red peppers, tomato sauce, garlic, herbs, chilli, onions and my beloved sun-dried tomatoes. Tasty and colourful!
I also managed to make another recipe again while I was home: a friend of my mum’s gave her a lovely fresh, organic cabbage from her garden so I thought it would be a great opportunity to make a cabbage soup inspired by Food to Glow’s Kellie’s Freekeh and Green Soup.
We didn’t have freekeh or quinoa (that’s what I used the first time I made the soup) so I gave it a more Italian twist by adding pasta and also a potato. My mum really liked it! actually everyone who has tried it so far has liked it 🙂
The picture above shows the ingredients I used in Italy.
As you can tell this soup is really healthy and can be a complete meal if you add some beans, lentils or chickpeas as a protein source. The spices Kellie recommends using give it a lovely fragrant flavour and a squeeze of lemon at the end make it really refreshing.
One of the things I reaaaally wanted to have back home was pizza of course!
In order to have a sustainable vegan pizza all you have to do is order one with vegetables and ask them to avoid adding the cheese. Voilà!
It was sooo nice 🙂 and while I was home I drank so much apricot juice too! Fortunately I discovered that a local shop stocks it here in London so I won’t have to overload on it each time I go home anymore 😛
Another lovely dish I had was pasta with a creamy cannellini beans sauce my sister made.
The thing I liked about this is just how creamy it tasted. I’m not a fan of super-creamy sauces but this one was really nice.
Some may think that eating vegan food means giving up the pleasure to eat creamy textures, however this dish could prove them wrong.
It was velvety, satisfying and made by simply cooking garlic, organic rosemary from our village and a tin of cannellini beans in a little extra virgin olive oil. Once they had cooled down she whizzed them up, seasoned it all and added the pasta, garnishing with poppy seeds for extra flavour and crunch. Great!
One evening we had these beautiful mini peppers raw with some hoummous my sister made. Aren’t they lovely?
It seems like even in Italy there are more dairy-free options, including for fresh cheese.
Valsoia is a brand that’s been around for years, I remember watching their ads when I was little “I say no to cholesterol, yes to Valsoia”!
It was pretty good and would be great in a sarnie! I tried it with organic corn cakes and freshly cracked pepper too.
Oh, and I ate all of my mum’s dark chocolate…
Ever since I was little, simple pasta soup has been a staple soup at home.
One of those meals that are a quick dinner solution and are good for body and soul.
All you need is soup pasta, vegetable stock and a potato or two.
Ta-dah! Soupette! Which I guess in French it means little soup or perhaps simple soup.
Don’t be fooled by its humble look, it tastes amazing – especially with the comforting smoothness of the potatoes – , makes you feel good and could be complemented by a few handfuls of fresh spinach.
For my last night, my mum also made a cake, it was the first time she had baked a vegan lemon cake and it was wonderful.
Light. Fluffy. Lemony. Heavenly! I will have to ask her for the recipe 🙂
Last but not least, we had lunch together at our favourite Chinese restaurant. This place and its owner were one of the factors that inspired me to study Chinese, which led me to live in China for 10 months and become so passionate about the environment and sustainability.
My vegan option was soy noodles with vegetables, I just asked them not to add the prawns.
Going home proved that it’s entirely possible to eat sustainable food while being away. If you want to make a change, with a little research and language skills you can do it anywhere 🙂
Of course it was easier being at home, but even going out to eat was fine and I never felt like I was missing out on anything.
Writing this has made me hungry for more vegan food and hungry for new adventures! 🙂
Have you ever had the experience of going to someone’s home with certain requirements?
Have you tried new food or products because they were more eco-friendly?