Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Baking is activism you can eat!

I just baked my first vegan apple pie! (Okay, it was my first ever apple pie, but that’s really not the point...)

I suppose it is just a pie that happens to be vegan, as the pastry margarine used is vegetable oil based rather than animal derived. And you can’t go wrong with flour and apples! Treats that are ‘accidentally vegan’ are great as they don't require you to go out in search of specialised ingredients, and they usually go down well with vegans and non-vegans alike.

So, for an easy treat for a vegan friend, or in an attempt to convert the butter loving sceptics, here’s the recipe for an apple pie that you can happily eat with a clear conscience whilst watching Disney films featuring cute talking animals:

100g dairy free butter/margarine substitute (I used Stork block margarine (block, not tub) – but have since been informed that the Vitamin D in this may be animal derived, so perhaps 'Pure' or Marks and Spencers dairy free sunflower spread would be an option here – get reading those packet labels like the good vegan you know you are!)

200g flour

Apple slices/blueberries/anything you fancy for the filling.

Soya milk and sugar for the glaze. Because what’s a pie without glazing?

Now to get those nature loving hands dirty...Rub the flour into the butter and then add about 8 tbsp of water to make a nice dough. Roll out half of it for the base. Lay it in the pie dish, whack in your filling, and roll out the other half of the pastry and lay it on top, pinching the edges to keep the filling in nice and snug. Make a pretty design out of leftover bits of pastry to lay on top of your pie (I did an apple and leaves – I never said I was innovative), glaze it with a bit of sugar and soya milk, make a little slit to let steam out, and there you go! Pop into a pre-heated oven at 180°C, and in about 25 minutes you’ll don your mits, take it out, and feel like Brie from Desperate Housewives. You could even dye your hair red in preparation for the moment if you so wish.

This recipe comes courtesy of my friend’s mum, Bev, who made vegan vegetable chilli with rice and apple and blueberry pie for when I visited - just in case I stayed for dinner. She even had soya milk in the fridge, on the odd chance I’d fancy a cuppa. If I had had in my possession a ‘Loved By A Vegan’ medal, it would definitely have been awarded that day. Alas, no such medal exists. Why not? And more importantly, why did I decide to make apple pie at 11.30 at night?

There are some questions that will always remain a mystery. But Should you go vegan? Well, that one's got an easy answer.

Friday, 3 April 2009

It's all in the job description...

I still can’t quite figure out why the issue of factory farming and its effects - on animals, the environment, and on people - is something most Christians tend not to talk about, let alone make a stand on. Whilst I can find a lot of online communities of Christians who feel the same way about this issue as I do (look to your right for a couple of websites and blogs), I have yet to hear it discussed in church. (But yeah, okay, I haven’t been in a while...)

So, the opportunity to discuss this with other Christians is always brilliant. Thank you to Jon Birch for doing this cartoon, winding me up a bit, and generally giving me a chance to talk through my stance on this with other Christians. The cartoon and the discussion about it can be seen at this link:

Get involved!

Also, here's a great blog post by Greg Boyd about why he felt it was God's will for him to be a vegetarian:

How fantastic it would be if Christians were associated with caring for the environment and those in it, rather than just people belonging to an institution with a set of rules. Our faith in God should inspire us to live out that faith by loving all He has made, and living peacefully, not simply succumbing to the consumerism that seems to be choking the planet, and our hearts.
We are stewards of creation - what a wonderful job title that is!

Let's embrace it and get to work.

Peace and love

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The Meatrix!

I just found this brilliant video after publishing my post. Watch it - it is genius! And will make you laugh whilst making the point (you film buffs out there will love it).

Also, it is a great way to introduce people gently to the problem of factory farming without sitting them in front of a PETA film and making them cry. Which is always a bonus.

Sharing thoughts on peace, love, and vegan cupcakes!