Uncategorized

Activist Profile: Soul Eubanks

The first article on activism comes in the form of the amazing Christopher ‘Soul’ Eubanks! Christopher has recently launched himself into the vegan scene with admirable gusto. With his no nonsense style and matter of fact statements on animal advocation, agriculture and environmental issues he’s become a firm favourite and amassed a legion of followers in a short space of time. Christopher is not only an activist but a creative and constructs arts and media together seamlessly to promote the vegan lifestyle on his YouTube Channel and other social media platforms.

Website: https://www.souleubanks.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/soul_eubanks/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/soul_eubanks

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 10.59.46

The importance of vegans becoming activists:

When I decided to become vegan it was the most enlightening but emotional experience I would ever endure. After a few months of being vegan and learning in excruciating detail about the many ways’ animals are exploited a heavy burden covered my spirit that left parts of me in agony. These feelings left me wanting to make a difference to fight animal cruelty so my passion led me to have unproductive heated debates online and endless discussions with friends and family about veganism. In my efforts to fight for animals I quickly began to realise I would need to be more strategic in my efforts and soon realised that vegan activism was inevitable.

Once I began doing activism, I started to realise that it’s one thing to not contribute to injustice but it’s another thing to speak out against injustice as it happens. For me activism has become not only a civic duty but also a way to release my frustrations about animal suffering in a healthy manner.

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 10.58.11

On the path to being the best versions of ourselves we will encounter many difficulties but we must make sure we are living a life in which our actions and our morals are aligned. Desmond Tutu once said “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” and this is an example of why it is important for vegans to be a voice for the voiceless.

Why I became vegan:

I became vegan for a variety of reasons, but the heart of why I became vegan was because I no longer wanted to contribute to the suffering of innocent beings and I wanted my diet to have a positive impact on the environment. Before becoming vegan, I never fully grasped how my diet and actions contributed to suffering until I began to learn why and how animals are turned into food. Once I became educated about how consuming animals negatively impacts the environment, I no longer wanted to consume a diet that was harmful to the earth, harmful to innocent beings, and harmful to my spirit. When I realised I could have the same delicious foods I have always enjoyed but without any animal suffering, I not only changed my diet, I also adopted a vegan lifestyle. Not supporting animal cruelty doesn’t just stop with my diet, it extends into my way of life as I aspire to live a vegan lifestyle that aims to eliminate all forms of animal suffering which has inspired me to become a vegan activist.

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 10.58.31

Whether attending animal vigils, giving animal rights lectures at universities, or creating content for my vegan YouTube channel, I plan to always use my talents and skills to promote the message of veganism. We must remember that we are all animals and for us to end all forms of oppression and inequality we need to extend our circle of compassion to include all animals, both human and non human and that is why I am vegan.

Advertisements
Uncategorized

Tredwells Review

For quite some time I have been hearing good things about Tredwells, I’ve also been completely sucked in with delicious pictures of plant based dishes popping up on my Instagram feed from chef patron Chantelle Nicholson. Never one to turn down a five course vegan degustation menu, the turning point was last Friday evening seeing a decadent looking dark chocolate mousse with baked clementine and smoked yoghurt on Nicholson’s Instagram. It prompted me to make a reservation for the very next evening.

Chef Chantelle is not a vegan or even a vegetarian but likes the challenge of cooking plant based meals hence why she decided to write a recipe book: Planted, A Chef’s show stopping Vegan Recipes. She goes on to say “It’s something a lot of chefs just ignore and don’t think is important. When I looked around to find resources for plant-based cooking at a restaurant level, there were hardly any.”

I’m very pleased that veganism is becoming more mainstream and high end restaurants are offering delicious vegan fare and increasing options. It’s even better when there are chefs who aren’t actually vegan but are still advocating veganism and seem to enjoy cooking consciously! We are tired of having sorbet for desert and stuffed peppers are not one for the ages. We want more innovative options and our vegan wishes are being answered! Chef Chantelle’s menu looked promising, I had high expectations and was gearing myself up for an exquisite and naughty vegan feast.

The aesthetics of the restaurant are dark and moody, yet still cosy and inviting. We were seated in a comfy booth in a mirror lined room, it was fairly noisy but the restaurant had a lovely vibe and friendly staff. I initially thought that the vegan menu was only for Veganuary but I was assured by a waitress that the Vegwells plant menu is here to stay and it changes seasonally. The five course taster menu is £35 per head without wine, which I think is great value. These are the dishes that were on offer:

Braised onion tortellini, roasted celeriac

Parsnip, harissa, pear, peanut, coconut yoghurt

XO Aubergine, cabbage, sesame,  furikake

Yorkshire rhubarb, custard, apple

Dark chocolate mousse, baked clementine, smoked yoghurt

We also got sides of: triple cooked chips & grilled broccoli, almond butter, capers.

The first dish that came out looked beautiful and delicate, I could only hope it tasted as delicious as it looked – I wasn’t disappointed! The tortellini was cooked to perfection and was swimming in a delicious warm and earthy broth. The creamy celeriac gave the dish a lovely sweet note that complimented the pasta and I wanted more!

The second dish was the parsnip and for me the peanut really amplified the dish to another level, and the tiny cubes of pear complimented in ways I wasn’t expecting. The coconut yoghurt gave the dish some well needed moistness and made a welcome change to a piece root veg being steeped in gravy or coated with a glaze.

The XO aubergine was tasty, tender and delicious with hidden cabbage underneath that was soft and succulent. The added chips & broccoli went well with the dish however I wish there had been more capers to cut through the almond butter.

The Yorkshire rhubarb was just a sensation! It didn’t look like anything mind blowing but WOW! The top layer was icy and citrusy, with a creamy layer of custard underneath with notes of tangy apple and sour rhubarb –  a wonderful and refreshing palette cleanser. It was like having a summer citrus sorbet mixed with a classic winter Rhubarb & Apple pudding – delicious! I would go back just to have this again.

Lastly was the chocolate mousse which was light and fulfilled all of my chocolate needs and more. Clementine was always going to be a perfect match and the smoked yoghurt balanced it all remarkably well.

Tredwells really surpassed my expectations, I was hoping it would be a celebration of British produce and it didn’t disappoint. I had expected it to have a slightly pretentious edge and to leave hungry – I was pleasantly surprised on both counts. I enjoyed my visit from start to end. I’ll definitely be visiting again.

I paid for my meal and all views are my own.

Address: 4A Upper St Martin’s Lane, London WC2H 9NY

Travels

2018 Travel Recap

Instead of doing singular posts on my travel diary as I had originally planned, I’m going to round up my year in one fail swoop. I have been lucky to have taken some amazing trips this year, eat amazing food and meet new people.

Earlier this year in February – my birth month – YAY for Aquarius season! I visited my friends in Frankfurt. Everyone who knows me is well aware of my long standing love affair with Germany and I have visited countless times.  I have friends and family there who mean a great deal to me. It is a wicked city too and has a great nightlife – I love the Germans for their work hard, play hard ethic. For someone like me who loves music it’s my perfect getaway.

Franfurt – Feb 2018

In March I visited Nepal with my mum in the Easter holidays. I have not taken a trip with her for a while so it was nice to have some chill time where we could relax and explore. There were some stunning temples and architecture, and they are working hard to rebuild Durbar Square after the devastating earthquake in 2015 but apart from that there was not much more restoration being done. I do hope this changes in the future as it would be a crying shame to let the buildings fall into further disrepair.  I also visited Pokhara which had a nice vibe where you can chill along the river and watch the sun go down which was lovely. I also went up into the mountains to the village of Nargarkot which had some stunning views of the Himalayas. I found the food options disappointing and bland. I can’t deny I expected a lot more from the food in Nepal.  I found the daal bat dull and flavourless. I did try it more than once at a variety of different restaurants, it seemed to get progressively worse at each place. If you are a nature lover then Nepal would be a great place to visit.

Lakeside – Pokhara March 2018
Healthy snacks – Kathmandu March 2018
Sunset – Pokhara

In early May I was craving a city break so I took myself off to Korea. I have had Korea on my list for the longest time and I heard there was a thriving vegan scene emerging. Whilst I will admit veganism is emerging, they still have a long way to go. The places I did visit multiple times was Plant and Sanchon. Plant sold veggie burgers and salads which were pretty good but the consistency needed to be be improved on the burger as it was messy and fell apart. Sanchon served bibimbap and other traditional vegan Korean dishes which was good but service not so much. There are also some very cool bars and nightclubs for lovers of house music. I even ended up spinning some tunes in a bar one night as there was no DJ!  I climbed Mount Bukhansan whilst I was there, It wasn’t the easiest hike and I would have preferred to have had the proper kit on (hiking boots maybe) instead of the trainers without grip but I did it! Lovely views from the top looking over the vast and gigantic city of Seoul. Korea announced a ban on testing on animals so beauty lovers especially if you are vegan or have an interest in animal welfare are in for a treat as Koreans take skin very seriously. I came back with some natural serums and masks which have worked beautifully. I will definitely visit Seoul again at some point in the future.

Seoul by night – May 2018
Plant – Soba noodle salad, tempeh rainbow wrap with hibiscusade & lemondade

Seoul was a whirlwind and had drained me physically because I tried to fit as much as I could into such a small space of time. I came back and saw an amazing deal to Greece so jumped at the chance. I love Greece – the food, the beaches – everything and the people are so warm and welcoming. I went to Skopelos with the promise of hot weather and yummy food – it didn’t disappoint! Pine forests and lush beaches combined to make it the perfect getaway.

Gorgeous Skopelos – June 2018

In September I made my annual and last trip in some time to Thailand. Before Thailand I flew to KL, then onto Borneo. Thailand will always be very special to me as I have met some life long friends there and the beaches are unrivalled, as is the food. Thai food is still one of my favourite cuisines and one of my fave vegan restaurants ever is on Bangkok! Thailand has beauty and beaches yet it does have a seedy side to it as well which some people wither love or hate. The sex trade is extremely blatant and in your face,  however it is culturally accepted.

Thailand – October 2018

I also took a trip to Borneo to see the Orangutans and stay in the jungle. It was important for me to see the effects that deforestation is having on the wildlife that inhabit the jungles. I am totally against the use of palm oil and I am glad it is getting a lot of press, but it is in so many products. We need to stay vigilant and vote with our pockets and continue to purchase products that are palm oil free.  There are also large amounts of land that has been totally destroyed with the attempt of producing palm oil plantations, only to find out the plants won’t take as the soil is of poor quality.

First time eating jungle fern – delicious!
Borneo – September 2018

On a brighter note five minutes into our jungle walk I was lucky to see not one but two Oraguntans in the wild! I was elated! A mother and her baby wandering in the green wilderness is a sight I will not forget in a long time. I also visited a sanctuary. The sanctuary was not what I was expecting, it was in the middle of the jungle and the Orangutans here had been orphaned due to deforestation and they are free to leave the sanctuary when they are old enough and can care for themselves. I would love to do some volunteer work in the future so this is something I will definitely be giving more thought on.

After Amsterdam in November I took my annual Christmas trip to Italy. This time I visited Turin which was absolutely beautiful. Turin is said to be the Italy’s vegan city and it did not disappoint. On my last night I visited an amazing restaurant called Chiodi Latini New Food. They don’t label themselves as vegan restaurant, and no use of any animal derived products or meat. They do not use meat substitutes such as seitan or tofu and its strictly vegetables. There is zero waste and every part of the vegetable is used. They cooked in a variety of ways from dehydrating, fermenting and poaching – all of it interesting and yummy. Staff were lovely and attentive and explained the concept behind each dish. It was a seven course meal and very filling. The desert was out of this world! Turin has lived up to it’s expectations of being the vegan capital of Italy and I will visit again in the future.

It has been a wonderful year full of positivity and enlightening experiences. I have made great contacts and am blessed to have some amazing friends by my side. I am feeling extremely grateful as well as excited to see what 2019 has in store. I wish all my followers and friends a Happy New Year – see you all on the other side!

Yayoi Kusama exhibition London – Dec 2018 –  Infinity mirrored room: My heart is dancing to the universe 
Travels

Quick weekend in Amsterdam

I just got back from a quick break to Amsterdam for some Christmas shopping. It is a city I am familiar with and have visited multiple times. It is one of my favourite cities in Europe – especially at Christmas time. The last time I visited in 2015 the vegan scene really wasn’t saying much and I heard that was changing. Most foreign cities I visit that are supposed to offer a wide range of vegan food I have found rather boring and lack lustre and the food not as high quality as London.  London is so multicultural we get a vast range of diverse food that is executed to extremely high standards. So lets say I went with have high expectations. I was only staying for 2 nights so wanted to try a new vegan restaurant as well as visit some old haunts.

img_8038.jpg

On arrival in Amsterdam I was really hungry and I had heard great things about VJFB (Vegan Junk Food Bar) It serves what you would expect –  loaded fries, massive burgers etc.  This would definitely fill the hole! On arrival I found it was much smaller than I expected, very cramped with minimal seating. We found seats and ordered. I got the original VJFB which was a plant based beef burger, cheddar, lettuce, mayo with onion and salad and truffle fries . My companion ordered sweet potato fries, and the chick’n burger. Literally 3 minutes later the burger arrived. I was a little suspect that it came so quick and that the place was quite packed – was this a magic burger? I took a bite – it was stone cold, all I could taste was onion, the patty was not that tasty and was saturated in sauce. Too much salad and an un – toasted bun also was not appreciated. The fries were in fact chips and where I had expected a replica of thin and crispy truffle fries with a light sprinkle of parmesan, the chips were big, soggy and looked like they had half a tub of fish food dumped over them (nutritional yeast). I could not eat my chips as they looked so hideous and swapped with my friend who had the sweet potato, however after a couple of bites he couldn’t eat the parm chips either! Disappointed was an understatement and the bill with drinks came to over £35! Totally ridiculous. I do not understand the hype of this place. The burgers are apparently just regular burgers you buy in the supermarket so  the inflated prices are really unjustifiable. Service was terrible, the waiter was dancing around the shop, forgot our drinks, so I had to help myself and it was very chaotic and not an enjoyable experience in the slightest.

 

The next day I went to the Banksy  exhibition at the Moco museum which was fabulous. Moco were also showcasing artwork from Icy & Sot, Keith Waring, Basquiat,  Damien Hirst and Yayoi Kusama to name a few. All of these artists I am massive fans of, so I was thrilled to have stumbled across it. Amsterdam is fantastic city for people who are into art and it’s culturally a very vibrant and upbeat city.

Icy & Sot Image

After last nights debacle with food I wanted something I was familiar with, so I went to the vegan Maoz. It does have vegetarian branches but due to the rise in veganism, decided to open a fully vegan branch which is fantastic. Maoz is a great place to eat and it has never let me down, it’s quick, plentiful, healthy and fills you up. They offer pitta with fresh felafel and a range of salads you can add yourself, as well as salad boxes. I used to be a regular visitor to the London Soho branch, however it closed briefly and reopened and now sells chicken as well as a decrease of salad toppings. I was really disappointed and after my last visit in the summer and will not return. I was very happy that this Maoz has stuck to the original concept and the salad options were exactly the same as they were 15 years ago.

Maoz salad bar

.

Travels

Chile – Part 3

My first stop in Chile was the Atacama desert, the driest place on earth. The town was dusty and dry reminiscent of a Wild West film. There wasn’t much options for vegans, the vegan cafe I did visit offered cakes and snacks but nothing mind blowing. Whilst I was there I did take in a stargazing tour which was interesting. I have never seen the stars so clearly in my life!

Santiago is such a massive city,  it goes on for miles! The mountains nestle the city and it bustling and fast paced. I was staying here for a few days before my onward journey to Patagonia and I intended to get some relaxation in especially with the beautiful weather.

Famous for the wine, I had to visit the vineyards and decided on the Santa Rita bike tour. Picturesque with rolling valleys, I could not handle the wine tasting which started promptly at 11am. As much as I will be a wino forever it was way too early for me. In Central Santiago a visit to San Cristobal is a must! Taking in the views at the top where you get panoramic views of this vibrant, cosmopolitan city. In terms of eating I had some success but expected more from such a large city. The shopping here is good and there is a large mall – Costanera which had all the usual high street shops as well as a large food court where you could also get fresh smoothies and juice.

Mercado Central is full of touristy restaurants in the centre specialising in seafood  and a fish market which obviously didn’t interest me. The Plaza De Armas was a massive square surrounded by government buildings, and tourists. The Chilean people were friendly and courteous and I enjoyed my time there immensely. They have a vibrant nightlife and a range of bars in the Bellavista district as well as some decent restaurants.

My last stop before I headed back to Santiago was Patagonia. If I was to do it again I wouldn’t do it solo. The hikes were lovely and had beautiful scenery and I never felt unsafe but I think its better to hike with someone for safety reasons and for the company. I did see other women hiking solo and met some cool people on route to stop and chat with which was lovely. From Puerto Natales I went to Torres Del Paine. It was even more spectacular than the photos, I am not usually left in awe but the mountain views, the guanacos grazing it felt like a movie.

Torres Del Paine
In the middle of the Beagle Channel

After that I headed to El Calafate so I could visit Los Glaciares National park and see the Perito Moreno Glacier. It is one of the most spectacular sights I have ever seen and the occasional thunderous crash of the ice hitting the water added to the spirit of the place. I then went El Chalten which was a cute town and done the relatively easy and scenic 11 mile trek to Laguna Torres. This place was trekkers paradise and the beauty blew me away.

Laguna Torres

In Ushuaia I trekked up Marcial Glacier, which was a little slippery and you definitely need hiking boots for that one! It was a little disappointing and I would not bother doing it again if I hd the choice.  I managed to squeeze in the Beagle channel cruise in Ushuaia and saw the sea lions which was something I will be ticking off my bucket list.

I will be visiting South America again at some point in the near future as there is so much more to see. Even though I had a couple of months it was not near enough time to see everything on my list. If anyone is planning on visiting and have any questions please do not hesitate to send me a message. 🙂

Recipes

Roasted Veggie Focaccia

I love bread & this is one of my favourite & most simple bread recipes. I do use a mixer to knead the dough as it cuts out lots of time. You can knead it and you would have to spend about 15 minutes doing this where I use the mixer. If you like that arm work then this recipe is def worth it. Serve this with salad if your feeling healthy. Alternatively if your feeling really greedy and want a carb overload like me – potato wedges are the way forward! Long live carbs!!

Ingredients :

  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 1 Yellow Pepper
  • 1 small Red Onion
  • Tsp of dry Oregano
  • Tsp of dry Basil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • Fresh Basil for decoration (optional)

Dough: 

  • 3 ½ cups (500g) bread flour
  • 7g sachet dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt flakes
  • 2 tbs caster sugar
  • 300ml warm water
  • 2 Tbps olive oil

Method:

Prep and roast your veggies – slice peppers and onions long ways, and half the cherry tomatoes. Add oil, salt, pepper and oregano & basil and put in the oven at 180c. These normally take about 45 mins as the liquids need to come out of the veggies so to not make your bread soggy. Let them cool slightly before putting on the bread.

Dough – The prep time for the dough is 10 mins approx

Split the dough into 2, or you can have one big focaccia – the choice is yours! 🙂 

  1. Attach the flat beater to the stand mixer. Combine the flour, yeast, salt, sugar in the bowl. Mix on speed 2 to combine.
  2. Add the water and the oil and mix until mixture just comes together.
  3. Change to dough hook, knead on speed 1 or 2 for 5 minutes or until soft and smooth. Roll into a ball with lightly floured hands.
  4. Place into an oiled bowl, cover with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap and prove 1 – 1 ¼ hours or until nearly doubled in size.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease a baking tray, I lay grease proof paper and a tsp of olive oil to coat.
  6.  Roll into a circular shape around approx 9 inch diameter (if you are doing 2 focaccia). Top with the cooled roast veggies. Drizzle with a Tsp of olive oil and add extra herbs. Some people let it prove before this but I just pop it straight in  the oven and it comes out great!
  7. Bake 15 minutes then reduce the temperature to 190C and bake a further 10 minutes or until golden brown.

 

 

Vegan Life

Lost my zest, now its found!

When I started this blog I was full of so much enthusiasm for writing and creating. I put up some posts of my recipes and started writing about my travels but something was off. I didn’t want to do what all the other bloggers were doing I wanted to be different. Whats different though? OK – I had barely got started yet and already felt I didn’t fit the blogger mould or belong in blogosphere. There are so many great blogs out there and I respect how they can earn their living. Why not become influencers and make a shit ton of cash if you can?  Best of luck to them but thats not me. I was also blithely unaware of how much hard work and dedication it takes in the upkeep of a blog and to stay relevant.

As the start of 2018 got underway I felt out of depth, juggling work, travelling and the increasing pile of responsibilities. I was suffocating and felt a stifling need to run away from it.  So I stopped writing, stopped uploading, stopped everything. Deleted my Instagram full of pictures of food I had taken – all gone with a hit of the button. I felt relieved and free.  I didn’t want to sell myself, help others flog their products or pretend the world is a sunshine filled happy place whilst munching on a vegan burger outside on a rainy Sunday afternoon taking a million photos of said burger. It made me happy for a while that people liked my recipes and pictures but long term that wasn’t me.  The world is a sucky place and hell yeah I am totally grateful for the life I live. I’m healthy, eat well, travel frequently, have a supportive family & some dope friends but the subjects I want to talk about are not usually found in blogs. Now as we are drawing to the end of 2018 I decided I will just be me and if you don’t like reading, I couldn’t care less.

I don’t know who can relate, but in my life whilst pretending I have got my shit together, not knowing what I am really supposed to be doing people have said to me – you should do something you enjoy. Err?? I enjoy going out and partying can I get paid for that said my 25 year old self?  No really if that was an actual job offer I would have snapped that up and got myself a hell of a promotion. Alas this was real life, so I booked a flight to Spain – if I am aimlessly wandering might as well do it on a beach. Whilst living in Spain and enjoying being on my lonesome, I came to the conclusion that I might as well make it a more permanent thing and do some soul searching whatever that was? I decided to travel alone for longer periods of time on my quest to find something I enjoyed doing. I went off travelling for a few months to rid myself of toxic energy and my shitty boyfriend (we’ll get to that in a bit) I came back restless and wanted to be anywhere but London so for a couple of years I bounced around doing contract roles, chilling with friends in Germany, partying, taking the odd six week holiday, but I knew this was all fleetingly temporary. I needed to figure out what my purpose was, and how I can make a difference. I won’t lie I am still thinking and evolving and will continue to do so.  I  also understand I need to be present and enjoy the journey. I’m in a much better place than I was at the start of the year and have exercised some demons and this is why I can share my short stories, life diary and anecdotes with you.

People have always said you have a strong personality, um isn’t that a nice way of saying I’m a complete bitch? You say bitch like its a bad thing hun…. Ok so  I don’t like being told what to do, I can’t stand injustice and I’m vegan so yeah I’ll be a strong personality. Granted my mouth has no filter and I generally gave zero fucks about telling the truth since I was a child – this has landed me in all sorts of situations. Good things, bad things, lessons and blessings, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. I’ll be bringing up some uncomfortable topics, and situations that have happened, are currently going on – basically my life in a nutshell which you may or may not find interesting.

So I sit here sipping a large glass of Merlot, and never have I been more decided about how I will use this blog. This will be my place to vent and talk about experiences good and bad. I’m not here to sell you a dream, just keeping it real as possible. I just want to talk about shit thats happened to me, start positive conversation with like minded individuals and share the odd recipe. Keeping things, classy, authentic and honest. Life isn’t about finding yourself, I believe it is a process of creating the best person you want to be and I am definitely on my way.