Recipe: Easy Blueberry Lemon Scones

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Blueberry & Lemon SconesThese scones are fluffy and fragrant, slightly sweet with fresh bursts of blueberry and a hint of lemon. With the help of Bisquick, this recipe comes together in a snap.

Easy Blueberry Lemon Scones
Vegan

Makes 6-8 scones

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Bisquick mix
  • 2 tbsp sugar (organic cane sugar, sucanat, coconut sugar, etc.)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Earth Balance or other vegan margarine (chilled/not melted)
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk of choice (almond, soy, rice, hemp or oat)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Mix Bisquick, sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  3. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut in the Earth Balance or margarine until the mixture is crumbly. There should be no large pieces of Earth Balance left.
  4. Next, add the non-dairy milk, vanilla extract and lemon zest, stirring to combine. Add the blueberries and stir gently.
  5. Drop large spoonfuls of the batter onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes, or until the scones are a light golden brown.
  6. For extra sweetness, create a glaze by mixing 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp water and 1/4 cup vegan icing sugar together in a small bowl. Brush the scones with the glaze immediately after removing them from the oven.
  7. Allow to cool slightly, then serve warm.

VegFest 2015 – Volunteers Needed for Organizing Committee

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I’m writing this post as a briefing note because I’ve been working so much overtime lately that I forget how to write normally.

vegfest2010groupshot
VegFest 2010

OBJECTIVE
To inform you that VegFest 2015 will be held in June 2015 at the RA Centre and that we are establishing a committee to arrange speakers, cooking demos, kids’ area, etc.

BACKGROUND
The NCVA held the first Vegfest in 2009 at the Glebe Community Centre. We did the second, third and fourth one there too, in 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively.

In 2013, the NCVA lacked the volunteer power to put on a fifth VegFest, so some outside organizers took it on and held a 2-day VegFest/YogaFest on the grounds of St. Paul’s University.

In 2014, the NCVA still didn’t have the volunteers power to put on a VegFest and we kind of thought the people who did it last year were doing it again, and it was all kind of confusing and it just didn’t happen and everyone felt kind of bad about it.

Shaun exhibiting one of the cupcakes in the VegFest 2012 cupcake contest he organized. This could be you!
Shaun exhibiting a cupcake from the VegFest 2012 cupcake contest he organized. This could be you!

CONSIDERATIONS
There bloody well will be a VegFest next year.

The fine gent who did the 2013 one will be the lead project manager, so it still won’t exactly be an NCVA event.

But the NCVA will have a big presence there. In addition to our table, we get to bring in speakers and basically do whatever we think would enhance the event.

In order for us to do these event-enhancing activities, we need to put together an organizing committee that is willing to develop and execute the activities.

Volunteers Corrie and Kim getting some love from Farm Sanctuary's Gene Baur. This could be you!
Volunteers Corrie and Kim getting some love from Farm Sanctuary’s Gene Baur. This could be you!

If no one steps forward to be on the committee, the NCVA is not going to feel guilty if the 2015 event is a snore or if there isn’t one in 2016.

NEXT STEPS
1) Volunteer to be on the committee by October 30, 2014. Send an email to ncva.events@gmail.com.
2) Serve on the committee from November 2014 to June 2015.
3) Make VegFest 2015 so awesome that you will be able to personally take credit for at least 100 instant conversions to veganism.
4) Collapse from exhaustion and start scheming to convince some other poor slob to take your place on the committee next year.

Recipe: Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot and Coconut Soup

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Soup

This is a great recipe for fall. Not only is the soup warming and delicious, but it’s also simple – you can throw everything into one pot. The recipe also works really well with squash (I recommend butternut). Feel free to play around with the spices.

Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot and Coconut Soup
Vegan | Gluten-free | Soy-free

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or other oil)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes or 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste)

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. When the oil is heated, add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent burning. Add the garlic and ginger and continue cooking until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the vegetable broth, sweet potatoes and carrots. Cook on medium heat until potatoes and carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the coconut milk, crushed tomatoes or tomato paste and spices (adjusting to taste).
  4. Stir and reduce heat. Simmer on low for about 10 mins.
  5. Turn the stove off and let the soup cool for at least half an hour. Purée in batches in a blender until smooth (if soup is too thick to blend easily, add a bit of extra broth or water).
  6. Serve warm with bread or crackers and a side salad.

A Crepey Brunch in Hintonburg

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IMG_0977 exteriorSo I heard though the grapevine that there’s a place in Hintonburg that’ll make you a vegan crepe.

It’s called “A Thing For Chocolate”, and Neil and I just went there for brunch.

The atmosphere is cheerful and unpretentious, decorated with framed quotes affirming that chocolate is good for you and you’re probably not getting enough.

IMG_0971 menuThere were only a couple of vegan options on the menu and they were pretty plain. When we placed our order, however, we discovered that they also make a savoury vegan crepe. Called “The Vegan,” it’s filled with Daiya, basil leaves, mushrooms and tomatoes.

"The Vegan"
“The Vegan”

I was kind of surprised when the crepes arrived, because they were brown. Omar the owner informed us that they’re made of buckwheat. I’m not sure what that’s all about – if it’s a conflation of gluten-free with vegan or if he just thinks vegans like healthy looking brown things. But who cares – they were good, and Omar was such a dear and so eager to bring in more vegan options, I didn’t want to get in his face about the brown crepes.

The "London Fog" - Earl Grey tea with almond milk.
The “London Fog” – Earl Grey tea with almond milk.

Speaking of, we told Omar to get Earth Balance, President’s Choice meatless chicken breasts and Tofutti Cream cheese to make his menu more vegan-friendly. I encourage you to contact him if you have any other suggestions. Honestly, I kind of drew a blank when he asked me. Partially out of excitement and partially because it started giving me flashbacks to our ill-fated Restaurant Outreach Program (let us never speak of it again).

Sweets from the Earth goodies at the counter!
Sweets from the Earth goodies at the counter!

So there you go – vegan crepes in Ottawa. In yer face, Toronto.

Addendum: After posting this blog I discovered that everyone except me knows that traditional savoury crepes are always made with buckwheat *looks down in shame for being an uncultured mouth-breather*.

 

 

 

Veg Business Directory Updates

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A few additions to the Veg Business Directory this month. These will be particularly exciting to vegans who love their comfort food!

House of TARG is now selling vegan “cheddar and bacon” flavour perogies. Conveniently located if you’re craving a snack after catching a movie at the Mayfair. (Where the popcorn flavouring is vegan, by the way — we checked.)

Zanadu, newly opened in Westboro, offers vegan grilled cheese sandwiches, protein smoothies made with Vega, and vegan bakery items.

And on the topic of cheese, the veg business directory now includes where to find Mad Faux Cheese and Zengarry Vegetarian Cuisine, whose gourmet nut cheeses are much beloved by Ottawa vegans.

Mad Faux Cheese
Mad Faux Cheese

West End Well can compete with Herb & Spice, but no vegan destination

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IMG_0963 exterior, cropped saturatedA new cooperative grocery/cafe/performance space just opened right down the street from me in Hintonburg.

It called the “West End Well,” and I was very excited to head over there this morning to see if Hintonburg had gotten itself yet another vegan destination.

I’ve got to admit I was a bit disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a really nice space. It’s big, beautiful, and has a really nice produce section. It also offers IMG_0964 fruits & veggiessome vegan staples like Tofurky and Field Roast sausages and Daiya.

It’s also got Zengarry nut cheese, Strawberry Blonde Queen Elizabeth cake (bought that!), and the requisite wall full of fair trade organic chocolate. There was a new one there called “chocosol” which declares that it is not chocolate but an invitation to social justice. So of course I bought one because who can refuse an invitation to social justice when it is offered for a mere $5.59? I hope the company puts my contribution towards a better bean grinder because the chocolate was kind of gritty. Though sometimes I wonder if these barsartisanal companies make their food like that on purpose. You know, they make some perfect, creamy chocolate then say, “Hmmmmm, it doesn’t taste artisanal enough – throw some dirt in!”

When I walked in the door, I was fully prepared to commit to spending the bulk of my grocery budget there if they could provide two things: Silk Soy milk and non-bricklike vegan bread.

They didn’t have the Silk but the person at the counter dutifully wrote down the suggestion. Their regular in-house bread isn’t vegan but the gluten-free stuff is. The staffer was very emphatic that the gluten-free bread is not as gross as she’d expected, and is also the best gluten-free bread she’s ever had. I explained with equal enthusiasm that I might buy a loaf of gluten-free bread for the sheer joy of punting it down the road if I didn’t think I’d break my foot on it.

menuAs for the cafe menu – well, there it is, have a look. Given the relative vegan-friendliness of the grocery section (right on par with Herb & Spice, Rainbow and all that), I was surprised that the cafe so fully embraced the bacon-loving hipster ethic, but there you go.

Despite its, shall we say, “misalignments” with my own ethics, I give the West End Well three and a half lentils out of five. It’s pretty, it’s got a lot of vegan stuff, and it’s closer than Herb and Spice.