Monday, 28 October 2013

The Spotless Leopard - Review

Two weeks ago at the East Midlands Vegan Festival I had the pleasure of tasting all kinds of delightful vegan food from a wide variety of stalls. But my favourite sample of the entire day actually came from a van: The Spotless Leopard, a vegan catering van normally based in Bristol. Their menu typically includes a good selection of savoury food including vegetable tarts, seitan sandwiches and veggie burgers, all at affordable prices. And if you fancy something sweet then I would highly recommend trying one of the mostly raw cheesecakes on offer.

I went for the Spiced Peanut Butter Cashew Cheesecake - pretty much all of my favourite ingredients in one dessert. The filling was light and delicate with a very creamy texture which contrasted perfectly with the chunkier, nutty base. The addition of spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon added a touch of autumn while the whipped coconut cream topping was luxurious but not excessive. One thing I loved about this dish was that it wasn't overly sweet, instead making the most of different textures and flavour combinations. The company also offer a pumpkin version of this dessert which I can't wait to try.

The advantage of using a van is that The Spotless Leopard can bring vegan food to different locations, mainly in the South West but also further afield. You can find out where the van will be visiting next by clicking here. If catering vans aren't your thing, you can still try the delicious food at The Spotless Leopard's vegan pop-up restaurant in Bristol on the 6th of December, which you can find out more about here.

Like The Spotless Leopard on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Banksy - 'Sirens of the Lambs'

I've learnt a lot about Banksy since moving to Bristol where the population seems to be divided between adoration and bitterness for the world-famous street artist. But then it's hardly surprising since controversy is integral to much of Banksy's work. Most recently he has been sparking conversation through his New York residency where he has produced work in his trademark stencil technique alongside several moving installations. One of these, 'Sirens of the Lambs', took to the streets of New York's meatpacking district on October 11th before touring the city for two more weeks.
A video, posted on the artist's website, Better Out Than In, shows a truck containing squeaking animal puppets and labelled 'Farm Fresh Meats' driving around, as well as reactions from members of the public. As a vegan, I'm always interested to see how people react when confronted with questions about their food choices and this video displays some common examples. A child runs away in horror like many people do when confronted with animal slaughter videos. Others try to touch the cuddly animals without fully understanding the context, like those who coo over farmed animals in fields without considering their inevitable and impending deaths. The butchers are shown to be laughing at it while plenty of passers-by just ignore it. There are also a handful of people who watch with sympathy and perhaps despair.
The choice of puppets is interesting; they reflect sentimentality, something which is often exploited by animal rights campaigns (find example) whilst also referring to childhood and the destruction of innocence. Even the physical nature of the puppets is important, suggesting that real animals have been reduced to nothing more than products to be manipulated by humans. The puppeteers have total control over these animals, ‘bringing them to life’ as such, which reflects industrial breeding and the idea of animals as commodities. This point is particularly interesting with regards to veganism because one of the core principles is that animals are not ours to use or exploit in any way.

It is not the puppets that I find most disturbing about this installation, but the haunting sound of the ‘sirens’. The shrill, loud noise clearly helps draw attention to the piece - perhaps the sounds made by real animals in this district have simply become part of the everyday cacophony. It's almost like a cry for help, alarming the world of farmed animals desperate struggle.

As with all of Banksy’s work this piece is intended to create a reaction, generate conversation and to allow people to question what society tells us. The question now is how do vegan campaigners successfully do the same thing?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Tofu Scramble

This is one of my favourite meals that I've discovered since being vegan. I was never a big fan of scrambled eggs but I LOVE scrambled tofu, probably because it is so versatile and the spices help give it real flavour, rather than just tasting eggy. You can mix up the vegetables and make this into a fabulous breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

New products!

I've been busy working on some new designs to be printed on tote bags (what better way to make a statement!) for the East Midlands Vegan Festival where I will be having a stall to sell some illustrated goodies! I'll be selling pocket mirrors, badges, zines, recipe books and of course these bags.

If you can't make it down to the festival I'll be opening my Etsy shop in mid-October where you'll be able to purchase all of the products I have available!