- 03 Mar 21
Ireland has always been a nation of food lovers, but lockdown has made us even more aware and appreciative of what makes it on to our plates. With this in mind, we’re bringing you our Food Glorious Food celebration of the culinary delights this island has to offer.
I’ll be honest and admit that I really didn’t know if I could last the duration when just before Lockdown the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk asked me to go vegan for the fortnight.
It wasn’t so much the meat as the lack of dairy I was worried about. As a man who needs at least three cups of milky tea to make sense of a new day and a cheeseaholic to boot, would I be able to avoid disappointing my enthusiastic (to put it mildly) vegan mentors Dave and Steve Flynn, AKA the Happy Pear?
Things got off to a poor start when the vegan Block cheese I’d bought in Marks & Sparks turned out to not only look but also taste like a bar of soap. More dispiriting still was the almond milk that left my normally restorative morning cuppa resembling dirty sink water. Things improved that night when courtesy of Jamie Oliver I rustled up a not half-bad nut roast – Marmite rules! – and thanks to Oatly Barista a mug of tea that made up for the dirty sink water debacle.
What amazed me was the level of ire my vegan dabblings caused. In the one hour on Twitter I got accused of “mocking veganism with your silly radio stunt” (I wasn’t) and “trying to destroy Irish animal farming” (I wasn’t).
Anyway, over the next few days I started getting to grips with tofu, quorn, tamari, pearl barley, split peas, bulgur wheat, flax seeds and Mr. Denny’s fabulous vegan mince, which resulted in a keema matar that my local takeaway would have been proud of.
After my allotted fortnight – no one believes me but there was no cheating – I’d shed about eight lbs of the three stone I managed to lose last year from eating more healthily and doing this thing I discovered called, and I know it’s not for everyone, ‘regular exercise’.
I started scoffing things with faces again, but thanks to my new discoveries in vastly reduced quantities.
Going vegan for even a couple of weeks makes you rethink every aspect of your diet in a way that I found hugely beneficial. And thank you Happy Pear for your support!
To ease you through your first few days of veganism let us introduce you to:
- The Irish Sea Weed Burger – the packaging breaks down fully in 14 weeks so it’s doubly virtuous (plantruption.com)
- Clive’s Purely Plant Pies – the aloo gobi is rocking! (clivespies.com)
- fiid Hearty Moroccan Chickpea Tagine – North African tastiness from Dublin (eatfiid.com)
- Finnebrogue Without The Oink Sausages – pig out on these Norn Iron saussies. (finnebrogue.com)
- Naked Glory Smoky Tikka Tenderstrips – you could happily exist on these alone (nakedglory.co.uk)
- Porter & Nash Slow Roasted Garlic & Thyme Gravy – made with much love in Wicklow and fabulous with a nut roast (porterandnash.ie)
Read the full Food Glorious Food feature in the current issue of Hot Press – in shops now, and available to order online below: