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About six months ago, my younger sister announced, out of the blue, she was becoming a vegan. My younger sister who practically came out of the womb eating a hot dog, who at the age of five was ordering a medium-rare steak off the adult’s menu, and who – prior to that day – had claimed to be allergic to carrots.
As a sign of solidarity, strength in numbers and all that, my mum decided to also give veganism a go. While she invested in a whole stack of vegan cookbooks and raided Holland & Barrett, my dad mourned the loss of his fellow carnivore. (I am a meat eater, and my mum previously had been her whole life, but neither of us can really stomach meat off the bone and we couldn’t get through a rack of ribs like my dad and sister could, and often did together.)
Now, six months later, both my mum and my sister are still eating a vegan diet and feel the healthiest they’ve ever been. Their meals are always fresh, colourful, contain at least two ingredients I’ve never heard of before, and are drool-worthy. All preconceptions I’ve had of veganism have certainly been changed thanks to the delicious recipe knowledge they now both have. And it has inspired me.
I could never give up chicken, especially chicken nuggets after a night out in Sugar, but I am more inclined to make a conscious decision to eat healthier. So, this year my New Year’s resolution is to stop eating red meat. I’d only usually eat red meat in spaghetti Bolognese, a burger or a roast dinner, but replacing red meat with an alternative isn’t as bad as it sounds. With a lower calorie, fat and saturate quantity than beef but a richer source of protein, turkey is a healthier alternative that doesn’t require you to miss out on meat.
The foods responsible for producing the most greenhouse gas emissions are red meat, so you’d also be helping the environment as well as your diet. I’m sure if you saw the documentary Cowspiracy you’ll know experts reckon giving up beef will reduce the carbon footprint more than cars will.
I know asking you to cut out a whole genre of food is a bold request, so I’m going to ease you in gently with a recipe for vegan banana bread. I hate bananas – the smell, the texture, the taste, all of it – but this I love and it is by far the best banana bread I’ve ever tasted. You only have to give up milk and butter and it’s only for this recipe, so that’s more than manageable! Plus, baking is a great stress relief. If I still haven’t convinced you, the smell from this loaf will make your whole flat smell divine and cover up the fact no one has taken the bins out since term started.
So vegan or not, grab your mixing bowl and let’s begin…
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
100g brown sugar
100g white sugar
113g vegan butter or margarine
3 bananas, mashed well
250g self-rising flour
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
Preheat the oven to 180oC
Line an 8×4 loaf tin with grease proof baking paper
In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar
Add the bananas, soymilk, apple cider vinegar and vanilla essence
Sift in the flour, cinnamon and allspice and mix well
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin, sprinkling an extra little bit of brown sugar on top
Put in the oven and bake for an hour, or until the loaf has cooked through and browned
Leave to cool, then remove from the tin and slice
Grab a fork and dig in! You can thank me later.