Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Memento Mori

It has been a time for grieving. Last night we rescued a pigeon and tried to save its life, but it didn't make it and today we buried a dear friend. Both have caused me sadness.

It's been a difficult couple of days.
Image result for memento mori

Our friend John was  ninety-one. That is an exceptionally good age. Someone remarked that he died of old age, which is practically unheard of these days. Everyone dies of disease. He and his partner Elizabeth were a delightful pair. Even in their advanced aged, both were (still are in Elizabeth's case) sharp as a tack. We shared many laughs over dinner and had many philosophical discussions. We were all pleased to discover a shared love of Archy and Mehitabel  by Don Marquis about a literate cockroach and his alley cat friend. John had what we would call a "cut glass accent." When you think of posh English voices who say things like "Dear boy" and "old chap" and "rah-ther" that was John. Despite being wealthy and posh, he was very down to earth with a silly sense of humour. We discovered at the funeral his middle name was Clive which tickled us all. He sure kept that quiet. But Clive is such a quintessentially British sounding name, it suited him.

  He will be missed.

This was my first British funeral. I had been to Quaker memorial services, but that is different. It is essentially Meeting for Worship with testimonies about the deceased's life. A time where friends could share memories of the deceased.

This was a Church of England funeral. It was held in Saint Martin's Church in Merthyr about 15 minutes from town. This was John's church, but being a small rural church it had a vicar who rotated between other small parish churches and so only met once a month. The other Sundays he went to St Peter's Church in town where so many of our friends attend.

The church was small and damp (the plaster on the walls bubbling slightly and rubbed off on the sleeve of our friend Gareth's jacket) but the service was warm. We sang some of John's favourite hymns--All Things Bright and Beautiful (which always reminds me of the Monty Python version All Things Dull and Ugly) and How Great Thou Art. The last hymn made me tear up quite a bit as it was the "party piece" my dear old dad and I used to harmonise on all those years ago. After the service, we retired next door for tea and sandwiches (I brought my own snacks.)

Now, this may sound like many a funeral you have attended if you are American, but here is where the funeral diverged from my own experience.

First off, very few people are cremated in Louisiana. When my dad was in 2000 (how can it be that long ago??) it was a rarity. Certain family members took it really badly. I remember seeing my father's body in a winding sheet in a cardboard coffin at the funeral home. That is the law in the US. If you are to be cremated, this is how they send you off. He was sent far away, to a destination unknown to us (but my hazy memory is Shreveport) and returned to us a few days later. We had a funeral with his ashes in an urn next to a photo of him in happier, healthier times. The next day the family buried the urn, though we kept some ashes for ourselves. My mother and I each kept some in a nice container and we saved some in a ziplock to throw off the side of his favourite mountain in North Carolina.

This is where the funeral became really interesting. After the funeral, we drove to the crematorium in Narberth. I will repeat that. We went to the crematorium. It was slightly like an assembly line with mourners coming out the right side as we were going in on the left. We walked in and the coffin was elevated behind what looked like a communion rail. The vicar said a few words and then as Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring was played a velvet curtain slowly, mechanically moved in front of the coffin to block it from view. Then I am told that the coffin rolled away on a conveyor belt to be burned. In the US, if you want a body for your funeral service, funeral homes will rent you a coffin with a cardboard interior that could be removed for cremation after. We had my dad cremated first and the urn displayed. In the UK the body is cremated with the coffin which is why by law all British coffins must be combustible. According to Wikipedia: The Code of Cremation Practice forbids the opening of the coffin once it has arrived at the crematorium, and rules stipulate that it must be cremated within 72 hours of the funeral service. They also told Elizabeth no jewellery or shoes as they wouldn't burn cleanly. 

Our friend Soong said that he once went to funeral that had a "spy hole" where you could look at the coffin as it burned. I feel slightly weird but morbidly curious about that. 

I wasn't sure how i would feel being so up close and personal with the cremation. Louisiana made it seem secretive and far away and mysterious. This was just another way to say goodbye. An honest way with nothing to hide. I was worried I would feel upset, but i didn't. 

When the coffin disappeared we were led outside to a walkway with a low table that ran the length of  the walkway. On it were the spray of flowers that had only moments before been on the top of the coffin along with a laminated paper saying John Clive. There were four other sets of flowers and names marking five people who were loved and lost that day. Then you were the ones coming out the right hand door while someone new filed in the left hand side. 

It was a lovely day and I enjoyed hearing about John and things he had done in his life before we met him four years ago. I was glad to have been there in the little church with friends to celebrate his life. I know soon when Elizabeth is up to it we will all meet at Soong's restaurant Sai Wu and eat and laugh and remember our friend John Clive.

We will be thankful for his life and for our own. A funeral reminds that we too will one day die, but also reminds us greatly of what we have.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Fairy Tale Friday--The Company of Wolves (1984 film)

Hello and welcome to Fairy Tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I'll begin.

Last week we looked at the short story The Company of Wolves by Angela Carter. This week I want to look at the fantasy/horror film that was made of this story by director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game and Interview With the Vampire to name but a few).
Image result for the company of wolves
The story is a series of tales about wolves which include transformations, curses as well as the seduced by a wolf storyline of Little Red Riding Hood. Angela Carter adapted her story for the silver screen and  turned these vignettes into tales told to our red-caped protagonist Rosaleen by her superstitious grandmother. Rosaleen is dreaming these stories as she deals with puberty and her sexual awakening. The dreams are eerie and unsettling and full of strange symbols as the real Rosaleen tosses and turns in bed, fitfully dreaming tales of sex and seduction by wolves.

It had some of the best effects for its time and was truly scary. Some of the tales told by the grandmother (wonderfully played by Angela Lansbury) are about a woman whose husband when out on their wedding night to answer a call of nature (despite the howling of the wolves outside) and never returned. She found a man not too shy to piss in a pot and married him, but after several years when she had born him children, the first husband appeared. He angrily calls her slut and transforms into a wolf, but is slain by her new husband. He is decapitated and wolf head flies off and lands in the bucket of milk where it transforms back into the image of her first love.

In another tale, a woman is wronged by a rich nobleman and turns up at his wedding visibly pregnant. She calls out the nobleman and all of his rich cronies for the bigoted actions and declares "the wolves in the forest are more decent." It turns out she is a sorceress and turns the entire wedding party into wolves and orders them to serenade her and her child every night with their howling.
Image result for the company of wolves

But the storyline I want to talk about is the one dealing with the awakening of Rosaleen's sexuality.
Her granny has told her to "never trust a man whose eyebrows meet in the middle" but she meets one and she does.

As in the book, Rosaline comes in to find the huntsman has devoured her grandmother and still gives herself willingly to him. In the film, Rosaleen accidentally wounds him with his rifle and he transforms (in possibly the freakiest effect I have ever seen) into a wolf. She sees him and is not afraid. She feels tenderly towards him and reaches out to caress him. When the villagers turn up Rosaleen has also transformed into a wolf and the pair escape to the forest.

The ending of the film has Rosaleen awaken in the real world as a wolf jumps through her window and lunges at her. All of her childhood toys come crashing to the ground and she screams. Her grandmother's voice can be heard reading something that resembles Perrault's moralistic ending to Little Red Riding Hood.

Stay tuned next week as we start to look at our tale from deep Into the Woods.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

What We Ate Wednesday--Sticky Ginger Glazed Chickpeas with Mango Cucumber Salad

Hello lovelies! Sometimes I just spend hours browsing the internet. Do you do that too? Are you looking at recipes and drooling over food or is that just me?

Just me then.

As I said to a friend last Thursday:

I love food.
I love to eat food.
I love to cook food.
I love to share food.

I could have also added:

I love to veganise recipes.
I love to make recipes cheaper.

This is my superpower.

Last week I was browsing budget recipes when I came across a website called Budget Bytes.  The word budget caught my eye and I saw a recipe for a sweet sticky garlic ginger soy sauce glaze and thought, "Whoa Mama. I am *so* making that." The original recipe used chicken, but as we don't eat out friends I thought I could use the sauce on my favourite budget protein chickpeas.

I mean--CHickens and CHickpeas both start with CH so this would totally work.

And it did. The Budget Bytes recipe suggested serving it with mango and cucumber salad.

Yes please.

Her recipe for mango and cucumber salad called for more sweetener and rice vinegar, but I just basically did what I normally- splash on some bottled lime juice and drizzle of golden syrup and we're good to go.

You can read the original recipe HERE. She also tops with 2 sliced green onions. I don't bother as they cost 70p a bunch and I can put that money towards other things as it basically a garnish to make it look nice in a photo.

I also used half a 500g bag of defrosted frozen mango as it is cheaper that buying fresh. Just measure out what you need, put it in a container and pop it in the fridge for a few hours to defrost.

Sticky Ginger Glazed Chickpeas with Mango Cucumber Salad

I served mine with easy cook brown rice that takes about 25 minutes to cook so if you are doing rice start it first.
Do the salad next as it benefits from marinading.

Mango Cucumber Salad
250g mango chunks (about 2 heaping cups)
half a cucumber, diced
2 TB lime juice (bottled is a-ok)
drizzle golden syrup or your liquid sweetener of choice
1/8 tsp salt
shake of red pepper flakes

Sticky Ginger Glazed Chickpeas
1/4 cup brown sugar (or 1/4 cup white sugar and 1 tsp molasses)
3 TB soy sauce or tamrai
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 TB chopped ginger root
1 TB oil
15 grinds pepper

You can just mix as is, but i put mine in a deep cup and whacked it smooth with my stick blender.

1 onion, sliced into rainbows
half a pepper, diced
tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1. Cook the onion and pepper  in a splash of oil or water until softened and then add the chickpeas.
2. Cook until the chickpeas are heated through add the marinade and increase the heat slightly so the marinade can bubble and caramelise and go all gooey and yum.
3. Serve over rice (hidden in the photo, but definitely there) and the mango cucumber salad.

One of the things I love about being vegan is you are much less risk for things like salmonella. The original recipe is made from chickens  and you are supposed to soak the meat in the marinade then cook, adding the rest of the marinade back in at the end. She makes a really big deal about making sure the marinade is piping hot to kill bacteria as it has had raw meat in it and you risk getting sick and possibly dying. She also insists that you are not to store the unused marinade for later as it could harbour things like e-coli.

Just another advantage of being vegan.

This was really lush and easy and quick to make. It will definitely be on our list to make again.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Fairy Tale Friday--The Company of Wolves by Angela Carter, 1979

Hello and welcome to Fairy Tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I'll begin.

Last week we looked at a tale by Tanith Lee that began to change the views of sexuality that had previously been associated with Little Red Riding Hood. This week we look at the woman who started it all: Angela Carter.  Her pivotal collection of short stories The Bloody Chamber was full of dark, feminist fairy tales filled with  bestial and ferocious heroines. This book changed my life and much of my short story writing owes a huge debt to Angela Carter.

A film was made of The Company of Wolves which we will look at next week.

This story is all about the awakening of sexuality. Whereas in the story by Charles Perrault, female sexuality is to be guarded from the predatory wolf-man, here the girl is ripe and ready. The story says:

She stands and moved within the invisible pentacle of her own virginity. She is an unbroken egg; she is a sealed vessel; she has inside her a magic space the entrance to which is shut tight with a plug of membrane; she is a closed system; she does not known how to shiver. She has her knife and she is afraid of nothing.

She wants to venture into the woods. She wants to meet danger. And when she meets the huntsman, hairy as any wolf, she seduces him at granny's cottage. She throws her clothes on the fire (which harks back to some of the oldest versions of this tale) and when he says the classic line "All the better to eat you with," the story says:
The girl burst out laughing; she knew she was nobody's meat. She laughed at him full in the face, ripped off his shirt for him and flung it into the fire, in the fiery wake of her own discarded clothing. The flames danced like dead souls on Walpurgisnacht and the old bones under the bed set up a terrible clattering, but she did not pay them any heed.

She knew she was nobody's meat is possibly my favourite line in any story I have ever read. 

Together they enter into a sort of  savage marriage ceremony, She will be consumed and she will like it. 
Image result for the bloody chamber
Click on the link to read an excerpt from THE COMPANY OF WOLVES . 

Next week we look at the film adaptation. 

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

What We Ate Wednesday--Tofu Scramble and Sausage Flavoured Potatoes

Hello lovelies! We don't really eat that much soy these days. We've nothing against it. It's just expensive compared to other protein sources.  A packet of tofu is around £2.99 and a tin of chickpeas is around 33p.

However, recently a friend gave us a hamper full of vegan goodies which included some vegan cheeses and some tofu. The only catch was that the tofu was close to its sell by date.

Not a problem. I dug out my recipe binder and scoured for a tofu recipe. Many of them involved turning the oven on and there was no way in hell I was doing that. It's too hot to have oven time with no air conditioning. Our kitchen faces west so gets the later afternoon/evening sun quite strongly through a huge floor to ceiling window that is directly opposite the cooker. So that would be no oven for me until the temps drop again.

So i decided on Tofu Scramble.  I knew I wanted some sort of potatoes with it, but wanted to jazz up just plain boiled taters. I decided to use the spices in the POST PUNK KITCHEN TEMPEH SAUSAGE CRUMBLES on the potatoes and this was an extremely good idea, if i do say so myself.

Over the years we have adapted this recipe. First it was tempeh, then it was mushrooms. Mushrooms are cheap and have a meaty flavour. But putting the spices onto the potatoes will open up another way to enjoy the delicious flavour of sausage-y spices without the cruelty.

I do love a spot of BRINNER (my new favourite portmanteau word for BReakfast  for dINNER.)

Tofu Scramble and Sausage Flavoured Potatoes

The potatoes:
400g new potatoes

Boil these in strong vegetable stock. When tender enough to be easily pierced by a knife, drain in a colander. Then wait until the scramble is going.

Sausage-y spices:
1TB fennel seeds
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 TB tamari or soy sauce
juice of half a lemon (2 TB or thereabouts)
1 TB oil

The scramble:
packet of tofu (450g?) crumbled (mine was quite firm and I had to get my potato masher out)
1 onion, finely diced
half a pepper (optional. I had one so used it)
a few cloves crushed garlic
3 TB nutritional yeast flakes
juice of half a lemon (2 TB)
splash tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp each or more turmeric and smoked paprika for colour. Just keep shaking on until the colour is a rich yellow.
optional: if you have some black salt now is the time to use it. it has a weird sulphur-y farty smell reminiscent of eggs.

1. If you haven't already--boil your taters in veg stock.
2. While the potatoes are coming to the boil, cook your onion and garlic and optional pepper in a little broth you spooned out of the potato pan.
3. Add the tofu and keep stirring until incorporated with your onion mixture. Add the tamari and lemon and stir to coat. Add the herbs and stir to coat. Add the spices and salt and pepper and keep stirring. Add more spices if you want it to look more yellow.
4. While you are scrambling the tofu, heat 1 TB oil in a frying pan.
5. Either take the scramble off the heat for a few minutes or keep an eye on it and stir occasionally making sure it is not sticking. I opted to take it off the heat.
6. Drain the potatoes and add them to the hot oil. Fry for a few minutes until the taters are coated. Then add the tamari and lemon and cook until the liquid is nearly absorbed. Add the herbs/spice mixture and stir to coat.
7. Put the scramble back on the heat and re-heat if it has gotten cold.
8. Serve.

This was really delicious, especially the potatoes. The tofu made me fart like a horse so it probably is just as well we don't have it too often. Poor Spiderman would need to be issued with a WWII gas mask!

We will definitely have the potatoes again and the scramble once in a blue moon.

It was a quick and delicious Brinner.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Fairy Tale Friday--Wolfland by Tanith Lee (1983)

Hello and welcome to Fairy tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I'll begin. 

We are moving more and more into a modern era in our exploration of Little Red Riding Hood. Whereas earlier versions were very victim blaming, modern versions are more about the power of women.

Tanith Lee is one of my favourite authors. Her stories often have a strong feminist slant and she writes fairy tales as well as science fiction, horror and fantasy. She wrote two episodes of Blake's 7 and was the first woman to win the British Fantasy Award for her novel Death's Master. 

This story entitled Wolfland first appeared in her marvellous  collection of short stories Red as Blood or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer. (This book is well worth seeking out if you like dark fairy tales.  It has the most unexpected, imaginative retelling of Snow White I have ever read. It is truly the story I wish had written.) 

Wolfland is the story of a young girl named Lisel from a far, frozen country who discovers a surprising truth about her distant grandmother. Lisel is summoned to her grandmother’s house only to discover that her grandmother is a werewolf by night. Her grandfather had been so sadistically abusive, nearly beating her to death, that she ate of the magic yellow flower that turned her into a wolf and she ripped his throat out to save herself and her unborn child. Marriage is a chain that cannot be broken except by death and so she saved herself by killing him.The grandmother says: He knows they are the eyes of Anna and that it is Anna who tears out his throat. She has brought Lisel to her house in the deep snowy woods to give her the gift of lycanthropy to save Lisel from ever having to marry and be forced into subjugation by any man.  

The grandmother sees herself in Lisel. She says,
Look at your hair and your eyes and your beautiful teeth. Haven't you always preferred the night to the day, staying up to the morning, lying abed till noon? Don't you love the cold forest? Doesn't the howl of the wolf thrill you through with fearful delight? And why else should the Wolfland accord you an escort, a pack of wolves running by you on the road. Do you think you'd have survived if you'd have not been one of their kind, too?

This is a completely empowering story and one where the wolf is both predator and hero. 
 Image result for wolf in snow
You can read a PDF version of it here: (you will need to scroll to the second page to start the story.)

Stay tuned next week as we look what it means to be part of the Company of Wolves.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

What We Ate Wednesday--Italian Pasta Salad

Hello lovelies. Still in the grip of a heatwave, I'm afraid. But never fear, this pasta salad is quick and easy to make. And basically the only heat comes from the boiling of the pasta.

I saw this recipe on a non vegan friend's Facebook page in a recipe video. As I have done previously, when I see something non vegan but delicious looking I become Captain Vegan who can leap tall buildings with a single bound and veganise any recipe.

Basically, it is chopped cherry tomatoes, cucumber and olives over pasta in a dressing of Italian Vinaigrette and Parmesan cheese.

It doesn't get any more basic than that.

Can you even call it a recipe?

The first time I made it, I marinated the tomatoes and cucumber in the dressing and used half in the pasta and the next day had the other half as a side dish with some homemade GF olive bread and hummus. The next time we had the whole she-bang in with the pasta.

The good thing about this is if you want to be lazy you could use bottled Italian dressing and something like Good Carma vegan Parmesan. I made both of mine from scratch, but you certainly don't have to.

Even doing it from scratch took no time at all.

Notes on tomatoes:
Choose really deep red vine cherry tomatoes that are sweet. Not big mealy ones that look anaemic. Because we are eating them raw, I spend extra money on Sugardrop tomatoes which you can read about HERE. They are really sweet and lovely and according to the article are "as sweet as a peach."

Also, when I looked for bottle Italian dressing in the UK I discovered that what I think of as Italian Vinaigrette dressing is called French Vinaigrette here.  To me, French dressing is some red gloopy stuff that is really sweet. But what you want is an oil and vinegar with herbs sort of thing. Ya know what I mean?

Italian (or possibly French) Pasta Salad

Boil 2 cups of your favourite pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile mix together:
220 grams sweet cherry tomatoes (cut in half or quarters)
1 cucumber, diced
handful of olives (or more to your liking)
half a cup Italian Vinaigrette (or is that French?)
half a cup vegan Parmesan

Add the pasta and salt and pepper. That's it. You can stop sweating and back out of the kitchen. You're done.

to make your own Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup vegetable stock
2 TB lemon juice or vinegar
a little liquid sweetener to take the edge off the acid
2 TB olive oil
1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard like Grey Poupon
1 tsp Italian mixed herbs

Shake to mix.

to make your own Parmesan:
In a spice grinder or food processor mix the following:
3 TB nutritional yeast flakes
3 TB almond meal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder

If you fancy making it go for two meals then save back half of the marinated tomatoes and cukes and eat it the next day with toasty bread of your choice and a dollop of hummus.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Fairy Tale Friday--Rotkappchen '65 (Anneliese Meinert, 1965)

Hello and welcome to Fairy tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. then I'll begin.

For the last few weeks we have looked at funny versions of Little Red Riding Hood. This week is also a funny version, but with a more modern, sexualised tone written by German author Anneliese Meinert. Earlier versions of this tale were very sexually suggestive in nature, but more as a warning against immoral behaviour in women. This is a tale that seems to reclaim the sexuality of our protagonist who has a devil-may-care attitude as she speeds along at 100 miles per hour in the car with Hans Hunter, drinking the whisky that was meant for Grandma and nearly running over Mr Wolf.  

Image result for woman in red convertible car

Rotkappchen '65 (Little Red Cap '65)

“LITTLE RED CAP,” the mother said, “I've prepared a basket for granny. Cake and whisky. I've got to rush to an appointment, so be nice and bring it to her.”
Little Red Cap was not too happy about this. She had a date. But since she was a friendly person, she growled, “Give it to me.” Little Red Cap jumped into her sports car. She zoomed through the woods.

Though the road was not a highway, there was so little traffic that one could speed. Past the trees. Past the warning signs with silhouettes of a­nimals marked on them. A grey shadow stood on the side and signalled to hitch a ride. Nothing doing!
Granny didn’t seem to be particularly pleased by the visit. “You’ve come at a bad time, my child. I have a bridge party. And what’s gotten into your mother's head anyway? Cake and whisky! I’m on a diet. I’ve got to take off a few pounds. Get that stuff out of here before I’m  tempted.”

“Yes, Granny.” Little Red Cap grabbed the little basket which she had put on the table. Then she asked: “Granny, how come you have such sparkling eyes?”

“So that I can see you better,” Granny laughed. “Contact lenses. They’re much better than glasses.”

“How come you wear such big ear-rings?”

“So that I can hear you better. This is the latest invention. The hear­ing aids are built into the ear-clips.”

Now Little Red Cap laughed, too. “Granny, your mouth is un­usual.” “That’s so I can eat you better! No, that’s not it. I’ve got new dentures. The dentist made them so that the corner of my mouth won’t hang. But I don’t want to detain you any longer, my child....”
Little Red Cap hopped into her car and drove off. Her young friend Hunter waited at the usual time. “Late,” he muttered as he climbed in. “Where were you fooling around so long?”

“I wasn’t. I was at Granny’s. And, if you don’t believe me – there’s the little basket she gave me.”

Hans Hunter opened the bottle of whisky. “You didn’t meet a soul?” he asked as he took a hefty swig.

“Oh, just old Mr. Wolf. He wanted to hitch a ride, and I almost ran him over.”
“Mmmmm good,” mumbled Hans, for he had his mouth full of cake. They drove over the highway and through the woods. They didn’t notice the flowers growing alongside the road or  the ones which were prettier and further in under the trees. Nor had Little Red Cap noticed them before when she had been alone in the car. How could she, especially when one is going a hundred miles an hour!

Stay tuned next week for a tale of werewolves, transformations and swirling cloak of scarlet velvet.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

What We Ate Wednesday--Chickpea Salad (Chicken Salad knock off)

Hello lovelies! With the weather hotting up I want to eat more salads, but need a bit of something substantial to go with it. It needed to be easy to bring to work and light but filling.

At first I was bringing some lettuce and a small refillable bottle of dressing, but it leaked in my bag and was a faff to carry about even before the leak. Plus I was still hungry with just salad so had to pack several other containers on more filling foods like hummus and crackers which took up so much space in my bag. It was like carrying enough food for Coxey's Army (as my dear old Mum would say.)

I read somewhere about watering down hummus as a salad dressing and I thought it might give me more protein, but then there was the leakage issue. I did NOT want to deal with that again.

Then suddenly, I got a brilliant idea. Why not make a vegan version of something like Chicken Salad? Now, Chicken salad is traditionally mayonnaise based. I don't do the white stuff. Nuh uh. No goo for me. Never liked it, never will. There are vegan versions of mayo out there, but they still all look like pus. And probably taste like it too.

Sorry...but it is true. I am president of the I HATE MAYO society.

Also, non vegan mayo can go bad in hot weather. Maybe vegan mayo does the same? (Though how could you tell when it already tastes gross?) The shop where I work is hot and there is no fridge.

I needed a non mayo based lunch idea.

Enter tahini. High in calcium. Sticky enough to bind it all together. Makes it tastes like hummus. (It is a key ingredient in hummus, after all.)

So I started researching recipes and combining ingredients I liked and rejecting ones I didn't. I came up with a sort of chunky hummus with lots of flavour.  The recipe I took most of my inspiration from was from THE SIMPLE VEGANISTA, but I still made several changes.

It makes enough for 6 roughly half cup servings. After I make it, I portion it into six small containers so I can just grab and go for lunch. I choose to put it in six containers rather than one bigger one because I have a small British sized fridge there is just not enough room for a second large container. (I already store all my salad greens in a large container wrapped in a tea towel to absorb moisture. See HERE for details on how keep your salad from wilting.) With six small containers, I can stash them all over the fridge, on every shelf  and in every nook and cranny.

Chickpea Salad
1 tin chickpeas, roughly mashed
half a chopped pepper
half a finely diced carrot
half a cup frozen peas, defrosted in boiling water
1/4 cup hummus or tahini, watered down to make it runny
half a teaspoon garlic powder
1-2 TB whole grain mustard
3-4 TB lemon juice
shake of smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
optional: a few chopped gherkins and a TB of pickle juice

Basically, mash your chickpeas and mix everything else in. That's it.

I have heard of recipes that also included chopped apple or chopped grapes.  Many recipes used celery, but we don't like it, so i don't buy it. Some recipes used chopped spring onions, but they are 70p a bunch for just one recipe. I'd rather spend that money towards some nicer mixed salad greens.

You could also add chopped nuts or sunflower seeds for extra crunch. I find that the nuts and seeds get softer as the week goes on, so I tend to add them on the day, so they stay crunchy.

And you could, if you just absolutely have to, use mayo instead of tahini. But I leave you with these wise words from Peggy Rathman's Officer Buckle and Gloria: