Veganniversary/ Mushroom & Hazelnut Pâté Recipe

It is 20 years since I became vegan! That means two things: I must be old, and everyone who thought it was ‘just a phase’ can suck it.

So of course I threw a wee dinner party. I was planning a big party thing but, y’know, working mum… winter nights… Anyway I’ve decided that I can keep celebrating throughout the year so stay tuned for some celebration/fundraiser gigs around the place.

Between the bad lighting, the many wines we blind-tasted and the frantic plating (how the hell do you keep the food warm without lamps?!), there is a distinct lack of good pictures of the evening but here is the menu: (Recipe Below.)

Veganniversary Menu:

Mushroom & Hazelnut Pâté , Baguette, Pickled Slippery Jack Mushrooms

Tongue in Groove 2015 Little Stomper orange wine

White Bean & Garlic Soup with Garlic Oil

The Bone Line Barebone 2016 Chardonnay

Roasted Pumpkin, Fried Kale, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Sundried Tomatoes, Wild Parsley, Micro Coriander, Tahini & Pomegranate Dressing, Sumac

Campo De Gules 2013 Crianza

Whole Roasted Green Cauliflower, Purple Cauliflower Chips, White Cauliflower Puree, Roasted White Carrot, Carrot-Top Pesto, Fried Onion

Barbera – can’t remember which

Dessert & Cheese Platter: Lupo Black Pepper Almond Cheese, Fresh Figs, Dark Chocolate, Frozen Grapes, Apple Jelly, Pineapple Sage Flower Mini Cheesecakes (adapted from The Minimalist Baker

Coffee, Pineapple sage tea, Pegasus Bay 1997 Finale dessert wine

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Mushroom & Hazelnut Pâté

 

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1/2 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
500-700g mixed mushrooms
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon good quality salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
150ml vegetarian chicken or mushroom stock
1/2 teaspoon agar agar

If you’re using whole hazelnuts, crack open in a mortar and pestle and discard shells. You want about 1/3-1/2 cup of shelled nuts. Spread on a tray and roast in an oven for 10 mins at 200 degrees celsius until dark brown. Cover in a clean tea towel and rub to remove skins. Set aside.

Peel and roughly chop onions and garlic. Cut mushrooms into cubes.
Heat margarine in a large frying pan, add onion. Fry for a few minutes until starting to soften, then add mushrooms, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and cook down until mushrooms are soft and liquid has evaporated. Take out of the pan and leave to cool.

Blend toasted nuts while pouring olive oil in slowly. Blend until a smooth paste. Add cooled mushrooms and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Blend again.

(You can use this as it is – just transfer into a clean jar and spread on toast.)

Heat stock in a small pan until almost boiling. Add agar agar and stir continuously for 2-3 minutes to dissolve. Pour the liquid over your pate and mix until well incorporated.

Crush some whole peppercorns in a mortar and pestle until half-crushed – you want some chunks rather than smooth powder. Spoon pepper into molds and shake gently to coat the bottom. Gently spoon your pate into the molds, pressing and tapping to fill the space. Put into the fridge to set. Agar sets really quickly but the flavours develop with time so ideally prepare it 1-2 days before serving.

*(I used a blend of wild mushrooms – porcini, puffball and birch boletes. Wild mushroom will always give a stronger, more complex flavour but you can use button, shiitake – whatever edible mushrooms you can get your hands on).

Veganniversary/ Mushroom & Hazelnut Pâté Recipe

On Breastfeeding and Dairy Products

As I’ve spoken about before on this blog, I had a really hard time breastfeeding my daughter. It hurt like hell for weeks, then just a little for months and months. On top of that I suffered from a little-talked-about condition where my hormonal response to milk let down was backwards, causing a wave of sadness to come over me every time I fed my baby – which is a massive downer when you’re feeding all day and night! But as the months passed I almost started Not hating it. By 10 months I almost even enjoyed it.

Now my daughter is 1 year old – the point where I was sure I would stop breastfeeding – and I’ve actually started to savour our feeds. She feeds far less and can happily skip a feed or take a bottle of plant-milk, so I am officially released from my ‘breastfeeding prison,’ and now, I can finally say that I understand why people are ‘into’ breastfeeding.

But along with that understanding comes an increased bafflement that any lactating human woman on Earth could possibly drink milk from a cow.

Boom. There it is. Cow milk lovers will no doubt click elsewhere at this point but I hope you don’t, as I don’t intend to attack. I am simply baffled. When one understands the hormones, the relationship, the science and the spirit of breastfeeding one’s child, how does someone willingly deprive another mother and child of that experience simply to sate a desire for cheese?

I want to mention at this point that this is not about breastfeeding vs formula. If there were decent plantmilk formulas available in NZ I ABSOLUTELY would have stopped breastfeeding prior to now. Without good alternatives, cow or goat milk formulas are often necessary. And I honestly have not an ounce of ‘see, I hung in there and it got easier’ smugness… only ‘thank Christ this isn’t awful anymore’ relief. This conversation is purely about seeing your own body create milk and then downing a big ol’ glass of breast milk from another species.

I do understand the cognitive dissonance people use daily to consume meat, to buy cheap clothes or throw plastic bags into the landfill, but when you’re a mother, particularly when breastfeeding, how do you mentally disconnect from the reality of what cow milk is and who it is really intended for?

I would go so far as to say that the consumption of dairy products is entirely anti-motherhood. The dairy industry exploits and destroys the mother-child biological bond, and, after personally experiencing pregnancy and breastfeeding, I can honestly say that being kept pregnant, having my babies taken from me, and being hooked up to a milk pump every day is literally my idea of the worst kind of hell.

Mothers Against Dairy expresses it well: “At its core, animal agriculture is based on sexual violation, reproductive subjugation and exploitation, and on the objectification and violent domination of vulnerable bodies. It is also based on the destruction of animal families.”

After almost 20 years of veganism, I have become exhausted and mostly private in my activism. I tend to promote vegan food and ‘set a good example’ these days because outrage, anger, aggression and debates can feel futile and even counter-productive. But this is one topic I have to discuss. It feels personal. It literally makes me feel sick in the stomach and heart.

So I’m asking the question: as women in the world, as people who can understand clearly what the modern dairy industry is and does, isn’t it our responsibility to bring attention to this topic? Is it not up to us – as the carers, as empathetic humans, as the lactating sex, and as the main shoppers in most households, to do everything we can personally do to stop this unnecessary cruelty? Even if that is through the very simple personal action of choosing plant milk at the supermarket.

For advice on dairy free products visit:  NZ SAFE or Go Dairy Free

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On Breastfeeding and Dairy Products