UK Vegan Awards 2012, 27th October 2012
Winner ‘Best Online Recipe Guide’ : www.mouthwateringvegan.com
This is an enormously proud moment for me, and I extend my deepest gratitude to those that voted for me in this benchmark industry award. It reminds me that the work I do on behalf of all vegans and innocent sentient beings worlwide is all worthwhile in the long run. Thank You.
www.mouthwateringvegan.com 274 (24.1%)
www.veganrecipes.org.uk 128 (11.2%)
www.vegansociety.com/lifestyle/food/recipes/ 115 (10.1%)
www.parsleysoup.co.uk 102 (9.0%)
www.veganvillage.co.uk/recipes.htm 96 (8.4%)
www.veganyumyum.com 93 (8.2%)
www.happyherbivore.com 88 (7.7%)
www.vegweb.com 68 (6.0%)
www.veganfamily.co.uk/kitchen.html 52 (4.6%)
www.simpleveganrecipes.co.uk 40 (3.5%)
www.vegetarianrecipeclub.org.uk 39 (3.4%)
www.veganrecipeguide.com 24 (2.1%)
www.chooseveg.com/vegan-recipes.asp 20 (1.8%)
“Boozy Vegan Xmas Pudding” featured in UK “ESSENTIALLY CATERING” Magazine, January 2013
Distributed quarterly, and with a circulation of 50,000 copies, Essentially Catering has the widest circulation figures of any trade catering magazine.
MIRIAM SORRELL at 2nd NEW YORK VEGETARIAN FOOD FESTIVAL, New York City, 3rd & 4th March, 2012
Recipes featured in UK “NATURAL LIFESTYLE” Magazine, October 2011
Distributed nationally in all major UK supermarkets and health food stores
MIRIAM SORRELL at NEW YORK VEGETARIAN FOOD FESTIVAL, New York City, 3rd April, 2011
WE ARE ENORMOUSLY PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THAT MIRIAM’S “RUBY RED STRAWBERRY CRUMBLE” WAS FEATURED IN THE BROCHURE OF THE NYC VEGETARIAN FOOD FESTIVAL, WHICH TOOK PLACE ON SUNDAY, 3RD APRIL, IN NEW YORK CITY.
The Altman Building
135 West 18th Street (Between 6th and 7th Avenues)
New York City
MALTA INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY, February 13th, 2011
Once in a while I come across someone who just exudes boundless creativity. Miriam Sorrell is definitely one of these people. A graduate from Beaumont College of Natural Medicine in the UK, she is an established artist, jewellery designer, natural health practitioner, creator of SmartArt® (a new creative thinking system designed for children) and a gourmet vegan chef! Here we catch up with her to find out what being vegan is all about.
Which creative activities are you focused on mostly these days?
I have three creative projects running concurrently at present – my new designer jewellery range (see www.terrapreziosa.com), SmartArt creative workshops for kids, and my Mouthwatering Vegan recipes (see www.mouthwateringvegan.com), which are due to be published in a book early next year.
So you have created both a vegan food blog and a cookery book – where did your passion for cooking begin? And why did you switch to vegan?
I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been catering! My Greek Cypriot father had a restaurant in London’s West End for decades, and as I trained as a holistic therapist and nutritionist, and so healthy food has always been a priority. The initiative to write a vegan cookery book came from the years of encouragement from friends and family to publish my recipes, and from my deep sense of the moral correctness of not consuming animals or animal products.
What does a vegan lifestyle actually consist of?
I feel veganism is more an ideology than simply a lifestyle choice. Vegans consume no animal products or their derivatives, including all meats, fish, eggs, dairy, or honey, and also avoid wearing leather, fur, or using any products tested on animals. That is not to say that a vegan diet is limited to only grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. These days there is a wide variety of “substitute foods” available, that resemble the taste and texture of meats and dairy.
I represent the Vegan World Network in Malta – and anything that champions the vegan cause is close to my heart. I do not judge omnivores, I just advocate good healthy eating, without the use of animal derived ingredients.
What are the benefits of being a vegan in today’s world?
One must remember that veganism and vegetarianism are not new phenomena. Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Plato, Martin Luther, George Bernard Shaw, Sir Isaac Newton, H.G.Wells , Voltaire, Gandhi and Hans Christian Andersen were all either vegetarian or vegan, whilst contemporary well-known alleged non-meat eaters include Moby, Avril Lavigne, Prince, Sir Paul McCartney, Heather Mills, Liv Tyler, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie, to name but a few.
Modern factory farming methods rarely take into account the suffering or quality of life of the animals (which is non-existent in most cases). For example, in order to produce veal, calves are often taken away from their mothers shortly after birth, and slaughtered when only a few days old. I recently read this important quote, which firmly made up my mind not to consume dairy again, “Many calves upon entering the slaughterhouse will desperately try to suckle the fingers of the hands that lead them to the kill floor.” Meanwhile, the poor lactating mothers are left unable to carry out their natural instincts to feed their babies, in order to supply us with their milk. The cows are artificially impregnated as often as possible to ensure they lactate as much as possible, so as to produce unnatural volumes of milk. To quote Sir Paul McCartney, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian”. Many meat-eaters tell me “we like the taste, but we’d rather not think about how it arrived here.” A further insight for me was the film “Food, Inc.” (http://www.foodincmovie.com/), a graphic expose of the fast food industry. Being vegan means no longer ingesting hormone fed animals that pass on the intake of chemicals in their bodies to yours.
It could be said that some people act on their conscience, others from their gut. I choose to live by my conscience, my research and my truth, and I do not wish my body to be a cemetery for animals. “To feel, or not to feel, that is the question” are my own words that best sum up my feelings on the subject.
Some people claim it’s unhealthy to have no intake of protein from meat or dairy products. How would you counteract such an argument?
This is a well-known argument against veganism, and in fact perspectives on both vegetarian and vegan diets have shifted completely over the last few decades. Where there were previous fears amongst governments and health organisations that insufficient animal protein would retard growth in children, scientists later on discovered that they had over-estimated the protein needs of infants and young children, and that they had also misjudged the relative quality of animal protein versus plant based protein. In fact, over time, researched evidence showed that well planned vegan diets not only promoted good health in people of all ages, but also offered significant benefits in disease prevention.
The two key considerations in assessing the health implications of any diets are whether it is safe and adequate, and if it supports optimal health. For a diet to be safe and adequate it must provide sufficient nutrients and calories, and must also avoid excess harmful dietary components. For a diet to support optimal health, it should help a person achieve maximum growth potential, reach peak mental and physical performance, suffer minimal illness, and recover rapidly from illness.
It is fair to say that with the range of vegan foods available today, it is quite possible to find all the nutrients found in meat and dairy products, in a carefully structured vegan diet.
In fact, in the western world malnutrition is more likely to occur amongst non-vegetarians rather than vegans, as a result of micronutrient deficiency and overconsumption, a major problem in the western world, which greatly increases the risks of chronic disease. Overconsumption is typically associated with diets based around animal foods, processed foods, and fast foods, and in diets that are low in fibre, and high in sugar, salt and cholesterol. Micronutrient deficiency is then associated with a lack of variety in the diet (for example too much junk food), or over-refined foods.
Micronutrient deficiency is only likely to occur in a vegan diet when there are insufficient vitamins D or B12 in the diet, or if the diet is based around refined carbohydrates, and lacking in fruits, vegetables, nuts and wholefoods. Since to practice veganism requires knowledge of the subject itself, it is probable that most vegans will follow a diet that contains all the necessary nutrients, including protein. In so saying, I am obviously not concluding that all vegans are healthier than non-vegans.
Can a vegan diet be sustained at any age?
Yes, so long as it is nutritionally balanced in its ingredients.
Is it suitable for children, pregnant women and old people for example?
The same rules apply with a vegan diet as with any other diet, and there is no reason why a pregnant vegan mother should not have a perfectly healthy baby so long as she has the correct nutrients required for a healthy pregnancy. It is important that she takes a vitamin B12 supplement in order to avoid a B12 deficiency in her baby, which can lead to developmental problems. Also, since vegans do not eat fish, it is important for pregnant women to find an alternative source of the omega-3 essential fatty acids EPA and DHA, which vegans usually only have about half the amount that omnivores have in their blood and breast milk. Fortunately, the original source of omega-3 is microalgae (tiny sea plants), and this is available as an EPA/DHA supplement from health food stores.
The first two or three years of a child’s life are crucial so far as diet is concerned, and therefore if a vegan diet is going to be followed, it needs to be adapted to support the unique nutritional needs of our children. This can only be done with a complete understanding of the nutritional requirements of children, together with sufficient knowledge to structure a diet that is both nutritionally comprehensive and enticing enough for the child. As we grow older, our nutritional requirements alter, and whilst we need less calories and certain B vitamins, our intake of some other nutrients, such as calcium, vitamins D and B12, and protein, needs to increase. Certain raw foods and wholefoods, such as nuts, seeds, whole grains, and raw vegetables and fruits may be too challenging for an older person’s teeth, but there is a way round this, by basing the diet around softer foods, riper fruits, or blending crunch fruit and vegetables.
How can an aspiring vegan find out more about veganism in Malta?
I am the Malta representative for the World Vegan Network, and I have my own local Facebook vegan group, the World Vegan Network Malta. This together with my Mouthwatering Vegan food blog, is a first point of contact for anyone in Malta or Gozo needing help or information about veganism.
Can you list some of the most popular vegan ingredients which are easy to find in Malta?
Soya is enormously versatile, and is commonly used as a meat and dairy substitute. It also has several health benefits, as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lower blood pressure, reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, improve blood circulation, and reduce inflammation. There are many soy-based products on the market, including tofu, ‘mince meat’, meat-free sausages, dairy-free chocolate, soya milk, and vegan cheeses. Tofu can substitute for the bulk of meat, as in a stew or a soup, and doubles as a pretty convincing scrambled egg (I have a recipe in my blog).
Grains, nuts, pulses and legumes are also a great source of protein on which to base healthy, nutritious recipes. Rice and almond, alongside soya, are also used as milk substitutes, and there are many brands available – it may take a few goes before you find the one you like.
The Redwood vegan range has recently been introduced in Malta, and so far we have tried their cheese substitutes, and their herb sausages. Cheese is really difficult to emulate, but so long as you don’t expect the taste to be authentic, they really do the job, including a melting “cheese” for pizza. Meanwhile the sausages really are tasty, and surprisingly realistic.
There are other brands on the market, of course, and several meat substitutes. Soya mince can effortlessly substitute for mince meat, and are cholesterol-free. So knocking up a ‘spaghetti bolognaise’, or ‘imqarun il-forn’ is perfectly possible.
Wholegrain pasta, brown rice, and other wholefood grains are also essential ingredients in preparing healthy vegan food. Stuffed vegetables is another popular dish that can be made using rice, and nuts or soya mince in place of meat. The key lies in being adventurous with your flavourings.
Larger supermarkets stock many of the above ingredients, but there is a better selection available at the specialised health shops, such as Casa Natura in Sliema, or Good Earth in Balluta, where you will also find many more health foods, supplements and expert advice and information.
Could you please share with us one of your favourite vegan recipes?
It will be a pleasure.
For more mouthwatering recipes simply visit Miriam’s food blog of delicious vegan/vegetarian/ meat-free recipes: http://www.mouthwateringvegan.com.
Spicy Bean & Coconut Burgers from Paradise
I simply adore flageolet beans, and I have used them in just about everything. I felt like making something a little different with them so, I added some dessicated coconut, herbs and spices. Easy to make and highly nutritious, you’re going to like these!
Makes 4 Burgers
• 1 tin (400 grams) of flageolet or cannellini beans (washed & drained)
• 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
• ½ red chilli, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves
• 1 tsp curry powder
• 2 tbsp unbleached flour
• 1 tsp nutritional yeast salt to taste the zest of a lemon
• 1 tbsp fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
• 1 tbsp fresh mint or 1 tsp dried mint
• 1 tsp coriander seeds
• ½ tsp turmeric
• ½ tsp ground cardamon
• 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
• 1 tsp cumin powder
• extra flour and desiccated coconut for coating/dusting
In a food processor place the onion, garlic and chilli, and process for a couple of minutes until totally smooth. Then and the herbs and spices, and continue to process. Add the remaining ingredients, and continue to process for another minute (don’t overdo it, you don’t want a dip – just a very thick mixture).
Next step, take the mixture out and shape into a ball, then slightly flatten the top in the palm of your hands, and place onto a plate on which you have spread a thin layer of flour and desiccated coconut, to coat the burger. Then turn it over for coating on the other side – place them onto a floured plate and refrigerate for at least an hour (the longer the better). In a non-stick frying pan, add a little olive or canola oil, and fry on a medium to low heat for just over 5 minutes on each side. When they are very golden, turn again for a final few seconds, and then serve immediately on toasted burger rolls of your own choice – needless to say include whatever filling you wish.
As the burger is quite filling in itself, and if you have no accompaniments in mind, then a good idea is to fill it with yummy and nutritious ingredients. Do prepare them prior to frying your burger, so that all can be eaten warm and fresh. I included one layer of vegan mayo, followed by a thin slice of beet, raw sliced red onions, and vegan cheese. I added the cheese after frying the burger (and prior to putting it in the roll), by applying a few slices and putting it under the grill for the cheese to melt, then quickly popping it into the bun, followed by a layer of yummy, sliced gherkins, tomatoes, optional fried sliced mushrooms, and fresh iceberg lettuce. Then on the other side of the toasted bun I spread some mustard (I simply love mustard with burgers, but again, it’s optional).
I must admit, that biting into this ‘monster from paradise’ was quite a challenge !
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