Or, a little research beforehand means you can find places that cater for vegans – and there are few more than you might think. Sites such as eatoutveganwales.org list by local area, the takeaways, cafes and restaurants that accommodate vegan folk.
Breakfast: the full belly
Today is the day to lay back in disbelief of how much you can eat at breakfast-time.
Ingredients (per person):
2 slices of crusty bread
Handful of button mushrooms
210g baked beans (half a tin)
1 large tomato
2 vegan sausages (Linda McCartney springs to mind, be mindful that Quorn is not vegan-friendly)
2 hash browns (I am yet to find a non-vegan hash brown, but it’s always best to check)
Salt and pepper, to season
Knob of dairy-free spread, to replace butter
Pre-heat the oven and cook the vegan sausages and hash browns according the instructions given on the boxes. They each tend to take around 20 minutes.
As they cook in the oven, prepare your tomato. You can either slice it straight in half, or make it look all fancy and zig-zagonally cut around. This is done by using a sharp knife to slice in zig-zag pattern. Be careful because the knife can so easily slip off of the tomato’s skin.
10 minutes before the hash browns and sausages are set to come out, begin frying your whole button mushrooms in a knob of non-dairy spread over a medium heat. Once the mushrooms soften and begin to darken, season with salt and pepper.
Add your two tomato halves to the pan. Leave to cook until the hash browns and sausages are ready.
Pour your beans into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. As they are heating up, pop your bread in the toaster or under the grill.
Your hash browns and sausages should nearly be ready. Smother your bread in non-dairy spread and position on your plate. Remove the beans from the heat and pour onto your plate, and dish up your mushrooms, tomatoes, hash browns and sausages.
Lunch: Sunday roast
Put the roast in the oven and look forward to one of the most filling meals of the week.
Ingredients (per person):
Handful of cabbage, plus a little extra for bubble and squeak
1 large potato, quartered
1 large carrot, sliced
2 tablespoons peas
2 broccoli florets
2 cauliflower florets
Half a swede, cubed
1 medium-sized onion (ideally red), sliced to around 2mm thick
12 level tablespoons plain flour
Equivalent of 2 eggs, mixed using egg replacement powder
Up to 650ml soya milk, or another milk alternative
Sage and onion stuffing mix (bargain own-brands are often vegan-friendly, but so are better-known names)
Handful of fresh rosemary, washed
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt, to season
Vegetable oil, for roasting and baking
1 vegan sausage (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7 (220C).
Put the potatoes, carrots, onions, broccoli and cauliflower in a roasting tin. Drizzle around 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over the vegetables. Pour quarter of a cup of water into the roasting tin. Spread the rosemary evenly out onto the veg. Give the tin a shake and use a wooden spoon to douse the vegetables in oil and water.
Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes.
Slice the cabbage and place in the steamer ready to cook later on. Place the swede in the steamer, too, ideally in another compartment to make mashing easier.
Mix the stuffing according the box’s instructions. Leave this to the side, also. If you use all the stuffing, remember to keep any spare for sandwiches.
In a measuring jug, use a fork to mix the plain flour and ‘eggs’, adding a little soya milk at a time. When the batter is still thick but allows the fork to move easily through it, it is ready. Set aside for a little while. There should be enough batter to make six Yorkshire puddings, so keep spares for dinner this evening.
25 minutes before the roasting vegetables are ready, pour around one tablespoon of vegetable into each section of a cupcake, muffin or pudding-making tin. Place in the oven for five minutes. After five minutes, remove the tin from the oven and evenly pour the batter into each ring – being mindful of the hot oil. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
It should be around this time you put the stuffing mix and vegan sausage into the oven, depending on the box instructions.
It’s now time to steam your cabbage and swede, too.
There’s nothing you need to do now until everything is ready.
As everything comes to an end, put the cooked swede into a bowl and mash with a knob of non-dairy spread and season with salt. This can then be transferred to your plate, along with the vegetables, Yorkshire puddings, stuffing and sausage.
Where you’ve got a little more potato and cabbage than necessary, put this aside ready for dinner.
Dinner: bubble and squeak
Time to use up that potato and cabbage, in a delicious and thrifty manner.
Leftover potato and cabbage
1 cup plain flour, evenly spread on a plate
1 cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper, to season
Gravy or vinegar, to serve
Mix the potato and cabbage until it resembles a mash. Season with salt and pepper.
Using two tablespoons, or your hands, form balls with the mash. Place them on the flour, flattening them and flipping them over so that both sides are covered in flour.
Heat the oil in a deep frying pan. Carefully add each of your mash balls and leave to cook, turning occasionally, until golden and crispy.
Serve with gravy or vinegar.
Dessert: chocolate cake
This is quite a special cake. It’s incredibly rich, indulgent and calorie-packed – everything not generally associated with vegan cooking. It takes a while to make, as the icing is best made the night before, so for a quick sweet fix go to reliable ol’ vegan ice-cream.
For the cake:
225g plain flour, sifted
350g caster sugar
1 ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
Equivalent of 2 eggs, made using egg replacement powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
250ml soya milk
125ml vegetable oil
250ml boiling water
For the chocolate topping:
200g plain chocolate (check it contains no dairy products, such as whey powder or buttermilk)
150ml soya cream
8tbsp icing sugar, sifted
For the ‘buttercream’ filling:
150g dairy-free spread, as an alternative to butter
8tbsp icing sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 (180C). Grease and line two 8-inch sandwich cake tins.
In a large mixing bowl, add all the cake ingredients except the boiling water. Using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture until combined.
Once evenly combined, add the boiling water a little at the time. Be careful when stirring, as it is easy for the piping hot liquid to splash. Once you have added all the boiling water, the mixture will be very thin – have faith, it will work out.
Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake for 30-45 minutes. You will know when it is ready because an inserted butter-knife or skewer will be clean as it is pulled out. If there is uncooked mixture on the knife, leave the cake in the oven until the knife comes out clean – I leave it in ten minute checking intervals.
Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. When the cake is cool to touch, remove from the tin and return to the wire rack to cool completely.
While your cake is cooling, you can take the opportunity to make your icings.
For the chocolate icing: Heat the soya cream and chocolate in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring frequently. Once melted together, pour the chocolate sauce into a clean, large mixing bowl. Add eight tablespoons of sifted icing sugar and stir until combined. Set to the side and allow to rest for a minimum of four hours.
For the ‘buttercream’ filling: Mix the dairy-free spread and sifted icing sugar until smooth. Place the finished product in the fridge and leave until stiff. This usually takes around an hour to reach its climax, so to speak.
You have all the components! Now it is time to put them all together.
Put the flatter of the two cake halves on the bottom, placing it on a plate or a cake board. Smooth on the buttercream filling, working the knife in one direction from the centre to prevent getting crumbs in the icing. Carefully plop the second sandwich half on top.
Top your cake with the chocolate icing, again, working in one direction. It is worth taking your time with this stage because the cake will look top-notch with some TLC. Working from the centre, move outwards with a slight curve. For the sides, use a little chocolate icing at a time, moving one direction.