Interview with Clare from Fairfoods

Have you tried using aquafaba?
No, I don’t really fancy making meringues though I’m interested in some other ideas I’ve seen – using it to make vegan mayo and chocolate mousse.

What was the moment that changed you forever?
In 1992 I watched a horrific documentary called Pennsylvania Primates about primates being experimented on in a laboratory. It whirred round in my head for two days and I pledged to always make time to do some animal rights/vegan campaigning.

Who is your real-life villain?
Don’t know if it’s a villain as such, but the way that capitalism and the system encourages people to do jobs they don’t really want to do and jobs that aren’t aligned with their values. If everyone did a job they truly wanted to do, the world would be a better place.

Which is your favourite recipe book?
Haha I am a bit of a cookbook addict so I don’t think I could pin it down to one book.

A good all-rounder is Another Dinner is Possible by Isy and Mike. They have a lot of experience of catering, and for large numbers. The recipes always work. It was printed in 2010 so doesn’t include some of the latest ideas going around.

For cake, cupcake and cookie inspiration I often turn to Ms Cupcake: The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town by Mellissa Morgan, the recipes work and taste really good.

A recipe book I got recently is Street Vegan by Adam Sobel. Think completely over the top dishes with lots of different flavours going on. He runs a vegan truck in the US and that’s where most of the recipes originate from.

What motivated you to start Fairfoods?
Love of cooking and wanting to promote cruelty-free vegan food.

Do you use palm oil in your food?
Yes we do, mainly in pastry and icing. I wrote a post about this recently. This article makes the most sense to me. That said if we can use a more local oil than palm oil, we do. For example we are finding good results with olive oil pastry. More testing is needed, and then we will use olive oil in our pastry.

Name one of your favourite meals.
Pizza with homemade bread base eaten fresh out of the oven.
Sushi and salads.

I know that’s two, they represent my junk food side and my healthy food side.

Tips for anyone thinking of going vegan?
I didn’t think I could go vegan, so I did a vegan pledge to see what it was like and it was fine once I got started, one of the best things I’ve done. I’ve been vegan ever since. So that’s what worked for me, there are quite a few vegan pledges to check out if you’re interested, for example The Vegan Society runs one here.

What interests do you have outside of Fairfoods?
Cooking, photography, recipe testing.. oh hold on that’s related to Fairfoods isn’t it. I also enjoy dog walking and I’m doing a creative writing course at the moment which I love. I know everyone puts it but I love reading when I get the chance.

What is the best invention ever?
Veganism .. is that an invention? I like the spiraliser and cameras too.

Tell us one of the quotes that most inspires you
I love inspiring quotes, this is one of many.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” Nelson Mandella

If you could give two top tips for running a vegan catering service what would they be?
Seriously, don’t ask me and if you do, don’t blame me if it goes wrong.
1. Always go the extra mile. We work really really hard to make our food and service as good as it can be. We still make mistakes, no one is perfect, but we go out of our way to try and avoid them.
2. Test each new dish at least twice and don’t try and wing it. You might be tempted when you’re short of time, it often goes wrong.

Anything else you would like to add?
If you still want to try our food after reading all this, check out our events page to see what we’re up to and where we are next.

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Palm Oil

This is an update on our use of palm oil.

But first a few points:

1. Palm oil is from a plant. It is vegan.

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Southwest Christmas Without Cruelty Festival

Animal Aid’s Southwest Christmas Without Cruelty Festival is coming up on Saturday 21 November in Exeter. It “combines a serious message with an enjoyable and fun day out, offering its popular mix of ethical Christmas shopping, good food, entertainment and a warm and friendly atmosphere”

Cruelty Free/Vegan Festival in Exeter on Saturday 21 November at Exeter Corn Exchange, EX1 1BW from 10am till 4.15pm.

We are excited to be doing the main catering in the food hall. Rolanda has always done an amazing job with the catering, in turn we are really looking forward to it.

Here is our menu for the day.

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Frys’ Soy and Quinoa Country Roast

Frys Soy and Quinoa Country Roast

A Review

Cost: About £5.60
Serves: generous 3
The roast is vegan, as are all Frys products.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this roast, but don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed with a Frys product so decided to give it a try.
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Inside Look – Vegan Cheese

Inside Look Intro

Here is a run down of the vegan cheeses we use (and a couple that we don’t use) at Fairfoods.

Vegan Cream Cheese

In cheesecakes, our favourite vegan cream cheese is Tofutti Creamy Smooth Original for the incredible taste and the texture it gives to cheesecakes. We use it in our passion fruit cheesecake and chocolate caramel cheesecake.

Toffuti Creamy Smooth Original

Bute Island Original Creamy Sheese

For stuffed cherry tomatoes, the following vegan cream cheeses work well:

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Film Review – Cowspiracy

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

Produced and directed by Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn (2014)

My star rating: 5 stars

What the film is about
Cowspiracy looks at the environmental impact of animal agriculture and presents the case strongly with statistics, graphics, interviews and some humour thrown in.

cowspiracy graphic

Kip Anderson is the main narrator and the film features Howard Lyman (former cattle rancher), Michael Pollen and Michael Klaper among others.

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Vegan Pea and Paneer Curry

“I recently attended my friend Lotje’s wedding and sampled some of your super delicious food. I was bowled over by your amazing red vegetable curry and I wondered if there was any way you might share your recipe? Your curry was the talk of the wedding!

Kathleen Fournier, Barcelona”

A cornerstone of Fairfoods is that we like to share stuff – recipes, resources, knowledge – so here it is. The combination of creamy (vegan) cheese, tangy tomato and lots of fresh spices and herbs packs a real flavour punch. It is adapted from a recipe in Prashad: Indian Vegetarian Cooking.

vegan pea and paneer curry

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