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3/? things luhan says

Cheap Vegan Essentials

Below is a short list of foods which I think should be in the basket of every new vegan when they go on that first vegan shopping trip. Prices will vary according to location, but in the vast majority of places these foods will be some of the cheapest items in any supermarket.  You can find a selection of simple recipes that make use of these items as their main ingredients here.

  • Rice: Rice is an extremely cheap and filling staple. A cup of rice contains roughly 45 grams of carbohydrates and 4-5 grams of protein. In an airtight container it lasts around 6 months. It is even cheaper when bought in bulk. 

  • Beans: Beans are one of the most accessible protein sources and have been a staple around the world for thousands of years. Just one cup of soybeans, for example, contains a massive 28.62 grams of protein, while even standard baked beans contain around 14 grams. They also contain lysine, which is missing from most other plant sources.

  • Chickpeas: Chickpeas can be purchased very cheaply canned, and in large bags in bulk if you’re willing to prep them yourself.  Each cup contains about 15 grams of protein, tonnes of fibre as well as magnesium and folate. 

  • Lentils: Similar to chickpeas, lentils can be bought canned or in large bags as bulk products. A cup of cooked lentils contains a massive 18 grams of protein, they also lower cholesterol, improve heart health and help stabilise blood sugar. 

  • Oats: Oats are very cheap, can be bought in bulk and have great shelf life. They are high in protein, fibre, and B12; they are even thought to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. 

  • Cereals: Most cereals, especially supermarket’s own brand products are very cheap. Whole grain cereals like bran or oat based products are high in fiber, calcium and iron, and most are fortified with B vitamins.

  • Pasta:  Pasta is another great product to always have on hand, it is one of the least expensive items in any supermarket, can be bought in bulk and has a very long shelf life. Depending on the type, pasta can be a good source of fibre and carbohydrates; it is a high energy food and is very filling.

  • Potatoes: Potatoes are one of the cheapest foods available in most supermarkets, at an average of just $0.56 per pound. They are versatile, filling and despite their reputation as unhealthy, they are an excellent source B6 and a good source of potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, dietary fiber, and pantothenic acid.

  • Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are as versatile as white potatoes, are high in vitamins B6, C, D, iron, magnesium and potassium. They’re also a more balanced source of energy than white potatoes, as their natural sugars release slowly, avoiding blood-sugar spikes.

  • Noodles: Many varieties of noodles are vegan, they are very cheap and last a long time. Noodles are very filling and contain high levels of B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, riboflavin, and calcium.

  • Nut butters: Depending on the type, nut butters can be purchased very cheaply and in large quantities. It has a surprisingly good shelf life, is an excellent source of heart healthy fats and is very high in protein. 

  • Falafel: Falafel is usually cheap to buy pre-made but it is even cheaper when made at home just using chickpeas and spices. It is filling, can be used to make great vegan burgers and is a good source of protein, fat and soluble fibre. 

  • Hummus: Though buying pre-prepared hummus is usually relatively cheap, it is far more cost effective to make your own in larger quantities, depending on the recipe you usually only need chickpeas, tahini and  lemon. 

  • Couscous: Couscous can be great in salad or as its own side dish, it is cheap to buy and is a convenient option since it is so easy to prepare. It is a good source of lean protein, dietary fibre and B vitamins. 

  • Tofu: Tofu has an odd reputation for being expensive, quite probably among people who have never bought it. Tofu has been a Chinese staple for thousands of years, it is now widely available in supermarkets and is far cheaper than comparable animal products, averaging less than $2 per pound. It is filling and is high in both protein and calcium.

  • Tempeh: Tempeh is similar to tofu in price and use, but has a different texture and slightly different nutritional properties. The fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fibre and vitamins compared to tofu, as well as firmer texture and a stronger flavour

  • Seitan: Seitan is made with wheat gluten and is extremely high in protein, as well as being one of the cheapest sources of protein per dollar when made at home and is around the same price as low quality beef in stores. It has a steaky texture and is very filling.

  • Frozen fruit/vegetables: Large bags of mixed frozen vegetables can be bought extremely cheaply almost anywhere. Despite popular opinion to the contrary, frozen vegetables are almost as healthy as fresh produce since they are frozen while fresh and don’t endure the loss of nutrients associated with long travel and extended shelf time. Frozen fruit like mixed berries can be a cheap way to prepare smoothies or dessert.

  • Canned fruit/vegetables: Having a few cans of fruit or vegetables around is always a good idea, things like canned peas or corn can be a side on their own, canned peaches or orange pieces are an instant dessert and canned tomatoes can be used to make sauces. 

  • Bananas: Bananas are one of the cheapest fruits available, especially when bought in bulk and deserve a mention based on their nutritional value and their versatility. They can be used in desserts, as a healthy snack and can be used to make cheap vegan ice cream.

  • Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits like lemon, orange and limes are cheap to buy in bunches, especially when in season and can be eaten as a healthy snack or used as a cheap way to add flavour to existing dishes. 

  • Vegetable stock: Vegetable stock is good to have around for a variety of purposes; it will add flavour to any dish from gravies to soups and roast dinners. It is extremely cheap and relatively healthy if you go for a low sodium option.

  • Olives: Olives are a healthy source of fat, they are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties and contribute to good health health, as well as being good sources of iron. They can be bought in large jars very cheaply and can be a healthy snack. 

  • Olive Oil: Thought to be the healthiest oil to cook with, it is heart healthy and can be used to add flavour to a variety of dishes like pastas and salad.

  • Spinach: Spinach is often called a super-food in terms of nutritional content, it is is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, calcium, iron and a multitude of vitamins. You can also buy large bags of pre-prepared spinach very cheaply.

  • Kale: Kale has a different flavour and texture to spinach, but has similar uses. It is a great source of dietary fibre and is packed with nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium. Even a 500g bag should only set you back around $2.50. 

  • Bread: Many new vegans assume bread is off limits, but many breads are vegan. Even speciality loafs are very cheap considering the amount of meals they can contribute towards, and they can be a good source of carbohydrates and protein. 

  • Plant Milks: Plant milks have an undeserved reputation for being expensive, this is only in comparison to heavily subsidised dairy milks, though even then the price is comparable, in fact, some supermarket’s own brands are even cheaper. Plant milks are packed with calcium and are usually supplemented with vitamins B6 and B12.

  • Non-Dairy Spreads: Non-dairy spreads can be made form a variety of sources, from soy or olives to coconut oil. They tend to be comparable to dairy butter in terms of calcium, but without the unhealthy fats and cholesterol. They are usually priced similarly or cheaper than their dairy counterparts.

  • Peppers: Peppers tend to be very cheap to pick up in large bags, particularly bell peppers. They can be stretched over several meals, and can add flavour and texture to curries, stir fries and salads.

  • Nutritional Yeast: Seen as something of a speciality health food, nutritional yeast is actually very cheap, lasts a long time and is one of the best sources of vitamin B12. It has a nutty, cheesy taste, so you can use it in place of anything you’d usually sprinkle cheese on. It is also great in soups and when used to make “cheesy”, creamy sauces. 

  • Flax seeds: Each tablespoon of ground flax seed contains about 1.8 grams of  omega-3s. It is included in this list as they make a great egg substitute in baking, can be sprinkled on cereal, yogurt or oatmeal. It is cheap to buy, and even a small packet lasts a long time.
  • Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate is not only far healthier than milk chocolate, it is usually cheaper to buy in the same quantities and is far more filling. It is versatile for use in baking and desserts and is a healthy snack in small quantities.

  • Selected Produce: Fresh vegetables are not always expensive. Seasonal vegetables are usually cheap in most supermarkets, but some vegetables like carrots, turnips, onions, cabbage and cauliflower are inexpensive all year round, and can often be bought on offer or as “irregular” (but still perfectly edible) for even less.
  • Herbs and Spices: Having a range of spices on hand is always a good idea; things like cumin and garlic can add depth and flavour to simple meals and they last a very long time. Investing in a good spice rack and some curry powder will save you money in the long term.

Strawberry ‘kwarktaart’

Apparently kwarktaart is something dutch because the only thing I can compare it to is cheesecake. But that’s something entirely different than kwarktaart to me. Directly translated it’s soft curd cheese pie.

This kwarktaart is amazingly fresh with it’s strawberries and delicious quark. It’s great for dessert or as a pie at parties.


-80g butter
-210g digestive biscuit (Or a ‘marie biscuit’ also known as tea biscuit)
-500g strawberries
-500g quark (soft curd cheese)
-Juice of 1 lemon
-12 gelatin sheets
-230g heavy cream
-120g white caster sugar

24cm or 9.5 inch springform
Baking paper
A small round cookie cutter to cut circles out of the strawberries
foodprocessor or hand blender

1. Put the baking paper in the springform.

2. Crumble the cookies by hand or use a foodprocessor.

3. Melt the butter and put it through the crumbled cookies.

4. Evenly divide the cookie crumbles over the bottom of the springform and gently press them down with a spoon. Put the springform in the fridge.

5. Put the gelatin sheets in water for as long as the package says.

6. Meanwhile clean the strawberries. Keep a few apart for garnish. I used four for the top.

7. Slice a few strawberries in thin slices. Cut out as many circles with the cookie cutter as needed and place them on the side of the springform. When done put the springform back in the fridge. You can put the leftover strawberry pieces in a bowl to use later.

8. Put the strawberries in the foodprocessor or use the hand blender to blend them. When done transfer to a bowl and put in the leftover strawberry pieces.

9. Squeeze the lemon and heat it up in a pan on low heat.

10. Add the gelatin sheets and stir until they’ve dissolved. When dissolved leave it to cool.

11. Add the quark and sugar to the blended strawberries and stir until well combined. Also add in the lemon-gelatin mixture.

12. Whip the heavy cream and also stir through the mixture.

13. Pour the mixture over the cookie crumbles and let it get stiff in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving. Preferably a whole night.

14. Garnish the ‘kwarktaart’ with your lefover strawberries.




YES. something Vietnamese featured in something popular and it’s not bloody Phở . It’s nigh miraculous. I attribute Bánh xèo to family gatherings where all my aunts are at each other’s throats, loudly yelling over the top of each other that their methodology is wrong. .. it’s a terrifying image to say the least. Bánh xèo is labour intensive (and it doesn’t taste that heavveeennnly shh) with many components, a bean filling, beansprouts, pork belly, prawns, and an assortment of herbs such as mint and perilla tied off with  nước chấm .The coconut milk and herbs lend a fragrance to the dish that prompts you to effortlessly eat five. As this was a roll, I opted for sriracha as it’s more viscous and one bite will not send you on the immediate hunt for the tissue box. Speaking of, the pancake is to be practically paper thin, think of it like a crepe, the first, oh, fifty or so are fated to be fit for the garbage before you get the hang of it.  This recipe itself is interesting. I feel like I can’t give an unbiased opinion as well, they’re things I grew up with and there’s too many associated memories with the ingredients, the That chicken is pure magic that just oozes with flavour from a single bite, I recommend marinating overnight!And the thighs, oh the highs, they seem to melt..   counteracted perfectly with the fragrant herbs, you forget that you’re eating something deepfried as it’s just so crisp and fresh, almost cleansing your insides with each bite. In fact, this almost feels like a cheat Bánh xèo , skipping past the other individual aspects of it, in order to create something fairly similar that can be bonus, eaten from your hands!

Sumire Karaage Roll Recipe

Marinated chicken (500g chicken thighs, 1 tblsp fresh grated ginger, 1 clove grated garlic, 2 tblsp soy sauce, 1 tblsp sake, 2 tsp sugar, ½ small apple and onion, several shakes of cayenne and black pepper, 3 finely sliced birds eye chilli, marinate for at least an hour, best overnight for godly flavour.)

oil to deepfry,potato starch, coconut milk (not cream!), 100g rice flour, 100g plain four, 1 tsp tumeric, 250ml water, pinch of salt, sesame oil

mint, vietnamese perilla, lettuce

3 tblsp sriracha, 1 tblsp fish sauce, 1 tblsp nước chấm (this is more sour than spicy)

Slice chicken thighs into 2 cm pieces. Puree apple and onion together in a mini food processor or spice grinder, mix with rest of marinade ingredients;1 tblsp fresh grated ginger, 1 clove grated garlic, 2 tblsp soy sauce, 1 tblsp sake, 2 tsp sugar, several shakes of cayenne and black pepper, 3 finely sliced birds eye chilli, marinate for at least an hour

Mix 200g rice and plain flour, 1 tsp tumeric, pinch of salt, 250ml water, 200ml coconut milk until smooth. The batter should be very thin, almost watery. Set aside. 

Dredge chicken pieces in potato starch, the charm is in their differing appearances. 

Heat up oil to 180C. Fry until the chicken is brown, remove and raise the heat on the oil. Fry once more until golden 45s-1minute. 

Mix 3 tblsp sirracha, 1 tblsp fish sauce and 1 tblsp nước chấm . Adjust seasoning. 

Heat pan with sesame oil on high. Ladle batter into the pan, swirling so that it coats thinly. (I failed, I am a shame to my ancestors. Thank god, my aunt didn’t pop in for a surprise visit LOL.) Cook for a few minutes then flip and cook for 1 minute.

To serve, lay the Bánh xèo onto a plate and layer lettuce, perilla and mint. Coat the fried chicken in the sauce and top. to wrap, first with the bottom then the sides. Ta dahhh!


External image

Edit to add the process and ingredients list for the marinade.


AngloGold Ashanti's Celestial Origins

Deals with the mythical origin of gold and the story behind this precious material. Designers  were given 500g of 18 carat gold along with a simple brief: create something exceptional, something that really tells the story of and speaks to the origins of gold.

Kristen Malan’s Halo is an exquisite headpiece, made up of 495 separate gold elements and 45 moveable sections. Kristen explains, “Halo, a reverential, other worldly symbol associated with greatness, celebrates the celestial moment when gold, the most precious of all elements, came into being.”

Photographs by Andrea Gwynn