New Veganism

Co-op: Christmas with Selene Nelson

I’m delighted to be featured in Co-op’s Christmas magazine this year! Pick up a copy in-store to read my feature on how to have a vegan Christmas without scrimping on flavour or taste – or have a read of the feature online here.

Plus, to read my tips on how to have a delicious vegan Christmas, check out my blog on the Co-op website.

Selene Nelson

New Veganism

BBC World Service – The Conversation: Vegan Campaigners

A few weeks ago I was a guest on BBC World Service’s The Conversation. Along with Nigerian campaigner Itua Iyoha, I talked about the global rise of veganism, the challenges female vegan activists face getting their message across, and the anger we sometimes encounter. You can listen to our chat by following this link, or listening to the download below. Thank you for having me, BBC!



Selene Nelson

New Veganism

The Telegraph Magazine: Vegan Living & YES VE-GAN!

This past weekend I was on featured on the cover of The Telegraph Magazine, along with food critic William Sitwell. After reading my new book, YES VE-GAN!, William decided to try vegan living for the week, using my book as his guide. Find out how he got on by reading the full article, but see my top featured tips for making the change, as well as more photos, below.

For full details on how to go vegan – as well as why – check out my book, available to buy from all good bookshops and from AmazonWaterstones and Blackwell’s.

Selene Nelson YES VE-GAN!How to go vegan and stick at it

  1. Do your homework
    Decide why you want to go vegan, then do your research – making the switch is easier if you have knowledge and conviction. If you’re an animal lover, educate yourself on animal agriculture. If you’re passionate about the environment, watch documentaries like Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (available on Netflix). If health is your main motivation, learn about the physical benefits.
  2. Buy store-cupboard basics
    Stock up on vegan home-cooking essentials, like dairy-free spread (Flora is fully vegan now), veggie mince (great in spaghetti bolognese and chilli), oat milk (Oatly Barista Edition is a game-changer) and vegan mayonnaise (Hellmann’s does a good one, but I prefer Follow Your Heart)
  3. Read the labels
    The basic vegan dietary rules are obvious. No meat, seafood, eggs or dairy… But no honey either, if you’re going to be strict. Remember that eggs and milk are often ‘hidden’ ingredients, so always check food labels. And if you’re eating out, some restaurant chains, such as Pizza Express, Wagamama, Zizzi and Pho, have dedicated vegan menus.
  4. Think about your drink
    Educate yourself on which booze is allowed. When it comes to wine, most of it – bar French – is vegan nowadays, even if the label doesn’t have the ‘approved’ stamp. Though if in doubt, stick to New World wines. Spirits and champagne are also vegan.
  5. Reassess your bathroom
    Assume that most toiletries, shampoos and deodorants are tested on animals. Many cleaning products are, too. So look for vegan/cruelty-free labels. has a helpful list of cruelty-free products on its website, including those by brands Ecover and Method. Lush and The Body Shop are also cruelty-free.
  6. Shop smarter
    Rather than throwing away your non-vegan clothes/shoes and immediately replacing them with vegan alternatives, gradually phase them out. And when things do need replacing, avoid leather, wool, fur or silk, if possible.
  7. And remember…
    If you mess up and buy or eat something non-vegan, don’t beat yourself up! Veganism isn’t a pursuit for perfect. It’s about trying to minimise harm as best you can.


Selene Nelson Yes Ve-Gan!

Selene Nelson Yes Ve-Gan!

Selene Nelson Yes Ve-Gan!

New Veganism


I’m thrilled to announce that my new book, YES VE-GAN! was published today by Octopus Publishing Group. Available to order online from Amazon, Waterstones and Blackwell’s, the book is also on sale in all good bookshops.

As Waterstones wrote in their review:

“The irresistible worldwide rise of veganism has attracted much criticism and abuse, which can be difficult and uncomfortable to be on the receiving end of. Packed with facts, figures, argument and ethics, Yes Ve-gan! is an invaluable primer for all vegans wanting to effectively counter aggressive argument and ill-informed claims.”

The rise of veganism is impossible to ignore, and whether you’re already vegan and want to convince your friends and family to make the change, are doing Veganuary or giving plant-based eating a go, or just want to experiment with a more planet-friendly lifestyle, this book will be your guide. In YES VE-GAN! I break down the burning questions surrounding veganism from choice, ethics, ecology to fitness, health & beauty, as well as providing informed opinions on just how to rebuff the haters.

Available online and from all good bookstores NOW. Thank you all for your support. Peace + Plants!

Yes Vegan





Gaia (part of the Octopus Publishing Group) has today announced that it will publish Yes Ve-gan! by journalist, author and activist Selene Nelson, who made international headlines when her email exchange with magazine editor William Sitwell led to a public debate about veganism.

Publishing Director Stephanie Jackson acquired World Rights All Languages from Oscar Janson-Smith at Kruger Cowne. The book will be published on 26 December, in time for Veganuary 2020.

Yes Ve-gan! is a call to action for anyone who is considering a plant-based, low-impact life that will align their beliefs with their lifestyle. A former pescetarian, then vegetarian, Nelson tells the story of her own conversion to veganism, sets out the facts and considerations, and provides expert guidance for the growing audience of consumers seeking to live a more planet-friendly life. A blueprint for vegan living, Yes Ve-gan! includes a simple 4-week plan for anyone who wants to make a start – whether for Veganuary or for life.

Stephanie Jackson said of the announcement: “The rise of veganism is impossible to ignore. With the vegan movement continuing to grow – and an even bigger audience of conscious consumers who want to explore veganism at least some of the time – Yes Ve-gan! is a timely, relevant and useful piece of statement publishing for Veganuary and all year round. Selene Nelson shines a bright light on a way of life that really matters to more and more, and we’re incredibly proud to welcome her to the Gaia family.”

Selene Nelson commented: “Many people view veganism as extreme – as this unattainable lifestyle that’s too difficult to even attempt. But veganism is a joy. It brings so much positivity to your life and is much easier to follow than people think. It’s not about what you’ll miss – it’s about what you gain, and that’s something I really wanted Yes Ve-gan! to convey, along with how accessible veganism is. There’s never been a better time to live a kinder, healthier, more sustainable life. This is the moment. Veganism isn’t the future; it’s now – and whatever your reasons for wanting to lead a more plant-based lifestyle, this book is for everyone.”

Yes Ve-gan! By Selene Nelson will be published on 26 December 2019 .

For further information please contact Carmen Jimenez on [email protected] or Caro Parodi on [email protected]


VegNews: 5 of London’s Best Vegan Restaurants

Veganism is booming across the world, and things are no different in London. This year, the UK was shown to be new world leader for vegan food launches, and a recent poll claimed that veganism will rise by 327% by 2020. As the capital, London is the vegan hub, and plant-based travellers can eat their way around the city with ease. But which of its many vegan eateries are best? From plant-based pubs to low-key diners and chic restaurants, here are five of London’s hottest vegan spots all tourists should visit.


Having a drink in a ‘proper’ pub is high up most tourist’s London to-do list, and luckily, being plant-based doesn’t mean you have to miss out on this rite of passage. In East London’s Homerton you’ll find The Spread Eagle, one of the city’s oldest pubs… and also the first vegan one. Everything is 100% vegan here – from the fixtures and fittings to the beers on tap. Cult vegan taco joint Club Mexicana do the food here: think Mexican-inspired treats that are as tasty as they are ethical. This isn’t the place to come if you want a green juice or chia pudding; the food here is unashamedly indulgent, and the same applies to the drinks too (the margaritas are seriously moreish!).

Start with the loaded nachos, which come piled high with vegan ’chorizo’, sweet potato, red pepper queso, pink onions, pickled chilli and sour cream, then choose from the five different tacos: Al Pastor ‘Pork’ with charred pineapple, pulled jackfruit carnitas, beer battered ‘tofish’, tempeh ‘bacon’, and ‘chorizo’ and sweet potato. Burger fans shouldn’t leave without trying the ‘MFC’ (a crispy,Mexican-fried chick’n burger) or the Club Mex Cheezeburger (a juicy plant-based beef patty), but save room for the tender wings drenched in hot sauce! If you can manage dessert, the ice cream sandwich, with smoked salt caramel and miso biscuit, is heavenly.


On the slightly more upscale end is Farmacy, a super cool restaurant in Notting Hill that’s built up a devoted following since its opening in 2016. On weekends you’ll have to wait for a table, but it’s absolutely worth it. The light, plant-filled restaurant is packed with trendy locals, and with a menu that’s entirely free from dairy, refined sugars, additives and chemicals, anyone with a passion for health and wellness will be happy here. All ingredients are either grown on the restaurant’s farm, in the neighbouring county of Kent, or sourced from local and sustainable suppliers.

Popular brunch dishes include chickpea pancakes with roasted squash, avocado, seasonal greens and smoked paprika sauce, and the ‘Farmacy breakfast’ – potato rosti with truffle cream, roasted cherry tomatoes, marinated portobello mushrooms and sprouted baked beans. In the evenings, choose from dishes like the ‘macro bowl’ (steamed quinoa, roasted sweet potato, kombu seaweed, kale, samphire, and avocado with ginger miso dressing), or corn tortillas filled with roasted mushrooms, frijoles, chipotle sour cream, charred corn and guacamole. Be sure to try one of the restaurant’s famous juices before leaving!


For vegans, the only thing better than filling your belly with delicious food is knowing that doing so is saving animals… so thank your lucky stars that London is home to Unity Diner, a 100% vegan and non-profit diner in Hoxton, East London. Co-founded by vegan activist and educator Ed Winters (better known online as Earthling Ed), all profits go directly towards funding animal rights organisation Surge, as well as the development of a new animal rescue sanctuary. This concept means you can enjoy delicious vegan comfort food while contributing to positive change – both for the animals and the environment. But how does the food measure up?

Luckily, it’s great – and the charitable aspect means you can order as many treats as you like while feeling good about it. To start, choose from tempura battered vegan shrimp and soy sauce, or fried ‘chikkin’ skewers served with creamy peanut satay sauce; then move on to indulgent mains like hot dogs, burgers and nachos – or, if you’re feeling healthier, salads and flavoursome bowls of seasonal veg and grains. The tofu cod with tartar sauce, paprika fries and mushy peas is a must if you want to sample a vegan version of that London classic, fish and chips. With divine cheesecakes and tarts for dessert, be sure to visit on an empty stomach.


In Fulham, South West London, is Tell Your Friends, a stylish but surprisingly low-key restaurant, considering the glamor of its founder, Lucy Watson. The former reality star rose to fame on UK TV show Made In Chelsea, but this restaurant’s popularity isn’t due to nepotism; after writing a series of vegan cookbooks and becoming a passionate animal activist, opening a vegan restaurant was the next step, and Tell Your Friends is a laid-back restaurant and bar that definitely delivers on the food front. The smoothies and juices are heavenly, too – in particular the cacao, peanut butter, maca, banana and almond milk smoothie, which is almost a meal in itself.

The menu changes regularly and is the perfect balance of nourishment and comfort. Popular dishes are the chewy ‘chicken’ bites, made from hemp and sunflower-crumbed jackfruit and served with a BBQ dip, and the Mac’n’Cheese, with velvety cashew cream and nutritional yeast. If you’re after something lighter, try the raw bowl: cauliflower rice with a rainbow array of vegetables, fruits and seeds, with a zingy tamari dressing. In the evenings, there’s healthy-yet-hearty fare: white bean and fennel ‘fish’ pie with cheesy mash potato and tenderstem broccoli, or a fragrant sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry with garlic flatbread and coconut raita.


One of London’s newest vegan restaurants, Kalifornia Kitchen is definitely the most Instagrammable. Located in Central London’s Fitzrovia, near the West End, the hot pink exterior is impossible to miss, and inside is just as picturesque. Plants and flowers cascade from the walls, and neon signs flicker invitingly as you enter – but this isn’t a case of style over substance. The brainchild of vegan influencer Loui Blake, the ethos of Kalifornia Kitchen is that “healthy is sexy”, and their aim is to provide delicious, nutritious and sustainable food to energise and excite.

So what’s on the menu? With the surge in popularity of vegan junk food, there’s an obligatory burger – the Kalifornia Guac Burger, with a Moving Mountains B12 patty and vegan smoked gouda. But the healthier options are where this restaurant really excels: dither over BBQ pulled banana tacos on chicory with slaw and pickled cabbage, the blackened tempeh caesar salad, or the Mexican bowl, with brown rice, black beans, pickled cabbage and tangy pico de gallo. This summer, try specials like the banana and blue spirulina smoothie bowl with blueberry, chia, coconut yogurt and coconut chip; this is a dish that tastes as beautiful as it looks.





The Times: Ethical Luxury at The UK’s First Vegan Hotel

(Read the original article over on The Times.)

A small town in the Scottish Highlands isn’t where you’d expect to find the UK’s first vegan hotel – but then the recent rise of veganism has been full of surprises. Where once the plant-based movement was contained to cities and university towns, these days veganism is borderless. That’s why, last weekend, I found myself shuttling past the vast moorlands and steep forests of Perthshire to check out Saorsa 1875.

Billed as the country’s first fully vegan hotel, from food to fittings, Saorsa 1875 is at the head of the growing ethical travel movement, a concept many are still unfamiliar with – but one that’s becoming increasingly prevalent. While for many the idea of “vegan travel” may conjure up images of hemp-clad, dreadlocked hippies singing around campfires, the reality is quite different.

“This isn’t about abstinence or sacrifice,” said Sandra McLaren-Stewart, who, together with her husband John and son Jack, runs the hotel. “It’s an environment where guests can experience amazing food, drink and design that doesn’t come at the expense of animals.” The family has been vegan for more than four years, and pooled their knowledge to create the concept of Saorsa 1875.

As a vegan, I can attest to the lingering consensus that veganism is about self-flagellation, or denying yourself the finer things in life – but being a vegan shouldn’t mean compromising on luxury. At Saorsa 1875, the mission is to prove we can enjoy cruelty-free, sustainable indulgence without compromise. So how does it measure up?

As soon as I walked into the stately, gothic-style house in the picturesque town of Pitlochry, I could see that it’s that rare mix of both ethical and stylish, from the locally-sourced vegan snacks in the bedrooms to the gleaming wood floors. Large windows flood the spacious lounge with light: at one end there’s a well-stocked oak bar laden with spirits from around the world; at the other, coffee tables, cosy armchairs and antique sofas where guests flick idly through books and newspapers.

Upstairs, in the 11 boutique bedrooms, things are equally chic. With a green and gold parrot-adorned feature wall, my room – the Lynx Room – was as comfortable as I’d hoped, and, as I sank into the luxurious linens and plump pillows on my bed, it was a welcome (and rare) relief to know it wasn’t at the expense of any geese. Everything is vegan here, even the cleaning products, and in the bathroom, fluffy fair-trade cotton towels hang next to cruelty-free toiletries by Highland Soaps.

But I wasn’t going to linger in my room — there were cocktails to taste in the bar, Faodail, where co-founder (and expert bartender) Jack McLaren-Stewart hosts spirit tastings and cocktail masterclasses. I sipped a perfectly-made whisky sour as Jack explained the differences between Scottish and Irish whiskies. I began to enjoy it, despite never being the biggest whisky fan, though I switched to a quick Mezcal before dinner (with the range of global spirits on offer, it would’ve been a shame not to).

I joined other guests around a huge custom-built table, swapping stories and exclaiming excitedly over the menu. Head Chef Luca Sordi hails from Turin – although to vegans, he may as well have fallen from heaven. A chance encounter in an Edinburgh cafe led to Sordi’s hire. He’d already proved his vegan credentials at London’s prestigious Vanilla Black, so was given free reign to create the menu, using ingredients grown in the hotel’s vegetable patch, sourced from local suppliers, or foraged from the surrounding countryside. Before dinner kicks off, Sordi shyly described each dish, and the room positively buzzed with hungry anticipation.

On opening night, we enjoyed velvety whipped cauliflower with a pumpkin yolk and nutmeg dusting, followed by wood-fired sourdough bread and outrageously creamy almond butter with spruce tips and lemon thyme. Smoked carrot soup with whisky foam, burnt orange and rosemary biscuit followed, then a courgette, basil and buckwheat crepe with tender aubergine, marinated tomatoes and lemon pearls. Dessert was silky, hay-infused panna cotta with fragrant rhubarb and a chamomile meringue. It’s the type of dinner that instantly puts to bed the argument that vegan food can’t be decadent or inventive; the type of dinner I wish all those vocal vegan food critics could open their minds to try.

Though I’ve travelled to many vegan-friendly hotels, breakfast is almost always the weakest link; without meat, dairy or eggs, many hotels just serve fruit and toast. Not so at Saorsa, where the breakfast table groaned with plant-based yoghurts, cereals, breads, fruits and croissants – which, incidentally, were the best I’ve had since being vegan: light, buttery, flaky, soft… everything a croissant should be. Cooked breakfasts are on the menu too, and Sordi puts his magic touch to classics like beans on toast: no Heinz here, but smoky, Mexican-inspired black beans topped with fresh, zingy herbs.

There are no TVs in the hotel, and instead, music is the entertainment. During the day Motown, blues and folk songs drift through the building, and during quieter times, when guests are out exploring, you can occasionally hear the light, quick footsteps of family dogs Roxy and Lizzie (the hotel is, of course, dog-friendly). Local attractions include visiting whisky distilleries and the Pitlochry dam and fish ladder. However, plans to open a yoga studio in the garden and install several wood-fired hot tubs mean that guests may not want to leave the grounds at all.

As a family-run business, there’s a laid-back, welcoming atmosphere throughout, and guests stop and chat in the corridors. “So, are you vegan?” is an oft-heard question – although I should stress that non-vegans are welcomed with open arms. There’s no judgement, so omnivores needn’t worry about being questioned by “militant vegans” ( a tired, but sadly pervasive, trope).

You don’t have to be vegan to know we all need to eat less animal products; from a sustainability perspective alone, the issue couldn’t be more timely. Luckily, then, Saorsa 1875 offers guests that increasingly elusive concept: relaxing, epicurean indulgence, all guilt-free. I’ll raise a glass (of vegan wine) to that.

New Recipes

How To Make: Easy Vegan Laksa (Gluten Free)

Last week I finally launched the recipe section of my site, kicking off with my easy vegan pho, one of my favourite noodle soups. It doesn’t seem very prudent to feature another noodle soup for my second ever recipe, but this miserable “summer” weather is just calling out for warming comfort food. And dammit, I just love noodle soups! So at the risk of seeming like a one trick pony, here’s another healthy, plant-based recipe to tuck into: vegan laksa.

Laksa is an Asian noodle soup from Malaysia (though I first tried it in Cambodia) and has an entirely different flavour from pho. Where the pho broth is clear and fresh, laksa broth is a vivid orange, thick and creamy with coconut milk, yet packed with piquant punches from chilli, garlic and ginger. It might be the ultimate comfort food: warm, nourishing, packed with flavour… and pretty healthy too.

Laksa itself is quick to make… it’s the laksa paste that’s more time-consuming. What I do – and what I strongly advise anyone here to do – is make three times the amount of paste you need and freeze the rest. Then, the next time you’re craving a bowl of hot, spicy laksa, the paste is ready and waiting.

As well as veganising this dish I’ve simplified it as much as possible too. Some ingredients, to me at least, just don’t seem to make that much difference, while other are irreplaceable. And I’m a firm believer of adapting recipes as you see fit; if you want to add mushrooms or pak choi, do. If you want to omit courgette or swap tofu for seitan, go for it. I deliberately haven’t added specific quantities of some the vegetables – just use as much as you like, and if you have too much for the soup, well, then you just have extra for tomorrow.

Cooking should be about tweaking and changing things to suit your own tastebuds – that’s why I’m not a big fan of baking: it’s too methodical and scientific!

So without further ado, here’s my recipe for easy vegan (and gluten-free!) laksa – and remember, multiply everything by two or three if you want to have leftover spice paste to freeze.


    • One onion, roughly chopped (either red or white is fine)
    • 5 cloves of garlic
    • 5 large fresh chillies (less if you don’t like heat)
    • 2 lemongrass stalks, white part finely chopped
    • 1 whole big thumb of ginger, sliced
    • 2 tablespoons sesame oil or rapeseed oil


  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin


  • 1.5 litres veggie stock (add boullion to taste if you want greater depth of flavour)
  • 400 ml can of coconut milk
  • Lime juice, to taste
  • Salt, to taste


  • Tenderstem broccoli
  • 1 courgette, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • Green beans, halved
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 200 g flat rice noodles
  • 250 g of tofu puffs (if you can’t find these, just chop some firm tofu into squares, then bake til crisp)


  • Big bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • Lime, sliced into quarters
  • 1 red chilli, chopped into rings
  • 3 spring onions, chopped


  1. Throw the onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and chillies into a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Add extra oil or stock if you need more liquid.
  2. In a big pot, heat the laksa spice paste in oil on a low heat for about ten mins.
  3. Add the turmeric, paprika, coriander, cumin, and stir, continuing to cook gently – then, after a few minutes, add the stock. Cook for a while, then add lime and salt to taste. Put a lid on and cook slowly.
  4. Place your veggies in a big frying pan and cook, gently, with a little water until they’ve softened a bit (you want them to still have some bite). Stir the coconut milk into the laksa broth.
  5. Cook the rice noodles as per pack instructions. While they’re cooking, fry the tofu puffs in a dry frying pan on a high heat, until they’re slightly brown and crispy.
  6. Rinse the rice noodles in cold water once they’re cooked to refresh them; then, rinse again with hot water. Lay a portion of noodles in a deep bowl, top with the vegetables and tofu, and ladle over the hot laksa broth. Top with sliced red chillies, fresh coriander and lime quarters. Enjoy!

New Recipes

How To Make: Easy Vegan Pho (GF)

Of all the countries I visited on my travels, Vietnam is right near the top. While the country is beautiful, the cities are mad (in a good way!) and the people are friendly, the food played a huge part in sealing my love for it, particularly the street food. There’s a lot of meat on offer, it’s true, but there are also lots of veggies. I was vegetarian when I visited Vietnam and I dined like a queen (check out my vegetarian food guide for Food Republic!) but, thanks to the general absence of dairy here, being vegan isn’t much harder.

Since coming back to the UK, I’ve spent huge amounts of time trying to recreate and veganise my favourite dishes from around the world, like Vietnam’s pho and banh mi. We’ll get onto nailing the perfect banh mi soon, but for now let’s focus on pho (pronounced “fuh”). I love all kinds of noodle soups, but to me, pho reigns king… though I’ll feature my vegan laksa and ramen recipes soon, too.

In Vietnam, my favourite memories are of walking into local restaurants and having that deep, warming, aromatic aroma of the pho broth hit; then the bowl is placed in front of you and you dig in: slurping noodles (you can’t eat this dish gracefully), chewing succulent tofu and crisp vegetables, and having the intense, diverse flavours offset by fresh coriander (“cilantro” to my US friends!), zingy lime and mint, and slices of hot chilli. Heaven.

There are hundreds of veggie pho recipes online. I’ve made about half of them, so this recipe cuts to the chase. If you want to make truly authentic vegan pho, it’s going to take a long time. You’ll need lots of ingredients that aren’t always easy to find, unless you have an awesome Asian supermarket round the corner. If you do, and you have the time for this, check out this excellent vegan pho recipe by Vietnamese cook Helen.

As delicious as Helen’s pho is, many of us don’t have time for it… but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a delicious vegan pho in under an hour. That includes the time it takes for the broth to cook… and the broth is the key ingredient to authentic tasting pho. I say “authentic” but there are a few caveats; aside from omitting a few ingredients that were hard to find, or ones I just don’t really like (mushrooms, cardamon etc…), there are also some ingredients I added in because I prefer it that way – e.g. garlic, five spice, stock.

There are some ingredients that will always be indispensable: e.g. if you’re not using star anise and cinnamon sticks in your broth, it’s just not pho; it’s a tasty noodle soup, but not pho. But in spite of my tweaks, my pho tasted totally authentic… and when I walked into my flat after popping out while the broth was cooking, it smelled just like the pho restaurants I ate at in Saigon. After so many attempts, I was giddy with joy.

So, here it is. After many trial and errors, multiple recipe tasting and tweaking, here’s how to do easy vegan (and gluten-free) pho in under an hour.


For the broth

  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 apple, quartered
  • 1 onion, quartered (red or white is fine)
  • 5 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 big leek / 2 small leeks, green parts chopped (save the white parts!)
  • 8 cloves
  • 4 gloves garlic, roughly bashed
  • 1 big knob of ginger, sliced into strips
  • 4 litres of water
  • 2 stock cubes (unorthodox, tastes good!)
  • Salt, to taste

For the tofu & noodles

  • Pack of tofu (I bulk-buy and then freeze tofu puffs from Asian supermarkets, like the ones above by Tofuking. If you can’t get hold of these, use firm tofu: squeeze the water out of it, cut into chunks and fry in sesame oil on a low heat until the edges are browned and crispy)
  • 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Chilli flakes (optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  • The white stems of the leeks, minced finely
  • Rice noodles


  • 4 pak choi, washed and leaves separated
  • 6-8 spring onions, chopped diagonally
  • Beansprouts
  • Fresh mint
  • Big bunch coriander
  • 1 lime
  • 1 red chilli (Thai chilli if you like heat, jalapeno if you don’t)


    1. Fill a big pot with 4 litres of boiled water, the stock cubes, and the chopped carrots, leeks and apple and garlic. Turn up the heat and stir.
    2. Cut the ginger into half inch strips, lengthwise, and cut the onion into four slices, also lengthwise. Put onto a griddle pan, along with the cloves, star anise and cinnamon sticks. Cook for a few minutes until nicely charred (just use a frying pan if you don’t have a griddle – but fry dry, no oil!), then place into the big stock pot.
    3. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer. Add salt, five spice and a little extra stock/bouillon to taste.
    4. Slice the tofu puffs in half diagonally, fry lightly in a dry frying pan with the minced leek stems, and add a dusting of five spice and salt. Remove from heat and set aside.
    5. In the same frying pan, add the pak choi, beansprouts and spring onions. Use a little water to cook them for a few minutes, just until slightly wilted. Don’t overcook: you want them to have bite. Add garlic powder, salt and chilli flakes to taste (optional).
    6. Cook the rice noodles as per the pack instructions. When they’re cooked, rinse under cold water to stop them clumping, stirring with a chopstick or spoon, then rinse again under hot water.
    7. In a large, deep bowl, place the noodles at the bottom, top with the veggies, then add the fresh mint and coriander (NB: I liked to chop them up and stir them in – that way they spread evenly through the soup. Save some coriander for the top, though!) Finally, add the tofu and minced leeks.
    8. Ladle over the hot broth – I use three ladles per bowl – and top with the remaining fresh coriander, sliced chilli and lime. Eat and enjoy!


New Veganism

Speech: Social Media & The Power of Vegan Activism

Last week I spoke at Kruger Cowne’s monthly Breakfast Club, alongside restaurateur and TV personality Oliver Peyton. The topic was social media and food activism, and I took the chance to speak about the power and positivity of vegan activism, and how, despite being seen as restrictive, moving to a plant-based way of living has been the most empowering and liberating decision I’ve ever made. You can check out my full speech below: