Viva veganism

Kentish Pip Wild Summer Sparkling Elderflower Cider
Aimee Ryan for Wallflower Kitchen © The Vegan Society

The amount of people who have chosen to become vegan has seen a huge surge over the past few years. This year alone over 14,000 Brits have decided to follow a meat and dairy-free plant-based diet, according to research carried out by The Guardian.

A key reason many more people are adopting this type of diet is thanks to veganism’s wealth of health benefits, but an increasing number are also going vegan due to scientists’ stern warnings about the environmental cost of meat.

In May last year, Jospeh Poore, a scientist at Oxford University, revealed the most comprehensive analysis to date regarding the damage farming does to the planet.

He went on to outline how giving up eating meat and dairy was the single biggest thing an individual could do to help protect the environment: “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth. Not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use. It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car.”

According to the supermarket chain Waitrose, one in eight Britons is now vegetarian or vegan, and a further 21 per cent say they are ‘flexitarian’ – which basically means they will now and again include a small amount of meat or fish in a predominantly vegetable-based diet. And over the past few years, the vegan movement in general has seen a colossal rise of 260 per cent, according to The Vegan Society.

Geff Stone, who runs The Plant Base in Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells, agrees that adopting a vegan diet is definitely on the rise.

“Veganism is huge news now, and if you’re not one you probably know one. A massive part of why I went vegan was down to the environment, and so everything we use at The Plant Base is recycled and our packaging is compostable. There’s no plastic anywhere, and all of the juices we make here are bottled in glass and if you bring them back then you get money back on them.”

He adds that even the café’s takeaway coffee cups are biodegradable as they are made from corn starch.

“I’ve always been into eating healthy food,” continues Geff. “So I knew a certain amount about supplementing things, like Omega 3, which is usually found in fish but also in flax seeds, and that you can obtain good amounts of protein from chickpeas, nuts, broccoli and soya.

“And then, of course, there are loads of dairy alternatives filling up the aisles these days, so it’s no longer that hard.

“I want The Plant Base to appeal to people who are interested in healthy eating and to stay as true to my original ethos of using what the good Earth provides, and in turn helping to protect it.”

So if you’re considering a vegan diet, give these delicious and super healthy recipes a try…

Creamy pea soup

A simple but flavourful soup that can be ready in minutes! Perfect for a light starter.

Serves 4


 1 tbsp olive oil

 2 cloves of garlic

 1 medium white onion, diced

 1 stick of celery, roughly chopped

 1 leek, roughly chopped

 450g frozen peas

 700ml vegetable stock

 50g raw cashews

 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)

 Salt and pepper to taste

 Dairy-free cream or soy yoghurt, to serve


  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and sauté the onions and garlic, until softened. Add the chopped leek and celery and cook for a further couple of minutes.
  2. Stir in the peas and cashews, then add the stock and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a blender and mix until smooth.
  4. Ladle the soup into 4 serving bowls and top with a swirl of dairy-free cream or soy yoghurt.


Mushroom and leek pie

Creamy mushrooms and leeks encased in a crispy, golden pie crust. Delicious, filling and a great choice for everyone!

Serves 4


 1 tbsp olive oil

 2 medium leeks, trimmed and sliced into discs

 3 cloves garlic, minced

 500g button mushrooms

 1 tsp dried mixed herbs

 A pinch of salt and pepper

For the sauce:

 1 tbsp vegan margarine

 2 tbsp plain flour

 350ml dairy-free milk

 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

 A pinch of salt and pepper

 1 roll vegan puff pastry (or
gluten-free, if needed)

 4 tbsp dairy-free milk, for glazing 



  1. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan on a medium heat. Fry the leeks and garlic for 2 minutes, to soften.
  2. Add the mushrooms, herbs, salt and pepper and stir for a minute. Place the lid on top and cook for 8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the vegan margarine on medium heat. Add the flour and stir until combined. Slowly add in the milk, a tablespoon at a time and whisk, until you have a smooth thick mixture. Stir in nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine the cooked leeks and mushrooms with the sauce and leave to cool completely.
  5. Make sure your puff pastry is at room temperature (if using frozen, leave at room temperature overnight) and preheat the oven to 200°C.
  6. Add the leek and mushroom mixture to a pie dish and top with the puff pastry, cutting off any excess pastry around the edges.
  7. Crimp the edges using a fork and score a criss-cross pattern on the top with a sharp knife. Finally, dip a pastry brush into a little dairy-free milk and brush the top of the pie, to help
    it brown.
  8. Cook for 25 minutes until golden brown. Serve straight away.


Lemon possets with shortbread

Ultra creamy lemon puddings with sweet, crumbly cookies – perfect for dipping!

Serves 4


For the lemon possets:

 600g silken tofu

 Zest and juice of 2 lemons

 120ml agave nectar

 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted

 1 tsp vanilla extract

 A few fresh raspberries, to serve

 1 tbsp icing sugar, to serve

For the shortbread biscuits:

 200g vegan margarine

 125g icing sugar

 310g plain flour

 1 tbsp corn flour mixed with 2 tbsp cold water

 2 tsp extract

 1 tbsp dairy-free milk, if needed


For the lemon possets:

  1. Blend all the ingredients, except the raspberries and icing sugar, together in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Divide the mixture equally between 4 glasses and chill for at least an hour or overnight.
  3. To serve, top with fresh raspberries, a sprinkling of icing sugar and 2 shortbread biscuits (see recipe below).

For the shortbread biscuits:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Mix the vegan margarine and icing sugar together in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the
    dairy-free milk.
  3. If the mixture is too stiff, add the dairy-free milk to help thin it out until you have a soft but firm mixture.
  4. Transfer to a piping bag with a large star nozzle. Pipe the mixture into small circular spirals. Starting from the outside, working your way in. Try and keep them all the same size.
  5. Bake for approx 12-15 minutes until lightly golden. Leave to cool completely.

All receipes come courtesy of Aimee Ryan from Wallflower Kitchen

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