Sofia Roger Williams: Vegan Vibe

Lockdown came suddenly and despite the rest of the country being in relative freedom, for those of us in Tamaki Makaurau it continues as my deadline looms so no chance of reviewing a local vegan eatery or even a takeaway this month.

We were lucky though. We’d been shopping on the day lockdown was announced – to both Countdown and Bulk Food Savings. And even if we hadn’t, we are largely pandemic prepared at all times with our pantry. Hoarding seems to be a genetic trait. Delta hit our local Countdown and Farro Fresh early in the outbreak too so it was just as well. Half of the complex where we live was put into isolation as a consequence. Thankfully we dodged that one.

Our bubble is small and it is vegan. We largely eat fresh whole foods at home with an emphasis on legumes, tofu and tempeh. We know how to make bread, how to bake cakes and biscuits and have a good supply of homemade sauerkraut. We have foraged herbs on our bubble walks and have had citrus fruit gifted at our doorstep by friends. Once we had sorted out a few essentials and they had arrived – bulk supplies of Kokako coffee, All Good oat milk and Angel Food cheese locally from The Vegan Shop - we were ready to settle in. We even managed to get some seedlings from Huckleberries so we’ve had fresh lettuce, herbs and spinach growing throughout.

Despite being a bit of an early bird myself, I’ve been sure to make the most of these slow start mornings. I’ve been settling into the day with stove top espresso coffee paired with either an assorted toast or oatmeal, often in the sun as I begin my day's work. With all this time at home, I’ve made the most of my kitchen with enthusiastic cooking and baking. So far on my baking journey I’ve made lemon cupcakes, snickerdoodles, jam heart cookies and afghans, all of which have been a hit in my bubble.

We have eaten well for the most part with favourite dishes being stir-frys and bento bowls using tempeh or tofu, lasagne using Beyond Meat mince, pumpkin and lentil soups and roasted assorted vege salads for lunch. Anything to use up fresh food, eliminate waste and avoid the dreaded supermarket run.

Although I love home-cooked meals and the constant bubble battle of rice/quinoa or noodles to pair with a stir-fry, after five weeks of it I am more than ready to hit the town and continue to try Auckland’s best. Because as much as I love a stove top coffee, nothing quite beats the taste of barista-made at some of my favourites such as Postal Service in Grey Lynn and Remedy Coffee on Wellesley Street. This is a really tough time for those in hospitality.

However, great initiatives such as Kokako coffee’s ‘Support Your Local Cafe’ help these businesses just that little bit more. As we move towards level three and hopefully elimination, I am looking forward to supporting our local businesses again by ordering some takeaways and visiting of course in level two. I hope you will too. (Sofia Roger Williams)

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Published 1 October 2021