I think it’s pretty obvious from this blog that I’m not vegan.

However, I do have an interest in vegan food and vegan cooking, in the same way that I have an interest in any food that tastes good. So when Carla from vegan blog Easy as Vegan Pie advertised that she was starting beginners vegan cooking classes I jumped at the chance to learn some more about things you can do with tofu (amongst other things).

A group of us gathered around a large table at Milkwood’s front room while Carla held court with her trusty eBay-ed food processor, a portable gas stove and frypan and a plethora of ingredients I’d never heard of – Japanese silken tofu, umeboshi, liquid smoke, ‘nooch‘ (nutritional yeast, a cheesy tasting parmesan-substitute).

We were all handed recipe sheets to follow and passed around a plate of vegan sausage rolls to get us going. Over two hours we worked our way through demonstrations of vegan versions of caramalised onion quiche, basil pesto, pate, dill sour cream, bolognese and dark chocolate tart.

I think the key thing to keep in mind with vegan food is not ‘does it taste like the non-vegan version?’ but ‘does it taste good?’.┬áMy favourite dish of the night was the basil pesto, followed closely by the dark chocolate tart. In fact, I’ve just stocked up on a bag of nooch :–)

At the end of two hours I’d had a great night out – Carla was full of useful information and a relaxed and funny host (she’s very forthright with cutting corners in her cooking ‘who can be arsed?’). Everyone came with an open mind and a willingness to share, so it’s not like we were just sitting in silence during a 2 hour lecture.

I learnt about new ingredients, new shops and new methods of cooking. Apparently Homebrand food is often vegan and USA Foods is the place for all your (accidentally) vegan junk food needs. Finally, the food was tasty too :–)

The class is geared towards helping non-vegans tackle the basics of vegan cooking though I think vegans (a handful in our class) can still learn something new by sharing recipes, cooking and shopping tips.

Carla’s next classes are on Thursday 3 November and Sunday 27 November. Places are limited to 13 people so booking early is essential – the first class is already filling up. For more information, click here.