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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Experiments in incandescent living

Imagine you are a white-hot tangle of ice, dust, rock and gases, and as you hurtle across the night sky the rest of us are celebrating your transit with champagne and gourmet lollipops. The universe is vast, but we are only as small as we believe ourselves to be; and if we lived each moment in that same spirit of humble awe with which we now and again gaze at the stars, the world would be an infinitely happier place.

I blog about books and writing on Mondays, travel and spirituality on Tuesdays, and art, knitting and sewing on Thursdays, but above all I want to use this space to explore the magical connection between veganism and creativity (so the juiciest posts go up on Wednesdays!) On this site you’ll also find Where We Make, a Friday feature on artists’ workspaces.

Recently on the blog...

04/16

Vegan Ireland: Cork edition!

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I landed in Cork last Friday afternoon and met up with Brendan for coffee at Filter on Georges Quay, followed by elderflower-pear juice and a vegan snickerdoodle. YES.

 

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(Two of my favorite murals from the White Street car park, where graffiti art is officially sanctioned.)

 

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Then I arrived at Emily and Vince’s house, where I met their new degu (his name is Tristan—I’ll have to get a picture!) before Emily and I headed to dinner at My Goodness, a “pop-up” vegan restaurant in the café space at the city’s LGBT resource center.


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I’ve always appreciated veg restaurants that do a simple set menu—I’m spared the indecision, and they’re free to focus on doing one dish really well (or in this case, a raw and cooked version of the same dish). That said, such a restaurant should also be flexible enough to accommodate those of us with food allergies, and when Emily informed our kindly server (who happens to be married to the chef) that she is allergic to avocado, he replied with “no problem at all.”

What followed was one of the most creative and surprising meals I have ever devoured. First up, “crawb” cake with a colorful assortment of fresh and pickled vegetables along with a lightly dressed sprouted bean salad and tahini dip:

 
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The “crawb” cake was made of seaweed (naturally); shiitake mushrooms; flax, pumpkin, and sesame seeds; and the same pickled vegetables we found on the plate. I imagine the cakes were finished in a dehydrator. Very flavorful and fun.

 

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My main course, all raw, came with miso vegetable soup, “tempuraw” (also finished in the dehydrator, I’m guessing), and “sushi” made with cauliflower! Virginia, the chef, got it to bind by mixing with rice oil and avocado.

 

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Emily’s cooked version, with traditional rice sushi (and no avocado!)

 

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The cheesecake came garnished with a cherry blossom, and the kombucha “digestif” was pleasingly pungent. (Most people either love or loathe kombucha; I love it, but I don’t like too much sugar in it, so this one was perfect.)

 

Needless to say, €12 for all this delicious food was an extremely good value. On our way out we got to chat with Virginia, the chef, who is an ecologist and gardening teacher from Texas. I was really excited to hear that she doesn’t have any special culinary training—she has the attitude that if she can do it, anyone can (which is exactly what I wanted to hear as I move into more food blogging and recipe development!)

At the moment they’re only open a few days a week, but hopefully business at My Goodness will flourish and they’ll expand into a permanent space. (And as someone commented on Facebook recently, some creative vegan entrepreneurs need to do a pop-up café like this in Galway! Galway gets all the hippie-hipster “forward thinking” cred, and yet they don’t have a single vegetarian restaurant as far as I know. (Cork, on the other hand, has Café Paradiso and the Quay Co-op, both of which are top notch in their own way. Alas, I don’t think I’ll have time to revisit them this time around!)

Emily had promised me a pint of vegan Irish beer, so after dinner we met up with Vince for a pint at the Franciscan Well (none of their brews are made with isinglass):

 

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Apart from Cork, I’ve been cooking a lot of my own food on this trip (spending a lot of time with friends, and we’ve been mostly hanging out at home; and right now I’m on my DIY writing retreat a long way from any restaurant!), but I’m sure I’ll have more fun vegan eats to blog about while I’m in London next week.

 

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.
Photo by Anne Weil