(Sareta pictured here on the left with the other half of Ruby & Pickles, Jasel)
Location: London (south-east)
About Me: Half-Scottish, half-Indian lover and creator of food. I have my own blog, Sareta’s Kitchen, and I run a monthly supper club, Ruby & Pickles, (@rubyandpickles on Twitter & Insta). My Dad was a chef which was where I got my love of food from and a lot of my cooking skills! I love to cook, to eat out, to talk about, read about food! I was vegetarian for most of my life before turning vegan last year. My blog covers recipes that I like to think are accessible and straightforward. I also write reviews and provide info and advice on dietary lifestyle.
Favourite Animal: Elephant
(Tofu ‘paneer’ curry and chickpea, aubergine and spinach curry – at the launch of Ruby & Pickles)
When did you go vegan?
Why did you go vegan?
I had been veggie since the age of 8, bar a brief bad spell as a student… and always knew deep down that my morals lined up with veganism but didn’t want to really admit it (thought it would be too hard to give up cheese, thought the vegan community was inaccessible and aggressive – some parts are… – and that it would generally be too much effort) but then I did a 30 day cheese-free challenge after too much bread & cheese in Brazil, realised it wasn’t that hard and did a 30 day vegan challenge. And never stopped!!
What have you found challenging/difficult?
Eating out can be tricky but if you plan ahead or if you’re just straight up. I used to think I was an inconvenience but it’s no different that any other dietary requirement. Also the attitude of people when you tell them you’re vegan. I don’t offer up the info straight off as I can’t often be bothered with the usual ‘where do you get your protein..?’ ‘that must be hard’ ‘but we’re meant to eat cows…’ chat!
(Raw vegan brownies)
What product most surprised you when you found out it wasn’t Vegan/Cruelty free?
A lot of brands like Benefit aren’t cruelty free. Since becoming vegan I’ve made a lot more ethical choices across my life and now want all products to be both vegan and cruelty free. It’s hard to get this info and easy to think one equals the other. I was given a really funny look by staff in the body shop when I asked what items were vegan. They were like, uhm this one as it doesn’t have honey in it. Ok… but there could be other products derived from animals!
Food wise, I also made a couple of early mistakes like with egg noodles (the name should give it away right?!) but now know what’s what and am not afraid to ask about ingredients.
Wine – not so much surprised, just disappointed and it adds a whole extra layer of complexity. At least with beer and cider you remember a few key brands but there’s so much more wine in the world!
If you could say anything to your previous non-Vegan-self what would it be?
Just do it!! You know that it makes senses environmentally, ethically and health-wise. Don’t be worried what other people think. You will love it!
What are your favourite Vegan restaurants/cafes/shops?
Mono, 13th Note & Stereo in Glasgow (I fell in love with these places as a veggie and was really bowled over by vegan food back then), Rootcandi in Brighton, El Piano in York, Itadaki Zen, Mildred’s & The Waiting Room in London… so many more!
(Korean tofu bibimbap)
What is your favourite/best Vegan documentary/book/Instagram account/blog/YouTuber?
Cowspiracy can be quite shock factor but it’s so important and has changed a lot of people’s views! The Tofu Diaries is a great blog and it’s fab to see that Natalie has also transitions from veggie to vegan recently. I love Gym Free Bunny (Serena) for her not hippy BS stance to food, fitness and of course her fab work behind Vegans of London.
Which well-known vegans would you have at your fantasy dinner party and what 3 course meal would you serve?
Sara Pascoe – so much love for her! And someone has to keep the guests entertained. Benjamin Zepheniah – the conversation would never be dull and he could inspire and inform us through his words. Jared Leto for absolute eye candy but I’m sure he’d have some rather insightful views too.
I would serve some Indian/Scottish fusion food. Starter: veggie haggis pakora with cucumber raita and a whisky sauce, main: chickpea curry served with spiced homemade potato scones and greens with lime and coriander, dessert: mango and whisky cranachan with dairy-free cream and oats.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking about going vegan?
Don’t be put off by the super green plant-based machines who can make veganism inaccessible. They are the new agro-vegans (ie the ones that are so extreme they give a movement the wrong name). Take it one day at a time, don’t beat yourself up if you slip or make a mistake. Make and take snacks – nothing worse than getting hungry with no option than some salt crisps or a bashed apple.
Please can you show us a picture of the inside of your fridge/cupboards?
Any further comments or anecdotes to share: Despite only being vegan for just over a year I have definitely come on a journey from going vegan to see how it would be, to feeling part of a community and a movement that is helping the planet. I feel really inspired by others around me and want to keep learning and keep discovering through this great community we have.
(Haggis sausage rolls)
FIND SARETA AT THE FOLLOWING PLACES –
RUBY & PICKLES SUPPER CLUB –