We made it! One whole year of adventure in the world of food blogging. We’ve covered 10,000 miles in our campervan and shared over 60 recipes inspired by our travels. Grab a cup of tea and slice of vegan cake, and have a look back with us at our highlights from the last year.
We had the rather mad idea of living on surplus food for an entire month, to raise awareness of the issue of food waste. This finally gave us the incentive to start a blog to share our experience. So halfway through September, Vegan on Board was born….
With a random selection of waste food, we had to be get creative with our cooking. From making walnut milk from foraged nuts, saving potato peels to make crisps, and making hummus with adzuki beans, we made sure that no food went to waste. We also ate an exceptionally large amount of marrow which we saved via food sharing app Olio!
We survived a whole month living on food that would have otherwise been thrown away and raised £1000 for charity in the process. Our Food Waste Challenge went viral across the world, with stories being shared from Romania to Japan. The Daily Mail amusingly called us ‘Vegan Mad Couple’ and we were honoured to be featured in the sustainable news on Treehugger.
I think it’s fair to say we started the blog with a bang!
Our Infamous Apple Curry got even more infamous as we served it to 50 guests at a celebratory feast to celebrate the end of the challenge. The Peekaboo Pear Chocolate Cake was also invented by a very sleepy Sophie at 6am on a Sunday morning. It has since become one of our most loved recipes.
After the excitement of Food Waste Challenge, we took some time to enjoy nature and watch Autumn turn the trees shade of red and gold. Paul, in his role as a Foodcycle Cooking Leader, somehow convinced Sophie that making fresh pasta for 50+ people in one morning was a good idea. By the time lunch was ready Sophie had rolled out what felt like miles of pasta. Some of it even was stuck to the bottom of her shoes… But the hungry diners declared it one of the most delicious meals they’d eaten!
We also had to eat a lot of doughnuts, as Paul perfected his recipe for a Vegan Faschingskrapfen, an Apricot Jam filled seasonal treat from his home country of Austria. It’s a hard life doing all this recipe testing, you know ;-) … Another of our favourite Austrian meals – Potato Goulash – kept us cosy on the chilly, dark November evenings.
The craving for sunshine and longer days hit us hard, and we decided to head South! The Gilet Jaunes protestors in France made our journey a bit more tricky than expected, but we successfully made our way through roadblocks to cross the Pyrenees and into sunny Iberia…
The hot springs of Galicia stole our hearts and warmed our bodies – sitting in a pool of thermal water in the winter air is a magical experience, you should try it! Our Squash Lentil Risotto was inspired by our time in the baths, and it was the only recipe we managed to publish for the whole month!
We ventured into Portugal and fell even more in love. We spent our time foraging sweet chestnuts and eating our way round Portugal’s second biggest city to write our Vegan Guide to Porto. The wild sandy beaches became our home, and we spent the nights falling asleep to the roar of the Atlantic.
We reluctantly said goodbye to Portugal and headed back to England, just in time for Christmas.
The winter months were hard, so the blog went into hibernation mode…
In the meantime, Ronnie the campervan was off the road – several major oil leaks needed attention. We anxiously awaited Ronnie’s return to good health, and, fingers crossed, a MOT pass!
In February we were delighted to have Ronnie back with us back in good health, that would hopefully last us another year! We were ready to hit the road again… but where should we go this time?
To Portugal! Wait, didn’t we just go to Portugal? Yes, this country was so special we wanted to go back and explore more.
We spent the days chasing waterfalls and the nights looking at stars. All that spring energy saw lots of growth for Vegan on Board and lots of new recipes published. We ate Kaiserschmarrn under the blossom of an almond tree, shared the secret to our really easy apple fritters and tried wild fennel for the first time.
We got our hands dirty as we volunteered on an organic farm run by a incredibly warm hearted family. How great it feels to help grow plant and grow food! One of the most satisfying jobs we have done in our lives.
We just couldn’t get enough of Portugal, as we explored more parts of the country. A picnic by the waterfall or a natural cold shower on the beach are great things to make your day! The warm Portugal spring spent in serene nature served us with the perfect atmosphere to work on expanding the blog. Finally, we got our recipe production line going!
As much as we loved to spend more time on the Iberian peninsula, some personal business brought us back to England. Our easy sweetcorn fritters kept us fuelled up on the long journey back to the UK.
We arrived back in England at just the right time to forage wild garlic and we filled our kitchen with the scent of this easy to find wild food! And our bellies with wild garlic pesto and this really easy creamy wild garlic soup.
We found some time to help cater for a wedding and finally formalise our recipe for a great and easy pizza dough. As much as we enjoyed cooking calzone pizzas over the fire, we felt the urge to travel again get stronger… So we took a few trips to the north to procure some second-hand transportable musical gear – we like nurturing our secret passion for music when we need a little break from creating amazing food… But then it was time to plan our next big adventure!
On the road again! This time off to Austria and it’s mountains, lakes, rivers and forests, where we’d spend the whole summer. First thing we did when we arrived was to hop in the Danube to test out our kayak for the first time.
We feasted on apricots, the regional speciality of Paul’s home valley the Wachau. So naturally the blog was filled with recipes featuring these beauties! We had the rather genius idea of using apricot puree to replace eggs to veganise our favourite Apricot Cake – Marillenkuchen. It was a big hit and we basically ate this cake every day of the month!
We also took part in Plastic Free July and got further towards our goal of Zero Waste. We’re also super excited to be part of the launch of the Responsible Vanlife community on Instagram and help spread it’s mission.
It got too hot for us in the lower regions of Austria, so we headed to the mountains for their cool fresh air. Hiking boots on, we explored valleys, lakes and peaks. We never go anywhere without a trusty container in case we come across some goodies to forage – and we spent hours filling bowlfuls of berries. So many that we had wild blueberry pancakes for breakfast every day for a week!
And we came up with lots of delicious ways to eat our favourite wild mushrooms, sharing not just one, but five vegan chanterelle recipes on the blog.
Two vegan festivals lured us back to civilisation and we found ourselves cuddling cows at A Vegan Sommerfest (where we found a loving and thriving community of vegans in rural Austria!) and sampling food at Veganmania in Vienna.
The last months of our summer trip brought us to Vienna for another bit of vegan restaurant sampling (with mixed results) before heading back to the mountains. A certain feeling of melancholy swept over us as summer slowly receded and we enjoyed bathing in the golden sunlight of mild evenings…
The arrival of autumn presented us with great and tasty gifts. Armed with not one, but two new books about the local mycobiota – the ‘mushroom flora’ – we ventured out into the alpine forests. We learned an incredibly much about foraging mushrooms in just a few days! We also discovered how easy it is to dry mushrooms on your car dashboard…
A year gone by
At the end of the summer and our trip to Austria, we could hardly believe that it’s been a year since we started our journey with Vegan On Board. A whole year of blogging, learning, travelling, a whole year of delicious vegan recipes. And that’s how we came up with the idea to celebrate our first birthday! :-)
Don’t miss out on tomorrow’s post – a feature on our most-clicked recipes and our personal favourites.
This week we are celebrating the first birthday of Vegan On Board with a post each day. Join in on the daily fun to celebrate with us!
Looking back on the year and all that happened, we are already excited about the next one. Another year of inventing recipes and travelling around the continent is waiting for us!
Lots of love,