In the award-winning cookbook Feed Me Vegan, author and former Made in Chelsea star, Lucy Watson, showed us that we could go vegan and still enjoy all our favourite meals.
Now the straight talking entrepreneur is back, following up on her 2o17 best-selling debut with Feed Me Vegan: For All Occasions.
Speaking to Venetia Falconer (from Talking Tastebuds podcast) at a Waterstones book signing, Lucy is dressed in a natty little ensemble that is far removed from the oft-mentioned hemp wearing vegan stereotype. She’s also intelligent, frank and very, very funny.
Lucy’s come a long way from Made in Chelsea, however what made her compelling viewing hasn’t changed…
Casting our minds back to 2012, the Chelsea toffs’ delicate dance of decorum and deceit was brilliantly disrupted by Lucy’s arrival on the show.
Unfettered by conventional mores and painfully honest, she had the boys of South West London squirming in their brogues.
Who can forget Season 4, episode 7, when she unceremoniously dumped the blindsided Andy Jordan before he’d even had a chance to order his starter?
“When I’m not with you I’m not thinking about you all the time,” she told him. A solution-orientated soul, she coolly added: “If you want a girlfriend, I’ll help you find one.”
Andy declined the offer.
Few of us can stomach heartbreak served up to us with such candour. But such honesty from an author – or indeed anyone who is selling us anything – well, that’s extremely appetising…
Like so many entrepreneurial success stories, her best-selling debut book was conceived as a solution to a problem Lucy had personally struggled with:
It literally was just me thinking about what I used to eat and enjoy and…recreating those kind of things. And just trying to make my life as similar as possible to what it used to be, but vegan.
However, since the success of her first book, Lucy has gone on a significant food journey and wanted to share the fruits and veg of her labour in a new book:
I feel like I’ve been on a journey that I think a lot of people perhaps go on when they become vegan, especially if you’re doing it for ethical reasons. If you’re doing it for health reasons then maybe you do that a little bit sooner than I did.
Lucy has become ”much more aware of the health benefits” of veganism “and I wanted to enjoy them.”
It’s therefore no surprise that Feed Me Vegan: For All Occasions strikes a healthier tone than its predecessor. Lucy’s new recipes are packed with a rainbow of fresh ingredients, all fairly bursting with antioxidants – but fear not, there are still plenty of puddings to gorge on should the mood take you.
A pescatarian since age five, here’s Lucy talking about a pivotal moment that caused her to make that leap into veganism:
For those of us who glaze over when presented with long ingredients lists, one of the joys of Lucy’s book is realising that once you’ve bought some staple items (coconut oil, avocado, cashew nuts and vegan butter) you can use these ingredients in multiple meals and feast on an embarrassment of dishes.
Written in the straightforward style you might expect from someone so direct, the recipes are short, simple and easy to follow. Meals are split into five sensible categories: portable food that’s good on the go, healthy options, everyday meals, nibbles, and celebratory treats.
So, what’s on the menu? Well, if you’re craving comfort food, you certainly won’t feel deprived – try Lentil and Carrot Nuggets with Tamarind Date Ketchup or Beer-Battered Tofu Tacos with Slaw & Avocado Cream. Round it off with a Chocolate Fondant to feel spoilt rotten!
Conversely, if you’re all about ‘health goals’ there are a multitude of exciting options to savour, like Harissa Roasted Red Cabbage Steaks or Chipotle Black Bean & Quinoa Soup with Corn.
There is also the scope to get creative and really have fun with your meals – granola pizza, anyone?
Whether you want to learn to make the perfect Vegemite Popcorn for a night in, or grab a fruity Acai Bowl on your way out, there’s plenty to choose for every mood and occasion.
Cooking times are included along with a couple of nifty weekly meal planners for busy vegans who want to look ahead.
There are 89 recipes and they even include a vegan face mask and a vegan dog food recipe!
If you feel daunted at the prospect of cooking from scratch, take comfort from the fact that Lucy freely admits to having dined on take aways for breakfast, lunch and dinner before she got the cookery bug and it all became a fun hobby:
I was lazy, I didn’t want to have to cook. But I kind of had to get into it because it was like – I want to be able to eat the things I want to and I’m going to have to just do it myself.
Why not start with something simple? To make Lucy’s Ginger, Carrot and Orange Juice, we only needed two minutes, four ingredients and one blender….
You’ll also be able to dispense with the chemical diffusers as your home will become infused with the glorious scent of ginger and turmeric.
Oh, and the results taste as delicious as they look…
And no one’s going to shoot you if you add vodka…
Chelsea may be fancy, Lucy’s book is not. Yes, the photography makes you want to dribble but this isn’t a book to display on your coffee table, this is a book to use until the pages are smeared with vegan butter and fragrant with lemons.
An Idol Mind asked Lucy if it made sense to go vegetarian first, or to simply make the leap from meat eater into veganism and we found her refreshingly relaxed:
If it’s easier for you to go vegetarian first, and then become vegan, then do whatever works for you. At the end of the day you’re doing something positive and every small change is beneficial.
Even if you aren’t vegan and have no intention of ever being, this sturdy tome is a nifty way of cutting down on your meat intake for the benefit of your health.
Or, you know, just enjoying tasty food.
You’ll be bragging to your friends that you’re now only eating meat three times a week, like it’s a huge sacrifice, but the truth is, you might not even miss it.
If Lucy was an acquired taste on Made in Chelsea, she quickly became addictive for those of us who like our celebrities as unfiltered as our coffee. Today, she still tells it exactly as it is – including what it’s like to date someone who isn’t a vegan…
“I’m going to be honest,” says Lucy, who is in a long-term relationship with model, James Dunmore. “Obviously, it’s not ideal! It’s not the dream!”
Here’s Lucy talking frankly about the experience of being with a (very sympathetic) non-vegan:
Food differences aside, the pair are clearly a recipe for success!
While we wouldn’t dare to get up in Lucy’s grill, we’re getting out our own because those Grilled Pineapple Tacos with Corn, Black Beans & Tomatillos sound delicious.
If you’d like to do the same, Feed Me Vegan: For All Occasions is available in stores now. Tell us what you think in the comments section below!