It’s been an exciting week for me as I began volunteering for a wildlife hospital on Monday. I have learnt so much already and just feel like I belong. The hospital is mainly treating birds and hedgehogs at the moment, plus the odd bunny and badger. It is such a wonderful feeling to know these wild animals are offered another chance and are truly given the best care possible.
It is by chance that the hospital is owned and run by vegans. I did not know this when I applied for a position. It was only when I heard one of the lovely nurses ask for soya milk in her tea that I excitedly asked if that was due to lactose intolerance or veganism. Why does this matter? Well it matters simply because for the past few years of being vegan, I have felt quite alienated. Apart from you, my wonderful readers, many of which are vegans, I have never met a vegan in real life before.
When I started my degree course in Animal Management last year, I naively assumed there would be many vegetarians and vegans on my course. Turns out I was the only one. I guess it’s just nice to be around people sometimes who you have such an important thing in common with – after all, vegetarianism has always been, since a small child, the basis of who I am.
So, I have met a real life vegan and today a lovely vegetarian and I’m sure there is more but I try not to walk up to people and greet them with the question. It’s hard in my excitement of finally meeting like-minded people!
Besides the vegetarian factor, it’s just lovely to meet people who want to care for even the smallest mouse, vegetarian or not!
So, now on to cake! At this time of year when I visit my dad, it’s all about pears. I come away with bags full from his abundantly lined garden of wild, organic pears. Often so many that they sit on the side as I ponder what I can possibly do with them in the time I have! They always go to good use in the end, and this is an illustration of that.
This cake is delicious still warm, with a large mug of hot tea. Perfect to warm you up after a chilly Autumn day. The subtle chai spices make it even more warming, brightened by the citrus.
Ingredients: Serves 12
- 245g.1 3/4 cup plain flour
- 200g/1 cup unrefined sugar or equivalent granulated stevia
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 3 pears, diced, no need to peel
- Zest and juice of 1 orange and 3 limes
- 1 chai tea bag
- 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
- 85ml/1/3 cup rapeseed oil
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF and line the base of a 9 inch round tin.
- Grate the zest of the citrus into a large bowl and set aside. Add the juice of the citrus to a measuring jug and top up with boiling water to reach 250 ml/1 cup and add the tea bag, set aside to steep.
- In the bowl of zest, whisk together the flour, sugar and bicarbonate of soda. When combined, stir through the pear.
- Remove the tea bag from the jug and stir in the vinegar and oil, then add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the tin and bake for about an hour, or until a skewer comes out clean. Dust with a little sugar before serving, slightly warm.
Inspired by Comida de Moda