An inspiring story not just of living a vegan life, but of living life to the full on the road…
My husband and I live in our converted minibus, travelling through Europe and now North Africa cooking delicious vegan food along the way and sharing recipes in the hope of inspiring others. Now I have reached this stage of my vegan journey it feels great, but I can’t help but wonder why it took so long.
I grew up in a restaurant in rural Britain in a food obsessed family. My Dad is a talented chef and we would eat traditional meals, which usually included meat or fish with accompanying vegetables. It was not unusual for me to see freshly killed rabbits or pheasants in the kitchen parlour ready for preparation. As a child who loved animals, it was distressing to think of where my meal actually came from, but if I didn’t think of it I enjoyed the taste and believed it was a necessary part of a human diet. Everyone else ate meat and it felt normal.
It was years later, in my early 20s that I decided to reduce my meat intake. There was a mentality that meal = meat, but this seemed like an unnecessary cause of animal suffering. Initially I ate meat once a week, which I attempted to source in the most ethical way. I felt that if everyone could reduce their meat intake, we could make a real difference to the planet and, with less demand, perhaps animals could be reared in a more humane way.
Before long I developed many tasty vegetarian recipes. I was thrilled to discover any meal could be altered with a little creativity. I was now a full-time vegetarian, freed from the guilt I felt when eating meat. I educated myself in nutrition and was confident that I did not need meat to be healthy.
After many years of vegetarianism, I discovered more about the impact of the dairy industry on the planet and, of course, the animals. I read articles and watched documentaries and soon realised that I was not doing enough. It became clear that with the growing population, it was impossible to produce the volume of meat and dairy required to feed the planet in a sustainable and humane way. I began to reduce my dairy and egg intake and search for alternatives.
Many of my recipes included cream and I was nervous that I would not be able to recreate some of my favourite dishes. But rather than feeling restricted I was soon buzzing with creativity and my imagination was running wild. I no longer needed eggs or dairy to create mouth-watering meals!
Now I take my home and kitchen everywhere I go, which offers many possibilities. I have all my spices and ingredients with me, so can live off grid, stopping in remote places and eating vegan in weird, wonderful settings. With my kitchen on wheels I can cook for the people we meet and show them how delicious vegan food is. It’s fun to watch their reaction when I tell them my ‘no-bake chocolate brownies’ are vegan!
What we eat on the road
My husband, Nick, beautifully photographs my creations and produces quirky videos, showing that despite limited space and a life on the road, you can cook delicious food wherever you are. Through our Victoria’s Creative Kitchen Facebook, Instagram pages and YouTube channel we share several healthy and nutritious recipes a week. We also have plenty of naughty treats like yummy vegan pancakes and extra chunky pan-fried chips!
We try to make our recipes accessible to everyone wherever you are from, mainly using fresh fruit, vegetables and pulses and avoiding processed ‘meat’ alternatives and other ingredients that are impossible or expensive to source in many countries. I love to ‘veganise’ traditional recipes from the places we visit and create them in our camper, such as Marinded Chargrilled Vegetable Toastie, Wilted Spinach and Green Lentil Daahl, and Moroccan Style Vegetable Stew.
Life on the road is always changing. We park up in new settings, towns or countries with different ingredients at my fingertips, so you never know what you are going to see next. But one thing is certain, I love what I eat and can now honestly love what I don’t eat, without feeling like a hypocrite. I feel truly excited about my vegan road ahead.