Isn’t it time for a dessert recipe?. This is a simple recipe and it can be made ahead of time and left to chill. More a springtime dessert than winter so that is perfect as we have just entered spring here in the southern hemisphere anyway.
I was introduced to sago pudding only 3 years ago when I first started facilitating the vegan chef training. There are two ways of making it and the method I describe below in my opinion is the easiest and the best way so that it doesn’t go gluggy. The flavouring and toppings are endless but this is the version we serve on retreats and people seem to love it, well they always polish it off.
I have a friend who loves it too but often claims it’s not as good as his mother used to make. She made it laden with cream and lots of white sugar. This recipe I share with you is a much healthier option.
1 cup sago (tapioca pearls)
300ml coconut cream
⅓ to ½ cup coconut sugar (sweeten it to your liking)
3 kaffir lime leaves
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup of berries (I use raspberries)
In a saucepan place the coconut cream, coconut sugar, orange zest and torn kaffir lime leaves. Heat up but do not boil. Once heated through and you can taste the kaffir lime leaves in the coconut milk take off the heat and let cool down.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the sago and stir for a few minutes.
Let the sago cook for 10 minutes or until the pearls turn from white to see-through. Drain off into a sieve in batches being careful not to lose it in the sink. Rinse with filtered water to stop it going gluggy.
Blitz the berries in a blender.
Once the coconut mixture is cool mix it through the sago.
Layer the raspberries and sago in individual glasses. Eat straight away or cool in the fridge.
I Was Scammed Too
In April this year I decided to treat myself to a cooking course to be held in October 2019 in New York City with Plantlab. I was so excited about the prospect of spending a month in New York learning from someone else as I feel all good teachers benefit greatly from further education. I also really wanted to learn how to make vegan croissants so booked into the baking course. I had been looking at the course for a few weeks when an email came in offering a one-off 20% discount for any course booked so I took the jump and paid my fees.
A few weeks later I received a newsletter offering further discounts if I booked more courses. Then the newsletters and discounts got more aggressive with the most recent one offering 40% off all courses. I thought this was strange as how could anyone run a course with such big discounts. I knew the owner of the school didn’t teach so he also employed people to teach, how could he afford to do that?
Then last Thursday morning I woke up to an email from Plantlab saying
“It is our regret to inform you that all courses at all locations are canceled until further notice.
The entire team of PLANTLAB has been unable to contact the CEO, Adam Zucker since Tuesday, August 21st, 2018 at 11:15 am PST. Adam Zucker is the sole owner of PLANTLAB and the only person solely responsible for all finances and location payments.”
It later transpired Adam Zucker had been arrested on the 21st of August on counts of embezzlement. Like hundreds of others who had bought into the scam I was completely shocked. At the age of forty-eight I have never been scammed before, I thought it would never happen to me. I had invested A$6000 in the course and others had bought more courses some having invested US$17000 with courses supposed to be starting this week. Others have relocated, left well paying jobs and taken out loans to book into classes.
This has rocked the vegan cooking world with many feeling disillusioned and losing faith in the vegan movement. Some people are managing to get their money back through their credit card providers, which I hope also to be able to do. I however do have complete faith in the vegan cooking world. I have seen similar frauds happen in the spiritual and yoga world. Where people come along and feel that they can make a quick buck out of scamming people. Unfortunately fraud can be everywhere in every walk of life, and it bears no reflection on the vegan cooking movement as these scammers are just that, conmen.
Adam Zucker bought Plantlab from Matthew Kenney last year and he had absolutely no culinary experience, he used to sell furniture. We weren’t to know this, nothing had been made public about Adam Zucker. Until last Thursday I still thought Plantlab was owned by Matthew Kenney. The website was glossy, glitzy and glamorous, so on the outside the school looked amazing and incredibly professional.
For me personally I was fascinated by how well Plantlab were doing. In an industry where it is so difficult to make money I couldn’t understand how a school could get so big, now I realise it was all a façade. I have learned many lessons from this experience.
Many people have prompted me to write about my experience and for those who have been duped by Plantlab it might help you to know that there are still really good people out there running really good vegan cooking courses and trainings.
I established Veet’s Vegan Cooking School four years ago as I realised there was a real need for education in the plant based world. I didn’t go into it to make big bucks; it’s definitely not my way. My business generates enough income to make a living, to pay my rent and go on a holiday every year and hopefully one day buy a house.
The primary focus of my teaching is to help people see that there is a way to live healthily without eating animals. I am mostly in this business to help our fellow sentient beings, as a trained primary school teacher and with the skills I have to run a successful vegan catering business (on a small scale), I could easily not offer courses. However I do so as I have a commitment to following my path of helping those beings who are voiceless.
So by following my path, my intention was to establish a vegan cooking school to help those who wanted to adopt a vegan lifestyle and do this by teaching them how to make really good, wholesome, delicious food.
In addition I decided to offer a once a year vegan chef training for those who want to wow the world with their creations and their own unique creativity. The training is a face-to-face training as I have a strong sense of community and value how much everyone can also learn from each other. Even the people that come along who feel they know nothing about cooking end up having tips and ideas to share with others.
In the training, specialist teachers are employed who have a lot to offer and then I personally do the bulk of the facilitating, adopting a holistic approach to teaching where everyone gets to explore their own creativity, ensuring that the food created does not come out all looking the same and is realistic in presentation for service in cafes and restaurants.
I do have relatively strict booking terms and conditions due to the fact that I need to protect myself as a sole business owner as well as ensuring people are really certain they want to do the courses. It has to feel absolutely right for individuals so before they commit they need to read the conditions. Too often today people book into things and then change their minds. I want to work with people in the training and on courses who have a 100% commitment.
So yes I have been scammed and to be honest it doesn’t feel good and I’ve cried my tears but it makes me feel even stronger to be following my passion and my commitment and keep on running the courses I run. The vegan cooking world will thrive. It just feels like some weeding has been done and one more (alleged) crook has been revealed. I know trusting again will be difficult for many. Some people will hopefully also trust themselves as there were many booked in to Plantlab who actually have already enough skills to start their own cooking businesses but wanted to do just one more course.
I guess I am also writing this very long story because I wonder how people will trust me when they have already been ripped off by another school. I don’t know really how to answer that. You can read the testimonials, I can give you contact details of those who have trained with me, but other than that you will need to look through my website and see for yourselves that I am a genuine person who delivers what I say I will.
For those of you who have done any courses with me or done the full training it would also be helpful to get more testimonials so if you feel inclined I would love for you to email them to me please. I would be most grateful.
Thank you so much for reading my long post and have a great week everyone. I intend to have a great week as last week was quite rocky but this week looks a lot brighter.
With love Veet
Tags:dessert sago pudding raspberries kaffir lime coconut milk Orange