A milestone and a creamy vegan chowder recipe

Photo by Emma Hasler

On the 19th of May this year my catering arm of the business I run turned ten and the Vegan Cooking School turned three. What a massive milestone this is for me. I chose not to celebrate and was going to write a blog then I wasn’t going to write a blog and now I just realised I really can’t let that pass. It is a big deal to me so here I am writing about the journey I have travelled in this business. I wish to share my story as I feel it may help others stay on track with their young business.
It was never my intention to have a business so when I first started out with no money to even contemplate starting up a business I felt the greatest fear that I had ever felt in my life. The first few years felt like I was gambling never to know if I would reap any benefits let alone get any of the money back that I had put in. I could not get a bank loan to grow my business so as well as loans from people close to me I relied on a credit card which racked up super quick and this added huge fear on top of fear. 
In March 2010 I attended a week long retreat called the Path of Love and things started to changed. I grabbed that fear head on and walked on through it and from there my business and life changed. I have been credit card debt free for the last three years and it feels good. 
As a business needs constant investment I wondered if I would ever make any money (my dream is to have a physical premises for my school and a home to live in that I can call ours with the possibility of an animal sanctuary) and I can now see the light at the end of this tunnel  -the dream is still a good many years away but I no longer have the fear or credit card debt and can see that my dream will one day be a reality.
My number one advice for anyone stepping into a business is to stick at it. You may be quicker to make money than I am (I have strong ethical beliefs which often stop me flying so my business growth feels slower than a lot of people’s I know) but I know now that if I had pulled out of this business at any point during the last ten years I would have had a failed business. Now from sticking at it for ten years and I feel a lifetime to come I will see the benefits of all the hard work.
The next bit of advice was handed to me by a woman called Suzanne of Wemoon. She told me to be open to where my business may lead. Taking new opportunities and not being rigid in what I thought my business was about. I initially thought I would have a once a week home delivery service that I would happily survive on, little did I know I would be the creator and director of Australia’s only Vegan Chef Training School and be teaching monthly vegan cooking courses. 
Of course it all makes sense now but if someone had told me on the 19th of May 2008 that I would have a successful vegan cooking school I wouldn’t have believed them.
Thank you to everyone and especially my beloved Makrand for all the help you have given me along this ten year journey.
It might feel fitting to have a celebration cake recipe to mark ten years in business but I just feel to sit down in front of the fire and eat a big bowl of vegan chowder. This recipe I have adapted from one that Jen Brennan, one of the 2016 vegan chef training attendees developed.
If you make this recipe I would love if you shared on Facebook or Instagram and tag me in it #veetsvegancookingschool

Vegan Chowder Recipe 

Inspired by Jen Brennan (student in 2016 vegan chef and lifestyle training)


Cream Sauce
1/3 cup Cashews (soaked)
2 cups Cauliflower Florets
1 cup Vegetable Broth 
1 cup Almond Milk or you can use water if you prefer
1 tbsp Cornstarch
2 tsp Nutritional Yeast
½ tsp Salt or to taste
½ tsp Pepper
2 Cloves Garlic (optional)

2¼ cups Vegetable Broth 
1 med Onion diced or sliced 
1 med Carrots diced
½ red capsicum diced 
1 stalk Celery cut finely
1 Russet Potatoes cut finely
100g king mushrooms slivered
50g Shiitake Mushrooms sliced
1 Nori Sheet finely chopped
3 sundried tomatoes soaked and chopped very small 
1 tsp smoked paprika 
1-2 tbsp Lemon Juice
Few pea shoots 
20 g enoki mushrooms (garnish)
½ tbsp Corn Starch (optional)
½ tbsp Water
Oil for frying


Make the sauce by cooking the cauliflower until softened then blend with the rest of the sauce ingredients.
Sauté the onions, carrots, celery, capsicum and potatoes in ½ cup broth until onion has softened.
Add mushrooms and continue to simmer.
Add remaining broth, sundried tomatoes, smoked paprika, and Nori and mix well.
Fry the enoki mushroom in a splash of oil for a minute or until golden.
Once the vegetables are cooked mix in the cashew sauce then season with the lemon juice and more salt if needed. 
If using the corn starch mix it with a small amount of water until it forms a paste then stir it through the chowder.
Once fully mixed, serve the chowder with the pea shoots and enoki mushroom garnish.

It’s not only the animals that benefit

Just stumbled on a great article on why vegans tend to live longer and enjoy healthier lives. It has references so is not just someone’s opinion. I feel that I am living healthier than I would if I was eating animal products but have no evidence to prove it as I don’t go to the doctor for blood tests (partly because I never feel I need to and partly because I have trauma around having needles). I have people time and time again telling me how good their blood results are after going vegan and just last week I received this fabulous text.
“I just got extensive blood work results back. My doctor said they were the most perfect results she’s ever seen. My cholesterol, blood sugars, all vitamins, minerals, inflammation markers, kidneys function, liver function etc exceptional. She couldn’t believe I was on a plant based diet and asked how I maintained these optimum levels.’  
It really is easy if you eat an organic plant based wholefoods style diet you are on the right track to wonderful health.  The very positive side effect to living a kind life reducing the harm to our fellow sentients has a great pay off for us too. 
Have a very healthy week everyone. Huge love xxx

Categories:Soups Mains

Tags:Soup Cashews potato mushrooms

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