Guys, who is absolutely LOVING the This is What a Vegan Looks Like series? Can’t be just me right? Getting to learn more about vegan people from around the UK and the world, what inspires them, makes them want to dance (or not) and what they love to eat is so exciting and I have so many more brilliant interviews lined up too. It’s quite literally all good (all vegan).
Today’s TIWAVLL interview features the bloody brilliant Sareta Puri. In her own words, she “hails from the land of deep-fried pizza and Irn Bru, but was born to, and brought up by an Indian father who cooked for a living, which has inspired her passion for food.” She’s a Scottish exile who divides her time between London and Cardiff. She’s also ace and I highly suggest that if you don’t already you follow her on twitter, instagram and read her rad blog Sareta’s Kitchen.
Sareta is one half of duo Ruby & Pickles who launched their supperclub series in London in early 2016, bringing creative Indian-inspired vegetarian and vegan food to London. I HIGHLY recommend you check it our here: www.facebook.com/rubyandpickles and via @rubyandpickles on Twitter & Instagram.
Take it away Sareta:
1/ What made you go vegan?
I’ve been vegan for a little over 18 months after being veggie for over 20 years – I wish I could say that I’m only 22 😉 Anyways… I came back from a cheese-fuelled holiday in Brazil and decided to have a month off cheese. That was always what stopped me going vegan – the good old “it’ll be too hard to give up.” Well, it wasn’t so I went full vegan for a month and really enjoyed it. Then I started considering all the things that deep down I really knew – the impact on the environment, the cruelty of animal agriculture, the health benefits, yada yada yada – and once I considered all them, then my choice was made. And here I am!
2/ If you could only watch 3 TV programmes for the rest of your life, what would they be?
My absolute binge is Arrested Development. When I was introduced to it I was on holiday in Brighton and instead of going out to enjoy the awesome town I stayed in the apartment and watched almost the whole of the first season. The cast is incredible, the comedy is genius and it never fails to tickle me good and proper.
Second up, probably Flight of the Conchords. Another expertly written show that some of the best comedic songs have come out of. Plus I’d have no problems having to look at Brett for the rest of my life! Just cause of his awesome animal jumpers, of course. One of my absolutely life goals is to see them live. I even almost bought an impulse holiday to States to do just that.
Finally, my ‘wildcard’ would be To Buy or Not to Buy – but only the seasons presented by the late Kristian Digby. Owning property has never been an aspiration of mine but I was hooked on this as a student (and beyond). The comedy between Kristian and Dom was hilarious and it was a great way to be nosey into people’s lives.
3/ What’s your favourite place in the entire world?
This is a really tough question. I’ve lots of places that I’ve loved being but I don’t know if I can pinpoint an absolute favourite. I also know there’s lots more places I’d like to see and experience. Sounds cheesy but I love being in the kitchen. It brings me a sense of calm and really can soothe any woes. There’s nothing I love more than a whole day planning and cooking. I practically grew up in the kitchen as my late father was a chef – I learnt from the best! I now run a supperclub called Ruby & Pickles and whilst it’s massively stressful the buzz I get from cooking is worth it!
4/ What are the vegan options like where you live?
Living in London is a vegan’s dream. It’s hard to go somewhere that won’t have at least one option and so many omni places have several plus there’s an abundance of fab veggie and vegan places across the city. Places like CookDaily, Mildred’s and Black Cat café are legendary for a reason. I live in Forest Hill, south east London, which has a few great omni places – the Sylvan Post pub usually had one vegan option and BoNA, the sourdough pizza place, can always do vegan (no vegan cheese, alas). Aga’s Deli do a mean vegan sandwich at lunch time and St David’s sometimes have pop-ups at night like Taco Queen or Nonya London that can cater for vegans. South London doesn’t often get noted for its vegan options but there’s actually loads of places that serve up everything from indulgent breakfasts to delicious roasts – you can read about them over on my blog.
I currently live and work in Cardiff about half of the month and whilst there’s only one dedicated vegan place – the incredible Anna-Loka in Roath – there are actually loads of great vegan places at other places which I’ve taken loads of pleasure in trying. Falafel Wales and Vegetarian Food Studio are perhaps my current faves.
5/ What is your idea of happiness?
Whenever I’m feeling low or anxious or confused I try to focus on the little things that can make me smile. Right now it’s crunching autumnal leaves or kicking my way through them. I’m also obsessed with the autumnal dawn sky – it’s so beautiful. It’s the little things that help to ground me and bring happiness.
That, or eating vegan burgers ;P I had quite an obsession with them which I’m almost over but I still find them hard to resist if on a menu!
6/ Which three other vegans would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
This made me chuckle as my recently vegan pal Charlie-May actually got stuck in the lift at work yesterday for over half an hour. I text her to see if she was ok and she said thankfully she was still full from the vegan afternoon tea I’d hosted (as Ruby & Pickles) the day before. Panic averted!
I have an absolutely massive girl crush on Sara Pascoe but I would struggle to not be a total fan girl right in her face if I was stuck in a lift with her. Perhaps Sara from Pomodoro e Basilico if she was in the lift with all her burger cooking equipment. That way there’d be no chances of going hungry! Any other vegan Sara’s out there wanna come join our lift party?
7/ Do you have a favourite motto? If so, what is it?
Not so much a motto but a general mantra that I like to follow is to make the most of life as you don’t know what’s in store. Not necessarily in a morbid way but life can change at any moment so it’s important to make the most of it.
8/ What are your all-time fave vegan things to eat?
I know you’ve heard this a zillion times before – because it’s the absolute gospel of vegan truth – but Club Mexicana’s to-fish tacos are the mother-flipping bomb. I can’t get over how good they are. Like seriously, how did they invent that? And all those sauces and extras? Those ladies must never sleep! Pomodoro e Basilicio is another of my all-time faves. Sara makes the BEST burgers I’ve ever tasted. They are what vegan dreams are made of.
I get most excited about things I didn’t think I could have, like an awesome pumpkin-based mac cheese that I recently made or vegan tiramisu at JustFaB – and pre-vegan I didn’t even like cake! My favourite meal to create is hands-down brunch. Partly cause you can have lots of little things so it’s a great chance to experiment. Recently I’ve created corn and kale fritters, smoky beans, tahatoes – that’s tahini-coated potatoes to the uninitatied (trademarked, thank you very much), tamarind mushrooms, garlic spinach, rostis and always always scrambled tofu.
Just realised I answer the longest when talking about food. That is most definitely a vegan trait!!
9/ What song do you most like to dance to at a party?
Hey Ya! By OutKast but only if my best pal Kim is there. It became ‘our song’ many moons ago whilst living in Glasgow and partying most nights, usually all through the night. Still anytime it comes on when we’re together we jump up (not as quickly as we perhaps used to) and giggle away as we shake it like a polaroid picture. Even when she’s not there I get giddy and like to think of the fun times gone past and even if you now live hundreds of miles apart you can best palzos from afar.
10/ Who in the world would you most like to see go vegan?
He’ll hate me for saying this but I have to say my boyfriend Tristan. This won’t be news to him as I always drop wee comments here and there but I’ve never actually tried to ‘turn’ him. As with anyone the choice has to be theirs and he is absolutely amazing at supporting my veganism. We eat vegan at home, make little vegan packed lunches and vegan chia pots to take to work (yup, we’re losers but I love it) and often eat at veggie/vegan places – many of which he researches and organises. He even regularly chooses veggie or vegan in omni places and has become more aware of the benefits of veganism since I’ve been vegan. I like to call him a part-time vegan. If never turns vegan that’s ok – I wasn’t vegan when we met and there are so many other reasons why I love him so I’m not going to pressure him to change. But Tristan, if you’re reading – you really need to watch Cowspiracy 😉