Solla's essential tools to be a Vegan at Home
If you're taking on a plant-based lifestyle Solla Eiríksdóttir, author of Vegan at Home, has a shopping list for you
When Solla Eiriksdottir began cooking vegan food, aged 18, she was, as she writes in her new book, Vegan at Home, “young and broke.”
“My knives were cheap and not sharp at all, and I cooked with very few tools and hardly any equipment,” she goes on. “But my passion was ignited, so no practical hurdles could stop me. It wasn’t always easy, sometimes it was bedtime by the time dinner was ready, but my enthusiasm knew no bounds. My creativity in the kitchen started to sprout inside me. I made mistakes and learned from them.”
Over the following years, she acquired quite a bit of equipment, and now values the increased output of a high-power mixer, and the surprising utility of a woodworker’s rasp, which she has repurposed as a microplane.
Vegan 'cheese'. Photo by Hildur
In the opening pages of her book, she runs through a few of the best bits of kit anyone new to vegan cooking should consider investing in. First on her shopping list is a good knife. “I choose a knife that fits well, and feels comfortable, in my hand, and that is easy to sharpen,” she says.
She also advocates investing in a conventional vegetable peeler and a julienne peeler; the first cuts much thinner peels than a knife (and so saves on food waste) while the second “makes magic—it turns zucchini (courgettes), carrots, beets (beetroot), turnips, and more into spaghetti.”
Vegetable noodles and tofu in coconut broth. Photography by Hildur
Food processors are also a must for Solla. “In the beginning, I bought a used one, then a new one that was a combo blender/food processor,” she explains. “It was medium robust, but the blender jug repeatedly broke because I was making ice cream and other things requiring a more powerful machine. Finally, in 1997 I invested in a high-speed blender and a high-quality food processor for home use.
Both machines are still going strong, but the latter investment seems to have brought Solla a touch more joy. “I use it almost every day, making ice cream, smoothies, mayonnaise, frosting, plant milk, nut butter, plant cheeses, and soups, among ‘thousands’ of other things. High-speed blenders can be expensive but if you are serious about becoming vegan then it is worth the investment.”
A digital scale is essential too, “especially when baking, since it is more of a science than cooking, and everything needs to be very accurately weighed, sometimes to the gram.”
Solla’s whipped cream charger is, by contrast, a bit of an extravagance. “This is not an essential piece of equipment but it’s a beneficial tool if you love whipped cream,” she writes. “I use it to make whipped cream from coconut milk or ready-made vegan cream from the store.”
Longevity smoothie. Photography by Hildur
And her fofu mould, despite being perhaps the most exotic tool on her list, has actually proved fairly well used. Solla bought her first one in 1984, and has only just relaced it. “I do recommend you buy one if you love tofu,” she writes, “it is effortless to make; just read the recipe through a few times and plan. When I started making tofu, I was new in the kitchen, and it was one of the first things I made regularly. It quickly became my primary source of protein.”
Vegan at Home
For a fuller list, as well as lots of recipes to go with it, them, order a copy of Vegan at Home here.