Sunday, 23 August 2015

A Vegan in New York City

My boyfriend and I went to New York City for the first time in June and we had an incredible trip.

Five nights was just about right; we stayed in a great hostel called The Local NYC in Queens, just across the river of Manhattan. It was a converted warehouse with a roof terrace that had views of the sky scrapers without the noise that goes with them. It was on a very quiet road and very short distance from the subway, a couple of stops from the centre. Very friendly staff, cool ensuite room and a nice vibe to the place.

This certainly was a food trip. I had plenty to choose from and think I tasted some of the best food of my life! Here are the restaurants we visited and I would recommend all of them.

A vegan in New York

£ - cheap,  ££ - average, £££ - dear

Terri NYC - £

http://terrinyc.com/menu.html

For our first meal Luke and I shared the comfort plate - the 'pulled pork' was incredible, though we struggled to finish it as very rich. We sat in the window seats amongst the skyscrapers and watched the busy streets, the perfect introduction to NYC. It was great that there was so many veggie fast food outlets in the city.

Blossom du Jour - £

www.blossomdujour.com

Another Vegan fast food restaurant. I had their vegan muffin for breakfast twice as it was so so tasty; scrambled tofu with fake melted cheese, hollandaise style sauce and facon. Great hangover cure. They were also very reasonable - less than $5. I've had scrambled tofu once before in London and found it too dry - but this was lovely - perhaps because of the sauce. I would never have ordered a veggie version of this before I turned vegan, as I hate the idea of egg and cheese together - but tofu and fake cheese works like a charm.

Blossom du jour vegan breakfast muffin


Murray's Bagels - £

www.murraysbagels.com

As you have to have a bagel when in NYC. Choose from an overwhelming about of toppings - including toffuti - a delicious cream cheese alternative. I had a classic cheese and cucumber.

Murray's Bagels - Vegan Friendly NYC

SOUEN - Macrobiotic, Natural Organic Food - ££

http://souen.net

I think this was our favourite meal - they also served fish so Luke could have this. I had the best pad thai I have ever tasted (lime peanut sauce, tofu and lots of veg) with a mu 16 tea - which is so full of flavours and like nothing I have ever had before. Very good value for money.

Souen - Vegan Friendly Thai Asian NYC

Lombardi's Pizza - £££

www.firstpizza.com

Quite historic! The first pizza diner in America - ever - and their bases are vegan! It was very popular and we were lucky that we only had to queue for a short while. First mistake was ordering a pizza each as we noticed everyone was sharing, but when in Rome! The marinara was very very good; tangy tomato sauce and very sweet basil. We took some home to have for lunch the next day.

TeaNY - New York - ££

www.teanynewyork.com

Cute little cafe in the trendy lower East side of Manhattan, offering vegan and vegetarian food. It is owned by Moby. We sat outside and a man walked past us after reading the menu, saying "What is vegan, is it gluten free?" to his friend. I rolled my eyes and Luke said "You know that was Zac Braff don't you?" and it was!

The food was brill. I had a 'choose your own' bagel with fake mozzarella, facon and avocado washed down with some lush lavender lemonade. We also had dessert for the first time - I had the classic strawberry cheesecake and Luke the peanut butter bomb. We couldn't believe they were both vegan - delicious, but also massive, so we were defeated.

TeeNY Vegan Friendly Cafe NYC


Candle 79: Organic Vegan Food - NYCs Premiere Vegan Restaurant - £££

www.candle79.com

We did try and book a table at Dirt Candy as a treat but there were none, so went to Candle 79 in the upper East side instead. Glad we did! We had a lovely meal and a really sweet waitress (it wasn't as unnervingly posh as we expected, but the food was incredible) I had the raw lasagna with cashew cheese (first taste of cashew cheese - a winner) and Luke had spaghetti with wheat balls. We also shared roasted sprouts. The portions were just right and reasonably priced - recommended.

Champs Diner

www.champsdiner.com

On our last morning we went to an all vegan breakfast diner, as recommend by the waitress at Candle 79. It was in Brooklyn, and quite a trek to get to as it was not near any tubes. We queued to get inside and it was worth it. I went for the breakfast burrito and really enjoyed it (guac and scrambled tofu did it for me) Luke also devoured his Vegan slam breakfast.

Champs Vegan Diner NYC


All the food was really different to what we have at home and I felt there was a much wider choice than in London. They were more adventurous with the food in New York, and having the fast food outlets was really useful and affordable. I didn't want to go home! I <3 NYC!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Vegan Homemade Chip Shop Curry Sauce

I'm Welsh. Therefore I love chips and curry sauce. Unfortunately many chips shops have animal derivatives in theirs (my local has beef gelatine - yuk!) So I found this brilliant recipe online and have adapted it a tad.
This serves 2 (and I do like a lot of sauce!)

Ingredients


  • 1 tbsp oil (I used coconut)
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • Dash of apple cider vinegar 
  • Pinch of smoked garlic powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2tbsp flour (I used oat, which is gluten free) 
  • 300 ml vegetable stock
  • Black pepper

  • Method

    1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and garlic and cook on low until soft (careful not to burn)
    2. Add the stock, followed by the curry powder, garlic powder and the dash of cider vinegar. Then add the flour and stir well. Leave it to simmer and keep stirring until it has reduced.
    3.  Add more hot water if it is too thick or add flour if it isn't thick enough. Feel free to give it a blitz with a blender if it is too chunky, though it should smooth out by itself as the vegetables have cooked right down.
    4. Serve on any potato based products!

    I had mine with mushy peas (Sainsburys) Linda McCartney Country Pies and potato waffles!

    Vegan chip shop curry sauce



    Tuesday, 18 August 2015

    Simple Vegan Blackberry Crumble (Accidentally Gluten Free)

    Our garden is rife with blackberries at the moment. Luke and I had fun picking them. We only used the ripest - ones that fell off the stalks nice and easily.

    I used some oat flour that I had in the cupboard, it works really well and happens to be gluten free!


    Ingredients

    500-750g of blackberries
    200g oat flour
    3 tbsp sugar
    120g pure sunflower spread / margarine
    Sprinkle of lemon juice

    Method

    Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas4

    First I washed the blackberries thoroughly, then popped them in an oven dish, spreading evenly.

    Next I sprinkled a small amount of lemon juice and a table spoon of sugar.



    Now for the breadcrumbs. Pour the flour into the bowl and add the remaining 2 tbsp of sugar and cubes of the spread. Mix in with your hands until it feels like sand (you might need to add a little extra flour - oat flour is heavier than most) Don't worry if there are a few lumps - these are nice!

    Pop in the oven for about 30mins / until top is golden brown.

    Eat it all up!



    It was definitely tastier cold the next day - which I was surprised at. Next time I might add more blackberries and perhaps some apples too to make it a little deeper and fruiter.

    It was so nice eating something that had grown in our garden. There are plenty more out there, so there will be more crumble!




    Monday, 17 August 2015

    Vegan Lasagne with Cashew Cheese

    This was my first go at cashew cheese, and naturally, I loved it. I think I've pretty much loved everything since going vegan (apart from Sheese)

    I used this recipe from Oh She Glows.

    For the cheese, I soaked the cashews for a few hours, and used frozen basil. I've had it once in a restaurant in New York, which was so smooth it was like whipped cream, I couldn't achieve this level with my flatmate's blender, but I did like the nutty texture.

    Now for the lasagne itself I adapted the recipe slightly, for the veg I just used fresh spinach, mushrooms, onion and garlic which I fried for about 6mins. I also added grated courgette as a layer - uncooked. Grating is Great (aha) as it makes the courgette all smooth and creamy. I personally don't like chunks of courgette. For the cheese on top I used Violife pizza (my personal favourite) and biona for the pasta sheets (which you don't have to cook)

    YUM. It made four meals worth, I served it with some rocket and a drizzle of balsamic.



    Friday, 14 August 2015

    Homeslice Covent Garden - The Best (Vegan) Pizza in London

    Homeslice might also be the best pizza in the UK. SO so good. My boyfriend works in the area and it was recommended by almost all of his workmates, so he checked the base and the sauce was vegan (it was) and we went along one evening after work.

    There was a waiting list (always a good sign) about 30 mins long, so we went for a quick drink. They even called us when there was a table available.

    The restaurant is really cool - long trestle tables to share, laid back and funny waiters, with an open fire oven where you can see the pizzas being made.

    The idea is you can either order slices of pre-made pizza or an entire customisable pizza for £20. This was perfect, as I didn't have to subject my pescetarian boyfriend to no cheese. I had 1/2 a caprese with no mozzarella (so tomato sauce, tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil) and Luke had 1/2 caramelised onions, olives and anchovies.

    We also ordered red wine, which they sell in a very clever way. They put a massive bottle on your table and only charge by the glass, which they measure at the end with a stick. Very tempting! Good as we didn't have to keep catching the waiter to order more, bad as you may end up drinking too much.

    The pizza was as big as the table! HUGE! We were given paper plates to eat from and it is all hands on. Things get messy! But oh BOY this was the best pizza I had ever had in the UK (first place goes to Almalfi, Italy) Thin crust, loads of delicious sauce and the most fragrant fresh basil I have ever tasted. It was sublime.



    Neither of us finished it but we took home the spare slices in a bag for lunch the next day - where it was equally brilliant!