Monday, 14 September 2015

Wagamama - Vegan Option - Warm Tofu Chilli Salad

I went to Wagamama hoping against hope that their katsu curry with breaded sweet potato and aubergine was vegan. The friendly waiter went and got a file with all the food allergy information and we looked through. Alas, the breaded mixture had egg in it and there was nothing they could do!

Their yasai itame is vegan but I went for the warm tofu chilli salad and I was happy. Really big, tasty and  good value. The star of the show was the super green juice - apple, mint, celery and lime. Gosh it was good - so sour and refreshing.

I later read somewhere that you can ask for the katsu sauce with rice and perhaps a bit of veg. After all, it is the katsu sauce which is the main event with my old favourite meal! I will try it out one day, though let me know if this is true.

vegan wagamamma

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Union Pizza Kings Cross - Vegan, Quick and Cheap Food!

My, we ate our a lot last week. I needed to calm down on the spending, and my friend recommend a new and cheap pizza place that had opened in Kings Cross. Perfect as we were going to see a gig at the Lexington later on.

Pizza union is great - their bases and sauces are vegan, plenty of seats and it is decorated in a cool, modern vibe (exposed piping, old tiles and loud music) You order and pay at the counter and then have a buzzy thing when your pizzas are ready. The staff were all smiles - and there was no issue having a margarita with no cheese. They were ready in under 10 mins, the bases satisfyingly crispy and a good size (12"). I went to ask for some fresh basil as my pizza was a little dull with just sauce and cooked basil, and again, the request was met with a big smile and a handful of lovely fresh leafs.

Such a nice place, ideal for a quick but enjoyable meal and incredible value (mine was only £3.95!) This is my kind of fast food.

union pizza kings cross


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Trip to York - Best Chip Shop Chips and El Piano - Lovely Vegan Restaurant

I have always wanted to go to York. Well, ever since standing on the underground platform at Finsbury Park on my way to work and seeing a travel poster for it; a train zooming towards golden buildings, bridges and the cathedral. 'Visit York!' was the declarative title, "from £30 return". It never is the price as advertised, normally it is alluring to an indirect train on a Wednesday at 6am, but a few weeks ago I found some very affordable tickets teamed with our 'Two Together' card.

So one Saturday we got up relatively early to catch the 9:30 am train from King's Cross. I was so excited, I love day trips and exploring new towns. It was only a 2.5 hour journey and soon we were filing into the city with all of the other tourists. It was noticeably cold, and the air smelt of gravy! I know it sounds stereotypical, but it is true. It must have come from the brewery, which was in the centre of town.

EDIT - The Vegan Punk tell me these chips now use Beef Dripping 
I loved it; we went round the castle walls, shuffled through The Shambles and had the BEST chip shop chips I have ever had. The smell of salt and vinegar from Drakes Fisheries had grabbed me as we walked past. We were served by a lovely friendly teen who was all smiles and good humour (not used to this in London) They were perfect - piping hot, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. We ate them in a near by square and watched the other tourists. I enjoyed every mouthful, perfect for the chilly, Autumnal afternoon after a long journey (I may have also been nursing a slight hangover after going out with the family the night before) I know they are not healthy - but they tasted like they had been cooked up especially for that moment. They also had vegetarian options and their chips were cooked in a separate, designated pan.

Drakes Fisheries Chips


Naturally we visited a lot of pubs, and just before our train back we went for a meal at El Piano, a well established vegan restaurant with great reviews. We booked a table as we weren't sure how busy it would be (the town was already heaving with revellers at 5pm, all well into their pints) but the restaurant was very quiet at 6:30pm. We were a bit worried as weren't very hungry (after sharing the chips and a portion of humungous onion rings at a pub) It was cosy and nicely decorated in a colourful and comforting Moroccan theme. We smelt the mouth-watering dahl as we walked in, and my mind was made up as to what to have. The waiter was really nice and made us feel relaxed, despite being the only ones there. I liked the way the menu worked: you basically choose a main dish, some fritters and a cold salad so you could mix and match to get exactly what you wanted. I went for the dahl (of course) with spinach, mushrooms and tomato pestolitos with hummus. Luke had the skewers, falafel and tabluleh. It was beautiful - I especially loved the dahl - full of garlicky flavour and not too runny. Luke said "It was really good". The portions were perfect for our present state, though I thought they would be bigger due to the price (£11.95). It is worth mentioning that they use locally sourced organic products, so it all adds up. We all eat too much anyway! I would definitely recommend a visit here if you do journey up to York one day.

el-piano

I had a wonderful time in York, next time I would wear more layers but otherwise do exactly the same things.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Sagar Covent Garden - Vegetarian Vegan Curry - Vegan Thali

Sagar at covent garden was a wonderful meal pre theatre. It is a vegetarian curry house that has vegan options.

We were lucky - a couple next to us overheard me trying to figure out what I could eat and recommended the vegan thali - which wasn't on the menu! We took their advice and had one each - though our eyes were much bigger than our stomachs as we couldn't quite finish it. I think 1 between 2 would have been ideal, especially as our favourites were different (mine was the okra, Luke's the cauliflower)

Sagar Covent Garden

They also have guilt-free vegan wine.

The waiter was also very sweet, and he had just turned vegan so we had a nice chat about this. A really positive experience, will be going back!

Sagar Covent Garden

Mildred's Vegan Restaurant Review - Soho, London

Luke and I went into South Kensington on a Bank Holiday Saturday to go visit the Museums. Big mistake. There were actual queues outside - which was weird. I have never queued before - and we weren't going to queue then! We decided to take a stroll around town instead, and walked from Chelsea to Soho.

After the long (but enjoyable) walk we were on a mission nutrition. It was quite late in the afternoon and we were lucky enough to get a table at Mildred's (without queuing). It was a busy, bustling cafe with a cocktail bar in the front (mixologists!). The staff were young and trendy but the clientele were a wide range of ages from all walks of life. The service was slow, but we were relaxed enough to not really care.

The thing with Veggie restaurants is that I am always faced with too much choice. I couldn't decide what to have as it all looked great, until I saw what the table next to me had ordered. I went for the sri lankan sweet potato curry with roasted lime cashews, pea basmati rice and coconut tomato sambal (£11) and Luke had the parmesan and pomegranate risotto cake with saffron cream sauce, wilted spinach and green beans (£11 - not vegan) The food arrived hot and beautifully presented, we both agreed they looked like they were from some posh restaurant. The portions were very generous and most importantly, delicious. The sweet and savoury curry was just what I needed after a chilly August bank holiday (typical weather) the warm spice and smooth coconut was the perfect comfort food. Luke said his was "lovely". We both agreed it was very good value for money, especially in central London.

The table next to us had been waiting for their bill since we were served, and had to ask for it three times. Fortunately we had our bill right after asking for it, though at the same time as our patient neighbours.

As we were leaving a very large queue had formed out the door, so we had definitely gone at the right time! Will go back again for sure, there were lots of vegan items I'd like to try. Just don't go in a rush, ask for your bill at the earliest opportunity and enjoy the experience.

Mildred's Vegan Restaurant Review - Soho, London


Monday, 7 September 2015

At Last - The Best Vegan Yorkshire Pudding I Have Ever Had

Another star of our friend's roast was the vegan Yorkshire puddings. They had a breakthrough with this one!

Not only did they taste like the real deal, they even looked like Yorkshires.

Here is how they did it (original recipe from http://thriftyliving.net/2009/10/19/vegan-yorkshire-puddings/)

Ingredients

  • 4oz / 115 grams / half a cup plain (all-purpose) flour
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 heaped teaspoon gram flour (chickpea flour)
  • Half a pint of soya milk
  • Vegetable oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to high 230C and our a thin later of oil in each hole of a muffin tin (the oven and oil needs to be hot before you pour the batter in)
  2. Mix the flour, salt and gram flour together with a whisk and gradually pour in the milk. Whisk good and hard so you can see bubbles - the airier the better. Use an electronic whisk to save your strength! The batter will be thin, this is normal.
  3. Fill the holes 1/2 way of the preheated muffin tin (be careful it is hot) Put them back in the oven and blind bake for 20mins (this is important! Keep the oven door closed once they have gone it - no peeking!) After 20 mins you can check them, but be quick if they need a bit longer as the oven needs to stay hot.
  4. Serve and enjoy a few Yorkshire puddings with your roast once more! I had four!
vegan yorkshire puddings

(old pic from John's last roast - they looked even better than this)


Hedgehog / Hasselback Potatoes - My New Favourite Roast Potato

Our friends made us another Vegan roast on the weekend, and we enjoyed it so much there were no pictures.

They used a new method to cook the roasties - and I must say it was spectacular. No need to boil, just:

1. Preheat the over to 220C. Peel and wash the tattys
2. Slice the potatoes without going all the way through - the more slices the better
3. Put in an oven tray and douse with your preferred oil (olive oil was very good), salt, a few garlic cloves and rosemary.
4. Cook for about 45mins to one hour, until they are golden brown.
5. Feast

They fan out in the oven and cook right the way through, achieving the crispy coating and soft inside. Will definitely be doing this at Christmas!

ROASTED HASSELBACK POTATOES

picture from http://www.booths.co.uk/