So guys- it's been a while! The last few months... years... hmm. They've been hard. Personal stuff, yeah. I've had a really long break from blogging, but I have just started a new site and would love for you guys to take a look and keep in touch there!
Pizzaface is pretty much a revelation for the UK- an independent pizza shop, which delivers right to your door, and offers vegan cheese. Could it get any better!?
I went for Johno (Red onions, olives, peppers, mushrooms and fresh chillies*). Paying £1 extra for vegan cheese, this pizza is cheaper than all of the major pizza chains. The base is verging on thin crust, cooked beautifully in a stone-based oven, and with a really decent amount of toppings. I added some cheeky artichokes to mine, yum!
*although the menu stated fresh chillies, mine turned up chilli flakes. Not too bad, but I was looking for some juicy jalapenos!
Mr T went for the amazing Funghi (Sauteed mushrooms, porcini mushrooms and marinaded Sardinian oyster mushrooms, garlic and truffle oil). The garlic is crushed into the sauce and cheese, and brings so much flavour to such a simple pizza. Brilliant.
We also shared a portion of garlic bread (this has to be specified to be vegan) but it was fairly dry and although it was packed with fresh, heady garlic, the bread was chewy.
Pizzaface cater for gourmet meat lovers, veggies, vegans, cheese-haters and those who are gluten/ wheat intolerant. They also stock Booja Booja ice cream!
For the two pizzas and garlic bread the grand total was £25, plus £2 tip for the kind driver who brought it to our doorstep. A wonderful treat, and such a brilliant company to support!
Things are slowly coming together down in Brighton! We finally have the internet connected, and just had our new sofa delivered. This pudding was perfect to celebrate with.
Inspired by a recipe for German Apple Cake, which should be denser in the base, I wanted something a bit softer and spongier. It takes a little while to make this cake; set aside a quiet evening in your kitchen to show your oven some love; it will love you back when you can sit down happy, with a bowl of this warming pud.
170g self raising flour
60g dark brown sugar
25g golden caster sugar
1.5 tsp lemon juice
Spices: cinnamon, all spice, ginger
100g dark brown sugar
30g golden caster sugar
1.5 tsp lemon juice
40g self raising flour
80g dark brown sugar
20g golden caster sugar
1/ Peel the apples and slice thinly. Combine in a bowl with sugar and lemon juice. Give it a good stir so that all the apple slices are well coated, and then leave on the side for a bit.
2/ In another bowl sift together flour, sugar and butter until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add egg and lemon juice. Add enough soya milk so it turns to a creamy cake mix. Pop in plenty of spices and a good glug of maple syrup, so that it tastes sweet and full of spices and autumn charm.
3/ In (yet another) bowl sift the dry topping ingredients together and add butter until crumbly.
4/ In a greased and lined baking tray, spread the cake mix evenly. Arrange the apple slices evenly and over the entire cake, completely covering the mix. Make two thin layers of apples; not too thick but not too thin. Completely cover the whole cake with the topping mix, sprinkle over some extra golden caster sugar and cinnamon on top.
5/ Bake for 45 minutes on 180c until the topping is bubbling and a deep brown, chestnut colour. Once cooled it becomes slightly crispy in places on top, dense and rich and sweet throughout. Watch out for the gooey caramel inside. Serve warm with ice cream or cream, or eat cold straight from the baking tray.
I grew up and went to college close to Brighton; I know all the good places. I've had amazing lunches at Infinity, fallen in love with Terre a Terre and stuffed myself with the odd Red Veg.
So since moving to Brighton, I'm trying to discover new places- and not just vegan places, but authentic and traditional and delicious places which offer vegan delights.
For my birthday Mr T took us for dinner at Indian Summer. Situation close by to Terre a Terre and opposite Aloka, it's very tempting to pass it by. But don't! Indian Summer has a contemporary take on traditional Indian cuisine. The courses pass by with interesting and thoughtful touches; before your starter you are treated to a small espresso cup of spiced soup, with a small double baked snack. It is strange not having the traditional poppadoms with a selection of raw onions (yummm) and chutneys, but the starters more than made up for this.
To start I had Bhel Puri:
A sumptuous mix of puffed rice, gram flour sticks, potatoes, onions, chickpeas & tomatoes. Served with tamarind & date, coriander & chilli & yoghurt chutneys
This was a strange little dish- a little like having a savoury bowl of rice crispies, with a little curry on top. Sorry, that doesn't really do it much justice, but it just wasn't my kind of dish. Mr T's did not disappoint however, and he chose wisely- Masala Dosa. Always a brilliant choice, this savoury pancake filled with tenderly spiced potatoes was beautiful.
In between the starter and main course we were treated to a shot- fruity and clean with a hint of vodka. Delicious!
For my main I chose Subz Miloni. This was a beautifully cooked dish of sweet potatoes, parsnips, broad beans and peas. A fairly small portion, but together with the starter and complimentary pieces, it's more than enough. It is served with a portion of rice and roti.
My partner had a brilliant tasting platter, choosing Vegetarian Thali. This featured small bowls of a variety of curries, ranging from quite mild to piping hot! We finished the meal with a cooling plate of sorbets, fantastic!
Everything is labelled as vegetarian, gluten, wheat or dairy free, and the hostess was very clued up on what we could order. We also chose a fantastic bottle of red which she recommended- I seem to recall her saying it was an Indian wine, if this exists?
Not the cheapest Indian meal you will find, but Indian Summer is a beautiful restaurant with an inspiring menu. It has a different take on the cuisine, and the nature of the meal is very relaxed and thoughtful, something which is often lacking in authentic restaurants.
I'm not even going to count the months. But things have been changing, hence my lack of blogs and general existence on the internet.
I moved from London to Brighton! That's probably the biggest change. And it's amazing. I start a new job on Monday, and I've been searching high and low on the net for exciting projects that I can begin with in Brighton. I've sent a few emails and looked up a few interesting and exciting places, so hopefully the ball will be rolling very soon! I don't miss London just yet- I've been having way too much holiday fun here for that (but that's not to say that I don't miss a lot of London people) and hopefully a little weekend in London will happen soon.
I've been enjoying a lot of Indian food thanks to Trout! He spent the summer working with an Indian Circus, and an Indian Brass Band, and they cooked traditional, authentic curry every night. He's picked up some darn good recipes! Maybe one day I will photograph his brilliant dishes, but for now I'm having way too much fun making rotis and enjoying restaurant quality food, in the comfort of my jim jams.
I'm enjoying the more personal, quiet way of life that Brighton hums along with. I still can't get over how close I am to everything; I keep turning up to meet friends super early, because I'm not used to walking five minutes and being in the centre of a city! I also love being so close to my family, and friends who I have been absent from for four years!
I hope that once we get the internet sorted (this is a long, tiring story....) then I will be able to start blogging more frequently, and show you guys just how amazing the curries are that I've been enjoying!
Have you ever actually hung out at St. Pancras Station? You should, I recommend it. It's filled with beautiful shops, and a nice man even offered us a trip to Paris. But what was even more exciting, was discovering this lovely company; Happy Kitchen!
Happy Kitchen bake delicious sweet treats which are free from dairy, wheat, eggs and soya. They are naturally sweetened with agave nectar, environmentally aware, and have a super cute website- take a peek! I enjoyed a beautiful vanilla and strawberry cake; moist and almost sticky vanilla sponge, pointed with sugary strawberries- delicious! 100% vegan, no E numbers or any of that junk, the packaging is eco friendly, and they donate to charity- seriously, could these guys be any cuter!?
Happy Kitchen can be found in this lovely little cafe; Sourced Market. They support local producers and, as far as vegan options go, they are wonderful! The full range of Laura's Ideas, wraps, salads and sandwiches- and of course the lovely cakes I've mentioned!
I didn't take a photograph of my cake, but found this image on the web to give you an idea:
No matter how long you’ve been vegan for, we’ve all been there. That awkward conversation when someone realises that your lunch is missing something. Animal Products. You hold your breath through the three second silence which follows, as the information processes, and questions immediately begin bubbling up in your audience.
What do you eat? Why don’t you eat eggs? What about honey? And then there are the snide comments. Your diet is bad for you. Your body needs meat. Why are you doing this to yourself?
I’ve been vegan for almost five years, and was vegetarian for six years before this. That’s over ten years without meat, and confirmation enough that my body does not, in fact, need meat. That avoiding dairy does not leave my bones crumbling beneath me, and that eating a diet which is low in cholesterol, rich in fruit and vegetables, grains and pulses- as well as scattered with decadent desserts- does not leave me hungry, withdrawn and craving animal products!
It must be similar to my own thought process when I consider what people with certain allergies eat. My immediate thought is that of sorrow and mourning of fresh, crusty and fluffy filled breads, spaghetti, cakes. I know that the Free From sections of supermarkets are packed with gluten and wheat free products, but I don’t really know how up to scratch they are- and restaurants must be even harder. But you learn what’s good, what’s bad and where to go to get the best Free From products.
So I wonder- when people are staring, and pestering and judging, should we be vocal and explicit in our replies, or should we be reserved in our responses?
Generally my response is to answer a couple of questions politely and simply (no graphic descriptions, gory home truths, pointed fingers and accusations). I try to balance a convincing case, with a non judgemental argument for the animals.
At other times I can get a little carried away. When a friend asked how I would feel if a doctor told me I had to eat meat, for health reasons- my mind raced and I blurted out a disjointed and panicked response, along the lines of it being my worst nightmare, and how disgusting it would be to eat meat. Whilst others tucked into their BLTs. It’s just how I feel though- but should we be this vocal? Is it helping us, to distance ourselves from meat eaters? Sometimes I think that some are born with this moral stance- I can’t help but believe that I was born to be vegan, and that it would have happened eventually, and that some are meant to eat meat whilst others are not. My parents and grandparents ate meat. My friends all ate meat- I had one friend who was vegetarian, and her sister was vegan. This was the only contact I had with a meat- free menu, at the time that I went vegetarian. Hardly enough to convince most, but what she taught me really stuck. At the time I saw veganism as extreme and fairly unnecessary, but it wasn’t long before I began researching and chatting to other vegans. Again, the information really stuck in my mind, and once learnt was not easily forgotten. Sometimes I think that because I was lucky enough to learn the truth behind my meals, others might need to learn this information too.
So what do you guys think about voicing your veganism? Do you explain in graphic detail the truth behind meaty meals, or keep to a reserved response?