The Old Auction Room in Strichen, Aberdeenshire, has recently been all done up and its wonderful café always has gorgeous vegan cake! There seems to be a vegan and gluten-free main or soup each day too. Above is a raw chocolate brownie, below a slice of date and walnut loaf, both gluten-free.
They also have vintage clothes, old books and antiques for sale. Some hats:
There’s a florist and a barber on the premises too.
Wonderful skies just now. Especially on the coldest of days. Wonderful smoothies too, made possible by the wonder of frozen fruit. The combination of pecan nuts and tart purple berries such as brambles (blackberries) or blackcurrants creates a delicious and rich sweetness reminiscent of the best brown sugar.
(For four people, big servings, adjust as needed)
1 bag of frozen blackberries or blackcurrants
1 cup of pecan nuts
orange juice to cover in blender (probably about 1 litre)
If you like a thicker smoothie add an avocado or some linseeds.
Blend! Enjoy the brown sugary wonder! Go for a walk among the trees!
It’s a raw bramble (blackberry) cheesecake sweetened with red Chinese dates or Jujubes. It’s rich. It’s delicious. Everyone should try it! Read on for how…
Abakus Foods sent us three of their wonderful jujube products to try: the pitted dates, some powdered jujubes and some jujube crisps. The crisps are just like mini cookies, all crunchy and sweet and moreish.
Jujubes (loving that word) are less sweet and sticky than ordinary dates and are traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat insomnia and anxiety.
Here’s how we made our cheesecakes:
For the base: food process 40g (about a cup) of dried jujube fruit with a cup of pecan nuts until they resemble biscuit crumbs. Line a 12 piece muffin tin with cling film, pressing it carefully into each recess. Press your jujube/pecan mixture into each base.
For the creamy cheesecake topping: blend together a cup of brambles, a cup of macadamia nuts, half a cup of cashews, a tablespoon of coconut oil and 50g (about two tablespoons) of jujube powder. Once smooth, spread this onto the bases. Cover with more clingfilm and press each little cheesecake down to make sure it’s well stuck together.
Freeze for about two hours. Remove from tin and peel away the clingfilm. Decorate with jujube crisps and melted chocolate of your choice (really dark goes well).
Say the word jujube a lot.
You can buy this range of jujube products online at Abakus Foods and, from September, at Wholefoods Markets and a number of independent health food and fine food stores.
That’s a raw vegan hemp chocolate shake from Purition, boasting 14.2g of protein and lots of healthy nuts and seeds. In fact that’s all it has; there’s no weird ingredients, no poly-whatsits or methyl-who-has, just hemp, sunflower kernels, chia and pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast, linseeds: the good stuff.
The shakes are marketed as being suitable for breakfast, lunch or post workout. Replacing a meal with a drink? There were sceptical faces here, but these drinks are filling! Really filling. And delicious. The words ‘just like a chocolate milkshake’ were spoken.
Here’s a vanilla one with a chocolate topping to which we added a banana. In retrospect we could have layered it up all stripy from the bottom if we’d known how thick and substantial they were.
We also used them in our regular smoothies, replacing the usual avocado or nuts, which worked well.
The vegan sample box we had can be purchased from Purition or at Amazon.co.uk Shakes are also available singly in their 40g packs or in a large 500g size.
We were sent some coconut milk by Rhythm. It’s a chilled product, comes in sachets as opposed to tins, and contains no added ingredients, no sweeteners, no de-coagulants, no rubbish. Just coconut. It’s also cold pressed, so suitable for raw food recipes, and is the best coconut milk we have ever tasted.
We made the tropical fruit smoothie pictured above (4 pints, adjust quantities as desired).
Into it went:
1 bag of frozen organic tropical fruit
100g of Rhythm’s thick creamy coconut milk
a few brazil nuts
1 litre of orange juice
Whizz it all up in a blender. The Vitamix had no problem with the fruit straight from frozen, you might have to defrost with a lower powered machine. It was gorgeous: sweet but not too sweet, rich but not sickening, perfect.
This next recipe we are calling ‘Thai-Style Bubble and Squeak’. If you actually have left over cooked potatoes and cabbage it would be super quick to prepare. This is the method from scratch:
In 1 tsp of coconut oil, fry up a red chilli, 5 cloves of garlic and a thumb of ginger, all finely chopped. Stir in 300g of Rhythm’s coconut milk with a little water to make a creamy bubbling sauce.
Wash and thinly slice a small bag of new potatoes and half a Savoy cabbage. Pop them into the pan, stirring frequently until soft and cooked, increasing the water if needed. Add sea salt to taste. Nice served with rice and salad after a blustery Autumn walk.
This salad is colourful and strongly flavoured. In fact, it is hard-core salad. Lots of chewing involved. No dressing. If the pomegranate is nice and ripe, preparing this salad will leave you looking like a guest at a wedding written by George R. R. Martin (but healthy).
6 oranges, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
the juicy contents of 1 large pomegranate
plentiful kale leaves, chopped or torn
some red lettuce, shredded
In beautiful, colourful Neal’s Yard, in the former home of Monty Python, resides the Wild Food Café. We enjoyed our raw pizza and salad (it is ‘raw-centric’).
Also in Covent Garden is LabOrganic, which we visited more than once for their fresh green juices and raw chocolate mousse.
We loved The Coach and Horses vegetarian pub with its timeless rickety stairs, twenties music and somehow Dickensian mantelpiece:
The ‘tofush’ and chips was excellent:
and the flowers in a teapot, pretty:
Though we didn’t eat in them, Food for Thought in Neal St. had a savoury and delicious smell wafting out its door and the dishes visible through the window of totally vegan Vantra Vitao looked very good.