Sometimes that’s all you need. Vegetables in a stir-fry. Broad beans from the garden. A good book.
And some sea and sand…
Update: café is closed for winter but it has made Trip Advisor’s Top Ten Restaurants in Aberdeenshire!
Actually there were no fried green tomatoes. But there was a plethora of other wonderful food at this 100% vegan weekend café in Aberdeenshire.
The Last Bus Works Canteen is just out of New Pitsligo and open 10-6 every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
It’s quirky and friendly and has a great selection of cake. Below is a chocolate orange muffin with ice cream.
There’s pink Himalayan salt on the tables, olive oil in an oil can and recycled shelves all around.
It was a relaxing and fortifying place to visit after an eight mile walk in the rain! Well worth seeking out.
Simple and so, so delicious.
1 bulb of fennel per person
root veg such as carrots or parsnips, at least two per person
chopped leeks or onions
a handful of fresh herbs, here we used tarragon and thyme, sage is also very good
seasalt to taste (you don’t need much, this dish is flavoursome)
fresh ground black pepper
sunflower oil to rub
Chop/scrape/wash your veg and place in a roasting tray. Rub in the herbs, salt, pepper and oil so everything is well coated. Roast at 200C/400F for at least half an hour, giving a stir/turn with a spoon a couple of times during cooking. Great served with brown rice and steamed kale that has been seasoned with lemon juice and a little margarine.
Another good combination: chocolate muffins (use one of our cake recipes) and mandarin segments:
We were sent some wonderful British bean products by Hodmedod’s. Before the title causes too much alarm: black badgers are a variety of pea that has been grown in Britain for at least 500 years, also known as carlin or maple peas. They are exceptionally flavoursome for a pulse and made a delicious hummus (substituting the chick peas in our usual recipe) and a wonderfully filling stew:
Black Badger Stew
250g of black badgers, soaked and cooked
2 onions, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
4 sticks of celery, chopped
2 dried bay leaves
1 box passata (500g)
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
water as needed
seasalt to taste
Soak your black badgers overnight, bring to the boil and turn down to simmer for about 30 minutes. Add in the vegetables, passata, water to cover and bay leaves and simmer again for at least fifteen minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaves. Thicken the sauce with tomato puree and season with salt. Nice served with rice or mash.
Mix it all together and dress with the juice of one lemon and a little olive oil.
The big vegan box pictured above would make an ideal Christmas gift for any foodie. Not only does it contain the useful store cupboard staple of dried beans (including split fava beans which do not require soaking) but it boasts a plethora of ready to eat tinned products and roasted snacks. The baked beans are broad beans in a homemade style sauce rather than the orange goo of most brands. The dahl makes ‘chips with curry sauce’ into something gourmet and delightful. And the roasted beans and peas – wow – horseradish peas! Spicy like wasabi… There’s also a UK-grown bag of quinoa, removing any ethical issues with the product.
And speaking of Christmas: don’t miss our Vegan Christmas or Yule page for lots of festive recipes and gift ideas and also Advent calendars (those will sell out soon).
A lovely pumpkin, but it’s not really the orange of the title so we’ll return to it later. Here’s the green:
Viridian’s Soul Food Greens is a nutrient dense mix of several green food powders: spirulina, wheatgrass, barleygrass, alfalfa leaf, seagreens wild wrack seaweed and chlorella, making it a good source of trace elements, vitamins, essential fatty acids, polysaccharides and soluble fibre.
It went well in a green smoothie:
Smoothie recipe (makes 4 large glasses): 4 bananas, 1 large avocado, a few good handfuls of fresh kale (or frozen), 2 heaped tablespoons of Soul Food Greens, 2 heaped tablespoons of linseeds and a litre of orange juice.
The juice is the orange, it makes these green drinks more palatable to those who are not so used to the bitter tang that green powders and kale can have. It stops people saying ‘I can’t drink this’ and instead they comment on the nice orange flavour while downing their vitamins. Viridian’s blend is quite gentle though, far easier on the taste buds than pure spirulina.
And so, back to the seasonal orange of the pumpkin, or in fact any squash in this most basic, but delicious, of soup recipes: peel, deseed and chop squash of choice, cover with water and bring to boil. Add in onion, lots of garlic, a chilli, and salt to taste. Blend up with a handful of cashews…
And for a range of wonderfully varied recipes see Animal Aid’s new Buzzfeed post, 8 Amazing Recipes You Won’t Believe Are Vegan
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.
The beautiful new cookbook from Viva! by Jane Easton (see her delicious beanburger recipe over on frugal).
The organisational structure of the book is exceptionally user-friendly. First there’s the main sections: Vegan Basics; Souperb; A bit on the side; Back to the sauce; The main event and Sweet thing. Then there’s a range of indexes based on the codes found on the recipe pages: budget dishes, fast feeds, Gluten & wheat free, cooking for one, kid-friendly, freezable, low fat/diabetic-friendly.
The recipes themselves are diverse and gorgeous and there’s a stunning colour photo beside each one. It’s hard to know where to start with describing them as there as so many, so we’ll give you a favourite: Speedy Chocolate Pudding. You can click the photo to see a bigger version.
The book is a wonderful mix of simple advice for beginner cooks and those new to veganism through to advanced ideas such as Christmas Stuffed Squash with Two-rice, Cranberry and Porcini Mushroom Filling. Rose Elliot’s Chestnut and Red Wine Pate en croute that we’ve loved for years is also included.
There’s Scrambled Tofu; Socca Pizza with Cream Cheese, Sundried Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts; Perfect Pancakes; Vegetable Tempura; Smokey Black Bean Cakes & Sausages; cakes, muffins, slices… we could go on and on. Really we could, there’s 145 recipes!
The beautiful photos make it an excellent coffee table title, so much better for inspiration than tucking it away on a shelf…
Also available from Amazon.co.uk
So simple: cook pasta of your choice; fry up some chopped onions and whole chestnut mushrooms in a little olive oil. Once cooked, drain the pasta and stir everything together adding salt as desired. Add chopped parsley and cherry tomatoes, some seeds. Eat.
And a dragonfly, there are so many this year…
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.
Useful resource: Vegan London