Greenwich Market

Having lived in London for over 5 years, I was amazed to have only just heard of Greenwich Market. After friends telling me tales of vegan cake stalls, I knew a visit was long overdue.

What amazed me most was the sheer abundance of vegan food available. Not only exclusively vegetarian and vegan stalls but mainstream stalls offering vegan alternatives of their signature dishes. The choices for vegans at Greenwich Market hugely surpasses the likes of Broadway and Borough Markets.

After several laps of the market, I eventually opted for the vegan world food stall, Return to Shashamane.

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For £6, I received a large box filled with a little bit of all the dishes listed in the menu below:

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Delicious, refreshing, filling and healthy, I was a very satisfied customer.

Despite being ridiculously full, there was no way I was going to leave without paying a visit to Ruby’s, a vegan cake stall!

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I sampled one of their salted caramel cupcakes and I can categorically say that this was one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever tasted-vegan and non-vegan!

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So if, like me, you’re always on the lookout for new places to sample some vegan delights, look no further than Greenwich Market.

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http://www.greenwichmarketlondon.com

Vegfest London 2014

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Last weekend saw the return of Vegfest to Kensington Olympia, a huge 2 day event for all things vegan and animal welfare related. As a vegan newbie, I was delighted to hear that such an event existed but wasn’t quite sure what to expect and I certainly didn’t imagine it to be so popular. I managed to drag my meat-eating boyfriend along; he’s fairly compliant when there’s any type of food involved!

Upon arrival, I was overwhelmed by the amount of stalls at the event, ranging from delicious smelling food to animal welfare campaigners and charities, I didn’t know where to start!

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It was incredibly inspiring to see so many groups of people coming together for the collective purpose of trying to make the world a better place, one way or another. The Vegan Society was there of course, offering support and advice to current vegans, as well as those contemplating a transition to a vegan lifestyle. Additionally, Greenpeace were at the event, continuing to raise awareness of climate change and global warming.

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Our advance tickets enabled us to pick up some freebies including granola, chia shots, yummy almond milk and not so yummy beetroot juice!

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After a few laps of the venue, it was time to make the all important decision of what food to eat. There was almost too much choice for me to handle. I really wanted the tofu tikka masala from Ruperts Street but they’d sold out!

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Whilst Tom opted for a Vietnamese baguette from The Hungry Gecko, I eventually chose some incredibly delicious Pad Thai from Bang Wok which left me ridiculously full!

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With the food part out of the way, it was time for me to treat myself. I picked up this handmade organic lemongrass and coconut body oil from Heavenly Organics which does, in fact, smell heavenly!

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I then came across the stall of a vegan hair salon, The Rabbit Hole, from west London. I purchased an organic hair treatment which seems to have worked wonders on my dyed hair.

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Knowing that I’ve always been somewhat of a cat obsessive, Tom treated me to this cute scarf from the Mayhew Animal Home.

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Before heading home, I grabbed a load of my beloved Nakd bars, as well as some vegan chocolate treats from Moo Free.

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Finally, Tom and I couldn’t resist the cookie sandwiches from Ms Cupcake but we were far too full to eat them then and there. However they proved to be a wonderful evening treat, washed down with a nice cup of tea!

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What a great, inspirational day it was which showed that veganism doesn’t have to be difficult at all and has such positive benefits to individual health, animals and the planet.

I’m looking forward to the next Vegfest event already!

vegfest.co.uk

Mushroom stoup with three-root mash

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After watching back-to-back episodes of River Cottage Veg on Sunday evening, I was inspired to try Hugh’s mushroom ‘stoup’ (a hybrid of a stew and soup) along with a three-root mash. Time to dig out my favourite vegetarian cookbook again!

For the ingredients, I headed to a lovely little greengrocer shop on Stoke Newington Church Street, beautifully stocked with just about every type of fruit, vegetable, herb and grain imaginable!

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I deviated from the original recipe for personal tastes but it worked out well for me!

Mushroom stoup ingredients (5 portions approx)
•2 tbsp olive oil
•small knob of butter
•2 onions roughly chopped
•2 carrots, peeled and sliced
•2 celery stalks, chopped
•4 garlic cloves, crushed
•500g mixed mushrooms; I used a variety of Dutch mushrooms, including shiitake, oyster, chestnut and button
•250g portobello mushrooms
•1l mushroom stock
•a handful of chopped parsley
•salt and pepper to season

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METHOD
1) Heat half the oil and butter, gently sautéing the onions for 2 minutes then add the carrots and celery, simmering gently.
2) In the meantime, heat the remaining oil and butter and simmer the garlic VERY gently-nothing worse than the bitter taste of over cooked garlic! Add the mushrooms in their batches, stirring gently each time.
3) Add the onion mix to the mushroom mix, followed by the mushroom stock and cook uncovered on a medium heat for 20 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper and parsley.
* The dish was very runny so I did stir in a small amount of cornflour. I might use less stock next time.

Now on to the root mash. This could be made with any type of root veg but I opted for parsnips, turnip and sweet potato. Yum!

INGREDIENTS (5 portions approx)
•2 parsnips
•1 small turnip
•1 VERY large sweet potato (or 2-3 small ones)
•A bay leaf
• A knob of butter
•100-200ml milk
•A few shavings of vegetarian hard cheese
•Salt and pepper to season

METHOD
1) Peel and chop the veg, placing in a large pan with the bay leaf. Leave to boil for 20 minutes or until soft and tender.

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2) Drain the water and remove the bay leaf. Add the butter and mash as much as physically possible! Stir in the milk bit by bit until you’re happy with the texture. Add the cheese and use a hand-held blender to eradicate those remaining stubborn lumps!
3) Add more milk if necessary, until you’re left with a thick and smooth consistency. Season to taste.

I served the stoup and mash with curly kale sautéed in shallots, topped off with a refreshing yogurt made by mixing creme fraiche and dried dill.

Make sure you have plenty of crusty bread on hand to mop up the stoup!

Roast Dinner at The Talbot

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There’s nothing I love more on a Sunday than spending the afternoon in a lovely pub with a glass of wine, newspapers and a tasty veggie roast, of course! Finding a pub that serves an adequate veggie roast can sometimes be difficult and I’m usually slightly apprehensive, concerned that the food isn’t as strictly vegetarian as I’d like it to be…

My worries were eased yesterday when I paid a visit to The Talbot, a cosy pub situated on a quiet street by De Beauvoir Town, just a stone throw away from the craziness of Dalston. They offered what was described as a vegan roast, with the menu clarifying that the gravy was also vegan friendly. Fantastic-after all, what veggie/vegan wants to worry about the presence of animal juices in their food?!

Along with the vegan gravy and delicious vegetables, the centre piece of my roast were smoked tofu and almond sausages which were clearly homemade and so wonderfully flavoursome. This was all topped off with what could only be described as the biggest Yorkshire pudding that I’ve ever seen! At £12.50, this was quite reasonably priced compared to some places in the Hackney area.

The Talbot have a terrace/balcony area where we sat to eat, perfect to bask in the sunshine and watch the world go by. I’ll definitely be popping in again for a Sunday roast fix.

The Talbot
109 Mortimer Road
N1 4JY

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The Gate Islington

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Imagine my delight when I discovered The Gate, a vegetarian restaurant within walking distance from my flat! The ultimate question for me was: would it be able to steal the crown from Mildreds as my favourite veggie restaurant in London?!

Tucked away on a quiet street in Islington, The Gate was much larger than I expected but still with a dark and intimate ambiance. I was relieved that I’d made a reservation as the place was bustling with not an empty table in sight.

We ordered some bread and olives to nibble on whilst we perused the menu. I opted for smoked tofu and spring mint vegetable roll, served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce and pickled pink ginger…

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Whilst my boyfriend, Tom, chose the feta and cous cous fritters rolled in panka and toasted pistachio nuts and served with a sweet red pepper harrisa.

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My vegan option had a very light and refreshing taste. I decided to keep with the vegan theme when selecting my main and opted for Teriyaki aubergine layered with coriander pesto, roasted red peppers, shitake mushrooms and fresh horseradish, coated with crispy breadcrumbs and served on stir fried noodles with a pickled ginger and mango salad.

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Tom selected wild mushroom rotolo, comprised of a wild mushroom duxcelle wrapped in thyme infused potato topped with goats cheese, served on French beans, creamy cep reduction sauce and finished with deep fried leeks.

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We ordered some delicious sweet potato chips to accompany our mains.

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Whilst Tom’s main was tasty, it was a tad too rich for my liking so I personally believe that I’d made the better option- the teriyaki aubergine was incredibly tender and flavoursome and I’ve definitely become a fan of pickled pink ginger now. I’m going to attempt to recreate the dish at home, although I doubt I’ll be able to do it justice!

Surprisingly, Tom was too full for dessert but I did manage to squeeze in some vegan ice-cream with berries. In my efforts to reduce my dairy intake for health reasons, I actually prefer the chewy texture of the vegan variety.

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With all these dishes, along with a bottle of Malbec and service charge, it was no surprise to find our bill was over £80. It’s not somewhere I’d come every week but it definitely made a nice treat. There is also a restaurant in Hammersmith so I’d recommend a visit there, for those who are based in west London.

So how did it compare to my beloved Mildreds? Whilst The Gate definitely has a much more varied and intricate menu, I did miss the laid back vibe and hearty food of Mildreds. Still, I’ll undoubtedly be visiting both places again before the end of the year!

The Gate Islington
370 St John Street
London
EC1V 4NN

http://thegaterestaurants.com/

Ethiopiques @ Sunday UpMarket

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After over 4 years of living in London and countless ventures down Brick Lane, I’d still never visited the Sunday UpMarket, situated in The Old Truman Brewery. After returning to London from spending Christmas in Wales, I finally paid it a visit on Sunday.

With an array of arts, crafts and clothing, what impressed me most were the endless rows of food stalls and the lingering aromas that emitted from them. Japanese, Turkish, Mexican, Greek, there was something to suit all tastes and preferences. Inevitably though, it was a vegetarian/vegan Ethiopian food stall that caught my eye. With such a broad range of salads, cous cous, rice, olives and sauces, I was spoilt for choice!

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Eventually, I paid £5 for a large plate filled to the brim with cous cous, leafy salad, pitted olives, marinated chickpeas, grilled aubergines, garlic spinach and soya bean sauces.

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Delicious, filling and refreshing yet heathy too, Ethiopiques provided me with the perfect energy boost to continue my bargain hunt down Brick Lane.

Like Ethiopiques on Facebook

Sunday UpMarket
Old Truman Brewery
91 Brick Lane
E1 6QL

http://www.sundayupmarket.co.uk/

Royal Inn on the Park-Sunday Roast Heaven!

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After a mean bout of illness over the past couple of weeks, my cooking and dining-out endeavours have been non-existent. Hence the substantial lack of blogging. Now on the mend, I thought what better way to aid my recuperation than by spending a cold Sunday afternoon in a cosy pub with a roast dinner.

Being vegetarian, finding a pub that provides the perfect veggie roast is not easy. That’s why time and time again, I always find myself going back to Victoria Park’s Royal Inn on the Park. Not too far from where I live in east London, this friendly family pub never fails to impress. With a menu that is pleasing for meat eaters and veggies alike, I was torn between the veggie roast and the puy lentil and porcini pie with goats cheese mash. However, as it was Sunday, it only seemed appropriate to opt for the roast. And here it is-walnut, aubergine, leek and squash nut roast with Yorkshire pudding, porcini gravy and all the trimmings!

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As my boyfriend and I were enjoying relaxing with drinks and newspapers, we were in no rush to leave so ordered a couple of desserts. Bread and butter pudding with pistachio ice-cream for me and vanilla and mascarpone cheese cake with mixed berries for him.

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If you haven’t already sampled the delicious food in this pub, I’d strongly recommend that you pay a visit and treat yourself one afternoon!

Royal Inn on the Park
Victoria Park
Hackney
London
E9 7HJ

http://www.royalinnonthepark.com/

Camden’s inSpiral Lounge

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I’ve often been drawn to the quirky exterior decor of inSpiral Lounge when passing by on Camden High Street, so the other day I finally decided to venture inside. Situated right by the lock, inSpiral serves as an eco-friendly vegan cafe offering a wide range of cooked and raw healthy dishes, as well as a selection of smoothies, herbal teas and other organic products.

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The warm lighting, soothing incense smells and mellow music make this the perfect place to escape the general chaos of Camden. The window seats provide overlooking views of the Lock; a perfect place to sit and watch the world go by.

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After much deliberation, I ordered a raw sunburger which contained seeds, nuts, mixed leaves, lentils and a delicious vegan cream cheese. In addition, I had a berry bliss smoothie and enjoyed relaxing with this wholesome and healthy food.

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A delicious looking selection of vegan cakes and ice-creams were available but as always, I felt too full for any dessert!

As well a being a great place to eat and drink, inSpiral Lounge hosts a range of diverse live music events, as well as open mic nights so I imagine that this place gets very interesting during the evenings.

A lovely dining experience. I’ll definitely be visiting this place when I’m next in Camden!

inSpiral Lounge
250 Camden High Street
NW1 8QS

Mildreds, Soho

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Whenever it’s my birthday or another special occasion, I always choose to go to my favourite vegetarian restaurant in London-the wonderful Mildred’s. Situated on Soho’s Lexington Street, Mildred’s offers a range of vegetarian and vegan dishes at reasonable prices, as well as plenty of vegan vinos. As I turned twenty-something earlier this week, there was only one place I wanted to celebrate!

Mildred’s do not take table reservations so if you venture here at the weekend, prepare to wait a little while for a table. This is not too much of an inconvenience as you can enjoy a cocktail in the small bar area. As it was a Monday night when I went to Mildred’s, I expected the restaurant to be almost empty. How wrong I was! Whilst we did get a table almost immediately, the small restaurant was still bustling, which speaks volumes about its popularity!

As ever with visiting vegetarian restaurants, deliberating over the menu can be a lengthy process as I relish the possibility of eating everything on the menu. Eventually, I opted for the deep fried chinese dumplings tossed in ginger, garlic, chilli with kim chi whilst my boyfriend chose gyoza dumplings with mirin and soy dipping sauce.

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For my main, I chose a dish that I’d had before-sri iankan sweet potato and cashew nut curry served with yellow basmati rice with peas and coconut tomato sambal.

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I loved the flavours in this curry and it didn’t feel heavy and greasy like curries in many restaurants tend to be. Ever a lover of burger and chips, my boyfriend inevitably opted for the veggie burger with relish, red onion, rocket and tomato, with fries and basil mayo
plus monterey jack cheese and sweet potato chips.

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Whatever your food preferences may be, I’d strongly recommend a visit to this lively vegetarian/vegan restaurant. I’m already excited about my next visit!

45 Lexington Street,
London,
W1F 9AN

020 7494 1634
http://www.mildreds.co.uk/index.html

Meet me at The Veggie Table

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My older brother and his partner visited me from North Wales this weekend and I was keen to show them some of the things that I love most about London. Inevitably, most of these things are centred around food and I knew that a visit to Borough Market was essential.

One of London’s most renowned food markets, Borough offers a range of organically sourced British and international cuisine. Stall upon stall of weird and wonderful food, the market provides ample choice for omnivores. As a vegetarian, the choices are somewhat limited but I still enjoy soaking up the atmosphere of this busy and bustling food market.

After a few laps of the market, it was time to make the all important decision; which stall to buy food from. For me, my choice was easy and I headed straight to The Veggie Table. With a stall at Broadway Market also, The Veggie Table offer healthy, wholesome, vegetarian and vegan food in the form of burgers and salads. No risk of any meat cross-contamination here!

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The aromas from this stall were heavenly and unsurprisingly, the queue was rather long. At The Veggie Table you can choose to have your burger in a bun, on salad…or both! Dips and sauces on offer include hummus, salsa and red onion jam. I opted for the vegan-friendly organic super veg burger, made with vegetables, nuts, sultanas, quinoa and cumin. I had it served up in a bun with lots of delicious hummus!

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After presuming that my brother had gone off to eat a load of meat somewhere, I was pleasantly surprised to also see him at The Veggie Table; he fancied sampling something different to what he might normally opt for. He chose the heavenly halloumi burger, made with halloumi (obviously!) carrots, courgettes, mint and coriander, with the tomato salsa. There was no holding back as he opted for the fresh salad as well!

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So if you haven’t done so already, I’d strongly recommend eating at The Veggie Table next time you visit Borough or Broadway Market, appealing to veggies, vegans and meat-eaters alike! Now I can’t wait until Christmas time when they offer up their tasty nut roasts…!

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http://www.theveggietable.co.uk/
http://m.boroughmarket.org.uk/