Saturday, 30 October 2010

It's Vegan MoFo time!

So tomorrow is not only World Vegan Day and the start of World Vegan Month but also the start of Vegan MoFo, the Vegan Month of Food.

This is my first year taking part & I've decided to be massively over ambitious and post every day, it'll be okay though because I have a plan!

Week 1 - I'll be posting about being vegan on the road - not just because I love to travel but also because November 1st is my friends wedding & it's being held in a Scottish castle. We're driving up there this evening, spending the day at the wedding on Monday and then hanging out in Edinburgh for the rest of the week. Hopefully mobile blogging will work - fingers crossed!

Week 2 - Cookbook challenge week! I'm going to challenge myself to cook 2 or 3 new recipes from my cookbooks every day this week, I'll be putting cookbook names into a hat and using a random number generator to pick the page. I'm hoping much fun will ensue and we will end up just eating cake and cookies for days!

Week 3 - As regular readers of my blog will know my husband Nick went vegan about 4 months ago and has realised that he doesn't really know how to cook any food. This week he'll be choosing recipes he likes the sound of and we'll be cooking up a storm together, again we may just end up eating cake & cookies for days!

Week 4 - Eating out! This week will see me reviewing vegan restaurants in Brighton and possibly London & then heading across the channel to Paris for Paris Vegan Day.

I'm super excited about my plans and just hope I can keep up with them and not be a bad MoFoer!


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Brussels

Here's my final post from our European honeymoon adventure

We spent the last couple of days of our holiday in Belgium as we didn't want to end our travels with one hideously long day of driving. We ate a lot of frites, which were delicious.


This picture's more me than the pommes frites but hey, you guys know what chips look like!

Mirroring how we celebrated out engagement we had an awesome floor picnic at our hotel. We headed out to get food from the health food store under vegan macrobiotic lunch spot Den Teepot. We picked up a couple of spinach and tofu filo pastry rolls which reminded me a little of spanakopita...


...a sausage roll to share...


... and a couple of slices of pear tart...

The sausage roll was pretty unexciting but although simple the tofu & spinach rolls were delicious and the pear tart had just the right amount of sweetness.

We also snacked on random food we found at on our travels...


I was excited to find Speculoos chocolate and that Galler noissette praline bar is, I think, the best chocolate I've ever eaten.

The next day we headed for Calais and had one final breakfast in the van before heading home.


Our Honeymoon was SO awesome, I loved getting to spend three whole weeks of uninterrupted hanging out time with Nick, living in the van, getting to see so many countries on one journey & getting to eat so much amazing vegan food.

I'm taking part in Vegan MoFo for the first time this year, it starts on Monday! I'm really excited and I'll be posting more about my plans tomorrow.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Luxembourg

About a year ago I got it into my head that I wanted to visit every country in Europe by the time I hit 30, now 27 & without a real income it doesn't seem all that likely to happen but I fully intend to keep trying!

By the end of our honeymoon I'd gotten my total up to 20 countries including Luxembourg, yay! Now we'd sort of decided to just drive though Luxembourg until I realised that it has a vegan restaurant; I'd read about Anabanana on Happy Cow and insisted that we visit this colourful looking place.


We arrived in Luxembourg towards the end of their opening hours and couldn't find a single place to park the van so I had to run in and get take out. I waited about 10 minutes for our food as everything's made to order and the lovely owner gave me a glass of juice to sip on whilst I waited. As far as I could tell Anabanana is the converted downstairs floor of the owners house giving it a really cosy and intimate feel.




The lunch option at Anabanana is the plate of the day either with or without salad.


That day's dish was a black bean stew with cauliflower in a creamy sauce and almond cous cous, it came garnished with cucumber and edible flowers and the salad was simple & green. I'm always a little wary of ordering the plate of the day as I can be a little fussy but this was exactly what I needed after our long drive. The cous cous was seriously delicious and I loved both the black bean stew & the cauliflower. If I ever happen to be in Luxembourg again I'll certainly pay this place another visit & so should you.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Zurich

After driving across Austria & spending an awesome day going up a mountain on a chair lift & coming back down again on the worlds longest alpine coaster we ended up at a beautiful campsite near Lake Fernsteinsee.

We parked the van next to a stream at the foot of a mountain...


...and went for a walk to find the lake. We passed a small river & a castle...


...and then found this!


The lake was insanely beautiful! We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out there before heading onwards to Zurich bright & early the next morning.

Switzerland is just as stunning as Austria & this was the view from the motorway...



...I wish motorway's in the UK had scenery like this - it makes long drives much more fun.

We were a bit unsure of whether we'd like Zurich, we'd heard that it's pretty fancy & expensive and we are neither fancy nor expensive! We only decided to go there because it kept raining & we fancied being in a city rather than the countryside but it turns out that although it is indeed expensive Zurich's pretty awesome.

We arrived totally starving and headed out to Hiltl the parent company of Tibits which is one of favourite places to eat in London. Sadly, in comparison to the London restaurant the Swiss version has far fewer vegan options to choose from. We still managed to eat though which by that point was all I cared about!


The olive & tomato pasta salad was pretty good and I enjoyed the potato gratin, beans and steamed veggies but the highlight was probably the onion rings - awesome deep fried goodness!

Sadly there were no vegan dessert options at Hiltl but I was suitably sustained to go on the hunt for something sweet. We stumbled across a little health food store and found a vegan version of a mini chocolate magnum.


We ate the entire box sitting on a bench outside the store, we got A LOT of strange looks & I'm still unsure of whether it was because we were sitting under an umbrella eating ice cream or because you don't see many tattooed chicks on the streets of Zurich!

Dinner that day was one of the highlights of the entire trip, I'd read about Samses on Happy Cow & it was definitely worth the tram ride and surprisingly long walk from our hotel.

Nick ordered a tomatoey spaghetti dish and I satisfied my carb cravings with the mushroom risotto.


I definitely made the right choice, I love risotto and this one was perfect. For dessert we both opted for the chocolate mousse.


It was quite chocolatey but not too rich and full of crunchy bits of biscuit. I found it a little too creamy but Nick declared it to be the best dessert he'd ever eaten and managed to polish off 1/2 of mine too.

The food here was awesome & it was great to have so many options but the staff were also really friendly & seemed really excited to have two vegan guests! If you're in Zurich I'd say Samses is a must visit.

As promised I'll be back again tomorrow!

Vienna

I can't believe how long it's taking me to sort out & post stuff from our honeymoon! It's been so long that I've actually already been back to Vienna. So, I'm going to post every day for the next 5 days & then I can maaaaybe think about blogging something Brighton related!

Last time I was in Vienna I blogged about the awesome vegan croissants from Backerei Waldherr and of course I had to get them again.


Nick was suitably impressed with the jammy chocolatey deliciousness & I was excited to find that they also had vegan chocolate chip muffins. It was a bit wholegrainey for our tastes but it was still okay.

We did eat out at Vegetasia, Formosa & Landia but as I ordered foods I'd already blogged about them I decided to relax & keep my camera in my bag for a change!

One new place we did get to visit on this trip was Gasthaus Schillinger, a traditional, albeit totally vegan, gasthaus 40 KM outside of Vienna. I'd never been able to visit before as it's only really accessible by car but it's SO worth the detour.

We arrived during the busy lunch period and were quickly seated after waiting at the bar for about 10 minutes.


I ordered a delicious brothy pancake soup to start and as our main we choose to share the Vegan Haus Platter...


... why yes that is an enormous plate of fake meat on a bed of chips! Nicks face when he saw this arrive at our table was the best thing ever...


So on top of the bed of chips were sausage, blood sausage, lamb & brussels sprout skewers, schnitzel & a cordon bleu (schnitzel stuffed with cheese & ham!). There was a bowl of coleslaw in the centre and delicious swirls of garlic, parsley butter adorned the plate - yum!

Even after all that we somehow managed to share a dessert...


...the cake of the day was a hazelnut chocolate cake, it tasted great even though it was a little dense but the home made ice cream that went with it was amazing.

If you're ever in Vienna try and get yourself out to Gasthaus Schillinger - I promise you won't be disappointed!

So after our awesome meal we kept driving towards The Alps, we blasted some awesome music to keep us going...


...stopped off at an IKEA...


...to stock up on these awesome biscuits...



... and then we ended our day at a slightly creepy (there was a VERY long and intense list of rules) but pretty campsite ear Saltzberg.


Tomorrow there'll be more pictures of the spectacular Austrian countryside and restaurant reviews from Zurich.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Prague

Sadly we didn't get much time in Prague so this is going to be a pretty short post - I'm already working on the next one though so I'll be back soon!

We stayed in a campsite just outside the city which, upon arrival at our allocated pitch, we discovered was over run with frogs. Now I like frogs but these were no ordinary frogs, they were teeny tiny frogs and the ground was literally carpeted with them - aside from the obvious vegan concern of not wanting to squish one (or 10) by accident they were really creepy. I'm embarassed to admit that I squeeled like a girl and ran all the way back to reception to demand, with terrible czech and frog impressions, a different pitch for the night! Thankfully they found us one without a frog infestation & I had a nice cold beer to celebrate!

The next day we hopped on the bus and headed into the city.



After some sightseeing it was of course time for food, we headed to Country Life Melantrichova as it was pretty central (it's just around the corner from the astronomical clock) & we'd heard they had a pretty large selection of hot & cold buffet items. We were pleased to see that the place was pretty big inside so they were plenty of seats even though there was a decent sized queue for food.

I of course filled up my plate with almost everything they had...


... I was excited to be eating so many fresh veggies as we'd just come from Berlin where I'd been filling up on fast food & I thought it was about time I attempted to be a little healthy. I enjoyed what I think was nut roast, the vegan pizza was pretty good but the star of this meal was the seitan & peanut stew, I didn't take much as I wasn't sure it looked great but damn it was good! I almost went back for more!

The dessert selection wasn't huge but I found a couple of things that looked interesting, a little chocolatey thing with a cashew on top & a coconut biscuity thing that looked like it was filled with some kind of cream.



It turned out that these were both pretty similar which was great because they were yummy! The one with the chocolate covered biscuit base was topped with something similar to a coconut macaroon and filled with what I think was hazelnut cream. The cashew topped one was filled with the same nutty cream. What was also amazing about these was that they cost about 10p each!

Next door to Country Life is a little health food store where we found vegan hazelnut & maple syrup waffles, my favourite Rapunzel Nirvana Noir chocolate & vegan washing powder. I believe the shop is fully vegetarian rather than vegan as we definitely spotted a few things containing milk powder but it's definitely a great place to go if you're in the area.