Wednesday 27 July 2011

Moshi Moshi Brighton.

I've been hearing good things about the vegan options at Brighton based sushi restaurant Moshi Moshi for a while now & after checking out the menu online & being super impressed that they had changed it to include vegan labelling I decided to pay them a visit. Nick & I went last night (which was a Tuesday for people not reading this the day of writing!) and didn't book a table but I would definitely suggest doing so especially if you are planning to visit from out of town. They definitely get busy & you will not want to miss out on this fantastic dining experience.

Now whilst Moshi Moshi Brighton is technically part of a chain they do have a slightly different & much more vegan friendly menu & attitude than their London counterparts. Moshi Brighton source a lot of their ingredients locally, both their handmade organic tofu & many of their vegetables & herbs come from people running small businesses just down the road in Lewes. I also had a chat with the manager last night whilst quizzing him about the vegan-ness of their desserts & he told me that Moshi Brighton are making a concerted effort to become more vegan friendly.

As is the way with sushi we ordered a lot of little things to share.

Avocado Handroll & Inari Tofu

I love how everything is made fresh to order, we sat by the open sushi preparation area & could see the girl working like crazy making all of the hand rolls, nigiri & maki. The avocado in the hand roll was ripe & fresh & we actually ended up ordering another plate of the Inari Tofu because we loved it so much.

Tofu Teriyaki Nigiri.

This hand formed sushi was delicious & even Nick, who isn't a huge nori fan, liked it. Apparently Moshi Brighton make their Teriyaki sauce by simmering fresh vegetables in soy for 5 hours, it was without a doubt the best Teriyaki sauce I've ever tasted.

Crispy Vegetable Dumplings.

We ended up ordering two plates of these as well as two plates of the inari tofu because they were so good. Perfectly deep fried, not at all greasy & bursting with vegetables.

Vegan Cheese & Sun Blushed Tomato Maki

I was really happy to see this vegan cheese maki roll as a stand alone dish on the menu & not just as something that can be made vegan on request so there was no way I could let it go unordered. I think that the cheese used here is the White Cheddar Style Cheezly, it's quite a mild cheese & it worked perfectly with the other flavours in this sushi roll.

Aubergine Dengaku (I totally just typed Eggplant! Do you think I read too many American blogs?!).

I'm sorry about including this terrible photograph but it really was delicious!

The Auberine Dengaku consists of pan fried aubergine with a light miso sauce. The aubergine in this dish was so beautifully cooked that it pretty much melted in my mouth, I can't stop thinking about how perfect it was!

We'd planned to order one of Moshi Moshi's hot seasonal dishes, the Duck Teriyaki, which is served over white or brown rice & is made vegan using Redwood Foods new Duck Style Pieces. Sadly they were out of the mock duck so we decided to try the Organic Tofu Udon instead.

We decided to try this because we both really, really love tofu so noodles in vegetable stock topped with grilled organic tofu steak & organic vegetables sounded way too good to pass up. The tofu they use at Moshi Brighton is fantastic, it's really soft without being crumbly or waterlogged & it had been cooked so perfectly. I often order the udon noodle / tofu / vegetable soup at Wagamama & I have to say that this far surpasses it. The broth had an amazing depth of flavour & I really loved that fact that the soup not only included 3 of my favourite veggies - green beans, broccoli & pak choi, but that all of the vegetables were perfectly crisp rather than the soggy offerings you often see in soups. One thing I will add is that sharing a bowl of soup if you are both right-handed & using chopsticks is hard, really, damn hard! I cannot count the amount of times Nick almost poked my eye out - romantic!

Of course I had looked at Moshi Moshi's menu online before heading out to dinner & I had noticed that none of their desserts were labelled as vegan or even vegetarian but I decided for the purposes of the blog to do a little more investigating! I asked the manager if anything aside from the fruit salad was vegan & I was incredibly surprised when he said that he thought that the Green Tea Brûlée & Green Tea Blancmange were both suitable. I was surprised enough to confirm with him that vegan meant no dairy, eggs or honey! He certainly seemed to know his stuff pointing out that the Chocolate Mousse definitely wasn't because it contained egg & that whilst the actual Mochi Rice Cakes were he couldn't verify that all the fillings were 100% vegan. He also went back to the kitchen & had a discussion with the chefs to make sure that he was right which I really appreciated. Once we were 100% sure that these were indeed vegan options we HAD to order the Green Tea Brûlée.

Yeah, I got overexcited & cracked the top before taking a picture! Terrible blogger!

Whilst I actually don't like tea of any kind green tea is one of my favourite flavours in a dessert. I absolutely love the Zotter Matcha / Soya chocolate bar & I cannot wait to try these delicious looking Matcha Coconut Chocolate Macaroons from fellow vegan blogger Seitan is my Motor.

I've never actually tried any kind of brûlée before so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect underneath the crispy caramelised sugar topping. I was very pleased to find a delicious smooth creamy green tea flavoured custard. This was such a beautiful light dessert, I think the custard was probably made with silken tofu rather than something nut based & I will definitely be ordering this wonderful dessert again.

Writing this blog post has a) made me want to run right back to Moshi Moshi to eat more of their delicious food and b) made me realise just how excited I am about Moshi Moshi's vegan options. After having another look at their menu whilst writing this I realised that I haven't even come close to trying half of their vegan options! Next time I definitely want to try the Japanese Mushroom Teriyaki Gunkan, the Mini Leaf Wafu Salad with Grated Apple and the Red Miso Shirumono Soup with abura-age tofu.

Monday 25 July 2011

Brighton Bakery Operation Icing

So, whilst I'm good at writing reviews of other vegan businesses & praising the brilliant cupcakes made by other people I'm not so great at blowing my own horn. My little business Operation Icing was featured on wonderful new blog Vegans On The Move today so I thought that it was about time I wrote about it here.

I quit my job last year, I'd been working as a body piercer for 4 years & I'd started to hate everything about it to the extent that it was making me really miserable so I decided that it was time for a change.

I'd wanted to work for a vegan business or an animal rights charity for ages but I also loved the idea of working from home so I decided to set up a not for profit bakery. I bake everything myself in my tiny kitchen & I love every minute of it!

I'm going to let the interview on Vegans On The Move give you the lowdown on the business & just let the pictures speak for themselves here...

Vanilla Raspberry Swirl Mini Donut.

Double Chocolate Dream.

Coconut Lime.


Speculoos Caramel Cookie.

Bourbon Biscuit.

If you live in or around Brighton and like to eat cupcakes and donate money to wonderful charities then please check out my website!

Sunday 24 July 2011

Berlin Part V - Making the most of our last day.

On our last morning in Berlin we took a walk around the neighbourhood we'd been staying in & stumbled upon a large health food store called Bio Company. As soon as we walked in we saw the fresh bread & cakes, of course I headed straight over there looking for any sign of veganess. I wasn't disappointed as they label their vegan options very clearly.

I wasn't sure what these little buns were but we picked one up anyway, sadly they turned out to be quite bland. They were soft & slightly sweet though so I think if you were in possession of something like a tub of Chocoreale they could certainly become something delicious. We also spotted vegan chocolate muffins & took one to go...

...from a distance it looked so promising but sadly this was probably one of the worst things I've ever put in my mouth. I wish things like this didn't exist as it makes people think vegans are crazy people who like dry, hard, hideous baked goods. If you're starving & this place has sold out of everything else vegan then maybe give it a go but don't say I didn't warn you!

Thankfully the store which is located in Friedrichshain on the corner of Rigaer Strasse & Voigtstrasse has shelves lined with vegan goodies from soya milk's & puddings... mock meats of all kinds, ready to eat falafel, tofu's & spreads.

There are 5 or 6 Bio Company stores located in and around central Berlin so definitely keep a look out for them if you're on the hunt for vegan food.

For our last meal in Berlin we headed straight for Yoyo Foodworld. It happened to be en route from our apartment to the bus stop, perfect when you don't want to have to go to far with a bulging suitcase. Also, their pizza's are so good that I really wanted another one.

This time I chose the Hawaiian, this is the pizza I always make at home. I always used to think pineapple on a pizza was weird & gross but somehow since going vegan my taste buds have changed to allow me to enjoy the deliciousness that is warm fruit on pizza. Another bonus to this newfound love is that Nick still detests pineapple on pizza which means more for me!

After lunch we decided to pay Caramello Eis one last visit & I decided to go crazy & try something different from the usual chocolate praline soya ice cream that had become my regular order. Of course I stuck to chocolate but this time opting for the sorbet.

It was good but not as good as the ice cream. It was more refreshing though and it was a proper dark bitter chocolate which I certainly enjoyed.

I'd been waiting all week for Cupcake to make a chocolate cupcake so I was super excited to spot this beauty behind the counter when we popped in on our way to the airport. We'd just eaten all of that pizza & ice cream so we saved it for the plane.

For some reason if there's going to be an empty seat on a plane it'll be next to Nick and I. I don't know if it's our ridiculous hair or my tattoo's and piercings but I think people find us intimidating. I'm certainly not complaining but it makes me laugh because surely there's nothing less intimidating than a couple eating cupcakes and watching Gossip Girl!

Monday 18 July 2011

Berlin Part IIII - Oh LaLa, Cupcake & Viasko.

My birthday this year was always going to be an awesome one as we were spending it in Berlin but it was even better than I could have imagined! We started the day with a continental breakfast of 'ham' slices, Vegusto cheese, bread, banana bread & fruit juice.

This was swiftly followed by presents, it took a helluva lot of patience for me to wait until after breakfast!

I'd wanted the Veggie Burger book for ages & it's damn good. I've only made the Super Quinoa Burgers so far but I'll be making the Bacon Cheeseburger recipe very soon. The cute skillet mitts were a great hint towards the sneaky extra present waiting for me at home, a cast iron skillet! I'd wanted one for SO long & as Nick pointed out it would have definitely pushed our suitcase over the weight limit hence leaving it behind.

After a walk through a park near where we were staying that included the very grown up activity of playing on the swings we headed to new cafe Oh LaLa for lunch (Note: As of 2016 Oh La La is closed). Oh LaLa is a French tart shop which although not vegetarian does have plenty of mouth watering vegi & vegan options. We started with a couple of savoury tarts which I didn't really manage to take a decent picture of!

We had trouble choosing so we shared one tomato & one pepper. They had great thick flakey pastry & I liked that they both tasted different rather than just being the exact same tofu quiche with different toppings. I wished we could have tried all of the other flavours too, the day we were there there were 5 different flavours to choose from. Really though, we were there for the desserts! Little French tartlets - yum!

We were going to share our desserts too but once I saw this gorgeous raspberry chocolate tart I new I'd be keeping it all to myself.

Chocolate & Raspberry is my absolute favourite dessert flavour combo so this was a wonderful birthday treat. Silky creamy chocolate encased in buttery pastry topped with delicious tart raspberries & chopped pistachio nuts. Yum! Nick choose to have the treacle tart which is one of his favourite desserts so I think he was pretty happy with the new not sharing plan!

I did get a little taste because otherwise how could I have written about it here?! The treacle was gooey & incredibly sweet & I loved that it was topped with my favourite dessert nut, pecans. Is it weird to have a favourite dessert nut?! I'll definitely be returning to Oh LaLa for a tart on my next trip to Berlin.

After lunch we headed towards Alexanderplatz to walk around & look at the sights...

...before hopping on a boat to do some more relaxed sightseeing. Of course we planned ahead & took snacks! Brownies to be precise, this is the peanut butter chocolate brownie from Cupcake.

I think I've said it before but the brownies at Cupcake are some of my favourite brownies in the world, it's a closely run thing between them & the brownies from Strong Hearts Cafe in Syracuse, New York.

After our fabulous lunch at Viasko the previous day I decided that I wanted to head back there for my birthday dinner so that's exactly what we did! We ended up choosing the same starter as we'd had for lunch the day before, the Crostini Variation. Not knowing when we'd next be in Berlin I couldn't pass up the chance to eat their delicious almond cheese again. For my main I chose the Seitan Steaks with mashed potatoes, mushroom cream sauce, green beans & root vegetable crisps.

Oh my god it was SO good! The sauce was perfect, the seitan was amazingly tender & I was genuinely really excited to be eating a green vegetable after all of the fast food & cake we'd been eating on the trip. The mashed potatoes were the creamiest most delicious mashed potatoes I've ever eaten...I only wish I had the patience to mash my potatoes this well at home!

Nick went for the gyros plate, I don't think the picture does it justice... this thing was huge!

The plate included the soya gyros, homemade flatbread, coleslaw, tzatziki sauce & hummus. I tried a bite & it was really good, the bread was perfectly soft & I really liked the soya meat.

We were both pretty stuffed after our meals but when I heard that one of the desserts was an apple tart I decided that there was no way I was missing out!

This was well worth stuffing myself to breaking point for! The apples were perfectly soft & caramelised and the pastry was perfect. This was a seriously great end to a days eating!

I always get nostalgic (and hungry!) when I'm writing travel food posts because I want to be right back there trying more food or re-eating all of the fantastic meals I've eaten on the trip. Viasko is definitely one place that I really really wish was closer to me, thankfully I love Berlin so much that there's no doubt in my mind that I'll be back there one day in the not too distant future.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Berlin part III - Kadtler, Viasko & Nil.

I woke up on the third day of our trip & wanted to try something new for breakfast so we headed across town to check out a kosher bakery called Kadtler. I'd read about it on Berlin-Vegan & had jotted down all of the possible vegan options so that I would know what to look for. Whilst we queued we spotted a couple of promising things & thanks to the lovely girl working that day speaking a bit of English & my (pretty terrible) German skills we decided to go for the Apfelkuchen.

It was a great pastry. I've always been a big fan of fruity pastries & as they're not something I can get in Brighton they're a real treat. Kadtler is located on Danziger Strasse & this is the sign to look out for.

After breakfast we headed off to a totally different part of town to stock up on goodies at Veni Vidi Vegi. I visited here the first time I was in Berlin back in 2008 so I knew that the shelves were full of Vital Wheat Gluten & loads of delicious mock meats. I was a little disappointed as they were out of stock of my favourite biscuits, a shortbread covered on one side with chocolate, but it was okay because they had Go Max Go bars!

Veni Vidi Vegi isn't far from Viasko so we decided to swing by and check out their lunch menu & boy were we glad we did! Viasko is an entirely vegan place & what the Brit's would call a Gastro Pub, like a pub with beer on tap but with table service which makes it a bit more fancy. I think I am actually in love with whoever cooks the food at Viasko! I wish that they would quit & move to Brighton & become my personal chef. The lunch specials were printed up on a separate menu from the dinner menu & you could choose either two courses for €7.50 or 3 courses for €8.50. I want to know what kind of people would only go for two courses in this situation? Not these people that's for sure!

We both went for the Crostini Variation to start. This is described on the menu as Olive Oil Fried Bread with Olive Cream, Pesto & Tofu and almond "cheese" cream.

It was seriously out of this world good. The little toasts were crispy but not dripping with oil or grease as fried breads often can be and the almond cheese, oh god, the almond cheese. I should have asked for the recipe!

For our main we both chose to have the Lasagne Bolognese. Nick & I have really similar food loves which is awesome when we're cooking at home but sometimes I wish we'd order different things at restaurants so that I could try even more food!

The lasagne was damned good, it had a perfectly baked slightly crisped cheesy topping & had a layer of spinach inside as well as the soya based bolognese. I'll have a hard time not ordering this again if it's on the menu next time I visit.

We managed to pick different desserts so I got to sample both the Peach Pie...

...and the Lemon Tart with a Blueberry Compote.

The desserts weren't on the menu but there was a choice of three different cakes of the day which I think is a pretty good selection. These were both delicious & I'd certainly order them both again. The only thing I was unsure of were the nuts (?) on top of the peach pie, I didn't quite feel they went with the other flavours in the pie but maybe they just weren't to my taste.

That night we headed to Sudanese take out place Nil for dinner & to meet up with Melisser. I'd visited the other Nil location on my first ever Berlin trip & had been dying to go back, even Nick was excited about their signature peanut sauce as I'd been raving about it for years. They have a menu in English & the vegan options are clearly marked which is great when you are unsure of what to order. I went for the Vegan Plate which consists of manioc fries, falafel, the legendary peanut sauce, a bean dish I forget the name of & salad. All for €4!

I'd also recommend the Madagascar tofu pita which is €3 for a huge sandwich, sadly the sandwich doesn't photograph well so you'll just have to use your imaginations. This place is a total bargain so if you're in Berlin & looking for a great budget lunch or dinner option this is the place for you. It's also great because Sudanese food isn't something you find in every city meaning that it's a great place to try something new.

There are two more instalments of our Berlin adventure to come, next time I'll be writing about what we did on my birthday*.

*hint, there's a lot of dessert involved!

Monday 4 July 2011

Berlin Part II - Ice Cream, Cake, Yoyo & Vego Foodworlds.

I really admire fabulous bloggers like In the Mood for Noodles who manage to blog about their trips whilst they're actually still on them, or even the many other bloggers who manage to put pen to paper as soon as they've unpacked their bags. Sadly I am not one of those bloggers, it's been just under a month since I got back from Berlin! Thankfully the memories of the delicious food haven't gone anywhere...

It was pretty hot when we arrived in Berlin so as soon as we'd dropped our bags off at the apartment we headed out for ice cream. I'd read on Melisser's blog that Caramello Eis was just around the corner from where we were staying so we headed straight there to get our ice cream fix.

Whilst the place isn't entirely vegan we were really excited by the selection as around half of the ice creams & sorbets on offer are vegan. Both Nick & I are huge chocolate fiends so the chocolate praline soya ice cream was the obvious choice. It was seriously the best ice cream I've ever eaten. Just a heads up, if you visit double check the vegan-ness of the waffle cone in my picture, the first three (yes, three! It was hot! I love ice cream!) times we went there we were told that the cone was vegan but on our last visit a different member of staff told us that it wasn't & gave us a different kind of cone. Sometimes this stuff's confusing when you don't really speak the language - I've just started taking online German lessons so I'll be able to communicate better next time I'm there!

After our ice cream we realised that we were hungry for carbs so we headed around the corner to Yoyo Foodworld. We'd heard that this wasn't the best in the chain of 'foodworlds' scattered around Berlin. There's Yoyo, Vego & Yellow Sunshine. Still, as it was the closest to us we decided to give it a try.

We were glad we did, we loved it! We had a ham pizza which came topped with chunks of vegan ham & a generous amount of Cheezly. It had been made in a proper pizza oven too which was great. The guy working there seemed a bit flustered as he was on his own both serving and cooking & the place was pretty busy but we didn't mind a bit of a wait.

After our pizza it was time for cake! We headed around the corner from Yoyo to Cupcake where we picked up these delicious vanilla raspberry cupcakes to eat at our apartment.

These were the same cupcakes Nick & I had when we were on our honeymoon in Berlin last year. The cupcakes were good & I loved the raspberry icing & the cute heart decorations. Cupcake always has options for vegans. Every day you can choose from a cupcake, cute mini banana breads, a chocolate brownie or a slice of apple pie. I wish they had two vegan cupcakes each day because I'm not a vanilla frosting fan & that was the cupcake option on two of the occasions that we visited. We picked up some of the mini banana breads to eat for breakfast the next day.

We'd also popped to Viv the previous day to buy a few breakfast essentials. Margarine, juice, bread etc, I also finished off the strawberries I'd brought to snack on on the plane. Viv is a great bio market with locations all over the city. The stores are full of vegan goodies like Nirwana Noir nut truffle Chocolate, cereals, Wheaty slices, pestos & soya milks.

After our breakfast we headed out to do some sightseeing. We hit up the Pergamon museum & walked around museum island...

...before heading to the Ramones Museum.

It was awesome to see all of the Ramones memorabilia but it was equally cool to see that loads of my favourite bands had visited & signed the wall. We'd built up quite the hunger by this point so we headed towards Prenzlauer Berg to check out Vego Foodworld.

We ordered pizza again because we wanted to compare it to the one at Yoyo & because, well, we love pizza!

This time we went for salami & we also ordered a Schnitzel burger and fries.

The burger's not looking so great in this photo because we removed all of the salad before I remembered to take the photo. Nick's not a salad fan and we decided to play it safe because of the E.coli scare, nobody wants to get sick on holiday! I found the burger bun a little odd, almost sweet tasting, Nick liked it though so I think it must just be me. I'd probably go to Yellow Sunshine next time I wanted a burger in Berlin though.

I couldn't resist ordering the calamari too. What? I was hungry! It was definitely the best I've had, perfectly rubbery & deep fried - yum!

We also picked up a snack for the road. These are delicious but I'm glad they're small because they're pretty sickly!

We were glad we checked out Vego Foodworld but aside from having a cheerier guy working there & perhaps being a little cleaner (but it was a less busy time of day) it wasn't incredibly different from Yoyo Foodworld. I'd definitely recommend them both.

I'm going to be splitting my Berlin adventures into a few posts so as not to overwhelm you, or me. Next time I'll be writing about our visit to a Kosher Bakery, the delicious food at Viasko & the awesome Sudanese food at Nil.