Tuesday, 29 January 2013


Walking around The Lanes last month I spotted a new restaurant on Prince Albert Street advertising fresh handmade sushi and Japanese skewers. Obviously I grabbed a menu on my way past. When I found the menu in my bag a couple of days later I was excited to see that the vegan options were marked & I headed straight there to check them out.

The first thing that caught my eye was the Miso Zoup with Tofu, perfect food for when you're feeling under the weather.

This was a pretty decent bowl of soup and it was way larger than I was expecting. I can never resist Inari so of course Nick & I ordered those too. 

These sweet rice filled bean curd pouches are one of my favourite foods in the world and these were fantastic. These little inari's were plump and full of flavour. I'll definitely be going back to order these again, they're some of the best in Brighton.

Next up we tried both vegan Kushi options, the grilled mushroom skewers and the grilled tofu skewers. We ordered both so that we could compare them and the tofu was the clear winner.

Whilst I liked the sauce on the mushroom it was a little dry & chewy, I don't think it had been marinated before being grilled. The tofu on the other hand was awesome, a massive slab of fried tofu covered in delicious sweet miso sauce. Next time I'll be ordering two of the tofu skewers and skipping the mushroom especially as they both cost the same.

Another Japanese favourite of mine is Avocado Hosomaki and Zushi's were great. No unnecessary mayo hiding between the nori and the rice and they were nicely sized and good value for money at £2.

Zushi's a great new addition to Brighton's vegan eating scene. I really like that they're knowledgeable about vegan options and that they label what's vegan. When I emailed them they assured me that heir dashi is made from kombu & they gave me a full a list of their vegan or veganisable options, some things are labelled vegetarian on Zushi's menu when they are either vegan already or easily modified to become so. Here's the list:

Vegetarian Wrap - vegan if you replace the usual sauce with vegan temaki sauce
Vegan Chotto
Cucumber Hosomaki
Avocado Hosomaki
Cleanse Zoup
Seasonal Mushroom Kushi
Tofu & Spring Onion Kushi
Tofu Zalad - vegan if you change the dressing
Vegan Don

Zushi's quick service has made this sushi spot one of Nick's favourite places to grab lunch and he informs me that they've recently started to reduce the throwaway packaging by putting your order into one box if possible. I'm planning on heading there after my tattoo appointment later for some inari & maki rolls, yum!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Barcelona adventures: Part 3

Whilst having lunch at the Cardinal branch of Juicy Jones one day we spotted this amazing looking brunch menu. As soon as we saw it we knew we'd be going back...

After a slightly confusing conversation about honey, this place is vegan and they only had agave but kept calling it honey! We ordered the brunch plate.

It came with waffles, a yoghurt and granola parfait with apples, a muffin, orange juice, little PB&J toasts, coffee & juice. As they had no decaf I opted to have mine without coffee & they gave me an extra large parfait to make up for it! I'm a sucker for any kind of brunch or breakfast combo plate and this was no exception, it was a great start to the day.

After an afternoon at the Fundació Joan Miró we worked up an appetite & were ready to do some serious eating. We went back to Gopal where I ordered a burger with a side of potatoes & spicy sauce.

Their burgers are very high up on my favourite burgers in the world list, I love the quality of the buns and the simplicity of the filings, these were a hit every time. I thoroughly enjoyed the fried potatoes too, I mean you can't really go wrong with potatoes and oil, but the spicy sauce was a little on the hot side for me and I let my dining companions devour the ones that had touched it!

We also got cake. I mean, how could you resist this?

This piece of raspberry topped, pistachio mousse filled, vanilla sponge has to be the fanciest vegan cake I've ever eaten. It was just beautiful and I didn't want it to end, the cake itself was quite dense without getting even remotely close to being dry, the mousse was amazingly light and fluffy and I can't even comprehend how they made the amazing raspberry topping. Just, wow!

For our last meal in Barcelona we had planned to go back to Gopal but it was ridiculously busy and we had a lot of stuff with us so we decided to give Vegetalia Restaurante a try as it's just two or three doors down on the same side of the square.

I ordered the burger in a bun with salad and got the burger with rice and salad. It looked pretty good & I couldn't be bothered to get them to change it so I ate it anyway.

It was okay, not amazing but not bad. Perhaps more the kind of thing that I might throw together on a weeknight at home rather than order in a restaurant. I probably wouldn't hurry back to Vegetalia Restaurante as I think that there are much more exciting healthy options in town.

When we saw that Gopal had emptied out a bit after our meal we decoded to pop in for dessert.

This cake was almost as amazing as the first one I tried, I didn't really think you could beat the pistachio raspberry combo but this chocolate mousse cake came awfully close. It was such a perfect end to our trip.

I love hanging out with Melanie & Carmen and this was the first time that we had hung out somewhere that wasn't where any of us live. It was super fun & right now I'm wishing we were still there.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Barcelona adventures: Part 2

As the UK is in the midst of another cold snap I'm loving looking back over my photos and remembering spending time in warmer places. I like both autumn and winter - the changing leaves, bonfire night, Christmas, hot chocolate under a cosy blanket - but I think, at heart, I'm a spring kinda girl and spring in Barcelona is wonderful. I was there in April with my friends Carmen and Melanie and you can read about part one of our adventure here.

I knew before I hopped on the plane that I needed to try Gazpacho in Barcelona, what I hadn't considered is that it would be a little early in the year for this seasonal speciality. Eventually we spotted the elusive cold tomato soup on the set menu at Veggie Garden so of course I ordered it.

This was just as delicious as I'd expected, I'm not usually much of a soup person but something about this classic Spanish dish really stood out.

As the main part of this meal I chose the vegetable tart with a red wine salsa and beetroot & apple salad.

I'm a fairly new convert to beetroot but I love it now especially when paired with something sweet like these apples or a mix of carrot and raisins. The actual vegetable tart was simple and delicious and I loved the slightly meaty salsa.

Dessert was an apple crumble. I was slightly surprised upon tasting the first spoonful to find that this was served cold but it actually really worked and the next time I make a crumble at home I may not even bother re-heating the leftovers in the microwave!

I really loved the abundance of cheap set menus all over Barcelona. This meal was €8.25 for three courses, with a few options for the starter and the main, bread and a beer. Such amazing value and we loved every menu of this type that we tried.

I also loved checking out the vegan store, Veganoteca. Whenever I travel one of my favourite things to do is scope out the food stores, whether they're specifically vegan like this one, or not, you always find something new and exciting.

This store had a whole fridge full of mock meats, vegan cheeses and spreads...

...and a case full of some of the best looking baked goods I've ever seen.

We bought doughnuts and took them to the beach. It was such a beautiful day!

Melanie & Carmen dipping their toes in the ocean.

I also picked up some little pastries for breakfast the next day. When I was 14 or 15 I went on a Spanish exchange trip and lived with a family near Bilbao for a week, every morning we had these delicious individually wrapped pastries for breakfast and I remember thinking that cake for breakfast was the coolest thing ever!

I surprised myself by liking these lemoney ones more than the chocolate ones. They were perfect and they brought some wonderful memories flooding back.

To continue the cake in the morning tradition we headed around the corner from our apartment to buy Lujuria Vegana cakes from Pastarella de Estrella. These cakes were tiny and incredibly cute as well as tasty.

I also picked up a little package of cookies which turned out to be my favourite purchase that day. These were all melt in your mouth delicious and I wished I'd had more!

Lunch that day was at the branch of Juicy Jones at Cardinal. I was having wisdom tooth issues and looking back a sandwich probably wasn't the wisest of choices!

Melanie is a coffee connoisseur so when we smelt the beans roasting at Cafés el Magnífico we had to pop in.

I don't drink much coffee but when I noticed that they had decaf and soya milk I thought I should give their soya latte a whirl.

As I'm no regular coffee drinker the fact that I thought it was good is probably irrelevant but look how pretty it was!

I'll be back with the concluding chapter of my Barcelona trilogy later this week, it features some of the most beautiful cakes I've ever had the pleasure to eat!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Let's catch up!

I can't believe I haven't blogged about December's UK Vegan Food Swap yet. I had flu for about three weeks in December so I didn't get to try most of this tasty box of treats until last week. This was sent to me by Justine who as far as I know doesn't have a blog - leave me a comment if you do Justine & I'll link to it!

The first things I tried last month were the co-operative fairtrade peppermint creams, I'm a sucker for a peppermint cream and these were great. Nick inhaled the flapjack almost as soon as we opened the package & he thought it was great. I was super excited to see one of my favourite treats, a Jokerz bar, nestled within the contents of the box. They sell these at Infinity Foods but I don't buy them very often because they're pretty expensive.

I got tattooed last week and took the fruity gummy bears with me to keep my blood sugar up and the Moo Free bar & bag of dark chocolate soy-snacks are waiting for me to have my next chocolate craving.

Just before Christmas Nick and I went up to London to see the American Idiot musical, we pretty much got together because of Green Day - we met at work when I was 21 and we bonded over our love of 90's punk rock - so obviously we thought that the musical was amazing! We headed to Tibits before the show and I had this amazing plate of food. Onion rings, dal, pasta with butternut squash & greens, falafel, a tofu, apple & ginger salad, sweetcorn and a tasty olive filled roll.

The dal and the tofu, apple & ginger salad were the two standout dishes from this meal. I'd never tried either of them before and if I see them I'll definitely be getting them again. I obviously loved the onion rings, corn & falafel too, yum!

We were in luck with the dessert buffet too, they had the Sticky Toffee Pudding and a Chocolate Pudding. I didn't try the chocolate pudding but I love the sticky toffee pudding & I can't ever resist a piece if I see it on the food boat. I love that you can see Nick's spoon looming on the left side of this picture, I was going to edit it out but I thought it really summed up our eating out experiences - me snapping pic's and him wanting me to hurry up so he can eat!

We were kinda hungry again by the time we got the train home so we split a pasty from the West Cornwall Pasty Co. They only have one vegan pasty option, their wholewheat vegetable pasty but it's pretty darn good and, honestly, just being able to get a vegan pasty at the train station is good enough for me!

Their potato wedges are also vegan but I haven't tried them yet. You also have to be careful not to get the West Cornwall Pasty Co mixed up with The Cornish Pasty Company - their signage is almost exactly the same and the second place doesn't have vegan options. The West Cornwall Pasty Co is located around near platform 1 at London Victoria and on Duke Street in Brighton - the rest you'll have to find for yourselves!

My little one woman, not-for-profit, Operation Icing is still baking for local veggie cafe Waikikamookau. In December I made plenty of Black Forest Gateaux cupcakes...

Chocolate cake filled with black cherry jam & topped with vanilla frosting, a glacé cherry and dark chocolate shavings. 

...as well as loads of everyone's favourite, Peanut Butter Chocolate.

In other Operation Icing news I have my first ever stall (ever!) at Brighton VegFest on March 16th. I love Veg Fest, I go every year either to eat copious amounts of delicious food or to help my friend Mellissa, Ms Cupcake, out on her stall. I'm pretty nervous about baking the amount of cupcakes I'll need to bake in my tiny ten-cupcake-at-a-time oven but I'm mainly just excited about raising some money for animal charities and meeting loads of awesome people. Maybe I'll see you there?

I'm still cooking up a storm from Terry Hope Romero's Vegan Eats World, here's what I've made since my last post. This is the Pad See Ew, as soon as I saw this recipe I knew I'd be making it. Pad See Ew is my favourite Thai dish, I always order it at Pukk in NYC and I was amazed at how well it turned out. For some reason I'm the worst at stir fries but with Terry's directions I was confident that it'd be okay!

I had to do quite a lot of searching to find all of the soy sauces called for in this one but it was oh so worth it.

Nick & I also made the Tart Tatin. We cheated a little & used some store-bought pastry (Jus Rol) as we had some left over from making mince pies. This made the whole thing super simple although we found that our apples took quite a bit longer to caramelise than the recipe suggested.

This wasn't a problem, we just needed to be patient and really keep an eye on it. Terry says in the recipe that caramel can turn from something delicious to a burnt mess in seconds and I could see how easily this could've happened if we'd been distracted. This was unbelievably delicious, I always loved tart tatin in my pre-vegan days & I'm not sure why I'd never considered making a vegan version before. I love fruity desserts just as much as I love chocolatey ones & I can't wait to take this tart to the next level by whipping up the olive oil crust suggested in the book.

My favourite new years surprise was winning a copy of Amey's Yum Town zine over on her blog Vegan Eats & Treats.

I love Amey's blog, she's always making the most delicious looking food and, as you can see, her illustrations are adorable! I love her idea of making a yearly zine & I'm very tempted to give it a go myself this year, she even has this great zine making guide up on her blog.