Some people, I’ve heard, like to ease off of the comfort foods in November, knowing that they’re likely to indulge a lot over the festive season.
Let’s get right into my favourite foodie bits from the past month:
When I stepped onto a stationary boat on a grey and rainy day in Northampton, after the brunch spot we wanted to visit was closed, I didn’t have the highest of hopes.
I was wildly wrong. The Ark in Northampton is an all-vegan coffee shop/cafe with a super cosy interior, and a stunning full-English breakfast featuring sausages, mushrooms, hash browns, sourdough toast, tofu scramble, beans and tomatoes. I recommend this place whole-heartedly if you find yourself in the area.
Another place that was new for me in November was Patty & Bun, who have multiple locations across London and Brighton. Although this isn’t a fully-vegan chain, they do offer two delicious sounding vegan burgers, a number of suitable sides, and the option to veganise several of their burgers.
On my visit, I went for the “Pamela” burger, boasting a plant based patty, oozy, melting dairy-free cheese, smoky vegan bacon and all the classic burger trimmings. I also shared some delicious rosemary salted fries & vegan nuggets with my friend. As soon as I’m no longer full from this killer meal, I’ll be back.
Now for something quite literally on the tried-and-tested end of the spectrum: this month I posted my recipe for gluten free & vegan chocolate chip cookies.
The very day I posted this recipe, I made a bee-line for the kitchen and made it myself all over again, which may well hold up as a modern retelling of the story of Narcissus. You can make them, too, by following the recipe here.
If you’re after a dessert you don’t have to make yourself, look no further than the vegan Ben and Jerry’s.
In all honesty, I haven’t been too impressed with all of their dairy-free flavours, but I found these mini pots in Tesco’s on offer at £3 for 4, prompting me to try out the “Chunky Monkey” replica, and it is divine. Creamy banana ice cream, the slight crunch of nuts, and dreamy chocolate swirls. Try this one out!
Finally onto something (almost) healthy, I popped into Simple and Good yet again to try out their new vegan kofte wrap with shredded red cabbage, dairy-free yogurt, tomatoes and cucumber. As with everything I’ve eaten there, it was lovely.
Now for something less healthy for the body but far more healthy for the bank balance, I whipped up some “fake-away” pizzas at home.
I kept these super simple, making a garlic & herb tomato sauce, and then topping with sliced mushrooms and Sainsbury’s vegan cheese. Yummy.
While we’re talking vegan cheese, I have to mention this incredible seitan and pepperjack cheese toastie from Supplant, a new vegan restaurant in Crouch End.
This is another one we ended up in by very happy accident, and I’m mightily glad we did. It’s a lovely casual dining experience, with an inventive yet accessible menu.
Talking of inventive menus, nowhere does exciting yet nourishing veggie food quite like Mildreds. This is the spot I would recommend to herbivores and meat eaters alike time and time again.
On this occasion, my friend had the dreamy, creamy Sri Lankan curry, and I had the “chicken” kebab. This was by far the most realistic and succulent meat alternative I’ve tried in my many years as a vegan, and it was served up with whipped tahini, spinach, and smoky beans. I finished up with a devilishly dark chocolate and cherry pudding that I’m still thinking about longingly everyday.
Ending on a sweet note, as I always do, I got my hands on some clearly labelled vegan jelly sweets from M&S. There’s nothing special about these other than the fact that these very particular sugar-coated jelly sweets were my favourite as a child, and biting into them feels like a small explosion of nostalgia. I’m thrilled to have found a vegan version that I can stock up on for Christmas!
So that’s all for this month, friends. I’ll be back in a few weeks with another Self Care Sunday, but until then, have a wonderful festive season and happy