Eating Vegan: in the Lake District

Sunday, 14 October 2018

After a little trip to the Lake District recently, I just have to tell you about all the wonderful vegan food that's on offer there. I was seriously impressed by the number of places that had vegan options and at how good those options were! I do use Happy Cow to find places to eat, but I feel I never really know how good they will be until I get there and see for myself. I had a short list of places I knew had options and a couple of recommendations, but I really didn't expect it to be as vegan (or as dog) friendly as it was. Delicious vegan cake and dogs in cafes - it  doesn't really get much better than that. I absolutely fell in love with the Lakes; everywhere was beautiful, every walk, every view, every town, and the food was lovely. I'll definitely be back soon!


Chester's by the River
Skelwith Bridge | Vegetarian | Dog friendly
My number one of the holiday was Chester's by the River (so much so that all the pictures in this post are from there). It's pretty much a vegan hevaen. I went twice it was so good. The whole cafe is vegetarian so there are lots of vegan options on the menu and almost all of the cakes are vegan too. Both of the salads I had were divine and the cake was soooo good (banana and coconut loaf with a maple icing, and a raspberry and custard donut to takeaway). The coffee is also delish and they have oat milk which is my fave. There's also a lovely walk you can do from Elterwater a few miles up the road that takes you along a beautiful riverside path to the cafe.  Chester's is an absolute gem of a place and I can't recommend it more!

The Apple Pie Cafe
Ambleside | Good vegan options | Dog friendly  
The famous apple pie from here just so happens to be vegan - something I was very excited by. They have a plain and a spiced version so obviously I got spiced and it was lovely. For non-vegans, they serve it with cream or ice cream but for vegans, it's just plain but that doesn't matter because it's so good. They also have quite a lot of other lunch options on the menu which sounded really nice, but I won't lie, I'm all about the cake. With a coconut milk latte to go alongside my pie, it was just what I needed after my walk (Wansfell Pike to Troutbeck and back through Skelghyll Woods if anyone is interested). I'd highly recommend both the cafe and the walk. 

Zeffirellis
Ambleside | Vegetarian 
I ate in most evenings as there seemed to be a lack of dinner places doing good vegan food, although I didn't look too hard as I prefer eating dinner at home. Zeffirellis, therefore, was the only place we visited for dinner, but, oh it was worth it. Being a veggie restaurant, there are a huge selection of vegan options on the menu. It's primarily Italian food but they do also have a few other things as well. I had a huge pizza with lots of toppings and vegan cheese and it was divine. Oh, and it's also a cinema so if you want to catch a movie at the same time, you can! 

Graze
Bowness on Windermere | Good vegan options | Dog friendly  
Unfortunately, Graze was closed the exact week we were staying so I didn't get to go but it looks like a lovely little cafe that has several vegan options, I decided while staring longingly through the window after seeing the sign to say they were closed...


Taylors of Bowness
Bowness on Windermere | Vegan options
Taylors is a takeaway shop so we didn't visit but the board outside listed a vegan sandwich which sounded delicious and I'm sure they also do salads. A great spot for grabbing something to take with you for a day of walking. 

Homeground
Windermere | Vegan options 
This place seems to be a brunch hotspot and has a few vegan options including overnight oats, cake and a selection of plant milk. I hoped to visit but didn't end up having the time so it's definitely on my list for next time. The inside looks lovely too with a wood burning stove to keep you cosy in winter.

Greens Cafe
Grasmere | Good vegan options 
I'd already eaten by the time we passed this gem but it had lots of vegan options on the menu, including a vegan toad in the hole! I was very impressed and will definitely visit on my next trip. Perhaps a little on the pricey side but I would hope the food would make it worth it. 

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop 
Grasmere | Vegan options
The only place in the world that makes and sells this famous Grasmere gingerbread, which I'm so upset to say, I didn't realise was vegan at the time so didn't bother waiting to get inside (there was quite a long queue!). I can tell you it smelled heavenly, though. Lesson to self - never assume something won't be vegan, always double check then and there. Next time, I'll be getting my hands on that gingerbread for sure! 

Kat's Kitchen
Keswick | *Almost* fully vegan | Dog friendly 
Another one I didn't get the chance to eat in but I stopped by and had a look at the menu and everything sounded lovely. All of the food, and most importantly cakes, in this cafe are vegan. The only exception is that they offer cow's milk for coffees as well as plant milk. It had a lovely relaxed vibe and is yet another place that welcomes dogs, which always earns extra brownie points in my eyes. 


Summer Overnight Oats

Monday, 9 July 2018

Overnight oats; basically summer's answer to porridge, and with the glorious sunshine that has been with us recently, I've been eating a lot of this breakfast. All the work is done the night before so in the morning all you need to do is add your toppings (because can you even call it breakfast if it isn't loaded with toppings?!) and tuck in. This is my staple summer recipe but you can easily change it up by adding different flavours, fruits and nuts to your taste.


You will need: (serves 2)
1 banana 
1 grated apple
1 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1 cup rice milk (or other plant milk of your choice)
1/4 cup vegan yoghurt (the Alpro coconut one is my fave)
1/4 cup frozen raspberries

Method: 
- Mash up the banana in a bowl and then mix through the vanilla extract.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon. Add the banana mixture, grated apple, pour over your milk and add the yoghurt. Mix everything together well. 
- Finally, using your hands crush up the frozen raspberries a bit so they are in smaller pieces as opposed to whole raspberries. Mix these through and then pop the mix into an airtight container or slipt into two jars. Place in the fridge overnight. 
- In the morning, serve with your choice of toppings. I like adding extra yoghurt with nut butter, fresh fruit, and some nuts or granola to give it a good crunch. 

Variations: 
- Leave out the apple and add in one heaped teaspoon of cacao powder for a super chocolatey version. 

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Eating Vegan: in Edinburgh

Monday, 29 January 2018

Edinburgh is a wonderful city to be vegan in. I previously favoured Glasgow as it had more fully vegan places, but Edinburgh is quickly catching up with more and more places opening all the time, including Scotland's first fully vegan ice cream and donut shop - yes, it's incredible! Right now, these are the best spots if you are looking for some delicious vegan food in Edinburgh, so if you are planning a trip make sure to pop a few of these on your 'to visit' list! The hardest part is choosing where to go first, although I don't think you can beat freshly made vegan donuts...


BEST FOR BREAKFAST AND LUNCH

103-105 West Bow  |  Good vegan options 
Hula is probably the best all-rounder. Smoothie bowls and porridge for breakfast, avocado toast, sourdough sandwiches and their delicious rainbow bowls for lunch, and lots of cakes, smoothies and juices too. You always know you'll get a good meal when you go to Hula, plus it's got such a good vibe - it's rarely quiet but you can usually always get a table without a wait. 

Brochan
24 Marchmont Crescent | Almost totally vegan
A recent discovery but a solid contender for maybe my favourite cafe in Edinburgh. Described as a porridge and grains cafe, Brochan serves up the most incredible breakfast ever. It's pretty damn hard to get a decent bowl of oats out with most places lacking an understanding of the vital role that toppings play in porridge enjoyment, but Brochan has nailed it. From banoffee to chai spiced apple and chocolate raspberry, you won't be disappointed with their selection, and they have some amazing sounding granolas and toast too if porridge isn't your jam. A must visit spot to start your day. 


34 Elder Street  |  Fully vegan 
One of Edinburgh's few fully vegan cafes, Holy Cow is a total hidden gem. Just down from the bus station and below street view, you'd easily miss this place if you weren't looking for it. They specialise in burgers and sandwiches but also have incredible cakes. You'll be really full after your visit but it's so worth it.

16 Grassmarket  |  Plant-based 
Home to the prettiest smoothie bowls in town, Pumpkin Brown is a really cute wee cafe on Grassmarket. They do porridge, smoothies and lots of really nice salads and cakes. It's also a great place if you need to grab and go because lots of their products are packed and ready to take away.


BEST FOR DINNER 

23-25 St Leonards Street  |  Good vegan options 
Epic vegan nachos are really the only words needed to describe The Auld Hoose. Cheap and cheerful and unlike anything you've ever seen. They claim to serve Edinburgh's largest nachos and I really don't think anyone could dispute them on this - they are huge! In fact, the regular size serves two people, usually with leftovers, so go hungry. They also serve vegan burgers and hot dogs but I've never known anyone to go here and not get the nachos. 

41 Lothian Street  |  Vegetarian 
100% meat free (and usually vegan) soul food is what Paradise Palms is all about. It's comfort food at it's best so the menu includes things like chipotle macaroni cheese (maybe the best mac and cheese I've had), chilli, hot dogs, and nachos. Get a side of corn too, you won't regret it.


42 Howe Street  |  Vegetarian 
This is one of the few here that I haven't visited myself (yet), but I've heard so many good things that I had to include it. Fully vegetarian, with a huge vegan menu, Nova is a favourite among local vegans. They also have lots of vegan meats so if you're into that then this place is definitely worth a visit. Make sure you book though as the restaurant is tiny! 

25C Thistle Street  |  Fully vegan 
Henderson's has quite a few cafes and restaurants across the city but only one that's fully vegan - you can get lots of vegan options at their other locations too though. If you're after something a bit fancy for a special occasion then this little vegan bistro is great. All the food is super fresh and there are often dishes on the menu that are a bit different. It is a bit expensive compared to other places though, hence why it's the one for something special.


BEST FOR COFFEE AND CAKE 

65 Clerk Street  |  Vegetarian 
I'm a huge fan of Herbivore, mainly because their brownies are the best in the world, but also because it's super cute and everything I've ever eaten by these guys has been incredible. It's definitely worth popping in, even if it's just to pick up a brownie...

Grassroots
20 Lochrin Buildings, Gilmore Place  |  Plant-based 
Grassroots has good lunch things, but the cakes win it for me. They stock The Doughnut Family doughnuts and Blitz Patisserie raw cakes, which if you're from around Edinburgh, you'll know all about because they are amazing. The hot chocolate here is also a winner. 

ConsiderIt 
3-5a Sciennes  |  Fully vegan
Donuts, chocolate and truffles that are all vegan - basically the dream. ConsiderIt has it down when it comes to vegan donuts and always have a good selection of flavours; my personal faves include white chocolate honeycomb and the filled salted caramel one. Their hot chocolate is also incredible. Prepare for a wonderful sugar high when you visit because there isn't a savoury item in sight!


Vegan Sausage Stew

Monday, 23 October 2017

It's been a pretty long time since I last posted a recipe on here. That's the thing about having a blog, sometimes you're absolutely full of motivation and are banging out post after post, and other times you just aren't. Recently, I've been on an extended phase of the latter. As much as I love my blog, I also love being outdoors and exploring new places, seeing friends and family, and reading, so while I've been making more time for those things, this little space has been a bit neglected. I really wanted to share this recipe with you today, though, because it's such a comforting and hearty meal, which is exactly what we need at this time of year. Coming home to this after a long walk out in the cold is just wonderful. 


You will need (serves 4-5) 
1/2 a butternut squash (or one small one)
1 carrot
1 courgette
1 onion
1 leek
2 handfuls spinach
2 cloves garlic
4 vegan sausages (I use Linda McCartney's vegetarian sausages)
400g tin chopped tomatoes
400g tin mixed pulses or beans
1/4 cup red lentils
2 cups vegetable stock (I made this using 1 teaspoon of Marigold vegan bouillon powder)
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon vegan worcester sauce
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Method: 
- Finely chop the onion and garlic and chop the squash, carrot, courgette, and leek into small chunks.
- In a large pot, add a little water and fry the onion, garlic, carrot, and leek for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the herbs, spices, and sugar and fry everything for a further 1-2 minutes.
- Add the stock, squash, courgette, lentils, and beans along with the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, and worcester sauce.
- Put a lid on the pot and leave to simmer over a low heat for 40 minutes.
- While the stew is cooking, cook the sausages according to packet instructions so they are ready at the same time as the stew.
- Chop the sausages into chunks and add to the pot along with the spinach and cook everything together for a further 10 minutes.
- Serve with mashed potato or rice.