Friday favourites

(Nederlandstalige versie)

It’s Friday and I have favourite things I want to tell you about!

#1: When my wife was a shiitake

Rice and shiitakes
Yesterday I read the short story When My Wife Was a Shiitake, in which a man rediscovers food after his wife passes away, and I immediately felt inspired to make sushi with stewed shiitakes. I soaked my shiitakes in water, pan-fried them in oil, stewed them in water with soy sauce, vegetarian oyster sauce, and a pinch of sugar, and served them on top of vinegared brown rice with vegetables on the side.

#2: Pancake soup

Pancake soup!

Pancake soup! I’d heard about this before (probably on Mihl’s blog) but I decided I had to try it after reading this post by Bianca. You make a few thin pancakes, cut them into strips, and put them in your vegetable soup. They’re like noodles, but thicker and better and more like pancakes.

#3: Gewoon Vegan

Gewoon Vegan is a new website by Martine from Vegetus with photos and reviews of vegan products you can buy in the Netherlands. It’s already helped me discover a few things I didn’t know about!

#4: Vegan Easter eggs

Chocolate Easter eggs

If you’ve been to Martine’s site you already know about this, but just in case you don’t: Lidl now has several kinds of vegan chocolate eggs! Pictured above are amaretto-filled eggs (on the left), eggs filled with hazelnut praline (on the right), and a big hollow egg (in the middle). Usually solid dark chocolate eggs are the only vegan ones (in regular supermarkets, anyway) so I’m glad Lidl is giving vegans a few more options this year.

#5: Poffertjes

Poffertjes!

I finally made poffertjes in my waffle iron and that worked wonderfully and now I want to eat them every week. I did feel like these came out a little drier than the ones made in a poffertjespan, but that may have been due to the amount of fat I used. I updated my recipe so it’s now available in Dutch as well as English and in grams as well as cups.

Have a good weekend! :)

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Vegan ice cream and pizza at de Parade

Untitled

De Parade is a travelling theatre festival that takes place in four Dutch cities throughout the summer. I like this festival not just for the performances but also for the wide variety of freshly prepared food sold at stalls all over the park. All the little restaurants represent a range of different cuisines, and while I haven’t asked about vegan options at every stall, I’ve never had trouble finding tasty eats and drinks.

This year I was excited to learn that the ice cream shop at the festival would be selling vegan ice cream by Professor Grunschnabel, a brand of coconut milk-based desserts I’d been meaning to try for a while. Their products include intriguing flavours such as Fresas del Habanero (strawberry with hot chillies), Indian Winter (coconut, ginger and Indian spices), and SalmiaCoco (coconut with vanilla and liquorice). The ice cream stall does sell dairy-based ice creams as well, and the coconut-based ones aren’t marked as vegan, but they’re pretty easy to recognise by their names and ingredients. The people at the stall may stare at you if you mention the name Grunschnabel (haha!) but they can probably tell you which ones are made with coconut milk. We happened to be there on a pretty chilly day, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sample some vegan ice cream!

Grunschnabel ice cream

I ordered a scoop of berry ice cream (can’t remember the name!) and the chocolate coconut flavour (ChoCocolate). I liked both, but the chocolate flavour was definitely my favourite. For some reason I thought I wasn’t a big fan of coconut milk in ice cream, but this combination worked really well (of course it did! it’s chocolate and coconut!), so I definitely want to try making coconut-based ice cream again very soon. Yum.

For dinner, we went over to Fuoco e Desiderio for some freshly baked pizza. Here’s a photo of their pizza ovens that I took a few years ago at de Parade in Utrecht:

Pizza ovens

Pizza with rocket & artichoke

I asked for a cheeseless pizza so they made me one with artichoke hearts, peppers, and rocket. I think there was some chilli oil on there, too, because it was nice and spicy! It was a light, fresh meal – perfect for summer, and doesn’t it make you wish you had one of those beautiful ovens in your garden? (I guess I’d have to have a garden first…)

Pretty pink juice

I also had a gorgeously pink apple and beetroot juice at a tiny juice bar called Little Sister. Pretty!

If you’d still like to visit De Parade this year, the festival is currently in Utrecht and it’ll be in Amsterdam next month.

Granose Meat Free Burgers

Granose Meat Free Burger

It’s a good thing MoFo is giving me the opportunity to catch up, because I made this burger back in July but still hadn’t gotten around to posting about it! This might just have been the best burger I’ve ever had, partly because I made the burger buns myself and used organic lettuce fresh from my neighbours’ garden along with my favourite vegan mayonnaise, and partly because the burger patty was really good! It’s made from the Meat Free Burger Mix by Granose, which is one of those packets of dry mix where you only have to add water to form a dough and then shape it into patties by hand – I’d mentioned the product before when I posted about my trip to a health food store in London. I sometimes buy those mixes in the Netherlands, as well, but I’d never tried one that was so tasty before! I really wish I could find these Granose products over here, too – they seem to have an interesting range of mixes according to their website (such as Lincolnshire sausages or a chicken style-roast) and those packages usually keep for a very long time. They’re also very light, so I imagine they’d be great to take on camping trips and other holidays. If I ever see them again (or if I go back to London), I’ll definitely buy more!

Granose Meat Free Burger

I followed the suggestion on the packaging and made some potato wedges to go with the burgers. My boyfriend and I enjoyed these on a sunny afternoon and it was such a perfect meal!

P.S. While looking for an older post I accidentally made a typo and found out that the “Page Not Found” message on my blog apparently contains a picture of a duck! How cute is that? Must be the new theme I’m using.

Hi there!

Oops, sorry for the slight absence after my final London post! The new semester started last week so I’ve been a little busy with that. I’m enjoying my new classes, though, and one of them is during the evening, which means I either have to pack a quick dinner or buy my food at a restaurant. Homemade is obviously the cheapest option, and here’s what I packed today:

I made a batch of tomato soup (in the thermos) with chopped red & yellow bell pepper, carrot, corn, courgette, and spring onions and I added some chili powder and other spices as well. It was delicious! I only just discovered we actually had a thermos in the house, but I’m definitely going to use it to bring more of these hot soups when the weather gets colder.

On the left is a salad of sautéed tempeh, shallots and asparagus over a bed of lettuce mixed with yellow bell pepper and white grapes. There’s a balsamic dressing in the little container on the side. This was tasty, although next time I’d add more tempeh and use less balsamic vinegar because the salad was a little too sour for my taste, but the tempeh was really tasty. I used the Italian marinade from Vegan with a Vengeance, which is originally meant for tofu, but it worked nicely for the tempeh as well!

And next to the thermos in the little cupcake box is a delicious double chocolate muffin based on a Have Cake, Will Travel recipe. I love how the recipes uses whole wheat flour and is so low in fat, but I did add a spoonful of oil just to make sure they won’t dry out even if I keep them for a while. The muffin was the perfect treat to enjoy on my way home! Mmm. I just wish I’d used a different cupcake pan so the muffins would get a nice high top instead of spreading out in the liner, but hey – at least they taste great.

Crazy Rumors lip balm

Oh, and check out what I received in the mail today! I really needed some new lip balm due to the sudden cold weather, so I ordered three varieties of a product I’d been wanting to try for a while – Crazy Rumors lip balm! I thought it would be good to sample some different scents, so I got Apple Spice (tea scented!), Almond Fudge (ice cream!), and French Vanilla (coffee). I’ve been using the Apple Spice one today, because it’s the scent that appealed to me the most, and I love it! It truly smells like apple spice tea – when I just put it on, I felt like I was sitting with a lovely cup of tea under my nose all the time. In a good way! It feels wonderful and moisturising, too, so it’s just what I was looking for. I’ve only been using Lush lip balms up until now and I still like those, but the little tins can be inconvenient at times. These little tubes are much easier to apply!

I got the lip balms at Alice and Jo’s Havesentials, by the way, and I love them for carrying the Crazy Rumors brand, as I hadn’t seen it available anywhere else in the Netherlands. They were really quick, too – I placed my order on Sunday evening and got my little envelope of lip balms this morning. I can’t wait to try the other Crazy Rumors scents… mmm!

I have some old(er) photos that I need to put on here, too, but I’ll save those for a later post – for now, have a great day, and thanks for reading!

London: As Nature Intended & more

Hi again! Sorry it’s taking me so long to post all of this London stuff – I promise I’m almost done now! This post is a bit of a mishmash of different London-related things, so apologies if it’s slightly long.

Anyway, one evening after a long day of walking from place to place all the time, we wanted nothing more than to sit down and enjoy a simple bag of chips, preferably with mushy peas (because I’ve never had those, and they sound fun. they are vegan, right?). However, we couldn’t find a single (fish and) chip shop! Well, we found one in the end, but that one wasn’t open for dinner. I mean, there was plenty of other food, but we really wanted that yummy deep-fried potato-y goodness. Luckily, we finally found a restaurant not far from our B&B that did serve simple, delicious and cheap food, including this generous portion of chips:

Chips & Stuffed Vine leaves

These hit the spot.  These were really tasty, and the condiments on the side were excellent as well (not pictured, but we got little bowls with three different dips, two of them vegan). Just what we wanted! I also ordered a portion of stuffed vine leaves in tomato salsa, and they were even better than I’d expected. I’ve only ever had dolmades served cold, but these were warm and soft and creamy and utterly delicious.

So while I loved eating at all the amazing vegetarian restaurants in London, this simple meal was very satisfying as well. And we were starting to become kind of broke at this point, so we were happy to have a cheaper meal this time, too.

The next morning (our last day! boo), we made a little trip to an awesome health food store in Ealing. Amy, one of the wonderful people at the B&B, had recommended this place to us, and I’m so glad she did! This store, called As Nature Intended, was packed with awesome vegan goodies. I kind of wish we’d checked it out a few days earlier, because they had loads of products I wanted to try. I still left with a bunch of great treats, though, so I’m definitely not complaining. Here’s a quick list of what we got:

Soyade soy yoghurts

  • Sojade soy yoghurts! I’d seen the Sojade brand once before in the Netherlands, but I hadn’t tried any of their products yet. These tiny packages of soy yoghurt were the perfect opportunity to sample some flavours! We had cherry, raspberry, and lemon, and the lemon flavour was definitely our favourite. Mmm.

  • A Tofu Spinach Pancake by Laura’s Idea: Unlike other things I’ve bought to eat on the go, I think this product was actually best enjoyed served cold! This was great, as I had no way of heating it anyway. I loved the texture and flavour of the pancake and I liked the tofu spinach mixture too, but I could only eat about half of it before I kind of got bored with the filling. It was also a bit messy to eat. I think I would buy this again as I did enjoy it, but I would probably try to divide it into separate portions and not eat the entire wrap at once.
  • A Fresh! sandwich: “organic vegetarian sausage with onion marmelade, cucumber & baby salad leaves on malthouse”. I really wanted to try this because I like discovering new kinds of vegan sausage, and I really enjoyed the sausage and salad on this, but the onion marmalade made the whole sandwich kind of gross for me. I found the sweet flavour way too overpowering, so I tried to eat around it and enjoy the rest of the sandwich, which I did like.
  • A Falafel Wrap, also by Fresh!: Definitely not the best falafel I’ve ever had, but it was okay. I put this in the fridge at the B&B so I could enjoy it on our way home the next day, but maybe it would be better eaten right away? In any case, I thought it was a little dry and I didn’t like the bread/wrap very much, but the fillings weren’t too bad.
  • Plamil Egg Free Mayonnaise: whoo! I was glad to find a jar of this stuff, as my boyfriend mentioned how much he liked the mayo at Ha Ha Veggie Bar, and I think this is the brand they use. I haven’t opened the jar yet, but I’m looking forward to trying it! Maybe we can do a little mayonnaise tasting to compare different brands…
  • A Granose burger mix: These just-add-water burger mixes are always good to have on hand, so I was excited to be able to try a new kind. I already made a few burgers with this, and they’re really tasty! I’ll post more about them later.
  • Essence of rosewater and organic vanilla extract: I always see recipes that use rosewater, but I never had the stuff around. Now I do! I haven’t tried it yet, but I should look up some of those recipes. I’m not sure how different the natural vanilla extract is from the Dr Oetker aroma stuff I usually buy, but it will be fun to try it out!

The weather was fiiinally getting a bit better, so we decided to spend our day in Hyde Park. We had a wonderful day! I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures, but I did manage to get a few shots of the adorable squirrels we met – some of them were shy, but we were patient, and eventually they came closer! I had some organic sunflower seeds I’d bought at a health food store and they seemed to love those… I’d never seen a squirrel up close before, so I was super excited! They are so so so cute.

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<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/kippelina/4922656549/&#8221; title=”Untitled by Bonnie &lt;3, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4093/4922656549_57c4b73fbd.jpg&#8221; width=”375″ height=”500″ alt=”” /></a>

London: Vx – an all vegan shop!

Vx Storefront

After our delicious lunch at the Gallery Cafe, we filled our afternoon with sight seeing and shopping at fun shops, including Vx (pronounced v-cross), a completely vegan store in King’s Cross! Vx is the home of the Secret Society of Vegans, so the store carries all of their clothing and accessories, but they sell lots of other awesome products as well. I really wanted to check out this place because it’s just so much fun to shop at a store completely packed with vegan goodies!

Vx!

They sell everything from shoes to cupcakes and I was especially excited to try some of the vegan baked good and other treats. Here’s a little list of what I got:

A cupcake by Ms Cupcake: I think the one I got was a Triple Chocolate Cupcake, but whatever it was, it was perfect! I took it with me in a little box so it got a bit squashed on the way to the B&B and I couldn’t get a pretty picture of it. Definitely have a look at Ms Cupcake’s website, though, because there are some gorgeous pictures over there! I’d love to try more of her cupcakes if I ever get the chance.

An SSOV hoodie and mug: The hoodie is super warm and soft and comfy! Thankfully the weather currently isn’t so cold that I need such a warm sweater, but I’m sure going to be glad to have it when winter comes around. Plus I love buying my clothing from vegan companies, so that is great as well. The mug is a bit silly but I couldn’t resist. Ha.

Treats!

Mexican-style Creamy Sheese: Sheese is a brand of vegan cheese that I’ve been looking forward to trying. Vx only had one of their products, which was this Mexican-spiced cream cheese. I only tried it once so far (on a slice of bread), and I thought it was tasty but not super impressive. It’s good, but I guess I really wanted to try something new, and apart from the spices, this didn’t seem to be all that different from the Tofutti cream cheese I usually get over here. I would really like to try the solid blocks of Sheese someday, because those look really interesting and different from vegan cheeses available over here. I still have most of the tub of Creamy Sheese to finish, though. I’m just not sure how to serve it. Just spread on a bagel with veggies and avocado maybe? Any suggestions?

Organica Vegan Hazelnut Nougat & Dark Chocolate bar: Yum! The bar was tasty, but nothing outstanding so I probably wouldn’t buy it very often even if I had access to it.

Trios Fudge Filled Chocolate Sandwich Cookies: Score! At least, I expect I’ll love these – I haven’t opened the package yet! I’m thinking I could make some of those enticing Oreo Cupcakes with them… that would be amazing. I just haven’t tried one yet because I’m afraid I won’t be able to eat them all before they go bad, and that would be a terrible waste! So I’m just going to hang on to these and hopefully I’ll be able to make something delicious with them someday.

A Whole Earth Sparkling Elderflower Drink: Woooh! Remember how I said I love the Whole Earth drink we had at Rootmaster and the Elderberry drink I had at the Gallery Cafe? (I know you don’t, but bear with me here) Well, combine the two and you get this! It’s a delicious elderflower softdrink sweetened with agave AND I recently found out can get this near my home, too! Excellent.

I think that’s all I bought at Vx – all such lovely vegan products! And because they were so packed with goodies, I kind of wish I could’ve tried even more. For instance, I saw these huge (and I mean huge) cookies that looked delicious and they had a few types of vegan ice cream, too, but we just weren’t able to buy (and eat) all of those at the same time. I’m really happy I got to try out all these wonderful treats, though!

London: The Gallery Cafe

On our fourth day in London, we stopped at Holland & Barrett again for some breakfast on the go. We bought another package of mini Provamel soya yoghurts (raspberry this time), and I got this “Italiano” by Veg.Out:

Veg.Out pastry and Provamel soy yoghurt

The label describes this as a “Vegetable Lattice Slice”; “Pasta & Fresh Vegetables in a Bolognese Sauce”, and it was basically puff pastry filled with wheat pasta and sauce. It seems strange to put pasta in a pastry, but I actually really liked this! The textures went well together and the sauce was pretty tasty. As with all puff pastry foods, though, this would probably have been much better served warm.

The Gallery Cafe, London

Not long after our breakfast (we got up a bit late that morning), we wandered over to The Gallery Cafe for some lunch. This cafe is a lovely little place (I wish I’d taken more pictures of the interior!) that offers vegetarian and vegan dishes for a decent price. There’s a blackboard with the daily menu behind the counter where you order your food, and the friendly staff are also quite happy to inform you of specials and vegan options. We picked out a table right by the window, so we had a nice view of the garden right behind the restaurant.

My boyfriend ordered a spaghetti bolognese, which is vegan if you leave off the cheese, but I didn’t get a good picture of that. I did get one of my equally delicious meal, which was the daily special:

Daily special at the Gallery Cafe in London

That day, the special consisted of penne with cauliflower and courgette in a creamy vegan cheese sauce. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this was really good! I don’t think I’d ever had anything like this in a restaurant before, and now I’d like to try making this myself some time. I wonder what they put in the cheezy sauce… In any case, I really enjoyed this. It was quite filling, too.

Organic Elderflower Drink at the Gallery Cafe in London

To go with my meal, I ordered this wonderful organic elderflower soft drink. I had no idea what an elderflower drink would taste like, but I really love this! I’m going to try to buy it more often. I think we also have an elderflower flavoured syrup at home, so maybe I could make my own…

Gallery Cafe Menu

Here’s a picture of the menu outside the restaurant, to give you an idea. Just make sure to check the blackboard inside the restaurant, too, because the menu changes daily. They told us they didn’t have any vegan cakes on offer that particular day, but on other days they might, so make sure you ask the staff about vegan options as well! Everyone seemed super friendly there, and I’d love to go back some day. I know I say this about pretty much every place I visited in London but well… it’s true. I’ll be back with more vegan London pictures later!