Vegan ice cream and pizza at de Parade

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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.

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Potato & Tempeh Sausage Pizza

I was really looking forward to sharing the pizza I made today, but sadly the picture turned out pretty horrible. This was tasty, though. It’s the Potato and Tempeh Sausage Pizza from Vegan with a Vengeance and it’s awesome! I love the tempeh sausage crumbles on pizza and I have a lot of leftovers so I’ll definitely be doing that again. The potato didn’t cook as much as I would’ve liked it to, though, so next time I might try steaming the slices first. I’d love to get crispy and/or creamy potato on my pizza, but these slices were still a little crunchy and undercooked. Other than that, this was really yummy.

Sorry for the low-quality post, I promise to try better soon! :) Meanwhile, read other (awesomer!) MoFo posts here! I have to get up early so I’d better try and get some sleep now.

Salad & Pizza in the Garden

I think I already mentioned on here that we had a pretty crappy summer with loads of rain and not nearly enough sunshine. Needless to say, it was a welcome surprise that the first days of autumn actually turned out to be very pleasant; yesterday my boyfriend and I even spent the afternoon at the beach (No swimming, though; too many jellyfish :( I did bring a cookbook to do some MoFo planning and it turns out my boyfriend would like me to try out all pancake and waffle recipes from 500 Vegan Recipes this month. Not a bad idea…) Today was equally gorgeous, so my parents and I decided to have dinner outside in the garden. I made the pizza dough from Nonna’s Italian Kitchen and the tofu ricotta from Veganomicon, so all we needed were a few fresh veggies to make a yummy summery meal.

Pizza!
My pizza had fresh tomato slices, tofu ricotta, sautéed oyster mushrooms, marinated artichokes (I found these at Xenos and they’re so much better than the canned artichoke hearts I usually get!), sliced red onion and arugula. I know I’ve said it before, but this pizza dough is the best! It’s easy to work with and makes for a delicious chewy/crispy crust. I haven’t always had good results with whole wheat pizza crusts, but I always use a cup of whole wheat flour in this recipe and it works beautifully! I actually prefer the crunchy texture it give the crust. Now all we need is a pizza stone and I’ll never want restaurant pizzas again!

Salad!
We’d made salads while waiting for the pizzas to arrive, and they were almost as delicious as the pizzas themselves. My plate had mixed lettuce, fresh tomato, red onion, tofu ricotta, some of those delicious artichoke hearts, and the Classic French Vinaigrette from the Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen. The dressing was quick to whip up and made a tasty addition to our salads. We also drizzled a little onto our pizzas.

I hope to  be back with more summery eats tomorrow. Got to enjoy those sunny days while they last!

London: Pizza Express!

As I mentioned earlier, we only had breakfast at the B&B in London once. For the remaining days, we decided to take the opportunity to shop at health food stores and try out some new products. We stopped by Holland & Barrett a few times because there’s a store right on Ealing Broadway (close to where we stayed). Here’s what we got on our second morning:

breakfast!

A package of Provamel cherry flavoured yoghurts (which, sure, I can get in the Netherlands too, but I don’t usually get this flavour… and I just love these little yoghurt cups!), and a “Supreme Sos Roll”, a puff pastry roll with vegan sausage-y filling. The store sold a bunch of different puff pastry rolls of the same brand, and I’d like to try more of them some day. This Sos Roll was pretty tasty, but I think it would’ve been so much better if I’d had the opportunity to heat it in the oven first. The filling was nice cold, but puff pastry is just at its best when it’s freshly baked and crispy, in my opinion.

For lunch, we went to an all vegan restaurant! More on that later.

We wanted to take a walk around a park after lunch, but due to the ever fickle weather we decided to wander around the city a bit and do some shopping until the rain would stop. I got the chance to stock up on some Lush goodies (which are a bit cheaper in the UK than in the Netherlands), so now I have two delicious smelling shampoo bars, a bottle of conditioner, and a tub of body cream to last me for a good while.

Anyway – after a few hours, we decided to head for Battersea Park to have a walk and relax a bit. We were getting hungry by the time we got there, though, so we walked over to the local Pizza Express to have dinner first.

Rustica Tomatoes & Sicilian Lemonade

Now, Pizza Express is a large chain of restaurants and it is definitely not completely vegetarian, but the offer decent vegan options and we both love pizza, so this seemed like just the place for us. The above picture shows one of the appetisers we got, the “Rustica Tomatoes”. I’d expected them to be different, to be honest – these were just like sun-dried tomatoes, and I’d expected juicier, fresher tomatoes. They were pretty tasty though, just not for my boyfriend who’s not a fan of dried fruits/veggies.

The glass on the side is Pizza Express’s Sicilian Lemonade, which sounded interesting, but oh my goodness this was way too sweet for me. I kind of wanted to get a glass of water and add the two together to dilute the incredible sugariness… I’m almost sure something must’ve gone wrong, because I’m sure this could taste great, if only they’d use less sugar and more water. Oh well, on to the good stuff:

Bread & Garlic oil

Bread! I asked for the garlic bread with garlic oil instead of butter, and it was just what we wanted – soft chewy/crispy bread with some olive oil for dipping. I think I would just skip the marinated tomatoes next time and get two portions of this bread.

Pizza Veneziana

And then, of course, the pizza. I got the Veneziana, which features onions, raisins, capers, pine nuts, and olives – they just left off the cheese for me. The toppings were tasty though not super impressive, but I really loved the crust! It’s this soft and chewy texture that I want in my pizza dough, but I haven’t been able to get it like that myself. If I ever go back, I’d like to try one of their pizzas with more fresh vegetables, but this was a good combination of toppings as well. Mmmm pizza…

If you’d like to find out more about the vegan options at Pizza Express, by the way, I suggest checking out this page of the Vegan London website – it has excellent information on which menu items are vegan and which can be made so on request.

After dinner, we had a lovely evening walk around Battersea park, quite close to the pizza restaurant. It was fun! I’d love to go back to that park on a sunny day sometime, and have a nice picnic or something. Here’s me trying to take a picture of the baby ducklings we saw at the pond:

Yeah, not the best pictures… but they were quick, and my battery was empty. Anyway, so cute <3 <3 <3

Hello again!

Whew, I did not intend to leave that last post up there for so long without making a new one, especially since it was kind of negative-sounding. I’d started writing a post weeks ago but then school got in the way and I never ended up finishing it! Anyway, here’s a post! Sorry about the absence!

Some updates on the last post: the ice cream was even weirder after it’d been in the freezer for a while – it became kind of dry and crumbly. I need to make a new, different kind of chocolate ice cream! The brownies were thrown away (actually they were stored in a cupboard by someone – not me-, forgotten, left there to be discovered after a week and then thrown away). It’s sad, but they just weren’t good. The muffins on the other hand were still good and satisfying and I ate almost all of them by myself as snacks during the next week.

My parents left to go on holiday a few days after my birthday, so I was home alone for a week. This meant I had to cook for myself every day, too. Normally this isn’t the case; I cook dinner only sometimes and have meals prepared by my Mom on most days (she’s vegetarian herself but cooks pretty much only vegan dishes these days!). Not that I minded, though, I obviously enjoy cooking. I did forget to make sure I had all the ingredients I wanted before the stores closed a few times, but luckily the fridge and basement were still full of enough food to make many, many decent meals.

As I had to spend most of my time studying for exams, I chose to make simple and quick meals. Here are some pictures I took:

Pita

A simple lunch: wholewheat pita bread with a salad and olive tapenade.

Pasta

Pasta

Pasta! I love pasta. Especially pasta with pesto, because it’s so easy to make and so full of flavour. One of these dishes has a regular basil pesto, but I made pesto with arugula when I ran out of basil and that was delicious as well. The upper picture has pasta with pesto, eggplant and sundried tomatoes, the other has sautéed mushrooms and kalamata olives. yum!

Pizza

This pizza has all kind of yummy things combined. It’s a simple wholewheat storebought crust with some tomato sauce, eggplant slices, olive tapenade and basil leaves. I think I also incorporated some leftover pesto into the tomato sauce for extra deliciousness.

Brownies

These are one of the few baked goods that I made during the past weeks (I also made cookies today, to celebrate the beginning of the summer holidays!): Black Bean Brownies! This is the recipe I used. I’d been planning on making it for a long time, but I had to get myself some black beans first. I thought they would be hard to find (and I still think they are), but then I discovered a can of them in the basement! It had probably been there for a long while, but I never noticed it before. Weird! Anyway, I felt I had to make them right away, and I did. And they were good. You can really taste the bananas, coconut and cocoa in there, but you can’t taste the beans! Next time I come accross a store that sells black beans, I’ll be sure to buy a couple of cans.

Fruit

Super-simple but so good: a fruit salad of melon, grapes and (frozen) raspberries. Perfect summer food.

Now, I spent the last few weeks focusing on exams, but as I had the last two today, I’ll have some more free time again! I have been peeking at pictures on blogs I’m subscribed to in Google Reader, and they looked so delicious and really made me want to be in the kitchen cooking (or eating) instead of buried under a pile of books studying, so I’m going to take the time to take a closer look at all of them now! Either that or I’m just going to fall asleep on top of my keyboard and will continue reading the posts tomorrow.

I’m going on holiday in a few days, though, so I won’t be home next week. In any case, I’m so relieved to have finished all these exams! and I’m hoping, hoping, hoping that I passed them.