Yesterday, I came back home to Dublin from a university trip to Newcastle, Malta and Bristol. I think it’s safe to say that Newcastle WINS at catering for vegans.
It may not be entirely fair to say that actually, because I didn’t really give Bristol much of a chance, but Malta certainly left a lot to be desired when eating in restaurants.
So! We found a place called ‘Scrumpy Willow and the Singing Kettle’ on Clayton Street in Newcastle first, and I’m pretty sure I would live here if I resided in Newcastle. They catered for meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans, and they did not produce anything half-heartedly.
Here are my two friends; Sarah and Niamh, being eager beavers and waiting for the place to open!
The lady was incredibly nice to us while we were there and the interior was so quirky and unique. Now, to get to the food part - I got a berry milkshake and my vegan friend John got some sort of banana milkshake as far as I can remember. Um, they were sort of amazing.
A few of us ordered the ‘vegan traditional breakfast’ and it was by far, the BEST breakfast I have had
since becoming vegan EVER.
There were baked beans, puy lentils, tomatoes, mushrooms, amazing toasted bread with soy butter and a potato bake. Everything was beautiful.
I wanted to try everything, obviously, because I live for food, but I couldn’t afford to try ALL of the food! But I tried this chocolate chilli cake, I didn’t know there was chilli in it (not a huge fan of chilli) but it was still pretty nice.
The lemon cheesecake angels must have made this one though. WOW:
And so that concluded our visit to Newcastle, next up was Malta, which I wasn’t TOTALLY impressed by as far as vegan food was concerned. I asked one waiter if he had anything vegan and he offered me pork, so I kind of gave up on that one. They did have soy ice-cream though, which made me look like a really happy 5-year-old. I bought vegan chocolate drops in a health food store nearby, (there were a lot of those!) and added them in. Here’s the place!
I noticed that a lot of stores in Malta sold soy/rice milk, but I didn’t come across anywhere that offered soy milk with their coffees. Disappointing, considering I got about 8 hours sleep in the 4 days we were away!
In Bristol, we didn’t get much of a chance to explore, but I had previously looked up Arc Cafe which looked promising. Next time!
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. It was the little things like finding soy ice-cream and small health food stores that made the trip that extra bit lovelier. :)
Pronounced ‘keen-wah’, this magical seed tastes a little like rice minus the heaviness and double the nutrients. I use it nearly everyday. They should just pay me to advertise it already. It is literally as easy as throwing a load into a pot of boiling water and cooking it like you would cook pasta. It’s quick, cheap (Tesco brand, obvs) and I like to add Uncle Ben’s curry or szechuan sauce and looooads of veggies and lentils. Yay!
I try to make my food look visually appealing but it just doesn’t want to work out for me, ever. So here is a pile of mush. ^
Quinoa is a good source of protein and fibre. It only takes about 15 minutes to cook & has a slightly crunchy texture.
As I have no sense of portion size, I usually make enough to feed an army. So I used the remainder to fill giant mushrooms. It was weird, but it was good. Let’s not question it.
For the mushrooms - I wrapped them in tinfoil to let them cook in their own juice and put them in the oven for about 45 minutes on gas mark 5. Maaaagic!
Since exams are over and I’m officially finished my first year of college, I now have nearly 4 months to experiment and try out SO MUCH NEW FOOD. Aaaahhhh!
….getting too excited about food since 1992.
If you’re like me and have a horrific tendency to sleep through your 17 pre-set alarms, then wake up ten minutes before you have to leave for college/work and once again have no money to buy breakfast ‘along the way’…fear not.
Just a quick note, this will require some multi-tasking, so if you’re part of the male species, I suggest you stop being such a lazy mofo and just get up when your alarm goes off. Ha, I kid.
Assuming you have SOME sense of preparation as a vegan, you should have some seeds ready to throw on your food. Strictly speaking, seeds should be soaked to bump up the nutritional value (it starts the sprouting process..don’t listen to the Rugrats, if you eat them, they won’t grow inside your tummy).
My seed of the week this week is sesame seeds! You’re probably thinking LOLZ seeds are for rabbits and squirrels…but being a vegan, you have to take all the non-dairy calcium you can get, and sesame seeds are (part of) your answer. In one quarter of a cup of sesame seeds (36g), there’s 35% of your RDA of calcium. Anyone else get really excited about that? Just me? K.
They taste better when they’re cooked, and don’t need to be soaked if you’re cooking them, it’s simple though so you could just put a load on the pan at once when you’re trying to distract yourself from doing assignments (no oil, no soy butter, nothing but the seeds!) for literally all of 4 minutes until they’re a light gold colour, mix them around the pan with a wooden spoon and then store them in some tupperware and voilá!
You can totally do all of this while brushing your teeth…this is where the talented multi-taskers win. Throw toast in the toaster, whip out your soy butter (I use ‘Pure Soya’..since nobody else is vegan in my house it’ll last me about 3 months - available in Tesco!) and you can throw some toasted sesame seeds on top of your toast to add some nutritional value to your 2-minute breakfast!
OBVIOUSLY, I’m going to start with the most important thing about being vegan - sugary, sweet and
generally unhealthy yummies.
If you’re lucky enough to have access to a Tesco, Holland & Barrett, Nourish or any other health food store, then this will make your day.
They’re called ‘Dairy Free Buttons’…I know you’re probably thinking…vegan chocolate, HA, no thanks! But trust me, these are the real deal. They remind me a little bit of the Tweenies Easter egg I got when I was a kid. They also come in white chocolate which are reeeallly sweet, so after 2 you’re like woah, that’s enough. They’re 59c in Tesco and a little bit more expensive in Holland & Barrett, so they won’t break the bank. Word of advice; if you don’t live near a Tesco or health food store, jesus CHRIST stock up on these.
Ok, what lies below this might be the most amazing thing to happen to the vegan world. BEHOLD.
YES. Every rose has it’s thorn though, they’re €3.15. That’s the equivalent of 5 packets of Dairy Free Buttons. The choice
s is yours. Ha. See what I did there.
‘Choices’ do lots of other vegan chocolate goods, like bars and easter eggs, the crispy bars are pretty awesome but they’re €1.35 per bar. You’d get a shot of sambuca out of that if this was Liverpool. (It was crucial to get that in).
These are just a few little treats that you can depend on for a sugar rush when you’re missing that Double Decker (sigh)..but they taste just as good, aren’t that expensive and you’re helping the planet. Aren’t you lovely.
I decided to start this blog because when I was looking for an Irish vegan student blog to follow, I couldn’t find ANY! Now, I might be wrong, maybe I didn’t look hard enough, but I figured it would be cool to start one even for myself, to keep track of my vegan food findings!
I’m vegan about 2 months now, and there are so many products and there’s so much information out there, it’s impossible to know everything…but I’m getting there! I’m still learning so this is pretty much a blog of how I progress, and hopefully someone will find it useful too who was in the same position as me 2 months ago.
This is mainly for my own amusement, and to show how easy and satisfying a vegan diet can be. And if you get excited about new food then HELLO, welcome to my
incredibly exciting life!
Expect Instagram pictures. Many, many Instagram pictures.