Date night

I’ve just dropped an email to an omnivorous friend with some advice for cooking for a vegetarian he recently got to know, so thought I’d share my ideas for good date food to impress with:

  • Use menus from nice veggie restaurants as inspiration. One of my favourite gourmet vegetarian restaurants in London is The Gate in Hammersmith, currently closed in Hammersmith but opened up in Islington!

http://thegaterestaurants.com/menu.php

Mildreds in Soho has a great menu but is less gourmet although a lovely place to go still.

http://www.mildreds.co.uk/food.html

Amico Bio near Barbican also good:

http://www.amicobio.co.uk/

There are some really nice places in Brighton too- Food for Friends (http://www.foodforfriends.com/) and Terre a Terre (http://www.terreaterre.co.uk/) will have menus worth recreating.

  • Risotto cakes seem to be super trendy at the moment. I love mushroom risotto then just shape into a cake and bake for 10 minutes in the oven- just looks better for presentation. It’s also quite exciting to have a selection of wild mushrooms.
  • Edible flowers go well in a salad. We used to have a hanging basket of nasturtiums which were nice. Also pea shoots, lambs lettuce, raw courgette in strips using a vegetable peeler.
  • This is one of my favourite burger recipes: http://chefchloe.com/entrees/mexicali-sliders.html
  • Avocado pasta is a bit different too (and very tasty) http://chefchloe.com/entrees/avocado-pesto-pasta.html
  • Homemade pan fried potato gnocchi is nice with a good sauce!
  • I make a lot of stews and casseroles- just lots of vegetables and beans cooked together in stock with some nice herbs/onion/garlic. Then I make dumplings to sit on top by mixing self raising flour with lots of herbs and paprika and then mixing with soy milk until just a bit thicker than cake batter but no quite thick enough to be a dough, then dropping spoonfuls of this on top of the stew and either putting a lid on and letting it steam on the hob or sticking the pan in the oven.
  • I love dim sum and so sometimes get spring roll wrappers from a Chinese supermarket and make my own vegetable spring rolls and also make some steamed dumplings with a really un-authentic bready dough! Rice pots are also good and I love all the veggie options at ping pong. http://www.pingpongdimsum.com/
  • I had a particularly nice meal in Berlin that was cannelloni- just 3 rolls on the plate, very neatly presented stuffed with roasted vegetables and a walnut puree with a layer of tomato sauce and then béchamel sauce on top of each piece.
  • This is a recipe I’m keen to try and haven’t yet: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2012/02/beetballs-a-vegan-gluten-free-soy-free-sausage-recipe.html 
  • I also love simple veggie curries like dal and saag aloo, and Mexican fajitas and burritos.

I’m pretty easily pleased really. I just love food!

 

Berlin!

I went to Berlin last weekend. Just for 2 nights so had a lot to cram in!! I thought it was a really lovely, really vegan-friendly/generally friendly city.

As we had such a short stay, I think our decision of having a walking tour was a good one. There are a few around and the one we chose was the insider walks:

http://www.insidertour.com/tours.php/cat/2/title/The_Tours

and I’d definitely recommend if you’re on a short visit.

We also went to the Reichstag dome, which needed to be booked online here: http://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/visits/kupp.html

It had great views of the city.

To food!!!

Yoyo Foodworld, Gärtnerstraße 27

Official Website: http://www.yoyofoodworld.de/

Nearest U-bahn: Samariterstraße

We had our first and last meals of Berlin here, burgers both times because they were so amazing!!! Everything the place serves is 100% vegan. I wish I had taken photos. Basically, for under 5 euros you can get a really good burger (many varieties) in a bun with vegan cheese, sauces, pickles, salad and more home-made tiny fries than you could ever possibly eat!  Options were also to add a side salad or just have the burger, no fries. They also served vegan pizza which did look amazing, and some other dishes such as wraps, but we were so caught up on the burgers we had them both times we visited!

I also had cake both times-cake of the day. The first time it was a chocolate muffin cake with a raspberry jelly layer and chocolate ganache and whipped cream. The other time it was a vanilla sponge with apricots and a vanilla custard layer with whipped cream and more fruit on top. Both times very tasty!!!

Lucky Leek, Kollwitzstraße 46


Official Website: http://www.lucky-leek.de/

Nearest U-bahn: Senerfelderplatz

Also 100% vegan, this was probably the best vegan restaurant I’ve ever been to. They managed the gourmet food perfectly and the flavours were so good! They had the menu in English as well as German which really helped.

To start, we were brought some crispbreads and pate which was rather tasty. Then for a starter we shared tandoori lentil samosas on a lovely salad that included melon marinated in lime juice and agave syrup as well as lambs lettuce and other leaves. The samosas were as lovely as the salad and left us ready for more!

For main, I had an asparagus risotto which included both white and green asparagus (I LOVE asparagus) and had some salad on the side again. It was very tasty and R said the rice was perfectly cooked for risotto (not something I really notice…) He had tomato and walnut canneloni which was really good and had a roasted vegetable sauce on top with bechamel sauce above that, neatly presented on the plate. That was also very tasty and gave us some inspiration for using nuts more in dishes.

Dessert was a lime tart with caramelised coconut ice cream (mmmm), my mouth is watering just thinking of it. The tart crust was quite spongey and the lime flavour was just right, in a fairly creamy filling. The caramelised coconut ice cream was to die for.

It wasn’t cheap, but it was amazing!!!!!

Tanne B, Eisenbahnstr. 48

Official Website: http://tanneb.de/

Nearest U-bahn: Gorlitzer Bahnhof

Just needed to mention the lovely ice-cream parlour we visited which marked its vegan sorbets and soya ice creams. They told us which cones were vegan and I had a scoop of chocolate and a scoop of hazelnut in a cone, while R had an iced coffee made with vanilla soy ice-cream!!!!! It was lovely and creamy and I wish I could get ice cream like that in a cone in London!!!!

Veganz, Schivelbeiner Straße 34

Official Website: http://www.veganz.de/

Nearest U-bahn: Schonhouser Allee

This is Berlin’s vegan supermarket. There are cosmetics, household products, the craziest frozen section (including loads of amazing looking pizzas) cake mixes, chocolates, jerky, all the vegan cheeses and fake meats. It’s pretty amazing. We bought a gluten free brownie mix and some dessert mixes, a huge vegan german sausage and some treats to get us through the day! There’s also a little cafe out the front, so I had a bbq bagel (with salad, roasted veg, seitan and bbq sauce) and some madeira-type cake with berries in it for brunch!!!

We also found it easy to go vegan in one of the many Vietnamese/sushi places there, and passed many many more vegan cafes, especially around Samariterstraße.

I definitely recommend Berlin and will be returning when I can!