Friday, 31 March 2017

Maxwells Cafe Bar King Street Clitheroe - 31st March 2017

Maxwells Café Bar is ideally located in Clitheroe, right across from the rail and bus stations, with long stay car parks nearby too.

They introduced a vegan menu last year, which seems to be popular, as every time I have visited, other people have requested it.


I decided to have a glass of wine, but only recognised one vegan wine on the list, a very nice Manzanos Rioja
.


I began with vegan nachos with salsa and guacamole, presented in a large bowl, sprinkled with Mexican spices, a perfect light starter.



I ordered the vegan club sandwich, but as a normal sandwich, as it would be far too deep to eat as a club sandwich, made with ciabatta bread (which I knew was soya free).   The bread was toasted, it was a good sized portion, plenty of filling and was totally scrumptious.




I think it is fantastic that Maxwells offer a vegan menu and long may it continue and as time goes on, let us hope it evolves and develops.


Sunday, 19 March 2017

Onion Gravy

I never make gravy, its usually Bisto gravy granules to the rescue, but I decided to make nut roast for Sunday dinner, so thought I should have a go at gravy and this recipe is the result.

6 onions finely chopped
4 sticks of celery finely chopped
5 carrots finely chopped
6 chestnut mushrooms finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried parsley
1½ tbsp coconut aminos
1 tbsp cornflour
1½ litre vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp rapeseed oil

Put the onions, celery, mushrooms and carrots in a pan with the oil and cook for 30-40 mins, until really soft and browned.



Put the cornflour into a cup with 2 tbsp water and mix together, making sure there are no lumps



Add the cornflour mix to the pan, with the coconut aminos, stock, parsley, bay leaves and a good grind of salt and pepper.   Cook for a further 15 mins, to concentrate the flavours.


Allow the gravy to cool slightly, then blitz with a stick blender.   The gravy may need thinning down, depending on your taste, so add a little water, or if you prefer your gravy really smooth, you can pass it through a sieve.


I enjoyed the onion gravy with nut roast, roast potatoes and vegetables, a perfect Sunday dinner.




Saturday, 18 March 2017

Vesuvio Whalley Road Clitheroe 18th March 2017

We were staying in Clitheroe and friends recommended Vesuvio, so I messaged to ask if the pizza bases were vegan friendly.  I received a speedy reply from owner, Massimiliano Burzio, a member of the True Neopolitan Pizza Association, confirming they were suitable.

Vesuvio cook their pizzas in a wood burning oven, at an intense heat of 450º, which really makes a difference to the pizza, giving it a delicate smoked flavour.


I ordered a Margherita, with aubergine, artichokes, peppers and red onion, without cheese.   I also asked if they would mind, not cutting my pizza into slices with the cutter, as being allergic to dairy and vegan would be a cross contamination issue and they were happy to do so.

The pizza took about ninety seconds to cook, it looked fantastic and was awesome, the base and tomato sauce were perfect, with delicious toppings, I loved it.   Vesuvio make better pizzas than most Italian restaurants I have visited in recent times, it is highly recommended.





I drank an excellent Booths Supermarket Chianti Classico, clearly labelled as vegan friendly, with my pizza and it made for an excellent dinner.



Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Jackfruit Enchiladas

This recipe is courtesy of BFree Foods, although I have changed it slightly, to suit ingredients I had in the cupboard and fridge.   Steven is a big fan of BFree sweet potato vegan and gluten free wraps, as they make great enchiladas, so he used three for his half of the recipe.


I love Crosta and Mollica piada, for this kind of dish, so used two for my half of the recipe.


1 onion chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1 green pepper chopped
1 garlic clove crushed
400 g can jackfruit
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp grated cheese I used Good Carma Original
500 ml passata
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp rapeseed oil

Serves 2

Heat the oven to 180º.   Prepare the jackfruit by cutting off the core and removing the seeds.   Put the oil in a pan with the onion, pepper, jackfruit and garlic.   Cook for 10-15 mins, until the vegetables soften.



Add the chilli powder, paprika and tomato puree and continue to cook for 10 mins, until the jackfruit can be shredded with a fork, adding a dash of water if it is a little dry.


Divide the filling between the wraps, being careful not to put too much in, so they do not split, roll up and place in a non-stick baking tray.



Pour the passata over the filled wraps, spread evenly on the top and sprinkle with the cheese.



Cook for 25-30 mins, until hot and bubbling.   Serve with whatever you fancy, I like a simple salad or guacamole.




I would add slightly more passata next time, as it quickly dries up in the oven, but the dish was delicious.


Monday, 13 March 2017

Albert's Schloss Peter Street Manchester 12th March 2017

Albert's Schloss is on the lower ground floor of the iconic Albert Hall, named after Queen Victoria's husband Albert and schloss means Bavarian palace.


They serve lots of beer, Alpine cocktails, Schnapps and wine and have an on site bakery and restaurant offering rustic, simple but fresh food.   Albert's Schloss is a buzzing, busy place, so if you are wanting a quiet dinner for two, it is not the place for you, but Steven and I loved it, there was a DJ playing cracking music, a brilliant atmosphere, typical of my favourite city.

A bonus for me, is that they have introduced a vegan pizza to the menu, so not one to miss an opportunity to eat pizza, we visited for dinner.


They also offer brunch from 11.30 and after enquiring, found that the green sausage hash and smashed avocado dishes, could be veganised too.


On checking their wine list, prior to our visit, I also spotted several vegan wines, what a shame they do not clearly label them as such.

Domaine De Vedhilan Sauvignon Blanc
Gavi del Comune di Gavi Nuovo Quadro
Le Dolci Colline Proscecco Spumante Brut
La Lisse Soie d'Ivoire Chenin Blanc
Domaine des Maillettes Pouilly Fuisse
Boutinot Les Coteaux Cotes du Rhone Villages
Barbera da Vine
Clos de la Cure St Emilion Grand Cru
Chateau Pineraie Cahors Tradition
Fleurie Le Quartier du Cru Beaujolais
Domaine Belles Granges Syrah Pays des Collines
Domaine Mas Bahourat Merlot Pays de Gard

I kicked off with a glass of Prosecco, whilst trying to decide on a starter, so asked our waiter if the beetroot carpaccio could be veganised,  swopping cheese for houmous, with the answer being, of course.



This was a lovely light starter, with a pot of smokey houmous, crushed pecan nuts and salad leaves.

I ordered an excellent red merlot wine, to go with our main courses, Domaine Mas Bahourat Pays de Gard, a powerful 14%, but really smooth and moreish.


I love pizza and this was a classic and to die for, a lovely thin crisp base, just the right amount of tomato sauce and topping, salty from the capers, with loads of fresh basil, it was fantastic and I ate every morsel.



I was impressed with the food quality and service, as in many busy places, both can suffer, but not at Albert's Schloss.   I will definitely revisit for brunch and of course, again for vegan pizza.


Jerk Shack Church Street Manchester 12th March 2017

I have walked past Jerk Shack several times, noticing they offer vegan dishes, cooked separately, so went for lunch today.   I had a chat on social media with Craig, about their vegan options including sweet potato and spinach fritter, jerk jackfruit, sweet potato fries, hard vegan stew, fried plantain, breadfruit curry or sweet potato and black bean curry.


I love the casual vibe, when you enter, with large communal tables and bench seating, with the colourful menu board, over the counter.




I chose jerk jackfruit, served on a dumpling, resembling a split bread roll, vegan gravy, whilst Steven chose sweet potato and black bean curry with rice, both dishes served with vegan slaw and salad leaves.  



There were large bottles of chilli sauce and what I think was mango sauce on the tables, so you could slosh on, as much as you wanted.   We both loved the delicious, healthy food and I loved the dumpling, having visions of it being tough and doughy, but the complete opposite and even better when it soaked up the gravy and was totally moreish.

Jerk Shack also offer a loyalty card system, so get your card stamped nine times and get a free meal on them, what a bonus.

I had a quick chat with Craig, who was very enthusiastic and I think, as more vegans visit, the options will grow, I will definitely revisit.




Saturday, 11 March 2017

Sausage Stuffed Garlic Mushrooms

The idea for this recipe, came about after watching chef Michel Roux Jr, on the Hidden Restaurants programme, where he made this dish with mussels.   I immediately loved the ingredients, bar the mussels of course, so decided to use mushrooms and what a triumph of a dish, it turned out to be.

250 g white button mushrooms
Large bunch of parsley finely chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
2 tbsp margarine
1 sausage ( I used cashew & chestnut) but use your sausage of choice
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp grated cheese (I used Good Carma Original Fusion)

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a starter

Heat the oven to 180º and line a baking dish with parchment paper, making sure the paper covers the sides by about an inch, to retain all the juices.

Remove the stalks from the mushrooms and keep to use later (I used in a stir fry).   Put the margarine, garlic, parsley and a good grind of salt and pepper in a bowl and blend together thoroughly.




Cut the sausage into enough pieces, as you have mushrooms, in my case eleven and press a piece of sausage into the mushrooms.


Coat the top of the mushrooms with the garlic butter, sealing in the sausage, dividing the mixture evenly, so you have enough for each one.


Mix the breadcrumbs and cheese together and sprinkle over the top of the mushrooms.



Bake in the oven for approx 25-30 mins until golden brown and the mushrooms are cooked and serve, drizzling the cooking juices over the top.




The mushrooms make a fantastic starter or as a main course, I served them with rice, roasted vegetables and romesco sauce.