Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Food By Breda Murphy Station Road Whalley 26th July 2017

Food By Breda Murphy had a major refurbishment earlier this year, creating more covers, a private dining room and Reilly's Gin Bar.   They serve breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea and are open for dinner Friday and Saturday evenings, with a delicatessen offering take away or eat in food, separate to the restaurant.   The location is perfect, if like me you travel by train, the station is literally a hop, skip and a jump across the road, so fantastic if travelling from Manchester Victoria Station.

The refurbishment is fantastic, light and modern, but warm and welcoming, although I did not take photos of the interior, as it is always so busy and would be a little intrusive on other diners.   I have visited several times, for both lunch and dinner as they have a vegan menu, which will change four times a year, so I shall look forward to working my way through them all.

So far I have sampled the salt baked beetroot, with pickled carrots, a totally tasty dish, especially the beetroot gel and the whole dish was elevated, with the crunchy cashew granola and apple and fennel salad.

Mushroom soup with granary bread, I wish I could make soup this good, the depth and concentration of mushroom flavour was amazing and the in house baked granary bread was pretty awesome too.

Pan fried wild mushrooms, tenderstem broccoli and lemongrass curry oil, on toasted granary bread, this was another class dish, I cannot resist mushrooms.

Leek and spinach gratin with smoked potatoes I have eaten twice, preferring the second version, a more substantial portion bulked up with chickpeas, with carrots and fennel, with a side salad and olive oil dressing.   A great combination of flavours, even the salad was top notch, everything perfectly presented and spot on seasoning.

My final savoury dish, pasta with pine nuts, roast plum tomato sauce and fried basil leaves, being a pasta fiend I devoured it all, it was that good.

I am not a big dessert fan, but warm apple, gooseberry and lavender compote, offset by cold Granny Smith sorbet, I could not resist, it was polished off in an instant.

Prior to my visits I did a little research, which revealed a few vegan friendly wines on the comprehensive list and if I dug deeper, I bet there are loads more, perhaps in future the wines will be labelled.

Uvam Pinot Grigio Blus delle Venezie
The Courtesan Riesling
Lagar da Xestosa Godello
Mionetto Avantgarde Prosecco
Domaine Tremblay Chablis
Quinta da Bacalhoa Moscatel de Setubal

So to date I have tried the Mionetto Prosecco, who doesn't like Prosecco, I love it.

The Lagar da Xestosa Godello from Spain is another great choice, I love trying different wines.

The Courtesan Reisling tickles me, as I love the label never mind the wine, I highly recommend this one.

I do not often drink dessert wines, mainly because vegan friendly ones are few and far between, but Quinta da Bacalhoa Moscatel de Setubal is an exception.   I emailed Bacalhoa and had a lovely reply from their Export Sales Manager Frederico, who confirmed that not only was their Moscatel dessert wine vegan, but in fact all of their wines.   The Moscatel is sumptious and lush with a deep flavour of raisins, I loved it and will certainly look out for Bacalhoa wines in future.

Head Chef Gareth Bevan certainly knows his stuff, the food is perfectly cooked, well seasoned and presented on the plate, so you want to dive in and eat.   As much as possible is made on site, like the bread.   If you are looking for piled up plates of food, this is not the place for you, I would not normally eat three courses, but here I do, the portion control is spot on, its quality not quantity.   Service is friendly, always with a smile and it made me realise how many times I have been, when I walked through the door and one of the waitresses Ann knew my name, without me saying anything.   I cannot wait to go back.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Los Moros Shambles Market York 18th May 2017

Los Moros is a stall on Shambles market, serving African and Moroccan food, with clearly marked vegan options.

I chose butternut squash and chickpea tagine, with couscous and Steven had the falafel wrap, with tahini sauce and houmous.   The photos look slightly orange, as we sat eating our lunch at communal tables, which were under an orange gazebo.  

The tagine was fresh, delicious with a perfect touch of spice and once the couscous soaked up all the sauce, I devoured the lot, it was excellent.   Steven was equally impressed with his wrap, plenty filling, some of the best falafels he has had and lovely and moist with the tahini sauce and houmous.

I would definitely recommend Los Moros and would revisit if ever back in York.

Filmore & Union Platform 8 York Station York 19th May 2017

Filmore and Union Platform 8 was a perfect stop for something to eat, before getting the train home and is vegan heaven, with so many options to choose from.

I love the vegan options are all clearly marked, no having to pick things up to check, the 'I Am Vegan' label jumps out at you.

I chose a Thai houmous and falafel wrap, which was packed with filling, delicious, moist and perfect with a decaf Americano coffee.

I was impressed, more so after my disappointing recent visit to Skipton branch (see here), but the food on offer in York station is excellent, not cheap by any means, but on a par with other outlets.

Double Dutch Pancake House Church Street York 18th May 2017

Double Dutch Pancake House was the perfect stop for breakfast, as they had a good vegan menu and I was starving.

I chose the Vegan Mex pancake, served with salsa and guacamole and I was dying for a coffee, but they had no decaf coffee or tea, apart from Rooibos, which I do not like, so had a sparkling water instead.

The pancake was a good size, really light and perfectly cooked and with the guacamole and salsa, was a perfect morning after the night before reviver.

I love they have a good range of vegan options, using products like vegan pesto, Swedish
Glace ice-cream and soya milk.   I would definitely revisit when next in York.

Source Castlegate York 17th May 2017

On a recent visit to York with friends, it was left to me to find somewhere to dine, that would cater for all of us and Source had to be the place, as they had a vegan menu.

Inside Source is modern and contemporary, but cosy and I liked its open style kitchen and all the wood used throughout.

I loved the creative vegan options, far removed from the run of the mill dishes, sometimes offered, with the special of the day, proudly chalked on the blackboard.

I really wanted to have the vegan 'fried chicken' made from seitan,but was concerned it may contain soya, our waitress confirmed that it was soya free, with chef.   I have had disasters making homemade seitan, which was so rubbery, it was impossible to chew, so I was looking forward to lunch.

The seitan was a triumph, it was light, had a fantastic texture, was delicious, but not oily in the least and with the dipping sauce, fries and red cabbage, was a spot on lunch.

I had a chat with chef, to compliment him on the seitan, explaining my own disasters and he took the time, to give me some tips, so I will definitely have another go.

I love how vegan friendly Source is, I hope other vegans fully support their commitment, I would certainly love to return and sample other dishes on the menu.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Alla Norma Pasta Sauce

I love all the ingredients of this sauce, aubergines, chilli, capers and tomato, it is my perfect accompaniment to pasta.

1 aubergine finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
3 garlic cloves crushed
2 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes
½ tsp oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
Chilli powder to taste
1 tbsp capers chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
Salt and pepper
1-2 tsp sugar

Serves 4

Put the onion, garlic and oil in a pan and fry for 10 mins, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the aubergine and cook for 15 mins, until the aubergine is well cooked, nothing worse than undercooked aubergine, add the tomato puree and cook for another 5 mins.

Add the tomatoes, oregano, chilli, capers and a good grind of salt and pepper and cook for 15-20 mins.   Add the sugar a little at a time, until the acidity of the tomatoes mellows, this is to individual preference, so keep tasting.  Cook for another 5 mins.

Serve over your pasta of choice and your favourite vegan cheese and a good grind of black pepper.