Friday, 30 June 2017

Kafe Umami Undir Bryggjubakka 19 Torshavn 26th June 2017

Kafe Umami was a welcome find in Torshavn, where I was not expecting to find any vegan options.   I enquired if the bread was vegan and soya free and would the houmous sandwich be vegan friendly, so the waitress immediately asked the kitchen and confirmed it was.




I ordered the houmous sandwich, with unlimited Earl Grey tea, as I had some almond milk, in my rucksack.   The sandwich was huge, packed with beetroot houmous and loads of salad, a perfect lunch with the tea, as I was starving.





The Faroe Islands like Norway and Iceland is expensive and lunch set me back £12.00, but I was over the moon to find somewhere catering for vegans, so it was well worth the money.


Hamborgarafabrikkan The Kea Hotel Hafnarstraeti Akureyri 22nd June 2017

Hamborgarafabrikkan was a great find in Akureyi, for lunch whilst ashore on a cruise, although there were other places serving vegan options.   However prices in Norway are very expensive, so be prepared to lighten your purse, for even a simple burger.


Hamborgarafabrikkan is on the ground floor of The Kea Hotel and is modern and contemporary, but warm and inviting.



They offer several vegan burgers, made with either Oumph soya protein alternative or portobello mushrooms, with Violife cheese, vegan mayo and fries.




I chose the No. 5 burger made with portobello mushroom on a sesame bun, with fries and a large diet coke.   Unfortunately there was some confusion and the dish came with mushroom and Oumph, so Steven kindly offered to eat the Oumph, which he loved and said was like seitan.



The burger even without the Oumph, was delicious, with crisp fries and tons of barbecue sauce and I wolfed it all.   I was not going to leave any, as it cost just over £21.00 including the coke, however I was on holiday and so ecstatic to find vegan options, it was a small price to pay.


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Cauliflower Fiduras

The inspiration for this recipe, came about after my visit to Lunya last week and the cauliflower fiduras Steven had, which I could not try as they had cheese and probably egg in.   I started thinking how to make a vegan version and this recipe is the result.   I did not take photos of the actual making of them, but when I next make this recipe, I will update.

1 cauliflower
Salt and pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
Chickpea flour
Almond milk
2 tbsp rapeseed oil

Makes 8-10

Cut the cauliflower into florets, put into a food processor and blitz until it looks like rice.   Tip the cauliflower into a tea towel or cloth and squeeze to remove as much water as possible, then put back in the food processor, with the spices, plenty salt and pepper and blitz for a few seconds.

Add chickpea flour bit by bit and blitz, until the mixture starts to come together.   You have to judge the amount of flour to add and if the mix is too dry, add a drop of milk, but avoid adding too much, so the mixture is not too sloppy.   The mixture needs to hold its shape when you handle it.

Cook the fiduras in either a deep fat fryer, by dropping spoonfuls into the oil and cook until golden brown or in a frying pan.   I do not have a deep fat fryer, so I added the oil to a frying pan and lightly greased four metal rings and put them in the pan.   Drop a big spoonful of mixture into each ring and cook until the mixture holds together, so you can remove the rings and press the mixture down with a spatula, then flip over to cook the other side.   Flip the fiduras a few times, until evenly cooked on both sides and then cook the next batch.

I served the fiduras with romesco sauce but they would be excellent on a burger bun, with relish, mayo and chips.



Sunday, 4 June 2017

Romesco Sauce

Romesco sauce originates from Catalonia in Spain and I absolutely love it, so this is my version, which I make in huge batches and freeze.   Romesco sauce has many uses, as a dip, as a pasta sauce mixed with some oat cream, in stews or even on sandwiches as a spread.

6 sweet pointed red peppers
2 garlic cloves crushed
4 tbsp olive oil
100 g ground almonds
400 g can chopped tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp smoked paprika

Makes 12 portions

Pre heat the oven to 200°.   Place the peppers on a baking tray and roast until the skins are blackened, then place in a plastic bag, to help loosen the skins.



Remove the skin, pith and seeds from the peppers, until you are left with just the smoky flesh and cooking juices.


Dry roast the ground almonds in a pan, until they turn a very light brown, being careful not to burn them and put into a food processor.



Put the oil into the pan, with the garlic and cook for 5 mins, then add the smoked paprika, plenty salt and pepper and gently cook for 5 mins, then add the tomatoes and cook for 10 mins.



Add the tomato mixture and peppers to the almonds and blitz until you have a smooth sauce, then check the seasoning.



The Romesco sauce freezes really well in portions and can be reheated when needed, I served it with some cauliflower fiduras and roasted potatoes.





Brizola Swan Courtyard Clitheroe 3rd June 2017

Brizola is a Greek style restaurant, opened three months ago, in the middle of the market town of Clitheroe, located in Swan Courtyard and is five minutes from the train and bus stations.



I love Greek food, so contacted Brizola via Facebook, enquiring if they could cater for my vegan diet and allergies, suggesting dishes off the menu which could be suitable.   I cannot fault the reply from chef proprietor Rachel, who was very helpful and accommodating, so I booked a table for dinner.



As soon as we walked in and confirmed our booking, Rachel reassured me that she had my diet and allergies all in hand.   We were shown to a table upstairs, though I may ask for a table downstairs next time, as I would love to see what is going on



My starter was homemade flatbread, houmous and beetroot houmous, olives, salad and sesame coated tomatoes, a perfect starter as I love all the components.   I could have munched on the flatbread for ever, it was that good, especially with the houmous.





My main course was mushroom Stifado, a hearty dish with peppers and aubergine, in a tomato sauce, served with crispy rosemary Greek potatoes.




I really enjoyed this rustic dish and as for those potatoes, I could happily eat a big plateful with some houmous and I would be a happy vegan.

I love the concept of Brizola, with a young enthusiastic team, headed up by Rachel, serving what I can only describe as Greek comfort food.   I cannot fault the attention to detail, regarding my allergies and vegan dietary requirement and the food was spot on.   I had a quick chat with Rachel, who said she was happy to tweak dishes to suit, so next time, I would be happy to have a main course mezze including falafels and the Greek potatoes and of course that fabulous flatbread.


Friday, 2 June 2017

Lunya Barton Arcade Manchester 1st June 2017

Lunya is a Spanish restaurant offering Catalan dishes, with a large selection of gins, beers, wines and spirits.   The Manchester branch is in Barton Arcade, just off Deansgate and is bright and inviting from the outside.





I have visited both their Liverpool and Manchester venues before, purely as they have an extensive vegan menu.



I kicked off with a Tio Pepe En Rama sherry, totally vegan, as it is unfiltered, with some habas picantes (spicy broad beans), a perfect partnership to start the meal.   The habas picantes were crisp, spicy and salty, I could have eaten twice as many.



To accompany our main courses, a bottle of Fuenteseca Bobal Organic Cabernet Sauvignon, was perfect, even though I am not a big red wine drinker, it was delicious.


I then ordered Fideua de verduras, a take on paella, but made with tiny Catalan noodles and lots of vegetables.   I really enjoyed this dish, though initially I thought it could be stodgy and overfilling, but it was spot on and I devoured it all.



The other mains were tenderstem broccoli, asparagus and Marcona almonds, in a very herby garlic sauce and patatas bravas, both absolutely delicious.



I love Spanish cuisine and Lunya offers a great selection for vegans, with a variety of nibbles, breads, tapas and paella, with new dishes recently added like the Fideua de verduras.   I will definitely revisit Lunya to try more dishes and hope one day, they will also label vegan wines on their extensive list, which they have already indicated is on their to do list.