Review: Stable’s Vegan Pizza

Stable Pizza are slowly taking over the universe, or at least England. If you haven’t got a location in your town yet you probably will soon. They currently have 16 locations, most here in the South West. They focus on pizza, pies and cider, switching up ingredients in each location to keep it as local as possible. And they have a Vegan Menu which is why I’m talking about them today.

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Bute Island Blazer

We used to eat at the Plymouth and Exeter Branches as dirty, rotten cheese eaters and we’ve always been impressed by the spectacular sourdough crust and the creative combination of toppings. Going back as vegans made us a little nervous but we’re always willing to try new pizza. You know, for the sake of the blog. So we tried the Exeter Branch.

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Garlic Bread

When we arrived we were hungry, very hungry, and laden with bags. The Exeter Branch is in a fab location at the Guild Hall. It’s on the first floor so you can people watch the shoppers below while relaxing with the soft glow of the lights and the stylish chunky wood furniture. The staff were amazing. Though it was hard to figure out who our waiter was as a few had matching beards. When we asked about the vegan menu our waiter was quick to tell us about our drink options too. Not helpful for us, as we’re teetotal, but it’s great they’re on the ball. When it turned out our food was going to be late out they kept us updated the whole time. Things go wrong but when you know the staff are handling it, well that’s just good customer service.

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One Potato, Two Potato

On to the food then. We started with the vegan garlic bread. You can add cheese but we went without because between oily, garlicky goodness and that base you just can’t go wrong. It was amazing. Then the pizzas arrived. And we saw that it was good. I went for the Bute Island Blazer. Peppers, onion, chilli, mushrooms, and finished with Sheese. Sheese isn’t my favourite cheese but I’ve started to appreciate it on a pizza. All put together it was fantastic. The cheese complimented the other toppings nicely and you can never go wrong with a bit of chilli. Except if you are Kate so she had the One Potato, Two Potato instead. Kate gave it two thumbs up. So did I, because I stole a bite.

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Brownies

Then we were asked if we want dessert.

‘Do you have anything vegan?’ Kate asked.

‘We have a Vegan brownie.’

‘Yes please!’ replied Care and Kate simultaneously.

‘One?’ asked the waiter who had obviously never met them before.

‘Two!’ Clare and Kate replied simultaneously again, this time more forcefully.

After gleefully stuffing ourselves full of brownie, Kate got up to pay. They didn’t let her. Because of the wait we had for our garlic bread, they let us have the meal for free. Our wait was around 45 minutes, not unheard of on a busy Saturday, and the staff kept us informed so we weren’t complaining or threatening bad Trip Advisor reviews or anything. We would have been perfectly happy to pay but it was a lovely gesture and we’re not going to argue. We’ll just have to go back and pay for our pizza another time.

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MiniMoFo: Creating Warmth

January’s MiniMoFo theme is Creating Warmth. Good timing for me because one of my new obsessions involves doing just that. It all starts with a flashback. Christmas morning and we were opening gifts. Kate had ordered my presents from Amazon, complete with gift wrap. One was book shaped and the other was big and rattled and I was convinced it was one of the board games on my wish list. It wasn’t.

Instead I got three of these jars with Sterikap lids. Perfect for fermenting. I was instantly filled with warm fuzzies. You see Kate hates ferments, she hates the smell of ferments, but here she was, buying me these jars so I could do it in style. With less of a smell. I think that was one of her main considerations. Immediately I started wondering what I could ferment. And then it hit me. If Kate wasn’t going to eat what I was fermenting anyway why not use something I know she hates: chillies. A copy of Fiery Ferments by Kirsten K. Shockey and Christopher Shockey was soon making its way towards me.

It’s a fabulous book. It’s friendly and approachable but still detailed and technical enough to give you good results. I really enjoyed the section ‘Hot and Spicy B.C. (Before Chillies)’ and the pre-chilli recipes. The discussion of all the different techniques humans have used to add heat to their food is both fascinating and mouthwatering. We’ll get back to that later. The first ferment I tried was the Basic Pico de Gallo Starter.

The idea here is that you ferment everything but the tomatoes. That way you have the base ready to go and only need to chop a few tomatoes to mix in when you need your salsa fix. Usually when I make Pico de Gallo it either goes off before I can eat it all myself or I end up with lots of odd half bunches of coriander and diced onions left in the fridge. Apart from a few tomatoes, everything is preserved in the ferment. So I can make my little single portion of salsa whenever I want.

I also made the green peppercorn mustard. I love mustard, especially the grainy kind and I was intrigued by the addition of green peppercorns. They really make it sing. It has a clear, fresh taste and a gentle heat that sits on the tongue. I think there will be sausages in my future, served on a baguette and draped with more mustard than is probably advisable.

As you can probably tell I’m having a lot of fun with my new jars and book. I have a dozen more recipes dog eared to try. Just need to find more chillies.

Review: Bombay Express Veganuary Menu

All the month long our local Indian take away and restaurant Bombay Express is serving up a four course Veganuary special. Some of the dishes are taken from their usual menu, some of them are brand new, all of it sounded delicious, and with members of the local Vegan Facebook group planning a meet up we thought we’d eat in for a change.

After popadoms for the table the vegan menu gives you the choice of vegetable spring rolls or vegetable samosas. Which was a little disappointing. Kate got the spring rolls and I got the samosas and aside from the shape there wasn’t much difference.

The pastry was nice and crisp but the filling was pretty standard. The salad garnish of crisp lettuce, tomato, cucumber slice and lemon wedge is fine when it comes with your take away but looks a little plain on the side of your starter.

There was more choice for the main. Kate went with her all-time favourite: saag aloo. I had channa masala. Both of these dishes are on our regular order and Bombay Express make them well. I especially like the channa masala, the sauce is silky and the chickpeas are cooked just right. We each got a side of aubergine bhajee, naan bread and a rice.

I wasn’t expecting to be that excited by the naan but I was. I love a plain roti but there is something special about naan which I didn’t realise I even missed before I bit into it. The aubergine was lovely too. The sauce was flavourful and it was the high point of the meal. So I stole Kate’s portion while she wasn’t looking. We really enjoyed our main. It was a struggle to leave room for the dessert. But we did. Because we knew what was coming.

Coconut Chocolate Tart. It’s gluten free, it’s vegan, it’s delicious. It’s everything you want in a tart. The chocolate filling is smooth and light. You barely know you’re eating it. Then you realise you have no more chocolate left, sob a little and hope it stays on the menu past the end of January.

Bombay Express is at the top end of Belgrave road and their Veganuary Menu is available for the rest of the month.

Recipe: Oregano and Lemon Chicken wraps with Linda McCartney Pulled Chicken

I was thinking up ways to turn a bag of Linda McCartney Pulled Chicken into lunch other than making tacos. I decided that this time I’d go a little Mediterranean and use seasoning inspired by Greek food. Although we used wraps this time this would also make a great stuffing for pita breads or even those folded flatbread thingies. Add in the salad of your choice — here we’ve gone for rocket — and you’ve got yourself lunch. This recipe makes enough filling for two.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 clove of garlic crushed

2 teaspoon dried oregano

Half a bag of Linda McCartney Pulled Chicken

A pinch of salt

Juice of half a lemon

A wrap and some salad, to serve

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the garlic when hot. When the aroma of the garlic is released, after about 30 seconds or so, add the chicken and a pinch of salt.

Cook for four minutes, stirring every now and then to prevent sticking.

Add the lemon juice and a tablespoon of water to help plump up the chicken. Cook for a further three minutes.

Wrap it all up.

Review: Fat Gay Vegan, the book

I’ve followed Fat Gay Vegan for… well much longer than I’ve been vegan. I’ve always admired his commitment to creating an open, inclusive vegan community. One where everyone is welcome. As at tubby, bi, working class girl I can occasionally feel shut out, and I know others have it worse. I was excited to receive a copy of the book Fat Gay Vegan in January’s Vegan Kind box, and after two days of reading I can tell you I wasn’t disappointed.

Just a reminder: I only turned vegan myself back in May, so to me the first couple of chapters, ‘Why Vegan?’ and ‘Vegan 101’ were super useful. Not because I don’t know what a vegan is, or why I am one but because it’s always nice to hear these things from someone who is a bit better at the articulate thing then I am.

The book starts to delve deeper in the chapter ‘Vegan Means Vegan’. And I think any vegan, new or old, is going to love this bit. And learn from it. Life skills like how to politely, but firmly decline things that aren’t vegan (and why it’s not social suicide) lead us into the next chapter: ‘Ethical Vegan’.

This chapter stops you in your tracks, and points out areas you could be doing better. It asks if your veganism is respectful of humans as well as non-human animals. It’s a blueprint for an intersectional veganism that respects all life. But it’s not preaching, it’s not insulting, instead it gently invites you to do better. Encourages you to do better. And if you are wondering how the next chapter on ‘The Importance of Community’ might give you a few tips.

After that the book touches on travelling as a vegan and lays out a hopeful vision of the compassionate future we could create. And overall this book is hopeful, it’s positive. Yes, it’s about the necessary changes we need to make both in the world and the wider vegan community but I’m left feeling like we can make those changes. We can create a world where no animals suffer to feed us, and people aren’t exploited bringing crops to harvest. We can create a vegan community that welcomes all people, that doesn’t use othering to sell its point to a wider audience, that doesn’t exploit others trauma for cheap comparisons. Fat Gay Vegan isn’t a step-by-step guide as to how we’ll manage all that but it gives you a good starting point.

Fat Gay Vegan by Sean O’Callaghan is published by Nourish Books

Offshore 2, this time it’s breakfast

I’ve written about Offshore, their vegan menu and their surprisingly meaty burger before but I’m a bit of a completist so I wanted to go back for breakfast. We had the chance over Christmas when it was one of the few places open that were dog friendly. Well it’s dog friendly outside but with the mild climate of the English Rivera, heaters, and our coats on it was good enough for us.

For me it was avocado and lime on a split English muffin. Took a bit of explaining when the chap taking our order thought I wanted the version with the poached egg but we got there in the end. Now I’m going to say something controversial. I think there was a bit too much avocado on this one. It was heaped on. So for the first time I’m going to recommend the avocado be spread a bit more finely. That felt odd to say.

Kate was onto a winner though. She ordered the vegan version of the full English. I think this is the best vegan full English in the bay. As much as I like home made beans and vegetables instead of sausages sometimes I just want Heinz. To everything there is a season, sometimes you have to go with the classics. Here they have done the classics really well. That sausage was meaty and perfect. The beans came out of the tin. There were hashbrowns. Best full English in the bay.

Good Vibes Falmouth, More Awesome Cornish Vegan Food

Unlike our usual trips, which turn into a mad dash to try every vegan option in the local area, we didn’t eat out all that much on our recent visit to Cornwall. Kate covered the Copper Spoon in Marazion in her post which leaves Good Vibes in Falmouth for me.

As we hadn’t been to Falmouth for over a decade I googled for a dog friendly cafe with vegan options before we set off and Good Vibes appeared. Thank goodness I had because the weather was foul. Blowing a gale, showers on and off. It didn’t take much to persuade us inside. Anything with a roof and four walls would have done right then. The place was very welcoming with its brightly painted walls, funky furniture and, of course, the coffee machine. The staff happily confirmed that Watson was allowed inside and in we went.

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At this point it stopped raining. We barely noticed because we’d started to read the menu. Even if the sky broke into unseasonal sunshine we were going to stay. How can you resist Almond Butter, Chocolate, and Chia Seeds on Toast (Kate’s Choice) or a Vegan Breakfast that includes avocado, hummus and home made baked beans (my choice)? You can’t. Silence descended as our food arrived. Kate was especially uncommunicative, trying to eat her masterpiece of toast. My Dad had the home made baked beans on his meaty plate and we both praised them. So delicious. Then there was the hummus, and the avocado and the oil drizzled toast, and well just everything. We practically rolled back to the car and promised to go back next time we were in Falmouth.

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