Thursday, June 11, 2009

Vegan London Adventures pt. 1 !!

Hello everyone from London!! :)

We got here about a week ago, and so far it has been absolutely amazing. The town we're staying in is so beautiful and has so much to do! I really feel lucky to be able to experience all of this.
Coming to London though I was a little bit nervous about where I would find good things to eat. I knew I could rely on salads, but I knew that would drive me crazy to only eat salads for 5 weeks!
however, that is not the case at all!!
Honestly, I feel as though London is much more vegetarian and vegan friendly than Philadelphia! Or anywhere in the states for that matter.. it's crazy!
Every restaurant has a "V" for vegetarian next to food items (not vegan make sure you point that out..) and on all the food products they have little symbols as well..

yes, even the case you didnt know it was vegetarian, haha. :)

Also..another thing that is awesome about london in general for vegans, is that ALL the coffee places have soy milk!! I hate that being home my only option is usually Starbucks to get a coffee with soy milk.. or smaller coffee places, but as far as chains go, its usually just Starbucks. Not quite the same here..every place we've gone so far has offered it! :)

that would be a most delicious soy latte from this really awesome coffee shop right down the street from our apartment!!

The first place we found that was all vegan was a place called Veg. It's a all-vegan chinese buffet!! It reminded me a TON of New Harmony in Philadelphia, which I'm in love with and has the most amazing food! We were soo excited to see this place here in its SO very cheap. and we've passed a lot of them as we're walking around, so it must be a all vegan chinese buffet chain??? CRAZY! :)

The front of it..they all look the same and are really easy to spot! :)

The inside..was SOO cute and beautifully decorated. I will say, that is what impressed me about it over New Harmony..not that new harmony doesn't look good, just the decorations here were much more intense.

and of course, the food!! They had a lot to choose from on the buffet, and i'm not sure if it changes up any time or if different locations had different things. but the food we had was awesome, so i wouldn't mind if it stayed the same. they had plenty of tofu and seitan dishes, vegetable dishes, sesame toast, a fruit salad that looked amazing but i avoided (fruit in other places never is a good idea for me!! weird, i know..)
but yes, this place is awesome, and for only 3.50 pounds for take-away, i think it was 4.50 pounds to eat there for lunch, it was quite the deal!! :)

While we were in Central London seeing Big Ben and The Eye and all that fun stuff, we looked up a vegan restaurant to stop in for lunch while we were down there..
I found a place called Vita Organic, and it was absolutely amazing as well!!

The entrance for it, although the directions did make it a little hard to find! Luckily someone we stopped and asked for directions were already on there way down the street and had told us how good the food is! :)

all vegan and some raw!! :)

The buffet of food. You got to choose how many "scoops" you wanted and which ones you wanted..only a pound a scoop! another awesome deal!

My plate.. I chose 3 things, a chickpea curry, the green vegetable dish, and the other spicier vegetable dish. They were all really really good and tasted good all mixed in with each other too!
They had a huge juice bar as well, and some vegan cakes and desserts..although they were a bit pricy. Everything there looked amazing though. We'll definitely have to go back again before we leave!!

So far in London I've encountered no problems what so ever finding something delicious and vegan! So i'm very excited about that and I can't wait to try out more vegan restaurants here!!

We're off to Valencia, Spain this Saturday though, so we'll see what the vegan food is like over there!! :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

they made a statue of us, and put it on a mountain top

So I finally found some time to bake today now that I'm home and I'm really glad because I've missed it :)
I recently got Happy Herbivore's fabulous new e-cook book...Backyard Vegan..and i'm in love! it has soo many delicious sounding recipes that i'm really excited to make. Earlier today I made the PB&J Cookies using strawberry preserves.
the result?

The preserves taste really good in it, and the cookies are just peanut-buttery enough but not overly sweet with the preserves also. Perfect. They don't really spread though, at all while I baked them, so if you make them definitely don't be scared to make the jelly-centers even bigger to fit the preserves in there better. The root beer float cupcakes sound like my next creation from there... they sound so clever ;) and who doesnt love a root beer cup cake form??

A couple weeks ago I made scrumptious pizza while I was still in philly.

The dough was a really simple recipe that I had found through other blogs..

Vegan Pizza Dough:
1 package of instant dry active yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Add the water, yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup of flour into a mixing bowl. Stir well and let sit for 20 minutes until it gets bubbly. Add the olive oil, salt, and 2 cups of flour and mix well with a wooden spoon until together enough to knead on a floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes, while adding more flour at a time to create a soft, elastic, slightly sticky dough consistency. Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, while adding some oil to the top to prevent drying out. Cover with a kitchen towel and let sit for 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size (mine took about an hour and a half.) Punch dough down and divide into 2 small balls, and place in large zip lock bags (or wrap in saran wrap if you realize you dont have zip lock i and refrigerate overnight. Let the dough get to room temperature before ready to use, and roll out to the size you want when ready. :)

So the dough I thought was pretty good..although we might've overcooked it a bit, but other than that I thought it was a really good recipe to use!
The sauce that I had used was just a creation from heating up a can of diced tomatoes with seasoning, extra basil and oregano, chopped garlic, and about 2 T of tomato paste, and then putting it all into a blender to minimize the chunks.
The pepperonis were the Yves brand..which I had never had before, but I was quite pleased with how they turned out.
The cheese was Vegan Gourmet mozzerella, which actually shredded quite easily with a regular cheese grater, so I was quite pleased with how that turned out..not to mention it really DOES melt! soo that was great.

So yeah basically, the pizza was awesome, and I had really missed pizza with melty-cheese ;)

Today I stopped by the health food store for a couple of things and saw a new random product and decided to try it out :)

Chee-Cha Puffs in Sea Salt & Spiced Pepper flavor.

I'm a huge fan, they're really air-y..but the seasonings and spices for them are so good. and with only 90 calories for 2 cups! how exciting, i know. ;)
They're also gluten-free, so if gluten is a problem for you then i'm sure you'll like these as well.

Well off to MORE packing.. I leave in 2 days for London and I have lots to pack still...maybe i'm just trying to fit too much? no way haha :)