Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Vegan Camping

We've bought a new tent. Last year we bought a cheap one from Aldi and it lasted us for the three festivals that Matt played at. The first two had glorious weather whilst the final one was a weekend of torrential downpours resulting in a leaking, ruined tent. So, this year we did some research and spent a bit more money on a tent that will hopefully last us many years. We enjoyed the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival so much last year that we chose it for new tents first outing.

We were hoping for a weekend of sun, cider and socialism. What we got on the first night was the worst storm that Matt said he'd ever camped in, and bear in mind he's been an avid camper since a teenager. I've got some amazing earplugs and managed to sleep through most of it! Luckily by Saturday lunchtime the weather turned and the rest of the festival was really hot and sunny. Here we are, two very pale people roasting away depsite the factor 30!

We knew from last year that there wasn't likely to be much vegan food so we came prepared with a cool bag full of sandwiches, M and S salads, mini cartons of rice milk, museli, crisps, oatcakes, pate and muffins. We had to buy our food from Saturday night and were able to find baked potato with beans and some not too spicy Indian food. Usually I struggle at festivals as the veggie food tends to be of the spicy persuasion which isn't good when you have a sensitivity to chilli and cayenne. It was also great to see a coffee van this year who had soya milk, teapigs teas and also sold fruit and popcorn. The festival finished on Sunday evening and we stayed with friends who've just moved down to Dorset.

Monday morning we had the luxury of having our breakfast on the beach at Burton Bradstock. what a fab start to the week! We've hoping to get several more nights under canvas before the summer is out and we're lucky as there's a range of nice campsites close to us in Derbyshire so we can head off after work on a Friday. Since we got back from Tolpuddle we've also bought a camping stove and pans and even this vintage folding table from a charity shop. Has anyone got any favourite vegan camping foods?

Thursday, 24 July 2014

New Things

We're starting to get settled into our new house. We've got a huge long list of things that need doing. Having to have to get the whole house rewired means there's loads of redecorating to do and the front and back yards need work. I think it's going to be an ongoing project for the next couple of years. 

I've wanted a Vitamix ever since I first heard of them but felt I could never justify spending that much on a blender. I've been wanting to up my energy levels though so we decided to go halves on this investment on our future health!

We've had it about a month though and have used it every single day. It's mainly used for smoothies in the morning. We've been making great protein packed smoothies which have kept us going until lunchtime. The texture is amazing. I had a pretty good Kitchen aid blender before this but the Vitamix does take it to another level. I like to have a base of a banana, then more fruit and either some nut butter, silken tofu or alfalfa sprouts. I've started growing my own sprouts again and it is so cheap and satisfying to do. I also add to this a pre and pro-biotic powder and things like raw cacao, carob, maca and baobab powder depending on what the main fruit flavours are. There's also been some green smoothie action going on with the addition of kale and spinach.

Finally, isn't this just one of the best house warming presents ever. My sister and family got us this vegetable Elvis worktop saver. I think the aubergine hair is my favourite bit.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Bistro 1847 Manchester

Tonight after work I popped along to the relaunch party for Manchester veggie restaurant Bistro 1847. The restaurant has been established for a few years and also has a sister restaurant in Birmingham. I've eaten here before and blogged about it. The Manchester venue has had a refit and was launching it's summer menu. I was surprised by the refit which gives the restaurant more of a cafe bar feel with fresh Scandinavian style design and has a back section that can be hired out for large groups - perfect for celebrating birthdays or leaving do's.

It was a really pleasant evening. The organic wine was free flowing and we got to sample some delicious canapes which give a flavour of what the restaurant is all about. The first picture is rye crackers topped with hummus, pomegranate and edible flowers. I could have eaten a whole plate of these. The rye crackers in particular were outstanding.

These bites are a mini version of one of the restaurants signature dishes. It's beer battered halloumi with pea puree with the halloumi subbed for tofu for vegans. The chef explained that the green leaves are locally soured oyster leaves, something I'd never heard of before.

This final super sized canape was a little nan bread topped with a mini bhajji, pickled pear, yoghurt and foraged yarrow. The presentation on all of the food was superb and I loved the attention to detail with the garnishes. The restaurant also runs cookery classes and has events such as jazz evenings and tasting menu nights. I'm looking forward to visiting again soon.