Hello world! Sorry for the radio silence – we’ve been away visiting some of Si’s friends in Brighton and having a generally lovely time. Brighton is fantastic – so many different cities in one, with the added bonus of pirate crazy golf on the beach and dance mats on the pier – we’ve rather fallen in love with the place!
And this time round we weren’t awkward vegan visitors – Si’s mate Dean really threw himself into catering for us (like us, he saw it as a culinary challenge, and even went out to buy some soy milk) plus super-progressive (dare I say trendy?) Brighton had a whole world of vegan cafes – and ice cream shops! – for us to try. There were even pubs where the whole menu was vegan – but on that, more anon…
I’m going to do the whole weekend as a single round-up in order to catch up the blog… it all began when we rocked up on Friday night, and Dean cooked us dinner. It was actually a recipe for a chorizo stew – minus the chorizo, of course! – but really tasty, packed full of tomato and chickpeas and spice and potato. Really really good. Dessert was even more exciting – strawberry Cornetto equivalents, but completely vegan! We HAVE to find these when we get back to London. And then lots of wine and port because we’re having the weekend off teetotalism. Hic crash tiddlypom…
Saturday arrived rather early for our marinated heads – but no time for lounging around, we were up and about for breakfasting and exploring! Lovely lovely avocado on toast, zingy with garlic and coriander and lime juice and ALL the flavour – followed by what Dean calls ‘breakfast pudding’ – another round of toast with marmalade.
Then we were off exploring! First we were mooching round Shoreham, about 7 miles along the coast, where we were staying. It has a lovely village feel – lots of quirky junk shops and bookshops and cafes and a farmer’s market – and it was to one of the cafes that we were off to for a vegan-friendly snack. Tom Foolery was the place’s name, and although the decor (or at least the paintings on the walls) were a bit eye-melty disturbing, there was a great range of teas (I had lemon and ginger), and I’m told the coffee is excellent too. Best of all, they had absolutely gorgeous fudgy vegan-friendly brownies. I want the recipe!
Off to Brighton for a mooch round the seafront, and we had chips and gravy on the pier followed by much merriment with push tuppeny, dance mats, and dolphin derby followed by pirate crazy golf. It was pretty epic – we’re seriously tempted to move here.
For dinner we invoked our compromise rule of ‘be vegan where we can, but vegetarian if not’ – Dean wanted to go for a curry, but rather than interrogate the chef what was in everything (I suspect everything involved ghee anyway) we resolved to order something vegetarian but not take the mick by ordering paneer, and hope for the best. And we went via a pub that sold specifically vegan beer, so hopefully we’ve balanced it out!
It was really interesting ordering as a vegan too – my normal order would be lamb korma or, more usually, lamb tikka masala, with a side of saag paneer, none of which I was allowed. So to scour the menu looking for something else I might like was an interesting challenge. In the end I plumped for vegetable biryani and some onion bhajis (Si has just reassured me that they wouldn’t have contained egg – I’ve been feeling guilty since I sobered up!) – and you know what? Biryani is such good value for money because the rice is included! It was tasty too, full of flavour and pulses – though the service was super-slow and the staff unfriendly. But a great night out! Home we went for more wine and some Youtube karaoke.
The next morning I woke up all too aware that I’ve not been drinking much lately. OW my head… I was feeling pretty green, so when Dean announced soya milk porridge for breakfast I admit my heart sank rather – imagining sloppy slimy texture that would only make me more nauseous. But thank goodness for British awkwardness that meant I was too shy to say I didn’t want any – it was much firmer and oatier than I had expected, and served with lovely banana and cinnamon. I ate it very slowly, but as soon as I’d finished my tummy felt much better.
That done, Si and I were off to wander by ourselves, to get a better idea of Brighton (and look in all the estate agents – no joke). We had a pretty dismal overcooked meal in Wetherspoons at the marina for lunch (baked potato with five bean chilli for me, burnt but weirdly cold teryaki noodles for Si) – but the fact that we travelled there and back on the electric railway more than made up for it! And better still, that afternoon we found an icecream shop with a whole vegan menu – cones included! We felt great picking what we wanted without even having to ask ‘is it vegan?’ – and the outcome, peanut butter/salted caramel was the most glorious thing I have ever tried. Big lumps of salted caramel. Peanutty creaminess. Praise be.
We got back to London quite late but ravenous – what could we throw together fairly quickly? The answer was pizza – Si got to work on the dough, to which we added the last of the vegan cheese, sweetcorn, mushrooms, cauliflower, peppers, and some of Si’s homemade chilli oil. It certainly hit the spot.
So now we’re back home, back to work, and back to business as normal. Brighton has been amazing, though – and so vegan friendly that if we did move there, I think next Veganuary we’d have to go fruitarian just to maintain the challenge!
This weekend I ate/drank:
- Tea with almond milk
- Leftover tagine
- Hula hoops on the way to the station
- Coors light at the station (nasty)
- Kronenbourg at the station (nice)
- Chickpea stew
- Strawberry ‘Cornetto’
- Much wine and port
- Avocado on toast
- Marmalade on toast
- Tea with soya milk
- Lemon and ginger tea
- Vegan brownie
- Chips and gravy
- Coke Zero
- White wine
- Vegetable biryani
- Onion bhajis
- All the wine
- Porridge with cinnamon and banana
- Tea with soya milk
- Coke zero
- Jacket potato with five-bean chilli
- Onion rings
- Pepsi Max
- Peanut butter and salted caramel icecream
- Can of Coke
- Handful of peanuts
- Home-made veggie pizza
- Orange squash