Hello, weather gods – it is still summer, right?? We have just got home from a post-dinner stroll and we are decidedly soggy – the rain came out of nowhere, and it came on so heavily that it was like standing under a power shower. Not cool!
Apparently we’re in for more rain overnight, and very strong winds on Saturday – when we got back, our poor blackcurrant bush had been battered flat by the rain (hopefully it will perk up once it dries out), and worse, the vegan market we had been planning to visit tomorrow has been cancelled. Howl! Apparently they are hoping to open on Sunday though, so we will see if we can go then.
As for why we were out in the elements, we’d gone for a post-dinner drink, getting our step-count up and getting out of the flat (I’ve been working from home all week). Of course, ‘going for a drink’ means ‘going for a tonic water and a non-alcoholic beer’ these days…. though we were thwarted at our first pub, where they had actually sold out of the latter! In East Ham??
The Denmark Arms is one of our favourite pubs – it’s not exactly our local, being a 25-ish minute stomp away, but the atmosphere is really nice and it even has a vegan burger on the menu. It wasn’t always like this, though – when we first went to the pub about a year or so ago, it was positively murderous – dark and dingy with loud music and lots of very drunk/stoned people falling over each other… my abiding memory is of Si pleading with me not to make eye contact with anyone ‘in case I end up in a fight and lose my front teeth and I’ll never play the trombone again!’ (that escalated quickly) After that first visit we steered well clear – until, one day, we walked past and found that it was under new management. Talk about a transformation – it had a coffee machine! And a new gastro-pub menu with nice veggie/vegan options – and it was light, bright, and lovely inside. How times change.
Though the Denmark wasn’t able to furnish Si with a non-alcoholic beer, they did have some very fancy mixers from the London Essence Company. I had a grapefruit and rosemary tonic, and Si had a rhubarb and cardamom soda water. Funnily enough, we were both very pleased with our choices but neither of us liked each other’s – I loved the subtle grapefruit flavour, which was very clean and bright against the quinine of the tonic, but Si declared it to be ‘like urinal block’. Goodness knows how he knows what that tastes like! That said, he thought his soda tasted like rhubarb and custard sweets, but I found it far too sweet. Can’t complain with a £3 round, though – we’ll miss those once we’re back off the wagon!
Speaking of which – while we were in the pub I signed up to the Craft Gin Club, which will send me a lovely bottle of gin, mixers, and snacks every other month – I’m so excited to see what I get once I’m allowed to drink again! And look at that – an impulse buy in the pub and I wasn’t even tipsy 😉
Si was craving ‘lagery tang’, so our next drink needed to be in another pub – we popped round the corner to our local Wetherspoons, where I had another tonic water and Si had two Becks Blues in a pint glass (‘for plausible deniability’…!). That came to a fiver, but still much cheaper than a pint and a large glass of wine.
Fortunately the rain held off till the walk home, though we did get caught in it, and quite dramatically too! We were hoping to pop into the shops to buy some Jus-Roll pastry so that I can make vegan sausage rolls for Sunday’s picnic (assuming the weather isn’t too ferocious), but Sainsburys was closed and Lidl didn’t have any (we did buy Si some Tabasco minis, though, and a can of artichoke hearts for a couple of recipes that we’ve got pencilled in for next week). Tesco did come to our rescue, though – and we managed to pick up a 25p sourdough loaf in the ‘yellow sticker’ reduced section too, which is super tasty. One thing that I’ve not been able to find recently, though, is Tesco’s own band grapefruit juice – the last few times I’ve been, the usual shelf has been full of tropical juice instead. This had better not be a permanent change – I’ve only got about enough juice left to make one more of my beloved lemonade and grapefruits!
And what about dinner? Tonight we had the cabbage parcels and mash that we’d meant to have yesterday. You can find our recipe for stuffed cabbage leaves here (they’re a real favourite, we make them most vegan months and were delighted to have an excuse to make them again, as we had a tonne of cabbage left over from our vegan ramen) – this time round Si had filled them with crumbled seitan, mixed grains, peas, sweetcorn, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, mushrooms, onions and garlic, all chopped up small and mixed with tomato puree and some of Si’s beloved Gochujang (fermented chili and soybean) paste. These parcels were so savoury and plumply satisfying, especially when piled on top of garlicky mash with some garlic-laced sriracha on the side!
Today I ate/drank:
- Tea with soy milk
- Leftover biryani in a crispy potato skin
- Lots of fizzy squash
- Stuffed cabbage leaves and mash
- Grapefruit and rosemary tonic water
- Normal tonic water
- Bread and spread
- Fake gin and tonic
- Sourdough and spread
- A few potato far far
- All the delicious gins I saw while browsing the Craft Gin Club website