Mildred’s

I know I’ve said before that I’ve been to every veggie restaurant in London, but that wasn’t quite true. I’d never been to Mildred’s before, and that’s one of the most well-known ones! I went there with a friend for a final goodbye yesterday.

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I had a mushroom and ale pie (delicious) and she had a stir fry (also delicious, but spicy). It’s a bit silly of me not to go there before, but at least I got to do it before I left!

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Vegan week take one

A few days ago, I decided to go fully vegan for a week. I’ve been a vegetarian of varying levels of commitment for over ten years now, and ever since I started hanging out with more vegans a year and a half ago, I’ve slowly but surely made my way towards less and less animal products.

That said, vegan week was a massive fail.

I think partly it was because I didn’t research enough and only realised halfway through my meal that I might be eating egg noodles (I wasn’t), and partly because I’m not sure where to draw the line. Apparently, in most chain sushi places in the UK, they use mayonnaise on their gloves when preparing the sushi!? Does not knowing that make your meal non-vegan or are you excused on account of what the hell, who has ever heard anything so stupid before? (Like seriously. I am so put off. Even if I haven’t completely eliminated eggs from my diet the though of mayonnaise in my sushi makes me want to vomit.)

Obviously, that’s one of those questions everyone has to answer for themselves, but until I can decide what my answer is I don’t feel like I can fully commit. Because of that, I have a new goal; rather than going fully vegan for a week, I will choose vegan options when feasible (such as when I’m cooking for myself or buying groceries) and allow myself some leniency when it’s not (if I’m grabbing food on the go or going out with people who don’t appreciate veggie restaurants). One major benefit of that is I think I’ll be able to stick with it for longer than a week, as well!

Vegan mac and cheese

Today I made a food! I very rarely cook, because I’m lazy and it’s easier to buy ready made. But today I had a day off and no excuse not to do it, so I googled “quick easy vegan recipes” and went to work selecting which picture looked the most delicious. I must say that I was disappointed in how quick and easy most of the recipes were patently not, but I suppose if you’re trying to cook something delicious and nutritious on a somewhat restrictive diet, ease and quickness will have to take a back seat.

In the end, I had read enough mac and cheese recipes that I knew what I needed, but I couldn’t tell you which one I actually followed. Probably none of them too closely; I tend to cook quite haphazardly. Whenever I was young and asked my father how much of this or that you need in a particular dish, his answer was always “enough”. So now that’s my cooking philosophy! Put enough of everything in and cook it until it’s done.

So here is everything I used:

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Cashew nuts
Soya milk (roughly 2/3 as much as  the cashews)
Splash of soy sauce
half a yellow pepper
nutritional yeast (maybe half a deciliter)

Put in a blender and blend until smooth. If it’s too thick, add more milk, if it’s not thick enough, add more cashews. In the meantime, cook pasta and put some broccoli in the pot during the last minute or so. Done! And absolutely delicious!

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As someone who still eats cheese, I can tell you that this tastes nothing like cheese. It does kind of scratch that same itch, though, for a creamy sauce. This is just a way more nutty sauce with a slight tinge of cheese in the aftertaste, due to the nutritional yeast. I would also assume that if you don’t like nutritional yeast, you won’t like this, because it’s basically all it tastes of.

This sauce is very similar to a sauce from a video I posted recently, and I’ve made that sauce quite a lot of times. I would say that the soya milk made quite a big difference, so if you want a really fresh and light pasta sauce, cooking without soya milk is the best option, and if you want a creamy and filling one, cooking with it is the way to go. This is all very intuitive, really, but it’s always exciting learning new things!

All by myself

I just saw my mum off at King’s Cross, after almost a week full of fun. I’m quite sad to see her go, but we had a great time together!

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On Saturday, we went for a walk down by the Thames, and happened upon Somerset house. We both love fashion and the 50’s, so when we saw this we thought we’d go in and have a look around. Fashion photography was so much better back then! There were so many photos I would have loved on my wall.

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I also made her pose on the Nelson stairs – apparently these stairs are not to be missed. I wasn’t sure, but I’ll trust the experts when it comes to art.

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When we were done being cultured, we went to Kettner’s in soho for some champagne. My mum loves champagne and I would, of course, never say no to anything sparkly. I’d been tipped off that Kettner’s serves the champagne in the old style glasses if you ask, and I just think that’s how it should always be served. It was an absolutely delightful evening!

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My mum had never been to a burlesque performance, so on Sunday I took her to Madame Jojo’s (also in soho. Can you tell I’m gay or what?). We had a great time with lots of laughs – I think it was a good thing that her first performance was quite a funny one! I also think that since I keep telling her I want to do it myself, she is a bit relieved that it is not as seedy as she might have previously thought.

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We took this picture on the way home. The difference in skin tones was a running joke throughout the weekend!

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Okay, I think this was almost my favourite part of the entire trip. There is a cafe in London called 42 degrees raw. If you ever get a chance, go there. I cannot stress this enough! It is a raw vegan cafe and it is SO. GOOD. We shared a raw lasagna and some curry “rice”. I can’t even tell you how amazing it was. I’m going back as soon as I can!

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Here’s my gorgeous mum!

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Here’s my gorgeous food! It was made of courgettes layered with cashew paste, tomatoes, pesto, and tomato paste, with sunflower seeds on top. So simple and so delicious! I need to learn how to make this and convert every single person into someone who eats only this.

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On Monday, we went to the Saatchi gallery to look at some modern art. We both thought this old paper bag was quite cool! I can’t remember the artist’s name, unfortunately, but he’d cut out trees from various bags and displayed them like dollhouses. We also went to the V&A to look at the fashion exhibitions, and at the end of the day we tried to get tickets for A Midsummer’s Night Dream at the Globe theatre, but it proved impossible. We walked down the south bank instead, which wasn’t too shabby!

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On Tuesday, I’d got us tickets to the Lion King musical. The first time my mum was here, we went to see our first musical ever, Wicked, and I was instantly hooked. We have since made it a tradition to go see one each time she visits me in London! Apparently people back home laughed when she told them which one we were seeing this time, but it was really good! The Lion King was my favourite movie when I was little, and it’s still my favourite animated movie. I started crying when they sang the first note (no joke!) and all in all I cried for literally half the performance.

Food for Thought

I have probably been to almost every vegetarian restaurant in London at least once. I actually find it a really interesting concept – in Sweden, most restaurants have pretty decent offerings for veggies, but here in London, a lot of standard restaurants offer only one or two things. And they’re usually the same wherever you go! For that reason (and because it’s pretty awesome to go to a restaurant and know that you could potentially choose absolutely anything off the menu), I am pretty pleased there’s so many veggie restaurants in London.

One that I keep coming back to is Food for Thought, on Neal street in Covent Garden. They always do really good food! They have a different menu every day (though they cycle dishes, obviously, so it’s not like you can never have the same thing again) and the food is always really good, filling and healthy. Whenever I’m in Covent Garden I always come here! Actually, writing about it I want to go back immediately, even though I was there just yesterday. Obligatory food photo:

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I think this was called a baby corn and mushroom gado gado? The sauce was very peanut-y and a bit similar to satay, so obviously I loved it. Their lasagna is also a massive hit!

The Gate

I just got back from the Gate in Islington; I went for dinner tonight with the V-gang for some good veggie eats. It was delicious! I didn’t get a picture of the food because by the time it came I was starving – I hadn’t eaten for hours before and usually I will have something whenever I have the chance.

If I was going again I’d probably have a starter, main and dessert and make an evening of it, rather than just a main and dessert like tonight. The portions weren’t massive or anything which is always slightly disappointing, but what you did get was really good! I’m thinking of taking my mum there when she’s visiting next week. I’m always happy to find a good veggie restaurant that isn’t all granola and wholesome – I like healthy food but I also like a lush dining experience.

When they talk about a pirate’s life for me they don’t mean scurvy

I am so bad at eating properly nowadays! Partly because I’m not sure what I have in the cupboard now that it’s all mixed in with my landlady’s stuff, and when I can’t get an overview I get overwhelmed so easily and just don’t bother (character flaw alert!). I do that with everything, actually. Another reason why I’m not cooking all that much is that I’m working all the time so I don’t feel like I have the time to cook, which is bollocks I’m sure – loads of people manage it. But by the time I get hungry it’s already time for me to go to work, and then it just seems so much easier to grab something quickly and put it in the microwave. I think Innocent pots have singlehandedly helped me stave off scurvy!

That said, if I was going to cook, I would make this:

I would add way more thyme, and pour it over regular pasta with some steamed broccoli, but this sauce is delicious. I generally feel sceptical towards people who think that holistic health coach is a thing, but this girl can cook at least! (Or… you know, blend)