It’s the final countdown, those last pesky days of January, Veganuary 2020, week four

We start the week in still in Athens.

Day twenty two

Breakfast – after a chat with Giannos at the breakfast buffet it’s clear that I can eat tabbouleh, cucumber, tomato, bread and jam and nothing else from the very extensive buffet, which features everything from soup to noodles, cake and eggs. He tells me he’ll organise something tomorrow for me.

Lunch – With meetings and team arrivals I don’t eat lunch until 4pm when Eleni and I set off to find something. Apparently, Wednesdays and Fridays in Greece lots of people follow a veggie diet for religious reasons.  You’d never know it.

I take whatever is offered, this is grilled veg, aubergine, peppers and courgettes with a ubiquitous balsamic drizzle and a bowl of Spanakorizo, a traditional Greek dish of rice cooked with spinach and dressed with lots of lemon and olive oil.  It’s quite a wet dish but it’s pretty tasty, better than I had expected, sometimes I find spinach based dishes very wet and a bit tasteless.

Dinner – three of us head out to the city centre, right by where I stayed and LOVED last time.  Christos chooses a place because it’s meant to have great meat. I’m excited when they tell me the chef is a vegan, I shouldn’t have been.  Don’t get me wrong the food is fine, but it’s not very exciting considering the chef is vegan. It’s a vegetable stew called Briam, it’s made with potatoes, aubergine and  tomatoes. It’s just a bit one dimensional.

 

Day twenty three

Breakfast – well Giannos wasn’t kidding when he said he would take care of me,  Take a look at what I got for breakfast! Each of these dishes would easily feed at least four people, four hungry people. It’s an interesting choice for breakfast but both of these dishes feature on the main breakfast buffet. Regardless I am grateful to Giannos for seeing me as the fattie that I am.

Lunch – we are onsite setting up for tonight’s event.  Eleni heads to the canteen at the SNFCC where we are holding the event and says the chef is vegan friendly and has made me some pasta.  It’s pretty tasteless and bland. What makes me so sad is that Greece has so much amazing fresh produce and yet this is made with frozen veg. 

Dinner – After a quick dash back to the hotel to shower and change I’m back at the venue and have no idea what I’ll get to eat, but I have pre-ordered a vegan meal.  As it turns out I’m barely in my seat, why this comes a shock I have no idea. You’d think after spending over 15 years in events I’d know by now.

Dinner is pretty good, what I manage to enjoy.  The vegan menu is:

Broccoli and fennel veloute

A couscous salad with apple

Roasted vegetables 

And the classic, I couldn’t have tried less if I cared,  a fresh fruit salad.

There is not a single picture of my meal, as I barely managed to eat it, never mind capture it on camera.

 

Day twenty four 

Breakfast- I hide from Giannos for fear of being overloaded with noodles and vegetables again. I settle for tabbouleh and salad with bread.

Lunch- the airport offers really slim picking until I find a spinach filo pastry that I’m assured is vegan. It’s really tasty, the pastry is gorgeous, golden and crisp.

Dinner- back in the little brick lane kitchen I knock up the kale pesto pasta from We Work. It’s brilliantly vibrant and I eat it on the couch in my pjs.

Day twenty five

Breakfast- toasted bagel, marmite and avocado

Lunch – I’m ashamed to say that lunch is salt and vinegar crisps 

Dinner- my first dish from East and it’s a revelation. Honey, Soy and ginger braised Tofu with perfect rice. It’s so packed with flavour, the textures are brilliant and it’s really easy. And no I didn’t use honey I used an agave substitute. This is one you should definitely try. 

Day twenty six

Breakfast – toasted bagel, marmite and avocado 

Lunch –I miss lunch because I decided to take myself to the cinema to see Bombshell.  It’s great, definitely worth seeing, with some fantastic strong performances.

Dinner – the second portion of the Meera Sodha Tofu dish, and I’m as excited to eat it tonight as I was yesterday.

Day twenty seven

Breakfast – back in the office and back to Granola, although this week I’m loading it with raspberries and blackberries to try and get some more fruit into my diet.

Lunch – Yesterday I tried out  a new Diana Henry dish from A Change of Appetite.  Red lentil and carrot kofte with a tahini dressing.  They don’t look very delicious, and I was expecting them to be cooked, and I expect you probably could shallow or deep fry them, however they are tasty.  I love the tahini dressing and the sweet sprinkling of pomegranate over the top.

Dinner – It’s Diana Henry week here.  Tonight I make mustardy farro and roasted winter vegetable salad. The vegetables in question are carrots, parsnips and celeriac.  I can’t get farro so use easy cook spelt instead which seems very like pearl barley,. It looks so simple and it is really easy to make, (apart from the fact my roasting tray cracks into four as I put it in the oven, the vegetables spill all over the oven and I slice my finger open cleaning up), the flavours are so fantastic, bright and vibrant. Definitely one I’ll be making a lot.

 

Day twenty eight

Breakfast – granola and berries

Lunch – Red lentil and carrot koftas with a big pile of salad

Dinner – N and I are going to the theatre to see End Game at the Old Vic, with limited time we settle on Wahaca, it’s across the street and they have good vegan and gluten free options.  We share everything, it’s fast and tasty, the service is great, sadly the restaurant is freezing which really frustrates me. It’s hard to focus on the food when you’re cold.  

Mushroom Tacos – big, juicy, meaty mushrooms

Sweet potato tacos – very tasty, and really generous portions

Stir fried Broccoli with chilli – good but a bit plain, I’d like more chilli

Mexican Bowl Salad – Love this, lots of different flavours and textures

Crispy Mexican tetelal- huge portion, loved the crispy pastry (think samosa) and the filling, would have liked more of the cashew cream

Sweet romano pepper – gorgeous sweet red pepper stuffed with squash and rice, love the ancho sauce

End Game, don’t bother.  Despite a big name cast, Alan Cummings, Daniel Radcliffe and Jane Horrocks,  I didn’t enjoy it. My attention drifted, and I found it repetitive, which I appreciate is partly intentional.

 

Day twenty nine

Breakfast – Granola and berries 

Lunch – The farro and roasted winter veg salad. The dressing on this is so good.

Dinner – I’m on a flight to Copenhagen from Heathrow terminal two and let me tell you if you want something to take on the plane thats vegan, there is fuck all choice.  Some really sad looking salads and a couple of sandwiches from both Boots and WH Smith. I walk almost as far as Copenhagen to find Cafe Nero at the B gates and end up with their vegan meatball panini, which will be cold by the time I get on the plane but it’s my best option. Actually, had I know I could have gone to Leon and got something hot, but by this point I was committed to Cafe Nero.  And it’s actually pretty tasty, rich, slightly sweet tomato sauce and lots of fresh basil.

Pret is due to open soon and thank god for that.

Day thirty

Breakfast – bread and jam

Lunch – I’m not entirely sure what I have,  but as everyone else has meatloaf I’m guessing this is a vegan alternative.  It’s really tasty, a bean based patty but with lots of whole white beans in there making the texture really good.  Lots and lots of salad.

Dinner – Back in London and I’m meant to be on a date but he cancelled mid afternoon, which I saw coming.  This means nothing is planned for dinner. I think I have the recipe for Pad Thai in my head so go home via tesco and pick up all of the ingredients I remember, which is about 90% of the actual ingredients, but I’ve picked up some extra veg so it’s all good.

 

Day thirty one – the final countdown

Breakfast – Granola 

Lunch – as its the final day we set off to Burger King for the Rebel Whopper. Now I am aware that its not considered vegan due to being cooked on the same grill as the meat and the mayonnaise isn’t vegan.  The grill I get, the mayo, thats just stupid, Heinz make a vegan mayo and they use heinz mayo, so please Burger King switch up your mayo. Thomas, the real vegan in the office has consumed this, and is consuming this, so I am happy to go ahead.  I think it’s probably the best of all the vegan substitutes I’ve tried this month, although both Greggs products are fantastic and really affordable. It’s a tough call. I think getting a burger right is easier because you have all the other elements not just the patty.  Its £7.49 for a meal, a £1 more than a standard whopper meal and is the only whopper not included in the Burger King Promotion on the app which seems a bit mean. 

 

Dinner – my final vegan meal. I mean, not ever, obviously, you can see my love for granola isn’t going to stop here.  Tonight I am off to TV Dinners, the new immersive dining experience from Gingerline. I am so excited, I love their events.  Normally Gingerline events are top, top secret but not this one so you can read all about it here, in a day or two.

 

And that’s it, over for this year or is it…

 

… to be continued.

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