Veganuary what I learnt eating plant based for a month

So, January has come to an end, thank god for that.  This sentiment is entirely unrelated to my vegan journey, it’s just been such a long month.  Even a year ago I would never, really never, have imagined myself attempting Veganuary. Honestly, I was a bit of a dick about people that chose to be vegan and this month has taught me a lot.  Here are just some of the things I learnt this month and if you continue you down you can read about everything I ate.

 

  1. Probably the biggest thing I took from this was experiencing life from someone else’s perspective, walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. It’s quite rare to do this and I found it really enlightening.  It made me appreciate how easy life is as someone with no allergies, religious or cultural catering requirements. 
  2. It’s ok for everyone to be different, to think and believe different things.  It doesn’t make me wrong and you right or vice versa
  3. Being vegan needs more planning, there is no guarantee you’ll always find something you can eat. And sometimes all that’s available is chips, I know how even am I, complaining about chips, see point 4. It’s worth always having something in your bag, just in case.
  4. It’s not always easy but it is possible.
  5. Eating less meat is the single most impactful way for us as individuals to help the environment. I’m no expert but I found this article helpful.
  6. I definitely ate way more ‘junk food’ than normal, but some of this junk food is all plant based and not processed, so sometimes you need to change your perspective.
  7. However,  there is a shit lot of very processed meat substitutes out there, I don’t want to eat crap, be it plant or meat based.
  8. I did lose weight
  9. If you are a vegan for ethical reasons you probably shouldn’t eat at (most/any) of the big chains without checking out their policy on animal husbandry.  Making a vegan product does not eradicate factory farming. I found this interview with Sat Bains interesting.
  10. I didn’t find it cheaper, either eating out or eating in.
  11. It’s good to be kind to each other

This January I am embarking on my first ever Veganuary. If you’d told me a year ago I’d be doing this I’d have found it unbelievable, but in the last twelve months my opinions on vegetarian and vegan lifestyles have changed significantly. I think given the state of the planet and the excess in all our lives it’s time to look at what changes we can make, no matter how small.  And yes, I have watched Game Changers. I found it extremely interesting, a real eye opener but it’s always important to check your source. This film was produced by James Cameron and his wife, who have invested US$140 million in plant-based proteins (according to multiple sources) including a company that produces pea protein, which is a key ingredient in Beyond Meat. There is loads of material on the internet debunking much of what Game Changers says, I’m not going to get into it here, but feel free to check it out.

Back to Veganuary, for years I’ve done the Body Coach plan which is very meat heavy (there is now a veggie plan) and I felt that I was eating a lot of animal protein and I’d like to cut it down. So for me this is a challenge to see if I can do it, not least as I have two trips to Copenhagen and one to Athens this month. Copenhagen should be fine, amazingly my company provides lunch everyday and they will order me a vegan option. Athens, harder, one of my overriding memories is the sweet smell of meat barbecuing in the air.

So here is my Veganuary  journey.

 

Week one

Happy New Year!  I’ve been at home for Christmas and New Year so start Veganuary at my sisters in Glasgow.

Day one

Breakfast – A slice of multi-grain toast with a really simple guacamole.  This is how I made mine but it really depends on what’s in the fridge. This is enough for a very generous portion on a large slice of bread.

Half an avocado mashed, I like mine quite chunky

4 cherry tomatoes quartered
Juice of half a lime

Pinch of chilli flakes
Salt and pepper 

 

Lunch – A couple of satsumas and some salt & vinegar crisps

Dinner – Starting the year on date number three with the chef, he is not overly impressed with my veganism and so we choose a non veggie place so he can have free reign.  We go to Pizza East, he likes to sit at the counter, I like to sit at the counter, if only it was as simple as that. There is not a great deal of choice and so I opt for the only vegan options.

Pizza with pumpkin (rather than a tomato base) broccoli and chilli.

Butter lettuce and avocado salad 

The pizza was good and the pumpkin worked well, it was much spicer than I had expected.

 

Day Two

Back to work.  

Breakfast – Homemade granola with oat milk.  I make a big batch of this and it’s great for when the cupboards are bare, like today.  I’ll post the recipe at some point.

Lunch – Waitrose ready meal Satay with sofa and rice noodles.  Pretty tasty.

Dinner – I was convinced I had seen a recipe for a shepherd’s pie topped with potato and parsnip mash.  Of course when I go to Waitrose I don’t have the recipe with me and despite there being three different recipes on Bosh for shepherds pie none was the one I seemed to have imagined. So here is the recipe for my vegan shepherds pie.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Makes three generous individual portions

 

Topping

One large potato
Two parsnips
Any non dairy milk non sweetened
Non dairy margarine
Salt and pepper

Method

Cut your veg into similar sized pieces and boil until soft.  Add seasoning, milk and marg and mash to your own liking. I have to tell you that I had neither milk nor marg in little brick lane kitchen and so used some plain soya yoghurt which actually worked fine.

Filling

A good glug of oil, olive or rapeseed
One brown onion diced
Two carrots diced
Two sticks of celery diced, try to cut all your veg to a similar size
250g of cooked lentils, I used a packet but a tin would be fine and cheaper
One vegetable stock cube
A tin of chopped tomatoes
Teaspoon of ground coriander
Teaspoon of tomato puree
Salt and pepper to season
Two tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
A good splash of red wine (I didn’t add this as the rest would have gone to waste (dry January) but I think it would add to the dish if you have some)

Method

Heat the oil in a large frying pan.
Add the onion and coriander to the pan and cook until soft but not brown.
Add the carrot and celery and cook on a low heat for five minutes before adding the tomatoes, puree, balsamic, and stock cube.
Turn the heat down to very low and add a good splash of water, allow the veg to braise.  This will take about 30 minutes, if you need to add a little more water.
Once the veg is soft add the lentils and season.
Split across three small dishes or one big one, and top with the mash.
Pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Serve with whatever green veg you fancy.

 

Day three

Breakfast – Homemade granola with oat milk

Lunch – I work with a vegan, a burger addict, and finally someone that is heavily plant based but loves junk food.  This meant that I was persuaded to try the KFC Vegan burger, which launched yesterday. As someone that couldn’t tell you the last time I was in a KFC and rarely eat junk food, it tasted like processed food to me.  It was fine, it reminded me of a McChicken Sandwich, it was a bit dry and overcooked. I won’t be rushing back.

 

Dinner – N surprises me with a visit and we want something cheap and cheerful and so end up at Mooshies on Brick Lane, for another burger.  This is in a completely different league to KFC.

The bun is a handmade multigrain brioche which is really tasty not sweet and more than up to the job of holding together the large quinoa and black bean patty, even with all of the sauce and cheese.  Everything here is plant based, there are no processed meat substitutes on the menu.

The texture of the burger is very good, it’s a little drier than beef but its not dry, it doesn’t collapse into rubble as you eat it.  It has great umami flavours and is topped with vegan cheese, homemade burger sauce, which is very similar to that of a very well known chain, caramelised onion, lettuce and gherkins.  It’s also massive, I struggled to finish it.

We also shared some sweet potato chips which were perfect, crispy to the last one.

 

Day Four

Breakfast – slice of rye bread with peanut butter.

Lunch –  B and I went to Bubala for lunch, it’s had a couple of amazing reviews and it didn’t disappoint. Every thing on the menu is vegetarian with 73% (yes, I did the maths) either vegan or with an option to be so. I’ll be writing a review and when I do you can read it here.

We absolutely didn’t miss meat at all. Highly recommend this lovely little place.

Dinner – I have a date tonight, he is not phased when I announce I’m doing both Veganaury and dry January and suggests Redemption on Old Street. This is perfect because it’s both dry and vegan. We have a couple of really good cocktails. Special mention for the flu fighter martini. Just be careful not to touch the chilli rim of the glass and then put that finger in your eye!

Anyway, we didn’t eat here. You’ve guessed it, we went for burgers, FFS! This time to Simplicity, the new Vegan, no waste burger restaurant from Neil Rankin, also on Brick Lane. At 9.30 on a Saturday night we are the only table. I go for the cheese burger and we share the salt and vinegar fries and Thai laab (salad). 

The burger is made from fermented vegetables, from what I’ve seen mostly mushrooms. It’s pretty tasty, again very similar in overall flavour to something Mr McDonald makes. It’s significantly smaller than the Mooshies burger (I’d say by a third) and the same price.The salt and vinegar fries are not as expected, they are covered in cheese, chilli sauce and fried onions. Good, just not what I’d call salt and vinegar.

The laab was excellent, fresh, zingy, sharp thai flavours but the broken burger through it was just a bit too much burger in one meal for me.

And no, there won’t be a second date. 

 

Day five

A super lazy day at home. 

Brunch – rice with stir fried veg

Dinner – vegan shepherds pie and green veggies

Day Six

I’m off to Copenhagen for work so let’s see how this goes travelling.

Brunch – Itsu’s veggie Rice pot is the best hot, on the go option at Stansted. Just a pity it’s so much more calorific than the non vegan ones.

Also how great is this refillable water flask at just 10p more than plastic.

Dinner – head out and end up at California Kitchen where all dishes am be made vegan. I have the Bento Teriyaki rice bowl with teriyaki tempeh and mushrooms, sweet potato, edamame and green veggies with sesame seeds. It’s pretty tasty and my first time trying tempeh.  And what is tempeh? It’s made from cooked soya beans that are fermented. Traditionally from the Philippines it’s less processed than tofu, has more fiber and vitamins, as well as being firmer and tastier. I really like it and will definitely try it again. It’s got a nutty hint and an umami flavour.

Day seven

Breakfast – a banana 

Lunch – red pepper stuffed with quinoa, salad and roasted carrots.

Dinner – I popped into Borgens food court and had a vegan gyros with asparagus from The Fat Greek. It was very tasty although mostly mushrooms and some more salad would have been great. This place does THE best chips, not sure what’s on them, at a guess salt, paprika and oregano, but they are so good, as is the roasted red pepper sauce.

Week one is over and so far so good. 

The week kicks off and I’m here in Copenhagen. So far, eating vegan here has been pretty easy, although I have sought out vegan restaurants rather than looking for vegan options in mainstream restaurants. Right let’s go!

Day eight 

Breakfast – granola with oat milk

Lunch – a vegan lasagne which was mostly onions and peas in a tomato sauce. It did remind me how wonderful onions are and of a dish I last made for Mr Gosling, so we are talking five years ago, which was mostly just roasted shallots. I wonder if I can find the recipe?

Dinner – despite lunch being served at 11.30 here, don’t ask me why, there seems to be no explanation for it. I’m just not hungry  and so eat a handful of peanuts and two squares of NOMO chocolate. This is vegan and pretty bloody delicious.

Day nine

Breakfast – on Thursdays’ breakfast is provided in the office. Gorgeous breads, butter, cheese, cold meat, chocolate spread and slices. I have bread and jam, the only thing that is vegan friendly.

Lunch  – a really delicious pumpkin, chickpea and cashew curry. It’s extremely good. I also have lots of salad. I love that every day there are at least 12 different salad items from simple tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber to roasted carrots salad with pumpkin seeds or broccoli and pine nuts 

Dinner – it’s my last night here, for now anyway and I head to Choa Viet Kitchen as the menu has several vegan options and boasts a vegan fish sauce. Maybe I order badly but my Bun Cha Gio Chay, which is rice noodles with vegan spring rolls, vegetable salad, herbs, roasted onions, peanuts and homemade vegan fish sauce is disappointing. The spring rolls are tasty but the noodles are really tasteless. I end up adding a lot of siracha to give them some flavour. 

I also have a tofu summer roll which is not bad but lacking a bit of punch.

On my way home I stop for some vegan treats and find a vegan Ritter Sport bar with hazelnuts, and some raw truffles.

The hazelnut truffles are amazing and surely calorie and guilt free being both vegan and raw. I mean, I’m basically 99% Gwynth Paltrow right now! 

Day ten

Breakfast – Granola and oat milk

Lunch – Skipped as I am on my way to the airport. 

Dinner – Consider a take away, especially when I discover I haven’t actually checked out of my tesco order and so have no delivery tonight.  Instead I buy some mushrooms and make a very simple linguine with garlic, mushrooms and rosemary. I also find some cavalo negro in the fridge and tear this up and throw it in. Its simple and tasty.

Day eleven

Breakfast – despite waking at 8am I don’t manage breakfast.  As a non vegan its never bothers me skipping a meal because its easy to grab something on the go.  As a vegan I am learning never to skip a meal as finding food requires a bit more thought

Lunch – I meet ‘the gays of my life’ at the new Brewdog Alcohol Free bar for our annual planning day.  This years its sober and tinged with a little sadness, as in May the boys leave London to make a new home in Sydney.  And yes, I did cry when they broke the news to me.

We had agreed not to eat here as the menu is, yes, you guessed it, burgers.  However I’m starving, not having had any breakfast, so we order the buffalo cauliflower, sweet potato fries and mac n cheese (not for me).  Its not bad, the cauliflower could be much crisper, have more sauce and a vegan blue cheese sauce would be brilliant. We plan to go on for lunch but the one thing I’ve found is that I feel much fuller, so as none of us are hungry we don’t end up going for a ‘proper lunch’.

We tried a couple of different beers, all of them are really good and the bar staff are super friendly.

Dinner – After much debating, (with myself), if I am hungry? Should I get a take away?  I make some pasta. I whizz up some basil, walnuts and olive oil to make a pesto of sorts.  I fry some courgette and leeks with garlic, add the pesto and some pasta water. Season, add cooked pasta and a splash of soy cream, before topping with some broken walnuts and a parmesan substitute that has good umami flavours.

Oh, I should mention I hadn’t planned dinner as I was meant to be on a date, he cancelled at 12.30 with toothache, apparently.

Day twelve

Noting yesterday mistake of not eating breakfast, we start here today.

Breakfast – slice of rye bread with half an avocado

Lunch – Grab a falafel wrap from Planet Falafel, via the Too Good To Go app.  The falafels here are great, they are all made fresh so they are warm, and crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside.

Dinner – Make my first dish from the  BOSH cookbook that my sis got me for Christmas.  I make the buffalo cauliflower. As I start I realise it requires buffalo sauce, I thought we’d make that.  I, as is standard, go off recipe and use all of the siricha I have which isn’t quite enough for the half portion I make, but it’s only just short. I don’t think the ranch dressing tastes anything like ranch but on the whole it’s pretty tasty and there is enough for lunch tomorrow.

Day thirteen

Back into the office and hopefully a bit of a routine which should make Veganuary a bit easier.

Breakfast – Homemade granola and oak milk, I know its a bit dull but its really easy and it’s easy to pimp it up with some fruit.

Lunch – The boys headed to Subway for the new Meatless Meatball Marinara Melt but I stay in with my buffalo cauliflower.  I am aware that I have eaten a lot of vegan fast food this month and Subway would never be something I would normally pick.

Dinner – more pasta, with leeks, mushrooms and courgettes, home made pesto and cream

Day Fourteen

Two weeks in, can’t believe it.  

Breakfast – homemade granola and oat milk

Lunch – pasta from last night

Dinner – I make Pad Thai from the Bosh cookbook, I love Pad Thai.  It’s really tasty but the quantities are very small and I double the amount of noodles and tofu per portion, making it perfect. I am a bit worried when they talk about catching lime pips. I’ve never, ever seen a lime pip.  It just goes to show how important recipe testing is.

 

Two weeks in and its going ok, although I feel like my cooking has been a bit repetitive, but then I often have the same dish two or three times a week to minimise food waste, so it probably not much more than normal.

If you missed week one, click here.

Right, here we go, just past the halfway mark as I write this.

 

Day fifteen

Breakfast – yes, I know it boring but most of us eat the same thing everyday.

Granola and oat milk

Lunch –  Leftover pasta from the night before.

Dinner – I’m out with the lovely ER tonight for dinner and our plan is to go to Mildreds in Soho, however when we arrive it’s a two hour wait!  Normally finding dinner in Soho is easy but finding something vegan is a bit harder.  We decide to head to the new (ish) Seven Dials Market and the first place we see is Club Mexicana.  We wander round checking out other options, but end up back here which is great as they also have seats.  We share the loaded nachos and add vegan cheese, which is quite hard to find and probably not worth adding.  For me I like my loaded Nachos to be really loaded and I think the toppings were a bit mean.

We have one of each of the tacos, all of which are tasty.  The mushroom and smoked tofu was my favourite.

 

Day sixteen

Breakfast – granola and oat milk

Lunch – As I was out last night, I didn’t make falafels and hummus as I’d planned.  Lucky I had a pouch of puy lentils, (these are so handy) and when I get in I knock up a quick salad for lunch.

Dinner – Tonight I have Fi over for dinner, we had planned to go out but as shes in a hotel all week I think it’s nicer to stay in, chill and have a home cooked meal.  It’s also a great way to use up the massive piece of tofu in the fridge.

We eat Pad Thai on the couch while catching up on each others lives.

 

Day seventeen

Breakfast – I attempt to get a Pret vegan croissant, but neither Pret I go to has one. So Granola it is.

Lunch – Pad Thai from last night.  This I can see myself eating a lot.

Surprise treat – my Vegan colleague returns from lunch with a Pret vegan croissant for me. It’s not a croissant, it has none of the light, airiness that makes a croissant what it is.  And essentially much of what makes a croissant, a croissant is the butter, layer upon layer folded over and over.  And this being vegan has no butter.

I would however like to point out that it is a very good pastry, I’d liken it to a Danish pastry, crispy, sugary, flakey pastry and rich sweet jam.  If I wanted a sweet treat I would definitely eat this again.

Dinner – I am out with AP, my old boss, bestest friend and dad to my beloved godson. 

I head into soho and get our name son the list at what’s being touted as the best Sri Lankan in London, Paradise.  There will be a full review, but for now let me tell you it was brilliant and I can’t wait to go back in February to try the pork cheek curry.

Day eighteen

Breakfast – skipped as I’m off the the Mindful Drinking Festival. Watch out for a post on Dry January soon.

Lunch – As I’m at Truman Brewery for the festival I stop in at the Turkish food stall and grab a vegan halloumi and falafel wrap. Very good, probably wouldn’t bother with the halloumi next time.

Dinner – After being trapped in a room with a zombie with some old friends we head to Westfield at Stratford.  Don’t ever let it be said I don’t compromise, we eat at Zizzi’s. The food is ok, I have the vegan jackfruit pepperoni pizza, it’s pretty good, cold, but tasty,  Service is dire. And I mean DIRE.

Day nineteen

Breakfast – shreddies 

Lunch – I am cooking for friends today and despite pouring through cookbooks I can’t find anything I fancy.  I settle on a paneer dish from East. It’s only when I’m standing in the shop that it occurs to me that Paneer is in fact, not vegan.  This is also just 90 minutes before everyone arrives, and so I do what I do best and make up a recipe as I go. We end up with a very tasty vegan curry.

Dinner- having had a big lunch at 3.30 I’m not hungry although it’s likely that eating my own weight in Bombay mix has largely contributed to this.

Day twenty 

Breakfast – Monday is breakfast day at We Work. Last week we were outraged to be offered cereal. This week it’s all pastry, not very vegan friendly. But there is some lovely bread and jam so I have this while listening to the harpist in the lounge, I’m not even shitting you, today is Blue Monday so we have all sorts of treats. Normally I eat just bread and butter, lashing of thick butter, so thick each bite leaves teeth marks but not today. Yes, I miss butter a bit at times like this.

Lunch – as the boys are working through every vegan fast food option today has been nominated as Greggs day. I think we can all agree Greggs won the vegan fast food war last year. This year they’ve only launched a vegan steak bake. What better way to beat blue Monday than this. Well there is actually. We Work have a terrarium workshop at lunch, so I do this while Lee heads to Gregg’s. 

Delighted with my terrarium I await the Gregg’s with mounting anticipation.
I can confirm it’s exactly like I remember a steak bake, exactly. At points I wonder if it’s definitely vegan.

I also, have a vegan sausage roll which is slightly less moist than it’s original but still very similar and tasty.

After a slightly stressful last day in the office, (missing awards, awards that weigh the same as me, luggage allowances), before heading to Athens (I’m on my way to the airport as I write) for my first event at my new company, Nina from We Work appears at my office with a bag. This bag that I’d forgotten to collect contains all the ingredients for kale pesto pasta.

Dinner- despite having dinner to cook, I end up not eating dinner, that bloody Bombay mix! 

 

Day twenty one

Wish me luck, I’m in Athens until Friday and Athens immediately evokes memories of ancient history and the smell of grilled meat. 

Breakfast – skipped as I realise I can’t manage to take over  60kg on the train by myself. Once I am finally checked in, after repacking and paying my excess baggage fees, I head to Pret.  

Lunch – Falafel, avocado and chipotle flatbread, really tasty, packed with filling.  Pret have also just launched a new Veggie menu of which 15 items are vegan.

Dinner – I’m here finally in Athens to deliver my first event.  On the recommendation of the front of house manager I head to

 

Mama Tierra a vegan restaurant near where I stayed last time.

On the recommendation of the waitress and hearing two other diners refuse menus and order the mushroom burger immediately I do the same.

It’s a great choice, the texture is perfect, it tastes rich and unctuous and despite being loaded with caramelised onions and a really great, gooey vegan cheese the wholemeal bun holds it together well.

So, that’s a wrap on week three. It’ll be interesting to see what the next few days in Athens present, especially as I wont be able to go out and find Vegan food, more just relying on places being able to feed me something.

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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