I’ve been eating a lot, I guess. Nothing unusual there. September is the start of autumn, a lovely season of golds and greens, and October’s my favourite because it’s my birthday month (10th). It’s also Hallowe’en, which always brings back fond childhood memories of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Halloween Town and other fun things I used to watch back then. In October, the clocks change, and I immediately start thinking about Bonfire Night and Christmas and New Year’s and all the exciting things that happen during that season, too. Although I’m not much into Christmas, and I haven’t really done Hallowe’en things since childhood, the atmosphere of the season just does something for me, and it helps me cope with the cold. Also, we get pumpkins in the shops, meaning I can make loads of pumpkin pies.
So, what have I been eating this month? It hasn’t been the healthiest of months, and not everything has been vegan, so I’ll share some vegan delights with you so you know where to shop and where to eat when you’re out and about.
September: Restaurants & eateries
4th September is my wedding anniversary. This year, we went to Bath for a few days, which was so lovely. I fell asleep at a hot stone spa and we ate and ate and bought loads of books (spending about £50 in Waterstones). Before we went to Bath, we ate at Masala Zone in Covent Garden, London. It’s one of my favourite restaurants. The vegetable samosa, green korma and peshwari naan are the things I usually order.
Miso in Bromley (and Croydon) is an Asian (South East) restaurant that loads of people in South London go to (I’ve seen a few people I know in there more than once). It’s popular and reasonably priced. I usually order the vegetable noodles (but exchange the oyster sauce for black bean), with a side of plain rice. They also offer seasonal juices, a dim sum menu, and refreshing desserts.
Pret a Manger is always good for vegan bites. They have a mango puree, granola, banana, coconut and blueberry snack pot that’s really addictive. I don’t get it often because it’s almost £3, and sometimes they don’t fill the pot to the top, but it’s totally delicious.
Tesco is currently selling a whole new range of JusRoll items. Alongside their usual shortcrust and puff pastries, you can get croissants, chocolate chip cookies, and cinnamon rolls! The cinnamon rolls take about 12 mins to cook in the oven and they’re easy to prepare. Get them while they’re on offer.
Cabbage, leek and vegan cheese pie. I will do a recipe for this. It’s so easy to make and its absolutely delicious.
Apple pie. Yeah, autumn is pie season. This pastry was a poor one, as you can see. Too much butter. I’ll make it better next time and share the recipe with you.
October: Restaurants and eateries
Gourmet Burger Kitchen has upped its game. Whereas before, they had the “trippy hippy” vegan burger (falafel. Boring!), they’ve now modified their Californian burger to be 100% vegan. So that’s a sourdough bun, vegan cheese, crispy fried onion and crushed avocado. Sadly, the sourdough bun is a little dry, so I think I’ll keep eating it with the brioche for now, but it’s a great effort from a popular, mainstream chain. Nando’s has been a disappointment; their butternut squash burger is mushy and has no texture, so I haven’t been there in years.
Dishoom is a beautifully designed restaurant that has the nicest mocktails I’ve ever tasted, however, their vegan options are paltry compared to Masala Zone, so I won’t be going here again for a while. Black daal, pilau rice and garlic naan. Still tasty and worth the money, though.
Brigit’s Afternoon Tea Bus is an old Routemaster with a redesigned cafe-style interior. It takes you on a tour around central London, all the while offering a tasty platter of vegan goodies. This was my surprise birthday present, alongside a massage at Thai Square Spa and Lion King, which is an amazing musical! I always wanted to see it, and the tickets were £45 for the Grand Circle seats. Go there if and when you can.
I boycotted Kimchee, Holborn for a little while because whilst the food is amazing, the customer service is atrocious, with the staff often ignoring desperate diners who just want to order, eat and pay. Everything is a fifteen minute wait with these people. However, October 2018 saw my return to the Korean restaurant, and I’m happy to say, the service is markedly different and the vibe is better. No one does tofu like Kimchee, and their udon is just sublime. It’s got a bit expensive over the years, going up from £8 for a plate of udon to almost £11 now, but it’s worth it. For something extra naughty, try the green tea ice cream for dessert!
Caffe Nero has knocked it out the park with a vegan toastie: vegan cheese, sundried tomato and spinach. It is flavoursome. Apart from Eat, no other coffee shop chain in the UK provides vegan toasties, the vegan options are always reduced to cold sandwiches, which isn’t always preferable for breakfast time. So well done Caffe Nero, hopefully Costa follows suit.
All major supermarkets are selling the new vegan Magnums. I bought the almond ones from Tesco the other day. It’s not as rich and creamy as the dairy version, but it’s still tasty enough, and not as expensive as other vegan ice creams. You can buy a pack of three for £2.
Not exactly by me this time, but at work, the vegan/vegetarian options have been fantastic. I work at Parliament so we get subsidised food, and recently they’ve been offering a host of vegan dishes in the canteens (there are three that I usually eat from: Courtyard Cafe, Debate, or Bellamy’s, the healthier restaurant). Some things I’ve had include Thai red curry and seasoned rice, spring roll with noodles, butternut squash pastry and roasted tofu with mango sauce.
For my birthday, my husband ordered me a cake from Ruby’s of London, a vegan bakery based in Greenwich, South London. The flavour? Chocolate and lavender! I was sad when it finished! Check out Ruby’s website for more options.
I would say that September and October have been great months for eating! This week (or next) I hope to upload a couple dessert recipes, perfect for the autumn. Here’s hoping for a tastier November/December, with lots of festive dishes to share!