Week 2 of Veganuary has passed with neither insult nor injury.
My stomach has returned to its former not-8-months-pregnant-looking glory thanks to the week 1 bloating phase being well behind us and, at this half way mark, I’ve not really had a craving for anything non vegan or felt particularly deprived.
This perceived lack of deprivation in my diet may well be coming only from the fact that I’m also knee deep in Dry January, and all minor inconveniences are paling in comparison to the fact that not a single drop of alcohol has passed my lips in 14 days. Who’s to say.
Here’s this weeks highlight reel:
Beelzebab at The Hope and Ruin
Beelzebab are renowned the whole city over for their vegan kebabs and hot dogs, but it was the ‘loaded fries’ side of the menu that my friend and I gravitated towards when we were in for a drink this week.
Currywurst (right) is £5.95 and chilli cheese fries (left) are £6.95, both an ideal portion for a carb-heavy, self indulgent, beautifully beige dinner – highly recommended on a Monday – and both completely delicious. We’ve already made plans to come back this week and try the dogs, so watch this space for a report back on those.
Beelzebab can be found at The Hope and Ruin: 11-12 Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3WA. Full menu can be found here but is (I think) ever so slightly out of date price-wise.
Apple Braised Cabbage
Cabbage is really boring and annoying when you just cook it by itself. Braise it on a Sunday and whack it in the fridge and you’ve got a ready made, slightly less boring and annoying green vegetable side ready for a midweek meal.
Makes 2-3 servings
1 savoy cabbage, 1 onion, 1 apple, 1 tbsp cider vinegar, pinch sugar (or drizzle of honey if not veganuary-ing), 500ml veg stock
Slice onions finely and get them cooking low and slow in a heavy based saucepan. While the onions are cooking, roll up cabbage leaves and slice finely to create long strands. Finely slice apples. Add cabbage and apples to onions. Pour over the stock, vinegar and sugar. Bring to the boil then simmer for anywhere between 35 minutes and an hour. The longer, the better the flavour – just keep an eye out and make sure you don’t lose all the juices.
Kale and Cauliflower Coconut Curry with Clove, Cumin and Date Rice
This was an off the cuff, using-stuff-up-in-the-cupboard dinner and I’m really just posting the recipe here because my Mum wants it. If it interests you, however:
For the curry: 1/2 a head of cauliflower (cut into florets), 1 bag kale (stalks removed), 1 onion (chopped), thumb sized piece of ginger (thinly sliced), 1 green chilli (thinly sliced), 1 can coconut milk, 1 veg stock cube, 2 tbsps peanut butter, 2 tbsps curry powder
For the rice: 1 mug basmati rice, 1 pinch cumin seeds, 3 cloves, handful medjool dates, chopped
Cook the onions, ginger and chilli for 5 minutes or until onions are beginning to brown. Add cauliflower, kale and curry powder and cook for two minutes, ensuring everything’s coated in the curry powder. Pour in the coconut milk, then put the stock cube in the coconut milk can, fill it with boiling water and pour that into the pan too. Add the peanut butter and give it a stir. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the sauce is thick and the cauliflower is cooked.
While the curry cooks, get the rice on. In a saucepan, toast the spices (no oil) for a couple of minutes to start releasing their flavour. Put the rice in the pan followed by three mugs of water. Again, bring to boil then simmer. It should be ready around the same time as the curry – but double check pack instructions on cooking times. Stir through chopped dates once the rice is cooked and drained.
A Vegan Dinner Party
When my friend came to visit from Tunbridge Wells this weekend, we found ourselves at a loss for what to do when ‘sitting at the pub until we can’t string a sentence together anymore’ (our usual activity of choice) was ruled out as an option thanks to my selfish decision to take on Dry January. So, rather last minute, we decided I’d descend upon Rem‘s kitchen and knock up a couple of courses.
Cherry Tomato and Chestnut Mushroom Bolognese
2 punnets (or 500g) chestnut mushrooms (chopped into small cubes), 2 onions (finely chopped), 3 cloves garlic (minced), 2 carrots (peeled and finely sliced), 2 tins cherry tomatoes, 1 veg stock cube, 1 large glass red wine, 1 tsp marmite
Gently cook the onions, carrot, mushrooms and garlic until beginning to caramelise. Add the wine and cook on a medium heat until reduced (5 minutes or so tops should do it). Add the cherry tomatoes, and fill one of the empty cans with the stock cube and boiling water, then add that to the pan too. Finally add the marmite and season to taste (a pinch of sugar never goes amiss here, but I’ll leave that up to you). Simmer for 15 minutes or until thickened.
Cherry Coconut Vegan Browies
These are unreal. Follow this recipe but sub the ground almonds for desiccated coconut. Unless you fancy ground almonds, in which case follow it to the letter. I served them hot with alpro soya vanilla ice cream which is now sold in the freezer section of pretty much all the big supermarkets.
That’s it for this week..
This weekend I am going to Nice!! In the South of France!! All by myself!! For no reason beside the fact that sober weekends in Brighton are really weird!! So I’ll either cobble together something while I’m waiting for my flight home on Sunday night or.. this will be late next week. Who knows.