After years of thinking that we really didn’t like Tofu, last night we knocked up a quick stir fry with wholewheat Soba noodles, fresh allotment greens and some marinated tofu chunks from Cauldron Foods.
It was a revelation, because it was really very tasty and nothing like we remembered from our earlier tofu experiences (which were admittedly, a good few years ago.) Suffice to say, we’ll definitely be having them again.
It does show though, that tastes do change and develop over time and it’s never too late to try new ingredients, or give something another taste test.
With National Vegetarian Week 2011 on the horizon, it’s a great time to invite friends and family around the kitchen table to tuck into seven tremendously tasty and daringly different dishes, which have been developed to help celebrate the week.
The Vegetarian Society have kindly provided us with a sneak preview of one of the new recipes for Chickpea and Cashew Korma with Spicy Rice which looks delicious – we can’t wait to try it out.
Sponsored by Cauldron Foods, National Vegetarian Week starts on Monday 23rd May 2011, with events going on up and down the country which will provide information and advice and plenty of opportunities to try out some delicious vegetarian food. A new Vegetarian Society guide – ‘Going Veggie’ will be available free of charge by telephoning 0161 925 2000 or visiting the National Vegetarian Week website and it is packed with information on going vegetarian and has all seven new recipes in it.
The week is being launched with a free public event in Albert Square, Manchester – ‘Meat Free Manchester’ – which will take place on Saturday 21 May and will be hosted by the Vegetarian Society and there will be interactive games, information, live cookery demos from chefs, plus a chance to try some veggie food.
If you don’t want to cook up your own vegetarian wonders, there are restaurants and cafes up and down the country offering special deals and events during the week.
On 20th May, Northorpe Hall in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, are hosting a seven course, meat free charity banquet. Or for an exclusive dining experience in chic surroundings, why not try No 35 Restaurant in Bayswater, London, where there will be a special Vegetarian Evening Menu available between May 23rd – 28th with two courses for £15 or three courses for £19.
It’s October 1st, so today is World Vegetarian Day, which marks the start of Vegetarian Awareness Month. World Vegetarian Day was founded by the North American Vegetarian Society more than 30 years ago and is endorsed by the International Vegetarian Union.
The aim of the day is to celebrate the benefits of vegetarianism and veggies are encouraged to tempt their non-veggie friends to go vegetarian for the day.
The UK has some fabulous vegetarian and vegan restaurants, so if you want to celebrate and take part in style this month, here are a few places to check out.
Located in London’s lovely Primrose Hill, Manna has been turning out its gourmet vegetarian cuisine for more than 40 years. The restaurant is renowned for using high quality and socially responsible ingredients and prepares meals fresh every day, including a range of organic cakes and breads.
Specialties from the current Autumn menu include Burrito Grande, with black beans, cashew cheese, sweet pepper and courgette filling, or how about organic Bangers and Mash, with fennel and pumpkin sausages on a bed or roasted garlic, carrot and summer mash – just the thing for our chilly British weather at the moment.
For a dining experience with a difference, head down to Rootmaster restaurant in the Brick Lane area of London. Operating out of an old brewery, Rootmaster serves up wide range of vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes to diners who are seated in a refurbished and distinctive red double-decker bus! The Rootmaster ‘bustaurant’ has an open plan kitchen on the lower deck, so diners can watch the staff hard at work and there is a take away hatch for those who want to grab something on the hoof (as opposed to off the hoof, if you see what we mean!).
Current culinary specialties include Teriyaki Stir Fry, Broccoli Tartlet, Zucchini Roulade and Tofu Tower.
The ideal central London restaurant for vegetarians looking for a meal with a bit of spice. Located in the midst of vibrant Piccadilly, Woodlands restaurant has a luscious menu of south Indian cuisine with home-style cooking of authentic dishes including idlis, utthappams and ten different varieties of dosa.
Terre a Terre Restaurant
Brighton’s critically acclaimed Terre a Terre is a vegetarian restaurant that will tantalise the taste buds of vegetarians and carnivores alike. Their chefs pride themselves on presenting diners with a culinary experience like no other, combining imaginative ingredients to produce meals of intense flavours and delectable textures, all presented with creative culinary artistry.
Terre a Terre has been listed as one of the Top Ten Healthy Eating Restaurants in the U.K by Channel 4. Located close to Brighton’s seafront, the restaurant has a stylish modern decor and with specialties such as dhal basmati buns with coconut curry leaf chatni and Thai aubergine jungle curry it is the perfect place to end a good day at the seaside.
Restaurants that are completely vegetarian are often viewed as a poor dining choice by non vegetarian diners, but the Quince & Medlar at Cockermouth in Cumbria has such fabulous vegetarian food on offer, that is has definitely bucked that traditional view.
The Quince & Medlar has twice been the winner of the National Vegetarian Society’s restaurant of the year award and it’s easy to see why. Perched at the top of a hill, the restaurant is at the end of a higgledy-piggledy terrace of buildings that were probably once domestic residences. Once inside, there is a cozy, warm and intimate atmosphere, thanks to plenty of small alcoves and nooks that have been cleverly fashioned from what was presumably several rooms years ago, but which have now been partly knocked together. A blazing fire added a very welcome touch on the perishing cold winter’s night we were there.
Food was hearty, wholesome and each course was very well presented, but the chef didn’t rely just on presentation, as everything was bursting with flavour and it all came in portions that were big enough to satisfy most appetites. After a couple of light starters, we tucked into main courses of hearty bean cassoulet and parsnip and cheese roulade, each accompanied by a generous bowl of seasonal fresh vegetables which were cooked to perfection. Everything was piping hot when it got to the table and service was smooth, efficient and friendly without being overbearing. For two courses and a nice bottle of wine, we paid just under £60 and felt it had been good value for money.
We almost didn’t make it to Cockermouth, as our trip was very shortly after the horrendous floods of 2009. Lots of people did cancel their plans, but we decided to go ahead with our visit, hoping to do our bit to support the locals as they tried to recover from the devastation and keep their businesses going. We are very glad we made the effort, Cockermouth is a lovely little town and the Quince & Medlar is a restaurant well worth visiting.