Sunday, 19 August 2007

London for fussy eaters, or how to order vegan food in non vegan places

I wanted to write about the difficulties that you encounter when you try to be fussy in London.
I love to read the posts of othr blogs and how people come to London for holiday and they find it the best place for vegans, wheat intollerant, raw food eaters, or whatever other fussy food habit or requirement.
When you do live in London in fact it can happen that is not your turn to choose where to dine or have breakfast and your are likely to go out with people that are not veg, especially if you don't choose your friends because of what they eat!
In Italy I can always get away with pasta al pomodoro, in the London's pubs it's a bit harder.
So I went to Princess to have breakfast with a couple of friends hoping to find something vegan on the menu.Princess is a gastro pub (I know the sound of this word i horrid) and there is a reastaurant upstairs.
It was a lovely Sunday early afternoon and the idea to go to a pub wasn't coming from me but I accepted as I have heard so much about the place that I thought I give it a try.
Clearly there isn't anything on the blackboard that I can/want to eat, everything was meat or fish or dairy based.
I ask the waiter:
"Hi have you got anything vegan"
he is incredibly hadsome and looks at me in disbelief

"just put something together with any vegetable that you like, please" I say while dreading the thought of the transparent iceberg lettuce, the ultra cold tomatoes slice and the cheap balsamic vinegar.

Well I couldn't be more wrong. When the lovely waiter comes out with the vegetables I am actually rather impress by what was put together. A pleasent combination of different textures with french beans, different leaves rosted sweet potato and vinaigrette with dijon mustard as a dressing.
The bill was also very good as it was only eight Pounds for the salad and a juice!

The Princess
76 Paul Street,
London EC2A 4NE
tel: 020 7729 9270

Princess passed the fussy eater test!

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Impressive mixed rice salad for your summer party

Have you ever seen those mixed rice bags in the healthshops and wondered what to do with it?
I made a version of a popular wild rice salad from the Candle Cafe Cookbook, with a slight variation.
On Sunday I was invited to a Sicilian themed barbeque, with all the people I went on holiday with.
A nice bunch of people reproducing the atmosphere of a "Baglio" (Sicilian courtyard) in a lovely garden in Hackney.
The pressure was on as my Italian friends are quite good when it comes to traditional, so there was caponata, peperonata and insalata pantesca (a great potato salad with capers and cherry tomatoes). I decided to go for something with a citrusy flavour but just not as classic (I am not very good with with traditional recipes, and I wish I was!)
So from the Candle Cafe' cookbook, but with a twist:
Impressive Mixed Rice salad

1 cup mixed wild rice (long,camargue, wild)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (roasted in a dry skillet)
1/2 cup cranberries rehidrated in warm water
the grated zest of 1 organic orange
the juice of two organic lemons
1/4 cup of shoyu or tamari

Not very difficult... cook the rice in 2 parts of water (my variety needed 40 minutes) and add the other ingredients, voila'! (Unfortunately not very macro either!)

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Back to the UK tofu

Back from a great holiday in a little paradise location in Sicily, I feel really rejuvenated and the sun incredibly enough is shining in London too, even if it’s not really hot.
I have neglected my blog just as much as my little basil plant, that today ended up in the bin, but my resolution is to add lots of recipes in Aug/Sep
Hopefully I will have to cook for quite a few picnics so it’s going to be interesting..
On Monday, after my allucinatory journey home from Stansted, very few hours sleep and a full on day in the office, I was ready to make my own dinner again but nothing too complicated so here’s the recipe, quick and summery:

Back to the UK Tofu
1 cake firm tofu
½ a cucumber
1 piece ginger
some alpha-alpha sprouts
1 tbs mirin
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs rice vinegar
50 grams pistachio nuts

Peel and deseed the cucumber, cut the cucumber and ginger julienne, mix with the alpha-alpha sprouts.
Mix mirin, soy sauce and vinegar.
Place the vegetables on top of the tofu and pour the sauce over.
Grind the pistachio (leave them a bit coarse) and sprinkle on top.

It's so funny that I thought I share this.
It was 43°C in Palermo, Sicily last Sunday, too hot for anybody... even for these guys