Thursday, January 2, 2014

My vegan holiday in England

Dr. D. and my girls spent Christmas week in England this year.  Dr. D.'s daughter lives in London and arranged for us to stay in a beautiful cottage in Derbyshire.  Lucky for us, it came with a fully equipped kitchen and even luckier for us, Dana agreed to keep our meals mostly plant-based.

We had oatmeal a couple of mornings but not just any kind of oatmeal.  We got the kind with the hunky Scotsman on the box!

Mmmmm...I'm hungry!

Dana made some amazing breakfast cookies one morning.  Two ingredients: two bananas and a cup of oatmeal.  Mix it together and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  They were delicious!  I especially liked the ones she made with the dark chocolate added.  These will become a staple in our home.

The first night, we had fennel soup.  Dana made chorizo sausage for the top for the omnivores and served it separately to keep it vegan for us. I will include the recipe for one of my Foodie Friday posts but it was delicious.

Vegetable stir-fry was served for lunch on Monday, our first full day in England.  Stir-fry is always a safe bet for vegans and omnivores eating together.  It was very delicious and I will make sure I take Dana's idea of using a pre-cut mixed frozen veg instead of spending so much time shopping and chopping fresh vegs.  No more excuses!

For dinner that night, we had butternut squash soup. The girls helped with this dinner and Mell painstakingly removed all the seeds from the squash to be roasted and served on top.  I really loved this soup!

We hiked to the Black Cow Pub for lunch the next day and I was a bit concerned about what I'd find on the menu.  No worries!  I had kalamata olives served with toasted focaccia and of course, English chips with malt vinegar.  Nobody said you can't order lunch off the Starters menu.

Tuesday night's dinner consisted of spaghetti squash served with a delicious puttanesca-style sauce chock full of eggplant, capers, tomatoes and lots of garlic!

Wednesday was Christmas so we had vegan blueberry walnut pancakes made by Dr. D. for breakfast before taking off for a four-mile hike.  Working up a good appetite, we scavenged the kitchen for leftovers for lunch when we got home.  Salad, bread with hummus, and the most delicious apples I've ever tasted made for a satisfying and scrumptious meal.  People tell me the produce tastes better in Europe and I have to agree.  These French apples tasted like apples are supposed to taste!

Christmas dinner did include a roast beef for the omnivores but we vegans did not go hungry!  Roasted vegetables including parsnips, onions, potatoes and mushrooms as well as green beans and squash filled our plates.  Dana served Jamie Oliver's beautiful green stuffing mix which I tried to find to bring back to the States before we left because it was so delicious!  

The day after Christmas we hiked to The Three Horseshoes Pub.  Again, I opted to order off the Starters menu and again I had chips.  When in Rome....

I ordered a delicious homemade bread with olive oil and balsamic dipping mixture that came with a side of olives.  The bread was really wonderful and I left happy and full and ready to hike the two miles back to the cottage.

Our last night in Derby was Mexican Night at the cottage.  Dana set out a selection of foods from which to make our own burritos.  These are always an easy omni/vegan dinner as you can still have the meat on the side while having lots of vegs to fill your burritos as well.

We left the next day for London and I had a bit of a hard time finding something to eat at St. Pancras train station.  The sandwich shop had a tasty sounding falafel wrap but it came premade with tzatiki sauce so it was off limits.  We took a stroll to another shop where I found a three pack of hummus and some tasty tortilla chips.  That made for a delicious lunch.

The first night in London, we ate at an amazing vegan/vegetarian restaurant.  Amico Bio was such a pleasant surprise!  Their menu is vegan friendly and I had the  which was delicious!  For dessert, we had this little number:

Chocolate cake with soy vanilla ice cream
All of us left happy and full.  Dr. D. and I were still talking about this meal two days later.  Delicious!

The next day we walked around London and Dana took us to a little pub we never would have found ourselves.  The Mayflower Pub is old...I mean OLD!  It bills itself as the oldest pub on the River Thames.

Wow!  That's OLD!

I expected the usual bread with olive oil and chips on the side but I was pleasantly surprised!  Dr. D. and I had the "Veggie Rosemary and Red onion Sausages on Sweet Potato Mash Served with Veg Gravy" and we thought we'd died and gone to heaven!  Great beer AND great vegan food??  All this in a tiny pub on the backstreets of London.  Why can't the U.S. do this? 

Dr. D and I toured the Tower of London while the kids went shopping and we met up at the Indian place downstairs from Dana's apartment.  Indian food is another good bet for vegan eats.  I had the channa masala but Dr. D. had the garlic lentils which I scarfed down once I had a taste.  They were amazing!  

We left the next morning but I am happy to report I had two vegan meals on the plane and a terrific lentil and black bean burger at the Philadelphia airport.  All in all, between the wonderful restaurants and Dana's fabulous cooking, this vegan mama was a very happy traveler!

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