Thursday 20 February 2014

A Very Vegan Valentines

Yes, the title of this post does say vegan, and yes after months of denial, I have finally come out as vegan. But as this post is about valentine's day, so lets just pop this revelation on the shelf for a while, and get back to the matter in hand...

I usually don't bother with Valentines day, much to The Boy's dismay, however we usually come to a compromise by celebrating out half anniversary on 5 March. Which in my mind is fecking genius as by then all the valentines stuff is half price and I loves me a bargain.  However, I think I may have been taken over by a romantic Body Snatcher  as it was my idea to actually do something for valentines this year.

The day started off with one our favourite special breakfasts- Jus Rol Pain Au chocolate. I love that all but two of Jus Rol's products are vegan.

Then we began our journey to Sheffield, where we visited the Red Deer pub which had an array of vegan options (I counted six) alongside it's normal omni menu.  The Boy went for fish and chips and I couldn't resist the vegan burger, made with butternut squash, sweet potato, cashews and ginger. Apparently it's so popular that non-vegans have been known to order it with bacon and cheese!

The burger was massive- I'm a firm believer that a burger should be eaten in its entire entity, rather than being split into components (*eyes The Boy with suspicion and judgement*) but I could actually fit the entire thing in my mouth so I had to take it apart. It was worth it, the bun was handmade, and what is there not to like about a burger with butternut squash, sweet potato, cashews and ginger!

Next came dessert, with was in the form of a sweet potato chocolate brownie with a fruit compote.

On first bite, this tasted a little floury, however once I got into it, it was lovely and fudgy and the picture doesn't do this justice. I wasn't to keen on the compote, it had a great sharpness but I'm a bit of a mard arse and didn't really appreciate the occasional pip I bit into, I would have preferred a smooth sauce.

The pub itself was a real ale pub, although I'm not a real ale fan, they sold Stowford's Press which is a Weston's cider, and all Weston's ciders are vegan.  The friendly barman did bring me over a taster of their vegan pale ale, but I couldn't be swayed. The Boy however, enjoyed trying quite a few of the ales, and in an hour and a half had downed three pints- one Stowford's and two different dark ales, whereas my one pint of cider lasted me the whole visit! This is an usual turn of events, as I'm the most boozy one out of the two of us.

I do love real ale pubs, even if I don't drink it, they all seem to have a familiar look/smell that I always associate with my Uni days spent in our own local real ale pub during breaks in 3 hour lab classes. If there is one thing I love/miss about Biological sciences, it the fact so many procedures involves setting a reaction off and then leaving it for an hour. It makes for some good pub sessions. Anyway, back from reminiscing, here is a picture of the inside, just to show you what I mean by that 'real ale look'

After we finally dragged ourselves from the nice warm fire, we headed off to explore a bit more of Sheffield, on the way we popped into the local Tesco Express and picked up a bottle of Henderson's Relish, which is Yorkshire's version of Worcester sauce only without the fish.  Hence it is vegan friendly.

It's so unfair that they only sell this stuff in Yorkshire, you can buy it online via their website but you can only buy it in litres!

For tea we went to Dandelion and Burdock which is a vegan restaurant in Sowerby Bridge. As it was Valentines day, they had a special valentine's menu which was two courses and and a dessert sharer plate per couple for £20 per person.  Unfortunately by this time, both our phones were running out of juice, so all I managed to take a picture of was my drink, which was a raspberry beer.

The meal itself was mostly the restaurant's February menu (the menu is changed each month so that everything is seasonal), minus a few items.  We both went for lentil cakes with an aubergine chutney for starters and and a meatless loaf with mashed potato, peas and roasted carrots for our main. The dessert sharer plate was miniature versions of their regular desserts plus a crème brulee, I'd never had crème brulee before as it's not something that appeals to me, but I decided to give it a go.  It was better than I expected but just not my cup of tea.  My favourite dessert on the plate was a vanilla ice cream- it had a lovely strong vanilla taste and was refreshing after all the food.  Unfortunately, I didn't ask which brand of ice cream it was, however I have my suspicions it may be Booja Booja's vanilla ice cream, as we got given two of their champagne truffles to take away.

I was excited to finally get to try Booja Booja truffles after hearing so much about them and also after standing in various health shops just staring at the boxes of them partly trying to justify spending so much on chocolate and also hoping if I stared long enough at them, whoever I was with might get the hint and get me a box as a gift (that never happened!).  They didn't disappoint, the champagne taste was quite strong, which I didn't mind but I think I would prefer their hazelnut truffles, or perhaps their rum truffles!

So that ends my vegan food adventures on Valentines day, I think it was fair to say I was a bit full on the way home, to the point I was quite concerned I might be sick through over indulgence, however I wasn't (I just did quite a bit of burping!) and ended up in a food induced deep sleep as soon as I got home!

We both decided that we liked Sheffield so much, we are planning to visit again soon and next time spend a whole day there.  There seemed to be so many vegan friendly places in Sheffield and I definitely was to visit Steel City Cakes, which apparently sell vegan cakes and have an offer of 3 slices for £6! As for Sowerby Bridge, we would go back but possibly visit other towns along the route, including Todmorden so we could visit the Lucky Dog and The Bear vegetarian cafe, oh and I'd quite like to visit Gingers in Halifax as well. Sigh, so many things to see/eat, so little time :-) #veganproblems

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