This blog post is a guest post by VegFest
Meanwhile, the daytime events feature 140 stalls & caterers, dozens of talks and cookery demos, clay modelling workshops, hoola-hoops, kids cookery classes, art and craft tent, comedy hours, short films, 5 all-day bars and more!
Admission for daytime events is £3 (pay on gate) and free for kids under 16, with no advance tickets available.
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Find yourself hungry and away from a sizeable city and it can be a wasteland for vegans, and slim pickings for those with gluten or other food sensitivities. Jacket potato anyone? Oh yes, I’ll just pop on my 80’s shoulder pads, white stilettos and step back in time to devour this culinary masterpiece!
Back here in the 21st century changes are afoot. A trickle of inventiveness is emerging and SOME pub and cafe chains are offering those who prefer to live off plants and don’t find a plate of raw carrots sticks and tomato sauce a dinner worthy of salivation, a meal with flavour and a bit of thought.
A few weeks back I was staying in a twee little English village. A friend was visiting and I didn’t want to cook. I heard something on the grapevine about a local Greene King pub that was serving a couple of vegan dishes on the menu. Hoorah! I called ahead and, hang out the bunting, ring the bells, they confirmed that they did.
I didn’t quite skip with glee all the way there as I was a bit wary, however I was pleasantly surprised. The salad was tasty and filling. The beetroot glaze was lovely and the tiny chillies added a gentle kick.
Last weekend, my friend and I FINALLY decided to visit Woody’s Cafe in Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire, this weekend. This is going to sound daft, but though I may traverse thousands of miles using planes, buses, feet and peddle power, just to discover and taste vegan food, but the thirty minute drive from my mothers house when I visit, just seemed too far. Yes, that is illogical!
With the record-breaking storms in the UK (where in the world isn’t experiencing weird weather?!) abated (I was in Austin..happily avoiding it all!), the sight of the sun coming out and a friend’s belated birthday still to celebrate made me feel like a trip out for the afternoon.
I’d heard about Woody’s restaurant before but previously had felt lukewarm about the prospect of eating there. This weekend, it was time. I called ahead to make sure they had some vegan, gluten free dishes on the menu. They reeled off several that sounded nice, so off we went.
Woody’s is situated on the banks of a pretty canal, and not the sort of place you’d ‘just come across’. The setting is picturesque, with canal boats mored in the quay and a run of dog walkers. It would be perfect on a warmer (and less skwarly) day, to sit outside and eat.
We were wise enough to reserve a table, which was just as well as the place was heaving. The decor is cosy and inviting. The staff attentive, knowledgeable and personable. The food is cooked in front of you in the open kitchen. Everything is fresh. Generous portions. I opted for the Beet Bourguinon and it was really tasty. Packed with fresh mushrooms and puy lentils (I love puy lentils!). The mash was very good but not amazing (I may just be fussy as I’ve had some mind-blowing mash potato recently). But overall the dish was practically perfect.
The prices are reasonable. £35 for 2 dinners and latte and pot of green tea.
It actually only took me just over 15mins to drive here! I’ll be eating here again for sure!
Vegan caramel latte.
Views of the canal from our table.
Aubergine, bean & pepper stew. V GF Leek salad GF (not vegan). The stew was slightly spiced and very well flavoured.
Beet Bourgiunion & mustard mash. 9/10 I practically scraped the plate clean!
Chef’s hard at work in the open kitchen.
View of the restaurant from across the water.
We all know the value of good friends…..ESPECIALLY when they want to take you out to dinner. Yippee!
Doesn’t it look gorgeous! The chef was giving it all his love in the kitchen! The plate was generous (though it wouldn’t have been enough if we’d not spent a happy few minutes plunging raw crackers into the starter). I cannot remember it all (not so easy to give 100% concentration when nattering with a friend), but there were two types of hummus, soup, crostini, raw crackers, olives and socca bread and a chutney which I didn’t really like as I found the rosemary and thyme mix a bit ‘medicinal’ tasting.
|ahh, how pretty! Fresh Gazpacho soup|
|Delicious socca bread (i think?) , made with chickpeas (or that is what it tasted like) and an awesome, grin inducing broccoli soup with garlic oil…I could have eaten a whole pan of that!|
|Olives, raw tatziki & hummus|
The decor is wonderful, the waitresses do all they can to be helpful, and the chef is obvioiusly talented and passionate. The other mains looked delicious and inventive so I will go back and try them one day. I must say, with Terre a Terre & Food For Friends only yards away, all three restaurants are a bit samey in terms of £££. Aloka’s buffet used to offer extremely tasty raw & cooked vegetarian/vegan food at an affordable price (based on weight). Making them a good ‘eat out mid-week’ place. They will now go on my ‘special dinner out’ list. Which is a shame but I will go to their buffet again (served until 5pm). I think I got used to having it so good in California…blow your mind food for a lot less dosh.
I love, love, LOVE Indian food. Guess what? Vegan Backpacker is offering some boxes of vegan delights (‘ve tried one of their range and it was foot stompingly good) for you to try. The PRIZE is going to be given away on March 12th to two lucky peeps. All you’ve got to do is leave a comment here Tasty Bite prize draw and then wait to see if you are one of the lucky ones. Good luck
Any Australians reading this? I found a competition by VEGAN EASY to go vegan for 1-31st March 2011 (obviously for non-vegan who of course will find it no challenge at all, as they are supply all the recipes and help you need. Easy as! Details are here…VEGAN EASY competition 3 prizes…top quality! its a win, win situation. Check out what you can win…tell your non-vegan friends about it.
1ST PRIZE (valued at $800)
* 1 Vegan Cooking & Yoga Retreat for 1 person at Hepburn Retreat Centre
* $200 cash
* Vegan ‘gift pack’ to the value of $200
2ND PRIZE (valued at $450)
* 1 night’s Accom. & Vegan Banquet for 2 people at Hepburn Retreat Centre
* $150 cash
* Vegan ‘gift pack’ to the value of $150
3RD PRIZE (valued at $300)
* Vegan ‘gift pack’ to the value of $300
Action for Animals are GIVING away a FREE vegan starter kit. Click on the link and complete the form.
If you are a vegan newbie and in Southern California and want help at the beginning of your or you friends transition to veggie you can get your meals delivered. VEGIN OUT
In the USA and UK Whole Foods have taster days that are worth checking out.
Ok, that’s it for now. I’ll keep searching for you and post what I find…when I find fabulous prizes.