Lardons. There, I said it. One of the most difficult-to-replicate meat products is bacon, specifically meat in a chunky, smoked format. Quorn does a mediocre job with their frozen bacon strips (they look like insoles and taste like them too), and most supermarket own-brand offerings […]
Reducing the amount of plastic we use in our everyday lives has become a bit of a crusade for me. I’ve reduced most of our cosmetics (shampoo, soap etc) to bar form, went to the zero-waste shop, and I try to take a re-useable coffee […]
Hello friends! Today’s veggie breakfast was an unexpected treat – having originally planned to eat at Ironworks around the corner, we were disappointed when, after waiting an hour, we were told the kitchen had lost our order! We weren’t happy, so left in search of a less busy place for brunch on a Saturday afternoon. A quick google produced Buttermilk & Maple, a restaurant attached to the Mercure hotel on Welsh Back, right next to the river.
I’ve eaten in restaurants attached to hotels before, and to be honest, they’ve all been mostly-ok, but nothing exciting or memorable. At this point however, we were starving, so after seeing a veggie breakfast option on the menu, we took a seat. We were immediately welcomed by a lovely host and had our orders taken, cups of tea brought out (all within 5 minutes of arriving).
A few minutes later we were presented with a fantastic-looking pile of roasted vegetables, whole meal toast, poached eggs and baked beans. Our earlier dismissiveness turned to joy – everything was delicious! Grilled aubergine, red onion, tomato, courgette and a massive flat mushroom – not your typical breakfast! Everything was tasty, well-seasoned, and the eggs were cooked perfectly.
They also seem to have a policy of only employing beautiful people as staff – well done 😘
It wasn’t the cheapest, at £8.90 each, plus drinks, but I’d definitely go back.
Buttermilk & Maple gets a hearty 4/5!
This week we’ve seen figures suggesting that 60% of the Earth’s wildlife has been wiped out by humans since 1970. SIXTY PERCENT. If you originally had 10 tigers, you now only have four. If you originally had 100 birds, you now only have 40.
I avoided reading the article linked above for a couple of days, because, to be honest, the title itself was too painful. The WWF’s research found that it was not just large animals that had suffered – creatures across the board had disappeared – down to the crucial insects that keep our trees and plants alive, too.
Just have a look at these god-awful graphs. The final one is the most telling, I think – South and Central America is the worst-affected, and also just happens to be one of the areas of the world where rainforest and natural land is cleared the heaviest, for farm animals and animal-feed crops, such as soy.
We’ve already heard that switching to a meat and dairy-free diet is the best way of reducing your impact on the Earth, and halting, or even reversing, this awful march towards species extinction, and climate change.
So what can we do?
Go veggie, or even better vegan (I’m still working on the second part myself, but getting closer every day). Invest in companies researching and developing food that doesn’t rely on animals or plants. Drastically reduce our general consumption levels, especially relating to single-use plastics, to avoid them ending up in the sea, or in landfills.
Finally, get angry. Make noise about the fact that we are killing off the resources we all need to survive – or more accurately, large corporations and governments are. No-one ever achieved anything by hoping it’d eventually improve, and we’re running out of time to actually make a difference.
Halloumi? Hallou you!
One of the things I love most about switching to a veggie diet is the sheer amount of halloumi I’ve eaten. The salty Greek delight seems to be present on almost every veggie menu – in sandwiches, fried on skewers… love it.
When I had the urge to make a Moroccan-inspired stew, I naturally thought: “How can I incorporate cheese into this?” and naturally, halloumi was the answer. Technically, I think you have to cook a tagine in one of the proper clay pots, but this was done in my big wok with a lid, which is almost as good, I guess?
1 tin chick peas
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Green olives ( a handful, jarred or fresh is fine)
Dried apricots (a handful, or more if you really like them)
Almonds (as many or as few as you like)
Pitta breads (I used wholemeal, but white is fine too)
Halloumi (half a block)
Salt + pepper
The method for this tagine is really simple! Use a large wok or pan with a lid, and start by chopping your onions up nice and small, and frying them off gently in some oil. Add the chopped pepper and fry together for about 5 minutes. While this is cooking, chop up your aubergine into large pieces and then add to the pan. After a further 5 minutes, drain the chickpeas and add them to the mix, along with the whole tin of chopped tomatoes.
Turn the heat down to medium/low, and then add a big teaspoon of harissa paste. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper to taste, and a big tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir well to mix everything together, and then use a pair of kitchen scissors to snip a handful of dried apricots into little pieces, and add these too. This needs to cook on low for a further 20-30 minutes.
Now the heat is down low, put the lid on and let this simmer while you do your halloumi. Chop the block into wedges, I usually allow 3/4 wedges per person. Put the flour in a bowl, and drop the slides into the flour to coat them evenly. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. When the oil is nice and hot, gently put the halloumi slices in the pan and fry them. Each side shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes – use some tongs to check if they’ve turned a lovely golden brown.
When your halloumi is done, take it out of the oil and dry it off on some kitchen paper. I used these last few minutes to make up some packet couscous, because it’s cheap and tasty, just like me. You can make your own with herbs and stock and such, but maybe that’s a recipe for another day.
Serve everything together in a big hearty bowl, with a pitta on the side – lush! There was plenty of tagine left for lunch the next day too – I’d say this recipe is enough for 4 big portions. Enjoy, and if you try it, let me know what you think in the comments!