Vegan in Nuremberg

Check me out, blogging about a German city that isn’t Berlin.

I have actually been to Nuremberg before and eaten some decent vegan grub but did my usual thing of disappearing from the blogging world for months and then managed to lose all my food porn. Not letting that happen this time, so here I am, sleepy and drained after a 13 hour travel day yesterday!

I’ve only ever been to Nuremberg on work business, a massive organic trade show Biofach is hosted there every year. It’s a shame that I’ve only ever been there for work as it’s a cute city and I’d like to get to know it better. But anyway, this week I was sent back after a few years to see what new products are on offer, meet current suppliers and all that other important business stuff. The days are really long and exhausting, so I didn’t manage much outside of work, but what I did try was awesome.

Apologies in advance for the poor photo quality, I had no room in my bag to bring my fancy camera.

Chesmu

I tried Chesmu 2 years ago and fell in love. This is where you need to go if you want a special meal in Nuremberg though I recommend booking a table.

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The menu is quite small but offers a nice variety of dishes. I was pleased to see that since my last visit, there were a lot more vegan options available. Everything is veggie but the majority of it could be made vegan.

I went for the Sweet Potato Soup because I had Chestnut Soup on my last visit and it was incredible. I was not disappointed.

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Oh my word. These people just know how to do flavours. I usually avoid soup in restaurants because it never really feels that special and I can make a good soup…but I cannot make soups this delicious. I dunno what they did to it, but it was so tasty. I didn’t want it to end.

For my main I went for this amazing Creamy Tofu and Mushroom dish, served with Potato Rosti and salad.

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I’ve gotta say, when the bowl of salad arrived on the table I was like ‘omg why do restaurants bother bringing lame bowls of salad?’. And then I tried it and it was not a lame bowl of salad at all, it was super tasty and worked really well with the rest of my dish. I should stop being so judgey with salads. The tofu was really really nice and I love potato rosti. It was super good.

Sadly I was too full to try dessert but they had a rice pudding and an apple cake on offer, both of which sounded amazing. Top marks for Chesmu, really tasty generous portions of food, amazing flavours and also the staff are lovely.

Vegoner

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This little gem is just around the corner from Chesmu and as soon as I found out about it, I was all over it. I’m a huge fan of Voner in Berlin, so was super excited that there was another option for me to get a vegan kebab.

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This place is really great, you can get the usual doner wrap, or a teller but they also do burgers, stew and goulash. Prices are really reasonable, I paid €9 for a massive doner wrap, chips and a cola.

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Oh my God, it was so good. I’m pretty sure the kebab meat is made from soya rather than the wheat gluten I’m used to. Now I love me my wheat gluten but it was nice to have something that didn’t sit so heavily in my stomach and it tasted amazing. If I wasn’t so full I would have got another one, but sadly I couldn’t even finish my chips. The chips were good but I’d say that the Voner chips that are smothered in caramelised onions and tahini are still my faves, I dream of those chips.

They also had cookies and brownies on offer, so yay for dessert! I definitely want to come back here to try one of the burgers.

So those are the two places I visited in Nuremberg, but there are a few more veggie and vegan places around that I’ve yet to try.

As always with German cities, there are organic shops everywhere which sell a huge variety of amazing vegan food, from fake meats and cheeses, pesto, mayo, cakes, cookies, chocolate. All clearly labelled and usually at a pretty good price, so lots of opportunity to pick up amazing food.

We travelled to and from Nuremberg by trains and thought I’d share some food I picked up at Frankfurt Flughafen station.

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Tofu, Pepper and Guac Sandwich (a bit of a sloppy filling but pretty good) and this delicious Chocolate Pudding with Berries. It was so easy to find, so clearly labelled…and then I arrived back at London Euston and found nothing vegan for me to eat at all.

Damn, I need to move to Germany already.

Anyway, that’s it from me. I’m off to Poland in a few weeks so hopefully will be sharing more tasty food with you soon, but if anyone has any suggestions for eating vegan in Krakow, please comment below!

V Rev Diner

This post has been a long time coming and I feel super bad about not doing this review sooner. But I was waiting until they moved into their shiny new premises. Well, today was the day. Today V Rev Vegan Diner opened the doors at their new home on Edge Street.

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I was so happy that opening day fell on my day off and I made sure I was there just a half hour after they opened. I couldn’t believe it when I saw how rammed the place was by the time I got there. We managed to get a table in the back of the restaurant and as we were waiting for a friend to join us, we had a good look at the new place.

Oh my gosh, it’s so pretty. Sadly, I couldn’t get tons of photos because it was sooo busy and I didn’t want to get in the way of the staff on such a stressful day, but the place is looking so cool. The decor is light and bright, the walls are covered in some really amazing artwork, the bar area is super smooth with it’s soft serve ice cream machine and bloody rotating glass cake cabinet! God, I wish it wasn’t so busy so I could take all the photos, but keep an eye on V Revs Twitter feed and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Now, before ordering there was something really important I had to do. I had to get my big, fat queer arse onto one of their toilet seats. Why? Not because I particularly needed to pee but because I’d heard all about their new gender neutral and accessible toilets. Of course I had to force a little bit of wee out of me to celebrate the occasion.

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Oh yeah! Toilets I can pee in without having to worry about how safe or comfortable I am. Awesome. This is really important to me and I’m so happy to see V Rev getting on board with this. I have a list of safe places I know to pee at in Manchester City Centre, sadly I can count them on one hand, but yay for this cool vegan joint being one of those places. Also was happy to see that the accessible toilet was actually accessible. So thumbs up for that too!

And, can I just point out these vegan condom and tampon machines outside the toilets?

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I want to live in these toilets, can I live here pls?

Anyway, back to what y’all care most about. THE FOOD.

Ok, so I could pretend that I ordered a shitload of food from the menu to take one for the team because I’m such a nice guy and I wanted to spread the word. But basically, I’m a greedy bastard and I love all the junk foods so I ordered a shitload from the menu BECAUSE I CAN AND I WILL. I don’t care who judges me. It was effing tasty and it being good blogging material was just a beautiful plus in the situation.

So, what did I have? Well, I started off light and got myself a Cookies n Cream Milkshake (£4.25)

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Jesus Effing Christ. The old V Rev standard has been beat. This beauty must be twice the size of what I’m used to and it was uh-mazing. The main bulk of the milkshake was this rich, creamy, cookie delightfulness but I loved the soft serve ice cream it was topped with. It was super tasty and it made me a very happy human.

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After I’d had half of that beast, I ordered the savoury. I ordered a lot and I don’t regret a single thing. Let’s tackle this one dish at a time

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Let me introduce you to the Macaroni & Michele’s High School Reunion. Yeah, that’s right. It’s a burger with fricking mac n cheese in it, basically my dream burger. This was awesome, a homemade beef patty topped with mac n cheese, pickles and a chipotle cola bbq sauce in a pretzel bun. It’s one of the pricer burgers at £8.25 but it was huge, the photo doesn’t really show how much of a beast this burger was. I really enjoyed it and scoffed half the damn thing before remembering everything else on the table. I have the other half leftover for later and I can’t bloody wait to reunite with it.

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V Rev has a bunch of Loaded Fries combinations on the menu and I couldn’t resist these Buffalo Ranch Fries. Oh yeah. These were frigging ace. Tasty fries! V Rev finally does fries! Topped with cheese, bacon, ranch dressing, buffalo sauce and chives. Get in my fat face. These were bloody great. I could eat these constantly and it was hard not to lick all the melted cheese and sauce off the paper at the end.

I was with my partner Jake and a friend, so I also got to try their loaded fries. The picture on the left is the Vietnamese style and the other is the Mexican variety. The loaded fries range from £3.25 – £4.25 and the portion is pretty big. The Buffalo were indulgent but I also loved the Vietnamese ones a lot.

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CHICK’N N GODDAMN WAFFLES! FINALLY! YESS! These crispy chick’n pieces are coated in buttermilk and fried and covered in blueberry syrup. The sweet, savoury combo is a little strange but I still loved them. It would be great to see these come with a nice American style sausage gravy in the future just because it’s a personal favourite of mine. These were really great. They are a little pricey at £8.95 but totally worth it, where the hell else can you get this? Nowhere.

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I shared these with Jake and he out classed me and ate them with his bare hands.

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These tasty little morsels were one of my favourite things. I recommend getting a side of these delicious fried pickles when you eat here. They’re £3.45 so not too pricey and they come with a generous amount of that delicious range dressing that covered my buffalo fries. I want fried pickles for breakfast every morning now. I would eat them like cereal, but drowned in ranch instead of soy milk.

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All of the above was definitely more than enough savoury food….but there’s a Lobster Sarnie on the menu. I cannot say no to that. I only managed to eat a measly third of this, I have the rest packaged up for later, but it was pretty good. Not overly fishy but it reminded me of my chickpea tuna style sandwich I make at home. It is £6.95 which is quite expensive for a sandwich but it was stuffed with the filling, there was loads. I guess it’s also not a typical cheap sandwich filling either.

I didn’t eat these, but they got great reviews from Jake and my friend. The burger on the left is the Guac to the Future Chick’n Burger and then we have the Go Ahead Mac My Day Hotdog. I’m definitely coming back for these, they will see the inside of my belly for sure.

So for those of you who haven’t heard, V Rev Diner is also home to a new in house bakery Tender Vegan Bakery. There was lots on offer today; Cinnamon Sugar Donuts, Brownies, Cookie Sandwiches, Gluten Free Caramel Cake and Cherry Cheesecake. Well, I couldn’t just have one pud could I?

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Of course I went for the cheesecake. I always have to have cheesecake. This was pretty good, I’ll be honest and say it’s not the best vegan cheesecake I’ve had but it is really tasty. I am spoilt when it comes to good cheesecake when I go to Berlin so often, so I do have ridiculous standards. I found the base a little bit too thick and hard, when I tried to break pieces off with my fork it crumbled everywhere and I like to have a bit of everything with each bite. The actually cheese part was pretty good and I loved the cherry topping and overall it was a top pud.

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I couldn’t fit this doughnut in, so I took it home with me and just had my first bite. Oh godddd. It’s a proper good doughnut this. It’s deep fried which automatically makes it a winner. Beautifully fried and golden and the sugar cinnamon glaze is incredible. This beats Co-ops strawberry doughnuts for sure, sorry Co-op, you’ve been beat. I need more of these in my life.

So, that is everything that I ate. I’m now collapsed on my bed, a bloated but very happy and satisfied mess of a person. I like to think i left the place looking like one of their pieces of art…

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I decided before visiting today that I would not be reviewing the service. It was their very first day, they have more than doubled their team of staff, it was the first time a lot of them had worked together while the place was open, there was a new till system, a new much more complex menu etc and it just didn’t feel right to judge service in these circumstances.

There were a few teething problems for them today which they have kept everyone up to date with on social media…they’re stars like that. I spent a good few hours stuffing myself there and I really felt for the team when they encountered some of these problems. BUT I just wanted to say how wonderful they all were. Today must have been super duper stressful and they still managed to be friendly, polite and helpful with everyone. I mean, I cry a lot at work and regularly have panic attacks, admittedly more than most…but they kept their shit together and I really admire that. If any of y’all are reading this, honestly, well done for today. You did good. More than good.

I loved my experience at V Rev Diner and I’m so excited that this is happening here in Manchester. This is the kind of place we really need around here.

V Rev Diner is open every day of the week 11am-11pm and one thing I haven’t mentioned here is alcohol. They have a vast selection of beers, wines and creamy vegan cocktails for you all to try. I’m hoping to get myself down there one evening soon to try out some of these drinks. It all sounds wonderful.

V Rev can be found at 20-26 Edge Street in the Northern Quarter in Manchester

Check out their Twitter, Facebook and Website for their menu, more info and some drool worthy photos. And for goodness sake just get yourselves down there to try this food. It’s amazing!

More Food & Fun in Berlin #2

Whilst I may have exhausted most of the 100% vegan eateries, there are lots of non veggie but vegan friendly places in Berlin and because I was the only vegan on my trip, I got to try many new places that did some really great food. I thought I’d use this post to show you all the great vegan food I had in non vegan cafes/restaurants.

Hot Dog Soup

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I’ve walked past this little place so many times in previous trips to Berlin, it’s in the heart of Friedrichshain, so I’ve always bypassed it in search of vegan kebab, crepes or cake. Daria loves this place and took me here after a night of heavy faux meat when we both craved something light and full of vegetables!

I wasn’t sure what to think of this place. It sells soup and hot dogs. Bit of a weird combo isn’t it? I was kind of hoping that the hot dogs would be IN the soup, but nah, you pick one or the other. There are always vegan hot dogs and always a vegan soup option. The day I went I think there were 2 vegan options, I went for a spiced pumpkin soup.

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This was one of the best soups I’ve ever had, hands down. Sometimes pumpkin can be a bit watery and tasteless, but this was bursting with flavour. It was beautifully creamy as well. Also, dead cheap, iirc around 4 euros. Soup and bread was a perfect lunch. I definitely want to come back to try the hot dogs, there are 7 different varieties…the one with sauerkraut and sweet pickles sounds right up my street!

Nil

Oh Nil, I fell in love with this place. I’ve heard great reviews of this place, but again hadn’t tried it in favour of veggie/vegan places. This place is right at the corner at the end of Sam and Daria’s street, so I ended up eating there twice. I had the Vegan Teller each time.

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This is beautiful and I think back on this tasty teller with love. I love every bit of it, the potatoes, the hummus, the falafel but oh my word, the bread is so good! And for under 5 euros? It’s a bloody bargain. This Teller left me in agony both times I ate it, but it was so worth it.

Lemon Leaf

This is another gem of a restaurant based in Friedrichshain. Sam and Daria really did pick a great area to live!

Whilst there wasn’t a huge range of vegan options here, there were a few options and the food was really delicious. I started off with these crispy deep fried pumpkin things with a chilli dip.

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I love this kind of thing. Deep fried deliciousness. I was sad when the plate was empty

I went for a Thai curry with tofu for my main

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This was a bloody good curry. Really rich and creamy, the tofu was cooked well. Really really yummy.

I probably wouldn’t go back here if I was travelling alone or with other vegans, not because the food is bad but because I can get really good Thai food here in Manchester. This is perfect if you’re wanting to eat in a proper restaurant with non vegan friends/family though. Great service and delicious grub!

Haferkater

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I came across this place on Happy Cow when my mum said she wanted to go out for a decent breakfast before a day of sightseeing. I thought the idea was great for breakfast lovers, a cafe that specialises in porridge! It sounded perfect for my mum…but if you’re a regular reader here, you will know that unless I’m offered a fry up or pancakes…I don’t do the breakfast thing. And I’ve never been dead keen on porridge.

When we got there and I saw a Maple, Banana, Choc Chip option on the menu, I started to get a bit excited about it.

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For good reason. This porridge effing rocked! Definitely the best breakfast I’ve ever had, I have no idea how they made those oats taste so good but they did it. Probably not a very healthy breakfast, there was a shit ton of chocolate and syrup on this, but hell, it was so good I’d eat it again as a sweet treat.

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We also had some really tasty drinks with our porridge. I had a soya hot chocolate and my mum had a fresh mint tea. Delicious! I definitely want to go back…and desperately want to learn how to make porridge that good!

Momos

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DUMPLINGS! VEGAN DUMPLINGS

This place is heaven. It’s 100% veggie but with lots of vegan options. I found this place when I got jealous that Sam, Daria and my Mum had Russian dumplings and I couldn’t. So I found out about Momos and made my mum have dumplings for two days in a row. Best son ever.

I went for a medium portion. 14 dumplings, 2 varieties and a dip. I had the Broccoli Shiitake Tofu and a Pumpkin dumpling.

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They were all bloody delicious but I loved the Pumpkin best. Also 14 dumplings can disappear quick.

I loved this place, you don’t really get this kind of thing in Manchester so it was a really nice change. Definitely going back again.

That’s probably it for this round up, I’ve rambled on enough. I’m probably gonna take a look at a few places I revisited for my final blog post…until then…

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More Food & Fun in Berlin #1

So my brother and his lovely girlfriend only went and moved to my favourite city ever. I was so happy about this, mostly because Berlin is a lot closer than Beijing so I’d get to see them more…but also because…free accommodation in Berlin! Yeah! More reasons to go back again and again.

I ended up going to visit twice within the space of a month. This was due to bad planning. In my excitement I booked a trip by myself and then found out my mum wanted me to go along with her a month later. It was still great and I had lots of fun both times but I am feeling a little Berlin’d out…I need to visit somewhere else in Germany next time for sure.

So, instead of the usual Day 1, Day 2 layout I do, I thought I’d lump the two trips together and sum up my visits in hopefully no more than 3 posts.

Let’s go!

The Currywurst Museum

Yeah. I went to a museum about meaty sausages. I have spent years debating whether I should go to this museum because whilst I enjoy a nice vegan currywurst…generally it’s not a vegan dish and would visiting a museum be supporting the horrible meat industry? It was a toughy. I decided not to when I found out that the entry ticket includes a free currywurst…but then I found out that they offer a vegetarian option with that…and it is also vegan…so I decided to just go for it and find out what it’s like.

I’m actually really glad that I did because 1) It was absolutely hilarious and the most fun I’d had in ages and 2) it was pretty much all about the culture/history of currywurst in Germany, where it came from, how popular a dish it is etc and less a focus on how it’s a meaty thing. I genuinely feel like I can recommend visiting there, it’s really food fun (though a little pricey at 11 euros entry) and the vegan currywurst is pretty tasty!

There were lots of awesome things about this place. First off, you get to find out which kind of curry you are by answering questions on a screen that have absolutely nothing to do with curry or sausage. I found out that I’m a Java curry

Next up, I got to visit some tables that had radio bottles of ketchup on them. Each ketchup bottle had a different song about currywurst. Hilarious

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There’s a sausage sofa

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Also..dripping ketchup blobs that you can hit with giant fries!

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Oh my God! I loved this so much. Of course me, Sam and Daria had a go at bashing each others brains up, but I particularly liked smacking those blobs.

The best thing was getting to pretend to make currywurst in a van! I had way too much fun with this.

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A bit too much fun..

There’s also a currywurst version of Cooking Mama and a comments book where I bigged up vegan currywurst..

Yes I know I made it look like it was dripping in sperm..it’s supposed to be ketchup you sickos.

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We finished up the museum and went to get our free currywurst. You get to pick your curry powder…hot or mild. Daria decided she wanted Java, as that was our curry personality but unfortunately that’s not an option. Sad times.

Apart from the lack of Java, I recommend the Currywurst Museum. It’s funny and there’s giant fries…what more could you possibly want?

Chum & Friends

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This was a really great restaurant that was just a few doors down from Sam and Daria’s apartment. Squidward was drawn on the chalkboard outside advertising a vegan option so I wanted to try it as soon as I saw it. Luckily Sam and Daria love this place and were keen to take me anyway.

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I had some delicious Vegetable Summer Rolls

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And then I had the Vegan Special for my main, which was a faux fish bowl with rice and veggies.

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The food here was pretty tasty and the prices were reasonable. We went during the day so it was nice and quiet and the service was quick. Definitely a place I’d suggest if I were in Berlin with a mix of vegans and non vegans.

Kontor Eismanufaktur a.k.a The Vegan Choice

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This amazing all vegan ice cream parlour opened a while ago and I wanted to visit so badly. Unfortunately it’s open seasonally, so when I visited at the beginning of March it was still closed. I was so happy that it was open for business when I returned in April and dragged my mum along with me.

The reason I was so excited to visit here is because I heard that they sell Spaghetti Eis. For anyone who doesn’t know what it is, it’s vanilla ice cream that looks like spaghetti, strawberry sauce and either white chocolate or ground nut ‘parmesan’ to top it off. It looks exactly like spaghetti, which is weird and hilarious.

When I was studying German back at school, all of the textbooks made references to spaghetti eis. Apparently that’s all German kids and families do…meet up and eat spaghetti eis. I had been waiting YEARS to try this creation.

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I was not disappointed

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Look at that! It looks just like PASTA but tastes like ICE CREAM! What the hell Germany? Why do you have such strange food humour?!

My mum had a scoop of some peanut brittle ice cream that looked amazing. I was so sad that I didn’t have another chance to come back here, I really wanted to try the other flavours. I’ve also heard they sometimes sell doughnuts too, so I’ll definitely be returning when I’m next in Berlin.

So that’s it for my first round up. I have plenty of other great food to show you in the coming posts.

Until then, folks!

 

Ice Shack

Yesterday I got word that there’s a brand spanking new veggie/vegan dessert parlour in Withington, South Manchester… Ice Shack. I had zero plans for the weekend so the timing was perfect. I spent yesterday afternoon running around, rallying my vegan troops and used the menu as a little bedtime reading. When I woke up this morning, sugar was on the brain.

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I was patient and arrived 30 whole minutes after midday opening before arriving. The menu has promises of a large assortment of dairy free ice creams, doughnuts, cakes, pastries, milkshakes, hot drinks and lots of toppings (including whippy soya cream!). Obviously I walked in with big expectations…and I was not disappointed.

Not everyone was there when I arrived so I decided to order a cheeky little doughnut starter with a brew.

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After a few sweet bites, I was able to calm down and observe my surroundings a bit more. I really liked this place, it has a really nice chilled out atmosphere. There are a few tables and chairs but also some comfier sofas at the back…and… entertainment! There are books, board games and an arcade game! Yeah!

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As the place is a mixture of vegan and vegetarian, it was nice to see that there was a separate ice cream and separate cake cabinet to choose from. No need to worry about cross contamination or accidentally ordering something not vegan.

The cake cabinet had lots to choose from; chocolate topped jam doughnuts, flapjack, chocolate cake, ginger cake, lemon cheesecake, truffles…It looked like most of the cakes were homemade, though I suspect the doughnuts were bought in but decorated by hand. The ice cream cabinet had lots of flavours; chocolate, raspberry, raspberry mango, coconut sorbet, lemon sorbet, vanilla..I think most if not all of these are bought in rather than made in house, so I was impressed with the amount of choice available.

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For round 2, I decided to go for warm chocolate cake with 1 scoop of chocolate ice cream and 1 scoop of raspberry…topped with chocolate sauce. This was so good! I scoffed it and felt immediately sick…in the good way obviously.

What surprised me most was how reasonable the prices were here, it was 20% off all day which was an added bonus, but everything I ate came to less than a fiver! There aren’t many places you can eat yourself sick at for that kind of money.

Also..the best thing? I didn’t actually have this…but it’s so on my list…The Dog Bowl Sundae. What is this? 5 generous scoops of ice cream and 3 toppings (I think the non vegan version has a waffle too) and what makes it so great? It’s served in a bloody dog bowl. I’ve already made plans to return for this next week.

I spent nearly 3 hours in Ice Shack today and had a great time. Lovely atmosphere and really nice member of staff looking after all of us. It was amazing to see how many folk were coming in for the vegan selection, the non vegan cabinets were almost untouched! My friend told me that the owners are hoping to make more of it vegan and it definitely looks like the demand is here. It would be amazing to see some of the danish type pastries and frosted cakes found in the vegetarian section to spring up in the vegan area…hopefully Ice Shack can track down a supply of these in the future.

If you’re in Manchester, get yourself down here already!

Ice shack is open Tuesday – Saturday 12-9pm or 12-6pm on Sundays and is based right by the library in Withington, you can’t miss it!

 

Celebratory Choc Chip Quinoa Cookies

The last few weeks have been pretty wonderful.

I had a great birthday for the first time in a few years. I spent the day alone at our local cinema, Home. I love watching films by myself and Jake was busy at work, so it was the best way to spend my day. I watched two films back to back, Our Little Sister and The Brand New Testament. Both were fantastic films and I definitely recommend seeing them.

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Our Little Sister

I’m rubbish at organising big celebrations for myself, so I booked an evening meal at Teatime Collective. You only need a minimum of 8 people, so it was a nice small gathering. We had a delicious three course meal that obviously I forgot to take photos of and then I received the best birthday cake I’ve ever had.

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If you’re wondering what cake this is, it’s a Chocolate Oreo, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake. One layer of chocolate cake, a layer of salted caramel ice cream, followed by another layer of peanut butter ice cream, topped with cream, chocolate fudge frosting and oreos. It was incredible. Teatime did an amazing job and so did Jake (who forgot to even get me a cake the year before). I was so happy with it, it made me feel pretty darn special.

I got some lovely gifts including Snape’s Wand, The Gilmore Girls complete Boxset, homemade tiffin and a cool Seitan related tee! It was one hell of a day.

Some more good news, Aidah is doing really well. She’s been diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism, so she’s now taking medication daily. We managed to get it in a paste form that is absorbed through her skin so that we don’t have to go through daily drama with pills. She’s already gaining weight and seems totally back to normal. This still doesn’t explain the seizure, so we’re keeping a close eye on her and I expect that it may happen again. Otherwise, she’s doing really well.

..and speaking of treatment. Look what I managed to get my hands on..

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I am officially on Testosterone! Don’t worry, I didn’t rob a pharmacy. My amazing, supportive GP agreed to a bridging prescription while I wait for my first appointment at a GIC. I can’t believe this happened, I’m so happy that my transition is finally moving to where I want it to be! I might do a post about how I managed to get T before going to a GIC, but for now I’m just gonna be happy about it

To celebrate all of the good news, I decided to do a bit of baking. I had a sample of Quinoa Flour hanging around for work, so I thought I’d experiment with it a bit. And what better way to celebrate than with chocolate chip cookies?

Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies

  • Servings: Makes 12 cookies
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp no egg replacer mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 180C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. If you want a really nutty flavour to your cookies, toast the flour in a pan over a low heat for 5 minutes or so. If not, skip this step.
  3. Beat together the sugar and coconut oil in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add the egg replacer and the vanilla and beat for a few more minutes
  4. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. When fully mixed add the chocolate chips.
  6. Divide the mixture into 12 small balls, lay on a baking sheet with enough space between each cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  7. Once baked, leave to cool for 5 minutes before moving the cookies from the baking sheet, they’re pretty delicate when they first leave the oven.

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These came out really well, I don’t do gluten free bakes often so I was really surprised that I managed to just swap out wheat flour for quinoa and it worked. The flour gives these a really delicious nutty taste, you can definitely tell that there is quinoa in it, but I think this works really well with the sweetness of the cookie. If you’re less keen on the nutty flavour, don’t toast the flour and maybe have a go at mixing it with another flour.

I went for that heat treated coconut oil because I didn’t want a coconut flavour in the cookie, but if you like it, go for a raw coconut oil instead

These were super tasty…the only negative is that I’m going to have to take these to work and share them so I can get some feedback. Boo! I’ll definitely be making them again though.

So that’s it. Hurray for good news! I hope all of you are doing well.

The Pasta Factory

Somewhere pretty special has opened in Manchester City Centre. Finally we have an authentic Italian restaurant that makes fresh pasta on site and there are vegan options to choose from.

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As I mentioned in my previous post, I had a good friend visiting from London recently who wanted to try out all the vegan offerings in Manchester. I suggested booking a table at The Pasta Factory as it was one of the only places I haven’t tried yet. As we had arrived a little early for our booking, we got a chance to see what was on offer at their deli. I was amazed to see many fresh pastas labelled vegan, but also home made vegan cheeses too! It all looked great.

It didn’t take long for us to get to our table, I was surprised how small the restaurant is inside as it looks much bigger from the outside. Although it was really busy (you definitely need to book), it had a lovely atmosphere and the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful. As we asked for the vegan menu, I think we got a bit of special attention. A member of staff ran through everything on the vegan menu, highlighting a few ingredient changes as well as running through what was available from the deli and what could be veganised from the general menu. We were also told that all of the wines were suitable for vegans, I don’t drink but this is good news for those who do!

As we’d spotted the home made cheese on the counter, we asked if it was possible to have a main dish that used it. Due to the cheese not suiting the pastas we were ordering they were unable to do this, but they were really kind and offered to let us try some free of charge. They also promised to bring us some of their home made parmesan to sprinkle on our dishes.

Our samples of their home made cheese arrived before our mains. We even got some of their crackers to try with it.

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Oh my gosh, this cheese was so tasty. It had a nice delicate salty flavour and crumbled in my mouth. I was really impressed that a non vegan restaurant had gone to this much effort. I’m definitely planning on popping in again just to buy some of this!

Not long after our mains arrived. I had a spelt pasta with sunblushed tomatoes and olives.

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This was really, really good. It was refreshing to have a pasta dish that wasn’t just a basic tomato sauce and now I finally realise how much nicer fresh pasta is to dry. It’s like a completely different experience. I sprinkled on the parmesan pretty liberally, it was so good.

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Jake got a stuffed ravioli

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And my friend ordered a spelt pasta with thinly sliced vegetables. I had a bite of this, I can’t remember what the dish was but I remember thinking it was really really delicious.

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I was pretty full after the main course but I was desperate to try out the desserts. I’d heard about the chocolate ravioli and the panna cotta. My friend and I decided to have a choc ravioli each and share a panna cotta.

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Oh lordy.

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The Panna Cotta was my favourite. It was coconut based with with a berry coulis on top. It was firmer than any Panna Cotta’s I’ve tried but it was really tasty. It has a very coconutty taste but I think this worked well with the fruit.

The Chocolate Ravioli was really interesting. It was a cocoa pasta, filled with figs and then served with coconut cream and topped with extra coconut. I did really enjoy this but it was a bit too much coconut for my liking. I enjoyed the cream sauce with it though, so maybe a soya or cashew cream would work well instead? The fig was nice but the coconut overpowered it a lot…and of course I’d always be up for a little extra chocolate sauce drizzled on top…I’m a chocolate fiend. We did feed this back to our server as he was asking at each course what we thought and he suggested ditching the coconut, so maybe this dish will be slightly different when I next visit?

Overall I was really impressed with the desserts, they were super imaginative and different to anything I’ve had before.

The whole meal was really, really delicious. I had a lovely time at The Pasta Factory. The dishes aren’t cheap (around £12 for a pasta dish, desserts were £6 each iirc) but the quality and care put into each dish makes it worth every penny. Plus the service was great.

The best thing is how open they are to feedback from the vegan community. I’ve seen them regularly engaging with Manchester vegans on social groups and I feel like they’re working really hard to not just to accommodate us, but to put really good vegan food on the menu. I’m hoping that as they’re experimenting with making their own cheeses that we might see some creamy based pasta dishes appear on their vegan menu. That would be perfect.

If you’re in Manchester and after some authentic Italian food then definitely check out The Pasta Factory. It’s open Tuesday – Sunday from 12pm and is just around the corner from Shudehill bus station.