Day 2 of eating vegan and a bit of a test as I had lunch out in Hyde Park with my sisters but I passed with flying colours, so that was good. Knowing I would face many temptations in a restaurant I had a nutrient dense breakfast as that meant I would arrive without being hungry. It is certainly true for me, that if I have a meal filled with fruits and/or vegetables, it keeps me feeling full for much longer than a standard or conventional meal.
I made a smoothie with a punnett of frozen blackberries, 3 fresh bananas, 1 tsp sea greens and a thumb sized chunk of ginger plus a slug of almond milk. The ginger gave it a really good kick and zing. I added it as I am fighting a cold but will definitely add it more often as it was delicious. I did peel the ginger and chop it up before adding it to the blender.
This made 2 bowls; a large one for me as it was all I was having and a smaller one for Harvey who had already eaten but I wanted him to have the nutrition this bowl provided.
Totally delicious and a lovely consistency and texture, just like soft serve ice-cream.We then hopped on a train and went up to London. I liked this charming sign outside the Royal Geographical Society. I met my sisters and families at Serpentine Bar and Kitchen which is in Hyde Park. They have a limited menu, none of which included a vegan option but they were quite helpful when I explained what I wanted. I was going to have the veggie burger but they said the burger was not vegan so they made me a vegan pizza with roasted butternut squash, pine nuts and caramelised onions. It was good. I also had a soya milk latte and a glass of red wine. We had a very enjoyable time, chatting and catching up about our Christmases. I always enjoy seeing my sisters.
Top tip – you can not reserve tables here and there were 14 of us so we arrived at midday and commandeered 4 tables which we pushed together so that worked well. By 1pm the restaurant was full and we would have been unable to all sit together. Not a bad view from our table; this place would be great in the summer as they have a huge outside eating area. After lunch we strolled through the park and then tried the Science Museum but actually it was very crowded so we left after about an hour. At the end of Exhibition Road, near South Kensington tube, was this really pretty ice-skating rink which Harvey really wanted to go on but we need his sister with us to do that as I am too chicken and its no fun on your own.
I had managed to resist pudding/cake at the restaurant and on the train home I really enjoyed some of this fig and almond cake my sister Lucy gave me. It was delicious and went really well with a large cup of tea.
I said Harvey could choose what we had for supper but it had to be vegetable based so he asked for cauliflower cheese. As a vegan kitchen, we don’t have any dairy in the house so I made a vegan version instead and it was very good. I used this vegan cheez
and this fat substitute for butter plus unsweetened soya milk.I steamed the cauliflower for 5 minutes and placed it in an ovenproof dish with some cherry tomatoes which was a really good idea as once oven baked for half an hour, they went perfectly with the cauliflower cheez.
I poured the cheez sauce over, topped with extra grated cheez and baked for half an hour. Ta daa! I am not going to lie, this is not as unctuous, cheesy and delightful as a sauce made with a good Cheddar but this is a very good alternative and so much healthier. We both liked it very much. We had an apple afterwards and that was it for the day. All the walking was good too and according to my Fit Bit I have walked 13,297 steps today so that was a great day. A great day as I managed to see most of my family (we missed Lara and Richard) and I stuck to being vegan and enjoyed everything I ate. Here’s the recipe for the vegan cauliflower cheez.
Vegan Cauliflower Cheez
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 cauliflower, chopped in to large florets
16 cherry tomatoes
750 ml unsweetened dairy free milk
50g dairy free margarine
50 g plain flour
a bay leaf
225 g dairy free cheez, Cheddar style
salt and pepper
- Steam the cauliflower for 5 minutes and place in an ovenproof dish with the tomatoes
- turn the oven on to 180
- Warm the milk (it reduces the risk of your sauce going lumpy) and once warmed, set aside in a jug
- melt the margarine over a low heat, in a medium sized saucepan
- add the flour and cook, stirring to make a thick paste (roux), for 1 – 2 minutes
- pour in about a quarter of the hot milk and stir it carefully in to the roux
- using a whisk, add the rest of the milk and keep whisking until it is all mixed in
- add the bay leaf, bring to the boil and then turn the heat down low and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly
- season the sauce with salt and pepper and add most of the cheez, stirring until it melts
- Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and tomatoes and top with the remaining grated cheez
- place the ovenproof dish on a baking tray and bake for half an hour
- Enjoy !