Archive for Vegan Blogs and Sites

THREE WEEKS without a post?! How DARE you.

How very dare I, indeed.

Well, to (not quite) make up for it here’s a roundup of what I did yesterday.

Firstly, we got the shiny new Overground train along the shiny old East London Line to the shiny new Shoreditch High Street station.

Look at the shiny shiny!

So, what was I there for? An art show? Off-West End oblique theatre? Or just browsing overpriced ‘vintage’ clothes shops for 60-year-old corduroys?

Would it surprise you that is was one of the above? No? Good. Because Iwasn’t. I am, after all, not a complete twat.

I am, however, still a bit of a twat – simply because we went all that way (15 minutes – you just count ’em) for lunch at a vegan joint that I had sworn NEVER to set foot in. Unless, perhaps, it was free. But even then I’d probably barter for booze as well.

Purdy lunch setting

That’s right – Rootmaster. Now, I know that this post may get me some flak from the London vegan community, so revered is it, but I PROMISE you that I literally have almost no reason to like it. The first (and last) time that I had dined here was about six months ago, in the evening, and with a whole heap of friends. Two of these were positive aspects of the night. Others were: the bus itself (well-decorated, twee and surrounded by crumpled vintage cars and urban artwork), the service (my meal was taken off the bill when complained about – how very un-British of me!), and the veganity (100% vegan, if you didn’t know already).

The food that I had on that occasion was, however, vile. From the over-spiced-but-underflavoured curry to the hard pastry and mouth-cloyingly oily cream of the banana cream pie, I felt very unhappy to be having to pay my £20 bill. So I didn’t. Well, not for the main, anyway.

I really, honestly, SERIOUSLY wanted it to be different this time. It was a different menu (lunch, not dinner), wasn’t packed (we were the only ones on there), and I had a£10 voucher, making any damage that might be made to my wallet by poor value food a lot less painful.

Anyway, after a couple of minutes poring over the lunch menu we decided on both the Rootmaster Curry (£6) and Panini (£5, though they marked it on the bill as £5.50…), to share. I mean, if you can’t trust a venue’s signature dishes, what can you trust?

The panini, whilst it left me with the oft-felt “could have done better myself” feeling, was actually quite nice. It had grilled marinated tofu, salty sundried tomato puree, zingy house-made mayo and cool cucumber, pressed on their light, crispy signature “bus baked” bread. A nice, balanced panini. Not £5 worth of panini, but nice all the same.

The curry. The fucking curry. Sorry for the language, but just fucking look at it. The website description states that their Rootmaster Curry consists of “Organic, seasonal vegetables and chickpeas in a creamy coconut masala & tumeric sauce served on organic brown rice”. Whilst I’m pretty sure that all of those things were in there, the description does not conjure up what appeared in front of me. A description of “Yesterday’s Rootmaster Curry, stirred together with yesterday’s brown rice because you are the only person to have ordered it today and we didn’t quite see this coming” would have more accurate.

A quick Flickr search has brought up the following picture of what my food SHOULD have looked like:

Looks tasty, no?

Seriously.

And look again at what I got:

Bleurgh

This is allegedly the same dish. I am not happy, Rootmaster. Not happy at all. We paid up (balance mostly taken up by the voucher, of course) ASAP and went elsewhere for dessert.

Having only learned that morning of magnificent vegan baker Ms. Cupcake‘s debut at all-vegan boutique Vx in King’s Cross, I decide that a walk (yes, from Shoreditch) was in order. An hour and a goose attack later we were in dire need of a sugar fix. And, oh my, Ms. Cupcake does not disappoint.

L:Cookies & Cream Cupcake/R:Irish Cream & Chocolate cake

At £2.50 for a cupcake and £2.10 for a (slightly bigger) slice of cake, this portion of delight does not come too cheap. However, when you consider that: a) a dessert at Rootmaster would have been twice the price; b) all of these desserts are handmade with love, care, attention, and quality ingredients, and; c) these are the best vegan desserts I have every had, outside of NYC.

No word of a lie. And if you know how I am with desserts (and NYC…), then you will know how high that praise is.

I am told by Vx’s Rudy that they are selling very well and will have a rotation of flavours throughout the week, every week. Additionally, if you can’t make it to Vx, you can catch Ms. Cupcake at Greenwich market every Thursday and Friday, as well as the occasional alternative spot (she is debuting at Brick Lane this coming weekend). Follow her on Twitter for the latest goss!

Right, that’s all from me now. Time to go and sleep off the remainder of yesterday’s sugar high.

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Vx, the new home of Secret Society of Vegans

Firstly, let me start by apologising for my lack of posts over the past couple of days. But I do have good reason! I started on Monday morning a venture that will hopefully make my life a whole heap better: enabling me to grab hold of my own future and to further my skills. I have, in short become an apprentice chef! (In vegetarian, mostly vegan, kitchen of course) More news on this shall come in good time.

So yeah… sorry.

Anyway, onto the pressing matter to which the intriguing title of this post alludes.

That of the Verily Voluptuously Vegan Vx.

I could go for pages about how fantastic it is to have a wholly vegan shop in Central London, one which is positively overflowing with otherwordly deliciousness and coolmaking attire, but I cannot. I fear being damned for nepotism (I know Rudy, ssov’s chief leader) and cast out of blogland.

Instead, I shall merely outline what Vx is all about:

  • ssov-branded merchandise;

  • Fresh baked goods from London-based vegan companies (including gluten-free options), as well as hot and cold drinks to enjoy them with in the downstairs lounge area;

  • Packaged vegan (and kosher) candy, crisps and cookies (including vegan oreo-style ones!).
  • Sandwiches, salads, truffles and yoghurts;

  • Vegan canned dog food, dog biscuits and dog chews;

  • Central London location (5 minutes walk from Kings Cross).

Any questions? Just drop a line to the man himself on twitter: CLICKY!

EDIT: All photos courtesy and copyright of Rudy Penando

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Telegraph Hill Farmers Market

Only time for a quick post today, so forgive me my brevity.

Telegraph Hill Park, a walk to and around which is one of my favourite endeavours in London, holds a Farmers Market on the third Saturday of every month, from 10am-3pm.

It was (from a vegan point-of-view) rubbish. Out of nine stalls, three were ‘happy’ meat, one was ‘cheerful’ cheese, another of unfriendly wine and another was eggy cupcakes.

The other two were an overpriced tomato stall (with a couple of other items), an extremely expensive olive table and a generic Kentish fruit &veg vendor, the quality at which seemed somewhat dubious.

I bought nothing. The best part of the journey from my flat was just that – the journey. The walk (from New Cross Road) is invigorating and has some breathtaking views.

However, I think I’ll continue to make the train to Sunday’s Blackheath market.

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The Shop on the Hill

Bored, all DVDed out and in need of pizza ingredients, this evening I had a look on the web for anything that would avoid my venturing into Central London (my nearest two Holland & Barrett had closed at 6pm). Fate smiled sweetly upon me when I stumbled upon the wonderful Brockley Central blog, an online news, views and reviews about (you guessed it) Brockley, SE4 and its environs. This particular entry was regarding a quaint-sounding store called “The shop on the hill”, which was open until 8pm, and was seemingly very vegan-friendly.

As it was a pleasant evening (and by ‘pleasant’ I mean the weather had decided to stop drowning worms, instead opting for a light drizzle), I decided to take my chances with an easy Google Map-routed 30-minute walk.

Took me fifteen.

So, shins burning and hooded top soaked, I wandered into the empty shop. First impressions: Bulk rice and muesli! A rarity round these parts, so that’s a plus already. Following this, my eyes caught the fridge with the vegan (a selection of raw, sugar free and regular plain) chocolates. This might well be my kind of place. In the next fridge there were fresh salad vegetables, vegan (and vegetarian) cheeses and faux meat products (Redwoods). A shelving unit across held Ecover (PAH!) and Bio D (YAY!) cleaning products, including (another rarity round here) refill stations!

One main thing I noticed about this section of the store was that, with the exception of the Taifun tofu-weiners, the prices were either the same as the larger chains of health food stores or a smidge cheaper. Which is highly unusual for an out-of-the-way, small, independent store.

In addition to all of this, there were the usual organic vegetables (with the option of ordering a bespoke organic veg box), nut butters, free-from loaves etc.

The delightful, enthusiastic shop assistant with whom I spoke (not the owner, incidentally) seemed very knowledgeable and excited about the range of vegan products available and wound things up by convincing me to take one of the locally-made Coxeter’s Fayre‘s raw truffles for the road. Which I nearly walked out with without paying… Anyway, the chocolate (80p for a just-less-than-ping-pong-ball-sized truffle) was delicious, its nutty raw cacao and dried fruit centre reminding me of a Picnic bar from my pre-vegan days.

Whilst it may not stock close to as much as Holland & Barrett (and definitely not Whole Foods), Brockleyites are lucky to have this little gem on their doorstep.

p.s. For the late-night Brockley vegan, the Costcutter around the corner (open well after ‘The shop…’ has closed) stocks a few Redwood chilled ‘meats’, some Fry’s and other frozen ‘meats’ and ready meals, about 8 different non-dairy milks and a couple of vegan and organic Vintage Roots wines.

You lucky devils.

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