Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Weekends

A couple of weekend's ago Matt's nephew Jono came over to visit. Jono has a vintage clothing business and if you're into that sort of thing I suggest checking out the Captains Locker. He gets some great stuff and 50% of the profits go to charity. Whilst he was visiting we put together a little vegan buffet. The orange stuff is a new sweet potato dip that the Co-Op have just started selling.


On the Sunday night we attempted a barbeque. The Vegusto mushroom and cheese burgers were wonderful and barbecued really well. Sadly the corn on the cob which you can see still on the grill was a big fail and managed to be both over and undercooked at the same time!


Last weekend we went on a little trip and travelled from Glossop in Derbyshire to Ripponden in West Yorkshire by using two local buses. We travelled over hills and saw some stunning scenery and the second bus stopped literally on my friend Sarah's doorstep! The first bus took us to Huddersfield. We had about an hour and a half there and had a look around. I'd not had much luck searching online before we left for somewhere with vegan food. We saw one place but it was a bit of a walk from the centre and we didn't have much time. Coffeevolution came up with the goods though. I ordered the bagel with vegan pate and olives. I was expecting it to be the Granovita stuff from a tin but it turned out to be amazing homemade pate served in a toasted seeded bagel. One word, gorgeous and my soya latte was great too.


Matt ordered the hummus salad platter and they veganised it by leaving the butter of the toast and subbing it for an olive oil and balsamic mix.  The humus had nice flavour and texture and the olives were good quality too. We really liked this place. There was a good buzz to it and it was great to find somewhere independent to support.


Huddersfield continued to come up with the goods when we discoved Half Moon Healthfoods next to the bus station. This was a great little shop and we got some wine and treats to take to Sarah's and some of these non dairy icecreams by Jollyum to eat on the bus. It's made in Yorkshire and is just available there at the moment. Hopefully it will make it's way to Manchester soon as it was great. Matt had the Maple and Pecan flavour and I went for the Passion Fruit and Chocolate which I'm still thinking about now and I wish we'd been able to try the other flavours.


The great food continued when Sarah made us a tea of beautiful salads. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture but we did get one of the dessert. This was an amazing chocolate pudding served with homemade almond biscuits, strawberries and raspberries. The pudding recipe was from The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest which is a book I'd not come across before and is made with melted chocolate and almond milk and is thickened with cornflour. It was really delicious.


So it's been a couple of relaxing weekends before a very busy couple of months. There's trips to London and a wedding and I'm going along to some of the festivals that Matt will be playing at. He's on a the Green Gathering and The Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival but first of all he is playing Glastonbury! Billy Bragg has asked him to be part of the Radical Roundup Singer Songwriters event on the Saturday afternoon. Read more about it here. I've never been to a festival where I've camped before so it's all very exciting.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Heysham

We've just returned from a much needed break in the lovely village of Heysham in Lancashire. We spotted Cockle Bay Cottage as a sponsor on the flier for the Northern Vegan Festival and booked a week there. The cottage is owned by veggies Jane and Ian and we were met when we arrived by Jane with a vegan welcome package of wine, chocolates and Goody Goody Stuff. Indeed the latter are actually made in Heysham! Jane has also left us soya yoghurts and coconut milk in the fridge. It was a lovely touch and we were delighted with the cottage. It was spotlessly clean, really comfortable and cosy and there are nice touches like vegan friendly bath products, washing up liquid etc also provided. I slept so well whilst I was there and came home from a week away truly refreshed and rested.


The area is known for it beautiful sunsets and we were lucky to get some great weather. We were minutes from the ruins of a 6th Century chapel .


There was lots of walking on the sands. We did the walk along the bay from Heysham into Morecambe quite a few times.


On a clear day you can see the Lake District across the bay and as we hired a car we were able to go off and do a bit of exploring. We also had a day in Lancaster visiting the amazing GB antiques centre and of course the lovely Whaletail Cafe.


Although we didn't stay at the fabulous art deco Midland Hotel in Morecambe this time we did book into the restaurant for a Sunday night meal. This restaurant has got to have one of the best views ever!


As we booked it a few days in advance they were able to sort out a Vegan menu for us again.


Here's what we had!






Back at the cottage we rustled up a few meals. We took a celebration roast so there was a roast dinner with the leftovers for sandwiches. We had a Sunday brunch complete with fried eggs made from smoked tofu and Vegg which were delicious.


We also took a selection of bits with us to create deli boards. The Vegusto smokey slices are delicious and the thing that looks like black pudding is actually made from prunes and walnuts and was something Matt brought back from Holland. It was stunning paired with Vegusto Piquante.


So, there was several evenings of teas like this whilst watching DVDs. Just next to the slices and Vegusto was another new discovery that I really loved. It's raw onion bread. This stuff is pricey but a little did go a long way and we wanted to try it out as we are thinking about investing in a dehydrator at some point.


If you are looking for someone with stunning scenery and peace and quiet I would really recommend visiting this part of the world and also the cottage.