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VeganMoFo 2013

It’s that time of year again: VeganMoFo has returned to your homes! And what could be better than a Vegan Month of Food than to revive this blog? If there’s any life left in it, some good food should do the trick ;)

Carnegie's Cottage

Today I had lunch in an ‘ordinary’ restaurant called Carnegie Cottage, located in the beautiful rural area of Hoge Veluwe. We were celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday and it was her treat. When she called a few days in advance to make reservations, she didn’t only ask whether they’d be able to provide something vegan, she was bold enough to request I’d have a choice! Wow, who doesn’t want a MIL like that? :D As the restaurant assured her that would be no problem at all, I was excited to see what I’d get!

Carnegie’s Cottage restaurant “review”

So, how was it?

Carnegie Cottage certainly didn’t disappoint me: there were two vegan options for me to choose from. Which I couldn’t… so I took both!

My vegan lunch at Carnegie's

Yes, there’s a bite taken out of that sandwich ;) My nephew who was hungry! There’s celeriac soup and a salad with green asparagus and chantharelle mushrooms. On the side some Waldkorn bread and a vinaigrette made of superior olive oil. It looks good, don’t you think? It was delicious! Both soup and salad tasted of fall, bearing the full flavours of their ingredients. Needless to say I enjoyed my lunch very much.

Hit or Miss?

It’ll come as no surprise that I do want to recommend this restaurant to vegans. I especially like that the staff immediately knew what veganism entails and was easy about getting me something plant-based. AND that was no empty promise — which has happened to me a few times. Carnegie’s Cottage has a pension as well so maybe I’ll go and stay there for the weekend sometime! It’s really a gorgeous area, especially suitable for outdoor recreation. But there’s cultural heritage to be found in Hoge Veluwe National Park too. Just perfect!

As a bonus they’ve got a special tea menu as well! I have no choice but to go back now because I only got to try two today: sencha lemon and sencha cactus & fig. Who doesn’t want to enjoy nice ‘cuppa’ like this?

Sencha lemon green tea at Carnegie Cottage

And an even bigger bonus… there’s a cute Carnegie Cat! So friendly that when I tried to photograph her on the table where she lounged, she immediately jumped off to say hi. :D Alas, as we’re kindly requested not to feed her we have no way of knowing whether she likes to eat vegan too. ;)

The red cat of Carnegie Cottage

Did YOU do anything special this Sunday?

Vegan MoFo button 2013VeganMoFo brings you a Month of Vegan Food. Bloggers all around the world share their favourite recipes, mouthwatering food pics, quick cooking tips, nutritional info and anything else food related to show that vegan living is awesome. It’s the best choice for animals (dûh), our planet and people! Check out the blogroll and drool… Or better yet: join us!

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dijon

Last week I started a series of posts called Les Vacances de Mme Gnoe, about how I fared as a vegan on a recent holiday in the South of France. Obviously I survived. ;) It may help other newbie vegans going on a journey — or those worrying about going to the land of bouillabaisse, fromage and cassoulet.

Vegan Month of Food buttonIn the first post I related what to eat en route. Today I’ll write about our first dinner in France, when we spent the night in Dijon.

As a vegan it’s wise to be prepared when going on a trip. So if you’re not sure you”ll connect to the internet, do some homework before you leave!

HappyCow's Compassionate Healthy Eating Guide

My first ‘stop’ was at Happy Cow.net: a worldwide database of vegetarian restaurants and grocery stores, also marking them vegan(-friendly). There were two places listed in Dijon: Les Pieds Bleus and Le Shanti. The first was one being described as “simple family type cooking, buffet style, in a typical French canteen atmosphere” — sounds great! So we dropped off our luggage in the hotel and set off in the direction of Place Emile Zola.

Alas… The restaurant was closed for vacation and would reopen the next day when, of course, we had travelled on! This was a surprise to us as in the Netherlands restaurants do not usually close during tourist season. This holiday we were about to learn that the French do things differently. ;)

So we went to search for option #2, Le Shanti, window-shopping and making pictures of the medieval city on our way. This time we found the venue open. There were yummy things on the menu like veggie burgers, wraps, soups and salads. But… you get the picture? More like a place to have lunch or a just quick bite, not for a special occasion like your first holiday dinner!

Back to the city centre it was, where wecould pick from a choice of restaurants on the aforementioned Place Emile Zola. Considering Lebanese first, we felt more like having Japanese and ended up at the Sushi King, “retaurant Japonais” (and that’s not my typo ;).

Menu of Sushi King Dijon

Here they served a vegetarian sushi menu consisting of miso soup, salade de choux (cabbage tsukemono) and three kinds of maki rolls: cucumber, avocado and daikon radish. The usual condiments: soy sauce (sweet or salty), pickled ginger and wasabi condiments. Since I’m a sucker for chuka wakame I ordered an bowl of salade d’algues as well. For dessert I enjoyed a whole pot of Japanese green tea.

Miso soup
Cabbage tsukemono
Sushi
Chuka wakame

We had dinner outside, cozy among other establishments on the city square. The food was good but nothing special and, aside from plain or vinegar rice, these were the only vegan/vegetarian dishes on the menu. I haven’t asked whether the fried noodles with vegetables were (or could be made) vegan and it didn’t really seem like the place to serve food off the carte.

Green tea (Japonais)The waiters were fairly quick and friendly, except for one young man who managed to whisk away our plates a little too early first and ignored us when we wanted to order another drink afterwards. He probably didn’t have his day. ;) We did.

So. If you like to have a decent meal but aren’t too demanding, I can certainly recommend the Sushi King for a vegan dinner in Dijon!

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Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food-related post!

Beth Fish Weekend Cooking logo

On Monday October 24th I took a bento to work, filled with leftovers from one of my favourite takeaway restaurants in Utrecht: Ana’s Kuzin. They sell very good Turkish food there and have several vegan options on the menu — most times anyway.

Ana's Bento #160

Top tier:

  • kisir quenelles
  • green olive
  • salted sunflower seeds
  • cucumber baran
  • half a stuffed green paprika
  • lettuce

Middle tier:

  • sauteed New Zealand spinach with roasted garlic, spring onion, sesame oil & seeds (not Turkish otherwise this would’ve been called Turkish Bento ;)
  • mini plum tomato
  • antep ezmesi (crushed pepper dish)

Bottom tier:

A whole container just for dessert! That doesn’t happen often. :)

Needless to say I had a delicious lunch. :)

I promised to show you the inside of my chocolate-beetroot pie. Wanna have a slice? ;)

Half of the chocolate-beetroot pie

Obviously I am not used yet to my new routine of working at home on Thursdays — I started making a bento last night! And did I have some good foodies to put in it… YUM! But when I remembered I stopped and went to do other things (like blogpost my third book review for the What’s in a Name challenge), so today’s bento is a small one. It’s a pity I can’t name it #77.5! LOL

We tried out some new Japanese take-away — Dutch readers might think I mean Tiny Tokyo which can be found at train stations but noooo, we went to Maneki, which seems to be a new branch of Kyushu, our favourite local restaurant. And I managed to save 1 avocadomaki (avocado sushi) and 1 tamagomaki (Japanese omelet) each, alongside some seaweed salad known as chuka wakame (わかめサラタ).

I LOVE that salad — I wish I could make it myself! But it is really hard to find the exact recipe, let alone kuki wakame: the stems and ribs of wakame seaweed that are the main ingredient. I’ll have to wait until an acquaintance is going to Japan again so I can put in a request! According to the great (Dutch) Tokowijzer weblog the correct name for this salad would be chuka kuki-wakame. “Chuka” meaning ‘Chinese way’ btw, because of the typical Chinese ingredients.

I have read somewhere that most Japanese restaurants in Holland/Europe buy this salad prefab… I wonder if that is true.

But I am getting side-tracked. The rest of bento #77 contained radish flowers, a cucumber divider, some runner beans and a soy fishy that Katie and Anita brought me all the way from Japan. In the lower tier there are also a small shalot ‘fan’ and a ball of dark miso to make miso soup. Next to it in the container you can see a tiny piece of black stuff: that is fueru wakame: dried leaf of wakame seaweed, which will swell enormously when soaked in hot water. The beans, onion and some radish also went into the soup.

All this talking about kuki wakame made me think of kukicha, or ‘takkethee’ (‘twig tea’) as we call it. I am going to make myself a pot RIGHT now! Strange how a small bento like today’s can result in such a long post like this… ;)

What to do? Deze week zitten er kapucijners in onze groentetas! Ja, dat schrijf je met een k, niet met een c ;) Ik ben er eigenlijk niet zo dol op en heb dan ook geen creatieve ideeën (wel met een c) voor verwerking :\ Ach, van die melige ballen uit blik zijn natuurlijk iets heel anders dan zo vers uit de peul! Ik verwacht in ieder geval meer bite ;)

Toevalligerwijze staat er voor komende dagen al een van onze all-time favourites op het menu: frijoles (mexicaanse bonen), dus ik denk dat we de kidneybeans uit blik maar vervangen door deze verse bonen. Of het wordt een combinatie. Gedeelde vreugd is dubbele vreugd dus ik zal het recept hiervoor spoedig posten :) Het is gebaseerd op een gerecht van Eethuis Iris in Eindhoven.

Verder in de tas:

  • kropsla
  • prei
  • courgettes
  • venkelknol
  • bos koriander

Met de rest van de groentes maken we waarschijnlijk nog een maaltijd uit een, inmiddels aardig beduimeld, kookboekje van Eethuis Iris: Heerlijke vegetarische menu’s. Hoe klinkt dit: preiquiche, gebakken courgette met zonnebloempitjes, Napolitaanse witte bonen en venkel-tomatensalade? Alsof het op de tas van deze week is uitgezocht!

Wandeling Maarssen - Hollandse Rading

Although the weather was a bit grey, on Sunday we decided to go for a long walk to try and keep our legs in shape after our hiking holiday in Cappadocia. Since I am reading Publieke werken by Thomas Rosenboom (which is amongst others about a 19th century peat-area), the central peat-area of Utrecht seemed an appropriate destination. So we went for a 16 km hike from Maarssen to Hollandse Rading. The weather happened to be quite good for walking (nice and cool) so we really enjoyed it – even though we had started out a bit late and had to find our way in the dark for the last half an hour… Good thing we had to go in a straight line by then ;)

We finished our day with dinner in Memories of China. After our first shock that there was not one vegetarian course on the menu, we had a delicious meal especially prepared for us :))

This bento is the first bento ever dear E (Mr Gnoe) has brought to work! He probably wouldn’t have done so if his colleagues weren’t on their holidays, nor if it hadn’t contained real leftover sushi — but who cares? There’s hope now! My bento was identical to his, except for the wasabi paste ;)

Top tier:

  • kappamaki (cucumber role) and a little wasabi paste
  • tamagomaki (Japanese omelet)
  • avocadomaki on the right (I don’t have to spell that one out, do I? ;)
  • mandarin candy

Bottom tier:

  • ginger pickles and cherry tomato
  • soy sauce in container
  • seedless grapes
  • Japanese rice cracker mix (that got a bit sticky because of the humidity in the box; I’ll have to figure out to prevent that because it has happened before…

I had also meant to put in some romaine lettuce next to the maki but I forgot :(

The maki rolls were very tasty, we got them at a relatively new restaurant nearby: Kyushu. I guess they will be seeing more of us over there ;) The secret of their avocado maki is wasabi mayonnaise so we must buy some of that to try out ourselves. We also had some chuka wakame salad, hand rolls (yasai temaki), tamago sushi and inari. So it’s not strange at all we had some leftovers ;)

BTW: at Kyushu they sell bento boxes for lunch! It’s the first time I’ve discovered a restaurant in Holland that does that, but unfortunately they don’t have a vegetarian variant :(

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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Gnoe herding…

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