Friday, July 28, 2006

A foodie tour of Scotland

Who says it's tougher to be veg in Britain?
I think it'd be fair to say that a number of the highlights of this overseas vacation were culinarily-influenced. When we'd get to a new city, the sights I'd be most interested in seeing were those inside vegetarian restaurants. I found this site to be a really helpful research tool even before I'd left Canada.

All this was excluded from my earlier account of our trip because I'd rather have two mini-marathon posts than one that'd take an hour to read. Hope you find my research useful on your next trip to Scotland.

We arrived in Glasgow on a Saturday morning, but slept a good part of the day. In the evening, one of James's programme mentors took us to a health food shop, Grassroots. I spent some time checking out all the products unavailable in Canada and the astounding prices of everything in there (- lost of things were the same numbers on the price tags, but in pounds instead of dollars). Among my purchases for the following few breakfasts were quinoa milk (never heard of it before!) and soy yogurt in wee glass jars (I was impressed to find something other than plastic!).
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We then walked just around the corner to the Grassroots Cafe.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I was really pleased that my 15 year-old omnivorous brother was willing to stay instead of leaving me on my own and going off for 'take-away' somewhere else. The atmosphere was lovely and the food was gorgeous (and especially welcome after the wilted lettuce leaves and gluten-free rock... sorry, roll I'd been offered on the plane). The extensive menu was great because it listed which dished were vegan, and which were wheat/gluten-free. Impressive.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
North African Salad: orange pieces, dates, pistachios, almonds, cinnamon, caraway and corriander seeds on a bed of baby greens. Amazing flavour combo.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Curried Spinach Soup

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
pizza with spinach (or was it rocket?) and red onion

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
mushroom and parsley soup with rye bread

In fact, I returned to Grassroots 2 1/2 weeks later with my pal Gavin (who I'd met up at Findhorn) and ordered the same salad, along with the Risotto Cakes with feta (and that dollop on top is pesto).
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Fried, yes, but very tasty.

Mono is also in Glasgow. I really liked the space:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
There's a store section, and also a little record shop off to the side called Monorail.

We had to go up to the bar for menus and to order. The menu was smallish (and sticky, I might add) - but I was able to find things I could eat. I picked a daily special, but the cost of 7 pounds felt like more than I could afford, so I asked if I could get a 5-pound portion. The guy behind the bar turned out to be from Edmonton! He said he'd give me a half portion, which when it arrived clearly wasn't just half:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
sweet potato curry - tasty and filling

...and when he only charged me half price I was very grateful. So needless to say: friendly staff.

While we were still downtown, we stopped into one of the three big grocery chains in the UK. I was really impressed to see signs like these up in the produce section
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
and would have liked to have captured the signs about folic acid and such, but some managerial-seeming employee came up to me when I had my camera out and started yelling at me about How Would I Like It If He Came Into My Home And Took Pictures?, telling me I should contact the Head Office, to which I responded that I'd like to because I was really impressed with their signs, but he didn't believe me and called me childish. James was mortified and went to wait outside, so I had to stand in line on my own, waiting to pay for some hummous.

Henderson's is an Edinburgh restaurant I'd heard lots about, but in the end I wasn't all that impressed.
We arrived and walked down some stairs to a cafeteria-like set-up, and were informed that the sit-down service was down the street. So off we went.
The service was okay, the food was... okay.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
James' lasagne (He picked out the zucchini.)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
sweet potato and fennel soup with salad (from James' lasagne - I traded for the bread that came with my soup)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
icky slimy leaves in with my salad - the salad was small enough that it should have been noticed (am I being to picky? I just don't like funky greens on my plate.)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
James' blended juice was too small in my humble opinion for 2.50

The redeeming ending was that they brought bite-sized organic mint chocolates with the bill.


I'd read in my guidebook about The Elephant House where it is said that JK Rowling wrote much of the first Harry Potter book.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
James and I made a point of going in, but it was early on in the day and we realized that neither one of us was hungry or thirsty, so we left.

David Bann Restaurant was also mentioned in my guidebook. Rather swanky and not too pricey (relatively speaking), though I could see how one could easily ring up a large bill. This was a great chance to meet up with new friends, and for them to meet my brother.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Christian, who's from Germany, came down from Findhorn for the day. (He's just started a six-month programme up at Findhorn.)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Lindsey, who's from Colorado and was in my Experience Week group up at Findhorn, was also in Edinburgh that weekend.

My salad and Lindsey's soup arrived first.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Roasted sweet potato and goats cheese salad: "Chunks of roasted sweet potato and goats cheese, with home sweet dried tomatoes and green beans on a bed of rocket mixed salad, finished with a red pesto."

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
James waited hungrily for his meal to arrive

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Two sides: vegetable stir-fry (I scored his zucchini again) and chips

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Lindsey got Thai fritters: "Aromatic, spicy fritters of smoked tofu, peas, ginger, green chilli, lime, sesame and potato. Served with fresh mango chutney and a roast garlic tomato sauce."

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Christian got Kofta, coconut daal and sweet potato: "Aromatic and spicy chickpea and cauliflower koftas with caramelised sweet potato. Served with a coconut, coriander, ginger and mustard seed daal, a crunchy yoghurt raita and plum chutney."

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
My shiitake and coconut milk soup arrived, but it was unbelievably salty, so I exchanged it for this:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Mushroom medley with tarragon: "A variety of mushrooms including shiitake and oyster lightly cooked with white wine, butter, garlic and tarragon. Served on a creamy mash and braised leek with a raspberry vinaigrette."


Before we left town, I stopped at a near-by health food store and picked up this, which I've brought back to Toronto to try.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I'll let you know how it turned out!
|
Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The British Vacation

First off, thanks for all for your UK travel suggestions from a few weeks back. I'd planned to blog while overseas, but time just got away from me.
Here's the first of two UK posts (I won't blame you if this one doesn't grab you, even with the knitting content; come back Friday though for the food installment):

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Domestic Affair goes Canadian Affair! Hokey name for an airline carrier, eh?

The flight was thankfully on time (unlike the hours and hours delay we had to Italy last Fall with the two little ones both being until three years of age at the time). James (my 15 year-old brother) got the window seat and this older gentleman, who was somewhat posessive of his space, sat next to me. Needless to say I didn't get a wink of sleep all night.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Here's James with his Giant Peach juice still at the airport (hope you're catching the literary reference there).

It's worth mentioning that what initially got the idea of this trip into our parents' head was because there is a camp programme at the University of Strathclyde, offered to the children of alumni, and James was just the right age to go. It was suggested that I accompany him. Once I'd dropped him off in Glasgow I'd have two weeks to run around with a British Rail Pass in hand, before meeting back up with my brother and spending another week visiting relatives and friends before flying home.

We were met at the airport by Phill, one of the lovely "mentors" of James's camp programme. In the parking lot, I tried to get in on the right side of the car, forgetting it's the drivers seat in that part of the world (a bit of an embarassing first impression to give). Driving back to the residence James remarked that he wouldn't mind Phill driving on the wrong side of the road so much, if only it weren't so fast.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
We arrived at the residence mid-morning and immediately had to go to bed.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
jet-lagged James post-nap

A full day in Glasgow, then down to England for me. First stop beautiful Bath, where I was welcomed by long-time friends of my mum and dad's.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The temperature got up to 32oC and everyone was exclaiming about the heat. I explained that that's no great shakes by Toronto standards. I don't know if you know, but Jane Austen is claimed to be Bath's most famous resident. Seemed fitting, as I'd brought Pride and Prejudice for my holiday reading, to visit the Jane Austen Centre but I was informed Jane didn't actually like Bath all that much and the centre isn't all that great.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
outside the Roman Baths - this says something about water in Latin and for the life of me I can't remember what

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
The Bath Abbey - side view

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Then down further to Devon (in the south-west of England) to visit my fairy godfather, Don Jesse.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
This used to be Don's house in Salcombe. I'm told my dad built the roof (decades ago).

The train from Don's back up to Glasgow was 8.5 hours (thank goodness for my iPod and my knitting!). I just stayed overnight before hopping another train at 7am for Findhorn.

The Findhorn Foundation is a spiritual intentional community that was established in the 1960s and well known around that time for growing 40-pound cabbages on sandy northern Scottish land thanks to Divine guidance. Sadly for this blog post, I didn't take any pictures during my week there - I was too busy just experiencing. (It's really worth checking out their website throught the various links here for more info.) I got to work in the kitchen for four mornings during my stay - where I helped make soups and salads for 140 at a go. It was a really great week. Though I've visited many intentional communities in the past five years or so, I've never seen the concept of acceptance so beautifully in practice as I did here.

This week was follow by another long train ride down to Lockerbie to meet up with James and stay with relatives and go beach-hopping. Then to Aberdeen (so many 48-hour visits!), with an outing to Crathes Castle and the seashore. Then to Edinburgh for more fun with old family friends (not to say that they're old, but their relationship with my parents is relatively old... oh heck, you know what I mean!). Upon our arrival I was presented with some beautiful Scottish wool, the skein on the right having been dyed with nettles.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And, I found a knitshop within 10 minutes of where we stayed.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
it's the grey one in the middle

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Jeanette is the lovely lady who owns the shop. And I'm proud to announce that Take Back the Knit is now available in the UK! Just nip over to HK Edinburgh.

There was Rowan on sale, and Kidsilk Haze for just 6.75 (we're talking pounds here, but still) and I couldn't resist. (Rowan's from that part of the world and it's important to support local business, wherever you are.)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Now James said no art galleries on this trip, which was disappointing for me because I tend to love them (and their usually-free admission) so. In Aberdeen I managed to go to one without him. In Edinburgh I got to two galleries before he'd even woken up one morning (one of which had a nice Van Gogh exhibit), and by the time we'd got to the third, he caved and was willing to come in with me.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Our last morning, we hopped on a train back to Glasgow and made our way to the airport with plenty of time to spare at the terminal. The flight home was better as I got the window seat this time, and the movie was Ice Age 2 - a great improvement on Big Momma's House 2, the outbound movie.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I'm stratching Greenland off the list of places to live in my lifetime.

Still no sleep for me on the flight though, and I've been waking at 5am since our return home, which is driving me a bit nuts.
|

"Domestic affair... do you think it's a funny title?" I asked a friend.
"Funny ha-ha?" she responded, "well, no not really."
"But 'domestic affair', it's like what's going on in the nation, but it's also me, being drawn to all these domestic tasks - knitting, cooking, caring for small children..." I tried to explain.
"I like that it has the word affair in it," she concluded.

jae's first book!

Get It Ripe cover Have you seen my award-winning whole foods cookbook Get It Ripe: a fresh take on vegan living (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008)? Keep your eyes peeled for it!
To join the Facebook group for the book, go here.

hello?

about the blog:
domesticaffairATgmail.com

about the cookbooks:
getitripeATgmail.com

While I love hearing from you, and read each and every one of your e-mails, please understand that I just cannot respond to all of them due to the rate at which they're coming in these days!

If you have a question, I might have already answered it here.

in the press

live in person!

come see me:
* Vida Vegan Con in Portland, OR, August 26-28, 2011.

...but better yet, check the calendar for details!

Photobucket

Photobucket

    foodie fridays (posts with recipes)

    the tuesday review

    tutorials

    * Fasting and Cleansing
    * Spring Cleansing
    * Warming Up to Better Digestion
    * Kick a Cold
    * Wholesome Holiday Feasts
    * Realistic Resolutions: Developing a Wellness Plan You Can Actually Stick To
    * Grains / Wheat Alternatives
    * Vermicomposting
    * A Foodie's Guide to Scotland

    free knitting patterns

    Unbiased Scarf
    Cozy Cabled Toque

    recent posts

    Thursday Love List: Spread the love
    Monday starts a month of more deliberate health-se...
    Pretty "down there"
    Foodie Fridays makes a comeback with the best gran...
    Lucky Sunday, week 1 in review
    New Year's Special, part 2: Here we go, 2012!
    New Year's Special, part 1: Thanks for 2011
    Give a gift, get a GIFT FROM ME!
    Thursday Love List: Watch it
    Wednesday Q&A: Freezing Up

    archives

    January 2005
    February 2005
    March 2005
    April 2005
    May 2005
    June 2005
    July 2005
    August 2005
    September 2005
    October 2005
    November 2005
    December 2005
    January 2006
    February 2006
    March 2006
    April 2006
    May 2006
    June 2006
    July 2006
    August 2006
    September 2006
    October 2006
    November 2006
    December 2006
    January 2007
    February 2007
    March 2007
    April 2007
    May 2007
    July 2007
    August 2007
    September 2007
    October 2007
    December 2007
    January 2008
    February 2008
    March 2008
    April 2008
    May 2008
    June 2008
    July 2008
    August 2008
    September 2008
    October 2008
    November 2008
    December 2008
    January 2009
    February 2009
    March 2009
    April 2009
    May 2009
    June 2009
    July 2009
    August 2009
    October 2009
    November 2009
    December 2009
    January 2010
    February 2010
    March 2010
    April 2010
    May 2010
    June 2010
    July 2010
    August 2010
    October 2010
    January 2011
    February 2011
    April 2011
    July 2011
    September 2011
    December 2011
    January 2012
    April 2012

    links

    plant-based: veg blogs
    bittersweet blog
    cake maker to the stars
    the conscious kitchen
    a crafty vegan
    the discerning brute
    eat me, delicious
    everyday dish
    fake sheep
    get sconed!
    have cake, will travel!
    just the food
    kamutflake girl
    lunch box bunch
    101 cookbooks
    post punk kitchen
    swell vegan
    28 cooks
    the urban housewife
    vegan knitting (and then some...)
    vegan blog tracker
    vegan lunch box
    vegan yum yum
    veg cooking blog
    we like it raw
    what the hell does a vegan eat anyway?
    world vegetarian
    yellow rose recipes
    your vegan mom

    in the loop: take back the knit contributors' blogs...
    cosmicpluto knits!
    everyone is doomed
    femiknits
    is it a sweater yet?
    jodi's weblog
    knit freak
    knit wit
    mason-dixon knitting
    mk carroll
    pens and needles
    stoneview
    sweet little domestic life
    titanium rose
    tricky tricot
    a view from sierra county
    yarn harlot

    other blogs...
    bienvenue a mon monde
    brainy lady
    dirty sugar cookies
    domestically challenged
    fig and plum
    french word-a-day
    glampyre
    knit and tonic
    lovely purls
    marmalade
    men knit.net
    michelle knits
    montreal knits
    neoknits
    passioknit
    sock crazy
    super eggplant
    ten thousand stories
    yarn-a-go-go
    you grow girl

    veg-specific resources... (see also FOOD below)
    Happy Cow (veg restaurant guide, etc.)
    In a Vegetarian Kitchen
    superVegan (NYC)
    Toronto Vegetarian Association
    Taste Better
    VegDining
    Vegetarians in Paradise
    The Vegetarian Resource Group
    VegNews
    VegSource
    VegWeb

    food related...
    The Biodynamic Agricultural Association
    Canadian Organic Growers
    Caroline Dupont
    The Center for Food Safety
    Cornucopia Institute
    David Wolfe (raw foods)
    Euphoric Organics
    Family Farm Defenders
    farmers' markets in Toronto
    Farmers' Markets Ontario
    Food First
    Food Routes
    FoodShare
    Forever Healthy
    The Garden Diet
    The Global Gourmet
    Go Dairy Free
    Greenpeace Shopper's Guide: How to Avoid Genetically Engineered Food
    Grub
    International Federation of Agriculture Movements
    Karma Food Co-op (Toronto)
    Living Nutrition
    Local Harvest
    The Meatrix
    Mighty Foods
    Mollie Katzen
    Ontario Natural Food Co-op
    Organic Consumers Association
    Organic Volunteers
    Park Slope Food Co-op (Brooklyn, NY)
    Raw Family
    Raw School
    Real (Raw) Milk
    Rebecca Wood
    Santropol Roulant (Montreal)
    Shazzie (raw foods, UK)
    Slow Food
    D. Smith & Son Two Century Farm (amazing u-pick soft fruit near Grimsby ON!)
    Store Wars
    Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
    Toronto Food Policy Council
    TransFair Canada
    True Food Network
    World's Healthiest Foods
    World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF Canada)

    environmental
    Co-op La Maison Verte (Montreal)
    The Earth Council
    Global Resource Action Center for the Environment
    Greenpeace Canada
    Greenpeace International
    International Dark Sky Association
    Living Tree Paper Company
    The Rooftop Gardens Project (Montreal)
    Santropol Roulant (Montreal)
    Sierra Club of Canada
    Small Planet Fund
    Soil Association (UK)
    Spacing: covering toronto's urban landscape
    Toronto Environmental Alliance
    Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative
    Voice Yourself

    'alternative' health
    Alive Magazine
    Association of Ontario Midwives
    Association of Perinatal Naturopathic Doctors
    Canadian Association of Naturopahic Doctors
    Canadian College of Naturopahic Medicine
    Canadian School of Natural Nutrition
    Corpus Diem naturopathic clinic (Montreal)
    DONA International (doula association)
    Clinique Elementerre (Montreal)
    Engender Health: Improving Women's Health Worldwide
    Fertility Awareness Method
    Harmony Health Centre (Montreal)
    Hassle Free Clinic (Toronto)
    Head & Hands youth clinic (Montreal)
    The Healthy Breast Program
    Holistic Online
    International Institute of Concern for Public Health
    Kokoro Do Jo Zen Shiatsu Therapy and Acupuncture (Toronto)
    Living with Our Fertility
    Dr. Mercola
    National Network on Environments and Women's Health
    Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors
    Scarleteen (Sexual Health for Teens)
    360 Health Care (Toronto)
    Whole Health MD
    Women's Healthy Environments Network

    knitting & craft related...
    church of craft
    craftster.org
    crochet my crotch
    get crafty
    knitknit
    knitty
    microRevolt
    oh my stars
    revolutionary knitting circle
    readymade
    spun
    super naturale
    stitch'n'bitch groups

    zines/indie media...
    Microcosm Publishing
    projet Mobilivre/Bookmobile project
    Rabble: news for the rest of us

    inspiring ladies...
    Action Grrrlz
    Ayun Halliday
    Bitch Magazine
    Blood Sisters
    Code Pink
    Evalyn Parry
    GirlSpoken
    Guerrilla Girls
    Hip Mama
    Inga Muscio
    Kristin Sjaarda
    Margaret Cho
    Michelle Tea
    Sarah Merry
    Shameless Magazine
    You Grow Girl: Gardening for the People

    other...
    Fellowship for Intentional Communities
    Free Will Astrology
    Ontario Women's Directorate
    Oxfam Canada
    Public Dreams Society(Vancouver)
    Puppetmongers
    The Ruckus Society
    Urban Harvest
    Vipassana Meditation