Vegan in Prague: Forky’s

Forky’s is a difficult place to classify. On the one hand it’s got glorious, slightly greasy fast food, and on the other it’s got build-your-own buddha bowls. I’d like to say it’s the latter that lure me in, but you probably know me by now. If it  doesn’t come with a side of chips, I’m not interested! At least there’s something for everyone, but this will be a fairly one-sided review.

On my first visit I got the kebab (it’s an all vegan establishment, so you can take your pick from the menu). I never ate a kebab when I was a meat eater, and possibly never even tried a veggie version when I was a vegetarian. But now I’m a vegan (and living in Europe may also be a factor), I can’t get enough of kebabs. I judge a kebab on the texture of the mock meat, and the seasoning. In my opinion the best vegan kebab in Prague can be found at Paprika, but this is a solid runner up – it might even have nicked the top spot were it not for the abundance of red cabbage rolled up in there.

That first time I was a little disappointed to find that the chips were a mixture of regular and sweet potato fries. Don’t get me wrong, the sweet potato has its place. But I find myself becoming increasingly impatient with places that offer chips and they turn out to be orange instead of yellow. Sweet potato chips just don’t have that perfect texture, do they? They’re like slightly soggy, off-brand chips.

So imagine my delight when I returned recently and found that proper potato chips were now the order of the day! What a step up. The menu had generally been jazzed up as well, so that it now included fish and chips, which no Brit living abroad can reasonably be expected to resist.

My poor eyesight led me to believe that the picture behind the counter was showing battered tofu for the fish – alas, that was not the case. The tofu was extremely nicely flavoured and it was a very delicious meal, but it was lacking a little in the texture department. The gigantic portion of chips did make up for it though, and I really enjoyed this dish.

And Dr HH loved his French burger. The caramelised red onions were delicious, and the mustard was good and warming. The patty itself had a good texture and flavour, and overall he was a very satisfied customer.

I’ve only ever seen one dessert at Forky’s, and fortunately it’s a good ‘un. I love a good brownie, and this one is certainly chocolatey enough for me and is quite fudgy in the centre, but can be a wee bit crumbly elsewhere. Also, it’s served on a ridiculously small plate, especially if you’re planning on sharing. That said, maybe they’re trying to discourage splitting desserts, which is certainly a policy I can get on board with.

And just imagine there’s a review of all the nourishing, balanced buddha bowls here! All in all, I like the food at Forky’s but go rarely because it’s close to the city centre which is always crowded with tourists. So if you’re sightseeing, you should definitely go! It’s a casual, canteen-style eatery where you order at the counter and wait for your number to be called out. It’s not fancy, but it’s filling and tasty, and sometimes that’s just what you need.

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Vegan in Brighton: Iydea (Again)

I often find myself stuck in the classic dilemma: should I revisit an eatery I know and love, or try somewhere new? Stick with my favourite dish, or gamble on another? When we were in Brighton this summer, we couldn’t resist – we just had to revisit the two breakfast spots we’d been to before, because they’re just that good. And I ordered the same dish as last time as well, because I knew I was in for a top notch breakfast. I’ve already mentioned our return to Wai Kika Moo Kau, and here we were back at Iydea as well.

Iydea’s a lovely little veggie cafe on a charming street in Brighton full of independent shops and cafes. Just like last time, Dr HH and I both got the vegan full English, and had no regrets at all. We had a really flavoursome tofu scramble with red onions, two delicious sage sausages, two crispy hash browns, an avocado, tomato, and mushroom hash, homemade beans, toast, and a little pot of spread (not pictured). It was an absolute feast, and there wasn’t really a weak element (though I was unlucky and only got 1 piece of avo in my hash – Dr HH was good enough to even things out though). So, how does it compare to our first visit? Well…

For one thing, clearing the lighting has improved! My complaints the first time around were about the tomato halves (one of my least favourite things on a breakfast plate, now mercifully removed), the sausages being a bit bland (now they’re super tasty), and there being no tofu scramble to replace the eggs that vegetarians got (and now there is a scramble!). I also grumbled about only getting one slice of toast, but this time I felt that was plenty.

So now I feel totally justified in revisiting old favourites to see what changes they’ve made – they might just have become even better!

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Cookbook of the Month: Vegan Christmas (Part One)

Eyeing up Christmas recipes is one of my favourite activities, so as soon as I heard about this book by Gaz Oakley, I knew that I needed it. But truthfully, I don’t really approve of changes to my Christmas meals. I know what I like, and I’m a bit wary of any radical additions or extractions from our festive traditions. So I’m not sure how many of these dishes I’ll make actually at Christmas, but I was very excited to try them! Here’s what I’ve made so far from the different sections of the book.

Christmas morning:

The eagle-eyed among you may notice that I transformed the sweet potato waffles with sauteed mushrooms into pancakes, as I don’t have a waffle iron. No tweaks were needed to the recipe, the batter was already perfect pancake consistency. I omitted the maple syrup as I was worried it would turn out too sweet, and I think I made the right choice – I also added some garlic to the mushrooms to keep it good and savoury. The recipe should have made 2 waffles, but I got six fat little pancakes out of it, and they were delicious! We actually had this for dinner rather than breakfast, and I think they would work either way – though it was a pretty hearty meal, and I try not to go too big for Christmas breakfast, so I wouldn’t serve them on the day itself. Definitely tasty though!

Party food and light bites:

The parsnip and vanilla soup proved a little divisive. I used vanilla essence instead of the recommended paste, and though I added just a splash the soup ended up a bit too sweet for Dr HH. I was expecting to have a similar response, but actually I didn’t think the sweetness was a problem, but the flavours weren’t quite balanced correctly. Either way, we won’t be revisiting this one.

I’m a big fan of Welsh rarebit, aka fancy cheese on toast. The cheese sauce was easy to make and really flavoursome, and the caramelised onions were a nice touch. I’ll definitely revisit this recipe.

The recipe for fish finger sliders also includes bread buns and mayo, but I stuck to just the fish fingers themselves due to laziness. They were nice and simple to make, and the texture was great, but they didn’t taste particularly fishy, despite the nori placed on the tofu. Next time I’d pulse some dill and possibly even more nori into the breadcrumbs to up the ante a bit.

I believe this was the first vegan quiche I’ve ever made, and it was the biggest success of the book! First of all, there was nooch in the pastry – what a brilliant idea! And secondly, the filling was just delicious too. I used smoked tempeh instead of the recommended homemade bacon, and I’m happy with that shortcut. I thought this was going to be a really stressful ordeal, but it was actually really easy and I’ll certainly be making it again. It was so good!

Centre pieces:

Well, this is obviously the most important section of the book, but I haven’t had a chance to get stuck into it yet – I’ve been trying to get my hands on some of the ingredients. This section will feature more heavily in Part Two of this review.

All the trimmings:

Is there any better side dish than cauliflower cheese? Well, truthfully I made this herb-crusted cauliflower and leek cheese as a main instead of a side, and it was autumnal perfection. There are leeks as well as cauliflower, the cheese sauce is delicious, and the crumbs on top give it a great texture. I don’t really like tampering with our classic Christmas sides, but I would certainly make an exception for this delightful concoction.

Leftovers:

I almost never make curries, because why make curry for a man who was raised on it? But I gave this Christmas korma a go, and I’m glad of it – even Dr HH didn’t have a bad word to say about it. We used a really weird shop bought seitan rather than homemade leftovers, and it had a very strange texture, but otherwise the curry was lovely.

Afters:

Terry’s Chocolate Oranges are probably the only thing I really miss since going vegan, and they are inherently Christmassy, so I was very excited to try the chocolate orange raw cheesecake. It was easier to make than I expected, though I was very concerned that both layers were extremely thin and liquid when I added them to the cake. It firmed up just fine though, if a bit creamier than a cheesecake usually is. The nutty base was absolutely delicious, and the orange layer was lovely, but the chocolate was really lost – I’d recommend adding a good bit more cocoa powder than the recipe called for.

Edible gifts:

We don’t have many cookie cutters with us in Prague, so the Christmas cookies had to be either Star Wars or dinosaur themed. Dino it was! Even with these fiddly and quite delicate shapes, the biscuits held really well – I think only one of them broke in transit. They were tasty and crisp, and really really good.

Dr HH has recently become a homemade Bounty bar enthusiast, so he took the helm for these coconut Bounties. He reported that this recipe was better than the one he was using before, and made for a creamier filling. The chocolate didn’t end up very smooth, but we’ve put that down to human error rather than the recipe.

 

It’s been a very exciting book thus far! One thing I wasn’t very keen on was that the writer repeatedly uses quotation marks to show that these are definitely veganised dishes: “fish” fingers, chocolate “cheesecake”, etc. Personally I don’t think that’s necessary. I like a bit more patter before each recipe as well, especially in something like a Christmas book where he could have really personalised it. But the recipes have been great, and I’m excited to see how I get on with the centre pieces in November – wish me luck making seitan for the first time ever!

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Vegan in Prague: Javanka & Co

Vegan-friendly Indonesian restaurants are, apparently, just like buses. I’d never seen one before, and then suddenly this year two of them popped up! I visited this one in Nuremberg in May, and then Javanka appeared in Prague not long after. It serves meat, but has lots of clearly labelled vegan options, and it’s honestly one of the lovelier restaurants in Prague – slightly shabby chic, really friendly service, and a very relaxed atmosphere.

I’ve been twice, and both times I ordered this tumis tempeh dish. Tempeh is one of my favourite things ever, and it turns out that it’s significantly better from Indonesian restaurants than the supermarket. Who would have guessed?! It’s cooked in dark, sweet, soy sauce and chilli, and it’s supremely flavoursome. The peanutty dressing on the gado-gado salad, complete with fried tofu, is also excellent- my omni friends have also happily devoured this.

Dr HH can always be counted on to go for a mixed plate when it’s available, which is very handy for reviewing! The javanka vegan plate also featured the same tempeh, rice, and gado-gado salad.  He also had some green bean sambal goreng and some seasoned rasped coconut Serundeng, and another unspecified vegetable dish. Basically, he loved everything! The tempeh and coconut were his favourites, but everything was flavoursome and we both had clean plates at the end.

My only complaint about Javanka is the lack of vegan desserts. Not that I really needed one, but it’s nice to have the option,isn’t it? Despite this, it has quickly risen up the ranks of my favourite places to eat in Prague. It’s great whether you’re eating with fellow vegans or omnis.

Here’s to more Indonesian restaurants for all!

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Vegan in Brighton: Belzeburger

I absolutely hate going to noisy pubs. Crowds of people, dim light, loud music: it’s my idea of hell. I will suffer through it in the name of greasy ole vegan junk food,though! Belzeburger in Brighton is quite a rowdy all-vegan pub, though it’s possible that we were just unlucky that there was a huge group of young people bellowing at each other across several tables when we arrived. It was worth it to get a good greasy fix though!

The menu was heavy on burgers and fried food, and you know what that means: onion rings! These were very good onion rings (something of a rarity, in my experience), with excellent light batter.

If an establishment has a signature dish, it’s probably worth a try. Hence Dr HH ordered the belzeburger, which featured a good seitan patty, topped with a crispy hash brown and excellent vegan cheese. He raved that the patty was really well-seasoned, and not properly spicy but with a nice heat. It was a good size as well (not always the case these days, are more places are creating massive burgers that must be shamefully tackled with a knife and fork), and he was very pleased that the lettuce was shredded rather than the usual leaf, making it much easier to handle and devour.

And for the first time in my life, I ordered a mac and cheese burger. Yes, the patty was just fried mac and cheese, and it was exactly like you’d imagine! It was topped with cheese and some tasty bacon with maple syrup, but in the end it was all a bit too sweet and sticky from the maple. It could have been a bit more savoury, or more balanced flavour-wise, but it was still tasty and very exciting.

If you’re looking for a proper greasy junk food experience, look no further than Belzeburger!

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Vegan in London: Crosstown Doughnuts

After an exhausting month of blogging about different international cuisines, it’s time to get back to my favourite food: doughnuts! As I have mentioned, there’s no shortage of vegan doughnuts in Prague (Exhibit A, Exhibit B), but I still always try to find some when I’m on the road as well. We’ve devoured excellent vegan donuts in Dublin, Rome, Berlin, Munich, and Barcelona, and London is doing us Brits proud.

There are now several vegan doughnut options in London, but I can’t seem to get away from Crosstown Doughnuts. This is partly because they’re really close to our preferred London hotel, and partly because they’re just really good! When we were back in London in July, we were very excited to see a couple of new options on the vegan menu.

Dr HH couldn’t resist this special 4th July flavour: key lime custard. He reported that it was generally lovely and zesty, if occasionally a bit too sharp – that’s the risk you run with lime, though. Still, it was a good filled doughnut.

 

Regular readers will be unsurprised to learn that I only had eyes for this chocolate truffle concoction. And oh, it was sublime! It had a thick, rich chocolate topping, plus a creamy nutella-esque filling inside. It was probably a bit indulgent for breakfast, if you want to abide by society’s rules…but I believe they don’t apply when you’re on holiday.

Be warned: you will end up with chocolate all around your face. Totally worth it though!

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Cookbook of the Month: VeganMoFo18

As you may be aware, VeganMoFo can be somewhat exhausting – but I’m never too exhausted for my annual cookalong! I’ve taken a break from my usual cookbook of the month review to trial some of the recipes shared by my VeganMoFo comrades over the course of September. You probably won’t be shocked to hear that there were some real gems to be found!

We’re suckers for cinnamon snails, so we couldn’t resist Ms. Pam’s Cinnamon Rolls, a recipe shared over at Mo Betta Vegan. This is a blog I just discovered through this year’s MoFo, and I’m glad I did – she’s posted some delicious looking recipes, and the posts about her nearest and dearest during Inspiration Week were really moving, as you’ll see from this post about her mother. As for the rolls, well, they were just delicious! Dr HH is the bread baker in our house, and he reported that the recipe was easy to follow. And as a skilled cinnamon roll devourer, I can report that they were delicious! Apparently the dough was a little thicker than Dr HH usually rolls it out (based on the dimensions in the recipe), so he was a little worried about the texture, but I thought this was the best thing about them – so pillowy and soft!

There’s nothing like a good soup for packed lunches, and I was extremely tempted by the baked potato soup over at Vegan in Your City. I had to improvise on the bacon grease, and I used more nooch instead of grated cheese, so it can’t have been as flavoursome as the original, but still, it was a tasty soup. Next time I’ll go all in with the cheese and some bacon crumbles too.

Sticking with soup, here’s the autumn sunshine soup from Vegan Ha Ha. It was basically a roasted butternut squash and lentil soup, featuring rosemary, thyme, and sage – usually when I make a squash soup, I go for spicier seasonings, so this was a bit of a change. And it’s a change I’ll stick with! The herbs gave it such a lovely, comforting aroma and taste. When I opened my Thermos at lunchtime, it really was like a blast of autumn sunshine!

I’m always happy to see Emma from Walks, Talks & Eats posting VeganMoFo recipes because I know I can rely on the ingredients being relatively easy to get hold of and the flavours being delicious. As usual, she did not disappoint this year! This spicy pasta soup sounded suitably hearty for two hungry people like Dr HH and me. It’s rare to find a spicy dish that Dr HH and I agree is perfectly seasoned (they’re usually too spicy for me and too bland for him), but we both enjoyed this one.

The storecupboard meal prompt was one I was looking forward to, as I find shopping and meal planning a bit draining sometimes. Over at The Opposite of Indifference I read about this tomato and lentil soup and knew I had to try it. Simple, filling tomato soups are a lifesaver in our house! This one was indeed simple and delicious. I jazzed it up by chucking in half a jar of pesto leftover in the fridge, but it would have been flavoursome without that too.

I’m a huge fan of AfroVeganChick, and I was very excited about her MoFo theme of veganised African dishes. She has posted a lot of amazing things, including this Sudanese lentil soup. I really loved the simplicity of it: lentils, water, garlic, and spices. It was really warming, and ideal for the changing seasons.

AfroVeganChick‘s day 1 post was also particularly tempting: groundnut stew with chickpea cutlets. We are perhaps the only vegans who have never made chickpea cutlets before, and I can now confirm that there’s a reason everyone is doing it. They were good! A couple of them crumbled a bit during cooking, but they were very tasty. And the sauce was spectacular, quite similar to mafe. We had leftover sauce with tempeh after we ran out of cutlets, and that was also a treat.

And I’m not the kind of person who can just say no to a fish balls recipe! Yes, it’s AfroVeganChick again – I have bookmarked almost all of her recipes to return to. We tweaked these slightly, because we weren’t sure where the fishy flavour would come from – Dr HH threw a sheet of nori and some dill into the mix, and everything worked splendidly. The mix was quite sticky and needed some flour adding to make it workable, but we were very happy with the end result.

Amber from This Vegan Lyfe shared a lot of tempting recipes this month, including her No Fail Pot Pie on the food flops day. Her flop was dropping this entire pie on the floor…I couldn’t get any kale or spinach, so I threw in some mushrooms instead…and added some tempeh just for fun as well! It was just as you’d expect: really flavoursome and delicious. I can only imagine the devastation of dropping this concoction on the floor!

Over at Vegan or Not, I was extremely taken by this Ohio-style shredded chicken sandwich. I’d never seen this kind of sloppy chicken sandwich before, in the UK I feel like it would always be quite dry. We recently discovered jackfruit in Prague and had been looking for an opportunity to use it: now here it was! Dr HH thought the flavour was a littl mild, but I loved it, and we were both crazy about the texture. A definite winner, and not as messy to eat as I’d feared!

And here’s another recipe from Walks, Talks & Eats! I have a lot of Emma’s recipes bookmarked, but this creamy vegan mac and cheese was the first one I tried. It was for the nut-free prompt, so the creamy sauce was made with silken tofu. We both loved this – it was easy to make (with the added bonus of not needing to remember to soak the cashews in the morning!), and very tasty. We’ll make it again, and throw in some tempeh bacon crumbles for good measure!

Here’s another recipe from Vegan HaHa…and another mac and cheese! The nut free creamy sauce worked an absolute treat, largely because it was very similar to the Isa recipe we love, but using beans instead of cashews for the creaminess. You can’t beat miso in a cheese sauce, that’s what I’ve found! And you can see that this time we had our bacon crumbles on hand.

Budget week was quite an exciting one, and I especially enjoyed this $4 for 4 people burrito bowl from Adventures in Veganism. We usually avoid bowls because the multiple components are not really ideal after work – but this one was quite straightforward and the washing up did not spiral out of control. Everything was really flavoursome from all the seasonings, and we found it a very tasty and filling dinner.

The World According to Plumes was one of the new blogs I discovered this VeganMoFo, and I’m already a huge fan! I threw together this coconut black bean stew yesterday, and haven’t actually had a portion yet, but I can tell you from my taste-testing that it will be good! I love the flavour hit from the coconut milk. Black beans are difficult to find in Prague, and even kidney beans are impossible to find in the zero waste shop, so I settled for pinto beans.

The chocolate hazlenut oat bites from Food for Dissertating were really simple to eat, and really delicious – not surprising, given that chocolate-hazelnut spread is the main agreement! I’ll definitely be making these again for a quick and easy bite.

Over on Instagram, I was powerless to resist this banana bread posted by @nomeatandthreeveg. I didn’t add the banana on top, and threw some chocolate chips into the batter, and I was delighted with this. Really easy, really tasty!

One Raw Bite is one of my favourite blogs, and I was happy to see Jennifer following another cake theme. There were a few things that tempted me, but I went for this cinnamon flop, mostly because I loved the name so much! I followed the recipe precisely, except that I used coconut sugar instead of granulated, hence my cake looks a bit different from the original. It’s really delicious though, and made the kitchen smell quite festive!

What a year for great VeganMoFo recipes! Thanks to all my fellow MoFo participants for all the inspiration!

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