It’s been seven years since I paid London any visit more substantial than a mad dash from airport to train station and back away to the safety of the north. I remedied that situation last weekend with a lovely whirlwind trip to the capital. I enjoyed the traditional stroll along the embankment, taking in the classic sights of Tower Bridge and the London Eye and also the new addition of the Shard, and also ventured to a previously unexplored part of the city, Camden. Fortunately we got to the market pretty early and managed to have a good mooch around without needing to wield our elbows to get a good view, and hunted out a bargain or two (or not, as I’m the worst haggler in the world). And we got our entertainment from Matilda, which was a fantastic show for adults as well as children.
But of course, the real highlight was the food. As always, I did my research beforehand and had picked out a few promising vegan eateries, so we ate extremely well. We breakfasted at inSpiral in Camden twice, sampling the cooked breakfast and the raw crepes:
After agonising over all the choices at Camden Market, I had a bit of everything from the Ethiopian stand – this was a small portion! It was a mishmash of rice, lentils, vegetables and spices, topped with some tasty cabbage (and I say this as a cabbage-hater) and hummus:
We had a top notch Indian meal at the cheap and cheerful Diwana Bhel Poori on arrival at Euston:
Mildreds is a vegetarian institution in London, so we risked it despite its no-bookings policy, and it was worth it. I lived the dream and went for double pie: mushroom and ale, followed by pecan.
The weekend was rounded off with a Sunday roast at Coach & Horses, a vegetarian pub not far from Leicester Square. The beetroot ravioli was the best dish of the weekend, and the butternut squash roast wasn’t too shabby either:
And I returned home with a couple of mega cream cakes from VX, which proved too much for me, delicious as they were:
All this delicious food has inspired me to get into the kitchen and do a bit more cooking!
Arabic Rice & Lentil Soup
Serves 4, from Appetite for Reduction
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup red lentils
1/2 cup brown rice
zest of 1 lemon
1.5 litres vegetable stock
juice of 1 lemon
1. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion for about 4 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, salt and plenty of black pepper and saute for a minute. Add the spices and stir for about 30 seconds.
3. Add the carrots, lentils, rice, lemon zest and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 40 minutes (or less, depending on how long your rice takes to cook – keep an eye on it).
4. If necessary, thin it out with a little more water. Add the lemon juice and seasoning, stir through. Stand for 10 minutes before serving.