Vegan Food on a budget in Paris

Last week I had the mixed pleasure of visiting the (flooded) French capital for what I think was the 4th time, but the 1st as a relatively grown-up. My mind has changed a lot in the past few months, even more so in the past few years, so it was really enjoyable to go and notice, appreciate and seek different aspects of life there.

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Vegan-Friendly Brighton and VegFest Excitement

Some people get excited for Xmas. I get excited for Vegfest.
And it’s coming up, at the end of this month, in Brighton! πŸ™‚

On Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th of February, a beautiful congregation of animal-free, cruelty-free things Continue reading

Vegan Food on a trip to Broadstairs

I started this blog exactly 3 years agoΒ on 6thΒ February, 3 years and 2 weeks ago, wow!
It’s changed a bit but the aim is the same: what can we do, what new things can we learn to enable us to live our everyday lives while considering how the consequences of our habits affect the environment and our future? A mix of light and heavy stuff πŸ™‚

 

Despite the lack of concrete new year resolutions, I hope to be travelling more in 2015.
A monthly trip somewhere new, locally or further away, would be great… I find visiting new places makes me love this planet even more… and makes me ever more passionate about doing what I can to live in a way that is sustainable.

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Camping Without A Trace

Today is Tuesday, but for many it’s like a fast-forwarding Monday, as August’s Bank Holiday weekend ended last night.

I spent mine at Reading’s music festival πŸ™‚

Last time I went to a festival was 5 years ago at the Leeds equivalent, so another live music-filled weekend was due – especially as my mate D had been suggesting it for years!

We saw more than 30 live acts, and the absolute best were Enter Shikari. They interact with the audience like no one else! I highly recommend watching their show on BBC iPlayer. πŸ™‚

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Vegan Food on a trip to Stockholm and Copenhagen

It’s been a great year so far, in terms of trips, and it’s been an interesting challenge to find sustainable vegan food while exploring too!

After going home to Italy in February, I went back to Sweden with my Canadian pals. Last year we went to Gothenburg, this time we went to Stockholm and Copenhagen for a few days at the beginning of May.

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Vegan Food on a Trip Home in Italy

Hello all! As mentioned in my last post, I went home to Italy for a week and now I am back in London! πŸ™‚

It was the first time I went back home as a more-sustainable-eating-vegan so I was curious to see how it would go. I can safely say it went very well as my main occupation there was actually eating…!

My mum bought a ton of fresh vegetables for me to have and my friends also made an effort to feed me (after a few panic moments trying to figure out what to make!) πŸ˜€

I started off my trip well with the usual super food salad from Pret A Manger.

This has really become a sort of ritual, a bit like some who always have a McDonald’s breakfast before a trip, only healthier and more sustainable πŸ˜›

I had a delicious innocent mangoes and passion fruit smoothie, which has 2 of your 5 a day and is so thick and delicious… and a cocoa delight Nakd bar, which is 1 of your 5 a day!

With the salad I’m sure it made up 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, all in one meal! I certainly eat a lot more vegetables now I eat vegan food πŸ™‚

Pret Super Food Salad, innocent Smoothie and Naked Bar

Pret Super Food Salad, innocent Smoothie and Naked Bar

My mum didn’t only buy heaps of vegetables, she also bought me several other vegan goodies such as soy milk so I could have cereals for breakfast.

Vegan Cereals in Italy

Chocolate Cereals, Soy Milk and Twinings Lemon Tea

My sister tasted soy milk for the first time and said she really likes it! She said it’s sweet and tastes good. I personally don’t really like it much on its own but it’s perfect with cereals and other recipes.

The day after I got there some of my friends and I went to visit another friend who invited us for lunch.

I asked her if I should take some food over to make things easier (she seemed a bit alarmed when I told her what I choose not to eat!), but she made a delicious asparagus risotto (and simply added butter and parmesan to it after dishing mine out). I also had the chips (only skipped the meat rolls) and yummy apple pastries she made.

My sister also had some really nice baci di dama biscuits, their name means “dame’s kisses” and they are like 2 little biscuits sealed with a kiss of hazelnutty chocolate.

Lucky for me, these were dairy free, made with rice flour (so probably gluten-free too) and egg free.

Bacetti di Riso

Bacetti di Riso

Baci and lemon tea

Baci and lemon tea

They were particularly lovely with citrussy Twinings lemon tea πŸ™‚

Out of the mountain of vegetable my mum got, there was a really big bag of fresh spinach and bietoline, so I used them to make a lovely vegetable pasta which also had red peppers, tomato sauce, garlic, herbs, chilli, onions and my beloved sun-dried tomatoes. Tasty and colourful!

Vegetable Fusilli

I also managed to make another recipe again while I was home: a friend of my mum’s gave her a lovely fresh, organic cabbage from her garden so I thought it would be a great opportunity to make a cabbage soup inspired by Food to Glow’s Kellie’s Freekeh and Green Soup.

We didn’t have freekeh or quinoa (that’s what I used the first time I made the soup) so I gave it a more Italian twist by adding pasta and also a potato. My mum really liked it! actually everyone who has tried it so far has liked it πŸ™‚

Cabbage Soup Ingredients

Cabbage Soup Ingredients

The picture above shows the ingredients I used in Italy.

As you can tell this soup is really healthy and can be a complete meal if you add some beans, lentils or chickpeas as a protein source. The spices Kellie recommends using give it a lovely fragrant flavour and a squeeze of lemon at the end make it really refreshing.

Cabbage soup inspired by Food to Glow

Cabbage Soup inspired by Food to Glow

 

One of the things I reaaaally wanted to have back home was pizza of course!

In order to have a sustainable vegan pizza all you have to do is order one with vegetables and ask them to avoid adding the cheese. VoilΓ !

Vegan Italian Pizza

Vegan Italian Pizza

It was sooo nice πŸ™‚ and while I was home I drank so much apricot juice too! Fortunately I discovered that a local shop stocks it here in London so I won’t have to overload on it each time I go home anymore πŸ˜›

Another lovely dish I had was pasta with a creamy cannellini beans sauce my sister made.

The thing I liked about this is just how creamy it tasted. I’m not a fan of super-creamy sauces but this one was really nice.

Some may think that eating vegan food means giving up the pleasure to eat creamy textures, however this dish could prove them wrong.

It was velvety, satisfying and made by simply cooking garlic, organic rosemary from our village and a tin of cannellini beans in a little extra virgin olive oil. Once they had cooled down she whizzed them up, seasoned it all and added the pasta, garnishing with poppy seeds for extra flavour and crunch. Great!

Pennette with Creamy Cannellini Beans Sauce and Poppy Seeds

Pennette with Creamy Cannellini Beans Sauce and Poppy Seeds

 

One evening we had these beautiful mini peppers raw with some hoummous my sister made. Aren’t they lovely?

Small Fresh Pepper

 

It seems like even in Italy there are more dairy-free options, including for fresh cheese.

Valsoia Vegan Fresh Cheese

Valsoia Vegan Fresh Cheese

Valsoia is a brand that’s been around for years, I remember watching their ads when I was little “I say no to cholesterol, yes to Valsoia”!

It was pretty good and would be great in a sarnie! I tried it with organic corn cakes and freshly cracked pepper too.

Valsoia cheese with organic corn cakes

Valsoia cheese with organic corn cakes

 

Oh, and I ate all of my mum’s dark chocolate…

Lindt Dark Chocolate

 

~

Ever since I was little, simple pasta soup has been a staple soup at home.

One of those meals that are a quick dinner solution and are good for body and soul.

Tempestine Soup Pasta

Tempestine Soup Pasta

All you need is soup pasta, vegetable stock and a potato or two.

Soupette

Soupette

Ta-dah! Soupette! Which I guess in French it means little soup or perhaps simple soup.

Don’t be fooled by its humble look, it tastes amazing – especially with the comforting smoothness of the potatoes – , makes you feel good and could be complemented by a few handfuls of fresh spinach.

For my last night, my mum also made a cake, it was the first time she had baked a vegan lemon cake and it was wonderful.

Lemon Cake - Vegan

Lemon Cake – Vegan

Light. Fluffy. Lemony. Heavenly! I will have to ask her for the recipe πŸ™‚

 

Last but not least, we had lunch together at our favourite Chinese restaurant. This place and its owner were one of the factors that inspired me to study Chinese, which led me to live in China for 10 months and become so passionate about the environment and sustainability.

Soy Noodles with Vegetables

Soy Noodles with Vegetables

My vegan option was soy noodles with vegetables, I just asked them not to add the prawns.

 

Going home proved that it’s entirely possible to eat sustainable food while being away. If you want to make a change, with a little research and language skills you can do it anywhere πŸ™‚

Of course it was easier being at home, but even going out to eat was fine and I never felt like I was missing out on anything.

Writing this has made me hungry for more vegan food and hungry for new adventures! πŸ™‚

 

Have you ever had the experience of going to someone’s home with certain requirements?

Have you tried new food or products because they were more eco-friendly?

Vegan Food on a Trip to Gothenburg

This time last week my Canadian friends N and C and I were in Gothenburg, Sweden!

It was a spontaneous trip, booked after N found some really affordable flights to the city and we were there from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon. So I thought it would be nice to add a few lines of my experience being vegan in a new place, in addition to my previous trips to Normandy and Florida.

As we were there for a short time we didn’t have a plan on where to go when, we just visited the town and decided what to do randomly and ate anywhere. If you are vegetarian, vegan or craving a sustainable option you can find the best places to go to on the Happy Cow website. πŸ™‚

Approaching Sweden!

Approaching Sweden!

We had to get up really early (3AM!) and got breakfast at the airport, and by the time we got to Gothenburg’s city centre we were hungry again.

Breakfast and lunch salads

Breakfast and lunch salads

Before leaving I had the superfood salad from Pret A Manger (it seems to be my pre-trip staple!) with tropical green tea, and in Gothenburg N&C fancied Starbucks so I had their Falafel and cous cous salad with some sort of coffee (I never go to Starbucks and it always takes me 4 minutes to choose something to drink) with soy milk, topped with an island of cinnamon. πŸ˜›

We walked around the indoor market hall of Saluhallen where there were lovely stalls with beautiful food displayed…

Lovely food at the Market Hall

Lovely food at the Market Hall

…and I got a very crispy flatbread sort of cracker full of seeds, including aromatic fennel seeds, which was vegan.

Crispy bread from the market

Crispy bread from the market

In the afternoon we met up with C’s relative, a lovely and interesting Swedish lady who took us out to an Italian restaurant (we couldn’t find many Swedish restaurants that weren’t fully booked or during serving hours) and I had a lovely pizza made vegan by not adding cheese.

Vegan vegetable pizza

Vegan vegetable pizza

She also took us to a park that had a greenhouse which was like a mini-Kew Gardens building.

Inside the greenhouse

Inside the greenhouse

In the morning, the hostel we were staying at provided breakfast options such as bread and cold meats, yogurt, cereals, and I prepared an unusual one for myself…

Vegan breakfast

Vegan breakfast

…seems like I am developing a habit of having salad and raw vegetables for breakfast πŸ˜€

In the afternoon we strolled around the Old Town part of Gothenburg where the street was busy with people selling and buying second-hand objects, it was like a car boot sale but simply in the street.

The Old Town

The Old Town

Later on we hired bikes and cycled along the river docks and around the town, it was great, I hadn’t cycled in years!

It seems like cycling is really popular there and even though it is in London too, and people are encouraged to ride bikes everywhere, I felt like it was better in Gothenburg as there were bicycle routes almost all the way and many other cyclists were riding safely with us.

Have a look at the super-cool infographic on bike sharing I have added below for more info on renting bikes in several European cities.

Cycling!!

Cycling along the GΓΆta Γ€lv

After our ride we were hungry so we went to our hotel’s restaurant, which unsurprisingly didn’t have a vegetarian option, never mind a vegan one, however the lady who served us spoke perfect English (everyone does in Sweden!) and knew which vegan options I could have.

Chips and salad - the ultimate vegan emergency meal ;)

Chips and salad – the ultimate vegan emergency meal πŸ˜‰

Chips and salad of course! πŸ˜› Simple but actually really nice.

We didn’t spend a lot of time in Sweden and didn’t manage to go to Stockholm as originally planned but I really enjoyed our trip and hope to visit more of Europe in general. Travelling is so inspiring!

In Sweden, sustainability is an important topic and people are aware of the benefits that buying organic products have on the environment, from food to clothing, such as global retailer H&M’s conscious collections and recycling initiatives. I also saw many wind power plants from the plane, which shows they are committed to produce clean, renewable energy.

I would also love to learn more about the Swedish-style modular super energy-efficient homes.

If you are also interested in learning more about sustainability-related facts happening in Sweden I cannot recommend Janina’s Food (policy) for thought blog enough! πŸ™‚

Have you ever travelled somewhere and hired a bike? I enjoyed it a lot and definitely recommend it! You get to see more, you exercise, you have fun and you do not pollute πŸ™‚

So here is the really useful infographic on bike sharing for London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Nice kindly sent to me from C at Momondo full of interesting info:

 

Bike-sharing-infographic

Bike Sharing Infographic

 

Time to explore! πŸ™‚

 

Do you get inspired when you travel?

Are there any cities or countries you would like to visit for their commitment to sustainability?