Nac Mac Vegan: adventures in rabbit food


Auld Hoose Sunday Lunch

Filed under: Eating out, Pub grub — Tags: , , , — Feòrag @ 15:33

Auld Hoose vegan Sunday LunchUsually, when I go to the Auld Hoose on a Sunday afternoon, it’s for breakfast. This week, I thought I’d try the Sunday roast. I commented that the vegan meal was presumably the same as the vegetarian one, minus the Yorkshire puddings and Jonathan, behind the bar, informed me that they had vegan Yorkshires. That I had to try!

The meal consisted of a classic nut roast with the traditional trimmings. The nut roast itself made no attempt to disguise its main ingredient, and was excellent. The roast potatoes were crispy on the outside, and melty within, and the Yorkshire puddings made my day. The main disappointment was the offering of vegetables, mostly frozen I suspect. There again, it’s not the season for anything other than cabbage and spuds right now.

It did lie a little heavy on my stomach afterwards, but that’s the idea isn’t it?



Edinburgh for vegans

Filed under: Eating out — Tags: — Feòrag @ 13:59

If you’re here for the Festival and Fringe, you might like to know I have just added a new page: Vegan-friendly Edinburgh. It’s a listing of those eateries which are not vegetarian, but where a vegan can eat well. Such places tend to get missed out of specialist vegetarian guides, and the general guides tend not to be too good at knowing what makes a place vegetarian- or vegan-friendly. The listed restaurants, cafés and pubs are all places I frequent. There are bound to be gaps, especially on The Other Side Of Town, and I’d be glad to hear of other places.


Vegan cakes!

Filed under: Eating out — Tags: , — Feòrag @ 20:20

The other day I went for a walk around the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. I popped into the café for a drink, and was surprised to see this:

Vegan cakes at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

Not the cheapest, but I had the Date Slice and it was delicious. They also sell gluten-free cakes now.


Vegan Breakfast at The Auld Hoose, Edinburgh

Filed under: Eating out, Pub grub — Tags: , , , , — Feòrag @ 14:37

Vegan Breakfast at the Auld Hoose

Vegan Breakfast at the Auld Hoose with sausages, haggis, beans, mushrooms, hash browns, onions and fried bread.

One of the things that pains me about Edinburgh is that since Susie’s Wholefood Diner stopped doing Sunday brunch over a decade ago, there’s not really been a good option for a vegan breakfast. Roseleaf in Leith comes close with their “Leafer”, if you exchange the egg for something else, but they have no substitute for the butter. It does include spinach, though, which makes me happy.

My problem is that I have not been looking under my own nose at one of my regular drinking establishments – The Auld Hoose on St. Leonard’s Street. Perhaps it’s because I’m rarely in there before 5pm, when they stop serving breakfast?

The Auld Hoose is a very traditional pub with a loud rock, goth and punk jukebox and a clientèle to match. It does good solid food, about seven different ciders (including Addlestone’s and Weston’s Organic), a respectable range of whiskies from around the world and lots of beer.

The breakfast is available 7 days a week, and is a build-your-own job. There are more than enough vegan options to go for the seven item version. The vegetarian sausages, haggis and hash browns are all vegan. I chose all three of those plus beans, mushrooms, onions and fried bread. I can’t abide the half-cooked tomatoes that are a breakfast staple, and the chips just seemed Wrong. It’s all pretty standard stuff except the fried bread which is made with baguette, and very filling. My only criticism is that is would be nice to have toast as an option. Well, spinach would be nice too, but I suspect I’m the only person outside Australia who has a thing for breakfast spinach.

The rest of the menu is quite vegan friendly too. The burgers are also build-your-own and the usual veggie burger is vegan. Very rarely they are unable to get the vegan one, so it’s a good idea to check if the staff don’t know you. If they do know you, they’ll let you know. My usual combination, when I have enough of an appetite to eat that much, is relish, jalapenos and mushrooms. There’s a vegan nut roast on Sunday and of the main courses, the five bean chilli and the veggie haggis are both vegan. Snacks, which are big enough for most people as a meal, include pakora and pole-dancing onion rings (ask for the sour cream dip to be substituted for something else) plus the ubiquitous chips.

The Auld Hoose, 23-25 St Leonards Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9QN. Tel: 0131-668 2934. [Map]


Edinburgh Farmers’ Market

Filed under: Ingredients, Shopping — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Feòrag @ 11:33

The location for the farmers' market is spectacular, especially on a good day like this.

The location for the farmers' market is spectacular, especially on a good day like this.

The Edinburgh Farmers’ Market is a weekly event, which is unfortunately on the wrong side of town for us. The withdrawal of the number 17 bus has made getting there by public transport impossible, and the fact that it’s on top of a car park isn’t an encouragement to use public transport either. So, when we go, unless we’re feeling really fit, we take the Volvo and then buy enough veg to justify it.

At first sight, the market doesn’t have much to offer the vegan, with an excess of meat stalls, and a couple of cheesemakers. They even have leaflets on the market information stall from the Meat Marketing Board promoting industrially-produced meat! But it’s not all unhealthy stuff, don’t worry.

Phantassie organic vegetables

Phantassie organic vegetables

Phantassie is an organic vegetable farm in East Lothian, and they are at the market a couple of times a month. This time round I bought red spring onions, smoked garlic, pea shoots (a green leafy veg), broad beans, white turnips and shiitake. Another regular is East Coast Organics, another East Lothian farm, who are at the market every week. Their stall provided me with a bunch of onions, another of carrots (carrot greens make good soup), one of radishes, a knobbly cucumber (good for Japanese recipes), a red kohlrabi and yellow courgettes. Meanwhile, my partner bought some fantastic plum tomatoes on the vine, and some baby plum tomatoes from the adjacent J & M Craig (one of the last remaining Clyde tomato growers) stall. The aroma from them is fantastic.

A couple of my favourite stalls weren’t there today. Ardnamushrooms grow shiitake and other fungi, and were the source of our organic shiitake block, an experiment in very local food we’d be glad to repeat some time. Carrolls Heritage Potatoes are only there on the first Saturday of the month, when tatties are in season, but they produce potatoes that I like — ones that taste of something. They have blue potatoes, purple potatoes and loads of flavoursome spuds from days of yore. I note they are now selling online, though, and have a stockist in Leith (if I can bear going into a fishmonger — I might have to send himself).

Cheery staff at the Good Soup Group.

Cheery staff at the Good Soup Group.

All that shopping can be hard work, so we had a couple of snacks whilst there. I ignored him having his pig in a bun (which he complained wasn’t very good – ha!) and chose a spicy noodle soup from the Good Soup Group — the noodles were rice noodles, making the soup both vegan and gluten free. Special dietary requirements seem to be a particular concern at the Good Soup Group, and they try to source everything locally wherever possible. And then there’s The Chocolate Tree, lurking ready to ruin all of your healthy eating intentions. They do a massive range of chocolate bars, vegan chocolate hazelnut spread and vegan chocolate sorbet. The cones for the sorbet are not vegan, but they are more than happy to serve it to you in a cup instead. Messy, and delicious, afterwards my face resembled that of a three-year-old after a bath in cocoa. And I don’t care!


Café Nom de Plume

Filed under: Eating out — Tags: , — Feòrag @ 08:32

Last night I ate at Café Nom de Plume in Edinburgh’s LGBT Centre on Broughton Street for the first time. It’s been a long time coming, with Alan and Colin taking well over a year to get the place to their liking.

The menu is varied, inspired by dishes from all over the world. Vegetarian and vegan options are clearly marked, but only on the specials board, not on the main menu. I opted for the tomato and mint soup, which consisted mostly of tomato cooked down just enough to be really tasty, yet still have some texture. I followed it with stuffed vine leaves with red pepper salad, which turned out to be an enormous plate of stuff, including hummous and pita bread. I was full, and did not eat all of my greens.

The beer range isn’t bad either, including Schneider Weisse and the Leifmans Kriek and Frambozen, back after a break when the brewery went bust and was taken over by Duvel. The only thing that’s changed about the beer is a 6pt note on the label indicating who the new owners are.

The beer is expensive, but the food is good value. There aren’t many vegan options, but what there is was interesting and delicious.


Nargile, Edinburgh

Filed under: Eating out — Tags: , , — Feòrag @ 13:16

Nargile (the name is a type of water pipe, i.e. a bong) is somewhere I go to occasionally, but have never thought of as being particularly vegan-friendly. Like many Turkish and Middle Eastern places, there’s yoghurt in everything. There was, so I thought, no indication on the menu as to what would be suitable.

We have a house guest, so we went there last night, and I had real trouble deciding, and that’s when I was presented with the special menu – the one that’s marked up indicated which dishes are vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free etc., and those which can be made so. It even mentioned what changes would be made to render the dishes suitable for whatever need I had. It was surprising how much of the yoghurt was an afterthought. In the end I went for a selection of cold vegan mezze, and was presented with an enormous platter with a beetroot dish, dolmas, butter beans in tomato sauce, hummous and a couple of other fresh vegetable dishes. I couldn’t finish it, but I came close!

Recommended, but ask for the marked-up menu. The prices are mid-range – about £20 a head for three courses without wine.

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