From the office of the Baltimore Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission.
The Grumpy Vegan isn’t one to suggest that he’s the centre of the universe (his friends might say so) but Hastings, where he lives, is clearly fast becoming a hotbed for all things Vegan.
The Hastings Vegan Dining Club met last week at Hastings Brewery, which is a vegan micro brewery run by Kim and Pete.
The evening was a pot luck with a brewery tour and, of course, free beer!
Vegan friends, vegan food, vegan
beer….what else would anyone want?
Additional local vegan businesses present were the Bay Tree House, a family run vegan hotel, and 1066 Cake Stand, our local vegan bakery, who recently published their first cookbook, 1066 Cake Stand’s Compendium of Cakes.
Some 20-odd vegans (well, we are all that way) followed Pete around the brewery as he explained how he and Kim brew beer.
He shared exciting news that there might be soon our very own vegan micro-brewery, micro-pub!
Really, what else would anyone want?
Next up for the Hastings Vegan Dining Club is a barbecue at an
organic farm near Rye in July and a cream tea in Hastings Old Town on August Bank Holiday Monday afternoon.
Well, you should be.
Five years ago on June 16 the Grumpy Vegan returned to England to live from the USA accompanied by one cat, Emmy, 11 suitcases, various other luggage and one human.
S’Funny. The five years have gone quickly but it doesn’t seem like it when you live each day. Oh well. Time plays tricks as you get older.
One project we wanted to establish on our return is an allotment. In the USA these are known as community gardens. Basically, you rent from the local council a plot of land alongside others for a nominal to grow fruits and vegetables for your own consumption.
I’ve written before here about the our allotment at Fernbank. (Click on the tag Fernbank Allotment Hastings to find them.) But I haven’t written about the allotment for a while. Anyway, notwithstanding the most miserable of weather imaginable over the last few months, progress is being made at the allotment. In fact, it feels, at last, as if all our labour and resources which we’ve ploughed (literally) into the project are beginning to pay off. None of this wouldn’t have been accomplished without the help of two of our lovely neighbours and friends, Gina and Kate.
Our most successful crop to date has been strawberries. So, we expanded the area in which we grow them. We moved the rhubarb to a new location during the winter and it is thriving now. Too early to pick strawberries but we’ve cropped rhubarb twice so far.
Our plot is on the side of the West Hill, which separates Hastings from the Old Town, but quite aways away from the castle which is at the end of the cliffs by the sea. We have great views across the valley in which the Old Town sits and out to sea. But it also means we’re attempting to grow produce on the side of hill which is exposed almost constantly from winds off the sea. This is one reason why we like to grow cardoons and globe artichokes, as they make attractive windbreaks. We’re also growing fruit trees (three apples, two pears and one plum, if I’m remembering this correctly) which are fruiting but not quite ready to eat but will be pruned to help act as wind bafflers.
Various projects and a stinker of a cold disrupted the Grumpy Vegan’s commitment to publish fascinating accounts here of what he eats when he travels foreign climes, namely, France and Spain, recently, and, principally here, the latter rather than the former.
Fresh fruits and vegetables prepared and cooked simply with basic ingredients helps to keep the Grumpy Vegan, er, happy.
So, meals taken out and about often end vegetable-based more than anything else. This is not a complaint.
The proverbial British vegan staple of an order of ‘chips and a salad, please’ and, a pint of beer when in a pub, is tough to beat.
Which is just as well when it comes to such European countries as France, Spain and Italy–particularly the latter two because they know how to offer simply wonderful and wonderfully simple vegetable dishes.
For example, the Grumpy Vegan stumbled across in the historic district of Madrid (Mayor Plaza?) an Italian cafe where such a delicious meal was had. Tapas-style plates of spicy potatoes, mixed grilled vegetables, olives and bread to sop it all up with. What’s not to like?
The Grumpy Vegan was introduced to Ethiopian cuisine in Washington, DC some 25 years ago. He didn’t like it at first, as it’s so unlike any other cooking style previously experienced. Nevertheless, repeated visits, particularly to the Meskerem Restaurant in Adams-Morgan, convinced him otherwise.
The food is presented on a large round metal platter which is lined with bread that is spongy and stretchy. Yes, this sounds disgusting but it really isn’t. Small portions of various dishes are dropped around the perimeter and in the centre. These dishes include ones made with yellow lentils, brown lentils, cabbage, potatoes, salad, beetroot and kale. Additional bread is served separately. The meal is eaten by breaking off pieces of the bread and using it to scoop up a small portion of the dish of your choice before popping it into your mouth.
The various dishes are usually warm, neither hot or cold, and can be mild or hot in flavour. The bread is on the salty side.
Ethiopian restaurants generally are hard to find in Britain. So, when one was stumbled upon in Paris, well, it was too good an opportunity to overlook.
The meal eaten at the Restaurant Ethiopien ‘Ase Theodros‘ did not disappoint. In other words, it was delicious and highly recommend!
The Grumpy Vegan’s first trip to Sevilla was a mixture of delight at such a beautiful historic town in the southern region of Andalusia in Spain and an assault on his delicate pro-animal sensibilities.
Fortunately, the timing of the visit (February) did not coincide with the bull fighting season. There were many other ways in which it was clearly demonstrated there was no question animals existed for human use. Nevertheless, there is a small but thriving vegan and organic community which was great to see.
In addition, to life-size models of the animals people eat, many bars resembled butcher shops with racks of legs from dead animals hanging above the drinkers.
Finding vegan food to eat in Sevilla was a challenge. Many menus had no vegetarian or vegan entrees and most of the salads contained meat, fish, dairy or sea food.
The Spanish cuisine and their tradition of ‘tapas’ eaten several times throughout the day offered opportunities to try delicious and simple vegetable-based dishes. In one delightful road-side cafe, a lazy lunch was enjoyed with one mushroom and garlic dish and another made from fresh spinach.
Gaia is a vegetarian/vegan, organic and slow food restaurant that is well worth a visit should you ever find yourself in Sevilla. We had an enjoyable dinner. So good, in fact, that all the Grumpy Vegan can remember about it was that it was great!
We also visit Red Verde, a small vegan shop, in what appeared to be a district of Sevilla where generations of people had lived. The traditions of life (church, school, work, etc.) were clearly self-evident. The streets were narrow and the buildings old.
Red Verde sold only vegan products, including fruits and vegetables, baked goods, basic food stuffs, and cosmetics and toiletries. It was a vegan oasis in an otherwise very non-vegan town! The owner was very friendly and helpful. Again, should you ever find yourself in Sevilla…you have to visit! (C Jesus del Gran Poder 76 Sevilla Spain 41002)