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81. Dining in Düsseldorf

How awesome is Düsseldorf for vegans?! Seriously!

A couple of weeks ago I flew to Düsseldorf for a boring work meeting. Since it was a Friday I decided to stay on and fly the husband over for the weekend. Originally I had wanted to move onto Berlin, as it has recently been named the “vegetarian capital of the world”, but the flights were expensive so we decided to stay put.
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At first I was a little dubious. I mean Düsseldorf is beautiful and there is loads of amazing buildings and plenty to do… but it was hard to ignore all of the places selling fur, bratwursts and veal. Not to mention the millions of buttery looking bakeries.

But, a quick search on Google maps reassured me that I was not going to starve during my visit (seriously, search it!). There were so many fun and tasty places to try out that I think I must have put on a stone in weight! Worth it though ☺

Husband didn’t arrive in Düsseldorf until late on the Friday night, so we stayed at the Maritim hotel which is right next door to the airport. And what an amazing hotel it was! The room was lovely but even better was the choice of 5 restaurants and various bars downstairs.

The Maritim hotel website boasts about its vegan and vegetarian options (even the magazine in the room mentioned vegans) but unfortunately the Düsseldorf Airport branch doesn’t have many choices available. However the staff were very accommodating and went to a lot of trouble to make sure I was well fed.

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Vegans get a mention on the front cover of the Maritim hotel magazine!

We picked the Bistro “Bottaccio” restaurant as it seemed to have the most adaptable menu. After negotiating with the waitress I had a blood red tomato soup (served with bread and plenty of olive oil) followed by a very nice tofu Thai green curry with wild rice.  We were too full for dessert so we headed for the bar and had a few cheeky gin martinis instead, lovely! Overall it was a bit on the pricey side, but we accepted that we were a captive audience and just enjoyed the experience.

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Tomato soup

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Thai green curry

On the Saturday we skipped breakfast, jumped on the train and headed straight into Düsseldorf itself. After dumping our stuff at the hotel, we wandered around the shops and ended up at an amazing buffet style restaurant called Sattgrün. Husband was very reserved and just had a bowl of sweet potato and coconut soup (which was absolutely divine) whereas I went for the buffet and LOADED my plate full of seitan, tofu and vegetable dishes ♥ Every single thing I ate was so delicious that it brought a wee tear of happiness to my eyes. I REALLY wish we had a place like this at home.PS17

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Sattgrün

There are quite a few health shops in Düsseldorf. I visited two – Bio Park and Vita Nova. In Bio Park I just bought some crisps and an iChoc, Choco Cookie bar (which to be honest I can get at home). In Vita Nova I could have spent a million pounds but unfortunately I’d only brought a small suitcase… I got a white chocolate bar which to be honest was disgusting, but I also tried some cheeses I’ve never had before and some veggie bratwurst which were AMAZING. Also I had the best vegan sour cream I have ever tried – it was super realistic.

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Chilled vegan selection in Vita Nova

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Vita Nova – not everything was vegan but there was still a lot of choice

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You can get this in the UK, but sometimes you just fancy something familiar 😉

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Bratwurst, cheeze with tomato and basil, cheeze with mushroom (best thing ever), amazing sour cream and not so amazing white chocolate

All that shopping tired us out so we visited a gorgeous little coffee shop called Carrot Cake. I had a whacking great slice of stodgy pumpkin cake and Husband had a Halloween chocolate cake (with a red raspberry filling). We both had a latte which came with a cute little biscuit. Everything was to die for and in my opinion, ridiculously cheap! No wonder the place was full.

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Pumpkin cake

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Chocolate Halloween cake

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Oat milk latte

In the evening, despite the fact we weren’t particularly hungry, we paid a visit to a place called “What’s Beef”.  I know this doesn’t sound particularly vegan friendly, and perhaps it isn’t the best choice for the more sensitive vegan… BUT they do a veggie beet burger on a vegan bread bun with tomato, lettuce, cucumber, onion and homemade tomato sauce and it was gorgeous!!!  Especially since I asked for extra avocado on top. Win.

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On the Sunday we again skipped breakfast and enjoyed a lovely autumnal walk around the “posh” part of Düsseldorf. We were surprised to find that most of the shops were shut but luckily the weather was good so we enjoyed the fresh air and picturesque views. We cut through a shopping centre where the corridors were being used as a catwalk for some fur-clad models *vomit*. I managed to get myself punched in the face by one of said models – which Husband found hil-ar-ious!

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I was so traumatized that we were forced to head to Space Burger so I could recuperate! Like What’s Beef, this burger place also sells meat so won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. BUT, they have a separate menu for vegans with lots of choices! I went for a Mexican themed burger called “El Vegano” which comes with avocado, guacamole, salsa, faux cheese and nachos. I also had some fries and curry sauce on the side, it was bliss ♥

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Space Burger sign

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El Vegano!

Again, in the evening we were far from hungry but we couldn’t resist trying out What’s Beef’s sister company, “What’s Pizza”. This place does a “meatless Monday” but what really caught my attention was the option to have “vegan mozzarella” on my pizza! Unfortunately the mozzarella just turned out to be silken tofu, but it still worked really well with my mushroom, spinach, olive and chilli combo. The pizza bases were lovely as well – it was a joy to eat my crusts.

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It was very fortunate that we ate so much during our stay because on the Monday we headed straight to the airport where our flight ended up being delayed. Luckily our newly acquired fat reserves kept us going for the journey back, ha!

So, if Düsseldorf is this amazingly fantastic for vegans, I really really really can’t wait to pay Berlin a visit!

Bis zum nächsten Mal….

Flash-Gordonette…X

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64. Portobello mushroom burger

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I’m so happy with this burger! I was sat at work all day today imagining making it and coming up with the recipe in my head. It was a great feeling to come home and put the theory into practice.

The crispy crunchy out coating compliments the succulent and juicy centre. Who would have thought that the humble mushroom could be used to make such a delicious “meaty” meal?

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Ingredients (makes 2):

2 x Portobello mushroom

2 x tbsp. gram flour

2 x tbsp. plain flour

2 x tbsp. water

1 x tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 x tsp apple cider vinegar

1 x tsp garlic powder

1 x tsp smoked paprika

½ x tsp cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

2 x tbsp. breadcrumbs

Method:

Carefully take the stalk out of the mushrooms and bake on a tray in the oven 180oC for 10 – 15 minutes (or until the mushroom starts leaking juice!)

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Whilst the mushrooms are cooking, whisk together the gram flour, plain flour, water, bicarb, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. A thick, orangey-red batter should form.

Take the mushrooms out of the oven and once cool enough to handle, pat dry with a bit of clean kitchen roll.

Dip the mushroom in the batter until evenly coated. Then dip into the breadcrumbs until again evenly coated.

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Before…

 

Deep fry at 190oC for 5 minutes or until golden brown. You might want to flip the mushrooms over half way through.

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…and after!

Drain and put on kitchen roll to absorb some of the oil.

And serve! I had mine on a bagel with a cabbage leaf, a slice of Violife cheese (I’m addicted) and a sauce I made by mixing vegan mayo with spring onions. Mmmmm!

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Flash-Gordonette…X

 

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38. Curried veggie bean burger

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Anyone who read my Ultimate Nachos post (http://flash-gordonette.com/2014/03/09/36-ultimate-nachos.aspx ) would have seen me witter on about how I always have a bowl of grated veggies
in my fridge. I listed several uses, including: bulking up meals, a side, part of a salad, sandwich filler, a base for soup or maybe coleslaw.
 
Well last week, I found a new use! I didn’t know what to make for tea when I thought… I wonder if I could make burgers out of my grated veg? Last week’s bowl consisted of ¼ of a celeriac, 1/4 white cabbage and 1 large carrot. I decided that I would need some spices to sex my burgers up a bit and so I thought that a curry flavour would complement the celeriac. To add a bit of sweetness, I added some chopped dates and in order to bind the patties, I mushed a tin of cannellini beans into the mix.
 
The resulting burgers were fried in a little oil until both sides were beginning to burn and going crispy round the edges. I served them in a bread bun with some homemade fresh and minty pea puree and some not-so-homemade tomato and chilli chutney. Beautiful!

Curried veggie-bean burger recipe

(Makes 2 big burgers)

Ingredients:

1 x cup grated veggies

5 x dates (chopped and pitted)

½ x small onion (diced)

1 x tsp curry powder

¼ x tsp ground ginger

¼ x tsp ground turmeric

¼ x tsp grated nutmeg

¼ x tsp black onion seeds

¼ x tsp carmon seeds

1 x clove garlic

1 x can cannellini beans

Juice of ½ lemon

1 x tbsp gram flour

1 x tbsp oil

Method:

Mix together the veggies, dates, spices, seeds, onion and garlic. Drain and rinse the beans and mash into the mix.

Mix in the lemon juice before moulding the mix into two burgers using your hands. If the mix is too crumbly, you can add a splash of soya / nut milk.

Heat up the oil in a large heavy frying pan. Dip the burgers in the gram flour until lightly coated on both sides. Gently place in the pan. Fry one side for 5 mins before flipping. Fry for a further 5 minutes. Keep flipping and frying until the edges of the burgers are just beginning to blacken. If they lose shape, just use a spatula to push back into a disc.

Minty pea puree

Ingredients:

1 x cup frozen peas

1 x tsp dried mint (or fresh if you have it to hand)

1 x tbsp tahini

½ x tsp salt

Juice ½ lemon

 

Method:

Pop the peas into a sieve. Pour some boiling water over them until they are defrosted but still fresh and green.

Put the peas into a food processor along with the other ingredients and mix until a puree is formed.

Construction:

Spread a bread bun with a tomato chutney / relish / sauce of your choice. Put a burger on the bottom half of the bun and top with a big dollop of the pea puree.

Add the top half of the bread bun et voila!

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You could serve these burgers with a side of fries, but be warned, they are more filling than they look!

 Flash-Gordonette…x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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