I have been a vegetarian for 31 years. I have been cooking vegetarian food for the same period of time. I also cook (and therefore eat) a lot of vegan food, almost by accident. I don’t plan it but it often turns out to be vegan.
When I have a clean kitchen, good kitchenware, great ingredients and some time on my hands I really love to cook. At all other times, like everyone else, I throw something together and call it dinner! When it comes to eating out – that is a treat that I do enjoy when something special is on the menu.
This December, I was in Manchester for two weekends, with my husband and son, visiting my parents. As my parents are temporarily based in the City Centre we had a different ‘view’ of Manchester to the one that we usually have when we visit and we ate in some different and interesting places as well as the one place we were already looking forward to visiting, just a tram ride away.
On Friday, the day after we landed, my husband and I got the obligatory shopping out of the way and then had time for a quick bite before returning ‘home’. A great vegan eatery had popped up since last time we had visited in the Arndale Shopping Centre market selling Vegan Junk Food. It seemed rude not to check it out so check it out we did. We ordered Kentuck Fried Cauliflower Burgers with the full works (onion rings, vegan cheese, pickles, lettuce etc.) accompanied by Tater Tots. There really were no words for how amazing this meal was.
I admit that the following Friday with just a little time to spare we did pop back for a bite to eat. This time we just went for Katsu Tater Tots. The food on both occasions wasn’t fast and it wasn’t cheap but it was very tasty and well worth the visits.
On the first Saturday evening, we popped to Vertigo, a plant-based restaurant, on Jack Rosenthal Street. They have two restaurants and I had been to this one once before with my parents. This time, all 5 of us went and enjoyed a good hearty meal.
That left us with just the second Saturday night and we had reserved that for our favourite Vegetarian Indian haunt, Lily’s in Ashton Under Lyne. We had been going to Lily’s for a long time before we left the UK for Israel so when we moved it became one of the special places that we love to visit on trips to the UK. Just over a year ago it moved into bigger premises and became more of a restaurant than a cafe (although I loved it as it was!) and this was our first visit to the new restaurant. We traveled almost door to door by tram which made it super easy to get to and had a really fantastic experience in the new place.
On the menu for us were Crispy Potato Bhajia, Paneer Pakora, Papdi Chat, Paneer Butter Masala, Tarka Dhal and Onion Rice. To drink we had Mango Lassi, Chai Masala and a cold beer. The problem when we visit is that we like pretty much everything on the menu so we try and have some things we know and something new – in this case, the Paneer Butter Masala was our new dish of the day. As expected, it was exceptional, like everything else that we ate.
As we were being good we shared one portion of Shrikhand for desert. It was the best we had ever tasted! We could have eaten one each. Alongside the food photographs is the amazing mural that they now have on the wall. There are nods to all the family members involved in the business in it and we spent a good while enjoying finding the nods and the people as we know the family.
So until next time I suppose it is time to get back to my kitchen – onion bhajis coming up.