‘Tis August…the silly season …and I’ve been away on high days and holidays …and taking a break from cooking …but not from eating 🍴… a girl’s always gotta eat! 😊
One of the places I visited was Brighton, a big seaside town on the southern coast of the UK…and I want to sing its praises as a vegan foodie heaven. 💚
Apart from lazing on the beach soaking up a little Vitamin D, and a trip to the theatre, I did very little in Brighton except eat. 😉 There’s so many vegan possibilities in Brighton to suit all budgets and tastes, I was overcome with an overwhelming desire to cram as many of them in as I could. 😏 So I did. I stuck to what I like when I’m out and about – simple café and street food, but there are also some stunning looking vegan restaurants when you’re feeling in gourmet mood!
Many of the cafés are in a relatively small pedestrianised area called The Lanes where there are lots of little independent shops with a strong emphasis on vintage and unusual stuff from across the globe. The only thing that deeply saddened me was several large piles of animal skins – being sold supposedly as ‘rugs’ …they seem to be everywhere at the moment???
I more or less lived in the Infinity Foods Cafe … I had an all day breakfast, scrambled tofu, rice and dal for lunch, peanut and maple cheesecake, AND lime and coconut cheesecake…… and this glorious mezze …. not all in one sitting I hasten to add. 🙃
Vegan Mezze with gluten-free bread all for £9.00 …
I can’t tell you how much I relished this, after so many mediocre vegan options I’ve had to put up with when eating out… Brighton was simply a joy…and I made the most of it. Yay! 💚
Wild Cherry Vegan Ice Cream (with vegan cone)
‘Infinity Foods’ also has a shop, where I bought a range of vegan cheeses (including vegan parmesan – used in the recipe below), and the best gluten-free bread I’ve ever tasted which is baked fresh daily…..and a lot more besides…
…and no I’m not being paid to write this …but I’m very happy to recommend them 💕
And there’s a vegan festival in Brighton in September….worth a visit ….
Back home the courgettes in my vegetable garden have been going insane, and lots of my long pod beans have reached flageolet stage, and the fact is, it’s actually really nice to come back to some home-cooking in a simple form, with this summer vegetable and flageolet broth, using mainly homegrown veg. and simple Italian flavourings. (You can easily find all these ingredients in the shops).
There is something deeply comforting about a bowl of vegetables and beans… perfectly flavoured….. that cannot be denied!
ITALIAN SUMMER VEGETABLE AND FLAGEOLET BROTH
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- 100gms. pasta – I used gluten-free, vegan, small pasta shells – macaroni might also be good …..
- 200gms. flageolet beans – tinned or fresh(podded)
- 1 medium white onion approx. 100gms.
- 1-2 courgettes/zucchini approx. 250gms.
- 2 carrots approx. 120gms.
- 1 stick of celery
- 400gms. tomato passata (or 400gms. fresh tomatoes: remove and discard skins, and finely dice tomatoes)
- 20gms. tomato puree
- 750ml. vegetable stock
- A pinch of chilli flakes (don’t overdo the chilli … you just need a hint)
- 1-2 tsps. balsamic vinegar
- 0.5 tsp. agave syrup
- salt and pepper
Fresh Basil Sauce:
- 5 large garlic cloves
- 60gms. fresh basil
- 1- 1.5 tsps. salt
- 0.5 – 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 10-12 tbs. water
- A handful of fresh Basil Leaves
- Vegan Parmesan (optional)
Place all the basil sauce ingredients: garlic, basil, salt, pepper and oil, in a blender with enough water to make the blender work, and blitz until smooth. Set aside.
- Peel and finely dice onion.
- Wash and finely slice courgettes/zucchini.
- Peel, wash and finely slice carrots.
- Cut celery stick into long strips and then dice.
- Skin and finely dice fresh tomatoes (if using).
- In a deep-sided pan, on a medium-high heat, add 2 tbs. olive oil.
- When hot, add diced onion and celery. Sauté for 3 mins.
- Add sliced carrots. Sauté for 2 mins.
- Add chilli flakes. Sauté 30 secs.
- Add hot vegetable stock and courgettes.
- Add diced tomatoes/ or passata and tomato puree.
- Add flageolet beans.
- Add uncooked pasta.
- Stir to combine.
- Bring to a gentle simmer.
- Cover, reduce heat and simmer gently for 10-12 mins. until pasta is just cooked.
- Add the blitzed basil sauce. Add balsamic and agave. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Warm through and serve immediately.
To preserve the freshness of the vegetables and herbs, don’t overcook this dish.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves and optional grated vegan parmesan.
Happy Summer Holidays!