I spent nothing today. That’s just as well, as it’s the Leicester Vegan Fair this Saturday, and it’d be nice to be able to buy a few things without going into arrears too much.
For anyone interested in coming to the fair, it’s being held at Friends Meeting House on Queens Road from 10.30 – 3.30 on Saturday 23 November. There will be music from local musicians and a lot of cake and other choice edibles by the sound of it. I think there may be free goodie bags for early attendees too, though don’t quote me on that.
I’m lucky enough to live in Leicester, which has a hugely diverse population, including many whose religion strongly suggests they should be vegetarian. This results in an enormous choice of places I can pick up something to eat, with many restaurants, cafés and sweetmarts offering vegetarian food with vegan options or happy to substitute menu items so a meal can become vegan (I had a most interesting mixture of Punjabi and English breakfast a few weeks ago!).
So far, I haven’t found a match for my favourite restaurant, which is handily situated just across the road from my main workplace. Can’t do better than to point you to the Happy Cow reviews for this place (especially since mine is in there, from early 2011) – http://www.happycow.net/reviews/shivalli-leicester-20481
I was therefore very happy when my boyfriend suggested we toddle along to this place, and that he would treat me. With this on offer, what else could I do but get a thali?
The lighting and my phone-cam really don’t do this justice. When it came out, I actually said “holy moly!” – and this wasn’t even the whole thing! Previously we’d been bought poppadoms and other deep fried snacks, with chutney which I had to assure the new-ish waiter was one of my favourite things when he tried to warn me about the heat level.
This wasn’t the starter though! This was the pre-starter. For starters I had a dosa (thin delicious pancake made out of fermented rice and lentil batter, filled with spicy potato and onion mix), and a samosa, and more chutney.
No wonder I had to regretfully decline when they offered me dessert!
Maybe this doesn’t exactly look sociable. I haven’t even shown you what my boyfriend was eating, but to be honest his was a bit boring in comparison. He helped with eating the fried things to begin with, then he had some potato balls with chutney, and then beans palaya, which is pleasant enough but visually unassuming, and some kind of cashew and vegetable thing. He also had to help me quite a bit with the main thali plate, which even so I didn’t quite manage to clear. Close enough though!
Happily, I’ve been invited out for dinner this evening at some friends’ house. Since I’m trying to post something every day this month I’m going to play it safe and show you what I’ll be taking with me, as I’m not sure whether I’ll get back before midnight (oooh, I’m such a goer! hehe).
Identifying vegan alcohol has become much easier over the past decade, particularly with the advent of Barnivore. I remember when Co-op started labelling their own brand alcohol, and what a boon it was. They were the trailblazers (although before that there were mail order firms such as Vinceremos that I was aware it was possible to buy vegan booze from). Since then, Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer are the other notable high street stores to follow suit.
A number of stores also have information available on their websites, which is handy, but means you have to have something with internet access with you while you shop, or do some research beforehand. They may also keep lists of suitable wines instore, although in my experience these aren’t guaranteed to be up-to-date.
The wine I’m taking to tonight’s meal will be something my parents had left over from their ruby wedding anniversary party at the beginning of June and kindly gave two bottles to me:
Yeah, sorry for the quality of my phone camera, you can’t really see it, but underneath the V it does say ‘vegan’.