Vegan Lent | Breakfast at The Grub and Grog Shop

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My obsession with food has recently made me interested in diet related challenges. I don’t mean dieting per se but restricting certain foods as a way of practising discipline, being a bit healthier or broadening my foodie horizons. Aside from all the religious benefits, Lent provides a perfect opportunity to alter one’s diet for a significant time but knowing the end is always in sight. This year’s Lenten semi-fast was Vegan.

Chris and I have tried a month of going vegan in the past (Vegebruary rather than Veganuary partly because we missed the boat and partly because 28 days is more appealing than 31). It’s a good way of dipping your toes into veganism without feeling like you’ll never eat cheese again. I like the challenge but I especially like the fact it forces me to cook and eat things that I wouldn’t normally and it gets me out of the rut of making the same things every week.

Oat chai latte from Starling Cafe in Harrogate. Praise the Lord for Oat Milk.

One of the biggest challenges of having a vegan diet is eating out but the trendiness of veganism is making this easier all the time. On the 2nd weekend of Lent we found ourselves with 20 hours in Leeds as part of a wedding planning trip up North. I was excited by the prospect of being in a city I’ve never been to before as I knew there’d be the chance to try some cool places for food. To be honest, Leeds is so big that restricting our search to just vegan/vegan-friendly places probably made things easier.

We had lunch en route which ended up being crisps and a greggs vegan sausage roll (absolutely delicious – no apologies here.) Once in Leeds, we did some research into where to eat and found three places that we wanted to try on the Saturday:

Coffee and cake at Roots and Fruits

Vegan chocolate cake and oat latte

Drinks and bar snacks at The Old Red Bus Station (we also had vegan mac’n’cheese balls but were so hungry that we ate them before I could take a picture).

A fruity mocktail

Dinner at Knave’s Kitchen

Beer battered Nori tofu fillet burger with mushy pea mayo
Onion bhaji burger with raita and mango chutney

My favourite food of our short trip to Leeds came the next morning when we opted out of the hotel’s offering and went to a cool vegan-friendly café for breakfast. The grub and grog shop offers meat, veggie and vegan dishes and quirkily makes vegan the default on their menu, adding (m) and (v) if things aren’t vegan. The venue itself was a lovely space and had a collection of board and card games so we played Dobble while we waited for our breakfast.

Inside the grub and grog shop

This place really understands doing vegan food right. The vegan breakfast that we both had wasn’t just a full English without the meat or with dodgy vegan sausages sub-ed in. It was made up of red cabbage fritters, homemade hash browns, mushrooms, funky beans and sourdough toast – nothing like what you might expect in a cooked breakfast but actually really great. The beans were so good I asked the waiter about them – they were a healthier version of baked beans made by an independent company and tins of them were available to buy in the café. I really wish I did or got the name of them because they were truly the best beans I’ve ever had! They were tangy and fruity and more than made up for the lack of meat flavour in the meal.

Vegan breakfast at the Grub and Grog Shop

I tried to replicate bits of this breakfast at home last week and was pretty successful. For the beans, I added a tablespoon of chutney, a sprinkle of garlic powder and paprika and drizzle of sriracha and cooked it through. It worked so well and I can really see myself doing this now whenever I  have beans!

My improvised version with homemade sweet potato fritters and jazzed up beans. Admittedly not as beautiful but pretty delicious all the same.

If you happen to be in Leeds for breakfast, The Grub and Grogg shop is definetly worth checking out – whether you’re vegan or not. Otherwise, put some chutney in your beans and just thank me later.


Bueno and nutella milkshake | Coffi Co

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I discovered Coffi Co on pretend Christmas day last year. Chris and I were due to go back to see our families for actual Christmas day so we decided to both take a day off work a couple of weeks before and use it to celebrate with presents, too much food and The Holiday. Normally Christmas mornings in the Bush household involve Church and carols but as nowhere could accommodate that on a random Wednesday in mid-December, we settled on the secular alternative – a nippy walk. Given that we live between a retail park and dual carriageway, most of the walk wasn’t particularly lovely but we ended up at Cardiff Bay and the first coffee shop we found was Coffi Co.

Coffi Co in the bay is in such a great location as it sticks out over the water so there are great views of the sea and passing boats on three sides. The other thing I loved about it was their selection of interesting coffees and hot chocolates: Jaffa Cake mocha, Aero hot chocolate, cookies and cream cappuccino.  I’m pretty indifferent about coffee but if it’s a sweet, frothy coffee with whipped cream and a bit of Bueno sticking out of the top then I am on board.

My first post could have very easily been just been about my love for Kinder Buenos. I’m a big fan of anything that combines chocolate and nuts but there’s something about the light crispy shell and white creamy middle that really just blows every other chocolate bar out of the water.

Even though the Bueno latte was very nice, my favourite drink came a few months later at the Bayscape venue of Coffi Co. I was absolutely buzzed when I discovered that Coffi Co have a café just a few minutes’ walk from our flat and so on Valentine’s day after work, Chris and I went again. It was a really bright and sunny afternoon and despite the fact that it was still February and pretty cold, I bought a Bueno and Nutella milkshake, Chris got an iced latte, and we drank them outside by the water. I ate the stick of Bueno on top and then drank my milkshake in about 3 slurps. Creamy, nutty chocolatey and everything I love from the middle bit of a Bueno in a milkshake. I was expecting it to be a bit sickly but it was actually light and refreshing with plenty of ice. It had whipped cream and a dollop of Nutella on top which I attempted to tip into my mouth at the end. If money and calories didn’t matter, I would have gone and ordered three more on the spot.