As National Vegetarian Week continues, lifelong vegan Ami Tadaa has been out and about again, finding the best places to get your lips around great veggie and vegan food in the North East.
So if you’re attempting a meat-free seven days, then listen up!
Yesterday, she popped into the Sky Apple Cafe in Heaton (and will definitely be going back), before wandering along to The Honey Tree health food shop to stock up on tasty treats for herself and her seven-year-old sister, Amaaya.
Remember if you have any suggestions for Ami when it comes to the region’s veggie and vegan gems... or you would like to send through some photos of your favourite veggie dishes, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sky Apple Café, 182 Heaton road, Heaton, Newcastle, 0191 209 2571, www.skyapple.co.uk
Opening Times: Monday to Saturday 10am-4.30pm; Wednesday to Saturday 6pm-10pm; Sunday 10pm-4pm
Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, English, Western, Bakery, Beer/Wine, Take-out
A veggie café/restaurant that has been operating since 2002, with a fantastic vibe that caters to vegans and those with gluten intolerance. Great meals include breakfasts, burgers, filled bread, multi-cultural mains, snacks, deserts and drinks.
Ami says: “The food was well presented, very tasty and full of flavour! It took me more than 10 minutes to decide what to order because there were so many vegan options that looked amazing.
“I ended up enjoying a soya cappucino, a fantastic vegan burger (the Sky Apple Cafe classic burger) which came with vegan mayo, lemon and pepper rice and pasta salad and a lemon/coconut cupcake and a pear and green tea cake.
“There was a great atmosphere and the staff were all really friendly and chatty. There was also a great selection of drinks including beers and wines. This is a fantastic place to eat, whatever your palate persuasion may be.”
The Honey Tree (Organic Food Store), 68 Heaton Road Heaton, Newcastle, 0191 240 2589, www.thehoneytree.org
Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am-6pm. Saturdays 10am-5pm
Newcastle’s leading Organic Food Store. Their specialities include seasonal organic vegetables from local farms, a takeaway counter, and a full range of ethically sourced groceries. The Honey Tree offers a wide variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free products.
Ami says: “I was delighted to find this little shop when I moved just around the corner from them. I must admit, I visit them almost everyday because everything we buy from there gets eaten pretty much immediately!
“This is an amazing organic shop with fresh fruit and veg, a deli with cakes, sandwiches, pastries. There is such a wide range of products for vegetarians (such as mock meats, pate) and for vegans (such as cheese, ice cream and milk).
“The staff are very friendly and are very helpful in advising which products to buy. They order products in for me if they don’t already have them, which is so helpful.
“I would highly recommended to get all your healthy fresh food and naughty veggie treats!”
Meanwhile if you’re finding a meat free existence tough on day two and are looking for veggie substitutes of your favourite recipes, here’s a couple of ideas:
BOLOGNESE SAUCE FOR PERFECT PASTA
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
400g pasta (spaghetti, fusilli, fettucini, shells, etc)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
50g dried soya mince or 100g frozen veggie mince
1 red pepper, finely chopped
2 tsp mixed dried herbs
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Pepper to taste
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
Grated vegetarian or vegan cheese (optional)
Cook the pasta in the large saucepan according to packet instructions, drain in the colander, flush with cold water, then set aside.
If using dried soya mince, soak in boiling water for 5 minutes, or according to packet instructions, then drain.
Heat the oil in the frying pan on medium heat, fry onions, garlic, mince, and pepper for 5 minutes until soft.
Add mixed herbs, sugar, vinegar, and pepper to the mince mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Taste and adjust the flavour as necessary with extra herbs and seasoning.
Also – check out this amazing recipe for vegan PESTO! Can be tossed with pasta, used as a pizza sauce or served with bread or crackers for an appetizer.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
1 1/2 cups fresh basil
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup pine nuts (other nuts, such as almonds or walnuts may be substituted)
5 cloves garlic
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a food processor until nuts are ground. Pesto should still have texture and not be completely smooth. Add more salt and pepper to taste and enjoy! One variation is to add 1/2 cup rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes. For a lower fat version replace half the oil with soya milk.