Beer Festivals and Making New Friends

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It’s been a hectic couple of weeks here at S-B Towers; I’ve been madly trying to prepare for the second year of my Anthrozoology MA, and also gearing up to starting a New Job (Again). Both begin on the same day, so as usual the planets aligned and made September the busiest month. At least this year Vegan MOFO has moved to November which slightly ups my chances of successful participation. We shall see! As usual I will be keeping a close eye on my good friend Emil’s blog, as he never fails to sacrifice himself for the occasion.

For the past week we’ve been glad to host Ryan of T.O.F.U. Magazine. Ryan’s just started a big ol’ global tour of Here, There and Everywhere, and hopefully his week in Whalley Range didn’t hamper his enthusiasm too much! T.O.F.U. is a really great publication and you can buy back issues online; I’d really recommend checking it out, there’s some excellent content.

Ryan’s visit preceded his weekend of helping out at the Vegan Beer Fest here in Manchester, at the totally splendid Islington Mill (we went to a zine fair there not long ago), and of course Mr S-B and I toddled along for a nice quiet Sunday afternoon of beer and grub.

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Knowing what a pair of old folks we are, and what with Vulpe spending each Sunday with her Dad, I chose to avoid the Saturday and leave that to the young ‘uns. We turned up at lunchtime today and there were a few folk milling around, but it was pleasantly not-too-crowded (I find myself becoming more intolerant of Other People these days; too much sensory input really overwhelms me after an hour or so). I absolutely stuffed my face with delicious goodies from Manchester’s own V Revolution and Mother May, and with sweets from Essential Vegan. There were enough beers for me to sample a few pale offerings, and for Mr S-B to try out multiple DARK stouty specimens, as is his wont….

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Above is a cheeky extra shot of Salford Cathedral. The venue for the beer fest was actually a fairly short distance from my new place of employment (as of tomorrow, that is). I am returning to the safe embrace of higher education, making the most of my skills and experience and contributing to a great team that aims to keep the quality of teaching in taught programmes at a high level, and to persuade crusty old academics to embrace new learning technologies and use innovative teaching methods. After a disappointing few months at the (not so) dream job, I am glad to be returning to something I know.

Mr S-B starts his MSc tomorrow, and so it’s a week of new beginnings. I wish the very best of luck to all of you beginning or returning to study this week! Remember to follow Vulpe’s advice and get some relaxation time in….

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A Homemade Indian Food Feast

A pensive pooch.
A pensive pooch.

Ahoy ahoy m’vegan chums, how was your weekend?

Ours was, for the most part, pleasantly lazy. I am experiencing ongoing broadband anxiety as I struggle to get BT to acknowledge that download speeds of less than 3mbps are NOT REALLY ACCEPTABLE in 2016 because I❤ the internet so, but we kept busy with making a nice dinner for a friend on Saturday night.

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Taking inspiration from a recipe in my favourite Indian food, Prashad, I slow cooked these potatoes with tomatoes, red chillis, and a fried mixture of garlic, ginger, mustard seeds and some spices.

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For this jackfruit curry I used a super recipe from Vegan Richa, using some lovely fresh plum tomatoes from our local grocers.

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Mr S-B prepared this tofu with the MOST AMAZING PEANUT SAUCE EVER from Isa Does It. We stirred in some whole roasted peanuts too.

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I used a simple recipe found online for this coconut dhal.

I also cooked some basmati rice with a little turmeric and a few cloves, and served it all up with some giant flat breads, again from our local grocer (which has an amazing selection of spices and sauces and all sorts of splendid Indian and Caribbean goodies).

All in all, a very pleasant feast! We otherwise mostly lazed about the place this weekend, aside from a little housework/Uni work/pooch walking and Meeting Mum For Lunch.

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How about you, my blog chums? I sure hope you had a super weekend!

Bristol (and other) Vegan Eats and The World Is A Bad Place Sometimes

Hello my blog friends, how goes your bank holiday weekend?

Mr S-B and I travelled down to Bristol on Saturday morning for a birthday, and I trundled back up yesterday afternoon, on a hellish coach journey I’d really rather forget (I don’t expect sympathy for the 7 pint hangover, but it would’ve been bad regardless).

Feeling joy and pride in our both having reached Friday safely, if not soundly, we ordered from a lovely local Caribbean place that I’d spotted on Deliveroo called The Drop Bar Cafe. They pretty much just have a couple of vegan mains, but they are so good. The curry veg is amazing, and the fried plantains? Urghhhhh so goooooood. Vegan slaw and two kinds of chips (cayenne sweet potato, and regular skin-on chips) are a-ok by me. They even have a Sunday dinner option called the Rasta Roast.

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We arrived in Bristol early on Saturday evening and though we’d been promised a vegan buffet selection at the party we were headed to, Mr S-B thought it wise to have some dinner beforehand. We stopped into Tinto Lounge where I was dreading the ubiquitous falafel burger (yawn) only to find, to my horror, that it was even worse. QUINOA BURGER. But I gotta say, this was a super duper deep fried crispy delight, and along with perfect french fries, extra mushrooms and guacamole, was a proper treat.

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This beer was the beginning of an evening of Very Bad Ideas, with each one of those ideas being a pint of beer, and each choice becoming more ill advised. I didn’t feel super sloshed but the feeling of the universe bearing painfully down on me on Sunday suggested otherwise. Mr S-B was tremendously sympathetic, given that the fault was mine alone, and we trundled along to Bristol’s must-visit vegan hippy cafe where I inhaled a life-giving banana milkshake and a full size breakfast.

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Mr S-B decided to stick around in Bristol for another day of visiting family and friends, and I hopped onto a coach for around 5.5 hours of hellish kid-whining/man-spreading/traffic and wotnot. There was the most horrendous family o racists sitting a couple of rows behind me, and as I alighted in the early evening with Manchester Pride Festival in full swing, I whiffed plenty of homophobia in the air. On the bus ride home I saw a bunch of folks engaging in a proper bit of drunken brawling, and the full horror of hours on a coach and all the shittiness in the world hit me and I nearly did a little cry.

I didn’t though. I got home and ordered a lovely daal and a dosa from Jaipur Palace, South Manchester’s super duper vegetarian and vegan Indian restaurant of dreams. I had a bubble bath, snuggled the pooch and put myself to bed. Bank Holiday Monday was supposed to be a day of study and productivity, but after one large Vegan Egg omelette for lunch, I spent the next few hours stationed in the bathroom wondering quite how a body can insist that you keep on throwing up so regularly long after there’s anything left to expel. So that was nice.

Today I am taking my first ever sick day from The Job That Didn’t Quite Turn Out How I Expected, sipping lucozade and contemplating plain white bread, lightly toasted. I’m meant to be writing an essay exploring the (supposed) religious roots of the animal rights movement, so I’ll take another swig of lucozade and get to it, and then I’ll be back to bed for a nap before long I expect.

I sure hope that your bank holiday was better than the latter half of mine! I think I am ready for another long weekend already, but at least there’s only 3 working days to get through. As the squirrel in our garden says after escaping Vulpe’s lightning paws: Squeaky McPhew.

Kind of exciting vegan BBQ ideas

Mr S-B and me have been back in lovely south Manchester for a coupla weeks or so now. Last weekend we wandered into nearby Chorlton to meet up with my parents for lunch, and I spotted these beauties in a charity shoppe….

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Sweet Mandarin has a restaurant in Manchester and I’ve heard that they have vegan options, so this book caught my eye. As it goes, it’s pretty packed with meat, but with suggestions for making recipes dairy and egg free (as well as gluten free) I decided it would be well worth buying anyway, since meat is easily replaced with tofu/mushrooms/seitan/tempeh/etc.

(Oh and I’m totally building up a GREAT collection of awful/retro cross stitch books they are super duper and I want to cross stitch a bonsai tree.)

Since we’re having a proper ~heatwave~ at the moment we busted out the BBQ the other night, and I took inspiration from the Sweet Mandarin book to create some tasty ginger & spring onion mushrooms….

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I made a marinade and tossed some chopped chestnut mushrooms and spring onions with it, then threw the whole lot on the BBQ nestled in some foil.

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Have you tried this before? It proper works, whatever you want to cook. I recommend it!

I also double-nutted up with this super peanut tofu from Unicorn (our local vegan grocery store) and some of Aldi’s finest satay sauce….

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YES INDEED, THIS WAS ALL VERY TASTY. We served with basmati rice and coleslaw, perhaps winning the ‘inappropriate sides’ award 2016?

Vulpe did a good job of sitting near the BBQ looking very concerned. WHY U MAKE FIRE?

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And I enjoyed a tremendously refreshing strawberry beer and I nearly wrote ‘strawberry bear’ there by mistake.

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So there it is. What’s your favourite BBQ type food? Do you like to do anything weird or interesting on the coals?

Here’s another shot of Vulpe continuing to look concerned once we’d stepped back inside the flat…..

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Happy hump-day folks!