Once Across the Garden

Today is the day York gets another fully vegan restaurant!

York is actually really a tourist city and between big chains and independent restaurants, vegans are pretty well catered for.

Currently, Humpit and True Story are the only fully vegan places. Goji is vegetarian but with about 90% of it’s food vegan. There was El Piana but that closed last summer.

However, from today, Once Across the Garden launch a bricks and mortar place. They have been regulars at the Shambles Market for some time now. They also appear for various festivals and events in York. They had a brief stint on the box park style Spark site but they have now got their own permanent place.

They do good food. I’ve tried most of it along the way. Hot Dogs, mac and cheese, dal, cakes and other goodies.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they have on offer. The more places the better.



Cauliflower, like most vegetables, was never something I really liked. I think it is because it is usually served in the British traditional way, which is boiled for several hours.

This rendered it horrible. The sort of thing you force down for the promise of pudding. It was to be avoided at all costs. Worst of all, after all that boiling, the nutritional value was probably extremely limited.

There are of course lots of health benefits to eating more vegetables in general and cauliflower is no exception. Full of good stuff and linked to weight loss, heart health and brain function, it is a win win. However, that isn’t to say it has to be so wholesome. It is great used in junk food dishes as well. Batter it, fry it or bake it and it will be so much better.

In the three years I have been vegan, I reckon I have eaten more cauliflower than I did in the 30 odd years I wasn’t. The main revelation has been getting away from the horrible, soggy, over cooked mess and starting to roast it. Just give it a little oil and a little time in the oven and let it cook. It is a total change.

Cauliflower is quite a sturdy vegetable, so it will take some punishment. It is also extremely textured which allows it to hold on to a coating really well.

It’s never going to taste like chicken but then, chicken doesn’t really taste of much. The key is to add all those extra plant based spices, for maximum flavour. Think of the cauliflower floret as a carrier for all your flavour needs.

Simply roasted it is a great accompaniment to most things. However, soak it in vegan buttermilk, dredge it in spiced flour and fry it, and things get great.

A lighter method is to bake it and then coat in hot wings sauce. This is another great way to do it and a little healthier than a full on fry up.

Here are some other great recipes for cauliflower, from the saintly to the sinful.

Hot Wings

Jerk Cauliflower

Whole Roast Cauliflower

Cauliflower and Bulgar Wheat salad


Tofu Press

So I finally got a tofu press. I got it from Tofuture who I’ve seen at various vegan festivals and events the past couple of years.

Usually, it’s a case of stacking heavy things on top of tofu which is in a colander and it’s never that successful.

This press however works much better. It gets quite a lot of liquid out, helping the tofu soak up any marinade and then ensures it gets nice and crisp on the outside and stops it being a soggy mess on the inside.


Never fermented my own food before. Sauerkraut is not something I’d never had until a few months ago but it is a tasty treat and a nice addition to sandwiches and the like.

Thought I would have a crack at doing my own. The liquid can also be used for some vegan cheese recipes I have in a book so that might be fun too.

Hopefully it will work and then I can try some different stuff too. Supposed to be great for you.

Grumpy Panda

A new vegan diner has opened in Gateshead, near Newcastle. Everything’s vegan! 

It really is junk food heaven for vegans and well, anyone really. 

They make everything themselves and have a solid menu and lots of fun specials.

 I’ve been twice now and I highly recommend it. It is also really well priced. 

It’s far away from me, best part of a two hour drive but we are already planning out next visit. 
We’ve tried quite a bit of the menu now and not had a bad dish. 

The mac and cheese balls were a highlight but you won’t be disappointed whatever you get
You could even take on ‘the kraken’ a vegan food challenge that’ll test your eating ability. 

Beginning again (again, again)

So it’s been a long and indulgent summer and my weight has shot up. Not enough exercise, a new baby, way too much beer and of course lots of food. 

I had a really long battle to get my weight down, about a year or so and finally got down to where I wanted to be. Then I was a bit up and down and more recently, up. I’ve had dips but the trend is up and has been for a while. 

I think this summer has added enough weight to get serious again. Before I was just a few pounds away and couldn’t get motivated to get it sorted. 

So, the target is Christmas. 17 weeks,  1lb a week, accepting that some weeks will be harder than others. 

I can never decide on my calories and if to include exercise calories and what not. I’ll probably leave out the commuting calories but count the big rides. 


Well, new baby has arrived. Not really the reason behind my total lack of updates but yet another one. 

If you’re looking for a vegan man, hang on 18 years. 

I’ll try get some updates sorted at some point. 

Bike ride. 

So I’m raising money for Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary with a 100 mile bike ride on Tuesday. 

Check out their work on Facebook or here: https://www.whitbywildlife.co.uk/

I’ll head out to the coast, drop in on a vegan surfing friend, head further down coast to a chip shop with vegan options and then ride back home. 

If you have a spare couple of £ or $, ¥ or €, then any donations are much appreciated.