Vegan Madrid

It was my first night in Madrid and I’d arrived on a late flight. Wondering where to go to eat, I stumbled on Bolero literally a stone’s throw from my apartment. This little meatball café, at 4 Calle de las Conchas, specialises in meatballs including a vegan one made with quinoa, tofu, rice, mushroom and caramelised onion. You can have them in a sandwich (5.20 EUR), or with potato wedges or rice (6.50-10.50 EUR for 3 or 6 meatballs respectively). Easy street food really, no-frills but nice and filling!

Vegan meatballs at Bolero

Next morning on the way to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía to see Picasso’s Guernica, I stopped at Distrito Vegano at 32 Calle del Dr. Fourquet in the Lavapies neighbourhood of Madrid (a five minute walk from the museum). It’s a small, friendly vegan café serving food made with high-quality fresh local products. I had the Nachos XL (12.90 EUR), made with totopos (like tortillas) topped with melted vegan cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, fresh guacamole tartara sauce and jalapeños. There was a lot of it! My partner had the burger (12.90 EUR) and loved it. Not one to turn down a vegan dessert (especially one involving my favourite nuts) I went for a Pistachio panna cotta (3.50 EUR). It was lovely and creamy and quite light.

If you are self-catering, there are plenty of health food shops that stock tofu, sausages, burgers, frankfurters, vegan cheese and more. Planeta Vegano at 34 Calle Ave María had loads of vegan goodies including sweets, chocolate and nail varnish!   IMG_7715.JPG For a fancy evening meal, I went to Vega, at 9 Calle Luna. It’s a friendly and informal vegan restaurant, serving organic handmade food, local beer and wine. The food is lovely and prepared with a great deal of thought and care. You need to book, as a table here doesn’t stay empty for long! For starters, we shared a trio of smoked aubergine pâté, sun-dried tomato hummus and avocado with pico de gallo (4.50 EUR for three). They were all very tasty and the home-baked crackers they came with were very good too. For my main, I had the black rice with ‘squid’, artichokes, asparagus and sweet garlic mayonnaise (10.50 EUR) and my partner had the burger (10.50 EUR). Both dishes were really good. The ‘squid’ was quite unusually squiddy! For dessert my partner tried the chocolate, coconut and hazelnut mousse (4.50 EUR) and I had the Tiramisu cake with toffee (4.50 EUR). The mousse was out of this world – really light! My cake was delicious and not too much either. It was all very good value considering how much care was taken over the food. I was sorry I couldn’t eat here again on this trip and will certainly make a bee-line for this place next time I visit Madrid.

For lunch the next day we went to Rayén Vegano at 7 Calle Lope de Vega. I opted for Soup and Dish of the Day (13.90 EUR) and my partner had Salad of the Day (12.90 EUR). Both options include bread, a cold drink and dessert or tea/coffee. My soup was really interesting made with almonds and turmeric. The dish of the day was tempeh, rice and vegetables and was very nice. The salad was good too with lots of different flavours and textures. I noticed several vegan cheesecakes in the fridge (which are not included in the meal deal) but I had to try! I went for the raspberry cheesecake and it was pretty darn good.

If you fancy a quick ice-cream while taking in a breath-taking view (for free) head up to Amorino on the top floor of the El Corte Inglés  at 2 Plaza Callao. Make sure you ask for the vegan options and they will make you a pretty flower-shaped ice-cream.

For our last evening meal we headed up to Viva Burger at 16 Costanilla de San Andrés, where they say eating is a daily act of love! They rely on the taste in their ingredients without incurring any animal suffering, “eat conscious and you will be much happier”. They specialise in burgers (13.90 EUR) but you can order a salad or a wrap. There is a reasonable choice of burgers including Mexican, Italian, Japanese, and more… They come with a small pile of chips and vegan mayo. It’s a bright, friendly restaurant and we enjoyed the walk up the hill to it.

Last stop for food in the morning before heading off to the airport. We went to La Rollerie at 24 Calle Mayor. They offer a vegan croissant which is delicious! My partner had toast and ‘emulsified’ tomato with olive oil – he was very enthusiastic about it! They also have soya milk.

I remember a waiter in Spain calling his colleagues out onto the street to point at me sitting at one of their tables and say ‘Look at her – she doesn’t eat anything!’ I’m happy to say that in Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid and much more of Spain I’m sure, those days are well gone – adios! IMG_7987.JPG


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Kitchen Tour

VeganMoFo-mushroomNow the month is concluding, show us where the magic has been happening!

My kitchen is quite small, but jam-packed with tons of stuff! Here are the shelves I keep nuts, seeds, pulses and grains on. I have red lentils, chick peas, yellow split peas, black beans, chana dal, mung dal and continental (brown) lentils. There’s wholegrain rice, brown basmati rice, quick cook white rice, Arborio risotto rice and Calasparra paella rice. I have cashew nuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds. Then there’s the cous cous, quinoa and pearl barley.  I have muscovado and demerara sugar and dried apricots, raisins and sultanas. There several types of dried chili up there too! Is there a compulsive condition where you keep buying food to store in jars? Come the revolution it’ll be all round mine for dinner. There’s enough to last for weeks!

Kitchen 2.jpg

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Brunch & Munch

VeganMoFo-CarrotBecause brunch is so awesome, show us your brunch meals!

Best meal of the day! Here are a few I made earlier…

Brunch collection

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Prep ahead Picnic

VeganMoFo-beetrootIf you’re going for a picnic or a road trip, what do you pack? What do you make?

Cheese and crackers are a great snack for a picnic or a road trip. This recipe is adapted from the Vegan Bible by Marie Laforêt, lovely inventive recipes and biblebeautiful photographs as well as some useful general information. It’s the only bible I’m likely to read!

This rich tempeh cheese has a good, deep flavour. Nice with crackers or in a salad, you definitely could take it on a road trip!

  • 50g cashew nuts, soaked overnight in water
  • 100g plain tempeh
  • 50ml water
  • 2 tbsp white miso
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 1 tbsp cashew or almond butter
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • a pinch of paprika (optional)
  • Freshly ground white pepper

Drain the cashews and blend with all the other ingredients until smooth. Place in an 8cm ring mould or if you don’t have one, pour into 4 or 5 well-oiled cups of a muffin tin. Bake for 20 mins at 180°C.



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TV Trays

VeganMoFo-peasA sit-down meal might be nice, but sometimes getting cosy with food and Netflix is also needed. What’s your TV dinner?

I’ve been watching the second series of Ozark so I considered veganising some classic hillbilly (Spoiler alert – NOT to be confused with red neck) food but grits or cornbread just wouldn’t cut it as a TV dinner and I’m not sure where I’d start trying to veganise chicken gizzards (WTF are they?) or catfish.

Fishless fingers, mashed potato, sweetcorn and/or peas with tartar sauce – that’s the TV dinner of kings!

My favourite fishless fingers are V-Bites but Quorn ones are pretty good too. Mashed potato is easy – I like it creamy with soya milk and a good dollop of margarine stirred in with plenty of freshly ground black pepper on top. Sweetcorn or peas, or even both, are my preferred veggies with fishless fingers and a big spoon of homemade tartar sauce made from Plamil mayonnaise with chopped capers.


Now, off to Netflix to watch The End of the Fucking World!

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Favourite Holiday


What’s your favourite holiday ever? What do you like to make for it?

I love Halloween and these little beauties are quite impressive – you do need a UV light (sometimes called black light) though!

These are so easy to make. Use a vegan packet of jelly mix with a shot or two of tequila and add as much tonic water as you can get away with (keep tasting it). When they set, the quinine in the tonic will glow under UV light.

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Birthday Bash

VeganMoFo-mushroomWould you rather others make food for you on your birthday? Or do you like to do it yourself? And what would you like?

I made this celebration cake for a good friend’s leaving party (adiós mi amigo!) but would be very happy if someone made it for me for my birthday which falls on the Mexican Day of the Dead!

How lucky am I?


Based on the Mucho Margarita Cupcakes recipe from Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero’s fabulous book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. It has two tequila and lime-flavoured layers and pink vanilla layer in the middle with pink frosting inside, green frosting outside and Day-of-the-Dead themed decorations.

I would suggest making the skulls, flower and hearts the day before you bake the cake as they will take a couple of hours at least!

Equipment: 9” springform cake tin(s), skull-shaped cookie cutter, syringe with wide nozzle or very small nozzle and piping bag, flower and heart-shaped icing cutters.

Ingredients for each of the two tequila cake layers (ie you need 2x this amount):

  • ¼ cup lime juice, freshly squeezedslice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lime zest, freshly grated
  • 1 cup soya milk
  • ¼ cup rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 2 tablespoons tequila
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ⅓ cups plain flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Ingredients for the vanilla cake layer:

  • 1 cup soya milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegarIMG_1845
  • ⅓ cup of rapeseed oil
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pink food colouring

Pink frosting:

  • 3 tbsp of vegan margarine
  • 2 cups of icing (powdered) sugar (you may need a bit more if it’s too sloppy!
  • 2 tsp tequila
  • ¼ tsp pink food colouring
  • Pinch of salt

Green frosting:

  • 4 tbsp of vegan margarine
  • 3 tsp tequila
  • 2-3 cups of icing (powdered) sugar (you may need a bit more if it’s too sloppy!
  • ¼ tsp green food colouring
  • Pinch of salt

Day-of-the-Dead skulls, flowers and hearts

  • 1 medium handful of ready-to-roll icing (I used Dr. Oetker Regal-Ice)
  • Food colouring (I used PME Colour Gel Paste Cupcake Decorating Rainbow Cake Colours)
  • Silver balls

I only have one 9” spingform tin so I baked three consecutive sponge cake layers.

First the tequila cake layers:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease the 9” cake tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, zest, soya milk, oil, tequila, vanilla and sugar.
  3. Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder and whisk into the wet mix.
  4. Toss in the salt and whisk well to make a smooth batter.
  5. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 25 minutes until firm (test with a toothpick to check that inside is cooked).
  6. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool.

Repeat for a second tequila-flavoured layer.

For the vanilla cake layer

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease the 9” cake tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the soya milk and vinegar and set aside for a few minutes to curdle.
  3. Add the oil, sugar and vanilla and whisk well.
  4. Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder and whisk into the wet mix.
  5. Toss in the salt and add the red colouring and whisk well to make a smooth batter.
  6. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 25 minutes until firm (test with a toothpick to check that inside is cooked).
  7. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool.

Make the frosting by beating the sugar and margarine together with the tequila, colouring and salt vigorously until smooth.

Assemble the cake:

  1. When the three cakes are cool, place one tequila layer on a cake stand and spread half the pink frosting over it.
  2. Place the pink vanilla cake on top and spread the remaining pink frosting over it.
  3. Place the second tequila cake layer on top and smother the whole cake with green frosting.

For the skulls, flowers and hearts

  1. Roll out a thin (0.5cm) layer of icing using icing sugar to stop it sticking.
  2. Cut eight skull shapes using a skull-shaped cookie cutter.
  3. Sketch out a rough design on some scrap paper and follow it using a syringe or piping bag to pipe thin lines of coloured icing made soft with a few drops of water. Add silver balls to the eyes.
  4. Using the remaining white icing, add colour and mix well then cut flowers and hearts.
  5. Decorate the cake and don’t hold back!
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