THROUGHOUT this month, the Mail’s David Broome is taking on the ‘Veganuary’ challenge – to go through the whole month of January on a vegan diet. Here, in a daily diary, he charts his progress.
LAST Friday, we passed possibly the most pleasant evening since deciding to go vegan for the month, and certainly enjoyed the best food of January.
We were invited to the Burnt Gate pub in Anslow by chef and proprietor Marie Stevens, who has served vegan food in her establishment for more than a decade.
It all started, Marie told us, when a guest asked if they catered for celiacs, and from there the menu developed to offer choices for various dietary requirements - gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and of course vegan.
And these are not just one or two dishes tacked onto the end of the main menu, but complete menus of their own, including starters, main courses and even desserts.
This soup was one of the vegan starter options, along with panfried garlic mushrooms on toasted tiger bread, the intriguing Bloody Mary shot with avocado toast, deep-fried risotto balls with sweet potato and roasted tomato coulis, or Tuscan bean cassoulet.
The Burnt Gate, as it proudly displays wherever possible, is the home of the Anslow Pie, and while this culinary delight was beyond our dining parameters, there was a vegan option in the Eden Pie. This was what both my wife and I plumped for, though the other options - a wild mushroom saute, a chestnut, spinach and mushroom strudel, and cous cous stuffed peppers - sounded tempting as well.
The Eden Pie is a homemade (in fact, everything at the Burnt Gate is homemade) shortcrust pastry pie filled with tomatoes, puy lentils, squash, courgettes, mushrooms and spinach, served with a red pepper coulis and chips or roast potatoes.
I have found this month, that if vegan dishes are thoughtfully put together and full of flavour, one doesn’t notice the lack of meat.
For more information on the Burnt Gate or to book a table, visit www.burntgate.co.uk or call 563664.
Breakfast: fruit with soya yoghurt and granola.
Lunch: dairy-free cheese and salad sandwich.
Tea: Eden Pie, followed by apple pie and dairy-free ice cream.