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A break from the studying, with cthulu and cake

Don't get me wrong, I like what I've been studying, but I've become far too overly acquainted with my flat. So, Mr Flicking the Vs came up with the great idea of a day out at Brighton.

I love Brighton. The sea, the walks, the choice of top notch places to get some vegan scran in.

For  a change, we decided to head down to Terre à Terre, one of the fancier options, and went for their set menu of tapas, chips, and a carafe of wine.

This is what they put down in front of us:

How fun is that? It kind of looks like cthulu is coming out of the tea cup in the middle. How could you not be excited seeing all that in front of you? I was, for sure! Terre a Terre can really pull it out of the bag when it wants to.

To be honest with you, I can't remember what everything was - I'm pretty sure there were some arepas corn cakes there, and some lovely soba noodley thing, and a really nice salsify and tempeh thing (I don't think they describe them as 'things' on the menu, that's just my memory failing me. Pretty sure cthulu involved seaweed though.)

I even got to have dessert - little cakes with apple and coconut sorbet and delicious caramel sauce to pour over the top. I felt truly spoilt. And after a carafe of wine, a bit drunk too. Pudding + wine = my idea of a good day out.

Away from the fancy restaurants, my cooking's been a bit more homely to say the least. I recently got Bryant Terry's second vegan cookbook, Afro-Vegan. Given I like the look of a lot of recipes he makes, I'm not sure why I don't use his first book more (I can only guess that the titles are quite elaborate, so when I'm flicking through it, I don't just think 'ah, that's got mushrooms or whatever in, and I've got some in the fridge, I'll just make that'.).

With that in mind, I've been aiming to cook a new recipe from the book once a week to make sure I get maximum use out of it. I've made the tomato broth with hominy already, which was pretty good, especially given I'd never made anything with hominy before and had to hunt it down. I ended up finding something that was labelled 'big corn' in my local international-food supermarket and gamble it was the same thing. It was! And it was good!

Also made from Afro-Vegan: red rice and blackened okra. Yep, the okra isn't overly blackened and the rice looks a lot like quinoa, but other than that, it was a winner. And there was some kale there for no other reason than everything is better with kale.

I'll be making both of those again and, thanks to the fact I had a truckload of blackened seasoning, I repeated the whole meal again with the addition of blackened tofu and roasted brussel sprouts that had seen better days.

The veg box turned up some red cabbage and leeks this week, which were put to good use in some black bean and leek quesadillas with red cabbage slaw.

I'm more used to pickling my cabbage or having it as a side dish with Christmas dinner with cinnamon and spices, but I thought a vegetable of such colour deserved a different treatment this time around. A quick Google later, and I found this recipe for Chinese braised red cabbage. It's a recipe I've totally fallen in love with, even though it involves star anise, which I find overpowering at times. It's got all those great flavours that you think of with Chinese food - ginger, chilli, and soy - and the red cabbage is robust enough to stand up to all of them and bring out their best thanks to a slow cooking time.

What's also great about that recipe is that you can chuck a load of things in a pan, then go do something else for half an hour - in my case, study biology for my exams this summer. Depending on how they go, I'll be off to university this summer (for the second time)! I've been having interviews over the last few weeks to try and win a place, and I just received an offer a few days ago. Needless to say, I'm over the moon - it feels like it's all been worth it.

One of the questions I had to answer in the interview was 'how do you deal with stress?' I gave a very professional answer obviously, when what I really wanted to say was 'eat cake'. Here's this week's stress buster, courtesy of Lujuria Vegana.

As ways of chilling out after too long in the books goes, I can't think of a better one!

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  1. That's a lovely little cake. Sounds like you deserve it.
    I have a ton of red cabbage to deal with right now too - there's a recipe I want to make, but if there are leftovers, I'll totally check out that braised recipe!
    Very, very scary Cthulu.

  2. Wow that Terre a Terre meal looks amazing - Cthulu is something I had to google but makes the picture look even more interesting.

    Not sure about blackened okra but I love hominy and I am interested in the cabbage with star anise partly because it is such a pretty spice but i have had a few times where it doesn't work for me but others where it does

    And good luck with your studies

  3. That's quite a platter you got there! My eye went immediately to the cthulu in the middle - all meals should be plated with that much fun. I'll have to try the Chinese braised red cabbage, I love star anise. Glad to hear your interviews are going well! I like your stress buster way better than my method of going to the gym. :-)

  4. what a great post! i've seen a few terre-a-terre reviews on Jojo's blog over the years and it looks so amazing. That said, I'm always the most in love with home-cooking. Nothing beats some cabbage and a quesadilla. Mmm.

  5. Now that's a successful day out if ever I saw one. The appetizer plate looks mind boggling. It must have inspired you because the food you cooked sounds really interesting — especially the Afro-Vegan plate.

  6. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn! :)

  7. I've actually been thinking of visiting Brighton lately!! I haven't been for years and never as a vegan. It sounds like you had a great day - what an amazing dish to be presented with. Great choice for a study break :)

  8. What a cute cupcake, definitely a stress buster! Red cabbage is one vegetable that I don't buy enough of. I think it's because it's tougher than the other cabbages. I like the idea of slow cooking though, I must try that. And that plate of tapas looks awesome!

  9. What exams are you taking in the summer that you're studying bio for? Are you going back for a second degree, or masters or something? Good luck!! And that tapas plate looks amazing, and oddly cute with the cthulu thing.

  10. Whoa, this plate looks unbelievably interesting…I’m not sure what I’m seeing…but it looks super exciting to try! Arepa corn cakes? I’m up for that…and the dessert looks so luscious! I want to scoop up a nice big gob that I can enjoy!

  11. Awww, Brighton! I've been travelling for almost two months now and Terre à Terre is definitely on the list of things I miss. The apple & caramel dessert looks perfect.


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