So last weekend I went back to the big city for a weekend full of food. On Friday night my friend made a yummy moroccan-spiced cauliflower soup that we had with some of the Rosemary and Olive Bread that I brought. Saturday we decided to go to Camden to get some early Christmas shopping done, eat there at the Lock’s market and try out a vegan café run by a German girl.
I really like Camden, even with the unavoidable hipsters walking around. I enjoy strolling through the halls, looking at the mostly handmade things sold there, jewelry, clothes, pashminas, cards, soaps, pictures etc. I can easily spend hours there – and we more or less did. So after a few successful finds for our loved ones for under the Christmas tree, we were hungry and took a look around the food stalls right next to the canal. There were quite a few plant-based options, from Indian and Pakistani curries to veggie Paella. However, I just LOVE Ethiopian food. I can’t get it here in the country side so I decided to fill up on that. Those lovely mixed salads, warm side dishes and rice or injeera bread – it makes a lovely colourful plate full of food that is so good for you! The food was very nice and I enjoyed it a lot.
After a few more stalls we decided it is time for a nice coffee and ventured towards Cakes’n’Treats, a vegan café run by a German that just opened some months ago just off Camden High Street. The café itself is the perfect size, not too many tables, shabby chic decor. The cakes, however, were a disappointment. The offer was quite small, given that it was a Saturday afternoon around 3 o’clock. There were only 3 cakes to chose from plus a lonely chocolate croissant and some cupcakes that looked like they had a rough day. I was expecting more seasonal cakes, maybe one with pumpkin, cinnamon or a christmassy flavour. So I settled for a chocolate & strawberry cake (strawberry frosting in November? Really?), my friend for a raw rasperries and lime pie (again, completely out of season). The raw cake was very tasty, though reminded us flavourwise of summer and was very rich. My chocolate cake was of poor quality. The bottom wasn’t baked well, and the frosting didn’t taste like strawberries at all (surprise!), but was just pink. I guess that the cake had been made earlier in the week and had set in the cooled display cabinet for a while, not adding to the quality of the cake. I expected a fluffy sponge cake and got a dense piece of cool cake. Finished it, but didn’t enjoy it much, I have to say. Plus, the service was quite slow and the front door of the café wouldn’t shut properly, so we sat in a cold draft. All in all, unfortunately a disappointing visit for a professional bakery. Hope they have better days.
At night we went with some friends to eat at the almost legendary Franco Manca pizzeria. They have a few branches all over London and are famous for their sourdough pizzas. The base and crust were fantastic and very tasty, but they could have used a bit more toppings. I ordered a pizza marinara, which is just with tomato sauce and oregano and had some extra olives and mushrooms added. Well, there were about 4 or 5 olives on it and a handful of mushrooms. It was good, but could have used a bit more. Come on, I am vegan, I am always hungry!
Sunday then, another market. Bricklane it is, with even more food stalls and more hipsters. I love going to the food court there! I almost always go for another Ethiopian stall run by two lovely ladies. So I had another portion of Ethiopian yummyness, with some different salads and warm sides than the day before. I think this stall is my favourite in London (I also like the one in Greenwich market). The presentation of the food is great and just wants you to eat it, the portions are generous for a 5er, and the food very tasty.
The the highlight in the afternoon: the BBC Good Food Show at the Kensington Olympia. What a hall! Great setup of the stalls, it felt like an indoor Christmas market just filled with FOOD, FOOD and more FOOD. Yes, most of it not vegan, but then I found quite a few things that are. And got more Christmas shopping done. I restocked my supply of Nakd bars, as they had their 18 bars for 8 pounds offer again. And I also found a Belgian biscuit spread (which I am eating by the spoonful as I am writing this). It is a speculoos spread that tastes like heaven on earth and you will get hooked immediately! Promise. Other yummies I tried and bought were a smoked olive oil (Oh my, just with some white bread!), some flavoured salts from Cornwall, some chutneys (of course) and some cake glitters (Yeahy!). Also tried some Brazilian wine (never knew they made some) and local liquors. So slightly tipsy, but filled with all the food from the weekend and a bag full of Christmas presents I made my way back home.