Birthday Adventures in Leeds

In the preceding weeks I was really not looking forward to my birthday. I’m not saying that 22 is ancient, the rational voice in my head tells me that it isn’t . It’s just something about the jump from 21 to 22 in terms of being an adult and the adult things that people expect from you seem different…and terrifying.

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But these looming adult changes did not stop my Birthday from being wonderful. Mainly because I got to visit the beautiful Roundhay Park. Wandering around the lakes, weaving through the forest, encountering numerous lovable dogs and discovering the smallest castle in history made me happier than I have been in a good while. There is something about nature and being surrounded by green that makes me feel relaxed. I often find that living in a city puts me in a constant state of panic and anxiety that I should be rushing around doing a million things at a time, so as not to miss out on anything. Being in Roundhay Park made me forget about all that, and suddenly it all seemed a bit trivial.

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When we had adventured through the whole park, we went to find sustenance at the lakeside cafe. As usual, I wanted all of the cake. I also had a cointreau hot chocolate, which was divine. Then we headed straight for cocktails at The Alchemist in the Trinity Shopping Centre. One thing I have come to learn about myself is that I am not satisfied unless my cocktails look like a science experiment, exploding dry ice for miles. And The Alchemist delivers all of this and more. Try the ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ for an extra special drink that is served in teacups!

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After consuming many fabulous drinks, we went home for a bit to prepare for the evening meal at Browns, again somewhere that I had never been before. I was not left disappointed, as their food was totally divine, the service was prompt….and they also had really good cocktails. I was going to go for champagne but at the end of it all I was so stuffed I couldn’t manage it. We shared a baked Camembert with sour dough soldiers to start, followed by white cream and truffle oil pasta, and finished with sticky toffee pudding with stem ginger ice-cream and profiteroles with chocolate lime sauce. See picture below for a better idea of the utter awesomeness of this meal.

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So after this fantastic day of nature, food, drink, laughter and love, we rolled home full and content. It was an absolutely amazing birthday, and I have been in a fantastic mood ever since, despite catching a cold.

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Veggie Dining in Leeds

Over my birthday, I went out for a lot of meals. A lot of meals. I am going to chat about my two favourite places to eat as a vegetarian in the wonderful city of Leeds.

Hansas Gujarati

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Hansas is an amazing family-run gujarati restaurant just up  North Road, and it is entirely vegetarian. Seriously, I have never seen so much choice on one menu. Usually when I eat out there are two dishes at most that I can choose between, and they usually consist of a pesto pasta and a goats cheese salad. Hansas offers a wide variety of dishes using delicious, fresh ingredients, my favourites include their Bharela Marcha (deep-fried peppers with crunchy peanut filling) and the tinda-nu-shak (pumpkin slices  cooked in curry sauce).

In the photo above you can see me tucking into their delicious Paneer Special and the Pani Puri, as well as a fantastic view of Steph’s arm. The portion sizes are generous and hearty, the drinks are a good price, and the general ambiance is warm and familiar. I’ve only been a couple of times and I already feel like a regular. I recommend this restaurant to both the veggie connoisseur and those looking to try something new; it’s the perfect place to start as the staff and manager are so friendly and more than happy to talk to you about each individual dish. They also hold cookery classes and have their own cookbook stocked full of delicious recipes.

For more information see their website.

Little Tokyo

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I return to Little Tokyo over and over again, because not only is their food exquisite but it also very very reasonably priced. Perfect for a broke student who craves gourmet. Again, there is a large choice for both veggies and vegans. All tofu based dishes are exquisitely cooked, the tofu is succulent and golden…really I cannot stress how tasty this tofu is. There is vegetarian soba, spring rolls, sushi, bento boxes, tofu steak, ramen, gyoza and so much more. I feel like a shonen anime protagonist whenever I eat here because I literally sit there with a minimum of 5 plates of food all to myself and eat it all at the speed of light.

Another thing I love about Little Tokyo is the decor. Smack bang in the middle of the dinning area there is a little bridge going over a pond with large koi carp swimming around beneath. There are also fake leafless trees with fairy lights suspended over tables, so it sort of feels like you are eating in an enchanted forest. Also, they play music from Studio Ghibli films as well as cheese j-pop in the background whilst you enjoy you meal. I swear I have heard some Arashi once or twice. It is a fantastic place, the food is incredible, dare I say there is something even magical about eating here.

And that concludes my little ramble about dinning out. Thanks to Ana and Steph for being such lovely table companions.

Asparagus, Mushroom, and Tofu Stir-fry (V)

 

This is a really easy, cheap, and filling meal, perfect for those times when you want to be saving cash without compromising nourishment.

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Ingredients 

250g Asparagus

125g Spring onions

300g Mushrooms

125g Baby corn

2 Peppers

420g Bean sprouts in water

225g Bamboo shoots in water

225g Water chestnuts in water

2 tbsp soy sauce

Handful sliced green jalapeños

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp Garam masala

2 Cloves garlic

1 tsp Chinese 5 spice

1 tsp Powdered ginger

396g Cauldron tofu

Step 1. Press and drain your tofu! Once as much water as possible is pressed out of the tofu, I cut it into small cubes, and get to frying it in a little bit of oil. I fry until the pieces are firm and a nice golden brown.

stir fry 2Step 2. Prep your veggies. Slice everything up, including the garlic, and throw it in with the tofu. Add the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Fry till the veggies soften and golden!

stir fry 3Step 3. Add the spices and stir well. After frying for a while, add the beansprouts, water chestnuts, jalapeños, and bamboo shoots. Add a bit more soy sauce if it looks a bit dry!

stir fry 4Step 5. Fry everything together for a couple of minutes, adding a bit more spice/sauce if you think necessary. Then take off of the heat, let cool, and it’s ready to serve! I get at least 4 servings out of this so it’s great if you’re trying to eat on a budget and also be healthy!

Happy eats, beautifuls! ❤

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