Pasta Factory: Vegan Mofo, the final day.

Rather than cook something spooky I went out to eat for the last day of vegan mofo. I went back into Manchester to check out the amazing vegan options at The Pasta Factory. I know you’re probably confused about what The Pasta Factory serves, so I’ll let you in on the secret. It’s mostly pasta. Delicious, amazing home made pasta. But first for the Antipasti. 

I wasn’t actually going to order anything but the pasta. I couldn’t really resist this one though. Look at it! They make that cheese themselves. It’s brilliant. I can’t forget to mention those crackers, they are also homemade and really flavourful which goes great with the more neutral tasting cheese. 

Bucatini was my Pasta of choice, dyed playfully green from spinach and covered in tomato basil sauce. It was just perfect. Incredibly tasty. Very filling. And a great end to both Vegan Month of Food and my trip to Manchester.

History – Vegan Mofo Day 29

I was going to post something suitably profound today as we’ve been challenged to come up with a meal to serve our favourite historical figure. I couldn’t actually think of a historical figure that I’d want to cook for and anyway I’m not in my own kitchen right now. Instead I’m going to tell you about a fake historical figure, based on a tram stop, named after a school, named after a real historical figure none of which has any relevance to the food I’m going to show you.

Abraham Moss, founding father of the Metrolink

Nine years ago I was living at my Dad’s, near Bury, and Kate was living in Torquay. When she came to visit I met her at Piccadilly station and we got the tram into Bury.

“Did you know,” I said, in my best believe me I’m adorable voice, “Abraham Moss was the man who invented trams? That’s why they named a Metrolink stop after him.”

“Really?” Replied Kate

“No, don’t be daft, I’m just kidding.”

And that’s how Kate first learned the concept of affectionate teasing, a favourite Northern pastime. Abraham Moss is named after the school which is named after a former Lord Mayor of Manchester.

Real Food 

I’m staying at my Dad’s right now so I’m taking the same team route in and out of Manchester for visits and shopping and food. On Friday I popped into Manchester to try a pie from Pie and Ale. They have three different vegan pies available and they’ve been making my mouth water all over instagram. I went for the Hosin Butternut Squash Pie with wedges on top rather than mash. The pie was lovely, the hosin went really well with the gravy. The pastry was incredible.

The service was great too. When I ordered I was asked if I was vegan. I said yes and was warned that the mushrooms in my pie had a really meaty texture but not to worry because it’s 100% vegan. I thought that was lovely.  As I’ve still got two more pies to try I’ll have to go back for another visit.

Brunch: Vegan Mofo Day 28

I don’t really brunch. Don’t get me wrong I love brunch food and Vegan Brunch is one of my favourite cookbooks but I very rarely eat brunch. I do however indulge in the great British tradition of the All Day Breakfast.

The All Day Breakfast – in all of the caps – is exactly what it sounds like. The deliciousness of breakfast at any point of the day you choose. I got this one from the one from Manchester Vegan Cafe and Wellbeing Centre where it’s currently a special but they have no plans to take it off the menu. The breakfast itself was great, the service was absolutely lovely and my breakfast and a drink cost just over a fiver. Awesome.

Trying New Things in Vegan Manchester: V-Rev, Little Aladdin and Mowgli 

Before I get back to writing about the West Country I have one more Manchester post. This one is about places that were new to me. 

Mac and Cheez Sticks

The first place I had to visit was V-Rev. I was so eager to get there that I went straight from the train with my rucksack on. I’d visited their previous incarnation on Oldham Street but only to grab stuff to take away. Now they are a bright, funky, cheeky restaurant on Edge Street serving vegan fast food. For my virgin visit I ordered the Jerry Zinger and Mac and Cheez Sticks. I have no idea how they make their chicken but it tastes just perfect. My only complaint, as a former Zinger Burger addict, is that instead of the cheap salsaish stuff KFC put on their burgers it was fresh homemade salsa. Delicious, obviously, but not authentic. Really delicious though.

Jerry Zinger

My next trip into town was to do some serious shopping. This time I was looking for a quick lunch. I went to Little Aladdin, a small 100% vegan hole in the wall Indian joint. It’s recently turned vegan, which is very exciting. The food is inexpensive and incredibly delicious. So, so good. I ordered the Chickpea Biriyani. It was beautifully spiced and very filling. 

Chickpea Biryani

I was clearly on a bit of an Indian food kick because I was also tempted through the doors of Mowgli. It’s a little more fancy pants. It’s all about Indian home cooking and street food. That’s from the website, I can’t exactly judge. They have a whole vegan menu but I didn’t feel like choosing I went with the Vegan School Tiffin for four tiers of food chosen by someone else. When it arrived the dishes where described as lentils, chickpeas, potatoes in tomato sauce and rice. The chickpeas and spuds were fairly standard. Good, but nothing different from the vegan option at the local takeaway. The lentils? I could have licked the dish clean. They tasted of pure comfort; warm, filling, perfectly spiced. In a food face off I’d probably go for Little Aladdin for taste and value but I’m not writing off another visit to Mowgli, especially if I had my meat eating family with me.


So then I’d tried three new to me places in Manchester. What next? Somewhere new for my last dinner out? Or I could just go back to V-Rev. This time I wanted to try a beefy burger. BBQ without the u. It had brisket, BBQ sauce and onion rings. It was great, though I think overall I prefer the fried chicken. This time I upgraded my fries though. I loaded them up with poutine. And we’re going to end the Manchester recap there because those fries are so brilliant I have no words.

Those Fries!

Exploring the vegan menus of my old favourites in Manchester: Teacup Kitchen, Fig + Sparrow, Pancho’s Burritos and the Bagel Factory

I’ve been running off to the centre of Manchester since I was a teenager. It’s a great place to hang out, shop and generally pretend I’m my alternative 15 year old self again. Only with fewer spots, less angst and more money. At least in theory. I visit my family a couple of times a year and I always make sure to take the tram into the city at least once but this was the first time I’ve been back as a vegan. How will my old favourites stack up now that my menu options are more limited?

Teacup… and banana and chocolate loaf

Teacup Kitchen is a favourite of both mine and Kate’s. It was the place I learned to love tea. The tea menu is still a highlight for me and it’s always really hard to pick. To match the theme visit I went with an old favourite: jasmine pearls. With your tea you get a timer and a clear pot to strain your tea into when it is perfectly brewed. And you do get a perfect brew. My other old favourite, eggs Florentine, is now out of the question so what should I get? Disappointingly the only vegan option on the breakfast menu is the porridge. I’m sorry but I hate porridge with a passion. Looks like I would have to have a cake then. I had a lovely banana and chocolate loaf. Although the cake was great I was sad not to be able to have something more substantial. I’ll probably just come here for tea in future.

Anyone got any Burrito photography tips?

Back in the summer of 2012 I was staying with my Dad for a week. He was working most days so I’d take the tram into Manchester, get a burrito at Pancho’s Burritos and settle in on one of the deckchairs in Exchange Square to watch the Olympics. I knew that I’d be able to get a vegan burrito because in the past when I’d ordered a vegetarian one they almost always stopped before putting the dairy on to make sure I said vegetarian and not vegan. This time I said vegan and they made me the perfect burrito. I was also happy to see an new tofu based filling alongside their original veggie option of beans. I’ll definitely keep them on my list of Manchester must-haves.

Cherry Chocolate Brownie

Fig + Sparrow is a cafe I found when I was desperate to squeeze a little extra out of one of my visits. I was looking of an independent cafe that was open early enough that I could pop in before my train. Fig + Sparrow opens at eight. It was so welcoming that I now get into town early on the day my train leaves just so I have an excuse to pop in for a drink, a cake and a knit. The vegan drink options are plentiful. They offer pretty much all of the non-dairy milks to go in your drinks which I appreciate even if I order a black tea. To go with the tea I got myself a lovely cherry brownie. It was dense, sticky and just the right mix of fruit and chocolate. The menu also offers those more substantial options I thought were missing from teacup. I spied a avocado toast and sandwich options.

Toasted Yum

Another last day tradition. When I’m in Piccadilly station I’m almost always tempted to go to the Bagel Factory. I think they have the best options out of all the sandwichy places in the station and the smell of toasted bagels really draws you in. I did think it would be out of the question now that I’m vegan but they had a vegan bagel right there on the menu. Cream cheese, avocado, tomato and black olives. Looking at the website they also list the Vegetarian Burger and the Peanut Butter and Banana Bagel as vegan. Yay!