Christmas is coming and the pestering has started. We’re asked almost ever other day what we’ll be having for Christmas dinner. We’re going to my in-laws this year. That means spuds and vegetables are taken care of and we just need to provide a meat substitute. So it’s time to get sampling.
This week we’ve tried the Vegetarian Beef Roast that’s new to the Linda McCartney range this year. It comes in it’s own roasting thin so it can easily slide in the already full Christmas Oven. When it’s done you turn it out and out plops your beefy roast, glazed and ready to be carved. I was pleased to be able to get the slices nice and thin, like roast beef.
So what of the taste? Fairly beefy, though it still has a beady texture. If you looked at the picture and think it looks like a loaf shaped version of the sausages then you would be right. I wasn’t a fan of the glaze, I found the red wine overwhelming, but you can’t really taste it unless you are nibbling along the bottom edge.
It’s edible, and it’s not unpleasant but it didn’t exactly blow me away. Perhaps it’s because I wasn’t the worlds greatest fan of beef in the first place. I wouldn’t mind eating this again and unlike a lot of the other Christmas roast options it’s easy to find in regular supermarkets but it’s not going to win a spot on out Christmas plate.
Since starting this blog focused on vegan life in south Devon I’ve been to Manchester, Guide Camp and now I’ve dragged Kate and my camera phone all the way to Skye. We have been to Skye before, last June when we still ate eggs and dairy. Being vegetarian on Skye is so easy – this is Macaroni Pie country after all – but I was worried that being vegan might be too difficult. Especially with my meat-eating Dad, not to mention his dog, along for the ride.
Welcome to Portree.
We rented a self catering cottage in Portree for the week. Portree is small but it is not the back woods. There is a Co-op in the centre that is open till late seven days a week. As a lot of the shops on the island close on a Sunday that’s a good thing. You can get soy, coconut and almond milk in the chiller and Linda McCartney Sausages in the freezer.
If you are self catering Jackson’s Wholefoods is across the road. Open Tuesday to Saturday it stocks all sorts of vegan goodies: tofu, cheese, hotdogs, biscuits, oatcakes, haggis… all sorts.
Eating out there are plenty of options too. Our favourite is the Fat Panda. If you are okay with shared fryers (we are, but we get why other people wouldn’t be) the chip shop on the harbour uses vegetable oil to cook their chips.
Embrace the Haggis
Okay so you don’t need me to tell you that traditional haggis isn’t vegan. Vegetarian haggis is though. We ate Haggis for breakfast at Central Cafe in Portree (dogs welcome!) and Kate had a Haggis melt with vegan cheese from Cafe Sia in Broadford (dogs outside only)
If you visit Central Cafe after breakfast you get a couple of vegan options. We spied a three been chilli and a lentil soup. Cafe Sia had the widest vegan menu of any of the places we visited. You can get their wood fired pizzas with vegan cheese. I went for the Glasrach, packed with delicious vegetables and one of the nicest tomato sauces I’ve ever had.
Party with Pie
One of our favourite stops on our last trip was Skye Pie Cafe (dogs outside only) We were delighted to see that they offer a vegan tart. Well I was. It has a polenta base, topping of roast vegetables and dollop of pesto. Kate thought it might be a bit too adventurous for her. In the end it was, and even I have to admit there were a lot of peppers. The potato wedges kept her full though.
Nowt Beats Breakfast
CafeArriba in Portree made us a great vegetarian meal last time we went to Skye. Unfortunately we didn’t get to pop in for dinner this time. Instead we ate breakfast there with me eating some combination of beans, hash browns and toast with soy hot chocolate. Kate ordering a bagel with jam and a pot of tea. It’s a friendly welcoming place and they provide a bowl of water for the dog.
How did we find visiting Skye as vegans? Well actually it was really easy. Skye is stunningly beautiful and full of sheep. It’s one of my favourite places to visit. And there was no going hungry.