Thoughtful Thursday…

…. I read this. It made me smile. I thought I would share – with special love for everyone who’s in training right now – for London, for Paris or just for life…..

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

The Boy Berlin 2010

The Boy Berlin 2010

Let the haters hate, the rest of us know that life is too short.

ps. if I blamed work again for the lack of posting would it bore you?

Starry Starry Night…. (and a history lesson)

…..well, here you are, the proof that I was brave enough to get the camera phone out in a michelin starred restaurant.

Vegan Michelin Star Food

Top : Apple Crumble; Pannacotta; Amuse Bouche
Middle : Carrot Appetiser; Heritage Beetroot Salad; Butternut Squash and Orange Chanterelle Bottom : Salt Baked Celariac; Beetroot Verjus and finally, my plate – not quite, but very nearly, licked clean 

I cannot praise the chefs at the Burlington enough, they cooked up an absolute storm. The food was so well thought through with incredible flavours and textures. I loved the salt baked celariac which I thought had drawn inspiration from a traditional white fish dish, the beetroot verjus was to die for, the amuse bouche amused my bouche quite delightfully.

The highlights for me were the butternut squash and chanterelle mushroom starter, the incredible baked apple pudding and, because I’m a child at heart, the beetroot and fennel agar jelly sweets that were served in the lounge with our coffee.

Look posh vegan fruit pastels - amazing

Look posh vegan fruit pastels – amazing

The waiting staff, sommelier and everyone else who looked after us were so lovely. I was worried we would get a few raised eyebrows or possibly some snotty comments being vegan in a michelin starred restaurant (believe me, it happens), but everyone was keen to stress that they catered for everyone and the whole team couldn’t have been more helpful.

The best bit of the evening for me though is that I feel like I’ve exorcised one of my vegan demons: it is possible to still enjoy fine dining as a vegan.

In an odd way, this is so important to me because I’ve actually only really developed an appreciation of food in the last seven years.

The History Lesson 

As a child, I was not a fan of food. At All. I pretty much refused to eat anything that wasn’t either beans on toast or cheese sandwiches.

Mr HFTB on the other hand, was a born foody: A fan of fine dining and fabulous flavours.

The first few years of our relationship were a procession of awkward restaurant encounters: I would spend the evening staring forlornly at the menu before meekly ordering a couple of side dishes (bread and fries anyone?), Mr HFTB would order gleefully, whilst desperately try to encourage me to try something new.

Then, over time, something changed, it started with goats cheese, then progressed to mushrooms, there was probably a souffle, definitely a jus, followed by confit and pate.

Slowly but surely, I developed a genuine love and appreciation of food. My new found love followed me into the home and I began spending time cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. But my favourite thing remained eating out, especially at fabulous spangly restaurants who served things like mushroom cappuccino, celariac and truffle foam and puddings with popping candy.

And then.

Then I turned vegan.

I would love to say eating out is easy, but honestly, it quite often isn’t. A visit to a restaurant since turning vegan is an exercise in trepidation: Will there be anything on the menu? If not, will the chef cook something to order without the waiters being too rude? Will the salad be dressed with honey and the soup topped with cream even though I asked for it not to be?

Whenever possible I phone in advance to check that the chef is happy to cook something (especially if I’m going out with clients: there is nothing worse than having a menu meltdown when you’re trying to make a good impression) but to be honest, since turning vegan, I had assumed that fine dining and, in particular, michelin starred dining, would be out of the question:

I am pleased to report that after last Sunday evening, I was wrong. Vegan demon, officially exorcised : thank you to everyone at the Burlington!

Devonshire Arms

Spot the food blogger…..

….the awkward thing about food blogging? Always taking pictures of your food, no matter where you are.

Here’s Mr HFTB contributing to the cause in Brody’s in Skipton this afternoon (amazing vegan pizza, absolutely wonderful service):

Mr HFTB contributing to the cause

Not sure I’m going to be brave enough to whip out the camera phone in the Burlington tonight!

Nom, nom Mexican style breakfast wrap…..

Firstly the apology:  Yep, I know its been two weeks. But surely you know me well enough by now to know that sometimes you get tonnes of posts and sometimes you get, well…. Zip.

Needless to say I’ve been working like a dawg on a big project and trying to stay sane by fitting in some workouts in between, I’m afraid that when there’s a shortage of time in my world, it’s the blogging that takes the hit.

But now, I’ve got four days off work.

Four. Whole. Days.

As you can tell, I’m a little excited by this prospect. The Boy and I are off to the Devonshire Arms for a Valentine’s treat on Sunday night and best of all, their Michelin starred restaurant have agreed to cook vegan for us. Oh, woop woop, I’m so excited, please let it not be a let down!

Mexican Style Breakfast Wrap

Anyway, I’m feeling smug because I’ve already done a 10k run this morning, followed by twenty lengths of the pool and now I’ve just polished off one of these bad boys:

Vegan Breakfast Wrap

Vegan Breakfast Wrap

This is another one that does not need a proper recipe:

  1.  Throw mushrooms, fake bacon and diced tomatoes in a pan and fry them up.
  2. Serve in a wholemeal wrap and top with avocado and jalepenos. This would have been even better with coriander but we didn’t have any in, boo.
  3. Accompany with a bucket of coffee.

Mmmmmm, nom nom nom. Smug Saturday continues….

Tweet Tweet….

…oh the cyber revolution is rolling fast in the HFTB household.

Yes, just 6 years and 10 months after its invention, I have joined Twitter!

In honour of that fact, this post will be limited to 140 characters.

Oh darn it, failed.

@Sookisu1 if you fancy it