Friday, 31 July 2015

Back from holiday - and boy, it's chard

As you've spotted from the last few posts, I've been in Zagreb, Vienna and Prague. More posts from the road coming up soon, but I'm well and truly and back to London.

Coming back from holiday is hard. You've just spent all that time doing exactly what you like, enjoying new places, eating, drinking and sightseeing, and then suddenly you have to go back to work, chores and all the rest of the waxy build up that is life. 

So, to keep the holiday feeling going as long as possible, I've been trying to treat London like a holiday. You know, not just going from home to work and back again once a day. 

Here's the first thing that I've been appreciating: Kew Gardens

I've been to Kew more times than I'd like to think about, but it never feels old. It's so huge, it doesn't matter how many times you go, there's always a new corner that's waiting for you to explore it. And, thanks to that hugeness, it doesn't matter how many tourists or locals pile in, there's still always empty benches and quiet alleys for you alone. 

At the moment, there's an exhibition about spices, as demonstrated by these giant inflatables. They have little zips you can undo and have a sniff - this one stank of garlic!

The only downside of sorts is that there isn't much in the way of vegan food at Kew, but with all that grass just begging to be laid down on, it's prime picnic territory. Take a few sarnies, a bit of cake, and settle down to enjoy the view, and you've got all the entertainment you need right there.

My top tip: banana bread and a bench next to Queen Charlotte's Cottage.

For more holiday vibe continuing, I thought I should detour from my normal route home from work and stop by a cafe that was rumoured to have vegan cake.

The cafe, Montage in Forest Hill, doubles as an art gallery and antique shop - you like anything on the walls, you can probably buy it and take it home with you. It's kid friendly, there's dark, moody corners if you need to get work done, and even a little outdoors bit if you're in need of sun.

And yes, they do do vegan cake. Along with three or four non-vegan varieties, there was a promising looking vegan pumpkin loaf. I did the decent thing and ordered a slice. (Side note: they will try to give you a small chunk of cake with your hot drink which may or not be vegan. Stick to the clearly marked vegan cake and you're fine.)

The pumpkin loaf was really light and warmly-spiced - think ginger cake and you're halfway there. Non-vegan cake accompaniment aside, the coffee was pretty was good too!

When I was a kid, during school holidays, me and the family used to go to pick your own places - those farms where you can go and grab a basket and pick your own berries, covertly shovelling every third one into your face and the other two into your punnet.

I got to do the same with Mr Flicking the Vs' family at the weekend. Pick your own places have changed since I was a kid! When I was wee, you could pick strawberries, and maybe raspberries if you were lucky. Now they've got all sorts of fancy shizzle. The one we went to had not only strawberries and raspberries, but beans, peas, rhubarb and even sunflowers.

I couldn't resist grabbing handfuls and handfuls of bright lights chard - not only is it the prettiest vegetable out there, it's so tasty and incredibly good for you. I can't help but think it would also make a great bouquet for a vegan wedding!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Vegan Vienna: Ice cream shops, bakeries, and why not to take tofu through airports

If you've read my earlier post on the few vegan friendly restaurants I tried, you'll know that I ate very well in the Austrian capital. That's not the half of it though. Vienna is blessed with what look like, to my poor London eyes, a vast number of sweet treat emporia. Being a selfless type, I worked my way around them for you, dear reader.

The first place we stopped at was Cupcakes, a cafe chain which has a branch in Mumok, Vienna's museum of modern art. You don't have to be going to the museum to go and have some coffee and cake (we were off to the excellent Leopold Museum over the road) so we went in to test their wares.

While the 1950s surrendered wife vibe of the decor wasn't my thing, I couldn't complain about the cupcakes. Along with a number of omni options, there were also three vegan choices. I went for the chocolate one and a black coffee to wash it down with.

While the icing to cake ratio proved that you can have too much of a good thing, I had Mr Flicking the Vs on hand to share with. (You know if I have to share a dessert, there really is too much. I'm not normally one to give away cake willingly.)

The museum quarter also has an all vegan cake shop in the form of the Easy Going Bakery. It's a small but perfectly formed place with a few seats, so you can either get your cake to go or sit down and while away the time with a brew.

There were muffins, cupcakes, cake pops and more available on our visit, as well as the hot and cold drinks you'd expect. Being a gloriously sunny day in Vienna, I got an iced coffee and two mini cupcakes – dainty little things that a hungry Joey could put away in a few bites. I like mini desserts for that reason – you get to try a bit of everything. In my case, everything was a rather restrained chocolate and vanilla cupcake and a matcha and raspberry. The latter won the day by a country mile. (Side note: the lady behind the til was incredibly lovely.)

Though it's a bit of a tough call, I'd say the museum quarter's biggest asset is Veganista, the vegan ice cream shop. I went there twice during my four days in Vienna – the first day, I got this rather restrained cone:

That's a boule of cappuccino ice cream there. I love coffee ice cream – and I can't think of when I've had a nicer version than Veganista's. I went back the next day for a double scoop – more of that lovely coffee, with some peanut butter for good measure. It was a warm Sunday afternoon and there must have been a queue of about 30 people there. I didn't mind the wait though – more time to contemplate all the flavours!

That's a boule of cappuccino ice cream there. I love coffee ice cream – and I can't think of when I've had a nicer version than Veganista's. I went back the next day for a double scoop – more of that lovely coffee, with some peanut butter for good measure. It was a warm Sunday afternoon and there must have been a queue of about 30 people there. I didn't mind the wait though – more time to contemplate all the flavours!

But Veganista isn't the only vegan ice cream option in town (though it is absolutely the best!) If you see a branch of Zanoni and Zanoni on your way around Vienna, don't discount it out of hand – it does have a number of vegan options. Here's some dark chocolate I scored:

While I didn't have a lot of time to cruise Vienna's vegan food shops, one discovery I thought I'd mention is supermarket chain Spar, which has lots of interesting vegan options, particularly if you can find a Spar Gourmet branch. Along with the usual health foods and non-dairy milk, their free-from section has some goodies including a six pack of mini Tartex pates, vegan filled pasta, tofu, veggie burgers and that sort of thing. Handily, most of the food doesn't need refrigerating - handy if you're on the road. We bought some tofu and burgers in case we felt like cooking, but never got around to it, so ended up bringing them back to the UK.

Top tip - blocks of tofu in your bag will get you stopped at the airport by the guys doing the bag scanning (I guess it looks like you're carrying too much liquid in hand baggage?), who will then laugh heartily when they find you're packing bean curd.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Moveable Feast - a great vegan-friendly popup

If you been to The Moveable Feast yet, get yourself on the next Tube down to London Bridge and check it out.

The Moveable Feast is a popup place in the shadow of the Shard which plays host to three different veggie food sellers, as well as a coffee counter. I first visited when purveyors of amazing vegan burritos Club Mexicana moved in, and while I mourned the end of their three-month residency, I was pleased to see another vegan  business, Pomodoro e Basilico, taking up the space they vacated.

I went down last week to check out the new addition. There were two meal options: pasta and risotto. I'll be honest, my hopes weren't high. I'm not a huge pasta fan, and I think I've enjoyed eating risotto a grand total of once in my life. It's the inevitability of it - any corporate event I've attended has always come with a side of 'sorry, what's vegan?' and a hearty helping of dispiriting risotto.

Still, having hauled myself to London Bridge, I wasn't going to leave empty-handed, and availed myself of a portion of pumpkin ravioli and a pot of tiramisu.

This is what I got:

It may look like a small unassuming pot of pasta, but there's an incredible amount of tastiness in those ravioli. Forgive the hyperbole, but it may be some of the best pasta I've ever had. The filling was creamy, rich, and perfectly balanced between the pumpkin and sage. I've no idea what the butter-like sauce it was in was made of, but I finished off every drop.

And then there was a tiramisu:


For the two, there was a price tag of £10.50. Normally, that would be more than my meagre budget would stretch to for lunch, but it's an entirely reasonable sum given the quality of the veganity on offer. So enamoured was I of Pomodoro e Basilico, next time I might even try the risotto.

And if you're not in the mood for Italian, Horn OK Please are also on site with fantastic Indian street food, all of which is vegan or vegan option. I've previously enjoyed their dosas a lot, and look forward to doing just that again sometime very soon.

Aaaaand if you need another reason to visit The Moveable Feast, behold this unfeasible rich vegan chocolate cake:

It took me two goes - two very happy goes - to get through it, it was that rich, dense and fudgy. Fingers crossed it becomes a permanent fixture at The Moveable Feast - and The Moveable Feast becomes a permanent fixture in London Bridge.

The Moveable Feast
21-27 St Thomas Street

Monday, 20 July 2015

Vegan in Vienna: Three vegan-friendly restaurants

The last time I went to Vienna was probably half my life ago. Really. Yep, that long ago. It was probably still part of the Austro-Hungarian empire when I last arrived. I remember two things about the city from my last visit: it had some awesome art, and some equally awesome food.

Looks like not much has changed since then.

During our four days in the city, we checked out the Schiele exhibition at the Leopold Museum, the Klimt friezes at the Secession, the Imperial Crypt, the Vienna Woods... but you want to hear about the food, right?

We arrived in the city fairly late in the day and, after a bit of a walk around, we stopped off at Bio Bar von Antun, a little vegetarian restaurant near the Stefansdom cathedral in the centre of town. The weather was great and the place has some outside space - a tiny courtyard - that we took full advantage of.

We kicked off with some Rusticiana 'oven bread' - bruschetta with herbs, garlic and olive oil.

It was heavy on the garlic and herbs, which is good in my book. Other than that, it was bread. What more can I tell you?

For a follow-up, I picked cevapcici - sort of fish finger shaped, slightly-spiced hamburgers. Mr Flicking the Vs got chilli con tofu you can see in the background. 

The fried spuds were nice, but the cevapcici weren't terribly flavourful - they reminded me of those packet mixes you add water to to make veggie sausages. The plate definitely could have done with some veggies on there too - I would have been happy to see even a gherkin in amongst it! 

The chilli con tofu was also lacking - not a huge amount of chilli considering its name. And then there was the rice puzzle - it said on the menu it would be on the side, but it came all mixed in with the chilli, making a sort of chilli rice soup. It was all fine stuff, but there are tastier meals to be had in Vienna. That said, the location and the service are so nice, you'll not be doing yourself a disservice if you stop by for a drink or a small bite.

We ended up eating at Yamm twice when we were in Vienna: once deliberately, once by accident.

Yamm is a sort-of-self-service, sort-of-not restaurant not far from Vienna's University and Parliament. If you've been to Tibits, it's sort of like that, only more confusing. 

Like Tibits, there's a great big appealing buffet in the middle that you go and help yourself to. You pick a plate, fill it up with what you want, and weigh it. 

Unlike Tibits, Only you have to get a card, put it on a contactless card reader once you've finished piling your plate, weigh your food, pick up your receipt and card, and go sit down. Then a waiter takes your drink order. If you want any dessert, you go and eyeball what's in the cabinet, then you have to sit back down, and get the server to bring the dessert to you.

It's a bit of a faff to be honest, but don't let the messing about put you off - there's some great scran to be had. And, because it's a buffet, there's no waiting and you can pick up exactly what you want. The buffet is veggie, rather than vegan, but the vegan bits are clearly marked and there are a goodly number of them. 

I made myself this plate - look, lots of veggies!

There's even a mung bean salad there, alongside all the other stuff. I ate this and felt virtuous.

Then I thought I'd undo all my good work with a great big slice of cake. There were about five different vegan gateaux to try, and a few different varieties of cupcake and biscuits to boot. I went for the walnut cake - oddly enough, the dessert all the English-speaking people had been ordering that day, the server told us.

The English speaking people were definitely onto a winner. To be honest, the walnut cake wasn't overly walnutty, but when a piece of gateau looks like that, who cares? There was enough icing to decorate your house with and some lovely light cake to keep it all in.

So I wasn't overly disappointed when we were back there the next day, although not deliberately. We had planned to eat at a place called Landia not far from the Naschmarkt, where we'd stopped in for a wander and a drink. Despite getting to Landia at 8pm - two hours before it was meant to shut - and found the staff putting chairs on tables, despite a couple of diners still eating outside. They told us they were shut. We were a bit lost.

We didn't have a back up plan, there was no wi-fi to be had, and so with no better plan, we wandered back to Yamm.

What we didn't know at the time was that the amazing Swing Kitchen is just around the corner from Landia.

Swing Kitchen is a burger bar that only serves vegan burgers and plays swing music. Sounds promising already, no?

Well, it was just good as it sounded. Great, big sloppy burgers the size of a wrestler's fist, classic burger bar sides, and homemade sodas. There were even some delicious looking vegan cakes for afters, but the burgers were so good, and so big, I couldn't have tried one even if I wanted to.

The burgers. Let me tell you about the burgers. Mr Flicking the Vs went for a Swing Cheeseburger, I went for the Vienna Burger.

Mine was truly great - a big bap, tomato, cucumber, garlic sauce, pickles and a great big Vienna schnitzel. This is definitely messy, multi-serviette good. The coleslaw was equally delicious, but given the size of the burger, a bit superfluous if not entirely welcome.

Bio Bar von Antun
Drahtgasse 3, 1010 Vienna
+43 1 968 9351

Universitätsring 10, 1010 Vienna
+43 1 5320544

Swing Kitchen
Schottenfeldgasse 3, 1070 Vienna

Monday, 13 July 2015

Vegan Zagreb part two: Burgers, sandwiches, raw cakes and self catering

My last post on Zagreb was all about the rather tasty restaurants that are available to herbivores in Zagreb, but there are some cheaper options if you fancy cutting the budget or you're self catering.

Zagreb is also home to the veggie burger bar Green Point, which has a number of vegan options. All the burger patties are vegan and there are soy milk milkshakes (if you specify agave rather than honey as a sweetner) to be had too.

You can get your burger to eat in at one of the counter-type tables, or take away. I was a bit trepidatious about the place due to some so-so reviews on Happy Cow saying the burgers were a bit bland, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I got a hemp burger and a banana soy milkshake. Here's the burger - it's roughly the size of my head:

It was distinctly unbland, thanks to a lot - a lot - of herbs in there. Another plus point - you get to pick the fixings, Subway style, for the burger. Extra pickles for me, please. If you're not hemp minded, there's also tofu and seitan options instead, as well as salads and falafels and the like.

Another cafe we discovered was the slightly more fancy-dan Vis à Vis by Vincek, just at the bottom of the Zagreb funicular. It's a cake and ice cream place, with a nice pavement terrace if you fancy idling a while and having a coffee.

About half the stuff inside is vegan, half omni (the Vincek ice cream parlour around the corner is all dairy, so make sure you dodge that one). The vegan cakes are marked but you'll need to ask the server for which ices are. When we went, there were four vegan choices, and I went for banana on the first visit - just the tonic for the mid-30 degree Zagreb heat.

Of course, given there was vegan cake on offer, we went back to try some out. Mr Flicking the Vs, one of those weird self-professed 'not a pudding person' people, wanted to try one, so they must be pretty tempting.

I got an all-chocolate affair, he went for a choc-and-orange combo:

Did I mention they were both raw? They were both delicious, dense and rich. I'm gutted I only popped in on the last day we were in Zagreb - I would have happily eaten those several times over. 

If you're self-catering in Zagreb, Bio & Bio is a handy beast - a chain of health food shops with lots of veggie and vegan food. While you can soy and rice milk and a few staples in most Zagreb supermarket, but Bio&Bio has way more interesting options. There's several branches across Zagreb, and as well as allowing you to stock up on vegan staples like tofu, sausages, yoghurt, and all the pulses you could want, there's also picnic fodder like biscuits, chocolate and a whole fridge of sandwiches, rolls, desserts and other goodies.

The fridge stuff isn't marked as vegan on the label, but in the branch we went to,  the fridge said all the sandwiches, cakes etc were vegan. I didn't hold back. I tried the grilled tofu sarnie first, kicking back in the Zagreb botanical garden:

The bread was nice, the tofu was chewy, it got the thumbs up from me.

I also packed a few Bio&Bio options on a visit to Plitvice lakes. We stayed at one of the hotels in the Plitvice national park. While it meant we got views like this:

It was something of a vegan desert (that's definitely desert, not dessert). Due to not having a car, we ended up eating in the hotel restaurant - it didn't even have a vegetarian section, let alone a vegan one, but we ended up scaring up a plate of chips and some salad for me, and some pasta with tomato sauce for me. Not exactly my favourite meal of the trip but we didn't starve.

Luckily, I had packed some supplies: fruits, nuts, cereal and raw bars, and some Bio&Bio supplies - a chocolate cake slice and a sort of tofu spanakopita.

The tofu spanakopita was the only Bio&Bio option I didn't enjoy during our trip - it was a bit bland and the texture didn't do it for me. The cake was way more up my street, despite the faintly spongy icing. After marching around Plitvice for a while, it was highly welcome.

(A side note: Plitvice has a few ice cream stands, but I didn't manage to find a single vegan popsicle among them. Even the ones that look like they're just juice had milk and gelatine in. Grim.)

I made another visit to Bio&Bio before our flight to make sure we got some breakfast - in the form of this seitan sarnie and almond and hazelnut rice milk.

This bio kranzl (great word, right?) got a bit bashed about in my bag, but don't let the looks fool you, it was still good. If I could have brought more of Zagreb back to London, I would gladly have. The food was great, the town was great, the weather was fab, and I enjoyed every second.

Green Point
Varšavska ulica 10, 10000 Zagreb
+385 1 4833 667

Vis à Vis by Vincek
Tomićeva ulica 2, 10000 Zagreb

Jurišićeva 28, 10000 Zagreb
+385 1 4876 269

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Vegan in Zagreb: Three vegan-friendly restaurants to try

When I first got off the bus in Zagreb, I couldn’t remember for the life of me why I’d decided to stay there for a week. The city looked bone meltingly hot, stuffy, unappealing, and a bit beaten up, and it definitely didn’t look like it was going to keep us entertained for one day, let alone seven. 

But bus stations are always ugly, right? Maybe it was just a bad start. Then we got to our hotel. Imagine that in the 1970s someone tried to build a place that was the dead spit of the 1920s and missed a bit. Well, missed a lot.  It was like an Agatha Christie film seen through a Boogie Nights filter. 

We dropped our bags at our hotel, and went for a walk, exploring some dull and gently falling apart streets nearby. We tramped up a hill that looked like it might lead somewhere interesting. It didn’t.

Me and Mr Flicking the Vs weren't making eye contact by then. We didn’t want to see the look of ‘we’ve come on holiday by mistake’ on each others’ faces. I wondered why we’d booked the plane ticket again. Abandon hope all ye who enter Zagreb, I thought.

Things looked up a bit, as they so often do, with dinner. We found Zrno Bio Bistro, which reckons it’s Zagreb’s first 100 percent organic vegan restaurant, and who am I to argue? I didn’t see any others over that week.

Zrno is a sort of healthy eating, macrobiotics type place. The food is grown on the Zrno farm, and there’s some nice outdoorsy seating for those bone-melting Zagreb summer evenings.

The menu runs to soups and sides, simple plates, bigger plates, and desserts. There’s also smoothies, wine and beer, depending on how virtuous you’re feeling.

I asked for a wheat beer and a macroplate. The beer, I was told, was too warm and the macroplate was off for the day. I gave up. ’What would you have instead?’ I asked our waiter. He told me an amber beer and gomaku, a brown rice dish with seitan, veggies, tofu and chard on the side. I liked this guy a lot. 

Here tis:

It was a pretty simple thing, but just what I fancied.

Mr Flicking the Vs opted for breaded tofu, for he is a wise man. He got three perfect triangles of tofu breaded and fried excellently, sat on a bed of stir-fried veggies. There was salad with sauerkraut, and the sort of thick sauce that people write poems too. I craftily stole most of it when his gaze was averted. 

Given the quality of the mains, I thought it would be rude not to check out dessert. There were about six vegan desserts (always a positive sign) but only one was calling my name deafeningly: the Hungarian cake.

I went to Budapest last year, and loved it a great deal (read my rapture here). But no morsel of Hungarian cake - that’s Esterhazy torte if you’ve feeling a bit fancy - passed my lips. Here was my chance, and I wasn’t going to let it slip through my hungry fingers.

While your traditional Esterhazy is made of meringue, this one was more thin layers of pancakey stuff, sandwiched together with chocolatey stuff. For good measure, ice cream and chocolate sauce. Heavenly.

Espresso-ed up, we wandered off into the night, thinking we  might have been wrong about that there Zagreb.

Next morning, we settled down to an impressively vegan friendly breakfast. There was soy milk! Aver! Vegetables! And even salad things with chick peas in. Zagreb, you scamp, you’d been holding out on me.

Next day, we stopped in at the Mimara - the best art museum I’d never heard of, replete with works from pretty much every big-name artist from the 13th century onwards. There were some Dutch 16th century still lives that I loved (sometimes just a bowl of fruit can catch your attention for ours) and a Palestinian icon from the 6th century that I’d never seen anything like.

We stopped by the Upper Town for some beautiful streets and checked out the churches, castles, and the excellent Museum of Broken Relationships. We also discovered some top-notch drinking spots there. 

Due to having discovered the drinking spots, we didn’t get to dinner until about 8.15pm. Not necessarily that late for me and Mr FtVs, but given the restaurant was closing at 9pm, we wondered if we’d still get fed.

Luckily the folk at Vegehop were exceptionally nice and didn’t try and hurry us out at all. Vegehop isn’t vegan, it’s vegetarian, but I only saw a handful of things that weren’t suitable for herbivores.

Still jonesing for some healthy food, I went for a gluten free platter - fried tofu marinated in soy sauce, brown rice with sesame, steamed veg, and a walnut and olive pate. Don’t get me wrong, this sort of food isn’t Michelin starred stuff, but it’s good, solid cooking, filled me up and pleased my tastebuds.

As is so often the case, Mr FtVs got the better end of the stick. He just asked for their daily plate with soup and salad. First, a little bowl of courgette and mint broth got him started. Then there was a bowl of green(ish) salad, and a marvellous plate that I sadly didn’t photograph. You’ll have to imagine this one a bit - steamed veggies, turmeric sauteed potatoes, a crisp beetroot and apple salad, and four little fritters of veggies and grains, topped with a sauce that Mr FtVs thought was a bit like the taste of cheesy Doritos, and I thought was more like Marie Rose sauce. Either way, very good.

In case you, like me, are quite partial to booze with tea - no such thing is available at Vegehop, but the grapefruit juice they made instead was rather stellar.

Having decided by now that Zagreb was in fact the best thing since sliced bread, we hiked up the mountain known as Sljeme. We didn’t reach the top, mainly because I was sweating and cursing at having to do something approaching exercise for several hours. We met a nice retired Croatian guy on the hike up that chatted with us and had a very friendly dog, and that was the highlight for me, but Mr FtVs is an outdoorsy guy, so he liked the whole thing.

Luckily, more food can numb the pain - dinner at Nishta. I’d eaten at the Dubrovnik branch last time I was in Croatia and enjoyed it, so I was happy to try out its Zagreb sister. Again, it's not entirely vegan, just veggie, but the vast majority (including all desserts!) was vegan or had a vegan option.

We shared a starter of pakora between us, which was more dense and chewy than pakoras rightly should be, but you'll no complaints here though, because the sauce that came with it - a green bean-based raita - was fantastically interesting. I’d have been happy with that alone.

The main event was falafel for him:

And a thali for me:

Huge, huh? I still got through it, because I’m that kind of trooper. The waitress warned me that the subzi (at the top there) was a bit on the spicy side, but after two days of plainer fare, i ploughed through the lot. There was also a more gentle dhal, and a tofu curry type dish that I wasn’t mad about, as it tasted a lot like tomato puree and not much else. The naan bread was great, and the chutney was a welcome touch.

Equally welcome - it was huge! All the more for me to enjoy. Sadly, it meant no dessert for me, but if I could, I would have thrown myself gladly on the vegan tiramisu on the menu if I had a spare inch of space in my stomach. Zagreb, we both agreed, is a great town.

Zrno Bio Bistro
Medulićeva 20, Zagreb 10000

+385 1 4847 540

Vlaška ulica 79, Zagreb 10000
+385 1 4649 400

Masarykova ulica 11, 10000 Zagreb
+385 1 8897 444

For what it's worth Zagreb has another vegan-friendly eatery, Sumski Kuhar, but it was shut for a holiday when we were there. It looks good, so here are the details:

Sumski Kihar
Tkalčićeva 7, 10000 Zagreb
+385 1 4819 634

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Can you eat carrot tops? Yes - here's how

For a long time (until last week, pretty much) I thought the leaves of carrots were inedible. I even had the vague idea that they were poisonous.

But it wasn't until bunches of carrots, leaves attached, kept turning up in my veg box that I actually bothered to get on the internet and find out if all my old prejudices against carrot leaves were true. Turns out I was very, very wrong.

Carrot tops are not only not poisonous, they're pretty tasty and very adaptable - apparently they're a good substitute for parsley.

Next time you get some carrot tops with your carrots, don't chuck them out - use them to make a carrot and carrot top dip.

It's basically hummus but without the chick peas. It's the sort of thing you could use to dip some crudites in, use as a sandwich filling, put on oatcakes or toast, or just get some chips and get stuck in. It's your dip, you do want you like with it. I won't tell.

100g of carrots, cut into thick half moons and roasted until soft (35 minutes at 180 should do the trick, or just steam til tender)
25g of pumpkin seeds, roasted in a dry pan until they pop
One tablespoon tahini
The juice of quarter to a half of a lemon
10g of carrot leaves (don't take the stems, just pull the leafy bits of like you would if you were taking thyme or rosemary off the stems)
One small garlic clove, sliced

How you do it
Chuck all the ingredients in your food processor (or use a stick blender) and process til it's as smooth or chunky as you like it.