What I ate on my birthday (and what I got for my birthday!)

It was my birthday this week and I thought it might be interesting to share what I ate as part of my celebrations! I also thought it may be useful to share what I received as gifts, which could help others with present ideas for vegan friends and family. My family and friends were so generous and thoughtful in their gifts and everything was vegan friendly! I’m so impressed with them!

What I ate – birthday edition!

I was working this year on my birthday – so during the day I had my usual weekday meals. For breakfast I had chocolate and berry overnight oats and my packed lunch this week was butternut squash and sweet potato soup. I also had some crisps and a banana for snacks.. so not the most exciting food day.

The evening was when my birthday really started. We went to a local bar for cocktails and olives on the outdoor terrace.. in the autumn.. in Yorkshire – but it was actually really lovely by the canal and there were heaters and blankets! Then we made it over the road to Pizza Express. I tried the new vegan doughballs with a harissa dip – so tasty and nice to get back onto the doughballs which used to be my favourite part of a trip to Pizza Express. I then tried the new vegan jackfruit puttanesca (jackfruit marinated in a puttanesca sauce of tomatoes, olives, capers, red onion, chilli, garlic and herbs – with their vegan mozzarella). It was pretty tasty, but I’ve got to say I prefer the vegan giardiniera.

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Then we celebrated again this weekend at Brasserie Blanc in Leeds with university friends. As a French restaurant, I was surprised that they had clearly marked vegan options. I usually avoid fancy or French restaurants as the vegan and vegetarian options are usually very poor (salad anyone?) – but I was impressed!

I had their thai samosas to start (pretty average and distinctly un-french!). Then for my main I had the harissa baked aubergine with butternut squash, baba ganoush, pine nuts and flat bread (very tasty and surprisingly filling! But again, not very french..) and apple crumble with vanilla ice cream for dessert – in all it was a very tasty and satisfying meal and has slightly changed my opinion on fancy, French restaurants, although it would have been nice to see some more French-style vegan options.

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What I got for my birthday

Now for the presents.. I was very lucky, as I always am, and received some beautiful, thoughtful gifts.

First up from my husband was a vegan junk food cooking class in Manchester (which we’re going to in Jan) – very impressed with him there! He also gave me flowers, chocolate, a cookbook and a ‘grow-your-own avocado tree’ set which I’m excited to try!

From my parents I got some lovely tasselled loafers from Will’s Vegan Shoes and some goodies from Liz Earle and Neal’s Yard.

From my parents-in-law I got the new Deliciously Ella cookbook and the new Lucy Watson cookbook, vegan Baileys and a voucher for Homesense/Tkmaxx which I’m excited to spend!

And from my other wonderful family and friends I got a Le Creuset casserole dish, (absolutely amazing Emma!), pink grapefruit gin (yay Finola!) and beauty goodies, beautiful flowers from Bloom and Wild (loved them Hayley!), vegan organic wine (yes Becca!) a house plant and some books on walks in the Yorkshire Dales (looking forward to exploring!) – so I did very well and am feeling very lucky that I have such an incredible husband and such amazing family and friends!

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