I was in Norwich over Christmas and had time to stop off at the Revolucion de Cuba bar and restaurant for lunch. Their Spicy Bean Burger is £10, and the description on the menu reads: “black beans, cannellini beans, sautéed peppers and onions mixed with Cajun spices, then breaded, deep fried, and topped with mango salsa.” It also came with chips in a mug, pickle, some beetroot slices, and paprika and rum flavour mayonnaise, all served on a wooden board.
I am quite excited to have my first recipe post to share with you, and to report back on how it worked out for me. I found this recipe online by Kathy Patalsky, and wanted to try it right away. We love sweet potatoes and cook with beans and spinach all the time, so it seemed like a perfect fit! I changed a few small details in the recipe, so I will record exactly what I put in and how I cooked it here. I actually even forgot a stage or two, so I will reproduce the recipe here with my changes added.
When you head to a Burger King, as a vegetarian, there are two options: the veggie burger, or the veggie wrap. As we are about to see, those two options are not so very different after all. One of the things that always has and always will annoy me about restaurants and fast food venues is the lack of choice for those who do not wish to eat meat; given the increasingly large number of vegetarians and vegans in the country, and also the factor that not everyone who does eat meat wants to eat it at every meal, you would think there would be more on offer. But instead of the wide range of options of fillings, burger buns or wraps, salad accompaniments, sizes, and so on that carnivores get, for vegetarian diets, there are just these two.
I recently stayed at the Arden Hotel in Birmingham ahead of Clothes Show Live, and since all of the food venues in the NEC closed early, we ended up eating at their own restaurant and bar. Apparently you have to book ahead to get into the main restaurant (even though the entire thing was empty bar one table when we got there), so we ate at the Burgundy Bar section just opposite. Unfortunately for the burger, it found itself in an inhospitable environment: drunk Christmas party guests were staggering around, gusts of cold air were blowing in from outside in the smoking area, and much more could have been desired from the staff.
Recently I ate at a pub in a small local village in Kent, Wrotham. The pub is called The Moat, and they serve a sweet potato and red pepper burger on their menu. Of course, I just had to try this out! It comes served with homemade coleslaw and skinny fries, and has a gherkin stuck on top as well, giving it quite a strange appearance. It is placed on a wooden board with a paper tray, which unfortunately is quite easy to tear once you start to eat the coleslaw. This is one of my pet hates at the moment as paper seems to be “in” with burgers – it just makes a mess, and I don’t want to eat it by accident.
This week I’m taking a look at the Iceland Spicy Bean Burgers, which are available in the vegetarian freezer section and can be cooked either in the microwave or the oven. For the purposes of this review, I put them in the oven, although a favourite snack when I was a student with no money was to put them in the microwave. I would then cut them into strips, lay them inside a tortilla, and wrap them up with some salad vegetables. They are fine if done like this, but can be a bit soggy underneath if they get too damp.
It is perhaps debatable whether or not a bake qualifies as a burger, but based on the shape and the consistency, on this occasion I’m counting it. Particularly when it comes to being a vegetarian option, I think this one just fits the bill. The mushroom and spinach bake is available from Sainsbury’s, where you can buy a pack of four at once. They cook in the oven – I could say that they would probably do fine if microwaved, but I have never tried it, and I’m sure the breadcrumbs would suffer for it. They are quite “tall” compared to the average burger, and have a tendency to get a bit droopy in the middle once cooked – beware of them accidentally spilling out their insides before you even get them on the plate.
Every year, people ask me what it is like to have a vegetarian Christmas. What is it like? What do we eat? Do we have a traditional Christmas dinner or something more unusual? The purpose of this post is to illustrate what a typical meal might be for us at Christmas time, although we always eat something different year on year. My Mum always cooks for us, using a combination of recipes she finds leading up to the date and her own inspiration, as well as a few classics which come back time and time again.
Ever since I was a child, I’ve been eating a veggie bean burger from Burger King when we needed fast food. Although it’s not something I do on a regular basis, it is the one option which has been consistent for as long as I can remember. Some fast food outlets will not offer a veggie option at all, and McDonalds have changed from offering a veggie burger, to having nothing at all for a while, to a short-lived wrap, to the new wrap which is now available. Burger King, however, have always had a veggie bean burger – and while it may have changed a little (I’m sure I always used to have one full burger instead of two patties, and there used to be ketchup included), it is something that I know I can rely on if we have to pull into a service station for a meal.