London, April 2022: Thursday the 14th

Thursday turned out to be a very sunny and warm day in London, and I decided to have breakfast at O’Neill’s King’s Cross. The main reason for heading here, was because it was close to the hotel. Though the pub claims to be “The original Irish Bar in Kings Cross”, it came across as an American Irish pub rather than a proper Irish one to me. The only vegan option on the menu was the Plant Life Breakfast (toasted muffin with vegan sausages, spinach hash, guacamole, flat mushroom, Heinz® baked beans and cherry tomatoes), so that’s what I went for, along with some sparkling soda water on tap (basically free fizzy water). They didn’t have any plant milks, so for me tea or coffee were out of the question (I’ll drink my coffee black at a place with good coffee, but not at a place like this).

When the breakfast arrived, I was a bit disappointed, but not really surprised. The spinach was dry, the mushrooms were dry, the bap wasn’t great, and the whole thing was rather sad. Fortunately, it did its job, and filled me up, so that I was ready to meet the day. I would not recommend this as a breakfast place, though, there are far better places to eat, and thinking back, I kind of wish I’d gone to a supermarket and just bought a sandwich and a bottle of sparkling water there.


A plate with vegan sausages, half of a bap with mushed avocado, half a bap with cherry tomatoes, hash browns, spinach, baked beans, and mushrooms. A glass with fizzy water behind it, and an e-reader with an open page to the right.
Plant Life Breakfast @ O’Neill’s
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

After breakfast, I decided to go back to the hotel. On my way I stopped by one of the many food stalls outside King’s Cross station: Crosstown. Crosstown makes handcrafted fresh doughnuts, and you can get vegan doughnuts from them all over London. I bought the Vegan Coconut & Lime doughnut, and it was really really nice! I brought the doughnut back to my hotel room, and enjoyed it there, in peace and quiet.


A food stall with wooden food displays with glass doors. On the front "Crosstown" is written.
Crosstown London, at King’s Cross station
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

Relaxing in my room with a nice tread did wonders, and I decided to take the tube to Tower Hill. This meant that I arrived at the Tower of London, where I started my walk. I then walked along the River Thames, and passed a few bridges, Tower Bridge being one of them. When I first visited London in 1988 (the year I turned 14), I remember staying at a hotel where we could see Tower Bridge from our hotel room.

As it was a very sunny day, I wasn’t the only one out for a walk. Not only were there lots of people walking along the river, but the benches along the foot path were filled with people relaxing and smiling. Every time you passed by a pub or an outdoor restaurant, they were filled with people. I’m certain the lovely weather and the fact that the next day was a bank holiday were the reasons everywhere were filled with happy people.


A caste of bricks with towers.
Tower of London
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

A caste of bricks, with towers.
Towers of London
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

A river with a large bridge with towers on each side.
Tower Bridge
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

There was one thing I wanted to do before going to the bookcrossing meetup I was going to attend at 4 pm: I wanted to visit Daunt Books. I have visited Daunt Books previously, but it’s always worth a visit if you love books and have the time. I think it’s one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world! I didn’t buy anything, but just being there, browsing the shelves, was nice. They have a really good non-fiction selection, for being such a small bookshop. Because it really isn’t all that big, once you get into it.


A bookshop entrance, with "Daunt Books" on the sign over the door.
Daunt Books
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

A room with walls covered with books. At the end of the room is a window with painted glass art. Flowerlike green lamps are hanging from the ceiling. There are also tables filled with books in the room.
Daunt Books
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

On my way to Allsop Arms, where I was supposed to meet up with the bookcrossers, I pretty much stumbled over a small coffee shop called Hagen. Hagen is a Danish espresso bar concept born out of Copenhagen and founded in London. They serve specialty coffee, and to my delight their pour over was absolutely top notch! As far as I can tell from their homepage, they have five branches across London. A perfect place for a break, if you have the time and need a nice cup of coffee.


A marble counter with a carafe and a glass of coffee. To the left behind the counter you can see coffee grinders, espresso machines, and other coffee making equipment. You can also see two baristas working.
At Hagen Espresso Bar
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

Ha hand holding a carafe of coffee, pouring it into a glass.
Coffee at Hagen Espresso Bar
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

At the bookcrossing meetup, we ended up being a total of three people. I think it probably was because a lot of people left the city due to Easter. It ended up being a really nice meetup, though, and it was lovely to see people I hadn’t seen in real life in a few years. I think last time I met Poodlesister was at the convention in Oxford in 2015.

It was pretty much dinner time for me, so I had pie and chips, and I also had a couple of ciders in the pub. One of the ciders I’d had before, the other one not. It’s always fun to try new beers and ciders, especially if I’m in the UK. Though I do with the IPA trend would soon be over!


A table with books spread across it. On the table there's also a glass of red cider.
Bookcrossing meetup at Allsop Arms
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

After the meetup I went back to the hotel, where I had a lovely bath. Having a bath tub in the hotel room always feels like luxury, and I try to use it if I can. It was so nice and relaxing, having a bath and reading. I decided to stay in the hotel room for the rest of the evening, and was honestly pretty exhausted. It was nice to creep under the duvet after a long, but nice, day.

What I ate in a day during the Covid-19 pandemic [vegan]

DISCLAIMER: This is not how I eat every day, but just what I ate on a random day in my life, as a vegan. I’m not suggesting that anyone should eat the same exact things. I’m not a dietician, nor an expert on nutrition, but I try to eat varied and balanced. And I’m still learning!

What I ate on Sunday 3 May, 2020, during the Covid-19 lockdown. At this point Norway had started to opening up again, but my work place was still closed, and I stayed mostly at home, but for a few short walks. Even though it’s not showed in the video, I take vitamins B12 and vegan D3 supplements.

Breakfast favourites

As a kid, I wasn’t too great when it came to eating dinners. I’ve always been a breakfast person, and without it, I don’t really work. Mornings where I have the time to sit down and have a proper, nice breakfast are the best ones. Especially the ones of the slow kind. Here are some of my breakfast favorites.

Smoothie bowls

As you have guessed (if you didn’t know already), these are smoothies that come in a bowl. They’re often of a little thicker consistency than regular smoothies, and in my opinion should come with some yummy toppings. I never use recipes for smoothies, i take what I have and “throw” the ingredients into the blender. It can be a banana, a handful of spinach, a handful of frozen green peas, and some plant milk. Nom! It’s super healthy too!

Smoothie bowl with coconut flakes, seeds, nuts, and frozen berries. Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Smoothie bowl with coconut flakes, seeds, nuts, and frozen berries.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Smoked “carrot salmon”

Back in the days when I was a pescetarian (I ate fish and other seafood), I actually loved smoked salmon. It was only last year I discovered smoked “carrot salmon”, thanks to a recipe from the amazing Norwegian blog Veganmisjonen. I can’t speak for anyone else, but to me, this thing actually tastes like smoked salmon!

Scrambled tofu

Who needs eggs, when you have tofu? I certainly don’t! I simply LOVE scrambled tofu, and the way I make it is super easy. I put approx 250 grams tofu in a bowl, and “mash” it with a fork, then I add two table spoons of soy sauce, and two Vegg yolks (I follow the instructions on the package), and mix it together. Then I pour the mix into a frying pan, where I fry it the same way as I would scrambled eggs.

Toasted bread with scrambled tofu and smoked "salmon carrot". Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Toasted bread with scrambled tofu and smoked “salmon carrot”.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

There are many other yummy vegan breakfast items out there, but these three are my favourites, I think. What about you, what are your favourite breakfast items?

Waffles – the Norwegian way!

I love waffles! That is, I love the Norwegian type, with sour cream and jam. Some people might think that when you go vegan, you have to give up all the things you love. Fortunately, that’s not the case, and yesterday I made some traditional, Norwegian waffles. 100 % dairy, egg, and cruelty free!

I used the recipe by one of my favourite bloggers, Veganmisjonen. Served with iMat Fraiche and strawberry jam, it pushes all the right waffle buttons, that’s for sure!

Vegan waffles.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

One happy Norwegian with waffles.
Om nom – one happy vegan!
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Elin’s Chana Masala

I simply love Indian food, and chickpeas are among my favourite ingredients. One of my favourite dishes is chana masala, and here’s my super simple recipe. It is, of course, 100 % plant based, vegan, and gluten free. This recipe is meant for two persons, so if you’re four, make a double portion.

Ingredients
1 can tinned cickpeas (ca 500 g)
4 tablespoon rapeseed (or sunflower) oil
2-3 cm piece of fresh ginger
1 red or yellow onion
1 fresh chilli
2-3 tomatoes
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
Finely chopped, fresh coriander (to taste)

How to
Pour the brine of the cickpeas into a cup or a small bowl (to be used later).
Peel the onion and the ginger, and cut the onion into two halves. Cut off the stem of the chilli.
Put the onion, ginger, and the chilli into a foodprocessor, and run until it’s all finely chopped.
Heat the oil in a pot. Pour the onion, ginger and chilli into the pot, and fry on a medium heat until the onion is golden.
Cut the tomatoes (use the foodprocessor), por them into the pot, and bring to a boil. Add garam masala and salt, and let this simmer for a few minutes.
Add the chickpeas, stil well, and bring to a boil. Let this simmer for a few minutes.
At the brine of the chickpeas, stir, and bring to a boil. Let this simmer for 30 – 45 minutes. Stir it every now and then, so it doesn’t burn.
Add the lime juice and the coriander, and simmer for 1 – 2 minutes.

I recommend serving this dish with rice.

A plate with chana masala, yellow rice, soy yoghurt, mango chutney, and naan.
Chana masala served with yellow rice, soy yoghurt, mango chutney, and naan.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2021

Recipe for Chickpea Curry

This recipe was originally posted on my Norwegian food blog, but after serving it to some Irish folks, I have been begged (read: asked nicely) to make a translation into English. I was inspired to make the recipe after eating a delicious chickpea curry at the hotel I was staying at during the EasterCon in Bradford in 2013. This recipe is totally dairy and gluten free, so it is suitable for most people, even vegans!

Ingredients
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cummin
1 onion
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil (e.g. rapeseed oil)
1 can (about 400-450 g) chickpeas
2 ripe tomatoes
1 can (about 400 ml) coconut milk

How to
Make a paste of the ginger, garlic, lime juice, chili powder, garam masala, cardamom and cummin in a bowl so that it is ready to be used. This is easily done by mixing it together in a mortar or small bowl.

Finely chop the onion in a food processor.
Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan.
Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes, until soft (not brown).
Finely chop the tomatoes in the food processor. It should look like a sauce.
Add the curry paste to the onions, stir well and sauté.
Add the tomato sauce, bring to a boil and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Add the coconut milk, bring to a boil.
Drain the chickpead well, them add them to the rest, and cook until the coconut has reduced.
Season with salt and pepper.
Remember to stir the curry every now and then so it doesn’t burn.

The curry goes well with brown rice
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2015