Vegan on Tour: Oslo, Norway

Raw food from Helt Raa, Oslo

Part 2 of my Scandinavia recap today with Vegan on Tour: Oslo!

It was a few hours on the train from Gothenburg to Oslo, pretty comfortable though and we had Wi-Fi and books to keep us occupied!

We found a place to stay through Airbnb which worked out really well since both the host couple and apartment itself were lovely. The apartment was in the Grunerløkka district which is the bohemian/”hipster” part of Oslo and had a nice relaxed feel to it and lots of little independent boutiques and cafés to browse.

Akershus Fortress, Oslo

We saw some of Oslo’s main tourist attractions:  walking up and around Akershus fortress…

Oslo Royal Opera House

on to the roof of Oslo’s Royal Opera House for the view of the city and harbour…

Vigeland Park Oslo

and around Vigeland Sculpture Park (Vigelandsparken), the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist. The sculptures were pretty bizarre: Angry babies, men throwing babies, people killing monsters, unhappy couples…The museum actually closed before we got to it so we never did get any explanation for the sculptor’s chosen theme.

Helt Raa Raw Food Oslo

I’m afraid I don’t have too many foodie pics from Oslo to share but I do have a few highlights.

Helt Raa was a place we went to a couple of times (in a food hall called Mathallen near us). The staff were really friendly and the food delicious. It’s mostly raw  but they  do also serve some cooked Thai food, though we didn’t try any. There isn’t much seating there but we were lucky to have a gorgeous balcony at the apartment where we were staying so we enjoyed our takeaway dinners outside, making the most of the warm evenings.

The dinner “box” pictured featured raw parsnip rice, creamy coconut vegetable curry, marinated broccoli and apple salad, a red cabbage salad with sultanas and raw cashews. The next time we went we also got a little raw chaga brownie thrown in for free!

We were in the area one afternoon and tried a Coconut-Pineapple Smoothie which was sweet and creamy- a perfect pick-me-up.

Funky Fresh Foods Raw Coffee & Chocolate Cake

You should definitely definitely check out Roetter health food store if you’re in Oslo. It’s a true treasure trove with lots of new-to-me products, as well as old favourites. We discovered an amazing raw food company called Funky Fresh Foods stocked there too. Of course we couldn’t try everything.. but we did get some coconut yogurt with goji berries and seeds which we ate as part of breakfast one day, two ice creams and a raw cake which we had as desserts after our helt raa balcony dinners!

The raw chocolate and coffee cake (pictured above) was very very good.

Funky Fresh Foods Raw Liquorice & Strawberry Ice Cream

But this ice cream! I’m not exaggerating when I say it was the best ice cream I’ve EVER had, vegan or otherwise. The creamy strawberry ice cream was delicious in its own right but it had a thick swirl of sweet and salty liquorice sauce which took it to a whole other level! Wow! (Liquorice is very popular in Scandinavia and you’ll see lots of places selling liquorice sticks, candy and liquorice flavoured things)

The second ice cream we had was Vanilla Cookie Dough and very tasty,  but it couldn’t compete with the liquorice & strawberry.

Oslo Botanical Garden

We had to see Oslo’s Botanical garden! Not as special as Gothenburg’s but still very pleasant.

Vegan Pizza at Villa Paradiso, Oslo

One evening we thought we’d eat out and hit up the local pizzeria, Villa Paradiso. This was just 2 minutes from our place and apparently the best restaurant for authentic stone-baked pizza in Oslo.  It was very busy but with a nice buzzy atmosphere, and the pizza was excellent. You definitely don’t need cheese for great pizza! 

H and I both just made up our own pizzas as, unsurprisingly, there wasn’t a vegan pizza listed on the menu. I topped mine with grilled aubergine and courgette, baked tomato, olives, pine nuts and fresh rocket.

Grunerlokka, Oslo

Just a pretty street I snapped while we were waiting for a table at Villa Paradiso

Apent Bakery Sourdough, White Bean Olive Tapenade Salad

Since we had a decent kitchen and Oslo really is very expensive, we put together our own breakfasts and lunches most days .

We bought some fantastic sourdough bread from Apent Bakery, recommended by the Hairy Bakers ( with whom my UK readers will I’m sure be familiar!), which didn’t need much adornment, and picked up fresh fruit and veggies from Roetter. One lunchtime we made this easy white bean salad with olive tapenade. Another day we got bread and fillings, including hummus, sundried tomato spread, salad, etc. from a local bakery called Godt Brod (Good Bread).

Oslomarka Forest Hike

What else did we get up to? Outside of Grunerlokka I wasn’t actually too fond of Oslo so after checking out the main sights we headed out of the city. We spent a magical day hiking in Oslomarka forest which amazingly is only 20 minutes away on the metro.

Wild blueberries in Oslomarka Forest

The highlight was finding wild blueberries! We stumbled across a couple of boys and realized that they were berry-picking. We hadn’t even noticed the fruit-laden bushes until then! They kindly gave us a couple of empty bags and containers to fill. Admittedly most got eaten on our journey home but we managed to save a few for with breakfast the next day.

Swimming at Hovedoya island, Oslo

As was the case in Gothenburg, there are many islands just outside Oslo and it’s easy to catch a ferry on the coast and go island hopping. The evening after our hike it was still sweltering hot so we popped over to one of the nearby islands in Oslo fjord for a little dip. It’s rare that I get to swim in the sea but I loved it!

We were recommended Hovedoya island by the girls we were chatting to in Apent bakery as one popular with locals rather than tourists.

view from Hovedoya island, Oslo

You can see that it really wasn’t far from the city- note the fortress we visited earlier just across the water.

Hovedoya island, Oslo

We rested our weary legs and dried off lying in the sunshine for a while…

Oslo animals

Here are a few of the furry friends we met on our travels! A giant Saint Bernard (?) on the metro, a fluffy little dog cooling down in the stream in the Botanical gardens…and some sheep!

That’s it for Oslo! A few of the restaurants we’d bookmarked to try ended up being closed for the summer. I can’t remember their names just at the moment but will update when I do for those of you who get  the chance to visit the city.

Next week I’ll conclude the series with my recap of our time in Stockholm!

Have any of you been to Oslo? What did you make of it?

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Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free)

Strawberry-Rhubarb Polenta Cake

Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free) | coconutandberries.com

I know it’s sweltering hot here right now, but some kind of madness possessed me and I decided I needed to bake. The rhubarb made me.

A short while ago a friend of mine offered me some rhubarb that her neighbour gave her but she didn’t want. Now, I’m not one to turn down free fruit (actually I think rhubarb is technically a vegetable….) so of course I graciously accepted the gift.

That rhubarb had been hanging around for far too long and making me feel guilty about not using it every time I opened the fridge.

The time had come, and, beyond eating it raw dipped in coconut sugar as Gabby of the Veggie Nook recommended, all my ideas involved some heat.

Rhubarb stalks

An afternoon of having an extra hot kitchen ended up being well worth it though as this cake turned out wonderfully! Strawberries and rhubarb are a classic culinary pairing, I suppose because they’re both in season at the same time but also since strawberries’ sweetness complements tangy, tart rhubarb rather nicely too.

When baked the fruit creates little jammy pockets in the cake- delicious!

Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free) | coconutandberries.com

I made this recipe gluten-free seeing as everyone is always requesting gluten-free recipes and I do do my best to please! I actually loved the soft, moist texture of the cake from the ground almonds and polenta and though it’s a little delicate to be able to pick up with your hands, it’s lovely eaten with a little non-dairy yogurt or vanilla bean cashew cream.

Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free)  | coconutandberries.com

I also used Clearspring Organic Corn Germ Oil which really brought out the nutty taste in the cake and contributed to the lovely golden crumb. But, if you can’t get hold if it, then any neutral oil or even olive oil or melted coconut oil would be fine here.

Oh, and you can also make muffins with this recipe! (You will need to reduce the cooking time accordingly)

Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free)  | coconutandberries.com

Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free)

Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free)

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp Ground flax
  • 3 Tbsp Water
  • 1/3 C Corn Germ oil OR other oil of your choice (see note)
  • 1/2 C Coconut nectar OR agave nectar OR maple syrup
  • 1/3 C Apple purée (unsweetened applesauce)
  • 1/2 C Polenta
  • 1/2 C Ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 1/4 C + 3 Tbsp Brown rice flour (reserve 1 Tbsp to coat the fruit)
  • 1/4 C Tapioca starch
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 C Chopped rhubarb (1/2" pieces)
  • 1/2 C Chopped strawberries
  • Optional glaze
  • 1 Tbsp no added sugar apricot spread
  • 1 Tbsp water

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground flax through to the apple purée.
  2. Sieve all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir well to mix.
  3. Add the liquid mixture to the dry and stir well to fully combine.
  4. Toss the rhubarb and the strawberries with the remaining 1 Tbsp brown rice flour (this helps prevent the fruit sinking) and gently fold into the batter.
  5. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking tin/muffin liners and bake for 40-45 minutes (less for muffins)
  6. If using the optional glaze, mix together the fruit spread and water and brush over cake just after you remove it from the oven.
  7. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
  8. Serve with non-dairy yogurt or vanilla bean cashew cream
http://www.coconutandberries.com/2014/07/26/strawberry-rhubarb-polenta-cake-vegan-gluten-free/

Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free)  | coconutandberries.com

This cake  didn’t make much of a dent on my rhubarb supply so I think I’ll be making either my Stewed Rhubarb with Orange or my Rhubarb-Berry Compote soon! Unless you have any other tasty recipes to share?

Let me know if you try out this Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake recipe. I always appreciate your feedback.

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Fresh Apricot Salad with Strawberry Dressing & Pecans

Fresh Apricot Salad with Strawberry Dressing & Pecans | coconutandberries.com

Fresh Apricot Salad with Strawberry Dressing & Pecans | coconutandberries.com

We’re smack bang in the middle of stone fruit season. Juicy yellow and purple plums, glistening cherries, velvety peaches and nectarines…I’m incorporating them into every meal to make the most of the short season.

Fresh apricots seem to be rather overlooked, including by me, but just as I was leaving my local health food shop a few days ago, I spied a basket of these lightly freckled beauties and couldn’t bear to leave them behind.

Fresh apricots

They were perfectly ripe and a couple did get a little squished on my way home. No matter though as they became a delicious topping for my Sunday morning pancakes.

Fresh Apricot Salad with Strawberry Dressing & Pecans | coconutandberries.com

If you’ve been reading Coconut and Berries since the beginning (!), you may remember the Nectarine Salad with Blackberry Dressing, Basil & Hazelnuts I shared last summer. I used that recipe as a guide, simply switching up a few ingredients, to create this Fresh Apricot Salad with Strawberry Dressing & Pecans.

My fresh apricots took the place of the nectarines, I used strawberries instead of blackberries in the dressing, buttery pecans replaced the hazelnuts, and I added some quinoa to make it a little more substantial.

Strawberry Salad Dressing | coconutandberries.com

I can’t imagine anyone having a problem eating a plateful of leafy greens when they’re tossed in this sweet, pretty pink dressing!

Fresh Apricot Salad with Strawberry Dressing & Pecans |coconutandberries.com

 I particularly like wild rocket (arugula) or watercress in this salad for a peppery kick but go ahead and use whatever salad greens you have to hand. 

Fresh Apricot Salad with Strawberry Dressing & Pecans

Yield: 2 small servings or 1 large

Fresh Apricot Salad with Strawberry Dressing & Pecans

Ingredients

  • 1 C Cooked and cooled quinoa (approx 1/3 C dry)
  • 3-4 C Rocket leaves (arugula)
  • 4 Fresh apricots, pitted and quartered
  • 1/4 C Pecans
  • Strawberry Dressing:
  • 1/3 C Strawberries (approx 5 medium)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp White balsamic vinegar*
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Prepare the dressing first by blending all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to dress the salad.
  2. Toast the pecans in a small pan over medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Set aside.
  3. Lay a bed of rocket on a serving dish or in a salad bowl, top with the quinoa and then the apricots. Drizzle with as much dressing as desired and top with the toasted pecans.
  4. Serve.

Notes

* White balsamic is wonderful here as, like regular balsamic vinegar, it is naturally sweet and so brings out the flavour of the strawberries. Regular balsamic vinegar will darken your dressing so if you don't have white I recommend substituting apple cider vinegar (a little less) and a dash of liquid sweetener.

http://www.coconutandberries.com/2014/07/23/fresh-apricot-salad-with-strawberry-dressing-pecans/

Fresh Apricot Salad with Strawberry Dressing & Pecans |coconutandberries.com

 

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Vegan on Tour: Gothenburg, Sweden

Vegan on Tour: Gothenburg, Sweden

Excited to be continuing my “Vegan on Tour” series

I’ve decided to break my Scandinavia trip into three parts so as not to overwhelm you all with pictures!  I’m going to be posting about each of the cities we visited (Gothenburg, Oslo and Stockholm) once a week for the next three weeks rather than all at once, seeing as I’ve got recipes I want to share as well. First up is Vegan on Tour: Gothenburg!

Gothenburg- Branno-Galtero

It was just me and my friend, H, traveling together. I flew out to Gothenburg to meet her as she’d been in Copenhagen and Malmo already. I would love to see those cities some day too, but seeing as I’ve got a dissertation to be writing I could only really justify 2 weeks away.

Gothenburg was a lovely start to the holiday. It’s the second largest city in Sweden but was still pretty walk-able. 3 full days there was the perfect amount of time to see all that we wanted and get a good feel for the place.

One day we jumped on a tram to the harbour just outside the city and caught a ferry to the island of Branno (pictures above). There’s a collection of little islands and the boats go regularly between them. Branno is a pretty tiny island with just a few permanent residents but with lots of charm. We walked to the far side of the island to an adjoining, completely deserted island, Galtero. It was eerily beautiful and inhabited only by a family of sheep. I could have stayed there all day staring out at the sea and soaking up the silence.

Hagabions Café- Vegan on Tour: Gothenburg, Sweden

This is a food blog after all so of course I’m going to talk about what we ate on the trip! My friend, H, is also vegan which made things easier and also meant that we could try more food as we often got 2 dishes to split! [ N.B. I don’t really like whipping out my big camera at restaurants so most of these pictures are taken with my iPhone]

Our favourite dinner place was  Hagabions Café. Part of a quirky cinema, it has a huge terrace which is packed with locals eating and drinking in the evenings. It’s all vegetarian and there were always a couple of vegan options on the menu.

Our first evening, we had pumpkin soup to start which had these amazing chewy mushrooms in it and warm bread on the side. We split the Chickpea Coconut Curry with fruit salsa. Good but nothing to write home about. And then we shared the raw strawberry cheesecake which I’m sorry to say I forgot to take a picture of! If you’re at Hagabions and it’s on the menu, definitely get it!

Hagabions Café- Vegan on Tour: Gothenburg, Sweden

Another time we weren’t too hungry and had vegan ice cream back at our hostel to eat for dessert…so we just got gazpacho with ciabatta and grilled vegetables.

Hagabions Café- Vegan on Tour: Gothenburg, Sweden

We had actually planned to go back to Hagabions a third time but when we got there they told us that they had run out of food! Luckily Gothenburg isn’t a very big city so we only had to stroll on a few streets to find a tasty Korean dinner at Yammy Kitchen. They serve meat but also have a separate vegan menu with lots of choices. We had miso soup, kimchi, pickled cucumbers, vegan bibimbap and a silken tofu dish which had edamame, shitake mushrooms and leeks.

It was my first time trying bibimbap and I loved it. If anyone knows any restaurants in London that do a good vegan bibimbap, send your recommendations my way please! No pictures again, sorry!

Raw Food Baren- Vegan on Tour: Gothenburg, Sweden

The morning before our island trip we went for brunch at Raw Food Baren, an all-raw restaurant not far from where we were staying. Another must-visit if you’re in Gothenburg. We had tasty juices to start and then shared a couple of different things:

Raw Food Baren- Vegan on Tour: Gothenburg, Sweden

Raw courgette noodles with a creamy dill sauce and mushrooms which we both especially loved; a raw pizza with pesto, cashew cheese, veggies and olives; and a raw brownie for dessert. It’s a shame the restaurant doesn’t open on Sundays or Mondays as I would definitely have gone back.

Raw Food Baren- Vegan on Tour: Gothenburg, Sweden

We kept stumbling across juice bars in the city and one we tried was Juice Källan where I had the Kanelbulle (Cinnamon Roll) Smoothie- banana, mango, apple, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom & homemade almond milk (They swapped the vanilla dairy yogurt out for me).

It happened to be right next to a gorgeous bakery and café, Da Matteo, which we ended up going to for breakfast for 2 of the 3 mornings we were in Gothenburg.

Juice Kallen- Vegan on Tour: Gothenburg, Sweden

They had gorgeous sourdough and rye bread. I’m one of those people who carries an avocado around in her bag…and I guess a jar of peanut butter by the looks of things! PB, jam & avocado on that delicious bread was a perfect breakfast. I’m not a coffee drinker but my friend, H, reports that it was excellent. I can’t remember what that pictured juice was except for it having mint and spirulina in, but it was good too.

Da Matteo- Vegan on Tour: Gothenburg, Sweden

I found the nicest part of the city itself to be Haga. Formerly the workers’ district, the charming wooden houses have been turned into pretty boutiques and cafés. It’s all cobbled streets and is a fun place for a wander.

We walked up the hill to Masthuggskyrkan where you get the best view of the harbour, sea and city and also up to a castle (whose name I’ve forgotten) which seemed to be a popular picnic spot.

The Botanical Garden (Botaniska Tradgarden) is Sweden’s largest and really special. It’s also attached to a nature reserve of forest and lakes where we had a great afternoon hike.

Gothenburg Botanical Garden/Nature Reserve

We really liked the vegetarian café Two Little Birds and went twice for lunch. They serve good meal-size salads, sandwiches, soups and a selection of vegan sweets.

First time around I got the Grilled Tempeh & Aubergine Salad, which came on a tasty base of salad greens, shredded raw vegetables and fruit, with orange-miso dressing and warm Ciabatta bread with olive oil. Yum.

Two Little Birds Café- Vegan on Tour: Gothenburg, Sweden

On my second visit, I had the Red Tofu Salad with sunflower seed & sun dried tomato pesto, pickled vegetables and other goodies. I also got a slice of the lemon cake to take away for later but again forgot to snap a picture of it!

Two Little Birds Café- Vegan on Tour: Gothenburg, Sweden

Their dishes were also really reasonably priced, especially compared to most eateries in Scandinavia. Though I did find that Gothenburg was a little cheaper than Oslo or Stockholm.

Other places you might want to check out are:

En Deli Haga - a little deli with all your classic Middle-Eastern/Greek food, a lot of which is vegan by default

Halsobaren Sushi (Melangatan) – Better than your average sushi place for vegan options- avocado and tofu maki, inari pockets, etc.

Condeco - Chain of restaurants across the city. They have a salad buffet and several vegan options including sandwiches, muffins and smoothies. All vegetarian on Mondays.

That’s it for Gothenburg! Stay tuned for part 2 of my Scandi trip recap- we’ll be in Oslo, Norway!

 

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Beetroot Ribbon Salad with Mint & Cashew Cheese

Beetroot Ribbon Salad with Mint & Cashew Cheese | coconutandberries.com

Hello hello! It feels like forever since we last spoke. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you likely saw a message saying that I wouldn’t be blogging or on social media for a couple of weeks, but I somehow forgot to mention it over here so sorry if you were left in the dark.

 Anyway, I’ve just returned from 2 weeks in Scandinavia! I’d been wanting to go for ages and since a friend was already planning a trip this summer I jumped on board too. I had a fantastic time- We visited 3 major cities (Gothenburg, Oslo and Stockholm) as well as venturing further afield to lakes, forests and islands. 

There was plenty of good food to be had, as I’m sure you can imagine, and I’ll be recapping that side of things on here once I’ve got my photos organized.

Beetroot Ribbon Salad with Mint & Cashew Cheese | coconutandberries.com

For now, I’ve got a new recipe for you which I enjoyed before heading off on holiday.

One of the most popular recipes on Coconut and Berries is my Beetroot & Sweet Potato Salad with Baked Cashew Cheese. It’s so so delicious but very hearty and really a bit wintry for mid-July, so I put a summer spin on it and came up with this lighter, raw alternative- a “Beetroot Ribbon Salad with Mint & Cashew Cheese”.

Spiralized Beets

My spiralizer has been in hibernation most of the winter but since I pulled it out I’ve been using it a lot and remembering how fun it is to make veggie “spaghetti” or ribbons! If you’re looking for more recipes to make the most of your spiralizer, try my 10-Minute (Nearly) Raw Peanut Noodles.

Spiralized Beet Salad

I love beetroots roasted but they’re pretty wonderful raw too. I love how their sweet earthiness offsets the tangy cashew cheese and fresh mint here. If you can’t get behind raw beetroot, though I urge you to give it a chance, using mild-tasting courgette noodles as a substitute would still be tasty.

Beetroot Ribbon Salad with Mint & Cashew Cheese | coconutandberries.com

I was trying out recipes from Artisan Vegan Cheese when I made this recipe so I used the cultured Cashew Chèvre from the book here. I’ve also made the recipe with my own Baked Cashew Cheese  which can be used baked or left unbaked to keep the dish completely raw.

Beetroot Ribbon Salad with Mint & Cashew Cheese

Yield: 2 Servings

Beetroot Ribbon Salad with Mint & Cashew Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium/Large Beetroot, peeled
  • 1/2 Recipe Baked Cashew Cheese (Baked or left unbaked) (Approx 1/3 C)
  • 1/3 C Chopped mint
  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 tsp Maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

  1. Spiralize the beetroot and chop the mint.
  2. Whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette and toss well with the beetroot and mint in a large bowl.
  3. Remove to a serving platter or individual plates and top with dollops of cashew cheese.
  4. Serve immediately.
http://www.coconutandberries.com/2014/07/18/beetroot-ribbon-salad-mint-cashew-cheese/

Beetroot Ribbon Salad with Mint & Cashew Cheese | coconutandberries.com

Raw beetroot, yay or nay?

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