Category Archives: Food

Beans on toast

Many years ago, I made baked beans from scratch. After the best part of a day in the oven, the beans were still chewy and, despite my best attempts at coercion, my kids refused to eat them. Well, they were pretty horrid.

The episode removed any desire to attempt baked beans again. Until recently. Fed up with cans of beans floating in orange-red, thin sugary slime, I began to think about making my own again.

Fortunately, since my last attempt, the internet was created. So, last night we ate beans on toast.

And they were delicious. Cheap too, a couple of quid and it’d comfortably feed four. Which means tonight’s evening meal will involve leftover beans.

This experience, and our new found fondness for chilli made only with beans, means that legumes will feature more prominently in my diet.


Today was the second day of our local’s pie festival.

The vegetarian choice is pretty good. Really good.

I quite enjoyed the two vegan pies I sampled tonight. I rate the aloo gobi highly, but the green-filled second pie was very nice too. I’m not sure what was in it, but it was tasty.

When I say green, I’m not referring to anything you can’t buy from Lidl.

Culture & coincidence

Yesterday we enjoyed more culture. My second in command had a conversation with a girl in Sloan’s the other day. Which resulted in us visiting Partick yesterday.

We quite liked Partick; we had our nails done and watched the Liverpool-Stoke match in the Deoch an Dorus.

We then had great curry.

Yesterday was also a day of coincidence; synchronicity even.

Yes, we saw the Shiverin Sheiks for the second time in two days.

Which might in itself not be unusual. But, in conversation with the front man, I was asked if I knew Ratty. That’s Ratty who runs the Mean Eyed Cat, the former owner of the Schooner anf previously manager of the Central and the Head of Steam.

Which was pretty spooky. Apparently, the band had played at the Schooner previously. They’re playing at the Sage this summer.

They’re well worth seeing.

Anyway, some pictures of cultural activities.

While in the 13th Note, we met up with some people who were also in Glasgow for the cancelled William McCarthy gig. We all went on to MacSorley’s to watch another band.

Sadly, we need to return to normality today.

Gas street

While I’ve been to Birmingham many times, I’ve never been to the canal area before this afternoon. Most impressed with the Canalside Bar, which has a pretty decent vegan menu. 

And, while on the subject, the Stable has a rare choice of vegan pizzas. 


As planned, I had a walk down to Gateshead Stadium, for its first Nevfest (Northeast Vegan Festival). The Stadium of Light is the usual venue, the cancellation at short notice due to a power failure earlier this year is a likely reason for the change of location.

I was a frequent visitor to Gateshead Stadium from the mid 90s to the early 00s, since it held a really good computer fair. I’ve built many PCs from parts purchased there. Cheap, disposable computers of the last decade meant that home assembly was no longer cost effective (my current PC was less than half the price of the last one I built – over ten years ago). And, so, computer fairs came to a torturous, shameful end. 

Anyway, the today’s vegan festival was held in the hall which had housed computer fairs in the past. It was satisfying to see the place as busy today as it was in its computer fair heyday. 

Hills are everywhere

We live on a big hill. Today we walked down to the Schooner. After a beer there, we walked across the river to the Tyne bar. 

And then along the (other) river to the Cluny. 

Where we had decent food. 

And, now, we’re in the Cumberland Arms. Or, rather, outside it. Good music on a Sunday afternoon. 

Most of these places also involved hills. 


After a visit to the vegan festival in town, we’re now in Lady Grey’s. Where the barman laughed at Suzy’s No, Gary, not Jakehead. 

I’ve just re-noticed the takeaway place across the road. The middle part of the sign is missing, but the older one underneath fills the gap almost perfectly. 

Mill Dam

Today, we went to South Shields. For a food and drink festival. Where we had decent veggie food and beer and cocktails. 

Afterwards, after putting a drunk teenager in a cab, we had a couple of beers at Mill Dam. In the Steamboat.

And, later, the magical effects of beer made my hair grow. 

I might need to have a haircut tomorrow. 

Today was a good day

Today didn’t start very well. I’d planned an early finish, but messy deadlines at work meant that wasn’t possible. My second in command had a similar problem, finishing even later than me. 

We did, however, meet our goal of attending the annual Gateshead beer festival. 

I’ll return to the beer festival in a moment; while on my way home from work, the internet informed me that, after a prolonged wait, Guinness is now vegan. Ok, so I can’t buy a can or bottle yet; that’s still work in progress. But keg is now good (I’d never buy cans anyway). 

With a half hour to spare before meeting my second in command, I ventured to my local. Where I enjoyed my first pint of Guinness in a very long time. 

Here’s the press release, by the way. 

You might need to zoom in a bit. After enjoying my Guinness, we walked down the road to the Gateshead beer festival. Where I was surprised that I enjoyed a sour beer (Great Heck – fishless beer). And some other stuff. We also had veggie chilli. 

Afterwards, we called at our local again for a nightcap. I decided on Guinness. I also had a very nice vegan pie. Well, it’s also the annual Gateshead international pie festival (in my local, the Three Tuns).

Where I enjoyed a very nice vegan pie. With peas and gravy. There was mashed potato, but that was consumed by my second in command. 

I’d already eaten, but the pie was free. I’d have bought one anyway. Tomorrow, I may buy two. They have six vegan pies. 

I recall the first pie festival; there were a few vegetarian pies. Now there are many. 

We live in Gateshead. It’s not exactly the vegetarian/vegan capital of the north. But my local always has (generous) veggie alternatives at all of their events.