Stunning snowy weekend in Buxton


A snowy walk on the golf course in Buxton

Last weekend, Sophie and I had the opportunity to visit our dear friends, Dan, Fiona, Aidan and Will in Buxton, England. The weather was spectacular. Aidan, who was celebrating his 15th birthday, said that we were there for the prettiest day of winter so far this year. Fiona and I have been close friends now for more than 2 decades. Sophie and I consider all four of them members of our extended family. And, we have the pleasure of being the boys “fairy god parents” as well.

The visit was brief but delightful! We took the fast train up on Saturday morning and back to London-Euston on Sunday afternoon. They are great hosts and, of course, the food was delicious.

Saturday lunch we had a easy, healthy and tasty vegetable soup and just out of the oven homemade seeded bread. Some cut up fruit, olives, vegan cheese, and spreads and we had a lovely lunch. Sorry no photos!

To make the soup: Fiona quickly sautéed an onion in soup pot, then added about two cups of vegetable stock and a couple of partial bags of frozen chopped vegetables (winter squash, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, etc.), covered the whole thing with water and cooked it until the vegetables were soft…maybe 20 minutes. Then she pureed the contents with an immersion blender. We added a variety of spices and herbs and tasted until we liked the flavor.

Dan had started bread before we arrived and it finished just in time for lunch.  It was so good. Still warm, light, airy and hearty at the same time. We finished off the meal with a delicious vegan chocolate birthday cake with chocolate glaze that Fiona had made in honor of Aidan’s birthday.

Dinner was Thai take-away from Khomkhai Thai Cuisine. They had a great selection of vegetarian dishes. Menu here. Together the adults shared the mixed vegetarian appetizers, a red and a green vegetable curry a mixed vegetable dish, and my personal favorite, Tao Hu Pad Kra Pow, stir-tried bean curd with vegetables and chili and garlic sauce. The two younger people enjoyed fried rice dishes and sweet corn cakes.

In the morning it was still snowing!  We decided on making a leisurely breakfast together. They had purchased Quorn pieces that were actually vegan. I hadn’t seen those previously. The Quorn products, which are made from mushroom and potato protein and are ubiquitous here, usually have egg whites in them. Some one at the company got smart and formulated a vegan version.

Fajita burrito filling with vegan Quorn pieces

We decided to make fajita burritos with black beans and breakfast potatoes.



Fajita burrito–ready to wrap! 
Black beans with fresh tomato and cumin

Fajita Burrito Bar
Serves 4 to 6

1 bag frozen vegan Quorn pieces
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
8 to 10 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon of Southwest seasoning (Penzey’s brand or a mixture of ground ancho pepper, cumin, and chipotle)
salt to taste, if needed

1 12-ounce can of black beans
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes, or mild tomato salsa

6 large size flour tortillas (wraps), any variety (wraps)
3/4 cup vegan cheese, grated (we used freefrom chilli & jalapeño)
1/2 bag of baby mixed greens
1 cup of cherry tomato, halves

1 ripe avocado, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup, chopped fresh cilantro (coriander leaves; optional)
1 small jar of spicy Mexican style salsa or hot sauce (optional)

To make fajita filling: In a wok or large skillet sauté onion, garlic and Quorn pieces in a small amount of water until the onions soften. Then add mushrooms and peppers, spices and 1/2 cup of water. Continue cooking over medium heat until the vegetables are cooked and the Quorn is heated through. Adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside and keep warm.

To make beans: Rinse and drain beans, then put beans in a small sauce pan and add tomatoes and cumin, and 1/2 cup water. Stir over medium-heat until cooked through. Set aside and keep warm.

Prepare toppings you are using and put into bowls for serving. Warm tortillas in oven, microwave or over flame on stove top. Serve everything buffet style to allow guests to make their own burrito concoction. Delicious served with breakfast potatoes or steamed rice.

Pretty sky on this snowy afternoon

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