The Real Junk Food Project vegan takeover at Two Towers brewery

With so many entries in to the Knobhead Olympics already this year (we’re catching up on the douche-baggery of 2016 already and it’s not even June yet), it might make you wonder what the actual point of anything is. But despair is the enemy of progress, so despair not. Don’t be down. Be awesome.

You can be awesome (yes in the LITERAL sense of the word – do cool and worthwhile stuff and you will fill people with awe. Do cute stuff and you’ll fill them with aww, but that’s beside the point). And supporting vegan stuff and independent endeavours within your local community is mighty cool. Fact.

Ok, I might be overstating that a little. But all we can do is VOTE (oh gawd please just vote) and try and do things we think are better overall for our own communities. I think vegan stuff is better for all communities because of all the reasons, and so are charitable projects like The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP), which takes food that would otherwise be wasted and makes delicious meals out of it. They operate on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis, so if you’ve got limited funds you can still enjoy a lovely meal. There are TRJFP initiatives across the country and the one in Birmingham also runs a ‘freegan’ box scheme – delivering fruit and veggies to people for free. Yep, free.

This Saturday, TRJFP did a vegan takeover of the Two Towers brewery, which brews a range of their own beers, which are all vegan. Yep, all. The Two Towers brewery is attached to The Gunmaker’s Arms (my interview with Mark from the Two Towers brewery is coming shortly, watch this space).

So double vegan and independent and a worthwhile charity an’ all. Social Justice Warrior Army assemble! We can do this! By this I mean drink nice beer and eat nice food in the knowledge that all of the money you spend is going directly to this awesome stuff (again literally) and not via some dodgy arseholes who pay very expensive lawyers and financial advisers instead of tax. None of those bastards are getting their hands on your cash today! It’s a small victory but when you can do it and enjoy yourself, I mean? Why wouldn’t you?

The review part (I know oh my god finally)

The vegan takeover took place in the brewery as The Gunmaker’s Arm’s is being refurbished and will be open again in June. The guy from TRJFP came in to find out who was eating and told us the menu, taking our orders then and there, which was good news for the greedy, like myself. Obviously we went for everything – the full three courses – because, well it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?

TRJFP 7

The starter was sweet potato wedges with a beautiful, tangy tomato chutney, which was so good we had to get the chef to come out and give us the recipe. Along with the wedges was a delicate potato and nettle soup (they’d been at a nettle festival earlier that day), which came in a take out coffee cup.

TRJFP 8

Main course was a veggie casserole with salad and a sort of big oatcake thing. At this point we had managed to procure extra tomato chutney (and my friend even had some to take home with him), so that was of course involved and set the earthy dish off beautifully.

TRJFP 9

TRJFP 10

It should go without saying I was most excited about the dessert, but I’ve said it anyway. The fact that TRJFP can pull off a vegan dessert using donated food shows how easy it is to do. So many places seem to let their vegan menu tail off when it comes to dessert – fresh fruit salad and/or sorbet does not count. It makes sense though when you realise it demonstrates their lack of cooking skills and any semblance of imagination.

Working with limited ingredients demands a high level of skill and imagination, which was evidenced in the dessert from TRJFP: date and ginger sticky toffee pudding. When the dude from TRJFP said those words I stopped listening and just starting saying yes, all of it please. Dates and ginger are two of my all-time favourite food things (it is a long list) – they don’t usually make it into desserts at my house though, so having one produced by someone with will unfathomable will power was a dream come true. It was delicious – big chunks of crystalized ginger and nuts encased in a super moist pudding. I curse myself for not asking for seconds but at the time it seemed unnecessarily greedy – which should be the real title of this blog.

TRJFP 12

TRJFP have regular events, and if you get a chance to go to one I highly recommend it. Even if you’ve got no money, you can pay for your meal in kind. Not that sort of kind, sicko, more washing dishes or offering other skills and services in exchange for food. That makes it sound a bit Oliver Twist, but it really isn’t. It also isn’t fine dining cuisine, more tasty home-cooked grub. Plus think of all that free good karma you’re notching up while you eat.

Avocado rating: 5 out of 5 obviously, for tastiness, the amazing dessert and of course being totally vegan and awesome.

Find out more about The Real Junk Food Project here and Two Towers brewery here.

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