On Wednesday evening I was very kindly invited by the team at Penguin to attend their inaugural Vegetarian Cookery Evening. Penguin publish all sorts of wonderful cookbooks and food authors, but this was their first evening focused entirely on delicious, plant-based food. As someone who cooks and eats a lot of veggie food, even though I do eat meat in my diet, I was very happy to go along and pick up some tips - this was especially handy ahead of National Vegetarian Week next week, when I'm going to go veggie all week long. What better way to get inspired?
The event was held on the tenth floor of Penguin's central London HQ. I'd adored the moments when I'd got to glimpse the view up there when I was interning for Penguin General earlier in the year, so I knew I'd be able to combine a fun event and some cracking London photo ops! I arrived on time (always a relief when the Distirct Line is playing up!) and was greeted with a lovely chilled glass of wine. Always a good start.
I wandered around the room, saying hello to a few familiar faces, such as the gorgeous Nayna from Citrus Spice, as well as meeting some great new bloggers and writers. I loved chatting with Chris from Thinly Spread - and her blog is just as delightful as she is! There were people from other areas of the media and the vegetarian world too. I had some fascinating and illuminating chats with John and Julia from the Vegetarian Society - it sounds like there are lots of great things happening for them at the moment.
After the chit chat, we gathered to watch a short demonstration. As this took place in front of a big, bright window, I'm afraid none of my shots worked out, unless you like cooking in silhouette! I loved the chats though - both Meera and the Happy Pear boys are so enthusiastic about good, healthy, delicious food (so much inspiration for my current #100daysoffresh project, for sure!), it was truly infectious. Meera made some goregous looking date and nut balls, and she has definitely inspired me to check out the date bar in Harrods food hall when next I visit - her stories from there and the flavours she was describing were making me peckish!
After Meera's demonstration, the boys from The Happy Pear took to the stage (or rather, the demo table). These guys are hilarious, such fun and the perfect exuberant yin to Meera's beautiful, serene yang! They whipped up a mojito smoothie (which I'm determined to recreate with rum included) while regaling us with tales from their youth.
After that it was time to eat, drink and mingle. I didn't manage to get any facetime with Meera, but had a lovely chat with Stephen and David. They are from the same little town in Ireland as a friend of mine and I was intrigued to see if they knew him. Turns out they used to do gymnastics classes with his mother (she must have been an excellent coach, as these boys are still doing handstands!). I enjoyed chatting to them about the business and the book, and talking to them about the Findhorn Foundation, an alernative community I grew up alongside up in Scotland - I was chuffed they'd heard of it. Small town kids unite!
It was such a nice evening and I'm so excited to get cooking from The World of The Happy Pear (which releases early June) and Fresh India (releasing early July). Both books are available for pre-order now and I've popped (affiliate*) links below - other booksellers are available, of course.
I'll be doing a giveaway of The Happy Pear book in a week or two (and hopefully the Meera Sodha one next month), along with some of my favourite veggie friendly tools, condiments and snacks: stayed tuned for further details. For now I'll close with a few more pictures from a really lovely evening. Many thanks to Penguin for having me!
All handstands all the time. So on brand.
We actually stopped gassing for long enough to take a picture. I swear when I get together with fellow chatterboxes, no one is safe!
Isn't this pretty! Such a great angle for the London Eye, County Hall and the Hungerford and Jubilee bridges.
The City and St Paul's, looking all gorgeous.
Disclaimer, because I'm honest to a fault: As mentioned in at least duplicate above, I was kindly invited to this event by Penguin, but all opinions are entirely my own. Because if there's one thing I've plenty of, it's #opinions