I was never a big fan of Sunday lunch when I was younger, and that was down to two things. Firstly, money was pretty tight in our house, meaning those traditional meaty classics like roast beef and leg of lamb were a luxury we could never afford. Secondly, my mum wasn’t very into cooking back then, so I couldn’t understand why everyone got so excited about a meal that as far as I knew, was made up bland boiled veg, and a slab of cottage pie.
At uni, I started really cooking for myself. Within a couple of years I had nailed loads of different ways to do perfect free-range roast chicken, my signature roasties and lots of ways to make roast veg more exciting. I can rustle up a decent roast without much effort now. In fact, I have cooked our family’s full Christmas dinner (free range turkey and all the trimmings) the last two years running, and I love doing it. All of the faff is just part of the fun.
As my love for the traditional roast dinner developed with my ability to cook it, so did my resolve to keep scaling back on my meat-eating. A meat-free roast dinner just never felt like something to get excited about; it felt like a meal where the absence of meat would be too obvious, too much of a break from tradition. And so Sundays in my house have become less about looking forward to that big roast dinner, and more about me knocking up a mean veggie curry or meat-free lasagna.
The Milgi Sunday roast has changed the game.
It’s been about four years since I last tried a veggie Sunday roast, and in those years, vegetarian and vegan cooking has come on in leaps and bounds. Back in 2013, I had a slab of nut roast served with paprika roast potatoes, pumpkin mash, a yorkshire pud and tomato gravy. It was filling and tasty but the tomato ‘gravy’ wasn’t very traditional, and turned everything on the plate a rather unpalatable bright orange colour. I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t bowled over, and I knew it was a dish that my carnivorous friends would have turned their noses up at.
This is what I was served at Milgi this time…
A colourful, vibrant plate of food that I just couldn’t wait to dive into. A portion of beetroot and walnut loaf, served with a pile of golden roast potatoes, a serving of carrot and swede mash, steamed kale, a sprinkling of roasted seeds and a delicious, savoury vegetable gravy. The star of the show was the delicious pile of vegan cashew cauliflower ‘cheese’, complete with slightly blackened edges. I could have eaten three bowls of this stuff – I’m hoping that they add it to the lunch menu at their second outpost at Cardiff indoor market as soon as possible!
I paired my meal with an aromatic and warming mug of mulled apple juice spiked with brandy, and couldn’t have asked for a more satisfying Sunday lunch.
My most recent visit to Milgi in Cardiff has highlighted just how much veggie food has improved over the past four years. I eat quite a lot of meat-free meals, but even I am forced to admit that my ideas about Sunday dinner remaining a traditional meat feast are definitely outdated. With delicious sides like cashew cauliflower cheese to look forward to, it’s now easier than ever to side-step the meat in this comfort food classic without sacrificing any of the flavour.
Have you tried the Milgi roast dinner? What did you think? And can anyone give me the recipe for cashew cauliflower cheese, please!?