Some new items!

Hey folks! I have recently been taste-testing a few items which have appeared in my local shops (oh dear, what a tough life…) πŸ˜€

Firstly, Follow Your Heart “pepper-Jack” cheese slices, which I found in Harvest!! I used to absolutely love spicy cheese, so this was a dream come true – I made cheese and tomato toasties with sandwich thins from Lidl πŸ™‚

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I know it’s a rubbish photo OK?!

I don’t have pictures of the other items, but I would recommend them:

  • Vegolino chocolates (just about worth the silly price, I think…!)
  • New vegan Cauldron sausages, made with beans and peppers – absolutely delicious
  • Linda McCartney pulled “chicken” – great in pasta!

The Vegolino chocs were also from Harvest, and the last two items are from Sainsbury’s.

Jacob and I treated ourselves to a lovely meat at The Green Rocket last week – I had Vietnamese curry and a vegan “Snickers bar”, and he had posh sausages and mash and sticky toffee pudding and ice-cream. We actually ended up swapping desserts, because we each like the other one’s more! πŸ˜€

Lastly, I’m just going to casually drop these fajitas here, as I think it might be my best food photograph so far (I know, I know, that’s not saying much, but hey… They were great πŸ™‚ )

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Beyond The Kale supper club & more..

Hey folks!

I’ve just got back from having a late breakfast at The Green Rocket, so I’m happy! πŸ˜€

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It’s been quite a busy week-or-so with vegan food πŸ™‚ Jacob and I saw an event on facebook at Beyond The Kale in Bath for a vegan supper club with a three-course set menu, which was last Sunday. Apparently this is going to be a regular monthly event πŸ˜€ Funnily, enough, despite this being the most vegan eatery in Bath, this was the first time we had been!

This was the menu:

  • Creamy Cashew & Sunflower Pate with Seeded Crackers & Smoked Carrot
  • Beet Wellington with Herby Roasted Vegetables, Roast Potatoes, Braised Cabbage and Red Wine Gravy
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding, Toffee Sauce and Ice Cream

Next, a couple of useful finds:

  • Swedish Glace magnums – omigosh!!! So creamy… so chocolatey… ❀
  • Cheatin’ bacon rashers – excellent in ‘bacon’ butties with brown sauce or ketchup

And lastly, yesterday at uni, we had a bake sale to raise some money for our Bargehouse exhibition in London next July. I made an Oreo cake using Betty Crocker chocolate cake mix, vanilla buttercream icing and Oreos! It was a hit and sold out quickest! πŸ™‚

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P.S. I owned this idiot:

It’s been a while!!

Hi everyone! It’s been a long time since I last posted! Since last time, I have had my 23rd birthday, Halloween, and an absolute tonne of food pics and thoughts…

I don’t want my posts to become too repetitive, so from now on, I will mostly be posting new recipes, useful finds, and thoughts and FAQs. Now that I have become thoroughly confident in veganism, those are the most important elements of this blog πŸ™‚

Since my last post, I have had the pleasure of trying several new vegan products: Vegenaise, Booja Booja ice cream, and some “accidentally vegan” spicy prawn flavour noodles from Lidl!

Do excuse this awfully blurry image of a bowl of chilli (which Vegenaise complements deliciously):

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Absolutely gorgeous Booja Booja chocolate salted caramel ice-cream πŸ˜€

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In order to keep this post manageably brief, I will just add a few of the best meals I have had recently:

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Mezze at The Green Rocket Cafe on my birthday πŸ™‚ …
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… and breakfast there with Jacob a few days later!
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Lovely warming Fry’s steak-style pie, mash and veg for the cold weather
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[Very untidy!] fajitas with avocado and Vegenaise
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Linda McCartney burgers with all the trimmings!!

More posts will follow soon – I will try not to leave it so long again πŸ˜€ Ciao for now!

Feeling good :)

Ciao peeps! It’s been a while again, mostly due to my having to organise our imminent house move, and rehearsing for a show I’m in this week! It’s been a very stressful time, but I finally feel like I’ve come out the other side, and I want to share some of the lovely things I’ve been eating to help me get here πŸ˜€

There was massive news last week that there are now half a million vegans in the UK, which I’m guessing is the reason why loads of food chains are introducing vegan menus and new options πŸ™‚

One such place I have discovered is The Stable in Bath, where I went for a meal last night with my theatre group and tried a vegan version of their Hawaiian pizza. It was delicious, and the cheese tasted so realistic!

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Also, just after Jacob and I had successfully agreed our new tenancy, we went for a celebratory meal at The Green Rocket, where I tried something new: sesame noodles πŸ™‚ Just look at the gorgeous colours!

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Also also, I made a very easy Thai-style recipe which made 4 portions and has been very handy for quick meals before work:

  • Fry a pack of Fry’s chicken-style strips in a bit of oil for about 5 mins
  • Add a jar of Sainsbury’s coconut and lime sauce and a pack of mixed oriental vegetables
  • Simmer for about 5 more mins (or whatever the instructions say!)
  • Serve with your rice of choice

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Lastly, I made a small snail very famous on Facebook:

πŸ™‚ ❀

Screenshot from 2016-05-22 14:47:28

Staying determined

Ciao peeps! It’s been a very hectic and stressful few days, mostly due to organising our imminent house move, and having to deal with some ignorant haters on social media. As a result, I spent most of the weekend feeing very despondent with people (which wasn’t helped by a couple of rude customers at work!). Having a caring personality is both a blessing and a curse at times, as it can feel isolating when you encounter a barrage of ignorance, and yet you know that what you stand for is important for everybody!

Something I have had to learn since going vegan is that, if you are feeling in any way run down, the insulting comments from others can easily bring your mood down. However, once things are a little better, and you speak to like-minded people again, you regain some faith in humanity πŸ™‚

The main point of this post, though, is to share a delicious meal and some more useful vegan finds with you all πŸ™‚

Last Friday, in between house viewings, Jacob and I popped into out favourite The Green Rocket Cafe for lunch, where I ordered something I haven’t tried before: a big mezze selection! I think it’s the yummiest thing I have tried there so far (which is saying something) and includes marinated tofu, salad and dressing, humous, an aubergine-tomato concoction, falafel, beetroot salad and quinoa. It was perfect for a hot day, and I felt very full but healthy afterwards!

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Amazing mezze!

Yesterday, we went on a long shopping trip to town, which included Harvest, Holland & Barrett, Marks and Spencer, Lush and Sainsbury’s, and here are a few important things we picked up along the way:

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  • M&S Spirit of Summer carnival fire cracker sweets – finally back in stock and as sweet, spicy and delicious as everybody has been saying!
  • Meridian yeast extract – a healthier alternative to Marmite (also vegan), tastes just like the real thing
  • Sojade strawberry yoghurt
  • Violife parmesan-style cheese – an incredibly realistic imitation! I was never a fan of parmesan, but Jacob loves it
  • Sainsbury’s own noodles – a very handy snack, totally vegan, and all their flavours are very tasty
  • Vego chocolate!!!!! – oh.my. days. this is delicious. Like honestly, if they can make vegan milk-style chocolate this good, why do they bother with dairy?! πŸ˜€

Random foodie bits

Hello lovely people πŸ™‚ It’s been another little while since my last post because – you guessed it – I’ve been busy! (Mostly with eating the chocolate we got at Easter…)

Being vegan is totally instinctive to me now, and the idea of eating meat, and many animal products, is as foreign as the idea of eating my sofa. I haven’t been making many meals totally from scratch recently, but have been making a lot of “put-together” meals, such as pastas and roasts made using a combination of fresh ingredients and the occasional jar of ready-made sauce or meat substitute. However, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that; that’s how most people cook anyway! Totally normal πŸ˜€

I just want to share a few foodie bits from the last few days: some nice meals and product reviews. Below is an awful photo of a delicious pasta meal we had, with garlic bread made using par-baked baguettes, mixed dried herbs, vegan butter and minced garlic. To make it, you simply spread a mixture of the butter, herbs and garlic onto each slice of baguette, and bake in the oven for as long as the packet says (usually about 10 mins).

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N.B. the TARDIS salt ‘n’ pepper shakers!

We also had vegan pesto with this meal (Sacla freefrom), and I realised something funny: I used to hate pesto, but that is because non-vegan pesto has a parmesan-like cheese in it. Without the cheesy taste, pesto is delish!

Another meal I made, for the first time, was courgette spaghetti (with smoked tofu which our friends brought Jacob on his birthday) as an appreciation of our favourite starter at The Green Rocket. It wasn’t my favourite thing I’ve made, although Jacob enjoyed it very much, because I think I overcooked it slightly… Oh well, practice makes perfect πŸ™‚

Random intermittent note: Baby courgettes are as cute as baby crocodiles. And the same colour.

I also wanted to include a review of a fake gammon joint I got from Holland & Barrett (the brand was called Cheatin’) and cooked with roast veggies. I was never keen on pork products, but gammon was Jacob’s favourite meat, and he said the taste was pretty spot-on. However, the texture was a bit too mushy; it needed to be smoother and shinier in order to be totally realistic. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend the whole joint as centre stage in a meal, but it would be perfect as an ingredient in something else, such as a pasty or pasta.

Birthday week continued!

LENGTHY POST WARNING!

A birthday at the start of the week = using the entire remainder of the week to continue celebrating πŸ˜€

On Tuesday evening, we invited our friend Genesis over to have some dinner and to try the nut roasts that our pals gave us on Monday. We decided to make it a Mediterranean-Greek-randomness-themed meal, so we had mixed roast veggies, olives, baby carrots, and a couple of hummuses. It all went together really nicely, and we had the rest of Jacob’s birthday cake for pudding πŸ™‚

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Yummy spread πŸ™‚

On Wednesday, I’d organised a day out at Airhop Bristol, which was sooo much fun (and also made us realise how unfit we are!). We travelled to Cribbs Causeway on the bus and ate lunch when we arrived. I fail to remember the name of the cafΓ©, but needless to say it was the first suitable place we could find. However, the falafel wraps we had were surprisingly delicious, and filled us up nicely (but not too much before two hours of bouncing!).

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Falafel wrap with salad and chips

After Airhop, it was early evening and we were exhausted and ready for something more substantial. I’d read on Facebook that Zizzi’s have a brand new vegan menu, and we were eager to try it, so we headed into Cabot Circus in search…

I’d been to Zizzi’s before, but never as a vegan, and so I can genuinely say that the vegan food was just as yummy as the “normal” stuff! We had olives and garlic bread to start, then customised our margherita pizzas with loads of extra toppings, then I had baked nectarines and sorbet for dessert. Phew!

Here’s a few pictures, with Jacob’s obligatory face-pulling:

Jacob said a very sweet thing to me at Zizzi’s which was that he’d never eaten such consistently delicious food, or such a wide variety, before we both went vegan. Just some of the foods he’d never tried before were kale, tofu (now a firm favourite), mangetout, and lentil curry. Yet again, the phrase “what do vegans eat?” seems to be redundant!

Yesterday, I was delighted to hear that Quorn are making their entire range vegan πŸ™‚ Even though Quorn is not my favourite range of meat substitutes, it is great that it will soon be an option for us again, as it is used in a lot of restaurants as their go-to veggie option.

On Thursday evening, I had booked a table at The Green Rocket Cafe for us and a few friends to have a proper birthday meal. Many of the group had never eaten at a vegetarian/vegan restaurant before, but everybody was keen to try the food and, for the most part, they enjoyed it πŸ™‚ Particularly the chocolate cake I had ordered everybody for pudding! πŸ˜€

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The table set up πŸ™‚ It was a lot messier when we’d finished!!

Finally, yesterday I watched a video on Facebook about how to make an easy Mexican-style ‘lasagne’ and decided to try making a vegan version after work. We invited Jacob’s cousin over, and the dish got his seal of approval too πŸ˜€ Here’s a recipe:

Serves 3-4

  • Chilli mixture (either made fresh or ready-bought)
  • plain nacho chips
  • 2-3 tortillas
  • Violife cheese
  • jalapeΓ±os
  • Salsa and vegan sour cream
  • Spring onions (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
  2. Put a layer of chilli mixture into a baking dish
  3. Follow with a layer of nacho chips and a layer of Violife
  4. Put the tortillas on top and press down gently
  5. Repeat steps 2 and 3
  6. Top with a few jalapeΓ±os and bake for 25 mins
  7. Serve with the onions, salsa and sour cream
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Mexican-style ‘lasagne’ πŸ™‚

What a fab birthday week! Roll on the next one πŸ˜€

A very vegan Valentines

Yesterday was the first Valentine’s Day I have celebrated, and it was lovely!

For foodie and drinky treats, I got fairtrade vegan Moscato (already thoroughly enjoyed in this picture) and the Animal Aid chocolate gift box for Jacob, and he got me vodka and chocolate spread from Hotel Chocolat πŸ™‚ (You know chocolate spread is posh when it looks like a tub of moisturiser!)

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Guess where we went for a meal……….. πŸ˜€

We combined our favourite starter and main at The Green Rocket Cafe, and THIS TIME I HAVE PICTURES!!

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Courgette spaghetti and marinated tofu
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Sunday roast

Also, the day wouldn’t have been complete without a bath with a Lush bubble bar πŸ˜€

It was a great day to recharge before a week of essay writing, preparing presentations and working…

Mousse recipes!

Afternoon folks! I’m writing this after having an absolutely lovely lunch at The Green Rocket Cafe again, this time having courgette spaghetti and tofu, then vegetable curry with cucumber salad πŸ™‚ Jacob had the same starter, then their amazing Sunday roast. We also picked up some cakes to take home and have later this evening (we’re going round a friend’s house for his birthday, so there is cake around!)

Evidence of a meal so lovely I forgot to take a picture till it was all gone πŸ˜€ I WILL remember next time, promise:

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Anyway, my latest venture has been trying to make a tasty vegan chocolate mousse, and I have had a couple of attempts so far; one not so great, another much better.

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The first one I tried was inspired by a recipe which used avocado as the main ingredient, due to its creaminess. However, I found the result far too bitter (even though I added way more xylitol than the recipe suggested), and my mouth felt a bit itchy due to an “avo-dose”. However, Jacob thought it was delicious, and I’ll put my edited recipe here anyway, just in case you’d like to try it:

Serves 2

  • 1 large avocado
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 4tsp xylitol
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  1. PurΓ©e the avocado
  2. mix the milk and cocoa together, then add to the avocado
  3. Add the vanilla and xylitol
  4. Transfer into ramekins and chill in the fridge

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My second attempt was a heavily edited version of Nigella’s instant chocolate mousse, and went much better. Of course, I had to change the ingredients to be vegan, and altered the method a bit as well:

Serves 4+ people

  • 1 1/2 cups vegan marshmallows (from Holland & Barrett), in small pieces
  • 50g soft spread (e.g. Vitalite)
  • 250g dark chocolate, in small pieces
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  1. Melt water and spread in a saucepan over low heat
  2. Add the marshmallows
  3. Once a melted, smooth mixture, take off heat and add the chocolate gradually (put it back on a gentle heat if it doesn’t melt thoroughly; just make sure it doesn’t burn or boil)
  4. Whip the cream and vanilla until thick, then add to the chocolate mixture. Combine until you have a thick mousse
  5. Transfer to ramekins or a big bowl, and chill in the fridge. Decorate with more marshmallows, or whatever you want πŸ™‚

One last mention: these vegan millionaire’s shortbread slices from Sainsbury’s taste just like the real thing! I might have one with the mousse later πŸ˜‰

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Well into week two!

Ciao peeps! Again, sorry for the absence over the past few days; I was ill, and then Jacob got the same thing and we’ve been focusing on getting better. Anyway, I feel like my brain in functioning well enough to write again now, so I’ll give a brief (?) overview of the past week πŸ™‚

I was struggling with appetite for a couple of days, so wasn’t able to eat much of whatever we made, so it was a relief on Sunday when it sort-of came back in time for my friend’s birthday meal! This was at Cafe 84, a local place down the road which was where I ate my last deliberate non-vegetarian meal (and my last accidental non-vegetarian one too, when the waitress made a mistake and served us chicken soup!). We ordered cheeseless pizza with extra vegetables, which were OK but the sauce could have been more tomatoey (oh well, they had 10 or so orders to deal with, so I forgive them).

On Monday, I went to Holland & Barrett in search of a couple of gammon and cheese flavoured quiches that we’ve tried before and are delish, but they were sold out :/ Instead, I got ham and cheese flavoured pasties which turned out to be equally as good. We had these with just some salad, as I had procured some cakes from The Green Rocket Cafe as a treat for the next couple of days. Their orange and pistachio flavour was incredible and tasted like carrot cake, but even better!!! (High praise indeed, coming from me)

Yesterday, I made sausage pasta for a quick lunch (wholewheat pasta, Linda McCartney sausages, Lloyd Grossman tomato and roasted garlic sauce, bit of water, mixed herbs, black pepper, peas), as we were intending to go out for a vegan curry evening later on. However, Jacob was feeling too chesty to venture out into the cold, so we stayed in and ordered the Two-for-Tuesday deal from Papa Johns πŸ˜€ Ironically, their tomato sauce was great, but there weren’t enough vegetables.

I’m popping home for a couple of days now, but when I come back, my next kitchen adventure will be chocolate mousse! I’m finding that, whenever I fancy a non-vegan food, instead of being tempted to eat it, I start researching vegan recipes like:

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I should confess that one of the things we did to distract ourselves from feeling grotty was see Star Wars at the cinema. For the 5th time.

I feel like this is a lot more exciting than heading for the nearest ready-made tub of something, though πŸ™‚ It gives you a sense of achievement, and helps you decide whether you really want something, or if you’re just being lazy. Last night, for example, I was really sad that I couldn’t have the garlic dip which came with my pizza, so I tried dipping my crusts in some humous instead – it was yummy πŸ˜€

So, in summary: the sense of challenge has increased, but so has my determination!