Sunday, 27 July 2014

Vegan Ireland - Yamamori Noodles

The last restaurant I want to mention from our trip to Dublin is Yamamori Noodles.

Yamamori Noodles is a Japanese restaurant in Dublin city centre, serving a large selection of Japanese dishes with vegan and vegetarian options labelled on the menu.


This place was fantastic! I went with the intention of getting noodles (since we were going to a noodle bar...), but when we got there the vegan selection on the menu was so impressive that I ended up with something completely different.

Just be a bit wary when looking at the vegan options on the menu, as some labelled vegan on my menu contained egg. However, I'm not sure if this was due to the label colours having faded a little - as some of the vegan/vegetarian labels seemed to vary between the menus we had at our table. 

Anyway, the food I ate was fabulous...

My mum, sister and I all opted for the same meal - the Veg Bento from the specials board. This consisted of Asparagus Tempura Nori Maki (sushi), Roast Veg Curry, Tofu Teriyaki, Miso Soup, and Pumpkin Gyoza. It also came with some pickled ginger (yummy) and wasabi paste (which I didn't try). 



I had so much choice, I didn't know where to start so I started with the miso soup, which was very tasty.

The Nori Maki was lovely. I'd never had any type of sushi before but I'm glad I have now. I will definitely be having sushi again when I find a vegan option on a menu.

The Roast Veg Curry was very tasty, despite not being served with the rice specified on the specials board. However, we had so much food that none of us were bothered about the missing rice.

The Tofu Teriyaki was amazing! Great texture, great flavour, served over lovely crisp veg.

And the Pumpkin Gyoza - oh my! These were beautiful! And they were perfected by the dipping sauce that they were served with.

I would definitely recommend a trip here if you get chance!


Sunday, 13 July 2014

#TVK9

This month, The Vegan Kind promised that we would get something we had never tried before in our boxes - they certainly delivered!

There was only one item in this month's box that I had tried before, but I had tried a different flavour so it was still newish!


Vego Chocolate Bar 150g
Heavenly Organics 'Just Add Water' Shampoo 30g
Vita Coco 500ml
CocoBacon
Frank Bar Strawberry and Chocolate Flavour
Squeeze Juice Cafe Wheatgrass Juice 30ml

The Frank bar was the only thing I'd (sort of) tried before!

Vego Chocolate Bar 150g



I have heard this Vego chocolate bar mentioned many times and many places. It's something I've wanted to try for a while but with an RRP of £3.50 (plus postage), I've never been able to talk myself into buying one. That has now changed. This bar was AMAZING. Creamy chocolate combined with hazelnut paste and whole hazelnuts - and the bar is huge! I intended to savour the bar and just have a square a day... but it was gone in two days. I will definitely be buying this again!

Heavenly Organics 'Just Add Water' Shampoo 30g

I've not tried this yet but I think it's a great idea, especially if you're going travelling with hand luggage only and are limited to how many bottles of liquid you can take. All you do it tip out a little of the powder, make a past with a little water and massage into your hair. I may not have used it yet but I did sneak a little sniff - it smells wonderful!

Vita Coco 500ml

I'll be honest, I've never been a huge fan of coconut water. I adore coconut, but I could never get along with those drinking coconuts you get at the Caribbean Carnival (we used to go every year when I lived in Leicester). So that's probably why I've not tried this yet (and nothing at all to do with the fact that I keep forgetting to put it in the fridge...). But again, this is something I've heard nothing but good about - it's supposed to be super healthy so I will be trying it at some point!

CocoBacon


This stuff is made from toasted coconut chips, coated in an oil, smoke and spice blend to make them taste "just like real bacon". Now, according to Mr Hatter they definitely don't taste like bacon. To me, they tasted like bacon flavour crisps - very sweet and salty. I'm not sure if this is due to American bacon being generally sweeter than our bacon? Either way, I'm not overly keen on bacon flavour crisps and the jury is still out on whether I like these. Having tried some as a snack, I don't think I would choose to eat them straight out of the packet - but someone on The Vegan Kind's facebook page said that they are good sprinkled on top of a tomatoey pasta, so I think I'll be testing that out. It's definitely an interesting idea - and I would be interested in trying different flavours of coconut chips.

Frank Bar Strawberry and Chocolate Flavour


First of all, let me apologise for the not-so-great photo. I had this bar as a post-workout snack at work, so was trying to subtly get a picture... Frank bars are one of the many companies creating tasty healthy snack bars these days. This one is made out of ingredients like oats, dates and dried plums (which gave it a noticeably different taste to Nakd bars, something which I feel a lot of other companies struggle to do). The big difference about this one is that it has a chocolate topping - and it's not just any chocolate, it's a gorgeous Coconut Cream chocolate. I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty this bar was and would definitely grab one as a snack on the go if the option was there.

Squeeze Juice Cafe Wheatgrass Juice 30ml

I don't know why but dark green drinks sort of freak me out a bit. Maybe it's due to my inherent dislike for spinach and the worry that it will taste like said vegetable? Whatever the reason, I've not got around to trying this yet - but I will. Wheatgrass is meant to be extremely good for you, and as I probably don't get enough green leafy veg in my diet (see comment about spinach), it would probably be a good thing if I liked wheatgrass shots - 1 shot is equivalent to 1kg green leafy veg!

This month's recipe comes from Moving Scouse and sounds delicious - Agave-Sweetened Raspberry Sorbet. I think I'll have to crack out my ice-cream maker and give it a go!

The charity of the month this time is Blind Dog Rescue UK, who transport blind dogs from Europe (particularly countries like Spain and Romania where there are a lot of street dogs) to the UK to find a better home.

To sign up for the next box, just head on over the The Vegan Kind's website and you too can be the proud owner of one of these boxes, for just £10 plus p&p!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Vegan Ireland - Cornucopia

Before I start today's post, I'd just like to point out that this is post number 100 on my blog! Thank you all for sticking with me so far!

One of the other food places we were excited to try in Ireland was Cornucopia. Cornucopia is a vegetarian and wholefood restaurant in central Dublin, offering a range of hot dishes (changed daily), a salad bar, and desserts.


Everything is already prepared and ready to be dished up, so there is no waiting about to be served. You just queue up, choose what you want and take your tray away to find a table.


The daily specials all sounded and looked amazing but when we visited, I was so hot (the weather was stunning while we were there), that I just wanted a nice big plate of salad. But don't get me wrong, this salad was immense...


It was a similar concept to Blazing Salads, in the sense that you could choose a selection of salads for a fixed price - but here you got to choose small (3 salads), medium (6 salads) or large (a huge plate). I went for the 6 salad option, and got the towering bowl you see before you...

I've tried to match up the salads I had to what is listed on the website but they must have made some changes since the website was last updated, as I can't see the pasta salad listed. The "garlic potatoes with hazelnuts in vegan mayonnaise" and "coleslaw with chives in vegan mayonnaise" were probably my favourites. I've never thought of putting hazelnuts into a potato salad but it works so well!

Despite being ever so stuffed after my mountain of salads, I still found space for dessert (of course). There was a good selection of desserts, with many of them being labelled as vegan. I went for the Raspberry & Chocolate Tart, which was beautiful. It tasted like a rich truffle on a biscuit base... Mmmm...


We enjoyed Cornucopia so much that we ended up back there for another slice of cake the next day - this time I chose the Strawberry Daiquiri Tart, which was just as amazing! You could really taste the fresh strawberries...


If you find yourself in Dublin and in need of lunch or a sweet treat, give them a try!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Vegan Ireland - Umi Falafel

For our first evening meal in Ireland, we visited a place I had read a lot about - Umi Falafel.


Umi Falafel is a reasonably newly established cafe/take-away serving a range of falafels, salads, and mezze items. Umi is Arabic for "mother", and it did feel like a lot of care had gone into preparing the food and ensuring we were all happy and contented.

The staff were very helpful when I asked what was vegan - our waitress even informed me there was a cake I could eat (!!!), but more on that later...

We ordered drinks first. Normally, I wouldn't write about my drinks but this one was exceptional! I was intrigued by the "minted lemonade", and when presented with a big glass of green lemonade I tried it eagerly. I LOVE fresh mint, and this drink made perfect use of it. I have filed away a mental note to try to replicate this drink sometime.


For my main course, I decided to get a "Falafel Your Way", which consisted of my choice of bread, 4 salad items, and a sauce. I chose: Lebanese bread (wrap), cucumber, pickles, fried aubergine, hummus, and tahini sauce.


I have tried a lot of falafels, and I can honestly say I think these are the best I've ever had. And that tahini sauce? Smooth, creamy, dippy goodness. Want to take a closer look at the inside of the wrap? Look at how green the falafels are from all the fresh herbs!


Mr Hatter and I also shared a side dish of Batat Hara (spicy potato wedges). These wedges were fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and coated in a delectable spice blend. They also came with a little pot of (rather hot) chilli dipping sauce:


My mum and sister shared a number of items, most of which were also vegan. (And Mr Hatter had a similar wrap to mine.) Everything at Umi is vegetarian, with a good chunk also being suitable for vegans - it's really just the cheesy dishes and the mayo that aren't. Look at how much food we had! (And you'd better believe we finished it all...)


When it came around to pudding time (which we somehow still had room for...?), I was delighted to find that I could eat one of the cakes - although sadly not the baklava, unsurprisingly. The cake I did have was called Basbousa, which is a sweet cake made from semolina and doused in a simple syrup. Mine came with an almond baked into the top, and coconut and cocoa sprinkled over it.


It may look simple but don't let that fool you - it tasted fantastic. It was a soft, sumptuous slice of syrupy sweetness. This is something else I would like to try to recreate at home. It was beautiful!

I have nothing but good things to say about Umi, and will definitely revisit if I ever end up back in Dublin. I would recommend this wholeheartedly to anyone who likes falafels - or even anyone who doesn't, as it's so good it will probably change your mind!