Sunday, 29 May 2016

#TVK30 & #TVK31

I'm a little behind on my blogs (again), so I thought I'd combine my two outstanding reviews for The Vegan Kind into one post.

#TVK30 contained a nice selection of items - all the edibles were eaten pretty quickly!

Vego Vegolino Pralines
Eat Real Chilli and Lemon Hummus Chips
BakedIn Belgian Chocolate Mug Brownie Mix
Humblestuff Lemon Myrtle Multi Surface Cleaning Spray
Clearspring Tamari Roasted Soybeans with Tomato and Herb
Greedie Goddess Mango Passion & Carrot Smoothie Bites

The recipe of the month was for some delicious-looking cashew cream cheese, by The Tofu Diaries. The charity of the month was Teen Vgn, who provide support for young vegans. I wish they'd been around when I was a teenager!

Vego Vegolino Pralines

Oh my goodness, these are amazing. I love Vego bars and these bites of tasty praline are even better. The only problem is they disappear too quickly! If you like nutty chocotaley goodness, you need to go out and find some of these now!

Eat Real Chilli and Lemon Hummus Chips

We've bought Eat Real's Hummus Chips on various occasions and in various flavours, and they never disappoint. They have that satisfying crunch of a regular crisp but with the added benefit of being healthier! They also do some lovely Lentil Chips.

BakedIn Belgian Chocolate Mug Brownie Mix

This was tasty, although it didn't come out very pretty - hence no photos of the brownie itself! It's not something I would buy but it's great for people who don't like to bake, or who want a quick pudding.

Humblestuff Lemon Myrtle Multi Surface Cleaning Spray

I've not tried this yet, but I'm always on the lookout for new cruelty free cleaning products, so it's great when The Vegan Kind send them to me!

Clearspring Tamari Roasted Soybeans with Tomato and Herb

Mr Hatter took these to work with him, and said that they were a great snack. I didn't expect anything less from Clearspring!

Greedie Goddess Mango Passion & Carrot Smoothie Bites

I was a bit skeptical about these, as I don't really like the texture of freeze-dried fruit but I actually really enjoyed them! The flavour was great, and although the texture was odd, it wasn't unpleasant.

#TVK31 also contained a great selection of products:

Conscious Chocolate Mint Hint Organic Raw Chocolate
The Jealous Life Tropical Wonder Sweets
TAPPED Birch Water with Bilberry & Lingonberry
Popchips Sea Salt and Vinegar flavour
Friendly Soap Cocoa Butter Facial Cleansing Bar
Creative Nature Peanut Protein Bar

The recipe of the month was for Fruity Summer Water by My Fruity Kitchen and looks great. The charity was Teen Vgn's Summer Camp, which is "the UK's first and only Vegan Summer Camp for 11-17 year olds" - amazing!

Conscious Chocolate Mint Hint Organic Raw Chocolate

I don't like mint chocolate, so Mr Hatter had this one all to himself. He thought the flavour was good, but he's not really a fan of raw chocolate so wouldn't buy it himself.

The Jealous Life Tropical Wonder Sweets

These jelly sweets were tasty, with a great texture. We've had some sweets from this company before and I would buy from them again!

TAPPED Birch Water with Bilberry & Lingonberry

I'm not a fan of flavoured water type drinks - I'd rather have water or juice than something in the middle. So instead of risking not liking this and wasting it, I made a smoothie with it! I threw together the Birch Water, some frozen raspberries, a banana, some vegan protein powder and a bit of green tea extract. It was very fruity and very tasty!

Popchips Sea Salt and Vinegar flavour

I love Popchips, they're a great snack and you can find them all over the place. This flavour has to be one of my favourites - I love vinegar!

Friendly Soap Cocoa Butter Facial Cleansing Bar

I've not tried this one yet as I still have an open face wash pot from Lush, but I'm looking forward to trying it. Cocoa Butter is meant to be really good for the skin, so I'm hoping it will keep my skin in good condition over the summer.

Creative Nature Peanut Protein Bar

I always enjoy trying new flavours from Creative Nature, and this was no exception. It had a great flavour and texture, and a nice hit of protein!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

LIF16 - Veg Is Sweet

The Leeds Indie Food festival is currently running, and while I wish I had been able to plan a little more in advance (I've missed a couple of things I wanted to go to), we have at least managed to participate.

Last night we went to the Veg Is Sweet event, hosted by That Old Chestnut at Cafe 164. The description on the LIF website was as below, so we weren't really sure what to expect but thought it would be interesting:

"Vegan baking heroe Elly of That Old Chestnut will be taking over the Cafe 164 kitchen for a feast of dairy-free tea and cake, a doubly delightful twist with courses exploring the different savoury expressions of dessert. Cafe 164 will be pairing each course with a suitably quirky tea-based cocktail to keep you in fine spirits."

Reading the description, we were expecting an evening of savoury food in dessert form (savoury cheesecakes etc) but when we arrived the menu described the evening as:

"A sweet supper celebrating the vegetable and each dessert paired with a tea based cocktail."

This description definitely sounded more sweet than savoury, and made us sort of regret our choice to grab a piece of cake while waiting for the event to start! (We left work at 5, hungry, and the event didn't start until 7. As we thought it was going to be a savoury evening, we decided it wouldn't hurt to snack on some cake beforehand!)

I'm not sure you can ever really regret eating cake though... We had stopped in at Outlaws Yacht Club on the way to:

a) Hide from the rain.
b) Eat cake (also by That Old Chestnut).
c) Read / Chill out after work.

These objectives were accomplished successfully!

The event was held in the Munro Gallery part of Cafe 164, which meant we also got to look at the artwork that was on display as part of the festival. We had tried to go earlier in the evening, when we finished work, but they were already setting up for the event.

The table was very pretty - it was dotted with plants and small flowers, and was lovely and welcoming. There were maybe 13 chairs laid out, which made for a nice small group of people. We chatted a little to the people sitting next to us but it didn't feel like we were forced to make conversation the whole evening, and we didn't feel rude talking amongst ourselves. The atmosphere was very laid back, which is what we like!

There were also some menus laid out on the table so that we could see what was in store for us:

First up was "GREENS".

Cucumber, Basil and Lime Casheese Cake

This was so pretty! It was plated up in a very appealing way, and sounded really intriguing! The cucumber flavour in the cheesecake was odd at first, as it's completely different to anything I've tried before - but I actually really liked it. The cheesecake was smooth and creamy, and while the flavour could maybe have been a little lighter, it was still very pleasant. The small dots around the edge of the plate were gorgeous - I'm not sure what they were though! And the scoop of sorbet was lush! Very refreshing!

Whisky, Green Tea, Mint

This cocktail was very pretty and I tried my hardest to like it but I just don't like green tea! I made a good attempt though and kept going back to it before I finally gave up. I love the combination of cucumber and mint in pimms, so if the mixer had been different I'm sure I would have liked it. Apple juice would have been nice but that would have taken away the "tea" element!

The next course was "BEETS". (Spoiler - this was my favourite course!)

Beetroot and Apple Almond Tart with Oat Cream and Granola

This dessert was so pretty! The apple and beetroot rose baked into the tart made it look so appealing, as did the scattering of pink granola over the oat cream. The almond sponge was gorgeous, and the fruit/veg slices in the middle were tender and tasty. I liked the use of the oat cream - it was very thick, which you don't tend to find often in vegan creams. I would eat this again!

Vodka, Masala Chai, Summer Berries

Now, I don't normally drink vodka as it doesn't agree with me but this was so pretty I couldn't resist trying it. It was as tasty as it was pretty, so I ended up drinking it all - and it was well worth the headache! The chai spices and the fruit really complemented each other in this drink, and it was rounded off with a nice dose of alcohol!

Lastly, we had "PUD".

Steamed Sticky Date and Fennel Sponge Pudding with Cauliflower Custard

This was another pretty pudding, with a lovely green sprig to give it a pop of colour. I must admit, this was the menu item that I was most skeptical about. I'm not a fan of fennel at all - I've tried using fennel seeds in various dishes but I can never get past that very distinctive taste. This pudding came with an actual piece of fennel in it! (My mum would have loved it...) I did try some of the fennel but resorted to removing it and trying the sponge. I really enjoyed the parts of the sponge that were more date than fennel, and had this been a "steamed sticky date pudding" with another vegetable I probably would have loved it. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get past the fennel taste. I made an effort and ate half before I gave up though! (I was stuffed by this point anyway...) As for the cauliflower custard, this was odd but I liked it. It definitely still tasted like cauliflower but it also had a vanilla flavour to it. It was a strange pairing as, again, it's like nothing I've tried before - but I did enjoy it.

Rum, Ginger, Citrus Hot Toddy

For the last cocktail, we got a huge teapot to share between the two of us! I really liked this one - citrus and ginger is a good combo, and the fact that it was warm plus the shot of rum really rounded it out. It was a great way to end the meal.

We certainly went home with full bellies!

To be honest, if we'd seen the menu before booking tickets we probably wouldn't have gone. There were ingredients that we didn't like, and I think it would have sounded too offbeat for Mr Hatter to choose to try. I am glad we went though as it was a completely new experience! I think if we had realised it would all be sweet, we could have planned our post-work snack better and got more out of it but hey-ho, we got an extra piece of cake so who cares!?

There have been a few vegan / vegan-friendly events at LIF this year, which is fantastic. Next year, I am going to be better prepared and get to more of them!

Monday, 16 May 2016

Goat Cafe - Huddersfield

My mum (vegan) and sister (vegetarian) came up to visit on Saturday, so we thought we'd go out to eat somewhere that none of us had tried before. I'd heard good things about Goat Cafe a few times, so we decided to head over to Huddersfield and see what they were like.

Goat Cafe is Huddersfield's first all-vegan cafe. They use locally sourced, organic produce where possible to create freshly-made, nutritious meals. The cafe itself is nicely done out, and is a light, relaxing environments with a small number of tables so as not to be overcrowded. I also like that it's an open kitchen so you can see the food being prepared as you wait.

This was the daily menu board when we arrived:

Vegan food galore!
I love going anywhere that's 100% vegan, as it means I can order anything I fancy without having to worry about what's in it, or swap things around. It does sometimes mean I can't choose though! (It probably doesn't help that I'm horrible at making decisions in the first place...)

To start with, we ordered a round of drinks. Mine was the "Bumbleberry juice" - I couldn't not order something with a name like that! I didn't really know what to expect, but it was a great mix of berries and a beautiful colour.

Bumbleberry Juice

My mum, sister and I all ordered the "Mushroom and asparagus tortilla tarts, served with potato salad and quinoa + buckwheat salad", while Mr Hatter ordered the "Moussaka served with Greek salad and toasted bread". It turned out that they only had two portions of the tortilla tarts left, so I switched my order to a portion of Moussaka, as I was torn between the two anyway!

The Moussaka was very tasty, and the white sauce was gorgeous - which I think is what makes a good moussaka! The salad was a lovely accompaniment, and the bread was some sort of potato and rosemary creation that reminded me of the potato bread we ate in Romania - lovely!

Moussaka served with Greek salad and toasted bread

My family also had nothing but good things to say about the tortilla tarts - I think everyone was impressed that the tart shells were made out of tortillas! They must have been a popular item that day, as we bought the last two!

Mushroom and asparagus tortilla tarts, served with potato salad and quinoa + buckwheat salad

After everyone had thoroughly enjoyed their main courses, we decided it would be rude not to sample the cakes on offer.

I ordered the "Chocolate, raspberry and pistachio slice"; Mr Hatter went for the "Chocolate Orange Honeycomb Scone Slice", my mum picked the "Carrot Cake" and my sister opted for the "Date and walnut cake - 2 slices". We all also pushed the boat out and added vanilla ice cream for an extra 50p each!

Chocolate, raspberry and pistachio slice

Chocolate Orange Honeycomb Scone Slice

Carrot Cake

Date and walnut cake - 2 slices

And, being the indecisive bunch that my family are, my mum, sister and I split our cakes into three so we could sample some of each. (I also made sure to sneak a tiny piece of Mr Hatter's scone too - for review purposes obviously!)

A medley of cakes!

I really enjoyed all of the puddings that we ordered, and would happily eat a full portion of any of them! If we hadn't shared, I still think that my choice was the best - the raspberry, pistachio and chocolate combination was fantastic. But I am very happy that we decided to split them all!

Mr Hatter and I will definitely be visiting again, seeing as it's not too far away from us. We also went for a nice walk around Greenhead Park, which is just down the road. It made for a very nice afternoon out, which I would highly recommend.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Trinity Kitchen Round Up (Picture Heavy!)

You may have noticed that the blog has been pretty quiet so far this year. Unfortunately, I've been lacking the energy and inclination to post often! I keep trying to get back into the habit of posting regularly but then life (and my day job) tired me out and I just want to veg out and watch films or play games. I have been a lot more active on my Instagram account though (come find me!), as it's a super quick and effective way to share food porn photos. I'm a little bit in love with Instagram at the moment.

So here goes another attempt to get back into regular posting... Fingers crossed!

We'll start with a nice easy one - a round up of the vegan offerings at Trinity Kitchen in Leeds over the past couple of months.

Trinity Kitchen is a food court that has some permanent outlets and some that change every six weeks or so. Rola Wala and Pho are two of the permanent ones that definitely have vegan options, although there might be others that I've not investigated yet. (Note - Pho is not listed below as I've not been for ages and have no photos!)

First up we have some amazing churros from Los Churros Amigos. I tried these churros way back in March and meant to write a post about them but never got around to it (tut tut). I only tried them a couple of days before their stint in Trinity Kitchen ended but that was probably good for my waistline!

Huge churros!!
I had never tried churros before, and always thought they were just a long donut. However, talking to the guy on the stall he explained that they are actually not really like a donut at all - it's not a yeasted dough for a start!

Unfortunately the chocolate dipping sauce wasn't vegan - but that didn't detract from how wonderful the churros themselves were. Apparently they have a lemon dipping sauce which is vegan, but it wasn't available when I was there. The churros were soft and crunchy and seasoned with cinnamon sugar and just... yum. They were so good that I managed to win a free portion and went back THE NEXT DAY to claim them!

This was a medium but it was still huge. Also I couldn't restrain myself and ate half of one before taking a photo.
Now let's have a savoury interlude for Rola Wala. Rola Wala make "twisted Indian street food", with the vegan options clearly labelled. You can choose a vegan naan wrap, a rice bowl or a cauliflower rice bowl and then fill/top with something tasty. The vegan options are Beetroot Channa Dal (now marketed as Paneer Beetroot Dal but it looks like you can still get it without the paneer) and Sweet Potato Lentil Gobi. Both were very tasty, but the dal was more like a sauce whereas the Gobi had some substance to it. There's also a choice of salad, toppings and sauces - just ask them which ones don't have yogurt in.

We've been to Rola Wala a few times now and are slowly filling up our loyalty card. It's very tasty food!

Sweet Potato Lentil Gobi Roll
Beetroot Channa Dal Roll
Sweet Potato Lentil Gobi Cauliflower Rice Bowl
Lastly, we have the amazing Cake Doctor who has his last day in Trinity Kitchen today (sad face). He makes some fantastic raw vegan cheesecakes and brownies, and although Mr Hatter and I managed to fill and entire loyalty card in the time he's been here, I still didn't get to try all the flavours! I was chatting to him yesterday and he was telling me about the festivals he's got lined up but I can't remember any of the names! So keep an eye out for him over the summer and go buy some cheesecake! Honestly, it's SO GOOD. I even got to be a taste tester for his wonderful unicorn rainbow cheesecake! Yummy!

Raw Chocolate Brownie
Vanilla Caramel Cheesecake
Blueberry Lime Cheesecake
Lemon and Lime Cheesecake
Magical Rainbow Unicorn Cheesecake - Tester Slice!
PB&J Cheesecake
Coconut and Lime Cheesecake