Sunday, 25 June 2017

Catching Up On Foodie Finds - Food On The Go

I've found a few new lunch time options over the past few months - here are a few of them...


ITSU

Itsu have a few good vegan savoury options but I've always found them to be lacking in sweets - until now! They've started doing their own raw chocolate with pink himalayan salt (which is divine), and The Coconut Collaborative's chocolate pudding! Yum!





PRET A MANGER

Pret have added more to their ever-increasing vegan menu, and I am so glad that they did! I'm in love with the two new cauliflower salad boxes.



CAULI & TURMERIC SUPER-VEG SALAD
A vegan salad of turmeric-roasted cauliflower, spiralised courgette, cucumber, edamame beans and pickled cabbage served on a bed of spinach and brown rice & red quinoa. Finished with a pot of teryaki dressing and toasted cashew nuts.


SUPER BEANS, BROCCOLI & TURMERIC CAULI VEGGIE BOX
A Veggie Box of turmeric-roasted cauliflower, broccoli florets and our super bean mix of protein-rich fava beans & split peas combined with roasted butternut squash, pomegranate seeds and our seed mix. All served on a bed of mixed brown rice & red quinoa with a pot of ginger & turmeric dressing.

Also picture is the DAIRY-FREE BIRCHER Using our gluten-free granola and dairy-free coconut yoghurt, this twist on a bircher muesli is a delicious 'free from' choice, which is fantastic (but not that new!

Pret are currently rolling out veggie fridges to a number of their stores as a test to see how popular they are. I have everything crossed that they will be coming to Leeds...


SAINSBURY'S

I was really excited when I found out that Sainsbury's were going to start selling a vegan sandwich. I managed to get hold of one on the way home from work one day but I found it very disappointing. It felt like there hadn't been much thought put into the flavours - it was pretty much just tomato puree and avocado, with a couple of basil leaves thrown in. I think what put me off the most was that the avocado was definitely not ripe - it was like trying to eat soap.



200 DEGREES

I pretty much ignored 200 Degrees when they opened in Leeds. It looked like a fancy coffee shop, and I don't like coffee, so I wasn't going to go in on the off chance that they had something vegan. However, I saw someone posting online about their vegan options, so thought I'd give it a go! It was great! They only had one vegan sandwich but it was really tasty. Unfortunately, they don't ALWAYS have a vegan option on, so it is very much a gamble as to whether you'll be able to get lunch there or not. However, last time I popped in and they didn't have a vegan sandwich, they did have a very delicious vegan brownie! (It didn't last long enough for a photo...)


Saturday, 24 June 2017

Savsé Smoothies - Reviewed!

Last summer (I know, I know, don't judge me...), Savsé Smoothies sent me a selection of their new vegan smoothies to try out. I tried them all over the course of a few weeks but never got around to writing up my review! I usually just drink water, so didn't want to drink them all at once - and then just never made the time to write about them. However, I've rectifying that now - the sunny weather recently has inspired me to finally write this post! (I handily made notes on each flavour so that I could come back and review them once I'd tried them all... it's good to be prepared!)

Savsé create healthy fruit and veg based smoothies that aren't packed full of added sugar (unlike some!). I must admit, I was sceptical about trying the vegetable-based juices. As I said, I'm predominantly a water drinker, and anything I drink that isn't water is usually sweet. But I said yes to the samples and resolved to try my best to enjoy them!

When the package from Savsé arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find no less than six smoothie bottles! I think they sent me their entire vegan range! (Note, they have a few smoothies that contain whey powder, so do check the ingredients if buying them in the wild.)


I tried them in the order of I-fancy-this-one-today but I'm going to review them in rainbow order, because who doesn't like rainbows?? Also, I apparently only took "action shots" of two of the bottles, but you can see them all in all their glory in the lovely photo just above this paragraph. So you'll have to make do!

Super Red

Strawberry, Orange, Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Celery

I enjoyed this one. It tasted strongly of strawberry and orange, while hiding the vegetable flavours. (I hate celery so I'm very glad I couldn't taste it!). The only issue I had was the pulp. I'm not a huge fan of orange juice, especially the pulpy stuff. But the flavour was great!

Super Orange

Mango, Celery, Apple, Lemon, Orange, Passion Fruit, Carrot


This one was great, probably my favourite of them all. It was very fruity and tropical, and was certainly refreshing on a hot day! I would buy this again.

Super Green

Pear, Broccoli, Kiwi, Lemon, Banana, Kale, Spinach, Apple

I was prepared to hate this one. Until recently, I've had a big hang up about green drinks. I don't like spinach, or bitter things in general, and I'm always nervous that I'm not going to be able to drink them. However, it was a nice surprise to find that the vegetable flavours weren't too strong and I was able to drink it all!

Super Blue

Blueberry, Kale, Beetroot, Spinach, Blackcurrant, Apple, Strawberry, Orange

This one was tasty. I liked the combination of fruits and berries that were used, and they offset the earthy flavour of the beetroot well.

Super Purple

Beetroot, Apple, Lemon, Lime, Mango, Avocado, Coconut



This drink was very earthy and the beetroot was a little overpowering - but it's a purple drink, primarily made of beetroot, so that's to be expected!

Purple Carrot

Purple Carrot, Apple, Blackcurrant, Pomegranate, Blueberry



I didn't like this one at first. I made the mistake of drinking it while eating jammy bread, as I thought the sweetness of the jam would help with the earthy flavours. What it actually did was highlighted how not-sweet this drink was. I popped it back in the fridge, tried again a few hours later, and managed to finish it off - but it's not one I'll be buying. A bit too bitter for me!


So, what I learned from samples all these juices is that it isn't necessarily green drinks that I don't like - it's strongly beetroot flavoured ones! I think I have quite a sweet pallet, so I much preferred the fruity flavours. However, I would definitely recommend trying some of these smoothies. The Super Orange would be perfect for the heatwave we're having at the moment!

Monday, 19 June 2017

Catching Up On Foodie Finds - Trinity Kitchen

There have been a couple of vegan options at Trinity Kitchen over the past couple of months, and we've had fun trying some of them!

PIZZA LOCO

Pizza Loco provide wood-fired pizzas that are cooked in a funky train! We opted for the "Vegan Special", which was very tasty. However for £7 it would have been nice to have a few more toppings - it did feel a bit sparse. However, the base was lovely and the marinara sauce was great!





WHAT THE TRUCK

What The Truck had a menu option called "Vegans R Us", so of course we had to try it! It consisted of nachos, topped with veggie chilli and spring onions. This was really tasty, but again we felt like it was a little overpriced for the portion size.




THE BAKING BIKER

I was pleasantly surprised to find that this cake stall had a vegan option! There was only one option, but it was a very tasty chocolate brownie - yum! (And this time, I'm not going to complain about it being overpriced - because it wasn't!)


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Vegan Life Magazine - June 2017

I really enjoyed reading the June issue of Vegan Life Magazine. I always look forward to the new issues, and download them as soon as possible. I usually read them pretty quickly too but it always takes a while to get around to writing the blog!


This month had some really interesting articles, ranging from information about bees and bird sanctuaries, through to a feature on a professional vegan photographer.


The cover story (with Evanna Lynch) was a really inspiring read. Her honesty about the struggles she has faced with food was refreshing, and I think she is a role model that a lot of people will get behind - especially Harry Potter fans! I can't wait to listen to her podcast!


I also really enjoyed the article "The Rise Of Conscious Brands". I find myself more and more these days trying to give my money to companies that I feel ethically aligned with and avoiding those I don't. It's still a difficult thing to do, as we don't really have any local greengrocers etc where I live - so the supermarkets are the most practical option for a weekly shop. However, I think this is definitely something that people are thinking about a lot more, and I hope to see more ethically minded companies rise in the near future.


As always, there were TONS of recipes that I want to try! These are a few of my favourites...





And of course, it wouldn't be Vegan Life if it didn't give me a bit of Wanderlust... This month's issue has added another couple of UK restaurants to the ever growing list of places I want to eat. It has also opened my eyes to Portugal as a holiday destination - not somewhere I had really thought about before!



Saturday, 10 June 2017

Magic Rock Tap

I have so many outstanding blogs, I don't really know where to start - so I'm going to start with the most recent event we went to and go from there!

Last week, we went to the Vegan Street Food Festival hosted at Magic Rock Tap. Magic Rock are in the process of making all their beers vegan - I believe only the cask beers are not vegan. To celebrate, they hosted a vegan food festival on Saturday last week, and they have one vegan food trader each weekend for the rest of the month!

I'm not a beer drinker but Mr Hatter is, and I love food, so we thought we'd go down and see what we could get our hands on.

The brewery is based in Huddersfield, and they have a bar on site, with space outside for plenty of food vendors and seating. The whole place had a really nice atmosphere - very chilled. It is located away from the city centre, and we walked through a lovely cemetery to get there after getting off the bus. And look at the weather we had for the day!


The food line up for the day was:

Mother May I
Yakumama
Wah Wahs
Street Cleaver (who had to pull out due to van difficulties)
Honest Crust Wood Fired Pizza
Kind Cake Co

I must admit, I was initially disappointed to see that only one of the vendors (Mother May I) was a fully vegan company. (Note that on the day, two of the vendors were vegan companies and Kind Cake Co stepped in at the last moment.) However, all of the vendors put on a great vegan menu for the day, so I can't complain!


We had a wander around when we arrived, to make sure we didn't miss anything we really wanted to try, and then got some drinks in. Mr Hatter had some Common Grounds (coffee porter), while I opted for a (rather expensive) cider. It was nice, but at £4ish for a bottle smaller than 500ml, I wouldn't be buying it again.


My first stop for food came from Wah Wahs - their "Mexican Red Lentil Kofta Balls tucked into Tacos" sounded too good to resist! I chose the hot sauce to avoid the coriander and boy, it was hot! Not too hot though apparently, as I ate it all! This was a really tasty and interesting meal. It had lots of flavours, which combined to provide a meal that I would happily buy again.




Mr Hatter's first port of call was Mother May I, as her can't resist the lure of Mac 'n' Cheese. This was some gooooood mac 'n' cheese! The crispy onion & herb topping was awesome.


Here we have Mr Hatter sampling a couple of mini drinks (Cannonball and Dancing Bear) between food:


After all that hot sauce, I fancied something sweet so we shared an emapanada from Yakumama. I had always thought of empanadas being savoury but this one was a sweet corn dough pastry filled with plantain and dark chocolate. It was something completely new, I couldn't liken it to anything I've tried before - which is great!





Next up was another round of drinks. Mr Hatter went back for a pint of the Common Grounds, and I thought I'd try the vegan wine!


I then decided I wanted more sweet stuff, as the empanada wasn't overly sweet and I fancied shoving some sugar into my face. I headed over the Kind Cake Co to see what they had on offer, and came back with a scone with jam and cream. I am a sucker for things like this - I used to love thick cream in my pre-vegan days! This is actually the closest I've found to clotted cream since going vegan - I have no idea how she made it but it was fantastic!



Mr Hatter fancied some salt next to go with his beer, so we got a couple of hot dogs with all the trimmings from Mother May I. This was a really tasty hot dog, and the addition of sauerkraut was a great idea! (There is a hot dog under there, I promise!)


Followed by another pint of Common Grounds (definitely his favourite of the day!) and another wine for me - rose this time!


We were getting pretty full now (and pretty warm from being out in the sun all afternoon), so we thought we'd get one last thing before we headed home. And that thing was CHURROS!! These were from Wah Wahs, and were fantastic. It was great that the chocolate dipping sauce was suitable for vegans as well, because it often isn't when you buy churros!


I feel a bit bad that we didn't get around to trying the pizzas from Honest Crust, as they did look amazing! We were drooling every time someone walked past with one! But we were full and tired, and it was starting to get pretty busy - so we felt that was our cue to leave. If we had stayed another hour or two, we would probably have got one!