Tuesday, 17 May 2016

This made me laugh....

My boyfriend sent this to me today, and I laughed out loud.


I too am very guilty of doing this (well, not as extreme as this), even though I didn't think I was that bad. Guess I'm proud to be vegan!

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Vegan Bacon / Facon BLT - Rice Paper, Soya Sauce, Olive Oil & Nutritional Yeast

Wow, this is a must try. Life changing stuff. I have never tried bacon but this was delicious, and even my boyfriend who used to love bacon (now pescatarian) wants it every weekend!

Chewy, crunchy, salty and very morish. Perfect for breakfast or brunch.

It is very quick, easy and extremely cheap to make; plus much much better than all the 'facon' products out there.


Ingredients 

Serves 2 people. Preparation time 8mins, cooking time 7mins
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 sheets of rice paper (spring roll wrappers)
  • Sprinkle of rock salt (optional)
  • Bread (nice soft baps or toasted bread works well)
  • sliced tomato
  • lettuce
  • Condiments of choice (Vegan Mayo, BBQ Sauce, Ketchup etc.) 

You will need

  • Scissors
  • Parchment lined baking tray (I used two medium)
  • Bowl, plate, spoon

Method

  1. Prepare the sauce by mixing the yeast, oil and soya sauce in a bowl (start with the nutritional yeast to save washing up)
  2. Preheat the grill to medium-high
  3. Fill a dinner plate with a thin layer of water and place 1 sheet of rice paper into it, just so water covers it, and then add a second sheet on top. Do this fairly quickly, you don't want to soak it. Then take it out and press with your hands, squeezing the excess water out until it merges together. 
  4. Cut the merged rice paper into strips with scissors. This can me quite awkward so I placed them straight in the parchment lined baking tray, side by side.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the other 2 sheets.
  6. Now you should have the strips lined on top of the parchment lined baking trays. Take each one and dip it into the mixture (it may need a quick stir to ensure it is doesn't separate) and cover it with the mix. It doesn't need a huge amount and can get messy! There should be the right amount for 2 merged sheets of 4. Pop them back on the baking sheet as before.
  7. At this point you can sprinkle some rock salt on the top, don't go over board though.
  8. Place them under the grill for about 5-7 mins. I had to keep swapping them round as our oven isn't very big. Keep checking them - you want them to be crispy on the edges but still retain a small amount of softness in the middle.
  9. Once done, layer up your sandwich! I put Plamil egg free mayonaise at the bottom followed by tomato and then the 'bacon', lettuce and a quick squirt of BBQ sauce.
  10. Enjoy! It really is delicious.  





Sunday, 8 November 2015

A Vegan in Iceland - Food, Cocktails and Trips!

My boyfriend and I spent 5 days in Iceland at the end of September, and had a spectacular time. You can even enjoy the food on this magical island as a vegan.

You'll find most vegan-friendly food in Reykjavik. Ask the staff - most people understand the concept today and even take an active interest in it. You can ask them to exclude any offending items from the dishes to make it vegan. It is also a great place for trying new things!

Hotel Laxness and Vegan Burgers in Kaffihúsið Álafossi

We stayed in a great hotel outside Reykjavik and walked to a tiny village on our first evening in Iceland. We found a lovely little restaurant and I was amazed to find they offered a vegan burger and even cake! Wonderful staff, decor and food.

Vegan Burgers in Kaffihúsið Álafossi

Reykjavik Chips with Vegan Sauce

No.1 - my favourite food - chips. We found this place just off the main street (Laugavegur) and, much to my surprise, it does a vegan chip sauce! It tasted like peanut satay sauce and was incredible. I never knew peanuts and potatoes went so well together. Really cool place too - with chip-related decor, good music and very nice staff. We need this in UK!

Reykjavik Chips with Vegan Sauce
Reykjavik Chips with Vegan Sauce

Lebowski Bar for Vegan White Russians

Anyone who has seen the film will love this place. Actually, anyone will love this place. Also on Laugavegur it has a 50's bowling alley theme and every kind of White Russian you can imagine (even vegan) this place is worth a visit whilst in Reykjavik.

Did I say a vegan White Russian? Why yes, I did! The bar tender's friend was vegan so he knew exactly what to do. He used soya milk and cream to replace the dairy. I enjoyed a liquorice flavoured one, and worked really well, but, you know, that's just, like, my opinion, man.

Lebowski Bar for Vegan White Russians

Iceland Air Hotel for Avocado on Toast and Liquorice Hot Chocolate

We found this cool little cafe which joined the hotel along the harbour and stopped here to revitalise and warm up. The staff were really nice - one had lived in Cardiff for a number of years and he even had a Welsh accent when he spoke to us in English!

They served my favourite - avocado on toast (just ask for no butter) and a new one for me - hot chocolate with liquorice (with almond milk). Apparently the Icelandic enjoy liquorice as much as I do - probably as it is salty. I would recommend this! Wish I could make it here somehow.

Stayed here for a while next to the central fire place. Lovely.

Avocado on Toast and Liquorice Hot Chocolate

Whale Watching with Elding - Choose An Animal Friendly Tour Group and Restaurants

You can't visit Iceland without going Whale watching. This family run tour group is completely against whale hunting and are actively trying to have it banned. They argue that a whale is worth more alive than dead as generates much more income from tourism than from the meat industry. The staff are also very respectful towards the whales as they don't want to harm them or drive the pods away; they are marine biologists so know what they are talking about!

They also encourage people to boycott restaurants that serve Whale meat. They have a whale-friendly restaurant 'Mar' which you can get 10% off with your ticket.

We went for the Northern Lights & Whale Watching package, it is worth every penny. Be sure to take a free travel sickness pill and wear the overalls they provide - it gets choppy and chilly out at sea.

My boyfriend spotted a minky whale and we all saw some incredibly acrobatic dolphins; they leapt right out of the water and kept swimming under our boat. I did get very sea sick though!

The Northern Light tour was a real unexpected treat as I was convinced it would be called off due to the bad weather, but they do say "if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes" in Iceland as it is so changeable. Sure enough, it was a beautiful clear night and high solar activity meant that we saw an extraordinary display; the lights were so strong and danced across the sky in front of our eyes.

Whale Friendly tours iceland

Traditional Tomato Soup in Cafe Haiti

This was a cure for my sea sickness after the whale watching tour. A little cabin on the harbour with a warm, cosy atmosphere. I really enjoyed their homemade soup - simply tomatoes and basil (no cream! yey!). They also do fantastic coffee.

Icelandic Tomato Soup

The Laundromat Cafe - No Vegan Sandwich :-(

I was looking forward to this place as I had heard they did a great vegan sandwich. When I looked online I couldn't see it on their menu so send them a message on facebook, where they assured me they still offered this. Sadly, when I tried to order it the staff didn't know what I meant, so I had to order a vege burger minus cheese and menu. I wasn't aloud to replace these items sadly, even by paying extra (avocado would have been a nice replacement) so the burger was really dry and disappointing. Still worth a visit as the decor is cool, but perhaps just get chips. There is also actually a laundrette underneath - so it is authentic hipster!

laundromat cafe iceland

Picnic Food for the Day Trips

The best way to enjoy the sites of Iceland is to hire a car and go for an explore. It is a big island, so you will be out all day. Bring a picnic as you won't find much vegan food on the road. For these excursions, we stocked up on essentials from the local supermarket; bread (try the Icelandic flat bread - reminded me of what the elves give the hobbits in Lord of the Rings), tomatoes (grown in labs in Iceland) cashew nuts, hummus, crisps and I even found some Violife vegan cheese spread!

Vegan picnic

Monday, 14 September 2015

Wagamama - Vegan Option - Warm Tofu Chilli Salad

I went to Wagamama hoping against hope that their katsu curry with breaded sweet potato and aubergine was vegan. The friendly waiter went and got a file with all the food allergy information and we looked through. Alas, the breaded mixture had egg in it and there was nothing they could do!

Their yasai itame is vegan but I went for the warm tofu chilli salad and I was happy. Really big, tasty and  good value. The star of the show was the super green juice - apple, mint, celery and lime. Gosh it was good - so sour and refreshing.

I later read somewhere that you can ask for the katsu sauce with rice and perhaps a bit of veg. After all, it is the katsu sauce which is the main event with my old favourite meal! I will try it out one day, though let me know if this is true.

vegan wagamamma

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Union Pizza Kings Cross - Vegan, Quick and Cheap Food!

My, we ate our a lot last week. I needed to calm down on the spending, and my friend recommend a new and cheap pizza place that had opened in Kings Cross. Perfect as we were going to see a gig at the Lexington later on.

Pizza union is great - their bases and sauces are vegan, plenty of seats and it is decorated in a cool, modern vibe (exposed piping, old tiles and loud music) You order and pay at the counter and then have a buzzy thing when your pizzas are ready. The staff were all smiles - and there was no issue having a margarita with no cheese. They were ready in under 10 mins, the bases satisfyingly crispy and a good size (12"). I went to ask for some fresh basil as my pizza was a little dull with just sauce and cooked basil, and again, the request was met with a big smile and a handful of lovely fresh leafs.

Such a nice place, ideal for a quick but enjoyable meal and incredible value (mine was only £3.95!) This is my kind of fast food.

union pizza kings cross


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Trip to York - Best Chip Shop Chips and El Piano - Lovely Vegan Restaurant

I have always wanted to go to York. Well, ever since standing on the underground platform at Finsbury Park on my way to work and seeing a travel poster for it; a train zooming towards golden buildings, bridges and the cathedral. 'Visit York!' was the declarative title, "from £30 return". It never is the price as advertised, normally it is alluring to an indirect train on a Wednesday at 6am, but a few weeks ago I found some very affordable tickets teamed with our 'Two Together' card.

So one Saturday we got up relatively early to catch the 9:30 am train from King's Cross. I was so excited, I love day trips and exploring new towns. It was only a 2.5 hour journey and soon we were filing into the city with all of the other tourists. It was noticeably cold, and the air smelt of gravy! I know it sounds stereotypical, but it is true. It must have come from the brewery, which was in the centre of town.

EDIT - The Vegan Punk tell me these chips now use Beef Dripping 
I loved it; we went round the castle walls, shuffled through The Shambles and had the BEST chip shop chips I have ever had. The smell of salt and vinegar from Drakes Fisheries had grabbed me as we walked past. We were served by a lovely friendly teen who was all smiles and good humour (not used to this in London) They were perfect - piping hot, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. We ate them in a near by square and watched the other tourists. I enjoyed every mouthful, perfect for the chilly, Autumnal afternoon after a long journey (I may have also been nursing a slight hangover after going out with the family the night before) I know they are not healthy - but they tasted like they had been cooked up especially for that moment. They also had vegetarian options and their chips were cooked in a separate, designated pan.

Drakes Fisheries Chips


Naturally we visited a lot of pubs, and just before our train back we went for a meal at El Piano, a well established vegan restaurant with great reviews. We booked a table as we weren't sure how busy it would be (the town was already heaving with revellers at 5pm, all well into their pints) but the restaurant was very quiet at 6:30pm. We were a bit worried as weren't very hungry (after sharing the chips and a portion of humungous onion rings at a pub) It was cosy and nicely decorated in a colourful and comforting Moroccan theme. We smelt the mouth-watering dahl as we walked in, and my mind was made up as to what to have. The waiter was really nice and made us feel relaxed, despite being the only ones there. I liked the way the menu worked: you basically choose a main dish, some fritters and a cold salad so you could mix and match to get exactly what you wanted. I went for the dahl (of course) with spinach, mushrooms and tomato pestolitos with hummus. Luke had the skewers, falafel and tabluleh. It was beautiful - I especially loved the dahl - full of garlicky flavour and not too runny. Luke said "It was really good". The portions were perfect for our present state, though I thought they would be bigger due to the price (£11.95). It is worth mentioning that they use locally sourced organic products, so it all adds up. We all eat too much anyway! I would definitely recommend a visit here if you do journey up to York one day.

el-piano

I had a wonderful time in York, next time I would wear more layers but otherwise do exactly the same things.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Sagar Covent Garden - Vegetarian Vegan Curry - Vegan Thali

Sagar at covent garden was a wonderful meal pre theatre. It is a vegetarian curry house that has vegan options.

We were lucky - a couple next to us overheard me trying to figure out what I could eat and recommended the vegan thali - which wasn't on the menu! We took their advice and had one each - though our eyes were much bigger than our stomachs as we couldn't quite finish it. I think 1 between 2 would have been ideal, especially as our favourites were different (mine was the okra, Luke's the cauliflower)

Sagar Covent Garden

They also have guilt-free vegan wine.

The waiter was also very sweet, and he had just turned vegan so we had a nice chat about this. A really positive experience, will be going back!

Sagar Covent Garden