Hackney Downs Vegan Market (now weekly!)

The monthly Hackney Downs Vegan Market proved so popular that co-collaborators, Fat Gay Vegan and Eat Work Art, have decided to make it a weekly event!

Hackney Downs Vegan Market

This is great news for us vegans, as it now means we can get tasty vegan street food from a rotating list of traders, EVERY Saturday at Hackney Downs Studios between 11:00 – 17:00.

We popped there yesterday for the first of their weekly markets, here’s what we ate:

Mac Americana at Club Mexicana

Seitan + Ale Pie at Young Vegans

Facon Cheese Burger at Big V London

Entry to the weekly community market is free and here are some of the traders you can expect to see (line up subject to change):

  • Big V London – Burgers made from scratch, no shortcuts, by their passionate Vegan team in their busy Deptford kitchen
  • Young Vegans – Serving up Vegan Pie + Mash on the streets of London since 2016, shop location coming soon
  • Vegan Delice – 100% Vegan bakery and London’s 1st Vegan Hot Donuts stand Est 2016
  • Hell Yum! – vegan ice cream and ice cream cookie sandwiches
  • Club Mexicana – Amazing vegan friendly Mexican food
  • The Cashew Family – 100% plant based & vegan fermented organic cashew cheese
  • Vega Mama – Creator of Vegan Chuna and a mama who loves providing wholesome vegan foods
  • Vogococo – raw chocolate & energy balls
  • The Cane Press – freshly peeled & pressed sugar cane juice drinks produced by Dawn and available with or without rum

For more info, check out Fat Gay Vegan‘a blog post.

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Wagamama Launching New Vegan Menu

One of my fave high street restaurant chains, Wagamama, is about to launch a brand new vegetarian & vegan menu.

Although they’ve offered some vegan options for a while now, they’re about to give us a whole lot more ~ Vegan Seitan Katsu Curry, Kare Burosu Ramen (breaded tofu, grilled mushrooms, curry broth) & Yasai Samla Curry (fried tofu in lemongrass coconut sauce) to name just a few.

yasai samla curry

The new menu is currently being trialled in just a few of their branches, but is due to be released to the masses in just a few short weeks!

yasai itame

Wagamama executive chef, Steve Mangleshot, invited a number of veggies & vegans to a workshop this Meat Free Week; check out some of the images shared by Yes, It’s All Vegan on Instagram.

Simply Cook

Just a quick post to tell you about Simply Cook, a great little recipe subscription service, that delivers exciting & easy-to-follow recipes to your door, as often as once a week.


Each box is made up of 4 recipes, and each recipe includes all spice mixes & pastes required, you just need to add around 4-6 fresh items.

Not to be confused with companies like Gousto, who deliver everything you need for each dish, with Simply Cool you do need to add a few bits yourself, but often these are items you may have in your fridge or pantry already ~ fresh veg or tinned beans for example.


I was able to get my first box in a deal for just £1, but a monthly 1 box subscription is only £9.99, which works out to just £2.50 a meal, and shipping is free.


You can choose between the Discovery, Light, Gluten-Free or Vegetarian Boxes, with many of vegetarian dishes either already being vegan friendly, or easily adaptable to be so.


We’ve made 2 of our 4 recipes so far, and tonight it was the turn of the Goan Cauliflower Curry. It only took around 25-30 minutes to prepare, and with the pastes and spices, you get a really deep flavour that would usually be impossible within that sort of time frame.

I’m not a fan of aniseed and the spice blend for this dish had a very pungent aniseed smell, so I simply left it out. Luckily there was enough flavour from the Goan curry and coconut pastes already.

There’s usually an offer for new registrations, so worth a go if you’re looking for quick mid-week dinners that come with some new, authentic recipe inspiration.

Have you tried them? What meals did you get? Let me know how you got on!

Click here to claim for vegetarian trial box now.

Oumph! Launch

This week I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of Oumph! at High Street Kensington’s Whole Foods Market.

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You may have seen my previous post about these guys, when they were at Kensington Olympia’s Just V Show earlier in the year.


At the time I was disappointed to find out that not only were they not selling their products on the day, but they hadn’t even launched in the UK yet!


Well all that changed this week and you can now find 4 varieties (Pulled Oumph!, Thyme & Garlic, Kebab Spiced and The Chunk) in Whole Foods Markets across the UK.


I’ve not been able to find it on the Whole Foods Market Quiqup website yet, but I’m sure that will follow soon.


So, on Tuesday night a few London vegans gathered in the events room upstairs at Whole Foods and sampled some of the range on offer.


We were then given a goodie bag containing one of the products, mine was the Pulled Oumph!, which I cooked for our dinner last night.


I created a simple burrito bowl ~ you can find a similar recipe by Minimalist Baker here ~ using rice, beans, peppers, red onion & the Pulled Oumph! and it was absolutely delicious.


I’m going to be stocking up my freezer with all 4 of the products on offer, I hope you do too! They’re so versatile, let me know what you create.

Oumph!

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you’ve probable already seen my posts about these guys over the weekend.

Their stall at the Just V Show was one of the busiest, and they weren’t even selling anything!

Oumph! was created to fill a gap in the meat substitute market. Something plant based, with low climate impact, that could increase people’s health, and help feed the 9 million on Earth. No small task!

The solution? These meat-free proteins, made entirely from beans, “unlike anything else from the plant kingdom”, and (they claim) with a climate impact is so low, that everyone on the planet can eat them every day!

Not only is this plant protein resource efficient, low in climate impact, rich in protein & fibre, and a great source of iron & folic acid, it tastes amazing. I mean A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! So good, we cheekily went back for more than a few of the tasting samples on offer on Sunday, despite the crowd & queues!

Oumph! comes is 9 varieties ~ 3 unseasoned & 6 seasoned with lots of spices ~ but as I mentioned, none of these were available at the show. Which at the time I was gutted about, however I am excited to announce that the full range will be launching in UK Whole Foods stores in September!!!

Their presence at the show was inspired PR-ing, and despite my initial disappointment, I’ll be spending the next couple of months planning how I’m going to cook and eat all 9 varieties. Roll on September… the question is, will we have enough Summer left for BBQs?

If you see them popping up anywhere else in the meantime, please make sure you give them a try.

I know some veggies & vegans don’t like the flavour or texture of meat (real or substitute), and if that’s you, you’re better off giving this one a miss. However, if like me, you were once an enthusiastic meat-eater, who has chosen to live a cruelty-free life for other reasons, I guarantee these texture & flavours will blow you away.

When you manage to get your hands on a pack, let me know what you think… I’ll be in front of you in the Whole Foods queue.

In the meantime, their website has loads of recipe ideas to ensure we never get bored, and can, as they suggest, eat Oumph! every day!

*** Disclaimer: whilst the majority of the images featured in this post have been borrowed from the Oumph! website, I have not been asked to promote this product by anyone & the opinions expressed here are entirely my own. ***

Vegan Double Chocolate Cake

In honour of National Chocolate Day this week, I shared a pic on Instagram of a dairy & egg free chocolate cake I made recently. I had a few requests for the recipe, so here it is folks, enjoy!

Cake Ingredients

  • 340g self raising flour
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 240g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 400ml soya, almond or rice milk
  • 160ml light rapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients

  • 75g dairy-free margarine
  • 75g vegetable fat (shortening)
  • 650g icing sugar
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • Around 80-100ml soya, almond or rice milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Cake Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180’C (350’F / gas mark 4) and grease 2 round 20cm cake tins.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl, then stir in the cocoa powder, caster sugar and baking powder.
  3. Add the milk, oil and vanilla, stirring until just combined. Don’t overmix or you’ll knock any air out and your cake won’t rise properly. To stop the rising agents working too quickly, tap the bowl on your kitchen counter and you should see little bubbles popping.
  4. Spoon half of the mixture into each cake tin and tap the tins a final time on the work surface.
  5. Put in the oven and bake for about 18-20 minutes. You’ll know the cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in to the middle of the cakes, comes out clean. They should feel springy to the touch.
  6. Leave the cakes in the tins to cool for about 15-20 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack until completely cooled.

Buttercream Method

  1. Use an electric or handheld mixer to whip together the margarine, vegetable fat and vanilla, until creamy in texture.
  2. Add half the icing sugar, all the cocoa powder and milk, and continue to mix. Start slowly, then bring up the speed until combined.
  3. Add the rest of the icing sugar and mix for about 1 minute until you have a smooth consistency.
  4. If your icing is too firm, add a bit more milk; too thin, add a bit more icing sugar.

Finishing Touches

  1. Spread the bottom layer of your cake with a nice thick helping of buttercream.
  2. Place the second layer on top and smother with more buttercream, covering the sides too.
  3. At this point you can either leave with this simple finish, or perhaps decorate with iced buttercream flowers on top, or even vegan biscuits or chocolate pieces.


Depending on who I’m making this cake for, and whether I want to at least try making it a bit healthier (or just slightly less naughty), you can swap out the caster sugar  for coconut sugar, the self raising flour for a gluten-free self raising blend flour, and the cocoa powder for unsweetened cacao powder.


This is a rich and decadent cake, so I’ve also experimented with different buttercream flavours. If the double chocolate is a bit much for you, try using a simple vanilla buttercream instead – just increase the icing sugar quantity to 750g, remove the cocoa powder completely, whilst reducing the milk quantity to just 40-60ml.


Have a go and let me know how you get on!

Adapted from a Turkish Delight Cake recipe by Ms. Cupcake.

Temple of Seitan, Hackney 🍗

I’ve been meaning to share Hackney’s Temple of Seitan with you for a while, and seeing as today is National Fried Chicken Day, I have the perfect excuse.


Previously only to be found at street-food markets on Brick Lane, Temple of Seitan have been serving up their unique vegan delights at their stand alone chick’n shop, since January this year (2017).

Now obviously chicken isn’t exactly vegan, but here they use seitan (a meat substitute made from wheat gluten) as their “chicken”, served up deep fried in sandwiches, as wings, and as my personal favourite, pop corn chick’n! They also have gluten-free options available and don’t forget to try their Mac ‘n’ Cheese, it’s the best I’ve ever tasted, with little “bacon” bits on top!


The brainchild of Rebecca McGuinness and her husband, Pat O’Shea, this chick’n shop could be one of a kind, potentially being the only vegan fried chick’n shop in the world. And there’s a reason us vegans have been flocking here (expect to find long & winding queues outside)… Rebecca McGuinness used to work for KFC. Is it possible she knows the “secret recipe”?

Vegan, vegetarian, carnivore or omnivore, I defy anyone not to fall in love with this place and they’re ridiculously delicious food.


And I don’t want to give away my too many of my secrets, but if you arrive just before closing, you’re likely to receive a huge bag of food, no matter what you order! We had leftovers…


This has become our favourite pig out joint in London and where we always head to for a treat on cheat day 🍗

Temple of Seitan is open 7 days a week, Monday to Saturday 12:00 – 21:00, 12:00 – 18:00 on Sundays.

Quorn – Vegan Fishless Fingers

Recently, when strapped for time, we’ve come to rely on a few really good pre-packaged, vegan friendly products. These, when thrown together with some well cooked veggies, mean we’re still able to get a balanced meal in at dinner time, without spending hours preparing it. 

Pre-vegetarian & vegan, we used to enjoy eating fish regularly; which is why we were excited to try Quorn’s new(ish) Fishless Fingers.

I have to warn you, if you’re vegan & you’ve given up meat or fish because you don’t like the flavour, these perhaps, aren’t for you… they really do smell & taste like the original product they’re emulating.

Like most Quorn products, these are made using Mycoprotein™, a completely meat-free form of high quality protein and a good source of dietary fibre, made by adding oxygen, nitrogen, glucose and minerals to a fungus called Fusarium venenatum.

Described by Quorn as fish free savoury flavour fingers, made with , coated in a crispy crumb, we paired these with mashed potatoes & peas, much as you would a regular fish finger.

The verdict? I liked them, but the boy wasn’t keen. Give them a go if you miss a good old fish finger buttie, but perhaps not for everyone.

  • Suitable for vegans
  • Vegetarian Society approved

Peanut Butter & Banana “Cheesecake” – vegan friendly

Who doesn’t love a good cheesecake? Creamy, rich, indulgent… And you’d have thought that being vegan means giving up on decadent treats such as these, but you’d be wrong.

I love finding a dairy-free, vegan friendly alternative to some of my old favourites, and this one is sure to impress even your non-vegan friends.

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The perfect combination of deliciously crunchy base, created from homemade Dark Chocolate Digestive Biscuits, and creamy smooth “cheesecake” topping of blended, protein-rich cashews and peanut butter.

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The banana element gives this cheesecake a hint of Banoffee Pie, which let’s face it, is never a bad thing!

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PEANUT BUTTER + BANANA “CHEESECAKE” WITH DARK CHOCOLATE DIGESTIVE BASE

Now obviously you could buy the biscuits for the base, and choose practically any type you want (Oreos – vegan friendly – work great!), but these digestives are so easy to make, and I like knowing I’ve created something entirely from scratch.

Author: My Vegan Kitchen

Recipe Type: Dessert

Cuisine: Vegan

Serves: 8 – 12

Ingredients

BASE (makes 10 so you have some leftover for eating)

  • 170g wholemeal flour
  • 170g medium oatmeal
  • 150g cold vegan butter, diced
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 55g dark muscovado sugar
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 2-3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 150g vegan dark chocolate (optional)

FILLING

  • 2 bananas
  • 2 cups cashews
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup maple syrup (or your choice of liquid sweetener)
  • ¾ cup peanut butter (your preference of smooth or crunchy)

CHOCOLATE GANACHE TOPPING

  • ¾ cup vegan dark chocolate
  • 50ml coconut milk

 

Instructions

For the biscuits (if making):

  1. Preheat your oven to 170C degrees and in a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour and oatmeal. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (best to get dirty and use your hands for this bit).
  2. Mix in the bicarb, sugar and salt, adding just a little almond milk to bring it all together to a dough-like consistency. Flatten in to a disk, wrap in clingfilm chill for at least 30 minutes (like pastry, this makes it easier to roll out and cut in to biscuit shapes).
  3. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper and set aside. Roll out your biscuit “dough” between 2 sheets of clingfilm, to around 4-5mm thick, then cut out your biscuits. Arrange on your baking trays, leaving a small gap in between each, prick each one several times with a fork and bake for between 12-15 minutes. Baking time will depend on you oven and whether you prefer your biscuits to be soft or crisp (crisp is probably better for the purpose of your cheesecake base).
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, whilst you melt your chocolate (if using) over a saucepan of simmering water. Remember this step is optional, you may only want to coat the biscuits you won’t be using for the cheesecake base, but I did them all so my base would have little chunks of chocolate!
  5. To coat biscuits, dunk one side in to the melted chocolate, repeating to build up layers, set aside to cool.

For the base:

  1. If not still on, preheat your oven to 180C degrees and, using either a food processor or a good, old fashioned rolling pin, crush up 140g of your biscuit choice. Add 5 tbsp of melted coconut oil and mix together.
  2. Lightly grease a 20cm cake tin, either spring form or one with a removable base is best. Fill the bottom of cake tin with your crushed biscuit mixture, and use either the back of a spoon or a small cup to pack it down tightly and as evenly as possible.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes, remove and set aside to cool.
  4. Add you bananas, cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil, coconut milk, maple syrup and peanut butter to a blend a blend together until very smooth. This will take around 4 – 5 minutes and you’ll probably need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides to mix back together a couple of times.
  5. If your peanut butter doesn’t already contain salt, you may want to season with a pinch at this point. Also, if your mixture is too thick, you can add a little more coconut milk to loosen.
  6. Pour evenly over your cool biscuit base and set aside. At this point you can either put in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours – although overnight is best – or you can whip up whatever toppings and decorations you want to add. For example:

For the chocolate ganache:

  1. Heat 50ml of coconut milk over a low heat, bringing it to a simmer. Meanwhile break up ¾ cup of vegan dark chocolate (I like Green & Blacks) in a small heat proof mixing bowl and, once the coconut milk is bubbling, pour it over the chocolate. Then just leave it for 3 – 4 minutes, before stirring and mixing together. Have a taste at this point, as you may want to sweeten with a little maple syrup. I however I like mine a little bitter, to combat the richness of the cheesecake.
  2. Spoon your ganache over the top of your cheesecake, in whatever pattern takes your fancy. Go wild, be as creative as you like! Once you’ve exhausted your creativity, pop your cheesecake in the fridge to set, as stated above, for at least 3 hours.
  3. Once set, remove your cheesecake from its tin and serve! I like to serve mine with a bit of salted caramel sauce, veganised from this recipe from Jamie Oliver’s website, and any leftover ganache.

Pizzaria Volare, North London

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love pizza. Pre-veggie/veganism, the boy and I were partial to the occasional (weekly) Domino’s 2 For Tuesday deal.
Switching over to our current veggie and vegan lifestyles, our new go to became Papa Johns, whose original crusts are vegan friendly (and so delicious, even the pups are fans)!
Now, after both experiencing real Italian thin crust pizzas in Italy, our tastes have refined somewhat. And as much as I do love a good Franco Manca or a Pizza Pilgrim, these aren’t local to us in North London, so we have been on the hunt for an authentic and local restaurant to frequent.
And then we found Pizzaria Volare, Bowes Road. We’ve often walked past on our way to other places, but this time we headed there specifically, and we weren’t disappointed.
Here’s what we ordered:
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A deliciously fresh Tricolore Salad – rocket, avocado, tomato & mozzarella (on the side).
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A side order of Patatas Bravas with a spicy tomato sauce (again, on the side – a theme may be occurring).
And then my absolute favourite (and often cheapest!) pizza of all time…
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Pizza Marinara – tomato pizza sauce, garlic (and lots of it), oregano & fresh basil.
All washed down with a complimentary shot of limoncello and a rather good value bill.
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Oh and did you know that Peroni is vegan friendly? Rude not to, really.
A great little vegetarian & vegan friendly meal in a lovely authentic Pizzaria; a must if you find yourself in our neck of the woods. Attentive staff, only too happy to make slight adjustments to their plentiful menu, delicious food and reasonably priced.
Pizzaria Volare
167 Bowes Road
N11 2JA
020 3105 2662