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

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:
1
A deliciously fresh Tricolore Salad – rocket, avocado, tomato & mozzarella (on the side).
2
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…
5
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.
6
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

Gosh!

New vegan friendly brand on sale at selected Tesco stores.

Have you heard of Gosh! and their range of burgers, bakes and bites, made using 100% natural ingredients, “as nature intended”?

Naturally free from the top 14 allergens, including cereals containing gluten, eggs, milk, soya, nuts, peanuts, celery, mustard, sesame seeds, lupin, sulphur dioxide, crustaceans, fish & molluscs.


So far I’ve tried their Mushroom, Puy Lentil & Butter Bean Bugers and can honestly say they are very tasty and quite impressive. Baked in the oven for 15-20 mins, they are full of flavour and held together much better than most other vegan burger brands.


Each 125g burger is only 200kcals and contains 7.7g protein and only 2.3g sugar.

I’ve also just purchased the Mixed Seed, Quinoa, Carrot & Coriander Bakes with a Minted Pea Centre am hope these will be equally as tasty.


The whole range has been approved by both the Vegetarian & Vegan Societies.

Check out the whole range on sale online at Tesco or to find out more, including where you can purchase, check out their Facebook page or website.

Ben & Jerry’s – non-dairy range

I’m sure by now most of you will have heard about Ben & Jerry’s new range of non-dairy frozen desserts.

You dared us to go dairyless — and we did! Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy flavor creations are made with almond milk & so boldly loaded with chunks & swirls that you’ll get Ben & Jerry’s euphoria in every bite.

 

Made with almond milk and certified vegan, using new vegan friendly brownies from New York’s Greystone Bakery, and only fairtrade cocoa, sugar, bananas, coffee and vanilla, I am sad to announce that Ben & Jerry’s do not plan to release these frozen desserts in the UK… sob sob sob

 

“Hello from Ben & Jerry’s

 

In response to your enquiry, we have no current plans to introduce the Dairy free range of ice creams in the UK. We appreciate this is obvously disappointing news for you but I would advise to check our Ben & Jerry’s website for any updates in future in regards to our range of ice creams.”

 

Our friends across the Atlantic however, will be able to enjoy these amazing looking frozen desserts:

chunky-monkey-pint-3

Chunky Monkey: Banana non-dairy frozen dessert with fudge chunks & walnuts

choc-fudge-brownie-pint-3

Chocolate Fudge Brownie: Chocolate non-dairy frozen dessert with fudge brownies

coffee-caramel-fudge-pint-3

Coffee Caramel Fudge: Coffee non-dairy frozen dessert with fudge chunks & a caramel swirl

p-b-cookies-pint-3

P.B. & Cookies: Vanilla non-dairy frozen dessert with chocolate sandwich cookies & crunchy peanut butter swirls

I’m hoping Ben & Jerry’s will change their mind, I had heard rumours of a June release so keep your ears open and I will report back if I hear anything different.

Anyone been lucky enough to try one of these yet? Let me know what you think!

Updated 22 Feb 2016: Bright spark, Benjamin Dunkley, has started a petition at Change.org, imploring Ben & Jerry’s to bring their vegan line of ice creams to the UK. Sign it & let’s make this happen!

Wild Food Cafe | Covent Garden, London

Tucked away in a beautiful London corner is Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, and it’s here that you’ll find the self proclaimed “raw-centric vegan / vegetarian eatery”, Wild Food Cafe.

Run by raw foodies Joel and Aiste, this hidden gem uses only locally sourced and organic produce where possible, to prepare nutrient packed plant-based food, “served with love”.

I recently dined here with my non-vegan, but open-minded friend, Kate. This being our first visit, we both chose a dish from each course and then shared, wanting to sample as many of the delicacies on offer as possible.

Seating is set up canteen style, so we found a spot with our backs to the wall so we could people watch, then set about to ordering…

Although there is wine and organic beer + cider on offer, the smoothies had been recommended to me so that’s what we started with…

  

I chose the Incredible Green Smoothie (above), whilst Kate went for the Vibrant Green Juice.

  • Incredible Green Smoothie (V, R): Apple, celery, cucumber, kale, nettle, dates, avocado, banana, lime, green powder
  • Vibrant Green Juice (V, R): Apple, celery, cucumber, parsley, lemon, ginger

Both were delicious, but while Kate’s juice was light and refreshing, my smoothie was quite dense and thick, almost a meal in itself, and I couldn’t quite finish it.

Next up we shared a starter of Hummus & Raw Crackers.

  

  • Hummus & Raw Crackers (V, N, R): In-house hummus with raw crackers, veggie sticks + extra virgin olive oil

If I’m honest, I’m yet to be convinced by raw (rehydrated) crackers. I’ve had them in a couple of places now (to be featured in an upcoming review of Tanya’s), and they just don’t do it for me, though I can see the appeal. The hummus however was delicious and we couldn’t get enough of it with the vegetable crudités.

We then shared a couple of main dishes between us and I’d be hard pushed to pick a favourite.

  

  • Wild Pizza Special (V, N, R): Dehydrated almond + butternut squash base, topped with marinara, wild sea purslane pesto and a daily selection of toppings

  

  • The Wild Burger (V, N, R, G): Olive + shiitake burger, with cultured Wild Sauce, salsa verde, smokey baba-ganoush, a side of sweet potato wedges (not raw) served in our in-house grain-free seed bread

You’ll probably have noticed that the mains are quite small in size, however when dishes are this nutrient dense, you get filled up quite quickly; plus we’d ordered a lot of food, so the smaller the portions, the better.

And finally, though we were stuffed, we ordered 2 desserts, knowing we could take the leftovers home – which we did, to be devoured with a cup of Earl Grey tea later that evening.

  

  • White Chocolate Tart with Caramel Brittle (V, N, R): Cacao butter, maple syrup and cashew cheesecake topped with cacao nibs and salted caramel pecans on a walnut + date base

  

  • Sweet Potato + Cacao Brownie (V, N): Special of the day served with caramel brittle sauce + a berry coulis

Both desserts were absolutely delicious, and while I have made many a sweet potato brownie myself (much to the boyfriend’s distaste), the vegan “cheesecake” is something I particularly enjoyed, and is something I am yet to attempt in my own kitchen. I do however have a peanut butter recipe in mind, but I’ll share with you at a later date.

  

The whole bill came to £66.83, for 2 drinks, 1 starter, 2 mains and 2 desserts, including service charge. This could be considered quite pricey when you consider no alcohol was consumed, however all ingredients are organic and mostly sourced locally, and you have to appreciate the ingenuity that goes in to designing healthy and raw dishes such as these. 

I would thoroughly recommend the Wild Food Cafe to anyone looking to experience raw cuisine at its very best. Having visited a couple of similar establishments more recently, this place is by far my favourite and at the top of my list for a revisit.

Much has been said recently of the benefits to following a raw diet. Raw fruits and vegetables tend to have a higher water content than when they are cooked, and so fill us up more quickly, stopping us from over eating and aiding in weight loss. However it is believed that heating food also destroys it’s nutrients and natural enzymes, and it is these enzymes that boost our digestion and help to fight chronic diseases. Recently I have read conflicting reports that there are some vegetables that can actually be damaging to us when eaten raw, tomatoes for example, which should only ever be consumer cooked…

I believe in balance, and that eating a wide and varied diet, containing as many colourful ingredients (raw and cooked) as possible is what’s best. We’re all different though, and what works for one, may not work for another. I will continue to enjoy visiting raw and experimental restaurants, and I will always continue my vegan, plant-based lifestyle, however a fully raw lifestyle isn’t for me; not yet anyway.

Follow me on Instagram @my_vegan_kitchen for more vegan reviews and recipes, and make sure to come back soon for reviews on both Mildred’s and Tanya’s vegan / vegetarian cafes in London.
Key:

(V) – vegan, dairy-free

(N) – contains nuts /seeds

(R) – some or all of the dish is prepared below 42C to preserve enzymes, nutrients and flavour


Ya Hala – Paddington, London

The gorgeous sun, and the fact that it’s Friday, persuaded us to venture away from our desks for lunch at work this afternoon; and I’m glad we did, as we stumbled upon a bustling Lebanese restaurant that we might never have known existed otherwise.

Ya Hala can be found at 26 London Street, opposite the Praed Street enterance to Paddington station, and serves a multitude of the usual a you’d expect to find in a modern Lebanese restaurant, with lots of veggies and falafel options for the vegans out there.

   
   
I ordered my regular Lebanese meal of choice, a falafel wrap with hummus, salad + roast aubergine, but you could easily fill up a plate with their delicious looking salads alone.

   
   
I’d recommend if you’re in the area and looking for a quick bite. The place was heaving but we were served promptly and you can argue with the price : £3.99 take away / £4.27 to eat in. Make sure you have cash though as minimum card transaction is £5.

   
   
Enjoy!

Check my Instagram for more vegan restaurants, products and home cooked meals @My_Vegan_Kitchen

Zizzi Ristorante

Those of you that follow me on Instagram, will know that I love a pizza. Always have. I loved a pizza pre-veganism, mostly from Dominos – the boyfriend and I used to celebrate a Tuesday with a “Two for…” deal and watch American sports on TV. Now I’m vegan & he’s veggie, it’s Pizza Hut (a new love!) or Pizza Express.

Pizza Express
Pizza Express


I’ve spent a lot of time eating pizza, so I like to think I know a thing or two, and while I’m still perfecting the art of making at home, when it comes to pizza restaurant chains, I thought I knew where it was at.

The Three Johns
The Three Johns


Pizza Express has always been my “go to” when I’m out and in the mood for something hot and Italian – they have a vegan pizza on their menu for God’s sake! But last night I might have found a new favourite…

  

At the suggestion of one of my closest friends, Amy, we dined at Zizzi. To be honest, if she wasn’t such a good friend, I might not have trusted her judgement in the first place, but she is, so we went, and I loved it!

Unlike my beloved Pizza Express, they don’t have a vegan pizza on their menu, but they do have a vegan menu! In actual fact it’s an allergens menu, but I have never seen one, or even heard of such a thing before last night, so I got pretty excited about it. On this hallowed menu they list items from each section of their menu that either already are or can be adapted to be vegan friendly, listing what it is you need to request be removed.

They also have specific vegetarian, gluten-free, milk-free, sesame and lupin-free, nut and peanut-free, crustacean-free, mollusc-free, fish-free, egg-free, celery-free, mustard-free, soybean, sulphide dioxide and sulphite-free pages!


With the help of my new best friend (the menu) we ordered :

Fava Pepe

Basil broad bean chips + roquito pepper pearls.


and

Bruschetta


Confit baby plum tomatoes on garlic brushed ciabatta, smoked garlic oil + basil – minus the topped riserva cheese.


NEW Skinny pizza primavera


Roasted aubergine, artichokes, peppers, slow roasted tomatoes, olives & fresh oregano – minus the goats cheese but with added mushrooms, onions and green chilies.

Our Fava Pepe starter was vegan without any alterations and completely new to me. I haven’t seen anything like this on a restaurant menu before and what a treat to find a new vegan dish in the most unlikeliest of places.

My “skinny” Primavera pizza was made with Zizzi’s new wholemeal, white + spelt base, served with an Italian naked slaw, under 550kcals and I can thoroughly recommend. Also good to note is that all Zizzi pizza bases and tomato sauces are vegan friendly, so you should be able to order any veggie pizza, minus the cheese, and know that your meal with be vegan friendly.

Amy also had a pizza, but it was meat based, so I won’t bore you with it here!

We didn’t indulge in dessert, although I could have ordered safely using the allergens menu, from a selection of fruity sorbets – not quite “nice cream” but a step in the right direction at least.

I will definitely think twice before I walk in to a Pizza Express again, if there’s a Zizzi nearby. Sorry Pizza Express, but until you update your menu to rival the selection on offer at Zizzi, you might just have lost a once loyal customer – I still love your stripy T-shirts though!

Retreat Cafe – TriYoga, Kingly Court, Soho

If I ever have a Tuesday or Friday off work, I try to get to one of the wonderful Claire Missingham‘s vinyasa flow classes at TriYoga, Soho.

 

Green Inversion Smoothie
 
I was lucky enough to find myself in such a position a couple of weeks ago and after attending her 90 minute morning class, I went in search of something refreshing and vegan friendly.

TriYoga has recently expanded their Soho studio and partnered with Retreat Cafe to bring us wholesome nourishment. Located on the 2nd floor of Kingly Court in Soho, they specialise in gluten, dairy, sugar-free, vegetarian food with some vegan options, plus fresh juices and smoothies.  

Banana Bread Cake , Orange + Ginger Loaf
 
I went for a Green Inversion smoothie (cucumber, celery, spinach, Apple, lemon + ginger), which you may have seen on Instagram recently, but they also serve :

  • a variety of granolas and things on spelt toast for breakfast
  • some amazing, freshly prepared salads that change daily
  • gluten-free wraps
  • dairy-free soups
  • and a variety of sweet, but healthy, treats such as brownies, banana bread, protein bars, flapjacks and chocolate + tahini energy balls – the perfect post-practice protein boost!

 

Sweet Virtues
 
all clearly labeled with ingredients and which are suitable for your vegan diet.

 

They also run a loyalty scheme, giving a free coffee, smoothie or juice for every 9 bought!

 

Fritatta, Daily Prepared Salads
 
Complete mind and body nourishment sounds good to me, and if I can wangle another Tuesday or Friday off work, I might see you there! 

The Coconut Collaborative

I’ve been vegan for 10 months now, not long when I have a whole lifetime ahead of me, but it does mean I’m still discovering new brands all the time & that’s always exciting!

This week I stumbled across The Coconut Collaborative, in Tesco of all places! Have you heard of them?

I am so into coconuts at the moment; I’m using coconut oil in everything, covering vegan treats in coconut flakes, considering purchasing some coconut sugar, I even nicknamed one of my pups “my little Coco-nut”… So I was looking forward to trying some of these coconut based yoghurts.

Created by self proclaimed “coconutters”, aiming to spread the coconut love near and far:

“our mission

In the beginning there was the coconut and we saw that it was good. That’s why we’re on a mission to spread the coco-love far and wide by bringing together like-minded coconutters so you can enjoy the coco-clever things they make. And at the same time, we’re determined to give something back to the planet and it’s people, so we’re planting coconut trees, helping farmers and supporting charities.”

Dairy, soya and gluten free, Coconut Co yoghurts are made from coconut milk, sometimes with the addition of fruits, but I decided to try out the plain variety..

Natural Coconut Yoghurt


I’m not sure that I’ve ever eaten coconut yogurt before. I always enjoyed plain or Greek yoghurts before becoming vegan, but have been a bit apprehensive about trying other vegan yoghurt products, usually because they’re soy based, which I try not to consume too much of.

So I was excited to try this natural one & devoured it with homemade vegan chilli, as a soured cream replacement, and it was delicious. The coconut flavour went so well with the hot & spicy chilli, but it would equally go as well with musli, granola or fruit for breakfast too.

I’d thoroughly recommend and am looking forward to am trying out some of the other fruitier varieties. They even do frozen yogurt too, which has given me the idea of using coconut milk in my vegan “nice” creams at home!



Frozen Coconut Yoghurt


Check out their website for more info, products, including ingredients & nutritional lists. You can join their mailing list, enter competitions and find out about the other “coconutter” brands too!

Tibits – Vegan Tuesdays

Just a quick post to share Tibits’ new Vegan Tuesdays with you!

I love Tibits. Located just off Regent Street, me and the BF have been here on many occasions; usually after a few drinks in Central London, when we’re craving something tasty, filling & obviously vegan!

So I was pleased to receive their email today and see on their blog that they’ve announced “Vegan Tuedays“.



image taken from @tibits_restaurants’ Instagram


An international chain of vegetarian & vegan restaurants based across London & Switzerland, Tibits offer a pay by the weight buffet of salads, hot dishes, soups, freshly pressed juices and desserts + a fully licensed bar, making it the perfect destination for breakfast, after work drinks, a leisurely meal or a take away, they are now also promising :

“…sensational salads and seasonal hot dishes including Leek & Sage Spelt Risotto, Peruvian Quinoa Tabbouleh and Cauliflower Eliachi. And be sure to save room for dessert: the Sticky Toffee Pudding and Apple & Rhubard Crumble are definitely worth ditching the diet for.”

I suspect I might see you there…

Address: 12-14 Heddon Street, London W1B 4DA
Phone: 020 7758 4110