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. ***

Temple of Seitan, Hackney đźŤ—

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.

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…
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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

Homeslice is Coming to Shoreditch

Pizza and red wine are my 2 greatest food loves. Those of you that know me, know that not many a week goes by that I don’t partake in the consumption of at least one of these delicious indulgences.

So I was excited to find out this morning that one of my Covent Garden favourites, Homeslice, is opening up a new branch in Shoreditch. Not only that but if you visit today or tomorrow (03 / 04 December ’16) between 12 – 11pm during their soft launch, you’ll receive 50% off pizzas + 100 slices to go for free!

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Homeslice began life in 2011 with a mobile wood-fired oven hand built by Ry Jessup.  We launched Homeslice with an event at London Fields Brewery and sold out within hours. We gained real momentum serving up slices at markets and festivals with Kerb, Street Feast and Frieze, which culminated in our residency at Kings Cross Filling Station in 2012.

It was through Ry’s connection with Mark Wogan that the idea of moving to bricks and mortar came about. Through his background in the restaurant industry and his passion for simple food done well, Mark dovetailed with what Homeslice were trying to achieve.

So, with Mark’s brother Alan looking after the business side of things, Mark and Ry began work establishing their first restaurant at 13 Neal’s Yard in the early part of 2013.  With a shared vision of retaining Homeslice’s original simplicity, the aim was to balance tradition with innovation, offering people our take on the classics alongside more unique flavour combinations. The result was a simple menu of pizza, beer and wine with quality, seasonal produce at its heart, served in a relaxed, friendly space.

One of the great things about Homeslice is they aim to use only the best fresh, seasonal and local produce available. Everything they serve is made in house, including their dough which is aged for at least 24 hours before being cooked at 500 degrees celcius for only 60-90 seconds in their custom built wood fired oven, that gives their pizzas that delicious and authentic smokey, slight char flavour.

A whole 20″ pizzas costs ÂŁ20, or you can grab just a slice for ÂŁ4; a whole pizza will generously feed 2-3 people and they’re happy to split toppings 50/50. Although there isn’t a vegan option on the menu, I have been lucky enough to enjoy a freshly made Marinara pizza at the Covent Garden branch, but I think you’d struggle to get something cheese-free by the slice.

You can also choose to wash it down with locally sourced beers, wine by the magnum, frizzante prosecco on tap, plus a seasonal cocktail menu.

There’s something for everyone here, be it vegan or carnivore. Pop along and let me know what you think…

​​Homeslice, Old Street:
​374-378 Old Street, Shoreditch, London, EC1V 9LT
​oldstreet@homeslicepizza.co.uk / 0203 151 1121
​Mon – Sat: 12pm – 11pm, Sun: 12pm-10pm.

homeslice shoreditch

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 cruditĂ©s.

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 ÂŁ66.83, 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


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! 

La Polenteria – Old Compton Street, Soho

Whilst en route to meet a friend for a drink in Soho last week, I stumbled upon La Polenteria – a new Italian restaurant whose menu revolves around polenta-based dishes and desserts.

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I am a new comer to the world of polenta, but the boyfriend has long been a fan. He recently made some polenta and mushroom cakes that were divine, so I am quite excited about this new family-run venture on Old Compton Street.

They use traditional Italian recipes, and only the highest quality, natural produce, with no GMO ingredients. Which means what….? They have some specifically vegan menu options and they highlight them on their menu!

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With a range of hearty main meals (vegan, vegetarian or meat/fish based), healthy salads, desserts and coffee, there’s something for everyone. I think this will be a great little spot to visit with a group of friends and everyone will be able to find something they like whether vegan, veggie, pescetarian or carnivore.

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The added bonus – all their dishes are prepared freshly on the premises, which is one up on some other restaurants I have recently visited. Busaba, for example, couldn’t prepare me anything to eat when I recently visited them for a work lunch. This was a shock as I thought their food would also have been prepared freshly in their onsite kitchens, but apparently not. They informed me a lot of it comes in pre-packaged?!!

So I’ll definitely be checking La Polenteria out soon. Be sure to check back for the review. I may even see you there!

Banana Tree – Indochinese in Soho (& other locations)

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Last night I met up with one of my best (non-vegan, but I don’t hold it against her) friends for drinks & dinner. She suggested Banana Tree, which I had never heard of, but further investigation proved they have 6 branches in London (one of which is in Islington), along with 2 more outside London – I can’t believe I haven’t heard of or been here before!

They label themselves as “the home of fantastic food, drinks and fun from the Indochina region.
Award winning restaurant, serving great Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Singaporean dishes.
Come and enjoy our customers’ favourite Pan Asian dishes with inspiring Oriental cocktails in a relaxed and buzzing atmosphere!” I was sold.

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They offer a few vegan options on their menu, but the selection isn’t vast. Luckily my friend is happy to eat veggie & vegan so we often share. This time we ordered the only vegan starter to share & the only 2 vegan mains, also to share.

Here’s what we ate :

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* Street Style Crispy Dough
A light and chewy Indochinese style dough served with our signature Kajang Satay sauce (one of the most delicious things I have eaten recently!)

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* Gaeng Keo Wan
Aromatic Thair curry cooked with green spice paste, sweet basil, lime leaves, peppers, bamboo shoots & coconut milk – with Tofu (of course)

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* Tamarind Spicy Aubergine
Sweet, tangy, spicy and simply delicious! Tamarind, peppers, carrot, spicy bean paste, garlic and ginger are used in this mouth-watering dish

Each dish was absolutely delicious & unique. We also took advantage of the Banana Tree Combo, which allows you to add an Indo House Salad, sweet corn cakes, Indo Viet rackers, & steamed jasmine rice to your meal for an additional ÂŁ3.50. It was just the right amount of food. I was full but not stuffed – perfect!

The price is reasonable – though I always think restaurants over charge for what is essentially vegetables. Each main was ÂŁ7.60, or ÂŁ11.10 if you choose to add the combo, which I believe to be pretty average for a main meal in London.

They also have happy hour from open to 7pm when drinks are buy one get one free, but unfortunately we’d just missed it.

This is a great restaurant, busy with plenty of atmosphere and most importantly the food is amazing.

Their website states that their menu options may vary by location, so I’ll definitely be trying the Islington branch soon – I’ll report back.

Maoz Falafel – Old Compton Street, London

The boyfriend and I fell in love with falafel wraps from Maoz in Barcelona. So imagine how thrilled I was when last night I stumbled across a branch on Old Compton Street, Soho.

I haven’t tried it yet but I am very excited to. I may even make the trip from North to Central London this weekend especially, something I almost never do, try try it out.

Also just seen on their website that Maoz falafel is gluten free and they have a handy & informative page that lists the ingredients they use.

I’ll let you know how I get on!

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