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.

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.

Tredwell’s, London – vegan friendly

Being a big fan of UK Masterchef (regular, professional and even celebrity), I have been pleased to see the odd vegetarian round popping up over the past couple of years.

Masterchef: The Professionals judge and one time Junior Masterchef contestant (1985), Marcus Wareing’s latest casual dining restaurant, Tredwell’s (opened September 2014), is even more reason for celebration, as he has gone one step further and added vegan friendly options to his menu.

img_1243

Described by The Evening Standard Magazine’s Grace Dent, as “comfort food heaven”, located in the heart of London, Tredwell’s aims to bring modern London cooking to the West End’s Seven Dials, and though I’m yet to dine there, the menu is certainly appealing.

Starters (Vegan)

  • Nocellara del Belice olives (Ve) £2
  • Harissa glazed aubergine, peanuts, coriander and chilli (Ve) £6.50

Starters (Vegetarian)

  • Pumpkin soup, cep toast, toasted seeds (V) £7
  • Buffalo ricotta, beetroot, pine nut better (V) £7
  • Burrate, olive, caramalised shallot, balsamic, rocket (V) £10

Mains (Vegan)

  • Butternut Squash and sage dumplings, kale, hazelnut sauce (Ve) £14

Sides (Vegan)

  • Skinny Fries (Ve) £3
  • Wilted greens, roasted garlic (Ve) £3.50
  • Green salad (Ve) £4
  • Sweet potato chunks (Ve) £4
  • Green beans, olive oil and tarrgon (Ve) £4
  • Kale, sugarsnap and rocket salad (Ve) £4

Sides (Vegetarian)

  • Parsnip & horseraddish slaw (V) £4
  • Blue cheese croquettes (V) £ 4.50
  • Grilled broccoli, almond butter and capers (V) £5

Puddings (Vegan)

  • Coconut mousse, pineapple, mint, lime (Ve) £5
  • The virtuous chocolate brownie, coconut yogurt (Ve) £5

new-image

Though there is but one vegan/vegetarian main on the menu, it is definitely one I would pick. With such a vast range of vegan friendly side dishes on offer, I could happily order a bunch of these, along with a couple of starters to create my own tapas style meal, rounded off with a vegan chocolate brownie, obviously!

Tredwells54-e1416253990774

There is also a prix-fixe menu available at specific dining times: 2 courses for £21 or 3 for £25. Available Monday to Wednesday 12pm – 2pm, 5pm – 6:30pm, 9pm – 10pm and Thursday & Friday 12pm – 2pm, 5pm – 6:30pm, 9:45pm – 11pm, Saturday 4pm – 6:30pm, 9:45 – 11pm, the sample menu on the website doesn’t specify any vegan or vegetarian options. However, after some investigation, Tredwell’s confirmed they be only too happy to swap some of the options for something more suitable for our vegan dietary requirements, which I thought was great news! However please note, you can pick 2 or 3 vegan and vegetarian courses from the regular menu for around the same price, if not less, so make sure your options on the prix-fixe menu are something a little bit special.

1-DSC_0808_zpscfxl2zwo

As previously mentioned, I am yet to dine at Tredwell’s, but hope to soon, so will let you know if it’s worth giving it a go. Have any of you been already? I’d love to know what you think of a “celebrity” chef venturing in to vegan friendly cuisine.

Tredwells_Logo_2014_Final_Seven_Dials-760x285

Something that also appeals to me and is a further reason to visit, Tredwell’s host live Jazz nights every Friday & Saturday evening from 8pm.

Tredwell’s

4A Upper St Martin’s Lane
London, WC2H 9NY
0203 764 0840

Opening hours:

Monday to Thursday: 12pm – 2pm and 5pm – 10pm
Friday: 12pm – 3pm and 5pm – 11pm
Saturday: 12pm – 11pm
Sunday: 12pm – 4pm

For enquiries email hello@tredwells7dials.com

For more info follow @tredwells on twitter.

 

Dinner at Ottolenghi, Islington

The boyf and I went for a “quick” bite to eat at Ottolenghi, Islington tonight. I use the inverted commas as we only had the table for 90 minutes & he was 40 minutes late.



Ottolenghi, Upper Street, Islington – London

It’s ok though; we’re quick eaters & it meant I got to order myself a glass of red while I chose what we were going to eat.

Here’s what I went for :

To start, from the cold counter :



🌱 Sprouting broccoli, courgette, samphire & green olive tapenade, sorrel + poppy seeds £9.50

🌱 Poached quince, bitter mixed leaves, spicy pecan nuts, Roquefort (on the side) + orange blossom dressing £9.50

Followed by, from the hot kitchen :



🌱 Tempura vegetables, burnt aubergine + truffle honey (on the side) £11.00

🌱 Char-grilled calçot onions, romesco sauce + paprika breadcrumbs £10.00

We were so hungry that when the vegetable tempura were brought out, we dived straight in! I forgot to take a photo but here’s one from another diner:



The service was exceptional and the staff were just attentive enough, especially while I was waiting for my better half; on hand nearby if I needed them, but not fussing or hovering.

The food was good & I would recommend Ottolenghi for a special occasion. However for what it is, I find it quite pricey and the dishes aren’t particularly big, tapas / meze sized.

We / I ordered 4 plates for the 2 of us to share and while it was enough to fill us up, I could have eaten more – but maybe this says more about me than the restaurant! You can see how hungry we were from our (figuratively) licked clean plates.



Our organic wine was quite nice but (probably for the best) only served in 125ml glasses for £5.25+, or by the bottle.

If the dishes were priced between £5-7 each, I’d say it was good value & I’d definitely become a regular. Priced as they are, it seems a little expensive to me.

You can order the cold dishes to go from the deli and these might be a little more reasonably priced.



They also do some amazing looking cakes & pastries. In fact I’ve walked past this place so many times  in the past and always thought it was a coffee / cake shop. 



There are 3 other branches in London if you’re interested in seeking one out :

  • Nopi, Warwick Street
  • Ottolenghi Notting Hill, Ledbury Road
  • Ottolenghi Belgravia, Motcomb Street

You can also order hampers, vouchers and items from their online pantry. Many of these items can also be bought in store; pickles, chutneys, breads, oils & vinegars etc.



Their website also has an amazing selection of recipes (some of which can be adapted for a vegan diet) and also their own cookbook! 



I did enjoy our meal, the restaurant is beautiful & I’m glad I’ve been, but I’m not sure I’d go back.