Vegan Potluck

Thought I’d just do a short post to share some photos from the potluck I attended last night.

My friend Maxine hosted the event at her house to celebrate the first anniversary of our local activism group Havering Vegan Action.

It was so nice to go to an event where I could eat absolutely everything knowing no animals had been hurt in the process.

The food was so good, I need to get the recipes from everyone! We had a good mix of savoury and sweet and no two people brought the same dish.

On this plate we have a savoury quinoa dish, a creamy mushroom pasta, nut roast, lasagna and a chickpea and tofu salad. Not pictured is the sausage rolls I made as I was more excited about trying everybody else’s dishes.

Firstly for dessert we had this gorgeous raw “cheesecake” made with cashews, pineapple and tumeric.

Next up we have these nutty vegan brownies topped with raspberries.

And lastly these peanutty flapjacky protein bars.

Of course I had to try all three accompanied by some vegan ice cream!

If you’re lucky enough to know a gang of vegans in real life a potluck is a great way of learning new dishes to make. And getting involved in local activism is a great way of meeting those fellow vegans!

Plumes x

Vegan Potluck

Doughnut Time

When I first went vegan five and a half years ago I really missed doughnuts. I had tried some baked doughnuts at vegan events but they are just cakes with holes in my opinion!

Doughnut Time is an Australian doughnut shop who have opened up in London. I knew they had stores in Shoreditch and Shaftesbury Avenue, where I visited, but looking at their website they also have stores in Notting Hill and even London City Airport. Doughnut Time aren’t an exclusively vegan company but they have all their vegan options clearly marked.

I bought my friend, Maxine, a box of vegan doughnuts when she was recovering in hospital in December but didn’t sample any myself. When I was seeing a show at the Apollo Theatre this weekend I knew I had to get down to the nearby store to pick up some doughnuts.

The staff were really friendly and when I said my first choice, which was a vegan doughnut, they asked if I wanted separate boxes for vegan and non-vegan options. I told them I would only be having vegan options so it wasn’t an issue!

First up I tried the “Pump up the jam”, now I didn’t think there was such thing as too much jam in a doughnut but this is verging on it! This doughnut is quite heavy due to the jam and messy to eat, but syrupy and delicious!

My Husband had the “Cornelius Fudge”. He really enjoyed it. He did say it was slightly greasier than a non-vegan doughnut but this wasn’t a issue for him. He loved the addition of the hazelnuts too.

We waited until the next day to try the next two. We shared these having half each. The “Houston, we have Biscoff” is a vegan dream! Vegan coffee glaze, topped with caramel buttercream, chocolate drizzle and a Lotus biscuit on top

Last but not least we have the “Sia Later”. This is a red velvet doughnut with a vegan cream cheese frosting and freeze dried raspberries. This one was a little too sweet for my Husband and me and I probably wouldn’t get it again.

There were five vegan options so we missed out on the “Berry Seinfeld” but the menu is updated regularly so there are always new doughnuts to try!

Have you tried out any doughnuts from Doughnut Time? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Doughnut Time

Govinda’s Pure Vegetarian

My Mum and I were going to see a matinee show this weekend so we decided to go for lunch beforehand. I’ve walked past Govinda’s so many times but never been in so I thought I’d suggest it to Mum, who gladly agreed.

The restaurant is part of the Krishna temple and is a cafeteria style where you queue up choose your food and then pay at the till.

We both went for the Unlimited Thali which came with two curries, rice, lentil soup, salad and I added a Punjabi samosa on the side.

This meal was an absolute delight. I especially liked the kidney bean curry and Mum was a big fan of the lentil soup. Nothing was overly spicy which was good for a spice wimp like me! This huge plate was £9.95 with £1 for the samosa, they also do a smaller plate for £6.95. I think this was great value and had a lovely casual vibe. I would definitely recommend if you are in the Soho area.

After our lunch we still had a bit of time so we went to Tap Coffee on Wardour Street, part of a small chain of coffee shops with a stripped back aesthetic. We both had an oat milk latte and Mum went for a vegan rose and pistachio cake which tasted lovely!

As we were on Wardour Street we had to pay a visit to Yorica! I went for vanilla and matcha frozen yogurt with raspberry sauce which was lush!

Where are your favourite vegan places to visit in Soho? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Govinda’s Pure Vegetarian

Gallery Cafe February 2018

I have visited the Gallery Cafe in Bethnal Green quite a few times and have blogged about it in the past but this was my first visit since they decided to go fully vegan at the beginning of 2018.

The Gallery Cafe is situated in St Margaret’s House, a charity supporting the local community and with 100% of the profits going back to the charity you not only get a tasty meal but a warm fuzzy feeling too!

My Mum and I were going to a gig in Bethnal Green so it was the perfect excuse to visit.

My Mum had never tried jackfruit before and wanted to sample some so she went for the tacos which are described as “Pulled jackfruit slow-cooked in our homemade smoky barbeque sauce in soft shell corn tacos; served with a crunchy red onion, carrot and cabbage slaw and a tangy lime, ginger, garlic and chilli ceviche; topped with fresh coriander

She was rather taken by the blue corn taco and described the dish as “lush”!

I was toing and froing between the sweet potato masala and the gado gado chao with the latter winning out. It is described on the menu as “Our unique Indonesian mixed-vegetable stir-fry with a punchy peanut and lime sauce; served with tempeh, brown rice and fresh coriander“. The sauce definitely did pack a punch and the tempeh was so tasty. It really hit the spot on this freezing cold day and the vegetables were perfectly cooked.

I’m excited to go back to the Gallery Cafe to try out some more of their dishes.

Have you visited the Gallery Cafe recently? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Gallery Cafe February 2018

Vegan Adventures in Norwich

My Husband and I decided to spend my birthday weekend in Norwich for a few reasons; its a historic city we haven’t visited before, it’s not too far away by train (and the fares are reasonable) and it’s full of delicious vegan food!

Our first adventure was actually getting there! The Oliver Cromwell steam engine was making a journey from Liverpool Street to Norwich and managed to break down seven miles from Norwich in front of the train we were on! After about a half hour wait we were on the move again and saw the steam engine in all its glory when we got into the station.

Photo credit – Roger Lighterness via iwitness

We made it to our quirky Air BnB and I quickly headed out again to Indigo to get my birthday present from my Husband.

I decided to get the vegan society sunflower tattooed on my wrist. I’ve been thinking about this tattoo for a while and my friend Maxine recommended Indigo as she had had her tattoo there and they use organic, vegan ink. I had a lovely chat to my tattooist Sam while I was being inked and he, a fellow vegan recommended some food places for us to try out.

We decided to get a Chinese takeaway for dinner on our first evening. We wanted to try out Great Wall Vegetarian Chinese as their menu looked pretty tasty but unfortunately the owners were away. We went to Vegan Wok instead which was just a short walk away. We had a selection of dishes; corn cakes, mushroom fritters, Quorn pad thai, nutty tofu, tofu in ginger and soy; and Quorn curry. It was really tasty and there was plenty leftover for lunch the next day.

The next day was my actual birthday and we had a little wander around a few of the lanes and the little independent shops. We popped into Little Shop Of Vegans where I picked up some sweets for my colleagues. They had so many products on offer, from snacks and sweet treats to clothing and merchandise.

Photo Credit – Little Shop of Vegans

After that we stopped into vegan coffee house Ancestors Coffee for a hot drink. I went for a matcha latte and my Husband had a mocha, neither of the drinks were overly warm which apparently was because if they heat the plant milks too much they lose their sweetness.

They also had a range of lovely looking cakes on offer.

After a quick pitstop at the flat we went to see the film Lady Bird in a cinema in a converted church. I really enjoyed the film and would recommend seeing it if you get the chance.

Photo credit – Visit Norwich

For dinner we booked into Namaste India a vegetarian Indian restaurant, my tattoo artist, Sam had recommended. I was glad we had booked, as after we arrived at 17.30 the restaurant soon started filling up. For starters we had samosas and aubergine pakoras, they may not look like much but they were packed with flavour and I could eat them all day long!

For our mains we both went for the biryani dosa. This was my Husband’s first time trying dosa, a filled pancake made from lentil flour, but they’re a firm favourite of mine. It was interesting to trying it with the vegetable biryani and chickpea curry filling rather than the usual masala mash potato. We both really enjoyed it and I’m sure my Husband will have many more dosas to come!

On Saturday we spent the morning exploring the city and visiting the cathedral and the castle. At the cathedral there was a wellness event going on and we got to met some therapy dogs and therapy donkeys!

For lunch we each got a meal deal from Tofurei. I went for a Cumberland sausage bap with some chicken flavour Ten Acre crisps, a peanut nakd bar and some sparkling water. My Husband had a cheeseburger, pastrami flavour crisps a meridian chocolate bar and a Karma Kola. Both the sausages and the cheeseburger were really flavourful and the meal deal was great value for money.

For dinner we headed out to The Tipsy Vegan, luckily they could squeeze us in as we hadn’t booked, so don’t make the same mistake we did and make sure you book!

The food here was out of this world and we were both so impressed. To start we had fried pickles with a blue cheese dressing which were great. I’ve had fried pickles a few times and these were definitely the best I’ve ever tried.

To drink I decided to treat myself to a hazelnut hot toddy, I would call this a boozy hot chocolate rather than a hot toddy but it was delicious all the same!

For my main I went for the tempeh ribs which my friend Maxine had recommended to me. Unfortunately when they came out they weren’t very warm but they were changed for a steaming hot replacement very quickly. The ribs were in a tangy barbeque sauce that had a real kick. I also loved the accompaniments of potato salad, coleslaw and corn on the cob.

My Husband went for the quesadillas which came with nachos and avocado crema; and cheese topped corn. He thought the quesadillas were really tasty but he’s not really a nacho or corn guy so could have done with an extra quesadilla and smaller sides!

For dessert my Husband had the chocolate salted caramel tart which he thoroughly enjoyed.

If I ever see sticky toffee pudding on a menu no other dessert gets a look in and this one didn’t disappoint. The sauce and the cake weren’t as dark as I was expecting but they were both delicious. After this meal I felt well and truly spoilt!

My Husband picked up some Mac and Cheese from Bia Kitchen (which is run by the owners of The Tipsy Vegan) to have on Sunday morning before we returned home. This smelt really cheesy when he heated it up although he thinks it would have been better if he eaten it fresh.

I also picked up a Hench Herbivore peanut and raspberry protein ball from Bia Kitchen.

This morning I attended mass at the Catholic cathedral before getting some breakfast ahead of our train journey home.

As I had limited time I decided to check out the little cafe on the corner of Elm Hill where we were staying. I was delighted to see that Olive’s did a vegan breakfast and I was really impressed when it came out. I’m not sure whether I’ve had a better breakfast in a veggie/vegan restaurant. They had thought of everything, it came with a tofu scramble, veggie sausage, tempeh bacon, beans, mushrooms, fried tomato, root vegetable hash, fried bread and toast! I couldn’t quite manage all of it but I gave it a good go! I wish more cafes paid this much attention to detail in their vegan options!

So there you have it! There are still some places we haven’t tried out so a return trip is definitely in order, maybe in the summer when it’s a bit warmer!

Have you visited Norwich as a vegan? What did you think? Are there any gems we missed? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Vegan Adventures in Norwich

A Vegan Lunch at Nando’s

Nando’s might not be the first place you think of eating as a vegan, but the choice of restaurant may not always be up to you or you may be somewhere like a retail park with limited options (luckily this is getting less and less likely nowadays) so it’s always nice to know what vegan options are available.

Nando’s have this helpful webpage advising the best way to eat vegan at one of their restaurants.

We started with the houmous and pitta with piri piri drizzle to start. My Husband loves the drizzle so we order a few extra bottles at 50p each so he can use them at home. As you may know from previous posts I am a spice wimp so the drizzle has to stay strictly on his side of the houmous pot!

There are two new veggie burgers on the menu since I last ate at Nando’s and both can be easily veganised. I chose the sweet potato and butternut over the supergreens and had it in a pitta with no mayo. I chose my spice level as plain – no surprises there! I also ordered a corn on the cob on the side and skipped the butter.

The burger was nice with red peppers going through it, although I think it would be better with a sauce. You could add ketchup if you wanted. This was a pleasant enough meal and definitely filled me up.

I also sometimes make my own burgers from the sides. The garlic bread is vegan so I order that with a Portobello mushroom, quarter avocado and some pineapple and I’m good to go! This usually works out cheaper too!

Have you eaten at Nando’s as a vegan? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

A Vegan Lunch at Nando’s

Veganuary 2018 initial results

Some of you may know I’m an analyst at work and love a bit of number crunching so I always look forward to seeing the stats come out after Veganuary and this year is no different, so let’s take a look!

Its great to see the overall participation increase year on year and a massive 183% increase on 2017! This only accounts for the people who sign up on so I am sure there are many others who take part every year without signing up.

It’s also nice to see people’s motivation for trying Veganuary, but whatever the reason the animals and the planet benefit from it! 79,000 were omnivores so that’s a huge number going cold tofurkey for the month!

Younger people lead the way as expected, but my age range of 25 – 34 are slightly leading the pack ahead of the 18 – 24 whippersnappers and the 35 – 44 crew don’t seem far behind them.

Women seem to be leading the way again with 84% of participants but men have increased to 14% from 10% in 2017. I think this is in part due to women more likely to sign up to the website so there may be quite a few more men taking part, they just aren’t in the official figure.

The dairy industry tried to hit back with their #februdairy campaign but as these search stats (courtesy of @vegandon on Twitter) show it paled in comparison.

So there you have it. I’m looking forward to seeing the six month results and how many people decided to stick with it. With all the options now available it just gets easier and easier to transition to veganism.

Did you take part in Veganuary this year? How did it go? Or are you a veteran of Veganuary and still going strong? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Veganuary 2018 initial results