Review – Vegan Peasant Supperclub

On Thursday my Husband and I attended Vegan Peasant Catering supperclub at The Grand Howl vegetarian cafe in Hackney.

The cafe’s windows were steamed up and they had their shutter half down so we walked past it before we realised that was the place.

When we arrived we were offered a glass of Prosecco which went down very well and soon the canapés were coming out.

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The aubergine was definitely my favourite which wasn’t a surprise and I am a huge fan of ghanoush. I hate grapefruit with a passion but the it was only a sliver and added a nice citrus burst which cut through the rich cream cheese. The ricotta was pleasant but I don’t remember tasting any fennel.

The dishes were placed on the counter and it felt like a bun fight to get in a grab one, not always being successful and having to wait for the next tray.

Next to come out were the bowls.

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The gnocchi was divine with gorgeous tomatoes and mushrooms. I had big leaves of basil which just added to the gorgeousness.

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The other bowl was my fave dish of the evening. Roasted veg with a sinus clearing horseradish sauce, what’s not to like!

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The desserts were bite size like the canapés and I think I could have done with a bowl size portion! The buttery biscuit with cream and fruit was lovely although I think the cream could have had a bit more flavour. The fudgey brownie squares were rich and intense.

This event was like a reception I would say, in that it was standing. This was the aspect of the evening that I found least enjoyable. We were there about 2 and a half hours and my Husband and I ended up leaning against the wall. It was also very warm and I had to step outside for a bit to cool down.

The meal was good value for money at £25 including the Prosecco and I left feeling satisfied without overly full.

We also got chatting to another who works close to me so we’re going explore our working area for vegan lunch options.

Vegan Peasant said they are starting monthly events with the next one at the end of March. I think this standing style isn’t for me and I would only go to a sit down event.

Have you been to a Vegan Peasant event? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

Plumes x

Review – Vegan Peasant Supperclub

Review – Sweet Greens Bournemouth

I went to visit my dear friend Karen last weekend. We see each other a couple of times a year and don’t speak much in the in-between so we have end up having a massive catch up!

When we were driving on Friday we passed a place that I noticed said “vegan” in the window and it wasn’t a place that I had seen coming up when I’d done my research on vegan Bournemouth. So the next day after we’d been vintage shopping I suggested we pop in for a hot drink and a cake.

Sweet Greens is an organic vegan cafe that specialises in raw food. It was a shame we had already eaten lunch (it was about 3pm we stopped by) as their counter looked full of yummy goodness including some stuffed mushrooms that looked particularly appetising.

We were eyeing up the banoffee pie on the menu but unfortunately it had been so popular it had already sold out. I went for a mint chocolate caramel slice and a matcha latte, while Karen and Jenna had a mint choc slice and a peanut butter slice to share with their drinks.

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The slice had a raw oatly flapjack like base with a mint caramel green layer and then the thick dark raw chocolate on top. This tasted really luxurious and not as saintly as some of the other raw desserts I’ve tried! Karen found it a bit rich and said she’d struggle to eat a whole piece. I loved the mug my latte came in and the sugar on the table was coconut palm.

The cafe itself is small and quirky, I wish I’d taken some photos of the inside. They had a bookshelf of vegan books you could read while eating and I had a good browse!

Next time I’m down in Bournemouth I’ll definitely be heading back to try out their lunch options and get my hands on some banoffee pie if I’m fast enough!

Have you been to Sweet Greens? What did you think? Do you have any other recommendations for vegan options on Bournemouth? Let  know in the comments.

Plumes x

Review – Sweet Greens Bournemouth

Make London Better

I read this article in Time Out London this week (in a real paper copy I am currently holding in my hand and everything!) and thought I would pick out some of the things from the list of 28 I’d be interested in doing.

The sub title of this article states – Want things to change, but don’t know where to start? You don’t need to do much to help improve your city. Here are 28 great initiatives to be getting on with.

Buy bread and support refugees

E5 Bakehouse make bread that has been kneaded by refugee women under a railway arch near London Fields. Hackney is really easy to get to for me and who doesn’t love bread!

Fly a homemade protest banner

Those who know me know I love a good protest, but unfortunately I do lack some creative skills so I’m definitely going to get my hands on one or two of the mini banner kits from Craftivist Collective

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Buy clothes from shops that fund sustainable fashion

If you follow this blog you will know I (rather successfully) try to source my clothes second hand. Traid have 11 charity shops in London and fund eco-friendly fashion initiatives around the world. This brand seems familiar to me, I’m sure I’ve had some of their own brand items from when I was a child in the 90s and my Mum belonged to our Church’s Justice & Peace group. They also run upcycling workshops which definitely sound like my kind of thing!

Pop in for coffee  cake at a charity shop

I was already aware of Cafe from Crisis on Commercial Street and had intended going there one lunchtime, I just haven’t got round to it yet. They help ex-offenders and homeless people back into work via the cafe’s training scheme.

Visit London’s first “Happy Café” 

Woop woop! This is something I have already done multiple times! I love The Canvas Café and have written about them previously on the blog. They are a not-for-profit venue hosting loads of events and supporting pop up caterers and their vegan freakshakes are divine!

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Join the campaign to declare London a national park

As London is 40% green space this campaign wants to make London the world’s first National Park City so we can protect those spaces for future generations. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

Buy a colouring book and help victims of domestic abuse

I really admire the work of Sisters Uncut who I have been aware of for some time, and I hope to attend some of their events this year. In the meantime I will buy this in order fund their campaign for better services for victims of domestic violence.

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Go to a punk event to support positive mental health 

I’ve written previously about my own mental health so this event to fund mental health research by Dr Joel Vos at Roehampton University speaks to me personally. There will be many activities from live music and a punk art installation to mental health talks over 5 days from 27th to 31st March.

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Raising money for people living with cancer at a Bowie night

Through typing this I am formally inviting my Mum (hey Mum!) to come to this event Ashes to Ashes II with me on March 1st (Ash Wednesday – see what they did there?!) to raise money for people living with cancer. My Dad was a big music fan and died of cancer a month before David Bowie did.

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Get chatting to strangers and make this city a less lonely place

This week Jo Cox Commission on Lonliness launched a campaign to get people talking. I am one of those nutters that says good morning to people in the street and get chatting in the supermarket queue so this is another easy one to do!

So I’ve picked 10 out of the 28 that I can realistically see myself doing. Not all of them are exclusively London based so take a look through the full list and let me know in the comments which ones you fancy taking a bash at!

Plumes x

Make London Better

Retrospect London Haul

On Saturday my Sister-in-law and I went to a kilo sale hosted by Retrospect London in Islington.

There were a lot of fabulous clothes but they didn’t seem to be in any order at all (not item type, size or era!) But there was a staff member frantically moving things which was quite annoying while you were trying to look through the racks!

As it’s a kilo sale you pay by weight and I got four fab items for just £12!

There was a gazebo style tent in the middle so we could try on our clothes and although it was a bit dark in there is was a great addition rather than having to get changed in the toilets!

First up is this A-line skirt. It’s velvet in a dark teal colour with pink and green bursts. When I described this to my Mum I said they were a cross between fireworks and palm trees, and when she saw it in person she said that’s exactly what it’s like. The waist is a smidgen tight but I’m sure after another month of running it will be more comfortable.

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Next was this embroided brown linen shirt, I love the shape of this and the detailing. This felt a bit tight getting on as it has no fastenings but once it was on it was really comfortable.

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My Sister-in-law tried on this Disney t-shirt but it didn’t fit her nicely and she felt the colour washed her out. I really like this monochrome style as I haven’t really seen the before on Disney stuff and it’s rare that you see something with Scrooge on it (also found out on Friday Ducktales is coming back with David Tenant as the voice of Scrooge!)

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Lastly from the sale is this fabulous flower power dress! It is A-line which doesn’t suit my shape so I’m going to attempt to take the in and fashion a waist into it. For the moment a belt will have to do!

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After the sale we popped into the lovely FARA charity shop which I visit every time I am in the area. My cousin loves a garish jumper and I originally spotted this one for her but fell in love with it myself so decided to keep it for next Christmas. It was only a fiver too so a fab bargain!

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If you’re into vintage fashion I would definitely check out Retrospect London’s events. You never know what you might pick up!

Plumes x

Retrospect London Haul

Goals 2017 – One Month Review

I wanted to write this post to give you an update on how I’m going with my goals, what’s working well, what isn’t and are there any changes I can make going forward.

If you haven’t read Goals for 2017 you can to see the reasons behind each goal.

1. Continue to jog/run

I have been jogging for 30 minutes three times a week consistently in January and I completed my first Parkrun of the year last Saturday in 40 mins 20 secs. I’ve found this goal easy to do as I feel the benefits from it straight away!

2. Take up yoga again

I have been doing my yogalates DVD once to twice a week, I would like is to be a little more regular but hey sometimes life gets in the way! I’ve got my yoga and vegan food event coming up in a couple of weeks so I’m really looking forward to that.

3. Eat more while foods

I think I’ve been doing pretty well with this. Since we’ve been getting our veg box I find I am planning each meal around what veg we can have rather than around the protein. I still probably have around one lazy meal a week but we haven’t had any takeaways this month.

4. Use less plastic

My real win for this has been the veg box as nothing comes in plastic, if there is any packaging it’s card and you return the box each time which is reused 10 times before  is recycled. I also have my eco cup which I have only used once as I’ve just been going without coffee rather than using takeaway cups. I find it difficult with supermarket shopping to find things not in plastic. I don’t have anywhere I can bulk buy beans/grains in my own containers so if anyone has any tips I’d greatly appreciate them.

5. Be more politically active

I attended my first protest of the year on Sunday which you can read about here. I would have loved to have attended to Womens’ March in London but unfortunately I was in Eastbourne that weekend and I couldn’t attend the emergency march on Downing Street on Monday as I was too tired from Sunday’s protest and I had to have some self care. I plan to attend my first Awakening event in March and I’m sure other events will come up throughout the year.

6. Support more independent shops and traders

Think I’ve done ok with this goal, although I have just been shopping everywhere less (both chains and independents) although when I have I have attempted to use independents. I’ve found a lovely Australian coffee shop near my work and I use the two independent coffee shops near home. I have only had one chain coffee and that was in Eastbourne after church on the Sunday, my cousin and I had tried two independent cafes first but they were both shut so we had to resort to Costa.

7. Continue No New Clothes and expand on it

I haven’t bought any new clothes. I went to a vintage kilo sale on Saturday and bought four items and then a jumper in a charity shop. I haven’t really bought anything else that I’ve needed to source although I have ordered some plates from Magpie who are an independent vegan operation, I had scoured the charity shops before Christmas for plates but the only ones that suited my needs came in huge 24 piece sets which I don’t have the room in my flat for.

8. Attend Church more regularly

I have been to church every Sunday I have been at home and I attended with my cousin while I was in Eastbourne. I am at my in-laws this weekend and I may try to attend on Saturday night depending on what time dinner is!

9. Watch less TV

This has been achieved with the help of American shows going on their mid-season breaks! We have been watching Twin Peaks on blu ray at one to two episodes a day but we have now completed that and the mid season breaks are over. We have a couple of episodes of Homeland on the planner and the DC programmes (Supergirl, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow) have been back on this week. I’m going to try to ration to one fiction and one non-fiction a day at most. I have been listening to more podcasts while cooking/running and travelling and watching more YouTube as well which is more concentrated on content I feel is of more value to me.

10. Continue to blog

I hope if you are a keen follower of the blog you have seen how active I have been in January! I’m planning about 3 blog posts into the future at the moment so I’ve got quite a few ideas bouncing around my head so I’m going nowhere for the foreseeable!

All in all I think I’m pretty much on track with all of my goals at the moment. Long may it continue!

How are you getting along with your own goals and resolutions? Let  me know on the comments.

Plumes x

Goals 2017 – One Month Review

January Round Up

When I started blogging again I said I was no longer going to post weekly round ups so I’ve decided to go to monthly ones and include other things besides food.

How has the month been?

I think I’ve had a pretty good January. I like the calm after the chaos of Christmas, and December was particularly poignant as it was the first anniversary of my Father’s death and his birthday.

I like the opportunity to plan and think about my goals for the year. Actually writing a post about these has helped me keep focus rather than having vague ideas about what I want to do, and I think I’ve made a great start (even if I do say so myself!)

What new foods have I eaten?

I wrote the post New Year, New Food! to share the new food I had at the beginning of the month. Since then I have tried out some of the new M&S vegan nch options which I posted about here.

I received my first veg box from Riverford and made these beetroot burger using Jack Monroe’s recipe.

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I went down to Eastbourne to visit some family and my cousin and I had a lovely meal at Oh My Goodness!

In the same weekend I visited South downs Nurseries and had a lovely meal and got my hands on some of the new Quinoa Puffs from Eat Real.

I ordered some macarrons from Floral Frosting Bakery and they were fab!

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I grabbed a cranberry and banana muffin from Canvas Cafe on  way into work the other day. It definitely filled a hole!

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I made this cauliflower pasta dish from Vegan Olive.

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I had a lovely meal at Banana Tree on Sunday.

I had a lovely juice and avocado on toast from The Good Yard for breakfast in the week.

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Yesterday I got these gorgeous smoked tofu bao buns from Pod.

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And finally last night I nabbed this matcha latte chocolate bar from Planet Organic which I am rationing to two squares a day!

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What have I enjoyed the most?

Well something I have been planning on doing for a while is running 5k at Parkrun with Brother. I managed it last Saturday in 40 mins 20 secs coming 238th out of 246 runners. (Don’t you just love his spikey hair?!)

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I also attended my first protest of the year which you can read about here.

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Plans for February

I am attending a yoga and vegan food night in Whitechapel with my Sister-in-law.

I am going down to Bournemouth to visit my friend (and a new veggie cafe has just opened there up as well!)

and most importantly it’s my Birthday!

How was January for you? Let me know in the comments.

Plumes x

January Round Up

Review – Banana Tree

I usually go to The Sadlers Wells theatre at least once a year for a show and will always have a meal at The Gate vegetarian restaurant. To get to the restaurant (and to the theatre) I always pass by a branch of Banana Tree and think I must come here when I’m in the area doing something else, well about 6 years later that time came!

My Sister-in-law and I were going to a vintage sale (more of that in a separate post!) so I suggested we go to Banana Tree before hand for some lunch. I looked on the website and they had a separate vegetarian menu and even specified which dishes could be veganised.

The labelling on the full menu was also clear when we were in the restaurant.

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I decided to have some Jasmine Silver Needle tea and it came in this really cute teapot.

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We decided to get the crispy dough to start. It came with a satay dipping sauce and was perfectly pleasant but I don’t think I would get it again. I think I would have preferred a sweet chilli sauce but my Sister-in-law was loving the satay!

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I went for the blackened monk’s vegetables for main. This had vegetables and tofu with soy rice noodles and it came with corn cakes and a sesame cracker. It was really tasty and so filling!

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My Sister-in-law went for the tamarind aubergine combo (which comes with savoury rice, corn cakes and a cracker). I had a little taste and I could definitely go for this!

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The food was great and I thought it was good value for money but now onto the service.

My tea came first, then our shared starter with my main, then five minutes later my Sister-in-law’s main but we had to wait even longer and then ended up having to ask for our cold drinks. The menu did state starters, it wasn’t like Wagamama where everything comes out when it comes out. When we got the bill my Sister-in-law’s juice wasn’t on it so we didn’t let them know as it had taken so long to come out we were happy they had either forgotten or taken it off! When we had paid and were waiting for change we saw the server who had taken our money serving other customers. We thought this was odd and were going to try to get his attention but a couple of minutes later another staff member brought it to us. The restaurant was not busy so I’m not sure why the service was so erratic. Maybe I’d try a different branch next time to see if the service was any better.

Have you been to Banana Tree? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

Plumes x

Review – Banana Tree