Round up of the week’s food 160228

I’ve had some really great food this week and can’t wait to share it all with you!

On Monday my Husband met me from the station and we decided to have dinner out. We first went to Toby Carvery as I’ve been hearing lots about their vegan options but we were waiting for ages with no one acknowledging our presence so we gave up! We then had a lovely meal in a local Turkish restaurant. I went for the stuffed peppers which were really tasty, we also had salad, olives and Turkish bread which is one of my absolute favourites.

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Tuesday was my birthday. In the morning I went to a mass being said for my Dad with some of my family. It was a bit difficult celebrating my first birthday without my Dad but it was nice to be able to remember him with my family around me on the day. My Grandparents then took me out of lunch at Ask where I had a rosemary and sea salt focaccia for my starter which I really enjoyed. We had to wait a long time for our mains and when I inquired, they had “lost” our order. They were very apologetic and ended up giving us our mains for free (after some great encouragement from my Grandma!) When it finally came I thoroughly enjoyed my fettucine with aubergines.

I received some lovely presents including these beautiful flowers from my Mum and my Aunt,

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and I loved this card entitled “Heroines and Villainesses” from my brother.

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I took in some sausage rolls and cakes for my colleagues on Wednesday to celebrate my birthday. I made my veganised Delia’s Jamaica Ginger Cake and the Lemon Drizzle cake from this article in the Independent. I’ve never made the Lemon Drizzle before and I was really impressed (as were my colleagues!) with the results. It’s definitely one I’ll try again.

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I forgot to take my lunch to work on Wednesday (too preoccupied with the cakes!) so I headed to Wasabi as I had seen they had a vegan sushi box online. There was a good selection of different sushi rolls and I loved the inari (rice wrapped in tofu skin), this lunch really filled me up.

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On Wednesday I went swimming with my Mum and her partner, Chris had made this lovely tofu and vegetable stir fry served with couscous.

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After all that swimming I was still a bit peckish when I got home some had some of the smoked vegan cheese I had bought in Brighton on some french stick. This is one of my favourite vegan cheeses and I love anything smoked, but I don’t see it for sale that often.

On Thursday we went out for a team lunch to Bangalore Express near our office. I went for the South Indian thali made up of lots of different dishes including a dosa (a chickpea/lentil flour pancake) filled with masala mash. I can’t handle my spice and a couple of the dishes were a bit too spicy for me but overall it was great tasting meal.

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Here’s my collegaues Simon and Eamonn who also enjoyed their meals!

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On Thursday evening I tried out a new recipe for breakfast burritos which I intended to have on Tuesday morning for my birthday breakfast but I didn’t have time. It involves blending a whole can of chickpeas (water included) to make a filling similar in texture to scrambled eggs. You can find the recipe here.

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On Friday we headed to my in-laws for the weekend. On Friday we had a roast and I had a veggie quarterpounder from Waitrose with it.

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For breakfast on Saturday I mashed up an avocado with salt and pepper and had it on toast. This is one of my fave breakfasts and really feels like a treat.

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For lunch I had some red pepper houmous with pepper, carrot and bread.

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On Saturday night I had Linda McCartney sausages with roasted veg and crinkle cut chips. I have been avoiding chips since the beginning of Lent due to not having ketchup because of the sugar content but I managed to resist the ketchup bottle and enjoyed these on their own.

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We stopped off at Yo! Sushi in Victoria Station on the way home today as I’ve been seeing lots of people post photos online of their tasty vegan dishes. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Yo! Sushi and I will be definitely be visiting again soon! They have a vegan menu available on request and there are two pages worth of option. I went for kaiso gunkan sushi (seaweed topped rice, top left), gyoza (vegetable dumplings, top right), kaiso salad (seaweed salad with carrots and edamame beans, bottom right), miso marinated aubergine (bottom right) and tofu katsu curry (centre). I enjoyed it all but would perhaps chose one less dish (not sure which one) next time as I was very full afterwards.

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This afternoon I went to a family party as my Great-Aunt and second cousin were visiting from Ireland, I didn’t eat anything as I was still so full from the sushi but had a lovely time catching up with everyone.

Hope you had a good week too!

Plumes x

 

Round up of the week’s food 160228

Round up of the week’s food 160221

Wow! What a week’s it’s been! I’ve had some fantastic food and I can’t wait to share it with you. On Monday I made this gorgeous tagine using Spiced! North African spice mix. It was quite spicy for me but the sweet potatoes added a nice sweetness. I paired it with some amaranth.

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On Tuesday I started the day right with avocado on toast, you can’t go wrong really after that!

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I take part in events for Discover Risk which is an initiative from the Chartered Insurance Institute to teach students about the risk industry and what opportunities there are. I met a student through one of these event and arranged for him to come into my office and spend a day with my team to learn what we do. We took him out for lunch at Pizza Express. Most of the  boys had giant calzones, I went for the Bosco salad subbing the mozzarella for olives and taking out the honey mustard dressing. I drizzled it in some garlic oil to make up for the lack of dressing.

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The guys from left to right – Eamonn, Adam, Felix, Jordan and Michael. (Simon managed to escape this shot!)

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On Tuesday evening I kept on the Italian theme and had spaghetti bolognese topped with nooch (or nutritional yeast for the uninitiated!)

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On Wednesday I went swimming with my Mum. Her partner, Chris had made these lovely pasties, using stuffing mix, carrots and swede as the filling and serving them with roasted vegetables.

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I was trying to use up a few things on Thursday and Ollie had made some rice and peas so I paired that with a spicy Quorn burger, onion, and beetroot and ended up with pink rice!

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I had some fab food over the weekend on our trip to Brighton! If you haven’t seen the reviews of the various restaurants already you can check them out in this post.

I finished off the weekend this evening with a hash I made from potato, peppers, onions, mushrooms and Vegusto farmhouse sausages which I bought in Brighton. I spiced it up with some cayenne pepper, paprika, liquid smoke and some Italian herb mix. It was quite spicy as I think I overdid the cayenne! I really enjoyed it and I think it’s the closest I’ve come to one of my old favourites, corned beef hash. I think next time I might crumble up the sausages more to get a similar texture.

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Luckily I’ve been doing lots of walking this week to counteract all this food! Hopefully its had an effect!

Plumes x

Round up of the week’s food 160221

A weekend in Brighton

I decided to spend my Birthday weekend in Brighton so we could eat lots of yummy  vegan food, have a good rummage in the flea markets and vintage shops and being only an hour outside London it is easily accessible by train.

We arrived at around 13.30 on Friday to a drizzly and windy Brighton, not that we were expecting much from a weekend in late February and headed straight to VBites for lunch. You can read all about it here.

We then headed to the White House where we were staying in Kemp Town which you can read about here. After we put our bags down and settled in we headed to the pier to have a look at the amusements and what was going on before it got dark.

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We were treated to a wonderful display by some small black birds. They were flying in formation getting very close to the sea and then flying over the pier. More birds kept arriving to join in and there must have been over a thousand in the end. Everyone on the pier were taking pictures and it a great spectacle we were glad we got to see.

After this we headed back to the  hotel to get ready to go out for dinner at Purezza. You can read what we thought about it here.

After dinner we went back to the hotel and I was very pleased one of my favourite shows was back on TV – Googlebox! This is not a guilty pleasure and I am unashamedly a fan!

Saturday we got up and headed into town. We didn’t get very far before we came across a flea market on St James Street that we had a good look around. We considered visiting the Pavilion, but we had both been before so we instead headed to the Lanes. We looked round a antique weapons shop that had lots swords and guns in it. I think there get a lot more visitors than customers as most of the items on display were very expensive. We then had a good look around Choccywoccydoodah and their amazing examples of chocolate work.

We then went to the North Laine area where we went around another flea market and I may have bought a present for someone.

I bought a vintage dress in To be worn again which I was really pleased with. It fits really well and I love the colour and the length. Sorry my head isn’t in this photo, its difficult to get the whole dress in without covering my face!

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We had lunch at Burger and Cocktails, I think Ollie was craving meat as he had a bacon cheeseburger and I went for a kale and avocado salad.

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I then had a little splurge in one of my favourite shops, Infinity Foods and got a few treats for once Lent has finished. I am a bit worried after six weeks with hardly any sugar I will have lost a taste for it!

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Ollie really want to go on  the Brighton Wheel, I wasn’t too enthusiastic as I am not a lover of heights but I was a good sport and agreed to go on. It was a very windy and our pod was rocking quite a lot. It turned out Ollie was the more scared out of the two of us and even the commentary by Steve Coogan couldn’t comfort him!

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After that I headed to Black Mocha (formerly Chocaffinitea) to meet up with my friends Fee and Ollie. Fee and I went to primary (elementary) and secondary school (high school) together and have now known each other over 26 years! We don’t get to meet up very often, but I always enjoy it when we do. I ordered a pot of Earl Grey tea although the signature black mocha comes highly recommended. I must give it a try when I’m not fasting from both coffee and sugar!

 

Fee and Ollie bought me some lovely sounding tea for my birthday and it gives me an excuse to buy a tea strainer!

I headed back to the hotel for a shower and freshen up before we had dinner at Terre a Terre. I really enjoyed it and you can read my full review here.

Today we packed up and took a walk along the prom on the way back to the station. It was extremely windy and the waves were really crashing as they came in. We managed to get on a train with about a minute and a half to spare and had a good journey home. All in all I had a lovely birthday weekend and would recommend anyone to spend a weekend in Brighton.

Plumes x

A weekend in Brighton

Review – The White House Brighton

When I decided to come to Brighton for my Birthday Weekend we chose to stay at the White House in Kemp Town as it had been recommended by my Brother and Sister-in-law who had stayed there in October.  On booking I informed the owner Steve I was vegan and he said this wouldn’t be a problem and they were used to catering for vegan guests.

On arriving in Brighton we were warmly welcomed by Steve, Heidi and the rest of the team. We had a lovely room on the ground floor.

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I was impressed that the tea making facilities not only provided us with a wide range of teas, a couple of chocolate bars and biscuits but our own coffee maker too!

In the bathroom we had Orla Kiely toiletries and these were also available to buy. I had a look online and couldn’t see anywhere that said whether they were vegan or not so I stuck to what I had brought with me.

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We also had big fluffy bath sheets, rather than the small towels you get in some hotels and robes as well. I also really liked that there was a window in the bathroom so you didn’t need to keep turning the light on if you were just popping in there. Sometimes it can feel a bit clautrophobic when you’re enclosed in a small room! We had a lovely shower with an eco mode, which I hadn’t seen before, you can turn the power so far but to go beyond eco mode you had to consciously push a button in. The only change I’d make in the bathroom would be to put a shelf in the shower so I didn’t have to bend down to pick up my shampoo!

Outside our window we had a tree with a bird’s nest and it really nice watching the birds. I think there’s about 5 or 6 in the picture below.

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The breakfast room in the basement was really bright and welcoming and decorated with posters from the Brighton Line.

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I was served mushroom stuffed with spinach, pine nuts and breadcrumbs with toast and vegan sausages. I was also offered tomatoes and beans, I’m not a great lover of tomatoes and as I’m trying to reduce my sugar I skipped the beans. It was really tasty and filling and gave me loads of energy to hit the shops on Saturday!

I had almond milk with my tea and I thought the little teapot it came in was really cute.

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My husband isn’t a morning person and the team were very accommodating, making a bacon sandwich to take up to him on Saturday and toast with vegemite today.

Although there wasn’t a fridge in our room, guests are allowed to store food in the main fridge which I took full advantage of after stocking up on vegan goodies in town!

I really enjoyed our stay at the White House, the team made it feel like a personal experience and all the little touches were well appreciated.

If your looking to stay in Brighton make sure you check it out!

Plumes x

 

Review – The White House Brighton

Review – Terre a Terre

Every time I’ve been to Brighton in the past I’ve walked past Terre a terre and salivated over the menu so I knew we had to book a table for my Birthday weekend. I met up with some friends earlier in the day and they confirmed I had made the right choice and made some recommendations.

I went for the steam dreamer which was described on the menu as below.

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The vegan version had tofu rather than halloumi. I really enjoyed everything in this dish but the char sin roll and pedron pepper stood out for me.

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Ollie went for the tapas dish which included tasters from all over the menu which was recommended by my friend  Fee. He said the stars for him were the deep fried halloumi and the BBQ cheerywood smoked tofu.

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He finished off with a trio of ice creams including vanilla, coffee and tonka bean.

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I went for a liquid dessert, the chocolate orange martini which had been recommended by Fee and her husband, also called Ollie. I’m not a big drinker and it was quite strong and took me quite a while to get through!

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I really enjoyed all the food (and drink!) I had. The only negative I would say was how loud the restaurant was. It is quite a big dining room and when full of people it was quite difficult to hear each other speak, sometimes having to cup our hands around our ears to hear each other!

Have you been to Terre a Terre? What did you think?

Plumes x

Review – Terre a Terre

Review – Purezza

As soon as I heard about Purezza I knew I had to visit. A 100% vegan Italian pizzeria?! Yes Please! I have been looking over the menu all week and was glad we booked as they were turning people away when we showed up.

For starters we had a garlic bread to share. I quite fancied the farinata but as I wasn’t sure how big the portions would be I didn’t want to risk it! In the end I’m glad I didn’t as the garlic bread was huge and really tasty.

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For our mains we both chose stuffed crust quattro stagioni  (four seasons). These came with artichokes, olives, mushrooms and seitan salami. The cheese was lovely and gooey and oozy. I haven’t had a stuffed crust in years so was so glad I could try this out. I really liked the seitan salami although I think we could have done with a bit more on our pizzas. Ollie was impressed with the vegan cheese having never had it before.

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I really liked the look of the dessert menu, with a chocolate calzone and ice cream from Boho Gelato (which I make a point of visiting every time I visit Brighton). But unfortunately we were too full!

Purezza also serve salads, yogurts, cakes and pastries along with pizza all day.

I’d really recommend Purezza not only if you’re vegan but if you just love pizza! And make sure you book a table in advance!

Have you tried out Purezza? What did you think?

Plumes x

Review – Purezza

Review – VBites Brighton

We’ve come away on a weekend to Brighton to celebrate my Birthday. As our train got in at 13.30 our first stop was lunch!

I hadn’t been to VBites to eat before, I’d only bought a few treats from their shop part. In the past when I’ve been to Brighton I’ve eaten at either Loving Hut or Iydea.

I was impressed by their menu with a range of burgers, wraps, sandwiches and jacket potatoes. Ollie accused me of being unadventurous when I went for a Jacket Potato with coleslaw, but it’s one of my faves and I don’t often have coleslaw as, unless I make it at home it’s difficult to get hold of vegan versions. I wish it was readily available in supermarkets along with all the other free from food! I really enjoyed my food and had a massive apple and cinnamon tea to go with it. I was suitably full and I didn’t want too big a lunch as I’d already booked a restaurant for our evening meal. (Watch this space for that review!)

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My husband went for the Southern fried burger with skinny fries. He enjoyed his food, but said his burger was a bit cold. I offered to take it back and ask them to make a fresh one but he didn’t want to make a fuss. He was impressed with his pickles inside his burger and we both commented that we can’t believe people take them out!

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I had a good look at what the shop had to offer and I’ll definitely be heading back there tomorrow to pick up some goodies when I don’t have a suitcase in tow!

Have you been to VBites? What did you think?

Plumes x

 

Review – VBites Brighton

Round up of the week’s food 160214

Well I think this week has been a bit healthier than last week! I started off on Monday with oaty sausage patties, cabbage and sweet potato.

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On Monday I was defrosting what I thought was pease pudding which turned out to be parsnip soup, so that turned in to Tuesday dinner!

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Tuesday was of course Shrove Tuesday and I used this buckwheat mix I’ve had in the cupboard for a while. I had one with lemon and sugar and mixed up some chocolate chips into the other.

I carried on with the pancake theme and had a paratha with a matcha latte for breakfast on Wednesday.

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As it was Ash Wednesday this week I celebrated mass at St May Moorgate Church with my colleague Eamonn. On Holy days there are 3 half hour services. There was such a queue, people were taking pictures and asking what was going on. We were tempted to say it was “free burritos” and see if they joined the queue!

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On Wednesday night I had an eggfree omlette with courgette, mushrooms and onions.

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I’d run out of lunches from my freezer by Thursday so I went for this salad from Pod which was rather tasty.

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On Thursday I went out for pizza with my friend Jo, which you can read all about here.

I fasted from Thursday evening to Friday evening and I was glad to break my fast with this tasty stew.

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My colleague Luke, picked up this free coconut water from London Bridge station as he knows  how fond I am of it. This was also really tasty after not eating and only drinking water all day.

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On Saturday I celebrated Galentines Day and had an amazing lunch, which can read all about it here.

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Today I make this lovely sandwich for lunch, containing avocado, beetroot, spring onion, rocket, watercress and spinach.

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My husband and I don’t really do much for Valentine’s Day and we just went into town for a coffee today. I had an Earl Grey tea and as I’m trying to reduce my sugar and Starbucks use sweetened soya milk, I took my own little jar of almond milk. My husband also made me this fabulous roast tonight. I made the mushroom nut roast in pastry for Christmas and this is the penultimate piece from the freezer!

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As I’m reducing my sugar and trying to get most of it from fruit sources I was really pleased when I discovered my Husband had ordered pure pineapple juice in our weekly shop. To get me more in the mood I served it in one of my colada glasses so I can at least pretend I’m in the Caribbean!

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Did you celebrate Valentine’s or Galentine’s day this year? Let me know.

Plumes x

 

 

 

 

 

Round up of the week’s food 160214

Review – Mestizo

Today I spent the day with one of my best friends. We used to live together at uni and I can’t believe we’ve known each other over 12 years! After we arranged to meet today I found out its Galentines Day, a day to celebrate friendships with your fellow gals!

We went to the British Library to see an exhibition on Alice in Wonderland. (It’s open until 17th April you can find the details here). It was really interesting to see original notebooks from Lewis Carroll and original illustrations and how the story has been reinvented over the 150 years since it was first published. I bought a canvas bag as I am always losing mine (or leaving them on trains!) and a little present for someone I won’t mention here!

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After the exhibition we went to have lunch at  Mestizo a Mexican restaurant  nearby. I have been meaning to go for a while and the British Library is so close it was a great opportunity! Mestizo serves meat but also has a vegan menu. My friend is Muslim and only eats Halal meat so was happy to join me on the vegan menu.

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We went for taco tray – four fillings, nopales (cactus leaf), flor de calabaza (courgette flowers), cuitlacoche (black corn mushrooms), and grilled vegetables with guacamole, beans, pico di galo, salsa roja, salsa verde, onion and coriander all served with warm corn tortillas. All this different fillings were great and I especially liked the flor de calabaza and the cuitlacoche. My friend and I also loved the salsa verde which we were pouring on every taco! I will definitely be going back to try some of their other offerings. The only disappointing thing was that they had run out of soya milk so I had to have my earl grey tea black! This was such a shame as if they’d told me before I had ordered I might have gone for a peppermint one instead.

As its my birthday soon my friend also brought me a present her daughters had picked out for me – vegan fudge! As it’ll still be Lent when I celebrate my birthday I’ll save this for Easter.

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All in all we had a fab Galentines Day and were left full and very happy ladies!

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Plumes x

Review – Mestizo

Review – Fed by Water

So tonight I went for dinner with my friend Jo. We work at the same company but in different departments. My department moved offices in November so it’s now a bit difficult to meet for lunch. We both live in the same direction so decided to do dinner, which also means we can travel a bit further as we aren’t restricted to an hour.

I had seen lots of people post photos of their pizzas from Fed by Water and I had to try it out. It’s only a 20 min bus ride from work in rush hour and is right opposite Dalston Kingsland overground station. This place is very vegan friendly, they serve meaty, vegetarian and vegan food which is great for mixed parties but there are lots of “Go Vegan” messages on the walls which I loved!

To start we shared some focaccia bread. I love a good focaccia and this one was lovely seasoned with salt and rosemary. We had oil and balsamic glaze to dip it into.

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I had looked at the menu before hand and spent a long time looking through the long list of vegan pizzas. I chose this one with olives, capers, rocket and smoked tofu. You can have a crispy or soft base – I went for soft. We were surprised at the size of these pizzas, they were definitely value for money!

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Jo went for the “Hot” one with spicy seitan salami. Jo isn’t vegan but she was intrigued to try the vegan cheese. She said she didn’t even notice the difference. I tried a bit of her salami and it was too spicy for me (I am a bit of a wimp!) but she asked for extra chilli flakes!

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We were both well and truly stuffed by this point and so because of this and my pledge to reduce my sugar intake during Lent we decided against dessert.

When we next go we think we’ll share one pizza between us as the sweet pizzas on the dessert menu looked so tempting!

I couldn’t leave my husband out so I got him a pizza and garlic bread to take home and stunk out the train!

Have you been to Fed by Water? What did you think?

Plumes x

Review – Fed by Water