Round up of the week’s food 160424

Bit late on the round up, I have had a very busy weekend and yesterday I just wanted my bed when I got home!

Last weekend I made some almond feta and defrosted some cashew cheese I had made from the freezer and took them to work on Monday for my colleagues to try along with some French Herb Gozo Casheese I had bought. They went down well with everyone and many commented that they tasted a lot better than they expected vegan cheese to taste!

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I also made some mini quiches but the pastry wasn’t cooked enough to take into work but they were ok for me! I had some for dinner with the last scrapes of cheese that were left.

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On Tuesday I had some more quiche with roast potatoes and veg.

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I had been feeling a little heady in the week and on Weds and Thurs I just wanted bland carbs, on Weds I had spring rolls and plain noodles and Thurs I just had chips. I know the height of vegan cuisine! Neither particularly photo worthy but they really hit the spot!

On Friday I stayed over my Mum’s house as we were heading to my Cousin’s wedding early on Saturday morning. She defrosted some black bean, quinoa and coconut stew she had in the freezer. It was delicious and something really different.

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On Saturday I was honoured to give a reading at my Cousin’s wedding. They had a lovely church service followed by a reception hosted at Barnsgate Manor. My Cousin and his Wife (!) are always very accommodating to my dietary needs and their wedding day was no exception. One of the staff came and spoke to me before each course to explain what I was having and what items were vegan friendly. For starters everyone had a fruit platter, I had quite a bit of other people’s too! For main I had a stuffed squash which was one of the best mains I’ve had in a non-vegan environment! My Cousin and his Wife are fond of a cream tea so they served scones for dessert, I had my own plain and fruit scones with jam, they were so good I wolfed them down before I got a chance to take a photo!

When we got home on Sunday I was really tired so decided to go in to town for lunch. We went to Zizzi’s, and unfortunately my battery had run out on my phone so I had to use my Husband’s which doesn’t have the best camera on it! I went for olives to start and then the vegan pizza with olives, mushrooms and roasted red onions. I was pleased again with the pizza. I went for the nectarines with coconut and mango swirl ice cream for dessert. The nectarines are described as caramelised on the menu  so I expected them to be warm but they were almost frozen solid and I struggled to get my spoon through them to cut them. The ice cream was nice but I don’t think I would order it again. Has anyone else tried this dessert? I don’t know if was served as it was supposed to be or whether I just got a dodgy one! I was disappointed they didn’t serve dairy-free milk as I really fancied an Earl Grey tea. I would think that a restaurant with a vegan menu would have a vegan milk option! I raised my disappointment with them on Twitter and they responded it is something they are currently looking into as they have had many enquiries for it. Hopefully it won’t be too long!

 

Have a good week!

Plumes x

Round up of the week’s food 160424

Review – The Gallery Cafe

I hadn’t been to The Gallery Cafe in Bethnal Green for a number of years after an incident with a frozen hash brown, but I thought enough time had passed for me to try it again – sadly I was disappointed.

I ordered the vegan nut roast, a soya matcha latte and a piece of carrot cake. After queuing and paying I returned to our table. I looked at my receipt and I had been charged £9.95 for my nut roast when the menu board stated it was £8.50. I went back up to the till to rectify the error, the server said it was the board that was wrong but gave me the difference back and then corrected the displayed price.

I sat down with my matcha latte and after a few sips I thought it tasted a bit funny. I took it back up to the counter to make sure it had soya milk in it. The barista apologised profusely as she had put dairy milk in it and made me a fresh one. The other server told her that matcha lattes always have soya milk but apparently she didn’t know. When I sat down with my correct drink it was lovely. If matcha latte is available I will always choose it!

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My mum went for the Ethiopian stew, which had chickpeas, peanuts, apricots, raisins and vegetables. It was served with brown rice, vegan yogurt and salad. I had a little taste and it was really good.

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I appreciate food can come out at different times but my Mum was on her last bite when my nut roast made an appearance. So effectively I watched her eat and then she watched me eat! The serving of nut roast was huge and had a crunchy crust on it. It was a bit difficult to get into but I think that was more due to a blunt knife than the nut roast itself. The roasted new potatoes were crisp and peppery. I enjoyed the asparagus and the greenest but unfortunately the runner beans were very stringy and practically inedible. The other issue I had was as the meal had been served in a dish rather than on a plate I round it difficult to cut up the food.

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Lastly, the carrot cake! I was given this when I paid at the till and it had been sitting on the side of my table looking at me for a long time by the time I got to eat it! It was lovely and moist and the frosting was tangy and sweet. The only negative was that it wasn’t as spicy as I would expect but it was still a lovely cake.

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The cafe was packed, so it’s obviously very popular. Have I just been unlucky with my food the couple of times I have been here? I went with my Mum both times and she didn’t have an issues!

Have you been to the Gallery Cafe? What did you think?

Plumes x

Review – The Gallery Cafe

Round up of the week’s food 160417

I’ve had a really good week despite the weather and feel really upbeat!

I had seen a photo of some miso baked aubergine on instagram and thought I’d give it a go as I had some miso paste in the fridge. I served it with roasted veg and chickpeas, it was a really wholesome meal!

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On Tuesday I stopped by CookDaily to have a quick bite to eat. You can see my full review here.

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On Wednesday my Husband made me burger and chips using Fry’s Traditional Burgers. You can’t beat a good burger, especially one that’s loaded with mustard, ketchup, onions and pickles!

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On Thursday I enjoyed an Italian meal with my friend Jo, you can read my full review here.

On Friday I wanted to use the aquafaba I had from the chickpeas I had eaten on Monday so I made some mini quiches using this recipe (I left out the spinach). I haven’t cooked with aquafaba before but I was really pleased with the results!

The recipe called for a third of a cup of coconut milk so I enjoyed the rest of the can with some pineapple juice to have a virgin pina colada.

I went to Tesco this week, (I usually shop in Sainsburys) and picked up some items from their free from range. I really love these banana fromage frais with my breakfast and I’ve had to ban my Husband from nicking my dairy free ice creams!

Yesterday I made myself a cooked breakfast using some more the mini quiches, I had a big day out at the Anti Austerity March so needed the sustenance!

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As that was all I had eaten in the day I decided to treat my Husband and me to an Indian takeaway. I had spinach with lentils, chickpea curry, aubergine and potato, veg samosa and a roti.

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Today I visited the Museum of Childhood with my Mum. We ate at the nearby Gallery Cafe beforehand and I’m going to write up a full review later.

I’m definitely going to sleep well tonight after such a busy week and weekend!

Hope you’ve had a good one too!

Plumes x

 

Round up of the week’s food 160417

Anti Austerity March

Today I attended The March for Health, Homes, Jobs and Education organised by The People’s Assembly. It was widely reported on in the press (which makes a change!) in The GuardianThe IndependentThe Evening StandardITV News and Sky News among many others.

I thought I’d show you some of my pictures. I marched with my union, Unite.

I loved seeing all the banners of the different chapters of the unions. They told so many stories! The drummers were amazing, I couldn’t post a video here but have done so on Twitter and instagram if you want to check it out (@plumesworld on both). It culminated at Trafalgar square and that’s where I appreciated how many people were actually there! I also found it quite emotional as my Dad loved a good anti government (i.e. Tory!) march, he belonged to the PCS union, and I was quite sad that I never marched with him.

 

Plumes x

Anti Austerity March

Review – Just FaB

Last night I had my monthly dinner date with my friend Jo. As I wanted to continue my tour of East London I suggested we try out Just FaB on Hackney Road.

Just FaB serves all vegan Sicilian street food out of a converted double decker bus. It is the brain child of Fabio Pironti and his mamma Myra, a vegan of 20 years, who moved over from Sicily to create the menu.

They have a wide space outside with table and chairs (and even table football!) but as the sun was going down and it was getting a bit chilly we decided to eat on the top deck. (You kind of have to, don’t you?)

Jo went for olives to start, she said they were well marinated and really spicy. I had arancini. They were crunchy on the outside and lovely and oozy with vegan cheese in the middle. I would have to say these are the best arancini I have ever had!

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For mains Jo had the falafel and houmous. She really enjoyed it and said she thought it looked better than some of the dishes on the website so they should put this dish on there!

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I went for the lasagna, I went for the xl size as I wasn’t having a side with it. It was layered with pasta spinach and cheese sauce with a tomato and I think soya (it could have been seitan) sauce on top and sprinkled with nutritional yeast. It was so good and a little unconventional from what I expect a lasagna to be like.

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Jo was stuffed and only managed an Earl Grey for dessert. I had ordered the vegan tiramisu with the rest of my food as I had heard so much about it! It was really light and creamy and the coffee wasn’t overpowering. I’m not sure what the cream was made from as there wasn’t an aftertaste of soy or coconut. Jo tried a bit of the cream and said she couldn’t tell the difference from dairy cream. It was gorgeous and I didn’t feel weighed down as you can do sometimes from puddings!

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I would recommend Just FaB and think it would be great to go with a large group and completely take over the top deck!

Service from Fabio was great and he really appreciated our feedback.

Have you eaten at Just FaB? what did you think?

Plumes x

Review – Just FaB

Review -CookDaily @ BOX PARK Shoreditch

Yesterday I needed to grab some food before my hair appointment so as I was travelling through Liverpool Street I thought I’d take a walk down to Boxpark in Shoreditch. I really like this area of London and don’t venture into it enough seeing as I work so close.

Boxpark is a retail space made out of shipping containers with mainly shops on the ground level and eateries upstairs.

I had seen some photos of the food from the totally vegan CookDaily online and wanted to try it out. They have various dishes ranging from curries and noodles to all breakfast and raw offerings. They also serve ice tea and a range of vegan beers.

I went for noodles with vegetables and tofu. It was really tasty and filling and had a wide variety of vegetables included.

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Next time I want to try the Caribbean bowl, although I’m not too sure about the hot bonnet sauce so they said I could try that separately to see if I can handle the heat!

Have you been to CookDaily? What did you think?

Plumes x

 

Review -CookDaily @ BOX PARK Shoreditch

Spring cleaning out my closet

I am taking part in a No New Clothes challenge for 2016. I am not buying any brand new clothes but am allowing myself to buy second hand from charity and vintage shops.

I don’t buy a lot of clothes and am quite careful about the things I do buy. Where I have seen others taking part in the challenge cleaning out bundles and bundles of clothes I thought I really don’t have that much! My problem is that although I don’t buy much I also don’t throw anything anyway! I like to wear my clothes until they are literally falling apart. However throughout the years this has left me with some good quality clothes that I don’t wear for various reasons clogging up my wardrobe.

I have had a clear out and thought I’d show you some of my pieces and use this post as a cathartic exercise. All these clothes are heading for the charity shop so if you are based in the UK and see anything you might be interested in let me know. Most items are a UK size 12 and properly creased as they have been stored in bags in the bottom of my wardrobe.

First off are some clothes I bought in online sales. They never fitted me nicely but as they were sale items I didn’t want to return them for store credit. I thought they would do for target clothes as I was losing weight, but as I have lost and gained weight over the years I think these were more wishful thinking than achievable targets! Now its a few years since I bought them they aren’t clothes I think I would choose to wear now.

This is a dress from Next which I wore a couple of times for work. I really love the colours and detailing but as I have learnt, fitted Next dresses don’t work well with my figure and sitting down can sometimes be difficult!

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I really like this dress (yes it is a dress not a top!) I haven’t worn it many times as I haven’t had the occasions to and now I am in my 30’s feel it is definitely too short for me! Here I am wearing it on a night out for a friend’s birthday about 5 years ago.

This dress I haven’t owned too long, another online purchase. I like the colour, the detailing and the shape but the bodice is too tight and as I’m quite slim on top unless I get a couple of ribs removed I don’t think this will fit comfortably on me!

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I bought this dress from Oasis when I was on a trip to Dublin with my Mum in 2012. Again I like this dress but just feel its a bit too short now.

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I wore this dress to my eldest Goddaughter’s baptism, the only issue I have with it, is that is can create static when worn with tights so I have to wear a slip with it and even then it sometimes annoys me!

I have had this skirt longer than I have been with my Husband so its getting on for 10 years! We’ve been through a lot together I just don’t wear it anymore.

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Another couple of skirts. I really like the pattern on the left one but again just feel its too short for me now. I love the brocade pattern on the right one but as its puffball its more of a clubbing/party skirt and I don’t go to many of those nowadays!

A puffball dress this time, which I bought from my friend Michelle, so will be third hand now! This is a hell kitty dress with some lovely details, the straps are adjustable with buttons and there are darts throughout the skirt. This is another one from my party days where I just don’t have the right events for it anymore.

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I bought this puffball dress for a holiday to Greece in 2011 with my cousin. I love this for the memories but haven’t worn it in years.

These last two pieces as a couple of my favourites and the hardest to give away! This skirt I bought to wear at Christmas, I do like a Christmas day outfit! I have worn this at work Christmas parties too. I haven’t worn it in recent years due to the length (quite short again!) and as it is wool it doesn’t fit in with my vegan sensibilities. Here I am wearing it at my in-laws for Christmas day 2010.

Women of a certain age will instantly recognise the design on this corset top. Jane Norman was the shop of choice for many of us, even if it was just get our hands on their posh carrier bags to put our P.E. kits in! I used to shop for my Jane Norman fix in their concession in Debenhams rather than the Jane Norman shop as Debenhams tended to have bigger sizes (of which I mean 10 – 12!) I bought this top when I was about 20 and it has made me feel fabulous. I love the embroidery on it but it does look a bit 00’s to me now! The last time I wore it was in 2012 for my work Christmas meal.

What are your shopping habits with regards to clothes? Do you want to change them? Would you consider doing a no new clothes challenge?

Plumes x

Spring cleaning out my closet

Round up of the week’s food 160410

Hi everyone hope you’ve had a good week!

On Monday my Husband met me from the train station as he’d had an appointment at the local hospital. He suffers from migraines and needed to eat quickly as he felt he might have one coming on. We decided to pop into McDonald’s as its opposite the station. I ordered a veggie burger but unfortunately I was served a chicken burger (in a veggie bun and box). I am always careful to check my food before eating it. When I returned to the counter the manager was distraught that this had happened, she asked whether I had taken a bite and was relieved when I said no! She gathered the kitchen team and highlighted the importance of making sure this doesn’t happen. One of the other team suggested they have should have a green inlay in the veggie boxes as the chicken sandwich boxes and veggie boxes look very similar. I was offered a dessert so chose an apple pie as these are vegan. I appreciate mistakes are easily made and I was impressed by the service I received to rectify the issue.

On Tuesday I went down to stay with my cousins in Eastbourne. For dinner we had something that I had seen online but had not tried out myself – carrot dogs! They were tasty and a healthy alternative to a regular vegan hot dog.

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On Wednesday I went to Brighton with my cousin Katy and if you haven’t done so already you can read about all the yummy things we ate/drank here and here.

On Thursday we were supposed to go out to dinner with my Mum and her partner, but unfortunately they had both fallen ill so had to cancel. We were supposed to be going to a Turkish restaurant so as we had that in mind I picked up some VBites doner slices in Holland and Barrett and some chips from the chip shop to have a kebab. This is the first time I’d try these slices and I really enjoyed them. An easy thing to have in the fridge to stick in a pitta!

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I had seen a twitter/instagram friend post her lunch from Taoo, and as its really near my office I thought I’d give it a go for my Friday lunch treat. I had a tofu moma, with veggie dumplings and broccoli. I also tried some homemade soya milk and red bean paste buns. It was very tasty and I’ll definitely be back.

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I was also inspired by a post I saw of a carbonara from Fed by water, so as I had some violife parmesan at home I’d thought it’d give it a go. I picked up some VBites ham slices from Holland and Barratt (its in between my office and the train station so easy to pick stuff up on the way home!) I made a white sauce using the roux method with vitalite and flour and added oat milk and nutritional yeast. I fried onions, garlic, mushrooms and olives with the ham slices. After stirring in the cooked spaghetti and sauce I topped with the parmesan. I was quite impressed with this meal and my Husband enjoyed it too, which I was very pleased with!

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On Saturday I had sausage and mash, using my sausages I bought in Brighton and some very questionable potatoes. Still tasted damn good!

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When I looked in my freezer on Friday evening I had some red bean paste buns like the ones I had at lunchtime that I’d forgotten I’d bought in the Asian supermarket! I decided to have them for breakfast as I didn’t have much time before church.

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My Husband asked me to make jerk chicken for him for dinner today. I don’t like cooking or touching meat so I tipped the chicken into the dish from the packet, made the marinade and made my Husband massage it in. I had jerk tofu and I made traditional rice and peas to go with it.

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I haven’t done a big food shop recently and have just been picking up a few things on the way home so hopefully my meals with be a bit more organised next week!

Have a good one!

Plumes x

Round up of the week’s food 160410

Review – rootcandi

My cousin and I had an amazing day out in Brighton this week, which you can read all about here.

Before heading down I’d seen lots of positive things being said about rootcandi and the pictures on their instagram feed looked amazing. We have eaten at their sister restaurant Iydea a number of times and always left happy so we thought we must give rootcandi a go.

It’s situated in Western Road, a part of Brighton I’d never ventured into before and did seem a bit removed from the other vegan options available in the North Laine area. Although the walk did help our food go down on the way back!

The restaurant is bright and welcoming and we were greeted by the restaurant manager Reeshi. We were taken through the menu which included four tapas set menus from all different parts of the world and the lunch menu. We decided to go for the lunch menu and wereally impressed with the number of dishes offered and most of them for under £10.

We went for the Beetroot burger which was served with courgette fries and a garlic mayo dip. As we were sharing everything we took one burger and half a bun each. The burger was tasty, chewy and moist. The fries were crispy and light and really went well with the garlic mayo.

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We also had a cauliflower, romesco and mushroom dhal which was served with rice, naan and pomegranate raita. The curry was very flavourful but was a tad on the spicy side for me and if I had it again I would ask if it was possible to have it with less chili. The rice complemented it perfectly and the naan which was infused with rosemary was a real treat!

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While we were eating we heard the manager speaking with another table and he said these were two of his favourite dishes along with the Mushroom Wellington so I think we went with right choice! We decided against dessert but I think I would definitely go for it next time.

If I was down in Brighton for longer it would be nice to come back in the evening for the full tapas menu.

I was really impressed with the food we had and for under £20 it was a bargain. I’d definitely recommend it.

Have you eaten at rootcandi? What did you think?

Plumes x

Review – rootcandi