Round up of the week’s food 160828

I haven’t taken as many food pics this week so this post will be a little shorter than usual.

On Monday I used up my other pizza base I had bought for this olive and mushroom pizza.

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On Wednesday I went round my Grandparents with my Brother. My Grandma made me a salad with a side of peanut butter and crackers and we ate put in the garden.

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On Thursday I went swimming with Mum, we had a lovely salad with some nut luncheon from Holland and Barrett. The ingredients are only peanuts, water and salt. I thought it would taste too peanutty but it was really mild.

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As it was pay day on Friday I treated myself to lunch from CookDaily in Shoreditch. I had “Le Garden” with tofu and vegetables in a garlicky sauce over brown rice and quinoa. I also got a coconut bubble tea with tapioca and lychee jelly from Milk Tea & Pearl.

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On Friday we went to my in-laws for the weekend and I had this lovely sausage casserole.

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On Sunday coming home we stopped at Yo! Sushi at Westfield Stratford for dinner. We on stalls at the conveyor belt, elbow to elbow with other diners so it was difficult to take photos. I had the tofu katsu curry, the tofu was the crunchiest I’ve ever had it. I also had the vegetable tempura which was also very crispy but a bit difficult to eat over such a small bowl. I also had a seaweed salad. They do 25% student discount (Sun – Thurs) and some restaurants do a Sunday offer of 10 plates for £20.

Hope you’ve had a good week.

Plumes x

Round up of the week’s food 160828

Vegan Kind Beauty Box 8

Last week I received my quarterly beauty box from The Vegan Kind. For £18.50 including postage and packaging you receive 6-7 skincare/makeup products that are completely free from animal ingredients and are not tested on animals either!

Starting with the top left we have The Konjac Sponge Company Ltd French Pink Clay Facial Puff Sponge  (RRP  £8.99). This looks like a really interesting facial sponge, I’ve eaten konjac before but never used it to wash my face! The Sponge is mineral rich and cleanses, exfoliates and detoxifies skin.

Next there is Vitala Spa Chakra Balancing Compassion Bath and Body Oil 100ml (RRP  £8.50) this smells amazing and is really relaxing in a long, hot soak!

Figs & Rouge evAcalm Perfect Calm Moisture+ AM PM Cream 50ml (RRP  £24) is up next. This goes on the skin lovely and can be used pre makeup in the morning or before you go to bed.

Finishing off the top row is Weleda Almond Sensitive Skin Travel Size Body Wash 20ml (RRP  £1.95) and Hand Cream 10ml (RRP  £2.25) the hand cream is a good size for your handbag and the body wash will go in my overnight bag. I tend not to take my own toiletries when staying with friends or family but then I don’t like using non cruelty-free products so this is great rather than taking full size products.

On the bottom left we have Sheila’s Natural Products Face Cream Deluxe Sample (RRP full size £27.50) this is another nice face cream, so I’ll be in stock for a while.

Lastly we have Spectrum Collections Tapered Finishing Brush (£7.99). This has a feel to it and is really soft!

This box retails in at over £50 (!) So for £18.50 you can’t go wrong. As always 20p from every box goes towards Dr Hadwen Trust which funds research into alternatives to animal testing.

My box this time seems a little cream heavy with no makeup items. It may just be a case of what is available at the time but I feel a bit of planning to get a good cross section of products would be more appealing.

I was also surprised that only the konjac sponge had any markings noting vegan or cruelty free and these were only on the leaflet inside the packet and not on the outside. Nevertheless it is great being introduced to new products and cruelty free companies.

Have you used any of these products? What did you think?

Plumes X

Vegan Kind Beauty Box 8

Round up of the week’s food 160821

After watching the Olympics over the last two weeks I was sad to see it come to an end. But we do have the paralympics in September and hopefully Rio will put on a good games despite the cut backs.

On Monday I met my Sister-in-law at The Gallery Cafe for dinner and a catch up. If you have read my previous review I haven’t had great times there but thought I’d give it another chance. I wasn’t disappointed with my matcha latte this time and I enjoyed this giant burger with some gorgeous relish.

My work are trialling daily vegetarian options for lunch and are monitoring take up to see whether they’ll keep with it. On Tuesday I got this spicy bean burger and wedges for just £3, can’t really go wrong!

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On Tuesday evening I made spaghetti with aubergine pesto and vegetables. Such a quick easy dinner.

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On Wednesday I had lunch with a colleague at Bavarian Beerhouse. I’ve been a couple of times for drinks after work but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw they have started serving vegan options a couple of months ago. I went for the currywurst which was about £5 on the lunchtime menu. I don’t really drink beer but thought the soft drinks were quite expensive at £3.60! I enjoyed the meal and will definitely head back to try the other options.

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I went swimming with my Mum in the evening and had sausages again with beans, onion and sweet potato fries.

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On Thursday I made a pizza using a ready made pizza base, Bute Island’s Greek Style Sheese, olives and capers. The Greek Style Sheese is really flavourful and very close to feta in my opinion.

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On Friday I had a simple supper of jacket potato with houmous, olives and a bit more of that Sheese.

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On Saturday I made a lovely Indian meal. I made some tandoori tempeh using provamel coconut soya yogurt which I bought in Holland and Barrett. This is a yogurt with absolutely no sugar unlike alpro’s plain soya yogurt so is perfect for savoury dishes. I also made curried aubergine and green rice and bought a vegetable bhaji from Sainsburys.

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Yesterday I had leftovers while I binge watched Stranger Things. Let me know if you’ve seen it and what you think?

Hope you’ve had a good week!

Plumes x

Round up of the week’s food 160821

Review – Afternoon tea @ Terre a Terre

My cousin Katy and I enjoy spending time together in Brighton so when she said she had never been for a full afternoon tea we decided we must go for her birthday celebration and Terre a Terre hit the spot.

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I had visited before for dinner with my Husband in February for my own birthday which you can read about here.

We were seated in the front of restaurant rather than the main dining room so we could feel a little bit of a breeze on a very warm Sunday afternoon.

We both had the vegan afternoon tea, which started with the savoury plate.

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The Thai rice balls were definitely the most flavourful and not like anything I’ve tried before. I do love a good Chinese bun and this marinated tofu one did not disappoint!

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For our first dessert tier we had –

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I loved the sorbet, an unusual addition on an afternoon tea and the sweet dukka really set it off.

On tier two there was –

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The alcoholic milkshake was a lovely addition and Katy was really taken by the peanut caramel truffle.

Lastly we had –

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The scones were really nice, not dry at all – helped I assume by the tea soaking! The coconut cream tasted quite acidic to me, almost like coconut yogurt. We had this all washed down with some very fragrant Jasmine tea.

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The service was a little bit slow on getting our savoury course out but we did overhear our waiter complaining to the kitchen so we were assured this wasn’t standard. At £22 each I think this was great value for money. We had our taste buds tantalised and we were well and truly full by the time we left and managed to roll ourselves back up the hill to the train station!

I would definitely recommend this tea for any celebration or just a fab day out!

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Plumes x

Review – Afternoon tea @ Terre a Terre

Round up of the week’s food 160814

I’ve had a great week watching some amazing Olympic performances and enjoyed some lovely food.

On Monday I was planning on trying Fry’s falafel burger as I had bought some the week before. However I soon discovered my Husband had scoffed the whole packet so I had to settle for a traditional burger instead!

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On Tuesday I went swimming with Mum and she had made a lovely lentil shepherdess pie served with asparagus.

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On Wednesday my brother came over and we had sausage and mash. My brother said he really enjoyed these Dragonfly Foods Soysages and he’s not great love of soy/tofu based stuff so this was a high accolade indeed!
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On Wednesday we had a lazy dinner of bits and pieces as we were feeling really hot.

On Friday we had arancini made with a red pepper risotto. I usually have panko breadcrumbs in the cupboard and they give such a good crunch.

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On Saturday I met my cousin Katy in Kent with my Mum to visit the FRIEND Animal Sanctuary which you can read all about here. We stopped in at Lakeside shopping centre on the way home to get some lunch. We had pie and mash from Sainsy Pie and Mash they do a root vegetable pie and a soya mince pie. We all went for the soya mince one. Katy and I both love bubble tea so we were pleased to see an outlet at Lakeside. I got a pina colada which was lush!

For dinner I made a teriyaki and ginger vegetable stirfry, I also got a pear and lychee cider from Aldi by Swedish brand Alska which are clearly labelled vegan.

Today Katy and I headed down to Brighton to have afternoon tea to celebrate her birthday tomorrow. I will write up a full review later but here’s a taster!

I am now very tired and have felt very emotional watching Max Whitlock win two individual gymnastics titles (Floor and Pommel Horse)!

Hope you have a good week!

Plumes x

Round up of the week’s food 160814

F.R.I.E.N.D Animal Rescue

Today I visited F.R.I.E.N.D Animal Rescue with my Mum and cousin Katy as part of their open day.

FRIEND is a 10 acre animal sanctuary in rural Kent. They receive animals that have been rescued from abuse, when owners have died and sometimes animals are even dumped on their doorstep. The animal sanctuary is a no kill, free roaming home to cows, sheep, chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys as well as more than 30 pigs.

FRIEND rely on donations to pay for food, bedding, essential equipment and veterinary bills, they also rely on volunteers to keep the site running. You can donate money via the website and they also have an amazon wishlist which you can access here. You can also find out about volunteering opportunities on the site.

FRIEND promote the vegan lifestyle and we enjoyed some amazing vegan lemon drizzle cake while we were visiting!

If you have the opportunity to visit an animal sanctuary I would really recommend it. These animals have been rescued from a horrible life and can now live out their days free and in comfort. All the money goes towards caring for these animals unlike zoos which exploit animals for profit.

Plumes x

F.R.I.E.N.D Animal Rescue

Round up of the week’s food 160807

I’ve had a lovely week spent with friends and family.

On Monday my Husband and I had lunch at Zizzi when we were in town shopping.

I’ve had the vegan pizza a few times and this one was quite disappointing, I went for butternut squash, artichoke and peppers. The toppings didn’t feel that warm and there were only three peppers on there. I was also served a thin a crispy one when I had asked for a classic. We had a long wait for our mains so I didn’t feel like dessert in the end. I had a 40% discount and I don’t think the food we had would have been worth the full price.

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On Tuesday I headed down to Bournemouth to visit my friend Karen who I have known for a long time. She used to work for a broker I dealt with when I first joined my company over 9 years ago. We had to speak multiple times a day and clicked straight away.

She made this lovely pasta dish served with this accidentally vegan stone baked garlic bread from Asda.

On Wednesday we had bubble and squeak with some chard picked fresh from the garden. I don’t eat mashed potato very often as my Husband doesn’t like it so this was a real treat!

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Karen has an amazing vegetable garden and gave me some freshly picked, organic vegetables to take home with me. I’m really excited about the corn cob and the purple carrots!

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Here’s some more pics of her fab garden.

My Brother came over for dinner on Friday and I made a tofu stirfry. When I get the stirfry veg, noodles and sauce from Sainsburys I usually just add a few frozen soya beans and that does it for my Husband as me but as there was three of us I used this marinated tofu my Mum picked up for me in Lidl which was only £1.50. I bulked out the veg with the peas and purple carrots from Karen’s garden.

My cousin and his Wife came to stay with us at the weekend. I had bought some tinned jackfruit a week or so ago and wanted to try something different to the usually bbq wraps I do. I saw this recipe from Leicester Veggie for vegan “crab” cakes that fitted the bill perfectly. The homemade tartar sauce was pretty special which I’ll definitely make again. I served it with some sautéed chard from Karen’s garden.

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Today we went out for a pub lunch. The curse of the brioche bun reared it’s ugly head but I was able to sub it for ciabatta which I saw on the menu was used for the sandwiches. I had a sweet potato and bean burger with chips.

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I tried some of Amanda’s coconut and lime cider from Brothers. I wasn’t too sure about it, I might need a whole one to make up my mind! I think all of Brothers ciders are vegan I picked up some toffee apple flavour in Aldi for the weekend and they are clearly labelled suitable for vegans.

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I’m looking forward to watching lots of Olympic events over the next couple of weeks hopefully my cooking doesn’t suffer!

Plumes x

Round up of the week’s food 160807

Breed Specific Legislation

I meant to publish this a couple of weeks ago but due to technical difficulties I lost half the post and have only just got round to re-writing it.

On Saturday 16th July I attended an Anti BSL protest organised by DDA Watch.

The Dangerous Dogs Act (1991) was enacted in the UK in order to reduce dog bite injuries. The act has not had the desired effect and dogs bites have been on the rise since it came into force. On top of this innocent dogs that have no history of aggression continue to be seized and destroyed due to the criteria under Section 1 of the act.

Section 1 states that four dog breeds are banned in the UK. The most relevant one is the pit bull terrier. In the UK this is a mixed breed so it is difficult to determine whether a dog fits into this category. A set of measurements are used to determine whether a dog is “type”. Again a dog can be seized and assessed when it has no history of aggressive behaviour. The dog must have 60% of the criteria to be classed as type. This often leads to some dogs from the same litter being classed as pit bulls and others not.

These cases of innocent dogs take a lot of time for the courts, costs to the police (and therefore the taxpayer) and heartache for the owners who cannot see or even know where there dog is being held once it has been seized, often for many months.

If a dog is classed at type it can be exempted if the courts believe it poses no danger to the public. The dog must be microchipped  (as all dogs must be in the UK from April 2016), insured against 3rd party injury, kept on a lead and muzzled in public. Dog and owner must live at the same address for all but 30 days a year and if this 30 day rule is breached the dog may be destroyed. Dogs cannot also not be rehomed if the owner can no longer keep them due to issues such as housing. Ownership can only be transferred if the owner has died or is terminally ill.

This is a complex law that is ineffective and needs to be amended or repealed. Education is key to reduce dog bites and ensures owners are responsible for their dogs especially around children.

I first learnt about the issues with the Dangerous Dogs Act through my Sister-in-law who is a veterinary nurse who works in the charity sector. Along with two other nurses they set up The SaveABulls  campaign to challenge this law and give a perspective from the veterinary profession. From their Facebook page –

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There are many other groups who campaign to repeal this outdated law.

DDA Watch

Born Innocent

Draconian Dogs Act

The singer Professor Green recently presented a documentary on the Dangerous Dogs Act for the BBC which can be viewed in the UK here until the end of 2016.

The protest in July was reported on dogworld.co.uk and dog news.co.uk. There were also protests in other countries protesting their own breed specific laws.

As well as protesting the law we were also there to remember the dogs that had suffered and been put to death under the legislation.

If you are interested in furthering the cause I suggest you visit the campaign groups’ pages to see any events that are going on in your area. Through these sites there are also links to petitions and templates to contact your local MP.

Plumes x

Breed Specific Legislation

Round up of the week’s food 160731

I’ve lost a bit of my blogging mojo over the last few weeks. This hasn’t been helped by the issues I’ve had with WordPress losing my posts or only publishing them in part. Hopefully I’ll find some inspiration and start posting a bit more! I’ve been having some fabulous food that’s definitely not the issue!

Bolognese or chilli is an easy dinner for us if there’s not much left in the fridge. There’s usually a ropey pepper and a few mushrooms and I always have chopped tomatoes and beans in the cupboard and usually veggie mince in the freezer. I used the leftovers for lunch on Tuesday in jacket potato from the canteen at work.

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On Tuesday I had my monthly catch up with my friend Jo. We took a short bus ride to the Ethiopian Andu Cafe in Dalston. I’d read good things online about this little vegan cafe and we weren’t disappointed. We shared a platter of dishes made of lentils and vegetables served with injera. It was all delicious and filling and a steal at £12 for the whole lot! Afterwards we stopped by a ice cream parlour and I had a gorgeous blueberry and mango sorbet cone.

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On Wednesday I went to do some market research in Holborn, as I had a bit of time beforehand I stopped by Poetry Cafe for some food. I had some summer vegetable soup and a slice of banana and walnut cake. Simple things, done well.

With the incentive I earned doing the market research we had a takeaway on Thursday. I went for a couple of starters with satay tofu skewers and deep fried aubergine balls with sweet and sour sauce. I love these dishes and our local Chinese takeaway never disappoint.

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On Friday and Saturday I just had little bits and pieces, although I did visit the Asian supermarket so I’ve got a few bits for future meals.

It was my Grandad’s 87th birthday in the week so we had a get together at my Aunt’s house on Sunday. My vegan Sister-in-law and I were well catered for. We had Indian spiced chickpea burgers from Linda McCartney with harissa roasted vegetables, couscous, rice and salad. It was all really lovely and I didn’t need much in the evening to keep me going!

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I’m off work this week and going to visit a friend for a couple of days before we have guests ourselves so it’s going to be a busy one!

Have a good week!

Plumes x

Round up of the week’s food 160731