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

GBGB Protest 29th Jan 2017

Yesterday I attended the protest against the Greyhound Board of Great Britain Awards at The Brewery in Chiswell Street organised by Caged NW (Campaign Against Greyhound Exploitation and Death), London with my Sister-in-law, which was my first protest of 2017.

If you are unaware of the animal abuse issues involved in greyhound racing I’ll let you Google that for yourself.

We stood in the pouring rain making our opinion heard and I’m sure those arriving in black tie definitely heard what we had to say!

We didn’t stay as long as we had planned but we stayed until we were soaked through to the skin and were freezing. My Sister-in-law is still on antibiotics for a chest infection so we thought it best to leave.

We received support from lots of bus, taxi and car drivers going past and the police presence were quite friendly too.

Here’s some photos of the few hundred people who attended and gave their voices for the greyhounds.

GBGB Protest 29th Jan 2017

Review – Floral Frosting Bakery

I first came across Charis from Floral Frosting Bakery when my Sister-in-law recommended her personal account on instagram. We were especially impressed by the imaginative vegan lunches she came you with for her two young sons.

Charis was also making macarrons using the newly discovered vegan wonder ingredients aqua faba, (the water in the can of chickpeas). She had posted a few of the recipes on her blog. I had a little look, and although I consider myself a keen baker I don’t think I have the patience or skills to make these!

Luckily that was no longer an issue as Charis had decided to sell her creations. She set up the Floral Frosting Bakery instagram account in order to sell her macarrons. She would post mixed boxes and sell them on a first come first serve basis. Usually they were all gone by the time I saw the posts! I ordered some for my Sister-in-law’s birthday in October. I chose the rhubarb and custard ones and the lemon drop ones. They were all very tasty and couldn’t believe how much the rhubarb and custard ones tasted like those childhood sweets.

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In the new year Charis took the decision to not take custom orders and would concentrate on the mixed boxes being offered on instagram. My Sister-in-law managed to get her hands on this colourful selection box which included – Cherry Almond, Matcha White Chocolate, Peanut Pretzel Fudge, Cookies and Cream and London Fog (Earl Grey Vanilla).

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I love floral flavours and when I saw this box of violet and rose macarrons come up I new I had to nab a box! The flavours are so delicate and lovely with a cup of tea at the end of a long day!

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Charis’ latest box has some original flavours too. This one features – Pistachio & Rose, Blueberry French Toast, Chocolate Honeycomb, Cookies Dough, Fruity Pebbles and Cinnamon Roll.

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Are you a vegan missing this French little biscuit? Then I’d recommend you head over to instagram sharpish!

Have you tried any of Floral Frosting Bakery’s delights? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

Plumes x

Review – Floral Frosting Bakery

Review – South Downs Nurseries

I was visiting my family in Eastbourne this weekend and one of my cousins had arranged for the family to meet up at South Downs Nurseries in Hassocks to celebrate her Husband’s and her 25th wedding anniversary.

I was looking up the menu options expecting to just be able to have a jacket potatoes and beans when, to my surprise I saw this.

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I was really pleased that this independent non-vegan establishment was supporting Veganuary.

When I came to ordering my food rather than the option as described it came with roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding and was  £9.99. I definitely wasn’t complaining and even double checked with the waiter that the Yorkshire pudding was vegan!

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I was really impressed. The Yorkshire pudding was quite dark but it was lovely and soft rather than crunchy. The Wellington was really tasty and I was well and truly satisfied!

After lunch I looked around the food shop and was impressed by the vegan offerings. There was a wide selection of chocolate including Seed and Bean and Beech’s Chocolates as well as crisps, snacks, cupboard staples and some dairy free alternatives to milk/yogurt etc in the fridge.

This is the only shop I’ve been in that I’ve seen sell the new quinoa vegan cheese puffs! I got a packet of the original and with jalapeño and my Mum got the versions with added kale. I haven’t tried them yet but am so looking forward to them!

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There was so many nice things in the wider shop too, from jewellery to crockery and bags. They even had a little sewing workshop where you could go I  and get help on your projects.

I couldn’t go to a garden centre and not buy a plant so I got a Mother-in-law’s tongue/Snake Plant as it’s supposed to help promote healthy sleep. (I’ll let you know how I get on!)

If you’re ever in the area I would definitely recommend you visit.

Have you been to South Downs Nurseries, to eat or otherwise? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

Plumes x

Review – South Downs Nurseries

Review – Oh My Goodness!

I first visited Oh My Goodness! in The Enterprise Shopping Centre when I last came down to Eastbourne in December and enjoyed a lovely couple of cakes with my Cousin Katy.

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We went for a chocolate orange cake and a lemon and poppy seed one and had half of each, they were both delicious!

This visit we decided to have some lunch as well. We chose the root vegetable pie which had just come straight out of the oven along with a sweet potato topped with houmous, falafel and salsa. Again we shared both dishes which were both satisfying, the only thing that could have made it better would be if the sweet potato was served warm.

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After our main course we decided to share a chocolate and pistachio brownie rather than get a cake each, (we’re going to Spain in April so thought we’d show willing!) This was very rich and I don’t think I would have managed a whole one (although I would have given it a good try!) It had cherries and raisins in too which helped it stay moist.

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I paired this with an Earl Grey tea with soya milk and Katy had a hot chocolate, Poppy the owner said hot chocolate wasn’t on the menu as they don’t have a steamer and it takes a bit of time but said she’d do one especially for us. It had raw cacao and agave and Katy thoroughly enjoyed it!

Oh My Goodness! also sell some groceries and goodies which you can stock up on when you go in for lunch or a cake and a drink and they offer a take away service too.

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I really enjoyed our visit and it’s great to support small independent businesses. As I visit Eastbourne fairly regularly I’ll be sure to return.

Have you been to Oh My Goodness? What did you think? Have you got any recommendations for eating vegan in Eastbourne and the surrounding area? Let me know in the comments.

Plumes x

Review – Oh My Goodness!

New Vegan Lunch Items from M&S

Previously if I went to M&S to get my lunch it would be a couple of their mix and match salads, a large samosa or some of their mezze selection although none of these options are ideal.

But now they have revamped their lunch offerings and have two (count them, two!) vegan sandwiches along with some tasty looking large nourish bowls and a range of sides.

I first tried the Super Greens sandwich a couple of weeks ago. It contains a minted edamame and pea crush on soft linseed and chia bread. This sandwich was really tasty and I’m suckered for minted peas but I felt it could have done with a bit more filling. As it’s got the calories clearly marked on the pack I assume they were trying to get it under a certain amount!

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A couple of days later I tried the other sandwich, the Rainbow Veg. This had avocado, roasted veg and chilli squash on a soft red pepper bread. The filling was really tasty and there were a few different veg in there. The bread was also really different and not something ive really seen before. I have a low heat tolerance so the chilli was a bit hot for me but I think if I had a drink close by it would have been better for me!

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Today I was a bit more adventurous and went for the meal deal. I got the edamame and black rice nourish bowl, which was ah-maze-ing! I love Japanese food and this definitely had a Japanese twist. The edamame bites are like an Asian falafel, then there’s the edamame beans with wakame seaweed – I love seaweed in all its forms so this makes me very happy! The beetroot and the black rice both have a lovely pickled flavour and the soy and chilli cashew dip is divine (and not too hot for me!)

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For my side I chose the nutty cauliflower trio veg pot which contained spiced cauliflower, pickled cauliflower and a cauliflower and cashew dip with seeds and a few leaves. This was a lovely well thought out side and much more interesting than a bag of crisps or some carrot sticks and houmous!

I went for a coconut water for my drink as I thought I would get be getting a good deal as usually they are quite expensive. This meal deal was £5 but I think this was because I was in London/a train station. I think they are usually £4.

Sarah from The V Nice Life has tried more of the range which you can see in her Taste Test Video.

Have you tried any of the new range? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

Plumes x

 

New Vegan Lunch Items from M&S

Vida Bakery

When I heard there was a new vegan bakery opening within walking distance of my workplace I was overjoyed! (Ms Cupcake I love you, but Brixton/Wholefoods is a mission  for me!)

I followed Vida Bakery on instagram and liked what I saw they had planned to sell in the bakery.

I popped into the bakery on Cheshire Street (off Brick Lane at the Shoreditch end) at Friday lunchtime and had a lovely chat with one of the owners – Dani.

The space is lovely, there’s a small counter with a long bench table and cool lighting. A bookshelf with loads of vegan & gluten free books and magazines and entire blackboard wall featuring the menu.

Now onto the cakes! There was a wide selection of cupcakes, a chocolate and orange loaf cake, some cookies and some cinnamon buns. I enquired about savoury options but Dani said they had some earlier in the week and they hadn’t sold very well but they may try again.

I bought 4 cupcakes for £10 for my Husband, Brother, Sister-in-law and me as well as a matcha latte.

I went for mocha, double choc (the signature), peanut butter and jelly and salted caramel. I had the double choc and it was delicious the chocolate frosting was really thick like a peanut butter cup but a lot richer. The others all said they really enjoyed theirs too.

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I’ll definitely be back for some loaf cake and I’ve already discussed with Dani ordering my birthday cake from them!

If you’re in he area should definitely head down there, if you’ve already been let me know what you thought in the comments.

Plumes x

Vida Bakery

New Year, New Food!

I’ve tried some new dishes recently and wanted to share them with you.

I made tofush and chips on NYE by seasoning and wrapping some tofu in nori seaweed  (the kind you get on sushi rolls) and then dipping in batter and frying. The batter was a bit thin and the tofu a bit too thick but the flavour was definitely there!

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We spent the evening with my Brother and Sister-in-law playing board games and my Sister-in-law cooked these Indian snacks from Tesco. I think they were in the Christmas range so may not longer be available but they were a bit different to your usual samosas and bhajis.

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I made a dhal using Jack Monroe’s recipe on their budget recipe site Cooking on a Bootstrap and some dried split fava (broad) beans I had in the cupboard. I also made some spiced roasted cauliflower and some sag aloo using some Oatly cream I had. It’s is so good in curries!

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I also wanted to use the Oatly cream to make some pasta sauce. I blitzed some silken tofu I had in the cupboard with the cream and added mustard, I used Sainsburys dijon mustard which is actually quite hot. I served the pasta with roasted cauliflower and cabbage and topped with Tesco smoked soya cheese.

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Marks and Spencer are good for lunch for vegans if you want salad. They do loads of mini salads with all sorts of ingredients that are usually two for £3. Now after years of pestering and I think in line with Veganuary they have launched two vegan sandwiches. I bought the supergreens one the other day. It has crushed peas and edemame beans with some salady greens on a multiseed bread. It was nice but could of had more filling. I wouldn’t rush back to buy one but it’s nice to know there’s an option as there is an m&s in most big train stations.

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I grabbed some lunch from Spitalfields market on Friday and went for this Ethiopian stall. Ethiopian is one of my fave cuisines and if you haven’t tried it you must! Lots of beans, lentils, veg and a pancake type bread called injera which is made from the flour of a seed called teff. It has quite a sour flavour and is high in iron.

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I also got my first veg box delivered from Riverford on Friday. This supports two of my goals from my Goals for 2017 post, reducing plastic and supporting independent, local suppliers. The box I have gone for is the grown in the UK only veg box, so this will also help us eat more seasonally. I’m really looking forward to using my veg!

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I bought some cupcakes from a new bakery which has opened up off Brick Lane called Vida. They were delicious and I’m going to write a separate blog post going into more detail about them.

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I made this dish only for the second time this week so I’m including it under new food! I made veggie meatballs and gravy with mash potato and cabbage. I didn’t realise I didn’t have any gravy granules in so I had to improvise with a stock cube and some arrowroot to thicken. These meatballs are from Sainsburys and they’ve recently changed the recipe to remove the egg so now vegan friendly! These are soya based and I prefer them to the Ikea ones which a more vegetable based.

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Yesterday I went to the theatre to see “An Inspector Calls” with my Brother and Sister-in-law, we had a fabulous time and headed out for food afterwards as we had been to the matinee. All Bar One are doing a vegan menu in collaboration with Veganuary so we thought we would head there.

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I went for the kale and houmous flatbread which was delicious although the flatbread was a bit crispy so you couldn’t really fold it. I was planning on having the rice pudding for dessert but I didn’t realise the flatbread came with chips and I was too full by the end. Oh well that’s an excuse to go back!

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I’m thinking of doing food posts more like this, showcasing new dishes I have tried rather than weekly round ups where you may see the same staple dishes I eat. What do you think?

Have you tried any new foods recently? Or taken advantage of any Veganuary offers? Let me know in the comments.

Plumes x

New Year, New Food!

What’s in a name?

I’ve since a couple of articles about vegetarian/vegan alternatives that have confused me in the last couple of weeks and wondered what your take on them is.

Firstly I saw this posted on Twitter by an American dairy lobbyist group.

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I also saw an article saying a number of Congress members wanting to ban the term “milk” for anything other than animal milks. (Sorry can’t seem to find the link).

Then there was this article from The Independent noting a German politician calling for banning terms such as vegetarian sausages, curry wurst or schnitzel.

I find this possessiveness over words and terms absurd. By calling “real” milk nice and plant based alternatives naughty do they really think people consuming these products will really think “oh gosh I wasn’t aware, I’ll go back to drinking animal milks now”. The plant based milk alternatives market is booming and don’t think aggressive marketing like this from dairy boards will change that. The dairy industry is heavily subsidised in the UK and if supply is larger than demand something will have to change.

I am equally baffled by the comments from the German politician which seem to insinuate that people are being tricked into eating meat free alternatives. I’ve never heard of anyone being tricked into eating a vegetarian product as most shout about being vegetarian! I also think him claiming certain terms as referring to meat odd. To me a sausage is a shape it is not a cow or a pig, a nugget can be of gold as well as chicken so why not soy?

These are terms we are familiar with and anyone I speak to uses terms such as milk when referring to plant based alternatives and I can’t see any ban on these terms on products changing that.

Are the meat and milk industries just scared of the rise of plant based alternatives?

Do you think these attempts will make any difference to what people consume?

Let me know in the comments

Plumes x

 

 

What’s in a name?