Gallery Cafe February 2018

I have visited the Gallery Cafe in Bethnal Green quite a few times and have blogged about it in the past but this was my first visit since they decided to go fully vegan at the beginning of 2018.

The Gallery Cafe is situated in St Margaret’s House, a charity supporting the local community and with 100% of the profits going back to the charity you not only get a tasty meal but a warm fuzzy feeling too!

My Mum and I were going to a gig in Bethnal Green so it was the perfect excuse to visit.

My Mum had never tried jackfruit before and wanted to sample some so she went for the tacos which are described as “Pulled jackfruit slow-cooked in our homemade smoky barbeque sauce in soft shell corn tacos; served with a crunchy red onion, carrot and cabbage slaw and a tangy lime, ginger, garlic and chilli ceviche; topped with fresh coriander

She was rather taken by the blue corn taco and described the dish as “lush”!

I was toing and froing between the sweet potato masala and the gado gado chao with the latter winning out. It is described on the menu as “Our unique Indonesian mixed-vegetable stir-fry with a punchy peanut and lime sauce; served with tempeh, brown rice and fresh coriander“. The sauce definitely did pack a punch and the tempeh was so tasty. It really hit the spot on this freezing cold day and the vegetables were perfectly cooked.

I’m excited to go back to the Gallery Cafe to try out some more of their dishes.

Have you visited the Gallery Cafe recently? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Gallery Cafe February 2018

Vegan Adventures in Norwich

My Husband and I decided to spend my birthday weekend in Norwich for a few reasons; its a historic city we haven’t visited before, it’s not too far away by train (and the fares are reasonable) and it’s full of delicious vegan food!

Our first adventure was actually getting there! The Oliver Cromwell steam engine was making a journey from Liverpool Street to Norwich and managed to break down seven miles from Norwich in front of the train we were on! After about a half hour wait we were on the move again and saw the steam engine in all its glory when we got into the station.

Photo credit – Roger Lighterness via iwitness

We made it to our quirky Air BnB and I quickly headed out again to Indigo to get my birthday present from my Husband.

I decided to get the vegan society sunflower tattooed on my wrist. I’ve been thinking about this tattoo for a while and my friend Maxine recommended Indigo as she had had her tattoo there and they use organic, vegan ink. I had a lovely chat to my tattooist Sam while I was being inked and he, a fellow vegan recommended some food places for us to try out.

We decided to get a Chinese takeaway for dinner on our first evening. We wanted to try out Great Wall Vegetarian Chinese as their menu looked pretty tasty but unfortunately the owners were away. We went to Vegan Wok instead which was just a short walk away. We had a selection of dishes; corn cakes, mushroom fritters, Quorn pad thai, nutty tofu, tofu in ginger and soy; and Quorn curry. It was really tasty and there was plenty leftover for lunch the next day.

The next day was my actual birthday and we had a little wander around a few of the lanes and the little independent shops. We popped into Little Shop Of Vegans where I picked up some sweets for my colleagues. They had so many products on offer, from snacks and sweet treats to clothing and merchandise.

Photo Credit – Little Shop of Vegans

After that we stopped into vegan coffee house Ancestors Coffee for a hot drink. I went for a matcha latte and my Husband had a mocha, neither of the drinks were overly warm which apparently was because if they heat the plant milks too much they lose their sweetness.

They also had a range of lovely looking cakes on offer.

After a quick pitstop at the flat we went to see the film Lady Bird in a cinema in a converted church. I really enjoyed the film and would recommend seeing it if you get the chance.

Photo credit – Visit Norwich

For dinner we booked into Namaste India a vegetarian Indian restaurant, my tattoo artist, Sam had recommended. I was glad we had booked, as after we arrived at 17.30 the restaurant soon started filling up. For starters we had samosas and aubergine pakoras, they may not look like much but they were packed with flavour and I could eat them all day long!

For our mains we both went for the biryani dosa. This was my Husband’s first time trying dosa, a filled pancake made from lentil flour, but they’re a firm favourite of mine. It was interesting to trying it with the vegetable biryani and chickpea curry filling rather than the usual masala mash potato. We both really enjoyed it and I’m sure my Husband will have many more dosas to come!

On Saturday we spent the morning exploring the city and visiting the cathedral and the castle. At the cathedral there was a wellness event going on and we got to met some therapy dogs and therapy donkeys!

For lunch we each got a meal deal from Tofurei. I went for a Cumberland sausage bap with some chicken flavour Ten Acre crisps, a peanut nakd bar and some sparkling water. My Husband had a cheeseburger, pastrami flavour crisps a meridian chocolate bar and a Karma Kola. Both the sausages and the cheeseburger were really flavourful and the meal deal was great value for money.

For dinner we headed out to The Tipsy Vegan, luckily they could squeeze us in as we hadn’t booked, so don’t make the same mistake we did and make sure you book!

The food here was out of this world and we were both so impressed. To start we had fried pickles with a blue cheese dressing which were great. I’ve had fried pickles a few times and these were definitely the best I’ve ever tried.

To drink I decided to treat myself to a hazelnut hot toddy, I would call this a boozy hot chocolate rather than a hot toddy but it was delicious all the same!

For my main I went for the tempeh ribs which my friend Maxine had recommended to me. Unfortunately when they came out they weren’t very warm but they were changed for a steaming hot replacement very quickly. The ribs were in a tangy barbeque sauce that had a real kick. I also loved the accompaniments of potato salad, coleslaw and corn on the cob.

My Husband went for the quesadillas which came with nachos and avocado crema; and cheese topped corn. He thought the quesadillas were really tasty but he’s not really a nacho or corn guy so could have done with an extra quesadilla and smaller sides!

For dessert my Husband had the chocolate salted caramel tart which he thoroughly enjoyed.

If I ever see sticky toffee pudding on a menu no other dessert gets a look in and this one didn’t disappoint. The sauce and the cake weren’t as dark as I was expecting but they were both delicious. After this meal I felt well and truly spoilt!

My Husband picked up some Mac and Cheese from Bia Kitchen (which is run by the owners of The Tipsy Vegan) to have on Sunday morning before we returned home. This smelt really cheesy when he heated it up although he thinks it would have been better if he eaten it fresh.

I also picked up a Hench Herbivore peanut and raspberry protein ball from Bia Kitchen.

This morning I attended mass at the Catholic cathedral before getting some breakfast ahead of our train journey home.

As I had limited time I decided to check out the little cafe on the corner of Elm Hill where we were staying. I was delighted to see that Olive’s did a vegan breakfast and I was really impressed when it came out. I’m not sure whether I’ve had a better breakfast in a veggie/vegan restaurant. They had thought of everything, it came with a tofu scramble, veggie sausage, tempeh bacon, beans, mushrooms, fried tomato, root vegetable hash, fried bread and toast! I couldn’t quite manage all of it but I gave it a good go! I wish more cafes paid this much attention to detail in their vegan options!

So there you have it! There are still some places we haven’t tried out so a return trip is definitely in order, maybe in the summer when it’s a bit warmer!

Have you visited Norwich as a vegan? What did you think? Are there any gems we missed? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Vegan Adventures in Norwich

A Vegan Lunch at Nando’s

Nando’s might not be the first place you think of eating as a vegan, but the choice of restaurant may not always be up to you or you may be somewhere like a retail park with limited options (luckily this is getting less and less likely nowadays) so it’s always nice to know what vegan options are available.

Nando’s have this helpful webpage advising the best way to eat vegan at one of their restaurants.

We started with the houmous and pitta with piri piri drizzle to start. My Husband loves the drizzle so we order a few extra bottles at 50p each so he can use them at home. As you may know from previous posts I am a spice wimp so the drizzle has to stay strictly on his side of the houmous pot!

There are two new veggie burgers on the menu since I last ate at Nando’s and both can be easily veganised. I chose the sweet potato and butternut over the supergreens and had it in a pitta with no mayo. I chose my spice level as plain – no surprises there! I also ordered a corn on the cob on the side and skipped the butter.

The burger was nice with red peppers going through it, although I think it would be better with a sauce. You could add ketchup if you wanted. This was a pleasant enough meal and definitely filled me up.

I also sometimes make my own burgers from the sides. The garlic bread is vegan so I order that with a Portobello mushroom, quarter avocado and some pineapple and I’m good to go! This usually works out cheaper too!

Have you eaten at Nando’s as a vegan? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

A Vegan Lunch at Nando’s

Veganuary 2018 initial results

Some of you may know I’m an analyst at work and love a bit of number crunching so I always look forward to seeing the stats come out after Veganuary and this year is no different, so let’s take a look!

Its great to see the overall participation increase year on year and a massive 183% increase on 2017! This only accounts for the people who sign up on so I am sure there are many others who take part every year without signing up.

It’s also nice to see people’s motivation for trying Veganuary, but whatever the reason the animals and the planet benefit from it! 79,000 were omnivores so that’s a huge number going cold tofurkey for the month!

Younger people lead the way as expected, but my age range of 25 – 34 are slightly leading the pack ahead of the 18 – 24 whippersnappers and the 35 – 44 crew don’t seem far behind them.

Women seem to be leading the way again with 84% of participants but men have increased to 14% from 10% in 2017. I think this is in part due to women more likely to sign up to the website so there may be quite a few more men taking part, they just aren’t in the official figure.

The dairy industry tried to hit back with their #februdairy campaign but as these search stats (courtesy of @vegandon on Twitter) show it paled in comparison.

So there you have it. I’m looking forward to seeing the six month results and how many people decided to stick with it. With all the options now available it just gets easier and easier to transition to veganism.

Did you take part in Veganuary this year? How did it go? Or are you a veteran of Veganuary and still going strong? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Veganuary 2018 initial results

Vegan Life Live 2018

My friend Maxine visited the Vegan Life Live event organised by Vegan Life Magazine in London this weekend and agreed to share her experience in this guest post, so I’ll hand over to her…

“Yesterday I went to the Vegan life live event at Alexandra Palace. The venue is conveniently located not far from the station and there is street parking as well as a car park. The location is beautiful inside and out.

On arrival we were greeted with a massive goody bag which included magazines, lots of samples, a bottle of water, protein and energy balls, a large pot of mayo and a packet of black Jasmine rice pasta which I’m eager to try out.

The stall holders were all on one levels, although some of the talks were held on the lower ground. There was plenty of seating area and of course most importantly “the food court”. I arrived early so to avoid the queues as it did get really busy just before lunch time. I had BBQ Tempeh ribs for lunch and a maple syrup waffle for dessert but the decision was a hard one to make as there was so many delicious options from Ethiopian food, Caribbean, Greek, Pizza, raw dishes, Mac n cheese, seitan steak sandwiches, wraps n burritos, pittas etc.. etc…

So many free samples were being given out. Lots of protein stalls, clothing, shoes, make up, jewellery, cakes, sweets n chocolate. We sampled raw cheesecakes, raw chocolate, gluten free peanut butter and jello cream cake, soups and much more.

Vida Bakery
Ms. Cupcake

The only disappointment was the lack of cheese and coffee stalls. Only one small stall selling a small selection of cheeses you can purchase in most supermarkets or Holland & Barrett and we only came across two stores selling coffee.

There was a tent where people were getting back, neck n head massages right next to the main stage where we saw some really great performers. Shout out to #JoshTom for his song “I don’t eat animals”.

We stayed a total of 6 hours but we did end up going around 3 times because there’s always something you’ve missed!”

Thanks Maxine, sounds like a great event, I’ll definitely have to try to go next year.

Did you go to Vegan Life Live? What did you think/buy/see? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Vegan Life Live 2018

A Vegan Meal at Ember Inns

We have a couple of pubs in our area which are part of the Ember Inns chain so when my Mum said she didn’t fancy cooking after our weekly swimming session yesterday I had a look at the menu for the pub near the swimming pool.

I knew they previously had one vegan option but I was pleased to see they have now upped this to three!

I chose the tarte tatin and Mum went for cottage pie (which is the option that was previously available and we have both tried before).

Mum’s cottage pie looked really nice and warming, especially on a chilly February evening after being in a cold swimming pool! She said she really enjoyed it especially the onion gravy in the pie.

My tarte tatin was so good! I loved the sweet sticky vegetables with a hint of balsamic and the pastry was great too. I was glad it came with baby potatoes rather than mash so it was a bit lighter with the tarte.

It is so nice to go to a local pub and have a choice of vegan meals rather than having to amend veggie options or be stuck with a jacket potato and beans.

I have also seen the Vintage Inn chain have introduced a vegan menu so will have to try them out soon!

Have you eaten as a vegan in an Ember Inn? What did you think? What are the vegan options like in your local pubs? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

A Vegan Meal at Ember Inns

Some food I’ve made this week

I wasn’t sure how to word the title of this blog post so I’ve just gone with the above!

Monday marked 11 years (!) that I have been working for my company so I decided to bring in some tasty vegan treats for my colleagues.

I decided to make savoury snacks as it’s my birthday later in the month and I’ll bring in sweet stuff then.

First of all, I made sausage rolls. I know there are quite a few shop-bought vegan ones you can get now but I like to make my own as you play with the flavours a bit. I bought a pack of Granose Lincolnshire Sausage Mix from Sainsbury’s and a packet of Jus-Rol puff pastry and put the two together. I added some garlic granules and rosemary when I was making up the sausage mix too. These always go down well at work and they are so quick to make.

Next I made some almond feta. I think it was my friend Olive who introduced me to this recipe from Maple Spice and I’ve been making it for a few years now. It’s really simple although you do need to remember to do it the day before so you can let it drain overnight. These are also ingredients I generally have in my house so that makes it easy too. I served this up with some crackers.

Lastly we have Savoury Scones from the Vegan Recipe Club. I have taken in sweet scones to work a couple of times with coconut cream and jam but wanted to try my hand at these savoury ones. I added caramelised onions and made them mini so there were more to go round!

I’m pleased to say they all went down well with non-vegan colleagues.

Some food I’ve made this week