Ruby and Pickles 1st Birthday

On Saturday I attended Ruby and Pickles 1st Birthday Supperclub with my Sister-in-law. I first attended one of their supperclubs last June which I wrote about here.

Ruby and Pickles have had supperclubs all over London, for their birthday celebration they had chosen to host at Blank 100 in Dalston which was great for us East London vegans!

We had a little trouble finding the industrial style unit and could have done with a board outside or a balloon! The space was gorgeous inside and there were a few benches to sit on. 

We started with a rajma masala (kidney beam curry) taco with pickled cabbage and cashew cream. This was mildly spiced and really tasty. Everything was homemade including the tacos themselves and the cream. This definitely added to the experience. I had read about this family recipe on Sareta’s blog and I’d definitely like to recreate this at home.

Our next dish was biryani another family recipe, this time from Jasel’s family. This was again nicely spiced for my mild palette. We had this with carrot and chilli pickle (which was too hot for me!) and a raita with pomegranate seeds. There was a vegetarian raita and a vegan raita but I’m not sure if any vegetarian would object to a vegan version and I would of thought it would have made sense to make just one.

For dessert we had chocolate and chilli truffles which were coated in crushed pistachios. This were very decadent and fudgey and little bit of heat at the end was nice. 


We were also lucky enough to receive a goody bag which included this cute ceramic and mango burfi. I couldn’t resist eating the burfi straight away and it delicious.

As always the hosts were very attentive, I couldn’t believe Jasel remembered that it had been my Mum’s birthday when we had been a year previously. 

I think this meal was great value for money at £12.50 and I look forward to seeing what Ruby and Pickles have in store for the future and recommend you try it out!

Plumes x

Ruby and Pickles 1st Birthday

April Round Up

How have I been feeling? 

My medication and herbs have really kicked in and this last week I’ve been able to up my running, so I’m running during the week now as well as weekends. At parkrun this weekend I was 15 seconds above my pb so I think I should be able to beat it this coming weekend.

Look at the effort in that tomato face!

What new foods have I been trying?

I went to Temple of Seitan at the beginning of the month which I reviewed here.

I ordered some wild garlic in my veg box and made a lovely risotto with it.

I bought my Mum 15 Minute Vegan and she’s made me a couple of delicious meals from it, butternut and sage macaroni and butterbean mash topped root veg pie.

For Easter my boss got me a Sainsburys white chocolate egg that went down very well!

I picked up a chocolate and coconut bar from Coco Di Mama which was rather tasty.

I went to Ask with my Mum to try out their new vegan menu which I reviewed here.

I tried the Suma beans and sausages which were really nice but a bit pricey so I think I’ll just chop up sausages into beans in future!

I bought the Quorn fishless fingers which are a new vegan addition. I had had the vegetarian version in years gone by and these were just as good. I made me own tartar sauce too!

I made some tempeh from scratch and I wrote about the process here.

I made this gorgeous banana bread from Sweet Simple Vegan.

I tried the new Cauldron vegan burgers but I wasn’t particularly impressed so I don’t think I’ll get them again.

I had one of my favourites smashed chickpeas but this time on purple potatoes that I bought from Ocado. They taste the same as white potatoes but have more antioxidants and look pretty!

What have I been enjoying?

This month has been much more low key than March. We went down to visit my cousin and his wife who is pregnant so this was our last visit as the four of us. We just hung out and played cards and board games and was all pretty chilled. Over Easter I spent a lot of time at church, attending Thursday, Friday and to the vigil on Saturday. We spent the following weekend at my in-laws and this past weekend was chilled at home, I did some sewing on my handmade dress at my Mum’s and did a couple of runs.

What am I looking forward to next month?

I am going to Ruby and Pickles supperclub on Saturday with my Sister-in-law and to a kilo vintage sale on Sunday. 

I’ve just booked to see the play The Philanthropist with a friend next week, I haven’t seen a play in a while so I’m really looking forward to it especially as it’s directed by Simon Callow.

I am taking part in Bubble Rush a 5k run at the Olympic Park in Stratford where there are foam bubble stations pumping out bubbles at various stages of the run. This is in aid of four hospices in East London including the hospice my Dad passed away at in December 2015.

How was your April? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

April Round Up

Planet Organic Vegan Market

This week the organic supermarket Planet Organic held vegan markets at their various stores around London showcasing some of the products they sell with the opportunity to meet the product company owners and trying loads of samples!

I attended the market at Devonshire Square with my vegan pal Mitsu yesterday.

I have used clearspring products for a long time but I’ve never tried their soya mince/chunks. I’ve been reducing my processed soy consumption but for those once in a while times this looks like a good option as they use organic European soya beans.

I love the spiralina bounce balls and they’ve just had a revamp of their packaging. These are great as a snack or to have pre or post exercise.

This was a company I haven’t heard of, they make falafel and wraps which contain 5 different vegetables. The falafel a are baked and come with a dip.

These Be Mindfuel soups are high in protein and are the thickest powdered soups I’ve ever come across. I like to make my own soup so I don’t think I would use these but they are great to have in your cupboard or drawer at work.

I’ve tried cheese from Nutcrafter Creamery before but I was really excited to try their new alternative to Halloumi that I had seen on their instagram feed. It didn’t disappoint! All their cheeses are cashew based and they also have a cashew based “butter”.

I’ve seen these pastas made with beans in various location but it was mainly the price that put me off. We tried the soya beans spaghetti in a tomato sauce and it was really filling. You definitely would need to put a lot with this so it like having a complete meal which definitely makes it more attractive to me.

Coconut Collaborative make gorgeous yogurts, frozen yogurts and desserts. My Mum is a new convert to their little chocolate pots and they’ve just released some some little lemon pots which I’m really excited to try. 

Lastly we have Themptation with their hemp based houmous and pesto. These were really tasty and an easy way to get some hemp into your diet with all those omega 3’s.

It was really great to see Planet Organic promoting these vegan products and suppliers. It’s so nice to meet the people that make these products and get a real sense of their ethos and trying before you buy is always good!

Have you tried any of these products? What are your favourites? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Planet Organic Vegan Market

Homemade Tempeh

This post is at the request of my twitter/instagram friend Liz!

Tempeh is a meat substitute originating in the far east made from fermented soya beans. Fermented foods are trendy at the moment and are helpful in improving digestion and gut health.

Photo from Wikipedia

Tempeh has a slightly nutty taste and can be marinated and used in a variety of dishes. A few weeks ago I made some tempeh bacon with shop bought tempeh.


Tempeh is made by soaking dried soya beans, cooking them, mixing them with a mould and then fermenting in a warm place for a couple of days.

This is the second time I have made my own tempeh. The first time I received a free sample from www.tempeh.info so I went back to them to buy my starter/mould this time.

This website has all the information about tempeh you need and step by step instructions on how to make it. 

I bought my dried soya beans from Tesco for £1.60 for 500g and I bought 25g of starter for about £12 (website is based in Germany so all prices there are in euros). 600g of dried beans and a teaspoon of starter makes 1kg of tempeh so it’s a lot cheaper than store bought.

They recommend you split and remove the skins of the beans which I found a bit time consuming so I wasn’t too conscientious about this.

After they were cooked I let the beans cool down then I mixed them with the starter and put them in a sealed sandwich bag and put a few holes in it. I put the bag in the cupboard next to my oven which was still warm from cooking dinner. The next day I went to my in-laws for the weekend with my fingers crossed. On my return today I was glad to see it had worked and my tempeh was done. I only made a small batch this time as I wasn’t sure how warm it would be in my absence and I didn’t want to ruin a big batch.

I’m interested to try out different versions which they have on the website and perfect my technique.

Have you tried tempeh? Did you like it? Would you consider making your own? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Homemade Tempeh

Happy Earth Day

The one thing you can do today that will have the most impact on helping the environment is go vegan. 

Does that sound like a huge impossible task?

Could you have one meat free day a week? Could you try a plant based milk in your tea? Could you introduce a new vegan recipe into your repertoire? 

Just by eating one vegan meal you have the following impact. 

Does the thought of going vegan make you worry about nutrition?

Plumes x

Happy Earth Day

Being Dairy-Free and Osteoporosis

Last week the National Osteoporosis Society released the results of a survey showing a fifth of under-25s are cutting out or reducing dairy in their diet. The articles I saw in the press seemed to leap to the sensational (Huffington PostBBC News).

These articles didn’t seem to mention dairy-free milks or calcium set tofu as a source of calcium which I think seems quite peculiar as I don’t know anybody who follows a dairy free diet (vegan or otherwise) who doesn’t replace dairy, with dairy-free alternatives. (This leads the sceptic in me to think the dairy industry is pushing an agenda.)

The NOS contacted the Vegan Society as they wanted to set the record straight and offered to feature a quote from the society on their website (see their full response here).

“The charity has informed us that some media reports exaggerate the findings, making it sound like dairy is the only source of calcium and failing to note the alternative sources that can be easily obtained on a vegan diet, such as calcium-fortified plant milk and soya yoghurt, and calcium-set tofu. Other sources include kale, pak choi, okra, spring greens, dried figs, chia seeds and almonds.

“Damage to the environment and animal welfare concerns are likely to lead people to make the decision to avoid dairy products. We encourage those curious about vegan diets to visit The Vegan Society’s website which has extensive information and research on all aspects of plant-based nutrition.

“Since The Vegan Society was founded over 70 years ago, millions of people around the world have been following a vegan diet and enjoying its health benefits.

“Any diet, vegan or non-vegan, could be lacking in nutrients if they are not adequately planned. It is the position of the British Dietetics Association, the largest association of food and nutrition professionals in the UK, that ‘well-planned plant-based, vegan-friendly diets can be devised to support healthy living at every age and life-stage’.

Countries that have the highest consumption of dairy products have the highest rates of osteoporosis, there are various theories for the reasons why (which I’ll let you research at your leisure). Humans are the only species that consume milk past weaning and we have only being doing it for a relatively short amount of time (10,000 years) in terms of our evolution.

Every diet should be planned to ensure you aren’t suffering from deficiencies of any nutrients and if you are worried about any vitamin deficiencies you can speak to your doctor about getting tested for it.

Lastly I just wanted to leave you this graphic of dairy free sources of calcium.

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Plumes x

Being Dairy-Free and Osteoporosis

Review – Ask Italian 13th April

I was glad to see another chain restaurant has introduced a dedicated vegan menu and decided to try it out yesterday with Mama Plumes.

I had looked on the menu online and had already decided on the vegetable fettuccine which came with spinach, courgette, tomatoes and a black olive tapenade on top.


My Mum ordered to grain salad but I forgot to take a photo of hers!

I was pleased to see we had vegan stickers on our plates and on the menu it said to make sure you ask for the vegan version. I assume there are non-vegan versions of some of the dishes. I was disappointed that when the waitress put the dishes down she asked if I wanted cheese. I assume this is an automatic phrase as they always ask if you want cheese and black pepper but a bit of training wouldn’t have gone amiss. 

The dish was nice but nothing special, I would have a liked a couple of fancy ingredients like pine nuts or artichokes included. 

The pasta was very filling but I wasn’t missing out on dessert so I ordered the chocolate orange tart to take home.


The tart was really rich and I think there could be a bit more orange running through it as it is just on the top. If you have this at the restaurant it comes with raspberry sorbet which sounds really good! It’s nice they have a proper vegan dessert and you can’t go wrong with chocolate.

Overall I enjoyed my meal but I wasn’t blown away. I would go back to Ask if I was in a pinch but with more offerings all the time from restaurants I think they could up their game a bit.

Have you been to Ask? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Review – Ask Italian 13th April