Hackney Downs Vegan Market

On the third Saturday of every month Hackney Downs Studios plays host to the Hackney Downs Vegan Market. I’ve been once before with my Sister-in-law and this weekend my Husband decided he wanted to come with me.

He was most looking forward to having a burger from Big V (which I’ve previously reviewed here) and some doughnuts from Dough Society.

When we first arrived we realised how many people were there by the length of the queues! Temple of Seitan were showcasing their bacon cones which lots of people were interested in.

We made our way through the market to where Big V were and although there was a long queue it went down quite quickly.

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There is some seating in the market but due to the numbers of visitors it was all taken so we went and sat on the downs next to the market while we ate our burgers.

When we returned we saw that Dough Society had unfortunately (for us!) sold out. It was only 1pm when we arrived at the market (which opened at 11 and closed at 5) but it just goes to show the popularity of events like these.

We weren’t disappointed in the sweet side though as we headed to Vegan Delice‘s stall to pick up some goodies. My Husband chose a couple of these chocolate hazelnut biscuits. I took a cheeky bite and I must say it was delicious!

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I was visiting a friend later in the afternoon so I chose a lotus caramel cupcake and a bakewell slice to share. I really enjoyed both these cakes especially the cupcake with lotus spread running through the middle.

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The popularity of events like these go to show how many people there are interested in vegan food and Sean of Fat Gay Vegan has said he’s planning on opening another market in another part of London.

I also wanted to highlight Sean’s policy regarding the traders who are at the market.

In the spirit of inclusion and for the promotion of people often overlooked/sidelined at mainstream vegan events, I have earmarked my percentage of stalls for those traders who identify as BME, LGBTQ, people with disabilities and/or as women.

To clarify, this policy ensures that at least nine out of the twelve stalls each month will be owned or co-owned by someone who identifies as BME, LGBTQ, a person with a disability and/or a woman.

Have you been to Hackney Downs Vegan Market? What did you think?L Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Hackney Downs Vegan Market

Review – Big V London 4/08/2017

I was in Southwark today so headed to Borough Market to get some lunch. Borough Market is a massive food market with loads of different traders. It can be a bit meat/fish/cheese heavy in places, but there are a few vegan gems.

I haven’t been to Borough Market on a Friday before so I was excited to try Big V London who are there on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (they are also at other markets so check out their website for details).

Looking at the range of burgers online both my Husband and I were interested in the Holy Smoke but unfortunately this wasn’t available so we went for the Classic V Facon Cheeseburger.

I was impressed with the size of the burger, although I did have a little bit of trouble eating it walking along and by the end it was a bit messy! I think the patty was a really nice texture, which my Husband also liked, although not being a lover of the texture of seitan he thought the mushrooms really improved it.

I found the facon a bit too salty for my taste, and I couldn’t really taste the cheese with that and the burger sauce, pickles and tomato relish so next time I think I’d go for a classic burger.

While I was at Borough Market I stopped by The Free From Bakehouse and bought a slice of mango baked cheesecake. Unfortunately it wasn’t very photogenic after the journey home in my Husband’s backpack!

I stopped in Leon on Borough High Street as I knew Ruby’s of London were stocking vegan doughnuts and cupcakes in Leon stores in Southwark. I bought a rose and pistachio one but like the cheesecake it didn’t look great by the time we were home!

I was also impressed they had almond milk out for the tea along with the cow juice.

Have you eaten at Big V London? What did you think? Are there other vegan foods you would recommend around Borough Market? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Review – Big V London 4/08/2017

Vegan Adventures in Eastbourne

I spent a couple of days in Eastbourne this week to visit family and meet my new baby cousin/soon to be Godson. 

Quite a few members of my family live in Polegate, just outside Eastbourne. They have a small High Street with a couple of cafes and recently introduced Costa. My Cousin and I stopped in at Sarah’s Coffee and Cakes and I was pleasantly surprised they had a sign stating they did dairy free cakes on Wednesday and Thursday. I of course was hoping these were also egg free making them vegan and my hopes were confirmed when I saw these.

They also had a savoury vegetable and cheese puff pastry slice which was vegan. I had a piece of cake with a soya latte and thoroughly enjoyed it. If small independents are managing to serve vegan options the big guys like Costa really need to buck their ideas up! (As my friend Olive has been saying for years!)

On Friday we popped into town to meet with some of my other Cousins and stopped in Urban Ground another independent for a drink. I had my fave matcha latte (with soya milk). I also saw they did avocado toast on their menu. Looking at their website they also do dairy free cakes but I didn’t notice these clearly marked when I was there.

We stopped at Oh My Goodness in the Enterprise centre for lunch, which I have previously reviewed here. I went for the quiche and the salad, it was all really great and very filling, although I would have liked the quiche to have been warmed up or at least room temperature rather than refrigerated cold, but i understand that can be difficult to do.

Next door was a makeup store with this sign outside, which lead me to believe it was completely vegan.

However they were only referring to the brand “concrete minerals”. When I spoke to the owner they said they were getting a lot more cruelty free brands in the next couple of weeks, so check it out if you’re in the area. I did however manage to get some E.L.F. eyeliner in Superdrug. I got the cream eyeliner in coffee which comes with a little brush to apply it with. I’m well versed in applying liquid eyeliner but I was after one of the pen type ones but they only had those in black or “very black” and as I’m quite fair I prefer to wear brown. It went on really easily and stayed in place all day. 

We stopped in at Sunny Foods a health food shop and I picked up one of my fave chocolate bars Vivani white nougat crisp and a coffee alternative made from barley and chicory. The store is quite big and if I lived nearby I would definitely had bought more!

I also bought a raw cheesecake in Oh My Goodness but I was way to full from lunch to have it then so I saved it until the evening. It was a lovely treat and I enjoyed pretending I was being saintly! 


Are you a vegan living in the Eastbourne area? Do you have any recommendations for me for my next visit? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Vegan Adventures in Eastbourne

Vegan Camp Out 2017

On Friday my Sister-in-law Gemma and I headed up to Nottingham for the Vegan Camp Out. Unfortunately it took us a bit longer than expected due to traffic but we made it there before nightfall and worked as a team to get the tent up! This was my first time camping ever (!) so you can see how proud I am celebrating with a can of Brewdog Punk IPA in front of our tent! 

We headed over to the main tent to watch Carl Donnelly’s set. I have been aware of this vegan comedian for a number of years and follow him on Twitter so it was good to be able to watch him in person. He was very funny and recounted vegan experiences the audience knew all too well!

After that we wanted some food. There were only 4 stalls serving food for over 2000 people (!) But after a 1 and a half hour wait we got our chomps around some battered sausages and chips from Battered. By this time it was dark and we were so hungry there wasn’t time for a photo!

We went back to the tent to get some shut eye but unfortunately we had some very noisy neighbours (from other reports a lot of the campers were of the partying in the small hours variety!) so I didn’t have a great night’s sleep.

In the morning we had a cooked breakfast on the camping stove to give us some energy for the day.

After that came the washing up before we headed over to the marquees for some talks.

We listened to Earthling Ed who I had recently followed on Facebook who gave some insight into activism, then I saw a talk and Q&A from a man from Nottingham Hunt Sabatours. It was really interesting and something I want to look into a bit more. After a nap in the tent we took part in a workshop on toxic masculinity and veganism, which again was very insightful and an area I am very interested in.

As we had a bit of a gap before the next thing we wanted to see we thought we’d brave the dreaded food queues! We decided to split up with me tackling the pizza queue and my Sister-in-law tackling the doner one. I got chatting to a couple of ladies from Manchester and I’d even been on the same greyhound protest with one of them in January! This time it took us an hour to get our food so we headed over to the main marquee to hear Juliet Galletley founder of Viva! speak and introduce the film Swine about the pig industry. 

After that we all huddled in the tent to see who I think was the most anticipated speaker of the weekend, James Aspey. I had never heard of him before although my Sister-in-law and I had noticed him (wink) earlier in the day walking around. He had a great way of speaking and telling his story and I would recommend you Google him as soon as you’ve finished reading this blog!

Afterwards we headed back to the tent and had some drinking fudge from Fudge Kitchen that we had bought from the Viva! stall. It  was delicious!

 All in all we had a fab time. We met some lovely people including a couple who are soon to be living very close to me! There were a few hiccups but the organisers seem to be taking all the feedback on board from what I have seen. This is only the second year of this event and I am really grateful to them for organising it. 2018 promises to be bigger and better and tickets are already on sale!

Did you go to the camp out? What did you think? Would this be something you’d be interested in? Let me know in the comments.

Plumes x

Vegan Camp Out 2017

Interview with long time vegan Olive!

Hi All!

Sorry for the hiatus. I was feeling a little uninspired and had lost my blogging mojo but after a weekend away at the Vegan Campout I am back and ready to roll!

I celebrated my 5th Vegananniversary in May. I was really happy to have met this milestone and have really seen the vegan landscape change in he UK over the last 5 years. It really is easier than ever to become vegan with all the information available on Youtube and the documentaries on Netflix (I’m sure someone high up there has a vegan agenda!) and chain restaurants falling over themselves it seems to provide vegan options and menus.

I wanted to get a perspective from a long term vegan who didn’t have the tools we have today when they decided to go vegan so I asked if I could interview my “twitter friend” Olive. Olive lives in the North of England and provides recipes and restaurant reviews on her blog http://veganolive1.blogspot.co.uk/. Olive also loves a good cruise, so if you ever wondered how to go about planning your cruise when you are vegan she is the lady to answer your questions! She also contacts lots of companies to find out their vegan products and to challenge them to provide more vegan options. I know coffee shops are one of her bugbears and she will be on at the big players to provide lunch and snack options suitable for vegans. She also loves a good glass of wine so any restaurant or bar with a dedicated vegan wine list will get the thumbs up from her! She is on twitter and instagram as veganolive1.

What made you decide to first go vegan?

 I did not go vegan initially but vegetarian in 1986 after watching a TV documentary about BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) also known as Mad Cow Disease which originated due to dead animals being used to make cow feed, which horrified me as cows are vegetarian.   I stopped eating red meat initially which gradually led to omitting all flesh including fish from my diet.   I then read about the milk and egg industry, which made me feel guilty and sitting one day eating a boiled egg, dipping in my toast soldier, nearly gagged and had to throw it away.   I have been vegan ever since. I was the biggest meat eater you could imagine.   I cringe thinking about what I used to eat.  My family was into meat and fish, so big Sunday roasts, lots of chicken, steaks, salmon, offal, tripe, black pudding, cow heel, my mum cooked her own tongues and made brawn, which I find quite revolting now.

What sort of information did you have access to at the time?

There was not much information about to be honest, especially where I lived at the time in a rural area, apart from The Vegan Society, who I signed up for as a life long vegan at the time such was my commitment.   There was no internet or social media, like there is today and I did not know any other vegans.   I would look forward to every new edition of The Vegan Society magazine coming through my letterbox.   Anyone interested can find backdated editions of the magazine here https://issuu.com/vegan_society/docs/  .   I remember when the Vegan Society published The Animal Free Shopper, it became my bible, it was a mine of information, like ingredients to avoid when shopping, places to dine out or buy vegan products in the UK and it listed hundreds of products suitable for vegans, such as cosmetics, food and household products etc.    I purchased every edition and it went everywhere with me and I would refer to it all the time and take it with me travelling on holiday.   I remember going somewhere (can’t remember where) and finding a vegetarian place catering for vegans and I was ecstatic.

What did your family think?

I’m afraid my veganism did not go down well with my family, in fact they thought I had gone completely mad, it was a phase, I was attention seeking, and that it would not last and my mum in particular found it very difficult to accept my decision or to invite me round for something to eat.

I know this is a question we vegans get all the time, but what did you actually eat back then?

There weren’t the products like now obviously. This question has made me really think, trying to think back so far and makes me realise how far things have come. I used to make sandwiches with vegetable pates, either Granose or Tartex if I recall, which came in a tube and were great for travelling or peanut butter and Marmite, or just Marmite.  I liked Realeat burgers and sausages, and Goodlife nut cutlets and Cauldron tofu.  I also loved tinned ratatouille, which I would eat on baked potatoes or rice. I did however make a lot of things from scratch, like curries, chillies and pasta dishes using Vecon vegetable stock. I found a small co-operative near where I lived who purchased from Suma Wholefoods so I would stock up on things I could not buy locally. The margarine I used was Vitaquell or Suma and there was a frozen dessert called Vive, though it cannot be a particularly memorable product, as that is as much as I can remember.   I would refer back to The Animal Free Shopper to find out which bread, cakes and biscuits etc were vegan, that little book really was a life saver. I used to eat a lot of baked beans and other beans and a lot of soya which I think has led to my allergies in later life.

 Also until The Animal Free Shopper became available (can’t remember when the first edition was published) I would ring companies to ask about ingredients but also wrote loads of letters, as there was no email.   I remember writing to Andrew Whitley who started the Village Bakery in Melmerby to ask which of their breads were vegan, I used to eat a lot of their bread or make my own.

 I did of course eat masses of vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, as I still do today.

What were the first specially vegan produced products you tried and what did you think of them?

To be honest I actually did not like soya milk at first, or soya desserts, I had to persevere especially with the soya milk.

I also found vegan cheese (made by Plamil called Veeze) not to my taste, however I had never been a big cheese lover, so that is maybe why. 

In the early days of the Internet was there much of a vegan community online or has that only been since the onset of social media?

I was not aware of any online vegan community in the early days and my first interaction with other vegans was when I joined Twitter in 2014.   Even now I have no vegan family members, friends or acquaintances, only those online.

What is your reaction to the recent increase in vegan exposure and promotion? I think it’s changed massively in the five years I have been vegan so I can’t imagine what it would be like for you!

Overjoyed as the increase in both has been HUGE…veganism was slowly creeping along for years, we were still considered radical, but small things started happening, which are growing into what I believe will be a wrecking ball in the future. The birth of the internet opened the gates for people to access information and social media has been a real driving force, its where I find out so much information. Veganism is now accepted as a way of life, to be respected as one’s religious beliefs are and is accelerating fast. Who knows what will happen in the future.

and lastly, what advice would you give to anyone thinking of going vegan?

Today it is has never been easier, lots of resources to find out information, The Vegan Society, documentaries like Cowspiracy and Earthlings. Social media which has been a mine of information, even for myself, I have learned so much since joining Twitter.   Don’t think of the negatives, like how can I manage without cheese, there are lots of alternatives or worry about dining out, restaurants are changing at a fast pace as to vegan offerings. You may have issues within your family unit and in your social group, who may not understand your decision, I found this particularly difficult, but you have to do what you believe in. The world is changing regarding animal welfare, food production, environmental issues, climate change, a vegan lifestyle is the only way to alleviate and stop the cruelty of animals and destruction of our planet. You may be one person on your own, but you are part of a bigger movement, that will change the future.   As the recent documentary Carnage depicted, future generations will look back in horror at the meat eating generations before them.

 

A huge thanks to Olive to taking part in this interview!

Plumes x

 

Interview with long time vegan Olive!

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