A Vegan Lunch at Wagamama

My friend Mitsu and I met up for our monthly lunch a couple of weeks ago at Wagamama in Moorgate. I’d never visited this branch before, it has lots of seats and low ceilings which makes it very loud. Mitsu and I had to shout across the table to eachother often having to repeat ourselves!

To start we shared a couple of the mushroom and panko coated aubergine buns. We both love a bun and these were light and fluffy the only downside was that the filling was very salty.

Mitsu went for the yasai katsu curry for her main. I’m really happy this dish is now vegan as they’ve stopped using egg to attach the panko breadcrumbs to the vegetables. She found the rice a bit too sticky but other than that enjoyed her meal.

I went for the glass noodle salad. I was surprised at the amount of greens that came with it. It was really tasty the only disappointment was that I had very few pieces of tofu I think it was only two or three.

Overall our lunch was ok. There was something a little off with every dish and with so many places offering vegan options nowadays I don’t think I would rush back to Wagamama, also the level of noise really put me off. I want to be able to chat and have a catch up when I meet a friend and this was near impossible in this branch!

Have you eaten in Wagamama recently? What did you think of the vegan options? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Advertisements
A Vegan Lunch at Wagamama

Vegan Potluck

Thought I’d just do a short post to share some photos from the potluck I attended last night.

My friend Maxine hosted the event at her house to celebrate the first anniversary of our local activism group Havering Vegan Action.

It was so nice to go to an event where I could eat absolutely everything knowing no animals had been hurt in the process.

The food was so good, I need to get the recipes from everyone! We had a good mix of savoury and sweet and no two people brought the same dish.

On this plate we have a savoury quinoa dish, a creamy mushroom pasta, nut roast, lasagna and a chickpea and tofu salad. Not pictured is the sausage rolls I made as I was more excited about trying everybody else’s dishes.

Firstly for dessert we had this gorgeous raw “cheesecake” made with cashews, pineapple and tumeric.

Next up we have these nutty vegan brownies topped with raspberries.

And lastly these peanutty flapjacky protein bars.

Of course I had to try all three accompanied by some vegan ice cream!

If you’re lucky enough to know a gang of vegans in real life a potluck is a great way of learning new dishes to make. And getting involved in local activism is a great way of meeting those fellow vegans!

Plumes x

Vegan Potluck

Vegfest London 2017


I wasn’t planning on going to Vegfest London this year but when my Sister-in-law Gemma suggested we go I thought why not? Unfortunately we had missed the boat for the BOGOF tickets so after booking and transaction fees we paid about £14 each which I thought was a bit steep and more than I’ve paid for other vegan events. We’ll have to be more organised next time!

After the hour and half journey from East London to Kensington Olympia we arrived at 2pm and were very hungry! We headed to the food village and had a look around. There were quite a few stalls I have visited at past events but a couple caught my eye. I was interested in Dutch Weed Burger but as we’re off to Amsterdam next week I’ll save that for the authentic experience! The other stall that interested me that I hadn’t seen before was Greek Vegan Deli and their Halloumi wraps.



The Halloumi was made with tofu and the texture was spot on! I think it could have been a bit saltier but overall I was really impressed.


We stopped at the Essex Pig Save stand who are an organisation who organise vigils outside local slaughterhouses and are part of the global Save Movement which originated in Toronto. We also listened to a talk about the Save Movement later in the day.



I bought some pig earring to support the group so after my Hunt Sabatours pawprint earrings these are my second activist earrings!


I’ve featured Vida Bakery multiple times on this blog and that’s because they’re blooming amazing! This time I went for their Oreo brownie to take home and share with my Husband.



I also picked up a peanut butter mini loaf from Ruby’s of London for us to share which was gorgeous.


Another cake stall that looked fabulous was Cupcakes and Shhht and I look forward to trying their wares in the future.



My Sister-in-law picked up some Vegenaise from the Follow your heart stand and I went for their cheese shreds for pizza which were discounted from their RRP of £4.49 to £2, bargain! Our friends managed to snag the last Vegenaise and told us they had sold over 400 jars that day!


I picked up this peanut bar from Perkier after trying some tasty samples for 70p.


I wanted to buy some vegan clothing, but as I’m trying to buy as few brand new clothes as possible I wanted something that was really useful and I would get a lot of wear out of so I went for this sports bra and crop top for when I’m running from Vegan Rex.



When we entered we were given a copy of Vegan Life Magazine and I was pleased to see it was the current issue!


Lastly there was a display of vegan art which was really lovely to see.



Did you go to Vegfest London? What were your highlights? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Vegfest London 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!

Review – The Gate Hammersmith 23rd March 2017

On Thursday my Husband and I had tickets to see Postmodern Jukebox at Hammersmith Apollo so we booked in for dinner at The Gate.

I haven’t been to the Gate in Hammersmith for a while, I usually go to their branch in Islington when seeing shows at Sadlers Wells.

For starters I went for the miso glazed aubergine. The sticky glaze was gorgeous and so flavourful. I’ve made this dish at home before and it’s one of my favourites.

There were a couple of vegan mains on the menu but I didn’t fancy either of them. I think they could easily make some of their vegetarian dishes vegan by tweaking a few ingredients. I went for the dragon salad. The marinated smoked tofu on top was amazing and I could have done with a bit more of it!

I suggested to my Husband that we have the coffee cheesecake to share but he was adamant of having his own so we got one each! This was tasty but I felt it could have had a thicker base and not so much mousse on top.

All the food was fantastic but I feel they could have had a couple of extra staff on for the number of covers there were. You have to book to get a table so they were aware of how busy they were going to be. We had to wait quite a while to place our orders for both starter/main and dessert and it’s not nice feeling edgy when you have somewhere to be afterwards.

There is currently an offer in Timeout to have a three course meal with a glass of Prosecco at their Marylebone branch for £24 if you want to check it out.

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

Plumes x

Review – The Gate Hammersmith 23rd March 2017