A Vegan Lunch in Old Street

Today I met up with my friend Mitsu (of the newly revamped To Happy Vegans) for our regular lunch. We decided to branch out of our walking distance area and I jumped on the tube. Two stops and 15 minutes later I was queueing to order in Arancini Brothers. Their Old Street branch has gone vegan for January (and beyond if it proves popular) so we had to get in on the action. I went for the BBQ mushroom burger and Mitsu had the chick’n wrap. As the burger is arancini based it is a fried rice patty, it did get a little messy with both barbecue and burger sauce but I soon got to grips with it! I will definitely be returning to try some of the other items on the menu.

I would have got some paprika fries to accompany my burger but I was saving room for cake!

Cupcakes and Shhht are a café based in Elephant and Castle who currently have a pop-up stall inside Old Street tube station. 

I thought a brownie was in order so I chose the hazelnut one out of the three available and Mitsu ordered a strawberry cupcake.

Back in the office it went down very well with a cup of coffee. The texture was lovely and fudgey and who can go wrong with hazelnuts (unless you’re allergic of course!)

Both places also had Instagram competitions where you could win food if you posted a picture of your grub and tagged them in it. I would be very pleased to win the 12 cupcakes on offer!

If you’re in the area I would definitely recommend rocking up to both Arancini Brothers and Cupcakes and Shhht for a splendid lunch. 

Have you tried any of their offerings? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

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A Vegan Lunch in Old Street

Café Thrive – Southampton

As I was visiting my friend in Bournemouth this weekend and we were planning a shopping trip to Southampton I asked my Twitter friend Becky, who lives there, if she fancied meeting up for a coffee. She is a long term vegetarian so suggested we had lunch at Café Thrive where she regularly hangs out when doing her free lance work.

When I arrived it was quite busy and there were only spaces along on the window, but I quickly saw there was also an upstairs seating area so I nabbed a table and ordered an almond matcha latte while I waited for Becky to arrive.

The matcha latte was really creamy and I almost thought they had put dairy milk in it, but Becky reassured me the café was 100% vegan.

I had a look through the extensive menu (which Becky is slowly working her way through on a weekly basis!) I decided the wholefood burger with chips was in order and Becky went for the meaty burger.

We both chose chips and I grabbed some barbecue sauce from the condiments trolley. The burger was really tasty and felt like a proper burger rather than a healthy version of a burger the name eluded to. The salad it came with was really nice too and had pumpkin seeds and garlic oil (which I tend to pour over everything!)

Photo credit – Becky John

After the food we still had lots of chatting to do so I ordered a Kyoto cherry blossom green and Becky had a coffee and a vanilla slice. The tea was gorgeous and really reminded me of all the “sakura” flavoured things my Husband and I had when we were on our honeymoon in Japan. Becky really enjoyed her cake and also recommended the peanut blondies.

I was too stuffed for cake straight away but I picked up a split cream doughnut to enjoy later back at my friend’s house. These were always my favourite in my pre-vegan days and it’s not too often you see vegan versions so I always pick one up when I do. I was impressed at how well it travelled in my handbag and didn’t look too squashed when I retrieved it later. The cream was thick, the jam sweet and the doughnut lovely and soft. Heaven!

I also picked up a bar of Solkiki chocolate. I previously reviewed and interviewed their owner Bob here. So I will look forward to eating this is the coming days.

A few doors down from Thrive there is Rice Wholefoods which has a wide variety of products including bulk bins, chilled and frozen items, beauty, hot food and cakes. It’s definitely worth a visit if your passing by. As I was carrying a backpack back up to London I couldn’t take full advantage of everything on sale but I’ll definitely be back.

Have you been to Cafe Thrive? What did you think? What would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Café Thrive – Southampton

Blue House Yard Vegan Market 

I saw this event on Facebook and thought I would give it a go. Blue House Yard is situated in Wood Green. I have never really visited there so it was nice to see a vegan market popping up in a new area. I jumped on the Picadilly line and I was there in no time.

The market was smaller than I was expecting, but there’s only so many vegan burgers and cakes you can eat! There were also a number of shops housed in sheds which are a permanent feature. There was a stationary store, a plant store, a vintage clothings store, a cake shop, a wood engraving and sculpting store and a craft beer store. 

I got there just as it was starting and the main food people were setting up so I started with an apple drink which was lovely, sweet and hot.

I then stopped by Viva La Vida to pick up some bits. I love their stuff and chose a badge, patch and zipper pull. I can’t wait to put the patch on the top pocket of my jacket.

For food I decided on Jake’s Vegan Steaks as I’ve seen them at lots of events but never tried them myself. They were serving a dish called “The Christmas Cracker” which came with mayo caramelised onions, Brussel sprouts and crisps parsnips on a ciabatta roll. The steak has quite a neutral flavour but I think this lends itself to lots of different toppings like this Christmas one. 

For sweet treats I went for a couple of cookies from Kizzy’s Cookies, these are seriously the best cookies I’ve had, nice and soft. I also bought a chocolate cherry cake from Vegan Sweet Tooth to share with my Husband as it was huge! I always pick something up when I see these guys at fayres and markets. 

There were another couple of stalls I haven’t tried from before Pig Out and Nanny Bills which I look forward to trying in the future.

I had a look at the Blue House Yard Facebook page and it looks like they have regular craft markets here with occasional themed ones like this vegan one. If this is local to you I’d definitely check it out or if you’re visiting the area for the day.

Have you tried any of these vendors? What did you think? Have to been to Blue House Yard before? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Blue House Yard Vegan Market 

Review – Sweet Greens Bournemouth

I went to visit my dear friend Karen last weekend. We see each other a couple of times a year and don’t speak much in the in-between so we have end up having a massive catch up!

When we were driving on Friday we passed a place that I noticed said “vegan” in the window and it wasn’t a place that I had seen coming up when I’d done my research on vegan Bournemouth. So the next day after we’d been vintage shopping I suggested we pop in for a hot drink and a cake.

Sweet Greens is an organic vegan cafe that specialises in raw food. It was a shame we had already eaten lunch (it was about 3pm we stopped by) as their counter looked full of yummy goodness including some stuffed mushrooms that looked particularly appetising.

We were eyeing up the banoffee pie on the menu but unfortunately it had been so popular it had already sold out. I went for a mint chocolate caramel slice and a matcha latte, while Karen and Jenna had a mint choc slice and a peanut butter slice to share with their drinks.

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The slice had a raw oatly flapjack like base with a mint caramel green layer and then the thick dark raw chocolate on top. This tasted really luxurious and not as saintly as some of the other raw desserts I’ve tried! Karen found it a bit rich and said she’d struggle to eat a whole piece. I loved the mug my latte came in and the sugar on the table was coconut palm.

The cafe itself is small and quirky, I wish I’d taken some photos of the inside. They had a bookshelf of vegan books you could read while eating and I had a good browse!

Next time I’m down in Bournemouth I’ll definitely be heading back to try out their lunch options and get my hands on some banoffee pie if I’m fast enough!

Have you been to Sweet Greens? What did you think? Do you have any other recommendations for vegan options on Bournemouth? Let  know in the comments.

Plumes x

Review – Sweet Greens Bournemouth

January Round Up

When I started blogging again I said I was no longer going to post weekly round ups so I’ve decided to go to monthly ones and include other things besides food.

How has the month been?

I think I’ve had a pretty good January. I like the calm after the chaos of Christmas, and December was particularly poignant as it was the first anniversary of my Father’s death and his birthday.

I like the opportunity to plan and think about my goals for the year. Actually writing a post about these has helped me keep focus rather than having vague ideas about what I want to do, and I think I’ve made a great start (even if I do say so myself!)

What new foods have I eaten?

I wrote the post New Year, New Food! to share the new food I had at the beginning of the month. Since then I have tried out some of the new M&S vegan nch options which I posted about here.

I received my first veg box from Riverford and made these beetroot burger using Jack Monroe’s recipe.

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I went down to Eastbourne to visit some family and my cousin and I had a lovely meal at Oh My Goodness!

In the same weekend I visited South downs Nurseries and had a lovely meal and got my hands on some of the new Quinoa Puffs from Eat Real.

I ordered some macarrons from Floral Frosting Bakery and they were fab!

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I grabbed a cranberry and banana muffin from Canvas Cafe on  way into work the other day. It definitely filled a hole!

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I made this cauliflower pasta dish from Vegan Olive.

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I had a lovely meal at Banana Tree on Sunday.

I had a lovely juice and avocado on toast from The Good Yard for breakfast in the week.

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Yesterday I got these gorgeous smoked tofu bao buns from Pod.

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And finally last night I nabbed this matcha latte chocolate bar from Planet Organic which I am rationing to two squares a day!

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What have I enjoyed the most?

Well something I have been planning on doing for a while is running 5k at Parkrun with Brother. I managed it last Saturday in 40 mins 20 secs coming 238th out of 246 runners. (Don’t you just love his spikey hair?!)

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I also attended my first protest of the year which you can read about here.

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Plans for February

I am attending a yoga and vegan food night in Whitechapel with my Sister-in-law.

I am going down to Bournemouth to visit my friend (and a new veggie cafe has just opened there up as well!)

and most importantly it’s my Birthday!

How was January for you? Let me know in the comments.

Plumes x

January Round Up

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