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

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

Review – Temple of Seitan

I first tried Temple of Seitan’s fried vegan chicken at the Just V Show last July so when I heard they were opening a permanent shop in Hackney I knew I had to go and get my fill!

They opened in January to massive queues as reported in the mainstream press and quickly had to recruit more staff and upscale their production.

I met up with my Sister-in-law and my Husband so we could share in this junk food feast!

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We each went for the burger which came with vegan bacon, lettuce and mayo. They also have various sauces you can add yourself. The seitan is really crispy and chewy and the bun was lovely and soft.

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I went for some coleslaw with mine, which was a huge pot. I think it could have done with been smaller and having more mayo in it!

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My Sister-in-law went for some mac and cheese. I had a little nibble and really like it. I wasn’t too saucey which is my kind of mac and cheese.

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My Husband got a “two piece” as well although there were three pieces in the container – bonus! I really liked the taste of the strips on their own as well.

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They were also selling peanut butter, chocolate mud pies so we had to get some to take home. These were soft gooey and delicious.

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I will definitely be going back to Temple of Seitan hopefully in the not too distant future.

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

Plumes x

Review – Temple of Seitan

March Round Up

How have I felt?

I went and had some blood tests for the fatigue I’ve been experiencing and I’ve started to receive treatment and will continue to be monitored. I have had an appointment with a herbalist student at the College of Natural Medicine to do all that I can be to be helping myself.

What new foods have I been trying?

I picked up some new products in Sainsburys, the Quorn nuggets and the Cauldron burgers and sausages. I had the nuggets with curry udon that my Husband made. They are nice to have in the freezer for emergencies but I think I need to do a taste test to see whether I prefer these or the Fry’s ones!

I had the sausages which are tomatoey and beany with mash and veg. They are nice and a bit different to other sausages and because of the flavour not the most versatile. I haven’t tried the burgers yet.

We went down to Ramsgate for the weekend so I marinated some tempeh to have with breakfast. This was from the cookbook Baconish, I really liked the flavour but I think I’ll need to try and get the tempeh thinner next time!

I had a great lunch which I blogged about here.

I had some lemon and blackcurrant sorbet at a parlour on the front.

I completely stuffed my face at Seaside Cake Parlour in Margate and brought home some cakes too!

I went to Glasgow for work and ate dinner at Mono with my friend Christine which I wrote about here.

I went to The Gate in Hammersmith and had a fabulous meal which I wrote about here.

What have I been enjoying?

I started off the month with a bang and went to see Cabaret vs Cancer Ashes II Ashes David Bowie tribute with my Mum. There were singers, dancers and all sorts of performers. It was like nothing I’ve seen before!

As I’ve previously mentioned we had a lovely weekend away in Ramsgate and stayed at a lovely cottage available to rent here.

I took part in the UN day against racism by marching in London and I shared some photos of the day here.

We went and saw the fabulous Postmodern Jukebox and I was amazed at the skills of the performers.

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I can’t believe I’ve done so much in March. It’s definitely been a busy month!

Plans for April

April will be a quieter month. I did have plans to go on holiday but unfortunately those had to be cancelled. I plan on doing some vegan activism and hopefully will spend some time with my cousin and his wife. We haven’t got any plans for Easter yet but it should be a nice break.

How has your March been? Let me know in the comments.

Plumes x

March Round Up

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