A Vegan Lunch @ Pizza Express

Pizza Express is a long-term fave of my monthly food partner Jo and since their vegan options have widened I also am a fan.

I have been having dough balls there with garlic oil for as long as I’ve been vegan (almost 7 years), they now have a vegan version which comes with a harissa pesto dip. The dip was nice but I still asked for some garlic oil on the side!

I tried a new dish for my main, the leggera peperonata pasta. It had a spicy pepper sauce but I did feel it was missing something, I know they were trying to keep it under 600 calories to be a “leggera” (light) option but I’m sure there could have added a bit more veg.

For dessert both Jo and I went for the carrot cake and a hot drink. The carrot cake was a decent size and Jo said she couldn’t tell it was vegan despite no dairy cream cheese in the frosting.

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

Plumes x

A Vegan Lunch @ Pizza Express

A Vegan Asian Lunch and Dinner

Yesterday I’d planned to go for a Thai meal at lunchtime with my friend Shirley. We work on the same street so headed to the nearby Ekachai in Liverpool Street Arcade.

I love this restaurant and have been multiple times. Shirley loves Thailand and Thai food, it’s where she met her Husband while she was on holiday and they decided to head back there for their wedding last year.

Ekachai has great vegan options and have a few dishes containing tempeh which I haven’t seen on any other Thai menus.

To start I went for salt and pepper tofu which was lovely with the sweet chilli sauce. (Shirley helped herself to my raw chilli slices!)

For my main I chose my favourite, the Nyonya curry. This contains tempeh, green beans, tomatoes and new potatoes in a lovely sauce.

In the evening I was going to The Humane League London volunteers monthly work party at Imperial College so I decided to have dinner at Tombo a Japanese cafe and specialist in Sake and Matcha. (Tombo means dragonfly in Japanese). I’d seen this cafe on previous visits to the area so was interested to see whether they had vegan options. When I looked up the menu online I was pleased to see they had clearly marked vegan options so I decided to have the miso aubergine and tofu donburi. This dish was nicely flavoured although I feel like the tofu could have been crispier.

I look forward to trying their other options. I was pleased to see they had a vegan dessert option so I got the matcha cheesecake with an oat matcha latte to takeaway.

The cheesecake didn’t have a strong matcha flavour it was more lemony, but still delightful. The flowers didn’t add anything to the cake apart from looking pretty so I brushed them aside after trying a couple.

The matcha latte was divine. It’s so nice when you get a proper one compared to the chain coffee shop versions.

Do you enjoy Asian food as a vegan? What are your favourite dishes? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

A Vegan Asian Lunch and Dinner

Mini Sainsbury’s Haul

You know how it goes… You go in for one thing (in my case peppers) and you come out with loads. But with all these new products how can we resist?!

The basic garlic baguettes are a sneaky accidentally vegan product and at 75p for two baguettes it’s a win!

My Husband asked for a “treat” so the magnums were a must. We tried the Rhythm 108 bars the other day and they are delish! As both these treats come in packs of 3 I knew my Hubs would have two and I’d be left with one each so I got some flapjacks for myself as he doesn’t like them. (Got to be tactical here!)

There was a samples stand for the Larabars and the four flavours I tried were so great it was difficult to narrow it down to which box to buy. The banana won out but I’ll be heading back for the others soon.

I haven’t had the Linda McCartney shredded duck in the while and as it was on offer for £1.50 it had to go in the basket.

Hemp hearts are a must as I’ve started making my own hemp milk at home. I usually use whole hemp seeds but I’m sure the hearts will be fine.

Lastly we have the Lazy Vegan frozen ready meal. I saw these in Sainsbury’s a few weeks ago but I surprisingly haven’t seen anything about this brand online. They do a few meals with pea protein as the base so it’ll be interesting to see how this tastes.

What’s been in your shopping basket recently? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Mini Sainsbury’s Haul

Food I’ve enjoyed this week

I’ve had some great food this week, but didn’t have enough to say to give them each their own post so thought I’d do a little round-up.

So Veganuary is over and 250,000 took the pledge to go vegan for January. This was more than all previous years put together! We’re definitely onto something! If you didn’t take part and you’re not already vegan you don’t have to wait until 2020, you can get support from the Veganuary website all year round.

So onto my food…

Monday was not only payday but the day Papa John’s in the UK launched vegan cheese. We ordered the garden party pizza and the cheese and marmite scrolls. Unfortunately our branch didn’t have the scrolls so I received a refund for this part. The pizza was really good, I just think there should be a bit more cheese on it.

On Tuesday my Husband met me before in London before we went to our evening class and we headed to Mooshies, a vegan burger bar on Brick Lane. We both chose the guest burger – The Magic Mushroom. This contained deep fried oyster mushrooms with a hash brown and siracha mayo. This was so tasty although a little spicy for me!

On Wednesday I met my Sister-in-law, Gemma to go to a talk so we ate in the nearby Leon beforehand. We both went for the Love burger which is quickly becoming my fave grab and go burger! (I also nabbed one on the way home on Friday!)

On Thursday I was working from home and had a lot of veg in the fridge that needed using up so I made a stir fry of cabbage, radish, spring onion, cauliflower and mushrooms. I chopped up an avocado on the side and stirred in some vegan halloumi.

Dr Michael Greger is a vegan doctor who wrote the book “How Not To Die”. He offers nutritional advice on his website https://nutritionfacts.org. He has a daily dozen of thing awe should have everyday. Beans, berries, other fruit, cruciferous vegetables, greens, other veg, whole grain foods, flaxseeds, nuts, tumeric, exercise, and vitamins B12 and D. I’ve been trying to include these in my daily routine (my morning smoothie helps a lot!) and you can download an app to help track them.

I went swimming with my Mum in the evening and her Husband made us a sweet and sour tofu noodle dish. Great after getting out of the pool!

On Friday it was snowing so I didn’t want to go far for lunch so I picked up a ready meal from Mark’s and Spencer. For some reason some of the ready meals are in foil containers so should be oven baked. I didn’t realise this until I got back to the office so I transferred my cashew mac to a bowl before microwaving it. This was really creamy but lacked a cheesy flavour, I would recommend adding a bit on nooch if you’re at home. The mushrooms are a fab addition to this dish.

The other thing I bought from M&S was their banana and oat drink. This used to be their banana, oat and honey drink so I’m glad they’ve now removed the honey to make this product vegan.

That’s it for the food. In other news I’ve been watching the Marie Kondo show on Netflix, mainly to help with my Japanese studies. I’m pretty minimalist anyway and didn’t have stuff to get rid of. We recently had a clear out when we moved but I did decide to organise my one drawer (my Husband takes up the others in our chest). When I sent the photo to my mum she said she’s been doing this for years and it wasn’t a new craze at all!

The other exciting development is that our new kitchen has been delivered and is currently sitting in our spare room ready to be installed next week. I’m looking forward to having an oven again after six weeks. Expect to see lots of baking!

What have you been eating recently? Any great new finds? Did you take part in Veganuary? Are you planning to stick with it? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Food I’ve enjoyed this week

Frankie and Benny’s – January 2019

I’ve only visited Frankie and Benny’s once in the 6 years being vegan and that was a couple of months ago when they did an offer on International Chicken Nugget Day with their vegan nuggets as well as their regular chicken ones.

They have really expanded their vegan offerings and one of things I like is that they are spread throughout the main menu in the normal categories not in a separate menu you have to ask for or a little section on the back of the menu.

We started with the cheesy garlic bread. The basic garlic bread is vegan and then you can choose to add mozzarella or the vegan alternative.

My friend Louise chose the beet burger (which is a beetroot and soya patty) it came with all the normal fixings including vegan mayo and she chose to have it with sweet potato fries. Louise isn’t vegan but eats a lot of vegan and vegetarian food and she really enjoyed this.

I chose the “I’m no chicken parmigiana” which is two Fry’s schnitzels covered in tomato sauce and vegan mozzarella with spaghetti, you can then choose salad, green vegetables or fries. I wasn’t in the mood for double carbs so I went for the vegetables.

I think this could have done with some more sauce but other than that I enjoyed it.

There are plenty of other options that I may be heading back for, such as the Mac and cheese and the not dog.

Update I previously said the only vegan desserts they had were sorbet but I have been corrected by my pals on Instagram (thanks Stephen and Liz!) that they offer a chocolate cake as well as sundaes. I must have missed those VG symbols on the menu. Just need to offer some vegan shakes and they’re all there!

Have you tried Frankie and Benny’s new vegan options? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Frankie and Benny’s – January 2019

Harvester – January 2019

I haven’t been to a Harvester in a while but they have also jumped on the vegan menu bandwagon so we decided to have a Monday night meal there after a visit to the dentist.

If you download the app you’ll also get offers so we had 33% off our mains. The other thing that attracted us (and especially my Husband) was the vegan sundae dessert option.

As always in Harvester you have to head to the salad bar first.

I think this is one of the only chain restaurants that offers vegan spread as standard alongside the butter for your rolls.

I’ve had a lot of burgers recently so I went for the lentil and red pepper tagine with flat bread. It was tasty and nicely spiced.

My Husband went for the Moving Mountains burger which he really enjoyed. We picked up a couple of sauces, smokey ketchup and bourbon and they both clearly stated they were vegan on the bottles.

Ollie obviously went for the sundae for dessert. It just looks like ice cream and sauce but he really enjoyed it.

I chose the chocolate orange slice, which has a brownie base with a chocolate and orange mousse topping. It was nice because it wasn’t too rich.

There were plenty of other options I’d like to try. What would you pick from the menu? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Harvester – January 2019

Yo! Sushi – January 2019

My Husband and I regularly visit Yo! Sushi when we are travelling back from my in-laws in Kent. There is currently an offer on where 40 dishes are £3 each but unfortunately this only runs Monday to Friday.

This is also the first visit where my Husband has been fully vegan so I was interested to see what he chose and what he thought.

I had this Kombucha to drink which was really subtle and less vinegary than other ones I’ve tried.

My Husband got the deep fried veggie dumplings which we both really enjoyed.

I’m so glad you can now get the tofu katsu on its own without the curry as you’ve been able to do with the pumpkin version as I’m not a big rice person and I like to save space for other goodies.

We both had a mushroom teriyaki bun which I loved. My Husband isn’t fond of cucumber which seems to come in every dish so he’ll order it without next time.

I tried one of their new dishes the mushroom ramen, this was really tasty although I did pick out the big chilli pieces.

The last dish I had which is also a new one, the temaki hand roll which contains tofu, avocado, carrot, cucumber, seaweed and vegan mayo. I love how all the veggie dishes that previously had mayo now have vegan mayo so are automatically vegan.

When we were looking at the vegan menu we thought it’s great how many more dishes they have now then when we first started going.

Have you visited Yo! Sushi recently? How was it? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Yo! Sushi – January 2019

A Vegan Lunch @ All Bar One – Jan 2019

I regularly go to All Bar One with my friend Matthieu for lunch as it’s pretty quite we get good service and they have lots of vegan options.

For Veganuary they have an even bigger vegan menu and are doing special price 2 or 3 course meals. We both had 2 courses and shared a starter and dessert.

I had to try their cauliflower wings. This was Matthieu’s first time trying this kind of dish and he said he enjoyed it a lot more than he was expecting. It had a Indian twist by being served with mango chutney and a raita that went well.

For my main I chose the miso tofu bowl. This was a lovely tasting bowl filled with goodness. I would have just liked the grains to have been served warm.

Matthieu chose the burger, which used a beyond meat patty. He asked for regular mayo for his chips and we did a taste test. He couldn’t tell the difference between the egg based mayo and the vegan so he went with the vegan version!

For dessert we shared the biscoff bananas. I was disappointed with this dish. I couldn’t see any biscuit crumb, the coconut mousse had an odd texture and tasted like yogurt on the turn to me. Again I think this dish would have been better served warm.

What would you choose from the menu? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

A Vegan Lunch @ All Bar One – Jan 2019

Plant Based Supermarket – Homerton

I’ve been wanting to visit this place for a long time and this week I took the opportunity.

This little shop near Homerton station is packed with vegan goodies, from healthy organic dried goods to indulgent chocolate treats.

These seaweed crisps are a necessity and I love using them in things like crushed chickpea sandwich fillings in place of larger nori sheets so it’s more tuna like.

Stroop waffles are just amazing and these hazelnut ones are just too moreish!

The guy in the shop gave me this for free as it one day past its sell by date but it was still perfectly fine and a great snack on a cracker. These are artisan products and a bit on the pricey side so maybe reserve for your dinner parties to impress your non-vegan as well as your vegan guests.

I’ve tried a few vegan halloumi but I’m not sure if I’ve had this one. Mum and I are going to try it on lentil stuffed mushrooms (inspired by my friend Stella) next week.

I’d seen people post about these online and wanted to try them out. I didn’t realise these were mint when I bought them and the mousse is really solid inside.

I love a good kombucha and this was a fab flavour.

What are your faves vegan treats? Do you have good stockists nearby? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Plant Based Supermarket – Homerton

A Vegan Lunch @ Leon – Jan 2019

Leon are great for vegan options and like so many places they have some new options for 2019.

The other great thing is that they list the vegan options first on their menu boards then the veggie options and lastly the meat options, encouraging customers to go for the plantbased meals first.

I chose the Love burger which had a massive poster whereas the two chicken burgers were hidden at the bottom board.

The love burger is a plantbased burger (I know it had beetroot in it) which tasted quite meaty, smoked Gouda vegan cheese, chipotle mayo and salad.

I really enjoyed this burger and was glad it has all the fixings like cheese and mayo not just a burger with all the non-vegan bits removed.

I also ordered the baked fries but they would take over 10 minutes so I got a refund for them which I was glad of as they are £2.45 and not amazing.

I had also seen they had a new vegan cake – the Jaffa cake. This little cake is a tasty little treat. I’m not a fan of marmalade as it’s a bit bitter for me but the sweet cake and chocolate helped balance that out.

There are also some other vegan treats I saw which I haven’t tried yet so I’ll have to make a return soon and with two branches within walking distance of my work it’s not difficult!

Have you been to Leon recently? What did you have? How was it? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

A Vegan Lunch @ Leon – Jan 2019