Handmade Burger Co June 2018

My friends were coming up to London from Bournemouth to see a concert so we arranged to meet for dinner beforehand. Handmade Burger have locations all around the country but only one in London which happens to be in Wembley. As I’m an East London lady I don’t get over to that side of town much so I thought I’d take this opportunity to try them out.

They offer five (count them!) vegan burgers and one veggie burger that can be made vegan.

Their milkshakes can also be made with soya milk and dairy free ice cream which I haven’t seen any other omni restaurants do this so if you know of any let me know!

I chose to have the banana milkshare. I asked for it with soya milk and the server asked if I wanted cream so I asked if the cream was vegan and she said no. I’ve noticed this in coffee shops when you order dairy free milk they’ll still ask if you want dairy cream. What is going on people?!

It was lovely, thick and made with fresh banana but I could only taste the banana when I got a chunk of that otherwise it was very vanilla due to the ice cream. I enjoyed it but would have liked a stronger banana flavour.

I chose the sweet potato and bean burger. The patty was really nice and I loved the mango relish. I had to cut it in half to eat as otherwise I would have got into trouble. I paid for the extra vegan cheese, I’m not sure what brand this is but it didn’t melt and didn’t have any flavour so it wasn’t worth it!

I had rosemary chips to go with it. The salt was in really big grains but apart from that these were tasty chips.

I wouldn’t rush back to Wembley to try HBC again but if you have one in your area it may be worth checking them out.

Have you had Handmade Burger? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

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Handmade Burger Co June 2018

Mangia Siciliano June 2018

Both my friend Mitsu (To Happy Vegans) and I had passed by Mangia Siciliano multiple times without entering. So we decided to bite the bullet and go in together.

We made our choices by looking at the boards outside.

Photo credit – Mitsu Ikeda

When we entered the there were quite a few tables, a counter and boards with the menu. I’m glad we made our decisions outside as the boards were jam packed and it was difficult to decipher.

I chose the tofu pasta. I love that they use wholewheat pasta. On the board it said mine came with capers, olives, lemon and basil. It was very olivey and I couldn’t taste any capers or lemon but it was lovely nonetheless.

Mitsu chose the vegan carbonara which was on the specials board. This was bright yellow with tumeric and very tasty when I grabbed a forkful. I’d definitely go for this one next time.

The only disappointing thing was that they had a number of cakes on the counter but I couldn’t see any marked as vegan.

I thought it was reasonably priced at £7 for my large plate, I’ll be returning for sure!

Photo credit – Mitsu Ikeda

What’s your favourite vegan pasta dish? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Mangia Siciliano June 2018

Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner May 2018

For our last meal of our Camden mini-trip we decided to head to Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner in the Stables Market for an early lunch before heading home.

I couldn’t see a full menu online but from reading reviews it was classic American with burgers, hot dogs and macaroni cheese available.

They do a great meal deal for £10 for a main, fries and a drink so my Husband and I both went for this option, him with a burger and me with the Reuben sandwich and a side of mac & cheese.

I’ve never had a Reuben sandwich, vegan or otherwise but this definitely won’t be my last! Wholemeal bread packed with vegan pastrami, cheese, sauerkraut, pickles and Russian dressing this sandwich spoke to my heart! I love pickly flavours so the combo of sauerkraut and pickles was a big plus for me! My Husband was also impressed with the number of pickles in his burger! He did say the bun was a little dry but the patty was really juicy.

The mac and cheese came with vegan bacon and sour cream on top. This was a decent mac and cheese. I’m not into mac and cheese as much as some people are but I think Rudy’s version would definitely be up there.

The portions are generous so we saved half to have for dinner later, definitely getting your money’s worth!

I saw someone else order a hotdog and that’s what I’m going to go for next time!

Rudy’s has a nice corner unit with seating both inside and out which is an added bonus as most places in Camden Market are just stalls or have a couple seats at the counter.

Have you sampled Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner May 2018

What I eat in a day May 2018

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while so I thought why not do one now.

Breakfast for me is generally overnight oats, if it’s a cold morning I will pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes but generally I just have it cold.

I find overnight oats are a great way to start your day off right. I add milled flax seed, cacao nibs, frozen berries and hemp milk.

My colleague had been to Germany at the weekend and brought back some treats to share. Luckily some the chocolate bars were accidentally vegan so I nabbed a square as often the office treats aren’t vegan.

Mid morning snack is always an apple (if I remember to buy a bag on the Monday!)

I usually buy my lunch out. In recent times vegan options have got better and better so I’m spoilt for choice. I went for a mixed mushroom bibimbap from Bibimbap to go. Bibimbap is a Korean rice dish with lots of different vegetables that you mix in. Traditionally it comes with an egg on top but fortunately they don’t do that at this shop. I usually go for the tofu one but I’m glad I tried the mushroom one this time and I’ll definitely have it again.

I met my friend for dinner. She fancied Chinese so we went to my local which has great vegan options but they were shut as they had been open for the bank holiday so we tried out another one she knew of that had some options.

For starters we shared spring rolls and vegetarian crispy duck which was made out of tofu. I love hoisin sauce and the whole pancake thing with crispy duck so my eyes light up when I see a vegan version on the menu.

For mains I had seaspice aubergine with rice noodles but I somehow managed to forget to take a photo! I love seaspice sauce and the aubergine was soft and delicious.

The staff were so nice and attentive, topping up our water, asking if we were warm enough with the door open and letting us take things at our own pace. It was such a nice evening catching up with my friend.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and thank you for visiting the blog.

Plumes x

What I eat in a day May 2018

Vegan Nights May 2018

Well it’s been over a month since I last posted. It sometimes seems like I have loads of events all at once and then none for a little while and I don’t like to post just for the sake of it!

When I was out with my friend Maxine a couple of weeks ago she mentioned she was heading to this month’s Vegan Nights and as I free and hadn’t been in a few months I decided to tag along.

The event takes place in 93 Feet East and The Boilerhouse in Brick Lane and takes up a much larger space than the last time I visited. This was great as it meant stalls weren’t cramped together and there was a lot more space for seating.

We decided to go early, which was great to beat the queues and meant I wasn’t out too late! (I do love to be in bed by 10!)

I decided to go have tofish and chips with mushy peas from Shakey Shakey Fish Bar. I’d heard of these guys but never been to an event they were at so wanted to try them out. The tofish was great, the batter was crisp and there was more seaweed than I’ve had in other tofish dishes, which gave it that fishy taste. I also really enjoyed dipping my chips in the tartare sauce.

They also had deep fried Oreos which I was really tempted by, but they’ll have to wait for next time!

Maxine went for a wrap from What the Pitta, I have tried these multiple times and they are always amazing!

Photo credit – https://www.instagram.com/vegan4theanimalz/

For dessert I couldn’t resist this mint chocolate ice cream from Hell Yum. Mint choc chip was always my favourite ice cream flavour pre-vegan and it’s one you rarely see vegan versions of. We also tried some samples of Hell Yum’s cookies which were delicious. They also do ice cream cookie sandwiches but I was far too full for that!

There’s always two cake stalls I have to purchase something from. I picked up a Viennese Whirl from Vegan Delice and a rainbow cake along with a couple of brownies (peanut and caramel) for my Husband from Vida Bakery. These went down a right treat!

I managed to make one none food purchase as well. This gorgeous T-shirt from BCLVA (I couldn’t find a link for them, sorry!) for only a fiver! Maxine picked up a couple of different designs too. I think it’s gonna look great at activism events!

We also had a little boogie to DJ Deccy Jarrett in the bar area before I decided to head home.

There were so many other places to try out, I think I’ll definitely have to back next month!

I’ll finish with this photo of Maxine and I showing off our vegan ink!

Did you visit Vegan Nights this month? What did you think? What did you eat?

Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Vegan Nights May 2018

Some food I’ve made this week

I wasn’t sure how to word the title of this blog post so I’ve just gone with the above!

Monday marked 11 years (!) that I have been working for my company so I decided to bring in some tasty vegan treats for my colleagues.

I decided to make savoury snacks as it’s my birthday later in the month and I’ll bring in sweet stuff then.

First of all, I made sausage rolls. I know there are quite a few shop-bought vegan ones you can get now but I like to make my own as you play with the flavours a bit. I bought a pack of Granose Lincolnshire Sausage Mix from Sainsbury’s and a packet of Jus-Rol puff pastry and put the two together. I added some garlic granules and rosemary when I was making up the sausage mix too. These always go down well at work and they are so quick to make.

Next I made some almond feta. I think it was my friend Olive who introduced me to this recipe from Maple Spice and I’ve been making it for a few years now. It’s really simple although you do need to remember to do it the day before so you can let it drain overnight. These are also ingredients I generally have in my house so that makes it easy too. I served this up with some crackers.

Lastly we have Savoury Scones from the Vegan Recipe Club. I have taken in sweet scones to work a couple of times with coconut cream and jam but wanted to try my hand at these savoury ones. I added caramelised onions and made them mini so there were more to go round!

I’m pleased to say they all went down well with non-vegan colleagues.

Some food I’ve made this week

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!