Category Archives: reviews

Castle, chocolate, mountain

It’s summer, so what better time to get out and about and see our beautiful country? And eat chocolate. That’s Eilean Donan Castle above. And Kennard’s Artisan Chocolates below!

The peanut butter truffle (above) was our favourite, closely followed by the smooth caramel.

Beautifully packaged, these are a special treat and would make a lovely gift. Available exclusively from the online shop, the range is both vegan and kosher.

Clutching our chocolates, we disappear off into The Cuillin Mountains.

Jujube!

raw bramble cheesecake

It’s a raw bramble (blackberry) cheesecake sweetened with red Chinese dates or Jujubes. It’s rich. It’s delicious. Everyone should try it! Read on for how…

Abakus Foods sent us three of their wonderful jujube products to try: the pitted dates, some powdered jujubes and some jujube crisps. The crisps are just like mini cookies, all crunchy and sweet and moreish.

Jujubes (loving that word) are less sweet and sticky than ordinary dates and are traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat insomnia and anxiety.

jujube3

Here’s how we made our cheesecakes:

For the base: food process 40g (about a cup) of dried jujube fruit with a cup of pecan nuts until they resemble biscuit crumbs. Line a 12 piece muffin tin with cling film, pressing it carefully into each recess. Press your jujube/pecan mixture into each base.

For the creamy cheesecake topping: blend together a cup of brambles, a cup of macadamia nuts, half a cup of cashews, a tablespoon of coconut oil and 50g (about two tablespoons) of jujube powder. Once smooth, spread this onto the bases. Cover with more clingfilm and press each little cheesecake down to make sure it’s well stuck together.

Freeze for about two hours. Remove from tin and peel away the clingfilm. Decorate with jujube crisps and melted chocolate of your choice (really dark goes well).

Enjoy.

Love.

Say the word jujube a lot.

You can buy this range of jujube products online at Abakus Foods and, from September, at Wholefoods Markets and a number of independent health food and fine food stores.

jujube cheesecake tower

Beautiful Smoke

dragon

Sacred Elephant Incense is vegan and ethically produced and smells of peace and light and all the good stuff. The scent (in our case, Cedar) evokes Glastonbury and Findhorn and Iona, spiritual places, beautiful bookshops and clear skies.

incense sticks

Our dragon burner may not look so peaceful, but that’s just his way… The various scents: agar wood, cedar, cinnamon spice, gaura leela, Himalayan musk, myrrh, prema, rose, sandalwood, sayali jasmine, and vraja leela can be bought online here

To go with this we’ve dug back into the old archives of the Vegan Family House and found one of the first recipes to go online, back in 1998. It’s smokey too!

Smokey Seafood Rice
Don’t worry, the seafood here is Arame, a sea vegetable.

Ingredients:
a little sunflower oil
1 onion
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
1 block of smoked tofu
a good handful of dried arame
500g/18 oz/2 cups basmati rice (this makes a large potful to feed a family – reduce the amount of rice and water accordingly if you want)
a cupful of frozen peas
seasalt to taste
water to cover

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes. Chop the tofu into small cuboids and add to the onion and garlic. Add the rice and mix well then add enough water to well cover the rice. Add the arame (you may need to add more water as seaweeds vary in how absorbent they are) and the seasalt. Bring to the boil then turn down to simmer. A few minutes before the end of cooking time add the peas. Nice served with a green salad. Enjoy!

a little puff of smoke

This review has been organised by the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION and is our genuine and unbiased opinion of the product. Sacred Elephant Incense are listed with the VLA and you can see their listing here with an offer for members

Protein!

chocolate shake in the sun

That’s a raw vegan hemp chocolate shake from Purition, boasting 14.2g of protein and lots of healthy nuts and seeds. In fact that’s all it has; there’s no weird ingredients, no poly-whatsits or methyl-who-has, just hemp, sunflower kernels, chia and pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast, linseeds: the good stuff.

That looks like the Tribest Personal Blender, one of our favourite products, in this short film:

They do a few vegan mixes and sent us some:

protein2

The shakes are marketed as being suitable for breakfast, lunch or post workout. Replacing a meal with a drink? There were sceptical faces here, but these drinks are filling! Really filling. And delicious. The words ‘just like a chocolate milkshake’ were spoken.

Here’s a vanilla one with a chocolate topping to which we added a banana. In retrospect we could have layered it up all stripy from the bottom if we’d known how thick and substantial they were.

chocolate topped shake

We also used them in our regular smoothies, replacing the usual avocado or nuts, which worked well.

The vegan sample box we had can be purchased from Purition or at Amazon.co.uk Shakes are also available singly in their 40g packs or in a large 500g size.

Snow, Soup and Books

snow

It’s bright. It’s snowy. It’s cold.

So… soup. And maybe Easter eggs.

And definitely books! Recent reads here include:

Room by Emma Donoghue. You’re best going into this knowing only that a five year old boy and his mother live in a  tiny room and that the child, the voice of the novel, has never left it. So intriguing. Scary and thought provoking too.
Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

The Bones of You by Debbie Howells is a chilling and gripping murder mystery and a good exploration of narcissism.
Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

And if you need to laugh after those, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion should have you doing that from the opening pages as obviously autistic Don Tillman sets out to solve ‘the wife problem’.
Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

snowdrops

Literary gifts for book lovers, gorgeous gift ideas for readers, writers and literature fans

Yushoi Snapea Rice Sticks

Snapea Rice sticks

Yushoi sent us some of their healthy Snapea Rice Sticks to try. The four flavours: Lightly Salted; Soy and Balsamic Vinegar; Sweet Chilli and Lemon, and Smoked Salt and Szechaun Pepper are all delicious. Our favourite was the Szechaun Pepper with its rich and smoky barbecue taste.

flavours

All the Snapea Rice Sticks we were sent are suitable for vegans (edit: new Coconut and Chilli flavour contains milk) and also made in a nut free factory. While reminiscent of puffed corn or potato snacks, Yushoi actually make their products with green peas which are a better source of protein. The flavourings are all natural too. Baked, not fried, they come in a single serving size of 21g and a large re-sealable pack of 105g. So this Valentine’s Day: crisps not chocolate. Okay, maybe crisps and chocolate! And hummus… and tomatoes…

hearts

Snapea Rice Sticks are available at various shops: Tesco, Morrisons, The Co-op, Ocado, Wholefoods, WH Smith and even Amazon.

healthy snacks

Planet Pure

beach

New Year: a time for brisk and breezy beach walks and fresh clean laundry! We used Planet Pure Organic Laundry Liquid throughout December and it proved a most effective product. We had the lavender variety, which smelled lovely and was nostalgically reminiscent of another eco laundry liquid from the distant past (the nineties), Down to Earth, that was also scented with lavender. Planet Pure scores higher on the purity front though: it’s not dyed some chemical colour, instead being a natural brown and it settles a bit, needing a shake before use.

Pure Living Laundry LiquidIt washed everything really well, the ingredients including saponin rich soap nuts. The fresh scent of the finished laundry was certainly put to good test, given the deluge there’s been in the last two weeks. There were times when washing had to be brought in from the line and spun again, but it still smelled air dried and nice.

The accompanying stain remover worked well on some festive food stains and we also used it to remove a rusty water stain from a carpet, left by the Christmas tree holder!

0000beach

This review has been organised by the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION. It has not been paid for and the products were sent free of charge. This is our genuine and unbiased review of the product.