Category Archives: reviews

A Mheaty Roast!

roast dinner

Pictured above is a very delicious Mheat fillet, stuffed with mushroom risotto and wrapped in puff pastry. Everybody loved it. Everybody wanted more. Served with baby broad beans, asparagus and a garlic and rosemary roast tomato, it made a very good meal and would be a good festive choice.

en croute

The fillet itself is really meaty, being made with wheat gluten, though less dense and solid than some seitan products we’ve tried, making it simple to stuff and wrap. Unlike tofu, mheat is flavoursome to begin with, savoury and salty. It’s also a good size, easily feeding four people. If you need a mushroom risotto recipe there’s one on the Yule page in the midst of Cat’s ‘Now that’s what I call a Christmas dinner’ mushroom parcel.

You can read more about the artisan made, small batch Mheat products on Sgaia’s website here

roast dinner

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. Sgaia Foods are listed with the VLA and you can see their listing here.

Soapnut Salve

salve

This is a beautiful new product from Living Naturally, the makers of soapnuts, that wonderfully pure and natural laundry alternative. Bergamot, Ylang and Rose Soapnut Salve is gentle, does not sting even slightly sore skin and smells glorious, the dominant scent being ylang ylang.

We’ve used it on chapped hands, mild eczema and sore noses with perfect skin-softening effect. It contains a wide variety of herbs including soapnuts themselves, and also: plantain, marshmallow, chickweed, burdock, calendula and dandelion.

frosty

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  genuine and unbiased review of the product. Living Naturally is listed with the VLA and offers Associates a 20% discount and you can take advantage of this here

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Last Bus Canteen

Las Bus Works Canteen

Update: café is closed for winter but it has made Trip Advisor’s Top Ten Restaurants in Aberdeenshire!

Actually there were no fried green tomatoes. But there was a plethora of other wonderful food at this 100% vegan weekend café in Aberdeenshire.

The Last Bus Works Canteen is just out of New Pitsligo and open 10-6 every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

menu

It’s quirky and friendly and has a great selection of cake. Below is a chocolate orange muffin with ice cream.

cake and ice cream

There’s pink Himalayan salt on the tables, olive oil in an oil can and recycled shelves all around.

oil and salt

shelves

It was a relaxing and fortifying place to visit after an eight mile walk in the rain! Well worth seeking out.

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Oh, Sweet Freedom!

chocolate syrups

Porridge on a cold day with Sweet Freedom‘s Choc Shot and natural sweetness syrup.

These products are a great alternative to refined sugar, the sweetness being sourced from fruit and carob. And they’re delicious! The chocolate porridge is creamy and rich, perfect for a day that ended up like this:

snow in spring

The chocolate orange syrup makes a wonderfully warming hot chocolate; it’s slightly spicy, reminiscent of Maya Gold chocolate, and maybe needless to say, but they’re all good on ice cream…

vegan ice cream

We adjusted our Banana Muffin recipe and it worked out very well.
Ingredients:
200g./7 oz/1 and a half cups of self raising flour
1 large tablespoon of Sweet Freedom syrup
3 fl oz/100ml of orange juice
3 fl.oz/100ml of sunflower oil
2 mashed bananas (over ripe is best)
some soya milk as required
vanilla essence
dash of vinegar

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients – but not the vinegar – in a jug or bowl. Mix the two together and then stir in enough soya milk to make a smooth mixture and add the bananas, Finally add the dash of vinegar to get that lovely chemical reaction and mix well. This should make enough to fill 12 cake cases. It’s a good idea to put them in a muffin or patty tin to help them keep their shape but not totally essential. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes at 190 degrees and then cool.

choc shotsSweet Freedom and Choc Shots are available from many supermarkets such as Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Co-op and Ocado. Also from Amazon here.

chocolate chilli cupcakes

chocolate chilli cupcakes

Chocolate Chilli Cupcakes
Ingredients:
4 tablespoons of self-raising gluten free flour
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 quarter teaspoon of hot chilli powder
4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
1 box of rice cream or something similar (we got this at Approved Food, always worth checking for vegan goodies), a vegan yoghurt or soya cream would do, even a chocolate pudding

Mix the dry. Add the wet. Stir thoroughly and divide between 12 cake cases. Bake at 200C/400F for up to 20 minutes or until risen and firm. Once they have cooled: ice them!

For the spicy icing:
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of caster sugar (or icing sugar)
2 tablespoons of marg.
a pinch of cayenne pepper
a pinch of salt
Melt it all up in pan over a very low heat. Once well mixed, allow to cool and thicken a little before spreading on the cakes.

Perfect for Valentines Day, as is our little friend Egbert:

veganbunny

And books, they always make perfect gifts… Here’s two involving love that we’ve read and enjoyed in recent months:

humans

Matt Haig’s ‘The Humans’ is compassionate and funny and deeply moving.  When Professor Andrew Martin solves an important  mathematical problem, he is replaced by an alien who is charged with eliminating all evidence of the discovery and Professor Martin’s wife and son. It’s one of those books that is so good you nag other people to read it…

Buy UK or Buy US

miniturist

 

Set in 17th century Amsterdam, Jessie Burton’s novel follows the lives of newly married Nella Oortman and her family.  Intrigue surrounds the dolls house that Nella is given as a wedding gift and the mysterious miniaturist whose wares echo the lives of the people in the real house. Gripping and unputdownable.

Buy UK or Buy US

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

getting a bit Nudie with it

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It’s an exceptionally frosty morning. But it’s okay. Because we have hot chocolate and Nudie snacks.

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Nudie snacks are toasted coconut chips, rich in healthy fats and fibre and decidedly moreish. You can make vegan bacon with them. You can top curries with them. You can eat them for breakfast with your cereal. They are available from Amazon and Whole Foods at present.

A beautiful birthday cake for a beautiful person:

birthday

In other food news: Graze are offering a free, no obligation to continue, first box again and we have a new lasagne recipe over on frugal.

coconutty

green smoothie

A Beautiful Green Smoothie made with wonderfully rehydrating coconut water (as ever these quantities make a large jug that serves four):
4 bananas
2 avocados
half a bag (about 3 cups) of baby leaf spinach
2 X 320 ml. tins of JT’s Coconut Water
1 tablespoon of nut butter such as almond or brazil (we used Cacao Brazilnut Bliss)
Top the jug off with juice of your choice: apple for a sweeter smoothie, orange for tartness.
Blitz and enjoy!

JT’s Coconut Essence are celebrating their UK launch by giving you 20% off all products until February 5th with the code:
VEGANFAM20 and by giving away this lovely Coconut Essence Smoothie Recipe Ebook.

We’ve also tried their coconut oil which is rich and smooth and nourishing. We made this with it:

coconut chickpea rice

Coconut Chick Pea Rice:
1 heaped tablespoon (or 2 runny ones if you’re in hot climes) of JT’s Coconut Oil
1 large spring onion
4 or 5 cups of cooked rice; we boiled ours with a little turmeric, hence the nice yellow colour
1 can of cooked chick peas
seasalt to taste
Fry the onion in the oil until softened. Add the rice and chickpeas and stir until everything is well heated through. Season. Serve with salad. Simple and utterly delicious. You can really taste the coconut.

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