Friday, 27 February 2015

Vegan Sunday lunch - The Oakwood

Glossop the town where I live is famous for having a pub with a completely vegan food offer called The Globe. The only lunchtime that the Globe is open is a Sunday and they've not had much competition until now. However, the pub nearest to my house, The Oakwood, has recently had a refurbishment.

It's not just the decor, the menu has had a revamp too and I was excited to see that they have several vegan options. Even more exciting was that they do something that nowhere else in Glossop does, not even the Globe - they offer a vegan Sunday lunch.

The food is of the home cooked and hearty persuasion. On the day that we went the roast part consisted of fritters made from nuts and pulses, lovely fresh veg and perfect roast potatoes. I was also impressed to get a big jug of gravy on the side. This hit the spot and I'll definitely be going back.

I also loved the new light fittings. Can you tell what they are made from - yep, old cut glass drinks decanters.

Friday, 20 February 2015

The Kitchen and Village Greens - Co-Op Day out in North Manchester

Matt's nephew has a business buying and selling vintage guitars and amps and Matt did a favour for him the other week by picking up an amp from just outside of Bolton. I went along as well as it was a great excuse to visit somewhere I've been hearing good things about for a long time.

The Kitchen is on Great Moor Street in Bolton town centre. It's a vegetarian cafe run by the Lakamka Workers Co-Op. They sell the usual veggie fayre and also specialise in Turkish food with dishes such as Gozleme which is a  turkish bread stuffed with things like spinach, mushroom or potato. As it was around Brunch time when we got there we opted for breakfasts.

These were great with particularly tasty bread and lovely sausages.

On the way back home we came through North Manchester so we took a detour to another Co-Op that we hadn't visited before. Village Greens is in Prestwich and reminded me of a mini version of Unicorn Grocery. Unlike Unicorn it's not exclusively vegan and they do sell meat and dairy products. These are kept in separate fridges though and the majority of the products they sell are vegan.

The strong vegan offer extended to the cakes that they sell with the majority of them being suitable for vegans and baked by Manchester favourites such as Lily and Dilly, Teatime Collective and Black Cat Bakery. Sadly they got a bit bashed on the journey home but I can vouch that this didn't detract from the taste! I wanted to try the strawberry topped Victoria sponge as Matt's requested one for his birthday in a few weeks. Strangely in all my years of vegan baking I've get to make a Victoria Sponge! I've earmarked the recipe in the Ms Cupcake book to try,

This yummy bakewell slice also hit the spot with a nice cup of tea. I also have to give a shout out to the gorgeous rye bread and home made hummus we picked up too.  I was really impressed with the shop and the range of goods that they carry. All the veg that we picked up was top class too. Although it's quite a drive from where we live, Village Greens is close to my sister's house so I'm sure we'll be back very soon.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Vegan 'pulled pork' made from jackfruit has been around for a while and I've eaten it from V Revolution but it was only recently that we had our first go of making it at home. We used the method from this recipe from the Blissful Basil website and I made a BBQ sauce using a couple of different recipes from books tweeking it to bring the heat down to suit my chilli intolerant palate. You need to make sure that your tinned jackfruit is the type in water not syrup. It's available in lots of Asian shops. We found it in ASM supermarket in Ashton.

It's amazing how much it actually looks like pork!

It was soooo good and pretty easy to make. I'm looking forward to trying it again. I picked up a couple of bottles of this Chipotle, Smokey Bourbon sauce for 79p in Home Bargains recently and am going to try that next time instead of the homemade BBQ.

Friday, 6 February 2015

15p Cookies!

I picked this spice blend up the other day reduced to 15p in Marks and Spencers Food!

With cinnamon, ginger, juniper, nutmeg, black pepper and clementine oil you can see how it was sold as a Christmas blend. As I had all the store cupboard ingredients the natural choice was to make chocolate chip cookies. I think this would also be great with muffins and I'm thinking of using it in the pumpkin muffins from Post Punk Kitchen next which is one of my all time favourite muffin recipes.

Ingredients - Makes 12 cookies

1 cup of plain flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 and 1/2 teaspoons of Christmas spice blend
1/2 cup of icing sugar
1/4 cup of soft brown sugar
1/2 cup of vegan margarine
100g (a bag) of dark chocolate chips
Extra caster sugar for rolling the cookies in

Heat the oven to 350F/ 180C/ Gas 4.
Prepare a baking tray by greasing it or use a silpat silcone mat.
In a bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and spice blend.
In another bowl cream together the margarine, icing sugar and brown sugar.
Add the flour mixture to the margarine mixture and stir together. Fold in the chocolate chips reserving about 1/4 cup.
Put some caster sugar on a plate.
Take dessertspoonfuls of the cookie mixture and roll them into a ball. Roll the ball in the caster sugar. Place the ball on a baking tray. Flatten with a fork. Press the remaining chocolate chips into the top of the cookies.
Bake for 14 minutes.
Allow to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes then remove to a cooking rack.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Fillmore and Union

We recently were up in Skipton in North Yorkshire for an engagement party. The morning after we decided to skip breakfast in the hotel and went for a walk round the town hoping to find somewhere for some breakfast. We weren't holding out much hope for a veggie breakfast but thought that we may be able to find somewhere with beans on toast or something similar. We were therefore delighted when we stumbled upon Filmore and Union.

Filmore and Union are a Yorkshire chain who specialise in clean eating and it really reminded me of places I've eaten at in the States. Whilst not a veggie establishment they have several clearly marked vegan items. I went for quinoa porridge made with coconut milk, served with stewed apples and cinnamon. The little extra jug of warmed coconut milk on the side was a really nice touch. After a big pizza and lots of wine the evening before this was a perfect breakfast, healthy yet still hitting the spot as comfort food. The coffee was great too.

Matt went for beans on toast. This is listed on the menu topped with poached eggs but he just ordered it without. This wasn't just any beans on toast though but was a homemade smokey bean and chickpea mix served on rye bread and it got the thumbs up.

One of the members of staff said that they may be expanding further. I would love one of these in Glossop if they ever cross over into Derbyshire! We'll be back in Skipton in August for a few days for the wedding and I'm already planning another visit.

Friday, 30 January 2015

We All Scream For Icecream!

There's been quite a lot of excitement recently with new brands of vegan ice cream appearing in the shops. They're not always that easy to find though and I've got no chance of getting something home from Manchester to Glossop without it melting. So, when I saw this book for £2 in The Works the other week I snapped it up. I was drawn to it as Ginger's Comfort Emporium is a local Manchester based company and I've sampled one of their delicious sorbet pops at a street fair. There are actually a few vegan recipes in the book but there are also plenty that can be veganised by subbing coconut milk.

I couldn't wait to get started and as soon I got home I veganised this Salted Caramel Peanut Butter icecream. I don't have an icecream maker but this worked fine without one. You make the mixture in a pan then after it's cooled put it in the freezer taking it out every half hour to give it a stir (do this about four times and then leave it overnight).

We had it to celebrate what would have been Elvis's 80th birthday along with peanut butter blondies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. It's a super easy recipe and is online here on the Post Punk Kitchen website. I topped the blondies with these Maple Bacon Flavour mixed nuts we found in Tesco for £1.

I don't know if I'll ever buy shop bought ice cream again! I think I'm hooked and searching around on the internet the next week I came across this recipe for Vegan Chocolate Stout Icecream. I omitted the coconut but I bet it would taste great with it. Beermoth, a specialist beer shop in Manchester's Northern Quarter supplied the vegan friendly stout. It's Fade To Black from the Lefthand Brewing Co.

If you like chocolate and you're a stout fan you really must try this. It has amazing flavours. Seriously, I couldn't stop thinking about it at work and couldn't wait to get home!

We had it again with some of the blondies I'd frozen and also in cornets. Each of the icecream recipes made 6 servings so were perfect for treats over the weekend. The only problem I have now is deciding which flavour to have a go at next. Any suggestions?

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Vegan Life Magazine Issue 3

As a Vegan Life blogger I get a free digital copy of the magazine. We actually decided to pay to subscribe to the paper copy though as it's such a nice magazine. When we subscribed we got a lovely free gift of some shower gel and hand soap. The latest free gift for subscribers are a set of Hurraw Lip Balms which are my favourites and which I'd highly recommend if you're looking for a new vegan friendly lip balm. For info on subscriptions check out this link.

There's quite an emphasis on healthy foods and detoxing with it being a new year issue. As I posted here back in December I've been trying to focus on eating well and it paid off as for once I wasn't ill over the festive season! I've got several recipes from the magazine bookmarked to try over the next few weeks. We kicked off with this courgette noodle dish topped with marinated mushrooms and a sauce made from cashews and sundried tomatoes. It was delicious and really filling and only used half of the sauce. I've frozen the rest and reckon it will made a great creamy pesto style sauce to stir into pasta. I normally avoid pesto as basil gives me terrible acid reflux so I'm excited to have found an alternative!

I also loved the article on the benefits of drinking different types of tea and it's made me keen to seek out more types of white tea. I knew green tea had health benefits but I hadn't realised how great white tea is. The debate section also got me thinking. It's about whether it's ok for vegans to eat honey. Off the top of my head I can think of at least three people I know who call themselves vegan but who do eat it. I think it was one of the last vegan food issues I got my head round and it's definitely the one I most often find people asking me to explain. There's so much emphasis on saving the bee population these days that people seem to get confused about the issue and don't actually think about what honey actually is and what it should be used for. I used to take leaflets about milk, eggs and honey farming along to Cake Liberation Front meet ups to encourage non-vegans to think more about these issues. I'd like to start doing this again so if anyone knows where's best to get specific leaflets rather than just general vegan ones please leave me a comment.