Monday, 29 September 2014

Don't Cry Because It's Over, Smile Because It Happened




On Friday we headed down to our flat in London to spend the weekend taking in the sights, eating vegan food and seeing family. As usually happens, we set off after Mr B finished work and picked up a Basilico pizza close to our destination to save us getting shopping in as soon as we arrive (and let's face it - the pizza is ridiculously good).


On Saturday small decided whatever we did had to include trains. The DLR trains are her absolute favorite, so we decided to go into central and try out a new vegetarian place on Eastcastle Street just a short walk from Oxford Circus. We went to Ethos for their 'Brunch' which was a buffet style meal with a set price of £17 PP which included an orange juice or coffee (they charged us £10 for the toddler).

  
The quality of food was really good - the food was clearly labelled if it was vegan and they also had labeling for gluten free products. I have to confess I was a little confused by it being called brunch though, none of the foods I would associate with being 'brunch foods' were available - instead it seemed much more like lunch. The sort of foods on offer were salads, olives, bread, mashed avocado, spicy rice, seitan ribs, lentil dishes etc. Despite the seitan ribs not being vegan when we arrived, after asking they brought out some that had been made vegan near the end of our meal which were easily the best part! The Thai sweetcorn fritters were also another highlight for me.


The only thing that disappointed me was the lack of choice with desert. They had some pretty tasty looking vegetarian options, but only a couple of vegan ones which had run out when we came to that part of our meal so we left desert - less.


I'm not sure that for a family it was good value - at £10 for a toddler who only eats small portions that's quite a lot. Maybe they should have a different buffet price for under 5's? It's nice to have a new place to choose from however in a nice central location.


On Saturday evening we had the luxury of some babysitting - so whilst Small stayed with her grandparents Mr B took me to check out Tanya's. I love raw food and am always trying out new things at home in my dehydrator (who knew they were such a useful kitchen appliance?) - I was so so tired when it was time to go out, but I'm really glad Mr B made me as I had a wonderful evening.


We had the cheese platter to start, with some cheesy kale chips and some coconut bacon on the side. They also have a wonderful selection of superfood cocktails with a handy guide in case you don't recognise any of the 'super' ingredients. I had an absolutely amazing Pina Colada that was divine. 


We had the desert platter next which was lovely - I think the beetroot and orange cheesecake was my favorite! The raw chocolates were seriously the nicest I've ever had - the mint variety (pictured below) was amazing!


All in all it was a pretty awesome weekend - it's so nice to spend time with my family when Mr B isn't focused on work and we can all enjoy ourselves!

Vegfest London 2014


This past weekend we headed down to London to spend some time with Small's grandparents and whilst we were there we went to check out Vegfest. We've been to other Vegfest events during various years including Bristol and Brighton so had an idea of what to expect.
We decided against taking in the pushchair (which was a good job considering all the stairs in the multistorey carpark!) and took Small in on foot. We also decided to go on Sunday afternoon - whilst this did mean that some of the stalls had packed up and gone home (or run out!), it did mean the crowds weren't too bad to navigate with a toddler and we didn't have to wait to long to buy food etc.


I was actually really pleased with the selection of companies were at this show, and felt they were a bit more interesting than some of the other shows we had been to. There were plenty of soya free vegan products for me to oggle over, as well as food for Mr B and the toddler. I had a lovely hotdog from the Vegusto stall which I thought was really nice - I'm already a lover of their products!


Mr B and the toddler had a Pad Thai from the Thai street food stall that was there - I had a sneaky taste of some of the mushrooms and noodles and it was yummy. Small absolutely loves noodles (she calls them eagles) so there wasn't any other choice really about what they would be eating!



At these shows I've never really been interested in any of the speakers or cooking demos - but this year they had a really good line up! I would have loved to have seen Kate Magic, Mimi Kirk and Brendan Brazier (being the Vega lover that I am). In the end I decided that it however would have been madness to try and get the toddler to sit still through any of these - maybe next time!


I brought home a great haul of stuff with me! Amongst the stalls were some bargains to be had - I stocked up on Pulsin protein bars and Rebel Kitchen mylk. I even picked up a cute toddler sized Sea Shepard tee for the mini one.


I was also really impressed with the boxes from 'The Vegan Kind'. I'd heard about them before and seen other bloggers review them, but had never had one myself. I was drawn to the stall by their beauty boxes (which were sadly sold out) but I had a lovely chat with the lady on the stand and came away with a box for a bargain price and a Vego bar.


I was also really pleased I came away with some samples of Vega protein smoothie. I already use Vega One every day (the vanilla chai flavour) but have to confess I'd never tried any of their other products. The smoothie doesn't contain as much good stuff as Vega One, but it does have greens as well as protein - so much more beneficial than just regular protein powder.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

I Just want A Bit Part In Your Life

Sometimes I really miss Mr B. It kind of seems like an odd thing for me to say maybe, but it doesn't make it any less true. I guess I need to clarify. We're lucky enough that Mr B has a good job and I get to be a stay at home mom to Small, and Mr B spends some of his time working from home too. However I'm sure any parent with young children can relate - we just never seem to get any quality time as a couple. Try as we might, when we do get a second to talk the objective often seems to be to relay all the important yet mundane points of the day. I know you know what I mean - "we need to buy more nappies" or some half asleep unintelligible thing about washing maybe. You get my point.

Then there are the lifestyle choices. I know that cosleeping was the best thing for Small, for both her emotional and social development but at almost 2 1/2 we feel the time is right and we are trying to transition her to her own room. This is easier said than done. We're making progress, but it's slow. Many evening & night time wake ups mean we don't really get any time together then either. I just have to keep reminding myself that this is just a phase of Small's life and it won't be forever (although I already feel like she's growing up too fast!).

I guess I've really realised how much even good relationships need work and attention to flourish when there are children in the picture. It's the little things that matter.

What I'm trying to say is - Mr B, I love you with all my heart. You are an amazing daddy & thank you for working so hard so that Small & I can hang out.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Soy Free & Vegan Quiche - 'Cheese' & Onion



My tried and trusted quiche recipe, although delicious is tofu based and as I can no longer eat soya products it is sadly off the cards for me. The funny thing is, since I was told I needed to avoid soy - I've been craving all the things I normally make that contain it! I started off a vegetarian in my teens and my relationship with tofu then was a rocky one, but as the years went by I learnt to love it and all the ways it could be yummy (like tofu scramble... Oh I miss you!).
I decided I just HAD to make a quiche that was soya free, but every bit delicious. I scoured the net and only came across recipes that were gram (chickpea) flour based - they didn't look like my 'creamy' yummy pastry based treat, so I decided I'd just have to make one up. 
Lucky for me it came out awesome! It's probably not a good idea to try and eat it right from the oven - it needs to cool a little to set. It's best eaten cold - if it's been in your fridge for a few hours it should totally set.

I really recommend getting hold of the Oatly cream for this recipe - it's the best one I've tried that's both vegan and soya free.

Ingredients

1 package short crust pastry

1 yellow pepper - chopped
2 leeks - chopped 
1 TSP garlic
1 TSP onion powder 
1 TBSP black salt (optional - gives things an 'eggy' taste)
2 packages Oatly cream
1/2 cup Oat milk
1/2 cup cornflour (yes.... Really. Without this it won't set!)
3 TBSP organic white flour
2 TSP lemon juice
1/2 TSP mustard powder
1 cup vegan soya free 'cheese'

Preheat oven to 180C. Roll out your pastry and have your non stick quiche tin ready. Line the tin without trimming the edges, prick the bottom with a fork and weigh the middle down with baking paper and dried beans. Bake for about 15 minutes.

Whilst your pastry is blind baking, make up your filling. This part is super easy! Just pop it all in a food processor (save 1/4 cup of the 'cheese' for the topping) and blend until it's really smooth.

Remove your pastry case from the oven and discard the baking paper and beans. Fill with your mixture and sprinkle your remaining 'cheese' on top. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.