Browsing Tag

Vegan

Lifestyle Vegan

The Nourish Co: A Review

I’ve lived in Colchester for almost 5 years now and it really feels like home. One of the things I love about the town is how the vegan community has grown in the past few years, from seemingly nothing to one of the largest in the area.

Vegans and veggies in Colchester are growing in numbers and spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. We have a number of specialist vegan cafes and others that have dedicated vegan menus or special vegan nights. It’s no coincidence that the Essex vegan festival is held in Colchester each year in the Spring, as well as our own Colchester vegan festival that takes place in the autumn.

The first two vegan cafes to open in Colchester while I’ve lived here were The Den, which specialised in burgers, hotdogs, and toasted sandwiches; and Nourish, a smaller place at the back of a guitar shop which served up soups, cookies, energy balls and their signature lentil sausage rolls. Sadly the Den announced they were to close at the start of the year, but thankfully we weren’t left short as April and Cleo from Nourish took on the challenge of moving into the space and making it their own.

The Den was rather legendary in Colchester – they paved the way for others and really served as proof that an all-vegan cafe could succeed, showing that there was an audience in the area, with vegans and non-vegans packing the place out every weekend. So the girls from Nourish had big boots to fill.

I was keen to see what they would do with the space, and was not disappointed when they opened their doors on Easter weekend. The place feels very warm and natural, with wooden fixtures and lush green plants almost everywhere you look. Upstairs feels very homely, with a large wooden table taking up much of the floor, but leaving enough space for a cushioned area beside the windows, perfect for relaxing with a magazine and coffee on a midweek afternoon.

The Nourish menu has expanded from their early days, and is split into 3 sections. Their daily eats are perfect for brunch, with toasted sourdough and bagels available with a range of sweet or savoury toppings. The acai smoothie bowl makes for a delicious breakfast.

The menu also includes Warming Bowls and Salad Bowls, which both rotate daily. The warming bowls on offer are a noodle soup, Indian buddha bowl, Burrito bowl and a vegetable curry. The salad bowls rotate between Thai satay, a vegetable sushi, quinoa & falafel, and a kale and avocado caesar. My favourites are the noodle soup and the vegetable sushi, although I haven’t managed to try them all yet!

Nourish also regularly hosts special events, with guests coming in for one-off pizza nights, smoothie workshops and Sunday brunches and more. You can find all the details on their Facebook page – I’m particularly looking forward to the Fully Raw Mexican Night next week! The support for local chefs and creators doesn’t stop with the events, as plenty of ethical items from local makers are on sale in the shop. You can find wonderful artisan coffee, snacks and granola packs for sale, and as well as the recent addition of a beautiful selection of little faux marble plant pots which are made by a local girl.

I love what the girls April and Cleo from Nourish have done with their new space and the cafe is a warm, friendly place where everyone is made to feel welcome. It’s great to see them go from their early days to where they are now, and I’m proud of what they’re helping to build in Colchester as the vegan community continues to thrive!

You can find Nourish at 23 Crouch Street in Colchester, open 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Sunday. Check out their website for the full menu and give them a follow on Facebook or Instagram to keep up with what they’ve got going on.

Have you visited The Nourish Co in Colchester, if not what on their menu takes your fancy? Hop on Twitter and let me know.

Happy eating!

Vegan

A Sunday Visit to Deliciously Ella

I’ve started writing more about being vegan, what it means to me and tips on getting started if it’s something you want to give a try. One of my top tips was to eat out at vegan cafes and restaurants to discover new meals then try and recreate them at home. So I thought I’d share one of my favourite vegan places to grab brunch – Deliciously Ella’s deli in London.

Set in Mayfair’s Weighouse Street just a short walk from Bond St tube station, the location instantly feels calming as you step away from the busy crowds. The deli has a warm homely feel with a large communal table providing the main seating upstairs, making it feel like you’ve just stepped into Ella’s dining room for a meal. Wooden shelves line the walls with flowers, pictures, and jars of nuts, grains and other ingredients on display. The deli has large windows that let in lots of natural light which feels really relaxing.

If you want a quieter spot there’s seating downstairs with smaller tables spread around various little nooks and corners. It’s beautifully decorated with pictures hung on every wall, and it’s a great place to have a quiet lunch when you’re out shopping and need a breather.
The menu is healthy, delicious and simple, with a lot of the dishes using just a few core ingredients which makes them great for recreating at home. In fact a lot of the deli menu can be found in Deliciously Ella’s books, so if you’re not sure how you can get the recipes from the lady herself. In fact she can often be spotted helping in the kitchen early in the mornings, particularly at the weekends.

The deli has been refurbished this month, and as part of the relaunch the menu is going to be refreshed every two months, meaning there’s always something new to try! I popped in for brunch with my husband last weekend and ordered a PB&J bagel, while my husband went for the banana chocolate pancakes. All plant-based of course! Check out some of the snaps below.
Have you been to Deliciously Ella in London, if not where’s your favourite vegan spot? Hop on Twitter and let me know!
Happy eating!

 

Vegan

My Tips for Going Vegan

Last week I wrote about my experience of going Vegan 6 years ago – I tried to answer a few common questions and clear up some of the misconceptions too. I wanted to follow it up this week with another post where I share some of my thoughts on how to make the change if that’s what you want to do. It’s a really positive thing to try, and even if you don’t manage to stick with it I’m certain you’ll discover some delicious new food!
If you want to read my introduction to being vegan check it out here, otherwise let’s take a look my top tips for getting started.

Make a Gradual Change

If you want to go vegan I think doing it gradually is the best approach. Changing the way you eat is no small thing and you may find yourself going back to the familiar if things get hard. Some people may be able to just quit meat and dairy and get by for a few months, but it will be a lot harder to stick to in the long run. Start gradually eating less meat, changing your meals here and there and get used to new ways of shopping and cooking. You’re going to be eating a lot more fruit and veg and exploring new healthier food, and if you’re not used to that then it’s best to go slow. You can’t think of eating meat and dairy as being normal and vegan or veggie as being a diet, your new way of eating has to feel normal and that just takes time. It might also take a week or two for your stomach to get used to it, but don’t worry it will!

The best vegan lunch – so yummy! #vegan #lunch #plantbased

A post shared by Emily Dravnieks (@emilyhearts64) on

Know Your Food

If you’re going to go vegan you need to understand what contains dairy. It might surprise you at first, but once you know you can start gradually swapping things out of your diet. That doesn’t mean finding a vegan or veggie substitute for everything you currently eat because they don’t always exist. Explore new food and dare to try new things. I’m constantly finding new things and I kick myself for not finding them sooner!

Change Your Milk

One of the easiest things you can do is to swap out your bottle of semi-skimmed for a milk alternative. The supermarkets are full of them nowadays, so get stuck in.
Almond milk is a great place to start, or if you’re feeling adventurous it’s worth checking out coconut or oat milk. Personally I like coconut milk on cereal or in a smoothie, it goes quite well with sweeter tastes. Oat milk on the other hand is a bit more earthy, so is great in a protein shake, hot chocolate or a flat white. Oatly is a good brand that makes some milks specifically for coffee too. Soya milk is another option, and a great one for women as soya naturally helps your body produce oestrogen, however it’s not great for you in large amounts and personally I don’t think it tastes very exciting.
Let’s talk about tea – milk alternatives don’t always play nice, and they will change the way it tastes, so you’re going to need to experiment until you find the one that suits you and your tastebuds. Also, if your milk alternative is cold it will often curdle when you pour it into your tea, and this instantly puts a lot of people off. Just heat it up slightly in the microwave or on the hob before you pour it in and you’ll be just fine. If you like PG Tips they’ve just released a Dairy Free range that goes well with plant-based milks, so make sure you give that a try!

Eat Out

When you first make a change it can be hard to know what to cook, and you might find yourself making a lot of the same meals over and over which can get boring. A great way to explore new things to eat is to have someone else make them for you! Go to an all vegan/veggie cafe or restaurant and find new things you like then recreate them at home. I’m constantly doing this – and I’ll ask people for the ingredients or the recipe. They’re aways happy to share, it’s a compliment!
There are a few different apps that are great for finding vegan eateries. The main one is Happy Cow, which is specially made for finding vegan places to eat no matter where you are. It’s not free, but it’s is worth getting if you’re in this for the long term. A good free alternative is Foursquare, which is a travel guide but works well anywhere and has a vegan/veggie filter. It also has great customer-written reviews and photos, so definitely worth a download.

Start Buying Quorn and Tofu

The first time I ever tried Quorn was at a friend’s house long before I stopped eating meat. She invited us over for dinner and made a bean chilli, and it was a delicious. Little did I know it was made using Quorn, which she told us once we’d finished. I was pleasantly surprised, it tasted the same, and changed view of it from being this weird thing that I didn’t understand to a legitimate alternative to meat.
Replacing some of your meat meals with Quorn is a fantastic way to transition away from meat, so if you want to become vegan or even just cut down then get a few bags of it in your freezer. If you’re making a chilli or spaghetti then try some Quorn mince, and if you’re having fajitas or stir fry then throw in the Quorn pieces instead of chicken. Quorn sausages are great too, especially if you’re having a fry up.
It’s worth noting that not all Quorn products are vegan, in fact most aren’t. So they’re great for helping you cut down on meat, but if you’re going vegan then tofu is the way to go. I recommend a new brand called ToFoo, which comes pre-seasoned and is easy to make great meals with. I buy blocks of the smoked Tofoo, which you just cut up and cook the same way as Quorn. One pack makes a couple of meals and tastes amazing in a stir fry or with some steamed veggies. Tofu soaks in the flavour of whatever you cook it with, so I sizzle it for a couple of minutes with some green or red pesto and it’s absolutely dreamy, as well as being full of protein and low in calories.

Make Your Own Rules

People often say to me “oh, you can’t eat that it’s got milk in it” and my response is always the same – I can eat it, I can eat whatever I want, I just choose not to. You make your own rules. If you’re vegan, it’s because that’s what you want to do, not because you committed to it and now you have to follow the definition of being vegan in order to keep calling yourself that. It’s your choice, and if you fancy a hamburger one day and you really want it then have it. It’s your call. But if you’re doing this for positive reasons and you believe in them then you won’t. Just make sure you’re following your rules and doing it for you, not because of what someone else might say. That’s my most important piece of advice!
Are you vegan or veggie, and if so what are your tips? If you’ve tried it but didn’t stick with it, what was your experience like? Hop on Twitter and let me know!
Happy eating!

Vegan

My Introduction to Being Vegan

In the past couple of years I’ve been posting photos of tasty vegan food over on my Instagram and reviewing cruelty-free products here on my blog. I cut meat, fish and dairy from my diet around 6 years ago and haven’t looked back since. I get a lot of questions about it, from people who are curious, from family members who don’t understand, and from people who want to give it a go but don’t know how. So I thought I’d write about what it means to go vegan and share some of my thoughts and experiences.

What Does Vegan Mean Anyway?

Let’s start with what it really is. On a basic level a vegan diet means not consuming any animal products, the most obvious ones being meat, fish, dairy and gelatine. Strict vegans will remove animal products from all aspects of their life, so no leather shoes, bags, belts, clothes or makeup containing any animal products. This can be particularly tough. With a bit of practice it can become easy to eat vegan, but it’s much harder to find ethical clothing and lifestyle products outside of specialist shops, although this is slowly changing. In the past week ASOS have started selling a range of vegan shoes, bags, skincare and accessories, and I’m hoping it won’t be long before more high street shops take notice and start offering vegan ranges too. Just a few weeks ago Superdrug opened a vegan pop-up in London, so perhaps it won’t be long!

Vegan or Plant-Based

Many people who remove meat, fish and dairy from their diet refer to themselves as having a plant-based diet. This means they eat some food that contains animal products such as honey, or avocados that are sealed using beeswax, or alcohol coloured using isinglass which comes from fish. It’s up to each person to decide how far they want to go!

Why Go Vegan?

There are loads of reasons why people go vegan, but usually they’re to improve their wellbeing or for ethical reasons. This has largely been misunderstood in the past, with vegans stereotyped as being hippy tree-huggers. Whether you’re animal lover or not, not many of us like the thought of them being killed for us to eat. It’s true that some animals have a good life on a farm, roaming free and eating well, but unfortunately they’re in the minority. I know I can get the nutrition I need from plants instead of animals, so that’s the way I choose to go!
And it’s healthier too. Vegans naturally eat a lot more fruit and vegetables which means getting a lot more nutrients, and since most fast food and processed food isn’t vegan-friendly, cutting them those of your diet means less refined sugar, salt and saturated fat. It takes some getting used to, but getting a taste for healthy food makes me feel so much lighter and happier.


It might be getting a bit trendy with some celebs going vegan, but a lot of professional athletes are doing it too. Perhaps the most well-known are Venus and Serena Williams, who both eat a strict vegan diet during the tennis season, and a lot of footballers are cutting out meat and dairy to improve their stamina. And anyone who thinks vegans don’t get enough protein to be fit and strong just take a look at the growing number of personal trainers on Instagram promoting veganism, or look up Patrik Baboumian, the world record-breaking powerlifter whose arms are bigger than my head!

But What Will I Eat?

A lot of people are put off by going vegan because they wouldn’t know what to eat. It’s true that it takes time to get used to it, and you will need to learn to cook some new meals but ultimately it’s worth it as you’ll find yourself eating a lot healthier. It’s getting easier too, in the past year supermarkets have started stocking a lot more vegan brands, with Sainsbury’s including a new plant-based section, and in January this year Tesco launched their own Wicked Kitchen range which is 20 products strong and counting.
And it might surprise you, but not all vegan food is healthy! So it doesn’t mean you have to go the rest of your life without eating a burger or a pizza ever again. In fact in the past year there’s been a vegan junk food trend emerging, with places like The Temple of Seitan, The Dough Society and Biff’s Jackshack all booming in London!
Mainstream restaurants are getting in on it too, with Pizza Express, Zizzi and even Pizza Hut selling vegan cheese pizzas. Some of my favourites Bills, Byron, and Turtle Bay have loads of plant-based options too.

Preachy Vegans!

One of the things that puts a lot of people off is preachy vegans! Some people are really passionate about it which is great, but having anything shoved in your face can be seriously off-putting! I get shy when people ask me why I’m vegan – for me it’s a very personal thing, which is why I’m happier writing about it on my blog. It’s definitely not for everybody, but if you do want to give it a go make sure you do it on your own terms. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad because you’re cutting down on meat but still wearing leather shoes. It’s your decision so do it your way!
I hope you enjoyed my introduction to veganism. I’m going to write some of my top tips and share more of my experiences in the coming weeks. In the mean time if you want to ask me anything or share your own experiences just hop on Twitter, I’d love to hear from you!
 

Lifestyle

Buckwheat Breakfast Muffins!

Veganuary has been in full swing and it’s inspired me to try out some new and interesting recipes. I bought this book called The New Vegan from Award winning UK cook Aine Carlin – she runs blog Pea Soup Eats and recently wrote Keep It Vegan, another holy grail recipe book for me and I’m loving this too.
I always struggle with breakfast related recipes that are yummy and good for you so this is the first thing that I gravitated towards. There’s only so much butcher muesli you can have so when I saw the Buckwheat Breakfast Muffins part way through the book and realised I had most of the ingredients, I jumped at the chance at making them.
There’s a little preparation to them but they’re relatively easy to make and I loved seeing the end result. They’re rather browned on top so I’d cook for a little less time maybe but they tasted amazing and I even took them into work. Needless to say they went down well and I’ve had requests to make more too.
The recipe is available from the The New Vegan on Amazon. And actually Aine Carlin has a new recipe book Cook Share Eat Vegan due out April 5th.
Let me know if you’ve been loving his recipe from Aine Carlin and if you’ve tried out these Buckwheat Breakfast Muffins over on Twitter.
Happy Eating!
IMG_1750
IMG_1748
IMG_1743

Lifestyle

Thanksgiving Pecan Pie

Happy Thursday! Now, for my UK readers it’s just another day – Black Friday is tomorrow and it’s a little closer to the weekend. But if you’re in the US, it’s a different story – today is Thanksgiving!
Being a British girl I’m not completely sure what thanksgiving is all about – I asked a Canadian couple about it once and they said it was just a day where you take a moment to express gratitude to all the people and things you care about in your life. I think that’s a great thing to do every day, but doing it together with loved ones over a meal seems like a wonderful tradition.
While it hasn’t really hit the UK and Europe, recently I have heard of more and more Brits heading to Thanksgiving dinners with American friends in London, and I think in a few years we’ll see a lot more of it.
This year I wanted to get involved in a small way, and so when a Deliciously Ella recipe for a vegan pecan pie popped up on my Instagram feed I grabbed some ingredients and gave it a go! While I’m still waiting to tuck into it, the kitchen smells amazing and I snapped a few pics before it gets demolished.
Are you celebrating Thanksgiving this year? Tweet me and let me know what you’re grateful for.
Happy eating!
IMG_1563IMG_1562IMG_1565

Lifestyle

Vegan Baking Fun! Blueberry Lemon Loaf Cake

I think one of the biggest misconceptions about vegan food is that it’s just boring salads, seeds and misshapen bits of tofu. But those of us who have been to many vegan cafes and restaurants that have been popping up all over the country in the last couple of years can attest that vegan food is not only exciting, often it’s not even always healthy! Vegans love the taste of burgers or cakes as much as anyone else, just without the animal products inside.
This weekend I decided to bake a naughty vegan cake using a recipe I found in a cookbook on my windowsill aptly named The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town by Ms Cupcake. I picked out a favourite that I’ve made before – the blueberry lemon loaf cake. This beauty is made with three lemons and a small box of blueberries and is delicious. I put in more lemons than the recipe suggests so it’s more like a drizzle cake, with extra lemon peel going into the icing which I purposefully dribble down the sides.
The recipe is definitely a bit naughty for containing plenty of sugar, but I do use rapeseed oil which is a healthier oil than most alternatives, almond milk and plenty of fruit of course! My favourite part about baking this cake is when you open the oven door after half an hour and you get hit with a wave of hot zesty lemon. It makes your kitchen smell amazing and of course it all goes down wonderfully with a cup of tea.
Take a look at the pictures below, and if you’re interested in baking this yourself check out the recipe book on Amazon!
Happy baking!
*This post is sponsored by the lovely people at rapeseedoilbenefits.com, check them out for more healthy oil recipes!
IMG_1549 IMG_1550 IMG_1551