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It’s a celebration month! After nearly a year (and nearly seven years together) I finally had my interview at the US embassy for my spouse visa. I’m happy to say it was approved! So I’ll be making the move across the pond in the next few months. I’m excited to see what blogging stateside will be like – especially since there are SO many delicious vegan products available.

In other news, I got a new popsicle mold! It’s by Norpro and it’s amazing. You can get them on Amazon.

To make mine I’m using maple water as the liquid but you can use coconut, birch or bamboo if you wish. Maple water is ever so slightly sweet – so these popsicles aren’t very sweet themselves. If you’re looking to make it sweet you can add some maple syrup or agave nectar to taste.

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g watermelon, roughly chopped into chunks
  • 150g strawberries, hulled
  • 16 fl oz/470ml maple water
  • Zest of one lime
  • Juice of half a lime
  1. Add everything to a blender and blend on high until very smooth.
  2. Pour carefully into a popsicle mold. If using the Norpro model, insert the wooden popsicle stick into the openings on the lid – otherwise proceed as you would with your mold.
  3. Freeze the popsicles for 6-8 hours or until completely solid.
  4. To release them from the mold, remove from the freezer and gently submerge the bottom of the mold in warm water. They should pull out smoothly.

 

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Watermelon and I have never gotten on well but now I’d like to take the time to apologise to watermelon. I’m sorry that I lumped you in with all the other melons (I’m looking at you, disgusting honeydew) when you are infact delicious. Also apologies to my husband Brian who has been telling me that watermelon is the greatest ever for like the last six years and I refused to believe him. He is right about food almost all the time and I really should just listen to him!

Now that’s out of the way – I have another snack food to review. The kind folks over at Ape sent me some of their coconut curls to try. They come in two flavours, lightly salted and lightly peppered.

They have no added sugar, are gluten-free, high in fibre and they’re dried into the curls instead of being fried! They are also under 110 calories if you’re into that sort of thing.

I really enjoyed the coconut curls – especially the lightly salted ones. They’re crunchy but not too chewy and not overly salty. After I shot the photos for this post I stuffed the rest of them into my mouth. I think they would make a really great crouton on top of a savoury salad – especially the lightly peppered ones!

I decided to make a fruit salad with the coconut curls – a nice texture change between soft mango and the icy crunch of watermelon. Watermelon, salt and lime go very well together so the lightly salted coconut curls work really well here. A refreshing summer breakfast or dessert.

You can find Ape on their website, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g watermelon, cut into small chunks
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 packet of Ape lightly salted coconut curls OR 20g coconut chips + 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • Juice of half a lime
  1. In a bowl combine the watermelon, mango and lime juice. Toss together until coated. Sprinkle over the coconut curls and dig in!
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My honey boo camera is back from repairs! I’m so glad to have it back! Now we can resume a hopefully more normal posting schedule. If you need your Canon fixed and you live in the UK – check out Fixation – they are great!

A couple of weeks ago I was sent some Ichai Tea to try and review. Before I got into coffee chai was my number one thing – but I only ever really drank the Twinings teabags and overly sweet soya ones from Starbucks. So when Gaia (who also sent me the Ugly drinks to try, thanks Gaia!) asked me if I wanted to try the Ichai I said FOR SURE!

The Ichai came in a big box with a handwritten note, a normal sized metal tea caddy of Spicy Chai and some smaller sample bags of blend 8, 3 and 7. Number 8 being the Classic Chai, number 7 the Vanilla Chai and number 3 the Ginger Chai. There are 8 blends of Ichai in total and you can check them out here. There was also a loose leaf tea infuser that goes into your cup – this was such a godsend because I had nothing to brew with. I’m happy to say this thing works like a charm.

The first thing I noticed when I opened up the tea was the smell! So fragrant and rich. Ichai is a loose leaf tea blend with real spices – so there are whole cardamom pods and pieces of cinnamon. It’s magic really.

I absolutely loved the Spicy Chai and my second favourite was the vanilla #7. I’ve found before that vanilla flavoured teas can be a bit fake tasting but this was amazing! A total comfort tea.

I have no qualms in saying I would happily buy more Ichai – I’m definitely getting a bigger size of the vanilla! Goodbye old dusty Twinings bags, hello legitimate luxury Ichai!

I wanted to use the Ichai in a recipe so I’ve come up with a chai almond milk recipe below. If you can’t find Ichai where you live make sure you get your hands on a high quality, highly spiced loose leaf chai – it honestly makes all the different.

You can find Ichai online on here

Website
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked in water for approximately 8 hours or overnight
  • 4 tsp of Ichai spicy chai loose leaf tea
  • 4 cups bottled or filtered water, divided
  • 2-3 soft pitted dates
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
  1. First brew the tea, add the tea to a teapot and pour over about 1 cup of boiling bottled water or add the tea to a saucepan with the water and bring to a boil.
  2. Once the tea has begun to brew, set aside to cool. After 10 minutes, discard the tea.
  3. Drain and rinse the almonds then add them to the blender.
  4. Add 3 cups of bottled water and blend on high until the almond milk is smooth. Strain the mixture through a nut milk bag unless you like your milk very thick.
  5. Pour the strained milk back into the blender and add the pitted dates. Blend on high until smooth. (If your dates are very hard, soak them in boiling water for 5 minutes to soften.)
  6. Pour the cooled tea into the almond milk, add the vanilla powder. Blend on low until well incorporated. Taste for sweetness – if not sweet enough you can add another date.
  7. Pour the milk over ice in your favourite glass and enjoy! This also makes a rich and beautifully spiced porridge.
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This Sunday my mum and I took a trip down to Ozone Coffee in Old Street to grab some brunch.

Being the organised vegan that I am I did some research beforehand on their website and was happy to find that they currently have three vegan friendly dishes on their brunch menu (and three on the week day menu including 2 main dishes!)

Obviously Ozone serve impeccable tasting coffee – my previous trip here was to grab a take-away soya latte and it’s definitely one of the best coffees I’ve ever had. They use Bon Soy milk which in my opinion is THE best soy milk for coffee.
However, at the moment I’m avoiding drinking soy milk on a daily basis since it seems to have the effect of turning my skin into that of my sixteen year old self. Happily though, Ozone serve The Pressery‘s almond milk (for an extra 50p).

My mum and I both had a latte (mine with the almond milk), the coffee blend at the moment being the Empire Blend with notes of dark chocolate, sweet and orange rind. We both definitely detected the dark chocolate!

To eat I chose the Turkish style scrambled tofu menemen with smokey tomato & chilli on seeded sourdough bread and a side of herbed avocado. The other vegan options included Banana & almond milk chia pudding with nectarine & popped wild rice and Bruschetta with smoked romesco, burnt cucumber, heirloom tomatoes & seeds. Obviously there is the vegan staple of chips as well!

The scrambled tofu was very delicious – not too spicy and went very well with the herbed avocado. A successful brunch. After eating we had a look in their cake case and I was so pleased to see a vegan friendly cake! A chocolate and avocado – which we obviously had to take home with us.

I’m looking forward to seeing what vegan friendly options Ozone have planned for their autumn menu but I would come back here for the coffee alone.

You can find Ozone Coffee Roasters online, on Twitter and on Instagram.

1 Leonard Street
London EC2A 4AQ

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If you happen to read this blog occassionally you’ll know that my husband and I are huge fans of mushrooms. We’ve always enjoyed eating them but since finding wild morels on our honeymoon last year we got a bee in our bonnet about finding them out in the wild.

So far we haven’t really found many edible mushrooms. But the poisonous ones are still interesting to look at. PSA: never, ever consume a mushroom if you aren’t 100% sure what it is. Before hunting invest in a good mushroom identifying guide (I use this one for the UK and purchased this Californian one for Brian) and when in doubt consult people with more knowledge than you – the folks over at r/mycology are happy to help in identifying unknown fungi.

Brian visited me back in April for our one year wedding anniversary and my birthday and I had heard good things about mushrooms in the New Forest. We took a day trip down there with Kim and had vigorous walk around a section of the forest.

We ended up finding a good amount of oyster mushrooms and some other less edible ones. Unfortunately this was the day when my camera decided to die (don’t use third-party batteries, guys) so I never got any photos of our haul.

Anyway, the real purpose of this post was to share some of the photos I took that day. I took my camera in to get repaired today so I’m hoping that I will be able to start blogging FOR REAL again very soon. I miss it!

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Last week I won a Twitter competition with Equinox Kombucha – all 4 of their booch flavours, some 9bars and 2 tickets to Taste of London in Regents Park!

I took my friend Eleeshia who blogs over at Conscious Glow! We went after I finished work on Saturday, the evening session at 5:30! Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great (sooo much mud) but I was super happy to find there was lots of vegan goodies.

The restaurant options were a bit lacking – two options at Amico Bio and a possible option at Vanilla Black but I wasn’t super hungry so I wasn’t too bothered.

First we ended up at Pip & Nut! I’m a huge fan of these nut butters and I’d been searching for the crunchy maple peanut butter in vain for a little while. We had a couple of samples there! I ended up picking up two jars of the peanut butter and their plain cashew!

Thai fruit stall! They had loads of different thai fruit including rambutan, lychee, mangosteen and DURIAN! I’ve only had durian once and it was frozen with sticky rice – my husband and I shared it in California. It’s definitely an interesting fruit experience – like onions, garlic and custard. There wasn’t any samples here to try unfortunately! I did have some mangosteen and longan!

Next we headed over to Plenish to say the secret word and get our free Plenish Water! The ladies there asked us if we wanted to take a photo with their backdrop and props and we said sure! We also tried some samples of their cashew milk which was beautifully smooth!

Next we snagged some sundaes at The Coconut Collab stall! I had chocolate with strawberries and chocolate syrup! Eleeshia had mango with blueberries and granola. Delicious! Just a shame the weather didn’t quite match up.

Obviously we had to swing by the Equinox kombucha stall since they were so kind to send me the tickets! They had cocktails but I don’t drink alcohol so I just got their Wild Berry kombucha on tap! Delicious!

Juice samples at BFresh! The Strawberry Fields juice was great!

Hippeas chickpea puffs! It’s always great to check the ingredients on a packet and see “VEGAN” written on it. The Hippeas team gave us a packet each to take with us!

Everything I picked up at Taste of London! Fresh mangosteen, Plenish Water, Pip & Nut butters, Hippeas and some free basil seeds.

A pretty successful and fun evening! Thank you to Equinox Kombucha for providing the prize!

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So first things first – it’s been FOREVER.

That’s completely my fault. I’ve been completely unmotivated in the recipe department, think more eating to survive rather than thinking of elaborate things to make and photograph. On top of that my husband came to visit for 3 weeks and it was the first time we had seen each other in a WHOLE YEAR. Visas are no joke, people. (Maybe once it’s done I’ll write something about my experience.)

Then whilst I was out on a mushroom hunting foray my camera broke. Like won’t turn on, dead, broke. I think the fuse is busted inside so will be a fun trip down to the camera shop in the near future.

So that leaves me with my Iphone 6s+ to take photos with. So I’m kinda breaking two of my own personal rules with this post. 1) Use the fancy camera all the damn time 2) Make some kind of recipe incorporating whatever thing you’re reviewing.

I’m gonna start going easy on myself with rule number 2, in the past I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to come up with some amazing recipe that someone has sent me to try, but why not just try it? So from now you’ll see me do little product reviews – sometimes with recipes and sometimes not. Of course they’ll always be vegan products!

Recently the team over at Ugly Drinks asked if they could send me some of their drinks to try. Upon reading that Ugly is naturally fruit flavoured sparkling water but with no added sugar I was really intrigued and gratefully accepted.

Ugly is a bit like an adult soft drink but without that nasty sugar crash and feeling of “oh god what have I done”. I love to drink plain old water – you’ll see me carrying a goblet of it around the house and I’m never far away from my Klean Kanteen when I’m out and about but I really enjoyed the flavouring with Ugly. I think if you were a drinker they would work really well as mixers for alcohol and cocktails.

It was a surprise to me but I really loved the grapefruit & pineapple flavour. I really don’t like pineapple at all but this is amazing! Since it’s been so warm lately I’ve been happily drinking my Uglies. I’d really love to try using them to make an iced tea type drink!

If you’re looking for an alternative to soft drinks and can’t quite leave the flavours behind then Ugly drinks are definitely a good alternative.

You can find Ugly on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Ugly sent me a box of drinks to try – all opinions are my own and I think their products are great! 

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I’m a big fan of jackfruit. I’ve made BBQ pulled pork and a jackfruit pot pie. The stringy texture of the young, green jackfruit lends itself well to a meat like texture. I wanted to try and use it as a chicken substitute without shredding it like I did in my pot pie recipe.

The blog turned two the other day! I remember last year I said I was going to remember..well I didn’t! I only realised because Facebook gave me one of those “two years ago today” reminders. I’m a bad blog mum clearly. Anyway, thanks for sticking around and reading this blog for the past couple of years!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can young, green jackfruit in WATER or BRINE – NEVER IN SYRUP
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup soya milk mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the breading

Dry mix

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried dill

Wet mix

  • Reserved 1 cup of soya buttermilk marinade
  • 1/2 cup flour

  1. Mix the soya milk with the apple cider vinegar in a small cup or jug. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Drain and rinse the jackfruit thoroughly. Using a sharp knife cut away the small spongy triangle piece on each of the jackfruit. If you wish, use the knife to carefully pop out the round seeds.
  3. Add the jackfruit to a bowl and add the spices and garlic. Mix well with a spoon.
  4. Pour the soya milk and vinegar mixture over the jackfruit. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
  5. Carefully drain the jackfruit, reserving the buttermilk mixture.
  6. Prepare two bowls. In one bowl add the reserved buttermilk mixture and whisk in the 1/2 cup of flour. In the another bowl add the flour, spices and herbs. Whisk well to combine.
  7. On a medium heat, heat about 1/2 inch vegetable oil in a large heavy bottomed frying pan or cast iron skillet. When a little flour flicked into the oil starts fizzing immediately the oil is ready.
  8. Working in stages dip the jackfruit into the flour mixture, shake off the excess then dip into the batter mixture then finally back into the flour before frying each side for 3-4 minutes or until crispy and golden.
  9. Repeat for all the remaining pieces of jackfruit. Serve hot with your favourite vegan mayonnaise or ranch dressing.
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Bananas and I have reached a sort of impasse. I’ve talked before about how they are genuinely gross and I hate them…however I can stomach them baked and blended into things like pancakes, smoothies and banana bread.

Banana bread is the bomb. However, last time I made it it ended up getting all stuck in the tin and I was eating chunks of it out of there with my hands like a cave person. I wanted to make it again but in an easier and less messy way – in comes my mini muffin tray! Mini food is the best.

I’ll be eating these for breakfast a lot I reckon. Of course if you don’t own a mini muffin tin you can use a normal one – just adjust the cooking time accordingly.

This recipe makes approximately 36 mini muffins.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup soft light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup soy milk mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 2 tbsp water)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or other light tasting oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c/350f. If your muffin tray is not non-stick, line it with mini muffin paper cases.
  2. Prepare the flax egg, mix the ground flax with the water and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the mashed banana and brown sugar and mix on low until combined.
  4. In a large jug add the soy milk mixed with the apple cider vinegar, oil and vanilla extract. Whisk together and set aside.
  5. In another bowl sift together the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the dry ingredients into the mixer, mixing on low until incorporated. It will form a soft dough.
  6. Pour in the wet ingredients and the flax egg, beating on medium until the mixture resembles a batter.
  7. Carefully spoon a teaspoon of batter into each muffin case until all are filled. Tap the tray on the counter a few times.
  8. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  9. Leave the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes then carefully remove them from the pan to cool on a wire wrack.
  10. Repeat for the rest of the batter.