Tag Archives: Vegan

Ice cream…..

I’ve seen plenty of ice creams being advertised as vegan and dairy free but in all honesty I’ve never been much of an ice cream eater, this did however intrigue me. It was the halo top which also has the added bonus of being low in calories and what I really wanted to try was the salted caramel flavour. Unfortunately I couldn’t spot this in the freezer aisle at my local Tesco, so I grabbed myself the peanut butter cup one thinking this should be good as I do love a bit of peanut butter. I was disappointed ☹️ it didn’t taste very nice, the texture was thick and stuck to the sides of my mouth and I just did not like the taste. It hasn’t put me off wanting to try the salted caramel flavour version in future, I’ve been told that the normal non vegan halo top ice creams are good (they do a mint choc chip!) so any non vegans should probably give this a go.

This experience did leave me wanting to try more ice creams, it’s like I got the flavour of it by having those few mouthfuls which meant the next time I went shopping I found myself dawdling down towards the ice cream aisle πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Again, there was no halo top salted caramel in the vegan section so either I’ve completely dreamt this up or it’s a very popular flavour! I did however see a salted caramel and almond Alpro tub 🀭 no, it wasn’t a low calorie option but yes it was the flavour I’d been craving and yes it was delicious!

I could easily make my way round all the vegan ice creams in the supermarket (hang on πŸ€” that is an idea πŸ˜ƒ), but I won’t be going near the halo top peanut butter cup and I will certainly be wanting more of the Alpro salted caramel and almond πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

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Lunch at the Oakhouse, Maldon

I felt it was time to treat myself to a nice lunch in town on one of my lunch breaks. Although originally I had thought this would just be a cuppa and possible cake so I’d contacted OAKhouseBarCafe on Instagram to make sure they can provide soya milk or an alternative and I could have a hot chocolate or a cup of tea. I was really disappointed that they did not respond to my message, it’s a great way of communicating with customers so it’s a shame this isn’t monitored. However, I did take a look on their website before turning up and was pleased that the menu is online and I could see there was a vegan option for lunch.

Having eaten in here before I had concerns that I might have needed longer than my usual hour for lunch and walking in I could see it was fairly busy with most tables being taken. There was one booth left which was reserved for just over an hours time which worked out well for us so we took a seat and I grabbed a menu from the bar, taking the time to check out the specials on the black board but unfortunately there were no vegan options.

I didn’t feel the menu had that many plant based choices, there was the rough cut OAKhouse chips or sweet potato fries under the light bites range, a Roast pepper, roast onion and nut free pesto wrap and a salad with stuffed olives, blackened bell peppers and sun-dried tomatoes. I wanted a proper lunch so the light bites were no good and not liking olives meant the salad was out which left the roast pepper, roast onion and nut free pesto wrap.

I have to say it was a lovely wrap with great flavour and it came out with a small number or crisps and a side salad which finished it off nicely. I would definitely come here and have this again, and I’d recommend it to others even those who aren’t vegan would enjoy this meal. To sum it up, the meal was great and the bar has a really nice atmosphere, the negative for here is the lack of vegan options but what they did have was good quality and tasty.

Poplar Nurseries, Marks Tey

I was looking online for places to go for lunch and Poplar Nurseries came up on google, I checked out the menu and was really happy to see a great selection of vegan meals.

There is so much on the menu that I would like, I decided to book a table as I’d never been here before I didn’t know how busy it would get or how big the restaurant is. I just dropped them an email and they responded very quickly and booked me straight in. I arrived early and took a look round the shop which is definitely worth doing as there was some lovely things for the kitchen, cards and books as well as the normal plants you’d find in a garden centre. When I walked into the restaurant I was immediately pleased I’d reserved a table, it was very busy but I went straight to the counter and was told where my table was.

We sat down, took a look at the menu and then went back to the counter to order food and give the table number. Whilst there I got a good look at all the cakes available 😳there was a lot to choose from and this included 2 different vegan cakes, a lemon drizzle and a chocolate and almond cheesecake. I was already considering getting both to take away after eating lunch πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ there was a sign at the till saying there was currently a 25min wait for food, I could understand why as the restaurant was huge and rammed full. It wasn’t a problem for me as not having to get back to work I use lunches out as a social event and it gave me a good chance to have a chat and catch up.

It didn’t actually feel as long as 25 minutes when my lunch was bought over, I’d gone for the butternut squash and red pepper curry with coconut rice. It was a big portion which was great as I was really hungry, it looked and smelt great! I couldn’t wait to tuck in, the butternut squash was nice and soft with big chunks of red pepper which was cooked well and the flavours from the curry were the strongest and tastiest I’ve had from a vegan meal so far πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ I wish I could have eaten it all but I was so full up I had to leave a small mount of rice, I’d decided I couldn’t take away two cakes after that feast and had to choose between the two 😳

So, I went for the chocolate and almond cheesecake which was presented in a box to take away. I ate it a few hours after getting home and it was so tasty, the flavours and texture of the cake were great – I’d love to have the recipe to try and make this myself!

Whilst I was here I’d asked if they could cater for a vegan afternoon tea which they could no problem so I’m very excited to try this out at some point! I loved it here, really accommodating for vegans and I did notice that there was also plenty of gluten free options. I’m really keen to comeback for both an afternoon tea and to try some more of the meals in the vegan section. This is a 9.5/10 without a doubt.

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Toby Carvery…. as a vegan πŸ˜³

This was going to be interesting, I didn’t want to miss out on a trip to Toby Carvery but at the same time I wasn’t really sure how this was going to work. I’m sure I’ve seen vegan and vegetarian options on the menu before and I thought, if it came to it, I would be quite happy with a plate of potatoes and vegetables. Let’s be honest, the best part of any roast dinner is the roasties and I was confident I’d seen vegetarian gravy when I’ve been in there in the past.

As I hadn’t booked I was very lucky to have still got seated straight away at 12 midday on a Sunday, busy in an understatement I’d never seen a queue so big for the food! I was so pleased to see the vegetarian and vegan options on the menu and I actually wasn’t sure what to go for, in the end I chose the Grilled Aubergine Stack (but I was very tempted with the Roast Mushroom and Ale Pie!). I still had to join the queue for my vegetables and the waitress kindly kept my main warm behind the scenes until I made it back to my table.

Most vegetables were actually cooked without butter so I had a big portion of veg with far too many potatoes 😳 I just couldn’t help myself!! The Grilled Aubergine Stack is grilled aubergine and mediterranean style vegetables combined in a tomato and oregano sauce, topped with a vegan white sauce and crumb topping. I would love to have been able to show you what this looked like but I completely forgot to take a photo and just dug straight in πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ. Oh my god it was so good, really tasty and at a great price I would be happy to come back for this again.

I’m hoping these dishes aren’t only available for veganuary but a permanent item on the menu. I find Toby really hard to rate because of the way the food is served, it’s a bit school canteen but u can’t fault the taste and quality of the food – it must just be an impossible task to keep the food area clean and tidy of spillages as well as continually topped up. I was also a little disappointed that there wasn’t any broccoli but the grilled aubergine stack more than made up for this on taste and the menu selection was a great surprise. I think it’s only fair to go in at an 8/10.

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Tesco meet free mince

So, the idea here was to buy some Quorn mince to make myself a big batch of vegan chilli and spaghetti Bol – I just had plans to make these as I would normally and instead of using turkey mince as I would have in the past I’d use the meat free mince instead. The first hurdle I had to jump was finding the right mince, I was really shocked to learn that Quorn mince is not vegan! It contains egg white (it’s a good job I’m checking all the ingredients still), so I spent some time in the freezer aisle finding an alternative which is where the Tesco meet free mince stepped in.

I am pleased to say this is vegan, was very easy to cook up (just like normal mince meat but takes less time) and tasted great as both a chilli and a bolognese. For most people I’d recommend this as an alternative to normal mince meat however, for me it raised some really bad stomach issues. I know this is likely just something that flares up my IBS but I am quite gutted not to be able to have this as a staple part of my diet.

I’m 99% sure this was the culprit and I will definitely be avoiding in the future which is a real shame but the diet so far has been having a positive influence on the tummy issues I’ve experienced in the past so I will continue to search for the right foods for my body. Lentil / chickpea bolognese is the next test and I’m sure it’s going to be just as tasty!

Pret A Manger – soup

I’m in town and I need lunch, I’ve hit that point of hunger where I’m no longer in the mood to do anything but eat – hangry. We’ve all been there it’s nothing to be ashamed of and we all know that it’s important to be fed as a matter of urgency. There’s a Pret just over the road and having had a snack in here before I know they do vegan foods, so I went in and was thankful it wasn’t too busy.

I immediately grabbed a wrap but then, hang on, there were some soups labelled Vegan and I could grab a roll… so I went for it and had the veggie chilli. I don’t know if it was because I was hungry or if it genuinely is one of the best soups I’ve ever had πŸ˜‹ it was a big cup full and with the roll it was spot on to fill me up. The texture was thick with chunks in which is how I like my soup.

It’s a great place to come for a quick lunch whilst in town, or to pick up a snack that’s vegan friendly, I think there’s a lot more to choose from here than many of the other big chained cafes.

The Bull – vegan lunch

I’d booked a table at The Bull in Great a Totham for lunch, it wasn’t particularly busy but I always feel it’s best to get booked in at a place like this and it’s so easy to do online. I was shown straight to my table in the back at The Willow room as this is where all customers were seated for the day. The willow room is to the back of the pub and much more of a restaurant, it’s decorated really well and I thought the chandelier lights were perfect for the room.

We were handed the menu and although there was a couple of vegetarian meals showing these were not highlighted as vegan, so when we ordered our drinks I asked the waitress who went to find out for me. Someone came over and explained there was a root vegetable dish available for vegans although this wasn’t on the menu which I thought was a bit strange but it sounded nice so was happy to give it a go. I was really pleased when it came out, it looked great and tasted so nice πŸ˜‹ it wasn’t something I would normally go for but I’m really glad I did and it gave me confidence in being able to continue with a vegan diet even when eating out without too much trouble.

I’m not 100% sure what all the vegetables were in this dish, I know there was sweet potato and butternut squash plus I did pick out the olives (I tried one, still don’t like them 😬), but it was actually very filling and I was pleasantly surprised on the taste. Although I was full, I could tell from the conversations that we would be going down the route of ordering a dessert! I did think that it was unlikely that I would find a vegan dessert but, the very helpful waitress pointed out that there was sorbet which would be suitable and I had the choice of 3 flavours – lemon, raspberry and summer berries so I went for one of each πŸ™Š.

You can’t go wrong with sorbet, refreshing and great flavours it really finished my meal off well and I was chuffed not to have to watch the others eating a delicious dessert and have nothing myself! This is a great pub with a lovely menu and I would recommend a visit however, I was disappointed that there wasn’t more on the menu for a vegan diet. I was really pleased with my meal but it would have been good to have had more of a choice and it does mean that if and when I come back here I know that I’ll be limited to possibly the same meal. For this reason I’m giving it an 8/10.

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