You may remember that last year I attended the first LABL in Liverpool where I spent the day sampling goodies and talking to stall holders. I came home with bags full of delicious food to remember it by too! I’m excited to tell you all about the next fair which is taking place on Saturday 12th April 2014! This fair will have all of the brilliant things that the last one had plus some extras. I’m particularly looking forward to the film screenings and cookery demos and it has been announced that ex-everton player Neil Robinson will be talking about how it’s possible to be a footballer on a plant based diet.
Watch this space for further updates!
When I was in Manchester a few weeks ago I took advantage of a brilliant wholefood shop on Oxford Road. My small wholefoods shop near here doesn’t have as an impressive range of vegan snacks and treats so I easily filled my basket with £30 worth of chocolate, hummus chips and nakd bars!
This Ombar was one of my finds that I was excited to try. I’ve seen other flavours from this brand before but as a huge fan of strawberries, this one really caught my eye. Ombars are raw chocolate bars which are infused with natural ingredients, coconut sugar and bio live cultures. This makes them a healthier alternative to many vegan chocolates and a snack you can feel good about! The coconut sugar is used as it is more sustainable than processed sugar and is collected from trees in Java by the local farmers. It’s also a lot better for your body!
The chocolate bars come in six pieces (I’ve already eaten half of the one in the photo above!) and I thought the bar was quite expensive for the amount of chocolate you get. However the richness of the coconut flavour meant that I could only manage a few bits in one sitting which is great for portion control and for your purse. The strawberry flavour was prominent, unlike some other strawberries bars I’ve tried, and the chocolate had a lovely creamy texture which is very similar to non-vegan milk chocolate.
I’ll definitely be trying the other flavours in the range as this bar is slightly too rich for my tastes. The range includes Cranberry & Mandarin, Coco Mylk, Lemon & Green Tea, Coconut 60%, Goji Berry, Acai & Blueberry and Dark 72%. Find out more from the Ombar website.
What are your favourite raw chocolates?
I try to stick to a whole food diet most of the time but anyone who knows me will know my one weakness is crisps. I’m a connoisseur of the ready salted variety which is usually the only option to a gluten free vegan in this country. I do often think back to the days when I had a wide choice of flavours, my favourites being cheese and onion, smoky bacon and prawn cocktail. Licking the flavoured orange powder off my fingers afterwards was especially delightful. I was therefore very excited when I came across a brand of crisps called Ten Acre.
Although not widely available, this relatively new brand is available in selected shops. All of the eight flavours are suitable for vegans (even the cheese and onion!) and are also gluten and MSG free. They each have a quirky tale attached to them which you can read on the brilliant Ten Acre website. I’ve never seen such an interactive and intriguing website to advertise food before! A few months ago I was lucky enough to be sent some of these crisps to review and eagerly ripped open the package when they arrived! Here I will talk about four of the flavours I tried but please check back next week for the other four!
The first flavour I tried was “The Secret of Mr Salt” which would have been the one I’d have picked up first in the shop as it’s my old standby flavour! The texture of the crisps is what struck me most here. At first I thought they were rather on the thin side but once I started eating them I realised how perfect the thickness was. They were extremely crunchy and morish and had just enough salt on them. These would be a firm favourite if they were available close to me! I soon moved onto the more adventurous flavours though…
“How Chicken Soup Saved The Day” were amongst my favourites of the bunch. I loved Roast Chicken flavour crisps as a child so these were very exciting. Obviously these crisps are vegan and so contain no real chicken flavour. This makes them the perfect replacement for the vegetarians/vegans who are now being deprived of Walkers Roast Chicken flavour due to the real meat juices contained in them! The flavourings in these crisps focus mostly on the herbs parsley and sage. The flavour is deliciously savoury and remarkably chicken like! To see the rest of the ingredients and read the story behind the Chicken Soup click here.
One of my favourite flavours of crisps used to be sweet chilli (I’m mainly thinking of Walkers Sensations!) so I thought I knew what to expect here. However while Sensations were very spicy to my palate, “When The Chilli Got Sweet” was a slightly sweeter flavour. This meant that the flavour could come through better and you could eat them forever without your mouth burning!
“When Hickory Got BBQ’d” was another of my favourites. These gorgeous crisps are flavoured with paprika, cayenne and smoke flavourings and capture the perfect BBQ flavour! Another example of how a traditionally meaty crisp can be vegan!
Please check back next week when I’ll be reviewing the other four flavours – cheese and onion, salt and vinegar, sweet & sour and bombay.
Have you tried Ten Acre Crisps yet? If not which flavour are you most interested in?
When I first went vegetarian I didn’t realise that I would have to give up my beloved Haribo sweets due to the gelatine inside and the beeswax coating the outside. Once I’d given them up I was already on the search for a replacement and came across a company called Goody Good Stuff. Their range of sweets are all vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free with no artificial colourings. They are therefore suitable for a huge range of dietary requirements and are perfect for children who are feeling left out due to specific diets or allergies.
At the moment only four of the range are suitable for vegans due to the beeswax which coats the smoother sweets. It took the company 15 years to perfect their recipe and they are now looking into vegan alternatives for their smooth sweets. To find out more about this please have a look at the statement on their website.
My favourite of all of the Goody Good Stuff sweets are the Summer Peaches. They are covered in sugar and are therefore vegan but they are not sour as the rest of the vegan range are. The gorgeous gummy discs taste of the fruit salad sweets I used to adore as a child and the sugar reminds me of fruit pastilles! These are a delicious sweet treat and are not like any other vegan sweet I’ve ever tried. Goody Good Stuff are clearly the leaders of the vegan sweet market!
Have you tried Goody Good Stuff? Which are your favourites?
*Note – These sweets were provided as a sample by Goody Good Stuff but these views are my own.*
Many of us have adopted new ways of eating at the start of this year. For a lot of people this means giving up their little treats but I want to show you a whole new way of looking at your mid afternoon chocolate bar!
Eating raw is one of the best ways to ensure that none of the nutrients leach out of your foods before you’ve had a chance to eat them. I’m sure some of you had some horrible mushy brussels sprouts over the Christmas period and I can think of no better endorsement for the raw food diet. Sprouts are beautiful when added to salads or lightly stir fried when they not only keep their texture, they keep their nutrients too! Raw foods are also helpful to our digestive systems as they contain higher levels of enzymes as well as friendly bacteria.
While the health benefits of raw food are well known (it’s no coincidence that dieters choose the salad over other foods!), what you may not know is that one of your favourite treats is also available in a raw, less processed package.
The Raw Chocolate Co make a large range of raw chocolate bars as well as chocolate covered mulberries and goji berries. They also sell “supreme foods” such as raw cacao powder, cacao nibs and chia seeds.
I bought one of their raw chocolate bars at Christmas and was very excited to try it out. Other raw chocolates I’ve tried have often been gritty and slightly bitter but this was so smooth I never would have guessed it was raw. The Raw Chocolate Co grind their ingredients for three times longer than other raw chocolate companies, leaving the finished product lovely and creamy. The flavour was delicious, a combination of vanilla and toffee that was reminiscent of the white chocolate I used to love as a child and there was no hint of bitterness in there.
These bars are available in Holland & Barratt as well as some wholefoods shops and online. To find out more about The Raw Food Co. have a look at their website here.
Have you tried raw chocolate yet?
The sun has risen on 2014 and everyone is two weeks into their new year resolutions already! I haven’t made new years resolutions exactly but I do have some goals to improve my diet and wellbeing.
1) Whole Foods
I eat a mostly whole foods diet but over the past few months I’ve slipped back into eating more processed foods and fewer vegetables than I would like. For the past two weeks I have gone back to eating whole foods and I feel amazing. I’m working on cutting out convenience foods when I’m outside the house now. I currently eat a lot of crisps and gluten free biscuits when I’m at work!
2) Fresh Vegetables
I recently stopped receiving a weekly vegetable box and started buying vegetables every week. This means I only buy what I need and I can look for fruit and vegetables which are on offer. Last week I found a huge bag of carrots for only 70p which were immediately made into soup and frozen for some cheap meals!
3) Meal Planning
With my weekly meal plan I can get much more use out of my huge collection of cookbooks and bookmarked recipes. I pair it with a shopping list so I only buy the food which I need.
I’ve never learnt how to swim but with a swimming baths around the corner from my house I’ve really got no excuse. I currently don’t do any exercise which is something I really want to change. I think some regular swimming will help my asthma and my stomach problems.
Happy new year everyone and good luck with your goals and aspirations for the year!
What are your new year resolutions?
I hope you all had a brilliant Christmas and a wonderful start to the New Year! As you would expect, I indulged in some new recipes over Christmas. My Christmas cake this year was a gluten free and vegan fruit cake which I decorated in a pink and purple theme for a change. It wasn’t a traditional Christmas cake as it didn’t have any alcohol in it and was very much a moist ginger cake with mixed fruit inside. I love marzipan but only ever eat it at Christmas so there was a thick layer underneath the icing!
One of the most common questions I get when people find out I’m vegan is “what do you eat for Christmas dinner?” Many vegans are fans of a traditional nut roast or a meat substitute for their dinners but I fancied something different this year. I had a roasted butternut squash which was stuffed with mushrooms and chestnuts and tasted deliciously festive. It was served with the traditional roasted potatoes, carrots and parsnips and some sprouts. Unfortunately I missed out on buying a gluten free Christmas pudding so I had the slightly less traditional dessert of strawberry and ginger crumble. It tasted much nicer than any Christmas pudding would have!
What were your favourite foods over Christmas? Do you stick with the traditional menu or try to experiment a bit more?