Tuesday 26 June 2018

Vegan Food Spotting: High Street Kensington [Video]

Whole Foods Market - just like a well-stocked bookstore - is one of those places I could spend hours walking through. Forget properly shopping there, because some of those prices are...phew!...but when I'm in the area it's satisfying to wander around, marvelling at all the vegan alternatives on offer. This is where you go if/when you miss things like grated cheese and evaporated milk and French pastries. Who knew? Coconut evaporated milk for crying out loud! I treated myself to a vegan croissant while I was there and the first bite felt like being lifted off the ground. It transported me back to my year of living abroad in France in 2012... those few months before I went vegan, when croissants and pains au chocolat were an almost-daily indulgence. Memories.

On this particular evening of vegan food spotting at Whole Foods, I also had dinner at Wagamama - my first visit to the chain since the launch of their new vegan & vegetarian menu. Slow clap. Totally game-changing. My heart and stomach were full that evening. Of course, I had to go for their signature 'vegatsu' (a vegan take on their popular katsu curry, but with crispy seitan strips instead of chicken strips). Have you been yet? You should.

With the weather as beautiful as it is in London these days, I imagine I'll be doing a lot of trekking around the ol' city. When I do, I'll likely create more of these food spotting videos, because why not.

Have a great week!

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Catering a Vegan Wedding [Pictures & Video]

Words are not enough to capture the weekend gone by. I catered a wedding! A whole wedding! The intensity was unlike anything I've ever experienced before and I don't think I've ever had so much adrenaline pumping through my system. Forget skydiving and bungee jumping, catering a wedding is where it's at if you want a good kick.

Overall, it was a challenging experience with a lot of rewarding outcomes. My clients were an absolute pleasure to work with and my team was the definition of 'Dream Team'.

The video I've put together barely captures the experience, but I'm glad that I was able to get some footage at least. When the official wedding photographs come out, I'll try and update this post with more pictures.

If you've got an event coming up and think we could work well together, definitely drop me a line. Just putting it out there that I would love to cater an all-vegan baby shower next. Or a birthday party!

Tuesday 12 June 2018

Baked Plantain Chips (Savoury)

A bowl of plantain chips = a thing of absolute beauty. Skip the spitting-splashing oil from frying and bake them instead. I'm more of a sweet plantain chip gal myself, and for that you'd need to use ripe plantains, but I had a rogue green plantain at home and decided to use it up in this way. Plus, you'll never see me turn down plantain in any form, so there's that.

I used a mandolin slicer to achieve the super thin strips and would recommend that you use that too. If you're missing this most essential kitchen gadget though, go ahead and slice as thinly as you can with a knife.

Hope you enjoy this super simple recipe!

- 1 unripe plantain
- sunflower oil (enough to coat the sliced plantain)
- salt to taste
- crushed chilli flakes

Slice the plantain as thinly as possible using a knife or mandolin slicer (available on Amazon). Place in a large bowl and add sunflower oil, salt and chilli flakes. Give it a quick toss/mix until the plantain is well-coated.

Lay the plantain slices out on a a lined baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees C for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Leave to cool slightly before serving.

Thursday 7 June 2018

Vegan Tests by HealthLabs.com

'Should I be vegan?' 'Am I doing this vegan thing right?' If either of those questions have ever crossed your mind, then the feature below may be of massive interest.

HealthLabs.com was founded by Fiyyaz Pirani in 2010 and is a platform that offers fast, private, and affordable lab testing that can be scheduled and ordered online. They have now become the first ever online lab testing service to offer comprehensive testing packages that are tailored toward vegans and those considering the health benefits of a plant-based diet.

The Vegan Nutritional Maintenance panel is designed for those who are already vegan and want to ensure that they have a well-balanced diet. This panel contains 11 tests for possible nutrient deficiencies that vegans may encounter if their plant-based diet is off-balance. It will look for things that the bloodstream may be more vulnerable to, such as a B-12 deficiency or high levels of folic acid.
The Should You be Vegan testing panels are designed for those considering veganism, who want to see if they're experiencing unwanted side effects from a meat and dairy diet. This test will look for allergies that may be brought on by animal-derived food. Many experience pain, sluggishness, and discomfort after consuming meat or dairy and this test aims to help non-vegans see the benefit in making changes to their lifestyle and habits, which could ultimately improve their mental and physical health.
The comprehensive Should You Be Vegan test panel will test for 38 different food allergies, looking for lactose intolerance, egg allergies, meat allergies, and more. The Standard and Basic panels, on the other hand, will be less extensive versions of the test and will look for the more common animal-derived food allergies.
Many have recently become drawn to a plant-based diet, due to its numerous health benefits, such as lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Veganism is also one of the best ways to fight factory farming, animal cruelty, and reduce our environmental impact. It's exciting to see a company such as HealthLabs expand its resources to empower the vegan community.

If any of the tests outlined above have sparked your interest, you can find out more by visiting www.HealthLabs.com or by phone at 1-800-579-3914. Their health specialists are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day. Testing is easy and results are received within a couple of days.

Tuesday 5 June 2018

Donkwa/Tanfiri/Uloka | Vegan Hausa Snack | Easy Version

This snack is ridiculously easy to make, but it's really got a lot going for it. High in protein (where do vegans get their protein from? snacksssss!), gluten-free (if you're about that gluten-free life) and a unique taste experience, if ever there was one. This snack also goes by the name dawaka.

I made this at my cookery demo in Bristol last week and having forgotten to record the darn thing, thought it'd be good to create a post and video for it.

Admittedly, my recipe has been highly modified for the contemporary, *cough* lazy chef. Instead of blending roasted peanuts from scratch, I've skipped straight to store-bought peanut butter (good quality stuff though! If you're going to replace, at least replace well). Instead of measuring out the perfect ratio of water/oil/sugar to bind everything together, I've used fruit syrup. The traditional recipe can often have a bit of chilli powder thrown in, but this is entirely optional and I have gone for a full-on sweet version.

It's crumbly, it melts in the mouth, it's gritty, it's nutty, it's just plain good. An audience member who tried it last week compared it to halva, and I think that's pretty spot on. You should try it. Seriously.

(makes about 10-15 balls)
- 1 cup fine cornmeal (roasted)
- 2 heap tablespoons smooth peanut butter (unsalted/unsweetened)
- 2 tablespoons syrup (fruit/maple/rice...etc)
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined. Form into little bite-sized ball shapes. Done!