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Eating Vegan In Essex: Vegan Menu At Acanteen Chelmsford

Acanteen is located by the River Can in the heart of Chelmsford. This family run restaurant was established in 2001 and has become a firm favourite for us city dwellers. All food is sustainably sourced and produced ethically served in a Nordic inspired setting. In mid January of 2018 the eatery extended its vegan options and created a solely vegan menu. I couldn’t wait to book up on a Friday evening and give some dishes a try!

Vegan Menu At Acanteen

A trip to Acanteen isn’t complete without a coffee or alcoholic beverage. Many a Saturday morning I have sat with my laptop and typed away whilst sipping on a rich soya flat white. By evening, the coffee transcends into a sweet and caffeine fuelled Espresso Martini and one I can’t pass up on. Ever since my first visit, I have fallen in love with the Nordic decor. Each piece of furniture seems to be carefully crafted and thought out, the minimalist design complimented by the simple yet delicious dishes they serve. By day their bake shop serves vegan and gluten-free friendly brunches and lunches to take away or to sit in with. Juices and coffee accompany hand made vegan friendly cakes as well as a selection of popular vegan snack brands to feast your eyes upon. What’s more, they have an afternoon tea menu that has many a Vegan option too for just £14.95 a head!

Vegan Menu At Acanteen: Vegan Fish & Chips

On the Vegan menu at Acanteen there were 4 options to choose from; Vegan Fish & Chips, Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, Lentil Mushroom Olive Burger or Crispy Seitan Fillet Burger. My eyes were instantly drawn to the Vegan Fish & Chips, curious to see how fishy they can make the fillet. Our vegan fish was made from fried tofu and nori sheets served atop triple cooked chunky chips with a homemade tartare sauce. I have never been a fan of tartare sauce until I tried this homemade version, it was absolutely delicious! The creamy, fish-like herby sauce married perfectly with the crispy Tofu fillet. The nori sheets give the fried tofu the fishy taste but not in a way that is too similar to it’s living counterpart. I would have loved two of the To-fish fillets and less chips to balance the dish out more and maybe a side of mushy peas or salad to garnish. Priced at £13.95, this was a little high for the size of the serving but not far off for the fantastic flavours.

Vegan Menu At Acanteen: Crispy Seitan Fillet Burger

The other main we sampled from the new menu was the Crispy Seitan Fillet Burger. A fillet was served in a white crusty roll with chilli guacamole, red onion slices, salad, garlic mayo and with a side of skin on fries. The fillet was herby and salty with a tasty crumbed outer. The creamy avocado guacamole complimented the fillet along with delicious garlic mayo and raw red onion (if that is what you enjoy – not for me!). All of this was served in a toasted fresh crusty bun which couldn’t have been more perfect. Carb-heavy with the crisp skin-on-fries, this was a hearty calorific dish for sure. More reasonably priced at £12.95, this dish ticked all of the boxes and was more generous in ingredients. A side salad however would have complimented this perfectly too.

If seitan burgers or fish and chips aren’t your thing, Acanteen also serve fresh wood fired pizzas with vegan cheese, an allotment sharer full of homemade hummus and spicy tortillas or sides of sweet potato fries and marinated tofu.  For dessert there is a raw chocolate brownie with a fruity sorbet which sounded wonderful. Why not take a look at the menu and book a table for yourself!

Have you been to Acanteen before?

 

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Eating Vegan At Yo Sushi | Simply Living Vegan

Eating Vegan At Yo Sushi has never been easier. Despite having many options for some time now, they have updated what is on offer to a total of 19 dishes. Vegan-Friendly dishes are now clearly labelled on the main menu rather than solely specified on the allergen list. I went along to sample some firm favourites and a new addition. Read on to find out more.

Vegan At Yo Sushi: Kaiso Seaweed

The Kaiso Seaweed Salad has and will continue to be my Yo Sushi go to. Not only is it refreshing and bursting with flavour, it is also packed full of Vitamin A, C and is a great source of calcium. The seaweed strips are complimented by edamame beans, black sesame seeds and carrot pieces. It’s tangy and sour dressing completes the salad and will leave your craving more. You should also try the Kaiso Nigiri; kaiso seaweed on sushi rice wrapped in a sheet of nori.

Vegan At Yo Sushi: Harusame Aubergine

The Harusame Aubergine salad is bursting with flavour. Roasted aubergine pieces in a garlic, ginger and sesame soy dressing. The slices are chunky, salty and melt in your mouth delicious. These go perfectly alongside some Cucumber Maki, Kaiso Seaweed and a Vegetable Rice dish.

Vegan At Yo Sushi: Pumpkin Katsu Curry

A recent addition to the Vegan menu was the Pumpkin Katsu Curry. Sweet pumpkin pieces are lightly fried and coated in crispy Panko breadcrumbs and drizzled in the Katsu sauce. The sauce is tangy, full bodied and hearty filling a cold shaped void in your stomach. Served atop sticky sushi rice, this is a perfect dish. If you aren’t a fan of Pumpkin fear not, there is a breadcrumbed Tofu version available which looks just as tasty!

Other Vegan friendly dishes at Yo Sushi;

Salted Edamame Beans

Cucumber Maki

Kaiso Nigiri

Inari Pockets

Unlimited Miso Soup

Vegetable Gyozas

Vegetable Chahan

Vegetable Yakisoba

Pumpkin Katsu

Vegetable Tempura

Fresh Fruit Plate

What are your favourite vegan dishes from Yo! Sushi?

 

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Eating Vegan At Vegan Life Live 2018

Vegan Life Live happened to be another fantastic event to celebrate Veganism. From talks and cooking demos to food and vegan beauty products – we had it all. I ventured to Alexandra Palace with the wonderful Anjuli from Well Travelled Vegan and we both ate our weight in delicious sweet treats, savoury nibbles and an abundance of samples. Here I share with you the brands I discovered, what I bought and why you should go!

Vegan Life Live: Dark Matters

One of the first stalls we stumbled across was Dark Matters. It was packed full of indulgent Vegan brownies in an array of flavours; Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter Swirl, Hazelnut Maple Pecan, Rum & Ginger, Mint Choc Chip, Rose Almond Pistachio and an Orange Marmalade. I couldn’t resist the Salted Caramel with a gooey salty sweet drizzle a top. It kept well until the following day but possessed more of a cake texture than brownie. Nonetheless one I loved and a brownie I would love to try more flavours of!

Vegan Life Live: Baking Bad & Ms Cupcake

Beautifully crafted cupcakes were on display by Baking Bad. You could not miss the intricately piped buttercream icing and array of flavours as well as brownies and traybakes. I am regretting not getting my hands on a few for sure. Ms Cupcake however did steal the show. Having deep regrets from not getting my hands on a Cookie Sandwich at Vegfest, I knew it was top of my list! I purchased a Red Velvet Cookie Sandwich; sickly sweet cookies with a butter cream icing centre that was so indulgent and delicious. This was eaten for breakfast on the following morning – no regrets!

Vegan Life Live: Goupie Chocolates

Goupie Chocolates have been circulating social media for a while now and I have been excited to get my hands on a box. These ‘devilishly moorish’ chewy chocolate triangles came in a range of 12 different flavours, the favourites being Orange, Espresso, Salted Sticky Toffee and Hazelnut. We sampled the Espresso; punchy and rich, the Orange; zesty and warm and the Sticky Toffee; salty and sweet. These would make a perfect gift as well as the Faberge eggs which are great for Easter. I took home a box of the Orange Goupie Chocolates and let’s say they didn’t last long! These reminded me of the Terry’s Chocolate Orange Crunch segments you find in a Christmas sharing box and possessed a milky and creamy chocolate coating.

Vegan Life Live: Clive’s Pies

If you love Linda Mccartney’s Country Pies, you will absolutely love Clive’s! There are seven different flavours to choose from including Sag Aloo, Creamy Mushroom, Aloo Gobi, Lentil & Olive, Chestnut & Bean Cassoulet, Hungarian Goulash and Mexican Chilli. I sampled the Mexican Chilli Bean pie and it was delicious. The pastry is dense but hearty and made with whole grain ingredients. What’s more, the fillings are generous and are bursting with flavour to suit any and every palette. I will definitely be getting my hands on a few in Holland and Barrett.

Vegan Life Live: The Vegan Owl

The Vegan Owl Beet Wellington and Sos Roll definitely caught my eye. These pastries and pasties looked delicious with their fluffy and light pastry and oozing filling. On offer was also a Corn-niche pasty, an award winning addition to the trio. I wish I had tried these as there was a long queue for others to get their hands on some!

Vegan Life Live: Elspeth’s Kitchen 

Elspeth’s raw desserts are something to admire. Beautifully presented on bespoke ceramic stands plates, each slice is hand crafted and finished to perfect. Made from all natural, plant-based ingredients they look too good to eat. Whether you fancy raw ‘no cheese’ cheesecakes, Mocha tortes or fancy a Lime & Basil slice, there is such a variety. I am yet to purchase one as I would love to sit and enjoy in a cafe setting twinned with a green juice or turmeric latte.

Vegan Life Live: Hippeas

Hippeas are taking the crisp world by storm and too right. The high protein and high fibre packed chickpea puffs are available in 5 flavours; Salt and Vinegar, Cheese & Love, Sweet & Smokin’, Far Out Fajita and In Herbs We Trust. Having tried the Far Out Fajita flavour before, I wasn’t a big fan due to the chilli and cumin. However, I am sold on the Salt and Vinegar variety and could happily eat a large bag. They are light, tangy and pack a great crunch. These are a brand to keep an eye out for!

Vegan Life Live: I Am Nut OK

I Am Nut OK could have found the way to my heart. Their Garlic and Beetroot Cashew Cheese will make your mouth water. The flavours are well rounded, creamy and taste more like a nutty hummus. The garlic and beetroot flavours are not too overpowering and compliment each other perfectly. This would be a perfect gift to bring along to a dinner party or serve with hummus crisps for friends. Priced at £6 a jar, this is definitely a pricey treat but one worth every penny.

Vegan Life Live: Soffles Pitta Chips & Chic P Hummus

Chic P Beetroot, Horseradish and Sage hummus has been a favourite purchase of mine since visiting WholeFoods. Who knew that when twinned with Soffles Pitta Chips it would be a match made in heaven? The horseradish gives the hummus a tangy edge which marries the earthy Beetroot perfectly. It is light, flavoursome and packed full of goodness that would taste incredible in a sandwich too! The Rosemary pitta chips were bursting with Italian herbs in crunchy bite sized pieces that were incredibly moorish. WholeFoods, i’ll be coming for ya.

Vegan Life Live: Lovingearth Chocolate

Lovingearth chocolate is a party for your tastebuds. It is incredible that raw ingredients can taste so creamy and delicious. My favourite variety had to be the Salted Caramel, Creamy or the Hazelnut. These are priced at £3-4 a bar but worth forking out for if you want a high quality and nutritious chocolate fix! What’s more, they also come in bars of combination flavours such as ‘Salted Caramel Swayzee’ or ‘Banoffee Bang Bang’ to name a few which blend delicious sustainable ingredients together to create a unique treat.

Vegan Life Live: Good To Go & Norty Puds

The Good To Go range are like a gourmet take on Tesco’s new Wicked Kitchen range. Whether you love wraps, baguettes or the traditional sarnie, they combined unique and beautiful looking plant-based sandwiches to suit everyone. I had my eye on the spiced potato cakes and pear chutney wrap or the red pepper mashed chickpea & miso spread baguette. These would make a perfect lunch and ones to share with your non-vegan co-workers too!

Another new discovery at Vegan Life Live was Norty Puds. These are a range created by the wonderful Elspeth at Elspeth’s Kitchen and are just launching as we speak. She has released three flavours; Chia Me Up, Bana-Norty and Salted Choc. We tried the Bana Norty flavour which was a healthy take on a Bannoffee Pie. The creamy topping and essence of banana came through in an indulgent manner, topped with a cacao dusting. The packaging itself is on brand with its vibrant and eye-catching colours. I wish them all the best at success as I will be keeping my eyes peeled for these!

Vegan Life Live: The Brook Burger Bar

Vegan Life Live may not have had as many food vendors to choose from than the likes of Vegfest but boy was it difficult! The Brook Bar caught my eye a few times as the Loaded BBQ Nacho with Jackfruit, nacho cheese, cream and mango salsa looked mouthwatering along with the Satay Skewers. On the menu they also had The Brook Beet Burger with cheddar, pickles, mayo, mustard and homemade slaw. There permanent base is located in Hackney and offers a wide variety of menus.

Vegan Life Live: What The Pitta

Doner Kebab lovers, What The Pitta holds the answer to your prayers. Despite having never eaten a kebab even before going Vegan, I knew I couldn’t miss out on giving it a try. The doner kebab pieces are made from spiced soya chunks thrown in a freshly made wrap with fresh hummus, chilli sauce, soya yoghurt Tzatziki and salad. The meaty chunks were really delicious, a little crispy and tasted just how I imagined doner meat to taste. The Tzatziki and hummus were delicious however the raw onion in the salad did ruin the after taste a little for me. I will request no onion next time!

Vegan Life Live: Beauty Products

Aside from food, the festival was packed with clothing and beauty products too. I spotted my favourite Eden Perfumes stall and stumbled across Pacifica Perfumes which I had heard a lot of positive press about. I smelt the Island Vanilla scent and it was divine. Ve-Glam aka Glamour Without Guilt launched a wonderful range of lipsticks and mascaras which were all of course fully Vegan and cruelty-free. These are available to buy online too as it is a brand I am sure I will revisit. The same goes for Stanway with their eye-catching Make Up wheel showcasing vibrant lip colours!

Vegan Life Live: Freebies & Purchases

The Vegan Life Live goodie bag was exclusive for the first 3,000 participants through the door. Within that we received a Sacla Free From Mayo, Vita Coco Coconut Oil, Gusto Nero Black Jasmine Rice Pasta and V Life Bounce Balls. These are all products I am slowly working my way through and will review as I go along on Instagram no doubt.

A few other brands I spotted and would highly recommended checking out are;

Coffee & Cheese 100% Vegan WholesalersDelicious oat chai latte & lots of mock meats and cheeses

Conscious ChocolatesIncredible flavours in rich dark chocolate bars 

Clare’s Vegan CuisineIncredible Pumpkin Tart and she is a private chef for special occasions

LoveSeitanBlocks of seitan in a variety of flavours 

PulsinBrownies, oat bars and other nut based snacks

Brave Roasted peas in Sea Salt, Paprika Chilli or Garlic & Herb

I had a fantastic time at Vegan Life Live and would highly recommend the festival to anyone. For just a small fee we were gifted a goodie bag bursting with fantastic treats, sampled delicious and new products and even networked a little. Whether you’re Vegan, veggie curious or simply are open to the idea, try before you buy is the way to go and the perfect atmosphere to do so in.

Have you been to Vegan Life Live before?

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Easy Vegan Portobello Bacon Mushroom Risotto

This vegan portobello bacon mushroom risotto is divine. Quick, easy and ready in under 30 minutes, it makes a fantastic mid-week meal with minimal ingredients. The only fresh ingredients you need are two varieties of mushrooms, the rest you will most likely have in your cupboard. A hearty risotto topped with crispy portobello bacon pieces, this is comfort food with a twist.

When you switch a vegan diet, you will be inundated with quotes and memes stating ‘but what about bacon?’ Fool the bacon lovers with an alternative that packs a salty punch without the cruelty. The portobello bacon pieces are mouth-watering, moreish, and which makes this comforting dish a little more exciting.  What are you waiting for, get cooking!

Vegan Portobello Bacon Mushroom Risotto: Ingredients

Ingredients:

200g of chestnut mushrooms

300g of arborio rice

2 vegetable stock cubes (Kallo Organic) in 500ml of boiling water

1 tbsp of olive oil

salt and pepper to season

Vegan Portobello Bacon: Ingredients

Ingredients:

1 portobello mushroom thinly sliced

1 tbsp of brown sugar

2 tbsp of soy sauce

1 tsp of paprika

1 tbsp of olive oil

1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar

1 tsp of salt

Vegan Portobello Bacon Mushroom Risotto: Method

  1. Begin by adding two vegetable stock cubes, I use Kallo Organic, into 500ml of boiling water to dissolve.
  2. Slice the 200g of chestnut mushrooms and add to a saucepan with the olive oil.
  3. Once the mushrooms are browned, add the risotto rice and stock cubes. Season with salt and pepper and cover, leaving to simmer on a medium to low heat.
  4. Next, cut the portobello mushroom into thin slices and then in half. Mix the brown sugar, soy sauce, oil, paprika, apple cider vinegar and salt in a small dish and apply to the mushrooms. Leave to marinade for 10 minutes.
  5. Keep stirring the risotto throughout it’s simmer to prevent sticking and add additional boiling water if need be.
  6. Once the bacon pieces are marinaded, add to a hot pan and cook the first side for 5 minutes. When they begin to caramelise and brown, flip each piece individually. Cook for a further 5 minutes until crispy and almost burnt.
  7. By the time the bacon pieces are cooked, the risotto will be ready.
  8. Serve the risotto and top with the crispy portobello bacon. Additionally you can stir in peas or spinach just before serving for extra plant-based goodness.

Enjoy!

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Vegan Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes | Pancake Day

Vegan Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes; the perfect recipe for PB & J sandwich lovers. A Salty, sweet and sour combo that will leave your tastebuds craving more. This pancake stack is indulgent and fruity topped off with smooth peanut butter that is much like liquid gold. This is an easy and delicious recipe to make on Pancake Day and one for your fellow PB Jelly lovers.

Vegan Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes: Ingredients

Serves 2-3

2 cups of oats

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp of Vegan protein powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 ripe banana

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups of dairy-free milk 

4 tbsp of smooth peanut butter

Raspberry Jelly Coulis

150g of raspberries

1 tsp of lemon juice

1 tsp of date or maple syrup 

Vegan Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes: Method

  1. In a blender, blitz the oats, baking powder, protein powder and cinnamon.
  2. Next add the dairy-free milk, banana, vanilla extract and blend until smooth. Leave to set for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken.
  3. In a non-stick saucepan, add the 150g of raspberries (minus a few to garnish), squeeze of lemon and date syrup and heat. After 3-5 minutes the raspberries will soften and form a coulis.
  4. In a frying pan heat 1/2 a teaspoon of coconut oil and drop a spoonful of pancake mix into the pan. When bubbles appear on the surface flip until both sides are golden.
  5. Serve with a smear of smooth peanut butter between each pancake and drizzle atop the coulis. The warm coulis will melt the peanut butter and create a marble swirl. PB & Jelly, eat your heart out!

What is your favourite pancake topping combo?

Why not try my Banana & Cacao Protein Pancakes or Wholewheat Chia & Banana Pancakes

 

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