This post has been a long time coming! We had a fantastic gift from Bounce which included a full range of their energy balls, from their normal range to the vegan V-Life options and also the bigger packs. You can see the box as it was delivered below!
This week, we’re back (from our lengthy hiatus following the theft of my phone and all my notes!) with a review of The Spread Eagle. This vegan pub is something of a novelty, but we wanted to know whether the food matches up to that appeal.
It’s quite a small space inside, so you’ll be lucky to find a table – booking ahead is strongly recommended. They were able to squeeze us in, which was nothing short of a miracle to hear the waitress tell it.
There’s no magic secret here – the mix is essentially the same, with different flavouring. The difference between making burgers and falafels is just the size that you shape them into when you are preparing them! This was just as easy to do as the falafels – if not easier, since I didn’t have to make quite as many pieces for it to work!
We’re now fans of this brand and will probably be stocking up next time we see them around. The flavour for this pack was mixed bell peppers and oregano, though to be honest if I had to pick a flavour I would describe them as “falafel burgers” quite simply. There is a subtle difference, but the larger proportion of the ingredients is the same.
As there’s no need for a recipe this week, without further ado, here’s the video of us making our burger mix. Enjoy – and if you love watching us make our recipes, remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel for weekly updates!
For now, let’s get started on the reviews! We’ll go through section by section, to break it down a little easier.
The Vegan Choc Shop was one of our favourite stalls. The cookie fries were J’s pick, and they came with a great chocolate dip. My favourite, on the other hand, was the vegan creme egg. It tastes just like the real thing, but it’s actually bigger and with more filling. What’s not to like?
These cakes are vegan, homemade, and totally delicious. When I tried the coffee cake, which is made with real coffee beans, I couldn’t believe how much I loved it. I’m not a coffee drinker at all, but you can’t deny the real flavour in these cakes. We chatted with the stallholder about how amazing it is when you taste real ingredients instead of processed foods, which is a huge part of what being vegan is about.
Another dairy and egg free product, another substitute that is indistinguishable from the real thing. This potato salad is basically just amazing. It’s healthier than traditional potato salad and tastes just as good, if not better. Kudos to Badgers, who also had some other fantastic products on show.
Where to start with this? The white buttons are amazing, and the vegan choc shop sample tasted JUST like After Eights. We already knew we loved Pip & Nut nut butters, and the fruit syrups are deliciously sweet. We loved everything from our VIP package. My favourite surprise was the tamari roasted pumpkin seeds, which were just so moreish – I could have eaten five packs.
Everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE BAILEYS. I have three bottles of it in the cupboard right now – all different flavours. I don’t drink much, but when I do, it’s Baileys all the way. This is vegan, nut free, and gluten free – so it’s basically perfect for everyone. It’s also pretty damn perfect to the taste, and I’ve fallen in love. We actually got through a lot of this by playing a drinking game when we were watching Eurovision, so we’ll be stocking up sometime soon for sure!
Finally, J just had to try this Enriched.org vegan cacao protein powder. He’s been using it for the gym and while it doesn’t taste great with water, it’s a little better with coconut milk. It performs just as well as other protein powders he’s tried, so it’s definitely a viable alternative for vegans who want to get fit!
And boy, did we make a good choice! J had the vegetarian fish and chips, which involves deep-fried halloumi and is, yes, absolutely as delicious as it sounds. I can hardly believe such an amazing dish is on the menu at a place like this, but it is, and I was blown away. Of course, I opted for the burger, because after all… this is VegBurge! Here’s what the menu has to say:
“Red & black bean burger mixed with red peppers, sweetcorn and jalapeños with a Red Leicester & mozzarella centre. Coated with a gently spiced nacho crumb. Served in a brioche bun with chips, onion rings and a honey & chipotle dip. £8.49”.
This was roasted halloumi served on a bed of baby spinach and roast vegetables with a harissa dressing. Zingy, delicious, and served absolutely beautifully even if I do say so myself. (Alright, I’m exaggerating my own skills. But we all dream of being on Masterchef and serving up that beautiful plate, don’t we?)
I’ve already told you about the mushroom pie we made for the main course, and here it is in full glory with pastry lid. This was just glorious – so rich – and it was served with some fantastic sides. Celeriac mash was just sweet enough, roasted parsnips are always my favourite, and hiding under the mash were carrots and a vegetarian sausage. There’s also red cabbage and apple in some kind of crazy-good mixture that tasted better than you would believe, and a (broken up) little Yorkshire pudding.
This was all so good. As always there was tons left over, but some of it (like the cabbage) made it into our next meal on Boxing Day. The rest of it found itself put inside wraps, heated up, and eaten as my lunches for a few days. You would not believe how good it tastes warmed up – although the best on that front was yet to come.
Around this time we also made a gingerbread sleigh, which I’ve also Vined already. That was pretty hilarious and only mostly successful, but we continued to nibble on it (and there is actually some left even now!). It was pretty tasty, even if it didn’t hold together for very long.
Next we move on to Boxing Day. For us, the sit-down meal on this day is just as big as the day before. We don’t really start getting into leftovers until the 27th, and then it’s only a short while before New Year. What I’m saying is, a lot of food ends up in tupperwares in the fridge.
The starter above was a Welsh rarebit-style topping served on a large field mushroom, with a bed of rocket. It was cheesy and delicious. So much cheese. So good. The rocket worked really well with the starters, providing that little bit of zing to bring all of the flavours together.
The main course included this amazing loaf/stack/awesome thing. Parsnip slices on the bottom, a layer of stuffing, then cranberries in a home-made cranberry sauce (which was actually the best cranberry sauce I’ve ever tasted), and the same mirrored on top. Oh, also the stuffing had chestnuts in it. I love chestnuts. They are the king of all nuts, and this is the perfect time of year to eat them.
Now, THIS was absolutely the best thing to eat in a wrap the week after. All of those amazing flavours just work so well together. It looks beautiful too. Probably the most impressive thing is how it all stayed together when she took it out of the pan! It was served with the same kind of mash, cabbage, and parsnips as the day before, along with some stuffing, roast potatoes, and French peas with shallots. Mmm.
We tweaked a few details here and there, but this is more or less the recipe that you will find in the book – served with a pastry lid rather than as a whole pastry pie. I pitched in to help my Mum with Christmas lunch this year and this is what she wanted to serve on the day – from the brand new Mildred’s book I’d bought her! As luck would have it she was planning a mushroom pie anyway, and this one happened to be similar enough that she had the right ingredients already.
It was fun to cook with her – as I only really got the cooking bug after I moved in with J, we’ve never had the chance to cook together regularly. This was a great opportunity for me to show I’m not hopeless in the kitchen any more, and for some good old fashioned bonding too! The best part? It was delicious.
So this was a pretty amazing burger, I can’t deny. It was stuffed with a bounty of peppery rocket which was absolutely perfect against the beautiful basil mayonnaise. I could marry this mayonnaise. I want to eat this mayonnaise at every meal. There was also a perfectly smoky-but-sweet relish which was everything I expect from a burger dressing. There was just enough onion and salad in the bun, rather than the too much or too little I am often complaining about. The burger itself featured whole lentils wrapped in blended soft tofu, all of it cooked to have a crunchy outer shell for a fantastic burger texture.
Overall it had what I would describe as Italian flavours – the basil, the rocket, the tomato and onion, the pepper. But it was all topped off by what must be considered as a holy grail. The vegan cheese: beautiful, beautiful vegan cheese. We’ve made our own vegan cheese, but that was more like houmous when all was said and done; this is nothing like that. This is a beautiful and almost heartbreaking rendition of Kraft singles cheese – made vegan. The taste, the texture, even the way it moves when you tear it off – all perfect. Scratch what I said about the mayo. I’m marrying this cheese instead.
The sweet potato fries were creamy and lovely, though some were a bit underdone. I didn’t mind. I smeared them in basil mayo and all was forgiven. I think this must be what the eat in heaven.
On the VegBurge scale, I give this…
Taste – 9.5/10
Price – 7/10
Rest of experience – 9/10
First of all, you may have noticed the update to a new layout and style. I’ve changed my image sizes and added in recipe cards, as well as better design title images. All this means that I’ve spent a lot of time recently on updates. I’m skipping this week’s review post in order to finalise those changes, and to ensure that everything is up to date.
Going forwards, there will also be some changes to the way I post. Recipe cards are going to be more frequent, and the title images will be cuter as well. Plus I’ll be embedding vines! You may have noticed some in my last post, and from now on, I’ll attempt to vine every veggie burger recipe I put together so that you can see how it is made.
I’m also going to diversify. This means covering areas of Veggie Living more often, such as different types of food that I might eat.
If I can borrow a couple of minutes of your time, could you please comment below an answer to one or two of these questions?
– What kind of recipes would you like to see more of? Veggie substitutes/vegan/gluten free/unusual ideas are all on the table.
– Can you suggest any venues to try out veggie burgers? Indie eateries or chains are both okay.
– Do you have a veggie burger recipe that you think I should try?
– What sort of veggie living issues do you want to know about? Any burning questions?
Thank you for your comments!