VegBurge Update (the One With the Missing Phone)

VegBurge Updates

So, recently we’ve been doing great at keeping up with our update schedule. We had a lot of great content planned, and some really exciting venue reviews as well as some posts for brands on the way.

Sadly, all of that has now changed because of the enterprising soul that decided to steal my phone this weekend at Leicester Square. I was in a rush on the way to an event that I was already late for, and carrying a box that was bigger than I could really manage, so I guess I was an easy target. read more

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Review: Sensio Home Steamer

Sensio Home Steamer

This week, we’re looking at a new item we’ve added to our kitchen. We were given the Sensio Home Steamer in return for a review, but all thoughts below are our own.

The steamer, well, steams things. I know – crazy, right? But it’s actually really useful, because it gives you a set piece of equipment to get everything cooked in one go. We tested it out with a variety of veggies and some eggs: chopped broccoli on the bottom, then carrots with rosemary, and finally Brussels sprouts with three eggs. They weren’t all to be consumed at once… the eggs were for later, the veggies for Sunday lunch!

The vegetables came out perfectly. We had lovely, tender, but flavourful veg which really was enough to constitute a tasty meal all by itself. Every bite was packed with flavour and you could really tell that it had been cooked this way – losing the least nutrients possible. 

On the other hand, the eggs didn’t do so well. We cooked them for the recommended time, but when it came to use them, we found that the yolk inside was still partially uncooked. As we had wanted to peel and eat them the next day with a salad, this sadly meant we ended up having to throw them away.

We’ve probably got some way to go before we understand perfectly how it works – after all, the first use is always going to be a bit tricky! It was very easy to put together, however, and seems sturdy enough. The construction means it is also easy to wash, though you do have to be careful when you’re serving as some elements can be very hot – so it’s not a case of taking it apart and washing it right away.

We’re really happy to have this addition to our kitchen. I now know exactly where I stand on the magic bullet vs nutribullet debate! It’s a useful tool and one we will be using a lot in the future, that’s for sure. I would give it five stars out of five. We probably made a mistake on our part with the eggs, so I’d say there are absolutely no problems with it so far. It’s roomy, looks good, and fits right in where our old blender used to be!

 

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Review: Gordon Ramsay’s Masterclass

Gordon Ramsay's Masterclass

Normally we review food, but today is all about making it instead. I recently took Gordon Ramsay’s Masterclass, his online course teaching you the basics of becoming a master of the kitchen. He gives you the building blocks needed to rise to the level of a great chef.

I didn’t watch the whole course as there were a couple of lessons dedicated just to the preparation of meat products, which were obviously useless to me. However, he also talks a lot about vegetables and preparing food which is suitable for vegetarians, so there was plenty of use in the other lessons.

This was my third Masterclass – after James Patterson and Annie Leibovitz – and I think I might be a bit addicted to them. (I’ve also done Samuel L Jackson since I finished Ramsay). They’re designed to teach you what you need to follow in the footsteps of people who are true masters of their chosen field. 

There are a lot of interesting techniques and things to learn from the Masterclass. Be warned – I’ve already gone out and bought three new tools since watching it, and I’m currently very tempted to get a pasta roller. Once he explains why you need a certain piece of kit, you’ll need to have it. 

I’ve not mastered all of the techniques in the videos yet, but I’ve already upped my game on my roasted vegetables, perfected delicious scrambled eggs that J keeps asking me to make again and again, and created poached eggs on toast which have more than a dash of style. 

This one gets a resounding thumbs up from me – if you’re a carnivore it will be decidedly more useful, however. If you’re not sure about it, especially given the $90 price, there is also the opportunity to purchase an All-Access Pass which allows you to try all of the Masterclass courses which have been made available so far. This might sway you, as it did me!

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A Very Veggie Christmas 2017

Christmas 2017

After sharing our Christmas meals with you in 20162015, and 2014, it’s time again for another festive round-up. Christmas 2017 actually came in two parts, as J was off to Australia to be a groomsman at a friend’s wedding – so we decided to have our own mini-Christmas in mid-December.

Mini-Christmas

I was pretty proud of myself for putting together a fairly nice spread. We had a traditional serving of Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, peas, and carrots, but I also made a mushroom and nut loaf from one of our older recipes.

It was super delicious, and held its shape really well, so bonus points to myself for that! It was lovely with gravy over it, too. Of course, one of the downsides was that with just the two of us, I ended up with far too much.

But what is Christmas about if not leftovers? Personally, they’re one of my favourite parts!

Christmas Day

Next up was the official Christmas Day, cooked as always by V in her very busy kitchen. We like to have two courses on Christmas Day, followed by a dessert much, much later in the day. Later enough to have actually digested something to make room!

We started out with this baked garlic mushroom dish, served with a cherry tomato sauce, and topped with stilton and quark. It was also served with a few olive crispbreads to dip into the sauce. This was adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe, suited more to our tastes.

This was really delicious with the mushrooms and tomatoes really working together. The olive breads also had a nice crunch when scooping up a bit of sauce and topping. It all went very well together and definitely one to try again.

The main was adapted from Slimming World’s recipe books. It was a rice, lentil, butter bean, cheddar, and mixed nut roast. It cooked beautifully and had a wonderful texture, with the nuts scattered on top adding that extra bit of crunch.

This delicious dish was served with roasted parsnips, roast potatoes in their skins, swede and carrot mash, and red cabbage with cranberries. The salty potatoes against the sweet parsnip and tart cranberries was a fantastic mix.

It was hugely filling, as you might expect, but made for a wonderful and colourful plate that we all enjoyed thoroughly. 

We topped everything off with gravy, bread sauce, and cranberry sauce – the perfect additions to a special dinner. I haven’t had bread sauce since last Christmas as we’re trying to avoid high-calorie sauces, so it was a fantastic treat.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day has always been just as important as Christmas Day for us in terms of the food. Two courses again, and a similar format. We have a trio of these meals over the festive period, with the last one being New Year’s Day.

We started with a salad of fresh rocket and spinach, feta, beetroot, and orange segments with walnut. Drizzled over this was a light, fruity dressing. The basis was taken from a Jamie Oliver recipe but, of course, adapted.

You wouldn’t think that orange would go with beetroot and feta, but it does. The walnut also pairs with the flavours to create a really festive package.

For the main we had a shop-bought pie, which definitely wasn’t cheating because there was so much going on around it. The pie was a mushroom Wellington and was very good itself. 

For the sides, we had a chunky potato and celeriac gratin, lemony carrots, French peas, and (not for me) sprouts. If you’re wondering about the peas, the “bacon” was courtesy of Quorn.

It was all great. Personally, a real highlight is the lemony carrots. That zing of the lemon really brings out the flavour of the carrots and elevates them to something else.

New Year’s Day

For us, New Year’s Eve is a night of buffet food, drinks, and – inevitably – dancing. That means we leave our big meal until New Year’s Day, perfect for soaking up hangovers and replenishing energy levels.

This starter was smashed avocado and lemon juice with roasted cherry tomatoes and feta on corn bread.

This was SO tasty. The avocado went perfectly with the juicy tomatoes, and the bread was a perfect base. This would go down very well for breakfast too, perhaps on fancy occasions when you really want to impress. 

The main part of the main course was another pie, in this case mushroom and chestnut.

It was paired with roasted parsnips, new potaotoes, and a golden broccoli bake adapted from another Slimming World recipe. It combined broccoli, cauliflower, quark, and cheese with some leftover chestnuts added into the mix.

The parsnips are always my favourite part of the meal because they are just so damn good. Give me parsnips and sweet potatoes, pair them with mushrooms, and then I don’t need anything else. Well, maybe a chestnut or two.

We had a great time over the festive season with a lot of great feasts. It’s always a highlight of the year and a time to focus on food rather than worrying about waistlines.

And now, time for that ever-present New Year’s resolution to lose weight…

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Food for Braces Guide

Food For Braces Guide

I’ve had my lovely adult braces in for four months now, so it seems like time to share what I’ve learned about food for braces. I read a lot before I had them put in about what not to eat, but I didn’t read a lot about what I could eat. There wasn’t much explanation of the logic behind it, either.

So, here’s what I’ve learned. I’ve put together some meal plans and ideas that you can follow yourself if you’re having braces put in – whether you’re an adult or a teen. Everything is, of course, veggie-friendly, so dive in! 

Food for Braces After Fitting read more

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VegBurge Best of 2017 Awards

The Lady Luck Butternut Squash and Falafel Burger

It’s time for a look back at our year with the VegBurge Best of 2017 Awards. We’re giving props to the brands, restaurants, pubs, and burgers that deserve it. Without further ado, the announcements are as follows…

Best Recipe of 2017

This one is chosen by you lot. We analysed data from Instagram, Twitter, website stats, and YouTube to come up with the recipe that you loved the most. The winner is: 

Cheat’s Healthy Cheese and Onion Pasties

Best Event of 2017

We’ve been to a fair few events this year, and we loved them all. But when it comes to choosing a winner, there’s one that really stood out. With a guest appearance from Heather Mills and a huge array of stalls to choose from, it has to be:

London Viva! Vegan Fest 2017

Best Pub of 2017

Surely it has to be obvious that there can only be one choice in this category. We have raved about it all year, enjoyed every single visit, and shared with you what feels like a million different veggie burgers. The winner is:

The Lady Luck, Canterbury (reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Best Restaurant of 2017

This was a hard one. We have been invited to do a fair few reviews this year and the quality just keeps getting higher. There were plenty of great visits, but this year, we have to give the award to…

Inamo, Covent Garden

Best Burger of 2017

Finally, the most coveted award of the year goes to our best burger eaten in 2017. And the winner is…

The Lady Luck Greenhouse Burger

With a whopping score of 27/30, it’s not only the best of 2017 – it currently stands as the best of all time. Will we beat it in 2018? Watch out for next year – but for now, that’s your lot for the VegBurge Best of 2017 Awards!

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Vegan Ribs: Lettices vs The Lady Luck

Lettices Vegan Ribs

It’s time for a new feature: a battle of the brands, with vegan ribs in the spotlight. We’ve been trying vegan ribs for a while now and have come to find two of the best – but how do they match up, and which is better? Let’s find out…

Lettices Vegan Ribs

These ribs are one of our favourite finds from Viva’s vegan festivals, and Lettices are a fantastic brand that always produces high quality. Having said that, the ribs are pretty expensive. The block that you see here costs £5 and is only enough for both of us to share in one meal. So, at £2.50 a head for the ribs alone, they are quite pricey.

Despite that, we still grab them when we go to festivals or occasionally through an online order because they are very tasty. They are so juicy and succulent – you can see how much grease comes out of them! I mean that in a good way: these are sticky ribs after all, and you wouldn’t want them to be dry or bland.

They have a lot of flavour and make a great accompaniment to sweet potato chunks (as here), chips, or just about anything that you would normally put with ribs. They also go very well with mayonnaise, and I’m convinced that garlic mayo would make them even better – with vegan varieties a priority, of course.

Lady Luck Vegan Ribs

The Lady Luck  vegan BBQ ribs are really fantastic. They are made with juicy jackfruit and seitan, and come with chips, salad, and slaw. This is served up at £9.95. This makes them about the same price or perhaps a little pricier than the Lettices option, when you take into account the rest of the food served with them.

They are also very juicy and succulent, and quite messy! I love the texture of the jackfruit and the sauce that they are generously slathered in. There’s a lot of love in these ribs and you can tell. They’re nice and moist, but it can feel a little like there isn’t much going on on the plate (at least for someone like me who considers a salad of that kind to be a sin against the palate).

Conclusion

So, who wins? This is a pretty hard one, as you can no doubt tell. I think I might have to choose the Lettices ribs in a pinch because they are just that little bit firmer and have a more cohesive texture. It’s clear that both options are very expensive – I do find it more than a little upsetting that price is often a barrier to choosing vegan food. Hopefully as production methods improve and scale up, prices will start to come down. 

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Food Matters Live Product Features

Food Matters Live: Go Bites

After our recent visit to Food Matters Live, we promised some product features. Today we’re looking at Go Bites, Froosh, Eat Lean, and Retro Corn – four of our favourites from the day. These brands took the time to talk with us and offer free samples so we could understand their products and their missions better.

Go Bites

Go Bites are our real winners from the event. Go Faster Food was founded by Kate Percy to help active people learn to cook better for their bodies, with recipe books and educational programmes in schools and for sports professionals and amateurs. After some of the recipes proved to be very popular, Kate decided to forge ahead with Go Bites: energy balls which come in packs of three to help give you fuel for an active day.

Energy is a problem for me because of my fibromyalgia, which leaves me feeling tired and drained often. I decided to test the bites out recently when heading out to an event as a press photographer for London Runway Magazine. I felt tired from travelling when I arrived so I had one of the date and coconut bites, and it perked me up right away. I was able to spread out my energy load through the three-hour event by having another ball about halfway through, and another right at the end to help me with my journey home. They worked, and I’ll be putting these in my bag whenever I know I have a long way to go from now on.

I’ve tried various energy balls, from brands like Deliciously Ella and from recipes that we have tried, as well as our own experiments. These are definitely up there with the best. The flavours are great and I love the fact that there are three in each one – instead of one larger ball that you have to eat all at once. Oh, and the best part? All except the apricot and seeds flavour are vegan, and they are planning to eliminate honey from that flavour to make the whole range vegan-friendly.

Froosh

The only ingredients in Froosh are fruits, and they have a real strong and delicious flavour as a result. The blend of flavours in each one is really fantastic, with each of them coming through on the palate one by one. We picked out our two favourites from the range, although there are also another two flavours (mango and orange, and blueberry and raspberry). They don’t add anything nasty, and they source at least 50% of their fruit from the developing world. It’s a wholesome brand all round, and they have their tastes figured out really well. 

EatLean

We were pretty impressed by EatLean’s Protein Cheese. It has an impressive 37g of protein per 100g, BUT only 3% fat – a mixture it has taken them years to achieve. Not only that, but it also melts properly and acts just like a cheese should, giving you full flavours and textures. It doesn’t oil off, which makes it a much healthier choice for your cheese needs. This is a really amazing development, and sits alongside a full range of different cheeses with reduced salt and fat contents. If it was vegan too, it would be perfect!

Retro Corn

Retro Corn is all about transforming popcorn with the flavours of retro sweets. Founder Greg started making the flavours with his Nan, Beryl, and she was a big part of the brand before she passed away in 2015. The brand is now going from strength to strength with lots of fantastic flavours to choose from. They were all amazing, but I picked out a bag of rhubarb and custard flavour to take home. Super sweet but not too overpowering, they really are the best of both worlds – both the retro sweets you remember, and the popcorn you love. Surprisingly, they are also soft in the mouth – not like some brands which can be very hard and crunchy when bagged.

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Food Matters Live – Event Review

Food Matters Live haul

We recently attended Food Matters Live, which is a great food industry event with a lot going on. It’s a huge exhibition with brands from all areas of the food industry – from foods on sale in the supermarket, to foodservice products, through to science and innovation in manufacturing.

We spoke to a lot of brands on the day and we’ll be featuring a few more next week too, but for now let’s look at some of the goodies we picked up on the day.

First, there were these baked pea snacks by Yushoi. They are really soft and fun to eat, especially great for those of us who have braces… You would never realise until you get them what a serious hassle it is to find snack food that won’t hurt your mouth! They are very tasty and come in a range of different flavours. We were very lucky in grabbing the last packet from the stall, which happened to be smoked salt and pepper, but any of the flavours would have been a joy to take home. The stallholder was great to chat with and we left with a really positive view of this brand.

The Three Hearts superbars are pretty tasty, and the interesting thing about them is that they come in flavours you have probably never heard of before. I’m still not fully clear on what the ingredients are but they are pretty tasty, so I’ll go with that!

The Navarino Icons snacks are bars of sesame seeds with honey, an apparently popular food choice in Greece. They’re quite interesting and definitely an alternative sweet bar for those who don’t want added sugar.

Talking of no added sugar, the Sweet Nature sweets here are also sugar-free. They use a sweetener alternative to recreate some great flavours in hard, sweet blocks. They are suitable for diabetics, which makes them a great find.

The Food Should Taste Good sweet potato tortilla chips did not last long at all in our house. They’re doubly good because on first bite they just taste like normal crisps; as you eat several, however, this lovely sweet potato flavour just build up and gets stronger. Fantastic for dipping – we used them with our Mexican bowl recipe in lieu of nachos. 

Who doesn’t know Petits Filous? We picked up strawberry and raspberry flavour yoghurts at the show and I’ve been enjoying them as a breakfast snack ever since although I’m planning to change my diet to the Reportshealthcare | keto pure. (Also great for braces – I had them tightened just after the show and my diet is now yoghurt and soup for a week!)

Finally, we also got these Liberte Greek-style yoghurts. They’re next on my list for once the Petits Filous are all gone – which won’t be very long at all!

I say ‘finally’ – but there’s actually more to come! Stay tuned for a closer look at some featured brands next week with our next Food Matters Live post.

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Brighton Viva! Vegan Products Round-Up

We know you’re dying to know what was in our VIP goody bags at Brighton Viva! Vegan Festival, so here we are with the reveal! It was such a great event that there was too much to cover in just our event post, and so we set aside this week’s video post to let you know all about the products we got our hands on.

Let’s start with our VIP goody bag – we opened it on camera for you as we do at every event, and you can watch that here:

There’s also a nice haul of products from the event sitting inside our fridge, which we are going to cover at a later date. A big event shout-out goes to Lettices who are easily our favourite vegan brand we’ve discovered so far – and that’s saying a lot, because there are so many fantastic options so far. We’ll be doing a separate post on their vegan ribs soon, so keep an eye out for that!

If you want to keep up with our posts you can subscribe via Bloglovin – the link is on your right as we speak!

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