The Spread Eagle

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. read more

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Sainsburys Smokey Jalapeno Burgers

Sainsburys Smokey Jalapeno Burgers

Here’s another look at a frozen supermarket option: the smokey jalapeno burgers from Sainsburys. They are described as ‘mixed beans with a melting nacho sauce and a puffed rice coating’. The nacho cheese is kind of placed right on top of the bean burger, so that when it is cooked, it oozes out after you cut into the burger. read more

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Video: Toasted Burritos Recipe (with vegan scrambled eggs!)

Toasted burritos

We’re back after a teensy bit of a winter break with a brand new recipe that definitely brings the warmth: toasted burritos. This dish pays homage to Mexican traditions and is perfectly attuned to both our tastes and what we normally have in the fridge – basically, it’s the kind of thing we could make any night of the week.

Honestly, is there anything better than Mexican food? Well, actually, we could debate about that all day, because we love so many different types of cuisine. But instead of trying to figure it out, we’re bringing you this tasty recipe as well as the accompanying video of how it is made.

Oh, and by the way – they also contain vegan scrambled eggs. It’s actually tofu, cooked in just the right way and with just the right seasoning so as to fool your tastebuds. Pretty neat, right?

The toasting is the icing on the cake here. We’ve folded them into squares rather than our usual rolls, and that makes a difference to the experience. Having that warm, crispy texture on the outside is also an absolute joy.  What better to go with it than some homemade guacamole? We just challenge you to eat them without getting messy.

Watch the video below to get a taster of how easy it is to make our burritos – and see how scrummy they look at the end. If you’re tempted, give them a go using our recipe below – and be sure to leave us a comment letting us know how you got on!

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Video: Black Bean Dip Burritos

Black Bean Dip Burritos

This week’s recipe is a little late to give you all time to recover from Christmas, and these black bean dip burritos might be just what you need as an antidote to the festive menu. They’re a little bit off the beaten track as we’re actually making a dip, but it also works as a fantastic burrito filling.

 

This dish might be Mexican-inspired but it has a lot of familiar flourishes, and it’s an incredibly versatile recipe. Don’t bother blending it and you have a bean dish you could combine with a salad or serve in burritos. Add lots more water and you could make yourself a soup. It has a lot going for it, and it’s awesomely simple.

You probably have all of these ingredients in your house right now, especially if you’re a Mexican food enthusiast like we are. That means it’s something you can put together even when you’re in a hurry.

We served it up with our own guacamole recipe and a little bit of grated cheese – hot beans, cold guac, and lovely melty cheese all make these burritos fun to eat. And squishy.

Oh, don’t worry about that guac recipe by the way – it’s coming soon. In the meantime, scroll down and enjoy our black bean dip!

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Mildred’s Dalston: Mexican beans and mock chicken

Mildred's Dalston

I recently went to take advantage of the opening offer at Mildred’s Dalston venue, their latest branch. With V in tow we happily searched for the restaurant, more than eager to see what we might try this time.

It turned out to be reasonably hard to find from a walking perspective, because it’s tucked round the back of the station in the middle of nowhere. Literally – the view out of the large floor-to-ceiling windows is simply a lot of concrete and a few miserable trees, which is a bit of a shame. It’s not yet clear why they would choose to have such feature windows facing such a dismal view, but perhaps there is redevelopment planned for the area soon.

I had a Mexican bowl, which you will know is one of my particular weaknesses. This is how they described it on the menu:

Mexican spiced black beans topped with feta served with quinoa, raw corn salsa, corn chips, grilled pineapple and smashed avocado £12

V had some mock chicken, described thusly:

southern deep-fried buttermilk and polenta mock chicken with red cabbage, maple coleslaw, sweet potato fries and smoked chipotle dip £12

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Video: Mexican Tortilla Boats

Mexican tortilla boats

When we found these little tortilla bowls in the supermarket, we decided they were perfect for turning our usual Mexican bowls into something a little more jaunty. We came up with these Mexican tortilla boats, based on the shape of the bowls and what they brought to mind!

It’s a fairly simple concept. Our Mexican mix makes up the filling of each boat, which is then topped with a Quorn ‘bacon’ sail and a dollop of sour cream and guacamole on either side. We like to use a tortilla press and cooker but you can buy your torillas from the store. You can serve them as you see below, or even put them onto a sea of lettuce or other salad leaves for an added effect!

There’s not much more to say about these other than that they are absolutely delicious – and if you like any of our other Mexican meals, you will love them too! They’re super easy to eat as you can just lift up each boat with your fingers. They can get a little messy, though, so look out for dropping beans! They’re great for a quirky dinner party, or even for tricking the kids into eating beans and veggies for those all-important nutrients.

Here’s the video – scroll down just a bit further for the recipe!

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Video: Italian Quesadillas

We’re loving the fusion theme at the moment, and so these Italian quesadillas came to mind. We started with the basic idea of the Insalata Caprese: a salad which is meant to represent the colours of the Italian flag. Red tomatoes, white mozzarella, and green basil are a staple of this dish.

To make our quesadillas a little more exciting, we turned the basil into pesto, made using our favourite green pesto recipe. The rest, as you will see, follows the tradition.

It’s always fun to mix up a couple of different cultures and see what comes out. Unlike the usual quesadillas, these ones are actually fairly light and refreshing. We’d recommend them for a summer’s day when you want hot food with a bit of a salad-like flair. We served them up with fresh rocket on the side, as well as a smattering of pesto dressing.

Here’s the video, and don’t forget to scroll down for the recipe!

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Video: Mexican Bowl

Mexican bowls

This week we’re sharing one of our all-time perennial favourites. The Mexican bowl is pretty much a staple of our diet: it’s easy to make, tastes fantastic, and is also very satisfying without being too unhealthy.

There’s a lot of components to the bowl that you can mix and match as you like. We always have home-made nachos to start with around the edge. This time we’ve added a black bean mix to the middle, but there are other possibilities too.

Chunks of avocado make for a good topping, or you can make guacamole if you’re feeling less lazy. Refried beans come in a tin if you’re feeling lazier, on the other hand! While black beans make a good staple, you could try turning them into frijoles, or adding other ingredients to your mix. Cherry tomatoes fried in their own juices make a great faux-salsa topping, too.

Don’t be scared to experiment with this recipe. The Mexican bowl was made to be used however you like it! Here’s our video, and make sure to scroll down for the recipe.

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Video: Chinese Fajitas

Chinese duck

For this week’s recipe, we wanted to do something a little different. We came up with a fusion of two of our favourite cuisines:  Chinese fajitas.

This is a pretty fun meal to make, all the more so because it’s totally unexpected. But if you can make duck pancakes, we figured you can also make duck fajitas. And why shouldn’t satay sauce go with black beans? As it turns out, it does – very nicely indeed. 

There’s some kind of crazy synergy between the peanuts, the black beans, the bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, and the duck. The mock duck, by the way, is fantastic – it’s one of the best new products on the market at the moment, along with the pulled pork and chicken range. There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening in the veggie/vegan niche at the minute and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Here’s the video of us making the fajitas, and be sure to scroll down for the recipe!

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Restaurant Review: Wahaca

Eating at Wahaca

We don’t normally do reviews for places that don’t serve burgers, but Wahaca definitely deserves a nod. It’s one of our go-to places to eat when we’re out at Bluewater or even in London, especially if we happen to be by the Southbank. So, this week I’m reviewing Wahaca, along with a few photos from our last visit!

Good Points

First of all, I want to talk about why we love Wahaca. Firstly, I’ve always been a sucker for Mexican food, and the street food angle makes it all the more exciting. You can have lots of little bits of what you like, all together at once!

I also love the decor. Wahaca have this kind of salvaged chic going on which I really love – my favourite thing to do is sit in the VW bus tables in the Bluewater branch. Actually, no, I tell a lie, my favourite thing is to make up excuses to go wash my hands. They have the brightest, sunniest, most beautiful bathroom I have ever seen. It makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a tropical dream.

But never mind all of that – onto the menu. My absolute favourite drink in the world is the horchata. We had these endless in Budapest (of all places) and, while that one remains the best, these are pretty damn good too. I would probably go for the horchatas even if I didn’t like the food. Because really, where else can you get a good horchata in Kent?

Then there’s the superb menu choices, most of which change on a seasonal basis. Except for a few staples, such as the frijoles, which we always get as a starter while we wait for the other dishes to come out. Normally the vegetarian options include some sort of plantain, which is just so gorgeous. I could eat my body weight in plantain, I really could. 

Finally there’s the sweet potatoes, which are so divine I honestly cry a little bit inside every time I eat them. You pop them into your mouth and they just melt on your tongue. The flavouring is so beautiful. I have no idea how they make them this fabulous – believe me, I’ve tried. Having a sweet potato side each is an absolute must whenever we visit. 

Bad Points

Sadly, of course, we have to go onto the negatives. Because even as much as I love Wahaca, I do admit that it has its flaws. 

Firstly, let’s talk price. So, you have to buy at least a side order, a drink, and probably two mains in order to get enough to eat for a proper meal. But when each of the dishes is around £5 (and some going up much higher than that) it starts to add up. You can hit £20 a head very easily, which makes it not as wallet-friendly as some of the other restaurants at Bluewater.

Then there’s the flavouring. Mostly they get it right, but one thing Mexico is famous here is spiced food. And at Wahaca, they make everything hot – like super-hot. So while I do love my plantains, I almost always spend the whole dish wishing there was some way to scrape off the hot sauce so I could actually taste the plantain properly. 

Finally, the portion sizes. Let’s take a moment to compare two dishes. The first you see in the image before you is the Sonora Salad, one of our favourites, which is meant to be either shared or a full meal. We love it, a lot (you can eat the bowl! It’s made of nachos!). It sits next to the side order of sweet potatoes.

Next, scroll back up and look at my other dish examples. That plantain dish had three of the plaintains on tortillas… and that was the whole thing. The servings are all absolutely tiny. The only dishes I would say are sized right are the two above. The rest are always far too small.

There’s always the issue of serving, too. Now, the food is served on a street food basis – when it’s ready, you get it. But this means that sometimes you are waiting for the last dish or two while the rest is going cold. Sometimes they deliver the thing I wanted to eat first, last. It’s not as convenient as it sounds when the restaurant is busy and packed – which it almost always is.

Finally, you hardly ever have enough room for dessert, which is a crying shame. Especially when there are options like churros and, well, this.

Also the servers have this annoying thing where they scrawl all over your menu and you can hardly ever read their handwriting. Another of those things that is supposed to be a perk of the experience but actually gets really grating when all you want to do is order your food and some 18-year-old  is painstakingly writing their name with their tongue out the side of their mouth for concentration.

The Verdict

But! All that said, I would definitely recommend Wahaca as a place for vegetarians to eat. The food is fresh by necessity, there is always lots of variety, and you can eat four portions of sweet potatoes and nothing else if all else fails. And believe me. You will want to.

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