Halloween Dinner Party 2018

We’re going back a good few months now, to October 2018 and our Halloween dinner party. I haven’t yet shared what we ate, but I wanted to get it out nice and early next year so that it’s here for inspiration when October comes again!

We had a small party only, but it was nonetheless pretty successful and I’m confident I will be able to easily scale things up this year. We picked up some props – a bloody tablecloth, a bucket supposed to be used for trick-or-treating, some skeletons and bats around the house and table, and a skull designed to hold test tubes full of alcohol! read more

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Bounce Energy Balls

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! read more

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Tai Buffet

Tai Buffet

Today we’re talking about a restaurant that we discovered for the first time in 2018, and which absolutely blew us away. Situated just around the corner of the Shepherd’s Bush underground station, Tai Buffet is an all-vegan Asian food buffet venue which caters to an all-you-can-eat crowd until late daily. read more

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Gluten Freegan Coconut Macaroon Mix

Gluten Freegan Coconut Macaroons

We’ve got another exciting video for you today, as we tried out the Gluten Freegan coconut macaroon mix! We received this packet free of charge to provide you with an honest and unbiased review. After we enjoyed the coffee cake so much, we couldn’t wait to get started.

Let’s start with the process of making the macaroons. It was so easy to do that we really had no problems with it at all – it’s a very straightforward mix and the ingredients are easy to work with, just as before. You don’t need to add much, even though you might think that macaroons are more complicated than cakes.

The texture and taste of the coconut macaroons were absolutely perfect. I’ve never made macaroons before – vegan or not – and so this was really exciting for me. Seeing them come together perfectly with no problems, even if they might not be the neatest or prettiest macaroons out there, was fantastic. We also enjoyed them a whole lot – let’s just say it was hard to keep the lid closed on the box we stored them in.

Anyway, here’s the video of how we made our delicious macaroons. Have a watch and see just how easy it is to do!

The best news is that we have one more Gluten Freegan mix to share with you, so we’ll be posting that soon! We can’t wait to get stuck in and see how it compares to the two we’ve tried.

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Frankie and Benny’s The Vegan Beet Burger

Frankie and Benny's The Vegan Beet Burger

We’re back with another review, this time of the new vegan burger on the menu at Frankie and Benny’s. Priced at £9.99, it’s a pleasant addition to the menu – it’s always great to see big chains adding those vegan options, and we especially appreciate the fact that it’s not just a field mushroom.

It’s served in a really nice bun, a glazed brioche which adds a bit of a luxury touch. So far, so good! 

There is so much filling that it’s actually too big to eat in one mouthful, as the burger and other elements simply squidge out the back when you try. I don’t like being defeated by a burger, but sometimes you just have to knife and fork it – and I would suggest that this is one of those times.

There’s lots of fresh salad in the bun which always adds that extra feeling of satisfaction, though of course it’s the burger itself we’re most interested in. This has a solid texture, and is very fibrous. There are lentils visible in the burger mixture, which overall is quite sweet. This might be a little strange except that it’s less noticeable when paired with the bun.

Inside the bun are a few smaller sliced gherkins as well as a big slice of tomato (you know how we feel about those here at VegBurge – we like to throw them straight out!). The burger was a tiny bit dry and could perhaps do with some added spice or diced onion. Overall, however, it was really tasty.

The ice cream sundae, I should note, is not vegan, however tasty it might be!

On the Vegburge scale, I give this…

Taste – 8/10

Price – 5/10

Rest of experience – 7/10

 

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Rehab, Hackney

Rehab, Hackney

We were out at a fashion event recently when the deadly Hunger Monster struck – no, honestly, it can be deadly when the two of us get our hangry moods on. Needless to say, there was only one thing for it: scramble for somewhere to eat, and fast. Enter Rehab, Hackney, which just sorted of happened to be right there when we needed it. It’s not often you stumble by accident into a vegan eatery right when you’re feeling peckish.

This place has a lot of great stuff on the menu, but before we even get to that, the atmosphere was fantastic. It has this kind of arty, shabby chic vibe that was right up our street, complete with chalkboard wall and exposed brick. It looks pretty much exactly like you would expect a vegan cafe in Hackney to look like, honestly.

Next up, the menu: starting with the drinks. I ordered – of course – a hot chocolate. Mind you, this was before the heat wave properly struck! The vanilla white chocolate, at £4.50, contains vanilla, maca, cacao butter, coconut oil, maple, and heated milk (oat or coconut). I went with coconut and it was so… pretty! Just look at all the flowers on top!

It tasted good, too, but a tiny bit strange because it’s a white hot chocolate that has no chocolate in it. Just think about that. Also, a white hot chocolate always tastes a little odd because it’s not what you’re expecting. But still, it was nice.

And I actually liked it so much that it now features directly next to my face in all my new social media profile images, so that’s great.

Anyway, onto the food. We took a glance over the menu and decided to order the share platter for £10. If we weren’t wanting to rush on, and also not spend all our money in Hackney, we probably would have chosen other things as individual plates, but something to share worked for us.

The fresh veggies included to dip were SO fresh and tasty. It was just a flavour explosion, as everything was obviously freshly prepped and cut. The tomatoes were even pretty tasty, and as regular readers know, I can’t stand a raw tomato. But these, I ate.

The dips were pretty interesting. Much like when we make vegan dips ourselves, they are pretty solid – not as creamy and smooth as your normal houmous. You kind of end up getting lumps of dip, but they still eat just the same and the flavour was great here as well. The kimchi was really strong, and I loved the traditional flavours of the houmous. The cheese was very much like the houmous in texture and almost in flavour – certainly not the best “cheese” we’ve had, but on the other hand, a great dip.

The bread was absolutely delicious, and also obviously fresh. It was quite oily and even though it was the least healthy thing on the plate, we soon snapped up the offer of getting a couple more slices added to the platter at no extra charge, which was pretty decent.

Would we go again? Absolutely, yes. I don’t often find myself in Hackney, but now, when I do, I know where to go.

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Caffe Nero Vegan Wrap

Caffe Nero Vegan Wrap

This week I’m sharing something I eat far too often. That’s right, my life is now so ridiculous that either my dinner or my lunch often consists of “whatever Caffe Nero have on the shelves at Waterloo Station”.

Thankfully, what they have on the shelves includes this relatively new option: a sweet potato falafel and beetroot houmous wrap, which comes with harissa slaw and spinach.

I’m pretty impressed with it, in all fairness. Despite the seeming mandate that ‘vegan’ has to been ‘boring’ for some retailers, they’ve created something very tasty indeed. There’s no attempt to substitute here – they’re simply making a wrap which happens to contain only-plant based ingredients.

That shows in the flavour. The beetroot houmous is undoubtedly my favourite part. It’s really beetrooty, which I love. Plus it has that lovely smooth texture. Then you have the falafels, which are usually kinda squished but still very tangy and flavourful. All the veggies and spinach add little zings here and there, and it just all goes great together.

The spinach is a good option, and as you can see, it’s suitable for eating on the train (apologies for the quality of photographs taken with my phone, in the dark, on a moving train).

It’s one of the healthiest options amongst their takeaway foods, excepting an actual salad, which is a great bonus. I’m giving this one a thumbs up because it’s become my go-to when those meetings and shows run late and I can’t get home in time to eat.

Which is actually probably helping me lose weight, because what we eat for dinner generally has larger portions and more calories, so I guess I’m fine with it!

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Cauldron Aduki Bean Melts (with Mango Chutney!)

Cauldron Aduki Bean Melts

This one is a bit of a mouthful, but we’ll give it a go: we’ve tried the Cauldron Aduki Bean Melts, Made with Aduki Beans, Spinach, Mushroom and Aromatic Spices, Filled With Mango Chutney. I’d like to point out that I added my own punctuation there. Some brands just aren’t mindful of their grammar.

 

The mango chutney, disappointingly, does not ooze out as it does in the photo on the packaging. Which is a shame, because that looks like a lot of tasty mango chutney. As it is, the amount that was actually in the burger was so little that I hardly noticed it at all. You can barely even see it when you look at the burger from the inside.

Can you spot it? That tiny little splodge there that barely justifies inclusion on the front of the packet? It was sweet, but only if you managed to isolate a small amount on your fork – otherwise, forget about tasting it at all.

It was a somewhat fragrant taste, though there wasn’t a single flavour from the ingredients which I would say stood out from the rest. It was kind of herby; if I had to describe it in a word, I would probably say “green”.

There was quite a size disparity between the two burgers in the same packet, which was troubling. They were crispy in texture, and quite solid all the way through – not as crumbly as one might expect. All in all, they weren’t very much to write home about.

Which is a big shame, because the burger on the packet? I was excited to eat that burger. It just turned out that what was on the outside didn’t really represent what was on the inside.

On the Vegburge scale, I give this…

Taste – 2/10

Price – 4/10

Rest of experience – 3/10

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Gluten Freegan Coffee Cake Mix

Gluten freegan coffee cake mix

We’ve got another exciting video for you today, as we tried out the Gluten Freegan coffee cake mix! We received this packet free of charge to provide you with an honest and unbiased review. It was perfect timing as I am still struggling to cut out lactose from my diet, and being both gluten-free and vegan, the range has a lot of options for me.

(By the way, I say in the video that it’s nut free… that was just me being silly! The mix does contain almonds, so it’s not actually nut free).

Let’s start with the process of making the cake. It was so easy to do that we really had no problems with it at all – it’s a very straightforward mix and the ingredients are easy to work with. While there is a need for apple sauce, which may not be in everyone’s cupboards, it will be a familiar staple ingredient for vegans who love to bake. It’s one of the best substitutes, and really does help to make the cake taste, well, like a cake.

The texture and taste of the cake were incredible. There’s very little chance that anyone would ever guess they were eating a cake that wasn’t made in the usual way – it’s moist, soft, and just delicious. The coffee flavour does come through very well, and with the use of real coffee, it even gave us a bit of an energy boost. 

Of course, if you’re like me and hardly ever consume caffeine, you probably shouldn’t eat a slice right before bed… whoops!

Anyway, here’s the video of how we made our gorgeous coffee cake. Have a watch and see just how easy it is to do!

 

 

The best news is that we have some more Gluten Freegan mixes to use as well, so we’ll be filming those and showing you how they work soon! We can’t wait to get stuck in – what’s not to like about cake that is suitable for just about everyone?

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SNACT: Vegan Fruit Jerky and Banana Bar

SNACT Vegan Fruit Jerky and Banana Bar

This week we thought we’d try a special offer that we heard of through Sweatcoin. Snact are a company putting vegan snacks together mostly through the power of fruit, and they prepared a snack pack for Sweatcoin users to purchase at a discounted rate.

I actually didn’t take up the discount, simply because the offer was cheap enough (£3 including shipping) to just go ahead and buy it – I’m saving the coins for something bigger! The pack arrived within a few days, consisting of a packet of fruit jerky and a banana bar.

The jerky is definitely a new experience. J has been hanging on to his jerky as one of the last non-veggie things he eats, and he was pleasantly surprised to try this version. It fits the bill for him, so we can’t say fairer than that! The jerky is quite chewy and has a tangy blueberry flavour that really stands out. I couldn’t really taste the apple or the banana, but in the back of my mind there was a certain knowledge of the texture and that they had to be in there somewhere.

There’s not a huge amount in the bag, so it did disappear quickly. I also noticed that while there were mostly rectangular-cut pieces of jerky that looked fairly uniform, there were also a lot of scraps at the bottom of the bag. These were all shapes and sizes, including some ridged pieces. They aren’t too thick, but you can see and taste that there’s a lot packed into each piece.

The banana bar was a lot less banana-flavoured than I was expecting, interestingly enough. Snact describes it as having a cinnamon ‘kick’, and I would agree with that. It’s not exactly spicy, but you can tell it’s there – and that’s good for your insides for sure!

These snacks are quite interesting, and I would say they’re a step up from the dried fruit products I would eat when I was at school. They have something that non-vegans might also appreciate, with the interesting flavours and textures. They aren’t hugely different from other brands that I’ve tried at festivals, but I would say that their branding is fantastic – and that might just push them further than a unique product could.

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