Vine Post: Pumpkin Houmous

In need of some Halloween nibbles for tonight? This pumpkin houmous is a great twist on the traditional recipe. It’s a little sweeter than normal and tastes fantastic warmed up as well as cold. If you dare to try something a little different, read on for our recipe and watch the video of how it’s made!

Pumpkin Houmous
Serves 4
A delicious pumpkin-based houmous which is perfect for Autumn.
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  1. 1 can pumpkin puree
  2. 1 can chickpeas
  3. 1/4 cup tahini
  4. 1/4 cup lemon juice
  5. 1 clove garlic
  6. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  7. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  8. Sprinkling of salt and cayenne
  1. Put everything in a blender
  2. Press blend
  3. Serve!
  1. Yep, it's really that simple! Feel free to add more spices if you want to change up the flavour. This batch was enough for both of us to eat a houmous-bowl meal and have leftovers for the next day, so you can half the recipe for a more reasonable serving.
Adapted from Closet Cooking
Adapted from Closet Cooking
We served ours up with some tasty tortilla nachos, as well as black beans mixed with sweetcorn and mole before cooking. We also sprinkled a little cheese on top. This would also go great with avocado slices! Use the nachos to scoop up the houmous as a nacho bowl like we did, or use it as a dip for finger food.

Pumpkin houmous
Pumpkin houmous


Vine Recipe: Fake “Healthy” Twix Bars

You may have noticed a certain dearth of Vine posts recently – what with my birthday and then J’s birthday over the past couple of weeks, we took a little break from filming! We’re right back into it now however, with these fake Twix bars. They’re supposed to be a healthy twist, although of course they aren’t as healthy as you could possibly go.

I adapted this recipe from a Deliciously Ella one which has been doing the rounds – for the most part, I’ve been simplifying it to match more common recipe ingredients. We worked with what we already had in the cupboards – even the dates were still hanging around from our banoffee pie attempt, though I can’t stress enough how difficult it was for me not to eat them in between. I love dates. I had to de-stone 400g of them by hand for this recipe, and every single one was a morsel of temptation. Every. Freaking. One. It was torture, I tell you.

These are definitely much more of a success than our melty, horrific fake Bounty bars – but on the other hand, they are still hugely messy. In total shame, I have refused to include a picture of the finished product. Also, we may have eaten almost all of them already. These two facts are not related.

Without any further ado, here’s the Vine – and you can scroll down for the recipe!

Now give them a try yourself!

Fake Twix Bars
Very messy but totally moreish and satisfying Twix bars. These come out with a dark chocolate taste so play around with the recipe for something closer to the original if you prefer!
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  1. 200g plain flour
  2. 60g coconut oil
  3. 60 ml maple syrup
  4. 1 tsp vanilla flavouring
  5. Pinch of salt
  1. 400g pitted medjool dates
  2. 100ml water
  3. 2 tbsp almond butter
  4. Pinch of salt
  1. 150g butter
  2. 35g cacao powder
  3. 5 tbsp maple syrup
  4. 2 tbsp honey
  5. Pinch of salt
  1. Melt the coconut oil
  2. Add the other ingredients and mix into a dough
  3. Line a pan with paper and spread mix across the bottom as evenly as possible
  4. Put into the freezer while you carry out the next steps
  1. Blend all ingredients together until a smooth (or smooth-ish) paste
  2. Spread over the base and put back into the freezer for one hour or more
  1. Put everything into a pan and turn up to medium heat, stirring constantly until mixed
  2. Take the tray from the freezer and slice into bars
  3. Dip each bar into the chocolate and then put back on the tray
  4. Pour extra chocolate mix over the whole lot - don't be shy, you can eat the messy bits with a spoon
  5. Return to the freezer until ready to eat
To serve
  1. Remove each slice and let rest for around 5 mins before eating.
  1. The flour can be replaced with alternative flours such as oat flour.
  2. The butter can also be replaced to make it a vegan recipe.
  3. We tried adding a little coconut milk to the chocolate also to make it less dark - you can try this if the taste is too strong, but don't make it too thinned down.
Adapted from Deliciously Ella
Adapted from Deliciously Ella

Veggie Living: Veggie FAQs

Veggie FAQ

Having been vegetarian for my whole life, I get asked a lot of questions. Often the same ones over and over again, and sometimes even by the same people. This is my (slightly tongue-in-cheek) response to those FAQs. Believe me, I’ve had enough practice. 


Why are you a vegetarian?

Short answer: Because my parents raised me that way. Long answer because I know there will be follow-up questions: Because my parents raised me that way and I love animals. I don’t want to eat them. I don’t see them as food. Actual answer: It’s a personal choice which does not require justification to you or anyone else.

Don’t you get tempted to eat meat?


Yeah, you must get tempted.

Still no.

What you need is a good bacon butty, that’ll sort you out.

No thank you. I’m perfectly fine as I am.

How do you know you don’t like it if you’ve never tried it?

First off, I can smell it, and 90% of meat smells so awful it makes me feel ill. Secondly, I wouldn’t eat it even if I did like it.

You’re missing out. You should try it to see if you like it.

Again, no thanks. I don’t mind missing out if it means animals don’t have to die for me. (Also, I used to eat sweets that contained gelatine and I really like them. Then I found out what gelatine was and I stopped. I’m not tempted to go back even though I know they’re tasty).

Wait, there’s meat in sweets?

Yup. And in some yoghurts, too. And marshmallows. And sometimes crazy things like frosting or coffee. Who knows why.

So you can’t eat any of those things?

I can, but only when the manufacturers are sensible enough to replace it with pectin.

Cavemen weren’t vegetarians, you shouldn’t be either.

Cavemen didn’t have iPhones or skateboards or DSLRs or television shows. I like to believe in this thing called evolution. Besides, there were actually veggie cavemen, according to scientific evidence, they just happened to be in the minority.

Why do you eat meat substitutes if you don’t like meat?

1: Protein. 2: My partner likes it because he still eats meat outside of the house. 3: Why do you eat sweeteners if you don’t want sugar? 4: Some of the newer products are secretly quite tasty, and y’know, burgers are burger-shaped because that’s a sensible shape to fit in the bread. Not because they’re normally made of meat. So really, a veggie burger isn’t a meat substitute, it’s just a different filling, like the difference between a ham sandwich and a cheese one.

Vegetarianism stunts growth/intelligence/isn’t healthy/isn’t good for kids.

Yes, as evidenced by the fact that I died of rickets at age 8. Obviously. Just to state facts, I’ve made it long enough to get a university degree and a mortgage (and no, I’ve never been anemic either).

Do you eat fish?

No, you blithering idiot. Vegetarians don’t eat the flesh of any animal. A person who eats fish but no other meat is a pescetarian. A person who eats fish and calls themselves vegetarian is a liar.

What do you eat then?

Imagine what you eat, then take meat off it. Pizza without the pepperoni. Pasta without the meatballs. Burgers made from vegetables. I actually eat exactly what you eat most of the time. Vegetarian food doesn’t have to be “weird”, it’s just that you aren’t thinking of it as vegetarian when it’s “normal”. 

Aren’t all vegetarians super skinny?

Er, no, and it’s kind of rude for you to ask that whilst looking pointedly at my stomach. Anyway, as I said, I eat the same as you. Pizza, burger and chips, ice cream, and cheesecake are some of my top weaknesses.

You’re killing plants!!!

I’m killing the minimum of organisms that I need to stay alive. Not to mention that most plants can regrow fruits or leaves, while most sheep are incapable of growing back legs. Thank you for reminding me of the fact that I can’t save all living things, it does bother me, but there you have it. I’m doing what I can.

Why don’t you eat meat but yet you wear leather?

Firstly, since I’m not telling you to be vegetarian, I’m not being hypocritical if I choose to wear leather. Wearing leather and eating meat are different activities done for different reasons. Secondly, this is actually pleather. Thanks for checking first.

Why don’t you go vegan?

I’m constantly disappointed in myself that I haven’t gone full vegan. I do try to eat vegan where possible and share vegan recipes too. Right now I struggle with my calcium intake when I go off dairy, so that’s my main area to work on. I console myself with the knowledge that I am at least saving the meat stock that would be slaughtered for my consumption if I wasn’t already vegetarian. Plus, I like cheese and eggs. Sorry, chickens and cows/sheep/goats. (Seriously, I am sorry)

Is there anything you dislike about being vegetarian?

Honestly? Yes. Knowing that many restaurants and pubs don’t serve vegetarian food, even in this day and age. Not being able to take some medicines because they are made from animals (or even stupider, because the manufacturers use gelatine to make the pills easier to swallow). Being asked constant questions and having to stand up for my dietary choices, even though it’s my right to eat whatever I like, and even though I consciously don’t preach to others. The fact that other people seem to have a serious problem with it to the point of being aggressive. Oh, and childish anti-veggie jokes, which are on about the equivalent un-PC and old-fashioned level as sexist or racist jokes to me.

What do you like about being vegetarian?

Literally everything else. Although it’s sort of a weird question, because I’ve never been anything else to compare it to.

Is it okay to eat this meat in front of you?

Since you asked me nicely, I’m going to say yes. Go ahead. But honestly? No, it’s gross. It’s like when a smoker stands next to a non-smoker and blows smoke in their face. I don’t want to smell that. But I’m not a giant douchebag, so I won’t dictate your diet if you’re respectful of mine, and yes, you can eat that meat in front of me.


Vine Post: Baked Bananas

This recipe for baked bananas is so simple, I’m not even including a recipe card. Take a look at our Vine and you will see just about everything you need to know for this delicious after-dinner treat!

First off, make sure that your bananas are nice and ripe. The riper the better, in fact! Don’t slice them all the way through, but just enough to cut through the flesh – you want the skin to hold together. The quantity isn’t so important but I used one date per banana and three squares of chocolate.

Oh, and by the way – this is actually vegan. The “chocolate” is really something called chocolate-flavoured cake covering. It doesn’t taste amazing if you eat it on its own, but melted like this, you’d never know the difference. I put the bananas in at 200 degrees (fan) for 15 minutes – it might take as little as 10, so be sure to check on them. If they whole of the skin isn’t black yet and the chocolate hasn’t melted, they could go for a bit longer. 

Serve them up in the foil or in bowls, and use a spoon to dig through. It tastes amazing – you will be surprised at how good. 

Here’s our baked bananas in Vine form!


Quorn Vegan Hot & Spicy Burgers

Quorn hot and spicy burgers

Anyone who reads this blog and hates spicy food, look away now. I know you’re out there because I’ve spoken to some of you, and this burger is just not for you. Even I, made almost immune by J’s insistence on adding a bit of spice to everything, found these burgers to be too hot. Way too hot. So hot it was actually pretty uncomfortable.

Quorn hot and spicy vegan burgers

The good thing is that these are part of the new Quorn vegan range, so if you love spice and want a burger but don’t want any egg in it, this is fantastic. It is essentially your average Quorn burger, with that same texture and taste that you would find in, say, the chicken fillets. All of that is eclipsed, however, by the spicy outer coating.

I honestly can’t say I tasted anything other than “wow that’s hot”. I do like the fact that the Quorn vegan range has some diverse options, but this one is not for me. I served it up in a pitta with some roasted veggies, but even sour cream wasn’t enough to take the heat away. In my opinion, more attention to the flavour and less to the spice level would have done this burger some good. J loves it though, so in spite of myself, I guess I’ll be getting these again.

Hot and spicy wrap



TASTE – 2/10

PRICE – 6/10



Veggie Living: Silverstone British Grand Prix

This week past, I was living the field life at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone has been my home for five days out of the year for a decade now, as I have been volunteering as a crowd safety (and now track safety) marshal for all of that time. You might think it’s pretty tricky to eat veggie food at a place like that, where all of the food stalls are focused mostly around burgers – but actually, it’s not so bad, and this year there were more choices than ever.

So how does a veggie – or even a vegan – fare at the UK’s biggest racing circuit on its busiest weekend? The great news is that there are options for both, but of course the vegan ones are more limited than the veggies. We always try to take as much food with us as possible – Quorn BBQs and meals cooked on the caravan hob are so much cheaper than shopping at the stalls – but it’s certainly possible to survive either way.

Moony’s Halloumi wrap

My highlight this year was a stall called Moony’s Halloumi. For £7, you could get a halloumi wrap in the Luna Italia style, which included sundried tomato pesto, spinach, olives, red onion, tomatoes, and a tasty dressing. This was good enough for us to get it twice, so that definitely tells you a lot about the quality! It was so succulent and juicy, with the flavours combined perfectly. The only criticism had to be that there was far too much sauce – by the time you got to the end of the wrap, it was running out in streams and you had to lean forward to avoid getting it down yourself.

Moony’s Halloumi Luna Italia

We also accompanied these wraps with some sweet potato fries, made fresh to order for £5 from a gyro stall. These were exceptionally good too, especially given how fresh they were. 

Sweet potato fries
Sweet potato fries

We also had cheese and onion pasties as well as veggie burritos from other stalls, and a Margherita pizza. You could find those around the Entertainment Zone, while Moony’s was on our side of the circuit behind Becketts grandstand. 

Other options were available too – I saw a vegan chilli, Indian curries with veggie options, gyros with veggie options, a vegetable pizza, and just about as many chips as you could shake a stick at. 

Halloumi wrap
Halloumi wrap

Vine Post: Vegan Fudge

Normally when I take a recipe from somewhere else, I add my own embellishments along the way, changing it to something more to my tastes. Not so with this vegan fudge, which I found in Deliciously Ella’s first book. When something has just four ingredients, looks easy to make, and sounds delicious, there’s no point in changing a thing! 

I won’t share the full recipe as it is of course printed in the book, but you can see from the Vine exactly how we made it. This was really exciting to try, especially since we both really love fudge.

I’m always so impressed by how vegan recipes manage to replicate flavours and textures by using ingredients which are so far removed from the original. Case in point is how versatile dates are – could you really imagine that they would be such a key ingredient in vegan cakes before you started seeing recipes like these?

What blows me away is the creativity with which we food bloggers come up with so many new and wonderful ideas. Kudos to those who are changing the way we eat – even if I’m only along for the ride when it comes to vegan recipes, I appreciate a good vegetarian substitute like no other. And I’m always on the lookout, so if you have a meat recipe transformed into a veggie one – or in need of transformation – let me know and we’ll see about giving it a try! Leave your links in the comments below.


Vine Post: Vegan Bounty Fail

Vegan bounty bites?

When you’re an ordinary person learning how to cook crazy things, like me, it’s not always smooth sailing. I had to share this one today because it actually made me laugh so much. You’ve probably heard of so-called “Pinterest fails”, where people try out tips from Pinterest and found that they are almost impossible to actually carry off. Similarly, I recently tried out a recipe for vegan bounty bars, and…. yep. You’re about to see the results for yourself.

First of all, let me show you the Vine. It actually went pretty well to start with. I made some coconut bars, which taste great and really do the job. Then I froze them. Then I made the non-chocolate chocolate coating to go over the top. And then… Well.

After making everything so well, the next step was supposedly to put the bounty bars into the chocolate mixture to get them coated. So I had to put frozen coconut bars into melted hot chocolate. Can you see where this is going? Straight away everything started to just fall apart completely.

In the end, I managed to get three “blobs” and a whole lot of mixed up chocolate and coconut… It’s so terrible I just had to laugh and laugh! The good news is that it actually tasted pretty good, if you were willing to scrap up little bits of it here and there… 

Vegan bounty bites?
Vegan bounty bites?

So there you go – I’m certainly not perfect at cooking by a long way! But when you can laugh at your mistakes, it’s always worthwhile. I’ll be thinking about this recipe and how to get those two elements combined better next time!


Sugarsin: Veggie Sweets in Shoreditch

Sugarsin sweets

This week I wanted to tell you about some delicious sweets we have been snacking on ever since we last visited Shoreditch. In my photographic work I often spend a lot of time around the Shoreditch area, as I just love to shoot there. While walking along the Boxpark shop front after my last shoot day, we came across Sugarsin, a very appealing sweet shop.

The great thing about this shop is that absolutely everything is marked up to let you know whether it is vegan- or vegetarian-friendly, as well as fitting in with a few other dietary requirements. You just have to take a look at the label on the “door” of the pick ‘n’ mix section to understand whether you can eat the sweet or not. And there is SO MUCH  CHOICE!



Sugarsin sweets

You can fill up small jars, bags, or whatever takes your fancy from amongst their various containers, all priced up accordingly. They even have ready-packaged sweets that you can grab and take away quickly, but come on – who doesn’t love the joy of pick ‘n’ mix?

What most excited me was finding the holy grail: fizzy cola flavoured sweets that I can actually eat! Cola bottles were my absolute favourite while I was growing up, so these were very much appreciated. But that’s far from being all. We actually ran out of room in our jar and ended up getting another bag on top – that’s how much selection was available! 

Sugarsin sweets

I’m definitely heading back there soon – what a dream! The only problem was having to try and pace ourselves when we got home so that the whole bag didn’t just disappear overnight. Well, that and the massive sugar rush that J then had to deal with, and believe me, trying to shut me up when I’ve had a load of sugar is no easy task!



Veggie Living: How to Snack Healthy

Eating healthy is all about making the right choices at the right times. Unfortunately, however, your body also needs to eat – and sometimes you get hungry in-between meals. It is tempting to deny yourself food in order to try to stay slim, but really, the best course of action is to choose healthy snacks. This prevents hunger and allows you to stay healthy, keeping your body fuelled up for longer and helping you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

There are many types of snacks that you can go for while still staying healthy. A lot of the time, it’s about choosing a healthy alternative to whatever you crave. Instead of a sugary mousse, why not try a snack like the Pudology pots, which are gluten and dairy free? This also lowers their calorie count and makes them a much better choice. You can also find popped crisps which can be as much as half the calorie count as traditional crisps. Nuts and fruit are also great snacks that you may find will help you to avoid cravings.


A debate which rages in diet circles is whether you should go for several small snacks or one big one. Personally I’ve always found that many small snacks is a better option. This satisfies your cravings and leaves you feeling more full. It’s also a great way of avoiding a situation later on where you are still hungry but have already eaten something big. If you want a big snack, however, make it count. Cutting up a veggie burger (which is always going to be more healthy than the meat version) with some salad in a wholemeal wrap is a mini meal in itself, but it is guaranteed to leave you feeling full for much longer. If you want more, always use fruit, vegetables, and salad leaves to pad it out rather than adding more “bad” food. 

Tesco Southern Fried Bean Burgers
Tesco Southern Fried Bean Burgers 


Another way to get your snacking under control is to go for Graze boxes. These are all portioned out properly so that you cannot eat too much at once. I’ve been using Graze for years now and I’m still in love with their snack range. If you want to try them out, I have a discount code here which will allow you to try them for free.

It’s really hard to avoid high-calorie food or overeating when you are really hungry. But think of it this way: allow yourself to eat unlimited fruit and vegetables instead of limiting yourself. You may well find that this freedom, which fills you up without the guilt of adding hundreds of calories, really helps you to settle into a better routine with food.