Slug and Lettuce chocolate orange tart

Another little treat from my Slug and Lettuce venture the other day. As I mentioned in my mac’n’cheeze post their vegan menu is pretty good and also just a bit more decadent than your usual pub food. Needless to say I was very excited to try this little baby!

Now I don’t know if it is because most places make vegan desserts using dark chocolate, but they are always so rich! This was no exception. This tart was more like a really thick cheesecake….it had a very rich, creamy and thick texture to it, but way thicker than your usual tart filling. I didn’t get any orange flavour from it, because that dark chocolate was so rich it completely overpowered anything else. The base was like a brownie – whether intentional or not, I can’t say – so really added to the chocolate shock of it all.

I couldn’t finish it. Trust me….I really wanted to. But it was so rich and so filling that my stomach could barely handle half of it. Granted it probably didn’t help that I had also just had mac’n’cheeze. Maybe next time I should stick with either or and not get too excited. The filling was also very very thick – almost like caramel in that it genuinely felt like my mouth might glue shut there was so much thickness to it. You will definitely need a drink to help wash this down.

Price wise, it is actually a steal. This dessert alone was £2.99. TWO NINETY NINE. For a really big portion of very decadent tart. That alone makes it worth while, because normally for this level of dessert you’d likely have to go to a specialist baker or very posh cake shop. It also meant that I don’t feel like I have really wasted money when I can’t finish the whole plate. I still felt wasteful, as I left at least half of it (before my stomach burst) but at least I didn’t also feel the guilt of spending a lot of money on something to not even finish it. If you fancy something special though, I would recommend maybe sharing this one.

Overall: 5/10. It was lovely for the whole 3 mouthfuls I could stomach. Way too big a portion.

T xxx

Vegan Kit Kat

I finally found the motherload!! I have heard that these were a thing but had never been lucky enough to find one. The only reason I even got this one is because one of my lovely work colleagues got lucky at her local Sainsbury’s. Apparently you should be able to find them in m,ost supermarkets, but either they are too popular or I am just unlucky because it seems to very hit and miss as to which stores actually stock them and which might get a lucky delivery every so often.

I forgot how good a kitkat is. For those of you who do not know what a kitkat is, it’s a stack of long crispy waffle layers covered in chocolate. They come in long strips as you can see and there is only one correct way to eat them: You split the bars apart, and eat each finger one by one. Anyone who just takes one big bite out of a kitkat without breaking them apart first, is clearly on the brink of mental collapse and you need to run away from them immediately.

The vegan version is identical to the original. I honestly could not tell you any difference in them. They are crunchy, and rich and the most moreish chocolate bar out there. Honestly I could eat these non stop. Aside from a Bounty and a snickers (I am still praying to the plant based gods to finally make a vegan version of both), Kitkats are easily one of my favourite chocolate bars. I nearly forgot how much I love a kitkat and yet one bite and I feel like I am back in secondary school studying for exams or working on coursework: Kitkats and 2 litre bottles of Diet Coke were all that would get my through the really hard subjects some days!

The only downside to these is of course the vegan tax that has to be paid. This bar was £1, which I know is not much at all, but the non-vegan version is only 70p so it does feel a bit cheeky of them to charge more. Surely they contain the same (if not less in the vegan version!) ingredients so why charge me more?! But alas, at the moment you will find that most vegan options do tend to be slightly pricier than the non-vegan options. Not by much, but it can suck having to pay 50p more for an item purely because it says ‘vegan’ on it. Hopefully as demand continues to grow and sales start to even out between vegan options and non-vegan options, the prices will start to become more uniform.

And if to lower the prices it means I have to increase demand and eat these kitkats on a regular basis…I shall do my duty.

Overall: 10/10. Identical to the original and therefore an instant winner.

T xxx

BOL spanish bean and Veg Paella

Another hectic week thanks to the British bank Holiday, so I had to grab myself a lunch in between client meetings. I am currently trying to focus on more whole food recipes, and to eat less processed goods, so I thought this BOL pot would be better for me than a Pot Noodle.

I was pleasantly surprised. You can tell it is a microwave meal – the veg doesn’t have much crunch to it and the rice is just slightly too soft to be fresh – but it didn’t taste like a microwave meal. The flavours were lovely, and the paella aspect gave it quite a nice, rich undertone to it. It has a slight spicy kick to it, but it worked really well with the rest of the veg and greens so no flavour overpowered the other.

There isn’t really much more to say on this matter. It literally is what it says on the lid.

This was £2.50 when I bought it, so is obviously a fair bit more expensive than your Pot Noodle type meals. But this meal also filled me up for the rest of the afternoon – no need for any pre-gym snack or 3pm pick me up – and got me through a 30 minute run so it clearly had some sort of nutrition inside it all. Now I am usually really good at making my meals at home for the next day, but should I ever be caught short again I think I would rather splurge slightly for the better quality option than the cheaper options out there.

Overall: 6/10. Definitely not something to have regularly, but a very good option if you ever need a fast meal

T xxx

Little Moons mochi ice cream: mango and passionfruit

I have never had mochi before, but I have seen everyone online raving about how great these little ice cream mochi balls are. Now I know that mochi is usually made from rice, and is mixed with sugar, fruit or other sweet things to make little dessert balls. They are originally from Japan and in recent years have had a real surge in popularity here in the UK. The regular mochi always look so appealing, so I thought I would take a chance on these.

Maybe it’s because I was expecting a more rice like texture, that these things really threw me. I am still not sure if I actually like them. The outside is almost like a gum – I was sort of expecting it to be somewhat doughy – like a dough ball but a bit softer – but it was more like a soft haribo gummy bear. It tasted like icing sugar though. So naturally my brain did not know what to do with it all!

The actual ice cream inside was delicious though. I could eat passion-fruit and mango all day every day so this ice cream was haven to me. It was rich and creamy and really woke you up with the amount of sharp flavour you got. I am not sure if the outer part sort of diluted the ice cream a bit – whether it is meant to or not I don’t really know – as the flavours were definitely more muted when you first bite into it, compared to when you’re about half way through.

They also were somewhat messy, as it did feel like the ice cream wasn’t actually connected to the outer coat by anything – I feared I’d take a bite and the whole ice cream part would just fall straight out. The outside also got quite sticky, no doubt as it melted slightly from the warmth of may hands as I ate it, so it did feel even messier. The package did say to take them out of the freezer and leave them for 5 minutes at room temperature before you start eating them, so maybe that it what makes it so gelatinous? I think next time, I may ignore the advice of letting it melt a bit first and see if that holds it together and makes it a bit more appetising texture wise.

As I said, I still can’t work out if I did like these. Perhaps it is more because my expectations were for something a bit more solid than what I actually got. I almost expected something similar to an ice cream sandwich than the ice cream candy ball I did get. You do get 6 balls in a packet though, so I do have some more to try later on to see if I enjoy it better now I know what to expect. Perhaps it’s an acquired texture? Like with mushrooms?

They are somewhat expensive – I picked these up for £5 – but I guess that does work out to be about 85p (I am not doing the exact math) per ball which actually sounds like quite the bargain. I had two, and it was more than enough. I think anymore than that and you’d just end up feeling very sick. I imagine this pack will probably last me at least 2 more servings, and as they keep in the freezer they don’t have any real expiry date to them. I am using these at the moment as my one weekly dessert (I am trying a new training programme which also includes quite a ‘clean eating’ meal plan to go with it) so one packet can easily last me a whole month. So I guess in that regard it is actually quite affordable.

Overall: 5/10. Jury is still out….more research needed.

T xxx

In the Mood Cafe: Passionfruit cake

This little cafe is located around the corner from where I work, and yet every time I go past it, it is either absolutely rammed busy or closed. They are a completely vegan cafe, serving cakes, drinks and various hot meals which I believe are changed seasonally. When I visited they had some curry dishes and some superfood salad bowls.

But we all know I was there for the cake….

The selection was huge! They had brownies of various flavours (oreo and biscoff for starters), various cupcakes and about 4 or 5 different tray bake cakes to choose from. I think I spent about 20 minutes just trying to decide what to go for. I decided to try their passion fruit cake, mainly because I have never seen a fruit cake on sale anywhere before.

So I have realised that I am really not a fan of icing on cake: it’s way too sweet and overpowering and ruins any other flavour that a cake or cupcake may have. This icing at least had a bit of passion fruit drizzled throughout it so it did have some tartness to it to stop it being too sickly sweet. But in the end I did just scrape the icing off and enjoy the cake.

Now yes, there is a layer of icing in between the cake layers, but it was so thin that it was actually a nice bit of sweetness to compliment the cake, rather than overpower it completely. The sponge was weirdly refreshing: It was moist and bouncy, like a sponge cake should be, but it tasted like a passion fruit smoothie. It was very yummy to say the least!

The cake was £3 per slice, and honestly that doesn’t sound too unreasonable. Especially when you can find something in Costa or Starbucks for around the same price, and not even get the same quality. I will definitely be going back on a lunch break to test out their entire menu….slowly but surely!

Overall: 7/10. I will have to keep a running rating of the cakes/meals as I try them.

T xxx

McDonald’s vegan burger

I know I know…McDonald’s is terrible. But sometimes it is the only option available to you, especially when you need something quick and cheap. There is also a McDonald’s every 200 metres in most places so it seems that they will always be available. This is also the first McDonald’s I have had in…years. Literal years. McDonald’s has always been quite cheap and cheerful food, but I swear their quality has gone down (hard to believe) and their prices have definitely risen over the past few years. In today’s society, there is no way I would ever choose a McDonald’s over a Subway or a Pret.

Unfortunately though I found myself somewhat short the other day. We had a super busy day, rushing around with errands, and on barely little food to keep us going. We found ourselves at one of our local super centres and the options available to us were either a Costa or a McDonald’s. At the time we wanted something a bit more substantive than just coffee and cake and we also wanted something hot that would hopefully keep us going until our very late dinner.

There is much debate at the moment about whether or not McDonald’s chips are suitable for vegans due to how they are cooked: In the UK though it seems that they are 100% vegan, and have dedicated separate fryers to cook in. I do not know if this is a country wide practice, as it appears that in the USA the fries are cooked int he same oil as meat products, same way that the vegan products at Burger King are also cooked on the same grill as meat products. But I decided to take the chance and order a full McDonald’s meal.

Oh boy…it’s so lazy. You’d think that one of the biggest fast food chains in the entire world would put a little bit more effort into their vegan options. The ‘burger’ is really just two vegetable fingers in a bun. Separately, the veggie fingers aren’t that bad: They tend to be very crispy on the outside, soft in the middle and overall taste ok. They taste exactly like a fast food veggie finger. I think if there is ever a next time I may just have them as a separate meal and not as the ‘burger’ option.

The bun is very dry so it does need sauces to stop the whole thing collapsing as you bite it. The vegan burger does come as default with mayo (not even vegan mayo) but you can easily change it for ketchup. It also comes with a few leaves of lettuce, but other than that it is pretty plain. Again, I don’t expect ground breaking meals from McDonald’s but….they haven’t even tried with this! At least make the veggie fingers into an actual patty.

Perhaps it is because I haven’t had one in so long that I forgot how they taste. But everything was very greasy. Again, not surprised – it’s what I expect from McDonald’s – but has it always been like that? My chips were quite limp, and I remember McDonald’s chips being the best ones around. I could happily have eaten those chips for every meal some summers, but I couldn’t even finish my portion this time. It was also all REALLY salty. Again, I expected some level of salt as it is fast food, but like…all I could taste was salt.

I remember reading a conspiracy theory once that most food places add salt to all of their food, as it means you need to drink more and therefore order extra drinks, and since drink sales is where most places make the most money, they get to earn even more by keeping you super thirsty. I don’t know how true that really is, but after this meal I completely see where the theorists are coming from.

Overall: 3/10. Fine if no other option, but it’s easily one of the worst options available out there.

T xxx

The Enchanted Tearoom – Vegan afternoon tea

There is always something so decadent about an afternoon tea. I always feel like a true Lady when I go to one, and it makes me feel all posh and regal: Like I am in my very own Bridgerton episode. Since going vegan though I have only been able to find one other vegan afternoon tea, and this was at Fortnum and Mason’s in London. So really a bit too posh for me! It was very lovely but it was also very expensive – but it was to celebrate me completing (and passing!) my masters degree. So I guess it was justified.

I found out about The Enchanted Tearoom while searching for a venue for my friend’s hen party. But because it all looked so good and I am impatient, I took my mum here for her birthday. For a little afternoon tea to celebrate and catch up after a year of very limited outings. They are based in Redbourn, Hertfordshire and this is the most English town ever: there were many a thatch cottage and lots of tiny winding roads. It really did look like a postcard. Now I am not a country strong type of girl: I need to be in the centre of a city and any town I live in must have a population of more than 10,000. Otherwise I feel I am stuck in the outback somewhere with no sign of civilisation. But every now and again a break to the countryside is a really nice change of pace.

I don’t think it’s possible to do a bad afternoon tea. The principle is so simple that it should be b very easy to follow, right? The Enchanted Tearoom absolutely nailed it. Now while it may not be the most extravagent of teas, it had everything you would have wanted and did a lovely and simple afternoon tea. I did have a fully vegan option, so the standard version did include clotted cream for your scones (scone as in gone – not scone as in cone) and a macaroon.

Side note: I would literally give my kidney if it meant I could have a vegan macaroon. They were my absolute favourite thing before going vegan and I have never seen vegan ones on offer. If anyone can hook a girl up, I may cry with delight! I will also owe you a life debt.

The sandwiches were your standard cucumber sandwiches, but even then they were still very yummy and refreshing. There is also something so extravagant about having a sandwich, with the crusts cut off and cut into little finger strips, that just make a sandwich feel elevated. Isn’t it odd that I would never ever make myself a cucumber sandwich at home, but put tiny versions on a china plate and I am all for it!

The scones (again – scone as in gone. A debate for the ages I’m sure) were delicious. They melted in your mouth and had that wonderful crumble to them that you want with a good scone. The jam was also lovely – a nice, smooth strawberry – and you had some vegan butter. There was no vegan cream but honestly I have never been a fan of mixing jam and cream together. The Queen may do so but I cannot live by such anarchy. You were given two and I always forget how filling scones are. Two was definitely enough – I would have loved more but then my stomach would have literally exploded.

The cakes were also very nice. The types of cake that go perfectly with a cup of tea, so it was a lovely way to end the meal. I had a walnut and raisin slice and I believe the little cupcake was carrot cake. I think their cakes change depending on what they have made, so there is a chance you get a different cake each time you go. Which is a good excuse to go back multiple times just to see what other cakes they have on offer. The walnut cake was delicious, although slightly stodgier than you would expect. The carrot cake was also lovely: The icing was very rich (but I personally am not a fan of icing anyway so I may be a little biased) but the cake itself was light and fluffy and was a lovely end to a lovely meal.

They also had a huge selection of loose leaf tea and it is bizarre how much a difference loose leaf tea makes. I stuck with a standard English breakfast tea but even that tasted lighter and fresher than it usually does from your PG Tips teabag. I would love to have been able to sit all day and go through every type of tea they had on offer, but alas time was not on my side. The decorations are that charming shabby chic aesthetic, with lots of vintage style pictures and paintings decorated throughout. The building is adorable – I believe it is an old Tudor building as you can still see all of the supporting beams across the ceilings and the walls and the ceilings are slightly lower than modern buildings.

Price wise, I believe the afternoon teas were £22.95 per person. Which while it sounds expensive, that is actually not a bad price at all for an afternoon tea. I also argue that it is 100000% worth the price as it was genuinely the cutest little meal I have had. It is a lovely place to visit and the staff were all helpful, polite, professional and just overall made the whole day really enjoyable. While afternoon tea may feel a bit ‘extra’ for a weekly event, I stand by the idea that if you enjoy something then do it. Instead of going for coffee and cake, why not go for a cream tea with your friends as a catch up?

Overall: 10/10. Would highly recommend this place to visit to everyone!

T xx

Gregg’s vegan cheese and ham baguette

My local store has finally stocked the vegan cheese and ham sandwiches! I had heard that these were coming sometime in early June but it is only now that I have actually found one.

Now strictly speaking it is not anything special at all. It is literally Quorn ham and violife cheese slices. So that is exactly what is tasted like. I think I would prefer it heated up, as the bread was quite stodgy and Violife cheese is normally a lot better when it is slightly melted. But other than that it is a good sandwich option.

It is also HUGE. I couldn’t even fit it in one picture it was that big. So for £2.50 this is easily one of the better options out there for a lunchtime sandwich.

I am more excited because it means that there is now a cheap and easily available option for me should I forget my lunch or want something a bit more filling. It is also nice to see a vegan sandwich that is plain and simple: no fancy ingredients or special sauces, just your run-of-the-mill basic sandwich. Which is also good if you are out with fussy eaters or are on a tight budget and don’t want to spend £4+ for a really posh and complicated sandwich.

Hopefully as time goes on and veganism begins to be more and more widely catered for, simpler options will start to be available. Plus it is also nice to have a break from the sausage rolls and steak bakes!

Overall: 5/10. It’s nothing special, but being cheap and easy to find what more could you want?

T xxx

Doughnut Time: Liam Hemsworthy

During our week off, we finally decided to venture into London. This is the first time we have been into London since February 2020. As someone who went to university in London and then later working in London for most of my career, it felt very strange to be able to be a tourist once again. We we went to our usual favourite places, and that of course meant a trip to the greatest doughnut shop in England: Doughnut Time.

I believe that Doughnut Time only have shops in London (we went to the one that is outside of Chinatown) so unfortunately it is not a store we can visit on too regular a basis. But whenever we go to London we usually go out of our way to pick up one of these bad boys. The shop also seems to be 90% vegan friendly: When we visited they actually only had 3 non-vegan options available, and the other 10 or so were all vegan friendly. So definitely spoilt for choice.

I decided to try the Liam Hemsowrthy doughnut. And yes, all of their doughnuts have humorous names. My personal favourite is the Gordon Jamsey. But I decided to try the Liam for something new. It is a red velvet doughnut with cookies and creams icing and cookie chunks on top of it.

It was bloomin’ gorgeous. I have previously tried their Lotus based doughnut (The David Hasselhof) and can only manage about 2 or 3 bites before it starts to get really really sickly. But this one was much nicer. The icing is obviously quite sickly – as almost all icing tends to be – but the doughnut itself wasn’t overly sweet so it didn’t get sickly at all.

The doughnuts however are HUGE. Look at the size of these monsters!? Price wise they all seem to be around £4.95, so while it is a bit pricier than other options out there, I think these are excellent value. As I say, you only need one, and even sharing it with someone else you may be hard pushed to finish even half depending on which doughnut you go for. The Liam Hemsworthy was indeed very worthy: I finished it and was very much satisfied. I think it helped that I had spent the about 4 hours walking around London prior to having this, so had definitely worked up an appetite for this!#

As I say these doughnuts are amazing and there are so many options. I think it is a blessing and a curse that you can only get them in London, as it means I cannot just pick one up after work everyday, but it also means that when I do go into London I know that I will definitely be getting at least one sweet treat to compensate for all of the steps I have done to get to them.

Overall: 10/10. I think it’s safe to say that no matter which doughnut you pick, you will end up with one very serious treat.

T xxx

Vegan at Krusty Burger

During our trip to LA two years ago, Universal Studios was one of our favourite days. If you have never been, you should! We also got super lucky in that we went in a really off-peak time: The entire park was practically dead, we waited no more than 10 minutes for any ride, and I got to meet so many of the characters! It was such a lovely day and I wish it was possible for us to go back more often.

One of the best parts of Universal was Springfield. Having grown up with The Simpsons – with Lisa the Vegetarian being a MASSIVE part of my own veggie journey – it was so much fun to be able to run around Springfield and see all of the different places. Unfortunately the massive pink sprinkle donut was not vegan friendly, otherwise that bad boy would have been my lunch AND dinner.

I was very excited though to actually go to Krusty burger. We had packed some snacks for the day just incase they didn’t have any options, and was quite surprised that Krusty Burger had a vegan option. I will admit I did not have high hopes: I thought it would be your standrad fast food type burger.

Now I will admit, it didn’t look great. It was, however, huge. As most food seemed to be in the US. It did come out looking a little bit flat and limp, but for a theme park I didn’t really expect it to be anything close to posh.

It tasted absolutely amazing! It did taste like a fast food burger, in that you could easily tell that it wasn’t super fresh and had probably been pre-made elsewhere before being shipped to Krusty Burger, but even with all of that it was still really moist and super tasty. The patty was a bean patty, with a very slight spice to it, and came with vegan mayo and some lettuce. I was very surprised at just how bloomin’ good it was! The flavours all worked well together and even though it was a ‘fast food burger’ it wasn’t greasy or salty at all and was very filling.

It was also the perfect size. Yes, it was pretty big by other burger standards, but with the small portion of chips that came with it, it made a very satisfying and filling meal without making you feel like a grease bucket afterwards. I did leave a few chips, but the burger definitely hit the spot and helped me take a well needed break from the LA sunshine and about 15k steps.

It was lucky we had this burger when we did though because there were actually very few other vegan options available to us apart from chips. Which was kind of disappointing. It was good that we brought a load of snacks with us, otherwise we would have been very hangry little tourists! I do not know if it has increased the vegan options available around the park, so please let me know if there’s anything new that I need to try out! Any excuse to go back really….

I live close to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, but seeing the actual Hogwarts Castle and the whole of Hogsmead town was like being home again – the fact that all of the actors also had English accents was also very comforting and gave me a nice little bit of home sickness. But no vegan butterbeer for me but I did get to live out my 10 year old fantasy of going to Hogwarts.

Overall: 8/10. Still fast food, but good lordy was it was good!

T xxx