Butterwicks vegan macaroons

One of my absolute favourite foods in the entire world, are macaroons. In my pre-vegan days I could happily eat nothing but macaroons and feel like my life was finally complete. However, the main ingredient in a macaroon is egg white: the egg white is whipped into a soft meringue and then cooked into the little macaroon disks. So, obviously, not suitable for a vegan lifestyle.

To tell you that I have dreamt of this moment would not even be an understatement. There are very few things I have missed since going vegan nearly 6 years ago, but macaroons have always been one of them. While I have found many a lovely afternoon tea, none of them have ever offered a vegan macaroon. So I have sat and stared longingly at the sweet little treats on other people’s plates and prayed to every vegan god out there that one day, a vegan macaroon will come my way.

The wait was worth it. I discovered Butterwicks at a local vegan market and I think I nearly speared the poor owner when I came running over practically in tears I was so excited. They had six flavours on sale that day, however I was informed that they do a total of 16 different flavours online. So yes….you can order yourself some macaroons to come straight to your door. Which is both super exciting and yet (for me anyway) very very dangerous.

I decided to splurge and got myself a pack of 12, with two of each flavour. The flavours I have are:

  • chocolate and orange
  • salted caramel
  • pistachio
  • lemon
  • raspberry
  • double chocolate

These things are just as lovely as I remember. Now if I was to be super nit-picky about it, the shells do not have that standard macaroon texture: The hard outer shell with the soft inner shell (that is almost cakey?), with the ganache in the middle of sandwich two shells together. I found that these vegan ones did not have the chewy middle part of the shell, but honestly that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. The shells have that wonderful crunch when you first bite in, the ganaches are rich and creamy and together the whole thing melts in your mouth. I also believe that these are quite a bit larger than your egg macaroon, which is just an added plus!

Now they are quite expensive – I got £12 for £23. But I would say that macaroons have ALWAYS been expensive because they are such a specialist and decadent little dessert. I have tried to make my own many a time with aquafaba and let’s just say it was a massacre. I have nothing but sheer admiration for pastry chefs who have mastered the macaroon. Personally, I would have paid whatever price they said for vegan macaroons, as they are something I have searched and hoped for since the very start of my vegan journey. I would recommend everyone try these at least once because no matter what, you will feel like true royalty eating such a decadent little treat.

Overall: All time favourite. Hands down winner. Nothing will ever beat this. This is just proof that veganism is a force all of its own. I doubt I will eat anything else but these for the rest of my life now.

T xxx

Fancy Plants salted caramel pots

In an attempt to look after my health, I have been trying to find a healthy yet still tasty treat that satisfies my sugar cravings without causing me to eat an entire packet of biscuits. I found these at Tesco and decided to give these a go.

The texture is not what I was expecting. It is like a really, really thick yogurt. Now there’s nothing wrong with that at all, but when you first put your spoon in it feels somewhat whipped, so you almost expect it to be very light and fluffy. As I say nothing bad about that, just be prepared.

Taste wise, it’s alright. I found it a bit too salty in comparison to the caramel part, so it was a bit too savoury for my liking. And also not at all what I had expected. Like I say it tastes nice, but it isn’t sweet. Make of that what you will. The pots look quite small, but one pot was more than enough. They’re nice, but definitely not something that would get rid of my sugar cravings.

Price wise they are quite expensive – I found these for £3. The pots as I say are quite small, and while the portion is more than enough for one person, they are still quite expensive for how much you actually get. They were nice enough to try but personally, not really mu cup of tea. Also, what is it with every vegan brand out there only offering salted caramel deserts? In this day and age I feel like brands need to start pushing the limits a little bit and trying flavours that are not just salted caramel.

Overall: 4/10. Pretty bland and somewhat overpriced for what you get.

T xxx

Wok’N’Go sweet and sour vegan box

This is a totally new brand for me! They have just opened a new restaurant near me and the other weekend we finally decided to pop down and try it out. I have heard that the food is pretty good, and that it works in the same way as Subway, but for noodles instead of sandwiches. The restaurant also had a massive ‘vegan’ sticker across their front window so I was very easily sold!

Looking at the menu they seem to have pre-made boxes that you can just select, or you can completely make your own. It seems that each ingredient is a different price (so if you wanted vegan chicken and vegan duck, you would have to pay for each one) but they do have a huge selection of ingredients. I think I saw at least 4 different types of noodles and too much veg to even look through. As I mentioned they also seemed to have vegan chicken, duck and beef, as well as the proper fried tofu – the type that you can never recreate at home that is super light and fluffy but also chewy? That type of tofu.

I decided to try the sweet and sour vegan box to start with. I find that is normally a very safe option to start with if you’re ever unsure. They did have a green Thai curry which sounded very nice, but being the wimp I am I wasn’t quite ready to face the heat just yet! Maybe next time?

For one thing the boxes are HUGE. I only had a regular and it was a struggle to finish. My partner chose a large and I think he nearly went into a carb coma there was so much food packed into the box. One of the cool parts though is that you can watch them cook your food in front of you: You select what you want, they add all the ingredients into a box and then someone will stir fry it all together is a massive wok in front of you. Which is a lot more entertaining than watching someone make your sandwich! It also tasted lovely, so added even more to it.

I had my box with rice noodles, tofu, broccoli, peppers and carrots which was then all stir fried with the sweet and sour sauce. It was BOILING hot when I first tried it – to the point I actually had a brunt lip for about 4 days afterwards – so don’t be impatient like me…definitely wait a minute for it to cool down slightly. As I say it was TON of food but it was delicious. It also tasted really fresh, as though it had all been freshly prepared that morning. The only downside was I would have liked a little bit more sauce, as the flavouring was quite dull with the amount they used. But otherwise…big fan!

As I say the food did taste very fresh, so while I felt full after I finished the box, I didn’t feel greasy or bloated. I also found it kept me full until about 8pm that night when we actually started to think about dinner. When compared to the likes of Subway or Tortilla, I think the Wok’N’Go options are probably slightly healthier than the others. Price wise though, they are the most expensive. We got two boxes and two drinks and it cost about £20. Which for a takeaway is still quite pricey, but I also think I would rather pay slightly more for the better quality than to cheap out and feel hungry again in about 3 hours. I believe the boxes seem to range from between £8-£11, but if you go for a ‘build you own’ type box then the price seems to skyrocket to about £13-£15 depending on what ingredients you add to it.

Now this is literally the only one I have tried so far, but will definitely be going here more often!

Overall: 7/10. A really great find, and will definitely be back to test some of the other flavours!

T xxx

Doughnut Time Sia Later

We recently took a trip away, which required us to take the train from London. Which meant that after quite a hectic couple of days away it seemed only right that we reward ourselves with another Doughnut Time. I think we managed about 50k steps over the two days we were away so we needed that sugar fix for the final hour train ride back home.

I decided to try the Sia Later doughnut, which was red velvet with cream cheese style icing on top and dried raspberries. Very similar to the Liam Hemsworthy one they did, but obviously without the brownie pieces! To give you an idea as to their size, here is a picture of it in my hand. Now I do have slightly smaller than normal hands but still…these doughnuts are genuinely colossal.

I really enjoyed this one, as the doughnut itself was pretty simple: red velvet, with icing. Personally, I found the icing very overpowering – but I find that icing is always overpowering – so I only managed about 3 bites before I had to scrape the icing off and actually enjoy the doughnut. The raspberries were a nice little tart addition, but there weren’t enough of them to be in every bite. Just one of two bites really had that sharp raspberry tang to it. So more raspberries would have been nice, along with less icing.

I am finding that when it comes to these types of desserts (the very extravagant, showy ones) less is definitely more and the simpler ideas are normally the better ideas. I’ve said before though, that with Doughnut Time it seems every single doughnut is a winner, so no matter which one you pick you are going to be in for a real treat, but in my personal opinion I think I will now stick to the simpler doughnuts as I seem to enjoy those most.

Again, Doughnut Time is really expensive. Each doughnut is about £5 so definitely not something I would eat on a regular basis. In reality I usually only have one of these doughnuts maybe once or twice a year, depending on how many times we actually venture into London for a tourist day. If you are visiting London, definitely pick one up just for the sheer experience of it, but for me this is definitely not something I could afford nor eat on too regular a basis.

Overall: 7/10. Doughnut is lovely, but needs less icing as gets very sickly very quickly.

T xxx

PSA: Choccy Dodgers!

A lady at work bought these in and turns out they are also vegan friendly! They are basically Jammie Dodgers…but with chocolate instead of jam. They are made by Jammie Dodgers so really there isn’t anything special about them, aside from the fact that they have chocolate in the middle.

Have any of you guys tried BN Biscuits? They are these sandwich cookies from France that are square, have a smiley face on the front and have a chocolate filling in the middle. My family I and used to go camping in Northern France a lot when I was little, and these cookies were a staple of those holidays. They are not vegan friendly, plus I think you can only buy them in France or via Amazon, but these new Choccy Dodgers genuinely take me back and are a nice little reminder of past holidays.

Not really ,much to say about these…they are Jammie Dodgers, but with chocolate. Personally, I do prefer the jam ones as an overall biscuit, but just for pure nostalgia reasons these chocolate ones are good. Give them a go!

Overall: 6/10. Chocolate biscuit, not really much to them, but a fun new addition to the vegan selection.

T xxx

Yo! Sushi vegan box and gyoza

I am normally so good with my weekday lunches: it’s usually a big bowl of fruit, some hummus and veggie sticks to dip, and a sandwich of some sort. It’s probably not the most perfect lunchtime meal, but it keeps me going for the rest of the day and sees me through to dinner. That being said, it does get quite boring after a while of eating the same things every day.

So I decided to treat myself to something a bit more exciting. Now the Yo! Sushi near me is constantly packed, so I did order this on UberEats to ensure I got what i actually wanted. I have never had Yo! before, so I went into this very blind, but seeing as how the local shop is always packed with people I assume it must be pretty good food.

I went for the vegan box as that seemed to give samples of each vegan sushi piece that they did, so would let me try them all without having to buy them all separately. I also went for the gyoza because….gyozas are always great! It came with six avocado maki, two inari tacs and three yasai rolls. Now the maki rolls are pretty standard – I don’t think it’s possible to make rice, acovado and seaweed taste bad – so are always yummy. The inari tacos were also very yummy, but they are super messy. That may be simply because I am not great with chopsticks, but they did seem to be packed to the brim with filling so every bite would send the filling out the other side. They also quite the kick of spice, which was quite a shock for me.

My personal favourite were the yasai rolls. The sweet tofu, the vegetables and the mayo and teriyaki sauces just add an extra layer to it all. It seemed like a good middle ground between the simple maki and the big inari tacos. I could have eaten a whole plate of just the yasai rolls, so I think I will definitely pick these up again!

The gyoza was not really my cup of tea. They were very tasty, but they were fried. Maybe it’s because I have only ever had gyoza from Wagamama’s where the gyoza are all boiled, so are obviously a lot lighter and softer. The fried ones were just…strange to me. Probably because it was not what I was used to. Also whatever they fried them in seemed to take a lot of the flavouring away from the actual gyoza contents. It seemed quite salty, so you will definitely need a drink with these to help wash them down. Still very tasty, but I think I prefer my gyoza soft rather than the hard fried version.

The thing that really shook me, was the price. I did buy through UberEats so obviously there was a slight increase in price than if I had gone to the shop in person, but even then the two packets cost about £15 – just on their own!! Um…WHAT? Now the food was very yummy, but was it really £15 worth of yummy? This would literally be something I order maybe once or twice a year, let alone on a monthly basis. I mean £15 would probably be enough to make my lunches for a week (if not two!) so to spend it all on one meal seems stupid to me. Especially when you think of some of the other options out there, it seems expensive even for sushi. I am glad I tried it, because I’d wanted to for ages and wanted to see if the hype was legit, but now that I have I don’t think I’ll be going there too often…unless I declare bankruptcy.

Overall: 6/10. Super overpriced, but worth the very rare indulgence.

T xxx

Doughnut Time Candyman

A trip into London is not complete until you have been to Doughnut Time. They have shops in Covent Garden, Soho and Borough, so are pretty easy to find if you are in the main central parts of London. I will always recommend visiting them too because their range of doughnuts change throughout the year and every one I have tried has been to die for! So with a free day and lovely sunny weather (for October in England anyway) I took a day trip into London, mostly for a change of scenery and to make a start on my Christmas shopping. It was therefore only right to grab a little treat on the way back…

I decided to try their Candyman doughnut, which as you can see is shaped like a little ghost. Mine did get a little bit squished on the journey home, but hopefully the picture shows you the size and detail of it. I have tried their Hemsworthy doughnut before and in all honesty I could not have eaten one of their huge doughnuts again! Don’t get me wrong, this Candyman was still pretty big compared to most doughnuts out there, but my Doughnut Time standards he is absolutely tiny.

I really enjoyed this. The doughnut dough was light and soft, and the icing was sugary but not overwhelmingly so. I wasn’t feeling sugar sickness after the first two bites like I normally do, and it was just the right amount of sugar. That being said, I definitely could not eat these on a regular basis because my arteries truly could not cope with this, but as a once/twice a year treat? It definitely carbs all sugar cravings you may have for at least 6 months.

Now it does say that there it is filled with Lotus Biscoff in the middle, but I barely had any. As you can see from the picture I had maybe one tiny little drop of it, to the point that I couldn’t even taste it compared to the sugar. I am sure you know how flavourful Biscoff is, so to not even realise it was in the doughnut while I was eating it says a lot for just how little there was in it. I think I had maybe one bite that had even a slight Biscoff taste, but the rest was just your standard sugar doughnut.

Obviously this is a Halloween exclusive doughnut so it probably won’t be around for ages, and I do wonder if it will ever come back again. I actually preferred this to some of the bigger, more extravagant doughnuts that they have on sale. Don’t get me wrong, they are all brilliant and you’d be happy with whatever doughnut you pick, but I preferred Candyman because it was quite a simple design that tasted lovely. Sometimes that is all you need. It’s also probably the first doughnut I have tried from them that didn’t leave me lying on my couch in a sugar coma.

Price wise, these things are expensive. £4.95 per doughnut! But at the same time, the doughnuts are huge, and they do all look every impressive. They also taste amazing, so the price is pretty justified. Doughnut Time also only seem to have shops in London and Reading, so unless you live in those areas this is not a store that you can visit on a regular basis. Hence why I only ever get one when I am on a day trip into London, because after a day of walking around 20K steps through the streets of London, I feel a posh Doughnut has definitely been earned!

Overall: 9/10. The Biscoff addition is pointless, but this is definitely a wonderful seasonal addition that I hope they bring back next Halloween!

T xxx

Wicked Kitchen jazzy jam filled biscuits

Right, so I know I said that I wouldn’t be buying Wicked Kitchen stuff again, but I actually bulk bought all of their new items so have to go through all of them. After this though, I will probably just steer clear of them as I have really disliked about 98% of their products. And I doubt that will change anytime soon.

I saw these and decided to try them. When I bought them, I had not had a jammie dodger biscuit since I went vegan (so nearly 7 years at this point!) so had a massive craving for them. For those who have never had a Jammie Dodger, they are essentially the exact same thing as these jazzy jam filled biscuits, but have been around for decades longer. If you are British, then you will understand that they are a staple part of the British diet and are a national treasure.

In typical me fashion, I bought these and then the next day I learnt that Jammy Dodgers recently updated their recipes to be vegan friendly. So…while it is good that Wicked have made a vegan friendly jam biscuit alternative, it seems that the vegan movement has moved quicker than expected because the main biscuit Wicked were trying to replace are now completely vegan friendly as standard. Which is not a complaint, just a very interesting development, especially when people still seem to argue online that ‘veganism will never take on’. Check mate vegan doubters!!

Anyway….

The jazzy jam biscuits are identical to the Jammy Dodgers. I could not tell you the difference, other than their overall appearance. Taste wise, they are identical. They are quite crumbly, so be warned, but they are brilliant for dunking into your mug of tea. SIDE NOTE: Someone told me that the British are one of the only places in the world that dunks cookies into tea, and I find that hard to believe – because there is nothing better than a good ol’ biccy and a cuppa. If you dunk – or do not dunk! – please let me know in the comments because it genuinely baffles me. Like…how do you enjoy your biscuits otherwise?

There isn’t actually any fault to these. The biscuits are a decent size, taste lovely and are the same price of the normal Jammie Dodgers. I don’t have a preference as to which biscuit I would rather buy, seeing as how both are vegan friendly, as they really are the exact same. Both are great, both are a decent biscuit and both are affordable. Possibly the only downside is that I think Jammie Dodgers may be more readily available, as I believe Wicked products are an exclusive range that is only ever stocked at Tesco. Other than that though, I am very surprised by these.

Overall: 10/10. Identical to the ‘non-vegan’ version they were made to replicate, so therefore a win!

T xxx

Wicked! Kitchen coconut and pineapple bake

When will I learn….

This is a new pastry that is now on sale from Wicked! Kitchen and I have been mostly deeply disappointed with everything they have made so far, so I don’t know why I thought this would be better. Usually their desserts are better than the actual meals they have to offer, so I thought I would try something weird and new. I mean pineapple and coconut sounds like it should work right? Isn’t that what a daiquiri cocktail basically is?

Avoid at all costs. It was just….gross. There is no other word for it. It tasted like fake coconut and pineapple. The pastry part wasn’t bad (it was a flaky and substantial pastry case) but the filling was just bizarre. Like…I can’t even explain it. Imagine boiling pineapple flavoured candy (so not even real pineapple chunks) in a big pot of coconut water and that’s kinda of what you get….a watery yet somehow jelly-like filling with tiny little bits of pineapple throughout it that just tastes super tart, but not of anything in particular.

I think I have learnt my lesson though. Wicked! did have a standard cherry bake on offer too, which I would hope would be pretty standard (how hard can a cherry pie be right?!) but alas that is for someone else to test. I can no longer suffer at the hands of Wicked! Kitchen.

Overall: 0/10. Just….no.

T xxx