Monday, 30 September 2013

The Ordinary Vegan - Toby Carvery

Now I know what you're thinking, why would a vegan blogger be reviewing a carvery? Well, yesterday I went out for my Sunday Roast at Toby Carvery and was very pleasantly surprised to find out they have a vegetarian menu of which two of the main courses are vegan and labelled so on the menu. 



In addition to these two vegan main courses - Shepherd's Pie and Nut Roast Wellington, most of the carvery vegetable options are vegan too - excluding the mash potato, Yorkshire pudding and cauliflower cheese. For example, yesterday I had peas, carrot, red cabbage, onion, roast potatoes, leeks, stuffing, gravy and mint sauce along with my Nut Roast Wellington. The veggies are unlimited as is the gravy and sauces and they come in with the price of your vegan main meal. I checked with the chef and all of the veg options apart from the exceptions above are vegan, and they even brought my Nut Roast to the table so as not to cross contaminate.

The prices are good value with the vegan options priced at £5.99 on a weekday and at £8.49 on a Sunday. They also have a weekday 'Meat-free Carvery' option for £4.49 which is just the unlimited veg.


Yesterday I had the Nut Roast Wellington and Mr Vox had the Shepherd's Pie so I could try both options. They were both delicious! The Wellington had a mildly spicy nut roast mix on top of a puff pastry base and the Shepherd's Pie was root vegetables with a bubble and squeak mash on top. Really tasty and they know about veganism and had knowledgeable staff. For those who are vegetarian or like me have a vegetarian family member, there are five main vegetarian options on the menu and all of the desserts are vegetarian too, although sadly none of the desserts are vegan.


It is great to see a chain restaurant start to make positive changes to include a variety of vegan options on their menus and as there are many Toby Carvery restaurants dotted around the country, it is useful to know if you are away from home and looking for a meal option. It also makes a good compromise if you are dining out in a large group which includes omnivores, vegetarians and vegans as you can all eat together with choices and options for everyone.

If home cooking is more your style, pop back tomorrow for another Vegan Recipe of the Week.

Big Vegan Love,

VVx


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Vegan Vox Reviews...My UK Vegan Food Swap September Parcel


If you remember, last month, for the first time I took part in the UK Vegan Food Swap, run by the lovely ladies at tohappyvegans.com. You can read about last month's parcels here and here. So time has rolled around and I have now sent and received the September parcels, so in this post I will share what I sent in my box and more excitingly, what I received this month!

The UK Vegan Food Swap is free to join, you can sign up here. You get assigned a sending partner and a receiving partner and you send them a lovely box of vegan snacks and food for around a £10 value, and then you receive a lovely box in return. Who could resist a box of yummy vegan snacks? Not I!

This month, my parcel went out to Rachel aka Skatanico from Veganmayniac. I posted out her parcel of goodies and they arrived on the morning of her birthday! This is what I sent out to her:


Rachel and I emailed each other before the swap and she mentioned that she loved homemade vegan goodies, so I baked her some Ginger Snaps (recipe on the blog next week):




In addition to these yummy biscuits (with the hand written recipe), I sent her some lentil chips, cooking and dipping sauces, savoury and sweet snacks, flapjack and some herbal teas.

My sending partner this month was the lovely Kate from lookinglassblog. She sent me a wonderful box of goodies:


In my box were a range of sweet and savoury snacks and some tea along with a lovely note card :-)


The first item to be eaten from my box were these fizzy flying saucers from Sainsbury's:


I didn't know these were vegan and after sharing this picture on my Instagram and Twitter accounts, it seems many of you didn't know either! There was much excitement about being able to eat this childhood favourite again amongst fellow vegans!

The next item from my box were these Vegebears (vegan gummy bears) these are organic and fruit flavoured and were really yummy, I ate a couple and put the rest into my vegan sweetie jar!


I then enjoyed a liquorice bar and some Nakd bars, I love these bars, they are organic, raw and healthy but so tasty. I had never tried these flavours before, so that was great. These are perfect to keep in your bag for snacks on the go.



The next items in the box were a huge bag of pretzels and a huge bar of dairy-free chocolate who doesn't love salty pretzels and chocolate to snack on whilst watching a DVD on a chilly Autumn evening? Perfect!



I also got some chocolate buttons and some lovely fruit teas.



Finally, there were two items which I haven't tried before but were really yummy:



The first was satay fried broad beans, these were spicy and crunchy and really moreish! The second was a Gobblin brand fruit and sesame square, like a nutty, seedy flapjack without the oats, really nice and filling.

So this is the box of gorgeous vegan snacks I sent and received this month as part of the UK Vegan Food Swap. I hope there are some new snack ideas here that maybe you haven't seen or tried before or that you didn't realise were vegan. Don't forget to check out the blogs from my other UK Vegan Food Swappers above.

In case you haven't noticed, my blog has had an update and has useful new tabs at the top now so you can easily find recipes, reviews, events and links without having to scroll through the whole blog. I hope this makes finding what you're looking for on the blog or just browsing easier, if you like it please share a link with your friends or follow me on Bloglovin'.

Big Vegan Love,

VVx

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Vegan Recipe of the Week - Vegan Vox Organic Shepherd's Pie

Now the nights are a little darker and cooler, we start to crave warm, satisfying, comfort food. What could be more comforting than a piping hot, super Vegan Vox Shepherd's Pie? I made this pie using the veggies from my regular Organic Riverford Veg Box delivery which I reviewed here.



Here is my recipe, serves 4.

Ingredients:

6-7 medium potatoes
3 medium carrots
1 onion
5-6 green beans/French beans
1 small cup of frozen peas
1 packet of Vegan Mince (or a 400g can of organic green lentils, drained)
4 tsp vegan gravy granules
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic salt
A pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire Sauce or Henderson's Relish
Salt and pepper, to taste
Organic soy milk, unsweetened - 3 tbsp
Organic olive oil spread - 1 tbsp
Nutritional Yeast Flakes - 2 tbsp
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Vegan cheese of choice, grated (optional)








Method:

Wash, peel and chop all of the vegetables.



In one saucepan place the chopped carrots, cover with cold water and a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Let them simmer for 10 minutes, then add the chopped green beans. After a further 10 minutes of simmering, add the frozen peas and simmer for another 5 minutes. Drain and set to one side.





In another large saucepan place the chopped potatoes into salted water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until very soft and then drain. Set aside.



In a frying pan saute the chopped onions in the olive oil for a couple of minutes then add the vegan mince (or lentils) and Worcestershire Sauce and saute for a few minutes until soft. Add the vegetables from earlier and stir into the mince mixture.






In a jug place the gravy granules and boiling water to make up 3/4 pint (480ml) of gravy and stir. 



Pour the mince mixture into a casserole dish and pour over the gravy and stir through.





Take the saucepan of drained potatoes and add the soy milk, olive oil spread, cayenne, garlic salt, onion powder, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and mash until combined well. Spoon this mixture all over the top of your pie filling and smooth over with a fork. If you like, you can grate some vegan cheese over the top of the potato.








Place in the oven at 180C for around 20 minutes until the potato has gone golden brown.






Eat and enjoy!

Big Vegan Love,

VVx