Thursday, 28 November 2013

Vegan Vox Reviews...Christmas Vegan Treats - Cheese and Tree Decorations!

Welcome to a special VVR. This week I am showcasing two very special small independent businesses who are both producing something to make Christmas extra special this year.

The first is Good Carma Vegan Cheese. Good Carma is owned and ran by Charlotte Bates, she is vegan herself and handmakes her artisan cheese in Wales. Charlotte very kindly sent me a sample of both of her cheeses to try a few weeks ago and they were lovely. The first was called G-Veez and is a vegan alternative to goat's cheese. It was strong and tangy and spread well on crackers. The second was P-Veez a vegan alternative to Parmesan. This was nutty and crumbly with a good bite and worked really well on pasta. Both lasted well in the refrigerator too. You can purchase both cheeses direct from Charlotte's website for £3.50 for a large tub.

Here is the P-Veez on a delicious bowl of pasta:

And the G-Veez on a cracker:

The second company I am showcasing today is Heart Felt Hand Stitch shop on Etsy. This small handmade felt decorations company is owned and ran by Mel from her home in the Midlands. Whilst not vegan herself, she believes in making her products accessible to all so she only uses cruelty-free non-animal materials. Her felt is acrylic, she using animal-free glues and cottons rather than silks. She hand-makes, to order, bespoke animal decorations. You can order any animal you like and she will make you cute little Christmas tree decorations for just £3.50 each. She has made companion animal dogs and cats so far but will happily make other companion animals, sea creatures or wild animals for your home or Christmas tree. These make perfect gifts for animal lovers too.

She kindly sent me a cute version of one of Vegan Vox's rescue cats - as a gorgeous decoration for our tree this year:

So please check out these two independent business and invite a little vegan-friendly love into your home this Christmas.

Big Vegan Love,


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Vegan Recipe of the Week - Festive Mince Pies

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without mince pies! And being vegan does not mean you have to miss out on the festive fun. Whether you want to opt for the super easy - assemble them yourself option or choose your fruits, soak them and bask in the homemade aromas filling your kitchen, I've got you covered.

This recipe is really easy to make and all of the family can share these festive pies. If you don’t want to make your own mincemeat, Sainsbury’s sell a jar which makes around 24 small pies for around £1, which is vegan! Even easier  VVx


Jus-Rol ready rolled shortcrust pastry – All Jus-Rol pastry products are vegan and labelled so.
450g Sainsbury's Mincemeat in a jar or:

56g Vegan suet
56g Bramley apples, peeled and chopped
30g Candied peel
56g sultanas
56g Raisins
56g Currants
42g Demerara sugar
20ml Brandy – or Apple Juice for a non-alcoholic version

Soy milk for brushing pastry
Icing sugar for dusting


Mix all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl and put into a sterilised jar overnight. 
The next morning, take the pastry out of the fridge and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Unroll the pastry and use a cutter slightly larger than the circumference of the pastry tart tin holes to cut the bases. 

Spray the pastry tart tin with Frylight and place the bases into the holes pushing into the edges.

Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out a smaller round top for each pie using a cutter.

Spoon a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat into each tart case and cover with a pastry lid. Pinch the lids around the edge to seal the pies and pierce the top with a sharp knife to create an air hole.
Brush the pies with a little soy milk and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan.
Take the pies out of the fridge and bake on the middle shelf for 18-20 minutes until lightly browned on top.
Place the pies on a cooling rack for 20 minutes to cool and then dust lightly with icing sugar.

Don't be afraid to be creative, add stars or lattice tops. Serve warm or cold on their own or with dairy-free custard.

Eat and Enjoy!

Big Vegan Love,


For more delicious easy vegan recipes click here.

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Ordinary Vegan - Naked Rescue Haircare

A few months ago I purchased Superdrug's vegan haircare range and whilst it is okay, it didn't leave my dry, very curly, very long hair feeling great. So I ventured down the high street in search of a vegan friendly haircare range which was more natural and hopefully better suited to my haircare needs without breaking the bank. I found it! Naked Rescue is a range of haircare products sold in Boots.

I found out more about the company on their website and found out that they are free from harmful chemicals, ethically sourced, have environmentally friendly packaging and don't test on animals.

So onto the products themselves. They have a range of bath, beauty and hair products. I have only tried the shampoo and conditioner so far, but they have left my hair feeling soft, shiny, feeling manageable and smelling good. I definitely want to try out more of the range now. All of the products are vegetarian and have not been tested on animals. The majority of the products are vegan. There are a few items which are not vegan friendly due to honey or beeswax but these are listed on the website and clearly labelled on the bottles. Naked also have a gluten-free range and a range for children and expectant mothers.

The items can be purchased online through their website and in Boots stores. They deliver overseas for those of you reading this outside of the UK.

What are your favourite vegan haircare brands? Leave me a comment below and share them with us all. Make sure you come back tomorrow for a brand new Vegan Recipe of the Week.

Big Vegan Love,


From the company website:

The Naked story began when a mum of two was looking for affordable products to use on her children who had very sensitive skin. Scanning the list of ingredients she was not happy with what she read, considering all the other messages she was reading were about ‘nasties’ and ‘baddies’ in food and drink. At that point no one was questioning ingredients in branded toiletries so she decided to do something about it.
So Naked was born with a clear and simple concept – a brand that is safe, natural and free from harmful chemicals but is priced for everyday use. It can be used by women, men, babies, children and even the odd pampered pooch! We use the best natural ingredients with specific actions and real benefits, which still smell and feels like a special treat. But we don’t take ourselves too seriously despite our strict criteria!
From the beginning, we wanted Naked to use only ethically sourced ingredients and we pride ourselves on using the best environmentally friendly packaging available, currently 50% PCR (Post Consumer Recycled) in all our bottles. We are also proud to support initiatives like the Oxfam Shinyanga project which brings clean water to children in Tanzania, something we take for granted every time we jump into the shower.
Naked is not expensive and exclusive, yet it’s still desirable, ethical and environmentally friendly, but manages to look cool (and hopefully it will make you smile)! Above we want to give you fabulous products which feel and smell good despite what we leave out of the ingredient list..... We believe this is goodness in a bottle!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Vegan Vox Reviews...Luke Berman Reviews his climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro

This week is a very special guest blog for VVR. Primatologist, Wildlife and Conservation Campaigner Luke Berman has written all about his climb of Mt Kilimanjaro which he did in support of Wild Futures. This is truly an extraordinary vegan who went the extra mile for personal growth and to help the non-human animals of our planet. VVx

Over to Luke...

My Journey to the Roof of Africa
By Luke Berman

Luke Berman is a vegan of six years and extremely passionate about wildlife, conservation and especially primates. He has worked for local authorities, social enterprises and charities like ‘The Conservation Volunteers’, where he developed skills in teaching people how to manage and look after the environment. He is now developing a career in Primatology and is off to Kenya in February for six months working with Colobus monkeys; before hoping to start an MSc in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes in September 2014.

Am I crazy?
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro has long been a dream of mine and I suppose like many people things just kept getting in the way. Well on September 11th I left the UK for Tanzania to climb the tallest single standing mountain in the world, sitting at 5,896 metres, which is truly the roof of Africa.

I did this climb for Wild Futures & to promote the benefits of a vegan diet. Wild Futures works to protect primates and habitats worldwide. At its Monkey Sanctuary in Cornwall it gives ex-pet primates a home for life as they can never return to the wild. Unfortunately it is still legal to keep primates as pets in the UK and it is currently estimated there could be around 5,000 primates kept as pets.

This charity is very close to my heart and it was a privilege to be able to undertake this challenge for them.

I already had an alright level of fitness, but I knew I would need to build endurance for this challenge. You are walking for eight days for up to ten hours, so it is a mental challenge as well as a physical one. I started going for long walks on the weekends to build up my leg strength. Within a month of the climb I started to go for eight hour walks and find as many hills as possible; the dog was very pleased.

In all honesty nothing could have prepared you for the summit climb. After climbing for six days (7 hours walking a day) we began the final walk to the top. Leaving at 11pm in -10 degrees and dropping to -20 we climbed 1400m in altitude and walked uphill for eight hours. After three/four hours you are relying on mental strength alone, water bottles have frozen, eyes are closing, and the top looks so very far away. Once at the top you can only stay for an hour due to the altitude and so must then climb down for three hours, have some lunch and then another three hours to the camp where you sleep. All in all it was seven days up and one and a half days down.

The best moment (apart from being at the top) was when one member of the group turned round to me, about half way through the trip, and said ‘I have a whole new understanding and respect for vegans. Before I didn’t know much and thought it was unhealthy, but now I can see it is perfectly healthy.’


I took high protein & carbohydrate energy bars with me, as well as bags of peanuts and raisins to snack on during the walks. The cook we had with us was excellent and went out of his way to make sure food for me was prepared correctly and without animal products. Mornings consisted of porridge made with water, I added nuts and raisins with a cup of ginger tea (an excellent pick me up in the morning). Lunch and dinner mainly consisted of a carbohydrate (pasta/rice/potatoes) with a vegetable and bean sauce.

Next I am looking at Tough Mudder, a twelve mile run through obstacles such as crawling under barb wire, running through fire and swimming through frozen water. I am definitely up for more challenges after this.

Support and keep in touch
Wild Futures details

My blog –

Still taking donations through justgiving –

I also coordinate activities in London for Wild Futures; let me know if you want to get involved.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Vegan Recipe of the Week - Vegetable Pot Pie

There is nothing better on a chilly early winter's evening than a piping hot straight from the oven pie. Layers of pastry, creamy sauce and loads of winter vegetables, served with steamed vegetables and gravy. Just perfect! So here is my recipe...

Serves 6


1 pack of vegan ready made puff pastry

1 leek
100g frozen peas
Half a butternut squash

300ml organic soy milk- unsweetened plus extra for brushing pastry

300ml vegan stock
3 medium carrots
1 yellow onion
35g plain flour

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp dried chives
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp apple cyder vinegar

Salt and Pepper to taste


Take the pastry out of the fridge for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Wash, peel and chop all vegetables into small chunks/slices.

Boil the vegetables (except the onion and peas) for 20 minutes in salted water. Add the peas in for the last 5 minutes. Drain the vegetables and set aside.

Fry the onion in the oil in a large pan, once soft add the rest of the vegetables to the pan and coat with the flour. Continue to fry off until the flour is absorbed.

Next add the stock and the soy milk and stir to combine. Add the herbs and seasoning and simmer for around 5-6 minutes until thickened. Add the apple cyder vinegar and take off the heat.

Pour the pie filling into 2 medium pie dishes or one large casserole dish.

Roll the pastry out to around 1/2 cm thick and lay over your pie dish. Cut around the edge with a knife and push the pastry into the edge of the pie dish with your fingers. Make a few small holes in the centre of the pie to allow steam to escape. Brush the top of the pies with the milk and bake in the preheated oven for around 20-25 minutes until pastry is golden. 

Serve with steamed vegetables and gravy.

This pie will keep in the fridge for 48 hours and can be frozen. Feel free to substitute the vegetables for whatever you have in your cupboard. I have used kale, potatoes and courgette in this pie also. If you liked this recipe, please click here to see my other recipes.

Eat and Enjoy!

Big Vegan Love,