Veganuary Tips

Going vegan has never been easier! Over the last few years, supermarkets and restaurants have been more and more accommodating with their products and offerings so you will always find an option somewhere!

During Veganuary, lots of restaurants even participate in offers to encourage you to eat with them and try a vegan dish which is actually really great.

Here are some of my top tips to kick start your Veganuary!

  1. Do your research – it is really important to make sure you stay healthy and eat all the nutrients and vitamins that your body needs in order to maintain a healthy vegan lifestyle. I recommend checking out The Vegan Society nutrition page as a jumping off point!
  2. Plan your meals – it’s so much easier when you first become vegan to plan your meals. Look online for recipes of things you’re unsure of, I recommend BOSH!. These days it’s easy to find meat replacements such as soy mince and vegan sausages.
  3. Herbs and spices are your new best friends – As much as I love the taste of vegetables, they can get boring and not everyone loves them. Make sure you experiment with different herbs and spices to flavour your food as best you can.
  4. Follow vegan food groups on social media – The vegan community is an amazing one and everyone is so supportive. I highly recommend following groups such as Vegan Food UK, Accidentally Vegan and Veganuary across their social media pages to get inspiration!
  5. Don’t be too hard on yourself – The important thing to remember is that no matter what you do, you’re trying your hardest. It’s easy to make mistakes so keep calm and carry on!

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment on my post and I’ll do my best to give a helpful reply!

Good luck on your vegan journey and I hope it’s so good that you’ll want to stay vegan forever!

Got No Beef in Cardiff City Centre [EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK]

I had the absolute pleasure of being one of the first people to see and sample Got No Beef, a new 100% vegan restaurant, in Cardiff City Centre.

The Story of Got No Beef

Got No Beef is a family run business, based in South Wales and they are 100% vegan. Before opening this restaurant, you may have seen them at vegan events and vegan festivals up and down the country, selling their incredible double stacked burgers.

They’ve now decided to settle down in Cardiff City Centre and set up base for their delicious burgers, and many more additions to the menu!

For regular updates, make sure you Like them on Facebook and Follow them on their Twitter and Instagram accounts: @GotNoBeefUK.

The Location

If you’re familiar with Cardiff, you may know a little street in the city centre called Barrack Lane. This street houses other restaurants and is only a short walk from both Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen St train stations. Got No Beef is situated on the end that’s closest to Debenhams.

For those of you who drive and park in St Davids 2 Car Park, the restaurant is a very short walk from the shopping centre.

The location is great as it’s so easy to find and get to. It really is in the heart of the city centre.

The Food

So down to the most important part… the food!

As well as maintaining their stamp on having the BEST vegan burgers (my honest opinion, and I’m sure shared with many others), they have left no corner unturned when putting together their new menu. There are plenty of options, you will be spoilt for choice.

I was treated to a feast of dishes which included Cauliflower Wings, Loaded Fries, Mac & Cheeze, Beer Battered Cod and 2 Hot Dogs…

I don’t even know where to begin… Incredible doesn’t even cut it.

Let’s start with the immaculate presentation. If the food isn’t the most instagrammable food you’ve ever seen, then I have no idea where you’ve been eating. The attention to detail was so clear to see, even down to the fabulous grease proof paper with the logo emblazoned all over it.

Now for the taste… YUM! My favourite dish was the loaded fries. BBQ Jackfruit and Cheeze sauce all over the fries with spring onions and slices of chilli. The beer battered cod had an amazing texture and it wasn’t greasy which is a pet hate of mine. The mac and cheeze was lovely and the ‘bacon’ bits were a delicious addition.

The Verdict

I may be a little biased, but Got No Beef is absolutely incredible. The quality of the food and the service is like no other. The restaurant looks fantastic with their gorgeous plant wall at the back and the rustic aesthetic really bringing that comfortable vibe.

This family have clearly poured their heart and soul into the building of this business and they deserve every success. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is truly wonderful to see local vegan businesses finding their feet in Cardiff and paving the way for the rest of the country and even the world to follow.

Make sure you follow all their social media pages at @GotNoBeefUK to ensure you don’t miss out on any important updates.

I urge you all to visit and support this small, ethical, local business. You won’t regret it!

Recipe: Vegan Bakewell Slices

My sister found a recipe on a vegan Facebook group for bakewell slices that she wanted to try so we went to our local supermarket to have a go at baking it ourselves! We adjusted the recipe slightly to accommodate our tastes. I also made it for the bake-off we are holding at work which were a hit!

The first time round, we made it with a shop-bought ready made short crust pastry which was nice and easy. The blind bake was a little more difficult, only because we didn’t have the tools we needed but we made it work!

The second time round, I found a short-crust pastry recipe online which I used, which you can find here. It was a little bit more effort with the manual labour but it was the same.

Ingredients for the Frangipane Mix

  • 120g self-raising flour
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 130g ground almonds
  • 40g desiccated coconut
  • 130ml vegetable oil
  • 50ml plant milk
  • 1tsp almond extract

Other Ingredients

  • Pastry ingredients/Ready-made pastry
  • Icing sugar
  • Flaked almonds and/or cherries for topping
  • Raspberry jam

Steps

  1. Line your baking tin with your pastry (ready-made or from scratch). If you have a loose bottomed tin, you won’t need to line your tin with parchment paper, but if you don’t then I highly recommend it!
  2. Blind bake this as instructed.
  3. Mix the frangipane ingredients in a bowl. If it seems a little dry, add a bit more plant milk.
  4. When your pastry is baked and taken out of the oven, let it cool.
  5. Spread jam along the bottom of the pastry to your taste. I personally like a thick layer.
  6. Put the frangipane mix on top of the jam.
  7. Bake for another 30 minutes.
  8. Take out of the oven and let it cool completely!
  9. Mix icing as per instructions on the packet.
  10. Pour over the bake as evenly as you can.
  11. Spread flaked almonds over the top to set in the icing.
  12. Let the icing harden before eating!

The bake went down a treat at work and everyone enjoyed it! It came out much better than I anticipated, but I do wish I had lined the bottom with more jam!

I took some home for Tom and he was impressed! I’ll definitely be making it again in the future.

If you try out the recipe, make sure you share your photos and I hope you enjoy!

Castellamare Cafe in Mumbles, Swansea

Castellamare is located right on Bracelet Bay in the Mumbles in Swansea. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the beautiful area of Swansea, South Wales, you’re truly missing out.

Swansea is a truly beautiful part of Britain and the world. There are stunning views across the bay and to the ocean, and the Welsh are well known for their hospitality. Wales is a gem and I highly recommend every visit.

View from Castellamare

Anyway, moving back onto Castellamare. Even though I don’t live in Swansea, I’m a member of the Swansea Vegans Facebook page due to my proximity to the city. I found on the group the the cafe started offering vegan cheese for their pizzas!

Castellamare is made up of a restaurant and a cafe, but on this occasion we went to the cafe. I wasn’t 100% confident that the restaurant offered the same menu.

We perused the menu and there were lots of vegetables on offer. Tom ordered a vegan version of their vegetarian pizza which had lots of roasted vegetables. I ordered a vegan pizza and added mushrooms, spinach and olives. We also added a side of chips. I did ask what vegan cheese was used but the staff member wasn’t sure but she could confirm it was vegan which was good enough for me!

The pizza was lovely! For the 2 pizzas, 2 sides of chips and 2 drinks, it came to around £38 which is fairly reasonable. The pizza was a great size and the chips were lovely too. The cheese was lovely and creamy but you could tell it was different to the normal cheese they used.

There are many other vegan options in Swansea if you’re out and about. HappyCow will give you plenty of ideas! I would say, if you’re in the area then I recommend a visit, but I actually recommend you come and visit Swansea and then come here and also Boo’s Kitchen (which I’ve written about here) for your vegan food!

Brittany Ferries: Vegan Options

Tom is a non-flyer so our holidays usually involve a ferry crossing. This year, we took the Portsmouth – Cherbourg crossing over to France, and vice versa on the way back. This is usually my preferred crossing as it’s usually only 3 hour long and very comfortable. I’m not the best traveller by sea (I always have to take motion sickness tablets) so I’m not a fan of any overnight crossings so this crossing is perfect for us.

Over the years, there’s rarely been a vegan offering on-board so it wasn’t any different from anywhere else really.

Last year, I remember they had a vegan chilli that I tried that was in a glass jar. It was nice but quite a small portion.

This year, however, was a game changer! There were so many more vegan options available on the boat than there had been before, and arguably, more than some chain restaurants in the UK!

I bought a lentil dhaal for myself, with a box of mini oreos and a coke. Tom got himself a vegan magnum!

The lentil dhaal was really delicious. It was flavourful and full of veggies such as edamame, broccoli and carrot.

These weren’t the only vegan options available on board! There was also a houmous and vegetable wrap, the chilli that was available the previous year, as well as 2 other vegan options that I didn’t note down.

We’re in a changing world now where veganism is on the up and the demand is high. I’m looking forward to what’s to come in the future. So for those of you taking the Normandie Express over to France for your Summer holidays, don’t worry about options as there’s plenty out there now.

Gurou Street Food in La Rochelle, France

When planning our trip to visit La Rochelle, Happy Cow is our biggest friend. Happy Cow will give you a list of the vegan friendly restaurants and shops in a given area that you search. Not only this, they also provide a list of places to avoid to! I highly recommend using it, especially in places where you’re unfamiliar.

Anyway, Tom found Gurou Street Food which was an all vegan restaurant. It opened at 12pm, so we got there just in time for opening. It’s a small restaurant down a quiet side street in La Rochelle, a short walk from the main street in La Rochelle.

We put our belongings down on a table outside under the shaded umbrella and walked inside. The waitress started speak to us in French and I immediately looked dumb-founded and responded with “Parlez-vous anglais?”. She then switched to fluent English and very helpfully started translating the menu for us and making recommendations.

I ordered the ‘Double Cheezy’ burger and Tom ordered the ‘Ultra’ burger. We also ordered a side of cauliflower wings and fries.

The double cheezy was a deep fried seitan patty with 2 slices of vegan cheese, BBQ sauce, salad and onions. It was incredibly large and very filling! The cauliflower wings were amazing and the fries were great. Tom’s Ultra burger was a veggie patty that he thoroughly enjoyed.

After our meal, we were so full that we almost forgot about dessert!

The window sill was lined with delicious goodies, which included: Chocolate and banana cupcakes, Carrot cake and Chocolate brownies. We took a box home with us and decided on the brownie and the cupcake.

The brownie was lovely. It was light and fluffy, not at all dense and filled with pockets of coconut. The cupcake was on another level. There was a pocket of melted chocolate inside and the top of the cupcake was nice and crisp, but the inside was soft and gooey. It was fantastic.

I can’t remember the specific prices for each item, but in total I spent around £42 for mains, sides, dessert and drinks for 2 people, so not at all unreasonable.

All-in-all, for those of you looking for a vegan stop-off in La Rochelle, Gurou Street Food is where you should be. The food is amazing and the staff were so helpful and friendly.

Purezza in Camden, London

Purezza. I’m sure many of you have heard of it. Cult vegan pizza company based in Brighton and more recently in London.

So last year, Tom and I stayed in London for the NFL and on our way back home, we stopped off in Camden for a trip to Purezza. I’d never been before but Tom had been to their Brighton store before and raved about their food.

The Camden store was quite small but we got there at opening time so we were first through the door and got a table. It got busy fairly quickly so if you’re gunna make a visit, I recommend booking or getting there early.

The menu is extensive and isn’t just pizza. We ordered a Telling Porkies pizza, a side of mac and cheese, and cheesy dough balls.

The Telling Porkies pizza includes: White base with melted cheddar, mixed wild forest mushrooms, marinated pulled BBQ pieces and sundried tomatoes.

Everything was amazing and delicious. The cheese is like nothing you’ve ever tasted before and was quite possibly the best vegan cheese I’ve ever tasted. The mac and cheese was nice and mild, and the dough balls were so melty!

As I mentioned, we visited last year so things may have changed, but the service at the time was slow when the restaurant filled up. We waited a long time for someone to come to clear our table so we could ask for the bill. I appeared that they were under staffed to me.

All of this in mind, I still highly recommend a visit to Purezza. The food is so delicious and the pizza is outstanding. They really are the Plant Pioneers that they say they are.