‘Everything Curry’

Made this curry a few days ago from everything I had in the kitchen cupboard, fridge, freezer and vegetable rack.

Ingredients used

1 tin of chickpeas

1 tin of sweet corn

Frozen ginger and garlic paste (pre-frozen into portions in an ice cube tray)

Frozen edamame

Frozen green beans

Frozen chillis (from chilli plant)

Fresh button mushrooms

Fresh courgettes

Fresh sweet (Bell) pepper

Ancient potatoes

Ancient onions

Forgotten about chunk of ginger

Box of corn flower I found in the back of the cupboard to thicken sauce

Curry paste from opened jar in fridge

A load of basmati rice from giant 10kg sack

8 servings!veggiecooking #simpleveggiecooking #simplevegancooking #easyvegancooking #easyvegcooking

#viruscooking #isolationcreation #isolationcooking #makedowithwhatyouhave #cookingonabudget #simplecooking

I’m interested to know what’s the nicest meal you could knock up from what’s in your kitchen right now?

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Protein Salad using Gosh falafel and Violife Greek White Block.

I know blogging about a salad is a little like when Carrie in Sex and the City resorted to writing ‘Men are like socks…’ because she’d run out of shit to say BUT we are on lockdown and to be fair it is a great salad, with two of my fave products, hopefully still available from your local supermarket.

Gosh Mediterranean Falafel

Black olives

Red and green bell pepper,

Ice berg lettuce

Rocket

Cucumber

Humus

Violife Greek White Block

Olive oil, salt and pepper

Sprinkle of mixed seeds

The Violife block wasn’t remotely salty or crumbly enough to be feta but Is was uncannily similar to goats cheese, yum!

I always steam falafel for a minute in the microwave to warm and soften it up a little. Gosh falafel is always tasty and never dry but if you get a brand that is, steaming will also help with that.

What are your fave salad additions?

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Can You Make a Cheese & Ham Sandwich Gluten Free & Vegan?

I used to love the cheese, ham and English mustard or pickled onion butties my Mum used to make me for my packed lunches at school and even work if I was running late. As a lot of you will know, now I have a gluten and dairy free diet and I’m veggie, I try most of the time to be vegan because it’s the kind thing to do and I’m nearly there anyway.

Here’s what I used

Genius Seaded Loaf

Vitalite Vegan Spread

Violife Flavour Ham Slices

Violife Epic Mature Cheddar Flavour Block

Colman’s Mustard (a teeny bit)

Verdict on the Ingredients

The ham had some decent flavour and the texture wasn’t too bad, just a little soft. The last ham substitute I tried had the texture of a damp flannel, so this was an improvement.

The block was, almost aggressively, cheese flavoured. It tasted more cheesy than cheesy puffs, Wotsits and Mini Cheddars put together and I have to admit that I liked it!

OMG I do not remember English mustard being blow-your-head-off kind of strong. Whew!

I love all kinds of Genius bread because it really is THE best gf bread you will find.

Vitalite do one of the best dairy free spreads. It doesn’t taste strongly of olive oil (like some) and it’s not as wish-washy as others.

The Result

The ‘ham’ and ‘cheesetasted unexpectedly similar and the textures were identical. I should have cut the cheese chunkier but then the flavour would have been overwhelming. The ‘ham’ and the mustard where perfect together so I just stuck to that for the next sandwiches I made. Ive been eating the cheese on crackers with different sandwich pickles or in a toasty with fresh spring onions.

Can you make a ham & cheese sandwich gluten free and vegan?

Nope!

Hope you enjoyed my little experiment. At least now you know what products are good for other things.

What are your suggestions for gf vegan sandwiches?

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Clive’s Vegan Tart, Tomato and Olive Provancale

Clive’s Vegan Tart, Tomato and Olive Provancale is gluten free and obviously dairy free as it’s vegan. It has such a thick, almost creamy filling, that I thought I must be eating dairy by mistake!

I either eat this tart hot and just in its own for a warming breakfast or I have it chilled (like quiche) with salad for dinner. I’ve not found a way to eat it for my tea yet as it doesn’t go with gravy. Any ideas lovely people?

Rating 5/5

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Gluten Free English Pancakes

I call these English pancakes because they are thicker than French crapes but no where near as thick as bread-like Scotch or US pancakes.

Ingredients for normal pancakes is always equal amounts of:

Eggs

Milk

Flower

Ingredients for gluten free pancakes is equal amounts of

Eggs

Milk

Cornflower

You will need to keep slowly adding more cornflower and blending until you get your desired consistency.

Top with masses of sugar and lemon juice.

Here’s The Bloke being a right tosser. 😉 I managed one perfect flip and then tossed the second one so enthusiastically, it landed on the floor – on the other side of the kitchen! 🤣

Hope you have a flipping good time!

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Coconut Bacon by Pimp My Salad

This is a vegan and gluten version of bacon bits, made mostly of dried (not baked) coconut so it retains all of the nutrients. They are fairly thin, crunchy flakes and have a strong bacon flavour, like Frazzles crisps!

The seasoning on the coconut bacon is slightly powdery and dry, so it’s preferable to eat with sushi and salad or to top stew and buttery baked-potatoes.

This brand originates from Australia and is also widely available the US. There are some health food shops which stock it the UK though, like Holland and Barrett, Planet Organic, Alternative Stores and Healthy Supplies.

If you adore bacon, this is not for you. If you’ve been veggie or vegan for a while and like various brands of ‘facon’ then I think you will appreciate this.

Rating 3/5

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

I Try Vertigo plant based Restaurant

There are quite a few vegan and vegetarian eateries that have opened in Manchester the past few years and first on my list to try out was Vertigo. Located at 1 First Street (a relatively new area including Indian Tiffin Room, Home cafe/restaurant complex, Junk Yard Golf where you get pissed and then play crazy golf and Bunny Jackson’s a dive bar-esque place with live music) Vertigo is an airy, contemporary, yet cozy little place.

Yes, it is a tad hipsterish with it’s glass jars and bottles, mini condiments and teeny clipboard menus but everything is well thought out; functional and quirky.

This is me eying up my food arriving. We snagged a cozy booth for four even though there were just two of us. I ordered the homemade pink lemonade which was lovely, if a little too sweet. All of the beer was local and gluten free and they had a great range of fresh juices.

Small plate (to share)

3 Chickn’ Lollipops with satay and sambal dipping sauce to share. The chickn’ was quite dry but tasty and the satay sauce was one of the best I’ve had. Not keen on the sambal though as the flavour was too sharp for me.

Small Plate (starters)

Eee yuh can’t beat a bit’uh veggie/vegan black pud! This was lovely and rich with the complimentary flavours of black pudding (from Bury Market), beetroot ketchup, a huge heap of mild rocket and a light mustard dressing. I wish the pud was crunchier on the outside but is that even traditional?

Large Plate (mains).

I’m English, it’s been winter and somehow I haven’t had pie and mash for four months, four! This was a well filled mushroom pie, with savoury gravy, mash, pickled cabbage and….where are my crunchy onions!? Now, I love anything pickled but would have preferred peas (mushy or otherwise) with this particular dish. The Bloke makes the creamiest vegan mash, which still has a bit of texture to it and sadly, this slightly bland (and suspiciously smooth) offering just didn’t compare.

Desert (pudding)

Seeing as me pie want gluten free (I’m sounding Northern again), I decided not to push my poor tummy and to order a gluten free apple and plumb pie to go. Our lovely server knocked a quid off because we didn’t want to try and package the ice cream or to carry it around. Perfect pastry to fruit ratio and perfect sweet and tart ratio. Perfect apple to plumb ratio? I reckoned so.

Overall

I really like the sustainable ethics (glass not plastic bottles, paper straws and paper takeaway boxes), the simple cross-cultural menu and the styling of Vertigo and will be visiting again.

————————

Vertigo, Unit 9, Jack Rosenthal Street, Manchester, M15 4RA

vertigomcr.co.uk

This post is not sponsored in any way.

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Asda Plant Based Tika Masala V’s Wicked Kitchen Tika

I’ve recently discovered that I love Tika ‘curry’ sauce, which is the sweet and creamy Westernised version of an Indian curry (very similar to Red Thai curry as it happens). A few days after my discovery I found that both Asda and Tesco do Tika veggie ready meals so I bought them both.

Asda Plant Based, Tika Masala with Pilau Rice 400g

Vegan (so dairy free) and gluten free this curry is half chickpea and cauliflower Tika Masala curry and half strongly flavoured pilau rice. It Microwaves throughly (in an apparently recyclable dish) within minutes and retains a decent texture.

The tikka sauce is delicious and as authentic as any that I’ve had from a restaurant. Sadly, the perfumed flavour of the rice (which contains a large bay leaf and cloves) totally overpowers it, to the point where I can’t eat the two together.

Sadly, this meal didn’t really fill me up and I was looking for a snack only a few hours after. I seem to metabolise carbs surprisingly quickly and need a decent amount of protein for lasting energy.

Manchester City council only recycles plastic bottles, nothing else so I’m using the bowl as my everyday microwave dish now.

Rating 3/5

Wicked Kitchen Cheeky Tikka 380g

Gluten, vegan and dairy free this is 2/3 Saffron rice and 1/3 curry with pea protein chunks (like chicken), roasted chickpea and sweet potato, with a topping of green beans.

I didn’t particularly notice the sweet potato as it was so similar in flavour to the gorgeous tikka sauce but I appreciated the green beans. I loved the texture and flavour of the pea protein and wished there was more of it. The saffron rice was so authentic and tasty that I didn’t even mind the large quantity of it.

As I don’t need anymore draw separators, storage boxes, microwavable containers, lunch boxes or spare-change tubs, the large plastic container is now in landfill or a giant rubbish heap somewhere. Sad but true.

After eating this I didn’t feel peckish again for around three and a half hours so I would recommend this as a full vegan meal, with enough carb and protein content for my body.

Rating 4/5

….

Result

I really need to learn how to batch cook Tikka Masala and Saffron Rice for myself so I can freeze them and make my own ready meals!

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Is Greggs Vegan Stake Bake any Good?

The Bloke surprised me with this the other day and I HAD to share it with you!

First off, Id never know the flakey pastry was vegan, in fact it holds together much better so you don’t get covered in it. More importantly, it tastes EXACTLY like meat in a thick savoury gravy.

One thing to mention is The Bloke cheated on me and ate one without me! Seriously though, he said his was “…a bit more chunky, like proper little steak pieces.” My two bakes where more mince meaty; you could have had the filling in a (vegan) Cottage pie. Hmmm, not sure what to make of that inconsistency!?

I’m sure all three were vegan though, otherwise our tummies would have let us know very quickly!

Verdict Amazing! 5/5

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Best Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Dairy Free Products & Places 2019

Best Meat Free Options

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Oumph! Kebab Spiced (soya based, gluten free) Incredible flavour, very filling, really easy to stir fry or grill, chunky and chewy!

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Like Meat, Like BBQ Chicken (soy based, gluten free) Ah-maze-ing! Similar taste and texture to a BBQ thigh but nicer. Another very versatile replacement but this time not as chewy.

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Quorn Fishless Fingers (Vegan, Not gluten free) Better than the fish fingers that I remember; these are lovely on a butty with citrusy or vinegar flavoured crisps or on a plate with beans and chips.

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Aldi No Sausage Rolls (Vegan, Not gluten free) If I didn’t already know these were vegetarian I would never have guessed. My only complaint is that the filing only fills 2/3rds of the width.

Best Dairy Free Ice Cream

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Perfect World, Caramel Pecan Ice Cream (Vegan, gluten free) This is full of flavour and vitamins and minerals. Personally, I’d have made the pecans chunkier but I’d still buy it again.

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Cornetto Vegan (Vegan, gluten free) The only noticeable difference between these and the usual ones are that they’re quite a bit smaller.

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Ben & Jerry’s, Coconutterly Caramel’d Ice Cream (vegan, gluten free) Gorgeous! As good as Chunky Monkey, almost as good as Cookie Dough :op

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Bouja – Bouja, Caramel Pecan Praline Ice Cream (dairy free, gluten free, organic) Very strong – almost smokey – flavour, really creamy consistency but the pecans and pralines are too blended. I add broken up digestive biscuits for more texture.

Snacks and Treats

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Manomasa, Tortillas (gluten free, dairy free) – Full of flavour and perfect for scooping up dips.

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Bouja-Bouja Chocolate Truffle Collection (dairy and gluten free) – Vanilla and rhubarb, cherry, salted caramel, caramel, hazelnut, ginger, rum, Champaign, espresso are the flavours in these truffle selections. Possibly the best dairy free chocolate in the world.

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KIND Snack Bars Caramel, Almond & Sea Salt (gluten free, NOT dairy free). Dark Chocolate, Nuts & Sea Salt (gluten free, dairy free). Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate (gluten free, dairy free). These are expensive at £1.50 each (!) but they are full of complementary flavours and really substantial.

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Genius Double Chocolate/Blueberry Muffins (gluten free, dairy free) Nommmmmm, that’s my breakfast and supper, right there.

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The Coconut Collaborative, Banoffee Pots (dairy free, gluten free) If you are getting these teeny pots of joy for your kids, you’ll want to buy a second lot for yourself – believe! Similar to creme caramel that’s been stirred around but with the addition of banana.

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Gu, Strawberry & Rhubarb/Lemon Cheescakes (gluten free, dairy free) Not quite as solid as traditional cheesecake but equally delicious, these two flavours are both sweet and refreshing.

Manchester Vegan Takeaway/Dinner

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V Revolution This is the place for an incredibly creative take on traditional American junk food. Vegan mains, sides, milkshakes, cocktails and cake. The atmosphere is pop-culture with a twist. In the photo above my expression is a mix of excitement and wondering how the hell I’m going to fit this burger in my mouth!

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Zad’s Vegan with very little gf options but incredibly well thought out food. The ZFC (rather than KFC) fried cauliflower is an utter revelation, the pizzas and burgers are well balanced and not too sweet and they sometimes give away free cupcakes. Hardly any remote customer service but lovely and friendly in person.

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Vegan Shack This is the place to order from if you are either dairy free or vegan and gluten free as they have gf options of pizza (including the above topping) and one of their kebabs (on request). Their online customer service is fantastic and delivery times are reasonable. My only complaint is that the cheese is on the sweet side as is the sauce. More salt please!

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Pizza Express They have many gf, df and veggie option for mains, sides and deserts and can be flexible (up to a point) with changing food to suit dietary needs. It will be such a shame when they cease trading late next year.

Bonus

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Aside from the Gu, these are free-from items I like but don’t absolutely love. Clive’s gf pies are surprisingly good microwaved (like a chip shop Pudding); This Gosh! falafel is the best falafel I’ve tried; Dragon fly make small but substantial gf burgers; Soulful pots make two wonderful nut curries/meals that I would happily pay for in a restaurant. Their other options have the usual veggie/bean tangine flavours.

I hope you found this helpful and it gave you food for thought – sorry!

🍔Chrissie🍔