The Allotment Vegan Eatery – First Impressions

The Allotment Vegan Eatery, located on Lloyd Street, makes fine dinning simple and relatable (and gluten free too). As soon as you walk in it feels welcoming and cozy, even though it’s quite spacious.

We visited early on a rainy Monday to take advantage of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, which they are continuing through September. I really liked the simple and natural feel to decor and layout. There is an extensive drinks menu offering juices, bottled soft drinks, beer, teas, cocktails and wine.

Small Plates

My bloke’s tiny dish was too tiny to eat out of properly but he found the Edamame Salad, with kale, chilli, spring onions, soy and tamarind dressing was really refreshing.

I found the little boats made from Chicory leaves to be the perfect way to eat tenderstem broccoli with black olive tapenade, toasted hazelnuts and pumpkin and pomegranate seeds. A unique combination which worked really well.

Large Plates

My bloke likes a good risotto but he’d never tried a beetroot risotto with ricotta before. This dish had a lovely flavour but both the maple glazed beetroot and the ricotta were similarly sweet, so it needed another salty or sharp flavour to break them up and help define them both.

I ordered the ‘fish’ and chips. Wow, we’re those chips big and crispy! The minted peas had a subtle flavour which was just right and the homemade tarter sauce was a perfect accompaniment. The ‘fish’ was made from banana blossom which had a texture similar to shredded duck and tasted strongly of lemon. The batter had a nice crunch but the fish was crying out for some kind of salt but there was no salt and pepper on the table, a trend which is becoming more common I’ve noticed.

Dessert

There were only two desserts so we ordered one each to share. Blueberry Cheesecake and a Hazelnut Slice.

The hazelnut slice base was made of crushed hazelnuts, with a thick layer of salted caramel praline, topped with solid Belgian chocolate ganache. The portion of this delicious desert was so big I was glad I was sharing it.

The base of the blueberry cheesecake was made of crushed pea cans and almonds, topped with a vanilla and blended cashew filling, topped with blueberry and chai seed compot. Such skill must have gone into making this as it was wonderful!

The inclusion of fresh fruit and ice cream with both deserts was a nice touch and lifted their flavour, rather than just being sweet deserts.

One thing I have to mention is how uncomfortable the wooden chairs are if you don’t have any back fat. The next day a part of my spine actually felt bruised! There is a settee (which was taken) and I noticed other metal chairs when we were leaving.

Service was timely and friendly although we did arrive early and it got a lot busier later. We wouldn’t eat there again unless it was for a treat like a birthday as we found it to be too pricey for our budget but I can understand why, as it’s evident a lot of thought, skill and care goes into the food.

πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

Monthly Roundup – August

I’ve taken screen shots from my Instagram to remind me, and show you what I’ve been up to this month.

Skincare and Haircare

I cut my curly hair using tips from Brad Mondo and tips from various natural hair vloggers to style my 2C curls.

I changed my contraception so got quite a few hormonal spots and this Body Shop Tea Tree, Skin Clearing Mattifying Toner was invaluable; as was The Ordinary, Lactic Acid which very gently and naturally exfoliates.

Now it’s the end of August and my skin has settled so I’m using Neal’s Yard Remedies Orange Flower Toner and Orange Flower Moisturiser everyday to keep my skin all glowy and nourished (along with the The Ordinary Lactic Acid twice a week).

Food, glorious food!

Me and my bloke spent our Tesco vouchers on Pizza Express (who will be going into liquidation next month apparently) and order two ‘new’ veggie pizzas and all of the salad.

To take advantage of the governments ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme we went to Ruyi Vegetarian Restaurant. Amazing!

I’ve gotten back into the fake meat brand Vivera and have been making simple stir-fries. Like these Vivera Shwarma Kebab strips with rice and pea and sweet corn and Jamaican Jerk BBQ sauce.

The hot weather made really reduced my appetite so these mezze/tapas style bowls were great to nibble on.

Style

I’ve had purchasing a Nirvana tee at the back of my mind for decades and this month I found an official pale pink one. Cute and grungy!

I got sick of buying summer shoes that were either too flat and bad for my shitty joints or too heavy or that flew off my feet going down stairs. I bit the bullet and bought Crocs. I actually think these look pretty bad-ass as they remind me of late 80’s/early 90’s street style. Here’s my full review of Crocs.

I still think the simplest thing to wear is a maxi dress. Hides a ton of sins and all you have to choose are shoes and then a jacket/cardigan for evening.

Lifestyle

In the crazy hot weather I’ve been wearing these sandals from Newlook, drinking Rockstar blueberry energy drink, using this light and fruity perfume from Eden and ( even with my limited concentration span) flew through My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

The households charity shop donations for the second quarter of the year: A crazy wide pair of linen trousers, a face scrub you have to mix from powder (I managed to spill the first pot everywhere), vest I’m now too big for, too small jeans, a teeny-tiny dress from Japan, shoes which I’ve had over a decade and worn out.

Tips on How Not To Be Constantly Late and a fun checklist to see How Basic Are You?

Listened to

80’s pop and bluesy rock.

Watched

Snowfall about the start of the crack epidemic in early 80’s LA, like a mixture of Breaking Bad, The Getdown and The Wire.

Canada’s Drag Race, love Priyanka!

Galdem (on BBC iPlayer) about women making it in the UK grime scene.

Read

My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

Don’t forget to like, comment or subscribe! Xxx

πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

First Impressions of Ruyi Vegetarian Restaurant

Finally visited Ruyi Vegetarian House (Withington) who do delicious vegetarian and vegan food, specialising in mock-meats.

They are doing the #eatouttohelpoutscheme during the week.

The general standard of cooking was fantastic and the staff (even though they were so busy) were so attentive. Really relaxed, friendly atmosphere too.

I ordered: Peking Ribs (lovely), Salt and Pepper Tofu (quality), Mixed Veg (subtle seaweed flavour).

My Bloke ordered: Peking Ribs, Satay Chicken (amazing) and Stir Fried Mushroom (lovely).

They’re moving to Chorlton very soon, which is a very trendy and unique place to be. I do think it will be such a shame for this part of Withington that another veggie/vegan place has gone, along with the closure of Boho Utopia cafe recently.

πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

How Basic Are You? Just for fun :o)

    • You own a Hydroflask or Waterbottle #
    • You buy pretty stationary #
    • You never use it #
    • You wear scrunchies #
    • You have an avatar of yourself and change it’s outfits regularly #
    • You have had a yoga/fitness instructor/physio “change your life” #
    • You buy so many scented candles #
    • But rarely light them #
    • You have a favourite nut milk #
    • You LOVE Riverdale #
    • You plan events by making Pinterest/mood boards
    • You have lots of retro and vintage ‘inspired’ things but they are all new #
    • You have an astrology/arrow/love heart/infinity tattoo
    • You ‘do’ brunch #
    • You take group photos and put retro filters on them #
    • You love Taylor Swift
    • You own a Nutri Bulit/blender/juicer #
    • You’ve said “I seriously need to detox!” #
    • You’ve gone to Glasto/Coachella
    • You explain that you’re “weird and so ditzy”
    • You watch Love Actually/Bridget Jones/The Holiday every Christmas
    • You love oversized jumpers with tiny shorts/leggings #
    • Your favourite season is Autumn/fall
    • You put Christmas/Halloween decorations up asap #
    • You’ve posted throw back photos of holidays saying “Take me back…” #
    • You’ve bought a book because a celeb recommended it #
    • You watch Love Island
    • You use the words ‘literally’ and ‘basically’ way too much #
    • You love iced lattes or mochas #
    • You live in Ugg’s, Tivas, Crocs or ‘Berkies’ #
    • You’ve been a ‘sexy’ version of something for Halloween #
    • You’ve watched Keeping Up With The Kardashians deliberately #
    • You’ve made your own denim shorts/halter top #
    • You love the (younger) royal family #
    • You love “a cheeky Nando’s”/Visit to Chipotle
    • You’ve made a TikTok/Insta story in baggy joggers but full makeup
    • You feel so much better when you’ve had your nails ‘done’
    • Your ‘reasonable’ amount of plushies/teddies is taking over your space #
    • You call everyone hon/chick/babes/sweetie whether they like it or not #
    • You do quizes like this #

    This is inspired by a quiz from Buzzfeed. I’ve changed it to incorporate a more UK based audience and added and removed a few things. Here are Freddie and Kelsey, two US influencers, taking it themselves for As/Is channel.

    What did you score? I got 29/40, which doesn’t really surprise me!

     

    Monthly Round Up – July

    Style

    I’ve mostly been wearing this combo or these pants with the-dye tops. I’m all about clashing prints this summer.

    I bought these adorable and very unique Freda Kahlo earrings by Wilderness from Sour Cherry, who are located in Afflecks and they also have an online shop.

    I’ve been wearing this outfit (shrug, maxi dress, black gladiator sandals) the few times we’ve been out and about.

    I posted about Items of Clothing That Seem Ideal in Theory but…

    Hated my heavy, long fringe in the heat so gave myself a short choppy one instead.

    Food

    After reading that Pizza Express will be slowly closing branches permanently from September my Bloke used up his Tesco points and treated us to a meal. We thought it crap that the rocket didn’t come with the mozzarella and tomato so we ordered that as well. We also ordered three 14″ pizzas which were amazing. A spicy, smokey one with aubergine, peppers and humus (added after cooking); a slightly sweet one with sultanas, black olives and red onion and a cheesy one with garlic.

    I tried Aldi’s No Steak Bake which had the loveliest flakey pastry and a mince sauce that was so rich it would have suited a Spag Bol better!

    Did a comprehensive Cupboard and Fridge Shop at Ocado (didn’t realise they have Follow Your Heart Cheese unfortunately). It’s all gluten and dairy free apart from the pepperoni which has milk in the flavouring.

    We visited V Revolution. I had this cheese burger with bacon, slaw and onion rings. My bloke had the burger between two doughnuts which he said was very tasty and not as weird as you’d think. Okay…!?

    I’ve started putting chilli (fresh, or oil, or sauce), spring onion and crushed roasted peanuts on everything. So refreshing for summer!

    Skincare and Makeup

    If I Could Only Use One Skincare Product this is what I chose and explained why.

    I blogged about my Lifestyle Tips for Maintaining Healthy Skin.

    Unpopular Opinions – Makeup Tag was surprisingly fun to join in with. Spotted on Just Geeking By.

    Lifestyle

    I posted 20 Tips for Living a Greener, More Sustainable Lifestyle

    Another tag which I find by the lovely Heather over at Just Geeking By was The 90’s Tag I was a teen in the 90’s so this was so much fun!

    The last tag I joined in with was The Daily Gratitude Tag – Home Sweet Home

    TV

    Limitless – a spin off from the film staring Bradley Cooper. A guy who’s on pills which expand his mind consults for the FBI. Light and entertaining.

    Preacher – About a preacher, a con-woman and a vampire ft. God and a murderous Saint. Totally nuts!

    Films

    The Avengers films – Never get bored of these.

    Captain America – Kinda boring.

    Mortal Engines – Film Set in the future most cities will have morphed into huge machines which move around and swallow smaller cities to survive but not all cities are as ruthless as this. Two young people fight to find justice and fairness. Based on the Mortal Engines Quartet books by Philip Reeve.

    Super 8 – A film incredibly similar to Stranger Things before that series was created.

    Youtube

    Brad Mondo – Very honest, funny, sweet hairdresser who reacts to people doing their own hair and also does tutorials.

    Music

    Kate Bush album Hounds of Love; Fun Loving Criminals album Scooby Snacks; Lady Ice (fellow Mancunian) single No Silence; Nadia Rose single Skwod.

    If there’s anything you want to ask me or to tell me, please leave a comment, I love reading them and replying to you!

    πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

    I Try Plant Menu, No Steak Bakes from Aldi

    PLANT MENU, NO STEAK BAKES – ALDI

    The pastry was the nicest flakey pastry I’ve ever had. Maybe vegan pastry is the way to go for everyone. Generous filing and nice texture. The flavour of the filing was so rich, with red wine and tomato, I felt it would have been better as Bolagnese sauce! This Northern lass prefers her pasties/steak bakes to taste of plain ole’ gravy. My bloke was well impressed however. Shame it wasn’t gluten free but you can rarely have everything.

    Rating 4/5

    πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

    The 90’s Blog Tag

    I knew I had to join in with this tag when I voted for it on Heather of Just Geeking By‘s Twitter poll. Great idea to let your readers vote, Heather!

    Favourite TV Show

    Queer as Folk, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, My So Called Life and Footballers Wives. Lots of box sets on VHS. I was a teen for the majority of the 90’s so I’d love anything that was ‘cool’ or ‘mint’.

    Favourite 90’s Song

    One cassette single I remember being played on repeat for an entire six week school holiday is Trouble by Shampoo about two girls in their late teens missing the night bus home.

    What’s Going On by Four Non Blondes, Stay by Shakespeare Sister, then later a load of Happy Hardcore, Gangsters Paradise by Coolio and Breathe by The Prodigy.

    Favourite TV Add

    It has to be the famous Guinness beer surfer advert with the awesome track Phat Planet by Leftfield.

    NSYNC or Backstreet Boys

    In the UK it was Take That or East 17 (I preferred the latter but new all the words to every TT song) and then later Oasis V’s Blur (I went with Blur as I realised Liam Gallagher was/is a bit of dick. Alex James from Blur seems to be a bit of a snobby tw@tt though so, whatever).

    Did You Collect Anything Back Then

    Garfield stickers and shag bands (skinny rubber bracelets and if one broke it was meant to be a sign you’d get a shag soon – they were not intuitive AT ALL).

    How Many Tamagotchis Did You Go Through

    Two. A cute little dinosaur which turned into to a Tetradactyl and flew off the screen! I couldn’t be arsed with second and kept loosing it but people kept passing it on until it’d get back to me!

    Favourite Video Game and Console

    Sega Megadrive and Sonic the Hedgehog or Streets of Rage.

    Favourite Cereal/Free Toy

    There was one cereal that gave out big Casper (the film about the friendly ghost) stickers which glowed in the dark.

    Who Was Your 90’s Crush Growing Up

    Mel Gibson – don’t judge, he was fit in the Leathal Weapon Films! Oh, and Christian Slater and Bruce Willis.

    What Was Your Fave Disney Channel Movie

    We were too poor to afford a Sky dish.

    Disney, Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network

    I watched Sky at my mates after school. No idea what channel/network it was on. Pinky and the Brain, Anamaniacs, Rugrats, Hey Arnold, Sharky and George and Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Sister Sister.

    Weirdest Fashion Trend

    I know people think 90’s style was cool and alternative but in a rough high school that was considered weird. Halley Hanson sailing jackets. Why were a bunch of scally’s wanting those!?

    What Were Your Fave Toys You Would Play With

    A little Boglin (I made mine all punky with loads of piercings), a giant slinky, those smiley sunflowers with arms and legs you won at the fair and ‘plushies’ when they were just called ‘soft toys’.

    Fave Early Morning or Saturday Show

    Before school the nation would watch The Big Breakfast with Chris Evans, Johnny Vaun, Denise Van Outten and Paula Yates (and that chemistry laden interview with Micheal Hutchens from INXS). Live and Kicking was on a Saturday with Philip Scofield and a young John Barrowman as the Hollywood reporter.

    Favourite McDonalds Happymeal Toy

    I was grossed out by the texture of dead animal until I was 14 and even then only liked chicken nuggets but I do remember getting a mate (who’d just started working there) to pinch me a rare Rugrats chunky blue watch, haha!

    Favourite Book

    I hate horror films so naturally I progressed from Sweet Valley High to POINT HORROR! Teachers Pet and Freeze Tag were wicked!

    What Would You Watch When You Got Home From School

    Blue Peter (the days of Matt Baker trying boxer-size or Connie Huq jumping out of planes SAS style), then while eating our tea on our knee, would be the The Simpsons and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air with my Mam and Dad.

    What Is The One Thing From The 90’s You Wish Were Available Today

    My posse of around 12 mates, which included friends of friends that I was (nearly) always happy to see. They never singled me out as ‘the weird one’ even though I struggled so much with what I now realise is Dyspraxia, Autism and Hypermobilty Syndrome. They never asked how I could somehow be ditzy and witty or adventurous and clumsy all at the same time, they were just accepting and patient. I met some of them a few years back and they have changed…a lot -_-

    Tag Your All It!

    Anyone who wants to join in with this tag please do, seriously please, I love reading these things.

    This has been so much fun and has really challenged my memory, seeing as I drunk copious amounts of alcohol every Friday night through most of my teens, I think I did rather well!

    Which answers do you relate to….?

    πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

    Life Lately – June

    June has flown by, which is weird considering I’ve been out of the house a whole…one time! I’ve been very grateful for the, frankly shite, weather Manchester has had this month, as it’s been a well needed break from the crazy heatwave of May.

    Pride Month

    My love and respect goes out to the LGBTQ community as always, whatever your sexuality and however you identify. I’ve always been proud that I live in a city with year-round acceptance (in a general sense) and awareness. I think this is thanks to the The Gay Village, plus a great Pride Parade and festival.

    Food

    Been switching all month between having cups of tea with sausage and mash to having a cold beers and mezze.

    Independent Artist or Business

    GDBEE Art is by Geneva who makes the most gorgeous graphic art of women of colour. She’s also created the webtoon Hovergirls, about two alien fighting cousins who work in a coffee shop by day. The entire Hovergirls series is available to read on phone/device or PC.

    Lifestyle

    I’ve changed my bedroom from being the place where stuff gets dumped, into a place where I actually want to spend time. a) I’ve had a big clean and tidy b) I’ve brought in more storage c) Updated a dark toned LOTR poster to a lighter toned and very neat dragon canvas d) I’ve reduced the amount of Funko Pops and books/papers piled everywhere.

    Reading

    The Getaway Girls by Dee McDonald is roadtrip comedy about three rather different friends, all past middle age, who decide they are unhappy with their lot and want to start a new adventure through France and Italy. I’ll review it once I’ve finished reading. I’m a third of the way in and enjoying it!

    New Fringe

    I was sick of my giant wavy fringe which needed cutting constantly and was way too hot and wide. I watched Birds of Prey (which I loved, but thought the bad guy was just plain annoying) and cut myself a new punky, shorter fringe. Freshly cut it looks a little too perfect but it does naturally have a lot of movement and looks spikey if I apply styling putty.

    Here is me as a kid in the 80’s with a very different kind of fringe lol

    I hope you’ve all been finding things to make you happy, in these turbulent times!

    πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

    Sneak a Peak Into My Kitchen to See What Vegetarians Who Are Gluten and Dairy Free Really Eat!

    I’ll be showing you what’s in my cupboards and freezer in a moment but first, a little context…

    I think because the majority of food that the UK produces is milk and wheat based, it’s easy to think there isn’t anything else. All you have to do is look at other cultures and continents, Asia being a specifically apt example, to realise there is so much choice! Coconut milk instead of cows milk; gram (chickpea) flour instead of wheat flour and pea protein or tofu (bean curd) instead of meat are three of my most used swaps.

    Pantry

    (Clockwise)

    Coop Free From noodles – I add chopped up veggie sausages and tomato pasta sauce with added tomato paste to make Spaghetti Bolognase.

    Nairn’s Wholegrain Crackers – Much crunchier than original oat cakes

    Grano Vita Mock Duck – Apparently it can be eaten cold on a sarnie or hot with your Sunday lunch but not tried it yet so take take my word for it!

    Asda Free From Fiery Chilli Rice Noodle Pot – These are perfect for when you need something really quick.

    Alpro Hazelnut – OMG this has to be the best milk substitute ever.

    Pine nuts – Adds crunch and flavour to pasta with red or green.

    Amy’s Kitchen Chunky Tomato Soup – I cannot believe this is dairy free and it is even richer with nutritional yeast flakes added for a cheesy/creamy flavour.

    Free and Easy Chickpea and Lentil Curry – I’m glad they haven’t called this Daal because it doesn’t taste like the authentic Indian curry, more like a Mexican dish but it is lovely and very filling.

    Tesco Free From Red Pesto – (I often get Saccla brand as well) for spaghetti bolagnaise or pizza.

    (Out of shot)

    Huge bag of rice, Genius Seeded Loaf.

    Snack Cupboard

    (Clockwise)

    Kettle Chips, Sheese and Red Onion – I could eat these ALL day!

    Eat Real, Lentil Chips, Chilli & Lemon – I love how chunky these are and that you get a robust flavour from the lentils along with the added zingy flavour.

    Kind bars (just seen) – These are made of different kinds of nuts held together with dark chocolate, peanut butter or (contains dairy) caramel. Gives me lots of energy quickly.

    Roasted Salted Peanuts – Great to put into Satay Sauce or Nasi Goreng Indonesian Chilli Salad or a Waldorf salad but also great to snack on while drinking beer. Cheers!

    Pom-bear – Does anyone else buy a huge bag of these when on self-catering holidays abroad?

    Tesco, Free From Onion Rings – So much better than those little 20p bags you used to get as a kid. I’m quite gobsmacked by them being free-from actually.

    Ten Acre, The Story Of When The Cheese Met The Onion – Apart From the highly pretentious and, let’s face, weird tittle, these are delicious! You won’t believe they are dairy free. Their Pastrami flavour is fantastical well.

    Freezer

    (Clockwise)

    Linda McCartney’s Rosemary and Red Onion Sausages – Not the best veggie sausages but certainly not the worst I’ve had, these are lovely with gravy; not so much for a sausage butty with brown sauce though.

    Applewood Vegan Smokey Cheese – Wow! How on earn does a vegan cheese taste this good!? It even grates and melts perfectly.

    Oomph! Kebab Strips – The best meat alternative I’ve ever found.

    Deliciously Ella, Cauliflower and Lentil Dahl – Nope! Lovely flavour but tastes more like a mild Thai curry made with coconut milk. Tiny for the price but I like them breakfast/lunch on colder days.

    Quorn, Comforting Cottage Pie – I add a bit of tomato or HP sauce and have this with steamed veggies.

    Amy’s Kitchen, Veggie Lasagne – I add a tiny bit of Sriracha sauce and nutritional yeast to this. Really nice with the spinach inside.

    McCains, Potato Smiles – Crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. 😊

    What do use as substitutions and/or what tinned or packet ingredients do you mix together to make a meal? Have you tried any of these and do you have any recommendations?

    πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

    Your Fave FOOD Photo’s From The Last 6 Months

    (Clockwise)

    Veggie black pudding with beetroot sauce and salad from Vertigo, Mcr.

    Gf Seeded Nairn’s crackers with vegan Flora, Violife original ‘cheese’ and green olives and capers.

    Veggie stew of everything from the back of the cupboard, the fridge and the freezer.

    Mashed spud made with vegan Flora, Linda McCarneys gf Red onion and Rosemary sausages, green beans and peas with Bisto (happens to be gf) caramelised onion gravy.

    Salad with Original Tofoo and tamari (gf soy sauce).

    Salad with Smoked Tofoo, Gosh! falafel and Siriacha sauce.

    Oomph! Kebab Strips, rice, pea and sweetcorn with chilli oil.

    Smoked Tofoo covered in toasted sesame oil and grilled, with Helmans mayo and 1/3 tin of Co-op mixed bean spicy salad.

    (Centre)

    Gosh! Falafel and Violife White Block (taste and consistency of goats cheese not feta) salad with home made hummus (lots of tahini and olive oil).

    I hope this has given you some ideas for simple and tasty veggie and gluten/dairy free food. πŸ˜‹

    πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€