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–€

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–€

Monthly Life Update – March (Yup, I know we’re well into April)

March was a bit of a non-month really. Me and the bloke started our quarantine, apart from him having an hour in the park every few days. It’s a big park with wide paths and wide gates so no need to be anywhere near anyone else. A Submotion Orchestra gig (dub, orchestral, hip-hop) got cancelled which was sensible but sad. Luckily we hadn’t booked anything else or made plans to go anywhere else.

Lifestyle

In January I made a secret resolution to avoid gluten as it effects my breathing and doesn’t help with my naturally challenged memory and concentration skills, as well as making me bloated. I’m doing better with the above which is wonderful and I’ve have discovered I have a little square chin, rather than the two (or even three) rounded chins that I normally have. Bonus!

At first I thought the Jay was screeching at me for food, until I put some out and it ignored it. It carried on screeching right next me. I went into the kitchen at one point and noticed it stopped. I came back and it started. I realised it had looked at me, sat in my living room and decided I was too close to the branch that it had chosen and was shouting at me to go away! Erm…..!?

This is Little Groot, the huge chilli plant we cut right back to a tiny stump when it stopped giving us chilli’s. It’s a tenacious little fecker and has come back with a vengeance, which we hoped but didn’t really expect.

I find the trend of young women shaving the peach fuzz off their cheeks such a shame. It’s natural, your skin isn’t supposed to look as smooth and shiny as a Barbie Dolls and why are we adding yet another step in the relentless quest to look perfect’? Here’s me with my fluffy face (you can see it on the right hand side in contrast with the shadow) which most people find really sweet.

Style

I went through a pastel-goth moment (perfect style to cheer up grey, cold weather) and found this huge metal quote pin from Crazy Crafty Chick Club.

I’m still rocking my custom Airforce 1’s and find that they go with basically everything. I can fit my orthotics in them and I can wear my ankle brace with them too. If you need spacious, stable but fairly light weight footwear, these are dream shoes!

I’ve finally got all of the styles of boots I’ve ever wanted so I will not be buying any more, ever. The chunky pair are from Koi and the slimmer pair are from Newlook (detachable wings from Koi) and everything is vegan.

Beauty

I stumbled across this independent soap brand in Tesco of all places as it was the only soap left but it’s the best soap though, how odd!? Vegan, cruelty free and genuinely natural. They do a range for pets too!

Cheered myself up with a sparkly coral mani.

Food

I bought this beautiful vegan porcini mushroom sauce and gluten free gnocchi in a huge (and perfectly timed) shop from Ocado just before all of their delivery slots got maxed out.

First salad of the year! With Violife Greek Block (supposed to be feta, tastes exactly like goats cheese instead) and Gosh! Mediterranean Red Pepper Falafel. I do get boxes of cheap falafel mix from the corner shop as well but these are quick and easy for when I’m fatigued.

Amy’s Burritos are the perfect size between a snack and a meal. This one is the tofu breakfast scramble and there are several others with rice and one with cheesy baked-beans. So good!

I tried Violife extra cheesy block and ‘ham’ slices, which had such similar textures and even flavours, that they blended together to create one weird flavour in my sandwich. Fail! The ‘ham’ is perfect on a sarny with pickled onion/cauliflower or a teeny bit of mustard. The cheese is perfect on a sarny with spring onions or on a cracker with sandwich pickle.

What a strange, almost surreal month that was.

πŸ–€βœ¨ChrissieπŸ–€βœ¨

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?

πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

Monthly Life Update – February

I’ve broken my record for often being ten minutes late by being ten days late as I thought I’d already posted this. Here’s everything I’ve been doing and reviewing!

Sorry I’m a bit grainy. Manchester doesn’t get much daylight in February.

Lifestyle

I created a list post called Self Imposed Ban on Buying and wrote down everything I have a lot of, the reason why I have a lot of it and why I shouldn’t buy any more of it. It’s a lot easier to realise what’s going on and to harden your resolve when you can see it in black and white.

I reposted Spring Cleaning My Beauty Cupboard from last year because I’ve done so well with keeping it ordered and thinking thoroughly about my purchases, that I’ve not needed to do it again this year.

Food and Dinning Out

Me and the Bloke have decided we are going to take it in turns to choose where we want to eat out for the evening (and who pays), at least once a month. The bloke chose Sai Spice an Indian place in Chorlton.

We ordered the veggie starter platter to share and four smaller curries. One spinach and dumpling based, one chickpea dahl, a nutty yoghurt based one and a spicy but not too hot Kolhapuri. Everything tasted amazing! It’s a brightly lit, affordable, family style place and I think Lilly’s would have some competition if they were closer to each other. Couldn’t resist grabbing a kulfi to go.

Here’s my review of Vertigo, the plant based restaurant at First Street, Manchester, which was my choice. I’d been wanting to go for a while but waited until I heard some good reviews as I’m not exactly rolling in cash.

I bought some ‘facon’ in the form of Coconut Bacon by Pimp my Salad, which I’m throwing on pretty much everything or just eating straight from the jar.

We made English Gluten Free Pancakes for pancake day or Shrove Tuesday as they call it.

I sampled one of Clive’s Tarts which I realised tasted lovely chilled or heated up. I was surprised it was both dairy and gluten free.

I’ve finally discover how wonderful Tika is! Tika panner, Tika broccoli (Yeah, I wasn’t expecting to come across that one either) and tika mock chicken. I reviewed two very different Tika Masala Veggie Readymeals, one from Tesco and one from Asda.

Skincare and Makeup

On my never ending quest to find a base that makes me look all glowy and healthy, rather than matte and a bit sallow, I bought Pixi Beauty Balm. Did it do the trick? You’ll have to click!

I’m trying to reduce my carbon footprint bit by bit, so I was pleased to find Zao essence of nature, a natural beauty brand that uses refillable bamboo packaging. I bought the essentials: Concealer and Mascara.

Thank you lovely people, for catching up with me.

πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

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

πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

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.

β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”

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

vertigomcr.co.uk

This post is not sponsored in any way.

πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€