Sacla Italia Free-from Sauces

P1000389

I thought I’d share these with you as I’ve never made a sauce from scratch in my life but I can knock up a pretty decent dish, with these gluten and dairy free sauces. I usually add pine nuts to the pesto when using on pasta or I just add a little pesto on my pizza or on ‘cheese’ and crackers. The risotto I have just the way it is, as it’s amazing. To the tomato sauce, I add some black olives and halved cherry tomatoes and have it with pasta or gnocchi.

Chrissie

Gluten & Dairy Free Veggie Shopping List & Reviews

Tesco Onion Rings

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 16.37.41

Tasty and crispy.

Cauldron Marinated Tofu Pieces

Screen Shot 2017-05-06 at 21.27.36

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 16.37.04

I absolutely love these simply fried up with some white onion and covered in salt, Szechuan pepper, black pepper, a tiny bit of BBQ sauce.

nakd Peanut Delight and Banana Crunch

Screen Shot 2017-05-06 at 21.20.13

I know a lot of people don’t like nakd bars that much because of how squidgy they are but these two bars are crunchy with lots of texture. Whenever I come across the peanut one’s I buy about five at once.

food

B Free Fajita Kit consists of some of the best gluten free tortillas I’ve tried, slightly sweet but spicy seasoning and spicy salsa.

Terra Vegane Easy Cheezy is a powder which is really easy to mix with any milk substitute and freshly cooked pasta in a pan. The flavour is very subtle so I use rice milk, a pinch of salt, a flat teaspoon of sugar and some smoked paprika to add a unique cheese flavour.

Cortas Falafel Mix is so simple to make. You just ad the required amount of water, stir  and let sit for two hours. It looks a little sloppy but if you plop a spoonful into a frying pan and leave the underside to fry before you try moving it you will get crunchy falafel where the centre is still soft and slightly moist.

Tesco Curry Noodles taste similar to a curry Pot Noodle (which is a nice change from Thai style curry flavours) and the rice noodles have a more solid consistency than some others I’ve tried. Perfect quick meal that’s surprisingly filling.

Schlar Cream Crackers taste a lot like Jacobs cream crackers but they are rather brittle and end up in pieces every time I try to spread something on them!

Curried Patra

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 17.30.55

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 16.37.50

A roll usually provides two servings. This is easily reheated and rehydrated when nuked in a microwave for two minutes. Really tasty, even more so with a drizzle of sesame oil.

Ten Acre Crisps cheese and onion (I refuse to pretend that a piece of cheese is meeting an onion) flavour

Screen Shot 2017-05-06 at 21.23.11

Me and my friends all read the ingredients because we couldn’t quite believe that these crisps were dairy free. They are delicious! Ten Acres (veggie) Chicken Soup flavour crisps are also amazing.

Meridian Pesto (I drew the ‘C’s’ on it so as not to confuse it with the Bloke’s jar)

Screen Shot 2017-05-06 at 21.20.41

I love how much texture and protein this pesto has because of the large amount of cashews. I do wish it contained more salt and oil though as I always end up adding some.

Mrs Crimbles Bakewell Slices

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 18.55.28

These Bakewell Slices along with Mrs Crimbles Coconut Chocolate Macaroons and Jam Coconut Rings have meant I’ve been able to eat cakes again when ever I want. They are so moist and lovely.

Good Hemp, Hemp Seed Hearts

Screen Shot 2017-05-06 at 21.27.09

I was intrigued and a tad baffled when I was presented with these. Turns out they are perfect for adding a mild nutty flavour and a lot of protein to cereal or salads.

Go Falafel

Screen Shot 2017-05-06 at 21.25.10

Yeah, I know this chain is really well known but it’s so good! I don’t know how many years the one just around the corner from Piccadilly on Newton Street was there before I found out about it. They are dairy free and you can ask for the Lunch Box with another piece of falafel instead of bread if you have a gluten intolerance or allergy. The salad is always interesting and fresh and changes slightly daily.

Which one’s do you like and which will you try?

Chrissie

Banyan Restaurant, Corn Exchange

Banyan, Corn Exchange, Mcr

Me and the Bloke decided to take Banyan up on their offer of an amazing 50% off for black Friday. We booked for mid-week as that was part of the offer and because we like to avoid the weekend crowds for quicker service and a more chilled atmosphere.

 

We found the decor to be that mixture of reclaimed industrial and practical vintage that every newish bar in Manchester displays these days. The lighting and furniture was soft and lent a nice coziness to the place. The tables were a decent size and not too tightly packed – very dyspraxic friendly!

p1000415

This Revitalise was the best mocktail I’ve ever tried, with blended kiwi, blueberry, raspberry, passion fruit, apple and lime. Wow!

p1000417

Oddly enough this is the first time I’ve tried hipster-bar-staple smashed avocado on toast. The edamame beans complimented the avo perfectly, like they were born to be together. Huge plus – the bread was gluten free and really nice. The Bloke was not impressed with his olives (in a very cute kilner jar) as they were cold, straight from the fridge but how else can you store them?

p1000419

I ordered the roasted veg and halloumi skewer, with sweet potatoes and tzatziki dip (you can choose your accompaniment and sauce) which I really enjoyed. The side salad was welcome and refreshing as well. I’ve never been faced with (whisper) too much halloumi before and gave the Bloke a chunk as I thought his red thai veggie curry – although delicious – wasn’t as substantial as it could have been.

p1000420

For desert the Bloke ordered sticky toffee pudding as he always does and said it was one of the best he’d ever tried (on a par with Greens in Didsbury) and I went for the salted caramel options as I always do. Salted caramel and chocolate torte which wasn’t gluten free but I didn’t care! It was beautiful, the perfect mix of salty and sweet. If it were a person I would marry it. We weren’t that impressed with the vanilla pod ice cream as it didn’t taste like traditional vanilla but more like an average block of ‘white’ ice cream you used to get from the ice cream van for 50p.

p1000414

The service we got was friendly and our server pointed out gluten free options for me on the desert menu but I have to say the pace of the service – although not quite glacial – was rather leisurely. This was mid-week from 7.30, with only two to three other tables occupied upstairs so I can’t imagine what it would be like later, on a weekend. I got an apology for how long it took her to bring the bill but it was no slower than the speed it took to get anything else that evening so I was barley noticing by that point. Banyan is not a place you quickly pop-in for a snack but rather a place where you go to kill time, apparently.

I was quite impressed with the value for money regarding the portion sizes as I’ve payed similar prices for much smaller servings. I’ve payed less for portions that are a similar size but the food wasn’t as good a quality, nor the dishes as interesting.

________________________

Clear indications on menu of foods which are veggie, gluten free and ones containing nuts. (V) (N) (GF)

Gluten free menu available on request

Vegan menu available on request

Banyan, Manchester
Exchange Square
Manchester
M4 3TR

0161 832 4798

Have you been to Banyan?

Chrissie

 

It’s My 3rd Blogversary! Thank You ^_^

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-16-47-30

An absolutely mahoosive thank you to everyone who has been with me since the start or found this blog a while ago or have just discovered it. Your comments and likes have spurred me on to keep blogging and have been the highlight of my day when I’ve been having a bad one. Your support and enthusiasm has made me feel like I’m actually good at something when Dyspraxia has made me feel otherwise. You have made me laugh (with you, not at you), you’ve been as excited about geeky things, urban things and cruelty free things as I have and really made me think about life with your observations and advice. You are all awesome!

It is so strange to think that three years I finally took peoples advice and started a little unassuming blog. A blog which turned into something that a lot of lovely strangers actually started to follow and commented on and then some of my fave brands which I’ve used for years started to gift me their products to review and invites started arriving for blogger events, meals and cocktails!

The most surprising thing however, is that I’ve actually kept this up for three years and yes, people leave but new people follow every week. When ever I’ve felt bored because of illness or Winter weather or I’ve felt lonely, this has been a little sanctuary that I can visit, with a cuppa and snuggly wrap around cardigan, which always makes me smile.

To anyone who’s followed this blog for a long time, I appreciate you putting up with the early days of back-to-front structured sentences (thats how my thoughts sound in my head) and under or over exposed photo’s. I never realised that as a blogger I would become a copy writer, an editor, a photographer of all sorts of subjects, a photographic editor, a creator of layouts and an organised (gasp!) person capable of meeting deadlines, tagging and scheduling blog posts and the owner of several busy and successful social media accounts. Phew!

To anyone reading this who isn’t a blogger, why ever not? Give it a go, what have you got to loose? Even if you only get a small amount of followers, you will still have a creative journal of your life and maybe learn some new skills along the way.

Now give me some cake!

Genuine thanks from the bottom of my heart

Chrissie

p1050540

Making blogging events look glamorous since 2013.

Foodie Review – 1847 Vegetarian Bistro

I’m really surprised this is only mine and the blokes second visit to this particular restaurant. I think it’s because we know it’s always there and we take up invites to new restaurants opening nights  but if every vegetarian Mancunian was as complacent as us it would have closed long ago. We should definitely make this a more regular thing!

P1060206

1847 has had a makeover since I was last here. I loved the floating bare trees creating a Wintery feel but we both agreed the lighting could have been lower and the interior less minimal as it felt almost too contemporary and rather cold, which wasn’t helped by the two glass walls.

Starters

Whipped feta, roasted butternut squash, wilted kale, pumpkin seeds (GF). The feta had been reduced to a thin sauce which surprised me but it worked really well and the pumpkin seeds were a clever addition that elevated the flavours.

1847 Vegetarian Bistro review

The bloke chose Crispy egg with pearl barley, celeriac and radicchio which he really enjoyed.

1847 Vegetarian Bistro Manchester

Main 

‘Fish’ & chips. Ginger ale battered halloumi, triple cooked chips, savoury lemon curd, green pea & basil (VO, GFO)

P1060211

How pretty does my plate look! I have rather an addiction to the savoury taste of halloumi – the strange rubbery cheese that doesn’t melt. This however had a beautiful fluffy texture like it had been baked in an oven rather than grilled. I chose the gluten free batter which was crisp and light. The savoury lemon curd went perfectly with the halloumi and I was saddened there wasn’t twice as much! The peas had a perfectly smooth texture which I appreciated. The only thing we weren’t impressed with were the triple cooked chips as they were sort of floppy when we were expecting them to be more crispy.

P1060212

The bloke was mostly impressed with his main of Leek & bulgur stuffed portobello mushrooms, braised red cabbage and roasted carrots, apart from the carrots which were so el’dente he said he really needed a stake knife to cut them!

Side

Caramelized cauliflower, harissa yoghurt. I did enjoy this but I really wouldn’t have known the cauliflower was caramelised if it hadn’t have been in the description. It just seemed like it was grilled on one side. The harissa yoghurt had a delicate spicy flavour and an indulgently rich texture.

1847 Vegetarian Bistro review

Desert

Yoghurt & white chocolate truffles, cranberry sauce and edible flowers. I found this to be very similar to a cheese cake broken down into it’s three components. The truffles were wonderfully solid and yet creamy, the sauce sweet and very tangy and the biscuit gave a much appreciated crunch. I only wished there were a little more more biscuit and a little less sauce. Incase you are wondering, these edible flowers tasted lovely.

P1060213

There is a lot more on this Winter menu that we’d like to try so we shall definitely be returning before Spring. I was also impressed with the selection of vegan wine available by the bottle, which restaurants offering vegan options often over look.

I’m wondering if any of the omnivores reading would ever eat at a vegetarian restaurant, just for a change?

Chrissie xx