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–€

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–€

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¨

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–€

Mummy Meagz Vegan Chuckie Eggso

These Mummy Meagz Vegan Chuckie Eggs are the perfect sweet treat for Easter, along with free-from hot crossed buns or maybe as a melted sandwich filling in hot cross buns! They taste so much better than cream eggs as they are made with darker chocolate, so not as sickly but the fondant is still lovely and sweet!

I love how easy they are to crack open and eat. I bought these from Holland and Barrett and they are also available from Alternative Stores and other alternative health food shops.

Rating 5/5

πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

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

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–€

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!

πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

Monthly Life Update – January

My memory is so crap for these type of posts, I need to start writing this stuff down everyday.

Lifestyle πŸ’πŸ½β€β™€οΈ

Check out these eyebrows! I’ve fully grown them out so I can tweeze them back into a coherent shape easily. Ive given this top to charity as I constantly had to lint roller fluff off it. Ain’t no one got time for that!

Carrying on with trying to minimise my impact on the planet, I bought these Sustainable Essentials from Ecologue.

Me pissing around and doing The Dolly Parton Challenge.

After 1 wrong order (and a correction) and 2 stunning deliveries with flower delivery company Bloom and Wild, I ordered Lillies and white roses. The roses died long before the lillies even opened. I’ve learned my lesson and shall be buying from Tesco…or the garage from now on!

Skincare πŸ§–πŸ½β€β™€οΈ

The most effective deodorant I’ve ever used is Ohii, Charcoal Natural Deodorant (which I like to think is pronounced ‘Oh, eye?’). It’s vegan, yay! But not refillable, boo!

Glycolic Acid is my friend once again in – the incredibly effective – Pixi, Glow Tonic. Cleanses, brightens and smooths without being too drying.

Stressing Less πŸ’†πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

I’ve noticed that if I don’t pressure myself to go to bed and wake up at a reasonable time, I sleep much better. I go to bed around 1.00am when I’m actually tired enough to sleep and anytime I’ve had enough sleep is when I get up. That’s reasonable for me.

I’m also stressing less about what is supposed to be happening when and tend to just be content with what is happening now. Not caring about being in control of everything and just letting stuff play out is a lot less stressful!

Wearing πŸ‘š

I tried to get some style basics in the sales and had mixed success but I like these posts because they give you an idea of various brands sizing and quality etc.

Eating πŸ₯—

Having three meals a day and eating a small breakfast before my body desperately needs fuel, so I have a clear head and the energy to put together something nicer later on.

I’ve gotten back into salad/deli type foods like humus, pickles, roasted peppers and tomatoes, crackers, seeds, nuts, stuffed vine leaves, chilled tofu (fried in toasted sesame oil and then chilled makes it taste like chicken breast for some reason) and so many condiments. There’s half a shelf full of them in the fridge lol BUT I’ve discovered my fave noodle place has stopped doing sushi! 😱

Greggs have launched their Vegan Stakebake and Vegan Sausageroll, so although I’m cheating with the gluten in the pastry, I still HAD to try them. Sadly I ran out of change and could only afford the stakebake, which was Delicious!

Reading πŸ“–

I couldn’t get my head into reading books over Jan so I’ve been reading blogs including Roses Have Thoughts , Square One Notes , Mae Polzine and Cosmopolitan, Red, and Vogue, which was in a two-for-one deal surprisingly. I’ve read some great interviews, features, tips and reviews.

Watching πŸ‘€

Better than Human (with English subs) – this was similar to, but better than the Humans. Not as preachy and waster pacing and more relatable characters I thought.

Black Mirror series 2 – I really enjoyed this because it wasn’t as heavy as the first but still very poignant.

Black Lightning – Pop corn for the mind, with extra cheese. The quality of the fight scenes, the character arcs, the editing and the pacing of the story were all wildly uneven. The characters were likeable and the soundtrack consistently good though.

Santa Clarita Diet – featuring Drew Barrymore as a zombie and a wife and Mum. Once you get passed the clunky acting and awkwardly timed jokes in the first series and it just gets better and better. Brilliantly bizarre!

πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€