Veggie review – Lilly’s, Ashton-under-lyne

The Bloke asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday and I suggested going to Lily’s vegetarian Indian restaurant, which he was chuffed about. It’s in Ashton-under-lyne so that meant a bus and a tram (in rush hour) but it was totally worth it.

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We were struggling to decide what to have from the amazing menu so we decided to order the rest as takeaway. To start The Bloke had Bhel Puri a mixture of puffed rice, potatoes, chick peas, crushed puris (fried bread), onions and tamarind sauce. For a change I didn’t get any kind of Puri and chose Aloo Tiki instead, deep fried potato patties with spices. These arrived with a dairy free spicy mint (?) sauce after the waiter inquired wether I was having dairy or not.

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I then decided that it was my birthday so I’d treat myself to dairy after all and went off menu, ordering the Special Sizzler for my mains. A heated pan of fried onions, paneer cheese, green bell pepper, a meat substitute which tasted similar to bacon and a vegetable I thought might be parsnips but forgot to ask. I ordered two puri on the side. I love them so much I could eat them without sauce just for breakfast! The Bloke went for a Vegetable Jaipuri of mixed vegetables, paneer and cashews cooked in an Indian sweet and sour sauce, with Pilau rice on the side.

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It’s lucky I find Indian sweets almost too sweet and that I don’t like the texture of Rasmali as it meant that I was able waddle slowly back to the tram stop around the corner. I have to thank the transport people for linking up my bus stop in town to my fave restaurant with a tram line and a ticket which costs only £3.80.

The thing which really clinches it with Lilly’s is not just the quality of fresh food or how clean the place is but how friendly the staff are and how considerate they are of dietary needs. The prices are also very reasonable so obviously it would have been rude if we had not left with seven takeaway dishes, two Battered Stuffed Chilli Peppers and 12 Batada Wada’s (chickpea battered balls of fluffy curried potato and onion). Hehee!

Maybe next time I’ll try some of their Southern Indian and/or Indo-Chinese options for a change. I’m sure if it’s made at Lily’s it will be wonderful.

Lily’s, 75-83 Oldham Road, Ashton, OL6 7DF Tel: 0161 339 4774

Chrissie

Zouk Tea Bar and Grill – Manchester

I was invited to sample the new Spring/Summer menu at Zouk Tea Bar and Grill  and as you probably know by now, me and the Bloke adore Indian food so we eagerly agreed.

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Zouk has a warm, welcoming and contemporary feel, with a sheltered terrace area with seating and hookahs outside. Inside is a small bar area for anyone wanting cocktails, mocktails, lassi or tea, rather than food. I can attest to their amazing mango lassi and Spring Fling cocktails. We were not so smitten with a strawberry based mocktail which we both agreed tasted oddly like savoury tomatoes! The kitchen runs along one side of the interior with tables and large booths on the other as well as upstairs. I liked how spacious and comfortable the dinning area was as I find that can massively add or detract from the overall experience, especially considering my disability needs.

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I’m always impressed when I see a restaurant has an open kitchen as it means the chefs are proud of the manner in which they cook their food and don’t have anything to hide. It was also nice to be able to see a large amount of fresh produce being used and fresh bread being made.

P1000501I’m always interested to see how many vegetarian options are on the menu at any eatery which has ‘Grill’ in the tittle. The already existing menu has a limited amount of vegetarian options, with an odd lack of very popular paneer, mushroom, daal or saag based veggie Indian dishes. The Spring/Summer menu will be available from April and will hopefully include a larger range of interesting vegetarian options.

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For starters we had Channa (chickpea) Masala, which was for me, a nice change from Channa Daal (although the Bloke would have preferred Daal) as well as Vegetable Pakoras. The Masala had the right amount of spice and the yoghurt gave it a rich texture. We were surprised that the pakoras, rather than being a mixture of gram flour and vegetables, were in fact individual slices of vegetable coated in a spicy gram flour batter. I liked how light these were and thought they were perfect as a starter.

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For our main course we had Aloo Gobi and Bindi Dupiaza with rice subtly flavoured with cinnamon. Aloo Gobi, a mixture of cauliflower and potatoes in a Punjabi style sauce is an absolute classic and this did not disappoint. The cauliflower was cooked perfectly, not too al dente or too soft. Bindi Dupiaza is an ochra based dish in a garlic, tomato, onion and green chilli sauce. This is usually not a popular dish among vegetarians as it’s so easy for the ochra to be over cooked to a soft slimy consistency but not at Zouk. The ochra was cooked perfectly and the heat in the sauce did not overwhelm the flavour but added to it. As vegetarians me and the Bloke always have to pay more attention to where our protein will come from, not necessarily in our starter but always in our main course. Zouk’s veggie mains had no protein! Although we left feeling full and content I was a little hungry again three hours later and was glad that I’d had a glass of thick lassi with my meal. Maybe if we’d have had a larger portion of Channa (chickpeas) for our mains instead of just as a starter this could have been avoided.

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For desert we had Mumbai Mess; a lot of cream topped with beautiful sweet but sharp raspberry sauce and a tiny bit of crumbled biscuit but no overall substance. We also had cold chocolate brownies which were pleasant but would have been better and probably gooier in centre if served warm. We then tried the cinnamon topped churro-style sticks served with chocolate sauce which were utterly delicious! I was a little surprised and disappointed that there were no popular Indian deserts on offer, especially at the lack of pistachio kulfi.

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Zouk is a place I would look forward to visiting on a Friday night for their extensive range of cocktails. It’s a place we would be happy to visit with a group of friends if most of them ate meat. It is not a place we, as vegetarians would specifically choose to visit ourselves, unlike other restaurants in central Manchester which cater for both diets more successfully. We may change our minds when viewing the full Spring/Summer menu so I will keep you updated.

Chrissie

My Lifestyle Lately – January

I thought I’d start this up again as it’s a nice way for you to get to know the person behind the blog and it’s a nice way for me to remember what I’ve been up to.

Lotus Vegetarian Kitchen

Me and the Bloke celebrated new years eve by visiting Lotus a vegetarian restaurant in Withington which is often overlooked due to it’s location. We love it there, the food (which includes the most amazing mock meats) is superb. Then we came home and watched The X Files and Grimm and enjoyed an awesome firework display by a neighbouring family from the comfort of our sofa!

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The Bloke cooked us a New Years day meal which was even better than Christmas day’s with Quorn roast, al dente green beans, carrots, broccoli, sprouts, mashed potato, Yorkshire puds, stuffing, roast potatoes and veggie sausages.

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You know those thrifty programmes where they tell you to look in your parents or grandparents loft (attic) where you will almost certainly find hidden treasure? Well not exactly anything of value but I did find this vintage rucksack which would be perfect for festivals. Weirdly, no one has a clue how it got there!?

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I’ve added to my collection of the weirder kind of Funko Pops and bought Deadpool, The Cheshire Cat and Alien. As you can see Deadpool is the only person looking figure in my little collection.

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 I love it when it gets all foggy at night and makes everything under the street lights look all eery.

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I was emailed by vegetarian restaurant 1847 offering 50% off, yup half price! So obviously wanting too support Manchester veggie eateries we thought it rude not to book a table.

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The Bloke managed to get these cool shots of the beautiful super moon and I (using the same model of camera) managed to take a big fuzzy orange blob which I won’t bother showing you lol

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I’ve been trying to drink only gluten free beer lately but my local Coop run out so I bought this Brewdog beer (which isn’t one of their gluten free ones) instead. It’s the most fruity and refreshing beer I’ve ever had. Such a shame it isn’t one of their gluten free offerings.

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I’ve discovered an online shop called EMP which apart from stocking some amazing rock chick apparel also do Funko Pop! and other random cool stuff. I’ve been in need of a mug for ages so bought this kawaii version of Deadpool.

So to some up my purse is a bit lighter and my belly is a lot fatter ^_^

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!

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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

V Revolution Manchester – Vegan Cafe

 

For the record let me state I’m a part time vegan. I do add honey to sweeten things if it’s already in the cupboard, I do buy leather shoes but also lots of pleather ones and I eat pizza with real cheese sometimes and fake cheese a lot of the time. Glad we cleared that up.

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The best way to describe V Revolution in the Northern Quarter is to say it’s a vegan version of a 50’s American diner, with a retro look and really creative junk food. There’s no juke box but the staff play seriously good tunes all day ranging from rock, hip-hop and dance. iPod’s on shuffle maybe?

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I think this menu is fab, even though it oddly lacks an option for fries or onion rings on the side. Me and the bloke chose the Barbecuban Missile Crisis which came with nacho’s.

The crispy onions (the little brown pieces) added a really nice crunch to what was a very tasty, slightly soft and incredibly slippy burger. The ‘cheese’ melted and tasted like regular cheese and the burger was a great consistency also. Both me and the bloke agreed it would have been easier to eat if the slaw was on top of the natcho’s rather than pilled on the burger. I liked the taste of the facon but would have preferred it fried so it was firm rather than floppy.

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There were four indulgent looking cakes at the counter but I didn’t get a slice as I would have preferred something a little lighter like a scoop of vegan ice cream. The staff had prepared lemon infused water and there were also a selection of teas available. I chose jasmine tea which was lovely and refreshing, the bloke chose of cup of builders tea and didn’t moan about the soy milk for once! I was able to stock up on a range of meat and cheese substitutes while I was there, which was really convenient!

Rating ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

V Revolution, 88 Oldham street, Manchester

Open 12.00pm – 6.00pm (except Tuesday)

My Lifestyle Lately

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Visiting Tampopo

I’ve never given Tampopo a chance before as I thought it was just a noodle bar and I have a fear of messily slurping in front of strangers. However, after browsing the menu outside I realised they have an extensive selection of veggie options. Traditional flavours such as green tea, sesame, cinnamon and lychee combine with Western ingredients to create something unexpected and unique. Something that made me really respect this brand is that one of the desert pastries is fried on a grill where meat is frequently cooked so it’s not marked with a V on the menu. Most places wouldn’t even consider that one grill for everything is a problem for vegetarians.

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Finding Emoji Lip balms in Superdrug

How cute are these!? Even better…There’s ten of them! I bought the monkey because he’s adorable and banana scented, the señorita as she’s my favourite (and smells of exotic cocktails!) and the kissy face as it’s water melon scented. Am I the only one who wishes there was the smiley poo that was er, chocolate scented? ^_^

 

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Watching The Huntsman: Winters War

I went with the bloke and two of our mates to see this for my birthday and was really getting into it, until around a third of the way through where the pace seemed to slow to a near standstill. A ‘comedy’ element was introduced in the form of dwarves (the mythical kind) and a lot of petty arguing ensued between the characters. There was an action scene in the middle of this complete with a forced emotional ending but it was so predictable I was bored.

There was a point where the dwarves had some obvious expositional dialogue which sounded so mind numbingly boring I was utterly relieved when the main threat suddenly re-appeared and their plans were abandoned. Action ensued which was throughly enjoyable and the film was not predictable at all from that point onward. If you can ignore the pacing issues and the patchy tone of the scenes which lurch from the dramatic to the comedic and back again, then you should be able to enjoy this film. I’d suggest watching this with friends at home so you can have snacks and a good chat about it together whilst it’s playing.

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Snacking on Vegetable Festival

I discovered an Asian wheat and dairy free version of a Pot Noodle. It comes with an utterly useless spawk making it more of an in-convienience food but tastes very similar to tasty szechwan soup. Perfect for a quick snack if you bring your own folk.

 

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Rocking out at MASH Guru, Macclesfield

My old mate Pete and his Mrs have become the awesome owners of MASH Guru, a very funky bar with live music and independent ales. ‘A fine blend of New York Speakeasy, Berlin underground and 70s Porn Lounge, shaken not stirred. Mash is a bar with attitude, eclectic, electric and unexpected on every front.’ I couldn’t agree more!

 

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Drinking Mr Basil (bubble tea?)

I found these in my local Bargain World for a £1 each. They really remind my of bubble (boba) tea with the squidgy little beads but it doesn’t mention tapioca anywhere in the ingredients. They are both really refreshing but have a sweet taste and contain a lot of sugar so don’t mistake them health drinks!

 

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Reading The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge

I liked and admired the young female protagonist which was the reason I kept on reading but I felt Hardinge took too long to introduce ‘the lie’ tree to the story and that it was under utilised overall. The genre is gothic-murder mystery but the story lacked momentum with the suspense element building too slowly in my opinion. I found that I didn’t care for the victim and I didn’t find the suspects interesting enough to care if they were the murderer either.

 

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It’s Alive!

I’m still marvelling over the fact I kept the bloke’s picture plant alive for 12 months and it’s doing better than ever. They are swamp plants so they have to sit in water constantly but drink it really quickly. The Bloke’s on for probably the seventh generation of Collard Dove’s who visit and chill everyday. My head bob to them means “There’s food out, come down” when they are weighting in the tree and my head movement to the right means “I know you’re new little dude but you’ve landed at the middle window you need to move over to the right one, where the seed is.”

 

Cranes Cider                             Cranes Cider

Enjoying Summer

Although I’m usually out and about it’s been so hot I’ve just been spending a lot of my time at my folks lounging in their back yard. They’ve planted it out beautifully and it’s a great place for OOTD shots or just chilling in sun with a magazine and a drink. Appropriate then that Cranes gifted me three bottles of their fruit cider! First of all, I love the packaging they arrived in and the pretty labels on the bottles. I found the Strawberry and Kiwi to be a little too sickly sweet in the heat. The Rasberry and Pomegranite wasn’t as sweet and was my favourite flavour. The original Cranberry, although very tart at first, was the one I’d be able to drink repeatedly as it was very refreshing.

 

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Trying blue cheese pizza

I was sober and challenged to try blue cheese on a pizza the other day, I said yes because, well, pizza. The result was a pizza with an incredibly rich depth of flavour which I really enjoyed. Ingredients: Gorgonzola cheese, red onion, sun dried tomato, Kalamata olives, green olives, vine ripened tomatoes, sweetcorn, Elmental cheese, very small amount of jerk BBQ sauce.

Chrissie

 

 

 

Street Art Manchester and Cities of Hope Global


The Cities of Hope project has been going on in Manchester for 9 days in the Northern Quarter, where renowned street artists from around the world came to Manchester to create art focusing on social justice including homelessness, mental health and equal rights.

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Here’s some other street art and shots from around The NQ

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Don’t know if anyone remembers me posting this piece last year but I went to check if it was still in the wall and found a little dude chilling on the stairs!

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check out the drone

Look out for more street art and general Manchester street shots in future. I intend to do one a month if poss.

Chrissie

Making Instagram Albums to Share on Social Media

I’ve been using the Insta Collage app to create mini albums to draw attention to my Instagram feed on social media. It’s really easy to compile, edit and share them and so addictive that I’ve made eight of them!

Edgy Urban

Edgy Urban

Pretty Urban

Spot the dove

Style Wishlists

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Geek and Alternative

Alternative

Cruelty Free Beauty

Beauty

Lifestyle Colourfulness

Lifestyle

Food and Drink

Food and Drink

Just Random Really

Cool Stuff

Why not follow me on Instagram for more piccies.

Chrissie

My Manchester Afternoon

It snowed! Proper stamp in it, chuck it at each other, substantial snow! Doesn’t it make everything look prettier?  ^_^

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In the afternoon when I was feeling less fatigued (how can sleep make me feel fatigued?!!!!) me and the bloke ventured into town to do a bit of shopping and get some rice and three (curries) from This and That.

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You should probably Google SSOSVA

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What a fantastic sentiment!

I bought a string of fabric parrots with little beads separating them with a bell on the end and a string of sparkly fabric hearts, also with beads and a bell, from that crazy-cute shop Oklahoma in the Northern Quarter. Mum was delighted with her prezzie but I forgot to take a picture. Similar below, found on Flickr.

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We were delighted to see a beautiful sunset on the bus ride back. The sun appeared as a giant glowing red orb, situated between two buildings it was so low on the horizon it looked as if it were about to rest on the floor. I held up my camera and….A bloody double  decker bus parked right in front of my view -_-

I did get this rather cool shot though.

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Later in the evening it rained heavily which made the windows look like they were covered in thousands of tiny diamonds.

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This has made me realise how long it’s been since I’ve done a photo-story for all of you lovely lads and lasses!

Chrissie ❤