Dairy Free Sea-salted Chocovered Fudgee Bites review

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I have tried so many products lately that claim to have a ‘sea salt’ or ‘salted caramel’ flavour which had a disappointing lack of saltines. Fabulous Free From Factory, Dairy Free Sea-salted Chocovered Fudge Bites are the deliciously sweet and salty exception. I would never know that the chocolate is also dairy free without reading the label, it’s so good. I also appreciate the inclusion of the Vegetarian Society mark on the packet which always makes buying sweet nibbles easier for us veggies. I planned on getting a better photo…but then I’d eaten them all!

Rating 5/5

Chrissie

Candy Kittens, Sweet Pineapple Gourmet Sweets

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Created by Jamie Laing of Made in Chelsea fame, Candy Kittens are naturally flavoured vegetarian sweets for grown-up’s.

The Sweet Pineapple flavour are the creamiest tasting sweets I’ve ever tried, which is impressive considering they are dairy free. I love the chewy texture – which unlike veggie Haribo don’t glue my teeth together.

The only improvement I would make would be to increase the pineapple flavour a little more as it was very subtle.

Hurrah, more dairy and gelatine free sweets for my cupboard!

Chrissie

Lenny & Larry’s The Complete Cookie Review

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This is the White Chocolate & Macadamia flavour combination which works really well (they also have several other flavours). This has the most unique texture I’ve ever experienced in a cookie. You know when a cookie is hot out of the oven and it’s really gooey and soft? Well this is very similar even though it’s in a packet. Since eating this one I’ve actually been craving another repeatedly, for that texture! I do have to add, this has a really distinct scent of fruit and almonds, which doesn’t remotely relate to the actual flavour. Manage to get past that and your sorted!

  • 16g of protein per cookie
  • Dairy free
  • Egg free
  • Non GMO
  • Sustainable palm oil

Nom….

Chrissie

3 of the Best Vegetarian Sweets 


Jealous Grizzly Bears taste so much like soft gummy bears but fruitier! It’s the fruitiness that makes them so refreshing.

Candy Kittens Sweet Peaches are the most more-ish sweets I think I’ve ever tasted. Realistically sweet, with a hint of milkyness, they taste more like peaches and cream and a have a chewy texture to them. They have achieved this without using milk or gluten.

Good Stuff Summer Peaches are soft and sweet and taste like fruit punch.

I was going to add Veggie Haribo onto the list but if they make some packets veggie, why not make all of them veggie?! I do buy them sometimes (companies like that need encouragement from consumers) but I want to support smaller totally cruelty-free companies more.

Which are your favourite veggie sweets?

Chrissie

My Lifestyle Lately – July


Random Stuff

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I made a Geek Blogger Tag and no one joined in with it *whaaah!* :o(

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This is one of those books that is so well written, with a protagonist who’s so easy to like and a premise so interesting that you don’t want to finish reading it. You always want it there to dip into when you want something easy and familiar, like an old favourite TV show who’s repeats are always on some channel, somewhere. Sometimes I actually read quicker when I don’t like a book as I’m impatient to get rid of it, but I want to make this one last.

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I bought this from Topshop because it’s totally functional so I don’t spill my coffee and it’s refillable. Would I actually take it into Starbucks? No. Do I even frequent Starbucks? No.

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Very glad to see a fat furry bumble bee! He had a snack and flew off out the window again.

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It’s been torrential rain on and off for days. It’s ended the unbearable humidity which I am pleased about as I don’t feel faint anymore and my hair is frizz-hallo free.

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I’ve really gotten into gaming again with Metal Gear Solid V. I found the previous one to be very dark but this is much more entertaining. It’s the usual kind of open world RPG where you can roam around randomly or select missions. It also includes a hat shaped like a chickens head which you can wear if you want to be a metaphorical chicken and not have your enemies see you; A device which extracts enemies from the area by suspending them from a balloon and whooshing them away, including various animals which is equally cute and hilarious; Cheesy 80’s pop songs blasting out from your helicopter and an option to detach your robotic hand and send it scurrying around after your enemies.

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This is my new iridescent laptop case by Skinny Dip London. I love how the colour changes completely in different lights and from different angles. From silvery pastel shades to glowing sea green and hot pink. The creases in it show up quite a bit but that’s just the nature of the material so I’m sliding my laptop out and trying to keep the case as flat as poss.

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It’s always good to appreciate the everyday things so I wrote this.

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It’s my back yard, it’s so pretty and I can’t take any credit for it at all, ha! So glad my Dad likes plants and flowers.

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We went to Bundobust again for gluten free beer and Indian veggie street food. We both have old school Nokia phones so if we want a photo we need to use an actual camera or iPad but we were too busy scoffing our scran!

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For my cheat day one Friday I had a Mediterranean roasted veg and feta pizza and added some extra pesto and a little Gouda cheese. So good!

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I got another free-from food haul (from The Vegan Kind shop and Holland & Barrett) and I reviewed all of the products here.

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I’ve discovered more cheese flavoured dairy-free crisps which are so tasty and won’t have any ill effects on me.

Style

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I’ve continuing with the cute rocker chick combo – black tops, plaid skater skirt/kilt and black boots. Does anyone know where I can find a black mesh top with full long sleeves? I’ve had to give my old one to charity because it started feeling too coarse because my sensory issues have gotten more er, sensitive.

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I swapped the white laces for black as I thought they went better with my Hello Kitty Vans and added some lace jewels because, cute + black + sparkle + Vans = Awesome.

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Finished customising my leather jacket (or pleather? I can’t remember) with a gorgeous little ‘Up all night’ pin from Milk and Moon UK. I don’t get to sleep until between 1.00 – 2.00pm, plus this is my ‘going out out’ jacket for evening.

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I bought something by Disney. Normally I’m a Tim Burton, DC Comics, Studio Gibli type of fan girl but it was affordable, teal/turquoise and fantasy themed so it won me over. If anyone has any other quirky-cute Disney suggestions then please let me know.

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If Disney made fortune cookies. Seriously though, I genuinely found this in my fortune cookie xoD

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The Bloke, dyed my hair Cyan again. We made a joint decision to put it all over my hair this time to make it darker in general. I much prefer my hair dark to a sun lightened mid-brown. You can read my 12 Tips For Dying Hair Easily here.

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I put together a Pastel Goth outfit I was really pleased with. Although these boots are made for walking, symmetrically patterned tights are not – unless you want to faff about matching them up again every 15 minutes.

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I put this together for those people who still want to look glam on Summer evenings and not like they just walked off a beach in Cyprus. Plus as you can tell, I love shiny things!

Beauty and Skincare

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I reviewed Arbonne’s Calm range here and absolutely loved it along with their shampoo and conditioner. I reviewed their Advanced range and got a horrible allergic reaction from two of their products. I was asked astonishingly to amend my review by their client who insisted that my unbearable itchiness, glowing red skin and sudden burning temperature was just how the products work! Ah, no. I mean one of them was a night cream FFS!

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I reviewed these two lip colours by Soap & Glory with both positive and negative thoughts about them both. You can read it here.

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I reviewed this natural shampoo to tame frizz with surprising results. You can find it here.

Always lovely to read your comments as they are always lovely comments, ha! No, but even if they weren’t quite so lovely it’s still nice hear from you all.

Chrissie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten & Dairy Free, Veggie Foodie Review

As most of you will know by now I’m a vegetarian with food intolerance to gluten, egg white and dairy. Dairy makes me ‘go’ and wheat and eggs put a swift halt to that, making me incredibly full and bloated. Sometimes if I’m careful they can balance each other out, like eating a thin crust pizza with lots goats cheese on or making an omelette with a layer of Cheddar cheese in the middle for instance. However, 90% of the time I stick with free-from foods as it’s simpler and much kinder on my body in so many ways.

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Clockwise in a spiral

Gusto, Firebreath Oil

I know this isn’t exactly free-from but I bought it as a contrast to egg free mayo/garlic sauce for when I want a versatile spicy dressing and can’t be bothered reading endless ingredient labels in shops and having the fridge full of condiments. It’s perfect for pizza, pasta, salad and sauces.

Terre Vegane, Egg Free Omelett Mix

I’m getting a lot better at using this now. Pan well heated with a little oil, fry some onions or mushrooms a little first. Pour in mixture and swirl around pan, add salt and pepper. Leave it alone to cook then tease the edges loose and shake pan until omelett slides around. Flip over quickly and leave to cook again. Quick, simple and tasty, once you get the hang of it.

Rebel Kitchen, Mylk Banana 

This really should be called ‘Banana and Chocolate’ as it tastes just like banana and chocolate Chupa Chups. It’s coconut milk based rather soy which makes a nice change for dairy substitutes. My only complaint is the plastic straw as they never biodegrade but I s’pose if if your kid has a dairy intolerance/allergy what are you going to do?

Vego Whole Hazelnut Chocolate Bar (large)

Are these really the holy grail of dairy-free choccy bars? Yup! They taste like the outside of Forrero Rocher. Nommmmm. The Vegolino Fine Nougat Pralines taste like the centre of Forrero Rocher by the way but I find them too sickly.

Primal Strips Texas BBQ

I think these are even more divisive than Marmite. You either start craving them or you literally can’t chew them. Made from soy protein (non GMO) they are sort of squidgy and have a grain to them. Because of my Sensory Processing Disorder I crave stimulation when it comes to textures and flavour. As a kid I would demolish Peperami’s in seconds like some little wild cave-child so I love these! However, I’ve heard some people describe them as similar to eating an eraser and an old leather boot so…

Geo Choco Peanut Butter

I have to mix peanut butter with strawberry jam otherwise it feels like cement in my mouth. I ignored this fact when I bought this, thinking the chocolate would be runny and slippery enough. It’s not. I’ve started adding this to banana and almond milk smoothies instead of putting it on my grainy Genius bread. Maybe if I tried it on thin white bread it would be better.

Free & Easy Cheese Flavour Sauce Mix

I mix this up in a jug with sweetened almond milk, a little salt and some smoked paprika. Then I pour it into a pan of drained pasta and heat it while stirring constantly until it’s really thick. It makes some pretty good Mac n’ ‘cheese’!

Bouja Bouja Hazelnut Chocolate Truffles

I’m so glad I don’t have a nut allergy! These are little squares of heaven. They are dusted with bitter chocolate powder but are soft and sweet on the inside – the perfect balance once you bite into them.

Bute Island, Creamy Sheese, Cheddar Style Spread

This tastes exactly like their solid Cheddar style cheese. Similar to real cheese but slightly sweater, a lot like Wotsits or Cheese Poofs.

The Foods of Athenry, Belgian Chocolate Biscuit Bar, Caramel Rocky Road

THE BEST CHOCOLATE BAR EVER! This had caramel, marsmallow, biscuit and chocolate. It did not last very long. Nommmm

OMBAR, Centres, coconut and vanilla

This is the lightest, most refreshing little chocolate bar.  It tasted similar to a dark Bounty bar but with a smooth texture.

GranoVita Mushroom Pate 

Subtle savoury flavour, lovely on warm crusty bread or on crackers with cherry tomatoes.

I hope I’ve inspired you to try something a little different or maybe filled a gap in your dietary preferences, if you’ve been struggling.

What do you think of these?

Chrissie

 

My Lifestyle Lately – May 2017


Obviously as I’m Mancunian there has been one big event for me which has separated May from any month surrounding it. The terrorist attack. I have so many things to say about this, how upset and angry I am, the social and religious politics, the possible ramifications and what actions could be taken now, but I’m emotionally exhausted by it so I won’t. What I will say is that the resilient and empathetic spirit of my fellow Mancs and the support from people around the world has been amazing. I’m actually writing this to the sound of The Courteeners concert drifting over from Old Trafford Cricket ground and they are doing a cover of Oasis’s Don’t Look Back In Anger, with all of crowd singing their hearts out. Aw shit, I’m filling up now. I really do love Manchester.

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Food & Drink

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Have you been drinking lots of water but still feel more thirsty, brain foggy or fatigued because of the heat? I’d give this a go. It tastes like blue ice pops (you can get other flavours like strawberry and tropical) and because of the aloe (i.e electrolyte) content, it hydrates better because our bodies use it more efficiently, rather than just rushing it through our system like it would with water.

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As the weather has been so warm I’ve only been able to manage very light meals. I’ve discovered that Original Sheese spread can be broken up and used as a creamy feta cheese alternative.

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I’m starting to see why people mistake me for a vegan but it’s actually my wonky body that can’t cope with dairy and egg white for gastro and auto-imune reasons. I miss having omelettes though so I was pleased to come across this. If you use it with a small amount of say, mushrooms and are sparing with the cooking oil and leave it alone to cook, rather than harassing it with the spatula, this comes out brilliantly! Unfortunately I was too hungry to take a photo of my perfect first time attempt. Then I fracked it up something terrible the second time – doh!

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At the begging of the month it was my birthday so me and the bloke hopped on a bus and then a tram and went to our fave Indian restaurant of all time, Lilly’s in Ashton-Under-Lyne. You can read my review of Lilly’s here. We also got a lot of takeaway which lasted us for around three days!

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I’ve been making cold mocha’s every evening so there is one waiting for me as soon as I get up. I actually take it back to bed with me. 1 heaped tspn dark cocoa powder (mixed with a little cold water), 1 heaped tspn instant coffee, 2 rounded tspn sugar, 1 tspn vanilla essence, a little hot water to mix, fill up beaker with unsweetened almond milk. Chill.

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I compiled a dairy and gluten free shopping list and reviewed each item to make it easier for people who are feeling a bit overwhelmed with this kind of dietary transition.

Fashion & Style 

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I put this Romwe wish list together right at the start of the month and managed to resist buying anything for myself. op

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It’s funny that in the same month that I’ve stopped approaching any brands, two brands have asked me to collaborate with them on Outfit Of The Day outfit reviews. However, the items (around six of them) are taking ages to arrive so those will be live on the blog next month. I’ve also ordered stuff from EMP, yet again and opted for everything to arrive together but apparently it’s not all available (even though they weren’t ‘Out of Stock’) so that hasn’t arrived either. Only just realised last week that my fave jumper works really well with my fave skirt, both of which I’ve had for ages, ha!

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Even though I don’t rent a place I can call my own, I still love compiling homeware posts every now and then like this In The Tropics one.

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I made a Stylish and Sensible Summer Shoes post because I like alteration and not falling over when I walk in summer.

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No, not me going for a job as a waitress at a sports bar but me melting in this fracking horrendous heat. My feet still get cold in the evening though due to circulation issues, hence the Uggs. I actually love this basic look but haven’t been brave (crazy?) enough to leave the house in it yet. I’m managing to keep weight on these days but my muscles tone is disappearing fast so I’m getting a cross trainer for less fatigued days (I’m being very optimistic here) as it will give me a whole body work out but the machine gathers it’s own momentum quickly so you can put as much or as little effort into it as you want.

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I’m a firm believer in wearing what you want no matter what size or firmness you are so I gathered together the 15 best shorts. There is a style here to suit everyone. I’ve bought the denim scalloped hem one’s from H&M and wear them with very sheer black tights and they look great! I keep meaning to get some black fishnet tights to wear with them and with my ripped jeans for a grungy feel (like I used to in the 90’s) but I keep forgetting.

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I would stagger around blindly in summer if it weren’t for my sunglasses. Some of these are off-the-shelf but some are designer so they should be widely available in options if you need prescription lenses like I do. I suggest getting polarised lenses to decrease glare if you are light sensitive.

Random Stuff

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As a fellow geek I decided to join in with the The Geeky Girl Tag after I enjoyed reading other bloggers answers.

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I wrote this post as I wish my parents would have come across something like this when I was a kid as they and they and my paediatrician and my teachers where clueless as to why I was struggling so much and therefor how they could help me to help myself. Actually my Paediatrician barley noticed. *giant face palm* As a child I was very aware that I was different. Things didn’t come easily to me, yet the other kids magically seemed to instantly know what to do and how to do it, without constant mishaps. As a teen I realised I had a rather different thought processes going compared to my mates as well a lot of the time. Like what is the point of over analysing the way that cute guy said “Hi” to you for hours. Just be glad he said it and maybe even have an actual conversation next time. Reading something like this would have made me feel a lot less like an alien from another planet.

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I made a Funko Pop! of myself, which I’m pleased with.

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May has been Ehlers Danlos Syndrome awareness day, which is so important as it’s one of the most misunderstood and miss represented genetic disorders out there. I’ve been given a verbal diagnosis of EDS but several Rheumatologists are still refusing to put it in writing on my medical records. Preferring instead to say instead “Christine is having it that she has EDS” er, I’m ‘having it’ because I was TOLD that I have it FFS!?!? It’s important to mention that all of this stubborn ignorance and arrogance from specialists (and I do use that term lightly) makes dealing with EDS so much worse as it’s a constant battle with people who’s actual job it is to know better. It really does make us emotionally exhausted and just adds to all the other shit we have to deal with. I’m so lucky to have received support from an amazing online community of fellow zebra’s here, otherwise I would have been questioning my own sanity.

Beauty and Skincare

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I reviewed e.l.f. Studio Tone Correcting Powder and Studio Flawless Foundation and was impressed with both products. In fact their foundation was the best I have ever used!

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I arranged my lipsticks in colour order and had a general makeup clear out. I just kept on buying the same 3-4 shades of lippy over and over again, having forgotten that I already own them. I’ve thrown out any shade that needs mixing with another to create the colour I bought it for in the first place and any lipsticks which are either too drying or slide off after ten minutes. Same with foundations as I don’t have the time, storage space or patience to have to mix several together to get the right colour or consistency. No more making-do with crappy makeup.

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I reviewed Soap & Glory Perfect Ten Shadow Palette but wasn’t that impressed with it for some unexpected reasons.

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I finally found a use for my old metal heart cage. Storage for all of my mini’s and free samples.

Well that was quite a catch up! Let me know if there was anything you found interesting.

Chrissie

 

Dairy Free, Veggie Goodies!

As I’m vegetarian with a food intolerance to dairy and I use cruelty free household products I thought it a good idea to sign up for The Vegan Kind lifestyle box. Here is the dairy free yumminess it contained.

 

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Clockwise from top left

Terra Vegane, Easy Cheezy

This is amazing! The texture and the taste is so similar to cheese sauce and it was really simple to use. I added rice milk rather than soy milk, as suggested on the packet as I think it tastes more like milk.

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I’m gutted to tell you that I’ve lost these. I have no clue where they could be! I love crunchy, savoury foods so I looked forward to trying them all week but they are no where to be seen. Humph.

Clearspring, Organic Sea Veg Crispies

You don’t get very many paper thin sheets of this seaweed here but it is tasty and crispy. I wish they were a little thicker and there were more of it. A good source of iodine but a bit pointless as a satisfying snack.

Melting Pot, Handmade Madagascan Vanilla Fudge

As a kid on holiday my parents would always buy fudge so I’ve fudged my self around the UK coast essentially…Yeah that does sound wrong, ha! Anyway, this is the creamiest, most delicious fudge I’ve ever tried, which is quite a feat considering it’s dairy free!

Sarelle

Yes, this sounds more like a birth control pill than a chocolate bar but it’s absolutely delicious. Think of this as the dark chocolate version of a Bueno or a Forrero Rocher.

Oatly, Oat Drink in Chocolate

It got to a point were I stopped buying chocolate milk shakes because the chocolate flavour had such a bitter taste but this is lovely and sweet. It’s another wonderful example of “I can’t believe it’s not dairy” which all brands can achieve if they bother to try.

Garbanzo (chick peas), Cajun Kick

I completely understand why gram flour is made with chickpeas now. These are so dry and floury that when you start chewing them they absorb all of the moisture in your mouth. Not at all pleasant. I also think Graze have a better idea by mixing crunchy ingredients together like peas, corn and nuts and complimentary flavours (such as chilli and lime) to create snacks which are more interesting in flavour and texture.

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