Hello Autumn! Why We’re Looking Forward to the Chillier Months.

Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we’re adored the scorcher of a summer we’ve just had! If you’re an avid reader of our blog, then you’ve probably seen us ramble on and on about how much we enjoyed the past few months. However, there is something just so special about autumn. When the weather gets ever so slightly chillier, meals become heartier and the excitement around wrapping up in our favourite chunky knits becomes simply too much to contain. After months of wearing nothing but t-shirts and shorts and sipping on iced coffees, we’re jumping at the chance to snuggle up with a blanket and a steaming mug of hot chocolate, dairy-free, of course.

The Amazing Produce

The first, and arguably most important, reason why we’re welcoming autumn with open arms is the amazing food gracing our tables. Root veg is out in full force, and you can guarantee that we’ll be cooking it into soups, stews and curries come the colder months. Butternut squash, pumpkins and parsnips are our autumn heroes, and we’ll take ever chance we can get to be making them into delicious, comforting weekday dinners.

VegFest

Come the end of October, we’ll all be flocking to London’s Olympia for arguably the biggest and best event of the year, VegFest! We’ll be both sampling the newest brands, products and street vendors gracing the vegan community as well as serving up our very own tasty raw desserts and treats. We can’t wait to see you there, so make sure you book your ticket now to avoid missing out on the fun!  

Exciting New Product Launches

There are loads of plant-based goodies hitting our shelves in the up and coming months, including a very special fully vegan pizza from High Street giant Pizza Express and a vegan mayo from Hellmanns. We thought it only fitting to mention the launch of a vegan pumpkin spiced latte in Starbucks too, about time we think! Our very own Norty Puds pots are headed to the shops too, so keep both eyes peeled.


Hygge

Last year we all went nuts for the Scandi concept of Hygge, quite literally translating to a special, cosy moment. The arrival of the colder months has us all kinds of excited for comfort dishes and snug nights in, as if we really needed an excuse.  We’ll also be digging out our extra layers and investing in vegan shearling and leather boots, and cruelty-free and eco-friendly mid-layers.


Five Easy Ways to Get More Veg into Your Diet

Regardless of your dietary requirements, from the weird to the wonderful, we believe there is no such thing as too much veg. For the majority of the population, we simply aren’t getting enough, and that’s a real pity. Not only do vegetables taste absolutely delicious when cooked well, they’re also essential to ensuring we’re cramming in all those lovely phytonutrient, minerals and vitamins. In a bit of a pickle with your greens? Here are out five favourite ways to get your daily dose.

1 Blend ‘em like Beckham

Smoothies are arguably one of the easiest ways to get those plants down in one. Be it hidden from fussy children, or as a foolproof way to top up your five-a-day. Throw in a handful of dark leafy greens such as spinach, chard or kale, to your blender, and combine with cacao and a banana to create a tasty breakfast-come-dessert. We’re also huge fans of using frozen cauliflower or courgette as a creamy, neutral base, as you can barely tell it’s there.

2 Soups, Stews and Curries

If you’re half as excited as we are about the colder months looming right around the corner, then we’re sure you’re already seasoned comfort food pros. Adding chunky chopped root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, squash and beets to stews make them ever so hearty, and handfuls of spinach can transform a curry. Make a giant batch of vegetable soup and freeze the left overs so you’ll always have a nourishing and delicious veggie packed meal on hand.

3 The Finishing Touch

Another sneaky way to get in those veggies is to incorporate them into your favourite dips and spreads. From gloriously green kale pesto, beetroot hummus to even an easy and ever so smoky baba ganoush, adding a nutrient packed dollop to your plate is seriously simple, and delicious too.

4 Satisfy your Sweet Tooth

It’s probably quite obvious by now that we have a major sweet tooth! We could eat raw cake all day everyday if we tried, and there are so many ways to pack in fresh veggies into your desserts and puddings, making it an effortless affair. Be it baked beetroot brownies, creamy avocado chocolate mousse to spiced raw carrot cake slices. In our opinion, it doesn’t get much better than thick, creamy nice cream, perfect for adding greens or even a few chunks of frozen sweet potato to.

5 Snack Happy

If you’ve always got a secret stash of fresh veg on you at all times, you’re so much more likely to make healthy snack choices. From the simplest combos of carrot sticks and hummus, to freshly pressed green juices, these nutrient packed snacks will be sure to keep you perky throughout the day. Throw half an avocado in your bag, ready for when hunger strikes, and sauerkraut or kimchi on crackers is an unusual yet gut friendly treat.

Street Feasts and Brighton Eats

You can’t argue that sitting down for a good meal holds so much value in the way
we connect with friends, family and loved ones, and at times, becomes so much
more than the food on the table. However, there are times when we simply want
to fill our stomachs and indulge in a glorious box of street food, from a travelling
eatery we may never get the chance to try in our home town.

Festivals and farmer’s markets are home to some of the most innovative and
delicious plant-based food trucks, an environment in which we once were a little
limited for choice. Be it vegan hot dogs, doused in fiery mustard as you dance a
summer’s evening away, to fluffy pancakes within the hustle and bustle of
Camden Market, we can’t get enough of everything on offer today.

Spicebox
Up there with the best Indian food we have ever tasted, Spicebox know how to
do gorgeously vibrant, fresh boxes packed full of curries and loaded nann breads.
From jackfruit jalfrazi to chargrilled cauliflower, you can find Spicebox at a
whole host of festivals and events this summer.

Young Vegans
Whilst currently in permanent residence nuzzled away within the chaos of
Camden Market, Young Vegans offer to-go trays of wonderfully hearty pie and
mash, with the option of mushy peas and gravy. Its comfort food at it’s absolute
finest. Make sure you don’t leave without nabbing one of their gooey, melt in the
middle mud pies.

Osu Coconuts
Another Camden find, Osu Coconuts serve up arguably the fluffiest vegan
pancakes you’ll find anyway across London. Topped with the most glorious
chocolate or caramel sauce, fresh fruit or nut butter, we couldn’t recommend a
trip to see the lads at Osu more if we tried.

Pomodoro e Basilico
One of the original vegan street food vendors often found within Brick Lane’s
Boiler House Market. If you’re looking for a classic vegan burger, sandwiched in
between the fluffiest bun, then smothered in creamy mustard and homemade
ketchup, then we couldn’t think of a more delicious option that Pomodoro e
Basilico.

Club Mexicana
Speaking of originals, if you’re an avid vegan foodie, chances are you’re had your
teeth sunk into Club Mexicana’s tasty Mexican treats. Their tofu-ish tacos are
insanely realistic, and the pulled jackfruit burrito with keep you stuffed as you
head off onto the rest of your adventures for the day.

Los Amigos Churros
Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love crispy straws of fried dough, rolled in
cinnamon sugar then dunked in rich melted chocolate? In our opinion, not much
compares. Los Amigos Churros can be found at numerous festivals this season,
and often at VegFest.

Big V Burgers
We’re a little picky with our veggie burgers, especially since there are just so
many out there to choose from. Big V however, did turn our heads, and for a
number of reasons. Found more often than not at Borough Market, their patties
are ridiculously juicy, buns insanely soft and full of gloriously fresh vegetables to
finish.

Happy Maki
Whilst Happy Maki may have found a permanent home by the sea in Brighton,
but that doesn’t stop them from travelling around the country serving up their
tasty full-to-the-brim sushi burritos. They really do make the perfect festival
food, armed with sushi in one hand, beer in the other.

Dosa Deli
A new find for us, but high on our list of must tries nonetheless. Dosa Deli serves
up wonderfully flavoursome Indian boxes, full to the brim with stuffed dosa (a
thin rice pancakes), sticky sweet chutney, Bombay mix and a crisp onion bhaji.

The Best of the Best: Dairy-Free Ice Cream

Ice cream, regardless of the occasion, is always a good idea. From sweltering hot
afternoons by the sea, devouring a dripping cone amongst friends, to tucking into
an entire pint on miserable evenings when you’re not quite feeling your best self.
Everyone has a favourite flavour, and we believe it reveals an awful lot about a
person. Be it a crumbly blend of cookies and cream, fruity and refreshing sorbet,
or a simple scoop of vanilla bean, the dairy-free options on the market today are
endless, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

It seems we are spoilt for choice on the food front every time we visit the capital,
and London at the moment seems to be bursting at the seems with drool-worthy
ice cream alternatives. New kids on the block, DOPE (@dopesoftserve) are
offering the dreamiest vegan soft-serve and can be found at a tonne of up and
coming Vegan Nights events and selected Kerb and local foodie markets. Black
Milq, arguably one of the most photogenic scoops of ice cream you will lay your
eyes on this summer, are another London-based company. You can find them
popping up at various markets and festivals, as well as heading to both Mother
and Wulf and Lamb to get your hands on pre-packaged pints. There frozen treats
are cashew and coconut milk based, and offer dreamy flavours including black
sesame, honeycomb, salty caramel and banana bread and birthday cake.

Some of London’s finest permanent fixtures offering up free-from alternatives
include Yorica, Chin Chin Labs and Snowflake Gelato. We’re guessing you’ve
probably stumbled across Yorica’s glorious array of toppings, making glamming
up a scoop of vegan ice cream or swirl of frozen yoghurt a breeze. Chin Chin Labs
pride themselves on their niche way of creating frozen treats - using liquid
nitrogen! You’d be silly not to give their dairy-free option a try if you find
yourself roaming around Camden market. Snowflake Luxury Gelato’s most
recent location in Selfridges offer avocado ice cream in the shape of, yes you
guessed it, an avocado, complete with a chocolate stone.

If you’re looking for the best ice cream alternatives in our beautiful hometown
Bristol, then look no further than Swoon. We’re obsessed with the dark chocolate
sorbet, and always grab a scoop to satisfy our sweet tooth.

A well-stocked freezer full of the very best ice cream can almost guarantee a
perfect summers day, whether you’re picnicking or having a BBQ. A few brands
we’ll never stop adding to our shopping cart including MiiRO’s ridiculously
creamy chocolate-coated lollies, Booja Booja’s sophisticated flavour
combinations and Frill’s nourishing indulgent frozen smoothies.

Vegans everywhere rejoiced when Ben & Jerry’s announced they were launching
dairy-free alternatives, and our childhood favourites Cornetto quickly caught on
this year with their new soya-based product. We’re also huge fans of both
Coconuts Naturally and The Coconut Collaborative’s wonderfully creamy coconut based ice creams, and both Swedish Glace and Alpro are two solid
options if you’re looking for dairy-free versions of classic flavours.

How have we been getting Norty this month? 

There is no question about it; we have all been well and truly spoiled by the heat wave that has been hanging around, making us sweaty yet overjoyed at the same time. We’ve had enough vitamin D to last us until next summer and we can almost guarantee we know how you’ve been spending your days in the sun. Be in by the seaside, around a family BBQ or spread across your local park, what’s in your glass is just as important as what is on your plate. 

Vegan Beer and Mexican Fried Chicken

If you’re headed to the big smoke for a day out (and right now, it really is), or perhaps on the look out for a new local serving up vegan beer and out of this world grub, then look no further. The Spread Eagle on Homerton high street is London’s first fully vegan pub, serving up the best brews from certified suppliers along side the mouth-wateringly dirty eats of Club Mexicana. We approve of their beer-pairing menu, making opting for the perfect food and drink combination an absolute breeze.   

BrewDog

Another one for the beer lovers, Brewdog not only offer fabulous vegan eats on its classic pub grub menu, but they also serve up a number of vegan friendly beers. With multiple locations across the UK, as well as an online shop offering the best booze straight to your door, enjoying a refreshing pint is stress free and ever so tasty. 

The Drink of the Moment

An aperol spritz is having its moment this summer, with after work drinkers and sun worshipers mixing their own popping up left, right and centre. The orange-come-rhubarb flavoured liquor is mixed with prosecco and soda. Be at One, found across the UK, have a fabulous one, or simply make your own.

Almond Milk Baileys

When Baileys revealed they were bringing out a completely dairy-free version of there some-what acquired tasting adult milk, vegans everywhere rejoiced. And they let the world know about it too. From pop up cafes serving vegan sweet treats, all incorporating the new drink in someway, to glamorous and tantalising ads on the telly. Treat yourself by blending up a scoop of dairy-free Ben & Jerry’s, a dash of Baileys, some almond milk (to soften the blow) and serve with your fanciest re-useable straw. 

Seedlip Blends

If you’re not a big drinker, or perhaps catering for a friend who’s sworn off the hard stuff, Seedlip offers fabulous distilled non-alcoholic spirits. They are all vegan friendly and sugar-free, meaning you won’t feel as if you’re missing out at all. Pair with elderflower presse for a fresh and ever so sophisticated blend, and load up on ice to keep you cool whist navigating swelteringly hot garden parties.    

Pimms in the Park

Let’s end on a high, classic Pimms in the park with friends. Is there a more glorious, albeit a little cliché way to enjoy both the sunshine and we’re been so wonderfully graced with this summer. Grab a giant jug and load it up with all the British berries and hydrating vegetables you have lying about in your fridge draw. Strawberries, cucumber, lemon and mint seem to be a fool-proof combination, and making the most of the sweet blackberries popping up all over our dried and spikey hedges, as they are in prime right now. 

In the Know

Want to be clued up on what’s in your drink and how it was made? We find apps such as Vegaholic to be ever so helpful at decoding confusing cocktail menus. Barnivore is a great online resource for vegan-friendly wines, beer and spirits, giving you a wonderfully in-depth run down of every ingredient that all us plant-based pioneers just love. 

The rise of Nut Mylks

All hail the nut!

Isn’t it absolutely fantastic that almost every supermarket you
step into today has it’s own section of plant-based milk? From oat, almond,
cashew to the humble carton of soya, we truly believe that the demand for these
dairy alternatives is rapidly increasing, meaning that wherever you are in the
U.K, opting for a vegan diet is not just easy, but more popular than ever.
Whilst almond and soya have typically dominated the market, that doesn’t mean
that you can’t venture out and try something new. Oatly is our go-to brand for
fantastically creamy oat milk. They offer a basic milk alternative, a barista blend
(perfect for frothy coffees), chocolate flavoured milk and now a dairy free crème
fraiche. Using oats as a base makes for a fabulous alternative to nut milks if you
have a nut allergy, along with hemp, coconut and soya. Koko is a brand of creamy
coconut milk, which makes creating thick and fruity smoothies a breeze, and we
can’t get enough.

Plenish is another great brand of plant-based milks we adore, and there no
nonsense nut milks are made with a simple and straightforward blend of nuts,
filtered water and sea salt. That’s it! It’s important to check the label when
shopping to ensure that your milk contains minimal ingredients and no nasties.
We love heating up Plenish’s hazelnut milk with a touch of cacao powder and
maple syrup for a delicious Nutella-like flavoured hot chocolate.

If you have the time, try making your own. Not only is it much easier than you
may think, it’s also cost effective. Simply soak your nut of choice overnight, rinse
thoroughly and blend with double the amount of filtered water. Blend in a food
processor for a couple of moments before straining through cheesecloth. You can
then make your homemade nut milk into a huge range of different milky drinks,
from your morning coffee, an indulgent afternoon hot chocolate to turmeric
lattes on a cold evening. Get creative and add a touch of beetroot powder to your
cashew nut milk for a wonderfully vibrant beetroot latte, or heat up your almond
milk coffee with a dusting of cacao for a tasty mocha treat.

Picnic Season

Picnic season has well and truly arrived, and we couldn’t be happier about it if
we tried. What better way to enjoy the sunshine, than spending the day doing
nothing but nibbling away at glorious finger food. Just because you’re opting for
a plant-based lifestyle, doesn’t mean you can enjoy a whole array of tasty treats
with your friends, and in fact, gives you the perfect opportunity to show them
just how well you eat. From rice paper rolls to homemade energy balls, we’re
here to give you a little helping hand on the food front.

Savoury

Homemade Dips
There is most definitely something to be said for making your own dips. Instead
of heading straight to M&S, wow your friends with your own homemade
hummus, guacamole and baba Ganoush, done simply by throwing a few
ingredients into your food processor. Chop up some fresh, crunchy veggies and
you’re good to go. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to your standard
Dorito packet, opt for coconut flour tortilla chips, or even vegetable crisps, which
can also be made yourself.

Rice paper rolls

Another fantastic way to incorporate fresh veggies into your picnic basket is by
rolling them into vibrant and chewy rice paper rolls. Easily done by packing in
grated carrots, beets, cucumber and some crunchy peanut butter. Add tofu or
tempeh and some rice noodles, if you so wish. Pack a small pot of soy sauce or
tamari, or a sweet chilli dip to go along side, and you’re good to go.

Mini Sausage Rolls

There are an insane amount of meat replacement options out there, and one of
our favourites has to be the entire range by Linda McCartney. The sausage rolls
make the perfect picnic food, simple heat up from frozen and take with you.
Whilst you’re at it, grab a back of the vegan pulled pork burgers and pick up a
disposal BBQ, the greatest invention for turning that picnic up a notch.

Easy Seasonal Salads

You can make a simple yet hearty salad by roasting up some vegetables and
throwing them together with a whole grain, like quinoa or wild rice, and some
leafy greens. Finish by stirring through some pesto and drop a fistful of roasted
seeds, nuts and fresh herbs on top. These types of salads, in our opinion, taste
better cold than they ever will warm, simply as the flavours have more time to
deepen. If you’re short on time, some wonderfully juice cherry tomatoes go hand
in hand with a generous drizzle of olive oil and some fresh basil leaves.

… And for dessert

For easy, sharable treats, Livia’s Kitchen offers big bags of her popular plant-
based dessert bites, from Biccy Boms to Millionaire Shortbread. Better still, make
your own! Energy balls and raw brownies are the easiest vegan bite-sized snack, and always prove to be a crowd pleaser even among the fussiest of eaters. Blitz
up some dates, nuts and cacao powder for a yummy base, and roll into balls to
serve. They travel fantastically and are so filling that you’ll miss out on all the
rest of your goodies.

Grab a punnet of fresh strawberries, so wonderfully in right now, and a tub of
coconut yoghurt for a free-from, healthy take on the British summertime classic,
strawberries and cream. Better yet? Pack a few squeezable sachets of Pip and
Nut almond butter and drizzle generously on top. We also huge fans of the
humble fruit salad, another fabulous and ever so nourishing picnic option. Chop
up some watermelon slices and squeeze over a lime segment, or even serve with
fresh mint leaves.

We, of course, think that Norty Puds raw dessert pots make a fabulous way to
finish a meal in the sun, and are just so convenient and easy to carry around with
you. The hard work has been done for you, so all you’ll need to pack is a couple of
spoons and you have yourself and delicious, healthy end to your picnic.

New Vegan Brands We Just Can’t Get Enough Of!

We’re like kids at Christmas when we spy a hot new vegan product on the supermarket shelves, and it doesn’t take long before our basket is full of tasty new treats to try. We’ve given you a quick run down of a few of our current favourite brands whose vegan drinks, snacks and meals we just can’t seem to stay away from.

Remedy Kombucha

Hands down, some of the best kombucha we’ve ever tasted and with flavours like raspberry lemonade and apple crisp, what’s not to love?! They’re also I Quit Sugar approved, giving us all the more reason to slurp away.

Boundless Activated Seeds and Nuts

We’re big fans of activating our seeds and nuts to get the most out of them, nutritionally speaking. Boundless have done the hard work for us, meaning they’re yummy seasoned snacks are easily digested and nutrient packed.

The Real Coconut

The brainchild of Danielle Hunter, The Real Coconut tortilla chips are the snack we never knew we even needed. These scrummy coconut flour based tortilla chips are just heavenly, and make the perfect summer snack dipped in fresh guac, hummus or simply scoffed on their own.

MightyBee Bananito Bars

Chances are you’ve already seen MightyBee’s Bananito bars popping up left right and centre. MightyBee take simply yet scrummy dried banana and dip them in dark chocolate. Yes, you read right, dark chocolate. How amazing does that sound?

Humble Warrior Elixirs

Humble Warrior’s Elixir drinks caught our eye due to their super sleek packaging design. Each drink is made up of a combination of good for you ingredients, from adaptogens to ant inflammatory powerhouses such as turmeric and ginger.

The Happy Pear

Okay, so not really a new brand as The Happy Pear are the ultimate plant-based power couple, but their new line of products is officially in super markets. From sweet beet hummus, shepherds pie to chickpea curry, we simply cannot contain our excitement!

Kaakao chocolate

We’re all for a vegan bar of chocolate, and new kids on the block Kaakao have certainly caught our attention. They’re free from gluten, dairy and contain no added sugar, which is exactly what we like to hear! Flavours include vanilla and strawberry as well as delicious and straightforward milk chocolate bar.