Vegfest 2017 Trade show

Last week I attended the Vegfest Trade show, which was the first trade show for Vegfest and they did did a great job!

As those attending the main Vegfest London 2017 will know, there were lots of fabulous vegan talks, products and services on offer.  Something for both the newest of vegans along with seasoned vegans.

My favourites were the talk about the exciting plans for Veganuary 2018, which is expecting to draw record numbers of participants and which will be amazing.  Also a great talk on social media and the rise of veganism.

There were numerous great vegan products on show too, tumeric latte powders, new egg replacements, the great pies from Clives, but my absolute favourite was the variety of new cheeses on offer.

For me the best cheeses were by New Roots, who produced exceptionally high quality brie and soft cheese alternatives.  Check out their products here: https://www.newroots.ch/

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Another favourite of mine is Ms Cupcake, aka the beautiful Melissa – who with her team always puts on an amazing array of cupcakes and treats.  I particuarly enjoyed the new red velvet oreo brownie and black forest cookie sandwich…. both of which were great.

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Me with Melissa aka Ms Cupcake

 

Another great range of products were Tide Ford, who had fabulous organic soups for tasting – I was very impressed that they have now made their entire range vegan!

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And then there was the Coffee and Cheese company, who had a great range of meat alternatives – many of which I hadn’t come across before.

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I was also pleased to see Tofurky showing their fabulous products, Fry family foods and Wing Yip too…. and so many more.

What a great event. It is crystal clear that the demand for vegan foods is just growing and growing, which is great for the vegans, those who want more plant food and the animals!!

Rx

The quickest and tastiest vegan pasta ever? Plus bonus homemade sauce option

What if I told you that I have a recipe for a pasta recipe that is quick and tasty?

  • It can literally be made in about 10 minutes with almost no effort?
  • It requires virtually no cooking skills?
    • Can you boil water? If so, you can do this!
  • The basic recipe is just two ingredients
    • Yes only two!
  • With a little more effort you can adapt it in a variety of ways?
    • Vegan – of course!
    • Need gluten free, no problem use GF pasta
    • Fancy it hot and spicy, no problem top with some chilli flakes
    • Love your veggies, just lightly fry some up and throw in at the last second
    • More garlicky, crush some up and stir in at last second
    • Make a homemade sauce instead of shop bought (see below)
    • Need bigger bowlful because it is so good? Just size up the measures!

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So what is this recipe I hear you cry!  Well, its so simple …..

Serves 4

2 minutes prep

10 minutes cooking time

EASY!

Ingredients:

  • 400g pasta of your choice
  • 160g vegan garlic and herb cream cheese

 Method:

  • Cook pasta until its almost soft and drain
  • Add cream cheese and stir in while pasta is hot
  • Serve

 

Really – thats it!

 

Or try your own homemade sauce?  If you want to get really fancy, you could also whip up a homemade soft cheese alternative while your pasta is cooking – just remember to soak the nuts overnight beforehand.

 

Homemade garlic herb cream cheese

Ingredients:

  • cup of soaked cashews
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • fresh herbs of your choice
    • 1 tbsp if chopped
    • 1 handful if whole
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, optional for cheesy flavour
  • 1 tsp pink salt

 Method:

  • Put all ingredients into blender
  • Add water to cover blades
  • Blender for 3 minutes until completely smooth and warm

You could make this sauce while your pasta is cooking, then pour over cooked pasta and add a sprinkle of herb to garish to serve.

 

And there you have it, a super easy version and an easy version of a delicious pasta dish that all the family can enjoy, which can be easily adapted to meet individual tastes AND would be a good fit at a dinner party too!

I would love to hear your feedback when you try out this recipe, see your photos and hear about how you adapted it to suit your tastes!

Enjoy

Rx

Why cant airlines get vegan meals right?

It is a mystery to me what the secret is to getting special meals on flights…. despite all my travels over the years, my initial requests, confirmation direct with airlines a few days ahead of a flight, another confirmation at check in – I have found time and again, the meal just doesn’t turn up.  And it is especially challenging on long haul fights when travellers are reliant on provided food!

It also seems to make no difference who I have flown with, I have had the same problem with all airlines that I have used over the years.  Most recently being Emirates, who otherwise I would personally rate as one of the best airlines – if they can’t do it, can others?

Sometimes its my meal missing, or one of my party.  Sometimes it has been on ‘the system’ but not loaded onto the plane…. or most commonly, there is just no record of it.

Now, in case you’re wondering… I still don’t have a solution to this but I would love to hear it if you do!  Often the crew can be a little curt at first, suggesting that I should have pre-booked and then I have usually found when I produce my written confirmation of the meal request (screen shot or email), the crew are apologetic and will try their best to put together something I can eat.  And of course, they take the details for returning flights and add it to their magic system which usually is the most reliable request! However, it really doesn’t help on that current flight when dinner might be a bread roll, banana and a pack of crisps if you are lucky!

So I have over the years, learnt to go prepared.  For long haul flights, I will assume that I may not get meals as requested and try to pack granola bars, some fruit and nibbles to keep me going if my meal doesn’t arrive.

Occasionally though, the meal has arrived and I have been really quiet impressed on the imaginative and thoughtful meal, these are rare times indeed and I have often found this happens travelling from asian countries.  Otherwise the vegan offer will contain:

  • no plant milk or non-dairy creamer for hot drinks, which is a shame as this is so easy to add
  • non-vegan products, such as margarine made with milk or maybe chocolate
  • a salad for starter, fruit for dessert (yawn) and something for main which may or may not be tasty…. very hit and miss

One other key missing thing for me with the vegan meals, if they do arrive – is that I never really know what it is.  The crew don’t know and I am not given either a menu card like all other passengers, or a sticker on the meal itself to explain.

And a last complaint, particularly on very long haul flights, is that the meals are not nutritionally balanced at all.  They often lack protein, so really it will fill you up on the carb content. Which can be uncomfortable too on long flights for digestion.

So I wonder if this is a common experience or am I just terribly unlucky? Have you found the secret to getting vegan meals consistently? Do you know a vegan friendly airline who does really care? If so, please do share your experiences with me….

Rx

 

p.s. If you work for an airline please do get in touch, I can help you!

 

 

Cheesy marrow soup

A warm and hearty soup, simple and tasty packed full of marrow goodness!

  • Level: easy
  • Prep time: 5 mins
  • Cook time: 5 mins
  • Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 large marrow
  • 50g v-cheese
  • 1 vegetable stock cube

Method:

  • Put cubed marrow with vegetable stock until just covered
  • Boil marrow until soft
  • Put marrow into a blender with the v-cheese, and add enough stock to cover the blades
  • Blend until smooth
  • Heat and serve

 

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Easy vegan egg and toast

Easy vegan egg and toast

Would you like to make a super simple egg sandwich or egg on toast, well this is the recipe for you.

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Ingredients:

  • Sliced firm tofu – approximately 3 slices per person
  • Tumeric powder
  • Namala black salt

Method:

  • Lightly fry the tofu slices in a little oil, or use an oil spray
  • Once both sides are lightly browned, sprinkle tumeric and black salt to taste – a little goes a long way so just start with a pinch of both first and add later if you want a stronger flavour
  • Turn the tofu slices a couple of times, so the flavour is on both sides
  • Serve hot with fresh toasted bread or in a sandwich

Tweaks:

  • To make this more realistic, you could spend time shaping the egg and playing with where to put the tumeric – but for me, this its about the taste with this recipe!
  • Use wholemeal bread or gluten free, with or without the homemade sauce of your choice if thats your thing

 

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The perfect homemade almond milk pumpkin spice latte

As the autumn days are setting in I love to enjoy a pumpkin spice latte.  However even if you can find a vegan syrup, I am put off by all that sugary sweetness that comes with the fabulous spices.

So I took matters into my own hands and put together a great completely homemade version – which is super tasty and simple to make!  With the extra benefits of being healthy, fresh and made in my own kitchen whenever I want one.

I used a basic recipe for the pumpkin spices, to achieve an authentic flavour.  This spice mixture can then store in a jar until you need it!

ps latte

Ingredients for pumpkin spice:

3 tbsp ground cinnamon

2tsp ground nutmeg

2 tsp ground ginger

1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice

1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves.

Method:

Mix spices together either by hand or in a blender.

Latte:

Use 1tsp of pumpkin spice for each 250ml cup of milk.  I added my spice to fresh homemade almond milk, which I continued to blend with the spices until it was hot. This also made the latte frothy and creamy!

If you prefer sweeter drinks, try adding a date to the blender while heating – this will give you a natural sweetness and keep this delicious drink healthy!

Rx

Hot chilli marinated tofu

Fancy a quick and easy tofu recipe which is amazingly tasty?  Well here it is! This can be served as a sandwich filling, or with salad, or with veggies and chips – whatever floats your boat….

  • Level: easy
  • Prep time: 5 mins
  • Cook time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

Method:

  • Cut tofu into strips or cubes, depending on what you plan to use it in – slices work better in a sandwich, cubes on a salad.  Allow approximately 3 slices per person
  • Marinade in hot chilli sauce, pour enough sauce over tofu to generously coat it
  • Best left for two hours but can also be used immediately
  • Heat thoroughly and serve

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Simple hummus

A great all rounder, a simple hummus recipe which can be used in such a variety of ways!

  • Level: easy
  • Prep time: 5 mins
  • Cook time: none

Ingredients:

  • 440g/1 can chickpeas drained
  • 3tbsp tahini
  • 5tbsp olive oil
  • half tbsp paprika (optional)
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp black pepper

Method:

  • Mix all ingredients together in a blender until finely mixed.
  • This can be used immediately, but is best left for at least a couple of hours in the refrigerator to allow the flavours to mix

 

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Tomato sauce kebab style

Here is a recipe for a simple tasty tomato sauce which can be used in my vegan kebab or on a range of dishes as you like!

  • Level: easy
  • Prep time: 5 mins
  • Cook time: none

Ingredients:

  • 70g/half cup tomato paste
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp black pepper
  • 1tsp basil dried
  • pinch oregano
  • 1tbsp ketchup

Method:

  • Mix all ingredients together in a blender until finely mixed.
  • This can be used immediately, but is best left for at least a couple of hours in the refrigerator to allow the flavours to mix

 

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