To the yogi who tried to make me feel bad for eating an ice cream on Instagram. 

Dear Yogi,

I don’t know you, I’ve never met you, I have only seen the little tiny portion of your life that you’ve decided to share on Instagram. This is also the same for you with me so I was a bit surprised this morning when you decided to have an opinion on my choice of ice cream. 

Now let’s get a few things straight, I might blog about being vegan but I do not claim to be an expert on nutrition nor do I put myself forward as a shining example of clean eating. I like to share pictures of vegan food because I find it exciting to see that you can live a full, healthy and happy life without harming animals. I am aware that even if only one person reads my blog, (and I’m pretty certain that only one person reads my blog, Hi Mam), then I don’t want to pretend I’m something I’m not. There’s enough skinny white blonde women telling people what not to eat without me adding my voice to the noise. I like to share food that makes me happy, quite a lot of this is healthy food because eating healthy makes me happy, but guess what?? So does eating an ice cream from time to time. 

I don’t need to justify myself, even if I ate only ice cream and drank soya milkshakes instead of water, bathed in coconut cream and used sugar as toothpaste, I still wouldn’t have to justify myself. The fact is though that I eat a healthy diet which is low sugar and high in nutrients, I eat well over 8 portions of vegetables a day, I’m careful to get my protein and I truly truly love my food. 

I say this because it wasn’t always the case. I suffered with bulemia from the age of 11 right up until my early twenties, it’s hard to write this because not everyone knows, and there’s part of me that feels like admitting it is admitting to a failure, that people will think of me differently after they know.

Recovery has been hard and it has taken me years to get to the point where I can eat a dessert and not feel guilt so bad that it physically shakes my body until I throw it back up, but guess what? I’m there!  

So when I post the picture of my ice cream that arrived in my shopping today, the ice cream I’m going to share with my husband cuddled up on the sofa, the ice cream that I’m going to savour and enjoy and not feel guilty about at all, when I post that picture and you point out the sugar content all I can say is screeeeeeeeeeeeew you! 

I was going to save it for a treat, but do you know what? I’m going to eat it right now!


Our Big Fat Greek Vegan Holiday

We’ve just come back from an amazing week on the island of Kefalonia in Greece. We had sun, sea, sand and loads and loads of good food. I think between us we must have eaten at least a bottle of olive oil, and oh the vine leaves, and the tomatoes, take me back now!


Initially we were apprehensive about our holiday in Greece as it appeared that Greek cooking seemed to be mainly meat and cheese. Traditionally for us our holidays revolve mainly around food so we were a bit anxious that we would feel like we were missing out but it was wasted worrying as the food was AMAZING!

In the spirit of full disclosure I feel I have to say that there were a couple of instances where food we’d ordered without cheese, came with cheese on top *le sigh* but we just scrapped it off and munched around it, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Here are our vegan highlights.

Aeroplane food.

We were  flying Thomsons so no included inflight meal for us. We did the bog standard thing of getting a Boots Meal Deal on the way there. There was loads of vegan options, so that was fine.

The way back was a bit tricker as the deli at the airport had no vegan options and because we were flying at 1.30pm we had to be at the airport at 11am and didn’t arrive back in Britain until 5pm (Greece time) we were kinda forced to buy something on the plane. We went for the vegetable pasta (because it was the one and only choice) which was six whole pounds of British coinage. In fairness to Thomsons it was actually quite nice but I think that was because I was starving and it had the salt content of a packet of crisps and the sugar content of a mars bar. The two gin and tonics I had to wet the whistle on the way down probably helped too.

Crap areoplane food is part and parcel of going on holiday though, it’s all part of the fun and this pasta was a million times better than the cheese and ham toastie I once had on a Jet2 flight to Croatia. (I’m pretty sure the aftertaste is still lingering in my mouth from that monstrosity).


Let’s face it. No matter where you go in the world, whatever incredible sights you see, cultures you sample, people you meet, life changing experiences you have.  The highlight of any holiday is always the breakfast buffet.

On the first day we went down to breakfast and were excited to discover that we could easily cobble ourselves together a fried breakfast using the fried vegetables and beans.

The hotel also believed that Oreos are a breakfast staple and though I don’t agree, I was certainly happy about.

I could live off this kind of food forever but Andy is more of a cereal and fruit man himself so we decided to go on the hunt for some soya milk. When I say hunt I actually just mean we visited the hotel mini-mart and there we found not one but THREE milk alternatives, they had soya milk, rice milk and chocolate soya milk.

Here is Andy looking chuffed at his breakfast.

Evening Buffet

We were half board and we were allowed to choose between lunch and dinner at the hotel which meant we weren’t tied to the hotel which was brilliant. However we did end up eating in the hotel most evenings because the buffet was incredible.

So many fresh vegetables, pulses, stuffed vine leaves, salads, breads, the options seemed endless. There was never a night that we didn’t eat at least two plates in complete silence with only the odd grunt of contentment to puncture our greedy guzzling.

Here is a medley of some of the plates I remembered to take a photo of before I gobbled it up.

Eating out

Greek vegan options though not vast, are very very tasty. You can usually find rice stuffed peppers or  tomatoes on the menu and if you’re really struggling most menus have some vegan options in the meze sections.

Here is a selection of the meals we ate.



You need treats on holiday. It’s the law. Obviously ice cream is off limits but sorbet is usually vegan so we ate a lot of that! We had mango, strawberry, lemon and orange. If there wasn’t a sorbet option we’d have a cocktail, simples! Also never underestimate the pleasure of eating a plain watermelon on the beach.


Our first vegan holiday was a resounding success and the half stone I’ve put on will agree that the food was amazing and we certainly didn’t miss out!

What’s your favourite holiday destination for vegan food??

Aquafaba Brownie Bites, Little Nibbles of Heaven.

I have toothache. It’s awful, and I can’t stop telling people about it. I am prefacing every single conversation with ‘I have toothache’ as it’s the only thing I can think of to say. I have had my bottom firmly planted on my couch as I watch ‘Frankie and Grace’ on Netflix and massage my head. 

Well that was until my new electric whisk arrived in the post, even my toothache isn’t going to stop me playing around with that.

I am so excited to try Aquafaba cakes! 

My first attempt at this ended in a flat, flat, flaaaaaat, far too sweet thing, that I couldn’t even get out of the tin. Not own to be deterred though I tweaked the recipe and these brownie bites were born. Originally I was going to suggest that they are made in a brownie tin but after chilling these in the fridge for a couple of hours these are perfect just as they are. 

INGREDIENTS (will make 8 little bites) 

For the cakes

Water from 1 tin of chickpeas

70g Sr. Flour

30g of good quality cocoa or cacao 

40g castor sugar

Fairy cake papers

And that’s it. THATS IT!!!! 

For the icing

One desert spoon of soya margarine

3 spoonfuls of soya milk


Icing sugar


Trust me of this. Truuuuust me.

Put the chickpea water (Aquafaba) in a bowl and whisk with an electric whisk 

In about three minutes it will start to thicken. Add the sugar and keep awhisking away until peaks start to form. (This will happen just after you think you’re doing something wrong, all hope is lost and it’s never going to happen).

Then sift and fold in the cocoa and flour into the mixture being careful not to over mix.

Pour into the cake papers but bear in mind they don’t rise much so full them about three quarters of the way.

Pop in the preheated oven on 160 degrees celcius for 25 minutes.

While they are cooking make the icing.

Place a bowl on a pan filled with boiling water. 

Melt the butter in the bowl and add the icing sugar and cocoa and milk until it’s the desired consistency. I’ve deliberately not put measurements because it’s a preference thing, I prefer it thick and not too sweet so I use a lot of cocoa. 

When the cakes are totally cool, top them with the icing. 

Then this is the important part! DONT EAT THEM YET!!! It will be tempting to polish them off now but don’t, pop them in the fridge for at least an now. 

Five Minute Slow Cooked Three Pulse Soup

I am feeling super sorry for myself, my wisdom teeth are hurting and I can’t bear the thought of eating solid food. My jaw is aching, ear is sore and I have a pressure headache 😦

I have even had to cancel my evening classes which I just can’t bear doing but needs must. 

Luckily though, dinner is sorted. With 5 minutes prep this afternoon I had a steaming bowl of protein packed pulses and veg. Thanks past Jo!!

When I posted a piccie of it on Facebook someone asked for the recipe so here it is.


100g red lentils

100g of chaana Dahl (if you don’t have this just double the lentils)

One tin of chickpeas

One onion

One stick of celery

One corgetti

One red pepper

Some cabbage 

Two carrots 

One clove garlic

One bay leaf

One 2 inch cube of ginger

One stock cube


Thinly slice veg, for super speed just throw through the slicer in a food processor. Put in slow cooker, cover with boiling water, add lentils, chick peas, dahl, stock cube and bay leaf. Turn on low. Enjoy. 

There you have it! Perfect poorly soup 🙂 

Yo! Sushi Grainger Street Review 

Oh Yo! Sushi, how I love thee. I have spent many a lunch time happily alone, sitting perched at the belt watching the sushi spin past. I have visited over 5 branches of the restaurant and was so sad when I heard the one in Fenwick was closing (a short lived sadness I have to say, as the new Fenwick food hall is divine and a Yo! Sushi Grainger Street opened not too long after).

My job means that I work most evenings and some of the weekends, this means I have become a lady what lunches. Pretty much all of my disposable income goes on meeting friends for lunch, and when I’m not meeting friends I adore to dine alone. Yo! Sushi is a perfect dining alone venue.

What I loved about the Yo! Sushi in Fenwick is that it was a perfect mix of being left alone to relax, but you never felt bored watching the sushi sail past and pressing your little button for more green tea or a refill of miso. I enjoyed watching the shoppers bustle by with their bags and the chefs frying up some tepenyake behind the counter. 

If you’ve never been to Yo! Sushi I’ll explain the concept. There is a moving conveyor belt which the tables are arranged around, food is placed on the belt and you pick off what you fancy. You can also order food if you can’t see what you want on the belt. All the food is made in the centre of the room so you can see your food being made. It’s a gimmick that works and though it’s not the best or most authentic sushi in the world it’s fun and I ALWAYS end up eating more plates than I planned. 

So to my trip to the Grainger Street branch. The restaurant opened on the 12th May and I visited with two friends on the 13th. We entered the restaurant at 11.45am so just before the lunchtime rush. I was presented with a vegan menu straight away when I asked which was great.

There was a lot to choose from but I would have liked to have seen pictures in the menu showing the dishes like in the main menu, as if you had never been to Yo Sushi before you might find it difficult to match the dishes to the belt, also there was no prices on the menu either. 

The atmosphere in the restaurant was what I can only describe as ‘hyper’, every time someone came in all the staff and chefs would shout, which got very VERY noisy after a while. The music was so loud that me and my companions struggled to hear each other, which if anyone has ever met me or my companions in real life knows that that must be a mean feat as we are not quiet voiced people. The staff were obviously straight out of training which is fair enough as it had only been opened a day and no one expects a restaurant to be free of teething problems after one day. We had several mix ups with our orders (non of them vegan related), and one of the waiters was very young and a bit too keen, he stayed at the table asking us what our favourite dishes were for way too long while we were trying to eat and used the table we were eating at to lean on to put an order into his machine. These things are totally forgivable, like I say it’s a brand new restaurant and having been a young keen server myself I know it can be exciting to be working on a new job. I hope things settle down when it’s been open a bit longer, as I have no problem at all with a lively waiter or a bustling atmosphere but when it starts to encroach on the enjoyment of your food that’s when it becomes an issue. 

So to the food. There was a lot of choice for vegans, hoorah!

I had,

Aubergine Harusame

Yasai Yakisoba

Miso Soup

Cucumber Maki

Avocado Maki
The avocado maki wasn’t on the vegan menu but I asked for it to be made without mayo and they were very obliging (I actually ate three of these).

I was also excited to see that my favourite dish at Yo! Sushi, Miso Dumpling Ramen with Rice, is also vegan, but I was too full to have it this time.

I will definitely return to the Grainger Street branch of Yo! Sushi as the food is delicious and it’s such an easy way to eat vegan. I am sure that the excitement of opening will calm down and the staff teething issues will sort themselves out. I recommend you try it if you’ve never been.

Five Items That All Vegans Need In their Food Cupboard

When you first start looking into living a plant based lifestyle some of the ingredients can seem a bit daunting but you’ll soon see that the same things come up again and again. These are my top five things you need in your cupboard.

  1. Nutrional Yeast. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this stuff is amazing. Packed through of goodness it can add a cheesy hint to any meal and when a dish just feels like  ‘there’s something missing’ nine times out of ten, it’s this bad boy! I really don’t know why it’s not out there on everyone’s table, whether you’re vegan or not, right next to the salt and pepper!
  2. Liquid smoke. When I first heard of liquid smoke in a recipe I thought it must be some fancy pantsy ingredient. In reality it’s a liquid bbq sauce which can give your food a smoky, meaty taste. Great for marinades and chillis, or for making the amazing rice paper bacon. 
  3. Chick peas. Everyone knows how great chickpeas are in curries, soups, and blended as hummous, but did you know if you whisk the water from the can it can replace egg whites in cooking? Pretty neat! Called Aquafaba you can use it to make meringues, sauces and it’ll even give your chocolate mousse bubbles! 
  4. Black salt. This was a total revelation to me as I love a boiled egg. When I went vegan I was surprised that I wasn’t all that bothered about cheese or chocolate but I did get a craving for an egg. Black salt tastes exactly like boiled egg, I was stunned when I tasted it. I ate it with avocado, portebello mushroom and Violife creamy and it blew my mind. You can buy this from Indian Supermarkets and you can get it ground or whole, I bought ground for ease.
  5. Cashew nuts. Though all nuts will provide you with protein and can bulk up your power balls it’s the cashew nut which is going to make your cabanara sauces creamy and give you the right consistency in your cheese cake. So simple to use, just soak then blend, cashews are the base for many recipes for homemade cheese.

So there you have it, not a comprehensive list by any stretch of the imagination but a pretty good start! 

The Newcastle Vegan Festival

Isn’t it funny about vegan festivals, there isn’t one for ages and then three come along at once. Yesterday  (7th May 2016) was the first of three vegan festivals in the north east region this Summer and I was really excited to get along and see what the fuss was all about.

Newcastle Vegan Festival was held at the Assembly Rooms and was ran by Vegan Festival UK. It was a daytime festival and was open between 10.30am-4.30pm. I had classes in the morning so me and Andy headed down for about 2pm.

When we arrived I was surprised at how busy it was, everywhere seemed full of people browsing and sitting on the floor eating and chatting. A friend who I bumped into said that she’d been there all day and at one point it was completely heaving and the queues for the food had only just started to die down.

We dove straight in and started scanning the area for the food we wanted to eat. The choice was great, no dry falafel and hummous here, all different types of food and all vegan, pure heaven.

We had one sweep of the stalls and made a beeline for a curry and samosa stall and bought a plate of samosa chaana.


If this picture doesn’t look very appetising that’s because I was so keen to gobble mine up that I totally forgot to take a picture and this is the display model that had been out all day.

It was very nice, but I have to say that I have probably spoilt myself for samosas as we have so many beautiful ones in the shops around Newcastle. My heart dreams of the ones from the Brighton Grove Foodstores, and just the day before the festival I had bought one from The Grocery on Chillingham Road(the man behind the counter assured me they were vegan). I had meandered slowly home from my Friday morning yoga class pulling peas out of the still warm pie, the batter crunchy on the outside and the filling soft and spicy on the inside. A samosa to me conjours up images of warm summer days in the park with my friends, or a treat lunch grabbed on the way somewhere fun. I have a low tolerance for a bad samosa and this one at the festival was just ok. Too much potato and a pastry that was too soggy for my taste. However the salad and curry it was served with redeemed the dish and I enjoyed sitting on a sofa in the corner of the festival people watching and plotting my next dish.

Next up we had a Seitan BBQ skewer from a stall which really did steal the show. It was amazing. Just the look of the food was enough to blow your mind.


Seitan doner kebab bagels, cheesecakes and rice paper bacon donuts were just some of the things on offer at this stall. I don’t know how they kept it stocked all day as the products were literally flying off the table.


This is what the BBQ skewer looked like.


And this is how happy I looked to be eating it


It tasted just as good as it looked, the texture was exactly like meat and it was seasoned to perfection. I know that some vegans don’t like meat substitutes that are like the real thing but I didn’t give up meat because I don’t like the flavour, and when I did eat meat I was a bit of a fiend for bbq so I was thrilled to find this! I’m even working on a recipe to make it at home.

We then had a cheesecake from the same stall. (Bad form I know but they looked SO GOOD!)


To be perfectly honest Andy got this for himself and I stole ‘a bite’. It was just like the real thing, and the portion was insane. Top marks!

After we filled our bellies we had another look around, lamenting that we were now too full to try all the other stalls. Here are some pics of other things on offer.

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We stayed for about two hours, sampling more food and meandering through the stalls. We even discovered a club called Vegan Runners who we think we might join!

It was a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon, bumping into friends and eating lots of food, and it was well worth the very modest entry fee of £2.

I can certainly see what all the fuss is about now!




Zizzi’s Vegan Pizza Review

Zizzi’s is one of those restaurants that have completely nailed their target market. They cater exactly for the easy dinner crowd. Whether it’s a staff night out, a family birthday party or a trip to town with the girls turned into a boozy lunch, you know exactly what you’re going to get and that there’ll be something on the menu to suit everyone. Before I went vegan I think I probably took places like this for granted, places that you could just fall into with a big group of people and everyone would be happy. Eating has always been a huge part of my social life and I have to admit that I have been anxious about eating out in groups of people, I don’t want to be the awkward one, but at the same time I don’t want to eat another dry falafel burger or even worse just a bowl of chips. Newcastle has a plethora of vegan and veggie restaurants but it’s unlikely you’re always going to get everyone to eat in those so it’s handy to have some ideas for places you can go in a big group. This is also handy for when you visit other cities for things like hen nights etc, if all else fails you can always go to Zizzi’s.

You really have to admire Zizzi’s new vegan menu. 

Though it’s not expansive the addition of vegan cheese on the pizza is just a sheer thrill. That they haven’t just omitted an ingredient but have actually gone out of their way to create something especially for vegans this is genuinely exciting! They also do a gluten free vegan option so for the poor souls who are vegan AND gluten free can finally have a pizza! 

So to our trip, 

We came for a lunch after grabbing some bits in town. I’ve been suffering with wisdom tooth pain and have been quite whingy so wanted something to cheer myself up. We decided not to do starters and go for straight for the main course. 

We both went for the vegan margarita and added some additions. I had artichoke, peppers and extra pizza sauce added to mine and Andy had peppers and chillis added to his. 

When it arrived it was a good size and had generous portions of the extra ingredients. The cheese was very decent but tasted more like a bechmal sauce than a mozzarella, this however made for a very tasty pizza.

We shared a carafe of a red wine and we’re happy to see that most of their wines are vegan too, something that a lot of places manage to leave out. 

I was happy that I hadn’t had a starter as it was just the right amount of food for me. Well once I had pudding as well it was. 

For pudding we both went for the Vegan Necterine which was a baked Necterine with coconut and mango ice cream. It was delicious. 

My only complaint which is a bit of a pet hate of mine was that it was served in an unglazed stone bowl so when your spoon grated against the side it set your teeth on edge, especially not nice mixed with ice cream and wisdom teeth pain but I imagine this is a pretty niche moan, and didn’t affect the quality of the experience at all. 

The bill came to £40.75 for two mains, two puddings and a carafe of wine. I know they do one free main if you have a tastecard and they often do deals on voucher sites. 

Overall I was impressed with the quality of the food and the overall experience. It’s definitely going to the top of the list of places to go with a group of people. I didn’t feel like the vegan menu was an afterthought, and I was happy with what we got for the money. Sometimes when you visit an Italian as a vegan it feels like you’re being ripped off as you’re often charged full price even though they basically  give you a bowl of pasta and a tin of tomatoes or a pizza base and some tomato purée, this did not feel like that at all. 

Well done Zizzi’s, I can’t wait to see what you add to the menu next!