Review: Vegan Stuffed Crust at Pizza Hut (Baker Street Branch)

pepperphoni

That’s a Pepperphoni Pizza from Pizza Hut with a stuffed crust. Yes, vegan stuffed crust has happened. Kate’s been stuck on soft food recently but as soon as she could chew a little we ordered ourselves some pizza. We ordered from Pizza Hut Restaurants which is a different company with a different (significantly less vegan) menu than Pizza Hut Takeaway. Which is disappointing because we only have a takeaway near us at home.

squish

Pizza Hut was always my favourite chain pizza. You get a good chewy crust and a rich tomato sauce that isn’t too sweet. They use violife as their vegan cheese which is one of my favourites for a takeaway-style pizza. Fancy Italian style gets mozzarisella. The pepperphoni is pretty good although clearly mine was a little dry and burnt. The stuffed crust itself is everything you want it to be. Cheesy, messy, over-the-top.

nugs

The real surprise hit of the order though were these southern fried nuggets. I really just added them to the order because they had a vegan symbol next to them and, you know, might as well. It turns out though that these are the best vegan chicken nuggets I’ve ever had. Why aren’t McDonalds or KFC on this?

I set out to get a stuffed crust pizza mostly for the novelty value. I ended up with one of the most enjoyable meals I’ve had from a chain fast food place. Well done Pizza Hut.

Review: Tombo (South Kensington Branch)

I’ve recently come back from Disneyland Paris but as I was with teenagers and staying at a local activity centre I have nothing else to add to the posts I made last year. The popcorn is still good. We’re going to jump straight into an extended stay in London instead.

I think the only reason I know about Tombo is from Google maps. It popped up when I was scrolling round for vegan options near the Science Museum. Kate wasn’t into it though so we ended up walking along to Wulf & Lamb, but this time I was all alone and craving Japanese food.

aubergineandtofu

It’s easy to pick something vegan off the menu. There’s an option with a little green leaf in every section. I went for the Miso Aubergine and Tofu Don (£7.95) with extra hijiki (£1.20). To be honest on my fist bite I wasn’t that impressed. It tasted a bit generic brown stir-fry sauce but the more I had, the more I bit into the succulent aubergine the more the flavour came out. By the end I was in a blissful umami coma.

It was a simple dish, perfect for a quick lunch. If I was in the area I’d definitely go back more often. Also their Fitzrovia branch is doing a special Sanrio menu right now which sounds great.

Review: Vegan options at YO! Sushi

I’m sightly obsessed with YO! Sushi. I keep finding myself eating lunch there. Still I haven’t written about it here because I’m sure posting about this British take on sushi would get be a lecture on authenticity. However I really like it so…

Okay, YO! Sushi. It’s bright, it has a conveyor belt, the flavours are a little OTT, you press a little button when you want the waiters attention (very awkward) and people yell ‘Yo!’ a lot. But quietly and apologetically because it’s a British chain. And we’re awkward. A few months back they rejigged the menu, adding more vegan options and here are some of my favourites.

aubergine

Glazed Aubergine (£2.50) The soy glaze on the aubergine is stunningly rich. It’s great to top off the nigiri and is one of my favourite ways to eat aubergines.

yasiroll

Yasia Rolls (£3.20). All of the veggies and some tofu skins all in a delicious roll. I would usually say something about how the mayo seems unnecessary but actually I’m just impressed with how quickly vegan mayo has become ubiquitous so I’m not saying anything. This is my favourite roll. There’s also an inari taco (£3.20) which is equally delicious and over the top with condiments.

salad

My favourite dish is one of the salads. And I don’t say that often. Kaiso seaweed (£3.20) is a salad of seaweed, carrot, and edamame in a punchy dressing. I could eat this all day long.

misopot

A vegan chocolate pot! It’s a bit more special than your average choc pot with a hint of miso for a decadent umami hit. If you’re not sure if you like the sound of that then I’d encourage you to give it ago because it’s delicious.

Like I said in the opening, YO! Sushi is one of my favourite places eat lunch right now. When I need something light and full of flavour.

Review: KFC Original Recipe Vegan Burger

I actually tried this on the day it came out but it’s taken me a while to write it up. Why? Well my thoughts about it are complicated. KFC is obviously responsible for the death of a lot of chickens. If I spend money there am I supporting that slaughter? If I buy the vegan burger will I be encouraging them towards a plant-based business model? Or are they just going to use my money to increase their reach and sell meat to more people?

kfcbox

Honestly I can’t answer any of those questions. Spending money with KFC is probably not the most ethical choice to make but there are upsides. A big one for me is that I can just go out and eat like a normal person. Or, rather, that I can be seen to eat like a normal person. When I’m out with my little cousins and they want KFC I can eat with them. That’s a huge positive for both me as a person and the reputation of veganism. I’m not sneaking off to the far corner of the food court any more to get that one vegan option. I can eat something that looks like what they are eating. When they grow up and are choosing their own diet things like the KFC vegan burger will make veganism seem not just possible, but easy. Something you can do while hanging around with your mates.

kfc

Ethical questions aside, how is the taste? It is shockingly good. I was expecting something like a supermarket chicken burger but this is far beyond that. It’s honestly the closest thing to a chicken I’ve eaten since… well, chicken. The texture is something else. It’s got a moist, tenderness to it that is spot on. Not soggy or wet like bad mock meats can get. Perfect. The coating is its famous fabulous self and I can’t fault it. My only minor quibble is that it comes with vegan mayo and sad iceberg. In my KFC eating days I was a big fan of the zinger tower and I’d love to see a vegan version of that. I’d also like to see vegan fries; at the moment they’re cooked in the same oil as the popcorn chicken. My solution to this would be to make the popcorn chicken vegan. A girl can dream.

Review: Plant Kitchen, again

A year ago we ate a bunch of food from the Plant Kitchen range at Marks and Spencer. This January they released a bunch more into their vegan range. And we got a few bits to try. More than a few. Okay.

noegg

Both a no tuna sandwich and a no egg sandwich have been added to the range. The tuna sandwich has sweetcorn in it so I went for the egg instead. There was really no other taste but pepper. File this one under edible but disappointing.

pizza

Speaking of disappointing, we were originally excited to find a plain cheese and tomato pizza. Kate likes things plain. But this was very disappointing. It tastes like one of those mini, 50p, basics range pizzas. All biscuit base and ketchup tasting sauce. The cheese made it a little more exciting but not much. We wouldn’t buy this one again.

sheps

Kate tried the Shepard’s Pie. She was delighted by the piped mashed potato but thought the filling had too much mushroom. There were also several whole chestnuts in there which textually is just odd.

rolls

Okay so what’s good? These No-Pork Sausage rolls are a great little snack option wrapped in a delicious flaky pastry.

noduck

I enjoyed these spring rolls, filled with a gorgeous shredded duck. Perhaps the hoisin sauce was a touch too sweet or perhaps you’re not meant to eat them all in one go. Either way, I’d do it again.

kieve

Now onto our favourite, and perhaps the entire internet’s favourite: No-Chicken Kiev. It is perfect. Perfectly chickeny, crisp bread crumbs, and that amazing, rich, garlicy, herby beautiful butter sauce. We loved it. I want more.

Book Review: Sushi Modoki

I’ve bought a few Japanese cookbooks recently. I’ve been making udon, tofu, and a lot of curry. Sushi Modoki is the only 100% vegan book in the pile of acquisitions and the only sushi book, so I knew I was going to have fun with it. Sushi Modoki is plant-based sushi that mimics the look and flavour of traditional sushi. There are three different ways to mimic tuna. It’s all very exciting but do they taste as good as they look?

nigri

My nigiri making skills are still in their infancy so I figured I’d start there to get some practice in. I made the Marinated Tuna Modoki Nigiri and the Salmon Modoki Nigiri. The salmon was nice — you can’t really go wrong with carrot — but the marinated ‘tuna’ was fabulous. The marinade made the red pepper slice taste amazing and the texture had that perfect touch of fattiness.

tofu

I moved quickly onto the inari chapter. Inari might just be my favourite food. I opted to make the Open Inari with egg modoki and pickled cucumber. As plain inari is already my favourite food I didn’t expect there would be much room for improvement. Thankfully I was wrong.  I’m pretty sure the Japanese invented scrambled tofu for eggs, so that’s just perfect, and the pickled cucumber stuffing in this has quickly become one of my favourite quick pickles. The condiment section at the back of the book is worth the price of the whole thing alone.

tempeh

I then turned my attention to the rolls. I started with some circular ones to get my confidence up and made the a batch of Veggie Tempura Roll. I’ve been making tempura quite a bit recently in an attempt to eat more vegetables by deep frying them first. This is my new favourite batter. In there are green beans and corn. It is deeply satisfying.

There is also a recipe for mock shrimp, but I can’t get konnyaku locally. It will have to wait until my next visit to Japan Centre. It is written by a Japanese author living in Japan and thus uses ingredients that aren’t necessarily available in supermarkets in the South West of England (and if they are they’re often of inferior quality). I hunt down the more hard-to-find stuff online.

squares

Then I may have got a bit overconfident. I thought It would be just as easy to  roll a square as a circle. It was not. But once dipped in soy sauce who really cares about a few wonky edges. Other than Instagram.

Sushi Modoki is more than a gimmick. iina has created recipes that taste and look amazing with enough extra tips and hints in here to keep you full and happy for a long time. Any vegan with an interest in sushi or Japanese cooking will enjoy having this on their shelves.

Review: Working Boat (Falmouth)

The earliest date for the Green Bank Hotel is 1640. I know this because it said so in the ladies’. Round the back is Working Boat, a busy bar and dining room with hearty options and a view to die for. I kept noticing that my Dad and Watson were disappearing mid-afternoon. Turns out they were going for sneaky cider walkies. Eventually they took me with them.

flatbread

The first night I ordered the vegan flat bread which comes with seasonal toppings. On season when I visited were olives, artichokes and very large tomatoes. Personally I would have preferred it with something like sun dried tomatoes: stick to the jar theme, it’s January after all. As it was, the tomatoes were a bit too watery. It didn’t ruin the flatbread, I’d still recommend it, but it would have been better without them.

burgerburgerburger The second time we stopped by I went for the burger. It’s beetroot red with beans inside, it’s also a hell of a mouthful. The burger is very loosely held together so each bite leaves you with a splatter on your plate. Although the taste is good it’s very irritating to eat. I’d give this one a miss in future and stick with the flat bread. Because with the food, the views, the warm atmosphere, and a generous welcome for Watson (and probably other dogs) we’ll be back.