Secret Ingredient: Vegan Mofo Day 10

I couldn’t pick just one so here are my top five flavour enhancers:

Liquid Smoke

liquid smoke

Can someone tell me why liquid smoke is not more readily available in the UK? If you haven’t tried it then all you need to know is that liquid smoke is smoke that is collected in condensers. Smoke in Liquid form. It’s that simple and using it is simple too. You can throw it into chills, sauces, marinades. And we all know smoked things taste better.

White Miso

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White miso is a star. As well as using it in Japanese cooking you can also use it to make things taste creamy and cheesy. I use it in my Tomato Rissoto. If you are in the UK stay away from Clearspring. It’s gross.

Smoked Salt

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Smoked Salt is way more accessible in the UK than liquid smoke. Obviously it’s salt that has been smoked. Use it where you would use salt. I like to put it on veggies before steaming them.

Toasted Sesame Oil

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Use as a finishing touch. I like to think of toasted sesame oil as the magic ingredient that makes stir fries and fried rice taste incredible. One step that can really elevate your cooking.

Worcestershire Sauce

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Regular Worcestershire sauce has anchovies so look for the veggie version. When you you find it though you’ll never be happier. Here in England we use it to give simple meals a bit of pep. Shake it into your baked beans, or on cheese on toast. Or try it in a veganised Yakisoba.

Vegan Kind September Box

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Waiting for us at home when we returned from Skye was a very exciting box. Our latest Vegan Kind Box. Let’s see what was in it.

Lenny and Larry White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut

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I took one bite out of this giant cookie and went ‘urgh’; Kate took one bite and went ‘mmmm’. I thought that the texture was too doughy and not crisp enough; Kate informed me that it was exactly like a cookie was supposed to be. I objected to it as overly sweet; Kate countered that it was just sweet enough.

Yes from Kate, no from me.

Livias Kitchen Salted Maca Caramel Biccy Boms

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Kate immediately gravitated towards this one so I let her try it alone. First she complained about the amount of packaging ‘plastic coated wrap and a plastic case inside!’ then bit into it. I asked her what she thought ‘nice’ I asked her for more words. She loved the taste and the texture and raved about the date centre.

Looking forward to buying more of these.

Pop Chips Sea Salt and Black Pepper

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I’ve come across other flavours of Pop Chips but never these. That’s a shame as they are everything a Sea Salt and Black Pepper flavoured crisp should be. A generous coating of pepper gives them tonnes of flavour and makes them very addictive.

Already searching for my next packet.

Green Frog Natural Geranium & Peppermint Body Wash

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I noticed that a few people on Instagram complaining about their body wash leaking. So I checked my bottle over. I found a crack, it thankfully hadn’t started leaking yet. The body wash itself smells lovely, very light and fresh. It cleans well. It’s left my skin soft. I’m afraid I just don’t trust the packaging.

Cheeky P’s Curry Flavour Roasted Chickpeas

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This time I was the ‘mmmm’ and Kate was the ‘urgh’ I loved the curry flavour though I could only manage half a packet at first. Don’t worry, I went back later.

Good for a snack.

Beloved Dates Nectar

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I tried this honey substitute in a drink, Kate drizzled it onto her fingers and licked them clean. It’s a good sweetener and we plan on having more on pancakes for breakfast.

Sweet.

Revolution Foods Protein Sample

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Call us chicken but neither of us wants to try drinking this. It’s not like we need the extra protein right now. We got the Wild Berry flavour.

Now I want either more of them Cheeky P’s, or failing that some Pop Chips….

Pastifico Veneto Tortelli with Pizzaiola

When people ask us about vegan cheese, and they do, we always tell them that without a doubt the best one you can buy is MozzaRisella Classic. The Mozzarella log is uncannily like the real thing, both raw and melted on a pizza. So how could we resist pasta stuffed with MozzaRisella? We spied these in the chiller cabinet of Green Life in Totnes and brought them home.

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The package suggests serving with pesto, which in retrospect I wish I’d have done, but I was feeling lazy so I just boiled it up and tossed with a little olive oil and pepper. The pasta itself is lovely. It didn’t burst in the pan which is always a plus. The filling is yum, a mix of basil, tomato and cheese which adds a little decadence to every bite.

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When I close my eyes and dream of pasta it’s always fresh and home made but when I can’t be bothered doing it myself (almost always) I’m happy to pick up a pack in the supermarket for a quick and delicious supper. These are a fantastic vegan alternative and I only wish I could get them close to home.

How on Earth Southern Fried Seitan

I love trying new vegan food especially when it’s made by a local business so I was so excited to spy a packet of Southern Fried Chicken by Devon company How on Earth (you can find them on Facebook


Like it says on the tin plastic tub this seitan, Southern Fried. It certainly looks the part. Opening it up for the first time I was very impressed. I looks suspiciously like southern fried chicken. Smelt like southern fried chicken. Time for a taste test.


I opted for heating them in the oven and shoved them in a wrap with some lettuce and chilli sauce. It was really nice. Probably a bit cheweyer than chicken would be, but that’s seitan. The coating was thick, flavourful and crisp. 


I really enjoyed trying the fried seitan, if you’re in Devon try to get some. They stock it at Seasons in Exeter. I can’t wait to see what How on Earth come up with in the future.

Vegan Kind August Box

It’s that time of the Month again. wait, that means something else doesn’t it. Whatever. It’s Vegan Kind Lifestyle box time! Here is what we got this month. And it was a good one.

so cute, so full of chocolate

Sweet Freedom Choc Pot

Yay we got a full size choc pot from Sweet Freedom. I’d seen this one in the shops but I hadn’t picked one up yet because it’s a bit pricey. Not to say that it isn’t worth it just to say that I have limited cash. Kate got excited and made a batch of pancakes to spread with chocolate. I asked her for the review ‘nice’ she said. There you have it then. It’s not quite as sweet as your standard chocolate spread. It’s dark and decadent and makes me very happy.

This one is going straight on our shopping list.

Pink chocolate

Almighty Foods Strawberry Blonde Raw Chocolate Bar

This bar may be lacking in dairy, eggs and all that yucky stuff but it’s definitely not lacking in flavour. It’s a flavour bomb of chocolate and strawberry dust. Tart, creamy and thoroughly unique.

Perfect treat but not for everyday.

Crisps

Emily Crisps Crunchy Sweet Potato, Beetroot and Carrot

Bright and crunchy vegetable crisps. Nice but a bit too sweet for me. I would have liked a bit more salt.

Wouldn’t say no.

smelling good

Native Unearthed Activated Charcoal Deodorant Balm

I’ve been using this for a couple of days and I get that you probably don’t want a lot of information so lets just say it works. It’s scented slightly with lavender. It’s pleasant but not enough that other people would notice (just how I like it) And my lungs appreciate anything that isn’t an aerosol.

Might have to get myself a supply of this one.

kittens

Candy Kittens Sweet Peach Pop Bag

Oh no, not another vegan jelly sweet. Just kidding. These kittens are amazing! Peach flavoured, just the right amount of sour. Lipsmackingly good.

I need more of these in my life.

clever smoothie?

PHD Superfood Mango and Banana Protein Smoothie

I wasn’t a fan of the texture of this one. It had the consistency of a paste. It was too thick for me anyway. I was looking forward to the mango and banana taste but I didn’t get much of either. It was just bland. Also I don’t think it has a PhD. I tied to engage it in intelligent conversation and nothing happened.

No thanks.

tea… in bags… whatever next?

We Are Tea Supper Berry Infusion Tea Whole-leaf Tea Bag

I’m a tea snob. I only drink the stuff from bags out of desperation. Go ahead, roll you eyes at me. Deserve it. Instead of sharing it with me Kate shared the tea with a friend of ours who isn’t a pain in the bum. Their verdict: really fruity, bright red and delicious.

Does it come in loose leaf?

The Vegan Kind July Box

We’ve had enough time with our Vegan Kind box to share with you our thoughts about the products. I was really excited by the snack selections in this one. Let’s break it down.

VITL Essentials Vegan Vitamin One Day Trial

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Initially I was interested. We take a daily B12 and I’m looking for a D to take once summer ends. I’m also considering throwing in an Omega 3. But unfortunately this isn’t a package of sensible supplements. There is a Multivitamin, which contains 10 micrograms of Methylcobalamin for your B12 needs (for comparison the Vegan RD recommends 25-100 micrograms of the more stable cyanocobalamin) There is an Omega 3. There is a calcium and magnesium tablet for ‘energy’. Last and also least is the Supergreens tablet with powdered and dried trendy vegetables, like turmeric and bilberry, without any indication of what nutrients you will get there. Not at all a solution to my supplementing needs.

Each days worth of vitamins comes individually wrapped (in plastic) then a whole weeks supply gets wrapped in supper cute but super wasteful packaging. Seven days later they give you that much wrapping again. And although the vegan omega 3 comes from kelp they also sell omega 3 from krill. So environmentally damaging.

We didn’t even use the sample for this one.

Ape Crunchy Coconut Bites with Sesame Seeds

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Our biases are coming out here. Kate doesn’t like sesame and I’m not a fan of desiccated coconut. We tried one before passing them on to friends who are coconut sesame fans. They enjoyed them.

Not for us.

Bute Island Creamy Cheddar Style Spread

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We’re not big fans of vegan cheeses that use coconut oil as a base but I found this to be a good, solid, cream cheese. I couldn’t eat too much because coconut oil sits funny on my tummy but a little spread on crackers is a good thing. I’m not getting the cheddar flavour though. Think I prefer the original.

Might pick one up now and again.

Chocolate Cream Filled Organic Croissant

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So close to being perfect it hurts. The pastry, the part everyone thinks is impossible for vegans, was spot on. The chocolate cream was lovely. But (sorry) the citrus and cinnamon flavours were, in my pastry obsessed opinion, too strong for a Croissant.

Wouldn’t go out of my way but I’d pick one up if I saw one.

The Feel Good Drinks Co Refreshingly Still Orange, Mango and Water

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When we got our box I’d just got off train. In the middle of summer. I needed hydration but I wasn’t certain water would get the taste of ick out of my mouth. I thought of mango juice but on it’s own its a bit thick. And then I thought – no word of a lie – that a mix of water, orange and mango would hit the spot. Seriously. That’s what I was thinking when I opened the box. I waited a day so it could chill in the fridge before I finally drunk it though. It was brill.

Pick one up every chance I get.

Super Moons Cheese and Onion Lentil Puffs

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Little balls of cheese and onion! Awesome. One complaint. There isn’t enough in a bag. Especially as I was sharing with Kate.

Yes please.

Foods Of Athenry Belgian Chocolate Biscuit Caramel Rocky Road Bar

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Kate stole this. She reports that it was very nice, like a chocolate fridge cake.

I’d say I’d eat this again but I never got to try it in the first place.

Jealous Sweets Grizzly Bears Impulse Bag

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The best vegan jelly sweets I have ever had. Bar none. They have just the right amount of bite (remember to bite the heads off first to minimise bear suffering) and taste amazing. They are flavoured with fruit juice but in a decadent way rather than a token healthy option sort of way. I think I might revise my opinion of these. They are the best sweets I’ve ever had.

I want to order a crate of these!

We always love trying new products and this month’s The Vegan Kind box was just fabulous.

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Vegan Chicken Taco with Linda McCartney Pulled Chicken

I set myself a challenge. I wanted to make tacos but I wanted to make some that Kate would eat. The problem is that Kate hates chilies and I view them as a whole food group. Or two. So I needed to go no chililes. And also no lettuce. Kate doesn’t like lettuce.

The light bulb moment came when we decided to try some of the Linda McCartney Pulled Chicken last week. Kate cooked some into a curry and it wasn’t a great success but I thought it would be fabulous cooked with some dry spices and stuffed into some taco shells. Add a little spinach – not lettuce – and it might just be a Kate-friendly taco.

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Tacos, not too much chili

 

Ingredients

Half of an onion, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon  cumin
pinch of salt
Half a bag of pulled chicken
A nice big handful of baby spinach
Four taco shells

  1. Fry the onions in a teaspoon of oil until they are translucent, about four to five minutes.
  2. Add all of the seasoning into the pan and cook for thirty seconds or so before adding in the chicken.
  3. Cook the chicken for four minutes before adding three or four tablespoons of water. This will plump out the chicken and make it lovely and tender. Cook for a further three minutes. Stir every so often to make sure the chicken doesn’t stick.
  4. Assemble the tacos. Nothing too hard. Taco shell, layer of spinach, layer of chicken.

 

If you aren’t Kate you could also add some avocado, splash on a little hot sauce, switch out the greens for something with more crunch but if you are Kate this plain version is perfect.