Monday, 15 January 2018

Yomojo FAB°² Face & Body Butter

FAB is a new unisex plant based skin care range, whose strap line is Handcrafted Products with Soul from Yomojo founder Rajiv Shah.   Rajiv kindly sent a sample of FAB°² butter which along with FAB°¹ oil and FAB°³ unscented butter, is made with less than five ingredients.

I was most impressed before I even used the product, with its glass jar, which 100% gets my vote.   I am fed up with everything packed in plastic, especially single use and if smaller companies can ditch plastic, we should support them, over the major retailers.

FAB has not been tested on animals, in fact it proudly says tested on humans only, so is completely cruelty free, as well as totally vegan.   The products are ethically hand crafted, free of petrochemicals, artificial or synthetic ingredients, so for someone like me, with very sensitive skin, it is an added bonus.

The butter contains jojoba, sea buckthorn and frankincense and is a gorgeous yellow colour, smells fresh and zingy and is super concentrated, so a little goes a long way.

FAB°² should be massaged on your face, hair or body, preferably whilst wet so after showering is ideal, to help nourish and protect your skin.

I have terrible allergic dermatitis on my hands and used the butter all over Christmas and I have seen a huge improvement, in fact my hands have never been smoother, so these butters come highly recommended.

Disclaimer:   I received a free sample of this product and have not been paid for this review and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Olives Restaurant Rua da Carreira 31st December 2017

Olives Restaurant is the only place to dine in Funchal, not only for excellent food, but because Funchal is a desert for vegan options.   I have visited Olives several times and been well looked after by owner Luis Oliveira and his brother Robert every time.

We visited Funchal on a cruise and although Olives was officially closed for lunch. as they were preparing for their New Years Eve Gala Dinner that night, Luis kindly opened just for us.  We received a warm welcome and were shown to 'our table in the window' where we always sit and here is Steven enjoying the sunshine.

Luis said I could mix and match off the vegan and vegetarian and New Years Eve menus, but the vegan deep fried cheese balls were unavailable, but there was plenty choice.

I ordered a bottle of  Ribafreixo Pato Frio wine, registered with The Vegan Society and proudly displaying its trademark logo.

I chose roast spiced cauliflower to start, served with Luis's homemade vegan puff pastry and what a dish.   I love roast cauliflower and anything spicy and the pastry was so light and crispy, I was a happy vegan and demolished it quickly.

Main course was a bombonata meaning cracker in Portuguese, with three fillings served with finely shredded stir fried vegetables and handmade potato twister fries and Steven had stuffed red pepper.

The bombonata was delicious, with a ratatouille and two curry inspired fillings, it was so good, I left a perfectly clean plate, what a wonderful idea.   Steven was equally impressed with his dish too, which I have had before, stuffed pepper can be so boring or under cooked, but not at Olives.

We were getting full, so decided to share a vegan apple and raisin crumble, with locally made tangerine sorbet and vegan ice cream.

Crumble can be so stodgy, heavy and filling, this was amazing, no idea what Luis used for the crumble, but it was melt in the mouth and just look at the presentation, a stunner of a vegan dessert.

We so enjoy our visits to Olives and obviously others do to, just check out the reviews on Happycow and Tripadvisor.   Olives is highly recommended.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Sweet Paradise Calle de Callao de Lima Santa Cruz 30th December 2017

Sweet Paradise is a 100% vegan cafe on a quiet street and as we walked past earlier in the morning, it was packed, so were lucky to get a table, when we returned later for lunch.

Sweet Paradise is bright, airy and light and had a lovely cosy and calm atmosphere, so you felt relaxed and happy.

Sweet Paradise offer a vegan brunch for 8.5 euros and the waiter explained the different dishes, but we had had a late breakfast, so decided to choose off the menu.   However the brunch dishes that were served to other customers did look fantastic, so will have it next visit.

I chose a kale and seitan burger, requesting no mayo and Steven chose a beet burger, with two pots of tea, one peppermint and one green.   My first burger came with vegan mayo containing soya and mustard, so they made me another one with houmous, by which time Steven had wolfed his. 

 Beet Burger

 Beet Burger

Kale & Seitan Burger

Kale & Seitan Burger

At first glance, I thought the burgers looked a bit dry, but I was wrong, they were delicious and the bread was really good, so mine did not last long either.   

I had already spotted the desserts in the fridge, so enquired if any were soya free and luckily for me, they all were, so I chose a lemon, coconut and white chocolate trifle.

My dessert was as scrumptious as it looks, layered with lemon curd, sponge, coconut cream and white chocolate chunks, it was awesome.

Sweet Paradise is a fabulous place and although there are a couple of other vegan places in Santa Cruz, which we checked out, this is definitely the best.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

The Glasshouse P&O Ventura 18th & 29th December 2017

The Glasshouse is a bar and restaurant, serving tapas style dishes, sharing plates, main courses and desserts.   I have never dined in The Glasshouse whilst cruising on Ventura's sister ship Azura, mainly as I thought it would be too much hassle, as the menu was not vegan friendly.   On this cruise The Glasshouse had new menus and I spotted a few dishes that could be veganised, as well as suit my allergies.

I had a chat with Manager Xavier, who suggested a meeting with Head Chef Hatta Rahim, so we arranged a time to suit, to discuss a possible menu.   I immediately felt at ease with Hatta, who did not bat an eyelid, about catering for a vegan with allergies, he took it all in his stride, with a big smile.  We agreed on a menu, which he said was no problem and he would see me on the 18th December.   I had already had several problems in the main dining room, being given food that was not vegan or food I was allergic to, but I felt in safe hands with Hatta.

On the night we found a nice table and I ordered a fabulous vegan Chenin Blanc South African wine, The FMC made by wine producer Ken Forrester.

I ordered two vegan dishes, so Steven could share, so started with tempura vegetables and sweet chilli sauce and three kinds of houmous, plain, broad bean and red pepper, with pickled vegetables and pitta chips.

Just my kind of dishes, light and crispy tempura, not greasy and stodgy like some places I have been and I cannot resist either houmous or pickled vegetables, so I was very happy.

Main course was a vegan beetroot risotto and I asked Hatta if he could spice the risotto up and he sure did, as when Steven tried it he had a proper sweat on, I loved it though.   I took some vegan Parmesan with me, but I did not use it, as the risotto was spot on as it was.

My dessert was caramelised banana with Oatly cream, which I took with me and it was a perfect end to the meal.

Hatta came out to check if everything was okay and I loved his caring attitude, as he told me he made separate batter and used fresh oil to cook the tempura, as my veganism should be respected as he would expect his religious beliefs to be.   What a guy!

I was so impressed I decided to revisit on the 29th December and happened to see Hatta a few days before, so mentioned the aubergine bake on the menu could be veganised without cheese and I would pop into see him on the 28th to discuss further.  When I met him, Hatta told me he had already ordered Violife cheese from the stores, so he could make a truly vegan version, which I thought was fantastic attention to detail.

On the night, we sat in a very dim area of the restaurant, so sadly my photos do not do justice to the food, but trust me it was delicious.

I ordered vegetable skewers with bulger salad and romesco dip to start and Hatta made a separate portion of the romesco, as it normally had cheese in.   The vegetable skewers were fabulous, so light and tasty and I could easily have been greedy and eaten another portion.

Main course was the aubergine bake mentioned earlier, with baked sweet potato normally served with halloumi, so I suggested houmous instead.   I think this version was perfect especially with the vegan cheese and houmous and although a good sized portion, I polished it all off, it was wonderful.

I was so full, I only managed fruit salad for dessert and even then I could not eat it all, I was fit to burst, but I was a very happy vegan.

Hatta came over for a chat and I could feel his enthusiasm and love for food and how much he wanted to look after his passengers.   I have yet to come across a more helpful, friendly and caring chef on any of my cruises with P&O, I wish he was on all my future cruises, so I could enjoy his cooking once more.   We are keeping in touch on social media and I hope we meet again, he is a top chef and great guy.

The Kasbar Castle Street Gibraltar 18th December 2017

I have visited Gibraltar numerous times and yet never dined there until now, when I found The Kasbar Gibraltars first 100% vegan cafe, right in the middle of the town centre off the main street.

You enter from street level down some steps and walk into what can only be described, as a series of what look like caves, the first being a bar area and kitchen.   The whole place is so quirky and cool with loads of atmosphere in the dimly lit dining area.

The building was once a reservoir, with brickwork ceilings and the only window is where the water used to flow in via a stone trough.

The menu is small and changes daily, depending what ingredients they have, so I chose the spring rolls with peanut sauce and buffalo cauliflower wings, whilst Steven ordered the red bean and mushroom curry with rice.

The lighting where we sat was quite dark, so not ideal for taking photos, as we kicked off with complimentary olives.

My spring rolls were very greasy, though the filling and peanut sauce were really tasty, but by the time I finished the slate was covered in oil.

The buffalo cauliflower wing came with a cashew and nutritional yeast cheese sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds and was a big portion and would easily have fed two as a starter.   I wish I had chosen a salad instead of two fried dishes though, as it was all rather filling, so I had no room for dessert.

Steven's curry was more Caribbean style curry broth than an Indian curry, which he was expecting, but he really enjoyed it and said it was delicious.

We loved The Kasbar and enjoyed the food, although next time I would be more careful ordering, so I could partake of a dessert.