Thursday, 26 December 2019

The Lakeside Restaurant YHA Waterhead Ambleside 26th December 2019

I thought I would struggle for vegan options on Boxing Day in the Lake District, until I found The Lakeside Restaurant part of the YHA at Waterhead, with plenty vegan options.   Lakeside has stunning views over Lake Windermere and is light and bright inside and you order food at the bar.

We chose a falafel panini each, with a portion of sweet potato fries and fries to share, with a Brewdog Punk IPA and some water from the refill station.

The panini was great spread with the salsa, but a little dry otherwise, a dollop of houmous would not go amiss.   The fries were delicious, especially the sweet potato ones, which Steven is not usually keen on, but he loved these and I had to fight him for them.

Overall we enjoyed our lunch and would definitely revisit when in the area, it is great to see the YHA catering for vegans so well.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Urban Food House Lake Road Bowness on Windermere 24th December 2019

Urban Food House is a modern restaurant, with a couple of vegan options including cheese, so I visited for lunch on an extremely wet Lake District day and seemed everyone thought the same, as it got very busy.   I read the fantastic Tripadvisor reviews, so had high expectations and to be honest I was disappointed.

I ordered Earl Grey tea with oat milk and when it arrived my gut instinct told me it was not oat (was very white, whereas all oat milk I have used is not).   The waitress came to take our order, so I queried it and she took the jug away without saying a word, just a huff and returned with a replacement, which I left as it had a weird thick and gloopy texture, more like oat cream.

I ordered the vegan version of the vegetable flatbread, basically without feta, although I should have asked for vegan cheese, but I was still annoyed about the cock up with the milk and it slipped my mind to ask.   Steven ordered a vegan burger without vegan cheese, as he is watching his saturated fat intake after his heart bypass.

The flatbread looked amazing with beautiful vivid colours, yet fell a bit flat on flavour, although a good grind of salt and pepper was a big improvement.   If I made this dish I would add a big dollop of smoked houmous on top, with a good drizzle of sriracha sauce and it would elevate the dish to magnificent.

Steven's burger was very good, it was in fact two burgers on a ciabatta roll with lovely crisp chips and he wolfed it down, would have been better with the cheese, but his health comes first.

I was a little underwhelmed with the whole experience and the waitress had a cold unfriendly attitude for a front of house position.   We are returning to Bowness on Windermere later on in the year, but do not think I will be revisiting Urban Food House.

Monday, 23 December 2019

The White Lion Market Place Ambleside 23rd December 2019

The White Lion is an Ember Inns pub in the very busy Lake District town of Ambleside and in days gone by only had one vegan option on the menu. 

Ember Inns introduced a great selection of interesting sounding vegan dishes awhile ago, so I booked a table for lunch just before Christmas.

There was a Festive Menu which also had a vegan option for each course, which I think is excellent and great value too.

I ordered sweet chilli noodles, with Sri Lankan curry for Steven and sides of glazed baby potatoes and steamed greens, with two pints of Stella Artois.

The food was excellent, the noodle dish had loads of vegetables and plenty flavour and Steven's curry was rich, delicious and spicy served with perfectly cooked rice.  The potatoes had no glaze on them for some reason, but eaten with our main courses and the vegetables were quickly devoured.

Ember Inns are doing a great job with their creative vegan options, although my one big gripe is we need chips with a burger, not a dressed salad and I hope they address this issue.   However I will not hesitate to visit an Ember Inns again and look forward to seeing what new dishes appear on the menu in the future.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Moorish Humous

Moorish Humous is the inspiration of Julie Waddell, whose son was bored of normal humous, so she decided to create more exciting flavours and hence Moorish was born.   I first came across Moorish when I bought their smoked humous from Booths supermarket and was blown away by the intense flavour.  The secret to the smokiness is the gentle cold smoking of the chickpeas, along with using quality ingredients, with no additives, preservatives and 100% GMO free.

Moorish Humous kindly sent me the full range to try, so I was very excited as I absolutely adore humous.   I love the colourful packaging and recyclable pots, which I reuse for freezing portions of sauces, purees and storing spices and herbs, as the pots are robust with a good fitting lid.

I was torn as to which flavour to try first and did as one of my Twitter followers @Olga4Animals  suggested and tried them all in one go.

I wanted to ensure when I tried the humous the flavours were unadulterated, so spread them on plain rice cakes, without my usual liberal dollop of sriracha sauce.

 Smoked chilli harissa

 Smoked beetroot




Moorish humous is the best I have tried, which speaks volumes, as being a bit of a humous connoisseur, I have tried most on the market.   They have a great texture, neither too smooth nor too coarse, perfectly seasoned and taste fabulous.   I love strong flavours and my favourite has to be the smoked, followed by the smoked chilli harissa, smoked beetroot, with pea and avocado on level pegging.

Moorish Humous is available from Booths, Sainsburys, Ocado and Waitrose and is highly recommended if you love humous.

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

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Two Farmers Crisps

Two Farmers Crisps founders are farmer Mark and potato merchant Sean, who over a pint and a packet of crisps one night at the pub, decided to launch a brand new range of crisps in 100% compostable bags.   Their environmental footprint is further reduced, as the potatoes are grown and graded in Herefordshire, where they are stored, cooked and packed and even the cider vinegar is made from their own apples.

The bags are plastic free and completely compostable, breaking down if disposed of in your compost bin, within twenty six weeks.   If a conscientious small company like Two Farmers can offer a this kind of revolutionary and forward thinking packaging, the big companies have absolutely no excuse.

Two Farmers make two vegan friendly crisps packed in 40 g or 150 g bags, clearly labelled 'suitable for vegans' on the packet and contain no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives

I tried the lightly salted first, which were crisp and crunchy, with just the right amount of salt and not too greasy, unlike some brands when you end up with really oily fingers, they were delicious.

I am not a major vinegar crisp fan normally, as the vinegar can be a little harsh, but these are the exception.   The salt and vinegar combination was spot on, not too much, not too little, they were crisp and light and again not too greasy and I devoured them in a jiffy.

Its a win win with Two Farmers crisps, an excellent product and the packaging is a total winner for me, gives me a warm cuddly feeling that I am not harming the environment whilst snacking.

Two Farmers crisps are available to purchase via their website, where there is also a link to local stockists (see here) and I am pleased to see I can restock at three different places in Manchester.

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

Monday, 4 November 2019

Pizza Express Ocean Village Gibraltar 25th October 2019

Pizza Express is in Ocean Village, home to various restaurants, bars and hotel and has lovely views of the marina from the outside decking area.

Pizza Express Gibraltar, as in the UK offer vegan cheese, with the vegan logo proudly displayed on the menu and staff are fully aware what vegan means.

We ordered olives and sun dried tomatoes to nibble on, whilst having a drink and admiring the views, especially of what looks like a cruise ship, but is in fact a hotel.

The pizzas looked magnificent, when they were brought to the table, with a lovely base and plenty topping, our waitress brought a bottle of chilli oil to drizzle on and I have to say it was absolutely scrumptious.

We had some visitors whilst dining, cheeky little sparrows appeared from nowhere, as soon as the food was delivered and I could not resist giving them a few titbits.

I so enjoyed our pizza at Pizza Express Gibraltar, which is only a short walk from where the ship docks and has the most beautiful views of any Pizza Express I have ever been to.   Highly recommended.