Yumbles contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if I’d like to try some of the range of vegan products they sell on their website. Well, of course I did but I wasn’t expecting such a huge variety to choose from.
I’m addicted to hot chocolate. Utterly, totally, have-to-get-my-fix-of-it-at-least-twice-a-day addicted. At home, I make vegan hot chocolate using a dairy-free drinking chocolate powder such as Cadbury’s or whatever’s cheapest in the supermarket (most non-instant hot chocolate is vegan, unlike the instant hot chocolate such as Options, which contains milk), and plant milk such as almond, soya or coconut. When I’m out, if they have non-dairy milk – yay! If not, I must confess I do drink hot chocolate with moo juice if that’s all they have (I know, I should be stronger, or go somewhere else – especially as there are plenty of places near me that do vegan hot chocolate, and even a place that serves raw cacao hot chocolate).
I love a Thai stir fry. All that lemongrass, ginger and garlic is wonderful. Saying that though, whenever I eat out at a Thai restaurant, I end up ordering a pad Thai but, today for lunch, I made myself a vegan Thai stir fry with rice. The reason I made Thai stir fried vegetables for lunch which involved actual cooking instead of my usual soup which involves something more along the lines of chucking some veg and stock in a pan then blending it, is because HelloFresh asked me to recreate one of their recipes. I didn’t exactly stick to their recipe for the Thai Veggie Rice Bowl because a) HelloFresh don’t show the exact quantities or measurements on their website so I had to guess; and b) I didn’t like some of their ingredients (coriander, bleurgh) so I left them out. Below, though, I’ll go through step-by-step how I made my version of their recipe which makes a really quick and easy tasty lunch or light dinner.
Not that long ago, the word ‘hemp’ conjured images of beige bags, dodgy jumpers and spliffs. These days, hemp is getting trendy, especially since the recent popularity of CBD products. I have never knowingly bought a hemp product (which is 100% true as, although I frequently bought acid, speed and coke in my younger days, dope gave me a headache and sent me to sleep so I pretty much avoided it where I could) so, when Good Hemp asked me if I wanted to try some of their products, I thought I’d make a rare foray into trendiness and said yes.
When I first came to Folkestone in 2011 to study Creative & Professional Writing at Canterbury Christ Church University, it wasn’t exactly heaving with restaurants – vegan, vegetarian or otherwise. Thankfully, Beano’s vegetarian cafe was practically next door to my university and I often went there to eat (you can read my review from 2014 here). Now Folkestone has four dedicated vegan and vegetarian cafes/restaurants with a soon-to-come dairy-free ice cream place called The Cone Zone, which is the best name ever for an ice cream place. In keeping with the ever-increasing popularity of plant-based eating and veganism, virtually all of the other restaurants and cafes that have appeared in the last few years offer not only a wide range of vegan options but many also having a separate vegan menu.
I drank cactus liqueur in Gozo once. Actually, it was more than once because after the barman poured us our first shot, he kept the shots coming all night. I only mention this because that is the only time I’ve done anything with a cactus other than have it sitting spikily around the house while hoping remembering to water it once a year is enough to make it not die. Although, reading through Erbology’s info on nopal cactus, and how popular it is in Mexico, a vague recollection of eating a cactus quesadilla in a Mexican restaurant somewhere near Charing Cross is forming in my mind. Still, let’s just say my experience with eating or drinking cactus is limited.
Ah, gin. I’ve never been much of a gin-lover. In fact, I always hated gin. The first time I tried it was in a club in Liverpool (Planet X, to be specific) and I thought it smelt like paraffin. I’m not sure if I thought it also tasted like paraffin as I don’t remember getting as far as tasting it. Anyway, apart from it smelling like paraffin and therefore probably tasting like it too, I always thought gin was solely for drinking in scalding-hot baths in an effort to bring on a miscarriage to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy and not actually for, you know, drinking.
I never knew fresh apricots were extinct. I wanted to make the apricot appetiser mocktail from The Virgin Cocktail Garden as it looked simple, with just a few ingredients easily found in the shops. Or so I thought. Could I find fresh apricots? Could I bollocks. I looked online at Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons but I could only find dried and I’d been sure fresh apricots were as easy to find as apples. Google suggested I use peaches or nectarines in place of apricots and so, because I dislike the fuzziness of peaches, I bought nectarines instead. (I have since investigated and found out apricots are in season in the UK from May to September so I’m going to look for them then, even if I don’t want any. It’s become a matter of principle.)
I eat out a lot and, although the food, service and everything else might be great, there’s usually something that could have made the experience more enjoyable. Here’s a list in no particular order of importance of what would make for me the ideal dining experience. If you want to find your ideal dining experience, click here.
I used to be a Cadbury’s Whole Nut kind of girl. In my younger, thinner days, I’d think nothing of eating a massive bar of it over an evening because health and weight didn’t really feature in my life back then, with my diet being based on cigarettes, alcohol and delivery pizza. Now that I’m a *cough* glowing beacon of health and vitality *cough* and can’t remember the last time I had any kind of Cadbury’s – Whole Nut or otherwise – eschewing those purple-packaged products and their ilk for something more refined (i.e. not full of shit). These days I much prefer a satisfying couple of squares of good quality vegan dark chocolate as opposed to a massive bar of sugary milky stuff. Which is just as well, as I am no longer in my younger, thinner days and can no longer eat an unholy amount of crap without any repercussions.