Zizzi Vegan Pizza Review

Zizzi vegan menu
The vegan menu at Zizzi

Forget Kim Kardashian and her oversized bum, Zizzi almost broke the internet a few weeks ago when they revealed their new vegan menu. Vegans are used to visiting chain restaurants and adapting items already on the menu and asking the staff to omit cheese from their orders but Zizzi is the first (as far as I’m aware) to offer a vegan cheese on their pizzas. The vegan cheese is MozzaRisella, which is made from germinated whole rice made without milk and lactose, making it suitable for vegans and those who are allergic to dairy, gluten and soya.

I’m neither vegan nor suffer from any allergies and although I make a conscious effort to eat fewer animal products, when it comes to eating out in restaurants, ‘without cheese please’ just doesn’t manage to leave my mouth when the waiter comes to take my order. So, when I heard about Zizzi’s new vegan pizza, I had to give it a go.

Zizzi, Charlotte Street, London

A friend and I visited Zizzi in Charlotte Street, London and I’m hoping the smiley-but-slow service isn’t indicative of all their branches. The friendly waitress seated us immediately, handed us a couple of Zizzi’s usual menus but rushed off before I had a chance to ask for the vegan one. A long time passed until she came back for our drinks order, which gave me the chance to ask for the vegan menu which she immediately brought to me, but then we had a long wait for our wine to arrive (by the way, most of the wines are vegan and the ones that aren’t are listed on the menu).

To be fair to the waitress(es) though, there did only seem to be two of them but, even so, the restaurant was empty and even the chefs were standing around in the kitchen not doing anything, so I’m not sure why the service was so slow. Slow service is one of my bugbears and the reason I no longer go into my local Pizza Express (I gave them four chances but the service never got any better).

Starter – Vegan Garlic Bread

Zizzi's vegan garlic bread
Vegan garlic bread

Still, we eventually managed to order and our shared starter of garlic bread arrived. Despite – as you can see – the bread being covered in lumps of garlic, it wasn’t particularly garlicky and it was also a bit dry. I did like the green ‘vegan’ sticker stuck to the plate though (that’s as in ‘liked Zizzi thought of doing it’, not ‘mmm, yummy sticker’).

Main Course – Zizzi Vegan Pizza with MozzaRisella Cheese

Zizzi vegan pizza with MozzaRisella cheese
Zizzi vegan pizza with MozzaRisella cheese

But I didn’t go to Zizzi for their garlic bread, I went for the vegan cheese I’d heard so much about. Zizzi offer a vegan Margherita (including a gluten-free option), onto which you can add your own toppings. Unfortunately, my pizza was a bit burnt and I considered sending it back as I hate burnt food even more than I hate slow service but given how long my pizza had taken to arrive, I kept it. Luckily, only a part of it was burnt and the rest of it was fine and I soon cheered up and enjoyed the rest of my pizza. The vegan ‘cheese’ was more of a sauce and not the stretchy mozzarella pizza lovers have come to expect on their pizza but there are no complaints from me as it was tasty, cheesy and not artificial tasting at all (unlike a lot of vegan cheese). As someone who loves sauces and hates dry food, a sauce-like cheese on top of my pizza is fine with me.

Price/Value

My vegan Margherita cost £7.95 and I chose toppings of olives, green chillies and mushrooms so, with toppings being 80p each, this meant my pizza came to £10.35 which is excellent value in my opinion, especially when a lot of pizza restaurants charge around £12 for a pizza and extra toppings at £1.50 a pop. Unfortunately, I can’t gush about the garlic bread and, at £4.50, I won’t be getting it again.

I’d definitely go back for the vegan pizza though and hopefully more Italian/pizza restaurants and chains will follow Zizzi’s example and start offering vegan cheese on the menu.

For more information about Zizzi, view their whole menu, find your nearest branch and book a table, visit the Zizzi website.

If you’ve been to Zizzi to try their vegan pizza, I’d love to know what you thought about it.




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Veganuary: Vegan Leek, Mushroom and Spinach Tart

Vegan leek, mushroom and spinach tart

Hallelujah – I cooked something that wasn’t stodge! This vegan leek, mushroom and spinach tart is something I’ve cooked before, at least a variation of, anyway. Usually when I make it, I cover it in cheese, like I’ve done previously on my leek, mushroom and goat’s cheese tart, mushroom, leek and mozzarella tart, and my courgette and tomato tart.

I’ve got to admit, I had a bit of a pang when I took both mine and The Meat Eater’s tarts out of the oven, and The Meat Eater’s was covered in bubbling, oozing Cheddar but the pang faded as soon as I started eating.

This vegan tart is a great way to use up any vegetables you have in the fridge – you can substitute the leeks, mushrooms and spinach for whatever you have to hand.

Vegan Leek, Mushroom and Spinach Tart
Recipe Type: Pastry
Cuisine: Vegan
Author: Cathy @ Planet Veggie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • Two-thirds of a 375g pack of vegan ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 125g mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the leeks for about 3 minutes
  2. Add the mushrooms, garlic and rosemary and fry for another 3 minutes
  3. Add the spinach and stir until wilted
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Cut the pastry in half so you have two rectangles
  6. Score a 1cm border round each rectangle of pastry and top with the leek mixture, keeping within the border
  7. Bake in the oven at 180C for about 15 minutes

 

Veganuary Day 12 – Lunch

Warburtons Thin salad sandwich

Yesterday’s lunch was a Warburton’s Thin with spinach, cucumber, olives, tomatoes, hummus and vegan mayo. Do you like my new plate? I got it in Tesco for £3. It’s almost as nice as the penguin slippers I also bought (£6).

penguin slippers
Gratuitous pic of penguin slippers




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Recipe: Smoky Marinated Tofu in Pitta Bread

Tofu marinated in sesame oil, sriracha, liquid smoke and nutritional yeast

I hadn’t had tofu for ages, so it was time to remedy that and raid the cupboard and fridge for condiments and drag the George Foreman out of the cupboard.

The result was cripsy, smoky, spicy tofu that I stuffed in a Food Doctor seeded pitta bread (only £1 for 6 in Tesco) with spinach, olives and mayo.

Recipe: Marinated Tofu in Pitta Bread
Cuisine: Vegan
Author: Cathy @ Planet Veggie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1/2 block tofu, pressed and sliced in half
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • A few drops liquid smoke
Instructions
  1. Mix up the sesame oil, nutritional yeast, sriracha and liquid smoke and coat the tofu in it, rubbing it in with your hands
  2. Leave to marinate for a few hours (or minutes, depending on how organised you are in planning ahead)
  3. Grill on a George Foreman grill for 10-15 minutes, until crispy
  4. Stuff in pitta bread with salad

 

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Recipe: Pesto Baked Tofu

Vegan pesto baked tofuThis is such a quick, easy and tasty lunch. Simply cut a chunk of tofu off the block, squeeze it in some kitchen roll to get rid of the excess water, cut it into cubes, coat in pesto and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until the outside gets crispy. See, told you it was easy! I had mine in some pitta bread with spinach, olives, sundried tomato, cucumber, spring onion and vegan mayo (Tiger Tiger, which you can find in Asda, or you can make your own). If you want vegan pesto (which is what I used here and doesn’t taste any different to regular pesto), Sacla do one and you can find it in the ‘Free From’ section in Tesco (I don’t know where other supermarkets keep it, but probably somewhere similar).

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Recipe: Marinated and Grilled Tofu In Pitta Bread

Marinated tofu

A lot of people don’t know what to do with tofu. I’d have included myself in this group of people until just a few months ago, but now it’s rare for me not to have a packet of tofu in the fridge or freezer (tip: tofu is firmer if you freeze it first, then defrost it). I’ve even started to have it for lunch on an almost daily basis, usually marinated and grilled on my George Foreman grill, as it’s just so easy and tasty.

Tofu is bland by itself, so it’s best when as much water as possible has been squeezed out of it (just wrap it in kitchen towel and squeeze, or press between two plates with something heavy on top) and marinated for a few hours.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been marinating tofu in the gorgeous lime and chilli dressing from Scarlett & Mustard a friend sent to me but you can use whatever you’ve got handy – in the past I’ve used BBQ sauce, Peri Peri sauce, liquid smoke and sriracha, and even a combination of all of them.

Just cut a chunk of tofu off the block, squeeze the water out, generously coat in your marinade and leave the tofu to soak up the flavours for a few hours. Bake, grill or put in a George Foreman grill for about 10-15 minutes until the outside has crisped up a bit. I put my tofu on top of a toasted pitta bread stuffed with rocket, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and loads of homemade hummus.

Alternatively, prepare the tofu the same way, but chop it up and have it in a wrap instead.

Marinated tofu wrap

Marinated tofu wrap

What do you like doing with tofu?

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Recipe: Dehydrated Raw Chilli Crackers

Raw cashew and chilli crackers

Raw cashew and chilli crackers

Why did I wait so long to get a dehydrator? What I’ve eaten from it so far has made me want to give up pizza and become a raw foodist. Well, that might be a bit hasty, especially as it’s Friday and Friday night is chippy chips night, so any new raw foodist lifestyle will have to hang on for a bit.

Chilli, cashew and sunflower seed raw crackers

But, these raw crackers I made are amazing. I tried some raw crackers a couple of years ago when I bought some at VegFest but I didn’t like them. So I wasn’t expecting great things from these but now I never want to eat anything else, ever. They’re especially good spread with the best ever hummus and topped with olives.

Raw crackers with hummus and olives

The original recipe is here but I added chilli flakes because, well, you know… chilli…

Dehydrated Raw Chilli Crackers
Recipe Type: Dehydrator
Cuisine: Snacks
Author: Cathy @ Planet Veggie
Ingredients
  • 1 cup soaked sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup soaked cashew nuts
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1 large spring onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 whole dried chillies
Instructions
  1. Put everything in a food processor and blitz it all up
  2. Spread the mixture evenly on your dehydrator trays
  3. Dehydrate on 48C for 15 hours (score lightly with a knife after about an hour and this will make breaking the crackers up easier when they’re done)

 

 

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Review: Ovio Organic Olive Leaf Supplements

Ovio Organic Olive Leaf Supplements

Ovio Organic Olive Leaf Supplements

We’ve all had olives and olive oil and are aware of the benefits they contain – now here’s another way to get that goodness. The Ovio Organic Olive Leaf range delivers a combination of a unique premium olive leaf health and wellness daily shot with organic botanicals.

Each 500ml bottle contains a daily 70ml shot to boost your energy and immune system with up to 30 beneficial plant compounds and phytochemicals found in the Mediterranean diet.

It can be drunk neat or in juice or smoothies; and it was in a smoothie in which I tried it for a week. I had been worried it was going to taste like spirulina but I’m happy to report it didn’t – it had a perfectly pleasant taste. Another aspect I liked was the lack of having to mess around with measuring spoons or jugs as, as you can see from the photo, there’s a handy measuring strip on the bottle – just pour out that day’s shot up to the next line – which can also act as a reminder as to whether you’ve taken that day’s shot or not.

Ovio is made with 100% organic ingredients, is GM-free and contains no pesticides. All it contains is freshly picked olive leaves from Italy, soothing calendula, grape, lemon juice and spring water. Sounds good enough to drink, doesn’t it?

If antioxidants are your thing, Ovio contains hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein and tyrosol. I’m not going to pretend I know anything about that kind of thing but all the information you need is on the Ovio website.

Ovio carries the Vegan Society trademark, is approved by the Vegetarian Society, has an RRP of £13.99 (at the time of writing) and is available from Boots, Ocado, Holland & Barrett, Whole Foods, Planet Organic, John Bell & Croyden, and The Nutricentre.

Visit the Ovio website
Follow Ovio on Twitter

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Recipe: Bread Machine Pizza Dough

bread-machine-pizza-dough

The Complete Bread Machine Cookbook had been in my Amazon Wishlist for a few years but I never got around to buying it, probably because I don’t use my other bread machine cookbooks that much and didn’t see the point in buying another one just to not use that one much either. But when I saw it in a local charity shop a couple of weeks ago for just £1, I thought I might as well buy it.

pizza-and-onion-rings

I’m really glad I bought it, as it includes a recipe for the best pizza dough I’ve made in a bread machine.

According to the blurb at the front of the dough chapter, it says it may be necessary to leave the dough in the bucket to carry on rising, even after the programme has finished, until it reaches almost to the top and/or doubles in size. As I’d halved the original recipe (if you don’t want to halve it and haven’t got a lot of people to feed, you can freeze the other half of the dough), I didn’t know how much further it would rise, but I left it in the bucket for another twenty minutes or so after the programme has finished and I think it rose a bit more.

You’ll see in the instructions below (no. 6) that it says to roll the dough out and put in a tin, then spread with tomato puree or passata, then covering with oiled paper and putting in the fridge. I didn’t bother with this bit but just – after kneading the dough – covered it with some oiled baking paper and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then I rolled it out and covered it with tomato sauce (make your own with a tin of chopped tomatoes and herbs) and my favourite toppings of olives, mushrooms, red pepper, mozzarella, Cheddar and chilli flakes.

Bread Machine Pizza Dough (makes enough for 2 large pizzas)
(taken from The Complete Bread Machine Cookbook)

275ml water
2 tbsp olive oil
450g strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp caster sugar
7g sachet instant or fast-acting yeast

  1. Pour the water into the breadmaker bucket, then add the oil and half the flour.
  2. Sprinkle with the salt and sugar.
  3. Cover with the remaining flour and mound the yeast into the centre.
  4. Fit the bucket into the breadmaker and set to the dough programme.
  5. When ready, remove the dough from the bucket and quickly knead on a floured surface.
  6. Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a round large enough to fit two 25-30 cm/10-12 in well-greased pizza tins, gently pulling and stretching the dough to fit. Pinch up the edges all round to make a lip, then spread with the tomato puree or passata.
  7. Cover with oiled paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  8. Cover with your favourite toppings and bake for 20-25 minutes at 220C/gas mark 7 until the pizzas are well risen and the cheese is bubbling.

What are your favourite pizza toppings?

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The Garlic Farm: Garlic jam with red chilli / Olives with garlic and basil

A while back, The Garlic Farm sent me some of their peach and mango chutney to try. I declared it the highest quality chutney I’d ever had. Recently, they sent me some of their garlic jam with red chilli and a jar of their olives with garlic and basil and I’m happy to say that these are just as fresh and delicious.

garlic-farm-garlic-jam-with-chilli

I was expecting the garlic jam to be similar to the chilli jam I made a couple of years ago – thick and jelly-like. It’s not. It’s the texture of normal jam which makes it easy to spoon or spread.

The jam is both sweet and savoury and both a relish and condiment. It’s been combined with roasted garlic to create a jam that is perfect with cold mock meats, veggie sausages and cheese. They also suggest stirring this jam through gravy for a sweet, thick and flavoursome finish. I tried some on crackers with some camembert and stilton and it’s very tasty. You know how most of the time when you see a product on the shelves and it says it has chilli in it, but when you try it you’re disappointed? This isn’t like this. This has a kick to it. Hurrah.

garlic-farm-olives-with-basil

I love these olives. Each time I go into the kitchen, I can’t help opening the fridge and having a couple. It’s just as well they’re not pitted or I’d probably have finished the jar in one evening. Very olivey, very basily and very garlicky. Yum.

The Garlic Farm’s Garlic Jam with Red Chilli has an RRP of £3.90, the Olives with Basil & Garlic has an RRP of £3.95, both are suitable for vegans and vegetarians and available from The Garlic Farm website (which also has a list of stockists).

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Graze box

I cancelled my Graze box about eleven months ago when I moved house. Partly because I thought I’d save my money, partly because they kept sending me seeds and partly because I thought not having high calorie (albeit healthy and delicious) snacks delivered through my letterbox would be more conducive to losing weight.

But then I started seeing Tweets about flapjacks and focaccia topped with cheese and onion and I thought mmmmm, maybe I should get a box again, you know, just a one-off, just to have a look, not to commit myself to a weekly one, you understand.

And so I did. My box was duly delivered by my orange postman and inside the box were 7 fruits flapjacks, kalamata & amphissa olives in a med marinade, fiery cashews and west country cheddar, red onion and chutney focaccia.

Also inside the box is a napkin and a little personalised booklet giving you the nutritional information about each item, along with some vouchers to give your friends so they can get a free box, and when they sign up for a free box, Graze will give you £1 off your next order (or you can choose to give £1 to charity).

If you’d like a free box, go to graze.com and enter this code: 26RFNXZ3.

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