Thursday, 29 September 2016

Trying Out Linda McCartney New Pulled Chicken

The new range of Linda McCartney frozen products was launched the other week. We managed to get our hands on a bag of the pulled chicken and put it to good use last weekend.

I decided to team it up with a jar of this free-from Bechamel sauce from Tesco. I always make my own sauces for lasagne and wasn't expecting much but it was ok and I would use it again. I definitely think I would take a jar of it on holiday for ease.

One of my favourite lasagnas in my pre-vegan days involved chicken mince which made me come up with a chicken, mushroom and spinach lasagne. I fried an onion then added the bag of pulled chicken and some white wine. I also added a punnet of sliced white mushrooms and some homemade tomato pasta sauce that we had leftover. It was probably the equivalent of a jar of shop bought sauce. I simmered it for about 20 minutes and seasoned with salt, black pepper and a little dried tarragon.

I layered up with the chicken mixture and the bechamel. On the middle layer of bechamel I also added about a quarter of a cup of finely grated Violife Prosociano (I used a microplane for all the cheese in the recipe as it helps it melt really well). To the top layer of white sauce I added about half a cup of Violife original grated from the block and then another quarter of a cup of grated Violife Prosociano.

I was really pleased with how it turned out. The finished lasagne made four servings. I would have made a bigger one but didn't have many lasagne sheets. There was leftover filling that we had in an oven baked quesadilla with some added cheese and slices of tomato. I will definitely have to try it in BBQ sauce in a sandwich next with a side of coleslaw. The other new products are chorizo and red pepper sausages, shredded hoisin duck and beef burrito. Have you managed to try any of them yet?

Monday, 26 September 2016

Glossop Goings On!

A few weeks ago I posted this picture in a blog post. We'd been mourning the loss of One 17 Bakery and it's fantastic vegan baked goods and were pleased to see that this new venture was also going to feature them.

Glossop already has a reputation as a vegan friendly town with it's pub, The Globe, which has an all vegan food menu and some vegan drinks. There is also a vegan menu at Pico Lounge and some great vegan options at Ayubowan Sri Lankan restaurant. The People's Kitchen event every month at Glossop Labour Club also provides a budget friendly vegan community meal and we have a great health food shop in Peak of Health.

 I'm pleased to report that the Pie Parlour has been an amazing addition to the town. Pictured above are a few of the cakes we have sampled. There's an oreo cupcake and the slices are chocolate and mango cakes which are gluten free too. I do find vegan, gluten free baking can be hit and miss but Dianne the owner of the bakery really knows what she is doing with both vegan and GF baking. I have been hugely impressed with everything that I have sampled and also that she is constantly trying out new things.

This plate of pies we shared was a Homity Pie and a Caramalised Onion pie topped with a tofu lid. We've also sampled an amazing cheese and onion pie. This had gf pastry which blew my mind, it was so perfectly crisp. The bread in the picture is a GF french stick and the one in the picture below is GF focaccia with green and black olives and the new Scheese Feta. This was excellent for dunking in soup.

I was in London last week and Matt treated himself to a Foragers Pie which was made with mushrooms and wait for it...........a Mac and Cheese pie! As you can imagine this got lots of likes on the What Fat Vegans Eat Facebook group. If you're not on this group it's great and you see some amazing meals.

It's great to see the Pie Parlour teaming up with another small business too by selling chocolate by Cocoa-Nut Grove Cakes. Think big thick slabs of handmade chocolate studded with goodies and you get the picture.

In other exciting Glossop based news check out this graphic novel with an animal rights theme. Animus will be the second book published by Invisible Six; a new small publishing company, based in Glossop. Animus is a moving, gripping and sometimes humorous graphic novel with a strong theme of animal rights and respect for nature. It's written by SM Worsey and illustrated in striking black and white by Brian Gorman, whose other works include Everyman - The Story of Patrick McGoohan, and Borderliners: True Realities.

SM Worsey has completed the script and Brian is drawing a page a day. They need funding to finish the project and cover the print bill. There's a variety of perks available for funders, and they'll have the satisfaction of knowing they've helped get an exciting and ethically-motivated book out into the world.

Animus is a moving, gripping and sometimes humorous graphic novel about animals fighting back. A book full of love, rage and stunning art. Animus tells the story of a tough, determined female badger, who assembles a skilled team of animals in order to liberate other animals, save lives and exact revenge on cruel humans. The main characters include a fox, a beagle, a rabbit, a cat, an ex-racehorse and a raven. Animus don't seem like much, against the might of modern human society. But Animus isn’t in our society, they exist alongside it, with all the skills, determination and instinct they can muster. Animus is an exciting and moving story of love, teamwork and revenge."

Here's a link to the Crowdfunder page. Incentives range from invites to the launch party which I believe will be at the new V Revolution, copies of original artwork and even a chance to have an animal of your choosing included in the book. I know the writer of the book and they are a really inspiring, creative person who has done a lot for veganism and animals over the years. Please check out the crowdfunder and spread the word!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016


Hello! I am back blogging after an absence of over a month! I'm afraid I've been laid low with back to back viruses. The first one caused acute sinusitis and the second a throat infection. Having the chronic cough condition and a type of bronchitis anyway means that getting anything on top of those is pretty bad. For the first week and a half I struggled to watch telly or read and even get out of bed. It really wiped me out but I'm feeling a lot better this week. It's a bit of a sparse round up for a whole month but here's some vegan finds we've been enjoying.

First up is Grassmere Gingerbread. I started first feeling unwell on the weekend of a wedding of some dear friends of ours but luckily the full lurgy held off til the Monday and I was able to attend the wedding celebrations on the Friday and Saturday. They got married in a really beautiful place on the edge of Lake Windermere. As a lifelong fan of Grassmere gingerbread we stopped off on the way home to purchase some. You buy it from a tiny gingerbread shop where it is made daily and which smells amazing.

It comes in a lovely waxed packet and is like no other gingerbread. I've tried to show the inside where you can see pieces of candied ginger. It manages to be soft and chewy with a crunchy topping and tastes seriously amazing! The company that make it say that it is vegan. Amazingly they don't list the ingredients anywhere on the wrapping. I'm not really sure how they get away with this with the new allergy laws. I guess they maybe have a list of ingredients available to view in the shop if you ask but I didn't think to. I want to know the ingredients so I can make it at home. There are various recipes on the internet but it is hard to know if any are authentic and none of the ones I've found are actually vegan although some you could sub margarine for butter and they would be. Apparently the recipe they use is kept in a sealed bank vault!

One of the days I was sick, Matt brought me a bag of these home as a surprise after spotting them in WH Smiths in the train station. They also seem to be available in Starbucks and Boots too.

I was really excited as on first glance I thought they were going to be like Wotsits, a much missed crisp from pregan days. However, the texture is very different and is hard and crunchy. I liked these but found them more like croutons and ended up using them in that way to top a salad. Joey on Flicking the V's has included them on a recent vegan snack round up and after reading her review I am tempted to seek out the other flavours to try.

We got some free vouchers to try the new Alpro Go-On yoghurts and we also bought some as they were on offer for 50p in Tescos so we've managed to try all the flavours. My favourite is definitely the passion fruit one. I'm not really a big yoghurt person but I liked the set texture of these and I found myself actually craving one the other day so they must be doing something right!

Matt did all the cooking the first week I was ill including a lovely tofu and brown rice noodle soup one night. Later on this cropped up on Facebook - apparently whilst the tofu was baking the noodles were doing a Donald Trump's hair impression!

I don't usually look at Kellogg's cereals as a lot of them are fortified with non vegan Vitamin D but I spotted boxes of this in Heron for 69p and was curious about what it was made from. It's just organic wholegrain maize, organic dried sugar cane syrup, salt and organic molasses and I really like it.

For the same price they also had bags of this ancient grains museli again without any pesky non vegan added vitamins. The stuff is so cheap as it's usually coming up to it's best before date but there is a month left on each of these so we'll have no problem getting through them. The Pastinos are crisps made from pasta and were in the specials at Aldi. There are a few flavours in the range that are vegan but not all of them. I was really pleased to see these as we loved them when we found them on holiday a few years ago and I've never seen them anywhere since!

This Belgium chocolate with caramelised cacao nibs was also in the Aldi specials and was good value for 99p. Definitely worth popping a bar in your basket if you spot it.

Whilst I was on my sick bed when my eyes were up to using the computer I entered a few competitions as I like to do every month. Natural Balance foods who make Nak'd and Trek products run these competitions every month and I was delighted when I got an email from them saying that I had won the Feed Your Office For Free prize for that month! We got an amazing parcel of Nak'd bars, Nak'd crunch bars, bags of Nak'd bits. Trek bars, Trek Protein flapjacks and Nak'd flavoured raisins. The boxes all contained mixed flavours so there was so much choice and they went down really well with my work colleagues.

Finally I'll leave you with a picture of the Derbyshire hills. For a couple of weeks in August the heather covered hills turn purple. Such a gorgeous sight.