Review: Waitrose Vegan Spinach Ravioli

Waitrose are trying to up their vegan game. We approve because it’s one of the few supermarkets in walking distance and it makes us feel fancy to shop there. One of the few offerings we’ve managed to track down so far is the spinach ravioli.

There was a point in our life when we lived off supermarket ravioli. We’d have spinach and ricotta ravioli whenever we were stuck for ideas so this is a real nostalgia trip. Of course it has no ricotta in it; instead the packet promises ‘solidified coconut derivative’. That’s not a joke. That’s what the packet says: ‘solidified coconut derivative’. At this point I’d recommend Waitrose hire some better writers.

Despite the plain packaging and the bizarre description this is a pretty solid midweek, no-fuss option. We tossed ours with some tomato sauce and relived our memories.

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Review: Pizza Cafe (Newton Abbot)

The Pizza Cafe in Newton Abbot has a great reputation locally for its vegan options. We decided to try it out on a Thursday night. It was rammed and we’ve been told that’s the case all the time. We did manage to get a seat though and started to work our way through the menu.

We began with the vegan combo. Purely because it’s hard to find a whole platter of starters to eat when you are vegan. The combo was carb heavy with crisp potato skins, buttery garlic bread, waffle fries and onion rings. Not the most exotic selection but satisfying and the garlic mayo was great and — not going to lie — I want to pour it on everything ever.

Pizza time: Kate went for the Mama Mia with pesto, tomatoes, pine nuts and spinach and I had As Good As It Gets with olives, spinach, tomatoes and feta. I’m not big fan of the base, it was a little bready for my liking, but overall it was a decent pizza. Kate thought hers had too much cheese, making it a little soggy in the middle.

Desert was the highlight. It was incredible. We split our desert which turned out to be pretty hard. The brownie came first and while it was absolutely delicious it ended up being overshadowed by the banana bread sundae. Vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, slices of banana and hunks of banana bread. So, so, so good! And it looked so amazing that waitress had to reassure us that it was vegan.

All in all we’ll definitely be going back. We need to try the burritos and the milkshakes anyway.

Brunch and Munch: Where to find the best hollandaise sauce (Vegan MoFo 2018)

There are cookbooks that I think I would still buy, full price, if it only had one recipe. There’s the Banana Everything Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. There is the Stir-fried Tofu, Shiitakis and Green Beans from Vegan For Everybody. And, because this post is about something brunchy, there is the hollandaise sauce from Vegan Bowl Attack by Jackie Sobon.

That isn’t, of course, to say that the rest of the book is no good. It’s just that this recipe gets made so much it justifies the price. It’s so quick and easy. In that respect completely unlike a traditional hollandaise, but the taste is exactly the same. It’s perfect on the bowl it belongs to or on top of a eggs Benedict type concoction usually with whatever seasonal veg we have on hand. Purple sprouting broccoli, asparagus or – like here – samphire.

TV Trays: Vivera Veggie Shawarma (vegan mofo 2018)

Okay so there was only one thing I could post about with today’s prompt and that’s the current convenience food addiction of the Burgess/Morley House. Vivera Veggie Shawarma.

Yeah it doesn’t look like much but the spices are spot on and the texture is fantastic. We serve it on flat breads and then top it with whatever we want. Nothing for Kate and lettuce, chilli sauce and sliced spring onions for me. Takes about five minutes to make and then it’s all binge watching all night.

Favourite Holiday: Christmas Breakfast (Vegan MoFo 2018)

I can’t say Christmas is actually my favourite holiday. It’s actually probably my least favourite. It’s stressful. As a kid we’d go down to open presents, I’d have to be just the right amount of grateful, then there was stress over when I’d get to see my Dad and how wanting to spend time with his side of the family made me a bad person. And it hasn’t got to be any less of a mine field of family politics since then. And then there was the year Kate was admitted to hospital on Christmas Day. She’s not allowed to do that again.

The one break in the madness was Christmas breakfast. After the emotionally fraught unwrapping and before the emotionally fraught big family meal. Breakfast at my Mum’s was a simple bacon sandwich with brown sauce and a moment of peace. I don’t eat bacon now, and I’m not sure I enjoyed eating it all that much then. I do enjoy this though: maple flavoured rashers from VBites with spinach and sweet chilli sauce between two slices of grilled bread. And that’s why I picked Christmas Morning.

Birthday Bash: I want to go to V Rev (Veganmofo 2018)

I like to go out for my birthday. Because I’m a grown up I don’t always get to go out on my birthday itself but, you know, the intention is there. I’m pretty sure we just did a takeaway this year but last year I got to go to Sanaa in Animal Kingdom Lodge and that was pretty amazing. But enough about the past, let’s talk about the future. Just to drop hints for anyone reading: I want to go to V Rev.

We actually got to visit a couple of months back when we were in Manchester. In fact we went twice in one visit. Kate got it into her head that she wanted to try Doughnut Stop Me Now, a chicken burger with cheese and bacon. Served between two doughnuts. Personally it would have killed me but it only seemed to make her stronger.

I rather sensibly opted for a hot dog. With bacon, fried onions, bbq and ranch. And because that wasn’t enough I had loaded fries with cheese sauce, buffalo sauce, more ranch and more bacon. And then we split some mozzarella sticks.

All of this food, by the way, tasted absolutely phenomenal. That hot dog was the single best hot dog I’ve even had in my life, and I eat a lot of hot dogs. The sauce was perfectly balanced between sweet, salty and smokey. The mozzarella sticks, which I felt were a bit tasteless and boring the last time I visited are now perfectly melted with a crisp outside. The tomato dip compliments them really well.

So once again, just to drop the hint for anyone reading, I want to go back on my birthday. Even if we don’t make it on the actual day. I can cope. Just sometime that week. Do we have a date?

Pot Luck Perfection: Cinnamon Rolls (VeganMoFo 2018)

If I’m bringing a dish it’s going to have yeast in it. Why? Well just because it seems so much more impressive. So if I’m going savoury it’s got to be focaccia either with a dip tray or fancy toppings to make it a little more awesome.

On the sweet side it’s cinnamon rolls all the way. It’s yeasted, it’s got icing, it’s got cinnamon. I actually have two competing favourite cinnamon roll recipes. If you read my post about it earlier in the month you’ll know I love the Cinnamon Snails from Street Vegan but when I want a more traditional, all-squished-together-in-a-pan cinnamon roll I turn to Vegan Brunch. Then I bring them to potlucks, holiday breakfasts, meetings, and any other occasion when I feel like being praised.