Review: vegan fudge from Roly’s

Before we went vegan I loved fudge. Not the sickly sweet, strangely smooth substance made by Cadbury and the other confectionery giants, but the crumbly stuff the Scots call tablet. I learnt how to make it one summer, and treated my workmates to a different flavour each week. I’ve experimented with different oils to try to make vegan fudge: coconut oil fudge was too brittle and greasy, while cocoa butter fudge showed promise but needs works. Fortunately you don’t have to wait for me to perfect the recipe: Roly’s Fudge have beaten me to it.

fudge

As they describe on their blog, it’s made from coconut oil, soy milk, and cashew butter, and comes in two flavours: maple and cashew, and salted maple and pecan. The pecan one has pieces of pecan in it, while the cashew one is just fudge. They have same crumbly texture I remember from their non-vegan fudge, and the price is the same too. Clare picked up a bag of each in Dartmouth, and as she doesn’t like fudge I had the whole lot to myself; they lasted almost a day, as I alternated between them trying to work out which was more delicious. I think I might need another couple of bags before deciding. If there’s a Roly’s near you then pop in for some (tip: they also do vegan ice cream), and if not you can order online.

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Review: Woodlands Restaurant (London)

Kate and I had to go to London so we figured that we could combine obligation with a little bit of sightseeing, some shopping, and a lot of eating. We stayed close to Paddington Station so I spent a lot of time Googling and Happy Cowing (well, it should be a thing) vegan eateries in the area. Strangely thin on the ground once you rule out menus full of raw food or other dishes Kate wouldn’t touch with a barge pole. Kate does like one thing however, and that is South Indian food. So off we went to  vegetarian India restaurant Woodlands. We rocked up to the Marylebone location on Friday night and prepared for a feast.

chatt
Happy Chatt

At this point I’d like to apologise for the pictures. The lighting was bad and so is my camera. I really wanted to talk about this place though because I loved the food. We ordered from a few places around the vegan menu (PDF) and started with the incredible Chatt Bombs. Tangy, tasty and full of tamarind. Sev is always welcome on my plate and pomegranate seeds added a welcome burst of freshness.

idli
Idli

We also split an order of Idli. Kate couldn’t decide if the pillow like texture was a good thing or a bad thing. I’m firmly on the side of good thing. Undeniably the sambar is a good thing. I can see why they have extra portions on the menu. I could have drunk it down. I restrained myself though. Gotta have your best manners on when you are in the nation’s capital.

dosa
Dosa

On to mains then. We needed dosas; who doesn’t, right? We split an order of the masala dosa with rice and lentil batter. Classic. I thought it was a little underdone in the middle but the taste was good and it came with more sambar. So can’t complain too much.

saggaloJPG

Considering we were trying a few we things we thought we’d order our old standby of Sagg Aloo. Just in case. As it turned out that was a bad idea. Kate, as we’ve mentioned before, is not a chilli fan. She can tolerate a little heat but it was rather hot. It was right in the middle of my comfort zone. I loved it in fact. Kate was a little overheated though.

Mixed review then. Me, I recommend Woodlands on the strength of the chatt and sambar. Kate doesn’t recommend it because of the strength of the chillies.

Offshore 2, this time it’s breakfast

I’ve written about Offshore, their vegan menu and their surprisingly meaty burger before but I’m a bit of a completist so I wanted to go back for breakfast. We had the chance over Christmas when it was one of the few places open that were dog friendly. Well it’s dog friendly outside but with the mild climate of the English Rivera, heaters, and our coats on it was good enough for us.

For me it was avocado and lime on a split English muffin. Took a bit of explaining when the chap taking our order thought I wanted the version with the poached egg but we got there in the end. Now I’m going to say something controversial. I think there was a bit too much avocado on this one. It was heaped on. So for the first time I’m going to recommend the avocado be spread a bit more finely. That felt odd to say.

Kate was onto a winner though. She ordered the vegan version of the full English. I think this is the best vegan full English in the bay. As much as I like home made beans and vegetables instead of sausages sometimes I just want Heinz. To everything there is a season, sometimes you have to go with the classics. Here they have done the classics really well. That sausage was meaty and perfect. The beans came out of the tin. There were hashbrowns. Best full English in the bay.

Review: The Copper Spoon in Marazion

Last week Clare and I (along with Clare’s dad and his dog Watson) hopped over the border from Devon to Cornwall for a winter holiday. Looking for places to eat that were both vegan- and dog-friendly, we uncovered a few gems.

The Copper Spoon is a vegetarian café located a couple of minutes’ walk from the beach in Marazion (pronounced two letters at a time: ma-ra-zi-on), the town at the end of the causeway to St Michael’s Mount. Storm Eleanor brought 110 kilometre-an-hour winds to south-west Cornwall during our stay, and the Copper Spoon’s friendly atmosphere (and hot drinks) were very welcome after invigorating walks along the beach.

The Copper Spoon

The café offers several vegan lunches — including filled ciabattas, salad, and the soup-of-the-day — but Clare and I were more interested in the sweet options. The contents of the cake cabinet vary from day to day, and we enjoyed vanilla bean cupcakes topped with dark chocolate buttons. What really excited us, however, was the hot chocolate. While many cafés now offer vegan hot chocolate (with the best using oat milk), the Copper Spoon has an entire hot chocolate menu.

Hot Chocolate Menu

Each hot chocolate can be made with vegan whipped cream and vegan marshmallows, and over the course of three visits we sampled the entire menu. The tasted as good as they looked.

Honeycomb hot chocolate

The café also sells a selection of products ranging from the expected — reusable coffee cups, Cornish tea, and jams — to the more unusual: we picked up a bottle of basil-infused olive oil.

If you’re visiting the area (or are lucky enough to live in the far south-west of Cornwall), be sure to pop in. We’ll certainly be coming back on a future holiday.

Visiting Visto Lounge

Visto Lounge – part of the Lounges chain – has been a staple of vegan eating in Torquay since it first opened. There is a full vegan menu available including brunch, tapas, larger dishes and some deserts, though I’m told the chocolate torte is often sold out. Why has it taken so long for me to try it for the blog then? Well mostly because the menu doesn’t appeal to the other half. Most of the vegan options involve sweet potato, falafel, avocado and/or black beans in different combinations. Which gives you a good selection of options unless you don’t like any of those things.

So I went alone. The location is one of the best in town, with a view of Torre Abbey sands available from the huge windows or the outside seating. It’s also dog friendly, perfect for when my Dad comes to visit with his Doggo. The decor inside combines industrial elements with well worn, mismatched Cafe furniture. It looks great but the high ceilings make it super loud. Fun, but not a great place for an in depth chat or a romantic dinner.

I ordered the Sweet Potato Falafel Burger (two out of the four!) which came with vegan slaw and fries. The fries came in a mug even though there were clearly more fries than space in the mug. Just put it on the plate guys. That’s not my only complaint about the chips. I found them incredibly greasy, and left feeling a little queasy. The rest of the food was great. Which made the chips even more disappointing. The burger was just right. The sweet potato falafel patty tasted great especially with the added crunch from the gherkin and lettuce. The beetroot hummus pulls everything together. It’s probably one of the best burgers in town.

I’m definitely going to go back to Visto Lounge but with realistic expectations. The menu isn’t as diverse as it looks and the quality of the food is hit and miss. What will keep me going back though is the location, and the place being dog friendly.

Sampling Linda McCartney’s Christmas Offering: Vegetarian Beef Roast With Red Wine & Shallot Glaze

Christmas is coming and the pestering has started. We’re asked almost ever other day what we’ll be having for Christmas dinner. We’re going to my in-laws this year. That means spuds and vegetables are taken care of and we just need to provide a meat substitute. So it’s time to get sampling.

This week we’ve tried the Vegetarian Beef Roast that’s new to the Linda McCartney range this year. It comes in it’s own roasting thin so it can easily slide in the already full Christmas Oven. When it’s done you turn it out and out plops your beefy roast, glazed and ready to be carved. I was pleased to be able to get the slices nice and thin, like roast beef.

cookedbeef
Beefy?

So what of the taste? Fairly beefy, though it still has a beady texture. If you looked at the picture and think it looks like a loaf shaped version of the sausages then you would be right. I wasn’t a fan of the glaze, I found the red wine overwhelming, but you can’t really taste it unless you are nibbling along the bottom edge.

beef
Roast Dinner

It’s edible, and it’s not unpleasant but it didn’t exactly blow me away. Perhaps it’s because I wasn’t the worlds greatest fan of beef in the first place. I wouldn’t mind eating this again and unlike a lot of the other Christmas roast options it’s easy to find in regular supermarkets but it’s not going to win a spot on out Christmas plate.

Meals For The Young: Vegan Mofo Day 27

To make a meal for the young I thought about what I liked to eat when I was young. When I was very young my Dad used to take me to Deep Pan Pizza. Deep Pan Pizza was a UK pizza chain and our local branch was in Pilsworth, it had an American Fire Engine inside. Later it became a Frankie and Bennys and now it’s empty. I don’t know what happen to the fire engine.


In my children’s menu days my order was the Miss Piggie… I know. I was a ham pizza. We’d also get cheesy garlic bread and I’d steel pickled onions from my Dad’s salad. Of course now the ham on my pizza is tempeh bacon, and the cheese is the swirly pizza cheese from Superfun Times. It’s even better.