Christmas Gift Guide for the vegans in your life! (UK)

With Christmas coming round quickly, you might be wondering what to buy for that special vegan in your life. Well, this guide is here to help you! I know.. You’re welcome 😉

1. Delicious loose leaf tea from Attic Tea.
Attic have a large selection of teas, with each one serving a specific purpose. They are big proponents of using tea for its multitude of health benefits, so you will find teas for digestion, energy, immunity, etc. I can promise you, they are all totally delicious- perfect for the winter months! They also sell a cool tea maker.

2. A cute apron!
Know of a passionate vegan baker? Check out these super cute aprons: ditsy floral pattern, Christmassy, jelly and cake, Cath Kidston

3. Cruelty-free cosmetics and toiletries from Lush
I love Lush! They have plenty of vegan and cruelty free goodies, and they definitely have something for everyone. My personal favourites are the “I love juicy” shampoo, the tea tree toner and the angels on bare faces cleanser. The best thing about Lush is that if you are lost on what to buy, they always have a bunch of gift boxes ready made up and gift wrapped, so no excuses- I’m looking at the boys here! If you guys know of any other companies that make products that are cruelty free and no crazy ingredients, I’d love to hear about it!

4. A donut making kit. Ohhhh yes!
Know a donut lover? Try getting them this donut tray: Wilton 6 Cavity Donut PanThey even have a mini one: Wilton 12 Cavity Mini Donut PanCouple that with a recipe book: Babycakes Covers the Classics: Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes from Donuts to Snickerdoodles or Baked Doughnuts For Everyone: From Sweet to Savory to Everything in Between, 101 Delicious Recipes, All Gluten-FreeEt voila! You will now forever receive donuts from your friend. Hopefully.

5. A food processor
Now this is a big present for that special someone in your life! I recommend this Bosch food processor, which is what I have, and would be lost without! I haven’t had any problems with it so far.


6. An amazing Christmassy bundt tin!

What could possibly be more festive than this?!

7. Cake transporting device
Have a look at this cute Victoria sponge cake tin! Just pretend that’s whipped coconut cream, not real dairy hahaha.

8. Digital scales
There are a ton of different kind of scales you can get, but I’m only linking you to these because I have these and I have never had a problem with them. So, sooo so useful! And really accurate too.

9. World map flask
For the travel loving friend, I think this flask is super cute! world map flask from Joy

10. A cookbook stand
Maybe something you wouldn’t buy for yourself- but this would make a great gift!

Joseph Joseph green cookbook stand

10. A cute cake stand
This floral cake stand from Joules is amazing, and this Wedgewood polka dot stand is beautiful. If you like more plain ones try this plain glass one. To be honest, I found some many nice ones online that it would be impossible to link them all! And now I want them all too. Dammit!

11. Vegan themed jewellery
I found this “vegan chick” necklace on Etsy that I thought looked sweet, and this “eat your kale” necklace made me chuckle.

12. An Eco friendly lunch box
I’ve been eyeing up this bento box for a while now…

And I have this lunch box and love it- it comes with cutlery and a little container to bring salad dressing! So useful!

13. A Keep Cup

If you have never heard of Keep Cups but you are a cafe lover, you should check them out. They are reusable, so you can save those paper cups that just get chucked in the bin, and they are “barista” size. Basically they use Starbucks type sizes so you know what size to order, and they fit perfectly under the espresso machine. You can customise your own colours on their website too which is cool, but they are also available at Whittards and random coffee shops too. I love travelling with these too- you can pop in a tea bag and put it in your bag, then just fill with hot water at the hotel or if you’re out and about.

Vegan Restaurants & Cafes in Bristol (UK)

As a city, Bristol is relatively welcoming to veggies & vegans! Here is my (incomplete) guide to the Bristol’s vegan-friendly restaurants and cafes. I will update it as I try out new places! 🙂

Cafes & Pubs

Cafe Kino
108 Stokes Croft, Bristol
0117 924 9200
Totally vegan cafe, except for the fact that they do offer dairy milk in coffees. Quite a good selection of food and none of it tastes vegan. They always have a couple of freshly baked cakes on offer which are always delicious, and their coffee isn’t bad either. They do a vegan ‘full English’ style breakfast too. This is a community cafe run by volunteers and I enjoy supporting them out of principle.

Boston Tea Party
Locations on Park Street, Whiteladies Road, in Clifton Village and in Stokes Croft
Small chain in the South-West. Vegan-friendly options available. Breakfast: they do a vegan ‘full English’ kind of breakfast as well as mushrooms in toast. I haven’t tried their lunch options yet but honestly I trust their food, I’ve never really had any complains. However I would definitely recommend the Stokes Croft location above the others- it’s the most spacious and staff are always so friendly! Drinks-wise I recommend the filter coffee (Columbian at the moment is yummy), and the chai tea with steamed soy milk and cinnamon. They also have a coconut chocolate flapjack that is vegan and yummy.

Coffee 1
Locations all over Bristol: Westbury, Gloucester Rd, Thornbury etc
Probably some of the best coffee in Bristol, but I resent that they charge 35p for extra soy milk even in an americano/filter coffee. Not really anything vegan food-wise, so don’t come hungry!

Grupo Lounge
Wesbury village.
Part of a nationwide chain. They have a vegan menu but you have to ask for it. I haven’t had a great experience there, they always seem to put dairy on my plate even when I order off the vegan menu. But at least they have a few vegan options! Food is ok, I wouldn’t go there on purpose to eat, but it’s a good choice if you are with people who aren’t vegan- they have something for everyone. Be warned, the terrace shuts at 7!

Cupp
Cabot Circus.
Bubble Tea in Bristol! Apparently the only place that makes bubble tea without all those sketchy powders: only loose leaf tea and fresh fruit. Plenty of vegan options- either get the fruit tea, or milk tea with soy milk. They also do a cold noodle salad which is yummy, and it’s £6 for a tea and salad.

Middle Eastern

Falafel King
Van on the waterfront & Cotham Hill.
Really nice falafel!

Eat a Pitta
St Nicholas Market
I think I prefer this place to Falafel King, they offer more salad.. plus they always have free samples of the falafel. Yum! Have falafel + salad in a box or in a pitta.

Indian

Thali Cafe
Locations in Southville, Clifton Village, Totterdown, Easton, Montpelier.
Plenty of vegan-friendly options. They do a dairy-free thali (dhal, rice, veg curry, tomato salsa, raw salad). Plenty of starters/sides are vegan and delicious too: the red pepper pakoras, potato bondas, aloo paratha, samosas… The dhaal is really nice too. I found the service in the Clifton branch a bit lacking, and much preferred the service and atmosphere of the Southville one.

Japanese

Yo Sushi
Obviously a nationwide chain but still there are plenty of vegan options if you find yourself there with friends. Veg firecracker rice, Inari pocket (no tamago), avocado maki (no mayo), cucumber maki, veg futomaki (no tamago), kaiso salad, tofu salad, tofu katsu curry (no panko/no egg), mochi. They have a special dietary requirements folder.

Wagamama
On the Triangle and the mall (Cribbs). New one opening in Cabot Circus.
Tell your waiter/waitress- they have a special list of vegan-friendly dishes. My recommendations would be: bean and glass noodle salad, saien soba, yasai itame. Unfortunately the only vegan dessert is the fruit ice lolly. They do have nice fresh juices though.

Korean

Surakhan
52 Park Row
I had the vegetable bibimbap without the egg. Simple but quite tasty. Quite a convenient location so I’d definitely go back and try something else. Waitress was nice and patient!

Jakorean/Bobjo
Southmead Road
At the moment they only have a really small menu- they recently opened and are still developing it. I’m not even really sure what they’re called.. But their bibimbap without an egg is really yummy and super cheap at £3.50. Expect to feel like you’re walking into someone’s house- eclectic furniture, random trophies on the side, but they really care about you enjoying the food!

Vietnamese

Baowow
Baldwin Street
Vietnamese/Thai food. Everything is delicious. Service is a bit awkward, but it feels like they put love into their food. The buns are a must-have! The veggie one can be vegan without the mayo. I also tried the tofu/yellow bean sauce + rice and it was yummy. Go for lunch on a weekday for the £5 meal deal they do!

Tampopo
Cabot Circus
Ok so Tampopo does a bit of every type of Asian cuisine, I know.. but hey ho. It’s in the Vietnamese category for now haha. They do a vegan sign on the menu so you can clearly see what is vegan-friendly! The Korean noodle dish I got was nice and I’d get it again.

Fine Dining

Harvey Nichols
Cabot Circus
You can request a vegan menu by letting them know when you book. The meal I had was a tomato consomme to start, then aubergine, chilli, coriander, garlic salad, and (sadly) a fruit platter + elderflower sorbet for dessert. The starter and main were delicious, but unfortunately the dessert was disappointing and I have to admit I left not really feeling that full. They haven’t understood that vegans don’t just eat vegetables. They could have thrown a bit of quinoa/another grain in the salad, even a tiny bit would have made it feel more filling! But anyway, on the whole it was a nice meal and it was nice to go somewhere posh and actually be able to eat something!

Mexican

Mission Burrito
Park St
My initial impressions were good, plenty of room inside to sit down, Subway/chipotle-esque ordering, plenty of choice… I got a veggie burrito without the sour cream/cheese and it was ok. I wouldn’t rush back but I wouldn’t rule it out forever. Maybe I should give it another go… I just feel I could make something nicer myself. My burrito was cold and needed some more seasoning.bit was gigantic though, definitely a place you could share at. Plenty of choice of Jarritos at £2.50 a pop.

Italian

Pepe Nero
Bond St
Good lunch deal: pizza and drink £6.99. They have. Good choice of vegan toppings. The base was good, but I didn’t like the cheese they used- it tasted too fake. Personally I’d rather just have a pizza without cheese than that 😦 I’d go again but if have a regular pizza without the cheese!

Places to try next:
Al Bab Mansour
Mezze at the Royal George
Schnafel
Simply Thai
Maitreya Social
Thai Pepper
Roll for the soul

Reviews to come as soon as I try them out!

Spiced rum, lime & coconut drizzle cake

This beauty of a cake is tangy yet sweet, with a hint of tropical amazingness… Probably one of my best ever creations. Check it out! Plus, it’s vegan (of course!)

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Spiced rum, lime & coconut drizzle cake

Step 1: the sponge

2 c. plain white flour (all purpose flour) – I have also used half spelt, half WW pastry flour and it worked well
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1/2 c. Shredded coconut

1 c. Almond/coconut milk
1/3 c. oil
2 tsp vinegar
zest of 1 lime
1/4 c. applesauce

1. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, flax, coconut)
2. Mix wet ingredients together (non-dairy milk, oil, vinegar, zest, applesauce)
3. Combine wet + dry, but do not overmix.

Bake for about 30-40 mins at 350 F/ Gas Mark 4 (timing depends on what size tin you use).
When the cake comes out of the oven, leave it in the pan and make the syrup (step 2).

Step 2: the rum-lime syrup

1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. lime juice
2 tbsp dark spiced rum
1 tbsp water

Warm ingredients in a pan until the sugar has melted. Prick holes in the cake using a cocktail stick and then, using a pastry brush, brush the syrup over the cake (trying to make sure it goes in the holes). Make sure you do this while the cake is still warm!

Step 3: the icing

1-1.5 c. icing sugar
1 tbsp dark spiced rum
3 tbsp lime juice
Some lime zest!

About 1/4 c. shredded coconut

Combine ingredients (except for the coconut) and ice once the cake has cooled. Taste the icing to make sure it is to your preference- if you like it tangy, use more lime juice, if you want it more alcoholic, put more rum!

While the icing is still wet, put coconut on top of the cake. Yum!

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Rocket, basil & cashew pesto

The combination of random sun and rain has meant that my rocket growing in the garden has flourished.

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I started racking my brains trying to think of a tasty, simple recipe that would make the most of it, and this is what I came up with!

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Rocket, basil & cashew pesto

2 generous handfuls of rocket
1 handful of basil
1/3 c. cashews
1tbsp nutritional yeast
1/3-2/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of salt/pepper to taste

Simply combine all of the ingredients in your food processor and blend until it’s the consistency you like. I didn’t want mine thick so I added plenty of oil, but you could definitely get away with adding less!

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Serving suggestions:

* on pasta, of course!
* as a salad dressing
* in a breakfast sandwich with veggies & maybe some tofu
* on pizza!
* on top of soup to liven it up a bit

I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure this would be delicious with almonds/brazil nuts/walnuts/hemp hearts instead of cashews!

What’s your favourite way to eat pesto? Have you dabbled in vegan pestos??

5 Tips: how to eat out as a vegan

Becoming vegan and eating in a way that is so different to conventional diets is bound to be a challenge sometimes. Eating out in restaurants is something that can be a bit tricky if you’re not used to eating in this way, but I promise it gets easier with time 🙂

1. Firstly, if you are planning a meal out, certain cuisines are a lot easier than others. I find French and often Italian food more challenging, as there is usually cheese/butter/creamy sauces on most options, with the exception of pizzas- just ask for no cheese and get veggie toppings. Thai, Indian and Mexican are some of my favourite cuisines as a vegan. Thai/Japanese/Vietnamese etc food often has plenty of tofu as an option instead of meat, and there’s pretty much no dairy used. Since Mexican food relies heavily on beans/rice, you can still have a satisfying meal that doesn’t include dairy/meat!

2. Avoid places like typical English pubs, and places that don’t cook much of their own food. This means you will have less chance of adapting dishes to what you like. Pubs often base every dish around meat, and their veggie options aren’t great. Even if they have veggie dishes, you will be unlikely to be able to get them without cheese.

3. Plan ahead: check out the menu of the place you’re going to. If they haven’t got a website, call up in advance and find out what their veggie options are and if you can get them without cheese/cream/whatever.

4. If no main courses that can be adapted to being vegan are available, check out the sides. You can still have a decent meal if there’s hummus, veg, sweet potato fries, rice, beans, etc. Get 2/3/4 sides and POW, you’ve got a nice meal made up of stuff you actually like!

5. If there’s really no chance of adapting anything whatsoever on the menu, relax. Eat something at home beforehand and if necessary, bring snacks with you even if you don’t think you’ll get hungry- you never know! At the end of the day, eating out is a social thing- go and have fun with your friends!

Finally: watch out for animal products in sneaky places: shrimp paste and fish sauce in Asian food, yoghurt/cream in Indian curries, gelatine in desserts.

What are your tips for eating out as a vegan? What types of restaurants do you tend to go to?

Sweet potato potato & coriander hummus

So, I couldn’t really call this blog “That Hummus Life” without having some pretty sexy hummus recipes on here, right?

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Hummus and sweet potatoes go together like Beyoncé and booty shaking. Aka very well. And and coriander gives it that extra layer of taste sensation… Are you salivating and dreaming up of ways to pair this hummus yet?? If not, you should be! Here’s the recipe- only vague measurements are given because you can easily alter the recipe to your tastes. Do you like the burn of raw garlic? Ok, add more garlic! If you like that extra lemony tang, add more lemon juice. If you like the sesame creaminess of tahini, add more of that.

Sweet potato and coriander hummus

1 can of chickpeas, Iiquid drained and reserved (save a spoonful of chickpeas to garnish if you want!)
1/4-1/2 liquid from chickpeas (or water)
1 garlic clove
1 handful of coriander (cilantro) roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 cup sweet potatoes, cooked (I roasted mine)
Pinch of salt/pepper to taste

* garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, a spoonful of chickpeas and some chopped coriander

Drain the chickpeas and add to the food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Add the liquid and blend. Keep adding more liquid until it is the consistency you like. Then taste! Add whatever flavour you feel is missing, if any.

Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, a spoonful of chickpeas and some chopped coriander. Serve in a sandwich/bagel with salad/roast veg, dip veg into it, put on rice crackers with avocado and tomatoes… The possibilities are endless 😉 (well, nearly). Enjoy!

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* if you are interested in the food processor I have, it is the Bosch MCM4100 compact food processor and it’s amazing, it’s my baby! Hahaha! Check it out here

My top healthy, quick and easy vegan snacks

After watching Vegucated on a whim with my flatmate, I realised that how I was living and what I was eating wasn’t right, at least for me. I’d thought about going veggie for a while, and had never been a huge meat lover, but something clicked and I decided to try to go vegan.

I found snacks the hardest. Breakfast was pretty straight forward, and while other meals were challenging to sort out in the beginning, I found it difficult to pick something healthy to snack on that didn’t contain any animal products.

So… Here are my top ideas for healthy snacks, especially if you have recently become vegan.

1. Fresh fruit!

The most simple of all snacks! Pop a banana in your bag on the way out of the house, or make yourself a little fruit salad with soy yoghurt and granola if you’re feeling fancy! For a snack that will keep you fuller for a bit longer, try mixing fruit with some nut butter- banana and PB is a classic, but you could also dabble with lesser known nut butters… How about cashew butter? Almond butter? Brazil nut butter?

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2. Hummus

I strongly believe hummus is a life-saver for vegans!

The basic recipe for me would just be:

– a can of chick peas with a few spoons of the water it came in, depending on how thick you want it.
– 1 garlic clove
– the juice of a lemon
– 1/4 cup of tahini
– salt to taste

Then just blend it all up! So simple and quick. Plus, you’re getting good protein, carbs and fibre from the chickpeas, as well as calcium and good fats from the tahini. Yum!

I would encourage you to just taste it and see what it needs. If you like it tangier, add lemon. If you like it creamier, add tahini, but be careful because it has quite a strong taste. Garlic seems to get stronger the longer its left in the hummus so leave it for a while before adding a ton more, unless you like that raw garlic burn!

If you’re feeling creative, try mixing up the flavours… How about coriander and avocado? Roasted red pepper? Moroccan spiced? Try adding hemp seeds too for extra protein!

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Hummus on rice crackers with red onion, avocado and grated carrot.

3. Granola bars


Check out the Minimalist Baker recipe for granola bars here

Remember you can always change up the nuts and put maybe cashews instead of almonds, or add some extra dried fruit/protein powder/etc, just play around with that basic recipe until you have something you love!

To make a version of the ‘Nakd’ bars, try blending 1.5 cups of cashews you have what is basically ‘cashew meal’ (i.e. tiny chunks of cashews) and then add a cup of (medjoul) dates one by one until you have a sticky dough-like texture. You could add some maca & cacao powder, or just some vanilla extract for a ‘cookie dough’ type bar. Press down into a baking tray, leave in the fridge for about half an hour and then cut up into bars, wrap them up and bam- they’re ready for you to grab whenever you need to!

4. Smoothies

I always like to have frozen bananas ready for smoothies as they add a cold creaminess to them that I LOVE! For a creamier smoothie try just coconut milk and bananas (optional coconut water too… yum!), add some greens if you’d like, but of course you could just make any kind of smoothie. Adding chia/flax seeds and/or protein powder will help keep you fuller for a bit longer, or even a bit of nut butter. Deeeelicious! Pour into a big to-go cup and take with you for a quick snack on the go.

Hope you guys found this a bit useful, feel free to comment below with more ideas that you have for quick and healthy snacks!

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Green smoothie with spinach, banana and mango.