PB & J Veggie Burger

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As I said over on Instagram (if you haven’t visited my account, then check it out here), I keep seeing PB&J burgers at every restaurant I pass  which exclusively serves burgers. Unfortunately, they are never a vegetarian burger for some reason.

I think the reason this combo is rarely a restaurant option is because most burger joins have burgers made from actual veg, instead of ones using mycoprotein or TVP. Sometimes you want something that’s more of a blank canvas though, and I think an actual veg burger would make this combination a little too stodgy.  So instead of waiting for my perfect burger, I decided to assemble one for myself (if only you could do that with other things). It happened to go really well… Continue reading

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Easy Avocado Pasta Sauce (Avocado, chilli, basil & balsamic vinegar)

IMG_20170821_123410_482I’m having a bit of a love affair with pasta at the moment. I don’t know where it has come from, all I know is that if it contains pasta, I shall eat it. You know what goes really well with pasta? Fresh herbs. And chilli. And balsamic vinegar. And, surprisingly, avocado.

I usually opt for a spicy tomato, pesto, or even butter-based sauce, and am generally not a fan of creamy concoctions coating my fusilli. Avocado is just the right kind of creamy though. Its also a great substitute if you’re a vegan who misses creamy sauces, but obviously isn’t going to be pouring carbonara sauce over your pasta any time soon.

You can always add extra vegetables or some quorn, chicken, meat substitute, or fish into this pasta dish- but try it as it is at least once, because sometimes keeping it simple is best… Continue reading

Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Pancakes (you know you want them)

IMG_20170818_094128_433Have you ever seen a title with three more beautiful ingredients within it? I think not.

These pancakes are super simple and fast to make- you can even make the batter and leave it in the fridge overnight, ready to chuck into a hot pan in the morning. At the moment – just on the side- I’m liking to cook my pancakes and anything else in a pan with a bit of coconut oil. Mainly because I have a jar of coconut oil that is close to going off, because I’m not normal a fancy oil kinda gal. It does give a nice taste to pancakes though. So if you have a jar of long-forgotten spur-of-the-moment-purchased coconut oil, you know what to do. Continue reading

Yorkshire Provender Jumbo Oat Porridges Review!

1502734519014The first thing that attracted me was the fact that it was porridge. I was trying to figure out if I could eat it cold, when (lo and behold) it said it could be eaten hot or cold on the label. Ingredients check: oats (gluten free, if you’re interested), water (self-explanatory), whole milk (nice and filling- BUT one of the pots is dairy free so read on if this is an issue for you!), honey (I do love honey). No refined sugar. Nice, simple ingredients label with no unpronounceable additions- it was practically what I made at home. I was staying in Birmingham when all this went down, and these pots were £1.50 on introductory offer, as opposed to £5 for a breakfast box from the hotel. Problem solved.

Skip forward a few days, and Yorkshire Provender have sent me one of each of their delicious porridge pots! I mean, I like to think I make amazing porridge myself, but I’m also lazy at times. These pots have encouraged me to be lazier. And I thought I’d let you guys in on what I made of each flavour, because I know this time of year a lot of you are zipping around the UK, and are picking up quick food on the go. These pots are a great option for those times…

 

Honey

All the pots have this AMAZING thickness and creaminess to them. Literally, they are like a rice pudding made of oats. I prefer to eat these cold, and recommend you try this before heating them up! From other reviews I have read, it isn’t just me who feels this way. If you’re away from home you also genuinely have no option. Anyway, the cold texture is just incredibly creamy, so why mess with something already pretty good? This particular pot was smooth other than the oat pieces, so if you aren’t a chunk-age fan, then opt for this one. Slight sweetness to it, not too overpowering. It just felt wholesome to eat, and super-filling. I threw in some raspberries, to add in one of my 5 a Day.

 

Honey, Apple & Cinnamon

Very similar to the honey, but with chunks of tender apple, almost as if they had been poached. This pot contains the ingredients I have listed above in the introduction, with apple and honey added in. Now is possibly a great time to mention that these pots all use gluten-free oats. This pot could well have been my favourite, as I love the combination of sweet apple, and warm cinnamon- I feel like it’ll be a great breakfast for when you’re running late in autumn/winter.

 

Cranberries & Pumpkin Seeds (this one is DAIRY FREE!)

My second favourite pot- a close second too. The ingredients list is slightly different for this pot, as dried cranberries are used, and also pumpkin seeds. The pumpkin seeds added a beautiful crunch now and again, great for anyone who usually adds nuts or seeds to their porridge. There are pieces of the cranberries which have re-hydrated in the oats-and-milk mixture, making them juicier than your regular dried cranberries. YP threw a bit of a curveball here, and also threw in red quinoa. It adds a little more flavour and texture, and made this pot extra thick in consistency (we all know I like my oats so thick you can stand a spoon up in them). This is also the pot which is dairy free, using coconut cream, for anyone vegan or lactose intolerant.

I would definitely recommend these pots, and not just for breakfast. If I’m hungry in an evening I’m usually found rummaging around in the cereal tubs, but when I had these in I was headed straight for the fridge. You can buy them in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, thought my local stores don’t seem to have them in yet. I’m really hoping they come in store soon! You can also take a look at them on the YP website for further information.

48 Hours in Birmingham…

Same scenario as my trip to Edinburgh: I was there Saturday morning until Sunday evening, and had about 13 hours total (excluding travel time and sleeping) to explore a UK city. This time it was Birmingham! These are my picks for spending your time wisely…

 

The Bullring

I feel like Birmingham is different to Edinburgh mainly in that it is definitely a shopping city. The Bullring is HUGE, and made an excellent place to shelter for a couple of hours while there was an unexpected monsoon. If you’re a hardcore shopper then head here. Just outside The Bullring there is one of the loveliest Waterstones stores I’ve ever visited, their poetry section was amazing as far as poetry sections go (they’re usually very small).

 

The City Library & The Secret Garden

Go here if only to see the fairy-lights they’ve hung up all around the inside. The “Secret” Garden is a roof garden on top of the library. If you do one thing other than shopping, make it this. It looks like Birmingham are doing some serious renovations around the area of the library, but when they’re finished the view from this point is going to be phenomenal.

 

Find the bears

At the moment there are a lot of bears scattered around the city, each one decorated differently. I saw kids running around with some kind of checklist for them, and very worn-out looking parents. I couldn’t find a checklist anywhere, but I did find several arty looking bears on my walks.

 

Walk the canals & Stop at a bar

Apparently Birmingham is dubbed the “Venice of the North”, due to its canal network. I took a walk along some of the canal network of Birmingham on the Sunday morning, because I had time to kill before the coffee shops opened. On a sunny, quiet Sunday morning a walk (or run- be prepared to dodge some joggers) along the canals is a beautiful start to the day. More of an evening person? Head to one of the numerous restaurants or bars along the side of the canal, and have a drink!

 

Selfridge & Co. Food Hall

I mentioned The Bullring, but a big part of this place is the Selfridge & Co department store. They had a replica of the bull statue made from what looked like cake sprinkles. They sell vegan doughnuts. They have several restaurants hidden inside here, and a tonne of fancy cakes.

 

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Possibly one of my favourite places- any place I can look at art is generally one of my favourite places. At the moment there’s a diversion to get into the art gallery, because of the city’s renovations, so be sure to follow the diversion signs.

 

The Edwardian Tearoom

This is inside of the art gallery. I really recommend you take a good book, and grab a coffee here. They make awesome cakes, and it makes a good spot to take a break from your intense on-foot exploring.

 

The Sealife Centre

I unfortunately didn’t get chance to go here, because I wasn’t going to spend £20 to get in on the door. If you are wanting to go here (I love the Sealife Centre) then book online the night before, and it costs around £12. Visiting here would be ideal to tie into a walk along the canal network, as its located on the canal-side, near Brindley Place.

 

Jamaican Street Festival (Market & Music)

This was present when I was visiting (August 5th and 6th 2017), and it was AMAZING. The music was great, the dancing was great, the smells…oh my god, the smell of barbeques and spices. If you’re visiting this month, then I hope this is still there when you visit!

 

Any Birmingham locals, or anyone else who has visited Birmingham, did I miss anything I could’ve done in a day or two? Anything I should do next time I visit?

 

How To Spend 48hrs in Edinburgh…

Okay, I was there Saturday mid-morning to Sunday late afternoon, so minus sleeping I actually got 13 hours of exploring time. This didn’t make for such a catchy title though. However, this post is still all about my top picks for things to do if you happen to be in Edinburgh for a weekend. There were still a few other things I wish I could’ve crammed in, and so if you have slightly more time than I did, then head for the Dungeon, and take a ghost tour!

EDINBURGH CASTLE

(£17ISH ADULT ENTRY, EXTRA FOR AUDIOTOUR)

This HAD to appear on the list. You can see the castle from the main street in Edinburgh and it is beautiful. It costs roughly £17 for an adult to get in, and you can pay for an audio tour too. I didn’t buy one of those, but just wandering around makes you feel like you’re in Game of Thrones. The view of the city from here is phenomenal (there’s also a whiskey tasting experience nearby!).

 

HENDERSON’S SALAD TABLE

The best veggie/vegan eatery in Edinburgh. I had planned to go to several different coffee shops, but this place was just too good to miss. Super-fast service, delicious home-cooked food, and a city centre location. I can recommend the Vegan Shakshuka (creamy, caramel-y sweet potato in place of eggs), and the porridge (super thick and a massive bowlful- just as porridge should be). If I had had another meal to fill, then I would’ve gone for their vegan haggis and tatties; unfortunately I arrived too early for the lunch menu, so if you want this be sure to get there after 12pm!

 

CALTON HILL, NATIONAL MONUMNET, NELSON’S MONUMENT

(FREE)

All of these are together because they are all next to each other. This is another spot where you get an amazing view of the city and surrounding areas. Best time of day? Get up early and head up there either for, or just after, sunrise. I was up early on Sunday morning, and as cities tend to be quite quiet until lunchtime at the end of the week, I had the monument pretty much to myself.

 

SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY

(FREE, PAY FOR VISITING EXHIBITIONS)

The art gallery near the Princes Street Gardens is spread over two buildings. You have to pay for one exhibition, but the other galleries are 100% free to get into. If you’re a fan of large oil paintings with tonnes of detail, or impressionist work, or modern art, take a look at the galleries. I spent a good couple of hours there.

 

EXPLORE THE STREETS

(FREE, depending on if you buy something)

For me this is my favourite thing to do when I visit somewhere new. I love to just wander around and explore, seeing what shops, cafés, art galleries, and bookshops I can discover. Edinburgh has plenty of hidden gems, and plenty of small winding cobbled streets to make your way down. Exploring on foot also means you get a good view of the statues dotted around the city.

 

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SCOTLAND

(FREE)

I was blown away by this museum. When you go up the stairs and into the main hall it takes your breath straight out of your chest. There is a lot in this place, so leave a couple of hours for it. I wish I’d had more time here. At the moment there is an exhibition on fashion through the ages, and much as I’m not really a fashion-enthusiast, I find past fashions really interesting. The café here is also really good, so check it out. Finally: try and arrive just before the hour to watch the millennium clock  chime.

 

PRINCE STREET GARDENS, QUEEN STREET GARDENS 

(FREE)

These gardens stretch alongside the highstreet, and you’ll often find people picnicking here or just enjoying the good weather (when it arrives). Grab some food, and bring a book with you to relax out in the open. The Queen Street gardens are also an option, though I feel like the Princes Street ones have more of a busy, lively vibe.

 

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY 

(FREE)

This isn’t far from Henderson’s Salad Table, so perhaps tie them in on the same day. This was one of my favourite excursions. Its packed with self-portraits at the moment, in all kinds of mediums. The most impactful exhibition was Graham Maclndoe’s; he photographed himself both using and coming clean from heroin. If you’re more into modern art then check the Portrait Gallery out. The roof of the entrance hall is painted liked the night sky, with the zodiac constellations. Absolutely stunning.

 

There you have it, some cheap ideas for playing tourist in Edinburgh. If you have anything you think I should try next time I visit then comment below!

 

Spicy Balsamic Butternut Squash

1501160938928A simple and delicious recipe for you all today. Butternut squash is a massively under-used veggie, considering its something so delicious. It feels like it’s somewhere between a sweet potato and a pumpkin flavour-wise.

This butternut squash recipe requires minimal prep, and you can then just leave it to look after itself in the oven. Even though butternut squash may seem a bit autumnal, its great added to big salads in summer- which is why I’m giving it to you now. You can also use this root veg as a side in any meal where you would usually use sweet potato, and so make it all year long. I personally love it with omelettes and greens, or veggie burgers and a side salad topped with feta…

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • 1 medium butternut squash, end removed, seeds scooped out, and flesh cut into small chunks
  • Balsamic vinegar (NOT “balsamic dressing”), approx. 2tbsp
  • Chilli flakes, to taste (I went with about 2tsp)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Italian herbs 1tsp
  • 2 garlic cloves, VERY finely sliced

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