3

Review – February’s vegan Flowbox

It’s always a fun day when a box full of vegan treats turns up on the doorstep! I subscribe to two of them, Flowbox and The Vegan Kind. They tend to turn up within a couple of days of each other which makes for an exciting couple of days but does mean I have to try hard not to treat binge!

IMG_0381

its worth mentioning the presentation, the contents are wrapped in green tissue paper and tied with a bow, it feels like opening a surprise present every month!

Mystery present!

So.. What’s in the box…

All the things!

First out is a pack of yummy looking Nothing But beetroot and parsnip crisps, they are freeze dried slices, and look like they’ll be perfect for a work snack.

Next up was a Veggie-Go’s Sweet Potato Pie slice, and looking at the ingredients it is! Just apples, sweet potato and spices .. Off it goes to the work snack pile

A jar of Date & Sesame Spread by Savvy was next, it’s a combination I haven’t tried before and am really looking forward to it.

Then two teabags from Teatonics, one is Mind Awakening Yerba mate, the other Laid Back Botsnicals which is green rooibos, I’m a big fan of herbal teas so they also go on the work pile!

A Vego bar! If you’ve tried one before then you’ll know what a treat they are, if you haven’t then it’s a lovely creamy chocolate bar stuffed full of hazelnuts.

Something else I haven’t seen before Stur Liquid Water Enhancer, it looks to be a very concentrated cordial and is green apple flavour, I’ll try it later today.

Next up a Bar Fruit and Oat bar with Cranberrys, this style of bar always makes for a tasty treat… Work pile!

next is a big box containing 5 sachets of The Chia Co’s Oats +Chia in mixed berry flavour, I’m always a fan of anything porridge-like and use chia quite a lot in cooking so I’m really looking forward to trying these.

Last, but certainly not least, is a pack of The Raw Chocolate Co’s Organic Raw Mulberries. I’ve never seen sun dried mulberries before! The blurb on the back describes the flavour as sweet and tasty as toffee, that sounds like a win to me!

This months selection is mainly sweet, and is a good selection of products I’ve not seen before and should keep me in treats for a good while.

by A.

0

Review – Pizza Express Pianta pizza

Pizza Express pianta pizza

Pizza Express pianta pizza

I took my mum to Pizza Express in Preston for a birthday lunch today, we had a lovely lunch and a good chat! The service was friendly and unobtrusive, and the surroundings, although a little noisy when it’s busy, were pleasant enough.

I’ve tried the pianta pizza before, in the Blackpool branch, when A and I had been desperately searching for somewhere in Blackpool that we could eat which had something gluten free and vegan. I know, we’re asking a lot here… Blackpool is a tourist town, so the restaurants tend to be geared towards the more populist end of the scale, that’s not to say there isn’t good food available, but it does tend to be of a certain type.

We chose Pizza Express in the end, because as well as offering a vegan pizza, they also do a gluten free base, yay! And, happily, a gluten free lager too.

The Pianta is topped with arrabbiata sauce, artichokes, spinach, chestnut mushrooms and pine nuts. With fresh rocket strewn over the top too.

It’s a great combination, the mushrooms are juicy, the artichokes come in nice big tasty chunks, the spinach is a good texture, and the pine nuts that have toasted to golden in the heat of the oven top it off nicely.

Today I tried it with the classic base, which is decent, with a nice chew.

The gluten free base that A and I both had on the previous visit, as these things tend to be, is a little brittle. Don’t try to cut it with a knife, you risk it shooting off on to the next door table! Break it into pieces is my advice, you’ll be able to eat it in a much more seemly fashion! But it has a good flavour, and holds the toppings well.

On the Blackpool visit, we also tried the Leggera superfood salad which they were happy to serve without the mozzarella. Now this was great, it includes baby spinach, beetroot, roasted butternut squash, avocado, pine nuts, cucumber, basil and a balsamic dressing. We’ve been meaning to recreate this salad, it’s a delicious combination!

It’s worth noting also, that as well as making us the salad without mozzarella at the Blackpool branch, the Preston branch today showed great awareness of their customers food preferences. I had a bruschetta as a starter, and asked for it without the pesto, and as my mum’s pizza included pesto they served it in a bowl on the side, demonstrating nicely that they’d paid attention to the order as a whole.

A great service that Pizza Express offer that we haven’t tried yet, is that you can take your own vegan cheese in, and they’ll bob it your pizza! As long as it’s sealed and in date…

By E.

5

Review – Ten Acre Crisps

We first tried Ten Acre crisps a few months ago after a packet of their immensely tasty The Story Of When Cheese Met The Onion flavour appeared in one of A’s monthly vegan boxes.

And oh was it lovely to have a cheese and onion flavour crisp again! We did miss them after we went vegan. The cheese flavouring is strong and savoury, and very satisfying.

Ten Acre Crisps were launched in the UK at the end of 2013. They come in 8 flavours, along with a range of popcorn. The whole range is vegan, gluten free and kosher. Yay!

We stocked up on a few bags at the North West Vegan Fair in Blackpool last September, and tried very hard to make them last… they seemed to be quite hard to get hold of at the time.

A recent Veganstore order brought us a couple more bags of The Story Of When Cheese Met The Onion, along with How Chicken Soup Saved The Day, and When Hickory got BBQ’d.

When Hickory Got BBQ'd - photo taken on my desk at work, the crisps were for lunch today...

When Hickory Got BBQ’d – photo taken on E’s desk at work, the crisps were for lunch today…

The chicken flavour is salty, tasty and, to lift a phrase we never thought we’d use, finger licking good! The hickory crisps are a burnished golden colour full of smoke and tang and a taste that lingers long after the crisps have been wolfed down.

The crisps themselves are thicker than the mass produced type, but pleasingly so, not roof-of-mouth shreddingly so… Also, which is so important in a crisp, they actually look like they’ve been fried in oil. It’s all part of the joy of the snack!

The crisps themselves

The crisps themselves

Hopefully they’ll be stocked all over the place soon, as we’re very much looking forward to trying the rest of the range!

By A. and E.

0

Review – Beaver Brand Jalapeno Mustard

Our American friends may be familiar with Beaver Brand jalapeno mustard, but when I spied it in my local Booths supermarket recently, I fell upon it with squees of joy… I love mustard, and I love jalapenos so it had to be bought! Beware though, it is most certainly not cheap.

Thankfully I tried a little before I slathered it all over my sandwich, it’s seriously hot! Which upon closer inspection of the ingredients list, makes a lot of sense… the first pepper in the list is cayenne, along with red jalapeno, green jalapeno, red chilli and ancho.

The first hit of flavour is definitely the cayenne, which to me always tastes like a rather raw sort of heat, although I don’t find it unpleasant. The mustard then mellows a little into the flavour of the jalapenos, which I really enjoy, it’s a rounded heat which fills the mouth but doesn’t hang around too long. The mustard flavour is more of a tangy banknote with all the chilli in there! I’ll be honest, I couldn’t detect the ancho flavour at all.

My very most favourite way of eating it so far has been spread thinly on wholemeal toast with peanut butter, it made such a satisfying weekend breakfast!

But I’ve also found it to be gorgeous with cucumber and vegan cheese in a sandwich, and mixed into vegan mayo as a dip for chips…

I’d definitely recommend it, particularly if you’re a fan of chilli sauces.

I'd already eaten quite a lot of it by the time I took this photo...

I’d already eaten quite a lot of it by the time I took this photo…

By E.