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Eating Out

The NEW Pizza Hut Vegan Stuffed Crust Pizza

The NEW Pizza Hut Vegan Stuffed Crust Pizza

Following the launch of the Vegan Pepperoni Pizza last month, there is a tasty new addition to Pizza Hut vegan menu, a Vegan Stuffed Crust – developed using Violife’s vegan alternative to cheese.

Since the launch last year of the vegan jackfruit pizza, the ‘Jack ‘n’ Ch**se’, Pizza Hut Restaurants have kept expanding their plant-based options that now include a choice of seven vegan pizzas, as well as vegan nuggets and vegan cheesecake.

Pizza Hut invented the concept of the popular stuffed crust 25 years ago, selling now on average 1.6 million a year. This vegan version is filled with Violife’s dairy-free cheese which is encased in the crust.

Since launching the first-ever vegan cheese platter, Violife has become a firm favourite amongst dairy-free cheese brands. Made from coconut, its grated cheese melt beautifully and is ideal to use in various plant-based dishes such as pizzas, burgers or nachos.

Last week I headed to our local Pizza Hut to try it out the new vegan stuffed crust and picked a BBQ ‘Jack ‘n’ Ch**se’, made with a topping of tomato sauce, Violife Vegan Ch**se,  BBQ jackfruit, peppers, red onions, sweetcorn, and BBQ drizzle.

The NEW Pizza Hut Vegan Stuffed Crust Pizza

The BBQ ‘Jack ‘n’ Ch**se’ is a very tasty pizza with loads of toppings and a delicious BBQ flavour. Having tried it before on a thin base, this time I really enjoyed the gooey dairy-free stuffed crust.

The Vegan Stuffed Crust option is available as an 8-inch rectangular Individual Pizza for a £2.50 add-on cost, so my vegan stuffed crust BBQ ‘Jack ‘n’ Ch**se’ was £14.99. While it is a very nice pizza and I had more than enough to eat, I still found the cost a bit steep.

Our pizzas were all really tasty, the staff friendly and we certainly enjoyed our food. The kids also love the all-you-can-eat salad buffet. However, none of us were particularly impressed by the new ordering system.  Having waited in the porch to be seated at a table (in spite of the restaurant being only three-quarters full), we had to queue again at the till to order and pay upfront for our meal. The kids were getting really impatient and while queueing for the till inside the cordoned waiting line (not a restaurant experience I generally look for), I was grateful this was not a really busy day.

If you want to try the new vegan stuffed crust pizzas, Pizza Hut Restaurants’ plant-based options are available to dine-in and take-out at every restaurant in England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as for delivery from selected Pizza Hut Restaurants on Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

 

 

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Eating Out

Review: Beyond Le Fumé – Haché’s New Vegan Burger

Beyond Le Fume Hache

It’s fair to say that Haché knows a thing or two about burgers. The chic, Parisian-inspired restaurant prides itself on serving the most exquisite burgers in London, with or without meat. In response to the growing plant-based trend, Haché has just launched Beyond Le Fumé, taking the vegan Beyond Meat Burger to a new taste frontier.

Last Friday I headed to Haché in Holborn to get a first taste of Beyond Le Fumé. I had never dined at Haché before and I was pleasantly surprised by the smart and casual decor of the brasserie-style restaurant.

Beyond Le Fumé is the latest vegan addition to Haché’s burger menu joining other plant-based options: Beyond Naturel, Beyond ‘Cheeseburger’ and Secret Garden.

Nowadays, there is no shortage of vegetarian and vegan burgers; some admittingly better than others. So what makes a good meat-free burger?  In my opinion, a quality juicy patty with bite, flavoursome toppings, texture, tasty bun and good presentation are all essential elements.

Presented in a smoke-filled dome (check out the IG video above ☝️) that infuses the burger with subtle, sweet flavour from cherry wood chips, Beyond Le Fumé is made from a Beyond Meat burger patty served with:

  • Grilled aubergine and Belazu smoky semi-dried tomatoes for smoky, umami notes.
  • Violife Cheddar: Violife is a coconut oil-based cheese alternative, free from preservatives and GMO’s.
  • Courgette straws for crunch, made with a soymilk-based batter.
  • Rubies in the Rubble mustard plant-based mayo made from aquafaba (the protein-rich water left over from cooking chickpeas which would normally be thrown away ) spiked with an additional touch of French’s mustard for a peppery kick.
  • Toasted ciabatta bun baked by Sally Clarke. A naturally vegan, peasant-style ‘slipper’ bread made with extra-virgin olive oil to create a light and thin-crusted loaf with an open, moist and irregular crumb.

I guess there are good burgers and very good burgers.  Beyond Le Fumé was nothing less than excellent. Juicy and tender, it was cooked to perfection with an unbelievably realistic, slightly “bloody” bite (from added beetroot) of a medium rare meat burger. Accompanied by turmeric fries and a glass of merlot, it made for a truly enjoyable and delicious meal.

Served with just the right amount of relish and toppings, Beyond Le Fumé is by far the best vegan burger I have ever had. When meat-free tastes that good, that you cannot tell the difference from its meat equivalent, you have to wonder really, what is the point of eating animals?

Beyond Le Fumé is available in all 7 Haché restaurants around London (check website for details of your nearest one)

Disclaimer: we were guests at Haché. All thoughts and opinions remain my own.

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Eating Out

The New Chiquito Vegan Menu

New Chiquito Vegan Menu Burrito v6

Last Friday we headed to London to try the new Chiquito vegan menu. Launched just a few weeks ago, Chiquito’s plant-based selection includes exotic proteins from around the world such as jackfruit, banana blossom, palm hearts and soya protein Oumph! to create a fiesta of taste-exploding vegan foods.

In central London, Chiquito is located in buzzing Leicester Square. The inside of the restaurant is large and spacious and there is a also small terrace at the front if you prefer dining outside.

Featuring Oumph!, Oatly cream and Violife cheese, the new Chiquito vegan menu contains four vegan starters, five main courses with side dishes, three vegan desserts and even a vegan drinks list including beer, cocktails and wine.

New Chiquito Vegan Menu Nachos

After ordering vegan margaritas and wine, we shared some tasty vegan nachos for starters topped with guacamole, salsa and Violife cheese. With a slight sourness and a creamy taste, Oatly crème fraîche really works a treat here as does the melted Violife vegan cheddar-style cheese. Thumbs up all around.

For mains we picked the Oumph! Vegaritto and the Jackfruit Baja Tacos.

Oumph! chunks add a lot of flavours and heartiness to the vegaritto. This is a filling dish with a deliciously smokey taste. It was a bit dry though and would probably benefit from a bit more sauce.

Topped with Violife vegan cheddar-style cheese the tacos were also very tasty. The chilli could do with bigger chunks of jackfruits to make it a bit more substantial.

The generous portions left us too full for dessert but I have got my eyes on the Chocolate Coconut Lava Cake (as well as the Banana Blossom dishes) for my next visit.

New Chiquito Vegan Menu Tacos

You do need to make sure you specifically ask for Chiquito vegan menu as the plant-based dishes are not included on the regular menu. If you are wondering what else is on Chiquito Vegan Menu, here is the low-down:

 

CHIQUITO VEGAN MENU

 

New Chiquito Vegan Menu Cassava Fries

 

– STARTERS –

 

Vegan Nachos (£6.49) – Loaded with guacamole, Pico de Gallo salsa, Violife vegan cheddar-style cheese and Oatly creamy oat fraiche.

 

Banana Blossom Croquette (£7.19) – Flakey, flavour-filled croquettes served with Oatly creamy oat fraiche and side salad.

 

Sweet Potato Skins (£5.89) – Sweet potato skins topped with five bean chilli, Violife Cheddar-style cheese, Pico de Galla salsa, guacamole and Oatly creamy oat fraiche.

 

Cassava Fries (£6.49) – Fried Cassava root, cut into thick chips and loaded with jackfruit (South Western, Indian fruit tree) chilli, Pico de Gallo salsa, and Violife vegan cheddar style cheese.

 

New Chiquito Vegan Menu Burger

 

– MAIN COURSES –

 

Vegaritto (£11.69) – Salty smokey Oumph (plant based product made from beans), black beans, jalapeño slaw, rice and greens wrapped in a spinach tortilla. Served with a side salad, tortilla chips and a side of Oatly creamy oat fraiche.

 

Jackfruit Baja Tacos (£5.99) – Jackfruit chilli filled tacos topped with Violife vegan cheddar-style cheese, guacamole and Pico de Gallo Salsa.

 

Banana Blossom Burger (£14.49) – Flakey, flavour-filled banana blossum (tear shaped flowers at the end of banana bunches) patty topped with jalapeño slaw, greens and Violife vegan cream cheese alternative in a sourdough bun. Served with a side of cassava fries.

 

Palm Heart Baja Bowl (£13.99) – Palm Hearts (palm tree vegetable), pulses, black beans, greens and rice topped with jalapeño slaw. Served in a pull apart spinach tortilla bowl.

 

Vegan Fiesta Fajita (£12.99) – All of the favourite flavours from Chiquito’s classic fajitas filled with smokey salty oumph. Served with Violife vegan cheddar-style cheese and Oatly creamy oat fraiche.

 

New Chiquito Vegan Menu chocolate cake

 

– DESSERTS –

 

Ice Cream And Sorbet (£2.19 one scoop, trio £4.49) – Passion fruit sorbet or coconut ice cream

 

Churros With Chocolate Sauce (£4.99) – Chiquito’s favourite churros served with a vegan chocolate sauce.

 

Chocolate Coconut Lava Cake (£5.99) – Served warm with a melting top  and choice of coconut ice cream or passion fruit sorbet.

  
Chiquito is the UK’s biggest Mexican restaurant chain and Chiquito Vegan Menu is available in all 80 restaurants across the UK.

For more information or to find your closest restaurant, visit www.chiquito.co.uk

Disclaimer: we were guests at Chiquito. All thoughts and opinions remain my own.
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Product Reviews

The Hot List : 12 Must Try This Veganuary

The Hot List January 2018 12 Must Try This Veganuary

This month’s Hot List is a bumper issue of vegan products to help make your Veganuary a success.

I tend to cook from scratch most of our meals but modern family life gets in the way. For busy days, I really appreciate having good plant-based options at hand such as some of the convenience foods below.

I have been trying out Veganuary again this year. It has not been perfect (I seem to only function in the morning with organic milk in my coffee).  My biggest dilemma this month has been palm oil. It is lurking everywhere and not always sourced from sustainable sources even if products are claiming to be cruelty-free.

Below you will find a few of my favourite current vegan products. Happy Veganuary !

 

SACLA' Free From Pesto

SACLA’ No. 9 Free From Basil Pesto

Pesto is such a versatile ingredient, I am glad to have found a vegan version. Here SACLA’ has replaced the cheese with tofu so this pesto has the same texture and taste than regular pesto. It’s very hard to tell the difference. Enjoy it with pasta, rice, courgettes, aubergines, potatoes, meat substitutes etc..

Doisy & Dam

Last week I received a selection of Doisy & Dam‘s organic chocolate bars. The whole range is made in the UK and boosting with delicious superfood.  The vegan bars are made with 74% organic dark chocolate and are also gluten free and soya free. They are all really scrumptious and bursting with flavour. It’s so hard to pick a favourite, so you might have to try them all and tell me what you think! Additionally Doisy & Dam is now an accredited B Corporation which certifies their social and environmental commitments to use business as a force for good.


Violife

Back in December, I was invited to a Violife‘s lunch extravaganza where I sampled their whole range as well as the first ever vegan cheeseboard. I was very impressed with all the products which are made from coconut oil (without any aftertaste) and added Vitamin B12.  During Veganuary, I have been using the Violife’s Original Flavour Slices (great for sandwiches) and Creamy (a vegan alternative to cream cheese perfect on bagels and crackers ).

Pieminister

Kevin is the latest addition to Pieminister pie range. It is amazingly delicious. It reminded me of a rich steak pie except that it is completely vegan! Mushrooms, tomatoes, prunes, carrots & baby onions are cooked in a rich and silky red wine sauce. Flavoured with thyme, this is pure vegan heaven.

 

Meridian Tikka Masala

Meridian

For a curry in a hurry try this Tikka Masala vegan cooking sauce from Meridian. Rich and velvety, it is ideal for vegetables, tofu or vegan quorn.

Califia

Califia

Made from Californian almonds, Califia‘s dairy free milks are now available in the UK. Their unsweetened almond milk has a rich and delicious almond flavour which I really like. With no added sugar, you can use it in savoury dishes or in preparations which are already sweet enough. Personally I like it pure, straight from a glass. It has added calcium (189mg / 100ml) , though I cannot corroborate the packaging’s claim above.

Quorn Vegan Pieces

Quorn

Again convenience made vegan! I always keep a bag or two of Quorn‘s Meat Free Vegan Pieces in my freezer for busy days. I use them for stir fries, pies, casseroles etc..

Koko Dairy Free

Koko Dairy Free

My biggest dilemma about dairy free spread is that they are all made with palm oil. Koko Dairy Free is the only one I found so far which is made from sustainable palm oil. I was concerned it might have too much of a coconut aftertaste, so I was pleased to find it is quite neutral. Find it here.

Alpro Vanilla Yogurt

Alpro

Alpro‘s Vanilla Yogurt is made from soya beans with added yogurt cultures. Rich and silky, it’s really good on its own or with cereals, fruits. You can also add it to smoothies.

Goodlife Falafel

Goodlife

Cumin and coriander add plenty of flavour to Goodlife‘s falafels. 15 mins in the oven and you have a delicious healthy snack or lunch. I love them in pitta bread with crunchy greens and vegetables, drizzled with dairy free yogurt or cream.

 The Coconut Collaborative Little Temptations Lemon

The Coconut Collaborative

For a dairy free treat try The Coconut Collaborative‘s Little Temptations Lemon. They are light with a nice lemony taste. A nice change from yogurt.

 

Tofoo

Tofoo

There is tofu and then there is Tofoo! I am a fan of the whole range with a particular soft spot for Tofoo Smoked Tofu. It has a wonderful flavour that even my kids enjoyed. It love it simply grilled in a bit of oil with vegetables on the side.

Categories
Product Reviews Veggie News

The First Ever Christmas Vegan Cheese Platter is Here!

Violife Christmas Vegan Cheese Platter

The tradition of the ubiquitous Christmas cheeseboard can be a struggle for any vegan out there. The good news is that this festive season sees the launch of the first ever vegan cheese platter available from Ocado and Sainsbury’s.

Award winning Violife has launched a Christmas Dairy Free Platter which includes 200g slices of classic Cranberry After Dinner Wedge, Blu Block and Mature Cheddar Flavour Block, all ideal for a dairy-free cheeseboard.

The plant-based company has long championed great tasting food that appeals to people who are vegan, flexitarian, vegetarian or dairy-intolerant with its family of products, which give the textures and delicious flavours associated with dairy without compromising on taste.

Violife’s dairy-free cheeses are made from coconut oil so they have a unique flavour and creamy texture. They also include Vitamin B12, a nutrient often lacking in vegan diets.

I will be honest, coming from France (a country claiming to have 450 cheeses), vegan cheese is not a natural fit for me. Still we cracked opened Violife’s Christmas Dairy Free Platter last week to see what all the fuss was about.

Violife Vegan Cheese Platter

We were nicely surprised by the creamy texture and tastiness of all the cheeses.  I am not generally a fan of cranberry cheese so it was my least favourite but Blu Block had a true blue cheese taste which I really enjoyed. Mature Cheddar Flavour Block tasted just like cheddar and was Graham’s favourite. I was really pleased that despite of being made from coconut, none of the cheeses had a coconut aftertaste.

So yes, Violife’s Christmas Dairy Free Platter was an overall winner! I would recommend you serve the cheeses at room temperature to fully enjoy their delicious creaminess.

Violife products are 100% vegan and free from; lactose, GMO, gluten, nuts, soy, preservatives and cholesterol. So you’re guaranteed guilt-free and allergen-free eating!

Violife’s Christmas Dairy Free Platter is available from Ocado and Sainsbury’s (SRP £5.50 – £6)