Fish Pie

I have finally moved to Edinburgh permanently! I am super happy to be here and even happier to tell you all that everything fell into place and I got myself a really cool job! I’m going to be a baker! I start in two days time and I can’t tell you all how excited I am to be surrounded by all things sweet, all day.

I was so happy to be in the city for Pride at the weekend too! I managed to get Logan and myself on to an accessible bus for the parade, so that he didn’t get too exhausted on his feet.

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Afterwards we celebrated by visiting Considerit for Pride Doughnuts, they were delicious and left us both in a sugar coma.

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Since my last update and recipe for Lobster Rolls, I’ve become obsessed with recreating fishy dishes with Hearts of Palm. I wanted to celebrate the successful move and job find by making something special with this magic ingredient, so I decided to go all out and see how it works in a fish pie.

Fish Pie

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Ingredients:

For the mash:

  • 4 large potatoes
  • non dairy butter
  • salt and pepper

For the filling:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 leeks, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 250ml non dairy cream
  • 2 cans Heart of Palm, sliced
  • 2 tsp capers, finely chopped
  • tsp of boullion powder
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 12g toasted nori sheets, finely sliced
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Start off by boiling the potatoes to make your mash. I did mine quickly in my pressure cooker and mashed with some spread, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a large pan, fry the onions and leeks until soft and caramelised. Add the garlic and fry for a few more minutes.
  3. Add the dill, parsley and cream to the onions and heat through. Once warm, add the hearts of palm, squeezing the slices between your fingers to flake them up.
  4. Add the capers, bouillion, dijon mustard, nutritional yeast and nori. Stir through, add a little water if you need to.
  5. Once the sauce has thickened slightly, season with salt and pepper and taste before assembling the pie.
  6. Heat the oven to 200C, pour the filling into a pie dish, top with the mash. I dragged a fork along the top and added some gluten free breadcrumbs to get the top nice and crispy, but this is optional. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

This pie was super tasty! It’s been so long since I had a fish pie!

I only flaked up half of the heart of palm and wish I had done that with all of it, whilst it was nice to have larger chunks of ‘fish’, they didn’t soften as I expected and were a little crunchy. The flaked up bits were soft and delicious though.

I reckon this would also work well with artichokes or butter beans. So definitely give it a go, even if you can’t get hold of the hearts of palm!

I’m hoping I’ll be back posting a little more regularly now. I visited Kotor in Montenegro last month and I’m hoping to do a post about the vegan eats I had there, as well as bombard you with all the cat photos I took. Stay tuned!

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Big Fat Lobster Rolls

I can’t believe the last time I updated was in January…and now here we are in May and I come skulking back to you all, dear readers.

Life has been hectic and stressful with a lot of change going on. Since the new year I moved all my belongings and my lovely cat Kobi to my Partner Logan’s flat in Edinburgh, ready for me to move along with them when I found work. Sadly my attempts to find work from a City 4 hours away have been unsuccessful and I’ve really been feeling the pressure as Logan has finally been diagnosed with ME/CFS. So, long story short, after a lot of stressing out, sobbing and uncertainty about what to do, I handed my notice in at the shop I have been working at for the last 5 years, with no job to go to. It’s absolutely terrifying but definitely the best decision I could make under the circumstances.

It was a relief that two days after making this very big and sudden decision, I was due to spend the weekend with Logan here in Edinburgh. It’s been reassuring to be here with him Plus, plenty of cat cuddles from Kobi and Bo has kept me going.

The evening I arrived, Logan met up with some family he has in Canada, who very kindly brought me back two pots of Old Bay Seasoning. This isn’t something you can get over here in the UK, unless you pay a fortune for it, so I was really chuffed that I finally had the opportunity to cook with it. It seems to be pretty popular in a lot of American/Canadian seafood recipes, though I’ve seen a lot of bloggers and vloggers chuck it in all sorts of dishes.

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I decided to combine this new seasoning with my approaching House Husband duties and prepare Logan a really delicious and reasonably healthy meal. We have been relying on Farm Foods Chick’n Poppers and my oil laden Mac n Cheese recipe for far too long now.

I looked up some vegan ‘fishy’ recipes and came across a lot of folk using Hearts of Palm as a Lobster substitute. I’ve heard of people using this stuff, but had no idea what it really was, or how easily it can be found here in the UK. Turns out, The Green Giant sell tins of it in most supermarkets (on the top shelf, which explains why I’ve never seen it!) at around £2.10 a can.

So what are Hearts of Palm? Well, they’re a crunchy vegetable that come from certain palm trees. They look a bit like white asparagus, they’re very subtle in flavour, which makes them pretty ideal to play around with for a fish substitute. The texture reminded me a lot like artichokes, I chopped them into slices and rubbed them between my hands, which caused them to flake a bit, perfect for that ‘fishy’ texture.

Anyway, enough going on, here is the recipe for you.

Lobster Rolls

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Ingredients:

For the mayo:

  • 1/4 cup cashews soaked in boiled water for 20 minutes
  • 1/4 cup plant milk or water
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • pinch of salt

For the Lobster:

  • 1 can Hearts of Palm
  • 1 large salad or vine tomato
  • 1 small packet of roasted nori sheets
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 tsp old bay seasoning

Everything else:

  • Fresh bread rolls
  • Lettuce
  • Pickles
  • Old Bay for sprinkling

Method:

  1. While the cashews are soaking, slice the Hearts of Palm before rubbing them through your fingers to flake them up into a bowl.
  2. Finely chop the tomato and add to the Palm along with the juice, salt and pepper and Old Bay Seasoning.
  3. Shred the Nori sheets with your hands and stir together.
  4. Add all of the mayonnaise ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth. Add more liquid if it’s a little too thick.
  5. Stir the mayonnaise into the Lobster, taste for seasoning.
  6. Prepare the rolls by cutting them in half and filling them with lettuce and pickles. Add the Lobster filling and sprinkle a little Old Bay on top before serving.

Serves 4

Oh gosh, this was such a huge success with both myself and Logan. Usually when I prepare something really tasty, all I get from my Scottish Beau is “s’alright”, which apparently is the highest of compliments in Scotland. Yesterday he could not stop going on about how much he enjoyed it, telling me I had “outdone” myself and that he thought it was really delicious. Whilst typing this up, he has messaged me from work to ask me if I will make it again for dinner tonight, which brings me a lot of joy.

I do think a lot of the flavour comes from the Old Bay. Now that I have tried it, I will try some of the recipes for making your own and see how they compare. The main flavours I got were celery salt and paprika/cayenne. If I find a great substitute, I will add the recipe to the blog.

Anyway, best get myself down to the shops before Logan returns so I can make him a big fat ‘Flobster Roll’ as he likes to call it.

 

 

Festive Eats

Hi folks!

Christmas/New Year is always an incredibly busy time for me working in retail, so along with exhausting shifts and travelling back and forth between Manchester and Edinburgh, I’ve had to let the blogging go for a few months.

Every year I hope that I can run through my plan for all the tasty foods I aim to scoff over the festive period. Every year I run out of time. I figured instead of just not mentioning all the delicious eats, I would mention it late so that later this year when folk are looking for ideas I can be all smooth and whip out the link to what I ate last time round.

This year was my first Christmas spent with my lovely new Partner, Logan. He isn’t vegan or vegetarian but was totally happy to let me cook him a delicious animal free feast for Christmas day, especially as he was working for a few hours. I wanted to impress him, so I really went for it…starters, a big roast with all the trimmings, dessert and an epic cheeseboard.

I had a vague idea that I wanted cream cheese and pastry involved for some of my starters, so bought that in, but ended up making up the starters on the day. I usually hate doing this but it worked out so well!

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First off I made some mini Filo Tarts, topped with Cream Cheese and Balsamic, Purple Sprouts. These were so simple, I just layered the filo, cut it into neat squares before spreading a little cream cheese on each one. I fried some tiny sprouts with shallots and garlic in a little oil, added some balsamic and then finished the pastries off with these. I baked them in an oven at 180 C for around 20 minutes, until browned and crisp. Finished them off with another drizzle of balsamic before serving.

The next starter I made was magical. I called these Chick’n Popper ‘n’ Pickle Parcels. It was super easy,  I just layered up that filo and wrapped Farm Foods Chick’n Poppers and sliced pickles in the filo to make a small parcel. Stuck the pastry down by wetting my fingers and then baked at 180 C for 20 minutes. These probably could have done with a brush of olive oil, but otherwise they were perfect.

I served these with some pre-bought frozen Vegan Wontons and Follow Your Heart Blue Cheese Sauce.

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The Main Course was a traditional Roast Dinner. Tofurkey was the main centre piece. It was pretty good though I do think I prefer either a homemade Wellington type thing or the VegiDeli roasts, this was a little dry despite me regularly basting it.

As I was in Scotland, I added some Macaroni Pies – these were simple, just my favourite mac n cheese wrapped in puff pastry.

Veggies included – Roast potatoes, Parsnips & Carrots roasted in butter & black pepper, Maple Mustard Brussel Sprouts, Mash Potato, Stuffing Balls, Pigs in Blankets and I added some extra Mac n Cheese because CARBS ARE LIFE.

We were so ridiculously full after this that we had to go and lie on our left sides for a while (a beautiful tip I learnt from my good chum Jenny Marie).

A few hours later we managed to tuck into some dessert, Chocolate Chestnut Torte. A favourite that I have made for Christmas before. It’s a super simple recipe and can be made well in advance if needed. Of course I left it last minute and stressed myself out on the day trying to get it to set on time.

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It was well worth the stress though, it was beautiful, so creamy and rich. I love it!

The only sad part was that we did not have any belly space for a cheese board. I had invested a fair amount of cash into a decent cheese selection and I didn’t want to waste it and make ourselves feel sick, so I had to wait until December 30th before I could tuck in. It was torture but the end result was so so worth it. It’s the best cheese board I ever had.

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I converted Logan’s coffee table into a cheeseboard by covering it in baking parchment, before unwrapping and placing all the cheeses, crackers, hummus and chutneys onto it. We then sat and ate cheese whilst watching Bad Girls for hours. It was heaven.

The cheeseboard consisted of the following

  • Mouse’s Favourite Cream Cheese
  • Nutcrafter Creamery Cheese with Chipotle
  • Nutcrafter Creamery Cheese with Chives
  • Volcanic Nutcrafter Creamery Cheese (with charcoal)
  • Nutcrafter Creamery Cheese with Cranberries
  • Mozzarisella Cream Cheese
  • Vegusto Piquant
  • Violife Blue
  • Violife Cheddar
  • Tesco Cheese with Crushed Peppercorns
  • Onion Chutney
  • Hummus
  • A selection of crackers

It was epic and I was absolutely thrilled at how much Logan enjoyed it. I was surprised that the Tesco Peppercorn Cheese was his favourite, but he enjoyed most of them and said they tasted very similar to real cheese. Proud vegan right here. Finally our cheeses are more palatable to non vegans ❤

Overall, I had a really nice time over Christmas and New Year. Logan made me this amazing painting of Totoro, which was my all time favourite present.

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We also spent a lovely day driving around the Coastal Trail with Vegan Bear on Boxing day, taking in gorgerous views and having the chilliest picnic ever because, well, we were in Scotland so we had to.

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I hope you all day a lovely time over this festive period, whether you were with friends, family or whether you just like to ignore it all and spend it alone. Looking forward to another year of blogging ahead!

Vegan Edinburgh – The Auld Hoose

It’s time for me to tell you about The Auld Hoose. This place is pretty special. This place is home to Edinburgh’s biggest nachos. It may not be a veggie or vegan, but there is quite a lot to choose from on this menu, and I guarantee that you won’t walk out hungry.

I’ve eaten at The Auld Hoose quite a lot, it was the first place I tried in Edinburgh and as my regular readers will know, I like a food challenge. I like to think my belly has no limits….this place taught me that there is an end to my bottomless pitt of a stomach. I have never left anywhere in quite so much pain before, the portion sizes are ridiculous.

So let’s get started and show these nachos I’ve been talking about. Let me present you with Vegan Nachos for 2

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That’s right. This is for two people. This isn’t the biggest size, they also do a portion big enough to share between 3-5 people. I’ve never had enough folk willing to eat vegan cheese with me to even see this, but I can tell you that the regular size is fricking huge.

I managed to eat an entire one of these to myself but it was no easy challenge. Logan and I were also sharing onion rings at the time….let me just show you them

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So, what was I saying? Ah yes, I was eating an entire regular nachos (tortilla chips, vegan chilli, tons of jalapenos, guac and what feels like an entire block of violife cheese) and half a stack of these onion rings. I also wanted a portion of cheesy chips but was strongly and firmly advised not to even try it by bar staff, who regularly have to warn folk about the portion sizes here.

Now, when someone tells me I won’t be able to finish something, a horrible, childish rage and determination builds up inside me. I am telling you right now that the only reason I finished this meal was because I was told I couldn’t do it. I put myself in a lot of pain for my defiance. Was it worth it? I like to think so. I think Logan was secretly mortified but he did sound proud when I finally emerged from the bar toilets to be told that the person serving me, who doubted my eating abilities was impressed.

It may not have felt like it. But I won. OK?

So since that day, I’ve been back a few times. I haven’t had nachos since, but I’ve tried their vegan chilli dog, the cheesy chips and the haggis breakfast sandwich, which were all really tasty.

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I really like The Auld Hoose, it’s a great place to take friends visiting the city, especially if they’re hungry. I prefer to visit earlier in the day as it’s a studenty area and it can get pretty busy in there, also later on in the day the music gets quite loud, so it just doesn’t suit anxious me with hearing difficulties at all. When it’s quieter though, this place is an absolute dream.

So what are you waiting for? Get yourself down to The Auld House for Edinburgh’s biggest nachos!

 

Vegan Edinburgh – Bross

I’m so excited to write about this hidden gem today! I had heard nothing about Bross until Vegan Bear took me along for lunch when I went to visit him at Earthy Foods in Portobello.

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What a find! This wee Bagel shop is pure joy. Fresh handmade bagels from Breadshare with an amazing selection of fillings. I was so happy when I had a look at the vegan menu.

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Look at that, fake meats, cheese, pickles, avocado…all my favourite things…on bagels!

I decided to go for the Little Apple – Patramheat, Violife Cheese, Dill Pickle and Mayo. We had a nice chat with the owner Larah while she made my bagel up for me. Jayson introduced me as a vegan blogger and made me blush throughout the whole exchange but Larah was lovely and even let me take a free bag home with my bagel. Bagels and Bags, Bross know how to win my heart.

We decided to takeaway so that we could walk down to the beach and eat with the beautiful view. I forgot to take a photo of that view because Bagel, but have a view of what went in my mouth.

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This was such an amazing lunch. I loved my bagel, the filling was delicious, the perfect amounts of everything, nothing was too overpowering. The cabbage salad was also delicious.

I’m definitely going to have to have more lunch dates with Jayson so that I can try everything on that vegan menu. Finally a vegan bagel that is a little more than just a smear of vegan cream cheese and limp salad tomatoes.

If you’re in Portobello or fancy a trip for a nice lunch by the beach, definitely pop into Bross! They are open Mon-Saturday 9am-3pm and Sunday 10am-2pm

Vegan Edinburgh – The Herbivore Kitchen

Next up in my Vegan Edinburgh series is The Herbivore Kitchen! This place is really close to Considerit, who I blogged about yesterday. Whilst it’s not 100% vegan, the majority of the menu is suitable for vegans and it was an absolute delight to eat there.

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The Herbivore Kitchen is where you want to go if you’re looking for really good Breakfast Pancakes in the city. As soon as I found out this place existed, I insisted Logan join me for brunch. We were not disappointed.

When we arrived we sat down on one of the beautifully laid out tables and checked out the menu. It took me ages to decide which pancakes to go for, but I knew for sure that I wanted the Oreo Biscoff Shake, so I ordered one of those right away. It was between the Maple Sgaia Bacon Pancakes or the Vegan Haggis with Giant Beans Pancakes. I eventually decided to go for savoury over sweet so that I could pick up some cake to take home afterwards. Luckily Logan went for the Bacon ones anyway, so I got to try a bite.

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Wow. These really were as delicious as they looked. They were so good! The Haggis ones were my favourite, the pancakes were beautifully light and fluffy, the giant beans were packed full of flavour and what isn’t there to love about vegan haggis? The combo worked perfectly. The Maple Bacon ones were also good, but I was happy that I went for the savoury option.

The pancakes were price at around £7.95-£8.50, which is quite dear, but it was a nice large portion that left my belly full and I know the Sgaia meats and the veggie Haggis are pricey. It was well worth the money. The shakes were also really really delicious, they also came with cream on top!

We left with some cake and brownies which I forgot to take photos of, but they were also really tasty. I’ve since come across The Herbivore Kitchen at Leith Market and a Vegan Fair, their stuff is always really good. I love this place!

 

Vegan Edinburgh – Considerit

Welcome to the beginning of a small series I’m going to be blogging, Vegan Edinburgh. Readers of my blog will know that I spend a lot of time up here visiting my boyfriend, and that I also recovered from surgery up here for 2 months. This involved me eating a LOT of amazing food. To save me from blogging only reviews for the next couple of years and because I’ve fallen head over heels for this city, I’ve decided to smash through these reviews over the next couple of weeks to tell you all about my tasty food experiences.

I thought I’d start off writing about a new vegan place that opened up just last week. Considerit – a brand spanking new, completely vegan space selling fresh doughnuts, luxurious chocolates and ice cream. What isn’t there to love about this picture?

I can’t described just how happy I was to hear about Considerit opening up their own place. I met Claire quite a few years ago at a London Vegfest as we had stalls next to each other. It was a tough weekend, our stalls weren’t in the best place so it was quieter than previous years. I have fond memories of that weekend because not only were we next to a table full of incredible vegan chocolate, but Claire was a real joy to be around all weekend too. I’ve followed Considerit on Twitter since and was so happy to bump into their stall at Stockbridge Market in Edinburgh a few months ago. I got to try some amazing oreo doughnuts and stocked up on some creme egg chocolate bars too.

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Considerit opened their doors last Wednesday and I made sure I was in town on the Friday to stop by. It was a beautiful day.

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I was greeted by a full counter of amazing looking doughnuts. They had Cinnamon Sugar, Jam, Raspberry White Chocolate, Oreo, Biscoff and Honeycomb White Chocolate. I had offered to drop some by to Vegan Bear and his colleagues at Earthy Foods in Portobello, wanted to treat another few friends and Logan had bravely offered to stuff his face with doughnuts with me too. I ummed and ahhed before going for a box of 6 (this gives you a 10% discount) an extra to takeaway and then one for me to eat in right there and then.

For the selection box, I went for Jam, Raspberry White Choc, Biscoff, Oreo and 2 Honeycomb White Chocolates. I got a Biscoff to take away especially for Logan and ordered a Raspberry White chocolate for myself. I was also given a few mini cinnamon sugar doughnuts to try free of charge and Claire threw in an Oreo for me as well, so kind ❤

I waddled over to the seating area to take photos and try my first doughnut.

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Just look at that. So beautiful! This doughnut was so good, the dough was spot on, there was plenty of topping and whilst it was sweet, it wasn’t over the top. I tried to make it last but it vanished off my plate pretty damn quickly.

I managed to try a little bit of all the other flavours too and I’ve gotta say, they were all amazing. It’s hard to pick a favourite, the Honeycomb, Oreo and Biscoff were right up there though, they are definitely my kind of doughnut.

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Considerit also sell tea, coffee, hot chocolates as well as handmade Chocolates and also Ice cream. Not sure if the chocolate was up and running on Friday as I was too excited by doughnuts but I know ice cream is on hold for a wee while, just while they get themselves sorted with opening the new place.

I am so excited to return and try more tasty treats, I definitely think this is my new favourite place in Edinburgh.

So if you’re in the city, stop by and try out a few delights from Considerit chocolate. They’re nice and easy to find as they’re just opposite Summer Hall. Go go go and tell all your friends!