The expanding vegan grocery market in the UK means we easily laid our hands on four brands of vegan pesto for our taste test. A decade ago you had to make your own; now we can compare who makes the best stuff for us to buy. These are four very different takes on pesto...as we'll see in our vegan pesto taste test.
We've covered Delamere Dairy's soya shakes and their soya milk and now it's the turn of their chocolate desserts. The four packs of dessert pots can be found in the chiller section and therefore have better visibility than UHT desserts such as Alpro. Available at selected ASDA stores only, these desserts are quite hard to track down, so you'll want to know...are they worth seeking out?
Vegan lovers of cheesecake now have several sources of instant satisfaction. Food Heaven's non-dairy cheesecakes are co-branded with vegan ice cream favourite Swedish Glace. The frozen cheesecakes are stocked at Tesco as part of their welcome expansion of non-dairy foods. The packaging and branding are certainly better than the similar Mamma Cucina cheesecakes, but is the product good enough to replace your favourite cheesecake recipe?
In honour of the start of the Olympics today, we thought we'd put together a vegan version of the famous British 'Olympic Breakfast'. Redwood Rashers, Fry's Sausages and The Vegg vegan egg yolk, together with hash browns, beans, mushrooms and tomatoes...and a good slick of Reggae Reggae sauce.
The Olympic Breakfast gets its name because it takes an Olympian effort to finish it...rather than being the sort of thing Jess Ennis starts the day with. We threw in 3 sausages, 3 rashers, 4 hash browns and a large dipping bowl of hot vegan egg yolk...fantastic stuff.
Ours is slightly healthier than the typical version...still a calorie blow-out...but fine once every 4 years...
Non-Dairy doesn't always mean soya. Co Yo cultured coconut milk yoghurt has arrived in the UK. The probiotic yoghurt is available in natural (plain), mixed berry and pineapple. The yoghurt is sugar free and gluten free and proudly carries a vegan label. Originally developed in Australia the yoghurt launched in the UK earlier this year. We spotted a pot of the mixed berry flavour in our local wholefood shop and grabbed it for review.
It's hot and sunny, but your vegan ice cream needs a vegan cone. We've gathered together three brands of vegan wafer and waffle cones available in the UK, to see which is best. Two are gluten free, the other is sugar free...does that mean they're all taste free? We put a scoop of plain vanilla Swedish Glace in each...and ate them, so you don't have too (it's a tough job...)
Raisins shouldn't need a review, but these do. 'Chocovered' raisins from the Fabulous FreeFrom Factory are raisins covered in faux milk chocolate...and there aren't many of those on the market. You can find carob coated and dark chocolate raisins in most wholefood shops, but strangely they are hardly ever vegan. These are, and they're great too.
There are lots of animal sanctuaries around the UK but how many have a vegan cafe? Hillside Sanctuary just outside the seaside town of Sheringham is home to hundreds of rescued animals...and to the best scones in Norfolk! The cafe is completely vegan and they don't hide this from visitors, with 'animal friendly' proudly displayed on the menu.
With a visitor base that for the most part aren't vegan, this may be one of the biggest exercises in feeding vegan food to non-vegans we know of...
Sainsbury's Free From range may not yet be on a par with Tesco's range, but they have one or two things of note. This faux milk chocolate bar is one of those offerings. We're pretty sure this is made by Celtic who produce a wide range of dairy-free chocolates under their own name, including those fab caramels...the distinctive ribbed chunks are the same as those of Celtic's own bars...
There was a time when pretty much the only vegan chocs you could buy were dark chocolate fondant creams. Mercifully those days are behind us, but it may be time to re-appraise the humble fondant cream, especially in light of these great tasting offerings from The Gourmet Candy Company. The creams are available in Rose and Violet, but avoid the non-vegetarian Lime flavour.
We had high hopes for these cookies we spotted on Veganstore. They are large chocolate sandwich biscuits in the style of German doppelkeks, but they also look a bit like Wagon Wheels (Moon Pies for US readers). They aren't at all like Wagon Wheels in reality as they have a chocolate fondant rather than a marshmallow centre. Are these sandwich biscuits worth adding to your next Veganstore order though?
Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free and Sugar Free is always going to be a tough call for a brownie recipe, but the folks at Happy Kitchen in London Fields have risen to the challenge. The resulting vegan brownies are available in 4 flavours - original chocolate, raspberry, pecan and chocolate orange. We opted for the original chocolate brownie to see if this 'decadent wholefood' was more decadent or just more wholefood...
Another great new vegan product in Tesco's expanded Free From range is their four pack of chocolate desserts. The dairy-free and gluten-free desserts come in yoghurt-sized pots and can be found in the chiller cabinet. We're pretty sure these desserts are identical to those from a well known brand...
Vegan wafer biscuits are still few and far between so it's handy to know a secret source... Manner is an Austrian brand of wafers that's popular on the continent and can be found in the UK...if you know where to look. They can often be found in continental-style shops such as italian, greek or turkish supermarkets. Be careful to avoid the chocolate ones which contain milk, but you're safe with the lemon or the original hazelnut 'Neapolitaner' wafers.
Billed as the 'World's Largest Milkshake Bar Company', ShakeAway has branches across the UK and a handful in Australia and other countries. What makes this milkshake chain different though, is not their size but their extensive vegan menu.
A vegan soft cheese made from cultured quinoa milk. The step-by-step guide to making quinoa qurd is now available at our sister site plantfoods.org
Superdrug have vegan-certified shower gel on offer for 99p at the moment. Original Source for Men is the masculine version of the popular vegan shower gel line. We picked up three varieties of the gel at half the normal price. The men's version is pitched as a hair-and-body wash too.
If you're looking for a hearty meal there's nothing more filling than meatballs. Redwood's meat free meatballs come in a king size pack too and don't have a serving size indicated...but there's enough for 3 or 4 servings in the pack. The meatballs are based on soya rather than gluten as we had anticipated. We cooked them up with spaghetti and tomato sauce to see how they tasted.
You can culture quinoa milk just like soya milk (and dairy milk) to make quinoa yoghurt. If you strain and press that yoghurt, you get quinoa qurd - a vegan soft cheese made of nothing but quinoa. Full article coming shortly over at our sister site plantfoods.org
Supermarket margarines are a minefield of whey powder, milk fat and other dairy ingredients...often in trace amounts and usually unnecessary. In Germany you can pick up 'Rein Pflanzlich' (pure plant) margarine in any small supermarket, but not so here in the UK. Brands like Pure and Vitalite are usually only found in the bigger branches. It's great to have another vegan option and Marks and Spencer's Simply M&S range includes a dairy-free sunflower spread. We picked up a tub for review.....but can it replace our old favourite Vitalite in our hearts (and fridges)?
We're still busy reviewing The Vegg vegan egg yolk....but had to wait for our second pack to arrive after using up the first in our experiments. We've now made baked potato frittata four times and we've given up trying to get it to set!
We used 6 tablespoons of arrowroot in the latest attempt...and we're now arrowroot converts...it sets really smooth and is not at all floury like cornflour (cornstarch). We're actually happy with the way this has turned out, with a soft-set creamy texture so we'll post the recipe with our review.
UPDATE: Our review of The Vegg is now live...with the recipe for this frittata.
Now that Redwood have launched a vegan parmesan cheese we can run a taste test...against the only other vegan parmesan available in the UK...Parmazano from Life Free From. They're very different interpretations of parmesan...one a carton of cheese sprinkles, the other a block of faux vegan cheese. We took them both to the kitchen to see if either of them were worthy parmesan substitutes.
Many vegetarian sushi sets have egg in so it's great to see a vegan option at Waitrose. The small vegetarian sushi set from Taiko Sushi (exclusive to Waitrose) is currently egg free...but check before you buy as these things change all the time. Waitrose are even selling pots of salted edamame with their sushi range now....if you fancy a salty lunchtime hit. Is their vegan sushi good enough for your midday sushi fix though?
There's a place in every diet for a little junk food. We mean junk in the affectionate sense of fast and tasty...and not quite as healthy a quinoa salad. Fry's have a great range of vegan convenience foods but the one which will catch your eye in the freezer section is their vegan version of popcorn chicken....Fry's Pops. The cute and colourful little box holds 200g (8oz) of frozen breaded mini-nuggets. They even come with fruit chutney sprinkles. If you haven't already tried them...should you give them a go?