Veg out restaurant review – The Peacock, Nottingham

peacockVeg out restaurant review – The Peacock, Mansfield Road, Nottingham

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

Last month the Peacock hotel, on Mansfield Road temporarily closed its doors for a refurbishment. When it re-opened on 5th September it had become a vegan dining pub. Yes that’s right its whole food menu was vegan.


Well that obviously meant I had to pay it a visit! And it seems many others had the same thought, because there was hardly a seat to be had on a Friday evening a few weeks ago.

interior-peacockEventually we squeezed ourselves in to a table for two and told that there would be a 45 minute wait and that food orders stopped at 8pm. Not a good start but maybe it shows how popular vegan food has become and how much this type of establishment is needed in Nottingham.


A quick trip to the bar to order drinks whilst perusing the menu, confirmed that (at the moment) it is only the food that is 100% vegan. So do be careful when ordering beers etc.




My review is online at Nottm Post review




np-paperIt is also in today’s (28/9) Nottingham Post

Now on to the menu, unless you paid attention before entering the pub you could be fooled into thinking their menu is like any other with classics such as fish, chips & mushy peas, chicken stuffing & mayo sandwich, lasagna with chips & garlic bread or an all day breakfast with bacon, sausage, egg etc

It does however clearly state on the front that it is a ‘vegan kitchen’, but it lacks any description of the ingredients


A quick chat with the staff answered some of the questions, but there is probably still a training need to get them all fully up to speed.


So a 45 minutes later two plates arrived with fish & chips and the asparagus, pea and onion pie with mustard mash


I was immensely pleased with my choice of fish and chips, which turned out to be tofu wrapped in seaweed, then battered and fried. Served with crispy homemade (skin on) hand cut chips and a generous portion of mushy peas and tartar sauce. As a vegetarian it is so rare to be able to have battered food because it is often cooked along side fish and meat products. So I really enjoyed the crunch and texture of the batter, which complimented the soft and salty filling. But because of the relatively high calorific value it is not something I would eat weekly.


My other half was a little disappointed with his meal. The mashed potatoes were very dry and heavy with mustard. The dish was served with roasted veg and a salad. And in his opinion the salad should have been dropped and exchanged for some vegan gravy, which may have gone someway to moisten the claggy potatoes.


On the whole I was very impressed with the food and the choices on offer. It may bother some vegans and vegetarians that words like fish, battered sausage and chicken are used. But personally I’m ok with that.


I hope that the Peacock remains as busy, vibrant and welcoming as it was on the evening we visited. And I will most certainly be back to try their ‘all day breakfast‘

Have you been to the Peacock, what did you think?

Banana oaty bars

Banana oaty bars


I first posted this recipe early last year but recently a reader, Jocelyn  asked if I’d re-post.  She said

It’s a great recipe and my daughter and I use it a lot. We haven’t made them for a while and can never remember the amounts of the ingredients. It would be great to get the recipe back!

So this is for you Jocelyn and all those  who like a healthy treat.



These make an ideal afternoon treat, when the 3pm energy slump hits and you can feel your blood sugar levels dropping, as well as your resolve not to eat that chocolate bar!

They are also a great post gym energy boost

They are low GI I and low cholesterol due to the oats, that will release their energy slowly.  As well as fibre and potassium rich bananas, great for lowering blood pressure.  The carrots are also a good source of vitamin A and have been shown to have a positive effect on eye and heart health


For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

Makes 12 generous bars, 63 calories per square


3 x (330 g) ripe mashed bananas

IMG_2739I apple,diced or grated

2 cups (200g) of oats

¼ cup (100ml) coconut/soya milk

½ cup (70g) grated carrots

1 tsp chia seeds

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg (mixed)


  • Mix all the ingredients together tip in to a greased tin or baking dish
  • Bake at 175oC, 350oF or Gas mark 4 for 20- 25 minutes
  • Allow to cool slightly before slicing into 12 generous squares
  • Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days


Shreddies with Max Protein


For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

Shreddies with Max Protein

shreddiesThe other day an advert came on the TV, it was for a new version of Shreddies, the malted wheat cereal.  And it got my attention!

According to Nestles website Shreddies with Max Protein is “Delicious Crunchy Oat Granola with SHREDDIES® pieces. Made with Protein from Whole Grain Wheat & Oats. MAXimise your morning!”

But lets look beyond the marketing and crunch some data.

shreddies-p-servingA recommended 45g serving has 181calories, 11g of sugar and 5.85g protein

Now lets compare that to Original Shreddies: A recommended 40g serving has 146 calories, 6g of sugar and 4g protein


A couple of things to mention, the recommended portion size of the protein version is bigger, so the sugar content and calories will both increase.  There is almost 3 teaspoons of sugar compared to only 1½ in the original version.

The price may also be a consideration; the original Shreddies 500g box is *£2.49 (49p/100g) and has 12 servings in a box, making it 20p per portion

Protein Shreddies is sold in a 400g box for *£2.49 (61.5p/100g) and has 8 servings in a box, making it 31p per portion

Is the extra 11p per portion worth the additional 1.85g of protein?!



I don’t think it is.  My advice is to buy the original version and serve it with more milk.  A mere 50ml of semi skimmed milk or 60ml of soya milk has 1.8g of protein.



And judging by the comments on the Nestles website I’m not alone in my negative views

shreddies-p-review shreddies-p-review2



fuel-protein-bricksNestles are not the only brand to bring out a ‘Protein’ version; Fuel make protein boosted wheat biscuits.  2 biscuits ( a recommended  portion) contain 7.6 g protein and 23g of sugar ( or nearly 6 teaspoons of sugar).  They cost 22½p a portion




oatsOne of the best and cheapest protein packed cereals is porridge OATS, They contain 5.2g of protein), 0.4g of added sugar and a good hit of Fibre to boot.  A supermarkets own brand can work out as little as 6p per serving

Don’t be fooled by the advertising, you are paying extra for increased amounts of calories and sugar!



*Some supermarkets have both products on offer

Cauliflower and tomato Moroccan soup

Cauliflower and tomato Moroccan soup – serves 2

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

The weather seems to have taken a bit of a turn, so lets turn up the heat again and make a spicy soup.  In fact my vegan cookery classes will be making this all week!

cauli-soup-ingredients100g cauliflower, chopped or grated, ½ onion chopped, 3 (150g) tomatoes chopped or ½ tinned tomatoes, 1 clove of garlic chopped, 1 tsp oil, 50g red lentils, a few chilli flakes, ½ -1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp smoked paprika, salt and pepper, 500 ml boiling water, small handful of chopped parsley, splash of lemon juice


In a medium  pan heat the oil and add the cauliflower, onion and garlic. Fry on a low heat until they are lightly coloured and softened about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, chilli, cinnamon, paprika, lentils and boiling water

Cook with the lid on, on a low heat for 20 minutes until the vegetables and lentils are soft.

Add more water if its too thick, taste and adjust seasoning. Leave chunky or blend with a hand blender if you like it smooth.




Serve in two bowls and scatter over the chopped parsley

“Must haves” for a healthy balanced diet

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

Do you think you eat a balanced diet? Read on and see if you still feel the same way at the end!

thai-tofu-curryEating a nutritious, balanced diet will help you improve your overall health. In particular, a balanced diet can help:

  • Reduce your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure
  • Reduce your chances of getting cancer
  • You have more energy
  • Keep you well
  • You to lose weight
  • Improve your bowel health
  • Your skin, nails and hair look healthier


The two key elements to a healthy balanced diet are:

  • Eat the right amount of food for how active you are, and
  • Eat a variety of foods – this is where the ‘balance’ comes in

The “Must haves” for a healthy balanced diet should include:

  • fruit-and-veg-225x300Plenty of fruit and vegetables – at least 5 portions a day. Think ‘A rainbow of colour’
  • Fruit like grapefruit or melon eaten before a meal can help fill you up so you are less likely to overeat on higher calorie foods
  • Small amounts of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods (choosing wholegrain varieties when possible)
  • Some milk and dairy foods (or diary alternative like soya).  Aim for 3 servings a day.
  • Sufficient meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein i.e. Quorn, tofu and quinoa.  Aim to eat low fat protein at every main meal.
  • Just a small amount of foods high in fat, sugar and salt
  • Keep within the safe alcohol limits (14 units a week for men and women).  Its also advised to have alcohol free days
  • activity exercise walkingDrink plenty of water, about 6-8 glasses (or other fluids) every day: more if you exercise or if the weather is hot
  • Green tea contains two compounds; caffeine and catechises, that may boost your metabolism for a couple of hours.
  • Stay active – aim for 150 minutes of activity a week.  this can include classes at a gym, running, weight training.  But equally housework, gardening, walking and dancing can all count too


Some people make the mistake of thinking that because they are eating healthy food they can eat more of it.  This can lead to weight gain in the same way that eating unhealthy foods can, because all foods have calories!

Follow this portion guide and you won’t go far wrong

  • A healthy 75g serving of protein (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, tofu) is the same size as the palm of your hand
  • A medium potato is the same size as your computer mouse
  •   A serving of dairy is:
    • 200ml of milk – regardless of full-fat, semi-skimmed or skimmed.
    • 30g hard cheese including cheddar, brie or stilton (around the same size as a matchbox)
    • 150g of plain or fruit yoghurt.
  • A medium piece of fruit is the same size as your fist
  • pasta-portionA serving of rice is half a teacup or 75g (uncooked)
  • A serving of pasta is 75g uncooked which weighs 170g when cooked al dente
  • A serving of vegetables is about 80g or about 2 tablespoons
  • A teaspoon of butter or margarine is the size of the tip of your thumb.
  • A unit of alcohol is half a pint of standard strength (3 to 5% ABV) beer, lager or cider, or a single pub measure of spirit. A 175 ml glass of wine is about 2 units and alcopops are about 1.5 units. A bottle of white wine has up to 9 units and 650 calories

Spicy baked eggs

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

Spicy baked eggs – serves 2

This dish was created out of leftovers,  But it’s balanced, nutritious, tasty and quick to prepare.  So it makes an ideal quick lunch or evening meal served with some extra veggies like asparagus

peppers1 tsp oil

1 small onion or 3 spring onions – sliced

1 clove garlic – crushed

1 pepper – sliced

tomatoes3 sliced tomatoes

1 grated carrot

½ – 1 tsp chilli flakes/powder

large handful chopped parsley and mint

salt and pepper

spring-onionssplash of lemon juice

80-100g grated cauliflower (optional, I had some left over so it went in!)

2 free range eggs

In a large frying pan heat up the oil and soften the onions (about 5 minutes).  Add the garlic, remaining veg and chilli and cook until soft.  (About 15 minutes).  Add a splash of lemon juice

add-eggsMake 2 wells in the mixture and crack an egg into each well.  Add a lid and cook until the eggs are cooked to your liking (about 5-8 minutes).






Divide in to two and serve with chopped herbs



Top 5 veggie venues in Nottingham

Top 5 veggie venues in Nottingham

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website


Top 5Being a keen foodie and vegetarian often leads to disappointment when eating out as options can be limited, poorly thought out or at worst not vegetarian at all!!

As a restaurant reviewer for the Nottingham Post with my ‘Veg Out’ column, I regularly visit restaurants and cafes.  So I thought you might appreciate my top 5.  They are a mix of specific vegetarian restaurants or places serving really good veggie options


In no particular order:




Escabeche, West Bridgford.  This has to be the best place for Tapas veggie options; from the menu 30 dishes are suitable for vegetarians.  I would especially recommend the empanadillas, very small pastry turnovers filled with butternut squash, feta & raisin






cafe RoyaCafe Roya, Beeston.  This is a dedicated vegetarian and vegan restaurant, cooking delicious and beautiful food.  The menu is very seasonal, I particularly enjoyed Gado gado; an Indonesian peanut curry that was so delicately spiced and beautiful to look at



pizza embankment

The Embankment, Trent Bridge, Nottingham.  First of all the building is amazing!  And the food is pretty decent too.  There is a good range of veggie options and the chef understands that not all cheeses are veggie friendly.  I recently enjoyed a tasty Pizza.  The base was really thin and crispy and complimented the toppings.  It was also generously portioned.



Baresca asparagus eggsBaresca, Byard Lane, Nottingham.  This eatery opened last year as a tapas bar and market cafe.  Their veggie breakfast is pretty special; catalan bread, spicy scrambled eggs and lovely soya cappuccino.  The options on their evening menu is impressive too; chargrilled asparagus & fried duck egg with chilli, parmesan & almonds is delicious and well balanced




Handmade burger Co, Victoria Centre.  This is a great place for veggie and vegan burgers,  there’s 7 varieties on the menu.  The portion sizes are perfect, not too big or small but the price will mount up if you load your burger with extras.  And of all the places I’ve eaten Handmade serves the best rosemary chips



Potential  addition!

peacockThe Peacock Hotel on Mansfield Road, Nottingham is currently closed for refurbishment, but when it opens on 5th September the menu will be 100% vegan.  I think a visit is in order to see if it makes it in to the ‘Top 5’!


So which Nottingham restaurant or cafe would be in your veggie top 5?


Veg out restaurant review – Escabeche, West Bridgford

Veg out restaurant review – Escabeche, West Bridgford


escabecheA bright summers evening calls for some light and fresh food, so what better place to go than Escabesche in West Bridgford. It serves Spanish tapas and even has a menu of the day which includes flatbread and dips, two tapas and a side dish for a very reasonable £9.95


Sadly I arrived too late to take advantage of the daily menu offer, but on the plus side I could choose anything veggie. And they have quite a lot to choose from. As I often do, I rang ahead to check that the cheeses were suitable and they told me what was and wasn’t vegetarian. Good start!


The service is very efficient and relaxed, so our drinks order was quickly taken and we settled in to peruse the menu. And true to their word all the options they talked about on the phone were clearly marked with a ‘v’. There is a lovely buzz about the place, staff are clearly visible and busy and there is plenty of restaurant chatter

Nottm postMy review is also featured in Todays Nottingham Post and online Nottingham Post Online

As you may know Tapas style eating is not about starters and mains it’s about small plates of food that arrive when they are cooked. I could have gone classic and had flatbread and some dips, potatas bravas, olives, potato & onion tortilla or go a bit off piste and try pickled peppers (hopefully picked by Peter Piper!), red lentil, oregano & feta burgers, mushroom risoni rice or manchego, beetroot & apple salad to name but a few. But in the end I plumped for mozzarella, parmesan, red onion & thyme flatbread, butternut squash, feta & raisin empanadillas, potatas bravas and aubergine, chickpea & tomato tagine..


Some of you eagle eyed readers may have spotted that I ate a dish containing parmesan, which as many vegetarians know is not suitable for us, due to the inclusion of animal rennet. But escabeche spell theirs with a small ’p’ meaning it is an Italian hard cheese in the style of Parmesan but veggie friendly.


All the dishes were exceptional (the empanadillas deserve a special mention) and I most certainly could have pigged out and ordered more. The portion sizes are just right and about 3 dishes per person is a good serving. Their range of veggie options is the best in West Bridgford, if not Nottingham. All in all there were 30 tapas dishes that were suitable for vegetarians. No wonder it took me so long to choose, I’m not use to that



But I have about 28 reasons to return!


Sweet potato noodles with kale

Sweet potato noodles with kale – Serves 2

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website


Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, which is needed for healthy eyes and fibre which will help keep you fuller for longer and is great for digestive health. Kale is also great for eye health and is high in vitamin C and potassium both needed for cell and tissue repair.


sweet potat spiralise200g spiralised sweet potato

2 tsp oil

30g washed torn kale (or cabbage/spinach)

1 tin of drained borlotti beans (or chickpeas, cannellini, butterbeans etc)

save the liquid from the beans

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 clove of garlic crushed or chopped or 1 tsp ginger/garlic paste

kalea few chilli flakes – depending on how hot you like it

large dash of lemon juice

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

handful of chopped parsley, mint or coriander


sweet potat spiraliseIn a large frying pan heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the sweet potato, and move them around to stop them becoming too brown. After 1 minute add all the other ingredients except the sesame seeds and herbs


Press the beans with a back of a spoon of fork to break them down slightly. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the kale (or cabbage/spinach) is soft. If the mixture sticks or gets too dry add some of the bean liquid to make a bit of a sauce. Taste and season with lots of ground black pepper and maybe some more lemon juice


sweet potat spiralise




Serve in 2 bowls and scatter over the seeds and herbs

Tackling childhood obesity

Tackling childhood obesity

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

childhood obesityIf like me, you’re interested in nutrition and wellbeing you have probably seen that the childhood obesity plan has finally been published. But like me you may be disappointed by its content.



Lets look at the positives

  • The introduction of a soft drinks industry levy (sugar tax), to come into force in 2 years time
  • nom nomsA 5% reduction of sugar in products popular with children over the next year. The eventual target is a voluntary 20% sugar cut over the next four years.
  • Those popular products are breakfast cereals, yoghurts, biscuits, cakes, confectionery, pastries, puddings, ice cream and sweet spreads
  • Primary schools to provide at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day and support families to do the same amount at home.
  • More funds for school sport – from the sugar tax
  • Targets for sugar content per 100g of product; no specific amounts given


And what’s missing?

  • IMG_2710No restrictions on junk food marketing and advertising during popular family TV programmes
  • No Ban on price-cutting promotions of junk food in supermarkets,
  • No compulsory ‘front of pack’ traffic light labelling system


You might well be wondering what all the fuss is about and why you should be concerned about your child’s weight?

I think this extract from the strategy says it all………

Today nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese and younger generations are becoming obese at earlier ages and staying obese for longer. Reducing obesity levels will save lives as obesity doubles the risk of dying prematurely. Obese adults are seven times more likely to become a type 2 diabetic than adults of a healthy weight, which may cause blindness or limb amputation. And not only are obese people more likely to get physical health conditions like heart disease, they are also more likely to be living with conditions like depression


If you are concerned about your child’s weight or you would like them to eat a wider variety of foods, then why not book in for a nutrition consultation with me.  I also offer cookery classes.  07946 301338

So over to you

Will this strategy make you think about sugar and junk food?

Will you be reading labels and vetoing certain foods for your children?

Will you be getting them to play more and sit less?

Will you be buying fewer *sugary drinks?


*If you are confused about the amount of sugar in food and drinks this simple calculation may help


Divide the amount of sugar in grams by 4 to get the number teaspoons. In this example, each cake bar contains 12.9 g or more than 3 teaspoons of sugar (12.9 / 4).  To put that in to context, children should be eating no more than 5-7 (added) teaspoons of sugar a day