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

Thai tofu curry

Thai tofu curry – Serves 2

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website



Tofu (soya bean curd) is the perfect carrier of flavour in this tasty curry.  Its high in protein but low in fat and cholesterol making it a great ingredient for anyone wanting to increase their muscle mass or drop a few pounds





My vegan vegetarian cookery class quests will be making this recipe tis week








150g tofu, drained and chopped into cubes (or 150g of frozen Quorn vegan or veggie pieces)

2 tsp vegetable oil

½ medium onion, finely chopped

1½ garlic cloves, finely chopped, 1cm piece root ginger, grated or 1 tsp ground ginger or 1 tsp ginger garlic paste

1 – 2 tsp medium curry powder or Thai curry paste

¼ tsp ground turmeric

1 green chilli, cut into slices or ½ tsp chili flakes

200-250g sweet potato, washed and cut in to cubes

70g frozen peas

200ml reduced fat coconut milk

½ red pepper, cut into bite sized pieces

2 tsp lemon juice

  • Prepare the tofu by draining. Wrap in kitchen roll or a clean tea towel, then place between two plates and put a weight on the top one. This helps to drain the water and gives a firmer texture. After about 30 minutes, drain and chop into cubes.
  • Heat 1 tsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Heat until really hot, then add the tofu pieces and turn down the heat. Fry gently until golden brown. Remove from the pan and keep warm
  • Add the remaining oil to a wok or frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and IMG_7305grated/ground ginger or paste and cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes, until pale but soft.
  • Add the curry powder/paste, turmeric, chilli, sweet potato, (frozen Quorn if using instead of tofu), pepper and stir. Fry gently for 1 minute. If the ingredients start to stick add some water (not more oil). Add the coconut milk and stir in. Bring to the boil then turn down to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice and frozen peas, stir and simmer for another 2 minutes. Check that the potatoes and peas are cooked and if so take off the heat.
  • IMG_7310Add the cooked tofu to the curry sauce and simmer for 5 minutes until thoroughly heated. Add the chopped coriander
  • Serve with plain boiled wholegrain rice.








And here’s the finished article beautifully cooked by my vegan cookery guests

Cheesed off!

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

Are all cheeses suitable for vegetarians?

Of course they are, right?!

So this is my biggest bugbear and one that my close friends will be more than familiar with (sorry friends!)

I’m a vegetarian and whenever I eat out I have to ask the same series of questions  (that even bore me now).  But it goes a bit like this……

pesto“The pesto pasta has a ‘V’ next to it so I assume the pesto doesn’t contain any Parmesan, but can you check for me as I’m a vegetarian and don’t eat Parmesan” The reply is invariable ‘sorry the pesto does contain Parmesan, but I’m sure we can make up a vegan dish for you but it’s always best if you call ahead and give us some warning!’

It is at this point that my dinning companions usually make their excuses and leave the scene! As I quietly explain that no I am not vegan because I eat dairy (which includes cheese) and eggs, but as a vegetarian I do not eat food containing animal or animal by products.  I then patiently explain that in many cheeses but always in the case of Parmesan (and Grana Padano and Gorgonzola) the process uses animal rennet, thereby making it unsuitable for vegetarians.

But this problem is not just limited to restaurants; supermarkets, cooking programmes, recipes in magazines, cookbooks and online resources also seem pretty lax when describing a meal as suitable for vegetarians.

The above pasta dish sounds like it could be suitable for a vegetarian, but turn over the package and Parmesan cheese is included.  

According to the trading standards

Any vegetarian dishes must have been produced without any contact or contamination with meat, fish or seafood. This includes using separate oils for frying vegetarian dishes and careful checking of sauce ingredients. Some cheeses contain rennet, which is an animal by-product, and may not, therefore, but suitable for vegetarians.

parmesanSo next time you go to a restaurant and find your vegetarian option is not in fact vegetarian, please enlighten them.  It is the only way to bring about some change and to stop me from carrying on with (what at times feels like) a one-woman crusade

My friends will be eternally grateful!

Feel free to share your ‘cheesed off’ stories here

Chocolate and date chia pudding

Chocolate and date chia pudding – serves 2

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

IMG_3686This dessert is so tasty and rich you will not believe it is also low in calories.  I made it with cacao powder; which is raw and much less processed than cocoa powder.  It is also bursting with antioxidants, fibre and magnesium.  I’d urge you to try it.  I bought my from the health store in West Bridgford



20 grams chia seed

180 ml of almond, hazelnut, oat, soya or coconut or cows milk

IMG_36603 (15-20g) dates
, stones removed

2 tsp cacao or cocoa powder

Few drops vanilla extract

Few grains sea salt

(Almost) 1 tsp date/maple/golden syrup, agave or honey


IMG_36671 tbls (10g) cashew nuts, hazelnuts, sesame seeds or peanuts
 – dry toasted in a hot pan until they smell nice and nutty

1 tsp (10g) wholenut peanut butter– add at the time you put all the ingredients in to the blender

1 small banana sliced

1 tbls (10g) rolled oats toasted

1 tbls (5g) toasted puffed rice


  • Soak the chia seeds and dates in the milk for at least 4 hours or cover and leave overnight in the fridge.
  • Pour the soaked mixture to a blender (I find the Nutribullet works best) with the remaining pudding ingredients and blend until smooth and thick.  If you are using peanut butter add at this time too







  • Serve in a glass dish, layered with the toppings of your choice



Simply veg

Cooking up a storm!

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

coucousI’m half way through my vegetarian and vegan cookery classes in my converted convent in West Bridgford. So far my guests have cooked quinoa salad, spicy chickpeas with spring cabbage and cauliflower couscous. What’s waiting for them in the coming weeks is chocolate chia pudding with dates, spicy Thai tofu curry and spiralised sweet potato with kale


couscous1It is not all about ‘simply veg'; my aim is to show how easy it is to cook healthy simple yet tasty vegan food, which can be enjoyed by the whole family, eaten by one person or adapted for meat and fish eaters. Interspersed within the cooking is nutritional advice and cooking tips, such as freezing leftover herbs in ice cube trays, how lemon juice can take the place of salt as a flavouring, the importance of fibre and ways to reduce sugar intake.


ingredients2There is growing evidence that a more plant-based diet has positive health benefits, ranging from a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers to weight loss.


If you fancy trying something new, want to cook with others and learn some nutritional tips then contact me and we can get you booked in


Classes generally start at 11am on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On a Tuesday they start at 12.30pm and 5.30pm . Each class lasts an hour and 15 minutes and all the ingredients and equipment are provided. All this for just £25. But if you book 6 sessions in advance you only pay for 5



There is no time limit on when you come for your 6 sessions, so feel free to take a break

phone  Call 07946 301338

Cauliflower couscous

Cauliflower couscous serves 2

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

cauli couscous


This is a great recipe for anyone that loves couscous but is gluten intolerant.  It also requires no cooking. Serve it with ratatouille or a veggie/vegan tagine.  Or simply serve as it is

⅓ large cauliflower, core removed and broken into florets

2 tbls lemon juice, large pinch curry powder or smoked paprika or chilli flakes or cumin

30 g pistachio or toasted pinenuts, chopped

30g toasted flaked almonds

30g chopped dried apricots or prunes

2 spring onions sliced or half a finely sliced red onion

25g (about ¼) pomegranate seeds

25g defrosted peas

5g each of fresh mint and parsley chopped

Sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds

Salt and pepper to taste


Place the cauliflower into a food processor and blitz.

Make the dressing by mixing the lemon juice and spice.

dressingPour dressing over the cauliflower and stir in the almonds, dried apricots, peas, pomegranate seeds, spring onions and herbs. Taste and season with salt & pepper

cauli CCTo serve, tip the cauliflower salad into a large bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

To make it more substantial add ½ can of drained chickpeas or 100g cooked Quorn (Vegan)

2 quartered hard boiled eggs or 1 packet halloumi, grilled (vegetarian)


veg cookery poster jpeg


This recipe will feature in this weeks vegan vegetarian cookery class, so if you fancy making it then call me and join my cookery class from11am most days

07946 301338