Veg out – Lagan Indian Tapas, Beeston

Veg out – Lagan Indian Tapas, Beeston

 

I’d heard via Facebook that a new Indian restaurant had opened in Beeston and the word on the street was they had a good selection of vegan options. That was my cue to pay a visit.  A group of us booked a table for Saturday night and were very pleasantly greeted by the staff and immediately shown to our table.  The place was quite full and it had a really buzzing atmosphere.

lagan

In true Indian restaurant style the drinks menu was given first and a suggestion that we have poppodoms whilst we peruse the extensive menu.  I was driving so just tap water for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed the poppodoms and the staff helpfully pointed out the vegan dips

lagan

The tapas element to the restaurants name had some family favourites like onion bhajis and samosas and some interesting twists like prawn lollipops and chicken drumsticks.  You could order three veggie ones to share for £12.95 or meat for £14.95. They also had a larger than average selection of salads that can either be for a starter or main.

lagan menu

As is common in many restaurants there wasn’t a separate vegan menu, but again the diligent staff made a note for me of all the options I could have they were either naturally vegan or could be adapted.  This meant I could have most of the vegetarian dishes as well as some specials.  I was spoilt for choice and eventually opted to skip the starters or “tapas” and go straight for a veggie Thali, which for those that don’t know is a small selection of different curries with rice and a naan.  The staff were again very helpful and said they would make sure all the dishes were appropriate for me.

lagan

When my Thali arrived it looked really appetising our server explained that my naan had been exchanged for a roti as it was dairy free and instead of a small desert, which contained honey I had an additional vegan curry dish. That’s a winner in my book.

My review is also online at the Nottingham Post and will be in the paper later this week

https://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/food-drink/beestons-lagan-indian-tapas-restaurant-1822982

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Without exception the curries were really tasty, not greasy and had lots of bite and texture.  I really enjoyed eating small bowls of different flavours and strengths of heat and spice, and although it was my first time trying a Thali it certainly won’t be my last.  A couple of my friends had the meat Thali and they also enjoyed the tastes and textures of their dishes.

 

The restaurant itself is a mix of traditional and modern, my only criticism is that the lighting was a bit on the harsh side, especially the coloured lighting under the bar; it was quite distracting.  But none of us could fault the service or the food.  My Thali was £14.95, which I thought was good value. I would definitely like to return and maybe have some vegan tapas and a salad; just to be different!

Mindful Movement, Meditation, RTT & Nourishing Nosh

Mindful Movement, Meditation, RTT & Nourishing Nosh

I’ve teamed up with Philippa Bottrill, Newark’s top pilates teacher and business woman (She features regularly in the Nottinghamshire Aspect magazine), to bring you a wonderful half-day workshop that will leave you feeling nourished and balanced.

pilates

 

We will start  at 10am with mindful movement and meditation, reconnecting you with your body. Feeling the movements and allow yourself to be totally present – when we work slowly like this, present is the only place you can be.

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The calming and relaxed space

Then to follow a guided meditation to allow yourself to connect with your inner world and finally a relaxing, transforming group hypnosis session to leave you feeling absolutely gorgeous, more than enough, lovable YOU than you are.

pilates

We’ll finish with a healthy balanced vegan buffet lunch prepared by me. We’ll spend time relaxing around the table getting to know each other and I will share some of my nutritional expertise and deliver tips to put you back in the driving seat for your health and wellbeing. The event will close at 1pm

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There will also be plenty of opportunities to ask any questions you may have about healthy eating and lifestyle choices.

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Chat

We’ve developed this workshop for those of you who lead such busy, full lives that you can often feel disconnected from yourself. It is a chance to spend some time on YOU and will be a wonderful way of rebalancing your mind and nourishing your body.

pilates

There is no need to bring anything with you. We suggest you wear loose, comfortable clothing that you can easily move around in. Please let us know of any dietary requirements such as allergies.

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If the weather’s nice we may decide to go outside in the shady garden

 

The total cost for this wonderful nurturing experience is £35.  Places are limited to 10 so please book early to avoid disappointment

Overnight oats

Overnight oats, serves two,  202 calories per serving

overnight oatsThis really is a great way to enjoy fibre rich oats.  When they are soaked overnight they become soft and creamy, and with the addition of some fresh fruit they are also naturally sweet.  So there is no need to add extra sugar, agave or maple syrup.  The oats are low GI and will give you a slow release of energy until lunchtime.  The fruit and the oats will also give you a big burst of fibre; also great for keeping you fuller for longer and for improving your digestive health.  The chia seeds (pronounced chee- ah) not only make the dish firmer but add extra protein and calcium

And there is no reason why this dish has to be limited to just breakfast.  It makes a great dessert or afternoon treat.  The variations below will keep it interesting.

Go on pimp up your oats!!

Serves two,  202 calories per serving

IMG_184860g porridge oats

160 ml of non dairy milk (coconut, soya, oat, almond milk etc)

1 apple – grated

large pinch cinnamon

1 tbls sunflower/pumpkin seeds

1 tsp chia seeds

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir, then place in the fridge overnight or at least for 2 hours

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In the morning stir all the ingredients again and add more milk or water if its too thick and serve in a bowl

 

The ingredients can be increased to make more than one serving and can be kept in the fridge for up to three days

 

 

A transportable alternative is using an almost empty peanut butter jar.  Instead of frustrating yourself trying to get out the last bit of peanut butter why not use it as a container for your oats, especially if you are taking it to work

Fill your jar with oats, milk, fruit etc.  Stick on the lid and place in the fridge.  before you leave for work add some more ,ilk or yoghurt (if its too thick) and you’re good to go

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Additions to the basic recipe

1 tbls sultanas – 44 calories

7 (10g) cashew nuts chopped- 60 calories

1 tsp (5g) flaked almonds- 30 calories

2  (10g) apricots, chopped- 18 calories

2 (6g) brazil nuts chopped- 40 calories

1 tsp pumpkin seeds – 28 calories

1 pear, grated – 60 calories

1 tsp (15g) wholenut peanut butter – 96 calories

I’ve made these oats on numerous occasions, but the largest amount was for this years Taste of Rushcliffe food festival when I made over 200 portions. It proved to be a real winner with the visitors

Taste of Rushcliffe – food festival

Taste of Rushcliffe – Bridgford Park

This Saturday sees the return of the annual Taste of Rushcliffe food festival, where local suppliers and stall holders show off their produce.  There will also be cooking demonstration, children’s activities and of course I will be giving away healthy vegan food and taking part in a couple of vegan food demos

taste festival 2018

 

Have a look at the ‘Taste of Rushcliffe’ Facebook page for more details https://www.facebook.com/events/892342834267315/

 

This time I will be giving away an oaty fruit dessert called overnight oats.  And the children can pimp it up with pumpkin seeds, blueberries and spiralised apple string.

Here’s just some of the ingredients

 

Then its on to grating en masse!

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And mixing the overnight oats so they can absorb all those lovely flavours

Taste of Rushcliffe

I am trying to be more eco friendly this year,  so all our cups are disposable and recyclable (please make sure you throw away your empties in the right bin bag).  The cutlery will also be recyclable.  A few portions of the dessert will be served in these cute jam jars, that need to be brought back when empty so they can be thoroughly cleaned and reused.  I’m happy to serve you a portion in your own jam jar

Here’s one I made earlier

IMG_7936The two food demos will take place around midday and 3pm and I’ll be showing you how to make a really quick rice salad using everyday ingredients from your fridge and cupboards

The raw ingredients

rice salad

 

The finished dish

rice saladNot only will I make it for you but you can have some samples to taste.  The recipe will also be available for you take home and have a go yourself to see how quick and easy it is

So if you want a break from the football come down to Bridgford Park this Saturday and say hello

This was last years event and the children loved it

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Vegan lasagne

Vegan lasagne (no oil) – Serves 2

This recipe came about because one of my regular vegan cooking clients needs to be virtually fat free because of a health condition.  So making a tasty and nutritious lasagne  was a bit of a challenge, especially as the usual white sauce uses vegan marg/oil with flour and vegan cheese. Hmmmm!

But fear not I think I’ve cracked it!

vegan lasagne

How good does that look

 

And my cooking guest loved it

vegan lasagne

 

It makes the ideal meat free Monday recipe and the quantities can easily be doubled.

The tomato sauce

One small onion (75g), finely chopped

1 garlic glove or 1 teaspoon garlic puree

splash of water

1 medium sized carrot (75g) finely chopped

approx 75g of red lentils, thoroughly rinsed under cold water and checked for grit etc or 75g quorn or 37g of each

½ tsp vegetable Marigold vegetable bouillon powder or I stock cube or 1 tsp Marmite

¼ tsp of chilli flakes (more if you like heat) or 1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp dried mixed herbs

½ tin of chopped tomatoes , a big squirt of tomato puree – about 1 tsp

The ‘cheese’ sauce

1 medium (200g) sweet potato, ½ onion, ½ clove garlic, 1 tbsp/15g plain flour and ½ tsp vegetable powder,  ½ tsp mustard

up to 200ml unsweetened non dairy milk, 2 tbls of nutritional yeast (or 40g grated non dairy cheese if you don’t need to be virtually fat free)

Pasta – 3 sheets of dried wholemeal egg free lasagne

A foil takeaway container

vegan lasagne

before my vegan cheese version goes in the oven

before my vegan cheese version goes in the oven

To make the tomato sauce

Fry the chopped onion in water (or olive oil).  When softened, add the garlic. Fry a little, then add all the remaining ingredients and stir well.

  • carrot
  • red lentils
  • bouillon powder or marmite
  • chilli flakes or paprika
  • dried herbs
  • chopped tomatoes.
  • Plus ½ tin of water.

The mixture will be thin and wet, but it will thicken as the lentils cook. Bring to the boil, then leave to simmer for about 25 – 30 minutes, until the lentils and carrots are soft. Stirring every so often.

The sauce should still be quite wet when cooked.  Check the seasoning and add salt and black pepper if necessary.  Take off the heat and leave to cool

To make the ‘cheese’ sauce

Cook the sweet potato in the microwave for 4-5 minutes until soft.  In a pan cook the chopped onion in a splash of water (or oil). Peel the cooked sweet potato (Keep the skin and rip into pieces before adding to the tomato sauce) add to the onion along with the garlic and mustard.  Cook for a few minutes then add the flour and keep cooking, add the vegetable powder then slowly add the milk, and stir to make a thick sauce. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on a low heat.  Taste and season with lots of black pepper and some salt if necessary.  Add most of the nutritional yeast (or grated cheese, if using).  Leave about ¼ to scatter over the top.

Assembling.

Pre heat the oven to 180C

In a dish add a sheet or two of dried wholemeal pasta, then add a ½ of tomato sauce mixture.  Repeat the pasta/sauce layer, top with some more pasta and add the cheese sauce.

 made with vegan cheese

made with vegan cheese

Sprinkle the remaining nutritional yeast/cheese over the top and pop into the oven for 25 – 30 minutes until the top is bubbling and golden

serve with a large mixed salad or some steamed veggies

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Remember this serves two, so If you only want to eat one portion,  the other portion (once its gone cold) can be kept (covered) in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen; then defrosted and thoroughly re-heated in the microwave or oven until the centre is piping hot

And if like Pete you’d like to learn how to make thesis nutritious and tasty recipes why not come to one of my cooking classes; either a group class or a private one to one

private Vegan cooking class

 

vegan classes gen

Veg out – the Passionate chef, Lady Bay

Veg out – the Passionate chef, Lady Bay

I am not a great consumer of takeaways, as I like to know what’s in the food I’m eating and also be in control of the portion size.  But the name of a Chinese takeaway in Lady Bay; the passionate Chef had me intrigued – what or who was passionate about the takeaway?

Passionate chef

So early one weekday evening my friend and I took a walk to the takeaway. It’s a bright and airy place with books to read, poems to look at and a menu to peruse.

passionate chefThere were plenty of vegan or vegan adaptable dishes on the menu and we really struggled to make a choice.  The owner Snowy Wong came over and asked if she could help, we explained our predicament that we weren’t use to so many vegan choices especially in a Chinese restaurant that is often known for its fish and oyster sauces.

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Snowy couldn’t have been more helpful we even got to see in the kitchen where she showed us the separate fryers and prep areas for vegan and gluten free foods.

passionate chef menu

We took her advice and ordered the large homemade spring rolls  (the small ones contain egg), a potato curry (made to her mums family recipe) and a starry with mock duck and crispy tofu. Accompanied by some simple steamed rice. Snowy also mentioned her vegan bean dessert, which sounded intriguing

I always wonder why takeaway’s don’t offer the more nutritious wholegrain rice, as an option.  It has more fibre and is therefore more filling than the white stuff.  I must ask the next time I visit the Passionate chef

 

snowy in kitchen

After a short wait the food was ready and we walked back with the smell of tasty food in our nostrils.  The first thing I have to say is the portions are huge, when you go to the passionate chef go with your appetite.  Secondly, all the food is cooked to order so it is super fresh and al dente and no msg is used in Snowy’s dishes (unless it is requested).

spring roll

The very well stuffed spring roll was a delight very fresh and crunchy with a really crispy coating.  The starter was a winner now on to mains.  The curry was so tasty (not too spicy) and had a really comforting creamy texture.  It was full of veg and very flavoursome, I could eat that all day long.

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Initially we were a bit put off by the stirfry because the mock duck looked very un-vegan, but it added an interesting texture and taste.  The crispy tofu was delicious and plentiful and all the crunchy vegetables were perfectly cooked.

all the food

food on a plate

The bean dessert was like nothing I’d ever tasted before it was sweet and sticky and actually rather tasty.  We had plenty of leftovers for lunch the following day and all that for under £15

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After meeting Snowy I absolutely know that the name of her takeaway comes from her passion to provide well cooked fresh and tasty food.  She single handily cooks all the dishes and puts her heart and soul in to it.  I can now say I am a convert to Chinese takeaways, well Snowy’s at least

Nottingham postNP

 

My review can also be read online and hard copy in the Nottingham Post  ihttps://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/food-drink/west-bridgford-takeaways-chinese-best-1715938

 

The 80/20 rule of healthy eating

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

The 80/20 rule of healthy eating

the 80_20 ruleVery few things in life are perfect and the same can be true of your diet.  Its hard to not look at the delicious cakes at the coffee shop and then ask only for a black coffee, when you really want that lovely cake as well.  This is where the 80/20 rule comes in.  We never do 100% of things 100% perfectly, so why do we expect to eat perfectly all of the time.  It places an unrealistic expectation on us. If you want to lose weight and keep it off then give the 80/20 rule a go.

 

It’s the ‘perfect’ way to eat

For 80% of the time eat a healthy balanced diet and 20% of the time have some well deserved treats.  It’s that simple!

How it works

Over a week you will probably eat 3 meals and 2 snacks every day, that’s 35 different times every week you have to make food choices.

So 80% of the time (or 28 times during the week) make good healthy choices; for instance:

  • Eat lots of fruit and veg in a rainbow of coloursfruit-and-veg-225x300
  • Drink 8 glasses of water
  • Eat good quality protein like quinoa, Quorn,  tofu, nuts, eggs, oily fish (salmon and mackerel) and chicken
  • Eat more wholemeal grains like wholemeal pasta, bread and rice
  • Incorporate more beans and lentils into your cooking – for low fat, low cholesterol and high protein nutrition
  • Eat nutrient rich fats like olive oil, avocados, coconut oil
  • have plenty of calcium rich diary and non-dairy
  • Cut down on alcohol 

  • Snack on nuts and dried fruit
  • Reduce your portion size

dark chocolateAbout 20% of the time (or 7 times during the week) relax a bit and have a few treats.  That’s the time to really enjoy a glass of wine, a packet of crisps, a biscuit or two, a square of dark chocolate, a latte or a piece of cake.  But eat that treat Mindfully, which means really savour and appreciate that treat and most of all ENJOY it and don’t feel GUILTY.

 

 

A healthy balanced diet can accommodate treats but like many things (and I’ve talked about this before) it’s all about moderation!

This handout may help you to apply moderation with your diet

The 80-20 rule

Try to follow these guidelines at least 80 % of the time for                                           a healthy lifestyle change.

But if you do need additional help and support then please consider coming to see me for a nutrition consultation

Do you want to lose weight

Should calories be on children’s menus?

Should calories be on children’s menus?

This question came up when the Nottingham Post contacted me recently about a local woman who was worried calorie information on children’s menus could encourage, amongst other things eating disorders

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There is no getting away from the fact that child obesity is on the increase; in England the latest data* shows that nearly 23% of 4-5 year olds and 34% of 10-11 year olds are either overweight or obese.  The NHS under certain circumstance will even carry out bariatric surgery (gastric bands etc) on children; 23 operations for patients aged 12-17 were undertaken between 2011 – 2013

obesity

As with many things the answer of whether or not children’s meals should carry calorie data is not that simple.

Growing children have high calorie needs for bone, brain and muscle development, they are also (generally) more active and therefore need a full range of different foods to supply those calories.

children menu

But why all the concern in the first place, surely a few extra cakes, biscuits, cans of fizzy drinks or burgers can’t do that much harm, Can they?!

According to the NHS

Children who are overweight or obese can develop health problems during childhood because of their weight. Health problems can include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, fatty liver disease, gallstones and risk factors for heart disease. These health problems have traditionally been problems just affecting adults, with overweight and obese adults having an increased risk of developing them. But because of the rises in the levels of childhood obesity, some of these obesity-related health problems are now affecting younger people.

 

If manufacturers and retailers go down this route maybe a traffic light system may be the better option.  Red; approach with caution (occasional treat), Amber; have as part of a balanced diet and Green; ‘fill your boots’

And finally I think the best way for children to learn how to eat healthily is to be guided by a parent, grandparent or carer.  So us adults have to lead by example and learn to love our veggies, especially the green leafy kind and all those wonderful and colourful vegetables and fruits, snack on fresh fruit, drink plenty of water, limit the amount of processed and fast food that’s available and as family get active

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There is lots of advice out there to help you and your families to make healthy choices, check out these websites: British nutrition foundation, NHS, gov.uk-school meals, children food trust, eat better start better

Or simply look though my blog and find family friendly recipes and dishes.  I also offer nutritional advice and cooking lessons that are all family friendly

Do you want to lose weight

* House of commons briefing paper Obesity Statistics Number 3336, 20 March 2018

The ultimate vegan burger

The ultimate vegan burger

The Horse and Plough at Bingham has over the last year or so been increasing its range and diversity of vegan food.  But now I think they have excelled themselves by creating what, in my opinion is the ultimate vegan burger

horse and plough

Dan the manager took to Facebook to ask what the new creation should be called; third was ‘no piggin way’, a very close second came ‘I cant believe its not suffered’ but the winner was ‘fakey McBacon face’.

burger

So last night I went with my other half to try out this experience for myself.  We were shown to our table upstairs away from the hustle and bustle of a busy bar.

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I was given an extensive separate vegan menu and my O-H the standard menu.  All my options sounded delicious from the Dansak curry to the tempeh fish and chips.  But there was only one dish on my mind and that was fakey McBacon face.

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And when it arrived I wasn’t disappointed, first of all it looked like a normal burger; same ciabatta bun, same salad garnish, same skin on chips.  It was just the contents that set it apart from my partner’s meat version

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The burger itself was thick, chewy, sticky and had a great smoky taste.  The facon and vegan cheese was a nice touch, as were the gherkins, the dry and crispy chips and the wasabi infused salad dressing,   I was also offered vegan mayo, of course I sad yes.

When you take a big bite all that the flavour is overwhelming, but absolutely delicious and I made a complete mess of it so I went in with my knife and fork to maintain a modicum of restraint.

horse and plough burger

It was all washed down with a vegan beer, and I could had had a choice of them which was a lovely surprise.

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The best thing about this burger was the chefs attention to detail, it wasn’t just a run of the mill mass produced vegan burger, it was handmade, correctly seasoned, great texture and had the right accompaniments.  It made me really appreciate the attention to detail and thought that had gone in to it

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Dan and his team at the Horse and Plough are doing us vegans proud, their vegan options are so delicious even my omnivore other half would have happily ordered the fakey Mcbacon face burger. High praise indeed

Pizza Express review

Veg out restaurant review – Pizza Express, West Bridgford

Pizza Express review

I recently discovered that if you download the Pizza Express App and enter some personal information you’re rewarded with a free pizza.  So that’s exactly what I did and one late Friday afternoon my friend and I rather excitedly walked in to the West Bridgford restaurant.

pizza App

 

We were not only excited at the thought of having a free pizza but also that the pizza would have on it vegan cheese.  We rather half-heartedly perused the menu having already decided that we’d skip the ‘bready’ starters and go straight to the classic Vegan Giardiniera.

pizza Epress

But we’d made a schoolgirl error by not looking at the T&Cs; the offer wasn’t available on a Friday and Saturday, Doh!  But all wasn’t lost because the App held out a little olive branch in the form of a starter and main course for £9.95 available on a Friday.  Not the free pizza we were hoping for but a bit of a bargain non-the less

Pizza offer

PE

 

 

My review is also online at the Nottingham Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of the starters are not vegan friendly but the staff were really accommodating and, contrary to the specific offer, informed us that we could order anything from the appetizer and starter section.  We opted for marinated olives and roasted tomatoes and asked for the classic Vegan Giardiniera pizza.

pizza

We eagerly tucked in to our generously portioned starters, and were only half way through when our pizzas arrived.  They looked like regular pizzas, an important issue for many vegans because we like to eat food that doesn’t draw undue attention to our food choices.  The size was perfect, a thin crispy base, a well flavoured sauce, generous amount of toppings (Artichoke, closed cup mushroom, red onion and black olives, with tomato and garlic oil) and the all important vegan mozzarella alternative, which was gooey and melting

pizza

We finished every last piece and it was delicious. The only minor downside to this tasty eating experience was the level of noise.  We ate at 5.30, prime children’s tea time and they were out in force. It’s great that the restaurant is so accommodating but the acoustics and hard surfaces make the sounds echo and bounce around which can be distracting.  So if you want a quiet meal I’d suggest you eat later.

 

Finally, PE’s website has a helpful vegan menu, which is great but if you are a vegan and a regular visitor to the chain you may soon get bored of the delicious but quite limited options.