Veg out – the Botanist, West Bridgford

Veg out – the Botanist, West Bridgford

The Botanist on Bridgford Road opened last autumn on the site of the former ‘Fire and Ice’.  Its theme is plant based cocktails using herbs and botanicals.

But on the occasion I visited with my friend we were only interested in its new vegan menu. So with much anticipation our server brought it to us, and then it was decision time

botanist vegan We opted to share the truffle mushroom starter, I ordered the beetroot and fig tart and my companion ordered the Malaysian curry for our main course. Dessert was yet to be decided!

I also love the fact that their website showcases its vegan menu

botanist

While we waited for the first course it gave us time to take in our surroundings; lots of exposed brick, a variety of tables for couples to large groups and good music that wasn’t too loud.  They also have live music on certain nights.

And then the starter arrived and it looked so appetising.

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It had some lovely peppery rocket too and a generous portion of mushrooms.  The taste didn’t disappoint either it had a deep intense mushroom flavour, and it was certainly big enough for two (£5.25).  I would definitely order it again

Nottm Post

 

You can also view my review online at Nottingham Post

 

 

 

 

Our main courses were also a feast for the eyes.  The Malaysian vegetable curry (£9.95) had such a vibrant colour and chunky vegetables that were definitely al dente

veg out the botanist

I had a sneaky taste of my friends dish and it was very well flavoured with a nice amount of heat. The addition of peas to the rice provided a pop of colour and some much needed protein.  To make the meal more balanced the addition of cashew nuts, edamame beans or tofu would have added protein

veg out the botanist My beetroot tart (£8.95) was equally as attractive and just as tasty.

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The accompanying generous salad was light and crunchy with crisp apples and walnuts. A flavour that goes really well with beetroot is horseradish, so maybe an adaptation for this dish would be to serve a horseradish dressing.

botanist vegan

 

botanist vegan

 

My empty board says it all!!

On that note what’s your thoughts about boards, especially as a vegan if the board had previously had a steak on it?!

 

We decided it would be rude not to have a pudding, we chose to share the banana, peanut butter and chocolate ice-cream (£5.50).  It made a pleasant change from the ubiquitous fresh fruit salad or sorbet

The taste was amazing but the portion for the price was a bit meagre.  A good addition would have been some roasted or griddled bananas

Overall we were really impressed with the separate vegan menu, the service was very efficient and friendly and the surroundings were very comfortable.

Definitely a place that vegans and non vegans can enjoy

 

 

 

 

Veg out – No 12 Hounds Gate, Nottingham

Veg out – No 12 Hounds Gate, Nottingham

 

For various reasons many of you are trying ‘veganuary’, a world wide Campaign to encourage people to be vegan for the whole of January.

veganuary

As you know I was a lifelong vegetarian and a recent convert to vegananism and I’m always on the look out for new places to try that are either wholly vegan/vegetarian or have great vegan options. And No 12 Hounds Gate in the City centre (formerly the white rabbit teahouse) is a great new find. It’s a small independent vegan/vegetarian café run by a young couple, Ritchie and Lauren who pride themselves on making dishes from scratch using locally sourced ingredients and suppliers.

no 12 hounds gate

The owners Lauren and Ritchie

 

And their promise is that anything on the menu can be made vegan

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They shut at 4.30, so my friend and I decided to have a very late lunch or was it an early tea and arrived at 3pm, there was not a seat to be had. But the other visitors kindly moved around and with some rejigging and many apologetic smiles for nudging and bumping we were seated.

specials

Now time to concentrate on the menu and the specials board. We were spoilt for choice I didn’t know whether to have an open sandwich, with some delicious and unusual sounding fillings, a robust salad or make up my own Buddha bowl. But we both agreed we needed to save some room for a pudding!

pastrami

Pastrami and wholegrain

 

In the end I opted for Pastrami and wholegrain – homemade vegan pastrami, wholegrain mustard, mayo, sauerkraut, gooey vegan cheese and rocket served on toasted bread for £5. My friend ordered the ‘special’ warm roasted carrot salad with quinoa, mint, clementine, cranberry’s, vegan cheese and walnuts for £7.50

carrot salad

warm roasted carrot salad

 

Check out my review online at the Nottingham Post http://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/food-drink/vegan-reviewer-cant-fault-nottingham-1089499

NP vegan review

When my open sandwich arrived it looked pretty impressive, as was the large carrot salad. Both looked beautiful, but equally as important they tasted delicious and not to miss out we shared the dishes. Ritchie and Lauren had somehow elevated the humble carrot to being the star of the show and I still don’t know how they made the pastrami but it was amazing and each mouthful had so many different flavours and textures.

pastrami1

After a suitable gap we decided to share a pudding and opted for the ‘special’ toasted homemade banana bread with vegan peanut butter and chocolate ice cream topped with caramelised walnuts for £4. Now who wouldn’t want to tuck in to that and we weren’t disappointed when it arrived. It was gooey, chocolatey and peanut buttery. I was very pleased we decided to share because it was a rather generous portion

banana cake

toasted homemade banana bread

 

I would highly recommend this café to anyone. The owners are very accommodating and engaging and were happy to talk to us about their plans for the future of the café. It has a very sociable feel to it, partly because it is so cosy and the tables are quite close together.

We were the last to leave and the closed sign had just been put up but a young couple were standing outside in the cold looking at the menu so Ritchie said they could come in and eat something whist they tidied up the café. How kind is that

steamy outside

 

5 weightloss tips

5 weightloss tips

5 weight loss tips

Be active

Walk as much as possible, not only will you burn calories, build muscle and strengthen bones but you’ll enjoy being in the great outdoors and benefit from all those happy hormones

women walking

 Learn to relax

When we are stressed we release hormones like cortisol and that can cause us to overeat; increased levels of the hormone can cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods.

Find ways to unwind, that could be listening to music, spending time in the garden, having a cup of tea, meditating, have a calming bath, walking the dog etc

Make the calories count

Reduce the amount of high fat and high sugar foods in your diet, and limit them to occasional treats. Replace biscuits, sweets, cakes, crisps, fast food, pastries etc with fresh fruit, dried fruit, small amounts of dark chocolate and nuts, grilled versions of your fried favourites or smaller portions

portion-sizes

Seek professional support

That could be a slimming group, buddying up with a pal and visiting a gym or coming to see someone like me who could help you make small but permanent changes or help you make healthy nutritious meals at my cookery classes.

vegan cookery class 17 Oct

80/20 rule

You don’t have to be 100% perfect 100% of the time. Try and incorporate in to your lifestyle 80% of actions and intentions that help you achieve your goal like the four tips above. That leaves 20% of your lifestyle that doesn’t necessarily help to achieve your goal but you enjoy, such as treats, fast food and less exercise.

Banana and peanut butter Bread

Vegan Banana and peanut butter Bread –12 slices

This is a great way to use up ripe bananas that might otherwise end up in the bin or composter.  You can also defrost and use any ripe bananas that you have in the freezer.  An extra addition could be 1 tbsp cacao powder, but you will need to add 1 tbsp water to keep the same consistency

I baked this very cake for the visitors at Maggie’s cancer support centre, in Nottingham.  A very kind person sent me this message

“Just been to Maggie’s Susan and had some of your lovely banana cake. X”

 

vegan

225g Plain flour (or use Self-raising flour and no baking powder)

2 tsp of Baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water – mixed together

100g Brown/coconut sugar or 75g agave/maple syrup/golden syrup/date syrup

2 tsp Cinnamon or Mixed spice

1 tbsp cacao powder and 1 tbsp water (optional)

4 large very ripe bananas, mashed

75g (80ml) Vegetable or Sunflower oil

120g wholenut peanut butter

2lb loaf tin and grease proof paper or liners

  • Pre-heat oven to 200C/180Fan/400F/ gas 6
  • Mash the peeled bananas with a fork. Mix well with oil, peanut butter, vanilla extract, flaxseed mix and sugar (and 1 tbsp water if adding cacao powder)
  • Mix the flour, baking powder and cinnamon/mixed spice (and cacao powder if using) together then add to the banana mix and combine well.

This short video shows the cakes consistency and how easy it is to prepare the loaf tin when using a paper liner

  • Pour in to a greased and lined 2lb loaf tin and place in the oven for 20 minutes, before checking. Cover with foil, if the loaf cake is browning. Bake for another 40 minutes (approximately).

vegan cake

  • Allow to cool a little before slicing. It’s delicious freshly baked but even yummier when it goes squidgy the next day!

vegan cakeDo let me know how you get on, and if you make any alterations or additions to the recipe

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Holiday stress

Holiday stress

Are you planning a late summer getaway?

 

Obviously there are things you must do like book the flights, car hire etc, pack (and re-pack), if it’s a ‘hand luggage’ only trip then baggage allowance is a primary concern!

So instead of the holiday distressing you it’s stressing you before you even get on the plane

To help you get the most out of your holiday Hayes & Jarvis, the holiday destination specialist have put together a really useful guide called ‘the four pillars’

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http://www.hayesandjarvis.co.uk/four-pillars-of-holiday-relaxation/

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Communication
  • Nutritional

They asked me to collaborate with them to produce the nutritional element. In there you will find information about hydration, alcohol and some simple meal planning ideas.

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http://www.hayesandjarvis.co.uk/four-pillars-of-holiday-relaxation/four-pillars.html#three

holiday

 

I hope you have an enjoyable, relaxing and healthy getaway