Saturday, July 24, 2010

Blazing Salads

Today I went for lunch at Blazing Salads, which is a little deli on Drury Street in Dublin 2, just down from the rear entrance to George's Street Arcade. Their salads are freshly prepared on the day and although filling a tub can be quite expensive, it is worth every cent. There are several salads available, all of which are vegan:

  • Tabouli
  • Fruity Red cabbage with orange & apple
  • Carrot with toasted almond in a lemon olive oil dressing
  • Noodles with spicy/balsamic shoyu dressing
  • Dutch white cabbage salad with dulse seaweed
  • Tossed mixed leaves, red onion shaved carrot with lemon & mustard
  • Chickpeas with carrot, red onion in chilli/lemon dressing
  • New potato with pinto bean, radicio in balsamic dressing  
  • Energy boosting lentil & barley salad  
  • Tomato, avocado, cucumber with fresh oregano, fresh mint & olive oil
  • Hummus

Blazing Salads also have a refrigerated section for sandwiches and healthy homemade ready-meals, a deli counter full of samosas, burgers, cakes and biscuits, and always have a few soups on offer. Most of their produce is vegetarian although there are several vegan options and it's definitely worth a visit - I guarantee that everything is so nice you won't be able to choose what to get, so you'll just have to keep on visiting! ;)

Here's a picture of a lovely hot cocoa with soya milk that I had while I relaxed on the streets of Temple Bar, chilling and chatting with friends.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oh YES Please!

Look what I found in the Asian Market! Peanut Butter and Chocolate flavour Oreos! I assume they are vegan as there's no mention of milk on the ingredients list... then again there's no mention of chocolate or peanut butter :-/ I have come across other varieties of Asian Oreos before which are totally vegan, so I assume that these are as well as they were alongside the vegan cream, strawberry and chocolate flavour ones on the same shelf... if anyone knows otherwise please inform me!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lush Foundation & Blemish Control

Lush have recently brought out vegan Colour Supplements for the face. They come in very small pots and can be blended with your favourite moisturiser to give your skin a nice glow and even-coverage, or can be used on their own to hide blemishes. If you have trouble choosing which colour is most suited to your skin tone you can blend different colours together until you find the right shade. The pots are quite expensive but go a long way. I don't use much make up on my face at all as I prefer the natural look, but if I'm going out I'll apply some of this and one application lasts the whole night. I've been avoiding using it lately though, as I'm a bit wary of how it affects dermatitis, but I'm sure the occasional application won't do any harm!

Marlay Soup Stall

At the Food Market in Marlay Park they now have a soup stall that sells some vegan soup! I tried the deliciously creamy broccoli soup, and could have eaten at least another three bowls full! There was also a vegan mushroom soup, a vegetarian spinach soup and a tomatoey-oniony kind of soup which I was dismayed to discover had sausages in it! For €3.50 you get a reasonably large takeaway pot of your choice of soup, a large half-slice of wholesome brown bread (although I'm sure you could ask for two if you wanted!), topped with herb & cruton garnishes. My friends and I also bought vegan almond & hazelnut cookies from the Blazing Salads stall, falafels, and many other kinds of cakes. Next time I come here I am going to try the tabbouleh and baba-ganoush from the falafel stall.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Oh-ts My Goodness!

Now here's something worth blogging about - a healthy superfood breakfast that tastes like dessert!

A lot of people seem to be blogging nowadays about these vegan overnight oats so I thought I'd give it a go from the recipe they have all been using over at Oh She Glows. It's very simple to throw together the evening before, and then you just layer it up in the morning with your desired toppings. I chose to mix in a teaspoon of cinnamon, a layer of blackcurrant purée and a dollop of vegan chocolate spread.

I used:
- 1/3 cup of oats
- 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
- just under 1 cup soya milk
- 1 small mashed banana
- dash of vanilla essence
- blackcurrant purée
- blob of vegan hazelnut chocolate spread

I wasn't sure what it would taste like, as I've never had chia seeds before. They swell up overnight, becoming soft in texture and look rather like tapioca. The mashed banana really adds sweetness without having to add any extra sugar. Next time I am going to try it with peanut butter & chocolate spread. I can just tell I'm going to be having this breakfast quite regularly over the remaining Summer days!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Nothing better than some rum, lemonade, limes and fresh mint!
All those fruits and herbs are good for me, right? ;)


The lovely Aoife from Adventures In Veg tagged me in a post to write 10 facts about myself. Of course, being the fascinating person that I am, it is going to take me a while to whittle the vast array of amazing factoids about myself down to the meagre number of 10... but I'll give it a go! ;)

01. I was once in a train crash when I was 18 years old.
02. My favourite bands are Holy Fuck, Ratatat, Caribou, Liars & Dan Deacon.
03. I have no idea what I want to do with my life, but am content all the same.
04. When I was 14 a landrover crashed into me and my horse and he had to be put down.
05. I've gone from a size 14 to a size 6, used to hate cakes but am now addicted to them!
06. My boyfriend and I have the same taste in everything, yet still manage to argue!
07. I have always wanted to go to Mexico and Japan, I'll get around to it some day.
08. There is no better feeling than riding my bike, I've travelled all over Europe with it.
09. My dad is the most amazing person I know and I miss him every single day.
10. I finding bargains, although all these bargains probably add up to a lot of money!

I have to pick others to tag. I choose:
- Vegan Crunk
- Maple♥Spice
- Food Flora and Felines

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Berry Smoothies

I have no idea why I don't make smoothies more often. Bananas are the most useful ingredient when making smoothies, as they make them creamy without having to use milk, and make them thick and gloopy - more like a meal than a drink. As I've been snacking all day today and haven't really had any exercise I wasn't really in the mood for a big dinner so I thought I'd get a good healthy smoothie down my throat :)  I'm not the biggest fan of banana - since I was 6 years old I was *convinced* I was allergic to them after throwing up and thinking my throat was swelling and closing in on itself - however, fast forward about 25 years and I discovered I was indeed NOT allergic to them, so started to eat them on a regular basis... so much so that I began to hate them again!  Now I only eat them in smoothies and in dried chip format.

All I did to make this smoothie was blend together one large banana and half a cup of mixed fresh berries with 200ml of fresh orange juice. It's so simple, so cheap, yet so tasty...

Monday, July 12, 2010


Following on from the Spaghetti Bolognaise I made last week, I used some more TVP soya mince to make Burritos this week. Here's a picture of the Burrito before I rolled it up:

It contains refried beans, rocket, salsa and soya mince fried in Old El Paso burrito spice mix and a bit of chilli sauce. The boy had some mayonnaise and cheese with his as well, and the tortilla flour wraps were garlic flavoured. I'd planned on getting some veganaise and guacaomle, but it was very tasty without.

Breakfast of Champions

After my Café Bar Deli dessert experience (well, not so much my own experience, but the stealing-off-my-friends experience!) I decided to concoct my own breakfast recipe. I went to the doctor's this morning, so feeling sorry for myself I went to the supermarket and bought myself two tantilising punnets of fresh Irish strawberries with the intention of marinading them in balsamic vinegar. I looked up a few recipes online and saw them served with such things as yoghurt, cream cheese, jelly, chocolate mousse, etc. so decided to make my own variation and serve it with Alpro raspberry and vanilla soya yoghurt and mixed pumpkin & sunflower seeds.

I marinaded 6 halved strawberries in 2 dessert spoons of balsamic, drained the excess vinegar off and then sprinkled a heaped teaspoon of xylitol (healthy and all-natural sugar substitute) over the top of the strawberries and stirred it in. I then put the yoghurt and seeds in a glass and garnished it with the strawberries. Admittedly I was lacking a decent glass for serving, so the strawberries ended up poking out of the top, but it was still out-of-this-world delicious and worked very well together. It would be even nicer with a few shavings of dark chocolate, or a sprinkling of some dessicated coconut and a sprig of mint..... feel free to experiment! This is definitely going to be my breakfast for the next 3 days, and my hamster LOVES the taste of Alpro soya so I always scoop a small amount onto my finger after I've finished and let him lick it off! ^_^

In other news, I have been suffering from dermatitis recently. My face has become dry, itchy and bumpy. It's not very noticeable but at times it has really been bothering me. I'm not sure why this is, as I've never had a problem with it before, although my mother did suffer from ecsema and skin allergies so I know I have to be extremely careful. I am currently on antibiotics for this condition for 3 months, and I am relieved that I am able to do something about it, but also not sure if my medication is vegan. I hate the thought that my meds may have been tested on animals. Seeing animals suffering for humans breaks my heart. I have chosen not to Google the companies' names in fear that I discover something I don't like. I know this is literally turning a blind eye, but what am I to do? I either have to put up with this infuriating and irritating condition on my face in hope that one day it will magically disappear, or I have to do something about it. I have been using Dream Cream from Lush which is vegan and really helps to moisturise my skin, as well as Calamine Lotion to stop it itching, but they can only soothe the dermatitis, not completely cure it. I wonder what other vegans do in my situation? This is a totally new aspect of veganism that I have come across, something like this really hasn't been an issue for me in the past but now I'm beginning to realise how difficult things can be.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Café Bar Deli

There is a chain of Italian restaurants in Dublin (and a couple of other locations in Ireland) called Café Bar Deli. The food here has always been lovely and very healthy - thin crispy based pizzas, delicious and adventurous salads, a great selection of food for coeliacs, just the right sized portions for pasta dishes, and huge desserts! I went there last night with a group of my gorgeous girl friends and was very impressed with the food and the service. Café Bar Deli changes its menu quite often and does sometimes have specific vegan dishes on the agenda, but when we arrived there last night I discovered that there was nothing completely vegan I could have. However, I had spoken to the waiter on the phone previously and even though certain dishes could easily have been veganised by omitting the cheese/meat, he said that the chef had taken my diet into consideration and had a few things planned that he could make me especially. I ended up getting THIS wonderful concoction: Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Cous Cous.

... a huge pile of roasted aubergines, courgettes, garlic, red onion, peppers and sundried tomatoes, over a generous heap of red pepper cous cous. It was delicious! I was told that it would come with Salad and Hummus, but these never turned up... I wasn't complaining though, it was still very good without them. It was rather filling too, which was lucky because there really wasn't anything on the dessert menu that I could have had. Although in hindsight, I'd have been perfectly content with a bowl of balsamic vinegar marinaded strawberries (my friends had some with a very tempting looking meringue so I stole a couple - I can't believe how well this unusual combination worked!). Everybody really enjoyed their meal and I hope that my suggesting and recommending the restaurant didn't leave anyone disappointed. I will definitely be going back again, the staff are friendly and accommodating, the food is cooked to perfection and not at all greasy, and it's also very good value.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Spaghetti Bolognaise

I haven't had this for a while and I wanted to actually sit down with my boy and eat the same thing as him for a change. He's a meat eater, and even though he does like a lot of vegan food that I make, he'd always rather have his meat and dairy... so I decided I'd make a Spaghetti Bolognaise for us both, using TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein), also known as Soya Mince. You can buy it dry in most health food shops, in minced or chunky format, and all you need to do is soak it for a while prior to cooking. It's very spongey so when you drain it you have to squeeze the water out quite well. The advantage to this however, is that it soaks sauces up really nicely. We came in from a long day's galavanting, so it was an ideal quick meal.

All I did was fry up some onions and garlic, add some low fat pasta sauce, basil and sweetcorn, then add the pre-soaked TVP and served it over wholewheat brown spaghetti. I dislike normal 'white' spaghetti, I don't think there's much to it, but wholewheat spaghetti is lovely! It tastes different to brown pasta and I think it really adds flavour to a dish. It's quite nutty and it also goes well with vegan pesto. My mother used to make Spaghetti Bolognaise with this type of spaghetti, so it really brings back childhood memories when I eat it.

 Sorry about the bad photo, it was very steamy and kept fuzzing up my lens! I only had a small portion (this is a side plate) as the boy needs a lot of food and I also wanted to save some for my dinner tomorrow as it's SO yummy! :)

Next week I plan on making some Burritos with this soya protein mince, some Old El Paso spice mix, sweetcorn, onions, peppers, guacamole & salsa - another dish the boyfriend loves!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Life would be Hell without Pizza!

I went to Hell Pizza TWICE this weekend! Their vegan pizzas are just lovely. I went with a group of friends and one of them didn't really want to eat much so he got some wedges and some of us donated him slices of our pizzas... and he was quite shocked that the vegan pizza was his favourite!

Here's a photo of the said article, a snack-size pizza with toppings of refried beans, spicy salsa, peppers, onions, tomato, gherkins and pineapple:

We spent an amazing weekend at the Kings of Concrete, chilling with my boyfriend's brother who was doing some artwork at the festival and cheering on a friend in the breakdancing competition, who came second. A weekend of good food, a lot of drinking and relaxing in the sun :)