Wednesday, 31 August 2016

THE SOUNDTRACK TO MY LIFE IN 2016... #2


These have been the songs that I have been listening to and dancing to over the Summer and just before hand. I want to put this on my blog so I can always come back to them in years to come and those close to me can get the same vibes I get from the music I chose to listen to. I like music that lifts my soul and makes me feel a complete excitement for life itself and I hope that shines through in these song choices. 


Peace out Potatoes xo

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Monday, 29 August 2016

MY WEEK IN PHOTOS - JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, REGENT'S PARK OPEN-AIR THEATRE & BOSTON BOAT TRIP!

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Sunday, 28 August 2016

BOSTON, LINCOLNSHIRE | UK


I had such an amazing day in Boston today. My father owns a few boats and we went out on one of them for the day. We saw the sights, I read my new book and had a nice vegan lunch on board. Life is really about savouring these moments with your loved ones while you can. I'm glad there is still time to really savour moments and days like these with my father. I had the best cuddles with my beautiful dog Riley too, I can't express how much love I have for my dog, he is my baby, my friend and my brother. He is so full of character and the amount of laughter he brings to my life is never capped.

After the boat ride my uncle and I walked to the 'Boston stump' with my Riles and saw all the cute shops and buildings. I love Boston, it's super duper cute! When we got back to my father's from the boat we had a lovely meal (My dad and uncle had meatballs and I had Linda McCartney sausages with a homemade tomato sauce and brown spaghetti). After dinner, we watched some rubbish TV together and took the dog out one more time. I love taking Riley for walks at night here in Lincoln, you can see all of the stars in all their glory. There are so many of them in all different sizes. It's so beautiful up there and there is so much going on up there, you'd be a moron to think there isn't a lot more going on up there than the media has led people to believe. There is so much more to life than we are led to believe... I am certain of it.
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THE WEEKLY EAT - LUNCH (VEGAN)



From Top to Bottom

PEPPER ME UP
Houmous, pepper, olives & tomato on seeded sandwich thins.
PASTA LA VISTA BABY
Vegan pesto, olives, organic cherry tomatoes, organic brown spaghetti & black pepper. 
PRETTY PICNIC 
Crackers, grilled vegetables, olives, carrot sticks, houmous, red pepper houmous & grapes.
PICNIC IN THE PARK
Olives, sun-dried tomatoes, houmous, bread roll  & a berry mix.
PIMIENTO POWER
Warm mixed bell peppers, tomatoes, and tofu.
TANTALISING TOFU
Linda McCartney sausages, brown sauce, yellow pepper, red onions, garam masala & scrambled tofu.

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Thursday, 25 August 2016

REVIEW: ICHOC Rice Chocolate Range


These chocolate bars are to DIE for (whilst ensuring animals don't have to). I plan on writing a separate blog post reviewing these because they deserve a special mention and shout out from the rooftop. They're made out of rice milk instead of cow's milk and they are seriously the tastiest and best-textured bars going. My uncle bought me six of these for my birthday and they've blown everything else out of the water! They have fabulous ingredients too that seem to work far better than fellow brands. GENIUS is an understatement for these bars. 


ICHOC WHITE CHOCOLATE VANILLA ★★★★★ 
Oh my goodness. Just, wowzies. This is the most amazing vegan white chocolate I have ever tasted. It tastes exactly the same as milky bar with no weird soya aftertaste. The texture is creamy with no claggy powder effect and it is just a beautiful chocolate bar. It's £1.73 a bar but I'd actually willingly pay a lot more than that if I had to. I would avoid smelling this product, though - it smells slightly like a dog treat if I am honest. However, ignoring that, it is amazing! Absolutely a-mazing. The Normal' chocolate equivalent: Milky bar or Cadbury's dream

Ingredients: raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, rice milk powder, 18% tiger nut semolina, ground bourbon vanilla pods. 

ICHOC WHITE NOUGAT CRISP ★★★★★ 
This has a strange colour but I guess that doesn't matter when it tastes as delicious as it does. My goodness, these bars really are revolutionary to vegan chocolate. It's got the texture, taste, and smell to boot. I can't stop praising these chocolate bars. Again, I'd pay more than £1.75 (although I am glad it's this price obviously). The 'Normal' chocolate equivalent: Caramac and GOLD bars.

Ingredients: raw cane sugar, hazelnut paste 23%, cocoa butter, rice milk powder 11.5%, hazelnut brittle 8% (raw cane sugar, hazelnuts, corn-glucose syrup, caramel syrup, bourbon vanilla extract. 

ICHOC ALMOND ORANGE ★★★★☆ 
This chocolate is very good. It's got orange pieces in it and the crunch of the almonds and chewiness of the orange work very well together. It's affordable, interesting, delicious, and cruelty-free. What more could a girl ask for? I can tell some people may not like the orange as it does get stuck to your teeth but, for the flavours involved, I thought that was very much worth it. The 'Normal' chocolate equivalent: Orange Crunch sweet in Quality street at first bite, but the fresh orange inside makes it a bit more like LIDL's own dark chocolate bar.

Ingredients: raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa paste, rice milk powder 14%, chopped almonds*4%, orange granules 3%, hazelnut paste, orange oil, bourbon vanilla extract. cocoa: at least 40% chocolate content 

ICHOC MILKLESS BAR ★★★★☆
This is so creamy and luxurious. Definitely the best plain vegan milk chocolate alternative I have tried. I don't think a non-vegan would even notice this didn't have milk in to be honest. The 'Normal' chocolate equivalent: Galaxy.

Ingredients: raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, rice drink powder 14 %, cocoa mass, tiger nuts*(ground), hazelnut paste, bourbon vanilla extract, sea salt. Cocoa solids: 37 % minimum.

ICHOC SUPER NUT BAR ★★☆☆☆ 
I won't buy this bar again. I didn't find it to be as flavoursome as the others. It reminded me of a NESTLE nut chocolate bar I used to get when I was younger when my father lived in Spain. The 'Normal' chocolate equivalent: NESTLE nutty bar or Cadbury's fruit & nut.

Ingredients: raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, hazelnuts 20%, rice drink powder 11 %, cocoa mass, tiger nuts (ground), hazelnut paste, bourbon vanilla extract, sea salt. Cocoa solids: 37 % minimum.

ICHOC CHOCO COOKIE ★★★★★
Okay so, when I was a cow pus guzzling human being, I used to LOVE galaxy cookie crumble and now here it is in vegan form but better, may I add. It has large chunks of cookie, which have a similar taste and texture to Oreos. This chocolate tastes creamy and luxurious - this is my favourite alternative to milk chocolate bar so far. The 'Normal' chocolate equivalent: Galaxy cookie crunch.

Ingredients: raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa paste, rice milk powder 13%, cocoa biscuits 12% (wheat flour, cocoa powder, raw cane sugar, sunflower oil, sugar beet syrup, sea salt), hazelnut paste, bourbon vanilla extract. cocoa: at least 40% chocolate content

I am so impressed with this chocolate range. It seems rice milk is the perfect replacement in order to make luxurious vegan chocolate with a creamy consistency. They're affordable and there are six interesting, delicious and innovative flavours with all different textures to choose from. I am in love with these chocolate bars!
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Sunday, 21 August 2016

A GUIDE TO VEGAN CHOCOLATE - COMPARISON CONUNDRUM

There are lots of vegetarians and non-vegetarians who want to go vegan but just don't seem to be able to do so. So, I have decided to write a blog series called 'comparison conundrum' in order to put all the alternative products in one place for people to realise just how many options there are available, which ones are must-haves and which ones should be avoided. My good friend Aoife has been craving chocolate since she went vegan so I have decided to start with chocolate; I will also be doing one about milk alternatives, vegan cheese, and vegan ice-cream. If you know anyone who is going vegan, or says they cannot because they 'love chocolate too much', or 'can't live without cheese', send them over here and I'll sort them out! (Ha!)

So, I digress, today's post is focused on vegan chocolate. Obviously, vegans can eat dark chocolate, and I do love dark chocolate myself, especially the orange and mint kind. LIDL's do a very good range with these. I also love Green & Blacks dark chocolate with ginger. I'd like to take this opportunity to remind anyone, who may think all chocolate is bad for you, that dark chocolate is a great source of fibre, iron, magnesium, copper and manganese and it also contains plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. Sometimes they do say 'May contain milk' at the back and I do still eat these, however, I must say I do prefer a brand that is certified vegan.

Chocolate is chocolate though. Chocolate that isn't dark doesn't tend to be good for you, as it is essentially just a heap of sugar. So, I am not suggesting any of these should be a part of one's daily diet, I simply recommend these products for the transition period or merely as treat once in a while. As it should just be as a treat you may as well make it a slightly healthier and cruelty-free treat though, right?! 
VEGO BAR ★★★★★
This chocolate bar is the absolute creme de la creme of vegan chocolate options. They sell it in whole foods stores, online, v-bites cafes and in selected health food stores. It usually costs £1.50 for a small bar, and £3.00 for the larger bar, but it is absolutely worth every single penny. People always say veganism is expensive, and it is for alternatives, but I would rather pay a little extra and ensure I am not paying into the rape and torture of a cow whilst ensuring I am not manipulating my hormones with bovine growth fluid. Also, if the price puts you off, let's remember that chocolate is meant to be as a treat and not a daily thing, and also that it does not all need to be eaten at once. The 'Normal chocolate equivilant to this is Nutella (solidified).

Vego is made with sugar, whole hazelnuts (20%), hazelnut paste, cocoa powder, emulsifier: soy lecithin and vanilla extract. The fact that it is made primarily from hazelnuts is what makes it taste like a solid bar of Nutella. If you're vegan, and miss Nutella, get yourself a bar of this - you could even try to melt it if you really wanted your Nutella fix. This chocolate bar is 100% one of my favourite vegan chocolate bars and I would highly recommend it! I have given bars to many of my non-vegan friends to get feedback for this blog post and they also feel the same so why not give it a go?!
PLUMIL ORGANIC ALTERNATIVE TO MILK CHOCOLATE SPREAD ★☆☆☆☆
Speaking of Nutella, here is a little review about this chocolate spread. Personally, I'd avoid. It's disgusting; it's oily, bland and just does not hit the spot. I gave it one star because at least they gave it a try. I bought mine from Holland and Barrett for about £3.00, I tried it twice and it's been sitting in my cupboard ever since. The 'Normal' chocolate equivalent: a cheap, poor quality, own-brand chocolate spread

ingredients: sugar, sunflower oil, soya flour, cacao powder, (4%), palm fat, emulsifier, and sunflower lecithin. Due to those ingredients, I am not surprised that it tastes rank. I think they should add some vanilla extract or maybe they should take a leaf out of vego bars books and add some hazelnut paste. They could be the next vegan Nutella, in fact, I want to make the next vegan Nutella. 
FRY'S CHOCOLATE CREAM (ORIGINAL, ORANGE & MINT) ★★★★★
These bars are AMAZING! They're dark chocolate bars with a sweet, creamy, fondant centre. The peppermint one is my favourite, but if you do not like peppermint, there are two other flavours to choose from - original and orange. They have a great taste, texture and the price isn't too shabby either. They only cost about 70p in certain newsagents. You can get them in Holland and Barrett too, although I believe them to be a little more expensive in there. Fry's chocolate creams were launched in 1866 and were one of the first chocolate bars to be produced. They have been dairy-free and vegan from the very beginning too, which is amazing - way before their time I'd say! The 'Normal' chocolate equivalent: they are the closest thing I have found to Cadbury's creme egg. The peppermint could be considered a sweeter version of after eights and the orange one is like the orange cream in quality streets!

Ingredients: Sugar, cocoa mass, glucose syrup, humectant (glycerol), vegetable fats (palm, shea), cocoa butter, emulsifiers (soya lecithins, E476), flavourings. (Eventually, I would like to cut out palm oil completely but, if this is not a concern to you, then these bars are perfect).
MOO-FREE CHOCOLATE
I love how I have tried almost the entire moo-free range as well (excluding the caramelised hazelnut and mint ranges), for no other reason than the fact I am an ultimate tank! (ha-ha). I'd like to take the opportunity here to point out that the great thing about moo-free products are that they contain all organic ingredients and taste beautiful. GENIUS! 

MOO-FREE ORIGINAL BAR & EASTER EGG ★★★★☆
Out of all the moo-free range this isn't my favourite but it isn't my last choice either. It is easily accessible as they sell it in Holland and Barrett, Sainsbury's, Tescos and Waitrose, which is handy. However, I would choose the other flavours, if they were also available, as they taste better. They may just be my personal taste, as I have never really opted for the simple chocolate bars - I like the ones with a little something-something you know. It is a lot better than some of the home brand 'free-from' chocolate bars I have tried and I do love using it for baking! The 'Normal' chocolate equivalent: Cadbury's dairy milk original bar.

The ingredients: cocoa solids (45%) (cocoa butter, cocoa mass), sugar (35%), rice powder (20%), emulsifier (sunflower lecithin) & natural flavouring. Organic ingredients. (YAY to no palm oil here!)

MOO-FREE ORANGE BAR & EGG ★★★★★
My goodness, this chocolate bar and egg were simply amazing. It tastes exactly the same as 'terry's chocolate orange' and when I say exactly the same, I mean it. This leads us to the question: Why the f*** have so many innocent, beautiful female cow's been tortured to deliver an abundance of terry's chocolate oranges every Christmas when you could make it taste exactly the same without the torture?? Mindless ingredients, mindless production and mindless consumerism must end! Speaking of Christmas, I've just realised just how much terror and disgusting conduct there is, behind that one day alone, just...  Jesus! (LOL). The 'Normal' chocolate equivalent: TERRY's chocolate orange.

The ingredients do differ slightly from the original bar. They consist of, Cocoa solids (42%) (cocoa butter, cocoa mass), sugar (32%), rice powder* (19%), orange (10%) (sugar, ethically sourced palm oil, natural flavour), emulsifier (sunflower lecithin) & natural flavouring.
MOO-FREE BUNNYCOMB (HONEYCOMB) ★★★★★
WOW! Just, WOW! This one took me by surprise as I had only tried the original, banana chip and the cranberry and hazelnut bars before this one. I expected this to be standard in quality, but, alas, I was wrong. It is AMAZING! Both Ben and I enjoyed our bars thoroughly with a nice cup of tea. It has a fabulous taste, with the added bonus of a fun crunch, and I would eat this every day if I could. The 'Normal' chocolate equivalent: Cadbury's honeycomb CRUNCHIE.

The ingredients are as follows: Cocoa solids (39%) (cocoa butter, cocoa mass), sugar (31%), rice powder (18%), honeycomb (12%) (sugar, glucose syrup, sodium bicarbonate, contains SULPHITES), emulsifier (sunflower lecithin) & natural flavouring. Once again, no palm oil. Obviously, these chocolates are high in sugar, but so are the ones that use cow pus liquid. 


MOO-FREE BANANA CHIP BAR ★★☆☆☆
I was super excited to try this as I love banana chips, like chocolate and I hadn't tried anything like it before. Whilst I love the crunch the banana adds to the bar, it doesn't do much for flavour. I couldn't taste the banana at all and, if I'm completely honest, the bar itself is just bland. So, for that reason, I rank it quite low as taste is poor. However, the texture is good though so, with a bit more flavour, this could have been amazing. All of these bars range from around £2.50-£2.75 which, in comparison to the one's that contain dairy, may seem expensive, but, as I said earlier, they are only meant to be a treat and when it comes to health, it's pay now or pay later. In all honesty, this chocolate bar is like no other commercial bar I have tried.

Ingredients: Cocoa solids (41%) (cocoa butter, cocoa mass), sugar (31%), rice powder (18%), banana chips (10%) (banana, coconut oil), emulsifier (sunflower lecithin) & natural flavouring.

CHOICE'S WHITE CHOCOLATE ★★★★★
Choice's do a white chocolate bunny, egg and rondellos. Oh My Goodness, Gracious, Giddy Aunt in a tree wrapped in rainbows. I ate about twelve of the bunnies in a week last Easter (I used to work for Holland and Barrett and they were just staring me in the face so don't judge, ha). I loved them but some may not as you can really taste the soya. It tastes a lot like soya milk so, if you're not a fan of soya milk, then this is not the bar for you. I love soya milk though so this (clearly) wasn't an issue for me! The texture is also slightly claggy in comparison to other vegan chocolate's I have tried so this may also be a big issue for some - I always have mine with tea. The bunnies cost £1.25, however, they were on deals often. The Easter egg with the buttons cost around £3.00 and I believe they sell the rondellos in sainsbury's for 65p. I gave this chocolate four stars because I have since discovered a vegan white chocolate that is far better and deserves five stars as it's taste and texture is just amazing. The Normal' chocolate equivalent:  milky-bar or caramac. (In fact, it tastes like a direct cross between the two and dunks beautifully in tea!)

Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin), peppermint oil, Cocoa solids 60% minimum)

ALL OF THIS NONE OF THAT BUNNY ★☆☆☆☆
Not a fan, I repeat, not a fan, at all. This chocolate bar left me feeling like a very unhappy bunny. It had an oily texture, a bland taste and lacked sugar. It cost £1.25 so for 25p extra you could get yourself a nice big, tasty vego bar packed with hazelnut goodness. I do not recommend the Easter bunny brings this one to any child next year. Yucky is the most fitting word and that is the technical term. The 'Normal' chocolate equivalent: Cadbury's Bournville (although that is actually slightly better(.

Ingredients: Cocoa butter, Cane sugar, Rice powder (rice syrup powder, rice starch, rice flour), Chicory root extract cocoa mass, emulsifier (sunflower lecithin). 
CHOICE'S RONDELLO'S ★★★☆☆
My boyfriend and I tried these the other evening as my friend bought me a few packs for my birthday. They are lovely. They have a good texture and taste. You can get them for 65p in Sainbury's and some H&B stores and they are the perfect replacement for chocolate buttons for little one's who may be dairy intolerant. The 'Normal' chocolate equivalent: munchies or rolos chocolate (without the caramel).

Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocao butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin), peppermint oil, cocoa solids 60% minimum.

ICHOC RICE CHOCOLATE RANGE
These chocolate bars are to DIE for (whilst ensuring animals don't have to). I plan on writing a separate blog post reviewing these because they deserve a special mention and shout out from the rooftop. They're made out of rice milk instead of cow's milk and they are seriously the tastiest and best-textured bars going. My uncle bought me six of these for my birthday and they've blown everything else out of the water! They have fabulous ingredients too that seem to work far better than fellow brands. GENIUS is an understatement for these bars. I have done a full review of every flavour here.
SAINSBURY'S OWN DAIRY-FREE CHOCOLATE ★☆☆☆☆
My sister and I tried the sainsbury's own bars the other week. Hideous, just hideous. I told my sister that I was going to give it one star and she was adament that I should give it zero stars. They were claggy and basically just tasted like a mouth full of oil. I would not recommend this to anyone and I especially wouldn't recommend it to someone who is thinking of transitioning into veganism. They are only 40p which makes them the same as, or maybe even less than what you would pay for a 'normal' chocolate bar - the expression 'pay peanuts and you'll get monkies' springs to mind in this case. I'd rather spend a few more pennies for much better quality. The 'Normal' chocolate equivalent: a really cheap bratz/ barbie style cheap Easter egg

Ingredients: Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass, Rice Syrup, Inulin, Coconut Oil, Rice Flour, Flavourings, Emulsifier: Soya lecithin.

TESCO'S FREE-FROM CHOCOLATE BAR ★☆☆☆☆
Now, this was exactly the same price and story as the above own brand - it disgusted me. However, there are two other options in Tesco that I have not tried. They have an alternative to white chocolate and a milk chocolate style bar with crispy bits in. I have a feeling they'll be far better than this one as the one with crispy bits in will have texture and white chocolate seems easier to replicate being as it is mostly sugar anyway! I am going to bake with the white chocolate bar in the near future so I shall write another blog post or add it into this one and let y'all know. The 'Normal' chocolate equivalent: a hideous cheap type of chocolate in a strange wrapper that thoroughly disappointed you as a child. 

I hope this post was somewhat helpful to at least a few of you. I've thoroughly enjoyed testing all of these chocolates, but I may not eat chocolate until Christmas now given that I've mysteriously packed on a few pounds recently! Ha!



Peace out Potatoes xo
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