Veganuary 2018 Top Picks by Forkward Thinking Foodinista

Veganuary 2018 Top Picks by Forkward Thinking Foodinista

Veganism is a hot trend for 2018 and increasingly becoming a lifestyle choice for many.  So much so that the official “Veganuary” charity has been set up to inspire people to try vegan not just in January, but throughout the rest of the year too.

With more vegan product choices than ever before, a growing awareness and concern for Animal welfare, eating with a conscious is easy, enjoyable and exciting, as vegan foods need not be dull and lacklustre.  Excitingly, the following featured twelve brands offer a range of vegan friendly products that are convenient, healthy and vamp up your Vegan menus.

Clearspring have impressively achieved 18 food awards since 2010.  An ethical brand that supports sustainable organic farming which benefits local communities.  Pack out your cupboard with their range of Vegan Organic goodies including; rice cakes, crackers, rye crispbread, snack packs, brown rice flour, brown rice pasta, Pasta sauces, beans, protein powders, apple cider vinegar and omega oil.

The brilliant BFree foods brand have produced products, that are allergen free, meaning that there is no gluten, dairy, wheat, nuts, egg or soy and they are suitable for vegans.  Low in fat and high in fibre means that they are nutritionally sound – amazing! Why not bring on the bread with their yummy mini pitta pockets, pizza bases, sliced bread and their chia seed wraps.

Gosh Free From are all about goodness, impressively, their products are naturally free from the UK’s 14 top listed allergens; cereals containing gluten, eggs, milk, soya, nuts, peanuts, celery, mustard, sesame seeds, lupin, sulphur dioxide, crustaceans, fish & molluscs.  Their range includes the scrummy Sweetcorn & Quinoa Bites, Chickpea, Courgette & Moroccan spiced bakes, Beetroot, Kale & Quinoa burgers, Mushroom, Puy Lentil & Butter Bean burgers, Mixed seed, quinoa, carrot & coriander bakes, Butternut Tomato and Basil sausages and the Sweet Potato and Black Bean Sausages.

Violife based in Thessalonica in Greece have brought gorgeousness to Vegan plates with their range of cheese products minus the cheese that are free from lactose, gluten, nuts, soy, preservatives, cholesterol and GMO.  Get cheesy Violife style with their extensive range of all Vegan products including; on with some fab Blu, Mediterranean style block, after dinner cranberry, creamy spread, original and mozzarella grated, prosociano wedge, mozzarella & cheddar and a range of their fab sandwich slices which come in original, smocked, mature and or course mouth-watering mozzarella.

The Eat Real healthy snack brand has three core product concepts; Taste, Nutrition and Real Ingredients.  No artificial flavourings, colourings and preservatives these are seriously super snacks without the added naughty nasties.  Vegans can enjoy a wonderful range of snacks including; Hummus, Lentil or Quinoa chips.  Also, Quinoa and Kale Puffs and organic humous chips, lentil chips and veggie straws.  Ideal for snacking on the go or sofa snacking for a movie night in.

Alara’s brand ethos is dedicated to quality, sustainability and giving back to the community.  All their products are made in Zero Waste factory a stone throw away from Kings Cross, London.  Sourcing local ingredients and where possible supporting organic farmers in the UK. Why not try some of their Vegan organic branberry or delicious dreamy oats chocolate porridge or why not go all out with their lovely luxury muesli and porridge range.

Oatly operates from Sweden founded in the 1990s the brand is based on Swedish research from Lund University.  Oatly, have patented enzyme technology, which turns fibre rich oats into nutritionally rich liquid products.  Oatly’s core ethos is about both human well-being and protecting the planet’s resources.  Oatly products are not made from cow’s milk, but a quality substitute made from oats.  The brilliant barista edition oat drink really is worth a whirl and paired well with both tea and coffee, enhancing the flavour naturally, taking the taste factor up to the next level.

Wild Trail is on a mission to make snacks that give people the motivation and a boost to get outdoors and enjoy what the wilderness has to offer.  These brilliant bars produced in a factory in Wales where natures natural offerings are right there on their doorstep.  Just 5 simple ingredients are used to make these yummy bars that are gluten free, dairy free, no added sugar, high in fibre and are suitable for Vegans.  Ideal to grab and go, so get yours now.

Pulsin are an ethical organisation that are passionate about sustainability and use 100% renewable energy.  Furthermore, a core company goal being to “Contribute to a happy, healthy world filled with happy, healthy people” – Hands up in the air and Pump up the Pulsin Power!  Official sponsors of Veganuary, they have launched a super sensational starter vegan pack which includes their bars of brilliance, that are free from all of those naughty nasties, such as raw brownie’s, porridge oat’s and beyond organic fruit and nut bars along with some Pulsin Pea Protein powder and a booklet with exciting recipe ideas.

Vita Coco are a successful global brand with celebrity followings such as Madonna, Matthew McConaughey, and Rihanna! Respecting mother nature by resourcefully using every part of the coconut, that is used to make their products, and are an ethical brand that have committed to giving back to the communities that help to produce these Coconutty concoctions. Vita coco are taking the world by storm with their dairy free coconut milk alternative to dairy milk and it really ‘tastes like no udder’.

Calling all you modern hippies, now is your chance to unite – power to the peas people – Peace.  The Hippeas brand have created these perfect puff pea snacks which are seriously good for you, organic, high in fibre, a source of protein, gluten free, vegan and no additives or preservatives.  Environmentally friendly, these peas do their share, as they naturally release nitrogen back into the earth as they grow, Man that is cool stuff!  The Hippeas brand also show community spirit and spread the love with the ‘Peas, love and giving back’ scheme that supports the charity – Farm Africa, who work with farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa to help them become self-sufficient, allowing them to grow their way out of poverty.

Hayley, founder of Urban Fruit, started out as a personal trainer and identified peoples struggle to avoid unhealthy snacking during a busy working day.  No refined sugars, concentrates or sulphates these super fruity snacks are Hayley’s healthy alternative to the caloric sugar fuelled snack market. Their range include yummy raspberry, strawberry, cherry, mango and pineapple fruits snacks, as well as the “your drive me nuts” plain and chilli flavoured coconut curls.

Thank you for reading and Happy Veganuary 2018 😊

Melanie xx




Veganuary 2018 with Mia Tui Vegan Accessories

Veganuary 2018 with Mia Tui Vegan Accessories: January 2018

Veganism is a hot trend for 2018 and increasingly becoming a lifestyle choice for many.  So much so that the official “Veganuary” charity has been set up to inspire people to try vegan not just in January, but throughout the rest of the year too.  Why just change your diet, you could look at also introducing ethical Vegan friendly accessories into your life.

Founded by, business women and busy mum, Charlotte in 2010, while living in Vietnam, the award-winning Mia Tui bags are still produced in Vietnam in her friend Van’s factory where team work is a core value and together they aim to provide quality products at affordable process and deliver exceptional customer service.  Their bag range are vegan friendly, as they do not use any animal based products which gets big thumbs up from me.

The Jane stylish shoulder bag is the perfect size not too big and not too small.  Ideal to fit the essentials such as makeup bag, purse, diary, phone.  Inside is an insulated bottle holder, a clip for your keys and slots for both your pen and phone.   Also included is an extra nifty small clutch bag and a detachable long strap.

No need to be stressed and get in a flap with Mia Tui’s fantastic fold up bag range.  The lovely Alex fold up bag, with a floral and butterfly pattern, is made from a lightweight waterproof polyester fabric which is robust and can easily be transported when not in use thanks to the clever design that allows the bag to fold up into the front zip pocket.  There is also a lovely matching butterfly flower purse which has slots for cards, and a zip locked pocket for your change.

Thank you for reading and Happy Veganuary 2018 😊

Melanie xx


Leon Restaurants Manchester Piccadilly Review

Leon Restaurants Manchester Piccadilly Review: January 2018

The three musketeers, Henry Dimbleby, John Vincent and chef Allegra McEvedy, aka the founders of Leon Restaurants, have combined their wealth of knowledge and skills to take the world by storm with their fab fresh fast food philosophy and started their own foodie revolution.

In 2008 Allegra was awarded with an MBE for services to the hospitality industry.  He was described as “a caterer with a conscience” by the Independent, has over 20 years’ experience and has worked as a broadcaster appearing on Channel 4, The Good Food Channel, BBC and has published 6 cook books.

Henry’s expansive background includes being a commis chef with Michelin-starred chef Bruno Loubet, a gossip columnist for The Daily Telegraph, appears as a regular panellist on BBC R4’s Kitchen Cabinet, has written for the Telegraph, the Guardian, the Times and the Sun and worked at Bain & Company where he met John.

John did business trouble-shooting at Bain & Company, has created dance events with innocent drinks founder Richard Reed and has led the turnaround of various brands.  If it can be improved John is your man.  Leon was named after John’s Dad, inspired by his mum’s positivity and the “Sunshine that radiates from every LEON team member”

In 2013 Henry and John produced the School Food Plan, where school menus were given their biggest healthy overhaul in generations and due to their combined successes both Henry and John were awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to school food.

Henry, John and Allegra shared the same ethos “why can’t fast food be good food”.  Inspired by this 2004 saw the opening of their very first Leon restaurant in London’s Carnaby Street and has continued to see steady growth ever since with over 45 stores nationwide and plans to open more worldwide.  With cosy and comfy interiors, subdue lighting, family pictures Leon really is a home away from home, so kick back and enjoy their Mediterranean natural, flavoursome, fresh, fuss -free and fabulous cooking which can be seen throughout Leon’s food Menu.

Brilliant breakfast items included the lovely Ruby Red Porridge, which teamed up well with wholemeal toast and a fresh cup of mint tea.  The gorgeous Greek yogurt topped with blueberries, pomegranate and lashings of honey work well with the blueberry & elderflower kefir and a cheeky bar of Leon’s lovely choccy.

The brilliant breakfast box is with a sizzling sausage, bacon slice, 2 eggs, mushrooms, beans and avocado, add on some toast and wash it down with a fresh ginger tea.

The vegan box was bursting with colour and included their sensational sweet potato falafel, yummy pomegranate-studded hummus, a mix of peppers, cauliflower, salad and olives.  Packed in a sesame seed topped bun is the chargrilled butterflied chicken burger is served up with fresh tomato, rocket, pickles, and some of their scrummy olive oil herb mayonnaise. Served in a sesame seed topped bun.

All the staff on both my visits were brilliant, friendly and really cared about the customer experience!

Eat fresh, feel fab with Leon.

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx


Hodmedods Big Vegan Box Review Veganuary 2018  

Hodmedods Big Vegan Box Review Veganuary 2018: January 2018

The award winning Hodmedods brand base in East Anglia, founded by Nick, Josiah and William in 2012, was due to partaking in the successful Great British Beans trial project.  For the purposes of the trial, a tonne of British-grown split fava beans was bought, home packed and distributed throughout the community with a postcard included for feedback.

Working with British farmers to source less well-known ingredients such as the fava beans, which date back to the Iron Age, the brand have stayed true to their historical roots which even inspired and influenced their brand name.  Hodmedod is an East Anglian dialect word which according to an old Suffolk boy hodmedod means simply something curled up like beans, peas and hedgehogs do.  Hence, the choice of logo and core products all rolled up into one synonymous name – Hodmedods.

January marks the month of Veganuary which challenges people to go vegan for one month and aims to inspire and educate people, as to why going vegan helps animals, the environment, can improve health and how to cook up a range of nutritious and tasty recipes.  The Big Vegan Hamper is ideal for Veganuary, as it includes a range of beans, peas and quinoa, sent from the lovely Hodmedod’s team.

Included in brilliant big box was one of each of the following tasty cans; Vaal Dhal, Baked British Beans and Cooked Fava Beans in Water.  Also, four fabulous 300g snack packs including Roasted Fava Beans lightly sea salted, sea salt and cider vinegar and Roasted peas lightly sea salted and horseradish.  All easy to use when life gets a bit hectic.

Brilliant bake items, all in 500g packs, included the “Black Badger” Carlin Peas, the wonderful White Quinoa, grown by Peter Fairs in Essex with their unique Yellow Pea Flour which is also included.  Beans included are the scrummy Split Fava and Whole Fava.  Finally, the “Kabuki” Marrowfat peas.

With the mouth-watering mega box, I created some super simple quick lunchies or snack choices.  The Fava Beans were used to create the most amazing hummus which made a perfectly delightful crudité dip.  Some things are meant to be kept simple and the British bakes beans when from can to plate to create the classic comfort cuisine of good old beans on toast.  The sensational quinoa along with seasoning and some red peppers served up in gem lettuce dishes, makes a tasty presentation plate which is super-duper easy to make.

Have a Happy Veganuary 2018 and Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx