Global Tribe Cafe, Leeds

We’ve hardly been into Leeds really since we moved….most free weekends have been spent adventuring around the kind of places we were thinking of moving to, and looking at houses. We decided to pop into town on the train for a few hours though, the weekend before last, mostly because Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair was taking place at the Corn Exchange (we used to love going to the one held in Spitalfields Market when we lived near). After some treasure hunting and a stop off at the amazing organic food shop opposite the Corn Exchange, we decided to head for lunch at Global Tribe Cafe…..and I think it’s safe to say it’ll draw us back to Leeds much more often!

The unassuming cafe is located above the Global Tribe Crystal shop on Swan Street, opposite the City Varieties Music Hall. It’s extremely purple inside, and super friendly with an open kitchen. We were very lucky and got a table right away, but the place is clearly very popular and several people had to wait or come back to try their luck again.

Vegan Autumnal Pie at Global Tribe Cafe, Leeds

Vegan Autumnal Pie at Global Tribe Cafe, Leeds

The menu is seasonal, and jam packed with things I want to try…..most things are available as a vegan option (if they’re not already) and they also have lots of gluten free options too. Being the pie fiend that I am, I opted for the Autumnal Vegan Pie….the pastry was perfect and the filling delicious, plus the garlic kale and sauteed potatoes were just divine. Oh, and I also got my very own boat of gravy….just perfect! Adam went for the Vegan Jambalaya with Cajun Patties, which was equally yummy, and for drinks we both chose the chocolate milkshake made with coconut milk (you can also choose from soya, almond or dairy milk).

Vegan Jambalaya at Global Tribe Cafe, Leeds

Vegan Jambalaya at Global Tribe Cafe, Leeds

The service was friendly and efficient, so that along with the several other dishes I want to try will certainly see us returning for more!

Ems x

The Cheerful Chilli Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant, Otley

The Cheerful Chilli Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant and Tea Rooms, Otley Chevin, West Yorkshire

When we first moved to Yorkshire, I did the usual thing of scouring the social networks to find local people and businesses in order to get a feel for the area and find out what’s going on. And when I found that one of the most recommended local restaurants was vegetarian, I was super pleased. I’ve often struggled when eating out, because I tend not to eat meat out (other than when I really know where it’s come from) and I get pretty hacked off when the vegetarian choices are precisely the opposite….a list of one, which means I have no choice at all. Things are further complicated by the fact that my husband doesn’t eat mushrooms or beetroot, which seem to be the staple for many chefs trying to feed veggies. Oh and a salad isn’t a meal…..just because I want to eat veggie doesn’t mean I’m on a health kick! (End rant)

Anyways, pretty excited about the massive choice on offer, we visited The Cheerful Chilli soon after we arrived. It’s a small, family run place, situated on top of the beautiful Chevin Forest Park in an old farm building. It’s fairly casual (no table cloths) but you need to book well in advance if you want to go on a Saturday night as the place is clearly very popular. We’ve now been three times….twice for dinner and once for lunch….and I can thoroughly recommend it.

The menu is varied, although there is a slight Mexican slant….the chilli is their ‘house dish’ and if, like me, your’e into your chimichangas, fajitas, tacos and enchiladas, you won’t be disappointed! From the dinner menu our favourites are the sharing platter starter (seriously yummy and HUGE), the blue cheese burger (yes, this is made from mostly blue cheese, held together with a few breadcrumbs and then topped with melted cheddar!) and the tacos (super tasty and mega satisfying). The puddings are also to die for…the ice cream is home made and AMAZING, and the Chocolate Nemesis is divine.

The lunch menu changes weekly….we loved the vegetarian lasagne and the Moroccan tagine. You can actually visit just for coffee and cake at the weekends (the only time it’s open during the day) and I defy anyone not to enjoy their chocolate Guinness cake, which is clearly a gift from the Gods.

The restaurant offers Bring Your Own Bottle, although their wine list is very reasonable and there are also some great soft drinks to choose from. You can also buy dishes to take away, and they even have a stall at Otley Farmers’ Market too!

It’s a great place to go with friends or family….everything is pretty relaxed and you won’t be stared at for getting a bit noisy and enjoying yourself! We’ve been really impressed by the great value and generous portions (one has to be very careful if hoping to fit in a pudding!) as well as delighted with the choice. There is a good range of vegan dishes, as well as a banquet menu for larger groups. All in all, well worth a visit if you’re in West Yorkshire!

Ems x

Roots and Fruits Vegetarian Cafe, Leeds

Roots and Fruits Vegetarian Cafe, Grand Arcade, Leeds

I was lucky enough to get chance to meet up with an old school friend who was in Leeds for work recently, and decided to take the opportunity to try out Roots and Fruits, a veggie cafe that had been recommended to me….and it didn’t disappoint!

For a start, I adore Leeds’ beautiful arcardes. I love the glass-fronted shops and cafes, and the nostalgia and elegance of it all. Roots and Fruits is a charming little place which sits beautifully in the Grand Arcade, right in the town centre. The space is bright and airy, cheerfully decorated and informal.

We were welcomed by the friendly Kay, co-owner, and after nattering away finally picked from the ample menu choices, which included daily specials. Although tempted by the burger of the day (yes, they do a burger of the day!!), I opted for the lasagne…..partly because it’s something I don’t often make at home (SO much washing up) and partly because it contained mushrooms (which I don’t get to eat a lot at home because Adam hates them!). It’s actually made with feta as well as cheddar, which made for a super creamy bechamel. It was pretty dreamy actually, and mega filling…so much so that I had to forgo pudding and opted for coffee instead (which was pretty good too).

The cafe is open from 11am until 7pm (it’s a shame it doesn’t open later) and I know I’ll be back often….next time I’ll try the burger of the day and try to save room for churros and hot chocolate afterwards!

Ems x

Meat Free Week

As you’ve probably seen on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere already, this week is Meat Free Week! The global campaign is challenging us all to give up meat for the week, to get us thinking about how much meat we eat, and the impact of that on our health, the environment and animal welfare. It’s not just about red meat (beef, lamb and pork), but all meat, including poultry, processed meat (like ham, bacon, salami and packaged sandwich meats), fish and seafood.

Going meat free for one week is a really positive step for anyone; The hope being that for the other 51 weeks of the year you’ll consider eating smaller portions or fewer meat-based meals as part of a balanced diet, and also ensure that the meat, fish, eggs or poultry you eat is ethically and sustainably produced. I’ve written about my feelings on meat-eating before, and because this means I eat very little meat (those ‘meat-free mondays’ actually work better in opposite in our house as we’re only really likely to eat meat once a week!) I suppose this week will be relatively easy for me.

And that’s why I thought I’d share a load of recipes to encourage you to take part, and to show you how easy it is to eat meat free….really well! I adore my food, and I love meat and fish and all the rest, but because I am now very picky about these (in terms of welfare mostly) the increased cost means that it’s more of a treat than a staple. I’m sure that this has benefitted my health which is of course a bonus too.

Anyway, for our main meal today (we have this at lunch time, with a lighter supper later) I made a super delicious dish that took only ten minutes and didn’t require any special ingredients at all (in fact, all stuff we had in the fridge already). I cut a courgette into small cubes, and finely chopped up a small white onion (both from our excellent organic veg box from a local farm), frying them both in a knob of butter until soft and golden.

I then whipped up a simple four cheese sauce, by melting another knob of butter in a pan and adding a small carton of organic single cream. I grated in some of the AMAZING smoked Mrs Kirkham’s Lanchashire I bought at a farm shop recently, some organic mature cheddar, organic parmesan, and a little left over goats cheese that needed using up. Once that was all nice and melty, I thickened with a little sauce flour and cooked some fresh gnocchi in a second pan. Then it was just a case of combining the veg, cheese sauce and gnocchi…serving it up and scoffing the lot! SO quick and easy…..very satisying….and of course, meat free!

Well hopefully that’s enough to whet your appetite, and perhaps you’d also like to try some of these recipes to enjoy a week of meat free meals…..

I hope that gives you some inspiration to go meat free for the week….if you’d like any more ideas or advice please do leave a comment as I’d love to encourage anyone to join in!

You can sign up to the campaign here….. Good luck, and enjoy!

Ems x

British Pie Week, and my regular Friday Pie-day!

I never needed an excuse to eat pie. I’ve loved pie since very young, and I have fond memories of burning my tongue on scalding hot pie filling erupting from freshly made Wrights Pies (a delicacy of my native Stoke on Trent!). My all time favourite dish my Mummy cooks is her incredible mince meat pie and onion gravy….one day I will perfect it!

But in case unlike me you need an excuse, or perhaps the humble pie isn’t something you often opt for (I won’t hold it against you, promise), you may be interested to hear that we are currently in the middle of British Pie Week! Conceived to share the pie love, promote this wonderful British dish and to show people new and wonderful recipes, Pie Week is a perfect time to indulge in something yummy and pastry-encrusted!

Now we have a bit of a tradition in our house…..Friday Pie-day! Whilst we sometimes swap out for Fish Friday, we very often like to scoff a home made pie on a Friday….a sort of ‘you made it through the week!’ treat, and a way to use up whatever ingredients we may have languishing at the back of the fridge to boot!

For me, pie is best served with a creamy mash, but gravy is an absolute MUST (another Potteries, or perhaps Midlands thing I think!). But beyond that, anything goes in my book! I often use up the end of a ham in a pie with cheese sauce and leeks….I adore a fish pie….and anything with a mashed potato topping is a grand idea as far as I’m concerned (cottage pie and shepherds pie feature heavily).

We’ve recently taken up a new organic vegetable box subscription though, from nearby St Helen’s Farm in Tadcaster, and so this week I’ve had some squash that I need to use up. I visited Fodder in Harrogate yesterday and came away with a log of Yellison Goats Cheese which is also made nearby in Skipton. So along with some other things I needed to use up, I made up a tasty pie filling in a rich tomato-based sauce.

It always feels quite rewarding to home-make a pie, but it’s really the easiest thing. I like making pies when we have guests as I can pre-prepare the filling, then clean up before finishing them off in the oven once our guests arrive.

For this pie I simply peeled and cubed the squash, and roasted it in the oven until soft. Then I fried up some onion and garlic, followed by sliced fennel and spring greens. Oh and some chick peas left over from a salad earlier in the week. Next I added a tin of chopped tomatoes (the fresh ones we got in our box are long gone!) to the whole lot, seasoned well and reduced slightly before spooning into pie dishes, crumbling in some of the cheese and topping with puff pastry. Lush!

Ems x

Wednesday Wants: Wills Vegan Shoes

So you may have seen me wax lyrical about the super lush vegan bags by MATT & NAT recently, and I’m still eagerly planning my haul when I place a new order following my wardrobe clear-out! I’ve never found it quite so easy to fawn over vegan shoes though…..I’ve just never found a collection that both fitted the ethical bill, and also left me drooling. It’s a bit like when you look at the veggie options at a restaurant and the chef has clearly assumed you’re veggie because you’re trying to be healthy and so you must just want a salad…..wanting ethically produced shoes doesn’t mean I have no desire to wear something practical and fashionable!

However, whilst internetting earlier this week I came across a brand called Wills and realised I’d finally found my vegan shoe crush.

Will Green founded Wills “with a passion to provide animal and human friendly shoes with high-street styles and prices.” The aim of the brand is to bridge the gap between everyday people and ethically produced shoes. The entire range is free of animal products while workers are paid in accordance with European guidelines.

Shoes are made with microfibers that look, wear, breathe and resist water just like leather, and because they’re priced to compete with high street brands, there is no excuse not to make a more ethical choice! There is a range for men too, and Will looks to me an awful lot like John Krasinski, which is always a good sign in my opinion!

It was initially the super comfy looking boots which caught my eye, but as I’m focussing on those tiny signs that Spring is on its way, I opted for a ‘want’ list that was a little more geared to the coming seasons…..

Perforated Oxfords in Navy, £75.00

Perforated Oxfords in Navy, £75.00

Brogues in Chestnut, £69

Brogues in Chestnut, £69

Fringed Loafers in Black, £65

Fringed Loafers in Black, £65

Mary Jane Kitten Heels in Black, £64

Mary Jane Kitten Heels in Black, £64

Lace up Heels in Caramel, £49

Lace up Heels in Caramel, £49

So now it’s just a case of getting those shoes cleared out of the wardrobe so that I can fill it up with some of these beauties!

Ems x

 

PS. Shipping to the UK is only £4, with free returns! And furthermore, if you head to the website now you can get a voucher code for free delivery on your first order! x

It’s Pancake Day, It’s Pancake Day, It’s PPPP-PPPP Pancake Day!

Like the man said…it’s Pancake Day! And I for one will be enjoying a day of mostly eating batter based foods! I bally love this day….it wouldn’t occur to me to make a meal of pancakes any other day of the year (with the exception of a breakfast of American style pancakes now and again!) and I love the excuse to gorge. I even made a Pinterest board this year with ideas….I like to have both sweet and savoury options, you know, to make it a balanced meal of course.

For breakfast we had Belgian waffles with banana and maple syrup. Then for lunch I had another go at making Okonomiyake, which is a sort of Japanese pancake. This dish is a favourite of Adam’s and although I’ve never had it ‘properly’ in Japan, I’ve been trying to learn to make it. Last week’s attempt was rather poor, but I think today’s was pretty good!

Home made Okonomiyake, or Japanese pancake for Shrove Tuesday

I based mine loosely on the recipes in my Pinterest board, with (as usual) a couple of changes for my own taste (and to use up things we had in the cupboard!). Here’s how I made it…..

  • I mixed one cup of flour with one cup of chicken stock, then added one beaten free range egg to form a batter.
  • Then I stirred in a large handful of savoy cabbage and one small leek (both finely sliced and from our yummy organic veg box) and seasoned.
  • Next I heated up a large non-stick skillet and sprayed a little olive oil onto the surface before pouring the mixture in.
  • Having spread the mixture out as much as possible, I pressed it all down into as thin a ‘pancake’ as I could, and let it cook for about eight minutes until the underside was golden.
  • Then I slid the pancake onto a plate, added a little more oil to the pan as well as some strips of free range streaky bacon.
  • Next I flipped the pancake onto another plate before sliding it back into the pan with the cooked side on top.
  • It was then just a case of waiting for the bacon to cook well, and the pancake browning nicely before serving it all up!

To top our Okonomiyake I mixed up a dessert spoon each of ketchup and barbecue sauce with two dessert spoons of Henderson’s relish and a teaspoon of golden caster sugar. We spooned this sort of Tonkatsu sauce onto our pancakes along with some mayonnaise, which I believe is the traditional topping. Yummy!

For supper this evening we’re planning some more traditional crepe-like pancakes with lemon juice and sugar….although I think I’ll also make some of these delicious sounding apple, banana and cinnamon pancakes to try, and maybe even some of these fabulous looking cinnamon roll pancakes too!

How do you like your pancakes?!

Ems x

Tuesday Tutorial: Purple Glitter Jewellery for Willow Foundation

Purple glitter jewellery tutorial

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to attend a friend’s “Purple Party” to help raise funds for Willow Foundation*. Clare is running the London Marathon for the charity this year, and so put together the brilliant themed party to add to her fundraising target. There were purple cocktails, purple food, a purple photo booth and the whole place was decked out in purple, including the guests!

Being a bit low on purple things to wear myself, I decided to make some purple glittery treasures, with extra for Clare to sell on the night. And because I know everyone loves glitter (not to mention with Half Term in full swing!) I thought I’d share a little tutorial for how to make them. The batch I made took a while because there were so many, but one or two would be very quick to make, and super easy too! You can buy everything you need easily and inexpensively at a craft shop or online.

Purple glitter jewellery tutorial

You Will Need:

  • Fine purple glitter (or another colour, if you must)
  • Original Mod Podge
  • A flat ended brush (about 10mm to 15mm wide)
  • A mixing pot (a yogurt pot or take out tub is perfect, especially if it has a lid)
  • An old teaspoon
  • Wooden laser cut shapes (I used 20mm and 30mm hearts, and 40mm stars)
  • Brooch backs and / or stick on pendant bails
  • E6000 glue

Purple glitter jewellery tutorial

How To:

1. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of glitter into your mixing pot (if you’re making a big batch just double this, and keep making fresh batches as you go, so none is wasted)

2. Add about the same amount of Mod Podge and mix them well with the spoon (then wash the spoon!)

3. Choose which side of your wooden shape you want to paint (there are often marks from the laser cutting on one side, so paint onto that as you won’t see it when you’re finished)

4. Paint a thin layer of the glittery glue onto your shape….best not to use too much at a time so that you don’t spill over the edges and it stays neat

5. Wait for that to dry and then paint on another thin coat

Purple glitter jewellery tutorial

6. Keep adding thin coats once the last is dry to build up the coverage….as with most painting projects, it’s better to do lots of thin coats than one or two thick ones (if your mixing pot has a lid you can cover your mixture whilst you wait for drying, so that it stays fresh)

7. I applied four or five coats to mine, and if you decide to make a big batch you can of course apply each coat to all of them, and by the time you’ve done the last, the first one will be dry and ready for the next

8. Once you’re happy with the coverage, leave until completely dry before flipping over ready for the backing

Purple glitter jewellery tutorial

9. If you’re using a brooch back, check it works ok before using it, then blob some E6000 onto the flat side of the brooch back and press it firmly onto the back of your wooden shape

10. If you’re making a pendant, blob the E6000 onto the flat pad of the bail and carefully press it onto the back of your shape….before it dries turn it over to make sure it’s on straight

11. Leave for 24 hours to dry well before adding a chain if you’ve made a pendant, or before proudly pinning your brooch onto your clothes!

Purple glitter jewellery tutorial

These would make great party favours for a Bridal Shower or Hen Party I think, or for children’s parties (although take care with brooch pins!)….or of course you could make some to raise funds for charity too!

Purple glitter jewellery tutorial

Ems x

Willow is the only national charity working with seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40 to fulfil uplifting and unforgettable Special Days. These Special Days enable them and their families to reconnect and refocus on each other while enjoying an activity of their choosing. A day for them, a day about them and a day that will create memories they will all treasure forever.

Valentine Pamper Hamper from Mira

Mira 360 Shower and Valentine's Day pamper hamper

Earlier this week a rather excitingly huge parcel arrived to my door…. filled with lots of pampering treats! The fabulous folk at Mira sent me a whole kit of lovely things to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and I thought I’d share it with you here…..

To begin with, the entire package smells amazing. Along with a super soft bathrobe and an organic loofah mit, I found Petal Fresh Botanicals‘ Aloe and Pomegranate Facial Clay Masque (which is cruelty free and vegan), Beauticology‘s Strawberry and Pomegranate Body Butter (also cruelty free), and a sweet little brown paper parcel filled with yummy smelling heart shaped soaps. I think it’s the scent of all those three combined that is so divine and I can’t wait to try them all out in a mass Valentine’s pampering session tomorrow!

Mira 360 Shower and Valentine's Day pamper hamper

The most exciting bit though (don’t judge me, I’m obsessed with house stuff at the moment as we prepare to buy our own place!) is the Mira 360 shower head that completed the parcel. I know. A shower head. How exciting can that be? Well, VERY, actually.

This shower head is actually four….the main body spins around giving you four different options: ‘rain’ is much like the usual function on your regular shower head, although I found it more powerful than most; ‘storm’ is more frothy and bubbly, and gave me a lovely head massage; ‘cloud’ gives out a flat stream of foamy water, which worked really well for rinsing my hair after shampooing; and ‘burst’, a full on blast with which I gave myself a rather wonderful neck and shoulder massage!

Mira 360 Shower and Valentine's Day pamper hamper

Now I know that you can’t beat a bath for pure relaxation, but for a pampering session it has to be a shower for me….and so I’m looking forward to spending an age in there tomorrow to indulge in all those lush smelling treats, before we begin our usual Valentine’s day celebrations (take out and a scary film!).

I hope you have a good weekend, whatever you’re doing!

Ems x

 

P.S. I received the Mira Valentine’s Pamper Hamper as a gift from Mira, but please know that I would never endorse anything that didn’t truly impress me!

Wednesday Wants: Matt & Nat vegan handbags

So I’m trying to have a clear out before we move again. The largest box when we moved still hasn’t been un-packed….it is filled with my handbags (the ones I don’t use on a day to day basis) and I’ve vowed to reduce them by selling them on Ebay and giving them away to charity. I’ve needed to do this for some time in honesty….there are many lovely bags that I no longer use but are in great shape and deserve a new home. But how to incentivise myself?

Well, more bags obviously.

Now I know that sounds silly, but stick with me….. I’m thinking that if I can make space and raise funds by clearing out the majority of bags in that box, I’ll have space and funds for at least a *few* replacements. Just one or two. Maybe three. But ones I’ll use more, and whilst I’m at it, I’ll make them vegan ones too.

Enter MATT & NAT. I treated myself to one of their gorgeous purses last year before going on honeymoon, as well as a pale blue handbag for when I was Bridesmaid. And I bally love them.

The quality is outstanding, the design delicious, and as if that weren’t enough, they are excellent value to boot. And if that’s not enough to convince you, just check out their ethical credentials…..

MATT & NAT stands for MAT(T)ERIAL + NATURE. It’s is a vegan brand, therefore there are no animal products used in production. No real leather, no animal derived glues, no nasties. The linings inside all MATT & NAT bags are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, and, in addition to being vegan, sustainable materials are constantly sourced in their design  such as cork and rubber.

Various vegan leathers are used, including PU and PVC (PU being favoured as it is less harmful for the environment than PVC). One of their factories operates by the SA8000 standard and they intend to make this standard a bigger part of production going forward. The team diligently visits each factory and builds strong personal relationships with owners, as well as encouraging everyone to volunteer as much as possible. Oh, and at the HQ in Montreal, they have vegetarian pot luck days and eat vegan cakes. I want to work there!

Anyways, being the conscientious person I am (*cough*), I thought I’d do my research and short list some bags for my new ‘capsule’ collection. Well, at least I’m hoping that by having my eyes on the prize, I’ll actually get that sorting done! So without further ado, here is my shortlist…..

Matt & Nat, "Kite" in Champagne, £115

Matt & Nat “Kite” in Champagne, £115

 

Matt & Nat "Deeter" in Citrus, £113

Matt & Nat “Deeter” in Citrus, £113

 

Matt & Nat "Wellington" in Iris, £108

Matt & Nat “Wellington” in Iris, £108

 

Matt & Nat "Hemlock" in Nature, £125

Matt & Nat “Hemlock” in Nature, £125

 

Matt & Nat "Tardy" in Walnut, £115

Matt & Nat “Tardy” in Walnut, £115

 

Matt & Nat "Parabole" in Midnight, £90

Matt & Nat “Parabole” in Midnight, £90

 

Matt & Nat "Malone" in Black, £95

Matt & Nat “Malone” in Black, £95

 

To die for, right? Now just to figure out the short-short list!

You can buy these lush handbags, as well as men’s bags, tablet cases and wallets via the MATT & NAT website, as well as on ASOS.com. They are also available at a number of UK independent stores, including What Sarah Did in Hitchin, Hertfordshire (where I first found them, thanks Sarah!),  Accent in Leeds, Dynamite in Hebden Bridge, Nood in Manchester, Swish in Edinburgh and many stores in London.

Ems x