the social stuff....

Follow me on Facebook Subscribe to my Youtube Channel Follow me on Instagram Follow me on Twitter Follow me on Pinterest Email Me Add me on snapchat

Saturday 28 December 2019


Hello there.

It's almost 2020, the end of another decade and a time for reflection. That sounds super boring for you though, so I'm not really going to do that.

Instead, what I'm gonna do is introduce you to Moko, the feline ruler of the Alien household, that began cohabiting with us a couple of months ago.

how is she so frickin cute though?

Anyway... I am about to celebrate 12 years of veganism (and almost 12 years of this blog!), so I thought I would try to post a bit more during January, or Veganuary if you will.

My husband is doing Veganuary this year and I've asked him to write a few guest posts during January, so look out for those.

I'm going to do some posts on some of the new stuff that is coming out in January in shops / restaurants etc. (If you want more regular updates, I'm most active on Instagram and I even have a Veganuary highlight on my profile!)

I'm also planning on resurrecting my youtube channel, that I haven't posted on in almost 2 years. I started feeling a bit disillusioned with it and felt the content I was producing was stale and not very interesting. So I took a break but I've got some ideas for videos and I'm excited about it.

If you're doing Veganuary yourself and looking for inspiration, leave me a comment below and tell me what you'd like to see. And whether you're a brand new or an old school vegan with an instagram page / youtube channel / blog ... etc - also let me know in the comments so I can check you out.

See you in 2020!


Tuesday 20 August 2019

Vegan MoFo 2019 - Day 20: Banana Butterscotch Pudding

For this week's 'veganising', I tried out a recipe I have wanted to have a go at for MANY years, since I saw Rachel Allen make it on the telly.

It's Bill Granger's Banana Butterscotch Pudding.

The reason I put this off for so long is I wasn't sure it'd work with any of the egg substitutes I'd used before. When I got a bottle of Just Egg from the US, I thought I'd maybe try that. But actually in the end I didn't, I just used a good old flax egg!

I made a few subs:
- I subbed a flax egg (1 tbsp. ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp. water) for the hen egg
- I subbed Oat Milk for the cow juice
- I subbed Naturli butter blocks for the dairy butter
- I also subbed self-raising flour for the plan flour + baking powder, as I'd run out of BP
- AND I used golden syrup; the link above says corn syrup, which isn't a thing in the UK and also, when Rachel Allen made it, she used golden syrup.

I was sceptical that this would work with the subs I made; I was worried I'd get no sauce, but as you can see from this pic - that was NOT the case:

There was a lot of sauce. The recipe said to serve it with vanilla ice cream, which I did. But the sauce was suuuuuper sweet and the Swedish glace ice cream I bought was really too sweet when it was all together! I would serve this with soya or oat cream next time and just a small amount of the sauce.

Overall it was pretty good but nothing special and really a bit too sweet for me! I think maybe adding a bit of salt to the sauce could help with that or using a bit less sugar and serving with cream instead of ice cream.

I do love a self-saucing pudding though - do you have a recipe for one you love? Let me know.

Sal xXx

Friday 16 August 2019

Vegan MoFo Day 16 - Apple Pie Muffins

Friday calls for a recipe from a vegan cookbook or blog and this week, i took it back to the very first vegan cookbook I ever bought: Vegan With a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

I actually got this in 2007, before I officially went vegan and it helped cement my plan to make the change.

As I set this challenge to try out recipes I hadn't made before, I picked the apple pie muffins.

These muffins have grated and chopped apple in and some cinnamon and allspice (cloves too but I didn't have that so I added a bit of nutmeg) and a cinnamon sugary topping. They are delicous and come together pretty easily, if you don't mind a couple of minutes worth of peeling, grating and chopping.

I made these with easy weekday breakfasts in mind, as I've a busy work week this week and they don't disappoint! This morning's breakfast was a winning combo of one of these muffins and a Gregg's vegan sausage roll! #adulting

Have a rad weekend everyone; I'm off to Leeds for a girly weekend and an Ed Sheeran concert. I'm told the weather in Leeds tomorrow, where we will be attending an outdoor concert, will be a delightful, traditional british summertime mix of shitting down rain and erm, oh yeah, shitting down more rain. Lovely.



Thursday 15 August 2019

Vegan MoFo 2019: Day 15 Part 2 - What I Ate ... in San Diego

So we got into San Diego, the day before preview night of Comic Con and as we did last year, we met our friends at Hodads for a burger. They are known for huge, amazing burgers and thankfully they make a vegan one!

It's not a totally faux meat type of burger, as it also has some veg in. I like it a lot though and there's a tonne of toppings!

The tomato they cut this from must've been a huge bitch!! 

Next morning, we went to the UK Comic Con group meetup at the Broken Yolk. Last year, there were no official vegan options and they made me one of their skillets, with a tonne of veg and hash browns. It was good but not that exciting. So this year I was super excited to hear they now have beyond meat and Just Egg! I ordered the Ranchero Skillet with vegan sausage instead of meat, no cheese and Just Egg instead of regular egg.

There was no Just Egg to be found in this, but they were busy so I just ate it haha. So British! It was still really good though, that sauce was incredible; quite spicy and the dish had fresh chillies in. I really enjoyed it overall. Sorry for my picture, the lighting was pretty bad!

Later that day, we went shopping to Fashion Valley and there were not really many vegan options. However a google search showed that if we ordered a pretzel in Wetzel's Pretzels without butter, it would be ok. So that is what we did. Nothing special and filled some of the hole left by Haagen Daz not having any of the vegan options! :(

For dinner that night we ordered takeout and I ordered from Native Foods. I realised when it arrived, I'd ordered from there last year and loved it!

I got the Peri Peri chicken sandwich, which was sooo filling and yummy. It had huge chunks of chicken and avocado. I don't know what chicken sub they use but it is scarily realistic and delicious and this dish was really spicy and good!

I got it with a side of mac n cheese; I thought it had a bit of a weird taste that I couldn't place! It was better cold, when I ate the leftovers later.

I also got a dessert but I can't find the photos of it! I got the Peanut Butter Parfait which I found to be way too sweet. Simon liked it though. Simon got a cupcake - carrot caramel flavour. The frosting had a bit of an odd texture but it worked well overall with the cake. We didn't think it was full on caramel flavour but it was nice.

The next morning, we looked on happy cow for somewhere to go for Breakfast and found a place nearby called Breakfast Republic. I got a soy latte which was, erm large! (excuse my red infected eye that I woke up with that day! grrr.)

For breakfast I chose the 'Jammin Bennie' which was English muffins, vegan sausage, jalapeno jam, Just Egg and vegan hollandaise. With a side of potatoes (home fries?). The sausage on this was really nice, I finally got to try Just Egg and liked them a lot. The hollandaise was super creamy and yummy and I loved the spicy, sweet jalapeno jam. I had this for breakfast 3 times over the course of this holiday - it was that good! :)

I'm not going to show every single meal we ate in SD, just the ones that I really enjoyed. And one night, we went to a place about half a block from our hotel, called the Owl Drug Company. It was a bar that also did food.

I started with the chips and guac - this guac was seriously so good. Best guac I've eaten in a long time! Unlike my pictures, thanks to the shitty lighting!

The vegan main dish option was an Impossible Burger; however we were advised the buns they had in were not vegan but they could do me a wrap. So I went with that and wow! This was amazing. Simon (not vegan) agreed with me that it is the most realistic of the faux meat burgers we've tried yet. It's been a long time since I ate at Burger King but it reminded me of a flame-grilled whopper (maybe why they picked Impossible for their new vegan Whopper?)

After the last panel of the week (last ever Supernatural panel :( :( sads) we went to the Lazy Hippo for brunch. We went there last year and I remember it having bad coffee but brilliant vegan options. They run a very limited menu during Comic Con - you can usually get all their pancake varieties vegan, but during CC, only choc chip can be made vegan. So Simon and I shared these (we ended up taking half of it back to the hotel and eating it later, because they were huge!). They're really good, fluffy pancakes.

My main dish was these green enchiladas, which had tofu scramble in the middle. These were amazing and made me a little obsessed with trying to find green enchilada sauce in the UK. I haven't managed it but have found some tomatillo salsa, which I'm told will do the job! Still dreaming of these - omg so good!

So that about does it for my favourite meals from San Diego. I will say that the increase in vegan options, just in the Gaslamp area, has increased significantly over the last 12 months. I struggled a bit last year in the bars and restaurants near to the convention and had to do a fair bit of modifying. This year, loads more places had labelled vegan options on their menus - how awesome is that!!

Have you been to SD? Where's your favourite place to eat? I think we'll be going back in a few years but need a year or so off :)

Sal xXx

Vegan MoFo 2019: Day 15 - What I ate... in LA

The first of my What I Ate posts for MoFo is some of the food I ate in LA/Burbank on the first leg of our recent Holiday. Sorry it's 8 days late... moving on!

We booked to go to Comic Con in San Diego, for the second time this year. Last year we flew into Vegas and spent some time there. This time we flew to LA and decided to stay in Burbank, so we'd be close by for the Warner Bros. that we had booked onto.

So this is what we ate when we were there.

When we arrived in LA, we went straight to our hotel and then spent the next 5 hours trying desperately not to fall asleep, in an effort to beat the jet lag a bit. 

We had a quick look on Happy Cow and saw there was Fresh Bros Pizza just up the block from us; so we walked on up there. It's basically a pizza place where you build your own pizza and they have vegan options. I got an individual pizza with beyond sausage, daiya cheese and mushrooms. They also do vegan tenders, so I got the smaller portion of those. I'm so glad I didn't get bigger portions of either, as this was a pretty big portion of food. Simon got the medium pizza and that fucker was HUGE!

When the guy brought out my vegan foodz he asked me if I wanted some vegan ranch or blue cheese and I was like, err hell yeah please to the blue cheese!

I enjoyed the pizza a lot; I think the tenders were Gardein, which I like and vegan blue cheese - yes! (I think it was Follow Your Heart.)

The next morning, we wanted a decent breakfast, as we were booked onto the Warner Bros. Studio tour and wanted something to get us through the morning. We found a cafe not too far away called Bea Bea's on Happy Cow and grabbed an Uber there.

I got the tofu scramble, which is a huge dish of rice mixed with veggies, vegan sausage and chunks of tofu and some avo on top for good measure. And some potatoes on the side! This was SO good and SOOO filling! I love the idea of a rice scramble and I deffo need to recreate that. I actually don't think the tofu was really even needed, especially with the sausage that was in here that was really really REALLY good! I had this for breakfast two days in a row!

I won't spam you with Warner Bros pix but just a couple of highlights for me....

I'm on the Bandstand in Stars Hollow! 

This is me on Lorelai and Rory's porch!

...And this is the Gellers' House - the scene in the prom episode of Friends where Ross is sat on the stairs? Right here! The rest of the house is just a dilapidated shell, which is weird, but pretty much what all the houses on the tour look like when they're not being used for filming.

And now I'm in Central Perk! Or a recreation of it, including the sofa, anyway! The full set no longer exists.

Later that day we headed down to Universal Citywalk, which has shops and restaurants in. I spent a little time in Sephora :) and then after some googling, we found that Johnny Rockets had a vegan burger.

So that is what I got; apparently it's a Gardein black bean burger and it was pretty friggin good!

We shared some tater tots too, but didn't even eat a quarter of them! So.Much.Food!

We also spotted Voodoo Doughnuts and I was pretty sure I'd read they did vegan donuts and you know what, they do! YAY.

Here's what we got. We took them back to our hotel and shared them over the course of the next 12 hours. Including at 3am when we were wide awake - stupid jet lag!

Boston Cream - this was my favourite, it was so good! (sorry for lighting, it was late!)

PB&J - this was a bit dry (maybe because we ate it the next day) and kind of claggy. I wasn't fussed on it.

I forget what this was called but it had oreos and PB on it. Again a bit dry but still good.

I had to get the voodoo doll as well! This one was super good.

So after finishing these, we got on the train to San Diego, which is where I'll pick this up later!

Have a great day :)

Sal xXx

Monday 12 August 2019

Vegan MoFo Day 12 - Potato and Fennel Galette

So apparently I’m not great at sticking to a schedule 😊 – Sorry. I’m going to go ahead with the post I had already planned for today and will try and get the two posts I missed last week up, as bonus posts this week.

So my Monday theme is veganising… and today’s veganised dish is this Rustic Potato & Fennel Galette, which is a recipe I found on Good Housekeeping.

I had to make a couple of substitution to make this vegan:

-       - I subbed vegan cheddar shreds for the Gruyere cheese
-       - I subbed Naturli ‘butter’ for the dairy butter
-       - I didn’t try to sub the egg for the egg-wash, I just used a bit of olive oil instead

Firstly, the pastry on this was SO GOOD! Really buttery, flaky and light. I was doubting the use of white vinegar, but whatever alchemy that does – it works!

If you can grab the Naturli vegan blocks in Sainsburys before they all disappear forever* then do it. They make such amazing buttercream without the need for shortening and as I found out yesterday, pastry! For the love of nooch though, don’t try and make caramel with it! Jojo and I tried that and it was a huge fail. (*I heard a rumour Sainsburys are going to stop stocking it but some say that it’s not true and they’ve pulled the spreadable one only, due to some contamination issues. Fingers crossed!)

Secondly when, not if, I make this again I would not use the vegan cheddar I used. It was a bit overwhelming and overshadowed the veg a bit. In fact, I couldn’t really taste the fennel at all – it got totally lost.

So when I make again, I will use a scant sprinkle of Violife Prosociano cheese (their Parmesan sub) instead and I may even add a few fennel seeds to up the fennelly flavour. I find that cooked fennel loses most of it’s nice aniseed taste, that is has when raw.

Also, I would recommend not singing along to 80s music while unpacking your food processor to make the pastry! I did this and cut my finger on the blade and had to spent 5 minutes with my hand in the air like a bellend while it stopped bleeding!

But overall – yum! I like that it’s a rustic pie and I didn’t have to faff with getting it into a pie dish. I really hate rolling anything out, but it was worth it. So it’s no good for a quick weeknight tea but if you’ve got a couple of hours to spare one day, give it a go!

I had mine with some sauerkraut, peas and some Oatly oat fraiche: delightful. I can also confirm that it makes excellent cold leftovers too!

Sal xXx

Monday 5 August 2019

Vegan MoFo Day 5 - Veganising... Chicken and Chorizo Jambalaya

For the first instalment of veganising for this year's  MoFo, I made this 'chicken and chorizo' jambalaya.

This is the recipe I used and it was super easy to veganise. I swapped out chicken for the Vegetarian Butcher NoChicken chunks, the chorizo for 2 Sainsbury's chorizo style shroom dogs and I subbed a 'not-chick'n' bouillon cube for the chicken stock. (I also used an orange pepper instead of red because that's what I had.)

This came together really easy and tasted delicious. I will definitely make this again for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.

Not the most photogenic dinner every, but super tasty!

See ya on Wednesday :)

Sal xXx

Friday 2 August 2019

Vegan MoFo Day 2 - pea speltotto with lemon and hazelnuts

My Friday theme is testing a recipe from a vegan blog or cookbook and the first one I've got for you is the Pea Speltotto with Lemon and Hazelnuts from Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall's 'Much More Veg'.

This cookbook is all vegan, which is unusual for a non-vegan chef and so I was curious as to whether it'd be any good.

As the title would suggest, it places most of it's emphasis on using veggies as the star of the show. Which I kind of love and it makes a change from a lot of cookbooks that tend to focus on heaver 'comfort food'. Not that I don't love those, I do - but it's nice to try something a bit different.

This recipe appealed to me right away because I love peas and spelt. YAY.

So this my attempt (served with some baked tofu):

This is Hugh's (screenshot from the kindle book). So mine's not a million miles off.

Overall it's nice but I found it a bit lacking in flavour. I'd make it again but I'd probably add a bit more lemon juice and maybe some more fresh herbs, just to perk it up a bit. This does have a spritz of lemon and some fresh parsley at the end, but it could have done with MOAR.

I loved the lemon and hazelnuts on top, that worked super well and I'll be using that idea again!

Overall, there's some interesting looking dishes in this book and I like that there's lots of recipes using veggies I rarely or never use. I'm planning to try some more of them out over the summer, including the roast fennel, new potato and tomato stew and the new potatoes and lentils with coriander and tamarind sauce.

Have you got this book? What do you think? What have you made/liked/disliked from the book?

Hope you have an awesome weekend, all.

Sal xXx

Vegan MoFo 2019 - Day 1 (ish)

Hi you and happy MoFo!! I'm only a day late, what? It's been 4 years since I last participated in MoFo and I decided that I wanted to do it this year to ease myself back into blogging. haha.

I swear i'm not naked, my top is just strapless because my house is a million degrees today!

I have decided not to follow the daily prompts and to come up with my own themes instead. I also, being realistic, don't think I will manage to blog every day, so I've set 3 themes and my plan is a minimum of 3 posts a week, with the odd bonus post if I get extra time.

It's always difficult picking themes and it's great that the MoFo organisers help you along with that, if you don't want to come up with your own.

But I had the most fun with MoFo when I picked themes such as veganising Jamie Oliver's 15 minute meals (see those posts HERE) or the year I decided at the last minute, my theme would be cockney rhyming slang! (HERE!)

This year's themes are:

- Monday: Veganising....
- Wednesday: What I ate
- Friday: Testing a recipe from a vegan cookbook or blog

I picked the first one because, as mentioned above, one year for MoFo, one of my themes was veganising Jamie's Oliver's 15 minute meals and I loved doing that. So, not wanting to just totally rip myself off and do the same theme again, I decided I would enlist Mr Alien to help me pick some non-vegan recipes to veganise.

The second I picked so I could eek out my holiday food pics. hehe

Lastly, I had the idea a while ago to start a series on the blog, of testing out recipes from other blogs and so if it goes well, this may be the start of it.

I'll be doing a second post today, because it's Friday and I have tested a recipe from a vegan cookbook for you. But for now, i'm gonna tell you a bit about me.

If you've been following me for ages, you know some of this already but if not, hi! I'm Sal. I just turned 40 this year and I live with my lovely husband, Simon, in the south east of England. We don't have any floofy companions (yet!) but our neighbourhood does have a lot of cats, so there's usually one lurking around to pet.

I've been vegan since 1 January 2008 and I started this blog a couple of months later, because at the time I found blogs super helpful for getting ideas of what to eat and how to cook it. There was very limited vegan options in restaurants back then and the only easy to find meat subs were soya mince, granose sos-mix (remember that?) and tofu. Meat subs were really only available if you were lucky, in Holland and Barrett and also in fancy health food stores, in cities way cooler than mine.

So I learned to cook again and I learned to bake. And now there's vegan options in pretty much every chain restaurant and pub on the high street and even the supermarkets have whole coolers dedicated to veg*n food; what a time to be alive :)

I won't ramble on too long about why I don't blog as much anymore but I do miss it and am looking forward to the challenge of regular blogging again, for MoFo.

So, let's do this.

Sal xXx

Monday 24 June 2019

I can feel it comin in the air tonight....

MoFo oh MoFo....

If you want to air drum (mandatory) - here you go: YOU'RE WELCOME.

See ya in August MoFos!


Wednesday 27 February 2019

Poundland / Makeup Gallery Updated Vegan List

Hello everyone.

I know, long time no post and all that. Let's skip over that!

I heard in one of the FB beauty groups today that Poundland's liquid eyeliner is no longer vegan, so I asked them for a new list, as THIS POST is a popular one of mine. I'm sorry to say it's true. So I'm going to put together a post about vegan eyeliners for those of you that like this one but in the meantime, here is the updated list of vegan items from the Poundland Makeup Gallery range:

  • Intense Lipgloss
  • Lip Liner
  • Kohl Eyeliner
  • Cuticle Care
  • Top Coat
  • Healthy Nails
  • Nail Hardener
  • All Coloured Nail Polish
  • Ridge Filler 

Vegetarian, not vegan
  • Lipstick
  • Foundation
  • Liquid Eyeliner
Not Vegetarian or vegan
  • Sheer Lipgloss
  • Pressed Powder
  • Concealer
  • Bronzer
  • Blusher
  • Eyeshadow
  • Eyebrow Pencil 
  • Lengthening Mascara
  • Volumising Mascara
See ya soon