The best dairy free mac ‘n’ cheese

Gooey, comforting, delicious, sexy (?!) – All words to describe the joy that is mac and cheese. When I decided to stop eating meat and dairy, I started researching alternatives to the usual comfort food I enjoyed as I wasn’t prepared to live a life based purely on insta-gorgeous salad and lentil concoctions. Don’t get me wrong I am healthier, eat a wider variety of foods and am loving that veggie life – but sometimes you don’t want a saintly dinner and you want stodge. Essentially, that’s what you’re getting with this recipe – filling, creamy goodness – but it’s still better for you than the real cheesy deal so no guilt here!

Below you will find my favourite recipe for dairy free macaroni cheese, but this is by no means the only recipe out there. You will find variations made with cashews, butternut squash, different herbs and flavourings and made with different types of milk/dairy alternatives.

If you are vegan or thinking about trying it out, I would definitely say that I have found any of my old favourite meals can be made into a plant based recipe. There are SO many great alternatives ingredients out there, give some of them a go and play about – you’ll be amazed at what you can make without dairy or meat but still get a similar flavour.

SO, here is my recipe, apologies I haven’t taken more Nigella-esque pictures, but I’m certainly not a glam chef so best keep the paps on the food.

Ingredients:
Plain flour
Dairy free butter/spread (I use the Flora one pictured below)
Marmite
Non dairy milk (I use Oatly Organic)
Mustard powder (LONG LIVE COLMAN’S OF NORWICH!)
Macaroni pasta
Salt and pepper
Chives and breadcrumbs if you’re feeling fancy
Nutritional yeast
Nutmeg
Peas

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Vegan pancakes

You’ve stopped drinking milk, eating beef, wearing leather and cooking with eggs. But shit, now it’s Shrove Tuesday and you’re really regretting announcing to the world you are now #EatingPlantsNotAnimals

Don’t panic! I have the best ever (probably) vegan pancake recipe which taste JUST like normal pancakes – the thin, crepe kind, not American fluffies.

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You need:

  • 1 cup oat milk (probably would work with other non dairy milks, I just drink Oatly)
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp veg oil (or any other liquid oil you usually use)
  • 1tsp egg replacer (I use Free and Easy)

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Urban Jungle, Suffolk

Have you ever wondered what heaven looks like? All pearly white clouds, angels and cherubs right? Nope! To me it looks like Urban Jungle Suffolk, London Road, Beccles.

If you haven’t been to either branch of Urban Jungle (the Norfolk one is located in Costessey, Norwich) and you are King/Queen of the ‘gram, I would whip over there right this minute! Obviously I wouldn’t go somewhere JUST so I could Instagram it (heavens, no…) but this really is a budding photographers haven. Not to mention the delicious food, relaxing vibe and plants which are crying out to be bought (and if you’re anything like me, killed *sad face*). The Suffolk branch opened this summer after the success of it’s Norfolk big sister and I’m so glad it did considering it is 10 minutes from my house.

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Myself and Dan popped into this little slice of heaven today to have lunch and the menu really is mouth watering. I had sweet potato and coconut curry which was the only totally vegan option, but seeing as I love curry this was music to my ears! Daniel had the most scrummy looking plate of hummus and lamb, accompanied by home made flat bread. Needless to say everything was just as tasty as it looked, Dan even accompanied his lunch with an Aperol Spritz, how very modern man of him, ey!? I opted for a far less flamboyant Earl Grey which was good all the same. Continue reading

2017; A year of brunching, reviewed

Who invented the word brunch, does anyone know? Also, did they invent the action of brunching along with the word, or was someone continually having a late breakfast and thought sod it, I’m going to make this a thing that everyone does?

Whoever it was and whatever the answer is, I would like to meet them and possible hug and/or kiss them because I f’ing love brunch. So much so that last year, it became an obsession.
I would now like to share this information with you so that I can say ‘I did it for the blog’ rather than ‘I did it because I’m a habitual and borderline addicted brunch attendee’ and someone invents some sort of brunch rehab and makes me attend. (I’ll say noooo, noooo, no).

First of all, I’ll keep it local – Earsham Street Cafe.

I have posted about the cosy cafe in my hometown of Bungay before in this post, so I won’t bore you too much BUT I would like to mention polenta (not something I write everyday!).
As many of you know, I stopped eating meat and dairy recently so when visiting this cafe back in the autumn, I ordered the veggie breakfast. I knew it would be lovely as their food is always top notch, myself and Daniel visit regularly, but never in my life had I had polenta before until now. What.A.Game.Changer. It was in the form of a fried/baked ‘polenta cake’ and was heaven on the palate. Sometimes you do worry that when you order a vegetarian or vegan option of a breakfast they will literally just take the meat and eggs off and not put much thought into it but I really would recommend this one to all fellow non meat eaters. I am going to start replicating this at home occasionally; if you’re interested I will post a step-by-step recipe?

http://www.earshamstreetcafe.co.uk/

Earsham street breakfast

I’m taking you slightly further afield now to Stokes High Bridge Cafe, Lincoln.

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Scarlett & Mustard

Every now and then you come across something which excites you and makes you feel like you want to tell everyone you know about your little find. This is how I felt when I first came across Suffolk company Scarlett & Mustard. I was walking around a local food fayre in 2015 when I saw a stall advertising dressings and sauces with really jazzy packaging which made me gravitate toward their wares. After many a taste test (we all know the drill at a food fayre, aren’t they just the best places in the world) I decided I was going to purchase some truffle oil and a lime and mint curd from a company which was new to me called ‘Scarlett and Mustard’. Oh.My.Gosh is all I have to say – the truffle oil was packed full of amazing truffle flavour and was great value for money and the curd was absolutely to die for. If you haven’t ever tried either of the latter I would suggest popping on over to the Scarlett and Mustard online shop and buying asap because words cannot describe how delicious they were.

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So bearing that in mind, can you imagine how giddy I was when I arrived home one day to find new Scarlett and Mustard products to get my sticky little paws on! They kindly sent me one of their rapeseed oils infused with dill and also a peppery chilli rapeseed oil to test and share. I quickly got to work (oh what a hard life) and knocked up some food so I have some recipes to share with you lovely lot!

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The first oil I tried was the ‘Peppery Chilli Rapeseed Oil’ which is made with spicy piquant chilli and is right up my street! I am totally the sort of person who puts chilli sauce on everything and anything, I love spice, so I was extra excited to try this. It is fairly hot so if you can’t take too much heat maybe use sparingly but aside from that, drizzle away! I used it like this… Continue reading

Rooftop Gardens, Norwich

Every now and then something lands in your inbox which makes you squeal in such a way people look at you like you’re mad. I had one of those moments when I received the mail inviting me to the VIP & Press launch of Rooftop Gardens, Norwich. I had been following the progress of this new bar and restaurant on Twitter for quite some time and had really been looking forward to trying it – I had never been to a roof top bar anywhere, let alone so close to home!

The new Rooftop Gardens is situated in Rose Lane, on the top (6th) floor of The Union Building, which used to be an Aviva office. The rest of the building is mainly office space which are being used by all sorts of local businesses, I believe you can still enquire about letting one if you are interested – they look very swanky! It is also home to Train with Core which is a private gym and also hair salon Edge Norwich; couple this with the new Rose Lane car park which recently opened and it has brought a previously somewhat neglected part of the city to life, something I love to see.

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As the lift rose to the top floor on Thursday evening for the launch party, you could hear the buzz before the doors even opened, it sounded promising to say the least. I was greeted by a very handsome waiter who handed me a glass of the most beautiful Argentinian red wine as I walked through the door – instantly I was sold! The atmosphere was a mix of sophisticated schmoozing and relaxed fun, it made you feel like you were somewhere quite special yet not uptight or stuffy in the slightest. The dress code seemed to be fairly glam, it would be the perfect place to go for a first date or a drink with your partner due to the mood lighting and chance to snuggle up in the outside area, very romantic!

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A Week On ‘The Military Diet’

Whatsapp message – ‘Have you heard of The Military Diet?’ It was my best friend Lauren and she knew just how to get my attention. Ever since around the age of 14 I have been interested in health, fitness and food and Lauren has been the same. We would play squash after school, stick on a workout dvd on a weekend and make healthy dinners as often as we could. This interest hasn’t wavered in the years that followed and although I may not be as slim as I once was, I still love food and nutrition. This is exactly why I was interested to try this ‘fad’ diet (as some might call it) with her when she suggested it, to see if you really could as the website claimed ‘lose ten pounds in a week’. *Spoiler* I didn’t, I lost 4.

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Turtle Bay Comes to Norwich!

Thursday nights: normally pretty uneventful right? It’s not quite the weekend yet, it’s a school night and the usual highlight is 7.30 when Jack Branning enters my life again for half an hour. But ohhhhhh no not this week my friend, I went to my first press preview dinner! Ahh! From the second I received the email to the moment my bum hit the seat in the new restaurant in Norwich I could not believe that people actually wanted my opinion on something and went out of their way to get it! It was a real need to pinch myself moment that I am actually a ‘real’ blogger these days and I love it, so thank you everyone who reads my posts, over the last few months I have loved my start on my writing journey!

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My Favourite Brunch Spot in Bungay

So I’m writing this on a Sunday morning whilst watching Legally Blonde 2 – I literally only watched the first one a week ago, despite it being released in 2001, oops. Why didn’t anyone ever tell me how fabulous they were, it is making me feel like a 15 year old again and reminding me I really need to colour my hair and wear more pink.
I really wanted to write this post for those local to myself on the Norfolk/Suffolk border and also for those who are planning to visit. I have been visiting The Earsham Street Cafe in Bungay for over a year now and it has never failed to be delicious.

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Earsham street breakfast

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Buckwheat and Samphire Summer Salad

I don’t know about you, but I like to eat to the seasons. I typically find myself wanting lighter food in the summer and more what I would call ‘English’ food in the colder months, meaning things like stew and cottage pie etc. I try and mix it up a little using different grains, pulses and beans and also different types of ‘greens’ to what I might normally have. For example I like to eat more things like couscous in the summer, more lentils and in this recipe I have used buckwheat. I am also growing myself a little herb garden, so I am itching to prepare more meals where there is need for me to prance outside and announce ‘I am just popping out to get some herbs for tea’. I literally feel like the smuggest Sally in the world when I use my own herbs, it is funny what makes us happy isn’t it? Continue reading