Tag Archives: vegetarian

A duo of vegetarian TVP recipes plus giveaway

Regular readers may remember that I made some delicious healthy chocolate puddings earlier this year using ingredients I received free to review from Buy Whole Foods Online. I have now received some more products free to review from their online shop. This time I received two types of TVP (textured vegetable protein) in the formats of mince and chunks.

TVP (textured Vegetable Protein) or soya

This year I’ve been thinking a lot more about sustainability and one thing I’ve been focussing on, is can our family eat less meat and dairy? As an ex-vegetarian, I’ve easily implemented returning to a vegetarian diet at lunchtimes, either at home alone or in our excellent work canteen. However it isn’t so easy when catering for the whole family. My other half is very resistant to the idea plus we’re also restricted by my youngest son being very fussy about what he will and won’t eat.

I therefore decided to take two of son2’s favourite meals, namely spaghetti bolognaise and chicken nuggets and use the TVP to cook vegetarian equivalents. Last year we successfully swapped using shop-bought jars of bolognaise sauce for passata in an attempt to reduce sugar. What would he think this time?

So firstly here is my recipe for the Bolognaise.

Vegetarian Bolognaise

Vegetarian Bolognaise

Ingredients (serves 4)

100g dried TVP mince
boiling water
1 vegetable stock cube
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
500g passata
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
250g wholewheat spaghetti


Place the dried TVP in a large bowl.
Crumble the stock cube into a jug.
Pour on the boiling water and stir until dissolved.
Pour sufficient stock over the TVP to cover it.
(Any spare stock can be stored in the fridge once cool for a few days for use in another recipe).
Leave to stand for about 20 minutes for the TVP to absorb liquid.
Once the TVP is ready to use, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil.
Meanwhile peel garlic and squeeze through garlic press.
Add spaghetti to the saucepan and cook for about 11-13 minutes.
Gently heat oil in a wok.
Add garlic to wok and cook for about 1 minute.
Stir in the TVP.
Season with salt, pepper and oregano.
Stir in the passata and cook for about 8-10 minutes.
Drain the spaghetti and serve topped with the bolognaise.

Vegetarian Bolognaise

And secondly the nuggets.

Vegetarian Nuggets

Vegetarian Nuggets

Ingredients (serves 3)

40g dried TVP chunks
250ml boiling water
1 vegetable stock cube
1 clove of garlic
1 slice of stale bread
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano


Crumble the stock cube into a jug.
Pour on the boiling water and stir until dissolved.
Squeeze garlic through garlic press and stir into the stock.
Add the TVP chunks to the jug.
Leave to stand for about 20 minutes for the TVP to absorb liquid and double in size.
Meanwhile tear the bread into pieces and put in blender.
Whizz the bread into crumbs.
Tip the breadcrumbs into a flat dish.
Season with salt, pepper and oregano.
After about 20 minutes once the TVP has doubled in size, drain off any liquid which remains.
(This liquid can be stored in the fridge for a few days for use in another recipe).
Dip the chunks in the breadcrumbs, ensuring they are fully coated.
Gently heat oil in a frying pan.
Cook the nuggets for approx 4 minutes on each side, turning once.
Serve with your choice of vegetables or salad.

Vegetarian Nuggets

So verdict on the recipes. Son2 was happy with the Vegetarian Bolognaise but the Nuggets did not hit the spot for him. Son1 liked both though as did I. In fact I found the nuggets delicious with my salad. The boys have agreed going forward that we will alternate between a traditional meat bolognaise and a vegetarian version.

In fact, both these recipes are not only vegetarian, they are actually vegan, so long as you don’t serve grated cheese with the bolognaise.

Here are the links to the two products I received. They come in a range of sizes from 500g to the bulk 15kg.

Textured Vegetable Protein – Plain Chunks (TVP) 500g – made from 100% soya beans.

Textured Vegetable Protein – Plain Mince (TVP) 500g – made from 100% soya beans.

I was pleased with both these products and am now thinking up my next recipe. I did ask the boys for recipe suggestions. I wasn’t too convinced when son2 said how about in a banana milkshake but son1’s idea was to put some of the mince on a pizza. I’ll certainly give that a try as I usually make him a pepperoni pizza, whilst son2’s pizzas are already vegetarian as he won’t try anything except Margarita.

I can’t comment on cost comparison, as I haven’t seen these products elsewhere previously. It is great how versatile these can be. It is like having a blank canvas as the TVP absorbs the flavour of whatever you choose to cook it in.

And one other point to note. Don’t misread the chunks pack like I did initially. I thought it was implying that one cup of chunks would need 7 to 8 cups of water. It actually meant seven eighths of a cup, so in the end I decided it was simplest to do a 1 to 1 ratio. However that was after deciding to only rehydrate a small quantity of chunks, as I assumed they were going to massively increase in size. In fact they hardly increase at all.

Finally a mention about the packaging. As it hasn’t been that long since my earlier post, I wasn’t expecting any change yet. And true enough both of these products were again in plastic, even if it is BPA free plastic. I’m still hoping Buy Whole Foods Online will review their product packaging and switch to a paper-based solution.

I do recommend that you take a look at the Buy Whole Foods Online store. There is a huge amount to choose from.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a pack of both TVP products from Buy Whole Foods Online to one lucky winner. You’ll certainly be able to get creative in the kitchen with these.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your recipe suggestions using either of these products.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.


Cheesy Courgette Chips

Do you struggle like me to find ways that your children will eat vegetables? As they both love my chicken nuggets and turkey dippers, I thought that I would try something similar with courgette, a vegetable that is on their black-list, to see what they thought. It is also a great way of using up leftover bread. I’ve always made my own breadcrumbs, but now I’ve started to save all the leftover bits of bread in a bag in the freezer for this purpose, in an effort to reduce food waste. We do end up with quite a few crusts, as son2 won’t eat them, always insisting they are cut off the edges of his sandwiches.

Cheesy Courgette Chips

Cheesy Courgette Chips

Ingredients (serves 4 as a side)

1 large courgette or 2 small courgettes
1 or 2 slices of stale bread
40g cheddar cheese
1 egg
25g plain flour
salt and pepper
30ml sunflower oil


Chop courgette into batons.
Tear the bread into pieces and put in blender.
Whizz the bread into crumbs.
Tip the breadcrumbs into a flat dish.
Season with salt and pepper.
Grate the cheese.
Mix grated cheese into the breadcrumbs.
Crack the egg into another flat dish.
Beat egg with a fork.
Shake flour onto a chopping board.
Coat the courgette in flour.
Then dip in the egg, coating thoroughly.
Finally coat in the breadcrumbs.
Gently heat oil in a frying pan.
Cook the courgette for approx 4-5 minutes on each side, turning once.
Serve and enjoy.

Although I enjoyed these, unfortunately the boys didn’t, so back to the drawing board.

Cheesy Courgette Chips

I’d love to hear your ideas for ways to introduce vegetables to your kids. And do they enjoy them?

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Creamed Spinach

I decided not to buy any sprouts for Christmas dinner this year. I’m the only one in the household who eats them anyhow and I’d already had some at the works canteen Christmas lunch. But as I headed to bed on Christmas Eve, thinking about the cooking preparations I had already done, I just fancied the idea of something else green on the plate. Too late to purchase a few sprouts now, I decided to resort to spinach from the freezer. I was planning to see if I could make my own version of the creamed spinach side dishes that I have previously enjoyed at Italian restaurants. Hopefully it was not too ambitious to try to make something new on Christmas Day, when I already have a packed schedule of running, then cooking planned for the big day.

So this is what I came up with. I only made a small quantity as I was cooking lots of other side dishes too.

Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach


200g frozen spinach
15g butter
15g wholewheat plain flour
100ml crème fraîche
30g cheddar
salt and pepper


Defrost the spinach in a sieve above a bowl, at room temperature, a couple of hours earlier.
Once defrosted, use a fork to squeeze the liquid out of the spinach, reserving this for later use.
Grate the cheese.
Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Stir in the flour to form a paste.
Stir in the liquid squeezed from the spinach.
Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the spinach and crème fraîche.
Stir in the grated cheese.
Serve hot as a side dish.

Creamed Spinach

It tasted delicious, and son1 thought so too. What a result as he certainly wouldn’t have touched a sprout, but he had seconds of this.

I’d love to hear what dishes you have added to a menu at the last minute?

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Peanut Butter and Date Breakfast Bars

Regular readers of my blog may remember that having received 12 free jars of Sun-Pat peanut butter, that I promised to share an energy boosting breakfast bar recipe. Well, here it is. Nice and healthy before we hit the excesses of the festive season.

Peanut butter and date breakfast bars

Peanut Butter and Date Breakfast Bars

Ingredients (makes 9)

150g Sun-Pat peanut butter
150g dates
150g oats
10g chia seeds
10g linseeds
About 200ml boiling water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda


Preheat fan oven to 180 deg C.
Line a 20cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.
Chop dates and place in basin.
Add bicarbonate of soda.
Add sufficient boiling water to cover.
Leave for 15 minutes, then strain, reserving the liquid.
Place peanut butter in mixing bowl.
Add dates.
Add chia seeds and linseeds.
Mix in oats along with 2 tbsp of the reserved liquid from the dates.
Put mixture into the tin, pressing down into the corners.
Cook in preheated oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown.
Leave in tin for 10 minutes, then turn onto cooling rack.
Once cool, cut into 9 squares.
Serve and enjoy.

Delicious and just what we needed for a quick energy boost ready for parkrun. And it must have done the trick, as son1 achieved a personal best for his run today.

Peanut butter and date breakfast bars

I’d love to hear your ideas for a recipe using peanut butter?

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Disclosure. This post mentions a product I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

Realise your dream

Regular readers of my blog will know that son1 finished chemotherapy in the summer. He is now trying hard to build his stamina up by participating in parkrun and he has even got me running. Both of us are right at the very back of the field. I think I’m actually running slower than I walk but I never imagined that I would ever run. And I’m even going out for short 10 minute runs alone, so the bug must have bitten.

parkrun wristbands

Son1 is really proud of the two wrist bands that he has earned so far from junior 2k parkrun in which he has now cumulatively run more than the equivalent of a marathon. But he has a dream to get a milestone t-shirt for running 50 of the 5k parkruns. He has run 13 of them so far and should have already got a 10 parkruns milestone t-shirt but it seems to be permanently out of stock in his size.

But we both need plenty of energy for all this running. And as I’ve just received 12 free jars of Sun-Pat peanut butter to review, I was going to come up with an energy boosting breakfast bar recipe. However that will have to wait for a later post, because I have a time-critical competition to tell you about but no time for cooking this weekend whilst I’m working night shifts.

Sun-Pat peanut butter

Do you have a dream you’d love to make a reality? Perhaps abseiling down Big Ben, swimming in Loch Ness, afternoon tea at the Ritz.

Sun-Pat is offering you the chance to realise your ultimate ambition and make your dreams come true for a day. They are running a Fuel Your Dreams competition to help two people experience their dream for a day alongside Olympic hero Adam Peaty and TV presenter Helen Skelton! But be quick. it closes on November 16th.

See http://www.sunpat.co.uk/fuelyourdreams for full details.

Sun-Pat peanut butter

Sun-Pat peanut butter is a natural source of protein, naturally high in fibre, made using 95% peanuts and suitable for vegans. Meanwhile since it is marketed as being great for maintaining energy, I’ve experimented making a peanut butter hot chocolate drink to keep my energy up whilst working night shift.

Peanut butter hot chocolate

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

Ingredients (serves 1)

3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp Smooth Sun-Pat peanut butter
2 tbsp dark chocolate chips


Fill a large cup, three quarters full of milk.
Place in microwave for 90 seconds, (based on a 900W microwave).
Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate.
Mix well.
Top up with additional milk if desired.
Place in microwave for further 60 seconds, in 30 second bursts, stirring well at halfway point.
Stir well, checking that peanut butter and chocolate are fully dissolved.
Serve and enjoy.

Absolutely delicious. And of course I had a tasty slice of peanut butter on toast too.

Peanut butter hot chocolate

Sun-Pat peanut butter is available in Smooth or Crunchy varieties at most major supermarkets, currently retailing at around £2.79 for a 454g jar. Well worth a buy in my opinion either for cooking or just as a tasty spread.

I’d love to hear your ideas for a recipe using peanut butter? Or your dreams?

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Disclosure. This post is a review of products I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

Pumpkin and Kale stir-fry

I hope you enjoyed Halloween. Did you carve a pumpkin? I always find pumpkin carving quite difficult, so am impressed with some of the amazing designs that I see online. I understand a stencil is the key, however I don’t think I would have the patience. But at least the boys were happy with my basic carving.


And of course I didn’t want to waste the pumpkin flesh. Instead I used it in a stir-fry.

Pumpkin and Kale stir fry

Pumpkin and Kale stir-fry

Ingredients (serves 2)

250g pumpkin
350g potato
50g kale
1 spring onion
50g macadamias
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp mixed herbs
salt and pepper to season


Dice the pumpkin and chop the spring onion.
Shred the kale and grate the potato.
Heat the oil in a wok over a moderate heat.
Add the pumpkin and onion.
Stir in the grated potato.
Stir in the kale.
Add the macadamias.
Add herbs and season with salt and pepper.
Continue to stir-fry for about 10-15 minutes.
Serve and enjoy.

Pumpkin and Kale stir-fry

I’d love to hear your favourite pumpkin recipes.

And you can see how to toast the pumpkin seeds here, along with my pumpkin soup recipe.

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A trio of vegetarian recipes plus giveaway

Although it is a few years now since I stopped being a strict veggie, mainly in order not to have to cook several different menus at family mealtimes, I personally still have a preference for meat-free meals, so I was pleased to receive a selection of vegetarian dry mixes from Granose free to review.

Granose vegetarian dry mixes

I received 2 each of the following varieties.
Moroccan Style Falafel Mix 120g
Soya Mince 100g
Lincolnshire Sausage Mix 150g

And I’ve come up with a selection of meat-free recipes using these products. Firstly I made Falafel Burger Wraps using the Falafel Mix.

falafel burger wraps

Falafel Burger Wraps

Ingredients (makes 4)

120g falafel mix
150ml cold water
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp olive oil
50g savoy cabbage
50g carrot
35g cucumber
200g greek style natural yoghurt
4 wraps


Tip the falafel into a bowl and stir in the water.
Put aside for 5 minutes until mixture has thickened.
Meanwhile finely shred the cabbage.
Finely dice the cucumber.
Peel the carrot and cut into fine strips.
Mix the cabbage and carrot together in a bowl.
Mix in a tablespoon of the yoghurt to make coleslaw.
Add the cucumber to another bowl.
Mix in the remainder of the yoghurt to make tzatziki.
Dust a board with the flour.
Form the falafel into 4 patties, coating each in a dusting of flour.
Gently heat oil in a frying pan.
Add the patties and fry for about 5 minutes, turning halfway.
Fold the wraps into quarters, then shape into a cone.
Spoon the coleslaw into the wraps.
Add a falafel burger to each wrap.
Spoon in the tzatziki.
Serve and enjoy.

falafel burger wraps

And I used the Soya Mince in the filling of my Savoury Stuffed Pancakes.

soya stuffed pancake

Savoury Stuffed Pancakes

Ingredients (makes about 12)

200g plain flour
2 eggs
600ml milk
100g soya mince
boiling water
400g tin of plum tomatoes
30g plain flour
30g margarine
300ml milk
50g grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp olive oil


Sieve 200g flour into bowl and add pinch of salt.
Make a well in centre of flour and add eggs.
Mix in sufficient milk to make a thick paste.
Gradually beat in remainder of the 600ml milk and put batter aside.
Tip the soya mince into a bowl and cover with boiling water.
Leave to soak for 1 minute and then drain off excess water.
Drain excess juice from tinned tomatoes.
Chop the tinned tomatoes.
Meanwhile melt margarine in jug in microwave.
Mix in 30g plain flour.
Gradually stir in 300ml milk.
Cook in the microwave until sauce thickens, stirring at 1 minute intervals.
Grate the cheese and stir into sauce.
Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the soya and tomatoes.
Heat sufficient oil to cover base of frying pan.
Tip in some batter.
Cook pancake and turn.
Slide pancake onto warm plate.
Add a couple of tablespoons of filling.
Roll up pancake, keeping warm if not served immediately.
Repeat for each pancake.
Serve and enjoy.

soya stuffed pancakes

Finally I used the Lincolnshire Sausage Mix to make a meat-free Sausage Plait.

Meat free Sausage plait

Meat Free Sausage Plait

Ingredients (serves 4)

150g sausage mix
250ml cold water
500g puff pastry
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp milk


Preheat fan oven to 180 degrees C.
Grease a baking sheet.
Tip the sausage mix into a bowl and stir in the water.
Put aside for 5 minutes until mixture has thickened.
Meanwhile dust rolling pin and a board with flour.
Roll out the pastry to a large rectangle.
Lift pastry onto baking sheet.
Scoop sausage out of bowl onto chopping board.
Form into a rectangular block.
Place onto middle of pastry.
Without detaching, cut the pastry on both sides into diagonal strips.
Put milk in small dish.
Lift end of pastry over sausage and brush with milk.
Then lay pastry strips from alternate sides on to top, brushing each with milk before covering with next.
When you reach other end, tuck pastry end under the strips.
Brush all over with milk.
Cook in preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
Cut into slices.
Serve with mini roast potatoes and your choice of vegetables.

meat free sausage plait

So how did we all like them? Unsurprisingly I loved all of them, but the sausage plait was my favourite. Son1 and my partner loved the stuffed pancakes and falafel burger wraps but said the sausage plait was just okay. And of course, son2 who won’t eat anything new, only ate the pastry part of the plait and insisted on honey for his pancake.

Granose products can be purchased at Asda, Holland & Barrett, Morrisons and Sainsburys. They are approved by the Vegetarian Society and there are more recipe suggestions on the packets. There are 3 other products in the range, namely a savoury mince mix, a burger mix and a bolognaise mix.

In summary, great store cupboard products that I highly recommend. The current RRP is £1.39 per packet.

Granose is owned by Symington’s who also manufacture a wide range of other familiar food brands.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a prize pack courtesy of Granose to one lucky winner. The prize pack worth over £30 comprises a Salter Spiralizer, a spiralizing recipe book and a selection of vegetarian products from across the Symington’s brands. A fabulous prize.

Win a hamper

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your favourite vegetarian dish.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Vegan Tuck Box review & giveaway

I was quite excited to find out what goodies were contained in the latest free parcel that I have received. It is a vegan tuck box. No I’m not vegan, but you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy vegan treats. I used to be vegetarian for about 20 years, but reintroduced meat back into my diet last year when everyone was so generously cooking us homemade meals after son1’s leukaemia diagnosis. I have very fond memories of a holiday about 10 years ago at Yuva in Turkey where all the meals were vegetarian or vegan. And now although I do eat meat sometimes, I usually will opt for a vegetarian or vegan alternative.

vegan tuck box

When I opened it, I found the contents were as follows…

Bali Nutra Coconut Syrup
Braw blackcurrant oat bar
Go Max Go Foods Cleo’s peanut butter cups
Howdah Snacks Bombay Puri
Meridian Almond Bar
Moo Free Mini Moo Mint
Nothing But pineapple and grape
Premium Chocolatiers No No’s
Provamel coconut and rice drink
Rawlicious pizza crackers
Seed stacked Thai sprinkles

Howdah Snacks Bombay Puri
On reading the pack I thought that this would really appeal to son1, but on tasting it we found it was quite spicy, even though the packaging said it was subtly spiced. I loved it but son1 found it too spicy. This product is NOT gluten free, but the accompanying leaflet indicated that some of the other products in the Howdah range are gluten free.

Bombay puri

Nothing But Pineapple and Grape Snack
Although I like pineapple it is not usually one of my favourite fruits. However this freeze-dried pack of pineapple and grape was so flavoursome. I could easily have munched twice the amount. This is gluten free.

Pineapple & Grape

Braw blackcurrant oat bar
I cut this into 4 pieces so we could all have a taste. 2 of us thought it was okay, son2 thought it was excellent but son1 wasn’t too keen on it. This is a gluten and nut free product.

Peanut butter cups

Go Max Go Foods Cleo’s peanut butter cups
There were 2 of these in the packet, so I cut them in halves so we could all try. I really loved them but the other 3 weren’t keen at all. This is gluten free. Once I removed the sticker detailing ingredients in German, I was able to read the allergy information underneath and since it is clearly labelled as a vegan product I was surprised to read that it is not suitable for persons with an allergy to milk. Umm vegans don’t eat dairy so I can only assume this refers to the next sentence which mentions that it is manufactured in a facility that also produces products containing dairy, eggs and wheat.

Meridian Almond Bar
I took this as a snack to work. I do like almond flavoured products a lot and I found this quite pleasant. This is gluten free.

Premium Chocolatiers No No’s
Another item that we all really enjoyed although son2 only wanted the blue ones. Son1 and hubby were surprised when I told them that these contained marshmallow, as they usually express a dislike of marshmallow. Again gluten free.

pizza crackers

Rawlicious pizza crackers
3 of us weren’t particularly keen on these although we did say they were better when eaten with a dip. But son2 hated them. These don’t list the ingredients, only nutritional facts. Very odd as I do think it is important for ingredients to be listed on a product. So I have looked them up online. I still didn’t find an ingredient list but it did say that they are free from wheat, gluten, buckwheat, refined salt and sugar.

Seed stacked Thai sprinkles
I took these to work for a snack, as I do enjoy snacking on seeds. These were no exception and I liked the Thai flavouring. These are gluten free. They are quite short-dated with a best before date of 21/11/14, but this could be because I am reviewing what would have been the September selection.

Minty moo

Moo Free Mini Moo Mint
Another item which I cut into 4 pieces so we could all try. We all loved this and son1 said it was just like the chocolates that they serve at our local Indian restaurant. This is gluten free.

Provamel coconut and rice drink
This was an individual size 200ml carton. I offered it to the boys to taste but neither of them was particularly keen. I however found it quite refreshing. It is an organic product. The info is just under the glue for the straw but I think it says it is lactose, gluten and wheat free and is unsweetened. A blend of water, rice and coconut-milk.

Coconut Syrup

Bali Nutra Coconut Syrup
This can be used as a substitute for sugar. The bottle suggests using it in tea or coffee. Or over pancakes, waffles, cereal and oatmeal. And it mentions a link to recipe suggestions on their website. The glass bottle was carefully wrapped in bubble wrap. So I decided to try it out on a bowl of porridge. I added a teaspoon of the coconut syrup instead of my usual brown sugar. Yes very nice.

bali nutra coconut syrup

So apart from the Bombay Puri, all these products were gluten free. I like to look out for gluten free products for when my brother-in-law visits us, since he has to follow a gluten-free and oat-free diet for health reasons. So he wouldn’t be able to have the Braw blackcurrant oat bar.

The box I received was the classic selection which contains between 10-12 different sweet and savoury vegan snacks each month. You may choose between an ongoing monthly subscription at £17 per box or prepaying for 3 or 6 boxes or buying a single box for £19. Prepaying for 3 equates to £19 per box and prepaying for 6 equates to £18 per box. Very good value in my opinion. But please note these prices do not include shipping.

There are also options for mini boxes with 5-6 items or gluten free boxes. And you may purchase products individually. Browsing their website, I can also see some tasty Christmas treats.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a classic vegan tuck box to one lucky winner. This will contain a different selection of products to those featured here, as my review is of what would have been in the September selection.

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

And finally I have a special offer to share with my readers. 10% off your first Vegan Tuck Box when you subscribe with code veganbox at check out.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Tofu stir-fry with Amira pure basmati rice

I received a free 500g packet of Amira pure basmati rice to review.

Amira is the newest speciality rice brand on the supermarket shelf and is the choice of Michelin Star chefs.

Amira rice

I learnt something new from the fact sheet that I didn’t know which is that basmati rice has to be aged. Apparently the industry standard is to age basmati rice for 9 months, but Amira flagship products are aged for a minimum of 18 months, giving them a distinctive scent and delicious flavour.

I was also sent a selection of recipes, but I decided to do my own thing and cook a stir-fry. Unfortunately I couldn’t read the cooking instructions on the packet for the rice as the reseal label wouldn’t peel off properly, leaving a layer of label obscuring some of the instructions, so I cooked it the way I usually cook long grain rice. This may not have been the optimum cooking method, but it certainly gave tasty results.

The recipe ideas all looked really tasty. You may see them online here.

tofu & rice stir-fry

tofu & rice stir-fry

Tofu & Rice Stir-fry

Ingredients (serves 2 adults and 2 children)

220g Amira pure basmati rice (60g per adult and 50g per child)
200g smoked tofu
100g carrots
75g chinese leaf
50g shallots
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp olive oil


Tear the chinese leaf into pieces.
Peel and chop the carrots into thin batons.
Peel and push garlic through garlic press.
Peel and finely chop shallots.
Drain tofu and use kitchen roll to absorb surplus moisture.
Chop tofu into small pieces.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil.
Add rice.
Cook until soft and drain.
Meanwhile add the olive oil to a wok and heat.
Add the garlic.
After 1 minute, add shallots.
After 1 minute more, add carrots.
After 1-2 minutes more, add tofu.
After a few minutes, add chinese leaf and oyster sauce.
After 1-2 minutes more, add rice.
Mix well and cook for a few minutes.
Serve and enjoy.

tofu & rice stir-fry


I thought this was a really tasty meal. It was the first time that the boys had eaten tofu and they weren’t convinced, but they did love the rice, especially son1. The grains didn’t stick together which sometimes happens with other rice.

Amira rice is sold in 1kg bags in Morrisons and in 4kg and 8kg bags in Tesco. And is due to launch in another major supermarket this month. According to My Supermarket, when I started writing this post, it was on special offer at Morrisons, reduced from £4.29 to £2.14 for both pure basmati rice and superior aromatic rice, but it is now back to £4.29.

In summary I could definitely taste that this rice was better than most other rice. I shall be looking out to buy it in the future. I’m planning to use the rest of the packet for a fish curry, so watch out for another blog post soon.

Family Fever
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Veggie sausage fried rice wrap cones

Cauldron is a sponsor at this year’s British Street Food Awards. They are challenging bloggers in conjunction with Foodies100 to submit their favourite street food recipe using a Cauldron product of their choice. They sent me a voucher to take part.

Cauldron voucher

I used to follow a vegetarian diet and during this period I regularly bought Cauldron smoked tofu. However as the boys haven’t been introduced to tofu, I didn’t think this was the time to see if they might like it. So instead I used the voucher to purchase Cauldron Lincolnshire vegetarian sausages. These are widely available at most major supermarkets.

Cauldron sausages

I wanted to do something more inspiring than serving my sausages with onions in hot dog rolls. So for my street food, I cooked the sausages with fried rice and then served it in wraps folded in a cone shape. I also did a variant for son2 serving his sausages with noodles and broccoli, as he has recently decided he doesn’t like rice.

wrap cone

Veggie sausage fried rice wrap cones

Ingredients (serves 2 adults and 2 children)

4 wraps
1 packet of 6 Cauldron Lincolnshire vegetarian sausages
280g long grain rice (80g per adult and 60g per child)
1 pint stock (made from 1 vegetarian stock cube and boiling water)
100g Chinese leaf
2 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
Barbecue sauce


Tear the Chinese leaf into pieces.
Peel and push garlic through garlic press.
Cut the sausages into short pieces.
Fold the wraps into quarters, then shape into a cone.
Balance the wraps in mugs.
Add the olive oil to a wok and heat.
Add the garlic.
Add the rice and cook for a few minutes to coat with oil.
Gradually add the stock a few tablespoons at a time, stirring occasionally until absorbed.
After the first few tablespoons of stock, add the sausages.
Add the Chinese leaf when the rice is al dente, (after approx 20 mins).
Season with salt and pepper.
Allow the rice to soften to your preferred taste and ensure some of it goes crispy.
Spoon into the wraps.
Serve with barbecue sauce or your preferred relish and enjoy.

wrap cones

We enjoyed eating our street food in the garden. The boys gave it the thumbs up.

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Disclosure.  This post mentions a product I purchased using a voucher I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.