Unico

When my mum came to visit me in the beginning of June, we were in the bus and we saw a place what was going to be an ice cream bar soon: Unico! It said it was going to have vegan options too, so I straight away made note in my phone. In the end of July, I had finally found some time to go and I was super excited. First of all, it looked super nice, very new, bright and fresh! There were some people before me, so I took this time to take some pictures and to look at the menu. There are quite a lot of seats, because you can also sit down stairs and they don’t only offer ice cream, but also: cake, sandwiches, tea and coffee. What a lovely shop!

The guy who served me knew a lot and he was very kind and super helpful. Very much appreciated! They have over 10 different vegan flavours, but there are only 3-4 flavours available a day. Today that was strawberry, mango and dark chocolate. This is because they make their ice cream fresh every day and they don’t want to throw away too much. Their ice cream is low in fat, high in fiber, protein and vitamins. What is an exciting thing! He let me taste the chocolate when I said that I loved the fact that there was a chocolate available. Mango was one of his favourites and so he let me taste that one too. Both of them were very delicious! I’m very sorry for all the other ice cream shops I’ve been to, but this was the best chocolate and mango ice cream I’ve ever had. I did like the chocolate a little bit better than the mango, but that is just because it’s chocolate. It was just so creamy and full of rich chocolate flavour. It’s like eating cold chocolate fudge. I ordered these 2 flavours, because I wanted more of course. I got it served in this super cute cup, but he told me that soon there will be vegan cones too. Yay! (I’ll be back!)

Like I said, there is more than just ice cream. The little sandwiched they have, are called ‘bubbles’. They are super cute to see, like little wrapped ‘bubbles’. They are small filled buns and they make them warm for you. I had the Genova and it’s with potatoes, green beans and pesto sauce. There is also one with seasonal vegetables. The bubbles are the only thing they don’t make in the shop itself, but they let them come over from Italy. I’ve never seen them before, but it was very tasty. Now the cake. They have a lot of different cakes, but only one vegan one. Hopefully there will be more soon. The one they offered was a raw chocolate and cashew one.. so even though it was the only option, it was surely a good one. I didn’t taste it, but I’m sure it was delicious. It looked amazing. Maybe a next time.

I want to thank Unico for their delicious ice cream and sandwich!

WHO? Unico.
WHERE? 37 Pembridge Rd, Notting Hill, W11 3HG.
CUISINE? Italian.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 9 (Amazing ice cream, lovely sandwiches, bright interior and great service)

Did you already know Unico? Or are you planning to go here now? You do need to try the chocolate ice cream! Please tell me about your experience! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Ethos

A while ago I heard about Ethos. It looked quite posh and I thought it might not be my thing, but I wanted to know more about it. So I went to see what it was like. Ethos is very central, just a 2 minute walk from Oxford Circus. So if you’re going shopping for the day, Ethos is not far away for a proper lunch. As you know Oxford Street is very busy, but because Ethos is in a street behind it, it’s a lot quieter. The building looks very nice with the wood in the front nice and it does look quite posh. Going inside almost feels like entering a luxury hotel or something. There are a lot of trees and plants, to create some privacy in between the tables. I absolutely love it. I was served by a waiter I actually knew from tennis lessons about a year ago, what was very funny. He helped me to a seat and gave me lots of information about the restaurant. Super handy!

The food is right at the entrance. It starts with cakes and treats, then the hot food and in the end the cold bar. Ethos is like a buffet. You can get all the yummy looking foods you want and at the till they weigh your food and that is what you pay for. I tried all the vegan options, because I was too curious of course. So in the end I had a big colourful plate. Something you’ll definitely notice, is that the food is all very fresh. I did like the food, just some things had a very strong taste (mustard, vinegar etc). Like the aubergine was cooked well, but the flavour was spicy and sour. There was basically no other flavour. The chickpeas, the green beans and the little cornball in the middle were very yummy though. For the cakes and treats you pay per cake/slice, instead of by weight. I chose 2, one as a dessert and one to take away. Just because I couldn’t choose. Both things I chose were super delicious! Their desserts and treats are amazing I must say. The coconut in the raw heart (with rose petals) was so yum, I definitely want to eat that again. The blondie was very nice too. It was a little bit in between a brownie and a biscuit. Very good! They also do chai lattes, matcha lattes, other teas and of course coffees. This is why Ethos is not only good for lunch, but it’s also nice to just have an afternoon break with tea and cake. And for everybody who rather has a juice or an ice tea.. they have a lot of choice in drinks too. I’m sure you can find something you like.

Ethos is all vegetarian and they do have a lot of vegan food. I’d say more than half is vegan, so there is a lot of choice. It’s quite a posh restaurant, but with some good natural vibes. So perfect for formal lunches or work meetings. As it’s a buffet, there is always something you like. What makes it easy to go to if you (or the people you go with) are picky. I do think that they are a little expensive though. For the food you see on my plate I payed a little over £16. The treats were £7 pounds together. So it’s not a very cheap lunch. If you eat a little less and you choose 1 dessert, you probably pay in between £15-£20 pounds. Personally it’s not something I’d go to every week, but more for special occasions. Because you pay by weight and it’s not an all you can eat buffet, I’m sure people will think twice about what to put on their plate. This is very positive if you ask me, because there will be less food waste. Much more sustainable this way.

WHO? Ethos.
WHERE? 48 Eastcastle St, Fitzrovia, W1W 8DX.
CUISINE? Buffet.
VEGAN? No! (vegetarian)
OVERALL? 7 (Great looking restaurant, lots of choice and very yummy dessert/cakes.)

Did you already know Ethos? Are you planning to go here now? Please tell me about your experience! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Dutch Balls

Do you have the balls to make these Dutch Balls? Haha.. I’m not sure if Dutch people are the most courageous, but we are known for being direct. I think that counts! These snack balls are made with a Dutch spice called ‘speculaas’. Speculaas is actually a mixture of different spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg. All these spices together is called ‘speculaas’. You might know this as in Dutch biscuits. Or in the ‘pepernoten’ we eat when it’s ‘Sinterklaas’. It’s a super nice spice and I thought why not make snack balls with it? This way it’s healthy too! If you can’t get your hands on the ‘speculaas spices’, you can always make this yourself:

-Mix 2 tbs cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 cloves, 1/4 cardamon, 1/4 white pepper, 1/4 coriander seed, 1/4 ginger, 1/4 aniseed. (all ground)

DUTCH BALLS

Makes: 12-15

-1 cup oats
-1 cup soft dates
-2 tbs coconut oil (melted)
-2 tbs almonds
-1/2 tbs speculaas spices
-pinch of salt
-4 tbs desiccated coconut

-Put everything (apart from the coconut) in the food processor and blend until it’s sticky.
-Make balls of the dough and roll them through the coconut.

Do you know the Dutch speculaas spices? Are you going to try to make this recipe? Please let me know when you’ve tried them. You can do this in a comment below. You can also tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Lola’s Cupcakes

img_7668I actually never go into bakeries and cake shops, because they never really have vegan options. And that’s apart from that I’m not a huge fan of cake that is not home-made. Though, the last time when I was in Westfield and I was on my way out, walked past Lola’s Cupcakes and it made me curious. They were already tidying up, but I quickly introduced myself and asked if they had vegan options. I was very surprised that she said yes! ..and she didn’t only say yes because they had 1 vegan cupcake, they actually had lots of flavours: Coconut and passion fruit, lemon and raspberry, chocolate.. oh yes! There was only one vegan cupcake left (lucky me!) and that was the ‘pistachio and cherry’. She gave it to me and I promised to write about it. So here we go..

img_7667Like I said before, I’m not a big fan of cake that is not home-made. I was a little sceptical about this one too. I was sitting in the bus on my way home and I was looking at the box and asking the cupcake: will I like you?! When I got home I was quite excited to try it though. So I opened the little box. They give you super cute boxes btw.. I thought: even if the taste will not be that good, I’d get one just to have a beautiful looking cupcake in a cute box. Haha! First impression: I had to admit that it looked very tasty. With the green pieces of pistachios and the chocolate.. + it came in a shiny golden case. Taking my first bite I was pleasantly surprised! The cream on top was very fluffy and had a lovely structure. Also the cake itself was very good. The cream is very very sweet though, but the cake is a lot less sweet, so together they’re perfect. It would have been too much if they were both that sweet. I ate it all and I actually really enjoyed it. The only thing I didn’t like that much, was the cherry in the middle, but that is more personal taste I think. I started to read about Lola’s Cupcakes and it turns out they also do big vegan cakes. So if you do not like baking, but you still want a nice vegan cake, I think this is just perfect. Also because you can order them online, super handy!

WHO? Lola’s Cupcakes.
WHERE? Westfield Shepherd’s Bush, Ariel Way, W12 7GD.
CUISINE? Bakery.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 7 (quite some vegan options + nice design/shops)

Did you already know that Lola’s Cupcakes do vegan too? Are you going to try one of these yummy treats? Please let me know when you’ve tried it! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Southbank Food Market

img_8357Today I will give you 8 hotspots in 1 article! And they’re all in the same place.. how is that?! On Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and on bank holiday Mondays there is a food market with lots of nice street food, behind the Southbank Centre. I’ve known it was there since very long, but I never really took the time to take a look. I was most of the time on my way to something else. From or to Waterloo station. This time I also didn’t plan to take a look, but I happened to walk passed it when I was looking for the Benugo cafe. I couldn’t help myself this time and went for a quick look. That quick look became a very long look though. As there were so many vegan options! At least 10 stalls have vegan food. I picked 8 stalls to tell you about. I just had my lunch, so unfortunately I couldn’t eat anything, but I did have a drink! Here we go..

1. ELEPHANT JUICE
Super fresh juices! And you have a lot of nice choices for a very good price. If I didn’t have lunch just before I would have gotten a nice juice here for sure. A Berry or Passion juice would have definitely taste amazing. Next time!

2. LULIN TEA
This is the place where I had a drink. I saw the words ‘Chai’ and ‘Latte’ and I decided instantly. They have lovely ethically, hand-picked and blended tea. They do a lovely vegan chai with soy milk. It was delicious! Only downside was, that they use sugar for that.

3. BREAD TREE
A market stall with big letters that write ‘Bruschetta’ is something I had to check out of course. They do yummy looking bruschetta and they have lots of vegan options. You can basically mix and match yourself!

4. CHALÉ
Ghanaian food with a very tasty looking vegan option. With kale, pumpkin, coconut and fried plantains. It’s not something you can just get everywhere. I would have loved to try this. A lot of people did, it was very busy at this stall.

5. ETHIOPIQUES
Ok. When I saw this I really regret I had my lunch already. This looked aH-mazing! Ethiopian food with so much colour and different dishes, everything 100% vegan! I know that Ethiopian food is really good. I’m definitely going to come back for this!

6. CHOCO FRUIT
In the end I came to this. Chocolate covered fruit. Oh yes! They have 3 sorts of chocolate, but only the dark one is vegan. I would have picked the dark one anyway. They let me taste it with a strawberry. Heaven! They don’t only have that, they also have cakes which are vegan.

7.LEVANTINE
When I was already on my way back I passed this falafel place, with a vegan option. The food looked really nice and fresh. Lebanese-style falafel with lots of veggies and stone baked flatbread. I love myself some falafel, so I keep this in mind.

8. HORN OK PLEASE
Opposite the falafel place I saw this Indian vegetarian food stall. And yes, with a vegan option for dal and samosa’s. I love Indian food, so this is another very good option for the next time.

I’m so happy to see so many vegan options everywhere. I guess I have to make a few more trips to Southbank! The street food market is only there in the weekends, almost all day.

OPENING TIMES:
Friday- 12:00 – 20:00*
Saturday- 11:00 – 20:00*
Sunday- 12:00 – 18:00
Monday (bank holidays only)- 12:00 – 18:00
*In the summer open until 21:00.

Are you excited after reading about all these vegan options? What would you have picked? Please let me know by leaving a comment below. You can also show me by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thanks you! X

Minkies Deli

Minkies Deli is basically across the road from me. It looks very nice, with the cart with oranges in front of it, but I never went here. Being so close to my flat just makes me eat and drink in my own house and I won’t go out as fast, unless I’m far away. Though I was very curious about this place. My boyfriend went to get coffee here one morning and brought some nice breads for me (yes, he’s so thoughtful). The breads were very tasty and the cups look very nice. I really like their logo, a straw in the shape of an -M. I went on a beautiful sunny day to have brunch (I had a green smoothie in the morning and it wasn’t lunchtime quite yet..).

For breakfast there are 2 options: a bagel with jam or sourdough bread with smashed avocado and grilled pepper as an option. I went for the last one. For lunch there is a houmous sandwich with aubergine or you could choose a salad, in case you’re looking for something more filling. I was surprised to see that they had 2 vegan cupcakes. A chocolate/almond one and an orange/almond one. They looked very nice, so I ordered a chocolate one. But the best thing I found out is.. they have Oatly foamable! They’re the first cafe/deli I went to, who serve this. They also have soy and almond milk btw. Their chai latte is made with a chai powder (a bit of a bummer), what contained cow’s milk (as always). I ordered a green tea and I was happy to find out they serve Tea Pigs. Good tea brand! I wasn’t expecting too much from the avocado sandwich, but I was pleasantly surprised when they put this amazing looking plate in front of me. It looked really good! The best thing?! So much creamy avocado!! The bread was super tasty (and still warm) and all together, with the touch of rocket on top, made it all very delicious. I really enjoyed it! The cupcake was very nice too. It was actually more like a brownie and it was very filling. So all together, this could have been a proper lunch!

Minkies Deli is almost completely made with glass walls. So it’s very light and open. I love that! I like the colours too, grey with bright pink. Very appealing. There are quite a lot of seats (also outside) and they have quite a few sockets as well, to charge your laptop/phone. Lovely spot to do some work! The staff was very helpful, friendly and open-minded. For example, they have milkshake they make with ice cream. So not vegan, but they were thinking out loud to make it vegan. I really liked that! It would have been nice if they had a few more vegan options though. They could offer a plant-based yogurt or porridge. Easy things to create more vegan options.

WHO? Minkies Deli.
WHERE? ‘Glasshouse’, Chamberlayne Rd, NW10 5RF. (next to Kensal Rise station)
CUISINE? Cafe/Deli.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 8 (delicious food, friendly staff, more vegan options would make it great)

Do you know Minkies Deli? Or do you want to go now? Please let me know! You can do this by leaving a comment below. You can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Black Beans + Chickpeas / Custard

BLACK BEANS + CHICKPEAS
Where do you get your protein from?! Well, from this! Black beans and chickpeas form Biona. Not only this obviously, but I use black beans and chickpeas most often as my main protein source. Mostly I eat them in my salad. I wash them first and then I add 1/2 a can to my raw veggies and mix it up. I absolutely love this and do this almost daily. It’s so easy and super tasty. Another thing what I do is make dips and spreads. With the chickpeas I make houmous and in a very similar way I also make a spread with the black beans. Super delicious and  healthy to put on a sandwich and crackers. I especially like it, because you know exactly what you put in it. Also, because you can make a lot, it’s perfect for parties! Just serve some raw veggies (cucumber, carrots) and crackers with it and people will start dipping and spreading, I’m sure.

CUSTARD
This is such a thing here in the UK. This custard of Alpro reminds me more of ‘vanilla vla’, than of custard, but it’s very nice. ‘Vanilla via’ is something similar we have in Holland and we eat it as a dessert. The old fashion way to eat is, I believe my grandparents must still do it, is with a bit of yogurt and a splash of syrup (red squash) in the middle. Like it isn’t sweet enough, haha! I remember my dad used to mix a whole pack of this, with a whole pack of yogurt and then added apples, bananas, raisins and cinnamon. He’d mix it up in a big bowl and then we divided it into smaller bowls for pudding. It was always my favourite. Good memories! A shame it was dairy though. Anyway, this vegan custard is super delicious with the Dutchie Pie I made, so make sure you’ll give it a try. Try heating it up a little bit and it’s even better.

Did you already know these products or are you going to try them after reading this? Please let me know or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Would you like me to test and review your product(s) or do you have any suggestions? Please send me a message via CONTACT! It can be anything (food, drinks, beauty..) as long as it’s vegan. Thank you! X

Snack balls / Indian tofu

img_7262SNACK BALLS 
I think a lot of people know Deliciously Ella. She is a famous blogger who also owns a few deli’s: Mae Deli, with her husband. Apart from her deli’s she has also introduced these snack balls. There are 3 flavours: ‘cacao&almond’, ‘hazelnut&raisin’ and ‘cashew&ginger’. I only tried the first 2 as I’m not a big fan of ginger inside cakes. Though I should maybe try that one too, because the other 2 are very yummy! I especially like the ‘cacao&almond’ flavour. I think that is also the most popular one in general. I get that, they’re very good. One thing I really like about them, is that you can get them in Starbucks. Starbucks doesn’t have a lot of vegan snacks and now they have a tasty and healthy one. What also makes it very clever of them to sell them there. You actually see them everywhere now and they’re advertising for them a lot. So no excuses.. go try them!

img_2161INDIAN TOFU
You’re vegan, so you must eat only tofu. Well.. not only tofu, but I do eat tofu. I love tofu! One day when I was in Portobello Wholefoods (that can be a lot of days.. haha!) I was looking for a nice tofu. I always get the same one (smoked tofu), but when I saw the tofu from Clearspot, I thought let’s go for something else. The pack looks nice, doesn’t it? So I made a salad and wanted to fry the tofu for a bit, but it was quite wet and it became more like a scrambled tofu instead. I would have liked it a lot better if it was more firm. I also expected a lot more flavour actually. Maybe that is because of the picture in front of the img_2167pack. You expect some sort of rich curry sauce on it. I made a simple salad with it. I cut up some cucumber, cherry tomatoes, onions and a big hand full of lettuce. I also added some mayonnaise for the sauce I was missing. Normally I’m not even that much of a sauce-person. All together, the salad, the scrambled tofu and the bit of mayonnaise was really nice though. So I guess it’s tofu you really have to prepare in a dish (like in a curry) and it’s not that suitable to fry it with a salad. I do like that it’s organic and the overall basic flavour was good. So I like it, but I’m just not crazy about it.

Did you already know these products or are you going to try them after reading this? Please let me know or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Would you like me to test and review your product(s) or do you have any suggestions? Please send me a message via CONTACT! It can be anything (food, drinks, beauty..) as long as it’s vegan. Thank you! X

Dutchie Pie

img_8155This Sunday, the 12th of March, Planet Manel will celebrate it’s first anniversary! Yay!! That means: CAKE! So I made this typical Dutch cake for you. It’s the ‘Authentic Apple Pie’. The cake itself is a bit like biscuits and a bit like cake, with a filling of apples, raisins and cinnamon. It has always been my favourite cake. I only like the home-made ones though, because pre-made, they’re not tasty at all. I actually don’t like any pre-made cakes, so that explains. On every birthday I went as a child and also when I was older, I’d choose home-made apple pie. On all my own birthdays I always made an apple pie. Though they never really turned out perfect. My sister is a lot better at it than me. So when I decided to veganise this pie I was a bit nervous. Very surprisingly the pie turned out to be more than perfect. I was so proud of myself that I finally made a good one after 15 years of trying. Vegan Power!! WARNING: This pie is not healthy, haha! ..but super super delicious though!

applDUTCHIE PIE

Serves: 8

dough
3 cups plain flower
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbs flaxseed (+ 6 el soy milk)
2/3 cup liquid butter
pinch of salt
filling
5 big apples (peeled/chopped)
1/3 cup raisins
4 tbs sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp lemon juice

img_8156-Preheat the over at 180C.
-Mix the flaxseed and the soy milk and let it stand for about 15 minutes. In the meantime you can make the filling:
-Mix the apples, the sugar, the cinnamon, the lemon juice and the raisins in a bowl. Make sure the juice on the bottom of the bowl, coming from the apples, is taken out before pouring it into the cake tin.
-Put the flower, the baking powder, the sugar, the salt in a big bowl (or use a food processor) and mix well.
-Then also mix in the flaxseed mixture and the butter and knead it until it forms a firm dough. It should not be sticking to everything: too wet ..or flaking: too dry. Add a little bit of flower/butter in case it’s too wet or too dry.
-Spread the dough over the bottom and the side of the cake tin, but make sure you keep about 1/4 of the dough for the top of the cake.
-Put the filling on the dough and spread it out nicely. Don’t press too hard, but make sure it’s even everywhere.
-Form 8 strips out of the left over dough to cover the top of the pie.
-Put the pie in the oven for 55-60 minutes.
-Let it cool down before cutting it into pieces.

Are you going to give this very tasty recipe a go and celebrate Planet Manel’s 1st anniversary with me? Please let me know! And I’d love to see some beautiful pictures. Please share them with me on Instagram using #PlanetManel ! Thank you! X

Cable Co

img_6455I’ve got a new job since mid January. This means I’m taking a different route to work. So now, every morning, I’m walking past this really nice cafe called ‘Cable Co’. It looks really nice and I wanted to check it out. I live very close to here and so it was easy. I also decided to take my laptop, to do some work there. I found out that it works much better when I work out of the house. Working in my own flat and next to my lovely bed is just not my thing. Haha! So on a Friday morning I went here to see what vegan options they have to offer. I was pleasantly surprised.

img_6492I asked what vegan options they had and they sell 3 types of energy bombs. I chose the coconut one, but they also have a nutty one and one that’s called ‘breakfast’. She also told me that they make the porridge with almond milk and so if you order it without the honey, it’s vegan. Perfect, so I ordered that. One of the best things was that they make their Chai latte with a syrup, what means there is no milk powder. As Chai lattes are my favourite, I ordered that too. I was very lucky finding a spot next to the window and a moment later there was a nice bowl of porridge in front of me, with an even nicer Chai latte. The porridge was very tasty, though I do like it to have a little bit more runny. The taste itself was good though. It would have been amazing if they offered agave nectar, but I must day that I didn’t really miss sweetness that much, thanks to the fresh berries on top. The energy bomb was yummm!

img_5621One thing why my eye caught ‘Cable Co’ is because it’s nice atmosphere. It’s black from the outside, with simple, modern, white letters. It’s not a very big cafe, just a few tables and seats. It’s quit industrial, what I like. Though I did have a very nice spot, the seat wasn’t that comfortable. It was a very small wooden bench. Or maybe my bum is just to big.. haha! It’s ok to sit there for a while and chat, but for working a little longer I’ll make sure to pick another seat. I really liked that the staff being very helpful and they kindly answered my questions. They also have another location called ‘Wire Co’, around the corner of the West Hampstead Underground station. So if you live around there, you might want to check that one out and let me know what that one is like. Check out their website for more information.

WHO? Cable Co.
WHERE? 4 Bridge House, Chamberlayne Rd, NW10 3NR.
CUISINE? Cafe.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 8 (delicious chai latte and nice porridge + vegan cake option)

Do you know Cable Co already? Or are you going to try it now? Please let me know! You can do this by leaving a comment below. You can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X