Muffin Stuff

Now you can basically go into any cafe (in London at least) and they will have some sort of vegan cake option. A few years back this wasn’t the case and The Whole Foods Market in High Street Kensington started selling vegan bananas muffins. I was so happy, because I liked them so much. I bought them many times. As a snack or dessert or just because. Haha! They also sell blueberry muffins now and they are even better as they are a combination of both. Nowadays, whenever I’m at Whole Foods I still buy one. Only since I moved out of London, this isn’t that often anymore. But.. I’ve been experimenting and after a few fails, I managed to create a recipe that makes basically the exact same muffin. They are sooo good!

MUFFIN STUFF 

Makes: 6

1,5 cup self raising flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter (room temp.)
1 ripe banana (smashed)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries 

-Preheat the oven at 180C.
-Mix all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
-Add the butter, the banana and the vanilla extract and mix it well.
-Add the blueberries (keep a few to put on the top later on) and mix them in.
-Divide the mixture over 6 muffin shapes and press some blueberries on the top of each one.
-Put them in the over for about 35-45 min. until they are golden brown.
-Let them all cool down before eating them. 

It doesn’t matter if you had the muffins from the Whole Foods Market before or not, go and make these. They are so good! Please show me your results on Instagram, by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

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Leaf Wild

I was in London to go to an event that I was invited to, but that was for some mysterious reason cancelled last minute. I did decide to stay in London that night as I drove for hours and I didn’t feel like driving all the way back to the country side. That afternoon on my way to my beloved Portobello Road I drove passed the cafe ‘Wild Leaf’ and I remembered that a few people told me to visit this cafe. So I decided to go there in the morning. It’s located super close to the Ladbroke Grove tube station (basically the opposite of the road). It looks super pretty from the outside and I really like the whole outlook. It looks so inviting, that it makes you want to walk inside. And when you do, you will see that it’s even prettier. I love the way it is all done. Very natural, using lots of natural materials and (light) colours. On the wall behind the counter there is a very nice painted wall decoration. This was made by the talented artist Sophie Glover. It’s a great eye catcher, but at the same time it’s not ‘in your face’. I like that.

The owner of the cafe was lovely and really took the time to tell me all about the cafe. She is an interior designer (like me! ..hence why the place looks so incredible) and used to do projects with her husband who is an architect, but now she is focusing on the cafe. She is vegan herself and her goal for the cafe is to be all vegan too. For now they do have 2 things on the menu that has egg and they serve cow’s milk in beverages. I hope they make the switch quickly, even though at first it might feel scary to do so. Let’s all show them our support and order a latte! Because talking about lattes (they do matcha, charcoal, turmeric & red velvet), they do an ah-mazing matcha latte. It was the best I’ve had. Great taste! The balance is just right, between the bitterness of the matcha and the creaminess of the oat milk (Oatly Barista!). And if you have time, please order some food, because the food is so good. She ordered me the pancakes and I could have a taste of the Mushroom Toast as well. It was good I had the pancakes first, becuase otherwise her breakfast would have been all gone too. It was hard not to eat it all! Definitely go for this option when you feel like a savoury dish. The mushrooms are cooked perfectly and the bread full of seeds (which btw you can buy as a loaf to take home!), with the cream ‘cheese’ and the rocket make a taste explosion in your mouth. Highly recommended! Next time I’m definitely ordering that for myself. Oh en about the pancakes.. they don’t only look incredible, they are incredible! I felt like the portion is exactly right and the cream, the flowers, fresh fruit and the crispiness of the buckwheat all work well together. Every bite was a true treat.

Oh and when you do not have a lot of time, don’t worry, because they do a great grab&go that they are expanding at the moment. They do chia pots and overnight oats already, but they are also going to make grab&go salads. Great news! Because in the weekdays they don’t work with a menu, but they offer a salad bar instead (also take away). I definitely have to try this too, because the veggies come from a sustainable non spray company (uhh yay!). If this isn’t enough, they specialise in juices and smoothies, that are all organic. They also do freshly made kale crisps (made with cashew, sunflower seeds and nutritional yeast) and they have a big range of all vegan cakes and treats. I tried the raspberry cake and it was divine!

I think by now you understand that I’m a big fan of this cafe! But if you aren’t convinced yet, let me tell you this. They are aiming to be zero waste and plastic free! There are some things in (recyclable) plastic now, but it will soon all go into glass jars that will be reusable (the juices are already in reusable glass jars). They use organic wherever they can. This doesn’t mean that just a handful of things are organic, but about 90% of everything they offer is organic! They are all refined sugar free, but instead are making use of coconut sugar and date syrup etc. The food comes on the prettiest bespoke plates and bowls. She designed these herself and are made by Linda Bloomfield (@lindathepotter). So pretty! I really appreciate these kind of details, because it means that there is a lot of passion and creativity involved and this really shows throughout the whole cafe. They do catering, so if you have an event and need great food, I think they are a very good an original choice. And last but definitely not least.. Something that really makes them stand out is that they are all gluten free(!!). So if you have coeliac disease, are intolerant to gluten or you want to eat less gluten, then this is your place to go, because you can order everything they offer.

Now the last thing I didn’t talk about yet, but wanted to write in a separate paragraph is: coffee! Now many of you know that I don’t drink coffee myself, but I know a lot of you do. Another special thing about Leaf Wild is that they serve coffee beans from the brand ‘BrewCoffeePlus’. The owner of this brand actually works in the cafe and has some mad barista skills (I’m sure this is one of the reasons my latte was so amazing) that he’s teaching to the rest of the staff. You can choose between 2 options: ‘PB Handege’ (Forest Fruit, Blackcurrant, Rose Water, Flora and Elderflower) from Kenya and the ‘San Pascual Natural’ (Vanilla, Strawberry Cream, Cherry, Blueberry) from Colombia. As you can see, they are both coffees with fruit notes, so if you are into that, please go an try it out.

Another thing that is handy to know:
They are cashless, so bring your card!

I want to thank Leaf Wild for their hospitality,
service and amazing food/drinks.

WHO? Leaf Wild.
WHERE? 156 Ladbroke Grove, London, W10 5NA.
CUISINE? Very diverse, healthful.
VEGAN? No! (Vegetarian, but almost vegan). 
OVERALL? 8 (Amazing food (!), great service and very lovely ex/interior).
*I would have given them a 9 if they were all vegan. 

Did you know about Leaf Wild already? What was your experience? Or are you planning to go here now? Please tell me about 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

Greenery

This is one of my most satisfying recipes. Pesto is something you can use in so many dishes, fresh herbs are super healthy and you can adapt the recipe the way you want it. You can add a little bit more garlic, lemon juice or oil.. whatever you prefer or you can just leave it the way it is. I like it the best like this, it’s the right balance for me. I love to make pasta pesto with it, add it on a pizza, a sandwich, mix it into some mayonnaise or use it as a dip. You can toast the pine nuts and the walnuts for some extra flavour, but you can also just use them straight from the packet. After making it you can keep it in the fridge for a few days.

GREENERY 

Makes: 1,5 cup 

1,5 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup spinach
3 tbsp pine nuts (toasted, optional)
1/4 cup walnuts (toasted, optional)
2 cloves garlic (peeled)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1,5 tbs lemon juice
2-3 tbs water
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
salt/pepper (to taste)

-Put everything in the kitchen machine and blend until smooth. 

Do you like pesto? What do you make with pesto most often? Please let me know in the comments below or show me on Instagram. You can do this by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

Nuts For Seed

After last week’s brownies, we need something healthy. It’s all about balance! This is probably one of my fave recipes. It’s healthy, full of omega’s and multifunctional! You can eat this for breakfast, lunch or snack. It will taste nice with jam, cheese, houmous, butter, avocado and I think basically everything. It’s very filling and a great way to add some good fats to your diet. It’s not hard to make (it’s actually super super easy!), but it does require some time though. The good thing is that, afterwards, you can easily keep it in the freezer. Make sure you slice it up first and then freeze. This way you can take out the slices you want at any time. I’m very curious what you think of it and who will make this. Definitely a must make!

NUTS FOR SEED 

Serves: 10

1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup linseed
1/4 cup chia seed
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1,5 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup wheatgerm
1 tsp salt
2 tbs maple syrup
3 tbs coconut oil
1,5 cup water 

-Mix all the dry ingredients.
-Mix all the wet ingredients and mix them with the dry ingredients.
-Leave it for about 15 min. and then stir again. Make sure all the liquid is soaked up.
-Grease a tin with coconut oil and put the mix in the tin. Press it down and smooth it out.
-Put it in the fridge overnight (or for at least for 3 hrs).
-Preheat the oven at 175C and put the tin in the oven for 30 min.
-Let it cool down for about 30 min and then carefully take the loaf out of the tin.
-Preheat the oven at 200C.
-Put the loaf upside down on a piece of baking paper and put it in the oven for another 10 min.
-If all the side are nice and dry (and slightly crispy) the loaf is finished.
-Let it all cool down before slicing it up (putting it in the fridge for an hour helps to make neater slices).

Are you nuts for seed and will you make this recipe? Please show me your result, I would love to see it! You can do this by tagging me on Instagram or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

London Hotspots

So normally I’d write a different blog post about each hotspot I find. I did this since I started my blog. I did this as I lived in London and I had the opportunity to visit 1-2 places every week. When I’m on holiday, I write a whole big article and give you hotspot list in the end. Most of you know that I moved out of London and at my new place there aren’t many vegan places (to be precise.. there are none!). This is why I visit London once in a while and try to visit as many places as I can. It really takes some planning, becuase I only have one stomach and even though I’d love to visit 10 places a day, I simply can’t eat it all, haha! Before I plan a weekend, I make a list and I plan my days ahead. So a place for breakfast, lunch and dinner and sometimes a little thing in between. In these days I’m always super full and the sugar levels are up up up! Haha! But I love to show you new places and I really hope that I can pursue you to go and visit. I went to London last weekend and here are all the places I’ve been to. I will write a little bit about each place and I will give you the whole list in the end of the post. Here we go..

MOTHER
This was one of the first hotspots I added to my list of hotspots for the weekend. A friend of mine really likes it here and I often saw it on her Instagram and it always looked so delicious, that I wanted to try it out for myself. So after I parked my van, I went straight here for brunch. It was so hard to pick something! I thought I picked something, but then I saw there was even more.. after a while, I eventually I went for the ‘Eggless Royale’. That apparently had ‘poached eggs’. I was intrigued and I was happily surprised as it looked super pretty! It was very tasty too. Although, I didn’t find the ‘salmon’ taste like fish and the poached eggs, even though they definitely had the look, were very soft. But it was tasty though! I will be back to try something else next time. Mother is also in a nice location, where you can take a lovely stroll next to the canals and boats and its only a 15 min walk to Westfield.

THE SPREAD EAGLE
I actually had a pizza place on my list for dinner, but weird enough (this never happens) I didn’t feel like having pizza. So I decided to go to the Spread Eagle pub. I never go to pubs, but I make an exception for this one as it’s 100% vegan. Naturally, I think everybody would want to go to a pub like this. Hehe.. It was fairly busy, even though it was a little early still. I guess that is a good sign and that makes me happy. I had a perfect table in the corner and Nola got offered a bowl of water she was very grateful for. I went for a burger and a lovely lady who was sitting close to the till, was recommending me the three way potatoes. They also have little taco’s and as I was very curious about the tofish one, I ordered that one too. I told myself I could always have it take away in case I was too full. And because of all that deliciousness I was indeed very full. The burger was so tasty, but the potatoes were definitely my thing. I’d come back here just for those, haha! I decided to do some work and by the time I was finished that, there was a little bit of space for the taco, that was aso super delicious. This is such a nice pub! Great interior, super friendly staff, a very chill and easy going atmosphere and I definitely recommend going here.

LEON
I’m sure everyone tried the LOVE burger at Leon. If not.. why not?? It’s delicious! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like it. Even omnivores love it. Leon is doing super well with their vegan options and very recently they launched their newest vegan addition: Jack Wings! They are made with jackfruit. So I expected pieces of jackfruit with a breadcrumb coating, but in real life they were a bit like the famous Dutch ‘bitterballen’, but then cheesy and not round like a ball. I truly liked them though. Maybe because I was expecting something else, but maybe becuase they are just very tasty. I love jackfruit anyway, but I’m sure that if you don’t like jackfruit, you will like these too. They aren’t a typically jackfruit dish, but creamy, a little cheesy and full of taste. I really liked them with the aioli sauce, which is also vegan. So whenever you’re near a Leon, go and try them!

BUBBLEWRAP
When I saw this on Instagram I was like WHATT?! I needed to try this for sure. I had never heard of it, but that is probably because there weren’t any vegan options at first. Now there are. It’s located in China Town (close to Piccadilly Circus/Soho) and easy to find. It’s a small shop and when I was there it was busy (I don’t know for sure, but I expect it to be busy any time of the day). There is a pre-made option (as in they picked the flavours for you), but you can also custom make one. There is one base that is vegan and 2 flavours of ice cream: chocolate and pistachio (of course I had to try them both). There are lots of toppings that are vegan and it’s hard to choose. I went for strawberry, banana, pecans and peanut butter sauce. GREAT combination! You pay per item/topping and so you can make it as expensive as you want. I thought it to be a lot like a pancake and it to be quite filling, but the ‘pancake’ is fairly light. It’s crispy (a bit like the crispy sides of a pancake), with a little bit of soft/sticky inside. I’m curious what toppings you will choose!

HEMA
Who knows Hema? All Dutch people do, because it’s the best Dutch shop ever! When, a few years ago, I discovered there was a Hema in London I almost cried! Haha! All their make up is free from animal testing, but not vegan. BUT.. Recently they launched a whole vegan and cruelty free line, called B.A.E. I tried their foundation as I always used to have their foundation before I was vegan. I really like it. It’s not my every day foundation, but I use it as a top up for during the day. Mainly because they come in a perfect little tube. So handy for on the way. So I got a new one today, in their Tottenham Court branch. The last time I also got the heart stamp (so cute!) and a little perfume I like (also for on the way). There is a lot more though, but I don’t wear a lot of make up. It’s definitely worth a try though. I also always just have a little wander around and I always become so greedy. Hehe.. I don’t buy anything I don’t need, but gosh.. deep down I want to buy everything! Have you been to Hema?

KALIFORNIA KITCHEN
As I went to Hema I also planned to go to Kalifornia Kitchen. It’s only a 2 min walk. If I’m really honest, I mostly went to this place because of the interior. I would never style my house (or van! Hehe..) like this, but I love it though. It’s boho, kitch, but classy and fun! Great combo. I love how daring they are and it is soooo Instagram proof! So much detail and best of all.. they are all vegan! Down stairs it was quite busy, but the hostess (Who reminded me of the singer Susan Cagle so much and I love her. Look her up if you don’t know her and read up on her story, it’s amazing!) asked if I wanted to sit up stairs and there was nobody there and it’s so pretty up stairs. Nola got a bowl of water and I tried to decide what to have. As I had so much sugar and unhealthy things this weekend already, I decided for a super healthy meal. I also ordered a sea moss smoothie. It was all very tasty and looked very pretty. So all pretty and nice here at Kalifornia Kitchen, but it is a little expensive though. I would say it makes a great party location. Birthdays, anniversaries and any other celebrations.. it’s a real treat going here and it feels special. Oh they also have lovely dessert btw, but I didn’t go for one as I was going to get a doughnut afterwards.

VEGAN CROSSTOWN
This was my Saturday dessert. They close at 19:00 and I had to rush to get there, but I made it just (really just!) in time. A few were already sold out (sadly the chocolate one was one of them), but I still had plenty of choice. I had to decide quite quickly, because they were basically closing up. I went for the ‘Cinnamon Scroll’ (obvious choice) and also the ‘Rhubarb, Raspberry & Ginger’ one as I heard it was good. As I was there anyway I also got the ‘Strawberry & English Sparkling Rosé’. When I payed the guy, he said he put an extra in there as they were closing. So I also got to try the ‘Lime & Coconut’ doughnut. Gosh.. 4 doughnuts.. that is a big dessert. I ate the whole cinnamon one (soooo good!) and I had a bite of all the others to taste them whilst they were still fresh. The rest I saved for later. I definitely liked the cinnamon the best. I’m a chocolate, caramel, cinnamon, coconut, toffee kind of person and not so much a lime, ginger and strawberry girl (at least not in dessert and cakes etc,). I did like the other ones as well though. Out of those 3 I liked the ‘English Sparking Rosé’ the best. I really liked the crumbs on top of them btw, it reminded me of the bottom of a cake we always made every birthday when I was younger. I will definitely come back for the ‘Dark Chocolate Truffle’ and the ‘Peanut Butter & Blackcurrant Compote’ though, because I mean.. come on! Which one would you have picked?

PARADISE PLANTBASED
I’m sure some of you know this place, because this is my favourite cafe. I used to live next to it and I always go here when I’m in London with my van or when I’m taking someone to breakfast. I actually went here twice this weekend as I park my van around the corner. Handy place to use the toilet and to have breakfast. The first morning I met up with Maddie, a gril I got to know through Instagram and we both had the chickpea omelette (I always have this one, it’s so good!). The second morning I just had a smoothie (as I was planning to have pancakes for breakfast later) and I did a bit of work before I traveled to Shoreditch. The smoothie I had was the ‘Ziggy’ btw, super healthy.

DUTCH POFFERTJES
I was planning to get some pancake from OSU Pancakes, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. Does anyone know where they are at Brick Lane? I was in the House of Vegan and there was a stall with Dutch Poffertjes. So in the end I went for poffertjes instead. Being Dutch I know them very well, but I didn’t have them for a long time. There were so many toppings to choose from. I went for strawberries and chocolate sauce.  A classic, but always good. They were very delicious and a yummy breakfast. They are quite popular I think, because I saw another 2 stalls with poffertjes. D

HEMP & WILLIAMS
I discovered this place by accident. I wasn’t planning to go here and I didn’t even know it existed. I just finished my Dutch Poffertjes and then I saw this very happy guy handing out ice cream. I decided not to get anything, because I’d be too full, I just had something sweet and I didn’t even have a proper lunch yet.. But the ice cream was made out of hemp and after walking another circle and checking out the instagram page, I decided that I had to try it. He let me taste all the flavours and I actually liked them all. The mango was fresh, the strawberry sweet and the chocolate and chili was so unique and surprising. Normally I’m not a fan of chocolate in combination with something else, but this worked. You taste chocolate and then there is the chili flavour as soon as you swallow, a proper wohw effect. Talking about unique.. all the flavours are. He makes everything himself and they are all delicious. It’s not really like ice cream and it’s not like a sorbet, it’s a bit in between and it melts perfectly in your mouth. I went for the plain chocolate flavour in the end (because.. chocolate..). It was so good and I discovered something else very that was very unique. It basically doesn’t melt!! So weird, but it’s like an forever ice cream. It took me at east 15 minutes to eat it. I could lick it and lick it and lick it and it was super delicious, but it was like it would last forever. I can’t recommend this enough and I urge you to try it! You can find Hemp&Williams every Saturday and Sunday (both days from 11:00-18:00) at the House Of Vegan in Brick Lane.

UNITY DINER
I don’t know if you remember, but I promised myself that every time I’m in London, I’ll visit Unity Diner. If there is one restaurant that I want to support, then it’s this one! Unity Diner is a non profit restaurant and they have the most amazing food!! I mean, I just can’t get over it really. I officially made this my favourite restaurant. I wish I could go every day. Haha! The staff is amazing, the atmosphere is super chill and the restaurant looks so good that I want to live there. This time I went for the Tofish & Chips. I was thinking about tofish the whole weekend and so it was a perfect dish to end the weekend with. The portion is so bigggg and I promise you that it won’t disappoint. It comes with mashed peas, chunky chips and a yummy sauce. I also ordered some extra garlic mayonnaise with it. I enjoy eating it so much, but it also frustrates me, because it tasted so much like fish. What makes me wonder why on earth someone would rather kill a fish, destroy the ocean, the world and their own body whilst this is an option. Wouldn’t it be amazing if every fish&chips shop throughout the UK (and the world!) would serve this instead of a dead animal? I’m convinced that it’s the future and I really hope you will go here to taste it, experience it and to spread the word! Unity Diner is open from Tuesday-Sunday.

HOTSPOT LIST:
Mother:
1, Canalside Here East Estate, E20 3BS.
The Spread Eagle: 224 Homerton High St, Homerton, E9 6AS.
Leon: 49-51 Notting Hill Gate, W11 3JS.
Bubbelwrap: 24 Wardour St, W1D 6QJ.
Hema:
252 Tottenham Court Rd, W1T 7RB.
Kalifornia Kitchen: 19 Percy St, W1T 1DY.
Vegan Crosstown: 5-6 Picton Pl, W1U 1BL.
Paradise Plantbased: 59 Chamberlayne Rd, NW10 3ND.
Dutch Poffertjes: 152 Brick Ln, E1 5EG.
Hemp & Williams: 152 Brick Ln, E1 5EG.
Unity Diner: 5 Hoxton Market, N1 6HG. 

Have you been to one or more of these hotspots yet? Which one is your favourite or where  would you go if you could go right now? Tell me all about it! You can do this in the comments below or tag me on Instagram! Thank you! X

Choco Beans

I like healthy recipes, but I definitely also like naughty recipes. Even though these delicious brownies are made with a whole can of black beans, it’s also made with a cup of sugar, white flour and oil. So the black beans will definitely give you some goodness, but under no circumstance will I call this a healthy recipe. They are delicious though. They are super fudgy from the inside and not crazy sweet, but it will definitely hit the spot. Also, as long as you have a kitchen machine, they are fairly easy to make. If you like you can add some pecans (chopped up into the mixture or use 8 whole ones on top). I left them out for now, but I do love pecans and chocolate though. It’s a good combination and it looks nice.

CHOCO BEANS

Makes: 8

1 cup plain flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cacao powder
1 can of black beans (drained)
1 cup unsweetened yogurt
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 ripe banana
1 tbs flaxseed
8 pecans (optional)
icing sugar (optional)

-Preheat the oven at 180C.
-Mix the dry ingredients (except the flaxseed) in a bowl.
-Put all the wet ingredients (and the flaxseed) in the kitchen machine and blend until you have a nice smooth mixture.
-Use a wooden spoon to gently mix in the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.
-Add the chopped up pecans if you like and mix well.
-Grease a baking tin with some oil and pour in the mixture.
-Smooth it out (put the pecans on top if you chose to use them on the top) and put the tin into the oven for about 25-30 min.
-Let it all cool down before cutting them up.
-For a little decoration, snow some icing sugar on top.

Are you going to make these brownies? Please show me your end result and let me know if you like them! You can do this on Instagram, by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

Spring ‘n’ Roll

YES!! Finally it’s spring. I’m already looking forward to this day since Autumn. Haha! If it was up to me, we skip winter all together. I’m just not made for the cold. On the other hand.. the feeling of the first sun rays will only make me feel extra euphoric after the horrible cold. So let’s try to see the positive though. Luckily we only had snow once and I thought that most of the time the winter was doable this year. Still.. I can’t wait to chase the sun forever with my van! To celebrate the start of spring I created a super colourful recipe. It’s a simple recipe, but it does require some technique and some patience and gentleness. The more often you do it, the better they look! And don’t you feel happy just looking at these? You can use different dips or you can simply dip them in some soy sauce. I chose to mix up a simple peanut sauce, because I love peanut butter with a hint of spiciness. I hope you will enjoy them, because I personally thought they were yum!

SPRING ‘N’ ROLL

Makes: 6-8

spring rolls
6-8 spring roll rice pancakes
3 hands full vermicelli rice noodles
1 beetroot (chopped)
1/3 red bell pepper (sliced finely)
1/3 yellow bell pepper (sliced finely)
handful red cabbage (sliced finely)
2 spring onions ((sliced finely)
1 stalk celery (sliced finely)
1/2 avocado (sliced finely)
2 tbs edamame beans
6-12 eatable flowers (optional) 

sauce
2 tbs peanut butter
2 tbs oat milk
1/4 tsp chilli flakes

Blender
Fine colander
Clean tea towel

-Boil water and put that in the blender together with the beetroot. Blend for about 1 minute.
-Put the noodles in a pan and pour the beetroot water over the noodles through a fine colander. Put a lid on the pan and leave this for 5-8 min.
-In the meantime slice all the vegetables very finely and make the sauce:
-Put all the ingredients of the sauce in a bowl and mix until all ingredients are nicely blended.
-Put the rice paper in a bowl (I actually used a frying pan) of warm water for about 5-10 seconds.
-Very gently, put the rice paper on a clean tea towel.
-Put the flowers upside down on the rice paper and divide some veggies on top of that.
-Divide some of the pink rice noodles on top of the veggies and then fold and roll.
-Repeat this until finished.

Have you ever tried making something like this? Give it a try! Please show me your creations on Instagram by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

Happy 3rd Anniversary!! + Cookie Dreams

I can’t believe it, Planet Manel is celebrating her 3rd anniversary! When I started 3 years ago I was feeling so motivated, because I finally found something where I could combine all my interests. I love creating.. I always did. As a child I was always drawing, making mood boards, writing short stories, designing.. With this many interests it’s sometimes hard to choose something. As I also really like animals, I studied ‘Animal Care’. After that I also did ‘Interior Design’. For both I have my diploma and for both things I’ve got a huge passion. Hence why I’m vegan, live in a van and design tiny houses for a hobby. My head is always full of ideas. Anyway.. before we get off the subject, I’m super proud that I kept blogging for the last 3 years. Some months I posted a lot and some months a little less, but I always kept going. I want to tank all my readers and people who followed my journey and parts of my life. Also all the people who made my recipes and a huge thank you for all the sweet messages. I couldn’t have done it without all of you. You are the best!

At the moment I can feel that I’m more focused and that the overall quality is improved. This motivates me even more, because it’s nice to see growth. Blogging is something I could only dream about. I tried it when I was a teenager, but without a real goal, I always gave up after a while. But this time the dream is bigger! I want to inspire you, make you feel happy, show you how easy it is to eat plant-based, to live with compassion and to just make the world a little better, starting with YOURSELF! Even when it’s only a little bit and it’s only changing 1 animal’s life at a time or when it’s your life.. to make you smile, to make you feel good and to let you taste yummy recipes. Talking about recipes. For the occasion I created these delicious vanilla, chocolate chip, cookies. To create the ultimate recipe I seriously baked 50+ biscuits. I had something in my head and I didn’t give up until I found the golden combination. I was so happy when I finally succeeded and I’m excited to share them with you! I called them ‘Cookie Dreams’, because they are a celebrations of dreams coming true.

COOKIE DREAMS

Makes: 6

1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbs corn starch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1 tbs plant-based  butter
3 tbs plant-based milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
20 gr dark chocolate (chopped)

-Preheat the oven at 200C.
-Mix all the dry ingredients (except the chocolate) together in a mixing bowl.
-Add the oil, butter, milk and the vanilla extract and mix well, until you have a nice sticky dough.
-Divide the dough into 6-8 pieces and flatten them (until they’re about 1/2-1 cm) on the (with baking paper covered) tray. Leave 3-4 cm between each biscuit, because they will go a little bigger.
-Divide the chocolate on top and slightly push them into the dough.
-Put them in the oven for about 12 min.
-Let them all cool down before getting them off the tray.

Make you dreams come true beautiful people! Oh and please let me know what you think of the Cookie Dreams. I’d love to see your creations.. you can do this on Instagram, by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Dark Moon (vegan) Chocolate

Last year I was delighted to see that there would be a vegan market in Newbury. As this is the closest town for me and there are hardly any vegan things around, I of course went to check it out. It was fairly small, but I was happy to see some familiar faces. I got a hotdog and a yummy brownie and when I made another round I saw something that attracted me like magnet. Big balls of chocolate covered in nuts! I’ve never seen anything like this before and so I had a little chat with the owner to get to know the product. Even though I just bought a brownie, I couldn’t resist getting one of these (in my eyes) magic balls too. I’m so happy I did, because they are amazing!! Since then I ordered them for Xmas and my birthday, in different flavours. I can’t keep them from you and I would love you to try them and so I thought it was time to tell you about this lovely inspiring brand: Dark Moon Chocolate!

First of all I’d like to introduce you to the owner: Dan (35), who was born in Bristol, now lives in a lovely market town Frome, which has a bustling independent trader scene. He used to work as a Food Production Manager at a Farm shop. This seems a bit strange for a vegan, but he wasn’t vegan when he started working there. One day whilst he was stroking some of the cows in the barn (he always used to go and feed them with all the veg scraps from the kitchen) it made him think. He thought ‘I’d always been an animal lover and yet I was eating these beautiful creatures that deserved better’. From that moment he stopped eating animals. He’d always worked in the food industry which he fell into by pure accident and it just turns out that he really loved it. I’m happy he does, because what he does now, makes everyone happy. Time to ask him some questions!

What made you decide to start your own business and why chocolate?
I started it out of necessity, after having to leave my full-time employment because of health problems. I’ve suffered with arthritis and mechanical issues in my legs since I was 19 and had a bad flare-up in my ankle last summer. I had to leave, as it was predominantly an on your feet job. I chose chocolate because I’ve always enjoyed making chocolates and it’s always been my favourite sweet food. I can also sit down when making them, which helps me manage my bad ankle. It seems funny that about 6 months before starting Dark Moon, I made a passing comment to one of my staff members, that I’d love to just make chocolates. Strange how things turn out! I’m now fully self-employed, doing three separate part-time endeavours, the chocolate is the one that really keeps me going though. I’m also an artist and craftsman.

How did you come up with the name ‘Dark Moon Vegan’?
My star product is a sweet chocolate ‘scotch egg’. The non vegan version is a Cadburys Creme egg, wrapped in brownie. I just had to make it vegan. I make all the centres myself, so I can make loads of fabulous flavours. I wanted a name that referred to the chocolate in some way. I use dark chocolate and they also look a bit like a moon, so it kind of just made sense. When I searched for the name ‘Dark Moon Chocolate’ on instagram, someone else had already coined it, although the account looked old and was based in America. Just to be on the safe side, I chose ‘Dark Moon Vegan’. I trade under the banner of ‘Dark Moon Chocolate’ at markets though. It also means that I can have a really cool logo of a dark full moon!

How did you get yourself out there?
Despite all the hype around social media marketing and online presence, for me the best way to get myself out there was to actually physically do it. Meet my customers and spend time in the real world. It felt a bit like jumping into the unknown at first, booking markets and not knowing if I was going to sell much. I was actually astonished at how well the chocolates did. Off the back of that, my online sales are also really starting to grow.

What are the ingredients you like to use and where do you get them from?
My go to chocolate is a bitter sweet dark Belgian chocolate, it’s 54% and it’s really well balanced. Most people who aren’t fans of strong dark chocolate, usually like this one when they’ve given it a try. The company also re-invests directly back into the cocoa farmers to create a more sustainable approach to cocoa farming. I use a fair trade sugar and coconut oil, that my partner gets from her health store. I use a gluten-free buckwheat flour from a company located in the south-west. All my packaging is recyclable and I don’t use single use plastics. I have now ran out of the parcel tape I was using for online orders and will be using an eco-friendly paper tape for my online orders.

Where can people order your chocolate?
I currently do orders through social media and email, I’ll be developing a website to make things a little easier very soon. My email is darkmoon.frome@gmail.com and my Instagram and Facebook is @darkmoonvegan.

Which chocolate is your personal favourite?
My favourite dark moon at the moment has to be ‘The Monkey’s Knickers’ (I ordered 2 of these the last time and they are my favourite too, they are AMAZING!). It’s a salted caramel centre wrapped in a peanut butter brownie then coated on more chocolate and roasted peanuts. It’s inspired by a very well known chocolate bar – the clue is in the weird name! 

What are your plans for the future when it comes to ‘Dark Moon Vegan’?
I’m really just looking to keep things small scale, I’m happy doing markets and fairs and selling online. To keep things interesting there will always be new flavours to try and occasional one off products.

Is there anything else you like people to know?
I have a chocolate problem. (I’m happy he does!! Haha..)

Will there be a special for Easter by any chance?
Of course, I’m in the process of doing a regular monthly subscription box, which will contain new flavours and products. For Easter I am making Vegan Creme Eggs, Caramel Eggs and Chocolate Orange Eggs. There will also be little mini creme eggs, keep your eyes open as these kind of items will be limited edition!

Now, are you excited yet? An amazing chocolate brand, with ridiculous flavours, you can order online, without any plastic packaging! It won’t get any better than this!

Dark Moon Vegan chocolate is my favourite for sure (esp ‘The Monkey’s Knickers’ ..just Wohw!) and I hope you’ll find out for yourself soon. They also make a lovely gift btw! I’d love to hear what you think of these chocolates if you decide to try them. Please let me know in the comments below or on Instagram! Thank you! X

Pancake Yay

Tuesday it’s national pancake day. A very important day if you’d ask me, haha! Pancakes are so goodddd.. and it doesn’t matter what time of the day you eat them. It’s totally acceptable to eat them for breakfast, for lunch or dinner and even as a snack or dessert! I realised though, that there is no pancake recipe on my blog yet. I don’t know how that happened, but shame on me. So here we go, a delicious, easy to make, basic pancake recipe. This way you can easily add things, so they will turn out exactly the way you like them. Add a pinch of cinnamon or a tbs of cacao powder. Eat them with fresh fruit, raisins and/or maple syrup or simply eat them with some jam (This is my Jam). I like my ones with cinnamon, blueberries and maple syrup. Such a good combination!

PANCAKE YAY

Makes: 12 mini pancakes

1 cup flour
1 tbs (coconut) sugar
1/2 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup oat milk
oil for baking

-Mix all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
-Add anything you like (cinnamon, cacao powder, raisins, fruit..) and mix it in as well.
-Slowly add the oat milk and mix until you have a nice smooth batter.
-Heat some oil in a frying pan on a medium-high fire.
-When the oil is hot, carefully put some batter in the pan with a big spoon (depending on your pan, you can bake 3-4 at the same time).
-When the pancakes are (almost) dry on the top, you can flip them over. They are ready when they have a nice golden colour.
-Do this until the batter is finished.

Did you know it was this easy to make pancakes vegan? And you will be surprised how nice and fluffy they will be. The perfect pancake for any time of the day! Will you make these on pancake day? Don’t forget to share it with me. You can do this by tagging me on instagram or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X