Italy – Rome

I actually wanted to post this travel article last Monday, but I didn’t plan my things too well and my mum came over, so that’s why it’s a week later.. sorry! I planned to go to Rome this year and so I booked a ticket for the end of May. Steven wanted to come with me, what was extra fun. It was our first real holiday together, even though it was only for 3 nights. Steven chose a lovely hotel, right next to Vatican City, what turned out to be a super location. We also got the Omnia Card. This is a card you can use for public transport, the tour bus, 2 tourist activities and Vatican City, all for one price. We got the 72 hour card for £113. The good thing about it is that you don’t have to get transport tickets everywhere and you can skip the (very long) queues. Especially when it’s 30C, you want this! I thought it was very handy and it worked well, until we used it for Vatican City though. This was because it’s the only thing you have to book in advance, but it was very unclear how to do it and it didn’t work. Luckily we did get in, but very last minute. More about this later.

We had to get up very early the Wednesday we left. We had a quick breakfast (thank you PRET and Starbucks!) at the airport before we headed to our gate. The journey went well and before we knew it, we were in Rome. We took one of the many coaches standing in front of the airport (€4,90). With the Omnia card you can probably take the public transport from there too, but we thought before we find out where the buses depart etc. this was just easier. It doesn’t take more than 45 min before you’re in the middle of Rome. The coaches drop you off at the Termini train station. Perfect! It was lunch time when we got out and I did a little research, so I knew that there was a vegan place not far from there. We walked there and though the place, called iPhame, looked lovely, it’s very small and we couldn’t sit there. So we went somewhere else. On our way there we did see another restaurant we liked because of the floor and bar. They actually didn’t do any vegan meals, but they were very helpful and totally ok with me telling them what I wanted. I ordered a pasta with veggies and it was super delicious! We then took the tour bus, very close from there, to see most of the tour. We got out at Vatican City, because from there it was only a 10 min walk to our hotel. We stayed at the ‘Infinity Hotel St. Peter’, what is a lovely hotel. It was clean, neat and the bed was very comfy. As we woke up so early and it was already the end of the afternoon, we took a refreshing shower and relaxed a bit. In the beginning of the evening we took a little walk to explore Rome whilst there was a lovely summer eve breeze. On our way back we stopped at a pizzeria and I ordered a pizza with mushrooms and olives. Our expectations were high, being in Italy. The pizza was quite disappointing though. It looked nice, but it actually had no taste at all. It made us laugh as it seemed quite ironic, eating a pizza without taste in the middle of Rome. On our way back to the hotel we enjoyed the views of Rome by night. Beautiful really!

The next day, Thursday, we had breakfast at the hotel before we walked all the way to the Colosseum. The breakfast was quite ok for a vegan by the way. There were some fruit options, cherry tomatoes, different types of bread, jam, juice and also muesli and cereals. I did email them a few weeks in advance to ask about this, but they never replied. A shame, but I was happy to see that at least there were some options. The walk to the Colosseum was already an activity on its own, because wohw.. Rome is a beautiful city! We passed the Altare della Patria and many beautiful little streets, but to stand in the Colosseum was truly amazing. Something so historic and it’s just almost surreal to be inside. Imagining the things that happened there many years ago.. it made me feel absolutely amazed. When we came out it was lunchtime and though we did go to a place where they serve a vegan breakfast with croissants (and I really wanted one!), they were sold out. What is a good thing I guess, but a shame I didn’t get to try them. So we kept walking until we found something else, but it was a little tricky. We eventually sat down at a place that looked nice, but they also didn’t do vegan food. They were happy to serve the side dishes though. So I had potatoes and some roasted veggies. The veggies were nice and though the potatoes tasted ok, the structure felt like they were heated in the microwave. What was much better.. the gelato we had for dessert at a place around the corner from there. I had coconut (with little pieces of coconut in it) and chocolate. Gosh that was very yummy! A lot of gelato places (and you see them everywhere) do vegan options. Just ask! It was very hot, like 30C, but we did walk to the Roman Forum anyway. It was something we definitely wanted to see and the Colosseum and the Roman Forum together, counts as one on the Omnia card. It was a beautiful place and I’m very happy to have seen it. It’s hard and at the same time so amazing to believe that people actually lived there. They walked on the very same ground you’re walking on. Though in ruins, the temples there were actually used. I just love things like this. When we came out, it was the end of the afternoon already. We were so hot and we really felt our feet, so we walked back to the hotel to freshen up and relax a bit. On our way we popped into a supermarket and I was so happy to see so many vegan options! There was so much.. a lot of choices in seitan for example. In just an ordinary supermarket. I wish my Tesco across the road would do that too, haha! Steven and I chose some things to take home. (In the meantime we already tried the seitan in some wraps and it’s delicious. Only the seitan with rosemary was quite intense. Nice, but just very strong.) I also really liked the pasta with spirulina and so we took that too. We didn’t try that yet though. We walked all the way back to the hotel. On my phone I could see we took more than 21.000 steps (14 km) and so we really deserved a good break. Close to the was a place called Flower Burger and we walked there to get a take away later that evening. And YAY! This is a place you have to go to. First of all the place is 100% vegan, the place itself looks amazing (great texts on the walls) and they do the most amazing burgers. All handmade right there and they are delicious!

On Friday we planned to go to Vatican City, but we weren’t able to book it online. We tried it several times via the website and the app (which appeared to be non-existent). So we went to the Vatican and asked there. Turned out we needed to use the email we got in the whole beginning for this. What isn’t mentioned anywhere in the guide. Really unclear. Luckily there was still space for us the next day, but we had to go with a guide though. We both are not a fan of this, but it was the only way. And as it was something we both really wanted to do, we accepted. So we had to change the plan for today. We decided to go to the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish steps. We took the bus for the first bit and got out only a 5 min walk from the Pantheon. From there it’s only a short walk to the Trevi Fountain. I really liked seeing this. It’s also something you see in so many movies (including my favourite Eat Pray Love) etc. We took some pictures and of course we threw in a coin. We did it together.. how romantic! After the Spanish steps we decided it was time for lunch. The vegan places I looked up in advance turned out to be quite far from where we were, so we tried to look for something what looked nice. It was still quite early for lunch, but then Steven found a place with a vegetarian all you can eat buffet. Apart from 2 things, everything was vegan and I really loved the food. Very fresh and full of taste. It’s a cold buffet, so if you prefer a hot meal, you better skip this. We still had an activity to choose from our Omnia card, so in the afternoon we went to see Castel Sant’Angelo. But first.. some more gelato! We took the bus to Vatican City (Castel Sant’Angelo is next to that) and we had to go into a few shops before we found one who sold vegan gelato. This one did have so much choice though, so I had dark chocolate (obviously), banana, passion fruit and raspberry. We ate it on a wall in front of Castel Sant’Angelo, before we got in. It was nice to see the inside, but the best part was definitely to be on top of it. Not only a beautiful view from there, but also the first shot of the first Rome-scene of the movie Eat Pray Love, is filmed from Castle Sant’Angelo. I loved it!! Very hot though, but fantastic! We decided to go back to the hotel, to freshen up after we came down. Later that evening we took a stroll, trying to look for a better pizza. We found a place where the pizza looked good, so we sat down. The staff was very very unfriendly and unwelcoming. It kind of annoyed me, but we were too stubborn and determined to try a good pizza in Italy. The pizza was very nice luckily. The only thing was that they didn’t do sauce at this restaurant. Apparently the cheese was also the sauce and as I order without cheese, I got a pizza base with veggies. It was very yummy, so no complains about the food. It was just strange.

Our last day and it was Vatican City day. The day before, I bought little pack of Soy milk in the supermarket, so I was able to try the cereal and muesli at breakfast. I also suggest they put a plant based milk option next time. I hope they will. The whole guided tour started off a little odd. We had to walk around half the Vatican, before we entered and with a group of about 20 people and 813938134 tourists everywhere, it’s not the handiest thing and it takes a lot of time. Luckily we had a lovely guide and it was very nice to listen to all the things she knew about the Vatican. Being inside was ah-mazing!! I loved it, everything! So much art and all so detailed, it was fantastic really! Especially going into the Sistine Chapel and to see the famous work of Michelangelo was so amazing, that I have no words for it. Unfortunately I had a lot of pain in my neck this day and so going this day to admire Michelangelo’s work wasn’t the best combination (al lot is on the ceiling). I’m still very happy to have seen in though! Something super 
ironic and hilarious.. you were not allowed to talk in the Sistine Chapel (what is hard to begin with for me), but that every minute a man told everybody in 2 languages to be quiet.. very loud through a microphone, haha! And then, to finish our Rome adventure we went inside the St.Peter Basilica and wohw! I’ve never seen such a beautiful and such a big church in my life. It was breathtaking! We saw the Pietà and we walked around jaw dropping. We were both so happy, that in the end, we did get to see this all, even though the Omnia Card almost ruined it. We did have to keep an eye on the time for our flight that afternoon, so a few last pictures from the outside, before we went back to the hotel to get our bags. Not before we had another (pink) burger at Flower Burger for lunch though! Our flight was a little delayed, but it was alright, we just relaxed and before we knew it we were back in our beloved London!

You probably realised, after reading all this, Rome is a must go city! Rome is basically one big museum. Everything is beautiful and you keep walking around with your head turning from left to right and up and down (no wonder my neck was hurting the last day). You really feel like you don’t have enough eyes to soak it all in. I really loved seeing the Colosseum and the Vatican City, but I think what I loved the most is the little streets. There are so many beautiful little streets, with little balconies, flowers, amazing colours on the walls, old doors, going up and down, scooters lined up and even some great street art. I could walk these little streets forever. Also Rome is, surprisingly, very good with veganism. There are many vegan places and otherwise they are happy to make you something vegan. (Just make sure they have a fully understanding of what veganism is.) Most of the people we met were very helpful! Another handy thing in Rome is, that there are drinking fountains all over the city, where you can have a few sips or fill up your bottle. Perfect for when it’s hot and you have to make sure you stay extra hydrated. The thing I really didn’t like about Rome were all the people who try to sell you things, like selfie sticks, batteries, bracelets, water.. they are everywhere and even though you say no, they keep putting it (literally) in your face. It was a very aggressive way of selling and they’re everywhere you go. Try to ignore them though and keep looking around you!

HOTSPOTS:
iPhame – Via Agostino Depretis, 64, 00184.
Infinity Hotel St. Peter – Via Catone, 34, 00192.
Bar La Licata – Via dei Serpenti, 165, 00184.
Nest – Via del Leone, 23, 00183.
Flower Burger – Via dei Gracchi, 87, 00192. (!!)

TOURISTY:
Altare della Patria
Colosseum
Roman Forum
The Phanteon
Trevi Fountain
Spanish Steps
Castel Sant’Angelo
Vatican City (St.Peters Basilica + Sistine Chapel)

Have you been to Rome yet? Did you know about these cool hotspots or do you have any other recommendations? Are you really excited to go now? I would love to hear about your trip and experiences! You can leave a comment below or you can show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Veggie Bowl

img_9302Some people find it hard to get a salad together. What vegetables do you use? What tastes nice combined with what? I actually think that all veggies can go together. This is why I like to make colourful salads. Eat the rainbow! It’s also important to make a salad filling. So what I always do is: I cut up lots of yummy, colourful (mostly) raw veggies, add beans, avocado and mix it up. Most of the time I like to eat salads like this for lunch. In fact, this is basically my lunch every day. I love it and I can really enjoy digging into a huge bowl of crunchy yummy tasting veggies, mixed up with a simple dressing. I just love vegetables. I know, I’m a lucky vegan! To just give you an idea of what my salads look like and to help you make your own, I’m giving you an example today. I hope you like it just as much as I do!

img_9310VEGGIE BOWL

Serves: 1

veggies
-1/2 cup black beans
-1 (big) handful lettuce (any)
-1 (big handful spinach
-1/4 cucumber (sliced)
-1/4 bell pepper (sliced)
-1 cup red cabbage (chopped)
-1 (large) tomato (chopped)
-1/2 avocado (chopped)
-1 spring onion (chopped)
dressing
-1 tbs sesame seeds oil
-1 tbs lemon juice
-1 tsp balsamic vinegar
-1/2 tsp chilli flakes
-salt/pepper (to taste)

-Mix all veggies in a bowl.
-Put the ingredients for the dressing in a shaker and shake well.
-Pour over the dressing and mix up well, until everything is nicely covered.

Are you just as lucky as me and do you love vegetables a lot? What do you normally have for lunch? Or are you going to try this recipe now? Please let me know when you’ve tried it. You can do this in a comment below.. or you can tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. 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

EAT

The breakfast/lunch cafe you see a lot around London is EAT. I have to admit that I don’t go here very often. This is because a few years ago I checked them out and they only had 1 vegan option. But as times are changing and more and more cafes and restaurants are offering vegan option, I’d thought to give them another try. I went to the one in Southbank.This is quite a big EAT. I know the one in Westfield and that one is smaller. I think this EAT might be a good option if you’re with a bigger group (sightseeing) or with kids.

They are doing a lot better with the vegan option I must say. There were houmous-harissa sandwiches, a quinoa salad with veggies and seeds and even a warm dish with sweet potato and spinach. They also sell fruit, but nothing else to snack on. They do sell lots of non-vegan cakes and bars, so it would be nice to add 1-2 vegan options to that. I already had my lunch at Strada, next door, so I wasn’t in for a meal. Would have been so nice if they had a nice nut bar or chocolate brownie or something?! I ordered a green tea with soy milk and the girl who helped me was really friendly and nice. I really appreciated that!

EAT is not a cafe you go to for the lovely atmosphere and cosy corners. It’s perfect for a nice quick lunch though and have a little break from whatever you’re doing. I brought my laptop and wanted to do some writing. They have alright seats, but because it was very busy when I was there (I went on a Saturday, so duhh!) I didn’t have the best spot to work. But that’s ok, I wasn’t planning to stay more than an hour anyway. Though when I checked the wifi, there wasn’t any available. This was very disappointing. So I took my tea outside and started to walk to my next location. But now I know they have more vegan option, I will try one of their meals soon. They do look nice, so let’ see if they’re tasty!

WHO? EAT.
WHERE? Royal Festival Hall, Unit 4, Riverside Level 1, SE1 8XX.
CUISINE? Breakfast/Lunch Cafe.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 6 (Quite a few good looking vegan option, no wifi, could be more cosy)

Have you had lunch before at EAT? Did you like it? Are you going to try one of their vegan options soon? Please let me know if you decide to visit EAT! 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

Taco Feast

img_7507What to cook when friends are coming over? I’m sure that if it doesn’t have to be too formal, a Taco Feast will be just what you’re looking for. Make it a complete Mexican themed evening if you like! By making everything separate and serving it in nice looking bowls, everybody can make their own taco. It might even be a nice idea to let everybody make and bring something. Especially when you’re with a big group. Also.. are taco’s not the best? They’re super messy to eat, but they taste so goodddd.. I don’t even eat them that often, but if I do I am really enjoying it and I always tell myself to eat it again soon. So tell your friends to bring their sombrero’s and go Mexican this weekend!

img_7509TACO FEAST

Serves: 4

-8 tortilla wraps
mince
-300 gr mince
-1 onion
-1 clove garlic
-1 tbs olive oil
-1 tsp oregano
-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
-1/2 tsp chili flakes
-1/2 tsp cumin
-salt/pepper (to taste)
salsa
-2 cups tomatoes (chopped)
-1/4 onion (chopped)
-1/2 clove garlic (minced)
-bunch of coriander leafs (chopped)
-1 tsp lime juice
-salt (to taste)
img_7510guacamole
-2 avocado’s (smashed)
-1/4 red bell pepper (chopped)
-2 cloves garlic (minced)
-2 tsp lemon juice
-salt/pepper (to taste)
salad
-1/2 iceberg lettuce (chopped)
-1/4 cucumber (chopped)
-4 babycorns (chopped)
-1 tbs olive oil
-salt (to taste)
extra
-2 cups black beans
-corn cobs
-jalapeño peppers

-Preheat the oven at 180C (for the taco’s).
-For the mince: Fry the onion in the olive oil for about 4 minutes on a medium fire. Mix in the garlic for another minute.
-Add the mince (I used the mince form Fry’s) and fry on a high fire, until hot and until it’s a slightly darker colour.
img_7508-Mix in all the spices and fry for another 2 minutes. Add salt to taste.
-For the salsa: Mix all the ingredients of the salsa in a bowl. If you like a sauce consistency better, you could also put it all in the food processor or blender.
-For the guacamole: Mix all the guacamole ingredients together and add salt/pepper to taste.
-Mix up the salad ingredients.
-Make the tortilla’s wet and then hang them, upside down, over the oven rack, so that they form a taco shell. Take them out of the oven after 5-8 minutes, when they’re a little darker. Let them cool down, so they get crispy.
-Put everything in nice looking bowls and let everybody make their own taco.

Do you like Mexican food? I’m sure you at least like taco’s, especially when you can make them yourself. Please let me know when you’ve tried it. You can do this in a comment below.. or you can tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Zizzi

img_0708Zizzi is a restaurant I kind of always knew was around, but never went to. I’m not sure why though. Maybe, and I’m not even joking, it’s because whenever I see this restaurant there is a Wagamama around the corner and as I love Wagamama, I always chose to go there instead. Silly, because now after going here, I’m actually very enthusiastic about these Zizzi restaurants. I went on the day I went to visit Richmond and strolled around the beautiful Richmond park. Richmond is a lovely area and it has nice shops and lots of nice restaurants. So after a long walk in the park, I sat down to choose a lovely dish.

img_0707I read about their vegan cheese and that is one of the reasons I went here. The menu has quite a lot of vegan options or dishes which can be made vegan. I went for a pizza, because I was curious about their cheese. Zizzi is one of the very few (for now, hopefully..) restaurants who offer a vegan alternative to mozzarella. I think they deserve a big compliment for this! I think it’s totally awesome that they do and it makes them very popular around vegans. Also because now you can easily go with a group ..family, friends or colleagues, this way everybody can order something they want, without they feel forced to go to certain restaurants. I ordered the ‘Winter Zucca’ pizza, with butternut squash, as I love butternut squash. It was lovely, though I found that they put a bit too much cheese actually, haha.. I feel like I’m being super difficult now. The cheese was very good though and the pizza was very yummy overall. Oh and if the vegan cheese option wasn’t enough, they also offer vegan ice cream. Super cool! Very tasty as well, I had a very lovely meal. Definitely recommend to eat here.

img_0706Something I noticed about the Zizzi restaurants, is that they are all based in lovely buildings. The one in Richmond is very nice and as far as I’ve seen, they all are in similar buildings. I like it. Inside it’s lovely too. A  lot of wood, warm lighting, a good overall atmosphere and super child/family friendly I would say. I think Zizzi’s is a very good restaurant to celebrate your birthday or to have a nice meal for any other occasion what involves eating with a bit of a bigger group. Because of the location and food that everybody likes. All Italian based. I mean.. who doesn’t like pizza? Also they have a lot of choice when it comes to the food in general. The staff was very friendly and helpful, what I always appreciate. They checked everything for me and were able to answer all my questions. Lovely restaurant!

WHO? Zizzi.
WHERE? 4-5 King St, TW9 1ND.
CUISINE? Italian.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 8 (good vegan options; vegan mozzarella, great locations, very approachable)

What do you think of Zizzi? Do you want to try a pizza with vegan mozzarella now? Please let me know in a comment below or show me on Instagram by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Stamp-Pot

img_8328Living in London, I often get the question ‘What is typical Dutch dish?’. Well.. There are not a lot of Dutch dishes. Of course there are the famous ‘stroopwafels’ and ‘speculaas’, but the only thing I can come up with is stamppot. What is basically mashed potatoes with vegetables mashed in it and a piece of meat on the side. There are different combinations (with kale as the most popular). It’s not a dish to be super proud of. This must be the reason that Holland is famous for a lot of things, but definitely not for the Dutch kitchen. Stamppot is an ok dish though, people eat it mostly in the winter. It’s a typical winter-dish in Holland. I thought it will be a nice dish on the last day of March. To really finish off the winter. I’m so ready for lots of sun! I was never a huge fan, but as I am a huge fan of Asian kitchen, I made a combination of the two. The one with potatoes, carrots and onions is called ‘hutspot’ and if I had to choose, then that is my favourite, so I used this one for todays recipe. I happened to really love it now, haha! I hope you will love it too.

img_8331STAMP-POT

Serves: 2 

-4 big potatoes (chopped)
-3 carrots (chopped)
-2 big hands spinach
-1 onion (chopped)
-3 tbs milk
-2 cloves garlic (minced)
-1 tbs sesame seed oil
-1/2 tsp coriander (ground)
-1/2 tsp cumin seeds
-salt/pepper (to taste)
-2 Vivera fillet steaks*

-Put the potatoes, the carrots and 1/4 of the onion in a pan and let it boil for 20 min. Until the potatoes and carrots are soft.
-Fry the onion until the edges start to get brown. Add the garlic, the coriander and the cumin and fry for 2 minutes. Add the spinach in the last minute and until it slinks.
-Add this mixture, the sesame seed oil and the milk to the potato-carrot mix.
-Add salt and pepper to taste.
-Serve with Vivera fillet steaks*.

*The fillet steak on the picture is from the brand Vivera. They do not sell this in the UK yet, but they soon will. It’s an amazing brand I’m sure you will love. So stay tuned! If you want to make this dish now, I recommend eating it on it’s own or to replace it with something else, like sausages. 

Did you have stamppot as a Dutch dish before? Are you going to try this Dutch-Asian stamppot? Please let me know or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thanks you! X

Pumpi

sSoup for lunch, soup for dinner, soup on hot days, soup on cold days.. soup is always a good idea. I must say, that this soup recipe is excellent for a chilly day. It’s nice and filling, full of good nutrition and super delicious. That’s why it’s my favourite soup! You only need 8 ingredients, and that includes water, pepper and salt. It’s a very easy soup to make! It’s also very easy to make a lot of, in one time (just double or triple the ingredients), for if you have people coming over for example. You can easily eat the soup on it’s own and call it a meal, but if you are very hungry it’s super delicious with some (toasted) bread too. Pumpkins are not really in season anymore, but you can also use a butternut squash. As a butternut squash is easy to get your hands on, you can make it any time.

s2PUMPI

serves: 2-4

-1 medium pumpkin
-6 medium carrots (chopped)
-1 big red onion (chopped)
-1 cup coconut milk
-1 l water
-1 cube vegetable stock
-salt/pepper (to taste)

-Cut off the skin of the pumpkin. You could first put the pumpkin in the oven for about 45-60 min at 200C. This way you can easily cut off the skin.
-Fry the onion, in a little bit of oil, until the edges start to become brown.
-Boil the carrots in the 1 l water, with the vegetable stock, for about 10 minutes.
-Put the pumpkin, the carrots (+ the vegetable stock) and the onion in the blender (or use a hand-held blender) and blend until smooth.
-Heat it up in a pan and before it boils, add the coconut milk. Also add pepper and salt to taste.
-Then let it simmer for 5 minutes.

Are you going to try this simple pumpkin soup recipe? Please let me know when you’ve tried them. You can do this in a comment below.. or you can tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Fridgecurious #3

img_6869This fridgecurious we are taking a look in the fridge of my cousin Mandy and her boyfriend Sven. What is so nice, is that it’s Mandy’s birthday today, yay! Happy Birthday! What is even nicer, Mandy is vegan since October 2016. Before she went vegan she was already vegetarian for 10 years. In the beginning of the transition she found it was quite a lot to take in and to learn and read about veganism, but it’s going very well now and she feels very good! I’m so proud of her that she took this step, as we are the only vegans in our family. Her boyfriend is still omni and so I thought it was interesting to see how they make this work. They both work full time and that’s why they go grocery shopping once a week. This works much better than getting bits and bobs every day. They rotate between 4 supermarkets, but most of it they get at the Dutch supermarket ‘Jumbo’. They only sometimes go to ‘Eko Plaza’ (health supermarket) or the Vegan Supermarket to get some special things. Because the 2nd of March they will move to the city Groningen, going to these supermarkets will probably increase as they will be much closer by then.

img_6868On the top shelf of the fridge she keeps all the spreads and sauces. There is a very nice plant-based herb-butter she gets at her local supermarket. They both like spicy food, so there is also a bottle of ‘sambal’, but the thing she is most happy with, is the plant-based mayonnaise from ‘Remia’. She has a jar and a bottle of this. She displayed the bottle in the front of the fridge, especially for the picture, haha.. I love it! The love for mayonnaise is so Dutch, I love it myself and I have to watch out I don’t eat too much of it. She likes to eat it with fries (yum!) and toasties and mix it up a bit with ketchup. I totally get this! Sven likes to drink sparkly water with a light flavour, so that’s what you see on the next shelf. You can also see bell peppers, carrots and cherry tomatoes. They eat a lot of vegetables and Mandy often takes cherry tomatoes and cucumber to work. In the left drawer you can see a package from the ‘vegetarische slager’ (vegetarian butcher) with ‘gehacktbal’, this is not vegan, but vegetarian. img_6870This is for Sven. He still eats a little meat now and then, but a lot of times he eats the same as Mandy or he goes for a vegetarian meal. They respect and take each others food choices into consideration. This is how they make it work and it makes them feel good. I do think that Sven deserves a compliment though! In the fridge door you can see a lot of Alpro products: butter, milk (Soy, Rice, Almond and she especially likes the Cashew) and yogurt. She likes to mix up the flavoured ones with the plain. Every morning she has breakfast with this yogurt, adding some oats and dried fruit. All the way in the top, you can see ‘Wilmersburger’ cheese. This is vegan cheese and super delicious. They use it to make toasties and often Sven eats toasties with this cheese too. They like the ‘Wilmersburger – würzig’ best.

I want to thank Mandy and Sven to share their fridge with us and to tell us how they make it work being a vegan and an omni, living in the same house.

I hope this inspired you and if it did, please let me know in the comments! If you also like to show your fridge, please send me a message via CONTACT! Thank you! X

Tai Buffet

img_8242I lived in Shepherds Bush for 1,5 year. Great place to live. Near Westfield and great transport into central London. A lot of weekend you could find me in Westfield or in West 12, what is on the opposite of the road. I always walked past Thai Buffet, or I saw it from the bus. It said ‘Lunch £5,90’ and ‘Dinner £6,90’. They serve Thai and Chinese vegetarian food. I always thought, ‘I should go there’. I like buffets, I like Thai food and it’s SO cheap! Only, because it was cheap and it also looked cheap I never bothered to go. I never was too keen on the idea and mostly went to Wagamama instead. Until last year, when my brother came and stayed at my place for a few days. He is really into buffets too and as it’s vegetarian, I was positive they had some vegan options too. That’s why I decided to go with him.

img_8240Ok, it’s not the place I would take my lover on Valentines Day, but it’s perfect for a hungry Saturday afternoon. Like me and my brother. I asked the lady what was vegan and I couldn’t believe my ears when she said that everything is vegan! What?! Why didn’t I go here before?! The food looked delicious and I couldn’t wait to start. I was so excited. We ordered a drink and we ran to the buffet, haha! With buffets I always like to start with salads. Just because your body will digest it easier, starting with raws. After that I was very happy to dig in the img_8243seitan, tofu and spring rolls.. gosh it was nice! When I was full I really wished I had another stomach to fill. They even had crispy duck style pieces and a lot of rice, noodles and lots of veggies. I really liked all the food and there are quite a lot of options for a small restaurant like this. Everything is very tasty, but I wasn’t crazy about the dessert though. It was just fruit, nuts and some tapioca pudding. They could have done a lot better I think. Maybe it’s just the Thai and Chinese kitchen that don’t give a lot of vegan style dessert option. All together I think it’s great value for money though!

img_8241So like I said before, it’s not a place you’re going to, to have a romantic dinner. But with all the food options, you don’t really care about the interior that much. It’s alright. Something I didn’t like that much is the staff. They were friendly, but not very focused on service. I know it’s a buffet and it’s all self-service, but it’s just nice if you feel very welcome. Overall, I was very pleased that I went and I’m sure I’ll come back here. Especially when my family is over here. My brother liked it a lot too and I’m sure the rest of my family will as well.

WHO? Tai Buffet.
WHERE? 86 Uxbridge Rd, W12 8LR.
CUISINE? Thai/Chinese.
VEGAN? Yes!
OVERALL? 7 (tasty food, great value for money, dessert and service could be better)

Do you know Tai Buffet already? What do you think about buffets? Are you going to try it? 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