Thursday, 21 December 2017

VEGAN CARIBBEAN ROTI AT JERKMAICA




Vegan Caribbean Roti at Jerkmaica


I visited Jerkmaica* in Finsbury Park in London to sample their vegan friendly menu but I specifically went to try their delicious Caribbean Roti.


Why ? Why did I need to sample their roti ? 



Well growing up in West London where there is a sizeable Caribbean community I have sampled lots of jerk chicken but roti is a dish which people really take pride in cooking, serving and critiquing . I always enjoyed eating Caribbean roti and my friends would also tell me their opinion on what makes a good roti.  Yet since I turned vegan over a year ago I have never had a vegan roti.  


Even though though I am aware that Caribbean cuisine offers some of the best plantbased meal options for vegans and plantbased eaters, therefore this had to change. 









WHAT IS JERKMAICA?


Jerkmaica was founded by lifelong foodie Gary Bailey. He sought to revive his childhood memories of home cooked Caribbean cuisine of the kind his mother and gran used to prepare for the family as well as the local community in Harrow – the town his parents migrated to from Jamaica in the sixties and the area in which he was raised.

Although the name suggests that it's a specialist of Jamaica’s most famous food, jerk chicken, Jerkmaica actually pays homage to Gary’s ‘happy dish’ – the roti. 



LOCATION




I visited the Stroud Green Road branch in Finsbury Park which is one of three London branches.  It is walking distance from the station and it is easy to find.  The other branches are also located in North London in Crouch End and Angel.



ATMOSPHERE 



As soon as I walked in, I felt extremely welcome to this lovely restaurant due to its cosy yet relaxed vibe.  The background music made me feel like I was back in the summer time and not in the midst of a frosty English winter .  A member of staff kindly greeted us and followed by the owner Gary.  We were led to the seating area we were asked what drinks we would like.  Whilst we waited for our drinks and food I decided to have a look around the restaurant, I loved the interiors and the Jerkmaica branding.











WHAT IS ROTI

Roti pronounced as Roh-tee (also known as Chapati) is a flat bread which originates from the Indian subcontinent.  It is widely eaten in South Asian, South East Asian and East African Countries.  Where it is eaten as accompaniment to a meal which helps to soak up a sauce, stew or curry. 

CARIBBEAN ROTI

In the Caribbean the Roti is a popular dish which is mostly eaten by hand as the Roti is stuffed with a delicious traditional filling such as a spiced meat and / or vegetable curry.  This form of roti also known as the roti wrap is a renowned street food sold to locals and tourists in countries such as Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Guyana. 


If your wondering why you have never heard of it (if you have never heard of it before), it is because it is underrated in the UK.  Yet I have a feeling that this will change in the very near 
future.  As how many burritos and wraps can we have
without getting bored? 





Right !  













VEGAN FRIENDLY FOOD OFFERING 





DRINKS 

There is a wide range of cocktails to choose from but there are currently no mocktails available.  Don’t worry there is a wide choice of juices/ soft drinks available for non drinkers. The cocktails are also part of happy hour which has a great 2 drinks for £10 offer available.

I asked for a rum punch (of course) whilst my guest had a Ting (a popular Caribbean Grapefruit soft drink).


RUM PUNCH 

Rum punch is a cocktail made from Wray & Nephew rum (a strong vegan friendly rum), mixed fruit drink and bitters (also vegan friendly) . I had a Rum Punch and I will definitely come back to have one soon, as it’s not to strong whilst it's also not too sweet.  It’s just perfect and it's the best punch I have ever had. 















FOOD

TURMERIC SPICED SOYA CHANA AND CORIANDER CURRY 


I enjoyed the Turmeric Spiced Soya Chana and Coriander curry with rice and fritter as the flavours work so well together.  Especially the melt in your mouth fritter, I would be happy with a plate full of those fritters if it was available (or is available in the future).  The fritter is also quite filling as it has a thicker and meatier texture than what I had initially expected it.














AUBERGINE CAPONATA OLIVE ROTI AND CREOLE MUSHROOM ROTI 



We were served two roti’s which were the Aubergine Caponata Olive roti and the Creole Mushroom Roti.  Which as shown in the image above myself and my guest split the roti’s in half to sample the two varieties . 

















I had the Aubergine Caponata Olive Roti on my tray and it was my favourite out of the two.  It had a familiar taste to me so maybe I’m a little biased as I love aubergines just one look at my Instagram page can tell you that.  Yet I doubt this is the case as my guest enjoyed their meal as much as I did.  Probably because the sauce is deliciously rich and full of vegetables such as chickpeas and aubergines. The Mushroom Roti was full of flavour served with pickled red onions but I never got to taste them as my guest finished it before I finished my half of the food. I would order the Mushroom variety again but as mentioned I am a fan of aubergines so the Aubergine Roti has my heart. Yet I would order the Soya curry fritter roti as I enjoyed the curry and rice so much. 








SWEET POTATO FRIES AND FRIED PLANTAIN

The plantain was delicious not too sweet not too sour so perfect for plantain lovers or those who are looking for an alternative to chips/ fries.  I would recommend this side dish and would order it again.  The sweet potato fries where cooked to perfection and I would also recommend this dish to anyone who visits or orders from Jerkmaica.










CONCLUSION

I enjoyed my time at Jerkmaica, it is a gem hidden in North London and this West Londoner will definitely make the time to visit this warm and vegan friendly restaurant in the near future.  Everyone needs to try the delicious food available at Jerkmaica and if you live in North London don’t forget that you also can order Jerkmaica’s delicious food.

Have you been to Jerkmaica ? Have you had a vegan roti ? Let me know what think in the comments below.

Thank you for reading and  hope you enjoyed my review.


Bee
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- *Thank you to Jerkmaica and ASP PR for your service and for providing our meals free of charge in return of a review.  I have given my honest opinion of my experience in my review 




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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

VEGAN HOT POT AT HOTPOT LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW








VEGAN HOT POT AT HOTPOT LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW




Have you had a Hot Pot before ? 

If so I don’t think you’ll see a dish like this one in your every day life.  Well maybe but for me this was my first time.





Image: HotPot London 

When I was asked to review the vegan friendly options at HotPot London I knew I had to see and try this for myself.  As I used to be a regular at many restaurants in Chinatown but I never tried a HotPot before.  Even though I was aware that you cook your meal at a pot on your table that you share with friends and family. I didn't know much about the origins of a Hot Pot.

What is a Hot Pot ? 

Hot Pot or ‘huo guo’ is thought to have originated in 
Mongolia and the Jin Dynasty more than 1000 years ago. This communal one pot way of eating, gained vast popularity across Asia for its simplistic way of bringing communities 
together. As the concept of the Hot Pot began to travel, it took on other influences.  Today, there are thousands of exciting regional variations throughout China but also 
Thailand, Vietnam and Korea.





(Above) Tofu and sweet corn served with mushroom broth one of the vegan friendly options available at HotPot London.The dish traditionally includes a broth, a choice of vegetables, meat and seafood **


THE RESTAURANT 

Hot Pot restaurant is a relaxed and comfortable space and can cater for up to 150 covers as well as larger groups for private dining and business meetings. The 4,500 square foot restaurant covers two floors with an area of sophisticated seating booths.

Situated in Central London’s Wardour Street, Hot Pot restaurant at the gateway to China Town, is elegantly decorated in neutral tones with botanical-inspired wall coverings and dark woven panels. These aspects contrast beautifully with polished brass palm wall lights, crackle glazed jade tiles, antique mirrors and crisp linen table lamps.

Hot Pot restaurant is a relaxed and comfortable space and can cater for up to 150 covers as well as larger groups for private dining and business meetings. The 4,500 square foot restaurant covers two floors with an area of sophisticated seating booths.



VEGAN FRIENDLY OFFERING




The Hotpot London restaurant provides a choice for vegans / plant based eaters for who want to sample a vegan hotpot or for those who are in the area and are out with non vegan friends or family. 










The vegan friendly choices include 14 types of vegetables including: spinach, Chinese cabbage, Lotus root, kelp, Tong ho, Winter melon etc.  There are 6 types of mushrooms, a range of tofu including fresh, fried and Japanese, alongside a range of noodles such as Glass vermicelli and Thick ho fun (udon) noodles to choose from.  Whilst the majority of the menu is mostly gluten free.




MY MEAL




Myself and my guest ordered a twin hotpot featuring a tomato broth and a mushroom broth. Whilst also ordering the fresh vegetable selection, Japanese Tofu and udon noodles to our pot.


BROTHS :

Two of the five broths available are gluten free, clear and labelled vegetarian, which is also suitable for vegans also.  Aside from a small selection of marinated and spiced ingredients.

Myself and my guest ordered  both of these vegan friendly broths which are marked as vegetarian but the staff will reassure you that it is vegan. If you ask them and the ingredients are also clearly stated on the menu.





Tomato broth

This broth was slightly spicy as it was filled with fresh ginger, it was my favourite out of the two broths.  It is a warming dish which must be a hit with diners due to it soothing yet zesty taste and for it’s health properties. As it is full of vitamin C and antioxidants which are great for boosting the immune system.











Mushroom broth

This broth features a range of mushrooms which provide this dish with the goodness of vitamin D . This is a rich yet savoury broth. 

VEGETABLES AND TOFU:

The Japanese Tofu soaked up the flavours of both of the broths and I would recommend this choice as part of a healthy protein packed meal option.

I enjoyed eating the fresh vegetable selection which included enoki mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and pak choi which complimented the lotus root and Udon noodles. This combination brought an authenticity to this delicious yet slight adapted version of the traditional Hot Pot meal. 

I also noticed that the other guests seated at nearby tables ordered mainly vegetarian dishes. Which is probably a sign of our times.






DRINKS:

There is an extensive drinks menu with a great range of vegan friendly cocktails and mocktails. 
My guest had a passionfruit mojito mocktail which she stated was the best she ever had. 
I opted out of consuming a drink as I am a slow eater.  So I focused on finishing off the delicious soup.  As we ordered the twin bowl which is really enough to feed four people.

CONCLUSION:

The Vegan HotPot at HotPot London was absolutely delicious, I particularly enjoyed the Vitamin C sweet tomato broth.  I would recommend ordering the twin bowl with both the Longitivity mushroom broth and Vitamin C sweet tomato broth as it was great to have a wide range of meals at one sitting.  The staff are friendly and highly attentive, therefore I would recommend HotPot London to Plantbased eaters as it has a great range of vegan budget friendly choices.

Have you been to HotPot London or tried a Vegan HotPot? if so let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading

Bee x 


If you would like to see more connect with me on  






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* I dined with a guest at HotPot London free of charge in exchange for a review but all of my views are my own.*

** = This is a non vegan restaurant that serves seafood and meat.  It features also has a tank which had a crab on display in an area which is slightly tucked away and situated away from the dining area. This may come as a surprise for any one who has never visited a restaurant that serves a wide range of seafood or has never visited a restaurant which has a live crab or another crustacean on display.


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

VEGAN MUSHROOM EGG FRIED RICE







Vegan Mushroom Egg Fried Rice


This is one of my favourite dishes of all time. It is fish free, meat free, egg free, dairy free and vegan.  It may come as a shock for most people to hear that there is a egg free and vegan alternative to mushroom or egg fried rice.  It should not be a shock, especially in 2017 when veganism and plant based eating has exploded.  As any dish can be adapted to be made into a plant based (vegan) dish.







This recipe includes my other favourite dish Tofu Scramble.  I have a simpler recipe here for Vegan scrambled eggs scroll down to the end of the post of my previous recipe Ful Medames (Fava beans) Two Ways here for more information.








This is a great low waste or zero waste recipe if you make the tofu yourself (if so well done you). As it is can be easily adapted to feature a wide range of ingredients to meet your needs or budget. 

Traditional egg fried rice incorporates seasoning such as soy soy, toasted sesame oil and five spice. Which I normally use but opted out of using because I didn't have to hand. So instead I used up a batch of frozen mushrooms which I had cooked earlier and preceded to cook the contents of my meal.  I then crumbled a block of extra ft I'm .  Tofu I use the ’ Tofoo’  brand’s Naked flavour.

I served my rice with baked sweet plantains and chilli sauce as it was would I have and I had quite a big portion.














VEGAN MUSHROOM EGG FRIED RICE RECIPE 





INGREDIENTS 

1 block of extra firm tofu (crumbled)
1-2 tbsp of water or toasted sesame oil
3/4-1 tsp of curry powder or 
1/4-1/2 tsp turmeric powder 
1/2- 1 a tsp of garlic powder
cooked fried mushrooms or water ‘fried’ mushrooms 
1 -2 cups of shredded/chopped cabbage 
cooked mixed veg or peas (for the traditional aspect)
2 cups of cooked rice (leftover/not freshly cooked)
a pinch of black pepper to taste
salt to taste (optional)
chopped spring onions to serve (optional)

optional additions:
chopped spring onion to taste (as a salt alternative but optional)
soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos to taste
chilli oil or chilli sauce (optional)
sesame seeds or sesame oil to taste (optional) 


METHOD
  1. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat, add water, add tofu and stir. 
  2. After 1 min add curry powder and continue to stir fry to combine the ingredients until the mixture starts to resemble 'scrambled eggs'. 
  3. Use an extra 1-2 tbsp of water if the 'egg mixture' drys up.
  4. Then add the cabbage, stir and cook for until it softens 1-3 minutes
  5. Add mushrooms, mixed veg, rice and stir for 1-3 minutes depending on your cooking appliance. 
  6. To serve add salt or alternative e.g. soy sauce, black pepper and spring onion






 Watch how I made the dish in the video below

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE :

The Vegan Mushroom Egg Fried Rice recipe starts at 2:59 

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Thanks for reading

Bee x 

If you would like to see more connect with me on  

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