Review: VegfestUK London – an eco foodie feast

VegfestUK London

This was the first London event for Vegfest UK, and there were over 180 stalls of natural, eco-conscious healthy products and lots of entertainment and education laid on

Judging by the crowds of people who flocked to VegfestUK London at Olympia this past weekend, interest in vegetarian, vegan, raw, or simply just a less meat-filled lifestyle is at an all-time high.

It was my first time to this particular two-day foodie festival. Vegfest started in Bristol in 2003, set up by entrepreneur Tim Barford, expanded to the veggie mecca of Brighton in 2008, and it’s taken this long to spread its wings to the capital. They’d sold almost 10,000 tickets in advance of the first London event, and there certainly seemed to be a bumper turnout on the Saturday afternoon that I was there.

Individual food stalls and food product vendors obviously featured prominently, along with natural, cruelty-free beauty products and eco-clothing. There was also a huge range of entertainment laid on for show visitors – two cinemas with a good line-up of eco and health conscious films and documentaries (such as Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days), a large cookery demo area with lots of healthy, cheffy things going on, workshop areas, a kids play zone, a main performance stage, plus some live bands playing. Continue reading

Warm cauliflower salad


This is one of those dishes (like my caponata recipe) that really just tastes better slightly warmed or at room temperature. Although I’m sure there’d be no complaints if you served it chilled either.

It was inspired by my visit to Foodilic in Brighton a few weeks ago (read the review here). Their cauliflower salad also contained cooked quinoa (you could always add a cup to the recipe below if you wanted to), plus some dried pomegranate seeds, which I don’t think I’d actually tried before. It was really good, and one of their stand-out salad dishes. My creation contains some slightly different ingredients, but I’d like to think it tastes just as good! Continue reading

Easy-peasy caponata

I’ve yet to visit to Sicily – but a friend in London with Italian heritage once served me caponata – an aubergine-based stew with a sweet-sour marinade – and I’ve loved it ever since. Just like tabbouleh, it sings summer to me with its fresh vegetables and deep tomato flavour, and I find we mostly eat it during those months.

Being the meddler that I am, I’ve experimented with taking away some ingredients and adding others. I often prefer to omit the olives and serve the caponata alongside some homemade olive bread instead – sometimes topped with some melted mozzarella. Continue reading

Green bean dip with sage + lime

Green bean dip with sage and lime

Light and zingy green bean dip – perfect with crudités

This is a wonderfully light and fluffy bean dip that you can whizz up in seconds in your blender. Unlike homemade hummus, which needs a bit of work to become like that wonderful texture of dip to be found in a good Middle Eastern restaurant, the flageolet beans used in this recipe create an effortlessly creamy concoction. Continue reading

Restaurant review: tibits, London


The terrace at tibits offers hassle-free dining in the heart of W1

Where?: tibits vegetarian restaurant, 12-14 Heddon Street, London W1B 4BA

At this time of year London’s Oxford St and Regent St are extra jam-packed with tourists, and shoppers laden with summer sale bags. So when I found myself there last week on a particularly hot and steamy afternoon, I was relieved to find that my intended destination – tibits vegetarian restaurant – was in a calm, plant-filled oasis just minutes from the madding crowds.

Known as the Regents St Food Quarter, Heddon St is a half-hidden restaurant enclave (the famous Momo restaurant has been there for years) with pedestrian access off the main shopping drag. It was buzzing with relaxed and happy al fresco diners on the day of my visit, and the tibits outdoor terrace was no exception. Nevertheless I chose an indoor seat, right by the huge open windows to catch a cooler breeze and watch the world go by. Continue reading

Minty pea falafels

These make great nutritious little snacks, kids love them (I find the addition of peas makes them more appealing) and they’re easy to make. They’re not crunchy and dry like conventional falafels, but rather soft, so a little care is needed when cooking to avoid them breaking up.

You can experiment with what spices to add and the quantities, giving them more or less heat. I just leave out the chilli when making for my son, Little A. Continue reading

Hurray for tabbouleh


Summer’s here and in our house that invariably means tabbouleh – the refreshing, herby Lebanese wheat salad that I like to serve with absolutely everything – spicy fried salmon, lemon-roasted chicken thighs, veggie patties, falafel, meatballs….. I even like a little bit on the side of my scrambled eggs in the morning.

Authentic tabbouleh is heavy on the herbs and lighter on the bulghur wheat, but you can really experiment with this dish to find out what balance you prefer. This is based on a classic recipe with of few personal twists classic recipe by adding sun-dried tomatoes and sumac.

Pile it high on a pretty plate for a summer barbeque, and watch it quickly disappear. Continue reading