Deliciously Ella, deli. (London, The UK)

When I flew to London for my sister’s Phd graduation earlier this year, I had the chance of visiting one of Deliciously Ella’s delis. I enjoyed it so much that I felt an urge to write a post about it. However, before jumping straight to my review about it, a brief introduction to Deliciously Ella and the reasons behind my enthusiasm might help. So, here it goes!

I am a big fan of Ella Mills, the 28-years-old British food blogger better known as “Deliciously Ella”. What I really admire about Ella and her work is the genuine passion she puts into creating recipes and her balanced approach to eating. Through her recipes and the brand she has built around them, she encourages a diet that is mainly focused on whole plant-based foods. Something I also stand by.  More recently, I have also got into her podcast, in which she discusses some topics that I am really passionate about. She has guests over to talk about physical and mental heath, wellness, veganism, environmental sustainability and the process of building a brand.

Even though I had been to London many times before, I had actually never been to one her supper clubs, pop ups or delis. For that reason, this time I made sure that I would go to one of her famous delis.

I loved the ambiance the moment I set foot in the deli. This is how beautiful and inviting it looks inside:

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Overall atmosphere

I really liked the modern and light-filled space and its minimalistic decor. Even though it may get easily packed with people due to its limited seating, I’d say that the waiting time is worth. There were no seats available when we got there (at around 3pm on a weekday) but, gladly, it took us only about 5-10 mins to get a table. We would not mind waiting more if we had to since we were there on a mission anyway haha. Plus, we got a really nice table just by one of the big front windows. It was perfect for the food photography! Double win.

There were also some of Ella’s food products (e.g. granola, energy balls, oat bars..) available on and behind the counter, which is very convenient for those who are curious to try them.

Food

My sis, mum and I came to this deli feeling quite hungry and looking forward to some lush plant-based food. The food certainly did not disappoint in the slightest and everything we ordered was right up our alley.

Whilst my sis went for a dish from the set menu, mum and I decided to build our own bowl. My sis had the Pesto pevide massa with cherry tomatoes and arugula with a ginger kombucha. Mum chose the harissa chickpea & sweet potato stew, the lentils and her crisp-tender wild broccoli with lemon and almonds and the lentils and herby mint salad. I went for the spiced tahini roasted cauliflower, cabbage & beet coleslaw, sweet corn fritters (so YUMMY and not greasy at all) and a crazy-good creamy mint pea hummus.

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Everything – literally everything – tasted as delicious as it looks.

Service and staff

The service was efficient but the staff was not the most welcoming and friendliest, which was a shame really. I have no doubts of how much love and care goes into the recipes Ella creates and the successful business she runs. However, the staff working at her deli just did not seem to be very attentive or share that same passion.

Pricing

I found the food portion sizes to be decent and reasonably priced (ranging from 9£ to 12£) for London’s standards.

Location

The deli is centrally located in a quite road (Weighhouse street), just behind Oxford Street.

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So, just to wrap up my thoughts, coming here for a late lunch was undoubtedly one of the food highlights of my latest trip to London. It was great to experience Ella’s work up close, which I find to be very inspiring. She is definitely someone I look up to for the way she built her brand and for how passionately she promotes it. Plus, I got to spend a lovely time sharing some delicious vegan food with my mum and sis. ♥

It is no news that London has its fair share of absolutely gorgeous cafes serving great food but if I were you, I would put this one right on that list!  Thus, if you happen to be in London and you are a lover of more whole and plant-based foods, then you won’t to miss out this gem!

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Cloud Cakes (Paris, France).

With my 26th birthday just around the corner, I found myself reminiscing about how my last birthday morning started last year. This post has been a long time coming but I wanted to share it with you regardless 🙂

My boyfriend and I travelled to Paris last September to not only celebrate our love but also my birthday (two great cheesy excuses to travel, right? haha)! Anyways, as the morning person who lives for breakfasts that I am, one of my birthday wishes was to start my day with a big and special one! That was exactly what happened and I loved every second (as well as every bite of it). I think that my boyfriend knows pretty well by now that all he needs to do to own my heart is to feed me a nice and yummy breakfast haha!

We went to Cloud Cakes, a dainty vegan bakery and coffee shop in the centre of Paris that I had looked up on Happy Cow* (see notes at the end of the post) prior to our trip. After reading the positive reviews, seeing some photos of the food and realising that they had VEGAN CROISSANTS, I knew for a fact that this was the place to go for my birthday breakfast! I am so glad we went there because it did not disappoint in the slightest!

If the menu looks very appealing, I can be someone pretty undecided when it comes to making my mind up about what to eat. For that reason, whenever I go to a food spot for breakfast/brunch, I usually like to order at least two items from the menu and share them. This way I get to experience a variety of tastes and trying something to eat that is “new” and/or “unknown” does not look like a major commitment!

Food

Whilst deciding on what to eat, we ordered two soya cappuccinos. They were excellent and the fact that the latte art was on point immediately felt like a win. Anyways, after some considerable thought, we ordered the “sweet morning toast” with peanut butter and jam, the pancakes with whipped cream, fruits, sliced almonds and maple syrup (on a side) and of course…a croissant! I mean I just could not possibly go to Paris and not eat a freshly baked croissant, could I?

Even though the two pancakes came beautifully presented and tasted good, my boyfriend ended up by eating them because I they were a bit too sweet for my liking. I would also like them to be a little bit thicker but the texture really is down to personal preference.

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However, I did love the delicious combo of P&J on toast. The two toasts came with poppy seeds and fresh blueberries on top which I dount to be a real great twist. I was also quite impressed with how crazy-good the vegan croissant was! Totally on point (taste- and texture-wise)!! It totally exceeded my expectations so you can trust me when I say that these vegan croissants are an absolutely must. I though I’d never find one of those!

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“When you feed yourself what your body needs when it needs it, that’s love”.

The cafe also outlets a good variety of vegan cakes and cupcakes and it has you covered whether you want to go for something decadent or healthy! We will certainly have to come back to try them.

Staff, service and overall atmosphere

Even though the place was not full at all, we had to wait quite a bit to be served but we did not mind too much because it just meant that the pancakes were freshly made! The server spoke English and was friendly enough. Nevertheless, we did not find her to be super accommodating. She did not come to check on us once we were served nor did she ask how did we like the food when we paid for it. It is not something outrageous but, as I have mentioned in some other posts, a café/restaurant always scores extra for me when the service is excellent and the staff friendly and attentive.

When it comes to the cafe’s overall atmosphere and space, I loved how cozy and pretty it was. The attention to detail was pretty visible. However, I would advise to go in early-ish for breakfast because it is also small and it does not have plenty of seating. I think we were quite lucky with the time and day we went there (Thursday at 10am) because there were only 4 other customers in the cafe. Thus, just bear in mind that if you go later (and especially in the weekend) in the morning/day you may not get a seat.

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This 10 am breakfast was the proper fuel we needed to face the full day of exploration ahead. It was so filling that, believe it or not, I could not literally eat anything else until dinner time! Now just to wrap up my final thoughts and to hopefully convince you to come to this vegan cafe:

  • The menu has a really great and tempting variety of sweet and savoury options. Because everything is plant-based there is no need to worry with the ingredients that they contain 😉
  • The café’s atmosphere is really inviting and the entire place looks cozy and adorable
  • The location is in a central and lovely neighbourhood to roam around
  • 100% vegan food spots are not overly common in Paris and that is a reason in itself why Cloud Cakes is quite a gem!
Notes:
*Happy Cow is an online website and mobile app that serves as guide to vegetarian and vegan restaurants all across the world.

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

 

Grilled tofu skewers (VGN & GF)

It is summertime and the sunny weather brings out the BBQs with family and friends. I am not a meat eater but BBQs are no less fun because of that. Summertime grilling is oftentimes focused on meat as the main event but vegan meals can stand just as tall. There is plenty of quick and easy naturally plant-based side dishes such as grilled veggies, corn on the hob (a true crowd pleasing) and cold salads. There is also a wide variety of veggie patties available at supermarkets these days and you can always opt by making your own vegan burgers using meatless ground “beef” for instance. However, if you are not into mock meats or just prefer less processed or more “natural” whole foods , you might want to give today’s recipe a try: GRILLED TOFU SKEWERS. The idea of these is rather simple and they come together so quickly. In fact can we even call this a recipe? The part that takes the longest is the preparation of the tofu but, trust me, even that does not require much effort.

Organic firm tofu is one of my weekly staples and it is such a nutrient-dense food due to its high protein, iron and calcium content. Plus, it is delicious in more ways than I can tell! I know that many people turn their noses up at tofu but I think that this recipe might convert anyone who’s dared to say they’re not into it. 😉

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1/4 pineapple
  • 1 block of organic firm tofu (about 180 grams)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1.5 tsps of ground ginger
  • 2 tsps of garlic powders
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Press block of tofu to extract liquid for about 30 minutes. Then, cut it into small cubes.

2. In a bowl combine the juice of one lemon, garlic, ginger powder, ground black pepper and salt. Add the tofu and let it marinate in the fridge for at least an extra  30 minutes.

3. Prepare veggies: cut zucchini, pineapple and peppers into squares of about the same size.

4. Assemble skewers: thread vegetables and tofu alternately on the skewers. Distribute them evenly in whatever order you want.

5. Heat a grill pan/grill until sizzling hot, if needed grease with some olive oil, and then place skewers in and cook for about 3-5 of minutes on each side. As I had some leftovers sauce, I brushed with it on the skewers while they were cooking. Cook until zucchini is fork-tender and the rest is slightly charred. If you do not want your tofu charred then just leave it until it becomes golden brown.

6. Remove from grill pan/grill and serve while still hot.

For that perfect final touch, I added some freshly squeezed lemon juice on top of my skewers and paired them with some oven roasted sweet potato and salad greens. Needless to say that you can also eat these tofu skewers for a grain of choice like rice or quinoa for instance.

Here is the final result:

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I personally love the sweetness that the pineapple gives to these tofu skewers but if you think it might not be to your liking, then by all means omit it. This recipe on the whole is very versatile and super flexible. You can use whatever veggies you have left in your fridge, like onions, aubergine, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Just go with what you love or have on hand.

If you liked this recipe and decided to give it a try please let me know how you liked it. Also, because I love love looove to eat outdoors when the sun is out, I am always on the lookout for new meal ideas! So please do share with me in the comment section below your go-to recipes for picnics and BBQs 🙂

 

Much Love, 

Blissfully Grateful

Red lentil dahl (VGN & GF)

The temperatures have significantly dropped in The Netherlands this past week. It has been snowy and rainy. As someone who was born in a sunny and warm country like Portugal, I must say that I get all excited when it snows! Well, except when I need to grab my bike and realise that I have my saddle frozen… that is just not fun. Apart from that, I love it!! haha It is such a beautiful change of scenery. Anyway, because cold and snowy weather asks for hearty comfort food for the soul, today I bring you my red lentil Dahl  recipe. This is now the third time I have made it (always using different ingredients and measurements) but this recipe turned out to be the tastiest. I was so happy with its thick consistency because a good Dahl is traditionally fairly thick. The boyfriend love it and so did I! 🙂

If you follow me on Instagram or you have been following me here for a while, you guys should now how I am al about humble comfort food, especially when it is thick, creamy and infused with fragrant spices. This dhal is quite simple to make, perfectly spiced and comforting. It will satisfy your taste buds and certainly nourish your body down to the core. ♥

 

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So, here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 300gr of lentils, cooked
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (400gr) or 2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 1/2 tsp of garlic powder (or 2 cloves of minced garlic)
  • 2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 2 tsp of turmeric
  • 2 tsp of ground ginger (or 1 tbsp of finely chopped fresh ginger)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of fenugreek (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Vegan soya or coconut yoghurt (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Rinse lentils and soak them overnight in a bowl of water (see note)
  2. In a large pot heat 1/2 cup of water over medium high heat. Alternatively, if you prefer you can also use a tsp of olive oil instead of water
  3. Sauté onion, garlic and ginger for 3-4 minutes, stirring. Once translucent, add in red pepper and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until the onion is fragrant and has started turning gold. Then add salt, spices and turn heat to medium. Stir for another 3 minutes letting the spices toast and release their flavours.
  4. Strain lentils and add to the pot, along with water and tomatoes. Give a good stir, bring to boil, cover, and then turn heat down. Let gently simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, until lentils are perfectly cooked and soft.
  5. . Afterwards uncover and check consistency. If it is watery, continue to simmer uncovered until it becomes nice and thick.
  6. If needed, adjust seasoning to your liking.
  7. Serve Dahl over a hearty grain like rice or quinoa; or pair it with toasted naan bread or flatbread toast.
  8. Garnish with chopped green onions, fresh cilantro and a drizzle of vegan yogurt.

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*note: whenever I cook dried legumes, I make sure to soak them overnight for optimum digestion and less cooking time. Plus, soaking not only neutralises anti-nutrients but it also increases the nutritional value. It breaks down the hard-to-digest carbohydrates and protein tinto simple components that are easier for our bodies to absorb.

If you give this recipe a go, be sure to leave your feedback in the comment section below! Would love to hear from you.

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Raw Coconut Lemon Cheesecake (VGN & GF)

Happy January and Happy 2019! Hope you had a great start to the new year.

Who is (always) in for some yummy raw vegan cheesecake? *hand raised*

I have made this cheesecake recipe both for Christmas and New Years and as it turned out to be a lovely creamy tangy sweet treat, I decided to come here to share it with you.

This is an easy no bake dessert with a date-almonds crust and a lemon-coconut-cashew filling. It is entirely vegan and somewhat allergy-friendly since it contains no gluten or dairy. It is also refined sugar free for those of you who like to go for naturally sweetened desserts. I must say that I do not have the biggest sweet tooth and that is one of the reasons why I love this cheesecake. It has just the perfect balance of sweet sour! Now let’s jump right in! This 11-ingredients no bake cheesecake would make, in my opinion, the perfect sweet treat to have on hand throughout the week for when you crave something sweet or, of course, take along to dinner parties.I personally love how rich, creamy and naturally sweet it tastes. Also, as this recipe does not require an oven, I’d say that it is relatively easy to make as there is not the risk of turning out under- or overcooked!

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 100g fresh pitted dates
  • 70g toasted almonds
  • 20g shredded coconut

Filling:

  • 200g cashews (soaked in cold water for at least 4 hours)*
  • 200g coconut yogurt
  • 100g agave syrup (or other natural sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 tbsp of lemon zest
  • 1tsp of melted coconut oil
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • A pinch of salt
Directions:
  1. Line the bottom of a round cake pan/baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. For the crust, blent all three ingredients in a food processor to a sticky paste. Remove and set aside.
  3. Press the crust mixture with your fingers (you may also use the help of a spoon) into the cake pan/baking tray and compress it until you get an even layer.
  4. Refrigerate for at approximately 1 to 2 hours to firm up (and while you prepare the filling).
  5. Add all the ingredients required for the filling to your (already cleaned) food processor and blend it all until silky and very smooth. If it does not seem like it is together, just add a touch more of lemon juice or even of the coconut yogurt; that should help.
  6. Pour the filling over the prepared crust and freeze it overnight. In  case you do not have that long because you are in a rush, freeze it for 3 hours. Enjoy!!
*Remark: For a softer cheesecake, you can store leftovers in a container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Alternatively and for a harder cheesecake texture, you can also store it in the freezer up to 1 month.

In my opinion, this 11-ingredients no bake cheesecake would make the perfect sweet treat to have on hand throughout the week for when you crave something sweet or, of course, take along to dinner parties.I personally love how rich, creamy and naturally sweet it tastes. Also, as this recipe does not require an oven, I’d say that it is relatively easy to make as there is not the risk of turning out under- or overcooked!

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(I apologies for not having decent pictures of the cheesecake but I guess I was just way too eager to try it ahah)

 

If you decide to give this recipe a go (which I definitely suggest you to do so haha!), please let me know how it turned out! 🙂
Much Love,
Blissfully Grateful

 

Pumpkin and vegetable soup (VGN & GF)

It is finally pumpkin season and to celebrate it, I just came from the supermarket with various types of pumpkin (some of which are actually completely new to me). You should have seen me carrying them through the steep and narrow stairs (typically Dutch) of my house! haha but hey, they looked so cute and oh so pretty that I could not help myself! #sorrynotsorry Also, I swear they screamed “Please take me home with you!” and so I did (even though I have no idea of what I am gonna do with them because it feels like it is a waste to just cook them! haha).

Anyhoo, I am here today to share my pumpkin soup recipe, it is the perfect comfort food for brisk and cold Autumn nights. It is a bit different from the “typical pumpkin soup” because I added two of my fave veggies (cauliflower, mushrooms and spinach) to make it extra nutritious and comforting.

Whenever Fall and Winter come around, soup makes up my perfect staple diet for the week. I love to cook a pot of it in the weekend and store it in the fridge for when I come back home from work and gym feeling knackered during the week.

This soup recipe is just gently spiced with ginger powder and turmeric because I wanted to make sure that the pumpkin flavour shines above the rest. However, please do feel free to adjust the seasonings to your liking. My favourite thing about using pumpkin in my soups is the perfect silky and creamy texture it gives to it.

Ingredients:

  • 500gr pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 200g carrot, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, peeled and cubed
  • 150g cauliflower, grated
  • 100g brown mushrooms (or any type really), finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls of spinach leaves
  • 2tsp of ginger powder
  • 2tsp of turmeric
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Fill a medium-sized pan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat.
  2. In the meantime, peel and dice the pumpkin, carrots and zucchini and put them aside.
  3. Then grate the cauliflower and put it aside.
  4. When the water is boiling, add the diced carrots, zucchini and pumpkin. Cover with a lid and let it cook for 10 minutes. Then, add the spices and salt and simmer for around 20 mins until pumpkin is soft.
  5. Turn off heat, and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth.
  6. Add the grated cauliflower to the soup and simmer it again until it becomes soft.
  7. Then add the mushrooms and spinach leaves and let it all cook for more 3-5 minutes.

….And this is what you end up with:

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A thick and creamy soup loaded with flavour! If you decide to make this soup recipe (which I hope you do!!), let me know in the comment section how you liked it! 🙂

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Tofu Scramble

Nothing beats a slow and steady weekend brunch at home with your beloved one(s)!♥ It was so wonderful to slowly wake up to a bright and sunny day this morning and since my boyfriend was at home, I decided to treat him (well, treat us..) to an entirely homemade brunch. Since my boyfriend is British, I promised that I’d include a sort of vegan English breakfast in our brunch. Gladly, he was not disappointed with the result. *phew*

So, today I am here to share my absolute favourite brunch staple: TOFU SCRAMBLE!! It is not only super easy and quick to prepare but it is also very nutritious due to its high protein content and 0% cholesterol.

The recipe below includes the basics I usually use often but you are free to play around with the spices and use any veggies you have left in the fridge.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 200g firm tofu
  • 1 small thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 red, yellow or orange pepper diced (I actually used a mix of the three)
  • A big handful of spinach leaves
  • 50 gr mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 1/4 finely sliced leek
  • Fresh parsley to garnish

 

  • Seasonings:
    • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
    • 2 tablespoons of nutrional yeast
    • Cracked black pepper to taste
    • Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Start by pressing the tofu, which increases its capacity to absorbe any flavourings and seasonings added to it. You can leave it draining with something heavy on top for about 10-15 minutes
  • While the tofu is draining, you can prepare and chop all the veggies.
  • Warm a skillet over medium heat with some water on it. Once hot, you may add the already thinly sliced onion and pepper(s) and saute until fragrant (about 3 to 5 minutes). Stir ocasionally.
  • Once the tofu is well pressed, you can crumble it slightly using a fork (or simply your hands) to get the preffered consistency for your scrambled tofu.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms, leek and crumbled tofu to the skillet as well as the nutritional yeast and the rest of the seasonings (make sure that the tofu is well coated). You will have most likely to add some more water to thin. Stir until well combined and let it cook it for approximately 5 to 7 minutes, until the tofu starts to get brown.
  • Serve immediately with some fresh parsley on top.

We served our tofu scramble over some gluten free multiseed toasted bread and paired it with vegan sausages. I do not consume processed meat-alternatives like this on a regular basis but it is good fun to switch things up every once in a while. Plus, I could not call it a vegan English breakfast without the sausages, could I?

If you try this recipe, please let me know in the comments how you like it! 🙂

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Small remark: I always buy organic tofu and would advise everyone to do it since, from what I have read, non-organic tofu is most likely genetically-modified and sprayed with toxic chemicals, which is just stuff our bodies do not need.

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful