Vegan Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients

Serves 2

100g Arborio Rice

1/2 white onion (finely chopped)

100g Mushrooms (sliced)

1/2 tbsp White Wine Vinegar

4 tbsp Nutritional Yeast

4 cloves of garlic (crushed)

500 ml of vegetable stock

Handful of fresh parsley

Salt & Pepper to taste

  1. Put the garlic and onion in a pan on medium heat and sauté until onion is soft
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook for another minute.
  3. Stir in the rice
  4. Quickly add the stock and the white wine vinegar
  5. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked. Add more hot water if required.
  6. When rice is cooked, stir in the nutritional yeast and chopped parsley.
  7. Seasons to taste and serve immediately.
  • p.s. Nutritional yeast was new to us and we got ours from Holland & Barrett. It replaces the Parmesan as it has a cheesy flavour!
  • Barcelona Travels | Eating Out

    Travelling to a foreign country for the first time since being diagnosed as Lactose Intolerant was a worry for me. I furiously worried about having to try to explain my situation in another language. So you have to imagine my utter joy when I tell you how WELL I ate in Barcelona and wasn’t poorly once! 💃

    So the way I kept so well whilst being away had a couple of ingredients (if you’ll pardon the pun). 

    • In every restaurant we went to, everyone spoke English. 
    • We ate vegan wherever possible. 

    I mentioned in my post about some of the amazing thing we did whilst in Barcelona, that we went on a Runner Bean walking tour. Our first guide was a lovely guy called Miguel and at the end of the tour, he asked if anyone wanted food recommendations. We asked for vegetarian and he suggest a few places and of course, we found a few places ourselves. 

    Teresa Carles

    So I have to start with the MOST amazing food that we ate whilst we were away and this was one of Miguel’s recommendations. It seems Teresa Carles has a small group of restaurants in Barcelona, all with slightly different styles. The main Teresa Carles one, I would say is on the same level (if not the same style) as a Jamie Oliver restaurant, if you live in the UK. 

    The menus were in Spanish and English and of course as the restaurant has a healthy focus, it contained SO much vegetarian and vegan food that I almost squealed with excitement. 

    Our first trip we had a small wait to get a table, but when we did, we were seated on a large table with 6 other people. This is fairly unusual by British standards, but why not eh? In terms of food, on our first trip, I had something called a Portabello Freak & Do which was a gorgeous Portabello Mushroom dish with potatoes and M had a vegan lasagna. Both gorgeous and THEN we both had vegan cakes for dessert. Pure heaven..

    The food here was SO good that we also came back on our last day – the nicest food I have eaten in a VERY long time! 

    Flax & Kale

    Flax & Kale are also part of the Teresa Carles group  but had a slightly less formal vibe. However, the food was EQUALLY as delicious and I had a simple dish of mushrooms on toast which were cooked in Coconut Milk. I know this sounds simple, but the mushrooms tasted like the very best mushrooms risotto I have ever had! Highly recommend!! 

    Chok The Chocolate Kitchen 

    So of course, after an amazing meal, we had to try to have an amazing pudding and whilst on our way to somewhere else, we walked past Chok and this instantly became somewhere we had to try. 

    The had a selection of Vegan chocolate puddings and we eventually went for one that we thought was pistachio, but actually was Matcha when we got it back to our hotel! Still bl**dy lovely though. 

    Bacoa Burger

    So yes, Bacoa Burger isn’t vegan, but it DOES have vegan options. It also has a couple of different restaurants around Barcelona and we loved the one we found here: 

    They had lots of choices for burgers and the were delicious. Because they make each burger from scratch with options to add extras or leave things off, I was able to customise my meal without dairy. Plus they did actually have a vegan burger if I’d wanted. Bonus. 

    The Bio Centre

    The Bio Centre was another recommendation from Runner Bean and had a totally chilled and somewhat student vibe. It was dressed like you would imagine movie restaurant to be with fringed lampshades and quirky shelf decorations. So unusual. This was actually one of the few places where we didn’t take any photos of the food. Needless to say, we loved it and the food was gorgeous. 

    Deliveroo

    If you live in a city or any type of densely populated area then you might have already experienced Deliveroo, but this simply doesn’t exist where we live. Participating restaurants put their food on the Deliveroo app, you order and then a rider will collect it and bring it to your door. 

    This was perfect for us when we were too tired to go out to eat, a sort of happy medium between hotel and apartment living. We ordered from

    The food we ordered was honestly so gorgeous that I couldn’t quite believe it. So yummy, so vegan, so much fun! 

    So there you go, it WAS possible to eat healthily(ish) in Barcelona and it’s certainly possible to eat Vegan. I loved every mouthful. 

    G x 

    Why can’t all restaurants be like Nandos?

    So as you know, I have been travelling around the UK over the last few months for work and as such, I have had to find somewhere to eat in whatever town I am  in. As someone who is Lactose Intolerance, this can be more of a challenge than it sounds.

    Recently, I was in Leicester and stayed at the Premier Inn, right in the middle of town. As part of the deal I got a “Premier Breakfast” included, which was advertised in the hotel’s lift.

    This picture contains the following items:

    • Pancakes
    • Bagel
    • Croissants
    • French Patisserie
    • Cooked breakfast
    • Fruit
    • Yoghurt
    • Juice 
    • Coffee

    The items in red contain Dairy, the items in do not. The cooked breakfast is half and half as some of the cooked items do and some don’t. So actually the Premier Inn breakfast is a no-no for me.

    Then of course the Premier Inn has a restaurant and as you can see from the menu below, it contains SO much dairy it’s ridiculous. It’s ok, I get it, cheese is delicious and butter is so tasty for cooking with.

    But would it be so hard to add a few more options, or at least make it easy to see which food contains what? Which leads me nicely to Nandos. My second night in Leicester, I decided to go to Nandos for some chicken. Before I visited, I decided to check out the menu online. I was therefore THRILLED to find I could very easily filter it by items that DID NOT CONTAIN MILK!!

    This is the first time I have seen this and honestly, it made such a difference to my personal dining experience.

    It meant that I could eat in confidence, knowing that I wouldn’t have a reaction. Bravo Nandos, thank you for catering for those us with special requirements. It seems to me that ALL restaurants have this information about their foods, it just isn’t commonplace for us as customers to see/use it in order to make an informed selection.

    Let’s hope more restaurants follow Nandos lead and let the filtering begin.

    G x

     

     

    Mushroom, Bacon Onion & Spinach Pizza | Recipe | Getting Healthy

    Serves 4
    Prep Time: 7 minutes
    Cook Time: 13 minutes

    Ingredients
    2 x 65 Flatbreads
    Calorie controlled cooking spray
    3 bacon medallions
    1 small onion
    300g Chestnut mushrooms (sliced)
    6 tablespoons of tomato puree
    150g spinach
    160g grated cheese (reduced fat is better, but I used lactose free cheddar, due to my intolerance).

    Easier, quicker and healthier than a takeaway, this pizza uses a ready-made flatbread for a base.

    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas mark 6. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Put the flatbreads on the tray.
    2. Meanwhile, mist a large non-stick frying pan with the cooking spray. Cook the bacon, mushroom and onions over a medium-high heat, stirring for 3 minutes.
    3. Spread the flatbreads with the tomato puree. Set aside a large handful of the spinach.
    4. Top the flatbreads with the remaining spinach, cheese & bacon,onion & mushroom combo.
    5. Bake for 10 minutes or until the bases are golden and crisp.
    6. Cut the pizzas in half and serve topped with the reserved spinach.

    7 WW Smart points (approx)

    Real Life Review

    When I did these, I think I personally would have put a little less tomato puree on them, as with the onions, this made it a tiny bit sweet for me. Also I didn’t put the as much spinach on as the recipe said, and this was a mistake on my behalf. The spinach was actually really nice & I will do more next time. Overall I would give this recipe 9/10. Easy to make and delicious!

     

    Lactose Intolerance: Be Careful what you order

    I have to say, I have been doing pretty well over the last few months and finding out I was Lactose Intolerant has been a sort of blessing.

    In the recent past we have been away to both Anglesey and Edinburgh and I wasn’t ill on either trip. I fully avoided dairy and I fully avoided being ill. Result. However, I have had one occasion where eating out didn’t go quite as well.

    I went to a local Chef & Brewer and ordered the Vegan dessert of chocolate torte with a gorgeous date base and vegan coconut ice cream. I had this ages ago when I went to the same place with my friend, so I was confident all would be well. The dessert came and I noticed straight away that it looked different than the previous time in that it was served in a bowl instead of a plate and the sauce was pooled rather than drizzled. But hey ho, no biggie right? I took a bite of the torte, which was truly delicious and I was a happy girl. I took a bite of the coconut ice, but after a mouthful I thought to myself “that tastes like vanilla”, I asked M to taste it and he agreed that he could taste vanilla but we both thought it might just be an ingredient of the coconut ice cream mixture.

    I continued eating, trusting that the restaurant had served me the requested vegan dessert and all would be well. How wrong I was. I was ill for about 12 hours and my very strong suspicion is  that they had served me regular vanilla ice cream instead of the dairy free coconut. Gaaahhhhhhhh.

    I did complain to the restaurant via their website, but they have yet to reply. Typical. As I write this post, I have been pondering whether to name & shame… so if are local to Warrington, it was the The Swan at Winwick. Usually good, on this occasion, they made a massive mistake, and didn’t apologise when I complained. Shame.

    G x

     

    A Few Days in Keswick

    What a wonderful few days away we have had this week, as on Tuesday we made our way to Keswick for a little break. M’s middle sister turned 50 on the 23rd and all the family were invited to stay with her and her husband for a few days. Lovely.

    M actually has 2 sisters, both with partners and is lucky enough to still have his mum & dad. We all stayed in a self-catering property called Fernbank House, which is part of a quad of properties all owned by the same person in and around Keswick. M’s sister booked it because we had stayed in the sister property River Cottage a couple of years ago and it was just lovely.

    We arrived around lunchtime and after a buffet lunch, we all decided to go and play crazy golf in Hope Park as M had cunningly devised a scoring system. The weather, it had to be said was HOT and much MUCH hotter than expected. I actually burnt my arm it was so hot!!

    It’s fair to say the weather in the Lakes was better than expected #lovethelakes #lakedistrict #sunburn

    A post shared by Gill Lysons ? (@gilliblogs) on

    After the Crazy Golf we went home and as this was the actual day of M’s sister’s birthday, her husband had arranged for an outside caterer to come and make us Dinner. ?

    The menu consisted of:

    Starter
    Trout with Asparagus & potato salad

    Main
    Saddle of Lamb with Dauphinoise Potatoes & seasonal vegetable

    Dessert

    Profiteroles with lemon cream and white chocolate curls

    Every single bit of food was delicious and was made by Laura in the Lakes. She has a coffee shop/cafe in the centre of Keswick, a cake making business as well as doing outside catering.

    Laura did know in advance that I was lactose intolerant, so as a delicious alternative she did new potatoes for me with my main (Dauphinoise contains cream)  and for dessert she gave me a lemon and blueberry cake with strawberries, which was divine!!! I am only sorry I don’t have pictures to show you, I was too busy shoving it in my face!!!

    M’s mum also had a birthday cake made for M’s sis as you can tell, she loves travelling and is going to see the gorillas (in the wild) for her main birthday present.

    On our second day, we all did our own thing in the early part of the day and M and I went off to Keswick for a wander round and we ended up in Fitz park just enjoying the warm weather and the amazing feeling of having nothing to do. But we had to make sure we were back at the house in plenty of time, as we were booked in to Armathwaite Hall again for afternoon Tea at 3pm. It was a slightly larger affair this time, with their being 8 of us and full disclosure, we got off to a bumpy start as the sandwiches they brought me were ones I didn’t like (egg mayo, tuna & sweetcorn & something indeterminable) so I had to wait for quite a while to get anything to eat. Then they told me the cakes were dairy free, but I wasn’t convinced and sure enough I was poorly at the end of the meal. ?

    However, the staff were wonderful and the afternoon was a lovely and honestly for around £25 per person, I don’t think you can get better.

    In the evening we spent some time just hanging out and the boys even went for fish & chips. It’s funny isn’t it, before they went no-one was hungry, at the mention of chips, 6/8 hands went up to put their chippy order in!!! Could we be more English?!

    I had also done a quiz for everyone in the evening and it was won by M’s eldest sister, who was double chuffed. Competitive should have been her middle name.

    We finished our trip with another walk to Whinlatter Forest where  the first mission of the day was to find a missing diary. M’s mum lives by her diary – she asks for one every Christmas with an attached pen and her (and our) whole life is written in it. So you can imagine how mortified she was on Wednesday night when she couldn’t find it. We turned the house upside down, but no luck.

    However, when we got to Whinlatter we asked at the desk to see if it had seen it (MIL had been there the day before) and sure enough some kind soul had handed it in. THRILLED!!!

    Anyway… the last time we were at Whinlatter we did the Red route and on Thursday we did the Blue route, both marked as moderate, both very strenuous to me. However it was idyllic in the sunshine, no matter how hard the very steep and windy uphills were at the end, and we even had a mini photo shoot half way round!!!

    We set off for home about 2ish with a smile on our faces and just thrilled that M’s sister and her husband invited us to spend some time with them for J’s birthday. M is so lucky to have such a kind and caring family. Also if you ever have a chance to visit the Lake District, then do. It’s my favourite place in the whole world as it’s a beautiful as it is green and exfoliates my brain every single time we visit.

    G x

    Perfect Few Days

    So let me just say, if you aren’t into blogs from people telling you what a wonderful time they have had, then I would deffo skip this blog. BUT.. if not strap yourself in!!

    This post is entitled “Perfect Few Days” as this is exactly what M and I have just had. Firstly, it was his birthday on Thursday and yes, if your maths is any good, then you will have worked out that he does indeed have a Star Wars Birthday, as in “May the 4th be with you!” Which was reflected in some of his birthday wrapping..


    But first things first, as the FIRST thing we did for his birthday is presents in bed. This is something that we have done since almost day 1 and it’s a tradition I particularly love. After pressies, we ventured to ChouxChouxbedo for breakfast and I think it’s fair to see M was very happy with the situation!

    After breakfast we had originally planned to go to Pennington Flash for a walk and then to Bents, but in the end we sacked off the walk and just ventured to Bents for a bit of (expensive) food shopping and present buying for M’s mum, whose birthday it actually is TODAY!

    Once home we were chilling out when we had a surprise visit from our brother-in-law and our lovely nieces. They stayed for a while and the girls and I made chocolate covered strawberries and I put the Scouse on to cook. I have a whole recipe for Scouse, which is basically lamb stew, but that’s another post I still have to write. ?

    Once the girls had gone, we got ready and Michael’s family came, namely his mum & dad, 2 sisters and their partners. We ate the scouse and a birthday cake made by m’s amazing mum. M is very lucky to have such a lovely family.

    Then on Saturday, we had a mini lie-in and then set off for Keswick in the Lake District, where we were booked in to the Best Western Castle Plus Inn. It took us about 2 hours to get there and we have to say we were pleasantly surprised on arrival.

    Friendly welcome, lovely staff, nice hotel, good start. Full disclosure, our room was a little small as it was crammed with too much furniture which meant we didn’t have too much room to manoeuvre. However, we didn’t stay too long initially as I had booked afternoon tea for M and I at Armathwaite Hall. AH is where M and I stayed on Honeymoon and we hadn’t been back, so we were REALLY excited to see if it had changed at all.

    On arrival the staff showed us to our reserved table in the window, overlooking the lake ? . As I have blogged before, I am lactose intolerant and I even though I mentioned it when I booked, I was  little worried about what food might arrive. I needn’t have been, see pics below.

    It was all GORGEOUS and I know some of you might think that plain ham sandwiches are boring, but honestly the ham was divine and who doesn’t love ham butties?!

    After our feast, we decided to go for a walk in the grounds of the hall, which overlooks Bassenthwaite Lake. We actually got married in February, so on our last trip, we tried to get down to the lake, but were foiled half way as it was too muddy and wet. But this time, it was sunny and we wended our way down the path, across the bridge and eventually the foliage cleared and the lake was resplendent in front of us. Wow.

    Heaven is a Place on Earth

    We stayed at the lakeside for a little while, talking and throwing stones in the water, the sun was shining on us and I really felt like I wanted to capture that moment and keep it forever. I felt so lucky, almost emotional and if ever I feel stressed and want to think of a happy place, that hour will play on a loop. ?

    Once back at the hotel we chilled out for a while (M fell FAST asleep) and then in the evening, we kept it low key and just went down to the bar for a lovely meal of chicken fajita (me) and corned beef hash cakes with poached egg (him).

    For day 2 of our mini-break we decided to go to Whinlatter Forest, which was about 10ish miles away from our hotel here:

    Parking was easy as there is a visitors centre, loos and cafe along with a decent sized car park. After a slightly dodgy start (we didn’t see the wayfinding signs) we decided to do the aptly named Two Gills trail, which is described as “moderate”. I supposed it depends on fitness levels and your preconceived idea of moderate, but I found parts of this walk quite challenging as there was quite a lot of uphill walking.

    Massive elevation gain!

    So even though for the uphills I had a face like thunder whilst I was puffing and blowing, I did really enjoy being in the outdoors and the views of the forest at the top were stunning. We will be back.

    So overall we really have had a perfect few days and so glad I got to share it with you. This type of post is one of the reasons that I got into blogging, because it holds my memories tight. Thanks for reading too if you got this far. ???

    G x

    p.s. all photos in this posts are taken with either an iPhone 7 or iPhone7+ (I left my Canon G7x at home this trip)

    Lactose Intolerance – Week 3 Update

    So, I blogged a couple of weeks ago, that I had recently discovered I was Lactose Intolerance, and I just wanted to let you know how it was going. The good news is, it’s going well.

    The doctor told me to basically cut out all lactose  and then re-introduce certain things to see what I could or couldn’t tolerate. So I didn’t have any cow’s milk for 2 weeks and then last weekend, we went to Costa Coffee. I hadn’t had much to eat and so we decided to have a sandwich, which was a problem. EVERY sandwich, without fail had cheese on it and without an alternative, I decided to give one of them ago. I had a sausage sandwich with cheese on top with a cup of tea with skimmed milk.

    On the ride home from Tesco I started to feel a little unwell and then within 30 minutes of getting home I was running to the loo. So what was the culprit?

    • The Cheese?
    • The Milk?
    • The Flapjack?

    Oh didn’t I say, I had a flapjack too, which had dried fruit in it. Any of the 3 could have caused me to be poorly, I am tempted to avoid all in future to be safe.

    But apart from the Costa incident, I have been free of any issues. I’ve basically stopped having all sorts of milk containing products and so far so good. I have also started trawling through different supermarkets for dairy free alternatives, concentrating initially on M&S and Tesco.

    Faves so far

    Marks & Spencer: Coconut Cream Dessert 

    Amazing Flavour, like eating a frozen bounty bar (without the chocolate).

    M&S Made without Dairy

    Tesco: Lactose Free Milk 

    These long life Lactose Free milk pods have allowed me to still enjoy a cafe at the weekend.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Actually so far the Arla Lactose Free milk is my favourite in tea. I’ve tried both Soy Milk (yuk) and Almond Milk (ok) in my brew, but the Lactose Free is the winner. Michael was very ver lovely and got me Oat Milk and Rice Milk from M&S to try, so I will give them a go over the weekend and let you know how I get on.

    Finally,  I just wanted to say a huge thank you to Janine from ChouxChouxbedo for being to helpful and sending me lots of information and suggestions for alternatives as well as the lovely Jane, who is also LI and had a million suggestions and top tips! My favourite being that larger coffee shops that do Soy Lattes, don’t have LF milk out on their “milk & sugar” table, but apparently they will lob a bit of soy in your tea on request. Brilliant – pity it’s a bit minging!

    I would LOVE  to hear if you guys have some tips or anything dairy or lactose free that you’ve discovered. Let me know in the comments, or you can email me via my contact page.

    Thanks

    G x