Urban Zen leading Swansea food revolution

Rainbow SaladIt’s been a month since Swansea’s first vegan cafe and yoga studio opened its doors. Urban Zen, on Little Gam Street, has been causing some serious ripples in the Swansea food scene!

What no cow’s milk? What no bacon sandwiches? That’s right. And I’m very proud to be the head cook at this revolutionary new business in the city centre. Since August I have been worked closely with the owner, Emily Cole, to develop a unique and innovative wholefood menu that aims to fill people with nothing but delicious and extremely healthy food. We’re had a fantastic first month, welcoming hundreds of people through the doors to what is only Wales’ second 100% vegan eatery.

We offer an extensive breakfast and lunch menu, alongside cakes and a large selection of juices, smoothies, teas and coffees. You can read more by visiting www.urbanzenyogacafe.com or finding us on Facebook, where we are very proud of receiving no less than forty five 5* reviews already!

The cafe at Urban Zen was created out of a passion for nourishing people with delicious whole foods.

“Our aim was to create an exciting menu and environment that supports health and sustainability for both our community and the planet.

Our plant based menu is prepared with love and changes regularly to reflect the seasons, we source locally and organic where possible. We promise to never serve you anything from the “dirty dozen” (the Environmental Working Group’s list of foods with the highest levels of chemicals and pesticides present) unless it’s organic, regardless of the cost or difficulty in sourcing.

We invite you to visit our unique space and enjoy being someone that chooses to love your food, respect your body and have fun whilst being nourished.”

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Here are some highlights in pictures! The first image is of owner, Emily Cole, enjoying the first Full Vegan Breakfast on opening day.

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A New Venture

Hello faithful blog followers.
I thought I’d write and let you all know I’ve been busy working on a new venture (hence I haven’t been writing many recipes recently). I’ve just completed my training as a Yoga Teacher in Wales. I’ve started a new business called Womankind Yoga Wales and next month I’ll be starting my own yoga class at a dance studio in Swansea. If any of you fancy a look, my new website is www.womankindyoga.com. There is also a blog on there which I’ll be posting yoga related articles on.
With best wishes to you all,
Helen.

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Lots of Nice Crochet in Swansea Library

Swansea Mum's Crochet and Knitting Group

Swansea Mum’s Crochet and Knitting Group

When I moved to Wales I decided I wanted to join a Stitch and Bitch Group, but found that ones running locally were either held in the evening, or didn’t run all year round.

While I was pregnant, I’d been crocheting like mad (as you will see from my early posts!). I made hats, blankets, jackets, booties and cloths… and this didn’t stop once I’d given birth!

The first hats I made were soon too small, so when Iolo was 3 months old, I made him a new multi-coloured crochet hat. After lots of mums complimenting it and asking how I made it, I decided to start my own crochet and knitting group – for mums – to show them how.

Several months later, we have over a dozen members, who gather in Central Library in Swansea, every Wednesday at 3pm. I teach crochet, we drink coffee, eat cake and play with the babies. There’s no pressure to learn, some mums just come for a chat and to socialise. The babies enjoy each others company, sitting in the middle on blankets!

I’m really proud to say lots of the group are now getting pretty good at crochet and are even helping me crochet flowers for my wedding in May!

New members welcome.

For more information, email lotsofnicethingsblog@gmail.com.

 

Lots of Nice Things Cookery Demonstration and Talk

Learn how to make these Spicy Chickpea and Cauliflower Patties, with Spring Onion Chapati

Learn how to make these Spicy Chickpea and Cauliflower Patties, with Spring Onion Chapatis

DID you know one of the most effective things anyone can do to help the environment and reduce their carbon footprint is to make changes to their diet?

A talk, Saving the World with Your Knife and Fork, is being held at The Environment Centre in Swansea, Wales, on Wednesday, March 6, exploring the impact of food on the world’s exploding environmental catastrophes.

Learn how and why reducing the amount of meat you eat and moving towards a vegetarian or vegan diet holds the key to helping planet earth.

The talk, starting at 6.30pm in the Main Hall, will be given by journalist, writer and award-winning TV producer, Tony Wardle. Tony is also associate director of leading animal campaign group, Viva!.

It will be followed at 7.30pm by a cookery demonstration by Swansea-based vegan food writer & photographer, Helen Rossiter. Helen will be cooking up some quick, easy and delicious dishes, showing how easy it is to enjoy a plant-based dinner.

Entry is free. The Environment Centre is situated in The Old Telephone Exchange
Pier Street, Swansea SA1 1RY.

Email lotsofnicethingsblog@gmail.com for more information.

 

Fruits de la Terre – Wonderful Vegan Pies at Swansea Market

Vegan Pie from Fruits de la Terre

Vegan Pie from Fruits de la Terre

Pies glorious pies. I think I might just have tasted some of the nicest vegan pies of all time. They are being sold at our local produce market in Swansea, Wales, by a company called Fruits de la Terre.

We had eaten them previously when they were on sale in the nearby town of Carmarthen, so it is brilliant they are now available so close to home in Swansea. Having moved here from Bristol, where vegan food is more abundant, it is really great to see veganism being brought to Wales and particular to an indoor market which is overrun with meat and dairy.

Owner Emyr Harris and his colleague Tom, make a great selection of pies, nut roasts and burgers, by hand, to sell at the market on Fridays and Saturdays.

Pie varieties include Wild Mushroom and Ale, Moroccan Tagine and Red Thai Curry. We also had one of their Curried Spinach and Chickpea Burgers for lunch when we got home. It was really wholesome and packed with flavour.

Fruits de la Terre also sell in other markets in Wales; Haverfordwest every Friday, Aberystwyth every 1st/3rd Saturday and Brecon every 2nd Saturday.

Congratulations to them for showing the general public – especially all those market go-ers – that fabulous homemade produce doesn’t have to contain anything from an animal.

How One Great Cafe Does Vegan

Vegan Breakfast at Roots Cafe, Taunton

My job and unstoppable love of food has taken me far and wide across the UK in search of the very best places to eat vegan. Believe me – I’ve had a lot of hot dinners!.. sandwiches, curries, snacks, burgers, gourmet meals, cakes, glorious smoothies and other concoctions…

My latest triumphant find is Roots Cafe, in my once hometown of Taunton in Somerset. My best friend had told me they had an impressive selection of vegan dishes, alongside a meat-dairy based menu. Seeing was believing. Congratulations to them for producing one of the most imaginative vegan menus I have seen outside a 100% veggie venue.

I ate a wonderful cooked breakfast, which included  Scrambled Tofu, Courgette Rashers, Portobello Mushroom, Potato Cakes,
Grilled Tomatoes, Baked Beans, Toast & Vegan Butter. This was followed by vegan Australian Crunch!

Here are the other really imaginative and inspiring sandwich options they offer:

Peanut Butter & Jelly
Courgette rashers cooked in soy with garlic & thyme mushroom
Avocado, Hummus & Cucumber
Fajita Tofu, Roasted Red Pepper and Avocado
Roasted Veg, Tahini & Guacamole
Hummus, Apple Slices and Sweet Carrot Chutney

Roots serve hot drinks made with all different kinds of plant milk, as well as soya, to be enjoyed with a host of cakes and sweet treats, which are also vegan.

If only some of the other cafes I have visited would take a leaf out of Roots’ book! Even though many where I live serve soya milk, some don’t and most of the time, the only thing I can eat is a flapjack! It would be lovely to be able to go out to lunch and choose a sandwich like those offered by Roots. So Swansea and South Wales, please take note! One great exception is the D-Lish Cafe on the Kingsway, which does have several good vegan options and is very welcoming.

Viva! have just published their new Catering Guide, which is free to download. It offers recipes and tons of information about how to cater for veggies and vegans. I was even lucky enough to shoot the photographs.