Wagamama – More bowl to soul

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By Niki O’Leary, roving reporter for Scouseveg.

Here at Scouseveg HQ we were delighted to be invited back to the lovely Wagamama in Speke to sample some of the new dishes on offer and enjoy some of our old favourites. So what’s new on the menu?

Well for starters, they have a delicious crispy fried tempura served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce, the hirata steamed bun (my personal favourite) which has had an upgrade and is now served with vegan sriracha mayonnaise. We also enjoyed the bang bang cauliflower, with its firecracker sauce, what a tasty start to our meal.

For our main dishes, we went for a different dish each. We had the new yasai nikko curry which is a fragrant, citrusy, coconut, lemongrass and turmeric soup with chunks of gorgeous tofu, our old favourite the vegatsu and the very special avant gard’n dish with its vegan egg, yes an actual vegan egg!! (a very clever mix of coconut and sriracha mayonnaise) and barbecued glazed seitan.

Thankfully, the fun doesn’t stop there! Wagamama have kept their yummy sorbets, but now, have also added a mango and matcha layer cake. Which is a light vanilla sponge with a layers of matcha cream, yuzu cream, mango and passion fruit puree, topped with a raspberry compote. Delicious.

What we love about Wagamama is the full vegan experience, not only do they have starters, mains and sides, they ensure you get a fair choice of desserts and a whole array of both soft and alcoholic beverages. We opted for prosecco, a craft beer and a cheeky red wine.

If you haven’t been to Wagamama before. It has its own vegan menu, bursting with a wide choice of dishes and proudly registered with the much loved and trusted Vegan Society logo. So why not try Wagamama if you haven’t already? The staff are always very helpful and extremely friendly. The food is always of an exceptionally high standard and satisfyingly tasty. The atmosphere is always great, whether it’s a romantic meal for two or a big party outing!

The Speke Restaurant is also ideal, if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. It’s easy to get to and there’s always plenty of parking right outside.

If you haven’t tried Wagamama, it’s a great place to take your friends, whether your veggie, vegan or just fancy something a bit different! Get yourself down to either Speke Retail Park or Liverpool City Centre for a bit of retail therapy and some amazing food, you won’t be disappointed.

Niki and Pete James, Scouseveg.


Wagamama Speke

Unit l7, New Mersey Retail Park Speke,
Speke Rd, Speke, Liverpool L24 8QB
» Map/Directions

Here’s what you missed at the Liverpool Vegan Festival…

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The very first Liverpool Viva! Vegan Festival took place recently.
Here is Jennifer Jones to tell you about the event and what you missed.

Liverpool Viva Vegan Festival

Independent vegan business owners nationwide came together to take part in the Liverpool Vegan Festival on Saturday 10th September.

Stalls were set up in the Friend’s Meeting House, School Lane where customers sampled and bought products ranging from cruelty-free cosmetics to vegan pepperoni.

Cooking demonstrations, free recipes and one-to-one nutritional advice were also available.

The event attracted around 1500 people, welcoming everyone from strict vegans, to those looking for a few non-meat alternatives to add to their diet.

David, aged 72 from West Kirby was looking for some new recipes to try at home.

He said: “I eat meat but my wife is vegetarian and we need more ideas on preparing food from scratch, so we know exactly what we’re eating.”

The festival particularly catered to people wanting to learn more about the accessibility of vegan products. Philosophy student, Robbie Short, aged 19 is currently making the transition from vegetarian to vegan.

He said: “This is my first vegan festival and I now have much a better understanding of the range of foods available.”

Customers were also invited to attend informative talks held throughout the day. Martin Menehan, the owner of YouTube Channel: ‘Vegan Geezer’ was one of 6 guest speakers. He discussed YouTube as a positive vehicle for anyone passionate about educating people on veganism.

He said: “I hope people learn they are not powerless to spread the word about what being a vegan is.”

Poppy Lettice, Founder of ‘Lettices’ has found that a good way to promote vegan alternative is to give people the option to try her food and leave them to make their own choice.
She said: “Some people now buy my egg-free mayonnaise to put with their steak because they prefer the flavour.”

Andy Davies, Owner and Chef at ’No Balony UK’ started his business in June this year, after noticing an opening in the market where he could encourage people to try meat-free products.

He said: “People are exploring the ethical factors and becoming more aware of what they eat”

The Liverpool Vegan Festival was organised by Viva!, a charity which was established in 1994, and has held vegan events across the UK for the past 12 years. Roddy Hanson, Vegan Festival Organiser for Viva! was very positive for future festivals in Liverpool.

He said: “Events like this have a long-lasting effect and we will definitely be coming back to Liverpool next year.”

Some photos from the festival:

Niki reviews: Crust, Bold Street

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If you didn’t know already, ScouseVeg is a social group for vegetarians and vegans in Liverpool and Merseyside. The group is looked after by our very own Niki O’Leary, TV star (one episode of Come Dine With Me) and full time vegan.

A new place: Crust had just opened on Bold Street and they contacted the website to let us know about themselves. They told us that they cater for veggies & vegans and invited us to come along and try it out, so we sent our best person to investigate…

Crust has the edge…….

By Niki O’Leary, roving reporter for Scouseveg.


What better way to spend a damp Thursday evening than to explore the delights of Bold Street. Which in my opinion, has become one of the best places now to enjoy a wide variety of world cuisine. Crust is all about celebrating Italy’s best loved dishes, pizza and pasta. Crust delivers that in a very authentic way. As a vegan couple, it’s always very exciting trying a new place to eat, but at times this comes with some apprehension. Veganism is much better understood now but not always delivered well.

On entering Crust we noticed the friendly atmosphere with a kind of weekend buzz about the place, spacious but cosy with a modern twist. Ample seating for groups or those dining in pairs, all situated at the front of the restaurant with a lovely open kitchen towards the back, boasting a very special wood fired pizza oven. We were greeted by a host of friendly waiters and on asking which dishes were suitable for a vegan diet, we were informed that most dishes could easily be adapted to our delight.

For our starter we opted for a simple Bruschetta. A classic one topped with fresh tomatoes that were gently washed down with a beer. Crust has an impressive range of beers from around the world and locally sourced speciality beers. For the main course, it was a difficult choice. We are both big pizza fans and having eaten pizza in Italy, naturally our expectations were very high.

Crust boasts four types of pizza bases, from original, five grain, organic and black dough. Not one to go with the norm, Pete and I opted to share a black dough pizza alongside a pasta dish. The Pizza arrived and was scrumptious. It’s delicately chargrilled topping and the smoky flavoured freshly made dough complimented each other perfectly. It was soft, melted in the mouth and was contrasted by a rich charcoal taste. Crust offers a vast array of toppings, so we opted for the classic Marinara with extra vegetable toppings.

As well as the pizza we also decided to try a pasta dish from the menu. We liked the look of Kamut Organic Pasta. However this normally comes with prawns. We were informed this could be adapted to suit our dietary needs. This dish actually blew my socks off, which doesn’t happen often with other restaurant pasta dishes! The fresh flavours of the yellow cherry tomatoes alongside the balance of the crisp orange zest just tickled our taste buds. In place of prawns we had chopped asparagus which complimented the sharpness of the sauce nicely.

Barely leaving any room for our desserts we opted for the handmade Italian strawberry ice cream. This was light and fruity and resembled a sorbet which cleansed the palate perfectly. Finally, we washed this down with a shot of Limoncello liqueur, when in Rome, hey!

Towards the end of the meal we chatted to Paolo, the co-owner of Crust, who enthusiastically talked about the restaurant and how important it was to them to cater for everyone. We were most impressed to hear that they even have a completely separate kitchen downstairs for gluten free food, which is testament to how this restaurant stands out above the rest.

What we liked about Crust, well for me. It was the atmosphere, modern décor but with warm Italian feel. The impressive choice of four completely different hand prepared and cooked crusts, especially the uniquely flavoured black dough. I liked that fact that most dishes can be adapted to our diet so we are not limited to just a few special dishes and knowing that I can dine here with my gluten free friends is definitely a plus. Since our visit, I have heard they are now stocking vegan cheese, so it won’t be that long until we return again, not that I need an excuse for pizza!

Crust is a fabulous new restaurant, reasonably priced and has an excellent range of beers served by friendly smiley staff. So if pizza, pasta and a vast range of local and worldwide beers is your thing with a big taste of Italy thrown in for good measure, then head down to Crust. Veggie and vegans are more than welcome and thankfully catered for extremely well.

Full gallery:

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Danielle’s Smashing Pumpkins

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This is a post that I now revive at this time every year. Now with added recipe card first spotted and used by our featured blogger Hannah of Moving Scouse. If you haven’t tried this recipe yet, you are missing out.

Pumpkins are not just for Hallowe’en you know. As well as carving them out to make some scary lanterns, you can save the insides and make things with it.

My wife Danielle likes to make muffins and is always on the lookout for interesting recipes. With all All Hallows Eve approaching Danielle found a receipe for pumpkin muffins, but for some reason decided to add chocolate chips. Thus was born what I now call her Smashing Pumpkins.

Seriously you’ve got to try them. Muffins are usually cake-like and can be a bit dry, but with the pumpkin in there they become moist and I can’t stop eating them !

Below is a recipe I’ve adapted for some Vegan Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins in time for Hallowe’en and for World Vegan Day on November 1st.

 [yumprint-recipe id=’1′]

The Old Hardware Shop and Healthy Foods Online

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We received this PR release and are publishing it as is because if features a favourite of the ScouseVeggies:
The Old Hardware Shop in Woolton Village. It is a vegan/veggie only cafe. If you haven’t been, go visit.

The aim of this article is to promote them and specifically another Liverpool business: Healthy Foods Online.

How These Liverpool-based Vegan Businesses Are Surprising the Public

The Old Hardware Shop and Healthy Foods Online

According to research carried out by Mintel, the popularity of vegetarian and vegan food is on the increase in the UK with 20% of 16-24 year olds and 12% of all adults now opting for plant-based diets over meat and dairy.

And so this is something two Liverpool-based businesses have responded to, noticing that there is big demand for this now with the rise of more health conscious eating within the city.

Why people want the vegan lifestyle

48% of those surveyed by Mintel stated that they prefer meat-free products because they are better for the environment and 52% agreed that they are healthier.

With growing demand for vegan food, this is good news for health, for the environment and for the commercial sector too. Estimated to be worth £657 million to the UK economy in 2014, a 5% increase on 2013, the health foods sector is beginning to flourish.

For those unfamiliar with meat and dairy-free diets, making the change can seem like a radical challenge, but it’s one which Liverpool-based café owners, Amy and Rosanna understand very well.

Meet Liverpool Vegan Coffee Shop, The Old Hardware Shop:

Rosanna and Amy have been vegetarian for over 15 years, and always wanted to be vegan but worried that it would be too tricky. However, in 2011 they ditched dairy products for a bet; who could last the longest on a vegan diet? Four years later, no-one has lost that bet. In fact both appear to be winners following the launch of their Liverpool-based vegetarian and vegan eater The Old Hardware Shop.

The Old Hardware Shop

Overcoming perceptions that a vegan diet is difficult, bland, limited in choice or the preserve of the die-hard hippy might be challenges you’d expect these entrepreneurs to be bracing themselves to face, but the reality is far from it. Here’s our interview with Rosanna (pictured above):

Q: What makes your coffee shop unique?

We became vegan because we love animals, not for health reasons- and we wanted to sell foods which we missed from our non-vegan days, so that vegans and vegetarians could feel like anyone else walking in to a café and being able to order a bacon sandwich or a sausage and cheese toastie without having to think twice! We wanted somewhere that appeals to everyone- whether you eat meat or not – you can have whatever you want. We just missed being able to stuff our faces with chocolate cake and milkshakes like we used to- so made somewhere that we would want to visit ourselves!

Inside the Old Hardware Shop

Q: Is there anything that you want to stock but can’t find online?

Caramel vegan sauce! I wish I could make vegan ‘caramel macchiato’ style drinks. And I would love a nice vegan goat’s cheese.

Q: What have been your biggest challenges?

Sometimes it is stressful when we get busy, with only 2 of us in the kitchen at the moment. With the lack of space in the kitchen we are unable to hire any staff. We are usually really busy on a Saturday so we get help from our family and friends.

Q: What’s your favourite thing about running a vegan cafe?

Apart from having to try all our cakes, we love our customers. Everyone has been so kind and welcoming! One of our regulars left us this amazing poem recently:

Note left at The Old Hardware Shop

Q: Do you think veganism has grown in popularity in recent years?

I was vegetarian 15 years before becoming vegan and I have noticed a massive change. It is becoming a lot more ‘normal’, especially as people are realising the health benefits. I am in awe at the selection of vegetarian food nowadays – you can even get pulled pork – you can really have anything you want, there isn’t any sense of ‘missing out’. And I think that it will be like that for vegans in a few years as more and more entrepreneurs are cooking up amazing ‘cheeses’, chocolate and more and more realistic ‘meat’. A lot of celebrities endorse a vegan diet now – with more people realising that they love animals a lot more than they love meat and dairy, and sharing their views on social media.

Q: What are your favourite brands?

Vbites have a myriad of vegan wonders- from tuna (the only thing I ever craved since becoming vegetarian) to duck! I love Tofutti cheese and Swedish Glace Ice Cream. My favourite chocolate bars are definitely Vego Bars which taste like Nutella, delicious! I also love a range of crisps which we sell, Ten Acre – which include vegan cheese and onion.

Rosanna says: “We want people to simply enjoy our food and realise that vegans can eat the same foods as anyone else! Sometimes meat eaters are a bit apprehensive, but we have had loads of compliments from people- even saying that they prefer our vegan black pudding to the real thing! We also have lots of fans of our homemade cakes, which are all vegan. We always try to have a new special so that people can keep returning to try something new.”

Based in an area where independents are cherished, the actual challenges facing the duo are more in keeping with any fledgling business that is literally catering for a growing market: keeping up with demand, finding time to develop their menu and most importantly, finding quality suppliers that meet their needs.

Meet Liverpool Suppliers, Healthy Foods Online

Healthy Foods Online

For Rosanna and Amy, sourcing vegetarian and vegan produce from a supplier who carries the diversity of products they need and can make fast, regular deliveries is important – and exactly what unbeknown to them, a business up the road from them- Liverpool based -Healthy Foods Online provide.

Rosanna says: “Healthy Foods Online understand some of the difficulties we face as a small business and their range of products, their pricing and delivery terms are very attractive.”

With support from the right suppliers, The Old Hardware Shop is able to focus on the task of growing its business.

Healthy Foods Online operate from their head office on the East Lancs Road, and have built a reputation as suppliers of all foods that enable a healthier lifestyle – from vegan, organic, gluten free and premium gourmet food from all over Europe.

Warehouse on the East Lancs Road

They are committed to providing both individual customers and businesses with the best specialist foods on the market, and with the growing demand for free from foods and more awareness around things like coeliac disease – and a general rise in people being more health conscious and looking for things like sugar free options – it means their business is booming.

The Old Hardware Shop themselves use many of the products they sell frequently within their dishes – showing that the brands they sell are favourites with the specialty food industry.

For example, one of the coffee shop’s most popular dishes is a vegan chocolate and marshmallow bagel, which is made using vegan foods brand, Plamil Organic Chocolate Spread and Freedom Confectionery Vanilla Mallows.

Chocolate and marshmallow bagel

These brands are staples to many vegans, and Healthy Foods Online are able to supply them both as one off purchases to consumers, or in bulk to both local businesses – and even international ones as far afield as the Middle East, France and the USA, where this industry is really huge.

To sample the vegan delights on offer at The Old Hardware Shop, visit their premises in Liverpool or to try the extensive range of vegan and vegetarian produce available from Healthy Foods Online, order directly from their online store.

Recipe: Shallow Puff Pastry Pie

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Here’s an Italian creation..err… created by a Swede who lives in Tuscany. As you will see Ilva’s recipe is very quick and simple to make, and as you will see from the photographs on her site it looks very scrumptious.


INGREDIENTS:Shallow Puff Pastry Pie

  • Puff pastry
  • Small fat and flat onions
  • Small sweet tomatoes
  • Olive paste
  • Rosemary
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil

– Clean the onions and divide them in two before braising them slowly in some olive oil until soft.
– Roll out the puff pastry to the size and form you want, a good idea is to make several portion sized ones. Turn up or fold the edges all around.
– Spread out a thin layer of olive paste over the puff pastry, place the onions and the small tomatoes on top and then add a little fresh rosemary.
– Bake in a pre-heated oven (175°C/347°F) until golden and crisp.

» You can find more at: http://lucullian.blogspot.com/

Featured Recipe: Paneer Tikka

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In our unbiased opinion we think that Niki’s vegan curry is the best ever, but we do realise that there are other curries out there that you may want to try.

The latest one is via the UKTV Food website and posted under *whispers* Gary Rhodes name, but was created by a Punjab Chef. This recipe has Indian cheese and cream ingredients but I’m sure these can be substituted if you want to make a vegan version.

Paneer Tikka (Grilled Paneer)

by Gary Rhodes
from Rhodes Across India

Tikka means morsel in Hindi, and here Punjabi chef Manjit Gill makes grilled morsels of spiced Indian cheese
Paneer Tikka
Servings: 4 as a side dish
Level of difficulty: Easy
Preparation Time: 10 minutes, plus marinating
Cooking Time: 10 minutes


  • 350g paneer
  • 3/4 tbsp yellow Chilli powder, (or red chilli powder)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp gram flour
  • 1 heaped tsp Carom seeds, (ajwain)
  • 50ml double cream
  • 4-6 bamboo skewers, soaked for 20 minutes in cold water
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala


1. Cut the paneer into 4cm cubes. Sprinkle with the yellow chilli powder and the salt. Toss everything together and ensure the paneer is evenly coated. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

2. Combine the gramflour with the carom seeds and cream. Coat each paneer cube in the spiced cream and chill for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the grill to its hottest setting. Thread the paneer onto the skewers and sear under the grill for 3-5 minutes on each side – until deliciously smoky and charred at the edges. Serve straight away, sprinkled with garam masala.

Cook’s note: these paneer morsels are also ideal for cooking over glowing charcoal.

Originally posted at: http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/591477

The ScouseVeggies – in Pictures

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Thought lost but found again !

Niki sent these over April last year (2012) and they somehow got lost in the ether. But no more. Pics found again and posted for your delectation.

As mentioned these were taken at the ScouseVeg Monthly meeting in April 2012. If you’ve never attended one of our get-togethers please come along to the next one – it will be at the Egg Cafe on Friday 1st March from 8pm onwards (you can usually find us upstairs in the gallery)

The pics:

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– Even more pictures in the Gallery.

Free Rice

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» A website previously featured on Scouseveg, one that got many hits. We are glad to say that it is still going strong.

Test your vocabulary and help the World Food Programme…

Free Rice

Free Rice is a non-profit website that is owned by and supports the United Nations World Food Programme.
Freerice has two goals:

  • Provide education to everyone for free.
  • Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.
  • This is made possible by the generosity of the sponsors who advertise on this site.

    Whether you are CEO of a large corporation or a street child in a poor country, improving your education can improve your life. It is a great investment in yourself.

    Perhaps even greater is the investment your donated rice makes in hungry human beings, enabling them to function and be productive. Somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide.”

    HOW TO PLAY: You will be given a word and all you have to do is click on one of the list of words below for the correct definition. The more words you get right, the more rice is donated.

    You will find this to be a very addictive thing. If you’ve got some time then fill it with this.

    If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls

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    Glass Walls

    Sir Paul McCartney has added the narration to a new PETA video on factory farming.

    In the introduction to the video Sir Paul says:

    “I’ve often said that if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”

    “Animals raised on modern factory farms and killed in slaughterhouses endure almost unimaginable suffering.”

    “I hope that once you see the routine cruelty involved in raising, transporting and killing animals for food, you’ll join the millions of people who have decided to leave meat off their plates. For good.”

    The video gives a brutal and graphic view at what happens in slaughterhouses everyday around the world.

    » More information.