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If I was ever to have my own cookbook (a girl can dream), then Sam Murphy's new book is kinda exactly what I would have pictured. It's pretty beautiful and all vegan and it doesn't really get much better than that in my eyes. 

Sometimes I look through recipe books and feel like everything sounds so fancy and a bit too posh for my liking, like it's trying just a bit too hard. I love Sam's book because everything is recognisable, there are lots of old classics, and it just feels really down to earth. There are recipes for 'bacon' and mushroom carbonara, sweet and sour tofu, lemon honey tofu, loaded vegan hot dogs, lots of pizzas and burgers, and cheesy nacho sauce, to name just a few I've been drooling over. Classic faves but with a plant based twist; it's like a guide for how to make all your old favourite dishes vegan. And the thing I love most about this book? Every single recipe has a photo. I don't know why, and I think a lot of people are the same, but I hate when recipes don't have photos, like yea okay I need to know how to make it but I want to see how it looks first.

So far, I've only made two recipes from the book but they've both been really good. The raw cookie dough cereal was divine, although I did end up eating most of the little balls as snacks rather cereal, and honestly, most of the dough just went from the food processor into my mouth... It seriously does taste like cookie dough. I've also made the satay tofu, which was delicious, although it was a little too garlicky for me. I'd just reduce the two cloves to one next time and I reckon it would be perfect for my taste, my boyfriend did love it as it was though. I do love a good peanut satay sauce so as soon as I saw that recipe I knew I had to make it. 

The only thing that really bugged me about the book was some of the words and phrases it used, 'guilt free' and 'real food' being the main ones. We need to stop the whole guilt vibe around food because it's not okay. It comes along the same lines as the whole good foods, bad foods chat. Food isn't good or bad, you shouldn't feel guilty for eating certain foods and view others as innocent. Likewise, what makes some foods real and others not real? How can food not be real? I'm assuming real means filled with lots of fruit, veggies and whole grains, but does that mean than something more processed isn't 'real'. Processed isn't bad, tofu is a processed food and it's bloody amazing. We definitely need some more positivity around food, to stop being scared or scaremongered into believing certain things are good or bad. Eat what you love and stop feeling guilty about it. The book hasn't jumped on the whole 'refined sugar free' trend though, which I am super happy about - check out this post for more 'refined sugar free' ranting. Don't get me wrong, I think this is a fab book, I just have some personal dislike towards certain words surrounding food having been fooled by them before and I think the book would have been able to stand itself without them because it's so great.

Beautifully Real Food is a wonderful book filled with a collection of creative and mouth watering vegan recipes. I know for sure it's going to become a go-to in my kitchen and it's definitely overtaken the other cookbooks I have as my fave. If you want to introduce more plant-based eating into your life, or to show someone just how easy being vegan can be, this is the book to get. 

You can get your hands on this gem from Thursday (23 February) - I'd most definitely recommend it. 

[Beautifully Real Food: Guilt Free, Meat Free Recipes to Indulge in by Sam Murphy. Out on February 23rd, RRP £16.99, Blink Publishing.]

I was kindly sent a copy of Sam's new book to review. As always, all views and opinions on here are totally my own. 

I feel like my blog is always lacking in lunch recipes but that's because most of the lunches I make are super simple and totally not blog worthy because they just involve throwing a few ingredients together, or they are dinner leftovers (leftover chilli for lunch is possibly the best ever). I work full time and always bring my lunch with me so I like things that are easy to prep the night before and can be popped into a tub. Nothing fancy, just good filling food. These are a few of the lunches I'm really into at the moment. I kinda go through phases with lunches, I'll find one I really like and keep making it over and over until I can't stand it anymore, hence why soup is taking a backseat at the moment. The hummus sandwich never gets old though, it's amazing and the easiest thing to make ever, especially if you're lazy like me and use store bought hummus - the Tesco organic one is the best.

Rice, Kidney Bean and Broccoli Bowl 

You will need (makes enough for two lunches): 
1/4 cup whole wheat rice
1/4 cup mixed quinoa
1/8 cup pearl barley
1 tin red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 grated carrot
1/3 cup sweetcorn
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 head broccoli
black pepper and chilli flakes

- Rince the rice, quinoa and pearl barley and then put into a pot with around three cups of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes over a low heat until all the water has been absorbed.
- Chop the broccoli into florets and put this into a pot with boiling water. Simmer over a low heat for 2-3 minutes. 
- Transfer the rice and quinoa mix into a bowl and mix through the grated carrot and sweetcorn. Season with soy sauce, a sprinkle of chilli flakes and black pepper.
- Split the rice, beans, and broccoli between two bowls/lunchboxes.

Hummus and Carrot Sandwich 

You will need: 
2 slices of whole wheat bread
1 grated carrot
a handful of cherry tomatoes

- Generously spread hummus onto each of the slices of bread. Fill the sandwich with the grated carrot and some tomato slices. Serve the rest of the cherry tomatoes on the side.

Simple Avocado Salad 

You will need: 
for the salad
1 bag salad leaves (I like the Florette superfood salad)
1 grated carrot
1/4 cup sweetcorn
2 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped 
4 cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
toasted pine nuts and hummus to serve (optional)

for the dressing 
1 ripe avocado
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup water

- Add all the ingredients for the salad to a large bowl and combine together.
- To make the dressing, add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Top with some toasted pine nuts and serve with a dollop of hummus.

What are your fave lunchbox lunches?

I found out recently that the M&S veggie Percy Pigs aren't vegan and, I'm not gonna lie, it broke my heart a little. I'd always thought they were vegan and they taste so bloody good. Turns out they contain a sneaky E number, (E901, aka beeswax), disguising their non-veganness in the ingredients. I'm totally not up to speed on all the E's so definitely wouldn't have noticed this on my own (thank you Twitter), so I wanted to write a post with all the ingredients that can sneak into things under names that you wouldn't immediately recognise as being animal products.

We all have slip ups as vegans and that's okay. Don't beat yourself up about it. The thing is, once you make a mistake you know you won't make it again. I might never be able to have those delicious Percy's again but I'm okay with that because I'm not contributing to animal suffering by doing so. I feel like I've said this a million times on here but being vegan is about causing the least amount of harm possible, it's not about being perfect.

Gelatin - derived from animal products and never vegan. Commonly used in gummy sweeties. 

Lactose - a type of sugar found in milk. 

Rennet - this one caught me out back when I was vegetarian as Parmesan and Grana Padano cheeses are produced using rennet, which comes from the stomachs of animals. 

Honey/Beeswax - made by bees, for bees. 

Propolis - also known as bee glue. Contains beeswax and is made by bees. 

Whey - is kind of the leftovers of milk once it's been curdled and strained (gross). 

Casein - a protein that comes from milk. 

Vitamin D3 - often derived from animal products. The only vegan source of D3 is vitashine so unless this is specified then avoid the product. 

Lanolin - also known as wool wax or wool fat, a wax that is found on wool-bearing animals that is used to protect their wool. 

Isinglass - comes from the dried swim bladders of fish, often used for filtering beer and wine.  

Shellac - a resin produced by female lac bugs.  

Cod Liver Oil - it's in the name, comes from the liver of a cod fish. 

Cochineal - a scale insect that is crushed to used to create red dye. 

Bone Char - a material that is produced by charring animal bones. Can be used in sugar production, although this is less common now, and also as a black pigment in paint and ink. 

Pepsin - an enzyme produced in the stomachs of humans and animals. 

Tallow - a form of animal fat. 

Lard - pig fat. 

Down - goose or duck feathers used for insulating purposes, commonly found in jackets, duvets, and pillows. 

And a shit tonne of E's - the main ones to look out for that are never vegan are E120, E542, E901 and E904 but there are lots more that can be derived from animal products. Check out The Vegan Society for more info on these. 

I hope you guys found this post useful! I will try to keep it updated as and when I discover other sneaky ingredients that are not okay for vegans. Let me know in the comments if you've come across any others that I have missed. 

So because it's Veganuary things are pretty good for us vegans right now. There are lots of two for one deals floating about, new vegan options are popping up and there's a lot of chat going on around veganism. I love it.

Teaming up with Veganuary, All Bar One have created a whole vegan menu for January and they invited me to come and try it. We really need to talk about how good it was because it was seriously good. As I wanted to try pretty much everything, my boyfriend and I got different dishes each course and split them so we got to try two things from each course off the menu. 

For the starter, we had the patatas bravas (mini crisp roasted potatoes with a spicy tomato and red pepper dip) and the crushed avocado and tomato bruschetta topped with kalamata olives. Both were divine, especially the bruschetta, those olives on top were just perfect. We were pretty damn impressed with the starters but actually, by the end of the meal, they turned out to be our least favourite (but still amazing) course. That says a lot for what's to come though...

For mains, we opted for the superfood salad and the kale and hummus flatbread with kale pakora and jackfruit chutney. The pineapple and ginger dressing on the salad was delicious, and although we are pretty sure we got rocket instead of baby kale, it was so good. I really want to recreate this salad at home now because I just loved it. The kale pakora on the other dish was incredible and went perfectly with the jackfruit chutney and hummus. It tasted just like I remember veggie pakora tasting. Also, the flatbread wrap it came in was one of those big thick ones, which are totally the best kind (side note: if anyone knows where I can buy them please let me know!).  

And finally, dessert, forever the best course. We had the coconut and vanilla rice pudding with a blueberry compote and the chilli, chocolate and cardamom cake. The cake was good, especially dipped into the chocolate sauce (although looking back I think you're probably meant to pour the sauce over the cake), but the rice pudding. Oh my god. We need to talk about the rice pudding because it was maybe the best thing ever. It was so creamy, sweet and probably a million times better than any rice pudding I've ever had before. I really liked how they had rice pudding on the menu as well as it's something a little different to what you normally get. Honestly, incredible.

Guys, All Bar One have nailed the vegan food. 10/10, you need to go before it disappears at the end of January, so like this weekend! Some of the dishes are on the main menu, like the superfood salad and bruschetta but the kale pakora and rice pudding, which were the best, won't be around for long (cry). I really wish they would keep the vegan menu all year round, it's incredible and I think everyone would love the food on it, not just vegans.

The only thing I will say is that the main meals are pretty light so probably more a lunch deal, unless you have all three courses (for only £13, by the way). By the end of the meal I felt comfortably full, not like how I usually feel after three courses when I can barely move. Maybe the light mains is a good shout, it just gives you an excuse to definitely have dessert.

All Bar One invited me and a guest along to try their vegan menu but all thoughts, opinions and rants of delicious food here are entirely my own.