Tag Archives: Vegetarian

New Covent Garden Soup

The Gourmand family are all soup lovers, Baby Gourmand likes a chunky soup, Mini Gourmand likes soup with noodles, I like a good homemade lentil soup but will happily eat it anyway it comes which is probably no surprise.

New Covent Garden Soup

I’ve been buying New Covent Garden soup* for a while now as it doesn’t all have to be used in the same sitting, I can serve it to Baby Gourmand for lunch and when Mini Gourmand comes home from school I can heat the rest up for her meaning there is no waste. The soup comes in some great flavours and our particular favourites are the sweetcorn chowder and potato and leek.

If you have bought this soup before you will probably have noticed that each month there is often a flavour combination on offer that you probably will never have heard of before, this month it’s the White Christmas soup which is cauliflower, potato and truffle infused oil.

What do New Covent Garden Soup say about the White Christmas Soup?
“Our Soup of the Month for December is a wonderfully white creamy soup that will bring you Christmas warmth and cheer in a bowl. Our chefs have lovingly blended cauliflower, potato and single cream until smooth and creamy. Then finished off with aromatic truffle infused oil, white wine and a hint of white pepper to bring you this deliciously luxurious soup.”

It does sound good doesn’t it? I know a lot of people are often dubious when it comes to trying new things just in case they don’t like it.  The Gourmands have decided to do a bit of a taste test for you, before filming we didn’t taste it so the reaction you get is as it happens.

The truffle oil is strong I won’t lie so if you’re not a fan I would recommend you trying one of the milder soups, if you are a fan of truffle oil you will love this soup. I have some of the soup left which I’m going to add to a mushroom risotto, I just love the taste of truffle and mushroom.   I would go as far as saying the Winter Christmas soup would be perfect to have as a starter on Christmas day, your guests don’t need to know it came from a carton and I’ll happily keep your secret!

What’s your favourite soup?

*Mixture of press sample and own purchase

Meal Planning Monday (10th August 2015)

Mini Gourmand is still on holiday with her grandparents and our visitors have returned home so it’s just Mr Gourmand, Baby Gourmand and myself eating at home this week.

I’m actually feeling a little uninspired again and I hate it when I feel like this.  I went for a run a couple of days ago and all of the bad eating is really catching up with me as I’ve been feeling lethargic and lacking the energy that I had.

If anyone has any cookbook recommendations for vegan, vegetarian or paleo diets please leave them in the comments and I’ll check them out for future meal plan inspiration.


This week The Gourmand family will be eating:

Monday – Asparagus, mushroom and cheddar quiche served with a salad

Tuesday –  Mushroom alfredo pasta bake

Wednesday – Steak pie, mash and veg

Thursday – Grilled Halloumi Pittas with Salad

Friday – Lasagna with Garlic Bread

Saturday – Middle Eastern Vegan Bake

Sunday – Garlic Tofu in Asian sauce with rice


And that’s our meal plan for this week, pop back next week for Meal Planning Monday.


Meal planning monday

Jyoti Indian Restaurant – Birmingham

Jyoti is an Indian ‘pure vegetarian restaurant and sweet centre’ and offers a massive choice of 15 starters and 72 main courses as well as a sizeable list of rice accompaniments and sundries.  We’re not actually vegetarians but we do enjoy vegetarian and vegan meals and try to eat at least two meat free meals a week.  After reading some reviews on the internet we decided that we needed to pay this place a visit to see what all the fuss was about, after a busy day morning shopping at the bullring we made our way to Hall Green.

Situated at 1045 Stratford Road Hall Green Birmingham there is ample free parking outside.

Mogo Chips

Grandpa Gourmand started his meal with Mogo Chips (£2.95) which are deep fried cassava chips with tamarind sauce.  I’d seen Cassava in Asian food stores but didn’t realise how it could be cooked so have always been intrigued to try it and I’m so glad I did as it is rather delicious.  Cassava is a great alternative to the humble potato although it is a bit sweeter and does have a distinctive taste.  We all enjoyed these chips and the slightly sour dipping sauce really complemented them.

Onion Bhajiya

I ordered the Onion Bhajiya (£1.95) to share with Mini Gourmand which consisted of 2 deep-fried balls of onion in spiced gram flour served with salad and chutney sauce.  These were like nothing we had ever tried before, not at all greasy and extremely light in texture.  The spice was on the hotter side of the spectrum so Mini Gourmand was a little put off but myself and Grandpa Gourmand devoured them.

Tarka Daal

Mini Gourmand ordered the Tarka Daal (£5.75) which was a lentil curry which she had served with plain boiled rice (£1.95)  I imagine everyone has their own interpretation of this dish, I make it myself which was adapted from a recipe I saw in the Guardian, I consider Tarka Dahl to be a comfort food however I think my own recipe has tainted Mini Gourmands palate and she didn’t really enjoy this dish which she found a bit lacking and too tomato flavoured.

Vegetable Biryani vegi2

I ordered the Vegetable Biryani (£5.95) which was a mixed vegetable curry served with fried rice.  I love Biryani, it has featured in many posts on this blog and because of my love of the dish I couldn’t resist ordering when I saw it on the menu.  When the dish landed on the table I was a little disappointed, the rice looked like frozen rice with veg and the curry didn’t look that different to the Tarka Daal that Mini Gourmand had ordered.  I know that looks can be deceiving so I ploughed in with an open mind.

The dish was bland and lacked flavour, the rice was as I suspected a bit of rice with some frozen veg thrown in and it left me incredibly unhappy.


Grandpa Gourmand ordered the Paneer Bhurji (£5.95) which was Indian cheese cooked with onions, garlic, ginger, cashew nuts and tomato, this was served with a chapatti.  Like the other two main courses this dish was lacking, it had good heat but the flavour just wasn’t there and to be completely honest the dish tasted incredibly similar to the other two.

We were very disappointed with our first visit to Jyoti, I had read some amazing reviews about the place prior to our visit granted the majority of them were from 2010/2011 and we all know how quickly a place can change but I hadn’t expected it to be quite as bad.  All of the food was lacking flavour in one way or another, we have eaten a lot of vegetarian meals in other restaurants and the taste, seasoning and quality was on a different scale.  I would like to say that the sweets I purchased to take home from Jyoti were incredible and couldn’t be faulted, maybe the same amount of effort should be put into the savoury food.

Have you visited Jyoti?  How did you find it?

Stone Monkey

Stone monkey

The Stone Monkey is what you can only describe as a quirky little place. You know the type, not quite in a town centre, usually alongside a laundrette or under a flat. Well this one is all of the above. Myself and Mr Gourmand were walking by one day and thought we should probably try this place as it had all the hallmarks of being something special. The Stone Monkey itself is actually a yoga studio from what I can tell, with a kind of side business of coffee shop.

The first thing to note is that it only sells vegetarian food, and doesn’t have the biggest menu in the world, but oh boy from what we tasted, I can’t wait to go back!

Stone monkey

I went for the scrambled egg on sourdough toast and Mr Gourmand tried the vegetarian sausage sandwich.  The first thing you will notice from the photographs is the drizzle of cream and little green capers sitting proudly on top of the egg, well believe me, this breakfast was something I would expect to eat the morning after a stay at a luxury spa hotel! The flavours went together perfectly, with the sharp caper cutting through the smooth and creamy scrambled egg – I can hardly write about this without drooling on my screen. Yes it was that good, please go and try it for yourself.

Mr Gourmands vegetarian sausage sandwich was pretty good as well. It was served in a nice roll with delicious spiced chutney and salad on the side. He really enjoyed it but I could see the envy in his eyes after tasting my luxury scrambled eggs. His eyes were as green as the capers sitting proudly on my eggs!

Stone monkey

The Stone Monkey is definitely somewhere I would travel to if I wanted a nice breakfast. It was very smart inside, with the kind of relaxed feel you would expect from a yoga studio/coffee shop. The coffee cold have been a bit hotter if I was being picky, oh well, better try it again to see if they can improve next time!

Devilishly Delicious Desserts

Devilishly Delicious Desserts

I was recently kindly sent a box of Devilishly Delicious Desserts and equipment so I could see how easy it was to prepare a restaurant quality dessert in 5 minutes.


Devilishly Delicious

The box containing the desserts was exciting enough as it is.  I’m always looking for sturdy storage in my kitchen and this box is perfect for storing jelly moulds, cookie cutters and cake decorations but I digress.

Inside Box

Inside the box was a selection of desserts including Pot au Chocolat, Sicilian LemonPot, Panna Cotta and Creme Brulee along with a selection of fruit coulis, jelly moulds and a blow torch.

These desserts are perfect for someone like me, I love to cook but sometimes after spending hours in the kitchen preparing a savoury meal I don’t have time to make a dessert, my family and friends have come to expect high quality food from my kitchen so opening a tin of rice pudding or fruit cocktail is just not an option.  In my opinion these desserts are also perfect for the kitchen shy cook, what better way to impress your guests than to pass off restaurant quality desserts as your own? After all you did heat them up, put them into serving dishes and chill them!

Readers may be interested to know that the products have:

NO hydrogenated fats

NO artificial colours

NO artificial flavours

NO preservatives

Gluten free

Suitable for vegetarians

My mother came to stay recently to meet Baby Gourmand so this was the perfect opportunity to try out one of the desserts, I asked the family which one they wanted and everyone apart from Mini Gourmand who wanted the Creme Brulee opted for the Pot au Chocolat.


The 500ml carton of Pot au Chocolat makes 4 servings, this is a very rich and decadent dessert and could easily stretch to 5 or 6 if made in small shot glasses with fruit.


It only takes 5 minutes to prepare the Pot au Chocolat in 4 easy steps!

1 – Pour into a saucepan.

2 – Bring to the boil, stirring regularly.

3 – Pour into heat resistant shot glasses, espresso cups or dessert pots.

4 – Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.


I decorated my desserts with fresh berries which added a tartness to cut through the rich chocolate flavour.  Mini Gourmand found the dessert a little too chocolaty for her tastes, Mr Gourmand didn’t complain as it meant  more for him!

My verdict on the Pot au Chocolate is that it was super simple to make, extremely flavourful, decadent and delicious and best of all it’s extremely versatile.  I’ve noticed that the dessert range is available to purchase from Ocado where I usually do my online shopping so I will definitely be picking up another carton, I’m going to try a chocolate orange tart so look out for it appearing on this blog soon.

My next review will be on the Sicilian Lemon Pot which I am pairing up with Fresh Raspberries and Raspberry coulis so look out for that coming soon.

For more information on the desserts you can visit the website here.  The desserts are currently stocked in Lakeland, selected waitrose stores, Ocado online, Booths, Dobbies Garden Centres and various independent stores. (There is a stockist finder on the website to help you find your local store)

* My Devilishly Delicious box was provided free of charge for review purposes, this has not affected my opinion of Devilishly Delicious, as always my review is honest and impartial *