Cook Book Review: Vegan Vietnamese – Vibrant Plant-Based Recipes to Enjoy Every Day, written by Helen Le

The cover of a cookbook. I can’t deny it: I’m a sucker for vegan Vietnamese food. Actually, one of my favourite take-away restaurants is Eat Happy Vegan here in Oslo, Norway. When Netgalley offered the cookbook Vegan Vietnamese – Vibrant Plant-Based Recipes to Enjoy Every Day, written by Helen Le, to review, I was not hard to ask. I had no knowledge of Helen Le before seeing the book on Netgalley, and had no knowledge of who she was or what she did.

I quickly learned that Helen Le is the creator of a popular Vietnamese cooking channel on YouTube called Helen’s Recipes. So before even looking at the recipes I wanted to check out her channel. It turned out that her channel is not at all vegan, and she’s not a vegan herself. This normally turns me a bit sceptical towards someone’s cookbook, but I decided to check it out with an open mind.

I use cookbooks mainly for inspiration, and hardly ever follow recipes. Though the book was nice enough looking, I never felt like any of the recipes pushed me to cook anything. I kept thinking “I should probably find a recipe and make something like it”, but I never did. Also, in my opinion, it was quite clear that it was made by a meat eater. It had lots of potential, but for me it didn’t make the right fit. I’m sure others, especially meat eaters looking into cutting down on their meat, will find it helpful. It for sure has it’s audience, I’m unfortunately not among them.

Cook Book Review: Nourishing Vegan Every Day, by Amy Lanza

Becoming a vegan was a long journey for me, quitting all meat but seafood and becoming a pescetarian in April 1996, and then going vegetarian in 2012. I think it was in October or November in 2015 I decided to go “semi vegan”, as in eating vegan at home and vegetarian if I went out or visiting people. I failed going “semi vegan” pretty quickly, though, as I guess this opened up my eyes to how the dairy and egg industry actually worked. I wasn’t able to close my eyes any more, nor turn my back to the cruelty that I saw. I chose vegan for Christmas/Yule/midwinter (or whatever you want to call it), and lot long after I went fully vegan, both inside and outside my home. I have never regretted that choice.

A tablet laying on a red blanket. On the screen you can see the cover of the book "Nourishing Vegan Every Day" by Amy Lanza.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

Even though I’ve been vegan for about seven years now, I had never heard about Nourishing Amy, or Amy Lanza, before. Not until I picked up their new cookbook, Nourishing Vegan Every Day, on NetGalley. I knew instantly that I wanted to have a closer look at this book that NetGalley offered as a “read now”, as I love cookbooks. I mainly use them for inspiration, but I’m definitively open to try out a recipe or two (though I feel free to tweak them). The book will be published 3 January 2023.

This cookbook is even good for beginners, with its explanations of some terms in the beginning. Personally, having cooked vegan for many years (even before going vegan myself), I skipped this part. I appreciated the few American-English conversions, though (I didn’t know arugula was the same as rocket!)

The book has seven main parts or “chapters”: Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks, Sweets, and Celebrations. For me (a Norwegian), most of the lunch recipes could just as well have been dinners, but that’s just me being Norwegian and nitpicking. In general, the recipes are pretty basic, vegan dishes. Nothing wrong with that, and I think it’s really good if you’re brand new to cooking plant-based food.

One think I’m always worried about when it comes to vegan cookbooks, is if the dinners have no protein. A dinner that lacks a good source of protein mostly leave me very unsatisfied afterwards, and I get hungry again shortly after. Fortunately, this cookbook has plenty of recipes with tofu, chickpeas, and other legumes, and the recipes that don’t can easily be adjusted by adding some.

The book has a really nice layout, and the photos are appetizing. This cookbook can absolutely be recommended for any vegan, or anyone who wants to eat more plantbased.

Places in London I want to check out!

The vegan scene in London has pretty much exploded. Even a few years back it was pretty good, but I know it has gotten even better. The last few times I’ve been to London, I’ve visited several places I’ve loved, but I know some of them are now sadly gone. That being said, I’m looking forward to check out some new places I haven’t tried before!

One of the places I want to try out is Copperhouse Chocolate, a 100% vegan chocolate café and artisan hot-chocolatier. They’re not open every day, so I will have to aim for a visit either Wednesday or Thursday, as I’m going home on Friday (as mentioned in my previous blog post).

A place that I’ve heard a lot about, but for some unknown reason never tried out, is Temple of Seitan. It was a big deal when they opened up their first shop back in 2015, and today they have a few branches in London. The food is mostly fast food/junk food, but that’s OK with me. It’s still on my list of places to eat, as long as I’m in the mood for that sort of food.

It’s no secret I love tofu and noodles. One place that has those exact things on the menu is Vegan Fusion, a predominantly Asian fusion vegan restaurant. I haven’t been able to find a webpage for them, which really is a pity, but they’re address is 71 Chapel Market.

Something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, is to have afternoon tea in London. The Savoy has a long tradition of serving afternoon tea, and they’re now offering vegan afternoon tea, and I hope I’ll be able to book a table for afternoon tea there one day, but you’ll have to book well in advance. There were no openings when I’m in London, so I simply had to look for somewhere else. After some searching the Internet, I finally ended up booking a table at Dukes, which has a vegan afternoon tea menu. The afternoon tea is served in the Drawing Room at Dukes hotel, which is only a short walk from Waterstones Piccadilly, one of my favourite bookshops.

I’m sure I’ll not have any problems finding vegan food in London, there are plenty of places I’d love to go back to.

Icecream in a paper cup saying "Yorica! free lovin' treats".
I had vegan icecream at Yorica! on a previous trip to London.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

What I ate in a day during the Covid-19 pandemic [vegan]

DISCLAIMER: This is not how I eat every day, but just what I ate on a random day in my life, as a vegan. I’m not suggesting that anyone should eat the same exact things. I’m not a dietician, nor an expert on nutrition, but I try to eat varied and balanced. And I’m still learning!

What I ate on Sunday 3 May, 2020, during the Covid-19 lockdown. At this point Norway had started to opening up again, but my work place was still closed, and I stayed mostly at home, but for a few short walks. Even though it’s not showed in the video, I take vitamins B12 and vegan D3 supplements.

The Juicery Pop Up Café at Eger

I had some time to kill before heading to dance class, and decided to swing by Eger just to look around. To my surprise, I found a new branch of The Juicery. Or rather, their pop up café. After chatting to the staff, it turns out they’re there at least until summer.

The café is super cozy, the staff is very friendly, and everything are plant based. What’s not to like about that?

I will be coming back, for sure!

The counter. Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Inside the café. Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Details of decoration. Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Mung bean and quinoa burgers

I love vegan homemade burgers! These burgers are full of proteins, fiber and good fats, and perfect with your Sunday dinner! Or any other day, for that matter. The recipe makes about 6-7 burgers.


190 grams mung beans (readily boiled)
50 grams quiona
100 grams unsalted cashew nuts
1 tea spoon garam masala
1 tea spoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cummin
3 table spoons soy sauce

How to

Boil the quinoa as described on the package. Have the boiled mung beans, boiled quinoa, cashew nuts, and spices in a food processor, and mix the ingredients together. Add the soy sauce, and mix into a dough.

This is how the dough should look like when ready. Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
This is how the dough should look like when ready.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Make patties from the dough (1 tablespoon should make one burger), and fry them on medium heat when golden.

Serve with roasted vegetables and a gravy, with spaghetti and a tomato sause, or like us, with mushroom risotto and a salad.


Burgers served with mushroom risotto and salad. Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Burgers served with mushroom risotto and salad.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Breakfast favourites

As a kid, I wasn’t too great when it came to eating dinners. I’ve always been a breakfast person, and without it, I don’t really work. Mornings where I have the time to sit down and have a proper, nice breakfast are the best ones. Especially the ones of the slow kind. Here are some of my breakfast favorites.

Smoothie bowls

As you have guessed (if you didn’t know already), these are smoothies that come in a bowl. They’re often of a little thicker consistency than regular smoothies, and in my opinion should come with some yummy toppings. I never use recipes for smoothies, i take what I have and “throw” the ingredients into the blender. It can be a banana, a handful of spinach, a handful of frozen green peas, and some plant milk. Nom! It’s super healthy too!

Smoothie bowl with coconut flakes, seeds, nuts, and frozen berries. Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Smoothie bowl with coconut flakes, seeds, nuts, and frozen berries.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Smoked “carrot salmon”

Back in the days when I was a pescetarian (I ate fish and other seafood), I actually loved smoked salmon. It was only last year I discovered smoked “carrot salmon”, thanks to a recipe from the amazing Norwegian blog Veganmisjonen. I can’t speak for anyone else, but to me, this thing actually tastes like smoked salmon!

Scrambled tofu

Who needs eggs, when you have tofu? I certainly don’t! I simply LOVE scrambled tofu, and the way I make it is super easy. I put approx 250 grams tofu in a bowl, and “mash” it with a fork, then I add two table spoons of soy sauce, and two Vegg yolks (I follow the instructions on the package), and mix it together. Then I pour the mix into a frying pan, where I fry it the same way as I would scrambled eggs.

Toasted bread with scrambled tofu and smoked "salmon carrot". Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Toasted bread with scrambled tofu and smoked “salmon carrot”.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

There are many other yummy vegan breakfast items out there, but these three are my favourites, I think. What about you, what are your favourite breakfast items?

Waffles – the Norwegian way!

I love waffles! That is, I love the Norwegian type, with sour cream and jam. Some people might think that when you go vegan, you have to give up all the things you love. Fortunately, that’s not the case, and yesterday I made some traditional, Norwegian waffles. 100 % dairy, egg, and cruelty free!

I used the recipe by one of my favourite bloggers, Veganmisjonen. Served with iMat Fraiche and strawberry jam, it pushes all the right waffle buttons, that’s for sure!

Vegan waffles.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

One happy Norwegian with waffles.
Om nom – one happy vegan!
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Elin’s Chana Masala

I simply love Indian food, and chickpeas are among my favourite ingredients. One of my favourite dishes is chana masala, and here’s my super simple recipe. It is, of course, 100 % plant based, vegan, and gluten free. This recipe is meant for two persons, so if you’re four, make a double portion.

1 can tinned cickpeas (ca 500 g)
4 tablespoon rapeseed (or sunflower) oil
2-3 cm piece of fresh ginger
1 red or yellow onion
1 fresh chilli
2-3 tomatoes
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
Finely chopped, fresh coriander (to taste)

How to
Pour the brine of the cickpeas into a cup or a small bowl (to be used later).
Peel the onion and the ginger, and cut the onion into two halves. Cut off the stem of the chilli.
Put the onion, ginger, and the chilli into a foodprocessor, and run until it’s all finely chopped.
Heat the oil in a pot. Pour the onion, ginger and chilli into the pot, and fry on a medium heat until the onion is golden.
Cut the tomatoes (use the foodprocessor), por them into the pot, and bring to a boil. Add garam masala and salt, and let this simmer for a few minutes.
Add the chickpeas, stil well, and bring to a boil. Let this simmer for a few minutes.
At the brine of the chickpeas, stir, and bring to a boil. Let this simmer for 30 – 45 minutes. Stir it every now and then, so it doesn’t burn.
Add the lime juice and the coriander, and simmer for 1 – 2 minutes.

I recommend serving this dish with rice.

A plate with chana masala, yellow rice, soy yoghurt, mango chutney, and naan.
Chana masala served with yellow rice, soy yoghurt, mango chutney, and naan.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2021

Recipe for Chickpea Curry

This recipe was originally posted on my Norwegian food blog, but after serving it to some Irish folks, I have been begged (read: asked nicely) to make a translation into English. I was inspired to make the recipe after eating a delicious chickpea curry at the hotel I was staying at during the EasterCon in Bradford in 2013. This recipe is totally dairy and gluten free, so it is suitable for most people, even vegans!

1 teaspoon crushed ginger
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cummin
1 onion
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil (e.g. rapeseed oil)
1 can (about 400-450 g) chickpeas
2 ripe tomatoes
1 can (about 400 ml) coconut milk

How to
Make a paste of the ginger, garlic, lime juice, chili powder, garam masala, cardamom and cummin in a bowl so that it is ready to be used. This is easily done by mixing it together in a mortar or small bowl.

Finely chop the onion in a food processor.
Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan.
Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes, until soft (not brown).
Finely chop the tomatoes in the food processor. It should look like a sauce.
Add the curry paste to the onions, stir well and sauté.
Add the tomato sauce, bring to a boil and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Add the coconut milk, bring to a boil.
Drain the chickpead well, them add them to the rest, and cook until the coconut has reduced.
Season with salt and pepper.
Remember to stir the curry every now and then so it doesn’t burn.

The curry goes well with brown rice
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2015