While we’re experiencing yet another lockdown, I’m finding solace in still being able to enjoy great vegan food at home. You might have seen from my recent reviews that some of our takeaways from non-vegan food businesses have been a bit hit and miss, so I was pleased when Nutmeg + Thyme reached out to let me know about their home delivery service operating around Oxfordshire, and looked forward to trying it out.
Nutmeg + Thyme plant-based food are a small vegan, gluten-free food business based in Burford, with monthly seasonal menus. As well as their home delivery service, you can find them popping up at markets and events around the county (lockdown allowing). I had spotted them on Facebook a couple of months ago, and was sad that I’d never managed to catch them at Gloucester Green market. The menu looked great, featuring a large variety of completely vegan and gluten free options including chilled ready meals, salads, baked goods, nut butters and other treats. Luckily, the delivery service is now operating from 9-5 every day, which is convenient for someone like me who is working from home. It wasn’t long before we received a box full of delicious plant-based food in a Covid-secure delivery from Emily.
The first meal we tried out was a cauliflower schnitzel, which comes with a mushroom and peppercorn sauce, and fennel slaw. Reading the list of components, I wasn’t too sure how these were all going to come together on the plate, but the meal altogether was absolutely delicious. We heated the schnitzel up in the oven until the outside was crisp, along with some roast potatoes (because we’re greedy). The sauce took just a few minutes to heat up on the hob, then we put a big handful of the coleslaw on the side of the plate. Probably because we’d taken it upon ourselves to cook potatoes too, there was still plenty of the slaw left over to enjoy with lunch tomorrow too.
The breaded coating on the schnitzel was super crispy, and cauliflower meltingly soft in the middle – though the stalk did have a bit more texture as expected. It had a mild flavour which went surprisingly well with the rich mushroom sauce. The sauce was thick and creamy, with a great depth of flavour. Then on the side we had the slaw, which was pleasantly zingy and refreshing against the indulgence of the breaded cauliflower and sauce. The crunch also added a nice textural element to the dish. My boyfriend Jamie is very fussy when it comes to veggies and he said he preferred it to regular coleslaw, which trust me is a huge endorsement! The portion size was just right for us and we felt really satisfied at the end of the meal.
The second meal we enjoyed was a torn mushroom rendang. We boiled some basmati rice and heated the curry through on the hob towards the end of the rice cooking. The first thing to say is that the rendang made the house smell incredible, honestly kind of like a restaurant. On tasting, it had just the right chilli kick for our palettes, not too spicy but the heat was definitely there. The coconutty sauce was very aromatic too, with plenty of lemongrass coming through. At the bottom of the bowl it was a bit oily, but I think that might be the nature of this particular curry. The mushrooms themselves had a nice meaty texture, and were a great replacement for the pulled beef that would often be found in a rendang. Another really warming bowl and the perfect meal for winter.
Nutmeg + Thyme had also shared with us a few of their snacks and sweet treats. The first I tried was their pecan and mushroom roll, imitating a sausage roll. To me it was actually a very good replacement and to be honest I would prefer to eat this than most of the pastries available in the supermarkets right now! It felt like such a treat for lunch, the pastry was flaky, and it had a rich umami flavour, kind of like marmite (though I hope that won’t put some people off)! Along with this there was a tray of mango and lime muffins. I often steer away from gluten free baked goods as I just don’t find them as satisfying, but I was really impressed with the texture of these. I loved the sweet and mild mango flavour, and there was a real zing from the lime – almost like sherbert. The cakes stayed moist for a few days and were a nice little afternoon treat.
Lastly we were treated to dessert with the chocolate, hazelnut and rosemary tart. The almost chewy base was quite hard to get your fork into, making it a bit difficult to eat. I felt it wasn’t quite a biscuit, but definitely not a cake, so I’m not sure if the gluten-free element worked so well here. However, the velvety chocolate ganache topping was incredible. With the hint of rosemary running throughout, and the nutty aftertaste from the hazelnuts on top, all the flavours were so well balanced, and that element felt like a properly grown-up decadent pudding. In case that wasn’t enough, we also tried a handmade chocolate and hazelnut fudge. Incredibly sweet, tasting something like a solid nutella, this was a big hit with both myself and Jamie.
I felt the Nutmeg + Thyme service would be perfect for someone juggling working from home with other commitments such as childcare – just pop in the oven and let it do its thing, or reheat for a few minutes on the hob and you’re good to go. Although they are ‘ready meals’, they are full of wholefood plant-based goodness, unlike many of the supermarket alternatives which may be tasty, but often full of ingredients I can’t understand the names of. Most of the meals were also freezer friendly, so as much as I was tempted to eat all of the chocolate and hazelnut tarts in one go, it was good to have the option to save one to enjoy another day.
I spotted that Nutmeg + Thyme are offering free delivery to all areas within a 20 mile radius of Burford on orders over £25 during Veganuary. If this includes you, I’d definitely take them up on the offer! If you try it, you’ll have to let me know what you think in the comments below.
These meals were complimentary, all opinions are my honest reflections of the experience.