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Below is the first of many post's on our new blog! Please give it a read if you have a spare few minutes, we promise you it's a good read, these include our           thouhts on cooking as a company. We are happy to recieve any feedback.

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If there’s one thing we love doing, it’s discovering fresh ingredients to add a little bit of a twist to our dishes!

And the popularity of veganism quadrupled in the UK from 2014 to 2019, there’s never been a better time to unleash a little creativity in your cuisine – especially when you know it’s good for the soul and free from animal products.

So, we thought we’d offer up what food must-haves we can’t live without as we delved into our kitchens to inspire ideas for when you’re next cooking up a storm!

  1. Aquafaba

Next time you reach for a can of chickpeas, hold it right there! Pause before you pour off the liquid because that’s a little bit of magic that many people miss out on. It’s a liquid that is not only becoming a bit of a phenomenon, but it’s versatility and beautiful taste mean it can be used instead of eggs, which is perfect for any practising plant-eater.

So, when you venture into ‘veganising’ your favourites delicacies – from moreish meringues to mouth-watering mayonnaise – hang on to that dose of heaven that can transform tasty treats and reinvigorate your evening meals.

  1. Nori

Often used in Japanese cooking, this dried seaweed has a strong and distinctive flavour that can tantalise most tastebuds. It can be used to bring a sample of the sea to whet vegan appetites – and is perfect for those who might be missing fish in their diets.

You might’ve already tried the edible algae – if you’ve ever plumped for tofish and chips or banana blossom fish on the menu. But if not, it’s worth knowing that Nori is incredibly good for you and packed with nutrients such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc and more!

  1. Jackfruit

Found growing all over southern India and Malaysia, it’s as unique in its look as it is in taste. When you slice inside, don’t worry when you’re met with a ‘shredded meat-like’ texture – it’s actually surprisingly sweet! Even better too, this ingredient is low in calories, fat free, full of potassium and vitamins A and C.

You can find this in a can in most supermarkets – we’d recommend trying out pulled jackfruit or jackfruit nuggets!

  1. Seitan

A must-have in the kitchen cupboards for those who are missing their meat. As a versatile replacement, seitan is made from vital wheat gluten and can be a dynamite ingredient when you’re looking to spruce up your stir fry or revolutionise your hot wings recipe.

We’d recommend you make it into a flavoured dough and boil or steam – until firm. Then, fry or roast to create a realistic substitute for meat, and a culinary creation that’s high in protein and low in fat.

  1. Nutritional yeast

Full of vitamins and minerals, this addition is a tasty option for people wanting to cut out meat altogether – but still get in their vitamin B12.

Providing extra protein and antioxidants – alongside other health benefits – nutritional yeast offers a nutty, cheesy flavour which can be used to enhance the flavour in your signature mac and cheese. Check out your online stores if you’re eager to add this on to your next shopping list.

There are so many variations to try if you’re already enjoying a vegan-based diet or are looking to switch your nutritional needs and begin from scratch. Whether it’s a dash of miso in your marinated sauce or tempeh in your teriyaki, give them a whirl (or a whisk!) – and turn an evening meal into an extraordinary experience!

Discover our plant-powered menus at Punch Bar & Tapas and Uno Cucina Italiana online. Alternatively, call one of our helpful staff for more information, or book a table, at Punch on: 01484 662359 and Uno on: 01484 662776.


Christmas seems like a distant memory now, and for many it was the ideal opportunity to get everyone around the table to enjoy a fantastic festival meal as one big happy family.

But getting together in an evening to ‘break bread’ shouldn’t always be left to a special occasion, if there’s an opportunity to enjoy food with others.

Obviously, it depends on circumstances, but for those wanting to get the family around the table for dinner, what are you waiting for? Get messaging, agree a date soon, and mark it down in the calendar!

Getting together can provide so many health and social benefits, and it’s a wonderful tradition we want to keep strong at our restaurants in Honley. So, here are our reasons why we think it’s important to pull up a chair to enjoy a meal as one.

  1. It’s good to talk

If you’re anything like us, you’ll be interested in people and the stories they tell. So, what better way to do this than around the dinner table?

Hearing a family member’s latest tale from work, or talking through a friend’s relationship concerns are key elements of building deeper connections – and they go a long way towards people feeling supported, and that others are looking out for them.

Many of us have fond memories of being at the table as a group, sharing a funny story. It’s important to keep that traditional alive – even if you’re strapped for time and ‘life’ gets in the way. The benefits can be exponential.

  1. Developing children

There’s often no greater feeling than sitting with your family – especially your youngsters – at dinnertime.

Seeing them enjoying their food and chatting about the day at school they’ve had are hugely important in encouraging them to open up – and for you to show you’re interested in what they have to say.

If you have much younger children, mealtimes can help to develop key social skills such as holding cutlery correctly, drinking from a cup and learning all about the kind of food they’re eating through smell, touch and taste.

Talking to them one-to-one is a great way of building a parent and child relationship – if that’s over food, all the better!

  1. Eating healthily

Scheduling sit-downs for evenings or first thing in a morning goes a long way towards people following a better diet. Let’s face it, you won’t be snacking or rushing a ‘bite on the go’ if you’re at the table.

Studies have also shown that those who eat with others, tend to eat more fruit and vegetables and make nutritional choices because they’re conscious of what they’re eating – and how much – and have a healthier relationship with meals.

  1. Encouraging cooking together

Even if you have a ‘resident chef’ in the house, meal preparation shouldn’t always come down to one person – share the load and get others to bring their culinary skills to life!

If you’re with friends, maybe setup a rota system to pull on the apron or task them with bringing along a part of the meal (such as a dessert or starter) to let everyone contribute.

Alternatively, teenagers might fancy cooking up a storm. As long as they’re supervised – should they need to be – let them take the reins and feel a sense of dinnertime responsibility. You never know, it could ignite a career passion!

If you plan ahead, it gives you chance to look forward to the occasion – so make sure you get your meal booked into family and friends’ calendars!

  1. Experiencing a digital detox

Everyone has some form of an online device nowadays – but that doesn’t mean it must be present at the dinner table.

In fact, putting your phone or tablet in another room while you eat with others can help to provide a much-needed screen break. It also shows that you’re present in the room and are hopefully more willing to join in with conversation – rather than be stuck scrolling through the latest cat videos (admittedly, we do LOVE these!).

There’s nothing worse than working hard to prepare a meal only for your guests to not really saviour it because they’re constantly distracted by their mobiles or the TV.

We get that we live in a world full of hustle and bustle, but there are so many benefits to taking the time to sit around the table with others.

Start now and factor in a couple of hours each night or 30 minutes first thing in the morning. You’ll soon start to realise how enjoyable it can be when you pause to enjoy a tasty meal and some conversation!