Roots, Shoots and Vegan Chocolate Fudge Cake

Supporting Local in Lockdown Mini Blog #6

This is the sixth in my “mini blogs” series to spread the word of the amazing local hospitality businesses in our local area who will be offering takeaway services over the coming weeks. I wanted to share my experiences of the takeaways I have had this year in condensed write ups to support the industry and also show all the amazing treats we can have too!

The rise in plant based cuisine has been ridiculous the past few years and I, for one, am a massive fan. A big fruit and vegetable lover anyway, vegan plates always catch my eye for something totally different to fill my ever hungry stomach. Now more than ever eateries are expanding their offerings to include wonderful vegan delights, even in little old North Devon! If you haven’t ventured down the A39 to hastily make your way to Gammon Walk to only be stopped by the invitingly vibrant and golden doors of Roots, you haven’t eaten mind blowingly awesome vegan food yet.

The golden entrance!

Before even stepping foot through the golden entrance, the whole colour spectrum dances towards you through the right hand window; the greens of coriander (I am slowly becoming less of a hater), the vivid orange of grated carrot, to name just a couple, along with the beaming smiles of the wonderful Roots staff. Eyes fed, but stomach still hungry, time to make my first trip to Roots a reality, swiftly followed by the second a few weeks later.

The Roots counter of colour

The Roots and Shoots

During the limbo between lockdown 1.0 and 2.0, I was lucky enough to be hit by all these colours and smacked with tonnes of flavour twice in the form of their amazing salad boxes. “Salad?!” I hear you say? Yes, but not as you know it! Two glorious salad boxes inspired by Middle Eastern and Indian flavours full to the brim. I have to thank my friend Maria for my first trip; she was the winner of a Roots like and share competition in which she won a free lunch for her and a friend and that chosen friend was me! Maria, I am forever grateful! Amongst all the choices, I decided upon the Middle Eastern for my debut salad box. Full of so many ingredients I love to eat, every mouthful was a joy (except the last, that is always an emotional moment with any meal). The crushed falafel exterior was dark like treacle encasing a herb filled soft interior. The textures from both ends of the spectrum were crunchy and smooth against my jaw. The light and creamy hummus was full of tongue kicking spice before being gently cooled by the mint yoghurt dressing. Vivid white yoghurt, speckled with fresh mint, refreshed my pallet ready to savour the incoming flavours. Soft and sweet chickpeas; perfectly cooked couscous with red pepper pieces, sweetcorn and coriander; a carrot salad dancing with earthy, nutty sesame seeds showered in a light dressing, which made it glisten slightly like the downpour of August rain outside. All from plants? I knew instantly this would not be my only visit.

One more salad box before we sprint towards the gorgeous fudge cake, because we all know by now that cake is life. On a sunny September lunchtime after a wonderfully wet and undisturbed weekly swim at Barnstaple Leisure Centre, Roots called my name. It was extremely difficult not to respond when I was that close. Plus, I also knew they had a particularly inviting special that week; baked cauliflower bhaji, coriander chutney and sev. I am a sucker for interesting takes on cauliflower because it is a vegetable that can be transformed from boring to mind blowing. The bhaji was beautifully rustic with peaks and troughs providing a satisfying crunch in every bite, whilst your teeth dug their way through into the soft cauliflower centre. This cauliflower centre was brimming with spice and dancing with the perfect partner of caramelised onions in a wonderful display of the Indian snack favourite. The coriander chutney bopped alongside with a pop of freshness that was not overpowering, even for this minor coriander phobe. Finished with the gnawing texture of gleaming, golden sev, it was a full blown dance off from box to bite. Now it’s full steam ahead to the vegan chocolate fudge cake of dreams.

The Vegan Chocolate Fudge Cake

Roots offer a fantastic lunchtime meal deal of one of their main menu dishes with a drink and either a packet of crisps, or a slice of homemade cake. You can imagine the predicament Maria and I had stumbled upon that damp September lunchtime; cake or crisps? After much deliberation for approximately five seconds (I know you all expected a much shorter time) we both decided upon the enticing, deeply rich looking vegan chocolate fudge cake that was staring at us from across the flamboyant vegetable filled counter.

THE vegan chocolate fudge cake

Primed and ready with our forks, it was time to treat ourselves to our endearing looking triangular slices of chocolate heaven. The “buttercream” was so immensely glossy we could pretty much see our happy faces reflecting right back at us, with a sheen similar to that of post sunburn from a day much nicer than this one. Making our first delve, our forks were loaded and the air around us promptly filled with an intensely rich chocolate aroma. Silence fell upon us. The sponges were gloriously moist. So soft in fact that our teeth barely needed to make an effort. The texture was as light as a feather, but full to the brim with the rich taste of bitter dark chocolate. We had reached our lunchtime peak, or so we thought. Bring on the “buttercream!”. Luxuriously gooey and velvety, the “buttercream” almost left a satisfying thin chocolate film on the roof of our mouths, in a totally good way, know what I mean? It didn’t take us long (probably less than five seconds in fact) for Maria and I to realise that we were most certainly finishing these heavenly chocolate slices lying effortlessly on our paper plates.

And the best part? From start to finish, this beautiful cake was crafted fully from the produce of mother nature. It was full blown vegan. Plant central, which must mean it is one of your five a day and therefore, healthy in the grand scheme of cake, right?

Yes it does.

Roots are currently offering an evening takeaway service showcasing an array of Middle Eastern, Indian and Mexican inspired dishes. From curries to wraps, burgers and even cottage pie, there is something for everyone to hit that vegan spot.

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