Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Mint Tim Tams, version 1

When I was pondering what to make over the 3-day long weekend (because, as I'm sure you all know, something will be made over a 3-day long weekend - and very likely multiple somethings), the idea for vegan chocolate mint Tim Tams came to me in a flash.

Although several commercial vegan Tim Tam-like biscuits are available, they are generally expensive, don't taste quite right (to me), and have a long and artificial-y ingredient list. They might be vegan, but with a few notable exceptions, they don't generally appeal to me.

Although I rarely had Tim Tams before veganising aspects of my diet, I thought it would be fun to try and create a mint version at home. Mint and chocolate combinations are a firm favourite of mine and Mr Bite's, so it's a flavour that is usually safe when trying out new recipes.

I am calling these Version 1 because my original plan was to create a mint filling from soy condensed milk, with cornflour to thicken it, and peppermint essence. I still can't find soy condensed milk (I am sure it is somewhere in Western Australia, but I'm yet to discover precisely where) so I used soy evaporated milk instead.

If I ever locate condensed milk, I will try that for Version 2.

In the meantime, I'm quite happy to present Version 1.

Vegan Chocolate Mint Tim Tams
Makes 16 biscuits
Drawing inspiration from...

  • 1 250g packet Arnott's Nice biscuits (or any other plain vegan biscuits, or biscuit of your choice)
  • 200g dairy-free chocolate (I used 100g Sweet William's dairy-free milk chocolate and 100g Lindt 70% cocoa dark chocolate and found this to work very well)
  • 1/4 cup soy evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract


1. Take 16 Nice biscuits and break them in half. You will use 2 biscuit halves for each final chocolate biscuit.

2. Combine the soy evaporated milk, icing sugar and peppermint extract in a microwave proof bowl. Heat on medium power for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the ingredients are well combined and the mixture has thickened slightly (you could, of course, also do this over the stove top). 

3. Place the peppermint mixture in the freezer for ~5 minutes, to cool.

4. Crumble 3 - 4 Nice biscuits into small, crumb-size pieces. Add these to the peppermint mixture when it has cooled. This won't look particularly attractive - don't worry!

4. Spread a few tsp of the peppermint mixture onto one of the half biscuit pieces. You want enough mixture to cover the whole of the biscuit base. Top with another half biscuit piece, to sandwich the peppermint filling. Repeat for the remaining biscuits.

Again, this won't look particularly attractive - don't worry!

5. Place the peppermint-filled biscuits in the freezer to set, about 20 minutes.

6. Melt your chocolate in a heat proof bowl, in the microwave or over a double boiler system on the stove top. (I actually melted my chocolate in two lots; if you do it all at once, you may need to return the mixture to the heat halfway through the biscuit construction.)

7. Dip each biscuit into the chocolate mixture, to coat. Alternatively, use a spoon to cover each biscuit with chocolate. I alternated between these two approaches.

8. Place each chocolate coated biscuit on a baking tray lined with baking paper. When all biscuits are coated, place them in the freezer to set, about 15 - 20 minutes. Then transfer to the fridge for storage.

The verdict?


Mr Bite and I both really liked the chocolate coating (Lindt + Sweet William's = a good outcome) and the biscuit filling. He would have liked more peppermint flavour, but I found it to be enough. Depending on your tastes, you may want to play around with the quantity of peppermint essence.

The filling wasn't quite what I had envisioned (that's where Version 2 will come in, if I can track down that soy condensed milk) but overall, I was very happy with these.

They're definitely a decadent product (and I think best kept for occasional consumption!) but the making and eating were certainly enjoyable. What's more, there are no unpronounceable ingredients in sight.

Are you a chocolate biscuit fan? Do you have a favourite variety?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Photography fun and public transport excursions

I couldn't have asked for much more of our Friday public holiday, otherwise to be known as a Bonus Day of Exciting Outings and Fun.

For a start, I am now the very happy owner of a new Sony Nex-C3 interchangeable lens camera. I haven't been so thrilled with a purchase since I bought my KitchenAid food processor back in April.

I also haven't spent so much money in one hit since I bought my KitchenAid food processor. 2011 seems to be the year of expensive purchases.

This camera is more substantial than my old Sony point-and-shoot, and it's main benefits will (I think) be in low-light and close-up shooting. My old camera was fine in good light conditions, if I kept my hand steady and didn't try to get too close to my target, but that only happened in about 1 in 10 photos. And in fairness, it was 7 (ish) years old.

The lens shown above left is the 18-55mm zoom lens. I also have a 16mm wide-angle lens that I haven't even tried, and it probably goes without saying that I have a long way to go before I know how to use all the features. 

Despite that, I already like this camera very much.

I spent quite a bit of time playing with it yesterday...

New camera

Old camera

New camera - different picture effects


Pop colour ("creates a vivid look by emphasizing colour tones"):

Retro ("creates the look of an aged photo with sepia colour tones and faded contrast"):

Partial colour - red ("creates an image which retains the specified colour, but converts others to black and white"):

High key ("creates an image with the indicated atmosphere - bright, transparent, ethereal, tender, soft"):

Toy ("creates the look of a toy camera with shaded corners and pronounced colours"):
[Note to self - shaded corners don't work so well on a black background!]

Posterization ("creates a high contrast, abstract look by heavily emphasising primary colours")

...and, clearly, had rather a lot of fun.

I need to learn the 'real' features too, but I'm sure I'll get there. I'm already looking forward to the experimenting!

(As an aside, I may do a post at some stage on how I settled on this model, because I noticed a number of you expressed uncertainty over how to choose cameras / other large-scale technology-related objects in your comments on this post. I have a whole spreadsheet on camera research, so may look to modify it for general consumption :P)

In addition to camera testing, yesterday involved a large-scale public transport outing to make full use of the free train / bus opportunities that are in place this weekend. We went as far south as one can go by train from Perth (about an hour), a route neither of us had done before, and entertained ourselves for several hours at the other end.

This trip allowed me to discover, and be rendered near speechless by, PantryMan, a bulk-food store that has a selection of flours, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, confectionery, baking ingredients, spices, and legumes unrivaled in Perth itself. I bough sugar free peppermint carob buds, carob cherry bites, and wholemeal spelt flour, thus contributing to a rather full bag for the rest of our outing.

Old camera because my new one doesn't yet have a case :)

We also had a Subway picnic on the local foreshore area, in delightful weather, and were impressed that we could have a highly enjoyable 6-hour round trip for the cost of a Subway sandwich and either bulk food purchases (me, $4.90) or a Coke (Mr Bite, $3-ish).

It's a pity every Friday can't be like this.

Do you ever use public transport for 'fun' outings? We rarely do but I'm now thinking we should consider it more often.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Queen, CHOGM and a long weekend, with random photos

The Queen and Prince Phillip arrived in Perth yesterday ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) this weekend (a meeting of leaders from the 54 Commonwealth countries, held every two years). The news has been full of their tours around Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne, and I suspect things will remain focused on Royal and Commonwealth matters over the next few days.

I don't usually consider myself a Royal family follower, but this year has been somewhat of an exception. I found myself enjoying Prince William and Catherine Middleton's wedding, and now that the Queen is in Australia (and now in Perth!) I find myself captivated by that too. It's an odd but impressive experience to think of someone so well known so near by, although perhaps this is heightened by the fact that virtually no one important visits Western Australia :P

Random photo number 1
The first banana I ate after being able to afford them again (although $7/kg would not have been called affordable pre-cyclones and $16/kg ridiculousness...)

Of course, if one wants to see the Queen, one has to go to some effort, even if she is residing in the same city. As Mr Bite helpfully pointed out, she is not going to come to me and it's unlikely that I will bump into her at the local shops. I'm not sure if we'll make it to any of the viewings or events organised to allow people to catch a glimpse (I'm not sure if I care that much!) but we will see how things go.

Random photo number 2
The banana again. But with my arm. Except I am taking the photo, from the other side of the plate. How is my arm over there? I have no idea.

The other exciting aspect of CHOGM and the Queen's visit is that Perth gets a public holiday tomorrow.

This holiday was moved from what would have been the Western Australian Queen's Birthday public holiday, on Monday 3rd October. With the Queen actually being in Perth this week, and the CHOGM events resulting in road and area closures from tomorrow through to Sunday, a decision was made to move the holiday to tomorrow instead.

Random photo number 3
Overnight oats, with bonus mini-weets, before fruit got added. I don't know why I took this photo. I don't know why I didn't take the final photo either (fruit is always added to my cereal bowls!).

This shift of the public holiday worked out very well for me. You see, my workplace has a slightly funny approach to public holidays: We don't get a lot of them.

The Australia wide events of significance (Anzac Day, Australia Day, the Easter holidays) are honoured, but the rest are 'saved up' and given to us between Christmas and New Year. This means that I work public holidays days when most people are at home, but then get about 10 days off at Christmas. Most of the time, I like this system quite a lot.

Random photo number 4
Natural pot set yoghurt, with strawberries and nutmeg, and a dollop of some form of nut butter, the precise variety now forgotten.

Although I wouldn't have had the Queen's Birthday holiday off at the start of the month, my workplace is giving us tomorrow off - in part because the aforementioned road closures may have interfered with staff getting to work and in part, I think, just to be nice. This makes me very happy.

The big question, then, is what will I do with my 3 day weekend?

The current shortlist is looking like this...
  • Make use of the free public transport arrangements in place tomorrow and Saturday to take a long-distance train trip
  • Some gardening
  • A new camera purchase :D :D :D
  • Some baking / food processing / cooking (including, I think, an attempt at homemade chilli chocolate coconut butter)
  • Installing Ikea shelves in our kitchen :D
  • Reading
  • A bonus run tomorrow morning as the gym is shut

The standard supermarket shopping / cleaning / washing will scrape in too, but I am feeling pretty positive about the next few days.

Actually, I am so over-excited that I am liable to do myself some damage. Particularly at the new camera, Ikea shelves, and chilli chocolate coconut butter possibilities.

Reminder to self: slow breathing is your friend.

Random picture number 5
Lettuce from the garden. The epitome of randomness. Perhaps I photographed it because I was proud to have grown it? Or perhaps I just photographed it because my camera was there.

What do you have planned for your weekend, even if it isn't starting until Saturday?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Multi-product review: Non-dairy milk options

An Introductory Summary

The table below summarises the milks I have reviewed. I've also included nutritional information here, so it's easier to compare across milks. For purposes of comparison, I've listed details for skim and regular (full-fat) cow's milk too.

I update this table whenever I review a new milk, and have noted at the end of this post when updates were made. Milks are listed alphabetically. Note that all soy milks listed here make use of non-genetically modified soy beans.

The original post (October 2011) continues below, with a list of updates (and links to other relevant posts) at the end.

Non-Dairy Milk: Some Background

This post has been a little while in the making, and I’m excited to finally be able to post it. It’s been quite a fun process getting here.

Prior to this year, I had never given much thought to non-dairy milk alternatives. Although I was lactose intolerant as a child, the only milk alternative I remember at that time was soy, and I didn’t much like it. I’ve also never really enjoyed regular milk, and dairy products haven’t traditionally been a big part of my diet (except in yoghurt form).

Since actively trying to reduce or eliminate dairy, I’ve realised that not using milk a lot is very different to not using it at all. The small uses have proved surprisingly hard to change! This is especially true of tea and coffee, as I find non-dairy milks often curdle when added to hot drinks.

This is a summary of the different options I have tried over the last few months. It does, of course, reflect my own personal biases, and is by no means complete. The idea is to give a sense of some of the options out there, but there are more I haven't touched on.
So Good 99.9% Fat Free Soy milk

Soy products are still the easiest milk alternative to find in Australia. In the long-life milk aisle, there are non-fat, low-fat, calcium enriched and flavoured UHT options, from multiple companies, and refrigerated options are also available.

If you're switching from skim cow's milk, as I was, non-fat soy milk may seem like a good substitute. As the table above shows, it's certainly the closest option in nutritional terms.

Summary: I find this milk to be more watery (and slightly dirtier looking in colour!) than skim cow’s milk, but in my case this isn’t particularly off-putting. If you actually enjoyed milk, though, I think it would be.

Taste: Faintly soy-like, slightly watery.

Ingredients: Filtered water, soy protein (3.5%), corn maltodextrin, cane sugar, minerals (phosphates of calcium, potassium and magnesium), acidity regulator (332), natural flavours, vegetable based emulsifier (471), antioxidant (ascorbic acid), vitamins (A, B12, B2, B1).

Would I drink a glass plain: No.

Does it work in tea / coffee: No - it curdles, as I find most soy milks to do. (I drink instant coffee at home, and I think the problem is less noticeable if the milk is heated and used in a coffee maker.)

I would use it for: Baking, and on cereals where I don’t want a lot of milk (most of them!).

Price: ~$2.65 (Australian) for a 1L shelf stable UHT tetrapack.

Overall: 6 / 10. I tend to think of this as a default ‘go to’ option if I want to substitute a non-dairy alternative for cow’s milk, but I wouldn’t drink it plain. 

So Good ‘Chocolate Bliss’ chocolate flavoured soy milk

Summary: This comes in a 1L shelf stable tetrapack, and in packs of 3x 250ml individual tetrapacks. Although the small packs work out to be more expensive, I rarely want a whole litre of milk each week, and so they are better value for me. I enjoy this as a change from the other non-flavoured options and I like the chocolate taste.

Taste: Chocolatey, with a detectable but not overpowering soy taste. Thick enough for my liking.

Ingredients: Filtered water, soy protein (3.5%), cane sugar, corn maltodextrin, fructose, vegetable oils (sunflower, canola) [contains antioxidant (tocopherols) (contain soy)], minerals [phosphates of calcium, potassium and magnesium], cocoa powder (0.5%), acidity regulator (332), flavour, antioxidant (ascorbic acid), vitamins [A, B12, B2, B1].

Would I drink a glass plain: Yes.

Does it work in tea / coffee: Pretty sure not :P

I would use it for: Drinking plain, and on weetbix (try it!).

Price: ~$2.65 (Australian) for a 1L shelf stable UHT tetrapack, or ~$3.80 for 3x 250ml single serve tetrapacks.

Overall: 7.5 / 10. It’s one of the few milk-related drinks I would have plain, and despite being flavoured, it’s lower in sugar than some of the unflavoured alternatives coming up.

Vitasoy Protein Enriched Rice Milk

Summary: This appealed to me because of the addition of chick pea derived protein. I haven’t tried regular rice milk so am unable to comment on any differences between this variety and non-protein enriched options, but I certainly liked this.

Taste: Difficult to describe - there was a greater depth in flavour than most of the other milks. I would describe it as slightly nutty and slightly oaty, but I don’t know if others would agree. It doesn't actually taste of nuts or oats, but it seemed reminiscent of both in my mind. It's not too sweet, but it is sweet enough to seem drinkable plain.

Ingredients: Filtered water, whole brown rice (min 11%), chick peas (min 5%) sunflower oil, calcium, phosphate, sea salt.

Would I drink a glass plain: Probably.

Does it work in tea / coffee: No - still curdles, sadly :(

I would use it for: This works amazingly well with cereal and oats, especially if the oats are left to stand for a few hours or overnight (they go super, super fluffy!). It could also be used in place of milk in most recipes, sweet and savoury, and I would use it in smoothies.

Price: ~$2.85 (Australian) for a 1L shelf stable UHT tetrapack.

Overall: 9 / 10, because of the protein and calcium ticks, the reasonable price, the pleasant taste, and the number of things I would use it for. I really liked this milk!

Pure Harvest Organic Almond Milk, unflavoured

Summary: This was the first almond milk variety I tried, and the one that is most commonly available at supermarkets near me. Although this variety is unflavoured, it seems like a ‘sweet’ milk - and that is borne out when looking at the sugar content per 100g. It's definitely suited to cereals and fruit rather than savoury use.

Taste: This is a slightly paradoxical milk: it's sweet and slightly creamy but doesn't seem heavy or overpowering; it's very low in fat but certainly not lacking in flavour; and it's unflavoured (albeit sweetened) but I found it reminiscent of vanilla. 

Ingredients: Filtered water, organic almonds, organic rice syrup, organic sunflower oil, sea salt.

Would I drink a glass plain: Maybe.

Does it work in tea / coffee: No (still curdles), to my disappointment.

I would use it for: As an alternative to soy milk in baking and on cereals, or in smoothies.

Price: This is the downside - about $5 (Australian) for a 1L shelf stable UHT tetrapack.

Overall: 7.5 / 10. It’s enjoyable and a nice alternative to soy, but is costly, has negligible protein and calcium, and is the highest in sugar of the milks I tried.

Pacific Natural Foods Organic Almond Milk, in low fat vanilla

Summary: I was so excited when I found this (and the coconut milk discussed below) at a small IGA supermarket near me. It took me by surprise and before discovering it, I genuinely believed that vanilla almond milk wasn’t available in Australia. Given this initial excitement, I was very disappointed at how little I liked this milk. Very disappointed!

Taste: Watery, artificially vanilla-y, and simultaneously too sweet but lacking in flavour (how?! why?!).

Ingredients: Organic almond base (filtered water, organic almonds), organic evaporated cane juice, potassium citrate, sea salt, natural vanilla flavour with other natural flavours, Carrageenan, Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin A, Palmitate, Vitamin D3.

Would I drink a glass plain: No.

Does it work in tea / coffee: No (curdles).

I would use it for: I wouldn’t.

Price: About $5 (Australian) for a 920ml shelf stable UHT tetrapack.

Overall: I had such high hopes, and sadly they were dashed. Combined with the high price, lack of protein and calcium, and presence of a few ingredients I’d rather weren’t in there (Carrageenan, a seaweed extract often associated with GI distress, for one), this is a product I won’t be buying again.

I would still like to try the Pacific Natural Foods unsweetened almond milk, but at this stage I think I’m probably leaving almond milk alone until it’s either cheaper or there are more brands for me to choose form.

So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage, in original

Summary: This was the second of my exciting IGA milk discoveries, along with the vanilla almond milk mentioned above. In truth, I think I was excited because it was an American product and something new, rather than due to the coconut nature of the drink (I’m not a huge coconut fan, although the taste is growing on me in adulthood). However, I ended up really liking it! Certainly a lot more than the vanilla almond milk.

Taste: Slightly coconuty but not overwhelmingly so, and sweet without being too sweet.

Ingredients: Organic coconut milk (organic coconut cream, water, guar gum), organic evaporated cane juice, calcium phosphate, magnesium phosphate, Carrageenan, Vitamin A palmitate, Vitamin D-2, L-Selenomethionine (Selenium), Zinc Oxide, Folic Acid, Vitamin B-12.

Would I drink a glass plain: Probably.

Does it work in tea / coffee: Yes! Yes!

I had almost given up hope by this stage that anything would work in hot drinks, but this worked beautifully. No curdling and no clashing of flavours either.

I would use it for: In tea and coffee :D Also on cereal, and in smoothies. I’m not sure how well it would go as a substitute for milk in savoury recipes, but I would use it in baking too.

Price: ~$5.00 (Australian) for a 920ml shelf stable UHT tetrapack - again, this is the downside.

Overall: 9 / 10, because it works in hot drinks, it’s a different taste and a slightly sweeter one (without actually being too high in sugar), and it has novelty value. However, I probably won’t buy it on a very regular basis because of the cost and some of the ingredients.

The other exciting thing about this milk, though, is that it inspires hope that other So Delicious coconut products may turn up in Australia in the future. Ice cream and yoghurt would be very welcome indeed!

In conclusion...

At the time of writing (October 2011), I would rate the protein enriched rice milk as the overall winner in terms of nutrition, taste, possible uses and price. The coconut milk was a close second in terms of taste and possible uses, and soy remains a good go-to option that is easy to source. Almond milk has proved a bit hit and miss, and too pricey to justify given that is the case!

I'm conscious of not reviewing oat milk or some of the other soy brands and varieties, so there are certainly other options beyond these.

What are your favourite milk options? Do you move between dairy and non-dairy, or are you fully committed to one camp or the other?



Update 5th December 2011: Details of Pacific Natural Foods hazelnut chocolate milk, So Delicious unsweetened original coconut milk, and So Good almond milk have been added to the above table, and are discussed here.

Update 30th April 2012: Details of Blue Diamond Almond Breeze unsweetened almond milk have been added to the above table, and are discussed here.

Update 22nd November 2012: Details of Blue Diamond regular Almond Breeze almond milk have been added to the above table.

Update 22nd December 2012: Details of So Good unsweetened almond milk have been added to the above table, and are discussed here.

Update 13th March 2013: Details of which milks contain carrageenan have been added to the above table, along with details of Almond Breeze chocolate almond milk and Vitasoy vita cafe soy milk.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Raspberry and white chocolate muffins, for my parents

My parents have been in Victoria since last Wednesday, in order to attend my grandmother's funeral and spend time with my Dad's family. With them leaving half way through one work week, arriving back just in time to leap into the next, and not travelling for the most enjoyable of reasons...well, I wanted to give them something nice to return home to.

Flowers and fruit was one component.

These muffins were the other.

They are adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly 'Muffins' cookbook. I can't recall when I bought the book (the price on the front says $3.85, which suggests it was long enough ago for inflation to have hit!) but it has been very well used over the years, and I have made these muffins a number of times.

The cover image is even of the original white chocolate and berry muffin that inspired today's product:

I don't usually post recipes directly from books, but as there are many, many raspberry and white chocolate muffin recipes out there, and the muffins I made didn't follow the recipe exactly, I thought I would make an exception today.

Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins
Adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly 'Muffins' cookbook
Makes 12

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped white chocolate (if you wanted these to be vegan, you could use Sweet Williams dairy free white chocolate. I had intended to do this but the supermarket I visited when buying ingredients didn't stock it!)
  • 1 egg (I actually used egg replacer because I so rarely buy / use eggs)
  • 125g butter, melted (I used nuttelex)
  • 150g plain or vanilla yoghurt (I used soy vanilla)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries


1. Preheat oven to 200'C (400'F) and prepare at 12-pan muffin tray.

2. Combine flour, sugar and chopped chocolate in a large bowl.

3. In a smaller bowl, combine melted butter, egg (or egg replacer), yoghurt, vanilla essence and the tablespoon water.

4. Add the wet mixture into the dry and stir to combine. Add the raspberries and stir through.

5. Spoon mixture into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.

I usually dislike white chocolate, but even I enjoy it in these muffins. There's something about the flavour combinations and the pairing of berry and white chocolate that works incredibly well.

Amongst other things, the original recipe calls for buttermilk and not yoghurt, uses multiple types of berry, and suggests pressing berries into the top of the muffins rather than mixing them through the batter. I've made it the original way and with several variations and the end result always turns out well.

 Not having used this book since I started experimenting with vegan baking, I am now motivated to go through and re-create other recipes without eggs or dairy. I think it will be rather a fun process...

Do you have a favourite baking recipe, or one that can always be relied upon?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Spinach, tofu and quinoa scramble

You know how some dishes look so attractive, you're sure they must taste delightful? And even if they don't, you're prepared to forgive them because they look so good?

This isn't one of them.

This is also a recipe that definitely would not have appeared on Australian dining room tables 50 years ago.

It is, though, a recipe that I think I will be making again.

Let me introduce you to the latest haphazard creation to come out of my kitchen...

Spinach, tofu and quinoa scramble

A lesson in looking past appearances
Makes ~3 serves

  • 1 300g pack firm tofu, chopped (you could even use firm silken for this dish)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (about 1 1/2 cups cooked)
  • ~150g frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium capsicum, chopped
  • 1/2 - 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, to taste (I used 1 tbsp and didn't find it too strong)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce, plus extra to serve
  • I didn't do this but I wish I did - 1 onion, diced


1. Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions, in a large saucepan.

2. Whilst it's cooking, saute the tofu, chopped, and capsium in a non-stick pan (at this point you would also saute your onion, if you were including this).

3. When the tofu is starting to scramble slightly, and the capsicum (and onion) are starting to soften, add the soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, nutritional yeast, carrot, and spinach. Combine. Stir occasionally over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

4. Add the tofu and vegetable mix to the cooked quinoa.

4. Stir occasionally over low heat for about 10 minutes.

5. Serve with extra sweet chilli sauce.

This might not have looked like a picture-perfect dish, but I found the flavours and textures to come together very well. What is more, one serve (one-third of the above recipe) provides over 20g of vegetarian protein! The spinach, tofu and quinoa are also all sources of non-haem iron.

Next time I definitely would add that onion, but I was highly satisfied with this impromptu combination. I didn't risk it on Mr Bite though, so I can't speak for anyone other than myself!

Do you experiment with random ingredient combinations? How do yours turn out?