Sunday, June 29, 2014

Spiced pancakes with tomato and basil beans

I shared my first UK snack recipe last week, and today I am pleased to share my first main meal recipe. (It is typical, of course, that the dishes came in that order.) These spiced pancakes with tomato and basil beans are perfect for summer or winter, and make the most of fresh, vibrant ingredients.

I used a pre-made curry powder mix in the pancake batter, but you could mix and match spices to suit your tastes or what you have on hand. A combination of cumin, turmeric, coriander and/or black pepper would do the job nicely. For the bean mix, fresh basil would be best, but obviously dried could be substituted if necessary. Similarly, fresh tomatoes would be ideal if they are in season, but the tinned equivalent provides an easy stand in for when they aren't.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Settling in - local sights and new discoveries

Before we moved, I didn't really understand when people described London as a series of villages. I thought it was a quaint way of referring to neighbourhood divisions, where people in NW3 (Hampstead) don't talk to those in SE10 (Greenwich). 

It might refer to that too, but it turns out London is quite village like. Once you move away from the very central areas, there are pockets that feel remarkably like the countryside. We are 15 minutes from central London by train, but if we walk 5 minutes in any direction, we are on tree lined suburban streets that seem a million miles from busy roads and big city bustle. It's very odd. Utterly delightful, but odd. 

Local parks

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mini vegan caramel apple pancakes (pikelets)

I have found the English equivalent to Australian pikelets: drop scones. Some of you had told me about them previously, and lo! you were correct. Also known as Scotch pancakes, they are pretty much identical to Australian pikelets in appearance, and have just a few minor differences in the typical ingredient list.

I suspect I will be sharing a drop scone recipe with you before long, but for now, I am featuring what may be my last Australian pikelet recipe for now. I made these caramel apple pikelets before we moved, and they feature some more of that mesquite powder I was trying to use up (!). The mesquite provided the caramel tones referred to in the title, and the pikelets were (if I do say so myself) utterly delicious. I certainly plan to make them again.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

No bake cinnamon peanut butter oat bites

This is my first recipe from my new kitchen. It seems an oddly significant moment! With few utensils or appliances, it was never going to be a complicated recipe. These no-bake, bite-sized balls seem a fitting extension of my love of raw fruit and nut truffles, but this time with oats as a star player and no food processor required.

Our online food order arrived during the week, which means our kitchen cupboards are full rather than bare. I now have three nut butters (peanut, hazelnut and almond), and lots of other things besides. I still don't have a flour selection happening, but I do at least have spices.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Odds and ends snacks: Ginger and mesquite green smoothie and currant chickpea pancakes

As I have mentioned before, we didn't do a great job of running down ingredients before we moved. In part, this was because our move date was only confirmed 2.5 weeks before we left, and in part, this was because we have a tendency to stock up on food. That tendency does not pay off when moving house.

As a result, we ate some odd things before leaving Australia. I won't share the oddest with you, but the smoothie and pancakes in this post deserve to be made even if you aren't using up ingredients. Neither are very different to things I've made before, but the addition of mesquite to the smoothie, and the combination of currants and chickpea (besan) flour in the pancakes, made these stand out from past versions.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Setting up home - days 1 to 4 (including new food purchases)

Do you remember those maths problems involving a river, a boat, and an odd assortment of animals?

Something like, if you have 4 chickens and 3 rabbits, and you have to transport them to the other side of a river in a boat that only carries 2 animals, how many trips will it take if there can never be more rabbits than chickens in one place? That sort of thing.

I've decided that setting up home after an overseas move is a bit like that, but more fun. If you have one empty flat, how many trips will it take to buy furniture, linen, kitchen utensils and food, working with the constraints of no car, an extra set of hands if you shop with your husband, but time-limited trips if you shop with said husband? And the twist of certain things you need now also coming from Australia by ship (like crockery), meaning that any immediate purchases should be on a small scale?

I'm not sure of the answer yet, but my rough estimate is "a lot".

My new kettle. When the food processor arrives, it will match.
(And yes, that is me reflected in the side!)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lemon buckwheat pudding

My food processor is being shipped with our other belongings (mostly book and kitchen items, plus clothes that didn't come in our cases), so I won't be processing buckwheat or anything else for the next few months. Luckily there is plenty of UK food to keep me entertained without a food processor, and I'm looking forward to sharing some of that soon. For now, this is a dish I made before we left Australia. 

This is obviously similar to the buckwheat porridge recipes I shared recently. However, I think this one deserves the title of "pudding" instead of "porridge".Whilst not very different to my previous buckwheat versions, the addition of yacon syrup added sweetness and, when paired with lemon, made this as much a dessert as a breakfast. 

Creamy lemon deliciousness

Friday, June 13, 2014

Hello, London

Thank you for your travel (and arrival) well wishes. We are now in London and it has turned on gorgeous summer weather to greet us. I think now we're in this part of the world, sunshine will be something to soak up rather than avoid (Perth summers being rather more scorching than the London equivalent).

I'll be sharing recipes and more structured posts again before long, but for now, here are another set of images - this time from the other side of the world to my last post.

Our new home! We're the upstairs flat.

Living / dining room - I am hopeful about the light for food photography.

The all important kitchen.

We have hit up Marks and Spencer's for home essentials...

...a trip that necessitated (or at least involved) visiting Oxford Street.

We have also soaked up the sun along the Thames River.

We saw Army personal posing for photographs - this was snapped post posing. 
The random swinging arm makes me smile.

I renewed my love affair with tried and true UK food stores...

...and spotted many unique places that I look forward to visiting one day. 
The above chocolate cafe and store is one such example!

Have you navigated a major or overseas move, and if so, do you have any advice on crucial things for the first few days? I have a To Organise list that is very long (but rather exciting and lovely at the same time)!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

And we're off!

Or nearly at least. Internet will be disconnected shortly, so this is my last Australian blogging hurrah!

Over the last few days, our belongings have been packed up...

...and freighted off to travel to London by sea.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Mesquite berry coconut ice cream (no ice cream maker required)

One of the kitchen items I will be sorry to leave behind next week is a near full bag of mesquite powder. I bought it earlier in the year, and being on the pricey side, have been using it with restraint since. Now faced with leaving it behind, I am regretting this self-control!

Mesquite berry coconut ice cream

Mesquite powder originates from Peru and can be used as a low GI sweetener and/or a high protein bulking agent in baked goods and smoothies. It tastes slightly nutty and quite caramely, and gets on well with most other ingredients. I bought the Loving Earth brand and you can find it in many health food shops.

You may see a few mesquite recipes from me over the coming weeks, and I am very pleased to share this one for coconut ice cream. As many of you know, I love fruit-based ice creams and think frozen bananas are a great base for just about anything. Sometimes, though, I want something closer to traditional ice cream. Also, I somehow had three cans of coconut cream (!) in my pantry.

There is a little bit of effort required here to process, freeze and re-process the ice cream, but you don't need an ice cream maker and the cost is a fraction of store bought coconut ice cream in Australia. Plus, this way you get to make a flavour that I have never seen in a store. The mesquite powder means that this has serious caramel tones, and they pair exquisitely with the berries.

All in all, I recommend this as well worth the effort!

Mesquite berry coconut ice cream
Serves 2 to 4, but optimally 3

Food processor required

Author: Bite-Sized Thoughts

1 tin of coconut cream, chilled in the fridge for at least 8 hours
2 cups of frozen mixed berries (fresh would obviously work too)
1/3 - 1/2 cup of liquid sweetener (yacon syrup, rice malt syrup, agave, maple syrup or honey), to taste (I recommend 1/2 cup to produce the sweetness of most commercial ice creams)
2 tsp vanilla paste, or 1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup mesquite powder

Open the chilled tin of coconut cream and pour out the liquid component (which you can use in smoothies or other dishes later). Scoop the thick cream into your food processor and add the berries. Process to combine.

Add the liquid sweetener, vanilla and mesquite to the food processor and process again to combine.

Transfer the ice cream mixture to a zip lock bag or plastic container for freezing. You can divide the mix into separate portions now if you wish (e.g., into separate zip lock bags). If using a plastic container, choose one that will release frozen ice cream easily - non-stick and/or flexible is best.

Freeze the ice cream for at least 4 hours or until fully solid. It can be stored in the freezer indefinitely (up to several months) if adequately sealed.

When you want the ice cream, remove the solid mix from the freezer and allow it to thaw very slightly - just a few minutes. Then, tip the mix out onto a chopping board and cut into sizes that your food processor can cope with.

Process in the food processor until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Submitted to Healthy Vegan Fridays.

Do you know / enjoy mesquite powder?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In my kitchen - June 2014

I am linking this post in to Celia's monthly In My Kitchen event at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

In my kitchen, there are finally signs of packing. Mr Bite's spousal visa arrived a few weeks ago, and we are set to fly to London next week! There is suddenly lots to do. There is also way too much food for us to eat. It turns out I am not good at running down food supplies.

Around boxes and surplus rice, beans and flours, there are some items worth sharing. Coconut sorbet is amongst them.

This iced dessert reminded me of the coconut sorbet I had in Madrid - in itself a lovely thing. Like the Spanish equivalent, it sat at the slightly creamy interface between sorbet and ice cream. Coconut water and sugar make up the bulk of the ingredient list, but a small amount of coconut cream adds the creaminess and sets this apart from standard sorbets. I highly recommend trying it if you get a chance to do so.

Monday, June 2, 2014

365 project: May photos

I found May an easier month for photography than April. Adopting my flexible approach to photo captures (7 per week, not necessarily 1 per day) helped, as did following Johanna's posts on Melbourne street art on Green Gourmet Giraffe. You will see a few street art scenes in my own photo selection this month! You may spot an autumn theme throughout too.

Day 29 - one of my favourites from May

My favourite photos this month are actually quite recent ones. I took some early morning photos (#29 and 30) that I love, and experimented with a glowing balloon (#26 to 28) which was very fun indeed. I enjoyed looking back at the earlier photos too though, as they reminded me what I was up to a few weeks ago. It's amazing how quickly memory can fade...

Here is my May in photos.