Thursday, July 31, 2014

Apple and strawberry crumble

I know I've mentioned (on quite a few occasions!) my love of summer fruit. Generally speaking, I can't bring myself to 'waste' berries in baked goods, even though I do enjoy them that way as well. Sometimes, though, even I misjudge how many berries I can get through - or as recently, find myself with a punnet that isn't very sweet. Usually I would allocate such fruit to smoothies, but this week I decided to make crumble instead. We had a cooler day amid the warmth that London is continuing to produce, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity for baking.

Apple and strawberry crumble

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fig and lemon drop scones

I promise I won't make a habit of twice monthly drop scone recipes. However, I enjoyed this fig and lemon batch so much that I couldn't keep the post back for long. I also managed slightly neater scones this time around, giving support to the strategy of dropping batter into the pan off the end of your spoon.

I am not sure why dried figs were bought early in my kitchen stocking efforts. I rarely bought them in Australia and I didn't have any clear plans for their use. Given I also bought the fig balsamic featured in my last post, I must have had some latent fig cravings that needed sating! Fortunately, the dried figs proved a perfect match for the lemon in this recipe. The sweet fig pieces turned gooey when cooked, providing little bursts of caramel-like flavour throughout each scone (or pikelet as part of me still calls them).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Quick and easy side dishes: Fig balsamic kale quinoa, and spicy peanut tofu and broccoli

The two side dishes in this post could easily have been combined to form a complete meal. As it was, I had the kale quinoa alongside some Linda McCartney veggie sausages (yes, we do sometimes delve into processed foods!) and the tofu and broccoli as a nutrient-packed lunch before a planned afternoon tea out. They are both very versatile dishes, and could complement any number of other side dishes or main meal options.

The kale quinoa was flavoured by a sticky fig and balsamic dressing produced by Jamie Oliver. To be honest, I am not very enamored with the dressing and it is only in this dish that I have really appreciated its sweet and tart flavours. They worked to round out the kale and quinoa and made the dish a little more exciting than it would otherwise have been. If you don't have a fig and balsamic dressing, any fruit-flavoured balsamic would work, or you could use a small handful of chopped dried fruit with regular balsamic vinegar.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thai-style beetroot noodles

Last week, Emma shared a gorgeous recipe for beetroot ribbon salad on her site Coconut and Berries. She paired the beetroot strands with mint and cashew cheese for a fresh, whole foods summer meal. I loved the look of her salad, but it was the idea of beetroot noodles that really stuck with me. Given how much I love my spiralizer (to the extent that it came to the UK in my suitcase rather than by ship!), it seems amazing that I hadn't thought of beetroot noodles before. They are a perfect, vibrant alternative to the zucchini noodles I already love.

In truth, beetroot and I only became friends in recent years. As may be the case for others, my childhood beetroot experiences were limited to the tinned variety. My Australian grandmother used to serve it alongside other salad options, and in addition to disliking the taste, I wasn't confident of my ability to eat it without shooting red stains onto my grandparents' carpeted floors or cloth-covered table.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ginger-chilli sweet potato and almond burgers

Before we moved, I assumed that the UK would have more vegan and vegetarian food options than Australia. In almost all ways, it undoubtedly does. However, there are a few surprising exceptions to that rule, and veggie burgers provide one such example. On reflection, it is perhaps not surprising that a country of long summers and frequent barbecues has a large number of veggie burgers to choose from. Whilst England does have some options of its own, most of them are of the faux meat variety and relatively few are vegan.

An upside of this discovery is that I suddenly have more motivation to make my own veggie burgers. Traditionally, this has been an area where I have good intentions but poor follow through. I love the idea of making up a batch of patties to suit my tastes, and freezing some to have on hand in the future. However, when I had access to supermarket burgers that I enjoyed, and which featured straightforward vegetable ingredient lists, I tended to just buy them.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Out and about in London #1: Greenwich, Blackheath, Camden, and inSpiral vegan cafe

I don't intend to write in detail about all of our London outings. There would be too many posts, and there is plenty written about London already. This blog is not the best means of extending the existing literature! However, I do envisage occasional posts like this one, highlighting certain places. Today, we are swinging from south of the river in Greenwich and Blackheath, to well north of it in Camden. We end with an amazing raw vegan chocolate cake!

Greenwich Park

First, Greenwich. Best known as the home of Greenwich Mean Time, it features the Royal Observatory, National Maritime Museum, Old Royal Naval College, Cutty Sark, Queen's House, Greenwich Market, and gorgeous Greenwich Park. The whole area is a World Heritage Site, and the park itself is London's oldest Royal Park. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sweet potato and strawberry smoothie

I think I have used my NutriBullet daily since its purchase. It has produced a lot of smoothies, a few batches of frozen banana soft serve, and some ground almonds. The small size and easy clean up (aided by being able to drink smoothies from the jars they are blended in!) are fantastic perks, and make it really appealing to use. Plus, we seem to have brought a bit of Western Australian heat to the UK. Smoothies and frozen bananas are just right.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Chocolate zucchini breakfast pudding

It seems that this week I am all about chocolate. I hope you don't mind too much. This chocolate zucchini breakfast pudding would make a good prelude to the chocolate cake of my last post, but it would also make a good prelude to just about anything at all. Basically, it delivers slow release carbohydrates and a serve of vegetables in the form of warm fudgy chocolate. I like it rather a lot.

Prior to yesterday, I actually didn't have a Breakfast section on my Recipes page. I had quite a few breakfast-y recipes, but they were easily integrated into my Baking section or the leftover 'Other' category. Of late, though, I have had more time to devote to breakfast, a nice consequence of not yet starting work in the UK. Creations from my new NutriBullet have featured prominently in the mornings, but there have been other types of breakfast too. Suddenly, it seemed that my Recipes page really ought to have a Breakfast component. I am pleased to announce it with this recipe!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Super easy, one bowl, vegan chocolate cake

As I've mentioned before, chocolate cake isn't really my favourite kind of cake. I did love it as a child, but these days I like my chocolate straight up and my cakes filled with fruit and/or spices (or in raw cheesecake form!). Sometimes, though, chocolate cake is what I want. As Mr Bite always welcomes chocolate baked goods, I don't need much excuse to turn to chocolate baking when the whim does strike. Last week was such an occasion.

Made in 30 minutes with minimal effort.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sun dried tomato and mushroom zucchini noodles

I think this is the last recipe hanging on from my Australian kitchen. I say think because sometimes I forget about posts until I find a set of photos and/or scribbled recipe notes, in blog draft format or somewhere less sensible. Probably, though, this is it.

This is the fourth zucchini noodle recipe that I've shared, and it is one of my favourites to date. It was directly based on The Raw Kitchen's "live zucchini pasta", which I raved about back in May. The restaurant version featured raw tomato sauce, mushrooms, kalamata olives, avocado, basil, nutritional yeast and black pepper. My adaptation used sherry vinegar and soy sauce instead of the tomato sauce, and dropped the olives and avocado in place of sundried tomatoes. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

(Vegan) plum and yogurt drop scones

Two weeks ago, I predicted that it wouldn't be long until I shared a drop scone recipe. Today, I am following through on that prediction! These plum and yogurt drop scones were my first foray into drop scone territory, aided by a recent recipe for strawberry drop scones in the cooking section of the weekend Guardian. My adaptation confirmed that British drop scones and Australian pikelets are indeed close relations. It also confirmed that drop scones and I will get on together very well indeed.

Plum and yogurt drop scones

Sunday, July 6, 2014

365 project: June photos

It is quite odd looking back at my photography for June. There is a clear transition, mid-month, from Australian scenes to British ones. It is hard to believe that 4 weeks ago I was still walking my Australian suburb. It seems a long time ago, and a long way away.

The start of June has two more street art photos, continuing a theme prompted by Johanna and seen in my May photography. I have yet to see much street art in London, which suggests I'm either not paying attention or I haven't explored very widely (I am quite certain it is out there!).

There is a little bit of overlap between the photos in this collection and those in my recent London posts. I apologise for the double up, and hope you can find some new images to draw you in...

1st: Local robot / 2nd: Busy mind / 3rd: University architecture / 4th: Glow man / 5th: Birthday 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Vegan spelt banana bread with coconut sugar

I don't think you can really know an oven, or trust it, until you have used it to bake a cake. I have gone through a trial and error process with our new oven, as it has rather worn labels that aren't very easy to read. One on occasion, I thought I was grilling but had actually set the oven to 'defrost'. I didn't even know ovens could have a defrost setting. Basically, it just blows air around with no heat. I don't anticipate using the feature again!

Spelt banana bread with coconut sugar

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

In my kitchen - July 2014

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

It seems a long time since my June In My Kitchen post. My Australian kitchen has been replaced by a new space, new foods and new utensils.

I have re-started my tea collection. So far I'm up to Chai, 
Early Grey, lemon and ginger, and liquorice.

As some of you may have spotted on Facebook, one star feature in my kitchen this month is a new NutriBullet. My Australian blender was not a very powerful machine, to the extent that I basically never used it and made smoothies in my food processor instead (not really ideal).

With my food processor coming by sea, I knew the move would provide the perfect opportunity for a new blender. It didn't take a lot of consideration to settle on the NutriBullet. It does everything I'd hoped for and more, and I suspect smoothies will feature regularly for the next few months.