Thursday, October 30, 2014

Kidecals labels

Earlier this month, I was contacted by Kidecals, an American company that makes customised labels that are water proof, heat proof and cold proof. They wondered if I would be interested in ordering and reviewing some of their products. I am used to American companies retracting offers like that when they hear that I live outside of America, but in this case, that didn't occur. Kideals happily ship internationally, and they were kind enough to give me an extra voucher to cover shipping costs to England.

So it is that I spent some time exploring the Kidecals website, before selecting two sets of labels to order. The company's offer was actually quite timely, as Mr Bite and I had been talking about getting address labels made for our new London address. Thus, the first set of labels I customised were address labels that we will use on the back of envelopes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Classic chocolate muffins, vegan style

I have been relishing more than my food processor since our shipment arrived. I'm also pleased to have muffin tins again and, of course, to be able to put them to use to make muffins. I have made two batches in the last few weeks. The first was a spelt-based apple variety, minimally sweetened but only mildly enjoyable. The muffins were a little dry. I should have measured ingredients more carefully than I did.

Average apple spelt muffins

The second batch, however, turned out rather well. Mr Bite is a chocolate muffin connoisseur, so I knew that if they met his standards they would be doing well. They did - and as a bonus, I liked them too.

Better chocolate muffins

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Vegan Life Magazine, edition 2 (November - December 2014)

I receive complimentary digital copies of Vegan Life, which allows me to post reviews with screenshots included. My reflections on the magazine are entirely my own.

Vegan Life has launched its second edition this month, bringing winter and Christmas into focus. It's still not too cold here yet, but as the Starks would say, winter is coming. Christmas is too. Vegan Life has you covered for both.

As with the first edition, certain articles held particular interest for me and they are the pieces I'm focusing on today. For example, I was pleased to read that the online supermarket Ocado is aiming to increase its vegan range - a nice move from a company that is already vegan friendly. A vegan raspberry sorbet by Snowflake Luxury Gelato also won a supreme champion Great Taste Award, in an open (non-vegan field) in London. If I have the urge for a final summer dessert before the cold weather descends, I know where to head.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Easy vegan dinners - our high rotation list

In some ways, this post is a follow-up to my Vegan MoFo suggestions for portable breakfasts and, just last week, my ideas for easy vegan lunches. There focus here is on easy vegan evening meals.

Homemade individual pizza

I am not much of a meal planner (although I do try!) but we have several dinner routines that make life considerably easier for me. This post summarises some of them.

Chickpea flour pancakes with quintuple spiced lentil eggplant curry

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Apple, plum and tomato chutney

On my domestic goddess Sunday (or at least, the closest I'll ever come to domestic goddess status) I made this chutney as well as my raw bakewell tart bars. I have never made chutney before. I wasn't sure I was up to it: along with jam, it has always seemed a challenging dish to make at home. It turns out that it is quite easy! Other than requiring a few hours to simmer away, there is very little effort required. Sometimes expectations differ hugely from reality.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Raw vegan bakewell tart bars

Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe mentioned last week that she had a domestic goddess moment in her kitchen. Today, I have felt a bit the same. I have cleaned, descaled the kettle and sink (to an Australian, hard water and the need for descaling is a new challenge!), made chutney, and made these bars. Plus, Mr Bite hung the last of our pictures that needed hanging / mounting. It has been a satisfying Sunday.

These bars are inspired by the new, Christmas themed bakewell tart Nákd bars. I was very excited to hear about them. Alas, I haven't found them in any stores near me yet (although I have seen the related Christmas pudding flavoured bar). Given I have my food processor back, I thought I'd try a homemade version.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Easy vegan lunches - for home or work

During the week, I rarely spend more than 5 minutes preparing my work lunches. On weekends I do take a little longer, but still favour speedy meals in the middle of the day. I was reflecting recently on how my lunchtime routines have been streamlined and improved over the years, and so I thought...why not post about them? Why not, indeed.

Without further ado, here are some of my favourite lunch options for weekdays and weekends alike.

Cabbage salad with tofu and mango

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vegan millionaire's shortbread with pear

My big decision last weekend was how to reacquaint myself with my food processor. Mr Bite changed the plug over (Australian to UK) last week, and it was all ready to process away. I have been gathering bookmarks over the last few months for just this moment - a raw vegan millionaire's shortbread recipe, Kate's raw hazelnut caramel slice and Heather's raw carob cream squares, amongst others. How to choose?

Complicating matters, I also had some over ripe pears and the memory of my vegan caramel pear slice. In a mix and match moment, I took the millionaire's shortbread recipe and adapted it to include pears in the filling, and to use cashews and oats instead of almonds for the base.

The result? Food processor heaven. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Out and about in England: Tonbridge and Oxford

Today's post steps away from recipes to share some recent trips out of London. We still haven't ventured too far from England's capital, but recent day trips have whetted my appetite for more exploring.

Tonbridge castle

Tonbridge is approximately 30 miles south-east of London, in the heart of Kent. As with many towns in the area, it started as a market town and still has a traditional high street, albeit now with modern shops. The town isn't too far from where my grandparents live, but inexplicably I'd never visited it before. I think we tended to head to nearby Tunbridge Wells when in the area, as that is larger and has more shops.

High Street buildings 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Blueberry tart

In my recent In My Kitchen post, I mentioned buying rather a lot of blueberries. 5 cups worth, in fact. I know this because I measured out 4 cups for this blueberry tart. It was an excellent use of the fruit, and still allowed me a cup to gobble up fresh.

I don't regularly make tarts, but making vegan lemon meringue pie sparked some interest in pie and tart-based desserts. The base for this tart is actually identical to that for the lemon meringue pie, and the filling is adapted from the lemon equivalent.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mango, strawberry and sweet potato salad with a 'honey' mustard dressing

Dear readers, this will be a week of short and sweet posts. Our shipment has arrived and our flat is a disaster zone! We are really excited to be reunited with our belongings, but until we get the boxes unpacked and items stowed away, it is an obstacle course getting from room to room. Making dinner last night involved a narrow path from fridge to stove, and shuffling of boxes to get to the sink. It is tricky. I am also unsure why we (I) shipped so much. Living without much for  4 months has changed my views on 'essential'. I could have abandoned a lot more in Perth.

Mango, strawberry and sweet potato salad with a 'honey' mustard dressing

Sunday, October 5, 2014

In my kitchen - October 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 is exciting produce. I am finding my local vegetable stalls delightful for unexpected (and cheap) fruits and vegetables. Last week, a highlight was rainbow chard. I've never seen or had it before, so am quite in awe of the colours!

I also picked up an enormous bowl of blueberries for £1. I put a fair chunk of them into a blueberry tart, the recipe for which shall come in due course.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fitness Fridays - Ealing half marathon

Last Sunday was the Ealing half marathon in West London, an event I signed up for before we even moved to the UK. Half marathons around Perth tend to be in the April to September period, so with our move planned for May and eventuating in June, I knew I wouldn't be running any Australian events this year. It was nice having this run to focus on over the last few months, and I am now pleased to have participated in my first UK running event.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

365 project: August and September photos

This is a jam packed photo post! With Vegan MoFo last month, I am only sharing my photo-a-day images from August now, along with my September's photos. In the mix are sunny skies and early autumnal colours, a marker of the weather shifts seen over the last 8 weeks. It is still mild and mostly sunny in London, but the days are shortening, leaves are changing colour, and there is a crisp note in the air most mornings. I'm delighted: I love autumn, and autumn in England is entirely new to me. All of my past UK visits have been in summer or winter, so this time of year is novel and exciting.

My August photos seem a long time ago now, and include an unexpected number of flowers! I particularly love those in #6, as they were given to me my sister and her boyfriend on their visit. The cycling hedge man in  #8 is another favourite.

1st: Reflecting / 2nd: Confident bird / 3rd: Flower markets / 4th: Canal side / 5th: Before I die...