Thursday, January 29, 2015

Vegan French toast, version 2 {London marathon fundraising}

This is one of those recipes that is so simple, it almost doesn't deserve to be posted (never mind posted as pasted of my fundraising efforts). At the same time, it is a recipe that is so simple it is rather amazing - especially when factoring in how good the dish tastes. Plus, simple at breakfast time isn't really a bad thing. All in all, it seemed worth sharing with you today.

Some of you may remember the vegan French toast I posted last year, for Vegan MoFo. That dish used chia seeds instead of egg. This version uses (wait for it!) custard powder. Whisked with almond milk and some vanilla essence, it does a remarkable job of producing an authentic French toast batter. I'm really very taken with it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Apricot-almond cake

One of the unexpected points of difference, living in London compared to Australia, is that summer fruit is available all year round. It is quite bizarre, especially as often it is still quite cheap. I could buy two mangoes for £1, a punnet of apricots for £2, and a punnet of strawberries for about the same. We often had American cherries available around the core cherry season in Perth, but exorbitant prices meant it wasn't hard to resist them.

Most of the time I am still resisting the out-of-season summer fruit here. I like the anticipation and excitement of having summer produce come back into season, and eating it all year round wouldn't be the same. Plus, I'm not keen on supporting an industry that flies my fruit up from South Africa, or Turkey, or somewhere else decidedly not near Britain - and if the prices are that low, most likely someone is struggling to make a living.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Vegan Life Magazine, edition 3 (January - February 2015)

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.

The third edition of Vegan Life magazine is out now, with another wonderful collection of articles, recipes, and ideas. I particularly enjoyed this edition's focus on vegan supplements, raw food recipes, and the wool industry.

There were a number of other smaller things that I liked in this edition of the magazine, and I thought I'd share some of those with you today. 

First up - vegan croissants made with spelt flour and agave nectar. I was never a huge croissant fan, but it is always fun to hear about vegan versions of traditionally non-vegan products. These croissants won an award at the international biennial food fair held in France, but were actually made by an Italian company. Let's hope more companies follow now!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Raw apple cheesecake puddings {London marathon fundraising}

Another Thursday and another fundraising recipe! This one is firmly in the dessert category, although I think these puddings could almost double up as breakfast. The ingredients are raw, vegan and entirely natural, even if the end result is rather decadent.

Raw apple cheesecake puddings

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have noticed that I've been rather obsessed with cashews. It's funny how tastes wax and wane over time. For the last two weeks, I have eaten more cashews than I would usually do in months. You see, I didn't use to like them much plain. With this turn around, there may be hope for me and avocados yet!

Given the cashew obsession, it isn't surprising that today's dessert is made with the nuts. However, don't worry if you aren't as fond of cashews as I currently am. They provide healthy creaminess but don't actually influence the pudding's flavour. That is firmly apple, with hints of maple syrup and vanilla. The final result is reminiscent of cheesecake without being exactly like it, which is why I have called these cheesecake puddings. They are a little softer than traditional cheesecake, and not as rich or as tart. They are, however, delicious.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Baked Quinoa Porridge or Pudding from Ricki Heller's new cookbook, Living Candida-Free,

Last year, I was fortunate to serve as one of the recipe testers for Ricki Heller's new cookbook, Living Candida-Free. Some of you may remember me sharing photos at the time. It was a busy but utterly delicious few months, and I am delighted to be able to review the book now. I am also delighted to host a give away so you can win your own copy of the book. To round things out, I am sharing one of Ricki's new  recipes today - Baked Quinoa Porridge or Pudding.

Before getting to the recipe (and give away!), let me share some general information with you about Living Candida-FreeThe book tackles the challenges of managing sugar intake in today's world. I think we all know that too much sugar isn't good for us, but for some people, too much sugar (or even moderate amounts of sugar) can result in a range of physical and mental health problems that persist and worsen over time. Ricki shares her knowledge and experience around an anti-candida diet, which is designed to combat the consequences of excess sugar and allow for flavour-filled dishes without added sugars. 

The book includes recipes for three phases of eating, ranging from no sugars at all through to moderate and selective intake. The amazing thing is that even in the most conservative phase, Ricki manages to create delicious dishes and wonderful desserts. It's not all about stevia either - she includes options for other sweeteners in many recipes. Her book also talks about what candida is, and covers a range of cooking basics. Plus, every one of the 100 recipes is vegan.

Baked quinoa porridge or pudding (recipe copyright to Ricki Heller, Living Candida-Free)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kale, cabbage and apple salad with a peanut dressing

Kale. It's almost become unfashionably fashionable; the stereotypical health food, thrown out as an example of new age eating and January dieting. I'm torn between being pleased that kale is readily available and winning over an increasing number of hearts (and stomachs), and sorry that it's become another 'bandwagon' food.

Mostly, though, I don't worry about it too much. I just enjoy eating it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

London marathon fundraising: Vegan banana-chia crepes (grain free) with an easy chocolate sauce

These banana-chia crepes provide my second London marathon fundraising recipe (you can read about my marathon plans here!). Ever since seeing recipes for raw banana crepes made in a dehydrator, I have wanted to master a cooked version that would work in my dehydrator-free kitchen.

My first attempt at these involved banana and almond milk and was far too runny, with the crepes refusing to set. My second attempt burnt and set off the smoke alarm. This third attempt, I am pleased to say, worked very well. The crepes themselves were sweet (thanks to the banana) and slightly doughy (thanks to the chia seeds) and more filling that you would expect from the ingredient list. The chocolate sauce rounded things off and the combination was utterly delicious.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Out and about in London #3: Vegan eating at Tibits and 222 Veggie Vegan

Tibits and 222 Veggie Vegan are frequently reviewed online, so this post isn't exactly novel. Nonetheless, I thought I'd share my experiences with these well known London veggie hot spots.

Outside at Tibits
(taken in summer, when evenings were light!)

I first visited Tibits in August last year, and will forever link it with my mother visiting from Australia. We went at the start of her visit, and given that all three of us liked it (Mr Bite, my Mum and me), we went again before she returned home. It is a great place to go if you want to cater to varying tastes, and unlike some vegetarian places, I think it would easily cater to meat eaters too. It is set in a large building in central London, with indoor and outdoor seating and attractive decor (albeit dark for photography purposes). You only need to book if you have more than 8 people.

Tibits food boat buffet

Tibits' business model is that you pay for what you select: there is a buffet of hot and cold dishes, all vegetarian and mostly vegan, which range from raw salads to vegetarian versions of classic meat dishes (think sausages and potatoes). After selecting your food, you take your plate to be weighed and pay by the weight of what you've selected (£2.60 per 100g at dinner and £2.30 per 100g at lunch). The same principal applies for desserts. This means you can try a little of lots of things, which I like a lot.

A modest dinner plate - Tibits visit #1

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Orange-mustard stir fry with tofu and Asian greens, and a new blog header

First, thanks so much for your enthusiasm regarding my marathon plans! It is lovely to have encouragement from around the globe and I look forward to sharing progress as April draws nearer. I managed to trip over and fall flat on the concrete on this morning's run (fortunately no major injuries) so I am hoping that gets my uncoordinated streak out of the way...

On other topics, you may have noticed a new header on my blog this week. I seem to change my headers around this time of year, and whilst I wasn't really tired of the old one yet, I thought a fresh image would be nice. I hope you like it (if you don't, feedback is always welcome). The new one ties in with my Facebook page header without being exactly the same.

Bite-sized thoughts over the years (2011 and 2012 along the top, and 2013 and 2014 along the bottom)

In terms of today's recipe, I have been on a bit of an orange kick lately - something that is reflected in this post coming straight after my orange coconut ice. I actually have a few other orange recipes too, but I won't bring them all out at once. Keep an eye out over coming months, as I'll share them in spaced out doses!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

London Marathon plans and swoon-worthy, vegan, refined sugar free, orange coconut ice

When I posted my recap of 2014, I didn't share goals for 2015. The reason is that I have relatively few, but those I do have are relatively large. We want to look into moving somewhere bigger than our current 1-bedroom apartment, most likely in the commuter zone just outside of London. We may get a car to accompany that move. And...I have a charity place in the London Marathon.

Orange coconut ice

Running the London Marathon has been a goal for a while, but I didn't really think it would happen this year. I completely missed the ballot (it opens and shuts almost a year before the run) and when I applied for a charity place, I did so knowing there were more applicants than positions available. When I heard that I had a place, my reaction was equal parts amazement, excitement and apprehension. I am acutely aware that a marathon is twice as long as my longest runs to date.

Of course, the apprehension doesn't detract from my overall excitement at being able to participate in the race. My charity place is with Beat, which is the UK eating disorder charity. I'm usually quite cagey about personal information, but have previously mentioned my PhD in psychology and my work in the health and medical arena. To open up a little more, most of my work centres around eating disorders. It is an area where the statistics can be quite depressing: one in seven women are likely to experience an eating disorder in their life (and one in 35 men) and around 30% of those affected will never recover. Up to 10% will die. We need to do much more to help those affected by the conditions, and Beat works hard to do that.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Vegetable stock and soup from scratch

One of the minor benefits of moving house and/or countries is that you get to start over with filling up your fridge and freezer. Our freezer situation in Australia was a little challenging last year, because the freezer section of our combined fridge/freezer stopped cooling effectively. We were fortunate to be able to borrow a full-sized, rather old (but effective!) freezer from my parents, which gave heaps of space but needed to live in the garage and thus required a trip outside to access. As our move was on the horizon, I also refrained from stocking it too full.

Vegetable scraps post stock making.

All of this means that when we reached London, I was pleased to have a functioning fridge/freezer and the opportunity to stock it up. In particular, I wanted to use my new freezer to store vegetable scraps that could. in time, turn into vegetable stock.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Berry citrus blitz smoothie, from Emily's 100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Health Snacks

Those of you who enjoy raw vegan desserts will probably be familiar with This Rawsome Vegan Life, which is run by Emily von Euw. Emily's raw vegan carrot cake provided inspiration for my version of the same, and I regularly admire her fresh, beautiful creations. She's not all about desserts either - drinks, savoury snacks and meals also grace her blog pages.

Berry citrus blitz smoothie

I am thus  pleased to provide a review of Emily's new book, 100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks.  The book is delightfully diverse, with recipes such as carrot, apple and lime juice, chocolate mylk, power bar snacks, and the berry citrus blitz smoothie that I chose to test out. What is more, you don't need a juicer to make use of the book. Most of the recipes are made in a blender, whilst the snack items use a food processor.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

In my kitchen - January 2015

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

2015. It really does feel amazing to write that. Happily, I'm beginning the year with plenty of good food and (as this post will show!) rather a lot of chocolate. With my birthday and Christmas both falling in December, this In My Kitchen post benefits from food treats galore.

First up, my Christmas chocolate, beautifully selected by Mr Bite. I have chocolate for all occasions, with a 55% cocoa 'luxury dark chocolate' block, an 85% cocoa Marks & Spencer's dark chocolate block, and some milkier and sweeter dairy free chocolate caramels. They are all excellent.

To complement the chocolate, I have two new packets of tea - a mixed assortment and a gorgeously fragrant aniseed, fennel and liquorice pack.