Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chocolate peanut butter brownies {London marathon fundraising}

These brownies are gooey, rich, decadent, and incredibly satisfying. They are crisp at the edges, chewy in the middle, and all around delicious. If you want a mid-afternoon pick me up, after dinner treat, or weekend indulgence...these have you covered.

I took a break from my marathon-focused posts last week, and so all of a sudden marathon day seems to be creeping up. There are just 58 days to go! I have now run 215 training miles since January the 1st, and they have taken in (quite literally) rain, snow, sleet and hail. The weather is starting to warm up now and with spring on the horizon, the hardest part of my training may be behind me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fruity breakfast quinoa

I know not all of you are into quinoa, never mind quinoa for breakfast. However, if you do like the grain then this is a pretty wonderful way to enjoy it. And if you don't like it? It could be an entry into starting to! This dish pairs quinoa with almond milk, pear (or apple), blueberries, vanilla, spices, sultanas and almond butter. There is a lot to love.

I used pre-cooked quinoa for this, because I tend to cook quinoa in big batches. Thus, the quinoa was cooked in water ahead of time and then cooked through again with almond milk for this dish. If you were making this from scratch you could just cook the quinoa in milk.

I intended for this to be a hot bowl, and I ate the first serve that way. However, I later tried some cold and almost liked it better in that form. Experiment with what works best for you. It is a great option for making up in advance and taking for breakfasts at work, as it keeps well in the fridge for a few days after cooking.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Devon and Cornwall part 1 - Dartmoor national park, Home Farm Cafe, and the Eden Project

I shared some photos from Dartmoor national park in my last, mini post, so am picking things up from there in this fuller recap of our time away. We had a wonderful time in the Devon and Cornwall region. It is a beautiful part of the country, and we were fortunate to have gorgeous sunny moments amid some rain. We also had a fantastic cottage base just outside the national park. If anyone finds themselves in the area, I would readily recommend Bedford Cottage as a spacious, atmospheric cottage for two.

Bedford Cottage - the fireplace was a highlight

We spent our first day in the region exploring the national park, which covers 954 square kilometres and incorporates lots of open moors (think Wuthering Heights), numerous streams and rivers, wild wandering ponies, plenty of hills, and pockets of forest. We managed to take in all of it.

Spot the Mr Bite...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Snapshots from Devon

I'm taking a break from scheduled posts this week, as Mr Bite and I are spending 5 days in the south-west of England. I'll share word-filled summaries after we return, but for now, here are some snapshots of our last two days. Dartmoor national park features heavily, because it deserves showcasing!

Wells Cathedral, en route to Devon
(note the truncated spires; they didn't finish them!)

Wild horses, Widecombe in the Moor, Dartmoor national park

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Vegan Life Magazine, edition 4 (March - April 2015) - and 4 pancake recipes for Shrove Tuesday

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.

Edition 4 of Vegan Life is out, with another collection of fun facts, interesting articles, and delicious recipes.

One of the pieces I particularly liked this month was a feature on vegan beauty products. I don't use a lot of make up or so-called 'beauty items', but do like to know what I'm using is animal friendly. The article talked about the difference between animal friendly (not tested on animals) and vegan (no animal ingredients) and highlighted that you can have one without the other. Plus, some vegan and animal friendly companies are owned by companies that don't hold those values. It's a bit hard to stay on top of it all, and so I really liked the round up of vegan and animal friendly options. I hadn't heard of most of the brands (which may be worrying!) but I will be on the look out now.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Smoky quinoa bowl with tofu, corn and kale

I seem to be going through a paprika and corn phase at the moment. The flavours featured in my sweet potato cakes of a few weeks ago, and in this dish they round out quinoa, tofu, kale and pepper to provide an easy bowl-based meal.

This recipe is fairly simple but I liked the result so much that I ate it for both lunch and dinner yesterday. I'm now wishing I'd made a larger batch, and suspect I'll be repeating the combination soon! It would be easy to swap legumes for the tofu if you prefer that, or to make the bowl with rice instead of quinoa if you aren't a quinoa fan.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Vegan chocolate ganache truffles {London marathon fundraising}

I think I need to start this post with a disclaimer: these are not my usual wholefood truffles. These are the real thing. Rich, creamy, sweet, and incredibly decadent. They give Lindt lindor balls some competition.

The key ingredient for the decadence is soy cream. My purchase of said cream is an example of foolish impulse buying (as my regular readers will know, I don't like cream or creamy products!). I saw the soy cream, thought "wow, vegan cream", threw it in the shopping trolley, and then left it in the cupboard for months without a clue what to do with it.

Truffles provided an excellent solution.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Out and about in London #4: Raw food at Vantra Vitao and more Wholefoods eating

Continuing my recent food-focused 'out and about' posts, I was pleased to finally make it to Vantra Vitao last week. Located on Oxford Street near Tottenham Court Road, Vantra Vitao specialises in raw food as well as a selection of carefully cooked hot dishes. Everything is vegan, most things are organic, and they have a lunchtime buffet using the pay-by-weight approach.

Vantra Vitao buffet selection

I follow Vantra Vitao on Facebook and had been admiring their dessert photos for months. They are also quite well reviewed, and so I entered with high expectations. The restaurant has minimal street space but is long and narrow, with 10 or so 2-seater tables and perhaps half a dozen larger ones. The interior is quite dark, and I apologise for my poor phone photos, but is attractively set up. I liked the wooden tables and the bathrooms at the back were clean and well maintained.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Orange and date drop scones (or pikelets. or mini pancakes)

These drop scones were made during my orange phase of early January. I figured a month between orange-themed recipes was sufficient, and so I'm pleased to share them with you now!

For those of you not familiar with my past drop scone posts, drop scones are also called Scotch pancakes and roughly equivalent to Australian pikelets. For Americans, think mini fluffy pancakes. I like mine with fruit in them and they are well suited to breakfast, afternoon tea, or snacking at pretty much any time of day.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Paprika-spiced sweet potato, bean and tahini patties {London marathon fundraising}

At first glance, these sweet potato patties may not look very exciting. I am sure we've all come across sweet potato veggie burgers before, and nice as they may be, they're not exactly novel. However, I can say with all honesty that these are the best veggie patties, of any type, that I have ever had! The texture is almost cake like, and the flavours are sweet and smoky and full-bodied and altogether delightful.

I am particularly taken with these because I made the recipe up as I went along. It could have turned out terribly. Instead, it seems I was channeling some hitherto unseen kitchen intuition. I wouldn't change a thing next time around. I think the magic ingredient was besan (chickpea) flour, which I suspect lends these patties their cake-like texture. Savoury cakes probably don't sound very nice, but I promise these work!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Cranberry, chia seed and carob porridge (oatmeal)

I know I did a giant porridge post not that long ago, but it has snowed twice here this week. Snow in London isn't all that common and so it very much feels like porridge weather. This cranberry, chia seed and carob porridge is a perfect breakfast for cold mornings. 

Our first snowfall was on Saturday, when I was graced with falling snow for miles 4 to 10 of my long run. It didn't really settle, but we had another light scattering yesterday and there were a few snow topped houses and white parks. It's a beautiful aspect of winter. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

In my kitchen - February 2015 (+ give away winner)

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

February 2015. It sounds both normal and a little science fiction-y. I'm starting to understand how people get to age 60 / 70/ 80/ 90 and still feel just as they did at age 20.

This month, my kitchen has love heart crumpets from Tesco. Oh, I know they are a marketing ploy and of course they cost more than the standard variety. But, Tesco also had Christmas tree crumpets in the lead up to Christmas and I exercised great restraint in not buying them until Christmas week. Sadly, come Christmas week, they were sold out. Sometimes restraint backfires, and so I didn't exercise any when I spotted these. They were into our trolley within seconds and I'm having great fun eating them.