Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ireland travels - Kilkenny, Cork, and Eddie Rocket's diner


With all the excitement of the marathon (thanks so much for your congratulations!), I nearly forgot about my unfinished Ireland posts. After Dublin and surrounds, we drove south to spend one night in Kilkenny and another in Cork. Both are reasonably major towns in south-east Ireland, although Kilkenny is much smaller than Cork (~25,000 people versus 120,000).  

Kilkenny is distinguished by a large castle and an attractive riverside setting. It is easy to walk around and we spent our time in the town by visiting the castle and climbing the round tower of St Canice's Cathedral.

Kilkenny castle (rear view)

There are numerous round towers around Ireland but only two of them can be climbed. It was Mr Bite who determined that the Kilkenny tower was one of them, and having realised that, we thought we should avail ourselves of the opportunity. The tower is closed if the weather is poor, but luckily we visited on a fair day.  

Round tower at St Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

London marathon recap

It's hard to start this post, because after months and months of training, it's difficult to grasp that the marathon is now behind me instead of still to come. Certain parts of the race seemed incredibly slow (basically all of miles 20 through 26.2), but now that it is finished, it seems to have happened quickly.

Pre marathon race pack

In the week leading up to the event, I had a few days of extreme excitement, followed by a few days of extreme nerves. Oddly, though, on Sunday morning I wasn't feeling much of anything. I have never before lined up for a run without the expected surge of adrenalin, and I'm not entirely sure why it was missing, given this is the biggest race I've been part of.

Starting area, Greenwich park

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Vegan Life Magazine, issue 5 (May 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.

For various reasons that I won't bore you with, I have spent a lot of time on public transport this week. Normally I am very fortunate with my commute to work, cycling (a 30-35 minute journey) on 3 days per week and catching the train (a 15 minute journey) on the other 2 days. Thus, from Monday through Friday, I may spend just 1 hour on public transport. This week I have spent over 5! I have thus been grateful to have this latest edition of Vegan Life Magazine to read en route.

As always, there are lots of appealing recipes and interesting articles to browse through. I tend to share 'trivia' pieces in my reviews and there were plenty of highlights there as well. One such example? Vegan meatballs are coming to Ikea. I am already prone to extended Ikea visits, so this addition to their menu may see me setting out for all day outings to my nearest store.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Satay vegetable stir fry

I have been loving variations on this stir fry lately. I have served it with noodles, in jacket potatoes and sweet potatoes, and just straight up on its own. After making the mix a few times in quick succession, I thought I would share it so that you can join in with my enjoyment, and so that I have a record of the version I liked best.

Satay vegetable stir fry, served atop a jacket potato

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Beets Blu heart rate monitor review, and recent London photos

I was recently contacted by Beets Blu to ask if I would be interested in reviewing their heart rate monitor. I don't usually use a heart rate monitor as I find them a bit uncomfortable, and often they don't consistently measure my heart rate (it is annoying, mid-run, to be beeped at by my watch because my heart rate has purportedly stopped). However, I am always keen to find better alternatives to the rather old Polar strap I own.

Beets Blu heart rate monitor and pager tag

I know not all of you are interested in heart rate monitors, and because I don't share as many photos now my photo-a-day project is finished, I am interspersing my review with some recent Spring images in and around London.

Embankment gardens

Friday, April 17, 2015

Caramel sweet potato fudge {London marathon fundraising}

It is with some trepidation that I write this post. There are now just 9 days to go until the London marathon, and this will be my final fundraising post for the event. It has come up so quickly! Whilst in many ways I feel prepared, it is also daunting to think that race day is so soon. I suspect that this week will be all about mental preparation as my physical activity tapers off and the 26th April draws steadily closer.

Fundraising recipes

Since my introductory fundraising post I have shared 12 further recipes for this series. I really hope that you have enjoyed them, and that they may prompt you to consider making a small contribution via my fundraising site. I am incredibly grateful to those of you who have already done so. If you had planned to contribute and are yet to do so, now is definitely the time! Donations of any size add up to make a difference and everything goes directly to Beat, the UK eating disorder charity. No amount is too small and anything and everything is greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Green tropical pudding

I would apologise for posting near consecutive tropical recipes, but it was 21'C (70'F) in London today. It will be 25'C tomorrow. I think that deserves tropical, given average spring temperatures are more like 14'C.

This recipe uses the mangoes that remained from my recent bulk buy purchase, and in many ways it is a pudding version of the cake I posted last week. I liked the cake more, but this is easier to make - and you can eat it for breakfast. Like the cake, it has a simple, whole food ingredient list. The green colour comes (unsurprisingly) from avocado and that also lends a creamy texture. Banana, pineapple and coconut round out the ingredient list.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mr Bite's birthday, and a veganised chocolate mud cake

Last week was distinguished by Mr Bite's birthday. To celebrate, we had his usual dense chocolate mud cake. This year, though, his usual cake underwent a few adaptations to make it vegan. This wasn't Mr Bite's request (although he kindly let me experiment), but stemmed from the lack of family members to help us eat birthday cake and my recent discovery of vegan soy cream. I thought the cream would work in the ganache icing, and the other non-vegan ingredients were easily tackled using standard ingredient swaps. 

I relied on Mr Bite's comments to compare this version to the non-vegan ones of recent years. He said that it tasted the same, but also that this one was fudgier - denser and less fluffy. This may stem from my use of egg replacer instead of eggs, or my UK oven being different to my Australian one. It may also have something to do with me halving the ingredients to make a smaller cake. Regardless, it was still pronounced good, and having enjoyed some slices myself, I can say it is definitely fudgy and mud cake-like.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tropical mango cake with an orange-coconut sugar glaze - vegan and refined sugar free {London marathon fundraising}

In a re-run of the air mile apricots that I turned into apricot-almond cake, I have used my Peruvian mangoes to make a tropical mango cake. It was so good that it may be my favourite baked product of 2015. This doesn't help curb my impromptu imported fruit purchases, but it is a delicious outcome!

I love this cake for lots of reasons, but one of the big ones is the minimal ingredient list. The cake itself is sweetened entirely from the mango and banana, with no added sugar at all. By pureeing the fruit, the cake is also very moist without oil or butter: the only source of fat within the cake is desiccated coconut. This means that if you serve it without icing, this could easily be a breakfast-worthy fruit bread. It also uses spelt flour, which I am a big fan of.

If you do add the orange and coconut sugar glaze - and I recommend that you do! - this turns into something altogether more dessert-like, whilst still featuring basic whole food ingredients. The glaze has nothing more than coconut oil, coconut sugar and orange juice. I sprinkled some extra desiccated coconut over the top, but that is optional.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ireland travels - Newgrange, Trim, and the Wicklow Mountains

Our Ireland holiday is starting to recede into memory, so I am keen to share some more recaps while the details are relatively fresh. Today's post takes in three separate places, two of which (Newgrange and Trim) could be done together on one day, as we did, and all of which could be done as day trips from Dublin. From Dublin, Newgrange is a 50 minute drive north, Trim a 50 minute drive north-west, and the Wicklow mountains a 70 minute drive south.

Newgrange passage tomb from afar

Newgrange is part of the Brú na Bóinne world heritage site, which contains three prehistoric passage tombs. Newgrange is one of them, and the only passage tomb you can enter inside. The construction of the tombs is thought to have commenced around 3300BC and they are older than the Egyptian pyramids as well as England's Stonehenge. They also contain the largest collection of megalithic art in Western Europe. 

Entrance to the Newgrange tomb

Sunday, April 5, 2015

In my kitchen - The Easter edition (April 2015)

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

Happy Easter weekend! Whether you celebrate the religious aspects or not, I hope you're that enjoying the long weekend if you have one, or just the weekend if you don't.

There are certainly signs of Easter in my kitchen. The UK has an amazing array of dairy free Easter chocolate, and I'm harbouring a 'bunnycomb' (honeycomb) egg and a bag of small 70% cocoa eggs.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Apple pie yoghurt breakfast parfaits {London marathon fundraising}

You may not know this about me, but I am an apple sauce fiend. It doesn't matter if it is commercial apple sauce, homemade apple puree, or even apple baby food, I love it. I could eat whole tubs. I was thus quite pleased with myself when I hit on this idea for apple pie yoghurt parfaits. The parfaits use apple sauce, but in respectable quantities; and unlike eating sauce from a jar, they are elegant and beautiful.