Sunday, August 30, 2015

Loving this week {August 2015}

It has been way too long since I've done one of these posts. I can't remember why they dropped out my posting routine, but I am bringing them back this week.

Half way through a bank holiday weekend (the second in August!), there seems a lot to love. Here are some highlights on this late summer Sunday.

1. Grilled tahini, rocket and pepper on toast (with nutritional yeast for good measure).

This is as simple as the title suggests. I paired the toast with peaches and I'm loving them this week as well.

2. New walking and running routes, and new views.

I feel so privileged to live in our new neighbourhood. Within 15 minutes, I can walk through woods...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Blackberry and paprika buckwheat risotto

This dish is my first foray into cooked buckwheat. It wasn't going to be, but my original plan of a barley risotto was thwarted by discovering no barley in my cupboards. A quick spot of Googling led me to see buckwheat as a viable alternative. Now that I've cooked the grain (or more accurately, pseudo-grain) once, I am sure I'll be doing it again.

This dish evolved from a few sources. In a recent weekend Guardian, there was a feature on blackberry recipes that included a blackberry barbecue sauce and a blackberry rice salad. I drew inspiration from both for this: the barbecue sauce allowed me to consider pairing blackberries and paprika, and the rice salad allowed me to think about cooking berries up with grains. The vegetables were chosen based on what I had to hand, and I topped the photographed bowl with falafel because I had some of those about too.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Vegan Life Magazine, issue 8 (September 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.

It's been a few months since I shared a Vegan Life post. This is remiss of me, because each edition is packed full of things I intend to share. Sometimes life just gets in the way, and intended posts don't get written or published. I'll try to make up for it this month!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Lucuma and blackberry vegan French toast

Thank you for your moving well wishes. I am pleased to say we are successfully moved, although we still have some way to go before I can say we are successfully unpacked (!). It is a big relief to be at the unpacking stage though.


One of the nice features of our new house is outdoor space. I have hung washing outside for the first time in over a year and my bike can live in a shed instead of chained to outdoor railings. We don't yet have garden furniture, but I'm looking forward to eating outside in time too.

I may not have eaten breakfast outside this morning, but I did relish the novelty of taking photos in the garden. It will take me a while to figure out my new lighting options, but I'm rather looking forward to that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Moving eats

If I am less present online this week, it's because I am immersed in packing boxes, updating addresses, and doing all the other things you do when you move. Yes,14 months after our move to London we are moving again! This time the move is domestic rather than international, but there still seems to be a lot to do.

We have made the decision to settle in commuter territory just outside the greater London area. We will still be working in London itself, but our immediate neighbourhood will now be a small town with surrounding countryside instead of London streets. One of the key benefits of this change is more space, and we will be living in a (semi-detached) house with garden instead of a 1-bedroom flat. It is a huge change and very exciting. For now, though, the excitement is fighting with mild panic over things yet unpacked.

Our soon-to-be dining room

Holding that in mind, this is a brief post to showcase some of the simple meals I've been throwing together to use up produce. Whilst we can transport our kitchen ingredients down the road, the less to move the better!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Spicy Mexican quinoa bowl

When the craze for bowl-based meals began, I didn't really understand it. Traditionally, I have liked to see my food neatly arranged on a plate. I preferred ingredients to stand on their own, rather than be immersed hidden at the bottom of a bowl.

As this post may suggest, I'm a convert to bowl meals now. I still think certain things are better on a plate, but quinoa and rice dishes do lend themselves to bowl-based eating. Now, I savour finding ingredients as I go. Each forkful is an opportunity for new flavours to come through.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hot and sour stir fry with sweet potato

This recipe is a shameless retake on my sweet and sour tofu from March 2014. Like that earlier recipe, pineapple and sriracha play key roles. Unlike the previous version, kale is not such a star player (I still love it, but it wasn't in the kitchen when I made this). I've also increased the spice component and sweet potato provides an accompaniment instead of rice or noodles.

Meals like this are a staple of my mid-week meals and I'll readily confess that most don't make it to the blog. This one was particularly good, I found time to take some photos, and I wanted to remind myself of the ingredient mix for future reference. I hope it can provide some of you with ideas and inspiration too!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mocha buckwheat porridge

It's been too long between buckwheat porridges. So long, in fact, that prior to this month I am not sure when I last made a batch up. I seemed to lose my buckwheat touch in that period as the first version I tried, apple and peach, wasn't a success. It wasn't bad, but the peach flavour didn't come through. What is the point of using peaches if you can't taste them?!

The minimally flavoured apple and peach buckwheat porridge
(I added extra peaches and dried raspberry pieces on top)

Having tried and failed at a peachy porridge, I veered off course and went to dessert flavours instead. This is partially due to my recent purchase of Choc Shot liquid chocolate. I've been reading about it for months in Vegan Life magazine and on other blogs, and it is basically stevia-sweetened vegan chocolate syrup. It's very versatile and because it's low in sugar I think it's appropriate to use it at any time of day.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Out and about in London #6: Cycling to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

Today was the culmination of a long-held cycling dream: cycling from our home in south-east London to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, via the Mall and Buckingham Palace. Before returning home we had a park-based lunch complete with sunshine and grassy reading time. It was a 20 mile (32km) or so journey, we were out for about 5 hours, and I loved every minute of it.

The journey was aided by Mr Bite planning our route around cycle paths and on road but cyclist friendly cycle routes. We had a few busy stretches but they were minimal (getting on and off bridges to cross the Thames were the most trying sections). We had our first experience of London's 'cycle superhighways' and also benefited from the closure of some central London roads to Sunday traffic.

A traffic-free Mall, approaching Buckingham Palace

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sweet potato breakfast pudding {vegan + gluten free}

Regular readers will know that I love to use sweet potato in non-savoury dishes. My caramel sweet potato fudge and chocolate sweet potato ice cream are two prime examples. This sweet potato pudding is made in the same theme, although it's a much simpler affair.

This is so simple, in fact, that I hesitate to call it a recipe. Basically, it is mashed sweet potato with vanilla and desiccated coconut, topped with cacao nibs and blueberries. If you have children, I suspect they could make it. I suspect they would enjoy it too, but you may not want to share it with them.

This tastes clearly of sweet potato, but the natural sweetness of the vegetable is enhanced beautifully by vanilla and coconut. The tart sweetness of blueberries provides a flavour contrast and the rich crunch of cacao nibs provides a texture contrast. It all comes together to taste delicious whilst also being jam-packed full of nutrition. Getting a serve of vegetables in at breakfast is always a bonus!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

One-bowl vegan blackberry and chia seed muffins

How do you like your muffins? There are so many features to consider: size, flour base, flavour and even topping. Traditionally, I have liked my muffins dense and wholegrain, often with a vegetable in the mix (such as my carrot, apple and sultana muffins or pumpkin, apple and cranberry muffins). Sometimes, though, I veer across to muffins that could almost be cupcakes, such is their fluffy texture and sweet flavour.

These blackberry and chia seed muffins are in the fluffy sweet camp, but trust me, it's worth going there even if you're not usually a white flour and refined sugar type. The muffins are absolutely studded with berries and the chia seeds boost the nutrition while also giving some texture contrast.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

In My Kitchen - August 2015

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

I have come to really value these monthly In My Kitchen posts. In addition to providing a peek into others' kitchens, they are a nice way to take stock of the last month and mark the passing of time across the year. For example, looking at my July IMK, I was reminded that we'd just had our heat wave. Summer has mellowed since and whilst the evenings are still long, it is getting darker slightly earlier.

This month, Celia is dealing with family difficulties but has kindly still done her own In My Kitchen post. You can see what other people are up to through the comments section on her post.

In my kitchen this month, there have been more green smoothies, as pictured above (banana-kale), and more peaches, as pictured below. Peaches make a particularly delicious topping for my vegan French toast and the plate below was made with almond essence in the toast batter. 

Peaches on vegan French toast