Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mexican couscous bowl

I'm not sure how a week has passed since I last sat down and opened Blogger. 2016 is certainly proving to be another year where time flies by. It's also hard to believe we're at the end of January!

I was pleased this week to find the time to make vegan lamingtons, in honour of Australia Day last Tuesday. I took a large plate of them to work and they disappeared in a startling fashion. I think I've converted more than a few Londoners to the delights of lamingtons.

With busy days and often long ones too, I've been glad of more easy meals (let's face it, I'm always glad of easy meals). You can make this couscous bowl in hardly any time and it will fuel you through whatever the day throws at you. Unlike most of my bowls, the bulk of the vegetables come separately - mix up a green salad to pair on the side - but you'll still be taking in a mix of vegetables, protein and carbohydrate with every mouthful.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

M&S-style nutty super wholefood salad

I mentioned in my last post that my favourite Marks and Spencer salad is their nutty super wholefood salad. Featuring green beans, peas, broccoli, carrots, black-eyed beans and quinoa plus peanuts, almonds and pistachios, it is absolutely packed with delicious ingredients. A dollop of hummous and a soy and ginger dressing finish the everything off.

Whilst I have no qualms about buying prepared salads on occasion, it's obviously nice to make them at home when possible. It saves money, for one, but it also allows you to customise ingredients and portions - and make up a batch to cover lunches for several days if you're so inclined. With salads like this one, it's also a good way to use up leftover grains or vegetables.

There are a few takes on this M&S salad online already, some following it extremely closely and others using it as a springboard for inspiration. My version is somewhere in between. Like the M&S original, my salad featured green beans, peas, broccoli, quinoa, almonds, hummous and a soy and ginger dressing. I omitted the carrots, black-eyed beans, peanuts and pistachios, but added butter beans, pecans and brown basmati rice (a half-half mix with the quinoa because I had some already cooked). In truth, small beans (black-eyed or otherwise) are probably better suited to this than butter beans, but you can use whatever you have to hand.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Vegan eating at Waterloo train station

If you are going to be stranded at one of London's major train stations, and you are keen on vegan food, then I can recommend London Waterloo. One of my routes to work travels through the Waterloo East / Waterloo terminus and it is a very handy spot for picking up lunch or evening snacks. As I now live quite far out of London, there are also times I want something substantial to eat on my train ride home. Whatever the situation, Waterloo can provide. (And if you really are stuck there for a while, there is a branch of Foyle's Bookstore to browse too.)

BootsOne of my favourite take-away food options is the Boots meal deal, based around their vegan hummus, carrot and coriander sandwich on tomato bread. It is probably my favourite commercial sandwich and whilst in theory I can make it at home, Boots does it so well that my efforts don't quite match up!

You can buy the sandwich on its own for £2.50, but for £3.49 you can get the sandwich, a snack and a drink. In an example of good marketing I tend do that when I'm making a purchase. There are heaps of vegan snack options, including Clif bars, Trek bars, Naked bars, crisps, popcorn, dried fruit and nuts, and also fresh fruit. Their sugar free jelly is also vegan and I like that on occasion.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Vegan orange hot chocolate, for snowy weather

Last night brought our first real snow of the winter. It is still not particularly heavy - it is rare for snow to be heavy in south-east England - but it is more than the light scattering we had in early December.

After exploring the snow in many layers of running gear, it seemed like the sort of day for hot chocolate. I rarely make or drink hot chocolate, not because I don't like it, but because usually I am just as happy with tea. However, with all the seasonal hot drinks advertised across winter, the idea of an orange hot chocolate lodged in my mind some time ago. Today the idea turned to reality.

I made this using three forms of chocolate (!), which, if you can do it, I recommend: dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and the orange flavoured sugar-free Choc Shot syrup. I am a little abashed to be mentioning Choc Shot again, but it is such a useful product that I do use it an awful lot. I ought to get some sort of sponsorship deal with the company. However, if you don't have access to the syrup I am listing a way to make this without it. My orange flavour came primarily from grated orange zest, but you could use orange extract / essence if that is easier.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Vegan protein-packed almond pancakes with berries and chocolate sauce

I make no secret of loving carbohydrates. I am fortunate not to have difficulties with wheat or gluten, I don't fear the fullness that comes with eating a bowl of pasta, and I find that carbohydrates give me steady energy that supports running, working and playing. At the same time, as a vegan, I am aware that it is easy to eat lots of carbohydrates and not necessarily enough protein. (Actually, I suspect that applies to meat eaters too, given the steady stream of processed carbohydrates available to us.)

Welcome, protein pancakes.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Grilled hummus and lentils on toast

I've recently been enjoying variations of my grilled hummus on toast. Whilst the original (just hummus and tomato) is still delicious, I can also recommend adding rocket and mushrooms. And, of course, I highly recommend this variation with lentils.

I know not everyone is a fan of bread, but with so many varieties available (whole wheat, seeded, gluten free, sourdough...) I think there is a type for all of us. I have mentioned before that I don't make a lot of sandwiches, but sometimes bread-based lunches appeal more than my usual grain-based salads. If you join me in trying this open sandwich, I think you'll understand why!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Vegan Life Magazine, issue 12 (January / February 2016)

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 magazine enters another year, and this first issue for 2016 is full of interesting features and recipes. My Australian readers may be interested to hear of a new, fully vegan 'fish' and chip shop in Sydney - Bliss and Chips on King Street. If anyone visits, please let me know how it is!

Wherever you live, you can enjoy the beautiful apple and cinnamon chia pudding featured on the cover of the magazine. I have never got particularly into chia puddings, but this one really appeals.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

In my kitchen - January 2016

I am linking this in to the monthly In My Kitchen event, currently hosted by Maureen of The Orgasmic Chef.

Happy New Year! 2016 is upon us and I hope the year is treating you well so far. Tomorrow marks the return to work for me (and Mr Bite) and I suspect many of you too. It's a pity we don't get to return to a shorter work week, but then again, after 10 days off, it is perhaps churlish to complain.

While on holiday, my kitchen has seen a jigsaw puzzle I gave to Mr Bite for Christmas. It was made by a company that makes maps into jigsaws, with your home postcode at the centre. Having done the edges, larger towns and main roads, it is proving surprisingly difficult to put together the country areas around where we live...