Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Slightly creamy lentil potato curry

Later this week I will be sharing a dessert recipe featuring coconut cream. As many of you know, the solid half of a tin of coconut cream is perfect for making vegan and raw desserts. But what does one do with the remaining half of the tin, the coconut liquid? One option is to make this curry.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter eats and spring scenes

Happy Easter, and if you live where Easter brings a 4-day weekend, happy long weekend. I hope you are enjoying it!

One of the lovely things about moving to the UK is that Easter now falls in spring, rather than in autumn as it does in Australia. I love autumn but now appreciate the spring-Easter connection. Plus, it is a beautiful time of year to have some bonus days off work. As shown above and below, our garden is starting to feature spring flowers and we are now enjoying longer and lighter days.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Vegan Life Magazine, issue 14 (April 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.

This month's edition of Vegan Life magazine is absolutely packed with beautiful images, delicious-sounding vegan dishes and interesting stories. The raspberry and rose tartlets on the cover were particularly appealing, served as they were with pistachio frangipane. Aren't they beautiful?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Glazed tofu with red wine vinegar and giant couscous

There are certain ingredients that I always have on hand, or miss dreadfully if I run out. This dish features three of them: red wine vinegar, maple syrup and dried paprika. With dried coriander added to the mix, they made a delicious marinade for this tofu and giant couscous dish.

I always find it satisfying to find a new combination of flavours from staple ingredients. 'New' is of course a loose term, because I have made similar dishes before and no doubt others have combined these flavours in the same or similar ways. Nonetheless, it is rewarding to stand in the kitchen, ponder what to cook, and have your whim-based decisions work out.

This is an easy dish and could also be made with legumes in place of the tofu, or a different grain instead of couscous. It keeps well for leftover lunches and is enjoyable hot or cold.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Boston Tea Party cafe, Cheltenham

One of my favourite meals on our recent trip came from the Cheltenham branch of the Boston Tea Party. Despite the name, the Boston Tea Party is a British cafe-restaurant chain that serves locally sourced and health-friendly food. There are 17 stores clustered around south-west and central England, although as there isn't one in London I hadn't heard of them before our trip. Whilst a London store would be handy for me, I rather like that the company is so successful without buying into the competitive London market.

Cheltenham Boston Tea Party

The Cheltenham branch of the cafe was light and airy with seating over several levels. As shown above and below, it was busy despite being mid-week. Reviews on Trip Advisor suggest it can be hard to find a table on weekends, and I can see why.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Forest of Dean and surrounds

It is amazing what you can fit into 5 days when living in a relatively compact country. Last week we spent 4 nights in the Forest of Dean with a few hours on the way there in Oxford, and the same on the way back in Bath. It was a relatively short break but felt satisfyingly long.

Oxford sunshine (Christ Church university buildings)

The Forest of Dean is in Gloucester and borders the English Cotswolds region on one side and Wales on the other. We stayed in a Forest Holidays cabin, which means we were part of a large but well set up complex. Forest Holidays have links with the Forest Commission and their 9 UK sites feature eco-friendly cabins in beautiful locations. It was a different approach to our usual style of booking independent self-catering holiday homes, but one we were pleased with.

Cabin kitchen

One of the highlights of the cabin was its hot tub, which was delightful to dip into after walking or sightseeing outdoors. We were lucky to have clear days for most of our time away, but the temperatures were still cold - as evidenced by the picture below with ice on the hot tub cover. We were also thankful for the effective underfloor heating within the cabin itself.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Raw vegan lime pots for 5 years of blogging

Mr Bite and I have just returned from 4 nights in the Forest of Dean, staying in a cabin in the woods and enjoying a perfect mix of outdoor walks, indoor reading, beautiful scenery, and hot tub soaking. It was a gorgeous week and I look forward to sharing photos soon.

For now, though, I am sharing these raw lime desserts in honour of Bite-Sized Thoughts turning 5. I am not entirely sure how I got to 5 years of blogging, but remain grateful to have it in my life. That gratitude is about having a forum to summarise my recipes and reflect on my experiences, but also the broader blogging community and the inspiration I get from others' sites.

At the same time, after 5 years, I think it is understandable that my blogging frequency has slowed down a little. I posted 142 times in 2015, compared to around 180 posts in each of 2012, 2013 and 2014. This year I have been even more open-minded about how often I post. For the time being, that feels right.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

In my kitchen - March 2016

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

With the start of March, the count down is on to the start of Spring. The equinox (20th March) is just 14 days away and whilst the weather isn't noticeably warmer yet, the days are definitely longer. I can now get up in light (just) and make it a good way home in light too. After months of dark commutes to and from work, it's nice to see the countryside from the train again.

With the weather changing outside my kitchen, I have been fortunate to have spring-like flowers within it. Last month I got flowers from Mr Bite (Valentine's Day) and a student I supervised in Australia who has now completed her doctorate. They've brightened up the house beautifully.

My kitchen has also featured lots of avocado. I know - long-time readers might be doing a double-take. I have long insisted I don't like avocado unless it's turned into a dessert with chocolate. It seems tastes can change well into adulthood because I now like it very much indeed! I have Pret-a-Manger to thank for this discovery, as I tried their vegan Mexican-style avocado and bean pitta and realised I didn't need to avoid the avocado chunks.

Since that discovery I have had avocado on English muffins, as above, and in crusty rolls, as below.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sweet potato and date muffins

It is a sign of how long I've been blogging that I am no longer sure of what is on my own site. Case in point: last weekend I went to find my sweet potato and date muffin recipe, only to discover I didn't have a sweet potato and date muffin recipe. Or at least I didn't - I am pleased to rectify the situation now.

These muffins were exactly what I wanted last weekend. They are sweetened only by dates and sweet potato, so they are semi rather than very sweet. They are dense and have a crumb-like texture, but also sit gently on the stomach and are moist from the natural ingredients. They aren't gluten free, but by using spelt flour and oats they also pack more nutrition than standard wheat flour muffins.