Thursday, April 28, 2016

Out and about all over...Kent, Sussex, the Midlands


Sissinghurst Castle Garden

It's been a jam-packed few weeks. We took Mr Bite's mother up to the Midlands last weekend, revisiting Solihull (south of Birmingham) where Mr Bite spent some of his formative years and taking in the sights of Birmingham and surrounds. The weekend before, we took in local attractions, making use of the many National Trust properties in Kent and Sussex. I thought I would share some photos and highlights.

Bateman's House and Garden

The friendly garden hedge, above, was at Bateman's House and Gardens, the once home of Rudyard Kipling. It is now managed by the National Trust and the house contains various exhibitions on Kipling's life and work. We visited in between spring showers and the outside views were also impressive.

Bateman's garden scenes

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Vegan Life Magazine, issue 15 (May 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 cover of Vegan Life magazine filled me with great joy, suggesting as it does that rice paper roll season has returned. I adore rice paper rolls and whilst I acknowledge they aren't quite winter fare, I was sad to see them disappear as a purchasable lunch option last Autumn. With this month's edition of the magazine, you can be reminded to make them yourself and welcome Spring in the process.

It might be a good idea to start a meal with something light like rice paper rolls, so as to fit a vegan Ferrero Rocher cookie bar in afterwards. Don't these look amazing? I am definitely marking them as something to try.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Just creamy, vegan, spiced tomato spaghetti

Having used hummus as a cheese alternative on grilled toast and in lasagna, it is perhaps not surprising that I recently added it to pasta sauce. It worked extremely well. Paired with tomato paste, red wine vinegar, various herbs and plenty of vegetables, it turned spaghetti from bland to exciting and was a very satisfying meal.

I confess that, of late, I have been buying hummus rather than making it. I know, I know! It's extremely easy to make, not to mention cheaper and open to customisation. Nevertheless, I sometimes buy it. A consequence of this is needing to use up the tub within the recommended date range. I'm very fond of hummus, but sometimes I struggle to get through it all as a spread or dip. Dishes like this are handy at such times.

Whilst I didn't use them here, I think sun dried tomatoes would provide a nice twist with this meal too. If you like sun dried tomato flavours, feel free to try out the addition (and let me know how it goes).

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Out and about in Kent and Sussex #2: Beachy Head walk and pub

I planned a few outings in honour of Mr Bite's birthday. One is a weekend away in about a month, over one of the May bank holiday weekends. The other was a more local outing, taking in the sights of Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters Cliffs and eating lunch at The Beachy Head pub.

Beachy Head

You may have heard of Beachy Head as one of the UK's top suicide spots. This is, I hope it goes without saying, not why I chose it for a birthday walk. It is also part of a beautiful stretch of the Sussex Heritage Coast, not far from Eastbourne, and accessible thanks to the paths of the South Downs Way. The whole area is a stunning mix of limestone rock, ocean views, and steep paths. It's about an hour by car from where we live, but feels like a different part of the country.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Chickpea, apple and pepper scramble

Chickpea flour (besan flour) is one of those ingredients I almost always have in the cupboard, and really enjoy using, but also forget about for months on end. Having just remembered its existence, you may find that it appears more regularly again over the coming months.

Whilst I've long enjoyed chickpea flour, it took me a while to try chickpea scrambles. I think I was put off by the comparisons to scrambled eggs, which were never my favourite food. However, once I did venture into scramble territory, I was an immediate convert. There is a parallel to scrambled eggs in the style and form of the dish, but the flavours are completely different (in my mind, very much better!).

Sunday, April 10, 2016

In my kitchen - April 2016

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

Happy April!

In my kitchen this month, there are signs of a birthday - Mr Bite's to be precise. I made his usual chocolate mudcake, which is as rich and fudgy as ever. He is happily working his way through it and I've been equally happy to help him out by eating a few slices myself (it is vegan).

I was pleased to be able to fill a vase of birthday flowers from our own garden. It is a huge novelty to me to be able to pick daffodils and other spring bulbs from my own back garden (they aren't flowers that grow readily in Australia). It is obviously a novelty to Mr Bite too, as he didn't realise they were homegrown until I told him!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Tanya's Cafe, London - raw vegan food

I have had many excellent vegan meals (and snacks, and desserts) since we moved to the UK. London, in particular, is a hotbed of vegan options and I feel fortunate to have it on my doorstep. At the same time, nowhere has yet been able to rival Fremantle's The Raw Kitchen. I posted about that delight multiple times when we lived in Perth and I still have fond memories of it some 2 years after my last meal there.

For a while, I have been wondering if Tanya's Cafe might be the London rival I've been waiting for. Offering plant-based raw food, the menu is also fully organic and free from refined sugar and gluten. It offers dehydrated banana crepes and raw fruit bread at breakfast, main dishes such as raw Pad Thai salad and nachos at lunch and dinner, and an array of desserts and hot and cold drinks for any time of day.

Tanya's is located in Chelsea, which truth be told is not the most convenient quarter of London for me to visit. It's a casual 10 minutes walk from South Kensington tube station and is housed within a hotel, which I found a little off-putting, but it does operate independently of the myHotel chain.

Tanya's Cafe

Sunday, April 3, 2016

No bake, gluten free, vegan coconut cream brownies

My last post preempted a dessert featuring coconut cream. These brownies are the dessert in question, and they make use of coconut in three forms: coconut cream, coconut sugar and coconut flour. They are rich and chewy, chocolatey to their core, and incredibly satisfying. You can make them in under 15 minutes too!