Sunday, October 30, 2016

Chocolate orange sweet potato pudding (optionally for Halloween)

All over the blogosphere, Halloween recipes are being shared showing cute treats and spooky meals. I had notions of joining in with some sweet potato witches, decorated with raisins and chocolate sauce. Alas, my creative talents were clearly not up to the task and I post the image below for your amusement only. I can't recommend the product as something worthy of sharing with anyone other than yourself!

A slight fail...

Given the messiness of my so-called witches, I turned them into a pudding instead. This worked just fine although no longer looks particularly Halloween like. It is, however, enjoyable to eat. I'm going to claim that is the main thing, especially as I associate Halloween with the US and I am not American!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pear and ginger quinoa porridge

I know, another quinoa porridge recipe in quick succession! However, I wanted to share this now because it also follows on from my recent pear and ginger crumble recipe. It seems a lot of you enjoy pear and ginger flavours and this offers a way to get them in at breakfast time. Mind you, I won't judge if you choose to have crumble for breakfast too...but if nothing else, this can step in on the days you want a healthy but delicious option.

Like my apple and peanut butter quinoa porridge, this uses pre-cooked quinoa. Thus, it is handy if you have leftover quinoa to use up or if you have a batch made for using across the week. The porridge then comes together very quickly although you could obviously cook the quinoa at the time of making it if you need to.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Vegan-friendly Italian sausage stew

I wasn't going to post this recipe, because it is only lightly adapted from the sausage and mixed bean casserole that Dannii recently shared on Hungry Healthy Happy. However, I ended up making more adaptations than intended, and because I enjoyed the stew I wanted to document the ingredients for future reference. If I'm honest, I also managed to take photos in good daytime light conditions and thought it a shame to waste them!

This isn't the sort of dish I grew up eating, and indeed sausage stews or casseroles are fairly new to me. As a child, we had (meat) sausages fairly infrequently at barbecues. They were a novelty and eaten in a bun or with barbecue themed side salads. Perhaps as a result, vegan sausages now frequent either in buns or alongside potato and salad. However, Dannii's casserole caught my eye as a hearty cold weather dish and as something suited to my current preference for make ahead dinners. (The time immediately before our dinner is usually taken up with bathing and feeding Mini Bite.)

Dannii's casserole used turkey sausages so an obvious adaptation in my dish was to substitute veggie ones. I used the Linda McCartney brand, which is one of our most frequently purchased vegan sausage options. I also put one potato into the stew and paired it with pitta bread instead of a mashed potato side. I left out the beans as I eat so many of them in other formats, added some additional vegetables (carrot, pepper, spinach), and tweaked the seasonings.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Apple and peanut butter quinoa porridge

With the changing autumn leaves and cooler air, I am drinking lots of hot drinks at the moment. Current favourites include ginger tea, black decaf coffee (after the all essential morning caffeinated coffee!) and a DIY chai latte using a chai tea bag, almond milk, cinnamon and vanilla.

Local autumn scenes, just because

I'm also having lots of hot bowls. I'm still loving oat-based porridges, but after bulk cooking some quinoa recently, quinoa porridge varieties have featured too. This apple and peanut butter version was a winning mix.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pear and ginger crumble

Autumn is the perfect time for warm desserts, and I think fruit crumbles are one of the best warm desserts available. This pear and ginger variety makes a nice change from standard apple and/or berry crumbles. Jamie Oliver provided the inspiration but I made a few tweaks and so am sharing my version as well as linking to his.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Red pepper and lentil bolognese

I have previously shared an aubergine and pepper bolognese that offers a satisfying mid-week (or anytime) vegetable-packed meal. This red pepper and lentil bolognese is a worthy alternative. I paired this version with pasta spirals instead of spaghetti and really enjoyed the result. I know pasta shapes don't matter that much, but somehow they change the feel of a meal and I think this one suits spirals!


Friday, October 7, 2016

Apple cashew weetabix bites

Warm weetabix (or weetbix as they are known in Australia), made soggy with milk and mixed with grated apple, was one of my favourite childhood winter breakfasts. As an adult, I find myself drawn back to that mix at this time of year, now made with almond milk and chopped rather than grated apple. These days I often add sultanas or nut butter to the mix too.

Warm soggy weetabix might not be your thing, but these snack balls take the best of my breakfast bowl flavours and turn them into a delicious alternative to standard fruit and nut energy balls. I suspect you do need to like weetabix to enjoy them but I found apple and vanilla to be the dominant flavours. I made them for snacking, but if you were short on time, they could even step in as breakfast on the go.

Whilst I made these with cashews, any nuts would work. Similarly, I used sultanas but raisins or dates would be other dried fruit options.

Apple cashew weetabix bites
A breakfast-inspired alternative to raw fruit and nut balls
Makes approximately 24 balls

Food processor required

Author: Bite-sized thoughts

4 weetabix
1 large apple, quartered
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup cashews
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in your food processor and process until fully combined and the mix is clumping together.

Roll teaspoon-sized scoops into balls and allow to chill in the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes before serving. Store in the refrigerator.

Submitted to Healthy Vegan Fridays.

Do you have any favourite breakfast-inspired snacks?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

In my kitchen - October 2016

I am linking this in to the monthly In My Kitchen event, which has a new host in Lizzy of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things.

Another month! I am reluctant to start with the stereotypical "I can't believe it's [new month]" but I really can't. Life with an infant seems to drag incredibly slowly at times, but then in a bigger sense time is disappearing. It's nearly 3 months since I started maternity leave and nearly 2 months since Mini Bite was born. It's also well and truly autumn, with the long hot days of summer fading into memory as cooler temperatures arrive and autumn leaves become more prominent.

In my kitchen this month there are rather a lot of store-bought items. Our local Sainsbury's had two flavours of Nakd fruit and nut nibbles on a clearance special for 40p per pack. They usually retail for £1.50 each and I'm not sure I could make an equivalent for 40p, so I snapped up rather a lot!

I also tried Sainsbury's 'Free From' fruity granola slice (vegan although the marketing is about being gluten free). They aren't new, but in the past I figured I could make an equivalent myself easily. Making things myself is a bit harder now my time in the kitchen is governed by Mini Bite's naps (or lack thereof!) so I was pleased to give them a try. They were nice, but I do think homemade would be better. I'd favour more fruit and a softer texture.