Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Malt vinegar and paprika vegetable fries

Everyone knows how to make vegetable fries (or chips, as I prefer to call them). However, sometimes it is nice to be reminded of how delicious they can be with just a few simple seasonings. These malt vinegar and paprika fries are such an example and were a hit with me and Mr Bite. I used a mix of regular potato, sweet potato and carrots, although left the sweet potato variety off Mr Bite's plate (he is not a sweet potato fan).

One nice thing about cooking your fries with vinegar is that you need less oil than you otherwise might. Another nice thing is that you get a subtle vinegar flavour with each mouthful. Vinegar lovers can add vinegar after cooking as well, if you really want to pack a vinegar flavour punch!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Easy ingredient mixes (two sweet, two savoury)

If there is one good thing about being sick, it is that feeling well again (even partially well, as in my case at present) feels pretty amazing. Another is that illness can lead you to lazy food shortcuts that actually work very well. I'm sharing four such examples today.

The first is an incredibly simple stir fry using tinned bamboo shoots, fresh baby corn, fresh tenderstem broccoli, about a tablespoon of soy sauce, and about a tablespoon of pureed packaged ginger. You could throw some other vegetables in there as well, and the mix pairs well with all sorts of accompanying proteins and grains.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Vegan Life Magazine, issues 20 and 21 (November and December)

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.

I hope you'll forgive a moment of self-pity at the start of this post. I mentioned last week that our household was unwell with colds, but wanted to document the state of our November thus far. First, Mr Bite was ill with a bad cold and so avoided me and Mini Bite for a week in an effort not to pass it on (=single parenting for me). Then, Mini Bite and I caught the cold anyway. Then, just as I was feeling my worst, Mr Bite developed a gastro bug (=single parenting for me whilst ill, with an ill baby). With all of this I have been sick now for nearly a fortnight, something I blame on not being able to stop and rest when I would have liked to (parenting doesn't include sick leave!). I am grateful I made my barley and chickpea stew before things deteriorated further, and am hoping against hope that Mini Bite and I don't develop gastro to round November off.

With all of that out the way, I am pleased to share some more positive news thanks to the last two editions of Vegan Life magazine. 

The November magazine included a feature on Thug Kitchen, the sassy vegan website and book franchise I only recently learned about. Their crispy spaghetti pie isn't a dish that calls to me but it did make an impressive image!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Illness fighting barley and chickpea stew

I already have a few barley recipes on Bite-Sized Thoughts and pearl barley is one of my favourite grains for adding into soups. At the same time, I have a tendency to forget about it so it can be many months between barley appearances in my kitchen. With being ill this week, I craved it and set about making what was to be a barley containing soup. I packed so much into the saucepan that it turned into a stew as there wasn't room for any more water!

Barley itself doesn't have proven illness fighting benefits, but like all whole grains, it is full of fibre and a mix of vitamins. This stew is then boosted by curry powder, featuring both turmeric (which has proven anti-inflammatory properties) and cumin (with less proven but still reputed benefits), garlic (well documented benefits for immunity and colds), ginger (good for nausea and inflammation), paprika (which contains a mix of vitamins), and heaps of vegetables packed with vitamins and minerals. In addition to all these features the stew is delicious.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Loving this week {November 2016}

It's been a long time (possibly 15 months!!) since I've done one of these 'loving' posts but I am in need of the positive focus this week. Between Trump's election and our household being ill with colds, life has felt a wee bit depressing.

1. Berries. 

My body is clearly craving vitamin C and in the last few days I've demolished two punnets of blueberries and one of raspberries. Also most of a tin of pineapple!

2. The John Lewis Christmas ad.

I'm not ready for Christmas, but since moving to the UK I have enjoyed discovering the phenomenon that is Christmas advertising here. Australia just doesn't have the same equivalent. The John Lewis one is always eagerly awaited and this year's didn't disappoint, even if it was less poignant than some of the previous I've seen.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Reflections on pregnancy and new parenthood: Modifying expectations, emotions, vegan eating, exercise, body image, and lessons learnt

Bite-Sized Thoughts won't be changing to a parenting / baby-focused blog, but I did want to write one post summarising some of my thoughts and experiences with pregnancy and new parenthood. In large part this is self-indulgence, as I wanted to organise my thoughts and this is a way to do so. However, I hope the content may be relevant to others too, even if they are not my regular recipe-focused readers. This is a long post and so I have organised it by the headings included in the post title.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

In my kitchen - November 2016

I am linking this in to the monthly In My Kitchen event, hosted by Lizzy of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things.

Another month and another peek into my kitchen. November brings cold weather, dark evenings (daylight savings has ended) and Christmas items in shops (but not yet in my kitchen). It also brings lots of autumn colours and there are some gorgeous scenes around us.

To balance out the dark and cold days, November sees even more new vegan products in my kitchen. It is a good time to be vegan in the UK! The Linda McCartney range has several new vegan additions, including the pulled 'chicken' pictured below.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Chocolate sweet potato cheesecake truffles

For inexplicable reasons I attribute to breastfeeding, I have recently craved vegan cheese. This is inexplicable because cheese rates as one of my least favourite foods and has done since childhood (with odd pre-vegan exceptions, like soft cheeses with dried fruit in them). With these cravings I have bought Tesco soya cream cheese and the new Sainsbury's coconut-based cheddar cheese (or Gary as it's popularly known). I can say with some confidence that the Sainsbury's dairy free cheddar must be close to its dairy counterpart, because despite my craving I don't like it very much! I've had it on toast and on pizza and whilst it's tolerable in my current cheese-friendly state, it's not likely to feature in my kitchen regularly.

The soya cream cheese, on the other hand, was a nice discovery. I like it in sandwiches with spinach and jam (not together!) and it allowed me to make a vegan carrot cake with cream cheese icing. I don't know if my enjoyment of the product means it tastes different to dairy versions, as per my love of vegan cheesecakes but dislike of the traditional sort, or if my taste buds are acting out of the ordinary. Regardless, I'm enjoying the tub while I have it.

These chocolate sweet potato cheesecake truffles are a seasonally appropriate use of the soya cream cheese. Pumpkin could also be substituted if you are on the autumn pumpkin bandwagon. You probably know me well enough by now to realise that once I enjoy a flavour combination (like chocolate and sweet potato in my last post) I want it again - which is why I'm sharing sweet potato recipes in quick succession. Whether you use pumpkin or sweet potato, it's not a bad system to hide vegetables in cheesecake form.