Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A long weekend in Wales


We have just returned from a long weekend in Wales, a trip motivated by my cousin's wedding being held in Llangollen (North Wales) on Saturday. Our drive there was unexpectedly long (bank holiday traffic), we did our usual trick of illness on holiday (always) and the Welsh weather was characteristically variable (rain after sun) but the wedding was gorgeous and the surrounding countryside equally so. Until I am organised with a regular post, I thought I would share some pictures of the scenery...

Welsh walking

Blue skies and clouds = Welsh weather

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Vegan freezer-friendly meals - A round-up

It is 6 weeks today until I return to work from maternity leave. As you might imagine, I have mixed feelings about that, but they are not the subject of today's post. Rather, I thought I would share a round-up of vegan make ahead, freezer friendly meals. There are similar round-ups out there so this one has the idiosyncratic quirk of including meals I personally want to make! Consequently, this is also a short-ish round-up because I want to make all of the recipe I list below over the next month and a half. Angela shares a particularly useful summary of freezable vegan options, plus general freezing tips, on Oh She Glows if you would like further ideas.

The list below mostly has recipes from elsewhere, but I'm including a few links from Bite-Sized Thoughts too. As I've mentioned before, I tend to forget about my own recipes so this will prompt me to re-make some of my own tried and tested, and likely freezer-friendly, dinners.

I would love to hear your favourite freezable dishes too so please let me know if there are recipes you would recommend!

Cocoa and paprika split peas

Cocoa and paprika split peas from Bite-Sized Thoughts

Lentil meatloaf from The Live In Kitchen (made in muffin pans!)

Satay chickpea stew with grains from Bite-Sized Thoughts

Singapore street noodles from Once a Month Meals

Thai curry fettuccine from Vegan in the Freezer

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Orange hemp energy balls

It has been a long time between hemp seed recipes. Indeed, it has been a long time since I have had hemp seeds in my kitchen. I am pleased to have a bag on the go again now and suspect you will see more recipes featuring the seeds before too long.

I like hemp seeds for lots of reasons, including, if I'm honest, their amusing hippy connotations. I feel a bit like I should be living in a commune and wearing tie dyed clothes when I use them. They are also from the same species as cannabis and so (to a closeted, non-adventurous soul) it feels rather daring to pick them up in a local store. Those points aside, hemp seeds are fantastically nutritious - rich in healthy fats, protein, iron, and a whole host of vitamins and minerals. They also have a nutty, earthy flavour that I very much enjoy.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Easy lentil, spinach and tomato puff pastry triangles

I have previously posted a recipe for Indian-spiced lentil and vegetable pastry puffs. Today's post is basically a simpler and quicker version of that recipe. These lentil-filled triangles are not as extensively flavoured as their Indian counterparts but they are still very enjoyable.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Cookbook review + recipe: Earl Grey and Strawberry Granola from Heather Crosby's YumUniverse Pantry to Plate

I was provided with a copy of YumUniverse Pantry To Plate: Improvise Meals You Love – from What You Have in order to write this review. My opinions are my own.

I think we can all agree that there are a lot of cookbooks out there. What's more, many of us don't use the ones we have - especially if you are like me and struggle to follow recipes exactly. I will bookmark recipes in my cookbooks with the best of intentions, but even if I do make them (and often I don't!), I tend to adapt the recipe and use it for inspiration rather than as a step-by-step guide. In this context, I am truly delighted to share today's cookbook review. Heather Crosby has developed a novel "recipe playbook" that is perfectly suited to those of us who like to mix and match recipe ideas.

© Heather Crosby, 2017

YumUniverse Pantry To Plate: Improvise Meals You Love – from What You Have is a plant-based, gluten-free guide that provides 30 recipe templates as well as specific recipe examples. For example, Heather outlines the wet, dry and add-in ingredients you can combine to make breakfast cookies and then offers two specific cookie recipes for inspiration (Banana Chocolate Chip and Pumpkin-Pecan). In total, there are nearly 100 recipes to go with the 30 templates, across the following categories:

  • Breakfast scrambles
  • Granola
  • Pancakes and waffles
  • Muffins
  • Warm cereals
  • Breakfast cookies
  • Compotes and fruit butters
  • Coconut yogurt
  • Dairy free milks
  • Crackers
  • Amazeballs
  • Probiotic cream cheese
  • Dips and spreads
  • Crunchies (like roasted chickpeas)
  • Fermented veggies
  • Bites and tots
  • Veggie fries
  • Soups
  • Cheesy comfort food
  • Epic salads
  • Mmmaki (sushi rolls)
  • Tacos and wraps
  • 'Banzo bakes
  • Veggie burgers
  • Hand pies
  • Cookies
  • Nice crispy bars
  • Sneaky brownies
  • Nice cream
  • Crisps and crumbles

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mini avocado hot cakes

These mini hot cakes were inspired by my avocado scones with hemp seeds. They could also be called savoury pikelets (if you're Australian) or drop scones (if you're British) or just mini pancakes. Whatever you call them they are an easy and portable savoury snack or meal accompaniment.

I would have liked these to be greener but the avocado didn't give a discernible colour. In truth, it doesn't provide a strong flavour either, although you will know it is in there. Similarly, you can just about detect the other ingredients (chia seeds, nutritional yeast, tomato paste) but none of them are heavily present. I liked this as the result was a background of flavours rather than a single dominant taste. It also means you could spread these with toppings or serve them alongside a stew or soup if you so wished.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Mexican spiced roast potato and aubergine

I rarely post side dish recipes, for the simple reason that I rarely make them. I tend to include vegetables within dishes or prepare them very simply if served on the side (unless we are entertaining, but we rarely do that either!). Sometimes, though, I do make a specific vegetable side dish and today's is an example.

This is not the most attractive dish, but it is a tasty one. It's also not strongly Mexican but the use of paprika and dried coriander conjured up, to me, Mexican flavours. Nutritional yeast and tahini round out the flavour mix. If you were to make this truly Mexican, some chillies would be a pleasing addition.

I cheated a little with my cooking of the potato, microwaving it first before chopping and roasting. This cuts down on cooking time enormously and gives the potato a pleasing fluffy texture. If you prefer to cook fully in the oven just add extra time to the roasting stage - at least 30 minutes, or longer if using large pieces of potato.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In my kitchen - May 2017

I am linking this in to the monthly In My Kitchen round-up, now hosted by Sherry of Sherry's Pickings.

Despite the above photo, in my kitchen there are no more spring flowers. I was delighted to grow tulips for the first time this year, but they are finished and local daffodils are looking rather tired. We are fortunate to have lots of bluebells flowering near us, but it seems spring bulbs flower earlier each year and so finish before spring is over.

My In My Kitchen posts often feature novel products or treat items, and so I thought I'd share an insight into my 'normal' products this month. As the photo below shows, we are not one to have an empty fridge (!) and at any given time there will be several Tupperware-style containers filled with leftovers or washed fruit.