Thursday, March 29, 2018

Vegan Easter recipes on Bite-Sized Thoughts

Are you looking forward to the Easter weekend? I know my US readers won't get the 4 day break granted in Australia and the UK, but I hope that wherever you are, you enjoy the opportunity to eat chocolate and celebrate the start of spring (in the northern hemisphere) or changing season (in the south). If you are religious, then of course there will be much more to commemorate too.

Carrot and apple cake with a lemon drizzle dressing

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Deal, Sandwich and The Lane Cafe / Restaurant - The Kent Coast

I'm glad so many of you liked the carrot and red lentil soup of my last post. I made it again this morning and it is equally good this time (fifth time!) around. Mini Bite even managed two bowls of it this evening, despite being under the weather with a temperature.

Lunch from The Lane Cafe/Restaurant, Deal

Like the soup, this post has been sitting in draft form for a little while. It relays sights and memories from a day trip Mr Bite and I made back in February, when we each took the day off work and left Mini Bite in nursery while we went exploring. It is the second time we've done this, and while it feels a bit mean as parents, it gives us much needed and rather rare time as a couple.

On this occasion, we drove the 90 minutes to the nearby towns of Deal and Sandwich on the Kent coast. For those not familiar with England, Kent is a south-east county bordering London on one side and the coast on the other. We are on the London side, and despite living in the area for 2.5 years, we have yet to explore many of the coastal towns.

Deal Castle

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Spiced carrot and red lentil soup

I have made this soup four times now, which isn't bad going in the space of two months. It is a hit with all three of us and Mini Bite also enjoys helping me to make it. This is because I pull out the food processor for grating the carrots, and the NutriBullet for blitzing the soup later on, and what self-respecting toddler doesn't enjoy feeding carrots into a food processor and pushing buttons on things that whiz? These steps do make the soup more labour intensive than the chunky vegetable, non-pureed variety, but it is so tasty that I don't mind. Getting Mini Bite involved in the kitchen is a fun development too.

The soup itself is really simple and packs a hearty punch thanks to the lentils. You can play around with the spices and seasonings, and even throw extra vegetables in if you like. This mix is a winner in our household though.

Spiced carrot and red lentil soup
A delicious, satisfying soup that makes 4 generous servings

Blender or food processor needed

1 tbsp dried ground ginger
1 tsp mild dried ground chilli
1 tsp dried ground paprika
1 tsp olive oil
1 bunch leeks, trimmed and sliced
1 L (4 cups) vegetable stock
3 sticks celery, trimmed and sliced
600g carrots, grated (no need to peel)
1 cup dry red lentils
125ml (1/4 cup) unsweetened almond milk

In a very large saucepan or soup pot, dry fry the ginger, chilli and paprika over medium heat for approximately 1 minute. Add the oil and leeks and saute for 2 or so minutes.

Add the stock, celery, carrots and lentils and bring the mix to simmering point. Stir, reduce heat to medium-low, and allow to cook, covered, for approximately 30 minutes (until the lentils are soft). Add the milk at the end and stir through.

Allow the soup to cool before blending in a blender or food processor. Reheat before serving.

Keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Do you have a favourite soup recipe?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Springing into Dorset

Lulworth Cove, Dorset

We returned yesterday from five days in Dorset, which provided sun, sea and sand if not the weather for swimming (that would have been too much to expect in early March). After our snowy start to spring it was delightful to have 10'C days without rain - especially as this weekend brings yet more snow both at home and around the UK. We were fortunate to have our holiday when we did.

Here are some highlights from the week away...

Lulworth Cove, Dorset

Sunday, March 11, 2018

New(ish) vegan lunch and convenience options

Vegan options are so readily available these days that I am taken by surprise if we are somewhere that doesn't have vegan choices. Generally this only happens in independent cafes or restaurants in relatively small towns. If you are somewhere big, or have access to chain restaurants, there are likely to be multiple vegan choices. Below are some of my recent discoveries and highlights.

An unexpected winner in my recent tastings is the tandoori style beetroot flatbread from Boots. This is one of several new vegan additions to the Boots meal deal range, and I have yet to try the other new flavours because I like this one so much. It features roast beetroot, spicy tikka hummus, a tomato, chickpea, onion and coriander 'kachumber mix' plus vegan mint and cucumber mayonnaise and spinach. I love the fresh flavours and the option of a lighter wrap, with this having half the energy, fat and salt of many options. Perfect for allowing room for snacks/dessert!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

In my kitchen - March 2018

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

I mentioned snow in my February IMK post and March has started the same way. Spring is yet to spring in the UK and last week brought the heaviest snow I've seen. My kitchen overlooked white scenes and a good foot of snow that lasted several days.