Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Cranberry and chocolate chip banana bread

On Sunday we went to a pot luck Christmas event, organised by one of the mother's I met through a local mother/baby group. Mr Bite and I are not the most sociable couple (I think it's safe to say we are both introverts!) but with moving to a new country and then a new town, I have tried to make an effort to build our social networks. Our school and university friends are back in Australia, as our are families, and I don't think it's healthy for us to be completely isolated. The pot luck event was enjoyable and a nice opportunity to socialise with other couples with babies.

I took along some hummus and vegetable sticks, as well as this cranberry and chocolate chip banana bread. I adapted it from a non-vegan cranberry banana bread, but opted to swap out the walnuts used in the original for more decadent chocolate chips. I really loved the bread and am pleased to share the recipe now.

Friday, December 2, 2016

In my kitchen - December 2016

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

It is most surreal to find myself writing a final In My Kitchen post for 2016. I'm sure I'm not alone in finding it hard to conceive that 2017 is on the horizon. Here is what my kitchen features in this final, December edition of the year.

Besan flour pancakes with Choc Shot chocolate syrup and banana

In my kitchen were some besan flour (chickpea flour) pancakes. We periodically have a pancake night for dinner where Mr Bite makes traditional pancakes and progresses through a reliable string of fillings (tuna and cheese, followed by banana and nutella, jam, lemon and sugar, and/or chocolate syrup). I vary my pancakes each time and on this occasion made a batch with besan flour - simply 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of water. I had enough for dinner and some the next day, so enjoyed various savoury (tahini, sweetcorn and paprika) and sweet (diced apple with cinnamon and vanilla soy yoghurt; lemon and maple syrup; banana and Choc Shot chocolate syrup) fillings. The banana chocolate version, pictured above, was probably the best.

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.