Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Summertime eating: Chocolate peanut butter soft serve, Thai-style spiralised noodles, and picnicking in the park

This is an odds-and-ends post, but all of the odds and ends deserve recognition. They are loosely linked by the theme of summer and strongly linked by a theme of deliciousness!

First up: Chocolate peanut butter soft serve. Chocolate and peanut butter go well together, and chocolate and banana go well together, and peanut butter and banana go well together. Ergo, chocolate peanut butter frozen banana soft serve is pretty amazing.

I made this with the PB Fit peanut butter powder I found last month, and added the chocolate component through dark chocolate chips and Choc Shot sugar-free chocolate syrup. I include a recipe at the end of this post, but if you throw frozen banana, peanut butter and chocolate together you can't really go wrong.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hampton Court Palace and Gardens

Rear wing of Hampton Court palace with formal gardens

With my parents visiting and the summery weather, we've had a good excuse to visit London and south-east England attractions. Some of our outings have been free and local and others more adventurous - a key highlight being a visit to Hampton Court Palace last week.

Front courtyard entry to Hampton Court Palace

I've wanted to visit Hampton Court since we moved to the UK in mid-2014. Consequently, I was very excited to finally get there. As some readers may remember, I am a big fan of historical fiction and Tudor-period history in particular. To see where so much of that history took place was both surreal and inspiring. However, even if you aren't already a fan of Tudor history I suspect that Hampton Court would impress. The palace is huge and its architecture inspiring, whilst the gardens are expansive and beautifully designed.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mediterranean pasta salad with tofu

We have had a few cold dinners this week, on account of some hot summer days and overly warm summer nights. The nice thing about England is that, generally, the hot weather doesn't last for weeks on end like it does in Australia. The flip side is that air conditioning isn't common here, so when it is hot, you are hot.

For those of you in the northern hemisphere, this Mediterranean pasta salad is perfect for summer nights, barbecues or picnics. It's easy to make ahead and then serve cold. For those of you in the southern hemisphere, I imagine it could work as a warm pasta dish too.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Apple pudding slice

To my amazement, our apple tree is already producing apples. I'm sure it wasn't meant to for another 2 years (we planted it at the end of last year), but the current fruit is a precursor to the apples it will produce in time. We have a 'Scrumptious' tree and it should produce red, sweet-crisp apples of a moderate size. These initial fruit are green, tart and small - not so good for eating plain, but perfect for baking with.

I have lots of apple baking recipes already but still like to experiment with new ones. I made this slice after a day out and about with my parents, and wanted something that would come together in a single bowl with no electric beating necessary. Consequently, this is an easy recipe to make.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Mint and paprika butter bean salad

I would struggle to nominate a single favourite legume, but butter beans would definitely make a top 5 list. They're a large, cream-coloured variant of the lima bean and I love their soft, fluffy texture. This salad allows their texture and flavour to shine whilst throwing in some other classic summer ingredients: corn, tomatoes and mint.

I made this salad during the week, as part of a meal to welcome my parents. They have been in the UK (from Australia) for a couple of weeks now but arrived at our place mid-week. It's been great to show them our new home and the local area, and of course to catch up on family and Australian news.

When I made the salad I served it with various other meal components, including boiled baby potatoes. These pictures show the leftover beans and potatoes in a single dish and as they paired very well together I would readily recommend the mix. Otherwise, the bean salad could be added to a wrap, served with greens or paired with a grain base of choice.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Chocolate stewed fruit and raisins

It seems I'm having a chocolate themed week, albeit with quite different chocolate posts. Whilst my last recipe was for a rich and decadent pudding, this one caters to breakfast as easily as dessert. It is a great option if you have apples or pears a little past their best.