Tuesday, August 4, 2015

One-bowl vegan blackberry and chia seed muffins

How do you like your muffins? There are so many features to consider: size, flour base, flavour and even topping. Traditionally, I have liked my muffins dense and wholegrain, often with a vegetable in the mix (such as my carrot, apple and sultana muffins or pumpkin, apple and cranberry muffins). Sometimes, though, I veer across to muffins that could almost be cupcakes, such is their fluffy texture and sweet flavour.

These blackberry and chia seed muffins are in the fluffy sweet camp, but trust me, it's worth going there even if you're not usually a white flour and refined sugar type. The muffins are absolutely studded with berries and the chia seeds boost the nutrition while also giving some texture contrast.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

In My Kitchen - August 2015

I am linking this in to Celia's monthly In My Kitchen event at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

I have come to really value these monthly In My Kitchen posts. In addition to providing a peek into others' kitchens, they are a nice way to take stock of the last month and mark the passing of time across the year. For example, looking at my July IMK, I was reminded that we'd just had our heat wave. Summer has mellowed since and whilst the evenings are still long, it is getting darker slightly earlier.

This month, Celia is dealing with family difficulties but has kindly still done her own In My Kitchen post. You can see what other people are up to through the comments section on her post.

In my kitchen this month, there have been more green smoothies, as pictured above (banana-kale), and more peaches, as pictured below. Peaches make a particularly delicious topping for my vegan French toast and the plate below was made with almond essence in the toast batter. 

Peaches on vegan French toast

Thursday, July 30, 2015

How to save money in the kitchen

I think we all like to save money where we can. This may be so we can spend money in other areas, to prevent debt, or to save up for holidays or other big costs. I am fortunate to eat in a way that isn't too costly (unless I go to Whole Foods...) but still like to cut costs where I can. This allows me to periodically buy vegan desserts and chocolate (which any regular reader will know I value!) and put funds towards things that matter to me and Mr Bite.

There are lots of money saving tips out there and this isn't meant to be a definitive collection of ideas. Instead, it is a collection of things that I find worthwhile and which I find easy to implement.

I would love to hear your ideas too!

1. Have a few easy, cheap meals in your rotation.

I don't routinely calculate per serve costs for our meals. However, I am aware that a few of our regular meals are very cheap to make. Basic legumes and carbohydrates work particularly well and the following key examples come in at around £1 ($2) per person:

Chickpea flour pancakes with vegetable-bean fillings 

Estimated saving: If you have at least one cheap meal per week, £3 to £15 ($6 to $30) per person per month.

2. Look out for end-of-day discounts. 

Many bakeries and chain stores discount products at the end of the day. In the UK, Boots is particularly generous and often marks sandwiches, salads and other prepared meals down to just 50p ($1.00). This is a whopping discount from the £2 - £3 they cost at full price. Of course, you need to be able to eat the meal quickly but if you want an easy, light dinner they're an incredibly cheap option.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Out and about in England - Manchester

As some of you may have gathered from Facebook, Mr Bite and I have just returned from a weekend in Manchester. We took advantage of Virgin's train sale to get £10 tickets (per person each way) from London to Manchester. To make an event of it, we took today off work as well. There's nothing quite like a 3-day weekend!

Manchester town hall

I had never been to Manchester before and Mr Bite had forgotten his childhood visits. It is an impressive city. Living in London, I find it a bit hard to slot smaller cities into a category (or alternatively phrased, to not just compare them to London) but Manchester does many things well. The mix of old and new architecture was particularly pleasing.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Leon-inspired chickpea, aubergine and mint stew

It's getting a bit embarrassing, the way you can track my recipe progression. In addition to my ongoing enjoyment of aubergine, this stew carries forward the mint theme from my last recipe and features the chickpeas that allowed me to create a vegan mousse with chickpea brine. What can I say, my kitchen activities are transparent. It may also be obvious that I don't have enough time to create surplus recipes to mask this transparency!

Whilst some of the flavours in this dish are familiar, it definitely deserves recognition in its own right. The recipe is adapted from one in the Leon cookbook, which is published by the creators of the popular UK Leon restaurants. Leon is all about real, healthy, fast food and many of the dishes draw on Mediterranean and African ingredients. This recipe epitomizes the Leon style.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Peach and mint green smoothie

I've had a slow start to smoothie drinking this summer. I accepted that as a phase and was confident my smoothie love would surface again eventually. Fortunately, it now has and I'm keen to make up for lost drinking time!

This peach and mint green smoothie was what heralded the switch from "I guess I could use up these greens in a banana smoothie, but I'm not sure I can be bothered" to "I really can't wait to whiz these ingredients up and drink them". It's a great summer smoothie, with the mint and peach pairing together beautifully and conjuring up images of beach-side cocktails.