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.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Raspberry and rose mousse {vegan}

Chickpea brine, or aquafaba, is turning up everywhere as the latest craze ingredient. I can see why - it's a vegan alternative to egg whites and can be used to make meringues, pavlova, mousse, marshmallow fluff and many things besides. Given my love of mousse, I was pretty excited to hear about it.

I first tried using the liquid to make chocolate mousse, following this recipe from Mouthwatering Vegan. The recipe and photos really were mouthwatering, but unfortunately my mousse did not turn out quite so well! It was grainy, and tasted a bit beany, and didn't fully set. I blame user error rather than the recipe but it did dampen my enthusiasm for aquafaba for a while.

Fortunately, my enthusiasm rebounded and I tried a different type of mousse this weekend. This version is flavoured with fresh raspberries, almond essence and vanilla essence, and I scatted rose petals on top for good measure. To ensure the mousse set, I used some vegan gelatin as well as the chickpea liquid. There was no graininess, no beaniness, and plenty of fluffy joy.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Recent food finds

I'm used to sharing what happens in my kitchen each month, but this post is about foods that come from outside of my kitchen and often never make it home.

First up: 100% Natural Foods raw chocolate brownies.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Vegan cannelloni with spiced tomatoes and aubergine

I posted two aubergine recipes in June, which (to me at least) were a logical extension of each other: vegan lasagne with aubergines and hummous, and then vegan potato and aubergine bake with tahini. This recipe drops out the creamy hummous/tahini element, but is inspired by the lasagne I enjoyed so much. In fact, the cannelloni tubes are made from lasagne sheets. And yes, aubergine is involved.