Thursday, July 31, 2014

Apple and strawberry crumble

I know I've mentioned (on quite a few occasions!) my love of summer fruit. Generally speaking, I can't bring myself to 'waste' berries in baked goods, even though I do enjoy them that way as well. Sometimes, though, even I misjudge how many berries I can get through - or as recently, find myself with a punnet that isn't very sweet. Usually I would allocate such fruit to smoothies, but this week I decided to make crumble instead. We had a cooler day amid the warmth that London is continuing to produce, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity for baking.

Apple and strawberry crumble

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fig and lemon drop scones

I promise I won't make a habit of twice monthly drop scone recipes. However, I enjoyed this fig and lemon batch so much that I couldn't keep the post back for long. I also managed slightly neater scones this time around, giving support to the strategy of dropping batter into the pan off the end of your spoon.

I am not sure why dried figs were bought early in my kitchen stocking efforts. I rarely bought them in Australia and I didn't have any clear plans for their use. Given I also bought the fig balsamic featured in my last post, I must have had some latent fig cravings that needed sating! Fortunately, the dried figs proved a perfect match for the lemon in this recipe. The sweet fig pieces turned gooey when cooked, providing little bursts of caramel-like flavour throughout each scone (or pikelet as part of me still calls them).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Quick and easy side dishes: Fig balsamic kale quinoa, and spicy peanut tofu and broccoli

The two side dishes in this post could easily have been combined to form a complete meal. As it was, I had the kale quinoa alongside some Linda McCartney veggie sausages (yes, we do sometimes delve into processed foods!) and the tofu and broccoli as a nutrient-packed lunch before a planned afternoon tea out. They are both very versatile dishes, and could complement any number of other side dishes or main meal options.

The kale quinoa was flavoured by a sticky fig and balsamic dressing produced by Jamie Oliver. To be honest, I am not very enamored with the dressing and it is only in this dish that I have really appreciated its sweet and tart flavours. They worked to round out the kale and quinoa and made the dish a little more exciting than it would otherwise have been. If you don't have a fig and balsamic dressing, any fruit-flavoured balsamic would work, or you could use a small handful of chopped dried fruit with regular balsamic vinegar.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thai-style beetroot noodles

Last week, Emma shared a gorgeous recipe for beetroot ribbon salad on her site Coconut and Berries. She paired the beetroot strands with mint and cashew cheese for a fresh, whole foods summer meal. I loved the look of her salad, but it was the idea of beetroot noodles that really stuck with me. Given how much I love my spiralizer (to the extent that it came to the UK in my suitcase rather than by ship!), it seems amazing that I hadn't thought of beetroot noodles before. They are a perfect, vibrant alternative to the zucchini noodles I already love.

In truth, beetroot and I only became friends in recent years. As may be the case for others, my childhood beetroot experiences were limited to the tinned variety. My Australian grandmother used to serve it alongside other salad options, and in addition to disliking the taste, I wasn't confident of my ability to eat it without shooting red stains onto my grandparents' carpeted floors or cloth-covered table.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ginger-chilli sweet potato and almond burgers

Before we moved, I assumed that the UK would have more vegan and vegetarian food options than Australia. In almost all ways, it undoubtedly does. However, there are a few surprising exceptions to that rule, and veggie burgers provide one such example. On reflection, it is perhaps not surprising that a country of long summers and frequent barbecues has a large number of veggie burgers to choose from. Whilst England does have some options of its own, most of them are of the faux meat variety and relatively few are vegan.

An upside of this discovery is that I suddenly have more motivation to make my own veggie burgers. Traditionally, this has been an area where I have good intentions but poor follow through. I love the idea of making up a batch of patties to suit my tastes, and freezing some to have on hand in the future. However, when I had access to supermarket burgers that I enjoyed, and which featured straightforward vegetable ingredient lists, I tended to just buy them.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Out and about in London #1: Greenwich, Blackheath, Camden, and inSpiral vegan cafe

I don't intend to write in detail about all of our London outings. There would be too many posts, and there is plenty written about London already. This blog is not the best means of extending the existing literature! However, I do envisage occasional posts like this one, highlighting certain places. Today, we are swinging from south of the river in Greenwich and Blackheath, to well north of it in Camden. We end with an amazing raw vegan chocolate cake!

Greenwich Park

First, Greenwich. Best known as the home of Greenwich Mean Time, it features the Royal Observatory, National Maritime Museum, Old Royal Naval College, Cutty Sark, Queen's House, Greenwich Market, and gorgeous Greenwich Park. The whole area is a World Heritage Site, and the park itself is London's oldest Royal Park.