Saturday, July 22, 2017

Vegan-friendly mint chocolate refrigerator slice

I struggled with the naming of this slice. I could have called it a tiffin, the English term for a no-bake chocolate slice with biscuits and dried fruit. However, I wasn't sure it was quite chocolatey enough. I could have called it a hedgehog, the Australian term for a no-bake chocolate slice with biscuits and coconut. However, I wasn't sure it was quite cake-y enough and it is definitely not coconutty enough (not coconutty at all, in fact). I could have called this a chocolate fridge cake, because that's what it was called in the recipe I adapted. However, my version is definitely a slice and not a cake. And so - refrigerator slice it is.

The good news is, it doesn't matter what you call this. The slice is delicious. It takes a simple concept (chocolate + biscuits in slice form) and adds mint to beautiful effect. I am not sure I'll go back to non-minty equivalents now.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Meal planning

For a long time, I have been someone who aspired to create a weekly meal plan, but who never did so. It has taken our current circumstances to push me from aspiration to realisation. You see, while I am back at work 4 days per week, Mr Bite is now home with Mini Bite. This takes advantage of the UK system allowing parents to take up to a year of parental leave between them. I was home for 11 months; Mr Bite is taking the last month to soak up time with Mini Bite and to ease the transition for her before she starts nursery in August.

To make life easier for all of us, I have taken to planning Mini Bite's meals and snacks for the week. We try and eat similarly to Mini Bite where possible during the day, so there are run-on plans for us too, and I am planning our evening meals separately.

To anyone else who has contemplated meal planning but not quite managed it - do it! It makes such a difference. Some of it will roll from one week into the next, so it is the first week that requires most thought. I don't plan Thursdays or Saturdays in detail, as Mr Bite has a take-away on Thursday (I make something easy at home as local vegan take away's aren't that inspiring, unless we've been out somewhere in the day where I can pick up a vegan meal). We then have burgers on Saturday.

I don't expect to share our plans every week, but I thought I would give you a peek into a week of menus. It reflects the day-to-day of plant-based eating as well as the more impressive meals and recipes that are more likely to make it online. At present we are relying a little more than usual on processed foods (like veggie sausages), but the plan below is a pretty accurate snapshot of how we regularly eat.

Chickpea flour pancakes with a tomato-bean filling

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

In my kitchen - July 2017

I am linking this in to the monthly In My Kitchen round-up, now hosted by Sherry of Sherry's Pickings.

Well. Hello. I didn't intend to drop off the blogging radar for a fortnight, although in hindsight I could probably have predicted it. The shift from maternity leave to work wasn't quite as monumental as the opposite transition a year ago (work to new motherhood), but it isn't far off. Time is short and time for blogging is not, if I am honest, at the top of my list.

Given all of this, I am pleased to be able to check in now and showcase my busy July kitchen.

Local strawberries, blackberries and cherries

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hummingbird cake revisited

I posted a recipe for hummingbird cake nearly 2 years ago, and remember thinking that I would be making the cake again before too long. It was well received by Mr Bite and I loved it myself. Indeed, hummingbird cake (featuring banana and pineapple with a cream cheese-style icing) is one of my favourite cakes.

As is wont to happen, time passed and I did not make the cake again until now. In the 21 intervening months, much has changed and this time I made the cake to take to a mother/baby group I've been attending with Mini Bite since she was roughly 2 months old. The group has been a regular feature on our Wednesdays and I have valued the opportunity to sit with other mothers, be brought a cup of tea, and have Mini Bite play with novel toys for an hour or so.

Today was our last group, because next Wednesday will be my first day back at work after maternity leave. Mini Bite is no longer a 2 month old infant and today she spent most of the morning crawling around, or cruising on furniture with the holding-on-walk that will no doubt become a real walk all too soon (she is currently 10-1/2 months).

Friday, June 23, 2017

Banana, pear and yoghurt ice lollies

Sticking with the summer theme, this week I made ice lollies for the first time since I was a child. I use the term 'ice lollies' in an effort to fit in with local (British) nomenclature, but in Australia I knew these treats as icey poles. I think Americans call them popsicles. Whatever term you use, they are a summer classic and lots of fun to make and eat.

As my pictures show, I need a bit of practice with my ice lolly making; I didn't fill the moulds high enough and was left with a gap at the bottom of the stick. Fortunately the lollies held together anyway and next time I will know better.

Predictably, these were a huge hit with Mini Bite too, even though the adult-sized moulds were  bit big for her little hands and little mouth. I have since bought some baby-sized moulds so you can expect more flavours to appear as I test out different combinations on her and for me. In the meantime, I can heartily recommend this banana, pear and yoghurt mix as a creamy, ice cream-like concoction that is as simple to make as it is tasty to eat.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Zucchini noodles with a creamy turmeric dressing

My last post welcomed summery weather. This post would moan about it, if it wasn't for my prickly awareness that at least I have a house to be hot within. Non-UK readers may not be aware of the London fire that hit Grenfell Tower block last week, killing an estimated 79 people and injuring many more. Hot weather isn't anything to complain about when placed in that context.

There is no avoiding, though, that it is hot in England this week. Weather records have been broken and it isn't even summer yet. Regular readers will know how much I dislike the heat (one of the key reasons for my move from Australia to England) and so dishes that keep me cool are high on my priority list right now. Ice cream is good. So are cold meals.