Thursday, December 18, 2014

Beetroot and chickpea curry, in besan flour flatbreads

I am not the biggest fan of beetroot. I will happily embrace it in chocolate beetroot brownies, or in spiralised form for raw Thai noodles, but eaten plain it is not generally my thing.

For whatever reason, I made an exception last week. The lovely thing about local market stalls is they inspire me to buy different products: in season vegetables have great appeal even if the vegetable in question is not usually my favourite. Beetroot caught my eye recently, and then I needed to decide what to do with it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Six things Tuesday

1. Christmas. It is nearly here. Are you organised? I'm going ok with gifts, but food is another thing entirely. I got off to a good start with my early chai-spiced chocolate truffles, and then came to a screeching halt!

Our mini Christmas table.
Yes, they are my birthday flowers!

2. We're spending Christmas itself in the Lake District and travelling there by train. So, I not only need to plan food but need to plan food we can carry and prepare in a strange kitchen. Help?

3. My brother submitted his PhD this week. I am so delighted for him, not least because his PhD was so much harder than mine. His involved lab work at all hours of the day and night, experiments that didn't work, and a lab relocation mid-research.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Raspberry and yoghurt loaf, for a birthday

Those of you involved in research may empathise when I say that I spent all of today (or at least a good 8 hours of it) working on a grant application. The good news is that it is now largely done, or at least done as a complete draft. The other good news is that my life has had plenty of distractions from out-of-hours work. It was my birthday last week, and birthdays do make for nice distractions.

Mr Bite excelled at making this one particularly nice. I got sparkly flowers, above, a voucher to unleash myself at Whole Foods or Planet Organic (dangerous!), a dinner promise for 222 Veggie Vegan (exciting!), a new memory card (essential, with the number of photos I take), an amazingly enormous guide to touring Britain, and ticket to the ballet, The Nutcracker. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

6 months in the UK, and before and after shots for our London flat

Today marks 6 months since we moved to England, and I think it's safe to say we are still delighted with the shift. Being here feels utterly and completely right. I feel like I am living the life I'm meant to lead.

Given the date, I thought it might be nice to share some before, during and after photos of our London flat. I showed pictures of it empty when we moved in, and shared a few photos of boxes along the way, but it took until October for our Australian shipment to arrive and until this week (!) for us to get a few boxes taken away again and into storage. It's certainly been a long process to get all our belongings in place, and along the way we have had stark minimalism (i.e,. hardly any furniture or possessions) and serious clutter (boxes everywhere). Neither extreme was ideal.

The evolution of our living room - empty, to Ikea box filled,
to shipment box filled, to finished

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Porridge (oatmeal), five ways

It was -2.6'C here on Saturday. To those of you in North America or mainland Europe, -2.6'C probably doesn't sound very cold. However, it is fairly cold for London, and especially so for someone settling into their first winter in London! On this occasion the -2.6'C was accompanied by sunny skies and no wind, but it still felt like weather for a hot breakfast.

Porridge, to me, is the quintessential hot breakfast. I pretty much never have it in summer, but in winter it is on high rotation. It is warming and filling and guaranteed to power you through the morning. Plus, it can be made in so many different ways. Today's post shares five options, but I have no doubt you have favourites of your own as well. I am focusing here on oat-based porridge, so there are even more options if you branch out to buckwheat or other grains.

Hazelnut and cocoa nib porridge

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Apple, date and sweet potato butter

This is a delightfully simple recipe. It is a cross between a puree and a spread, and is well suited to topping crumpets, pancakes or even porridge (oatmeal). It would also make a nice base for muffins or other baking, and tastes rather good straight off a spoon.

I left my butter relatively chunky, but you could make it smoother if you wanted to. I used the large bowl of my food processor, which was a little too large for the volume of ingredients, resulting in the butter getting stuck around the edges of the bowl. I liked the chunky texture myself, but a smaller food processor bowl or blender, with longer processing time, would smooth things out if you prefer.

I found this tasted of sweet potato initially, but the dates and apples quickly followed. I kept it naturally sweet, so the only other ingredient I used was vanilla. If you were using the butter in baking, or just wanted a sweeter spread, some maple syrup would be a nice partner.

Apple, date and sweet potato butter
A great base for baking, or a stand alone spread for crumpets or pancakes
Makes approximately 2 cups
Vegan, low fat and gluten free

Food processor or high speed blender required

Author: Bite-Sized Thoughts

1 cup (180g) loosely packed pitted dates
1 large apple, quartered to give approximately 150g apple segments
1 medium sweet potato, cooked and cooled, to give approximately 1 cup (180g) of sweet potato pieces
1 tsp vanilla

Combine the dates and apple in a food processor or blender and process until coursely ground. Add the sweet potato and vanilla and process to your desired consistency.

Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

 What spreads or butters are you enjoying at the moment?