Thursday, October 12, 2017

Vegan pizza pinwheels

6 comments
If you have children or use Pinterest, you are probably familiar with the internet phenomenon that is pinwheels. These are rolled up swirls of puff pastry that can be filled with savoury or sweet ingredients. They are renowned for being easy to make, easy for children to eat and delicious.

I finally jumped on board the pinwheel trend last weekend. Indeed, they are easy to make, easy to eat (for children and adults alike) and delicious. I don't tend to cook with puff pastry regularly and so I'm not likely to make these on a frequent basis, but they will be going into rotation in my kitchen. My pinwheels were pretty messy and I'm sure you could make neater ones, but even with my sub-par pastry skills they held together and cooked with no problem.

 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Cookbook reviews + giveaways: Sweet, Savory & Free and The One Peaceful World Cookbook

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I recently reviewed two digital cookbooks kindly sent to me by BenBella Books. I am pleased to share them with you today and give you a chance to win a digital copy of each, or a print copy if you live in the US or Canada.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

In my kitchen - October 2017

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

In my kitchen are some old favourites and new finds. The old favourites include English muffins (topped with hummus, Marmite, jam, or nothing at all) and autumn-appropriate porridge. A decadent English muffin twist includes almond butter with raspberries and vegan-friendly, sugar-free chocolate sauce. A fork is required!


Other favourites include Nakd bars picked up on offer from Sainsburys, who currently have a 50p deal happening. I was able to try out the new cocoa coconut flavour, which is now my new favourite. It tastes just like I remember coconut rough chocolate! I expect I'll buy a few more bars before the 50p offer ends.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sweet potato, raspberry and avocado flapjacks

8 comments
These are not your typical flapjacks. Most, after all, do not involve avocado. These are also less sweet than a standard flapjack mix and more colourful.


Whilst these are unconventional, they are tasty. The avocado stands in for butter / margarine but doesn't overwhelm in flavour (I couldn't detect it at all) while the sweet potato and raspberries work in harmony to provide subtle sweetness. The only other ingredients are oats, vanilla and (non-dairy) milk. It is a simple and effective mix.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Chocolate beetroot brownie smoothie bowl

4 comments
A little while back, I bought a bag of frozen beetroot with the view to adding it to smoothies. Several months later, just as the weather is turning cold, I finally gave it a go. The result was this chocolate beetroot brownie smoothie bowl - a thick, creamy, chocolatey mix that you can feel good about eating at any time of day.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Jacket potato stuffed with hummus, kale and pepper

8 comments
This really doesn't qualify as a recipe, but sometimes the posts I like best on others' sites are those that give me inspiration without complication. In other words, posts like these, which may offer new ideas for ingredient combinations without lots of preparation time or effort. I'm not sure if this particular mix will be new to you - but it went down well for me this week as a simple but tasty lunch.


With little to say about this dish other than it being simple, quick and tasty, I will share some random other points with this post...

  • Christmas products are officially in the shops. I am not a fan of Christmas marketing this early, but was pleased to see vegan white chocolate santas on sale for just 10p each (in Sainsburys).I bought 12! I think it may have been a labeling error (usually they are £1).




  • For various reasons I won't bore you with, I found myself with time at home this week while Mini Bite was at nursery. It was my first time in the house without her in the 13 months since she was born. It was (and I hope I don't sound like a bad mother for saying this) amazing. I got so much done! It was so quiet! Things stayed where I left them! I will have to find a way to repeat the experience before another 13 months passes.
  • Also coming up as a 'first since Mini Bite's arrival' is my first half marathon in almost 2 years. I'm running the Tonbridge half marathon on the 1st October and am excited to get out there and attempt 13.1 miles again. I've got up to 11 miles in training, so I'm hoping my body remembers the final stretch.
  • It's been a while since I've shared book, TV or movie recommendations. I may organise myself to do a proper summary soon, but for now, I will say that we recently (finally) watched A Theory of Everything and loved it. I was also excited to hear about the new release, Mother, by Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky. However, on reading about it I am not sure I'll actually like the film. If you see it, let me know what you think. Given we never make it out to the cinema, I probably won't watch it for several years anyway.

Jacket potato stuffed with hummus, kale and pepper
Quick, easy and tasty!
Serves 1
Vegan

Author: Bite-sized thoughts


Ingredients
1 potato of a size to suit your appetite
1 cup baby kale leaves or chopped regular kale
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup hummus
Salt and pepper, optional and to taste

Method
If using a microwave, microwave your potato until cooked through - in my case, roughly 7 minutes on medium-high power, turning once at the half way mark. If cooking in the oven, bake until cooked through.

Once cooked, cut the potato in half and scoop the soft potato filling into a small bowl. Stir through the kale, pepper, hummus and seasonings. Scoop back into the potato skin and serve.

What are you eating, or doing, this week?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Apple and banana cinnamon pikelets

5 comments
I have made apple-containing pikelets many a time, and banana-containing pikelets on occasion, but never blended the two before this week. Mixing the two worked well in allowing for sweetness from both fruits plus the contrasting textures of mashed banana and chopped apple. I recommend these as a simple snack or breakfast free of refined sugar, and as easy to make from basic ingredients.


Yet again I find myself needing to make a note on terminology, with pikelets being the Australian term for small pancakes or 'Scotch pancakes'. It is amazing how much variation exists in food terminology across English speaking countries!

I added rolled oats to the batter of these, as well as flour, but the proportions are such that you can't really detect the oats. You could use all flour it you preferred. I also used hemp seeds in my mix, but chia seeds would work instead, or even flax or pumpkin seeds.

Friday, September 8, 2017

In my kitchen - September 2017

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

It is still officially summer, but the mornings are cooler, the evenings darker, and there is starting to be a touch of autumn in the air. So it is in my kitchen too. There have been bowls of porridge as well as overnight oats, fewer frozen desserts, and a greater mix of fruit as the summer berries start to wane. Here are some snippets of other things happening in my kitchen this month.

Perfect for cooler days is this mix of dairy free and sugar free chai latte powder.


It is the first time I've seen a commercial mix like this that doesn't include milk, so I was excited to pick it up. It is a nice change from standard chai tea, although unnaturally sweet from artificial sweetener.

In my kitchen were new, vegan-friendly cranberry and orange flapjack slices from Tesco's own brand 'free from' range.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Double up strawberry apple bars {vegan + no added sugar}

8 comments
I am rather proud of these bars. They are sweetened entirely by strawberries and apples, but still taste sweet. The fat content comes entirely from coconut and cashew butter, which add flavour as well as texture. All in all, they highlight that whole foods can be sufficient when baking.


I made these last weekend, when the sun was shining and we had an unusually sunny bank holiday Monday. (Unusual because bank holidays in England are characteristically associated with rain.) We did make it down to the coast, to Hastings, where we had a picnic lunch and visited the sea shore. It wasn't so warm that we wanted to swim - and Mini Bite proved scared of the sea anyway! - but we enjoyed our outing. These bars accompanied the picnic.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Easy cauliflower and aubergine vegetable curry

13 comments
I have made a few vegetable curry dishes over recent months but neglected to photograph or post them. This is a shame, because our evening lighting was lovely in the middle of summer and I could have taken decent photographs if I'd thought to do so. Going with the spirit of better late than never, I am pleased to share this curry that I photographed in waning evening light this week.


Mr Bite is not, historically, a big fan of these sorts of curries. He also has a low opinion of cauliflower and aubergine. However, we have discovered that mango chutney and naan bread go a long way to winning him around. So it was with this meal. I don't think he would have been happy to have the curry and rice alone, but with chutney and naan bread, he professed himself satisfied.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Carob coconut avocado breakfast pudding

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It is a bank holiday weekend here in England, and it comes at a perfect time for the Bite-Sized household. After the excitement of my sister's visit and Mini Bite's first birthday, we were fortunate to see family from Canada last weekend. Around that, we had our first two weeks of "real" work routines. In other words, Mr Bite and I are both back working and Mini Bite is in nursery three days per week. (Mr Bite had July off under shared parental leave, to ease the transition of my return to work.) Those routines are going better than I could have hoped, but it has still felt like a busy time. All in all, an extra day at home is welcome!


The weather for this weekend is also beautifully summery, to the extent that we may visit the coast on Monday. Today we took advantage of the sunshine to fit in a scenic bike ride, something that is still relatively novel since we bought a child bike seat three months ago.



Today's recipe is perfect for long weekends and summer days, but it would suit weekdays and clouds equally well. It's easy to make and jam-packed full of nutrition whilst also tasting delicious. I know many of you dislike carob - just swap cocoa powder in if that applies to you.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Blackberry bake

14 comments
The hardest part of this recipe was knowing what to call it. I have taken an easy route and used the very generic 'bake'. As an adaptation of my blackberry chia muffins, this is really a cross between a cake and a slice. Because I cut it into triangles, I am also reminded of American style scones (although that may be where the resemblance ends as I have never eaten them). Terminology aside, this is a minimally sweetened but maximally tasty snack or breakfast option.


The adaptations to the original muffins were relatively minor: adding a banana, swapping the white sugar to coconut sugar, halving the sugar amount, and slightly reducing the oil. I also cut out the salt. These swaps were made with a 1-year-old in mind and Mini Bite did love these, although I can now say that if you give this to a child you will have blackberry stains everywhere (their clothes, your clothes, their hands, your hands...). The stains are worth it though, and to be honest, with a 1-year-old you will probably have stains everywhere no matter what you do.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fig cacao balls

8 comments
Thank you for your birthday wishes to Mini Bite. She has become an expert at spotting presents and cards, although is still just as interested in the paper (and more specifically, trying to eat the paper) than what may be hidden within.


With her birthday over and my sister returned to Australia (sob), normal routines are returning. I made these fig cacao balls during my sister's visit but they could just as easily be slotted into a normal weekend - the preparation time is minimal, they keep well, and they are easy to eat. They were even well received by Mr Bite, who supposedly doesn't like nuts or figs!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

In my kitchen - The first birthday edition {August 2017}

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


It was this time last year that I introduced Mini Bite to the blogging world via an In My Kitchen post. It seems appropriate to mark her first birthday in the same way now. I will not even attempt to summarise the learning, highs, low, development, milestones and laughter-to-tears that accompanies the first 12 months of a babies' life. Instead, I will share a few recent pictures and showcase her two birthday cakes - a fruit based tier for her, and a vegan chocolate cake for us.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Golden couscous salad

3 comments
It has been a while between couscous recipes. There is no particular reason for this, other than the usual one of my favoured foods going through cycles. I may be re-entering a couscous phase since reminding myself of how easy it is to make.


Today's salad is golden in lots of ways. There is orange in three formats (zest, juice, segments) plus grated carrot, chopped butternut squash and turmeric. Coriander, ginger and a dash of soy sauce round out the flavour mix, whilst chickpeas and spinach leaves round out the meal. It all comes together very easily and the result is hearty enough to stand alone as a meal, whilst also being well suited to picnic-style eating or a barbecue side dish.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

New (to me) vegan lunches and snacks

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It's been an exciting week in the Bite-Sized household. My sister is visiting from Australia and it is the first time I've seen her in over 3 years. It's also her first time meeting Mini Bite, and the visit spans Mini Bite's first birthday next week. I'm still at work this week but have next week off for birthday and visiting celebrations. So, with all this happening, I hope you'll understand if this post is short and sweet!

I did want to share some recent phone-snapped photos (please forgive quality) of new-to-me vegan products. One of the benefits of being back at work is having access to a new range of vegan lunch options in London, and the excuse to buy lunch and snacks on the go again. There are a surprising number of new options given my absence of only a year. M&S and Pret a Manger have branches near where I live or visit regularly, so today's post covers some of the less widespread options, albeit not necessarily London specific.

First, and starting away from lunch, did you know that Leon restaurants now stock vegan baked goods from Ruby's of London? I raved about Ruby's products in 2014 when I encountered them at the Greenwich food market. Sadly I don't make it to Greenwich these days, so having access to the items in central London is fantastic. I stopped at the London Bridge Leon restaurant and they had an assortment of vegan iced baked donuts and cupcakes.

Iced rose and pistachio donut by Ruby's of London, courtesy of Leon Restaurants

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Vegan-friendly mint chocolate refrigerator slice

6 comments
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

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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

15 comments
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

10 comments
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

9 comments
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

11 comments
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.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Overnight apple oats and a peanut butter green smoothie, for summer

4 comments
It might not be the official start of summer here yet (although we are only a week off) but summer is very much in the air. The days are super long (it is light at 10pm!), the sun is shining, and the temperatures are tipping 25'C (hot for England!).


With this summery vibe, I have moved into hot weather territory for breakfast and snacking. In other words, I have re-introduced overnight oats and smoothies to my kitchen. Today's post shares the first of each for this summer season, and I hope you can draw some summer inspiration from them whatever your own weather is doing.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Chickpea scramble with hemp seeds - Two ways

9 comments
When I mentioned my recent purchase of hemp seeds, several of you expressed interest in how the seeds could be used. Following on from my sweet recipe for orange and hemp seed energy balls, today's post features two variations on chickpea scramble that incorporate hemp seeds in the mix: tomato, paprika and turmeric scramble, and carrot and coriander scramble.

Tomato, paprika and turmeric scramble

I love chickpea scrambles for their versatility and often make them as part of a meal for Mini Bite. They are good for little hands to pick up and I like that they can be varied to include whatever ingredients I have in the house, whilst keeping a core base that provides carbohydrate and protein. By adding hemp seeds you get healthy fats too.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Vegan peanut butter cacao truffle balls - no food processor required

9 comments
Do you like peanut butter cups (vegan or otherwise)? Yes, me too. However, they are pretty sickly sweet. Even with my capacity to put away a whole heap of chocolate, eating more than two of the commercial sort would leave me feeling a bit unwell. Homemade versions help offset the sugar hit (I've posted a vegan recipe before) but they can be a bit fiddly.


These cacao peanut butter balls keep the classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter, but cut out the sickly sweet aspect of commercial peanut butter cups, and avoid the fiddliness of homemade versions. They are a decidedly grown up, adult, semi-sweet treat that you can make in about 5 minutes. Win-win!

I adapted these from the peanut butter cacao energy balls I posted 2 years ago. In truth, the adaptations are minor, but these truffles are more peanut butter-y than my previous recipe and less fruity (the 2015 version had dried cranberries and goji berries). I like both versions and encourage you to figure out which one you prefer.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Microwave banana-raisin oatmeal cookies {vegan, wheat free + refined sugar free}

4 comments
These cookies are adapted from the 2 minute chocolate chip and pecan cookie featured in the April edition of Vegan Life magazine, with inspiration also drawn from the breakfast cookies in Heather Crosby's YumUniverse Pantry to Plate. The result is a 2 minute, microwave-cooked cookie (biscuit) that is suitable for breakfast or snack time. With a dollop of coconut yoghurt it could even be dessert.


My recipe makes two medium-large cookies and is free of wheat and refined sugars. The cookies are still perfectly sweet thanks to coconut sugar and the banana and raisins - so much so that you could probably leave out the coconut sugar if you are so inclined. 

These cookies do not have the texture of traditional oven-baked cookies. I would describe the texture as between a cookie and a muffin - soft, but sturdy enough to hold together. I am certainly a convert now to this method of cookie production and expect you'll see more recipes in this theme before too long!

Friday, June 2, 2017

In my kitchen - June 2017

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

June. The mid-point of the year, with long days and the commencement of summer. The weather is warming up and it won't be long before smoothies and frozen banana soft serve are present in my kitchen. They aren't here yet - but here are some things that are featuring this month.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A long weekend in Wales

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We have just returned from a long weekend in Wales, a trip motivated by my cousin's wedding being held in Llangollen (North Wales) on Saturday. Our drive there was unexpectedly long (bank holiday traffic), we did our usual trick of illness on holiday (always) and the Welsh weather was characteristically variable (rain after sun) but the wedding was gorgeous and the surrounding countryside equally so. Until I am organised with a regular post, I thought I would share some pictures of the scenery...

Welsh walking


Blue skies and clouds = Welsh weather

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Vegan freezer-friendly meals - A round-up

8 comments
It is 6 weeks today until I return to work from maternity leave. As you might imagine, I have mixed feelings about that, but they are not the subject of today's post. Rather, I thought I would share a round-up of vegan make ahead, freezer friendly meals. There are similar round-ups out there so this one has the idiosyncratic quirk of including meals I personally want to make! Consequently, this is also a short-ish round-up because I want to make all of the recipe I list below over the next month and a half. Angela shares a particularly useful summary of freezable vegan options, plus general freezing tips, on Oh She Glows if you would like further ideas.

The list below mostly has recipes from elsewhere, but I'm including a few links from Bite-Sized Thoughts too. As I've mentioned before, I tend to forget about my own recipes so this will prompt me to re-make some of my own tried and tested, and likely freezer-friendly, dinners.

I would love to hear your favourite freezable dishes too so please let me know if there are recipes you would recommend!

Cocoa and paprika split peas

Cocoa and paprika split peas from Bite-Sized Thoughts


Lentil meatloaf from The Live In Kitchen (made in muffin pans!)

Satay chickpea stew with grains from Bite-Sized Thoughts

Singapore street noodles from Once a Month Meals

Thai curry fettuccine from Vegan in the Freezer

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Orange hemp energy balls

11 comments
It has been a long time between hemp seed recipes. Indeed, it has been a long time since I have had hemp seeds in my kitchen. I am pleased to have a bag on the go again now and suspect you will see more recipes featuring the seeds before too long.

I like hemp seeds for lots of reasons, including, if I'm honest, their amusing hippy connotations. I feel a bit like I should be living in a commune and wearing tie dyed clothes when I use them. They are also from the same species as cannabis and so (to a closeted, non-adventurous soul) it feels rather daring to pick them up in a local store. Those points aside, hemp seeds are fantastically nutritious - rich in healthy fats, protein, iron, and a whole host of vitamins and minerals. They also have a nutty, earthy flavour that I very much enjoy.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Easy lentil, spinach and tomato puff pastry triangles

6 comments
I have previously posted a recipe for Indian-spiced lentil and vegetable pastry puffs. Today's post is basically a simpler and quicker version of that recipe. These lentil-filled triangles are not as extensively flavoured as their Indian counterparts but they are still very enjoyable.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Cookbook review + recipe: Earl Grey and Strawberry Granola from Heather Crosby's YumUniverse Pantry to Plate

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I was provided with a copy of YumUniverse Pantry To Plate: Improvise Meals You Love – from What You Have in order to write this review. My opinions are my own.

I think we can all agree that there are a lot of cookbooks out there. What's more, many of us don't use the ones we have - especially if you are like me and struggle to follow recipes exactly. I will bookmark recipes in my cookbooks with the best of intentions, but even if I do make them (and often I don't!), I tend to adapt the recipe and use it for inspiration rather than as a step-by-step guide. In this context, I am truly delighted to share today's cookbook review. Heather Crosby has developed a novel "recipe playbook" that is perfectly suited to those of us who like to mix and match recipe ideas.

© Heather Crosby, 2017

YumUniverse Pantry To Plate: Improvise Meals You Love – from What You Have is a plant-based, gluten-free guide that provides 30 recipe templates as well as specific recipe examples. For example, Heather outlines the wet, dry and add-in ingredients you can combine to make breakfast cookies and then offers two specific cookie recipes for inspiration (Banana Chocolate Chip and Pumpkin-Pecan). In total, there are nearly 100 recipes to go with the 30 templates, across the following categories:

  • Breakfast scrambles
  • Granola
  • Pancakes and waffles
  • Muffins
  • Warm cereals
  • Breakfast cookies
  • Compotes and fruit butters
  • Coconut yogurt
  • Dairy free milks
  • Crackers
  • Amazeballs
  • Probiotic cream cheese
  • Dips and spreads
  • Crunchies (like roasted chickpeas)
  • Fermented veggies
  • Bites and tots
  • Veggie fries
  • Soups
  • Cheesy comfort food
  • Epic salads
  • Mmmaki (sushi rolls)
  • Tacos and wraps
  • 'Banzo bakes
  • Veggie burgers
  • Hand pies
  • Cookies
  • Nice crispy bars
  • Sneaky brownies
  • Nice cream
  • Crisps and crumbles


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mini avocado hot cakes

6 comments
These mini hot cakes were inspired by my avocado scones with hemp seeds. They could also be called savoury pikelets (if you're Australian) or drop scones (if you're British) or just mini pancakes. Whatever you call them they are an easy and portable savoury snack or meal accompaniment.


I would have liked these to be greener but the avocado didn't give a discernible colour. In truth, it doesn't provide a strong flavour either, although you will know it is in there. Similarly, you can just about detect the other ingredients (chia seeds, nutritional yeast, tomato paste) but none of them are heavily present. I liked this as the result was a background of flavours rather than a single dominant taste. It also means you could spread these with toppings or serve them alongside a stew or soup if you so wished.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Mexican spiced roast potato and aubergine

10 comments
I rarely post side dish recipes, for the simple reason that I rarely make them. I tend to include vegetables within dishes or prepare them very simply if served on the side (unless we are entertaining, but we rarely do that either!). Sometimes, though, I do make a specific vegetable side dish and today's is an example.


This is not the most attractive dish, but it is a tasty one. It's also not strongly Mexican but the use of paprika and dried coriander conjured up, to me, Mexican flavours. Nutritional yeast and tahini round out the flavour mix. If you were to make this truly Mexican, some chillies would be a pleasing addition.

I cheated a little with my cooking of the potato, microwaving it first before chopping and roasting. This cuts down on cooking time enormously and gives the potato a pleasing fluffy texture. If you prefer to cook fully in the oven just add extra time to the roasting stage - at least 30 minutes, or longer if using large pieces of potato.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In my kitchen - May 2017

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


Despite the above photo, in my kitchen there are no more spring flowers. I was delighted to grow tulips for the first time this year, but they are finished and local daffodils are looking rather tired. We are fortunate to have lots of bluebells flowering near us, but it seems spring bulbs flower earlier each year and so finish before spring is over.

My In My Kitchen posts often feature novel products or treat items, and so I thought I'd share an insight into my 'normal' products this month. As the photo below shows, we are not one to have an empty fridge (!) and at any given time there will be several Tupperware-style containers filled with leftovers or washed fruit.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Zucchini noodles with orange and cashews

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I was recently browsing my own Recipes page and was surprised to see, first, just how many recipes are on there (well over 200!) and, second, how many dishes I have made, loved, and then not made again. My various courgette / zucchini noodle dishes are a case in point. Whilst I haven't recreated one of them here, I was inspired to pull my spiralizer out again and make a new zucchini noodle dish to match the spring weather.


This salad is dominated, in a good way, by orange. It features an orange-soy-ginger dressing as well as orange segments. A scattering of cashews rounds out the dish and I also included tofu (ginger flavoured for good measure) that I enjoyed in the mix. If you left the tofu off this would be a nice side dish but with it you can easily consume the salad as a main meal.

My tofu was the new-ish sweet ginger tofu made by Cauldron foods. If you aren't in the UK or don't have access to that, any marinated tofu would work, although one that compliments an orange-soy-ginger dressing would obviously be best.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Make ahead blueberry chia and coconut oats

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It has been a busy week in the Bite-Sized Thoughts household. My mother-in-law is visiting from Australia and we have enjoyed introducing her to Mini Bite. Mr Bite has taken the week off work to enjoy her company, and I took advantage of that to have a 'keeping in touch' day at work on Wednesday. It was the second time I'd left Mini Bite for more than an hour or so and I'm pleased to report that all went well - for her and for me. It was also rather lovely to have a day of adult company, complete with baby-free train rides into and out of my workplace. Reading a book with a cup of coffee never felt so good.


If you have a similarly busy schedule, this blueberry oat mix is a useful way to make a breakfast (or snack) option ahead of time. It is also adaptable and with a few small tweaks you could turn the recipe into one for blueberry oat balls instead - just omit the milk and use a little more oats to give a sturdier texture.

This does use a food processor and you may be wondering why you would bother with that when freshly made oats and blueberries provide a delicious combination without any meddling. Simply put, this is delicious in a different way. The blended mix is pudding-like and reminiscent of bircher muesli. It is also thick, easily portable, and (or course) can be made well in advance.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Vegan Life Magazine - issue 26 {April 2017}

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I receive complimentary digital copies of Vegan Life, which allows me to post reviews with screenshots included. My reflections on the magazine are entirely my own.


This month's Vegan Life edition is jam packed with recipes I am keen to make. I often admire the ideas shared, but this month is particularly full of inspiration!

To start with savoury, I love the sound of these roasted vegetables with a lemon tarragon sauce. I imagine the sauce would make a delicious marinade for tofu too.