Saturday, April 21, 2018

Loving this week - Spring 2018

After a snowy start to spring, the UK has now leapt into warm weather. The sun has been shining, we have had maximums around 24'C, and the atmosphere is not even spring-like - it is decidedly summery.

Long time readers may recall that one reason we left Australia is that Mr Bite and I don't like hot weather. We burn easily, we aren't inclined towards lying on beaches, and we dislike the long hot Australian summers. Now we're in England, though, both of us are more kindly disposed towards sunshine. I am relishing the current warmth and the opportunity to go outside without coats and scarves. (Nonetheless, I will add that this is probably enough warmth for me. Mid-20's is perfect.)

I have soaked up the sunshine this week at home in Kent, around work in London, and on a work day trip to Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. Here are some photo highlights of England in its sunny glory. Mini Bite features a few times and you can see her clothing requirements decrease as the temperatures have increased!
Mini Bite exploring the Tonbridge riverside (still in a jacket but no longer a winter coat)

Our apple tree is starting to blossom

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Whole dried fruit cake

While I dislike Christmas-style fruit cakes, I very much enjoy cakes and breads that are studded with dried fruit. There are many traditional baking recipes of this type, from the Welsh bara brith to the Irish barmbrack and plenty in between. This cake doesn't follow any of the traditional recipes exactly, but does employ the tried and true method approach of soaking dried fruit in tea ahead of time. It includes some sugar, so is more cake than bread, but doesn't add any fat. There is plenty of flavour and plenty of dried fruit.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Vegan Life Live - pass giveaway!

Regular readers will know my affection for Vegan Life magazine, which I continue to read and enjoy each month. Given this, I am delighted to host this giveaway for a weekend, 2-person pass to the upcoming Vegan Life Live event in Manchester.

The event will be hosted in Manchester at EventCity on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of April. The pass will admit two people to the main event and to the Om Yoga Show and Mind Body and Soul Experience.

Vegan Life Live features a vegan food court, lots of stalls to try new products and undertake some shopping (food and non-food related), cookery demonstrations, and talks on varied topics. I was offered a pass to attend myself and would have loved to, but unfortunately can't make it this time around. (So if you go, please report back!) Full details are available on the event website.

I know not all of my readers would be able to get to Manchester on the weekend in question, but if you can - or know someone who can - and would like to enter, please leave a comment below letting me know. I'll select a winner at random on Friday 13th April and you will be notified soon after.

Enter away!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

In my kitchen - April 2018

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

In my kitchen there is an impressive amount of chocolate. I could attribute this to Easter, but that would be somewhat unfair. In truth, there is always a lot of chocolate in our house and Easter has just increased the quantities further.

Vegan friendly hazelnut chocolate bars, thanks to Marks and Spencer

Not directly related to Easter are dairy free chocolate bars from Marks and Spencer, as pictured above. UK vegans may know the hazelnut studded Vego chocolate bars, which are delicious and moreish and akin to Nutella in chocolate bar form. M&S have brought out a comparable bar of their own, the Gianduja bar. As shown below, it even looks the same as the Vego equivalent. It is also just as tasty and just as dangerous to have in the house! The Novi' block, pictured in the middle above, also features hazelnuts but I'm yet to try this.

Also not Easter-related, albeit bought when buying other people Easter chocolates, are the sour cherries in dark chocolate sold by Lidl. I've had these before and they strike a nice balance between sweet dark chocolate and sour dried cherry interior.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Vegan Easter recipes on Bite-Sized Thoughts

Are you looking forward to the Easter weekend? I know my US readers won't get the 4 day break granted in Australia and the UK, but I hope that wherever you are, you enjoy the opportunity to eat chocolate and celebrate the start of spring (in the northern hemisphere) or changing season (in the south). If you are religious, then of course there will be much more to commemorate too.

Carrot and apple cake with a lemon drizzle dressing

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Deal, Sandwich and The Lane Cafe / Restaurant - The Kent Coast

I'm glad so many of you liked the carrot and red lentil soup of my last post. I made it again this morning and it is equally good this time (fifth time!) around. Mini Bite even managed two bowls of it this evening, despite being under the weather with a temperature.

Lunch from The Lane Cafe/Restaurant, Deal

Like the soup, this post has been sitting in draft form for a little while. It relays sights and memories from a day trip Mr Bite and I made back in February, when we each took the day off work and left Mini Bite in nursery while we went exploring. It is the second time we've done this, and while it feels a bit mean as parents, it gives us much needed and rather rare time as a couple.

On this occasion, we drove the 90 minutes to the nearby towns of Deal and Sandwich on the Kent coast. For those not familiar with England, Kent is a south-east county bordering London on one side and the coast on the other. We are on the London side, and despite living in the area for 2.5 years, we have yet to explore many of the coastal towns.

Deal Castle