Wednesday, 26 March 2014

lunchbox week #08

hello lovely reader, i hope you are having a lovely day so far :)

today's post is a lunchbox post with a slight twist. there's a few more at-home lunches - i work from home 3 times a week, and on these days i usually need to whip up something quickly from the fridge. i thought you might like to see a few of these, as they usually involve yummy leftovers, and hopefully might provide some inspiration for you...

leftover thai curry with avocado and pretty pink radish sprouts

courgette spaghetti salad with sundried tomatoes, red onion and cucumber, and homemade butterbean thyme dip

herbed aubergine with mixed salad leaves, cucumber, gherkin and yellow bell pepper, with a slice of sourdough and a dollop of mayo

vegetarian ploughmans - quick and very delicious - perfect if you love to nibble...

sainsbury's freefrom chicken hotpot (a good cupboard staple for emergencies), with salad and dips

tortelloni with avocado, tomatoes, salad leaves, gherkin and vegan "cheese", and a side of marshmallows, walnuts and prunes

in the office - carrot and lentil soup with rye crispbread, an orange and some dark chocolate.

what's your favourite lunch combo at the moment?

in case you haven't already seen it - i've popped a new video up on my YouTube channel, talking about my thoughts on sex before marriage - it's had lots of lovely feedback so far, so do have a look if you're intrigued...

thanks for reading!

currently listening to: fightin away the tears by mocky - it's on my 'relaxing' playlist...

Saturday, 22 March 2014

kelp noodles with miso ginger dressing

hello lovely reader! i hope you are having a fantastic day :)

here's a quick, delicious and easy raw vegan recipe for you all - i've made a big batch of this today, for lunches for the week, and i wanted to share it with you because it really was SO simple to do, and ridiculously tasty and nutritious. it's the sort of recipe we can all do with having in our recipe folder...

kelp noodles with ginger miso dressing
serves 2

1 package of kelp noodles, rinsed in warm water and drained
1 medium carrot, shaved into thin slices
1 chunk of cucumber, cut into fine slices
4-5 white mushrooms, cut into fine slices
a handful of fresh salad leaves
a handful of cashew nuts

for the dressing:
1 Tbsp miso paste
1 dsp naturally sweetened apricot jam
1 dsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp warm water
1 thumb of fresh ginger, grated finely

1. start my mixing together the dressing ingredients. taste and check that you like the flavour, adjust according to your preferences, eg. more sweet add more jam, more salty add more soy.
2. add the other ingredients into a bowl and combine with the dressing (best done using your hands).
3. serve immediately, or store in containers for lunches.

cook's notes:
 - i got my kelp noodles from Detox Your World online, but you might be able to get them at you local health food store...
 - i used organic barley miso from my local veg store - it's the Clearspring brand.
 - i use St Dalfour jams at home, as these are naturally sweetened, and come in so many yummy flavours. you could substitute the apricot jam for any other sweetener - maple syrup, honey, coconut nectar, etc.
 - feel free to change up the veggies you add to this recipe, but i do highly recommend the mushrooms, as they go so beautifully with the dressing.

so there you have it... a delicious raw vegan salad, very quick to do and perfect for lunchboxes! let me know if you give it a try and how you found it.

currently watching: gilmore girls - loving watching this series for the first time! the mum and daughter relationship reminds me so much of my friendship with my own incredible mum.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

chinese green tea cake and polish pierogi in birmingham

hi all! if you've been following me on instagram, you might have spotted that i went up to Birmingham for the weekend with my lovely husband - we were in need of a lovely break together, and had this planned in since last autumn...

i have visited the city before, but only for a day. and i was keen to get to know this city better... it's got lots to offer visitors besides incredible shopping - cute canals, incredible architecture, excellent music venues, tasty food, china town, the custard factory (a vintage clothing place), to name but a few.

the architecture is a mish-mash of styles, from very old to very new - the new library is awesome (see the building on the right in the distance!). it's worth going in it and up the escalator to see the interior too, and then to take in the view from the deck...

we ate breakfast outside of the hotel we were staying at - and though the art deco style Centenary Lounge at Brimingham Moor Street was lovely, my favourite place was at Canalside Cafe in Regency Wharf - the BEST vegan sausages i've ever tasted.

if you're looking for a good coffee, 6/8 Kafe is the place to go - proper freshly roasted and ground coffee, and if you're a real coffee lover or someone who doesn't like coffee strong, get the Chemex, it will make you think twice about drinking instant coffee.

one of my favourite places to visit was China Town - and especially Caffe Chino, which served up the most amazing array of cakes, filled with lychee, red bean paste, green tea, and other exciting things. they also serve bubble tea! they also serve buns filled with lotus root (we got one for the journey home - it was amazing).

i got a diet coke and a green tea sponge with red bean paste cream... divine, and almost life-changing.

they also make cakes for special occasions, in different shapes, flavours and colours, as well as making vegan ones apparently. i would love one for my next special occasion!

birmingham is also the winner of the prestigious 'Britain in Bloom' award, and it shows across the city, with gorgeous bright displays (albeit aided by the beautiful sun we had at the weekend)... the gardener in me was very happy.

on saturday evening we went to a Polish restaurant called The Karczma and ate some very delicious Pierogi (the first I've ever tried) and lounged on sheepskin rugs...

we visited Custard Factory, where i purchased a vintage skirt for £3 (bargain, even though i'm going to have to take it in and up on the sewing machine), and enjoyed the cuteness of adapted shirts and Levi cut-offs. 

we ended the weekend by going to see Fall Out Boy live - who were amazing! The Pretty Reckless were the support group, and it was worth a bit of a queue to wait to see them... i did my best job of looking like a rock fan with my 'Let's Be Alone Together' tshirt (please dismiss the hair - it gets pretty warm with a standing ticket!)

so i think i've fallen in love with birmingham. i will go again. and i will definitely get tickets to some other awesome show at the NIA - live music is incredible and so much FUN!

currently listening to: save rock & roll by fall out boy - can't get this song out my head... (even if the beginning is a little bit rude)

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

apple and raisin breakfast hotcakes

it's been a little while since i shared a tasty breakfast recipe with you all...

this one is easy to whip up, and the recipe makes 3 perfect hotcakes. these are gluten, wheat and sugar free too, so perfect for those low-carb/low-gi readers out there! they take about 10-15 minutes to make.

delicious topped with tahini and a drizzle of maple syrup

apple and raisin hotcakes
makes 3 hotcakes, serves 1

1 small egg
1 Tbsp coconut flour
2 Tbsp milk (soya, hemp, almond)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 apple, diced finely
1 dsp raisins
tahini and maple syrup, to serve (optional)

1. in a mixing jug, using a fork, whip together the egg, flour, milk, cinnamon and baking powder until smooth.
2. stir in the apple and raisins.
3. add heaped tablespoons of the mixture to a medium-hot frying pan, making sure that there is only a single layer of apple.
4. fry gently on one side for a few minutes until you can easily flip them, and continue to cook on the other side until golden brown and cooked through.
5. serve immediately topped with tahini and maple syrup.

cook's notes:
 - these would work beautifully topped with homemade raspberry puree or whipped coconut cream.
 - you could also add in a little fresh thyme, for a little twist.

i hope you enjoy trying these out! it's such a lovely go-to recipe for a special occasion, or when you want to indulge a little but still be healthy.

thanks for reading - have a lovely day :)

currently listening to: fall out boy - we're going to see them this weekend!

Monday, 10 March 2014

blue skies and a falafel salad box

this weekend was gorgeous. my man came back from a long business trip away, and the sun shone bright. we walked a lot. we did some gardening. i got some lovely 'get well soon' flowers from my mother-in-law. i wore my sunglasses for the first time this year. and i ate the best falafel in all of england... i am blessed!!

i hope you are felling very happy too! and if not, i hope and pray you find new joys in your day today...

now onto an update on the last couple of days:

i'm not joking that these are the best falafel - soft, full of spice, on a bed of salad, with roasted aubergines and pickled radish, and drizzled with tahini sauce and chilli sauce. if you're ever in southampton on a market day, make sure you visit Falafel Express...

the beautiful blue sky!! (with the waving flag from the top of the falafel stand...)

this weekend started so fantastically - last Friday my mum sent me home from her's with a container full of fresh ginger tea, which is just what i need to help my bruises heal over, and was just perfect for my elevenses... (i really want to get myself this stainless steel container)

i've received my first Graze box (i'm not sure i'll continue getting them) - but i loved the popcorn bag, with very yummy popcorn, in the perfect quantity for 1 person to nibble on.

spinach and ricotta tortelloni with broccoli, basil leaves, sundried tomatoes, and a side of beetroot and butter bean hummus...

we did a lot of walking this weekend, but we had a little drive to the hardware store to check out some things for the house/garden - it's so lovely to drive in the sunshine in shades, and my man insisted on putting his favourite summer tunes on and winding down the windows - it has to be done!

as a welcome home treat, we went for a date lunch at our favourite tapas bar La Regata in southampton, where we feasted very well indeed, on a seafood platter, with lots of veggies too. like sunshine on a plate!

so there you have it, a little glimpse into my weekend... more recipes and lunchboxes to come! and i'll also be sharing my meatosophy with you, as well as an update on how Pete and i are choosing to eat in the future.... (oh, exciting!)

have a lovely week :)

currently listening to: 10,000 reasons by matt redman

Friday, 7 March 2014

urid dal dosas with lentil curry

hi everyone, thanks for all the love on facebook about my fall - the bruises are getting blacker by the day, but i'm doing well, and the cut on my face is healing nicely too.

it was Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, this week, and to celebrate i had a few friends over for a savoury and sweet evening. dosas with curry for starters, then buckwheat crepes with berries, tahini and dark chocolate sauce for dessert (divine)...

it's the first time i've made dosa's, but they were easy to do and very tasty indeed - i was a bit nervous about serving them to my friends, but they were gobbled up until plates were clean. i will definitely be making them again, they can be an alternative to my normal chickpea pancakes...

you can get a very large 2kg bag of dal from any international foods aisle or store for a pretty cheap price - it's also called urad dal in some places.

the batter resembles any other pancake batter...

served up, this was a perfect dinner :)

urid dal dosas
serves 4

1 cup urid dal
up to 1 cup water (plus more for soaking)
1 tsp asafoetida, optional
1 dsp grated fresh ginger
6 fenugreek seeds, optional
1 tbsp nigella seeds

1. soak the urid dal in water overnight or for 6 hours.
2. using a hand blender, grind them with half a cup of water, adding more water to help it blend. the consistency should be thick but smooth, almost pourable.
3. then grind in the asafoetida, ginger and fenugreek seeds.
4. stir in the nigella seeds and salt.
5. turn on a hot frying pan, and add in a ladle of the mixture, spreading out to create a thin pancake. there should be no oil in the pan.
6. flip the pancake once the sides easily come away from the pan. these do not easily turn golden. cook on the other side for a couple of minutes.
7. serve with curry, feta cheese and delicious chutney.

cook's notes:
 - the spicing and flavours in this could be changed for whatever you choose - i'd be tempted to go for strong flavours, as the flavour of the dal themselves is quite bland. you could even use the basic recipe to make mexican or french flavours...
 - keep these hot on a plate in a warm oven between layers of parchment whilst you're cooking them up.

the lentil curry was pretty simple to make too - following my standard curry recipe, which i'm not sure i've ever shared with you... would you like it?

i hope you are all having a lovely week, and looking forward to a sunny weekend filled with fun times shared with family and friends and doing things you love.

currently listening to: hey brother by avicii - a happy tune!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

hot berries, canalside walks and bruises

 hello lovely reader, i hope you are having a great day. today's post is another mish-mash, an update on life, food, travel and other bits and bobs (including my new bruises - oops!)...

firstly, new designs are available in my spreadshirt store, "I love vegetables" and "I love veggies", in a variety of organic tshirts for men, women and kids... i was trying to find something similar on all the tshirt stores for wearing to the gym, but couldn't find it, so thought i'd design it myself!

lunch today is a big bowl full of veggies and a few tortelloni, along with a cup of chamomile tea...

hot berries and tahini on toast - a really delicious dessert, or perfect for breakfast! simply heat up some frozen berries til warm, in the meantime toast some sourdough or organic rye, slather with tahini and cover with the hot berries, then sprinkle with ground flaxseed. perfection!!

we visited Stafford for the weekend to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday. we went on a couple of long walks in the cold but beautiful countryside, and we spotted loads of snowdrops... spring is on it's way!

we walked alongside the canal, where we went at Christmas too... there were a whole heap of runners doing a 38mile run who kept passing us - impressive!

we went out for lunch both days, enjoying a good pub lunch (veggie lasagne is always a good choice - spare the garlic bread, add extra salad!) and spending time with Pete's gorgeous mum and gran. we were blessed to have a little sunshine too, and i swear my freckles are showing more!

now onto something a little disastrous... on Sunday when we got home, i fell over. i was walking quickly in the rain on wet ground in boots with little grip, and i fell. Pete said it was the hardest he'd ever seen anyone fall (i said, well i am 6 foot, the last time i fell i was probably much shorter!).

i have an impressive array of bruises, one whopper on my upper thigh which was also very grazed, as well as a huge gash on my chin, which needs to heal over, and which almost needed stitches. i also bit my lip, so have a very swollen fat upper lip...

thankfully, praise God, i'm not more hurt, that i didn't fall in the road, and that the only lasting damage may be a small scar on my chin...

my impressive elbow bruise, causing me not to be able to drive...

so there we go... it's funny falling over when you're older, i felt like a prize idiot. but hey ho, life definitely goes on.

thanks for reading!

currently listening to: trouble is by hayden panettiere - loving the new series of Nashville.