Soya milk discovery!

Breakfast

Wheat biscuits, grapes, vanilla soya milk

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I’ve recently discovered vanilla soya milk. It’s a great alternative to sugar in coffee as it’s definitely sweet enough to compensate. It’s also good for creating a really sweet bowl of cereal. It’s probably not any healthier than sugar, but it does save a few seconds with a teaspoon and I never seem able to overcome the problem of undissolved sugar crystals in the base of the cup. You can buy vanilla soya milk in Sainsbury’s, next to the other long life soya milks. The one I used was the Alpro brand.

Lunch

Jam sandwich, cranberries/pine nuts, sharon fruit, biscuits

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I was running a bit low on sandwich fillings so decided to opt for jam. It wasn’t a hardship though, as I have a lovely jar of loganberry jam made by my Nan which was ideal with some soft wholemeal bread. Even I couldn’t face crisps with jam, hence the pine nuts/cranberries. The sharon fruit was mainly there for cosmetic purposes, but they taste great too!

Dinner

Apple and Watercress Dhal, pitta bread

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This is a great dish for using up less than perfect watercress, and the combination of flavours really is delicious. It’s quite warming and comforting if you do get a chilly day, but good in the summer too. You can just have it with a side salad, but I had some pitta bread to use up and that goes really well too.

Dessert

Blackberries and soya cream

This is a really good variation on strawberries and cream- maybe a slightly more autumnal version! I find the chilled soya cream especially good for this.

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What to do if your watercress wilts

Breakfast

French bread with jam

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This was the second of the Sainsbury’s Basics par-bake baguettes that I’d bought at the weekend. The picture is a little misleading as I actually left the banana and went for the rest of the baguette instead. My vague reasoning was that the banana would keep better than the bread. It made a nice breakfast time treat, although it probably wouldn’t be the healthiest way to start every day.

Lunch

Rye bread with banana, crisps, apple, dried mango

This was a repeat of my lunch the other day as I needed to finish up the lovely sunflower seed rye bread that my grandparents had brought when they came for Sunday lunch. The bread goes really well topped with  some sliced banana, and it’s a packed lunch you don’t even have to prepare- you can just bring along the bread, a banana and a knife.

Dinner

Apple and watercress dhal, salad

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Apple and raisin dhal is one of my favourite recipes, but tonight I did a slight variation and I’d say that this version is even nicer. This new version was prompted by the presence a packet of watercress  that didn’t quite look salad-grade. It hadn’t gone yellow, but it just didn’t look as fresh and perky as it should have done. I didn’t really want to throw it away though, as it’s such a nutritious and tasty variety of greenery. I couldn’t see any reason not to treat it like spinach and stir it into a savoury dish, and this ended up working really well. In fairness though, I don’t think that the lovely flavour of the dhal was really the result of any watercress related innovation. My grandparents had brought me a box of fresh herbs from their garden, and I think it was these that really made the dish. I used a little sage, rosemary and thyme, and they really made it into something special. If you don’t have access to garden grown herbs (my own attempts have been enjoyed by many snails but few humans), then I’d go for sage and/or rosemary in the supermarket as I think these were the key herbs to include.

Ingredients for apple and watercress dhal (serves 3):

– 250g red  lentils

– 1 litre veggie stock (2 stock cubes)

– 1 onion

– 2 large cloves of garlic

– A small handful of sage leaves and a little fresh rosemary

– 3 apples (Coxes are ideal)

– Olive oil

– 1 smallish packet of watercress

– A good splash of soya cream

– (Optional) a few seeds to sprinkle over the top

Method:

1.  Rinse the lentils, add to a pan along with the stock and simmer until tender (around 15 mins)?

2. Meanwhile, finely chop the onion, apple and herbs. Crush the garlic cloves.

3. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic. Sautee on a low heat, stirring constantly until the onion softens and turns transparent. Then add the apple and herbs, and continue to saute for a few minutes. Next, add the  watercress and soya cream, and stir until the watercress has wilted fully.

4. When the lentils are ready, stir into the apple mixture. It’s best to leave the dhal to cool a little before serving, otherwise it’s just too hot to appreciate all the flavours. Sprinkle each serving with a few seeds if you’re using them.

I just served this with some salad, topped with a little Bombay mix, plus the last of the mini ryvita crackers. If you’re feeling in need of a more substantial meal  though, you could always serve it with pitta bread.

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Dessert

Chocolate and strawberry dessert, a few squares of chocolate

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I had a little Alpro soya dessert left over from the Sunday lunch effort and had managed to find some strawberries in the Co-op for 50p. I literally just chopped the strawberries, put them in  a plastic wine glass and topped with the remaining soya dessert, plus a few chopped hazlenuts sprinkled over the top. It certainly doesn’t taste like the low-budget dessert that it really is!

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Snacks

Mixed nuts

I think nuts are the ultimate energy snack as they’re really effective at keeping you going in between meals, and quite healthy too.