Another surprising sandwich

Breakfast

Maple and pecan crisp cereal, cherries

A refreshing portion of summer fruit to start the day alongside some sugary (but very nice) cereal.

Lunch

Hummus and beetroot sandwiches, veg chips, Nakd bar, fruit

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Beetroot may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you go to make a sandwich but it combines extremely well with hummus. If you just thinly slice a cooked beetroot and add it  to a hummus sandwich, the result will definitely be a good one. The veg chips were the Tyrrells brand which are a little on the expensive side but definitely worth splashing out on every now and again.

Dinner

Spinach and fig noodles, pea shoot salad, Bombay mix

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Tonight’s dinner was again expertly prepared by my Mum with very delicious results. This recipe is basically a variation on  red cabbage and almond noodles although it’s perhaps a slightly less filling version. Pea shoots always make a nice side salad and they seem to have drastically come down in price this summer.

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Dessert

Apple and yogurt pot

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To create this I just built up layers of chopped apple and Sojade soya yogurt (apricot flavour), but I think it would work well with any vegan yogurt. As you may have guessed, the glass comes from Prague where they seem to have a wide range of irresistible cat merchandise (or at least they did when I went a few years ago).

Snacks

Grapes, oatcakes

Fruit and oatcakes are definitely a great option for an afternoon energy boost.

Change of schedule

Eating dinner late can sometimes mean that I’m writing up the day’s meals at an unsociable hour. For this reason, I’ve decided that each post will feature the previous day’s food, meaning that it can be written up any time of the day. I don’t think this will have a huge impact on anyone’s life but I feel as though I should mention it 🙂

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A dinner that cooks itself

Breakfast

Maple and pecan crisp cereal, soya milk

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Definitely the best cereal for a serious dose of morning energy.

Lunch

Hummus and salad sandwich, crisps, fruit, Nakd bar

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My Mum very kindly made me a sandwich today (I’m at home for a few days) which explains the nice presentation! It was a very nice sandwich too, and hummus is always a really good vegan option.

Dinner

Jacket potatoes and salad

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Jacket potatoes are so convenient if you’re busy at home, as you can literally just put them in the oven and they cook themselves. I find that they’re really good with vegan margarine, hummus and a creative salad (tonight’s included olives, beetroots, roasted peppers and chickpeas). Bombay mix always makes a good salad topping.

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Dessert

Tinned pears with apricot soya yogurt, dark chocolate

Tinned fruit and soya yogurt are another good instant dessert. I really like the Sojade brand of yogurts as they come in a really wide range of fruity flavours. You can generally only get them in health food shops though, so I’d suggest the Alpro fruity and creamy range as a better everyday option.

Snacks

Cherries, brazil nuts, oatcakes

Oatcakes and nuts are both really good for keeping you going in between meals (or just nibbling while at the computer).

How to squeeze in some squash

Breakfast

Soya latte, oatcakes

Not a shining example of a balanced breakfast (oatcakes are definitely not the only option for an animal-free start to the day), but I was eating on the move and the individually wrapped (if not very green) packets of oatcakes are more convenient than dashing along a platform with a bowl of cereal. In fact, there are plenty of other options for animal-free breakfasts on the go (e.g. bagels, bread, sandwiches, fruit etc.) but I didn’t have a chance to prepare or buy anything other than a coffee (which is a non-negotiable essential).

Lunch

Hummus and falafel wrap, rice coated peanuts

Another consequence of a slightly hectic schedule was not being able to prepare a packed lunch. This resulted in another shop sandwich, so I went for  Tesco’s falafel wrap which is one of my favourites. The rice coated peanuts are pretty addictive and probably not that much healthier than crisps but they’re certainly very nice.

Dinner 

Butternut squash, bean and seed salad, bread, bombay mix

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When I went into Tesco to buy my lunch, I was slightly dismayed by the huge queue that went from one end of the shop to another. I decided to use this positively and try to grab some dinner ingredients as I passed the various isles, but this didn’t prove quite as easy as you might imagine. Despite the queue moving very slowly,  I ended up with a single butternut squash and a packet of salad. I didn’t really have time to inspect the squash, and when I got home I found that it was rather shriveled. This didn’t seem to make a lot of difference though, as it still tasted great. The beans were actually a mixture of various ready cooked pulses and were on offer in the Co-op (I felt the need to supplement the single squash).

Despite the dubious appearance of the squash, it actually roasted really well. I put it on gas 7 (220 C), but failed as usual to remember  what time I’d put it in. I’d say that cubed squash takes around half an hour to cook, and needs some olive oil added (I just drizzled some over the top and used my hands to mix it in).

To make the salad for one person, I just threw some mixed leaves into a bowl and added half the butternut squash cubes, a few cherry tomatoes and generous handfuls of  beans and seeds. I always find that olive oil is essential to drizzle over the top, and I served the salad with some seedy bread (lightly toasted), plus a few handfuls of Bombay mix.

Butternut squash may seem like a time consuming vegetable, but if you invest ten minutes or so in peeling and chopping it, you can then leave it to pretty much roast itself while you go off and do something else. I’d check on it after about 20 mins though, just to be sure that the edges aren’t getting too dark. If you combine the squash roasting with a salad that takes only a few minutes to throw together then it’s easy to squeeze some squash into a busy schedule!

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Dessert

Banana, dark chocolate

Not hugely creative I know, but it was very nice. The chocolate was more of  the Fairtrade bar that my grandparents had brought for me (amongst many other amazing items).

A zero preparation lunch

Breakfast

Peach and apricot balance, soya milk, chopped kiwi fruit

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I think I’ve said before but this is basically just Sainsbury’s own version of Special K which is much cheaper (and just as nice in my opinion). The kiwi fruits are finally starting to ripen, and it was really nice to have one chopped up on cereal. I usually have the ‘light’ version of the Alpro soya milk, but this morning I had the ‘original’ and I noticed it was much ‘creamier’. For this reason, I’d say it’s a more advisable choice for people who are making the transition from dairy milk.

Lunch

Rye bread with banana, pretzels, dried mango

This is a great packed lunch that never really has to be prepared. Just bring a few slices of rye bread, a banana and a knife. When it comes to lunchtime, just chop the banana, put the banana slices on the rye bread and enjoy. The sweet banana and strong grainy rye taste go really well together. This worked especially well with the lovely sunflower seed rye bread that my grandparents bought  me, but I think any rye bread would be fine.

In amongst the crisps, you can usually find mini pretzels, which make a nice change and feel at least slightly healthier, even if they do have grains of rock salt  on them. In fact, the ones I had today weren’t that mini at all but were still light enough to enjoy with some bread. The dried mango was fair trade (another item in the amazing goody bag from my grandparents) and makes a really delicious dessert or snack.

Dinner

‘Creamy’ rice with marinated tofu, salad

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I have to admit that this is still a recipe under construction. It made a very tasty and satisfying meal, but I need to tweak the finer points. Whilst I love marinated tofu (it’s absolutely delicious with salad in a wrap or pitta bread), I think a plainer tofu would have worked better in this particular dish. I felt that the marinated tofu trampled over my carefully concocted blend of flavours, whereas a plainer variety would have been more respectful. Here’s the recipe so far, and I’d recommend giving it a go but sticking to a plainer tofu.

Ingredients for ‘creamy’ rice with marinated tofu (serves 2):

– 140 g rice

– 1 onion (or about 4 shallots)

– A small piece of lemon grass

– 2 garlic cloves

– A few coriander leaves

– Olive oil

– Some plain, firm tofu (maybe half a block)

– 1 small carton of soya cream

Method:

1. Rinse the rice, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and simmer until tender (I used wild rice so this took longer, but I’d imagine other rices would take around 15-20 minutes).

2. Meanwhile, chop the onion, peel and crush the garlic and finely chop the lemongrass. I’m not that familiar with lemongrass, but I treated it like a leek, going for the middle part and this seemed to work well. Chop the tofu and set aside.

3. Heat a good splash of oil in the saucepan and add the onion, garlic, lemongrass and coriander. Heat very, very gently (it will burn easily) until the onion is tender and transparent, but not brown.

4. Add the tofu and continue to stir fry for a minute or so. Add the cream, then drain the rice and add that in too. Simmer until the whole thing is hot through (about 5 mins) and serve.

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I just had a pea shoot salad on the side, topped with some Bombay mix as I thought something slightly spicy would go well. I also finished up a couple of ryvita mini crackers left over from yesterday.

Dessert:

Apple and cinnamon pot

A few days ago I recounted an unfortunate dessert ruined by ‘garlic mango’ resulting from the sloppy practice of using the same chopping board for everything. Whilst it’s something that vegans can do without danger of food poisoning, instances of unpleasantly savoury fruit become a very real possibility. My grandad (who happens to be a fantastic carpenter) read about the garlic mango and kindly made me a beautiful chopping board especially for fruit. It’s too nice to chop on really, but I will anyway!

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The apple I used was a little sharp (Sainsbury’s Basics range), but it made a refreshing dessert  when combined with some raisins, cinnamon, golden syrup and apple juice.  The outdoor background isn’t wholly truthful as I took a couple of pictures, sat down and then decided that I just couldn’t endure the cold. A typical summer evening in the UK.

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I don’t usually mention drinks (tea, coffee, diet coke, juice etc.) but I think the really lovely fair trade cocoa I had after dinner tonight should be an exception. This was yet another item from yesterday’s amazing goody  bag, and I had it with a few squares of dark chocolate (even if the necessity of eating chocolate with cocoa is slightly questionable). I didn’t have a saucepan for heating soya milk (I’m not yet very well equipped, as you’ve probably gathered), so just mixed 1-2 tsp of cocoa with a good splash of soya milk and 1tsp of sugar, then added hot water. The result was lovely- smooth and nice and strong.

Snacks

Spare piece of rye bread, pumpkin seeds

Just a piece of rye bread left over from lunch and some spare seeds. It sounds unbelievably healthy but it’s just what I happened to have in my bag.

Britain’s best traditional food?

Breakfast

Maple and pecan crisp cereal, soya milk, strawberries

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This was my usual weekend breakfast cereal, combined with some strawberries that were left over from last night’s dessert. A sweet but very nice start to a Saturday morning.

Lunch

Peanut butter and grape bagel, crisps, fruit (extra grapes and strawberries), cocoa and orange bar

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This is rather an unusual sandwich filling but it’s definitely one of my favourites. I especially love sesame seed bagels, and you can’t go wrong with some crisps and a bit of fruit. The cocoa and orange bar was from the Nakd range. They’re great for energy and it’s amazing to think that they’re essentially just made out of dried fruit.

Dinner

Pea risotto, grape and pea shoot salad

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My Dad kindly made this for me and it was really delicious. It’s also a great store cupboard dish, as the ingredients are all things that you’re likely to have in your cupboard (or freezer) anyway. I featured the pea risotto recipe last week, but I can’t really claim credit for it as it’s one that I veganised (and simplified) from a fairly ancient recipe book.

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The pea shoots in the salad tasted so different to the peas in the risotto that you’d never guess the link. Pea shoots seem to have dramatically dropped in price lately and cost a similar amount to any another packet of salad. For salad toppings, we had some rice coated peanuts and Bombay mix, both of which also make great animal-free snacks.

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Dessert

Watermelon, strawberries, Bourbon biscuit

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My third serving of strawberries I know, but they are hard to beat and being a fruit I’m sure that they’re at least vaguely good for you. You may not think of traditional British food as being particularly animal-friendly, but strawberries couldn’t be more of a summertime tradition and they’re definitely vegan! The watermelon cubes were really sweet too, and always make a refreshing dessert.

Snacks

Banana, pumpkin seeds

Bananas make a really great energy-packed snack, and pumpkin seeds are surprisingly good for keeping you going in between meals.