The perfect alternative to meringue?

Breakfast

Peach and apricot balance, soya milk, strawberries, banana

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I’d almost reached the end of the packet of cereal, so had to bulk it out with some fruit but it was just as filling and probably much healthier.

Lunch

Pitta bread stuffed with marinated tofu and tomato salad,  pretzels, apple, dried mango

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I’d say that this is definitely one of the best sandwiches around. This morning I just briefly posted a wholemeal pitta bread in the toaster to warm it and make it easier to cut, then spread it with some soya margarine and added rocket salad, sliced cherry tomatoes and some marinated tofu pieces. The whole process only took around 5 mins, so it’s not the type of packed lunch you have to get up early to make. The marinated tofu peices are one of my favourite tofu products, and they’re great added to sandwiches and salads. This was the Cauldron brand, and I generally find that they’re available in the larger supermarkets (although some sort of tofu can generally be purchased in any supermarket). The pretzels are just a very addictive crisp  alternative, and dried mango is good for a sweet, but maybe slightly healthier, end to a meal.

Dinner

Thyme, seed and cherry tomato pasta, marinated tofu and cucumber salad

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When I made a roasted pepper pasta salad for Sunday lunch, I cooked slightly too much pasta. To avoid swamping the Mediterranean veg with excessive amounts of plain pasta, I stowed some of the surplus pasta in the fridge. During the week, I’ve considered taking it for lunch, but the thought of preparing a pasta salad before 8 am never really appealed. Its days were numbered, but it came into its own tonight when I wanted to save time by avoiding a shopping trip. I still had plenty of the lovely herbs that my grandparents had brought over from their garden, so I thought that these would do a pretty good job of perking up the pasta.

This turns out to be a great way to use up excess cooked pasta (which often results from the wise decision to gradually add  pasta to sauce and avoid the risk of dryness).  Keeping the pasta for nearly a week was probably pushing it though, and I wouldn’t suggest that anyone else does the same! I have an incredibly zealous fridge which is great for stopping things from going off (if slightly annoying when it produces icy strawberries etc.).  As well as saving time on supermarket trips, the whole thing was definitely ready in under 15 mins.

Ingredients for thyme, seed and cherry tomato pasta (serves 2):

– 150g dried pasta, cooked

– 1 onion

– 2 large garlic cloves

– A good handful of thyme

– Olive oil

– A generous sprinkle of seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower)

– A good handful of cherry tomatoes

Method:

1. Chop the onion, crush the garlic and take the thyme leaves off the stalks.

2. Heat a good splash of oil in a pan and add  the onion, garlic and thyme. Sautee for around 5 mins, stirring constantly, until the onion is soft and transparent. Add the seeds and continue to sautee for a few more minutes.

3. Add a good splash of water, plus the cherry tomatoes (whole). Simmer for another 5 mins, stirring almost constantly. Add more water if necessary. It’s not to create a sauce, but just  to stop the mixture from burning.

4. Finally, add the  pasta and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until the pasta is hot through.

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I served this with some cucumber and marinated tofu pieces, as there wasn’t quite as much pasta as I would usually cook. If using more pasta though, a leafy salad would probably suffice.

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Dessert

Halva with strawberries and pomegranate seeds, a few pieces of dark chocolate (with ginger)

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The Cypressa brand of this traditional Greek dessert definitely seems to be animal-free. I’ve just been informed that some halva contains albumin though  (which comes from egg), so I guess it’s one of those cases where you have to do a quick scan of the ingredients to be sure.

I’d never tried it before, but thought it was really delicious. It’s made from crushed sesame seeds (and a lot of sugar), so it’s almost like a sweet version of tahini. The ‘serving suggestion’ shows it cut into neat cubes, but my block just crumbled when I tried to cut it. It still tasted great though, especially combined with fresh red fruit. It also strikes me as the perfect alternative to meringue, as it has the same sweet, fairly dry, crumbly texture. For this reason, I think it would have been even better with a moister topping (e.g. some tinned fruit or a fruit compote) and would also be a great ingredient for an animal-free Eton mess, combined with some whipped coconut cream.

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Snacks

Vegan chocolate

Not much explanation needed, but it’s not a snack you can go far wrong with!

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