eat

a-week-in-the-life-of-a-vegetarian-mycreative

I saw a post over on ‘Cookies and Kate’ about what she eats in a week as a (mostly) vegetarian. I am pretty nosy and intrigued by what people eat and thought that others might be too so I thought I’d share a week in my ‘kitchen’.

I have been vegetarian for almost nine years now. I’d never been a big meat eater but when I moved to London I realised that being vegetarian was actually a thing. When I studied my degree in Environmental Studies the environmental benefits of a mostly plant based diet were solidified in me.

With a move to Italy I have lost out on a lot of the convenience vegetarian foods you have in London and have had to adjust to that. Also I am now not so strict about ‘vegetarian cheese’. The items in stores just aren’t labelled like they are in England.

Also after 8 years of not buying leather shoes I have given in slightly. I am just tired of not having comfortable shoes that last. Sadly, as much as I eye out leather tote bags I don’t feel they are essential and will not be buying one. I hope one day I might come across a beautiful second hand one though.

Here is what I ate a couple weeks back. I think generally since the move to Italy my cooking is a lot more homemade and colour is a big player, although I kind of had a lazy week in the cooking department. I am also trying to eat healthier but my snacks are definitely still an area to work on. I tried to take pictures of all my meals but I am afraid they didn’t all make the cut or were forgotten. But you get an idea from those above.

Monday

Breakfast | fruit salad with banana, pear, nectarine, greek yoghurt and hazelnuts (I think they are my new favourite)

Lunch | salad with half and avocado, couple sliced radishes and couple spoons of cannelini beans. I also had a small chunk of baguette left over from the weekend.

Dinner | a light spring mac and cheese.

Snacks | a few too many tastings of carrot cake that a friend was experimenting with.

Tuesday

Breakfast | vegan nutty apple fritters

Lunch | left-over half apple from breakfast, salad with beetroot, cannelini beans, grated carrot and two artichoke hearts (from the jar), plus a piece of Slovenian smoked cheese.

Dinner | veggie burger topped with beetroot and a tomato salad side. We don’t eat these often as the veggie burgers cost twice as much here as they do in London.

Snacks | dark chocolate topped rice cakes. I would have stopped at three but Tim took so long to come home I ate six! Once a bag of something is open in the house it is dangerous.

Wednesday

Breakfast | strawberries, nectarine, greek yoghurt and left over raspberry coulis

Lunch | ricotta, tomato salad and herbed warm spelt flat-bread. Seriously this is like heaven in your mouth.

Dinner | Tim tutors and only gets late home on Wednesdays. I made another lazy meal which still needs work. Corn and zucchini fritters made with chickpea flour. Not even anything with it! But at least they are vegetables inside.

Snacks | I found the biscuits in the cupboard that a friend had brought over on the weekend. Oops. One too many of those.

Thursday

Breakfast | I had a craving for peanut butter. Vegan pancake for one with peanut butter and banana on top.

Lunch | half avocado, handful of radishes and some more spelt flat-bread.

Dinner | polenta (made it too runny, oops), with a bean, tomato, zucchini ‘sauce’.

Friday

Breakfast | oats with a grated apple and almond milk

Lunch | left over beans and veg from last night

Dinner | half a mushroom pizza (Roman style pizza which is a thinner base) and then a scoop of gelato for dessert

Snacks | 2 nectarines.

Evening | Went out for drinks with friends. Had 2 prosecci and some snacks at the bar. Apertivos are supposed to be before dinner but you get snacks in the bars with your drink: crisps, bread sticks, sundried tomatoes, cucumber, nuts etc.

Saturday

Breakfast | A pancake is sometimes the perfect carrier for jam. It is just like eating toast and jam, no?

Lunch | A sandwich from a coffee shop – brown bread with grilled vegetables and cheese

Dinner | Store bought mushroom ravioli with tomato sauce (‘home made’ with can of tinned cherry tomatoes, garlic and a spoon of red pesto) and peas. This is my version of super lazy food.

Snacks | Afternoon apertivos (mini gherkins, sundried tomatoes, pickled onions and tomato, crisps and prosecco of course

Sunday I totally forgot to take note or capture anything. I think it was pretty much a repeat of Saturday except I probably had some cereal for breakfast.

So what do you think. Are your eating habits similar? Anything you are going to try? Why don’t you share what you eat. I’d love to find out.

vegan-nutty-apple-fritters-1-mycreative vegan-nutty-apple-fritters-2-mycreative vegan-nutty-apple-fritters-3-mycreative vegan-nutty-apple-fritters-4-mycreative Breakfast is not a big deal in Italy but it is definitely still a big deal for me. Without the luscious options for eating brunch out (as there are in London) it means that I am extra keen to experiment a bit more with what I make for breakfast at home. I love my pancakes and this is just a slight change from those but different enough for something different on my plate. I am also trying to reduce my carb intake at home so I don’t feel guilty when I go out and eat a pizza, so have been replacing some flour with ground nuts. I know the calories in nuts are higher than flour but it is that so called ‘good’ fat right? Plus it adds some extra protein.

vegan nutty apple fritters

makes 3 fritters

Ingredients

  • half an apple, grated (I used a pink lady. A sweet apple is best so you don’t need other sweeteners)
  • 1.5 tsp ground nuts (I used 1 tsp almonds and 0.5 tsp hazelnut)
  • 2 tsp spelt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • tiny pinch salt
  • drop of almond milk (or other dairy free alternative)
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Method

  1. combine the flour, ground nuts, salt, and baking soda.
  2. mix in the apple until it is covered
  3. squeeze in lemon and slowly add milk until the mixture is barely coming together. This isn’t going to hold together but that is okay.
  4. melt some coconut oil in a pan and make three circles with the batter.
  5. cook on side one for a few minutes and then gently flip and repeat on the other side.

Serve with a berry coulis made by taking 1 cup frozen raspberries, a dash of water, a tablespoon of rice syrup and a tablespoon of sugar (addition of sweeteners depends how sweet your raspberries are). Stir on the stove top on gentle heat until the berries have ‘come apart’. This makes enough for some extra. Great on some greek yoghurt or tomorrow’s fritters.

I like to layer the fritters with some coulis between the layers and a whole heap on top so it feels like I am eating a mini-cake!

You can also find some of my previous vegan recipes hanging about including brownies that become milk shake and this hot chocolate.

eat | asparagus

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One of my favourite parts of spring is that it is asparagus season. It is a weird sort of vegetable but its vivid green and crunchy brilliance which requires so little to make it delicious is perfectly spring. There are so many more varieties of asparagus in Italy I am quite intrigued. There are a variety of thicknesses and sizes and then of course white asparagus too. I have memories of the horrid canned wormy version of this as a child but I thought that I should experiment with these too, although I have yet to brave it.

One of my random ‘goals’ has been to eat as much asparagus as possible before the season ends.

This is what has been appearing in my kitchen:

>>> an Italian abundance bowl with cannellini beans and oven roasted tomatoes

>>> inspired by Joy the Baker’s asparagus and pistachio dish I made a heartier warm salad with asparagus, lentils, peas, hazelnuts and feta which I have to say tasted freaking amazing!

>>> Tania’s lentil falafel with a side of lightly fried skinny asparagus.

>>> And a quick and light seasonal mac and cheese.

springtime mac and cheese

Ingredients

This is roughly how much I use per person, just add for each person you are cooking for.

  • 50g dry pasta, I use a penne made with 25% vegetables but whatever you prefer.
  • 150g asparagus
  • 60g peas, frozen
  • scoop of ricotta
  • teaspoon of pesto
  • olive oil for cooking
  • additional seasoning as you like

Method: Get some water boiling and throw in the pasta. Once the pasta is in throw in the chopped asparagus into a pan and lightly fry to your preferred texture (I like mine with slightly al dente). When the pasta is almost done throw in the frozen peas. Drain peas and pasta, add cooked asparagus and then stir through ricotta, pesto and seasoning. Boom meal done in the time it takes to cook pasta.

Have you made any different asparagus dishes lately? Any new or old favourites?

croatia-dubrovnik-pink-mycreative Croatia-dubrovnik-washing-and-church-mycreative Croatia-cats-of-dubrovnik1-mycreative Croatia-cats-of-dubrovnik-2-mycreative croatia-dubrovnik-church-mycreative Croatia-dubrovnik-fisherman-mycreative croatia-dubrovnik-old-men-of-croatia-mycreative

In case you are packing your bags for Croatia this summer I thought I would share some spots that we enjoyed.

Staying

We stayed in a beautiful Airbnb which I could have happily lived in. The owners met us at the parking garage down the road and pointed out things along the way. The house used to belong to the lady’s grandparents who used to be bakers, which made the house even more charming to me. It is just above the old town and has an impressive view of one of the towers as well as a cute garden filled with lemon trees, orange trees and rose bushes. Just take a moment to image how amazing it smelled. There were lovely details around and lots of care had been taken in putting the house together. Unsurprising as the couple had only moved out of the apartment 10 days before to be in the countryside!

There are two double bedrooms but I would suggest that it is better for a family or group of non-couple friends as the room are only divided by a (frosted) glass door.

Eating

On our previous visit Tim and I had been disappointed by only ever seeming to have the option of grilled vegetables which were more like vegetables swimming in oil.

On this occasion we visited the vegetarian restaurant in town called Nishta. It is a pretty small restaurant with an ‘eclectic’ interior but the food was excellent. I tried a bit of everyone’s meal and there was a great variety of options. I went for a Thai noodle curry (not something you can find in Trieste) and we shared some puddings. The rice pudding was not to my taste but there was a traditional fig thing which was amazing.

Perhaps a rather eccentric choice being in Croatia, we went to a Bosnian restaurant called Taj Mahal which seemed to be Moroccan in decor than Indian. The food, however, was very good. Tim and I got a sort of smorgasbord of options with a spinach and cheese pie, mushrooms with a traditional cheese and (yes) grilled vegetables. I also got some extra cheese to have with the most amazing bread. Seriously, worth the visit just for that. Our friends had a traditional sausage dish called cevapcici which they thoroughly enjoyed.

Drinking

I’ve mentioned it before but the Wine Bar Razonoda is definitely worth a visit too. It only serves Croatian wines and the sommelier provided us with information about the wines we tried. They also had a small bar menu with local cheeses, olives, breads, etc which were very good.

Have you been to Dubrovnik? Any suggestions? Or are you planning on heading there soon?

Painted in Waterlogue

In the vein of Rosie and Freya, I thought I would share my week in London through numbers. So here you go.

2 | Celebrities spotted. I was in London all of 20 minutes when I walked past Bill Nighy in Soho. Then on Sunday I headed to The Wolseley for brunch (seriously love The Wolseley) and Samuel L Jackson was having some eggs.

20+ | Hours spent on buses, trains and tube. I stayed at a friend just past Hackney after I got into London got back to using the bus a lot. Definitely the best way to get around London if you aren’t in too much of a hurry. Plus a train from my Mom into London, to Cambridge and back and to the airport, plus the occasional zip on the tube. I have to say it was a little exhausting all the moving around though – I only take the bus once a week to go to one of my little tutoring jobs. And occasionally to the beach.

3 | Nights slept in my styled hair. Four days and it still looked decent! Very impressed

12 | Charity shops visited. I was looking for some bits for the wedding and was fairly successful. This was split between one near my mum in Bracknell, Crouch End and Cambridge.

At least 10 | Number of jugs in said charity shops that I eyed up longingly. I have a thing for them.

18 | Friends caught up with. Not everyone but glad that I got to spend some quality time with a bunch of my special friends.

1 | Photo shoot. Had to some work (although always so fun).

2 | Pairs of shoes bought. A smart move with the Tom’s but got massive blisters from the cheapo high street purchase. Oops.

gazillion | Calories consumed. In case you are interested this included meals from the following: The Vintage Tea House with my mum (great cake!), a late dinner at Maeve’s Kitchen (a simple menu but lovely cosy feeling), Tibits (a great central vegetarian restaurant which is great for a bite with a friend for lunch), Rosa’s (to get some Thai food fix), Beam (still thinking about their salad), Franco Manca, a little caf’ in Cambridge where I had a full veggie English (yum), The Wolseley (always brilliant), an amazing Turkish falafel wrap from Dom’s Place (a hipster kebab joint basically. It has been there since the 1970s but recently refurbished. Super good wrap too). So many new places had popped up in favourite neighbourhoods and exploring new areas meant I was keen to try 10,000 more but afraid my stomach and wallet could not handle that. Time for a detox now!

eating italian | legumes

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I asked a little while ago what people were interested on seeing around here and I hope I am delivering (with more regular posts about Trieste and some more photography tips). Another thing that people have asked about is what I am eating in Italy. Honestly, this has changed a lot. With more time available to me I am cooking more – which I love. On top of that though is the fact that a lot of foods that I used to buy regularly in London just aren’t available here so I have had to change to cooking more ‘Italian’ – although I am sure most Nonne would argue that my food is far from Italian!

One thing that I have been buying a lot more are legumes. Beans were an important food source in the typical ‘cucina povera’ (poor kitchen) because, well, they are cheap and the same remains true today. Currently, as a one income household and in a country where there aren’t as many vegetarian protein options this is great.

I go between canned and dried depending on time and what I want to use them for. The most popular beans available are borlotti, cannelini, chickpeas (cece) and lentils (lenticchie) (normally the green variety). Here are a few of my favourite ways of eating them:

>>> Borlotti are great for homemade baked beans.

>>> I love a cannelini bean spread which is great on ciabatta or crisp bread. All you need is one can of cannelini, a glug of extra-virgin olive oil, zest of half a lemon and a squeeze of lemon juice (or more to your preference) and some fresh salt. You can also add some fresh herbs if you have to hand. Blend with a handblender or masher. You want a ‘rustic’ spread with some solid bean bits still.

>>> I also love to throw cannelini beans or chickpeas in smooth soups to add protein and make them creamy without the cream!

>>> Roasted chickpeas! Better than crisps!

>>> Lentils are perfect for veggie lasagnes and stews and in summer they are a great gluten free alternative to add to salads to bulk them up. I made this abundance bowl this week but didn’t use any rice and just used lentils. I suggest you make it soon because it is delicious.

>>> Lentils are also pretty delicious just with some olive oil and salt.

So do you eat legumes? What are some of your favourite dishes?

[Excuse all the pictures of chickpeas. The light this afternoon was just gorgeous.]