Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Bread and Butter Pudding

Direct quote, on trying; "Oh sweet jesus, this is freaking delicious".

I assure you, it is delicious.

I wasn't expecting much from this.  It's an idea I had last night, based on a recipe my grandmother used to make.  I was in a snacky kind of mood, so I made some.  It's quick, easy, and scrummy.  Doesn't look like much, but it's pure, delicious, yummy, comfort food, I swear to god.  Also handy for using up stale bread, which, I believe, was one of its original purposes.

The oats are something I haven't heard of before, but they worked really well.  The ones on top went all soft and nice, while the ones in the middle gave the whole thing a nice crunch.


3 Slices of Bread - I used Warburton's wholemeal.
1 Tablespoon Vegan Margarine (I used vitalite - about 10g).
30g Raisins
1/4 Cup Porridge Oats
180ml (Unsweetened) Soy Milk (3/4 Cup) - I think rice milk would work even better, but we didn't have any.
1 Tablespoon Cornflour
3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup (I used Clarks.  You could easily replace this with a bit of sugar and vanilla essence, or leave the sugar out entirely if you use rice milk)
Spices - I used all spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

  1. Butter the bread, and place one layer (ie, one and a half slices) in a small baking dish, butter (v. marge) side up.  Sprinkle over all the raisins and half the oats.  Top with the rest of the bread, butter side down, and scatter the rest of the oats on top.
  2. Make the custard - place the milk in a saucepan and spice.  Add the maple syrup/vanilla, and thicken with the cornflour.  I admit, I never actually got the hang of thickening custard, and mine came out a bit watery.  Add spices to taste, and pour over the bread.
  3. Bake at gas mark 4 for twenty minutes.

This recipe serves six, although these portions are kind of small (but filling!).  Six portions should come out at under 150 calories, while four will still be under 200.  I can't be exact, since I've tweaked the portions from what I actually made - mainly, less milk, 'cause mine overflowed a bit.  You don't want that, burnt milk in the bottom of an oven smells absolutely disgusting.

The oats make it slightly more proteiny than fatty, but it's still mostly sugar.  Mostly fruit sugar, especially if you swap out the soy milk + maple syrup for rice milk with vanilla essence. So you probably shouldn't eat this with a large coke, is what I'm saying.

I wanted to include a banana, sliced in the middle of the layers, but I ate the last one earlier.  You could also add some flaked almonds, or some berries, or any kind of fruit you like.  Raisins are traditional, in my family, but I think raspberries or blueberries would add an interesting tartness.

Red Salad with Dressing

I found a new lunch to take to work!

This was yummy and filling. And so quick to prepare!


1 Tin of Chickpeas, drained
2 Tomatoes, chopped
1 Red Pepper, chopped

  1. Mix together.
  2. et voilà!
You could add a chopped green pepper, too, as the original recipe suggests, but we didn't have any.  This makes two portions.

Instead of the spices recommended (which we also lacked), I used salt, pepper, and pre-mixed Garlic Italian Spice, which went really well with the tomatoes.

I served the salad on a bed of rice (30g uncooked weight), which worked really well.  The dressing was good too; mix together two tablespoons of olive oil with two tablespoons of lemon juice, and a dash of mustard.  Again, this makes two portions.

According to MFP, per portion, without the dressing, the salad has 91 calories, 24g of carbs, 6g of protein, 3g of fat, 9g of fibre, and 13g of sugar (mostly from the tomatoes).

I haven't tried this yet, but you could replace the dressing with a sliced-up lemon or lime mixed into the salad, especially if this is for a packed lunch - the flavours should spread through the rest of it.  Or, half the olive oil - just use half a teaspoon per portion.

Saturday, 26 March 2011


I just haven't felt like blogging recently.  Life's been busy.

Anthony and I have decided to have picnics, now it's spring.  Lots of picnics.  At first, I thought it would be tricky coming up with ideas, but then I actually tried to think of some, and I got lots.  So here are a few.

This Sunday (yes, it will probably rain, no, I don't care);

  • Fresh baked ciabatta rolls (I use Rivercote baking mix - it's not cheating!).
  • Vegan sausages, courtesy of Vegan Dad.
  • Potato Salad - the creamy one from Lauren Ulm.
  • Some slices of Sheese, lettuce, and sliced tomatoes, so, basically, we can form all of the above into sammiches.
  • Chocolate-coated strawberries and raspberries (I'm going to use Tesco's free-from chocolate bars).
  • Frozen grapes - everyone seems to be telling me these days that they taste like sorbet!  I think it originated from Jamie Oliver.

I like it.

Other ideas, in no particular order or groupings, include;

  • Bagel dogs - these are a strange thing I read about in a post in Fed-Up With Lunch.  It seems it's basically a hot dog baked right into the bread, kind of like a sausage roll.  I think that would work really well, a vegan sausage baked into a ciabatta roll.  Much easier than carrying separate components, too.
  • Calzone - Anthony found these.  Basically, pizza crossed with Cornish pasties.
  • Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies.
  • Houmous and high-bake water biscuits.
  • Flapjacks.
  • Baby carrots and (vegan) ranch dressing.
  • PB&J, apples, plus peanuts/crisps, school packed lunch style.
  • Green salad with pine nuts.
  • Truffles with cherry coke and raspberries.  I have ideas about how to veganise the truffles.
  • Bread and butter pudding with a vanilla alpro-soya dessert.
  • Chickpea salad with pita bread (my chickpea salad is basically one chopped red pepper, two tomatoes, a drained tin of chickpeas, and some rice).
  • Sheese and spinach pasta salad.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

I Won't

As I've mentioned, I've been counting calories recently.  (Incidentally, don't be alarmed by the amount I've said I want to lose - that's not really my goal.  My goal is to keep my nutrients up, particularly protein, fat, and various vitamins and minerals, and to be a lot more toned, not really to get to eight stone).

Anyway, I've spend some time hanging out on the forums, reading blog posts, and watching the people on my MFP friend's list.  And I've started thinking about self-control more.

I haven't given up any food while counting calories.  Just look at my diary!  I snack constantly, eat chocolate, sugar, chips, soft drinks, crisps...

Banana, Chocolate Freedom, Strawberry Freedom, Strawberry syrup, and Flaked Almonds.  Can you say 'Yum!'?

Not all the time, obviously.  I figure out when I'm willing to spend my calories on those items, and when they'd be better spent on something else.

Not everyone views weight loss in this way.  Lots of people try to cut out junk food and treats entirely.  Most famous diets - Atkins, being the obvious one - involve cutting out certain foods almost entirely.

(On a side note, I wonder if vegans can do Atkins?).

People don't like cutting out certain foods, I've noticed.  It's a huge willpower thing.  I bet I'd be the same, if I tried to cut out chocolate or whatever entirely.  And that's made me wonder why veganism doesn't feel like that.

I thought veganism would be really restricting.  I thought it would be frustrating, to play the What Can I Eat? game, and have the answer always be "not a lot".  I thought I'd be fighting temptation constantly.  Instead, after that time period when I really cut down the vegetarianism to veganism, and got over the cheese cravings (about a fortnight) it just all became totally irrelevant.  It's just not a viable food source any more.  It's off my agenda.

I think the difference is that no one's telling me that I can't eat milk, or eggs, or meat.  No one's saying that, if I cut these items out, I'll be thin.  Lots of people lose weight quite happily while eating animal products.  No, no one's telling me that I can't, or I shouldn't, not even me.  I could probably afford it, calorie wise, and it would be a lot easier to get protein that way (although, looking at someone's diary earlier, I did notice that my soy milk had more protein than skim milk does.  Result!).

No, the difference is that I've decided I won't eat those things.  I can't tell myself that a little bit won't hurt, or make excuses, or budget for it.  I can't tell myself that it's just this once, and it doesn't matter.  It matters, even a little bit.  I have better reasons for not eating those things than for eating them, so it's not hard for me to resist them - I don't even see it as a question of resistance.

On the other hand, I've given up potato scallops for Lent.  That will be hard.  Waiting for a bus in the cold, standing outside a chippy, smelling the crispy batter and the vinegar?  Hold me back.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Not-Really-Trifle Things

I don't know what these things are, but they're good.

Ingredients (makes 4)

Fresh fruit or berries - I used a quarter cup of raspberries each for two of these, and three satsumas split between the other two, but experiment.
4 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
4 Rich Tea Biscuits (cheap ones tend to be vegan)
1 Teaspoon Golden Syrup
Alpro Soya Desserts - I used two vanilla (tastes like custard), chocolate, dark chocolate, and caramel (tastes like yum!).
Toppings - I used a teaspoon of flaked almonds on top of each one, and a pack of dairy-free chocolate buttons split between all four, layered in-between the soya desserts.

1.  Place fruit/berries in the glasses.  I used highball glasses, but I think mixers would work better.

2.  This is the only cooking bit.  Crush the biscuits, melt the peanut butter and golden syrup, and mix the whole lot together.  Be careful at this point, as the mixture will go very quickly from melting to burning.  Just a few seconds on a low heat will be enough.  Divide the mixture into four, and share between the glasses.

3.  Share the desserts between the glasses.  In each one, I put half a vanilla, and a quarter each of caramel, chocolate, and dark chocolate.

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