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It’s been a good three weeks since I embarked on my vegan 5:2 journey, and I thought it was about the right time to write a post about it, and why I’m planning to stick to it.

Firstly let me start off by explaining my diet before this started: I would have considered myself a vegetarian with occasional meat-loving tendencies. On the whole I don’t believe that we need to eat meat to survive (not to mention the environmental impact meat consumption creates and the impending food supply dilemma generations to come will see and likely suffer), and have been an advocate of the ‘if your body is craving it, you probably need it’ diet for years, resulting in an occasional roast chicken on a Sunday, or a beautiful fillet of fish for supper making an appearance a couple of times a month. That, to me at least, seemed like a balanced diet.

Perhaps more influential on my diet than my environmental view is that I have been lactose intolerant for 5 years. Though in the last couple of those years I have reintroduced butter, non-fat milk and a small range of goat’s and sheep’s cheeses in my diet, plus a healthy amount of non-fat yoghurt and eggs. However despite my lactose intolerance and continued consumption of dairy, I have thought for a long time that overall, dairy is probably not very good for us. Quite fittingly I read this article in the NY Times about how studies on dairy consumption have proven not only that dairy can cause adverse effects, but that there is little evidence that having a dairy rich diet is actually good for us at all, contrary to the milk = strong bones message being pumped out across Western countries. In contrast, in what is probably the most well known literature on the subject surrounding dairy we hear about casein, a milk protein (also found in many meat substitutes) that has been found to be cancer promoting. When you think of it that way do you really want to be putting that in your body on a daily basis?

Switching to a largely plant-based diet didn’t come without its conundrums at first; what to use other than tofu, is there a limit on how many avocados I can eat each week, can I just eat noodles all the time, why aren’t there any substitutes for a good runny egg; but then once I started to explore different recipes and articles on the subject I realised that I would be making little actual change to my diet, and instead a huge one to what I kept in my pantry. I have had to be so much more resourceful, creative and explorative, I have started taking more time and care in choosing produce and ingredients, and I have even (for the benefit of my previously very pizza-loving beau) started playing with creating homemade vegan substitutes (vegan mozzarella being a good example of my efforts).

So why have I decided to stick to eating a more plant-based diet? This is a question I have had to answer on a few occasions. At first I explained that I wanted to try and clean up my diet a bit, but now having seen the great benefits that have come as part of this clean up I have changed my answer: I really, really like eating this way. I feel energetic, I don’t feel bloated, I have been eating a lot of slow-burning carbohydrates and a lot less saturated fat, and I have found excellent sources of plant-based protein to replenish after working out. I haven’t been so satisfied with everyday meals for so long, and eating well seems to have improved not only my skin but my general mood.

So what have I learnt about myself through this experiment? Eating well has its obvious perks but balance is still key to my general happiness, which is why I will continue to enjoy an egg every now and then, or some thick-strained yoghurt, or put butter in all of my cakes (always). So don’t expect to not see any of my usual recipes on here any more, but do expect to see a few more vegan friendly options.

Now about this salad, this salad is my new go-to. Cold rice noodles, dressed with a super zingy, garlicky dressing, flecked with chilli and sesame seeds and tossed with charred greens and avocado for a welcome creaminess.

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Oh hi!

It’s officially that time of year again; the lights are up, the ads are out, the nights are getting boozier… it’s Christmas whether you like it or not.

Sure, some might say it’s a bit early to get the Christmas paraphernalia out, but I for one am all over it – give me a gingerbread latte with a shot of whisky and I’ll be marvellously content cozied up in my Slanket* with Home Alone 2 on repeat.

(Also, December: the only month where you can get fat gracefully.)

You may remember last year I posted a similar recipe and moaned about how broke I tend to be at this time of year (I absolutely needed three of those cashmere jumpers, didn’t I), so it’s fair to say I get a little resourceful with my gift giving. Enter these beauties, chocolate covered and deliciously decadent. These really aren’t as daunting as they may seem, it’s more a case of patience and trying not to burn yourself, the caramel, or your pan.

So there you have it, I’ll leave you with this bomb recipe to add to your budget Christmas 101 repertoire – plus a pretty great soundtrack to go with it (courtesy of Cereal Magazine)

*the best gift ever received, not giving it up never ever ever

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It was quite the shock when my meat-loving, pizza fiend of a boyfriend declared that he wanted to ‘go vegan’ 5 out of 7 days of the week. I think I squealed a little at the prospect of not having to eat meat as much as we have been doing since we began cohabiting, but inside I could only feel pangs of fear as what he said really sunk in. I realised that his new found vegan-ish-ism would mean two things:

1) all those wonderful things I enjoy daily as part of my mainly-vegetarian diet (honey, eggs, cheese) would be no more
2) this vegan 5/2 thing he had going on in his head was to be conjured up and cooked by yours truly

Well, I do love a challenge.

Over the past week I have embarked on a totally new dining experience, one where I have had to seriously plan meals, seek out vegan friendly ingredients and then… make them taste not vegan at all. I mean, do you know how difficult it is to cook vegan for a man who hates tofu and refuses it in every shape or form? SIGH.

Despite my initial fears he has, thankfully, loved every creation and plate I have put in front of him. And what’s really great about this new lifestyle choice we have adopted for at least the time being, is that I have started exploring and using a ton of different flavours and ingredients.

This salad was pretty much the highlight of my week, and comes from none other than health food blogger Deliciously Ella. Marinating the kale and massaging it may sound a bit cheap porno, but trust me it makes all the difference. Say goodbye to bitter tasting leaves, and hello to the best kale salad you’ll ever know.

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falafel

It is such a privilege to travel, and to travel often even more so. Sure, it means you find yourself a little out of routine, in dire need of catching up with friends and with heaps of laundry to do, but it also means new adventures, tastes and perspectives are found.

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of travel and change, with time spent in Toronto, an office move to Shoreditch in London, and a weekend spent in Switzerland, the latter has been particularly long overdue and has made me really think about just how much has changed over this past year!

Recently I looked back through the archives and last October I posted my favourite recipe for the season at hand, which you can find here. But for something new, and on a slightly less sweet yet equally satisfying note, these quinoa falafels are the perfect offering.

Enjoy!

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Flourless Chocolate Pots with Earl Grey Cream | Thyme & Honey

As if the weather Gods had heard my silent pleas for winter, it rocked up all bold and cold over the weekend. It’s officially sweater weather and to celebrate this momentous occasion I’m wearing the fluffiest jumper I own and plotting my first PSL of the season, all while scrolling through Halloween decorating ideas on Pinterest.

I’m also getting ready for an even colder climate, because this weekend I’m flying to Toronto for my annual poutine fix cousin’s wedding where I’ll be one of her bridesmaids and official joker – ah, the good ol’ English accent… gets ‘em every time.

Also can I just say how giddy with excitement I am about experiencing my first Thanksgiving on Canadian soil? So giddy.

Flourless Chocolate Pots with Earl Grey Cream | Thyme & Honey

In other news I baked these little pots of indulgence over the weekend, and let me tell you, they are G O O D. No – better than good, they are fantastic. Why? Because they are fudgey, sweet but not too sweet, and look impressive when they emerge from the oven grandiose and soufflé-like. Plus they’re flourless, take minimal time to make, and that Earl Grey cream? Decadence just got the British treatment. We so fancy.

I’ve got to be honest though, up until a couple of months ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of drinking black tea let alone putting it in cream, but then I was introduced to the world of JING and all of their wonderful teas, and I’ve been drinking it ever since.

Flourless Chocolate Pots with Earl Grey Cream | Thyme & Honey

Flourless Chocolate Pots with Earl Grey Cream | Thyme & Honey

Flourless Chocolate Pots with Earl Grey Cream | Thyme & Honey

Flourless Chocolate Pots with Earl Grey Cream | Thyme & Honey

Flourless Chocolate Pots with Earl Grey Cream | Thyme & Honey Continue Reading

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