Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bagel Mania!

I've been having a couple of bagels here and there recently. Tesco's own value bagels and Weightwatchers bagels are surprisingly low in calories and make an excellent alternative to a plain old bun or sandwich. The other day I made a lovely rocket, cucumber, sweet pickled pimento pepper and beetroot bagel. It was so unexpectedly good, that by the time I thought I'd better document it for the blog, it was actually all in my tummy!

Today however, I made another one before heading to the gym to burn it off! I pan-fried some left over Polenta that had been marinading in BBQ sauce. I added some BBQ seasoning powder while frying it in olive oil. It was a bit unhealthy looking by the time it had cooked, but it was damn tasty! I put this in a bagel with a pickled pimento pepper and some lovely Irish tomato relish. It was heavenly!!! I'd have added some rocket if I'd have had any left in the fridge...

I guess I should have put the relish on the top half of the bagel so it could be seen in the photo as it looks a little plain here. I was a little too rushed to eat it before it got cold to faff around taking photos - but you get my drift! ;)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Southern Fried Polenta Pineapple Salad

I love to experiment as you all know, and I came up with this little beauty: Polenta cubes tossed and fried in "Southern" spices, with Pineapple chunks on a bed of Tomato & Rocket. It was VERY tasty! The sweetness of the pineapple really compliments and works well with the spicy polenta. It was absolutely delish :) I got the spices from the Asian market. Back in the day when I ate meat I used to love the crispy batter on KFC, but disliked the chicken itself, as it was just too greasy and offputting. So the jar of spices was a very welcome discovery and it goes all battery like proper KFC batter when you cook it. I just love it!

I had this just after getting back from a 4 hour hike (yes 4 hour!) up the mountains around Glendalough. My friend and I walked 11km, most of it up steep inclines. Well worth it though, the scenery was breathtaking, and we got one hell of a workout! The weather here in Ireland has been beautiful today, most of the country is having barbecues and is very, very drunk.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I've been promising myself that I am going to make sushi for a while now. I used to make it really regularly last year but haven't got around to it at all recently. I went through a huge phase of making it for lunch every day (onigiri, inari and norimaki), and it was really quite simple. As I'm at home quite a lot nowadays I thought I'd make some sushi rolls this afternoon, but discovered that I didn't actually have any nori seaweed in the cupboard as I thought I did. The soya wraps that I bought for the boy as an alternative (he has a huge dislike of anything seaweedy!) had also gone past their use by date... so I thought I'd make some onigiri. I purchased some moulds for making these cute little stuffed sushi rice balls a while ago on Ebay, and they are very handy indeed. The boy also loves them because seaweed doesn't come into the equation ;)

Here are a few pictures of today's Sushi adventure. The first shows some of my ingredients. These range from a plum flavoured vinegar powder that dyes the rice pink (I used this in my onigiri today to add a bit of colour and make it more interesting). I have wasabi flavoured sesame seeds and different flavoured "sprinkles" for the outsides of the onigiri. Also in this photo are the onigiri moulds and the mock duck stuffing that I used inside the onigiri, marinading in some garlic teriyaki sauce:

The process of making the onigiri themselves is quite messy and sticky, but very fun! You basically fill up half the mould with rice, press it down, and form a small hole in it for your filling. Marinaded tempeh and tofu always go well in the middle, especially in a sweet hoisin sauce.

And here is the finished result. One cup of sushi rice, mixed with some sushi vinegar and a small amount of sugar yields about 4 decent sized onigiri. I have placed them in the fridge until later, so that they can chill and set a little more. I would normally wrap a strip of nori seaweed around the base (like in the cute cartoon pic) so that they are easier to pick up and eat. These onigiri are great snacks to take to work. Don't worry if you don't have a mould, you can easily make them by draping some clingfilm over your hand and forming a rice ball that way - leave them wrapped in the clingfilm so that you an unwrap them at work and they don't get all squished in transit :)

Friday, June 11, 2010


I went camping with the boy and two friends for 5 days this week, in Salthill, Co. Galway. It was so much fun! I was quite worried as a vegan about what I'd eat, but we got a lend of a wonderful little stove and managed to concoct a few lovely one-pot recipes. The first evening the boy and I had chana massala, using the Meridian tikka massala dairy free sauce. It was very good, much nicer than their Korma. I also made a Mediterranean mixed bean and olive tomato stew one of the nights, which turned out very well (both dishes are visible in the photo below):

The rest of the time I snacked on salads from Supervalu's salad bar (I wish our local Supervalu had one!), bourbon and pink wafer biscuits (I had no idea these were vegan!), apples, soup, bread, peanut butter, Tuc crackers (another thing I never knew was vegan), some Nakd bars, a Julian Graves flapjack and delicious Marks & Spencers food... and I even discovered a vegan chocolate nougat bar at Evergreen. I would have taken a photo and reviewed this rare find - if only I hadn't consumed it whilst very, very drunk! Imagine the horror when I got up in the morning finding the empty wrapper on the floor next to me and exclaiming "NOOO! I  CAN'T EVEN REMEMBER EATING IT! I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT TASTED LIKE!!" ;)

It is worth mentioning that Joyce's supermarket in Knocknacarra is probably one of the best supermarkets I've come across in a good while. They have a very wide range of health foods, an excellent deli which even sells Indian snacks, and are very vegan friendly - quite unusual for a large supermarket. We had 3 amazingly sunny days and even managed to swim in the sea. However, the other days were absolutely miserable and we thought we'd blow away in our tiny tent at night! I really can't wait to go camping again though, this was my first time so next time I'm going to be much better prepared!