Happy new year! Welcome to the third instalment in my new monthly favourites blog series where I share the foodie finds I make each month and the other little things I’ve enjoyed, discovered, experienced or read. Although we’re now into 2016, I still wanted to wrap up the final month of 2015 and share a few thoughts on what’s coming up in 2016 at the same time.
December, as was to be expected, was a very good month for food! I did a lot of experimenting with festive flavours in this maple glazed tofu and a maple parsnip and chestnut wellington (can you spot the maple theme!?) and created some healthy mocktail recipes that are perfect for January too if you’re cutting back on alcohol.
I took part in the very first Vegan Mystery Box Challenge, which was such a fun way to try something new and proof of how much creativity there is within the vegan blogging community (you can view everyone’s recipe via my post), and also in the #fdbloggerssanta organised by the Food Bloggers community. For the secret santa, we had to get to know each other via our blogs and it was amazing to see how much thought everyone put into finding the perfect gift.
I like cooking with mock meats, not because they imitate meat but because they’re another ingredient to experiment with; the texture of mock meat and its ability to absorb flavours is different to most vegetables. I was recently introduced to Sgaia Food‘s ‘Mheat’, an artisan vegan seitan that’s handmade so no two batches are the same. I love the idea of this amount of love and care going into the food, rather than a heavily processed version.
Mheat is low-fat and full of protein with a satisfying chewy texture. I tried out one of their steaks by slicing it and pan-frying it with olive oil, red wine, soy sauce, thinly sliced red onion and garlic.
You know how sometimes when you try something new it takes a while to work out what you think of it? Cinnamora, a cinnamon-based soft drink, was definitely one of those. Although cinnamon is a very familiar taste, there was something unfamiliar about Cinnamora at first – perhaps because I’m not used to the cinnamon flavour in liquid form.
Once I’d got over the initial surprise though, I quickly became a big fan of the taste. It’s not as overpowering as you might expect and instead makes for a pleasantly refreshing drink. Cinnamora has no added sugar and contains Ceylon cinnamon, which some research suggests has multiple benefits, in particular with controlling blood sugar and lowering cholesterol.
The Slightly Overcooked Map of Tasty British Place Names
Not food, but decidedly food-related, this map from cartographers Strumpshaw, Tincleton & Giggleswick is a fun new addition to my kitchen that I wanted to share. I have a bit of a thing for maps (in fact I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to maps) so couldn’t resist this one – every place name listed on the map is a genuine location with a gastronomic name.
The map does full justice to the weird and wonderful place names we do have in this country – honestly, I think anyone from outside of the UK really would be astonished! I’m in the process of making a DIY poster hanger for it and will share a better picture once it’s ready.
- Are you taking part in Veganuary or simply thinking of cutting down on dairy a little? Sareta has written a great guide to getting prepared for Veganuary
- Mel has come up with an ingenious way of getting around the egg white that’s often used as a glaze on candied nuts – aquafaba! That’s the liquid from a can of chickpeas if you’re unfamiliar with this wonder ingredient!
- Although not a new post, Janet’s excellent discussion of how travel is for everyone this only came to my attention very recently. There isn’t only one way of seeing the world and money isn’t a necessarily a prerequisite.
Finally, January marks the two year anniversary of The Tofu Diaries – I can hardly believe it! In celebration I’ve got lots of exciting things coming up this month and lots of giveaways to say thank you to everyone who has visited and helped me make this blog what it is.