Monday, 19 January 2015

Vegan Banana Pancakes

When we moved to Thailand nine months ago I decided to become vegetarian. It was as easy as that, I eat delicious food and never crave meat or feel like I'm missing out by not eating it. (I'm sure it would be different back in the UK but for now I'm very happy).  Since we often eat at little vegan restaurants that use amazing meat substitutes, I figured I would try cutting out eggs and dairy for a month - how hard could it be?

Actually it's fine but I'm feeling a bit deprived of sweets and treats. I know you can make delicious vegan desserts but sometimes it feels like you need 17 types of organic nut butter, a blender, dehydrator and a space rocket. Since I have none of those things I have been going without.

But here is a vegan pancake recipe with 5 ingredients you probably already have in your cupboards. We enjoyed these as a leisurely weekend breakfast but dollop on some vegan ice cream or coconut cream and pudding's sorted!

Vegan Banana Pancakes:   
(serves 2) 
120g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
125ml sweetened soy milk or other non-dairy milk (if you have unsweetened milk, add a tablespoon of caster sugar)
1 banana (preferrably over ripe) 
Mash the banana with a fork. If you are adding sugar mix it in with the banana now. Slowly whisk the milk into the mashed banana so that you have a thick liquid mixture. Mix together the flour, cinnamon powder and baking powder in a bowl. Gradually add this to the banana mixture, whisking as you go to ensure that you have no lumps.
Heat some vegetable oil in a non stick pan over a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, spoon the mixture onto the pan and spread it a little (the mixture is very thick). Cook the pancakes until they are golden brown on each side. Then plate them up and drizzle with syrup :)

Thursday, 15 January 2015

A Christmas dinner in Thailand

How do you cook Christmas dinner for four in Thailand? Without an oven. When two of your party are vegetarian. ???!!

You get creative! Roast potatoes were obviously out of the question but we made up for it in mash and sauteed potatoes. Aunt Bessie provided the yorkshire puddings and we were stocked up on instant veggie stuffing and gravy. The meat-eaters bought a rotisserie chicken made some rather giant pigs in blankets. Us vegetarians enjoyed 'vegan duck' (don't knock it 'til you've tried it - it's awesome!) from our favourite Buddhist cult/vegan restaurant. 

Accompanied by wine, beer, and all things mulled, we didn't even have space for our Christmas pud.

It may not have been organic goose with cranberry sauce, 'proper' gravy and seven types of stuffing but for us it was perfect. The fact that we hadn't had anything like it in so long and the effort we'd gone to to cobble it all together really did make it taste that much better! As I sat in my shorts (red, obviously), t-shirt and santa hat, sipping my glass of wine and helping myself to yet another yorkshire pud, I was a very happy lady with a rather round belly!

    Christmas brekkie!

    Mashing by hand is tough!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Banana and Peanut Brittle

I'm always being surprised by the different ways Thais find to eat bananas. As well as having numerous different types and sizes, they sun dry them, fry them, deep fry them. As well as havingWe were given a huge bag of what seemed to be heavily fried banana chips. They were extremely moreish so after eating most of the bag I decided to use them to make some brittle,

I used half weird banana chips and half salted peanuts but you could use any nuts you fancy. I like the addition of salt to any caramel so if you use unsalted nuts I would add in a few pinches of salt. This doesn't last more than a few days but you have eaten it all by then anyway - mine didn't last 5 minutes (seriously!)

Bash it up and sprinkle it over ice cream or just enjoy it as it is - just be careful of your teeth!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Pancake Bananas

In days gone by, I would enjoy pancakes just once a year on Shrove Tuesday. I know, it's madness and I can't understand why because pancakes are easy to make and, as far as I'm concerned, are perfect at any time of the day. These days I have come to my senses and often make pancakes for Saturday breakfast when I fancy a change from eggs. 

This week I made cinnamon pancakes for brekkie and had some mix left over. We also had a fridge full of bananas so I had a bit of a lightbulb moment inspired by this pin I remembered seeing a while ago. Instead of making regular banana pancakes, I dipped the bananas in the pancake batter and fried them in butter. 

*If you're having these for breakfast, I would recommend making the batter the night before. If they are for dessert then make it in the morning and pop it in the fridge :)

Enjoy with a sprinkle of cinnamon for brekkie or maybe some ice cream and toasted nuts for pud!

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Sunday, 9 November 2014

Lab Made ice cream

I’m pretty sure this is about as edgy as ice cream gets!

Made to order in what look like KitchenAids there seems to be some kind of witchcraft involved. The steam of the liquid nitrogen seeps out of the shop, shrouding the whole place in mystery.

*photos taken from Lab Made's Facebook page:

Matt’s sister introduced us to this great little spot in Hong Kong when we visited her in April. Six months later we ended up back here on 30th October so naturally there was a Halloween twist. 

As you would expect, the flavours are suitably ‘quirky’ - you won’t be finding strawberry or vanilla here! There are normally just about 4 flavours which change every few weeks. Last time I think I had blueberry muesli flavour which was delicious and has crunchy granola pieces - basically a breakfast ice cream!

This time we sample 'Muddy Graveyard' which was chocolate and peanut butter ice cream topped with crushed biscuit and popping candy and 'Bloody Tears' which was raspberry, white chocolate, coconut and almond. The Chocolate and peanut butter was obviously delicious - you can’t really go wrong with that flavour combination - but my favourite was 'Bloody Tears'. It sounds like there might be too many flavours going on but it just worked! The ice cream was white chocolate with almond pieces and it was topped with purple coconut shavings, blueberry coulis and an eyeball made from white chocolate. I had to stop myself from going back for more!

I don’t know whether similar places exist in other cities but I would definitely recommend paying Lab Made ice-cream a visit if you are in Hong Kong. Apart from the fact that the ice cream is scrumptious, it’s an exciting experience watching your ice cream being made especially for you in a matter of seconds!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Penang: it's all about the roti!

I want to stay in Penang and eat Indian curry with my hands forever. Scrap that, I'm moving to India!

After a morning of walking around Georgetown, we were hungry and in need of a good lunch. Pausing outside an Indian cafe, we were beckoned in and ordered the vegetarian banana leaf set (it seemed to be necessary to order before we could sit down).

A large banana leaf was placed in front of each of us and then curries, rice and pappadams were heaped onto the leaf. The waiters felt sorry for us and gave us cutlery but there was no way we were missing out on the fun, so we got stuck in with our hands! It was delicious, we were stuffed and it cost us 10 Malaysian Ringit (about £2).

Dinner was a similar feast - I'm pretty sure we broke all the rules by insisting we had roti when the waiter really wanted us to have chapati instead! We accidentally ordered too much (no surprises there!) and left happy but so full I almost felt sick!

The following day, after conquering the jungles and inclines of Penang Hill all morning, we indulged ourselves with an array of samosas, bhajis, sweat breads (and other things that frankly I don't know the name of but they are deep fried and tasty and that's all I needed to know!).

Georgetown is a vibrant and interesting little city, it's bustling atmosphere outdone only by the incredible food on offer! Next stop, Kuala Lumpur and needless to say we'll be stocking up on deep fried finger food for the journey.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

I scream, you scream ...

When you've spent the morning walking round The Grand Palace, the sun searing through your factor 50 to create some impressive tan lines, you need an ice cream. In Thailand it seems that you never far from someone selling coconut ice cream, whether it be in a cup, cone, shell or bread roll (yeah, I don't get it either) but in Bangkok there are more and more artisan ice cream shops and stalls popping up.

Most offer the classic scoops in a variety of delicious flavours. But this little stall on Khao San road sold what I would describe as 'Magnum-style' ice creams only far superior. Each flavour has a different design made from chocolate and icing which when bitten, gives way to ice cream heaven. The effect was wonderful and I've never seen anything like this before.

Almost too pretty too eat eh? Only obviously not. I can confirm that the mint chic chip is yummy and I've got my eye on the Tiramisu flavour for our next visit...!
A bit peng (expensive) at 80 baht (about £1.50) but worth it to try something a bit different :)