Summer lovin’

So by now you all know I don’t do recipes. Nor do I do beautiful food photography, or reviews of my local farmer’s market (find me one and I might look into doing that, though!), or much else that vegan bloggers seem to do.

I do, however, love food. And I love summer. And I actually do love eating healthy, fresh, whole food. There is plenty of room in my diet for frozen vegan sausages, vegan pizza (not the healthy cheeseless pita pizza kind, either), vegan ice cream, vegan cake, and anything else unhealthy you can think of. But it’s when I eat colourful, textured, juicy, seasonal food that I feel my most vibrant.

As I have been staying away from the rotting-animal-flesh-scattered fishy-smelling breadcrumb-encrusted housemate-cluttered structure that I have to call “home” these days, I have been able to enjoy a large, bright kitchen, with plenty of room in the fridge that isn’t taken up by discounted mince and chicken breasts, and an array of interesting and varied dishes to serve my lovingly created concoctions in. So I have been super motivated to lovingly create said concoctions, and to make the most of the seasonal appeal of fresh fruits and vegetables.

So by way of inspiration, here are a few of the things I have been enjoying lately:

Apple yoghurt breakfast bowlThere was an old apple lurking around, and some forlorn grapes, so I put them in the fridge to firm up, then halved a handful of grapes, grated the apple on top of them, sprinkled the apple with cinnamon, and topped them with yoghurt and agave. And ate it in the sunshine. A juicy, sweet, creamy breakfast bowl making good use of the kind of fruit that many other people would just throw away.Nectarine chia bowl

This was another tasty sunshine-filled breakfast. Chia seeds and a tiny sprinkle of oats, left in the fridge for 15mins to soak up some soy milk, and stirred together with half a mashed banana, layered with juicy chopped nectarine. Finished it off with a juicy half grapefruit cut into segments, which I didn’t want to add to the bowl in case it got too acidic and tart. Perfect!

Summer saladA salad making good use of the leftover broccoli, which I tend to avoid as it doesn’t seem to agree with my stomach, but which I seem to be able to handle in small, occasional doses. Adds a good crunch to salads, soaking up dressing to add a punch of juicy flavour to every mouthful. The hot lemon sauce was one of the Fat Man Chilli range I discovered in the market in Hay-on-Wye. Goes perfectly with a colourful summer salad like this, and paired nicely with a tangy pomegranate molasses-based dressing.

Strawberry yoghurt bowlA strawberry and soy yoghurt bowl, with shredded fresh mint and a drizzle of agave, for a fresh summery snack which could just as easily have been a light breakfast.Chilli yoghurt dip

Although I could enjoy fruit all day, there comes a point when I have depleted the fruit bowl want something savoury (or rather, feel I should eat something savoury and less calorie-dense – like when I need a snack about an hour before having dinner). I had that broccoli to use up, and got some strange urge to mix the green chilli sauce from Fat Man Chilli – which has a little accent of mint to it – with some yoghurt, a sort of spicy raita dip if you will. And you know what? It worked! Delicious, satisfying, not overly filling, full of leafy green goodness (calcium, folate, etc), refreshingly hydrating cucumber, creamy protein-rich yoghurt, and metabolism-enhancing chilli. A true winner!

Grilled tofuWinner, winner, grilled tofu dinner. I could seriously eat this every night – mainly because it’s so delicious, but also because it’s easy to throw together (once the tofu has been pressed), and almost stupidly healthy. For the tofu, I press it for 4-6 hours using a much more disorganised version of the towel press method, then marinate it in some variation of my homemade mixture: tomato purée, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, liquid smoke, agave, paprika, chilli powder, sometimes cracked black pepper or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. I say “some variation” because I have no idea how much I used of anything, I just chuck it all in and taste as I go depending on my mood.

Pomegranate cupcakePomegranate cupcake from Ms. Cupcake. Need I say more? Oh alright then: tangy, creamy frosting bursting with rich fruity goodness, soft moist vanilla sponge, a decadently sweet and beautiful dessert that’s not overwhelmingly rich for the summer months. Can I stop now please – my mouth is watering.

NomNom chocolateI know most people don’t feel like chocolate when the weather gets hot, and even I have struggled some days to want to satisfy my sweet tooth with a simple piece of chocolate (believe me, I would do myself a lot less damage with my usual 20g of chocolate than I would with a cupcake!) – but when that need for something creamy rich, crunchy and melty, struck, this beautiful NomNom chocolate bar from Wales bridged the gap between the chocolate monster and the summery land of rich red berries and supersweet juiciness. This picture pretty much speaks for itself, but if you need further instruction, this is 72% dark chocolate filled with a generous layer of juicy strawberry and gooseberry jam.

So there you go – plenty of excuses to enjoy summer, enjoy food, and enjoy health. Reds, greens, pinks, yellows, juicy, crunchy, creamy, tangy, sweet, rich, healthy, not-so-healthy, you don’t need to slave over a hob to produce delicious and healthy summer dishes.

How do you make the most of fresh summer produce? Do leave me a comment and share the love!

4 thoughts on “Summer lovin’

  1. Sue says:

    Try this:
    Half a green Spanish melon, the one with the dark green skin, juice of one lemon, handful of mint leaves, good dose of Fat Man Chilli’s green chilli sauce, whizz it all up to a smooth soup and enjoy!

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