Tag Archives: bathampton

Something for the Weekend – Pineapple Sunshine Deepcrust Pizza

When the sun’s shining, June has got to be the most glorious month of the year in England, don’t you think? The countryside is lush and green, the roses are out in full force, and gardens are a hive of activity.

Roses in June - By the K&A Canal

And after all those months of rain, it’s so refreshing to go out running without an umbrella (yes, I did actually resort to that, much to the amusement of others!) and head out on my beloved bike.

Countryside around Bath

It feels so liberating to travel around on the bike. No queuing in traffic, no waiting for a bus or driving around looking for a parking slot, no expense. Just lots of fresh air, exercise and a chance to take in the beautiful views along the way

Kennet and Avon Canal with Swans - June

Swans and cygnets - K&A Canal - June

I much prefer to take the scenic route into the city centre rather than along the main roads. It only takes a couple of minutes extra, but it’s so worth it. I get to see lots of gorgeous creatures along the way, like these beauties.

Cows and Calves - Bath Countryside

I always give them a wave and often stop to say ‘hi’. They’re very patient with me and this one in particular politely feigns interest in my incessant chatter 😉

Cows in Bathampton

Along with my exercise and travel routines, this time of year, my appetite changes too, and I’m craving lots of fresh salads, fruit smoothies and frappuccinos.

Though my appetite for pizza is year-round, the toppings change to suit the season. To celebrate the arrival of summer, for me, nothing beats our ‘Pineapple Sunshine Deepcrust Pizza’.

PineappleSunshine Deepcrust Pizza (Vegan Style)

This is my vegan take on the classic Hawaiian pizza. The ham’s been removed, and replaced with an array of tasty, sunshine-filled veggies. If you wish, you could sprinkle on some vegan cheese, but these days me and the boys prefer to leave our pizzas cheeseless and let the veggies take centre stage.

Vegan Pineapple Sunshine Deepcrust Pizza

If you’re a subscriber to The Vegan Kind Monthly Subscription Box (TVK), you’ll have spotted this pizza on the June recipe card. It was tucked in with a whole bunch of fab vegan and eco-friendly goodies, including a jar of Mr Organic Italian Sun-dried Tomato Pesto. It was the first time I’d ever tried this brand of pesto and I seriously loved it! It has the most amazing flavour and it works beautifully on the pineapple pizza.

TVK8 Collage

For those of you that don’t receive the TVK box, I thought I’d share our pizza recipe here. I’ve also added some notes about gluten free and speedy options, as well as my vegan cheese recommendations (just in case you still love your pizzas cheesy 😉 )

 

Notes
GF option – I haven’t made a GF pizza myself yet, but ready-made bases/crusts are available to purchase in stores and online. In the UK, the Venice Bakery gluten free pizza bases come highly recommended (I’m looking forward to trying them myself!)

If you wish to add some vegan cheese, I can recommend the Violife brand. It tastes incredibly similar to dairy cheese, yet it’s made with coconut oil! In the UK, you’ll find it in independent health food shops and online.

For a super speedy dinner, we love to make French bread pizzas using a large multigrain baguette or ‘Grand Paysan’ loaf. Roast the veggies for about 15 minutes in a little olive oil. Slice the bread in half and lightly toast on both sides. Spread on the pesto, then pile on the veggies and serve.

What are your favourite things about June?
What kinds of foods are you enjoying right now?

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Filed under Dinners, Out & About in Bath

Bluebell Woods and Bath Skyline

I don’t remember a year ever being as wet as this one! Here in Bath, rarely has a day gone by without rain. In the press, there’s talk of an impending heatwave. Hmm I’ll believe it when I see it.

Last weekend we finally had a break in the weather and we were itching to get outside and make the most of it. It was actually a Bank Holiday here in the UK and we had three days of warmth and sunshine

We were pretty much outdoors for the whole weekend. On Saturday, we headed out on our bikes along the Kennet and Avon Canal and rode the Two Tunnels circuit. This is one of my all-time favourites cycle routes. I love riding through the Combe Down Tunnel. It’s got such a cool vibe! Just over one mile in length, it’s the longest cycle and walking tunnel in the UK.

Riding along the Kennet & Avon Canal Towpath

On Sunday, we met our friends for a drink in Marlborough then headed to West Woods at Clatford, North Wiltshire. English bluebells bloom in late April/early May and you’ll find many woods are literally carpeted in them!

Bluebell Woods Clatford

We timed our visit to Clatford just right. By going later in the day we found that everyone was leaving just as we arrived. For most of the walk, we were literally alone in the woods. It was an incredible experience. Truly magical!

Of course there were plenty of sticks and climbing to keep Lil’ L and our friends’ grandson happy 😉

Bluebell Woods at Clatford 2

On Monday (our bonus day off), we went for a hike along the Bath Skyline. We did the circuit back to front and started at Bathampton Woods. Another magical place, filled with mossy trees and stones

Bath Skyline Walk 1

Bath Skyline Walk 3

It’s super steep in places, so a great workout!

Bath Skyline Walk 2

The official circuit guide says that, on average, people burn 735 calories on this walk! Luckily M had stuffed his backpack with leftover pizza and trail mix to keep us going.

Bath Skyline Walk 4

Bath Skyline Walk 5

The climbs are worth it as you’re rewarded with the most spectacular views of Bath city. It was pretty hazy on Monday but the views were still incredible!

Bath Skyline Walk 6

Bath Skyline Walk 7

We finished our walk in the city centre, which was abuzz with tourists and locals. It’s amazing how a spot of sunshine can totally transform the vibe of the city. It actually felt like summer had arrived! The bars and cafes were packed with people drinking and dining al fresco. Sadly it was short lived as the rain started again on Monday night, but at least we made the most of it while it lasted!

How’s the weather where you are? Today it’s so dark and rainy that it actually feels like winter’s returned! Not great weather for us, but perfect if you’re a slug or snail 😉

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Filed under Holidays, Out & About in Bath, Walking & Hiking

Christmas 2013 Holiday Highlights

As of today, the Christmas holidays are officially over in our house. For me and the boys, the holidays have been total bliss. All the usual busyness of daily life stopped in our house and we enjoyed two weeks of ‘down-time’ together

Like many parts of the world, we’ve been experiencing freaky weather patterns these past few weeks, including frequent spells of torrential rain and gail force winds. Our local meadows (pictured in my top banner) transformed into a big lake.

Bathampton Meadows Flooded Christmas 2013

On Christmas Eve, we awoke to find our garden completely submerged under water. The water levels were the highest that we’ve ever seen them before, reaching the top of Lil’ L’s slide. While the water did eventually drain away, as soon as we had more heavy rain, the garden flooded again.  Fortunately, our house is on higher land, so there’s no risk of it flooding.

Flooded Garden Christmas 2013

For Christmas Day, we headed over to my mum’s in Dorset. We were having such a nice time that we ended up staying five days!

Christmas 2013

We played games, watched films, and went on some lovely walks with the dogs. Father Christmas brought Lil’ L a laser gun set, and he and M had lots of fun and laughs running round the house and forest shooting each other (boys eh?)

Lil L in Verwood Forest Christmas 2013

Using the weather tracking tool on our mobiles, we were able to time our walks to avoid the worst of the rain. Most days were dark and cloudy, but Boxing Day was exceptionally bright and dry, so we headed to Bournemouth.

Boxing Day on Bournemouth Beach 2013_1

It was utterly glorious!

Boxing Day on Bournemouth Beach 2013_4

We took a long walk along the promenade, played with the dogs on the beach, had coffees on the pier, and played the tuppence slot machines in the arcade.

Boxing Day on Bournemouth Beach 2013_2

I find it so invigorating by the sea this time of year. It’s great for clearing the old cobwebs away!

Boxing Day on Bournemouth Beach 2013_3

Love these colourful beach huts on Bournemouth promenade!

Beach Huts at Bournemouth

Food-wise, by far the best meal of the holidays was the Christmas dinner. My mum made the nut and lentil roast on Christmas Eve so, on Christmas day, we simply needed to prepare the veggies and gravy. Lil’ L said it was the best Christmas dinner he’s ever had! He even tried the Brussel sprouts and, though not keen on them on their own, he loved them mashed in ‘Bubble and Squeak’ (which we served on Boxing Day with the Chestnut and Mushroom Jalousie).

And thank you SO much for all your lovely comments about the Cranberry Glazed Red Lentil and Cashew Nut Loaf recipe. I was over the moon to hear how much you liked it!

I admit I’ve eaten far too much these past couple of weeks but I’m not worried about it. This week I’ll get back into my usual eating and exercising habits and, by the end of the month, I’m sure I’ll back back to my usual weight.  For me, this month is all about quick prep, low cost, tasty, healthy meals. I’ve got some really easy recipes to share with you, plus some awesome giveaways.

Time for me to officially bid farewell to 2013 and embrace the New Year.

Here’s wishing you all a very happy 2014 xx

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Filed under Holidays, The Garden, Walking & Hiking

Weekend Highlights – Spray Painting, Bike Riding & Roasted Vegetable Risotto (with Recipe!)

Hi everyone! I hope you had a great weekend 🙂

We managed to fit in lots of fun activities this weekend, starting off with a trip to the library on Saturday morning where Lil’ L returned his book and came out with another seven! You can guess who ended up carrying those round Bath. Luckily he had lots of books to keep him occupied while we went for coffees in Neros 😉

I’m still getting a real kick out of how much Lil’ L is enjoying reading.  In addition to the library books, he’s also currently reading a chapter of Lemony Snicket to us every night and, on his own, he’s reading Philip Pullman’s ‘The Subtle Knife’ (both books that he picked up from the charity shop for a couple of pounds each).

In the afternoon, after a quick visit to a local village fete, Lil’ L and his friend T did some stencilling and spray art with M in our garage.

T did a space-inspired picture, while Lil’ L sprayed an underwater scene with a scary looking fish!

On Sunday, it actually stopped raining for a few hours and the sun came out. We decided to grab the opportunity to go out for a bike ride along the Kennet & Avon Canal.

To make it more interesting for Lil’ L, we said we’d cycle to the Angel Fish Cafe at Limpley Stoke for lunch.  That sure got him moving!

Both the boys fancied baked beans on toast but we were surprised to find that the Cafe only served white bread. No wholemeal, no granary, no seeded bread.  That’s no good! Bike riders need big chunky doorsteps of wholemeal granary bread to refuel them, not thin anaemic white slices 😉

Lil’ L asked if he could have an ice cream for dessert. I told him he could have one at the Canal Boat Cafe in Bathampton (back where we started our journey). This was a sneaky move on my part to make sure he peddled fast rather than dawdled all the way back. It sure worked 😉

We’ve had an unbelievable amount of rain lately but, on the plus side, the countryside is looking beautifully lush and green!

The muddy bike bottom really isn’t a good look is it? I’m so glad I’ve finally had mudguards fitted to my bike.

The face was pretty muddy too (and chocolatey!)

And look at those legs!

Back home, Lil’ L headed straight to the shower while I made the most of our sunshine and did a little gardening. I was amazed to find that we’ve actually managed to grow some strawberries that haven’t been eaten by a slug … or snail … or blackbird!

And look what else I came across… a beautiful shimmering blue damselfly taking refuge on Buddha 🙂

He stayed there for ages!

After a great day out, I cooked us a large pan of roasted squash and red pepper risotto. It was very yummy indeed. Unfortunately, Lil’ L isn’t a huge fan of risotto (he isn’t keen on the texture of Arborio rice) but I pre-empted any negative comments by serving it with some toasted wholegrain tortilla segments. He then proceeded to tuck in with enthusiasm, piling the crispy tortilla high with the risotto, and ate every last grain!

I often find that the addition of a ‘bready’ side dish, like a flat bread, tortilla, or piece of garlic bread can transform a meal for Lil L. I wonder if this is the same for all children?

At the weekend, I made the risotto with an old packet of Arborio rice that needed using up. Next time I make the risotto, I’m going to try the Riso Gallo 3 Grains Risotto Rice which consists of Italian Rice, Spelt and Pearl Barley. As this rice contains wholegrains, it will have a lower GI than regular white risotto rice, as well as other nutrients such as Iron and B Vitamins.

With the butternut squash and red pepper pieces, our risotto did look quite pretty. I also added some peas to add more colour and lovely nutrients 🙂

Here’s how I made it:

Have a great week everyone! 🙂 xx

This time last year… Glastonbury!

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Filed under Biking, Dinners, The Garden