An end of exams feast

Finally, FINALLY the exams are behind me! I feel so relaxed now that I don't have to permanently think about how long I've got til the next multi-hour mind-bender. I'm doing a little dance in front of my computer, that's how excited I am.

I can't tell you how good it is not to be able to read novels on the train to work, not textbooks, how happy I am that I can make dates with friends not with practice exam papers. I've got the first results back, and things are looking positive, but I should know for sure by the end of the year.

Hopefully in November, I'll find out how I did in the toughest one - a five and a half hour beast. We did get a lunch break mid way through, and I was exhausted. I had the solution in my bag though - a vegan power bar.

I got the recipe idea from another blog, but I can't remember who it was - if any recognises them, let me know and I'll add the link in! Here's how you do it: put a couple of handfuls of oats in a blender with a ripe banana, then stir in a load of fruit, seeds, and nuts (I used almonds, sunflower seed, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, glace cherries, sultanas, and cashews) and a bit of tahini, then bake in a medium oven til set.

They must not be the prettiest things in the world, but they pack a huge energy punch and keep you going through a five and a half hour exam. They do pretty much everything apart from giving you the answers. (Man, I got to find a recipe that does that).

Once it was all over, Mr Flicking the Vs helped me celebrate with a load of cake, including this Inspiral raw vanilla berry tart. So pretty in its little glass jar, so darned tasty.

Of course, one of the things I've been most looking forward to is getting back to cooking and blogging on a regular basis. I love spending time in the kitchen, but that went south with the exams. Now I've reemerged back into the world of pots and pans, and I feel like I've almost missed out on the whole wonderful world of summer produce while I've been studying - stone fruit, berries, asparagus and all that good stuff have come and gone while I've been away.

Now, when I wander down to the markets, figs are in season and so super-cheap. I bought two huge bags and smuggled them. Then, I couldn't quite work out what to cook with them. A quick Google later, and I found this - a recipe for roasted kale, avocado, and fig salad. I was a bit skeptical, but then I saw these colours and I fell in love:
The textures were the most pleasant surprise - the crispy kale, the fleshy figs, the creamy avocado were such a beautiful marriage, I made it again the next day. It was the simplest recipe to make too, which won my heart a little more: there's some chopping up of avocado and figs, and roasting the kale after messaging it with olive oil and spices. 

The spices I used were just a big handful of the Gourmet Spice Co's Magic BBQ Dust, which I got in the most recent Vegan Kind box. It's my second, and I've been surprised (in a good way!) and pleased about the interesting selection of things including that magic dust. It made the kale sing. Lovely.

Talking of new discoveries, I gave readymade vegan cheese a new go recently. I tried Violife smoked cheese - here it is with a homemade (!) sourdough loaf:

Like most every other non-nut based vegan cheese I've tried before, I didn't love it. I wanted to, because I've heard lots of good things about it, and it was some of the nicest vegan cheeses I've tried, but it was still just so-so. One slice was just enough. I don't think I'll be buying another packet, but it's good to know there are more vegan cheese options on the market.

Here's another new-old discovery, coming out of the Vegan Kind box. It's another bag of Nothing But freeze dried tastiness. There's some beautiful alchemy that happens when Nothing But freeze dries fruit and veg. Normally I don't love some dried fruits because all that chewing does my head in, but Nothing But stuff is crispy not chewy. The only down side is that I've not seen their products on sale anywhere - anyone got any hot tips?

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  1. Congratulations on finishing the exams, Joey! The bars look divine, and the kale, fig, and avocado salad sounds pretty fantastic. I've never had figs in a salad, but as you said - what a beautiful plate!

  2. oh that salad looks so beautiful - I have tried biocheese which I think comes form violife - loved it melty but the taste a little bland so I was excited to see they do smoky - enjoy your life post exams - sounds like you deserve a rest

  3. Congrats on finishing exams, that is good news. Some great food in this post. I really love fresh figs and those Inspiral pots, yum. A very easy homemade nut cheese I can recommend is the latest Maple Spice blog post. It's amazing! We are hooked on it.

  4. Wow so many exciting things in this post. Congrats on finishing your exams. Figs! Homemade sourdough bread! Totally excellent homemade power bars! I'm with you on the so-so ness of store bought vegan cheeses. Oh well, at least you ate a lot of other really great stuff. :)

  5. Congratulations on making it thru your exams! Glad to see you're celebrating with such yummy looking food! Love the fig salad, it certainty does look pretty. I have the same issue with most freeze dried fruit - way too chewy and it sticks all over my teeth. Now it if was crispy, I'm totally in. :-)

  6. Congratulations on being done with exams! That long one sounds very intense - definitely a situation calling for a mid-way energy hit. I love those inSpiral dessert pots too and think they are perfect for celebrating :)

  7. Congrats!! It must be such a big relief to finish exams (and congrats on the good results so far!), glad you celebrated properly. And I'm looking forward to seeing you back on here! :)

  8. Congratulations with your good first results! I’m sure you did pretty well, don’t worry too much, it is the time to celebrate and relax! :) These are pretty delish power bars…I love all kinds of seeds in it and tahini, I must try that out! Aw that tart is adorable, how sweet of Mr. Flicking the Vs! What a tasty kale salad…looks amazing! I don’t consume a lot of non-nut based vegan cheese (I’m a huge nut cheese fan though) but it’s nice to have that preference and Violife is better than the other types of non-nut cheese brands I’ve tried in the U.S. Smoked, mushroom and mozzarella are my favorites now, not so keen on their cheddar, olives, herbs or tomato & basil.


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