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What does it take to put me off my dinner? Er, this....

Let's just start out by addressing the elephant in the room. I love Great Food's Aromatic Moroccan Koftas, but they do have a slightly unfortunate look about them. Case in point:

No snickering at the back. Oh alright, snicker a bit, then. If you look at the koftas on the left, they do look a bit like something you'd try and avoid stepping in on the street.

Once you've got over that minor disadvantage, you can get back to thoroughly enjoying them in your North African dinner of choice. For me, I like serving a couple up with some foul medames, perky green vegetables like sugar snap peas, and a warm salad of squash, red pepper, mint and dukkah.

I have another confession to make, aside from revealing I have a juvenile kofta-comparison habit: I'm a bit of a comper. As a student, I don't have a lot of spare cash around for luxuries, so any competition prize that lands on my doormat is always really exciting. (I was also delighted to find out that Tea and Sympatico is also another comper!)

Recently, I managed to win two big bags of chia seeds from Naturya - at around £10 each, they're products I definitely wouldn't be able to afford otherwise.

So, I've been putting them to good use, combining them with some blackberries foraged from a park near us to make berry chia pudding:

The rest of the ample blackberry haul will be going towards blackberry and apple gin, or blackberry jam, which may find its way into some of my friends' Christmas stocking this year! That's the blackberries accounted for, but if you've got any ideas on how to use up half a kilo of chia, send them my way!

Elsewhere in my kitchen of late, I've been making various versions of Thai-type curries, including this yellow curry with chick peas, sugar snap peas, carrots, and water chestnuts. There's something about coconut milk with kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lemongrass, and spices that I keep returning to again and again and again. If I had to choose one comfort meal I can't get enough of at the moment, it's laksa - a pretty similar sauce to this, only with soba noodles swimming in a thinner, but equally scented, broth.

Here's a slightly confusing vegan product I found recently at a cinema near me: vegan mojito sorbet. Sounds good right? But you're probably thinking it's not overly confusing though, unless you're the sort of person that spends minutes staring at your orange juice, because it says 'concentrate' on the box.

Here's the bit that confused me: the vegan sorbet (marked with a big green 'vegan' on the front) is made by company called Drunken Dairy. I mean, I buy vegan products from non-vegan retailers - whether it's the health food shop up the road, my local grocer, or a supermarket chain - but there's something really weird about buying something from a company that has a milk product in its name.

It's great a cinema chain is stocking vegan sorbets, but I'd feel really uncomfortable buying something from a company that's named after a dairy. Does that make me a massive hypocrite? As I say, I regularly buy from non-vegan places, why should this be any different? For reasons I can't quite make clear to myself, these sorbets are probably not something I'll be buying any time soon, despite their veganity. Am I wrong? Should I be encouraging the company to make more vegan products and move away from dairy by buying their vegan offerings? I'd be interested to know what you think on that one.

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  1. Ooh I wish I had blackberries to forage! When I was little my Granny had a blackberry bush on her farm and she used to make the best jam, but I rarely come across them anymore!

  2. The kofta look like sausages to me, but I'm sure in person they are more dramatic. The blackberry pudding looks good — for some reason I never make pudding with my chia. Maybe it's because it takes so much, and chia is, like you say, expensive. Or maybe it's because I prefer smooth over crunchy pudding. I add a tablespoon of chia to my smoothies, I've added it to bread, and lately I've added it to salad dressing (made in a blender) instead of oil.

    Your Thai curry sounds delicious. As for the mojito ice cream, there's definitely something unappealing about the label. I would have passed.

  3. Yay to the foraged blackberries and won seeds! I get your point about the mojito name too - an odd juxtaposition even if it's nice to have it available.

  4. those koftas look like they need to be covered up with sauce or gravy - I have never heard the term comper but I can see your point - and a large bag of chia seeds is a good way to prove it - they are always a silly price but oh so nice - and the dairy doing vegan food seems a bit like vegie burgers in butchers shops - I see them but don't buy them as I tend to avoid smelly butchers shops. But it is different when it is a name on a carton - or is it??? Not sure!

  5. I've not heard the wrd comper before and admit even though I am no longer a student, I am on a low wage at work compared to all my other colleagues and tend to be very careful too with what I buy, so empathise there and yes chia seeds are expensive. I got mine from Suma as one of their bloggers. I've made some blackberry chia jam recently, but I am loving your black berry chia pudding and must give that a go, apple blackberry gin, has my lips smacking. I agree with Johanna, some sauce over the kofta may help the visual impact!

  6. The koftas look like sausages to me too. Actually, the whole plate looks pretty good to me... Student or not, chia seeds are expensive, I don't buy them very often for exactly that reason. You really scored on those 2 bags. I've only ever used chia seeds in smoothies. Thai curries are the best!

    If companies are making an effort to have vegan options, I generally try to support them. But only if it's good, otherwise there's no point in encouraging them to make bad tasting vegan products. :-)

  7. Haha, that's funny about the koftas! I'm with you on laksa - it's one of my favourite dishes of all time! I should make it soon, I haven't had it in ages.

    I had some of the mojito sorbet at a festival a year or two ago. The name definitely made me pause too, but then I realised that all the products they had on display at the festival were vegan (it seemed to be their whole range of alcoholic sorbets) and I ended up buying it, because I wanted to support a vegan product. However I did find the name weird and I worried other people at the festival would see me eating the product, think it was non-vegan due to the name, and therefore I'd be "encouraging" consumption of non-vegan products in some way... But then again, I eat vegan ice cream sometimes and no one can tell from looking it's vegan so I guess it's the same issue?! Now I've got my brain all twisted in a knot...

  8. Those koftas certainly look unappetising!

    It's definitely a strange one with the sorbet/dairy company. I think it's always good to show a company that their vegan products are popular - maybe they will make more vegan varieties and fewer dairy ones if enough of us get on board?


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