Vegan MOFO – More InSpiral & Garlic vinaigrette

Last week, I treated myself to a box of goodies from InSpiral. I wrote about some of them in my last post, so here’s the rest!

image

The next item from my box of goodies, was these Banana super bites. Made from buckwheat, banana, dates, and lots of other wholesome healthy ingredients, these are sold as “Granalo bites” , and are intended as something you can munch on on-the-go, either as a snack or a breakfast fix. InSpiral has a huge description about them on their website if you’re interested. So, what were these like?

image

When you open the bag, you’ll see that rather than being in balls or shapes, the bites come in random little chunks. Nothing wrong with that of course, just not what you expect from the image on the bag!

The flavour of these is hard to describe. It’s quite a plain, bland flavour really. If you’ve ever tried plain dried buckwheat, then you’ll get the flavour I mean. The banana flavour isn’t really that detectable, and they really do taste like something which is meant to be “healthy”.

image

A lot of the pieces are studded with whole raisins, which add a nice chewy contrast to the crunch of the buckwheat. I found that the raisin studded pieces were my favourite, as they brought a nice sweetness to the bites, which I felt they lacked. Also, because of the irregular nature of these bites, when you get to the end of the packet you will be left with a pile of loose buckwheat crunchies. I found these ideal to top my yoghurt with though, so I didn’t mind :).

Overall, I wasn’t blown away with these. I did like having them stashed in my cupboard, as they were very handy to just grab a few when I was starting to get the munchies, or to eat with fruit in the morning for a quick, healthy breakfast. I found that I didn’t need to eat many to get a boost to keep me going. (They were very handy on Sunday, when I had to be out of the door by 7am and needed a quick breakfast to take with me!).  I tend to eat a lot of “healthy vegan” food, so they weren’t too bad for me. But if you’re not a fan of that kind of thing then you might not be too keen. Overall, I probably wouldn’t get these again. InSpiral do make other granola bite flavours though (Loveberry and chocolatey) which I would love to try some day :).

durian

Next up to share with you all is this little bag of wonders… Freese Dried Durian!

Now, I don’t know how many of you have every tried this bizarre fruit (which is also hailed in South-East Asia as “The King of fruits”). I myself only got the chance to try it this year, at the raw fruit festival I volunteered at (I will write about that some day, I swear!). Before I tried it, all I knew about durian was that people tended not to like it at the first try, and that it stinks to high heaven.. (which I found out first-hand at the festival.. Before we knew it had been brought in, we were all in a confused panic as we thought that the oven we hadn’t even used – raw festival you know – had a gas leak! Cue lots of searching, sniffing and prodding of dials… To no avail.. In the end, it turned out that what we were smelling as the durian! Panic over.)

Fresh durian is a strange and amazing taste-texture sensation, one which I would recommend everyone try if they get the chance to. So how does dried durian compare?

image

First things first – This what you see when you open the packet (This isn’t all of it, just showing the size of the chunks!). 30g of durian might not sound like much, but this bag was packed full of very decent sized chunks! Normally, this 30g bag is £4.65, but right now it is down to £2.65! Personally, I thought £4.65 was a bargain, so I might have to go and buy the lot whilst it’s so cheap!

image

Taste-wise, this is pretty much spot on. Drying the fruit has muted the flavour slightly, and you don’t get the soft, creamy texture. But what you do get is a treat all in itself. Because they are freeze-dried, the durian isn’t tough or chewy. Each chunk has a soft crunch to it, which quickly transforms into a melt-in-the-mouth experience. Subtly sweet, the flavours are rich, delicate, with an almost savoury note at the end. Impossible to put your finger on, but incredibly more-ish. InSpiral suggest a recipe on how to make “Durian cream”, which sounds insanely divine. Unfortunately, I’ve now eaten most of my bag.. so I’ll just have to buy some more to try it out :).

This has to be my favourite thing out of my bundle of goodies. And that even includes the bags and bags of kale chips I’ve demolished! For £2.65, how can you say no?
(Quick note – once opened, the bag can be a bit tricky to re-seal. Once the air gets at it, the durian does start to become a little bit chewy. It still tastes perfectly lovely though! However, if you do want to crunch it back up, a few hours in the dehydrator does the job nicely 🙂 ).

Now, before I go back to InSpiral to spend money I don’t have, I’ve got a quick recipe to share with you all :). I’m normally not a big fan of salad dressings (I may have mentioned this before..). I tend to find them too oily and cloying, and to me, salad has always tasted perfectly lovely without them. A few weeks ago though, I wanted to make a chilled side dish using steamed broccoli and peas, and I needed something with a bit of a flavour punch to dress it with. After a bit of tinkering, this is what I came up with.

image

It’s sweet, savoury, and ugly as sin.. But it’s also not too rich, has a lovely garlicky bite, and adds a bit of oomph to everything!

This is how it looks straight away, before you give it a good ole’ shake…

image

And this is after! Looks slighly better, right? …right…?

Oh well, looks aren’t important here. What matters really is flavour, and this dressing has plenty!

image

I used the dressing to dress this roasted carrot & onion bulgar salad I made the other night, and it was a huge success!
I’m just going to tease you with that photo for now, and share the recipe for the salad another day ;).

In the meantime though, get making this dressing! When I made the salad, I doubled the recipe, and it’s now almost gone…
(Oh, this recipe uses a fair bit of garlic, so feel free to use less if you’re not a big garlic fan. The great thing though is that when you get to the end of the bottle, you’re left with chunks of gorgeously marinated garlic, which tastes amazing mixed into freshly chopped ripe tomatoes.. Yum!).

 

 

Garlic Vinaigrette

By Pixie Produce Published: September 24, 2014

    Last week, I treated myself to a box of goodies from InSpiral. I wrote about some of them in my last post, so here's the …

    Ingredients

    Instructions

    1. First things first, prepare your garlic! Using the flat of your knife, give your garlic a whack to smash it a little. This makes removing the skin a lot easier. Then finely chop.
    2. Once chopped, sprinkle a little salt on top of your garlic. This adds an abrasive to your garlic and helps you to create a garlicky paste. Using the flat of your knife again, firmly press down on the garlic, mashing it against your chopping board. Keep pushing down and moving the knife until you end up with a paste :). A pestle and mortar would would be ideal for this job, but alas I have none!
    3. And that's the most difficult part! Add the garlic and everything else to a bottle or jar, and give it all a good shake.
    4. Give it a taste and adjust if you need to. More vinegar, salt, pepper, oil. Adjust it to your own tastes :). If you use white balsamic vinegar, you will probably find it is sweet enough. However, if you choose to use a white wine / cider vinegar, you may want to add a teaspoon / drop of agave or other sweetener. Shake vigorously before each use, and enjoy!

      2 thoughts on “Vegan MOFO – More InSpiral & Garlic vinaigrette

      1. Kate

        That durian looks SO good! I’m going to have to find somewhere online where I can order it. You’re right about the smell though – my friend had me smell it raw at a fresh food market once, and after that it took her forever to convince me to try the dried stuff!

        Your garlic vinaigrette looks great – I’m always annoyed at the fancy dressings in the stores not being gluten-free, but I never considered just making my own! For some reason I assumed it would be much more difficult than this! I’ll have to give it a try 🙂

        Reply

      Leave a Reply