Sunday, 21 October 2018

Seitan's Cake

Yes, this is a play on 'Satan' - Seitan's cake and with Halloween not that far away, I do like to make freaky food around this time of year to amuse myself, if no one else.  I admit its strange as I don't participate by dressing up and attending Halloween fancy dress parties.  The closest I get to it is when the children in the street dress up and knock on the door to 'trick and treat' - yes, its become a big thing in this part of the Welsh valleys. 

Let me tell you a story from my childhood.  At primary school one of the teachers told us a story about this Welsh lady in traditional Welsh costume wearing a paisley shawl.  I don't remember very much about the story, but what stuck with me was that if you looked closely at her Paisley patterned shawl, you could see the devil's face. 

I've always been fascinated in that kind of stuff, which may explain my liking of supernatural and psychological films and dramas like Hinterland.  The first series of Hinterland also references the painting of the Welsh lady in the shawl attending a small Baptist chapel, near Harlech, North Wales. It was in my adult life that I learned that the painting was called Salem (1908) by Sydney Curnow Vosper; and that he denied deliberately painting the devil in the shawl, but he did admit to painting another ghostly figure in the painting, which I never noticed.  Look at the window!  Please follow this link if you want to take look at the painting that I write about - the window and the shawl. If you can't quite make out the devil in the shawl, then follow this link by Wales On-line that illustrates horns, eyes and mouth. It still gives me the chills. 
Back to my seitan - 'satan' cake .  I've been experimenting with vital wheat gluten a lot lately. I think this is the best one so far that I have made, that is versatile in so many recipes. 

Friday, 19 October 2018

Hot Chocolate Beluga Lentils with Rainbow Carrots

This is not the most attractive looking of dishes that I have shared on my blog, but I think its the perfect time for to pretend and say that I made it for a Halloween party and what you are seeing here are some damn ugly zombie or monster fingers coming out of the earthy ground.  

Truth is, this is spicy beluga lentils chili or sorts enhanced with chilli chocolate and the so called fingers are actually rainbow carrots. I guess to make this dish look even more horrific, I should have only used the purple carrots, that appear to be more effective in resembling fingers with the wrinkles. 
Despite the way it looks, it actually tasted okay.  
I don't cook that much with Beluga lentils as Puy lentils tend to be my go to in terms of sturdy lentils that keep their shape and do not disintegrate upon long cooking, but don't let that stop you from making this dish (if you dare),  you can use brown lentils, I find them just as tasty, if not more so. 
I served these with sweet potato wedges, soured cream to dampen the hotness, and even for me it was really hot.  

Other Beluga and Puy Lentil Recipes
Beetroot Bourguignon with Puy Lentils
Leek and Puy Lentil Flan
Gratin of Cabbage with Puy Lentils
Strawberry, Tomato and Puy Lentil Curry
Beluga Lentil Salad with Avocado

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Savoury Purple Rainbow Carrot Rice Pilau

I have more autumnal coloured food coming your way, but here is one that you may want to consider making for your grown up Halloween Party.  I made this Carrot Rice Pilau with some rainbow carrots.  I was quite surprised how the purple carrots bled into the white basmati rice and tainted it with a purple hue.  It actually looked quite pretty and quite nice to eat.  

As I had some left over, I decided to take some into work for lunch as a savoury rice salad dish.  You could reheat it in the microwave or eat it at room temperature. So I have decided to share it with Soup, Salad and Sammies Sundays hosted by Deb over at Kahakai Kitchen

By the way this is not the traditional way of making pilau rice that comes from the Indian Sub Continent, but it was still very flavourful.  I adapted a recipe that was also adapted by the cookbook authors.  
Other Rainbow Coloured Vegan Recipes 

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Bourguignon of Mushrooms, Red Onions and Rainbow Carrots

A few weeks ago I went on a fungi forage, except it wasn't a fungi forage - 'why would you want to eat them?' exclaimed the fungi expert when he heard one of the participants (not me) ask her friend 'are these edible?'.  

The reason I am talking about mushrooms is because my  Bourguignon here looks a bit like an autumnal forest ground - mushrooms, green grassy colours from the long needle shaped leaves from rosemary herb, leaves in the form of bay leaf and lots of autumnal colours, but here everything is edible - I wonder what Alice in Wonderland would think?!
I think this dish is best made on a day like today when it's awfully dreadful, damp and dreich outside in Cymru aka Wales.  I am so glad its the weekend and I don't have to be in work or anywhere else today and can stay in the comfort of my home.  I am glad of it actually as its been a rather busy week at work too.  

As well as a medley of mushrooms, I had also picked up some rainbow carrots from the market in Cardiff, and if that did not provide enough colour - I decided in place of shallots to throw in some small red onions. If you look closely you will even seen flecks of green from fresh rosemary from the garden.  
We will be tucking into this textual dish with some homemade overnight sourdough bread later to mop up that rich vegetable flavoured gravy; and if we have some left over, perhaps with some mashed potato.
What have you been cooking lately?

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Black Chickpeas Salad with Coriander

The weather is so changeable at the moment, its gone all warm again.

I came home a little earlier than usual and wanted to eat something quite light, hence this Black Chickpeas Salad with Coriander.
Of course, this was not going to be enough as a meal for two, so alongside the Black Chickpeas Salad with Coriander, I made a Tomato Tarte Tatin.  It made for a nice change.  The feta here is optional, I used it as that is what I had in the fridge, but you could substitute it with halloumi cheese or if your going for a vegan or dairy free option, perhaps smoked tofu.  I think you need a soft texture with the nutty black chickpeas and the fragrant herb brings it all together.

What I like about this salad too, it that it is quite seasonal in colours - going all autumnal, but also a perfect salad to knock up for a Halloween feast if you are planning a vegan or vegetarian Black Food Menu.  
Please don't worry too much if you can't find black chickpeas where you are, just substitute it with the traditional kind, but  do try and find them - You will always find them in South Asian supermarkets or greengrocers and they are sold as Kala Channa.  However, I have noted over the past couple of years, even supermarkets are selling Indian brands labelled as Kala Chana and they are reasonably priced, you can get three tins for a pound in some places (see here), and in a time of austerity - every pound matters.  You can even find the dried variety too, but that takes a little more forward planning.  
I am sharing this Black Chickpeas Salad with Coriander with Souper Sundays hosted by Kahakai Kitchen. I mentioned before, I don't always get to join in, but it is a pleasure when I do.  Thanks for hosting Deb.