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. 

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Golden October In My Kitchen

Well its Orange October, but its looking more gold, bronze and wood colours in my kitchen.  

Before I share some things in my kitchen, I want to say that October perhaps is my favourite month, as its my husbands birthday in a couple of weeks time and our 10th wedding Anniversary.  I found this birthday card that I gave him last year and couldn't resist sharing it with you all, especially as he loves growing his tomatoes. Every year I grow to love him more. I am going to find it hard to find a card to top this one. 
Last month in IMK, I send out my Thanks to Kath who blogs over at The Ordinary Cook. who sent me some sourdough starter through the post including a recipe booklet that I was able to start learning to make sourdough bread at home.  Kath also runs cookery and bakery classes under Veg Patch Kitchen  in Ironbridge, rural Shropshire.  Although I have not had the opportunity to attend one of her classes yet, it is still thanks to her that I was able to experiment and bake!


I was off last week from work, we didn't go anywhere, so I decided to practice every other day making  sourdough - you know what they say - practice, practice, practice. The crust was light and could have been baked a little longer
And even though there were air pockets inside, it was still a little dense, so it needed proving a bit more. Every time, I learned a bit more on how to improve.  I think I made five sourdough loaves last week.  I think I have this very weekend (see below) made the first sourdough loaf that I am pleased with in golden bake, air bubbles, lightness and taste.

I am thanking both Kath for the sourdough starter and Johanna who blogs over at Green Gourmet Giraffe whose overnight sourdough recipe I have been making. I also feel a lot more confident in maintaining my sourdough starter and feeding it. 

I should mention the edged grooved markings on the sourdough loaf come from my new banneton, which I picked up two weeks ago when we went to Hay on Wye.  
We are enjoying some slices of sourdough bread with mushroom pate, olive pate and a spicy Mexican pate, but also as Pan Con Tomate - Catalan Tomato Bread  or is it  Catalan Pa Amb Tomaquet - bread with tomatoes, whilst we still have some homegrown tomatoes. 
Also on our continued path to reduce plastic in our lives and leading a sustainable life, we picked up this pot brush to replace plastic scrubbies.  

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Syrian Mezze from One Home To Another

Although I no longer work with asylum seekers and refugees in my day job anymore, I quietly when opportunity presents continue to do some volunteer work.  I like that I am still able to tap into skills, knowledge and experience from my previous roles to support individuals who may benefit from them.  I don't boast about it, because I am selfishly doing it for myself.  I want to remain true to myself and to keep myself rooted to the real world.  Its easy to lose sight of reality when your working in a middle class environment where people ponder their first world problems and millennials talk about selfies and social media presence.  Its not my world and I don't actually fit in, so I look for other opportunities to engage with people who keep me grounded.


I have on some occasions had the honour to cook some vegetarian meals that happen to be accidentally vegan for asylum seekers and refugees.  I am pleased share food over smiles. I don't like taking photographs of people there, after all they are people.  However, I do notice that some people are so desperate to take photographs asylum seekers and refugees at event and do not ask for permission, they are showing disrespect.  Some of theses human beings have escaped war, torture, exploitation and much more and do not want their face plastered every where on social media for numerous reasons.  I understand their reservations, but some people continue to see asylum seekers and refugees as a photo opportunity for their website or publication. This kind of charitable work disheartens me. 
Anyway, a little while back we made a mezze of Syrian foods.  Here are just a couple which included Mutabal Shwandar is Beetroot Dip; and Muhammara which is Red Pepper and Walnut Dip.  We also made Kibbeh; Zahra wa Kamoon which is Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin; and Aubergine Maqluba - Upside Down Rice Cake. There was bread and lots of fresh salads. 

I feel at present I can afford and contribute some of the ingredients and share my skills of cooking.  This may not always be the case going forward - but while I can, I am happy to play a small part and eat at their table and listen to their refugee food stories (not those fake food stories that are really adverts promoting a supermarket). 

Monday, 1 October 2018

Welcoming Your October Autumnal Eat Your Greens Recipes

It is October it's my turn to host this months Eat Your Greens challenge.  

Its really easy to participate, all you have to do is make either a vegan or vegetarian recipe with green vegetables or fruit on your blog.  Then copy the blog link to the comment section below.  

If your looking for some seasonal inspiration, then please do check out the Eat Your Greens Round Up hosted last month by my co-host The VegHog.

For more details Follow this link on how to participate just please remember to link back to the host page (this page) and my co-host The VegHog.   

The use of the #EatYourGreens logo is optional, but is appreciated.  The deadline is the 30th October and the Round up will be on the 31st October 2018.