Thursday, 31 May 2012

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta

I picked up 2 little tubs of cherry tomatoes for a £1 from the market  a few days ago.  When we got home, D popped one in his mouth and went 'ugh, these are tasteless, plus they are going soft'.  As someone who is quite thrifty, I don't like throwing fruit and vegetables away, so I decided to oven roast the cherry tomatoes to inject some flavour into them.

To oven roast the cherry tomatoes
Preheat oven to gas mark 6/200oc.
Place the tomatoes halves in an ovenproof dish, cut side up.  Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and ground black pepper and drizzle oer 1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Having oven roasted and caramelised these little red poppers, I had to think of a way to use them.  These roasted cherry tomatoes could easily be used as part of an antipasti, for a light lunch or a pasta salad, which is what I made for D's working lunch yesterday.  It went down really well.
I have to be honest, I don't know the quantity of ingredients I put in this 'Oven Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta' and just did it all to taste.  Here is the list if your interested.
Cooked pasta
Oven roasted cherry tomatoes
Medium Red onion, finely sliced
black olives, chopped
Cucumber, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
White wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
I am sharing this at Presto Pasta Nights (PPN). PPN was founded by Ruth Daniels of Once Upon a Feast and each Friday night a different host posts a roundup of pasta dishes submitted by bloggers from around the world. This week PPN #266 is being hosted by Stash of Simple Kitchen Seasons.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

ABC of A2K

A couple of weeks ago, Choclette asked fellow bloggers to volunteer and join her in writing down '26 words that are meaningful to them'. Other than shopping lists, I don't do lists or tags, but this one for some reason called out to me and I volunteered.  I have to admit though, I did struggle a little.

AAllotment2Kitchen – the name of my blog and why I am in blogosphere.
B - Blogging and Blogosphere, and how I have come to 'meet YOU, my readers'.
C –Coriander and Cumin my favourite herb and spice
D – the initial of my first ever boyfriend, eventually the man I married.
E - Excited about my new upcoming venture.
F – Family and friends.  I come from a small family and have a small circle of friends.
G - Growing our own food; or at least trying too.
H – Harlech, North Wales.  One of the worlds most beautiful beaches and the place I felt the most free.

Harlech Beach 1996
I - Indian Sub-continent - roots of my ethnic heritage.
J - Jackie and Jane, two good friends that I have lost touch with over the years.  I will forever be Thankful to them for encouraging and supporting me on the path of independence.  I am a stronger person today because of their faith and belief in me. 
K - Kitchen
L – Leah – my best friend who lives in America and whom I miss so dearly.!
M - Mangocheeks was my pseudonym.

N - Nephews and nieces, I have 3 nieces and 6 nephews. and November - the month I was born.
O -Ordinary
P – Pet.  I am still wishing for a pet dog, maybe one of these days we'll actually adopt one...
Q - Qualm, a word I use often.
R -  Regrets 

S –Shaheen, my name - it's unisex and means eagle or falcon. 
T -Troubled Water - a song a friend of mine would sing to me to make me feel better when I was really down. It reminds me of her whenever I hear it.
U – University, I am the first person from my family to go to Uni.
V – Vegetables – how I have come to appreciate and cook them creatively.
W - Wales, where I was born, raised and have recently returned to.
X - xxx Simply kisses
Y - YOU, my readers - past and present - to whom I am thankful for the success of my blog
Z - Zindigi - Urdu and Hindi word for 'life'. 

Feel free to join in if you so wish.  Let me know if you do so, and I will link up to your ABC page.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Preserved Lemons with Red Chillies

I am hoping to enjoy lots of North African inspired recipes come Summertime, so I decided to go ahead and make my own Preserved Lemons.  In the past, I have to admit, I have always purchased them from a Middle Eastern store, not this time, especially as its pretty easy and thrifty to make your own.  Follow any recipe for Preserved Lemons and just add a couple of bay leaves, a few fresh red chillies, pierced along with a handful of coriander seeds.

I hope to be enjoying and sharing some of these pickly lemons next month.
I am linking this rather large jar of home-made Preserved Lemons with Red Chillies with Nazima at Working London Mummy  and Laura at How To Cook Good Food for the One Ingredient: Lemon event; and Jill at Real Food Forager who is hosting Fat Tuesday 29th May 2012.  

Boston Baked Beans

Tins of baked beans are quite expensive, and to be honest, some of them are quite inconsistent.  Open a tin, the sauce is either too watery or its too thick, or sometimes just too sweet. 

I decided to have a go at making a big batch of the famous American version at home. I am sure every American, more to the point Bostonian has there own version of Boston Baked Beans, this is one that I have decided to make.  I served these yesterday with the blackest jacket potatoes ever, don't ask !
If there had been any left overs, I  know we would have been enjoying it this week for breakfast: with potato hash brown waffles, with fried eggs, with toast,.  The natural molasses flavour does take some getting used too.  D suggested maybe spicing it up for next time, perhaps a tablespoon of chilli sauce.  I like that suggestion.
This post is linked to Just Another Meatless Monday  hosted by What's for Dinner Mom? 
Boston Baked Beans.
Serves 8 – 10 as as an accompaniment
400g dried cannelini or haricot beans, soaked overnight then boiled the following day until tender.   
1 large onions, finely sliced and chopped
Enough water to cover the beans
125ml molasses
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons of mustard
Drain beans and place in a large casserole/ovenproof dish or slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Cover with foil and simmer for 3 hours in the oven, checking every hour to stir and perhaps add a little water.  Or 8 to 10 hours in a slow cooker, stir from time to time.

Saturday, 26 May 2012


A photograph heavy post of our day in Bath, England.  It took us just over an hour to get there from South Wales.
Its probably one of our most expensive days out in a long while, namely because D decided he wanted to check out the Roman Baths.  

 Now back onto the streets of Bath.

Public art - a running man, maybe even a flying man.
Some street theatre.

 Click on the images to learn more about the traditional Bath Bun. 

I liked this particular shop 'Kiss The Frog Again', lots of recycled furniture and original art work.  For me it was eye candy.
We rarely eat out,  let alone at an exclusively vegetarian eatery, so another treat for me was to have lunch at Demuth's Restaurant.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Smoky Butternut Butter

The first time I had Butternut Butter was sandwiched between two brown slices of bread at a conference around social inclusion in Edinburgh, oh that was maybe 6 - 8 years ago.  And I remember being totally amazed that it was not dairy butter. Its something I have wanted to recreate for a while, and I don't know why but I never got round to making it, until recently when given a Butternut Squash by my mother. 

The version I had all those years ago was just plain and simple.   I wanted to give my homemade version a bit of an oomf .  It was originally going to be with chilli or cayenne powder, but I changed my mind and added some smoked paprika.   
D's been enjoying this saffron coloured Smoky Butter spread over the past few days for his lunch, namely its been spread on his tortilla wraps and then filled with salad leaves.  Its hardly a recipe, but if you want to make it, you will need a Butternut Squash, peeled and chopped into cubes.  Place on a baking tray coated with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and a teaspoon of smoked paprika and salt.  Roast until tender.  Then allow to cool, before blitzing in a food processor with 400g cooked chickpeas.  You can if you so wish, forego the chickpeas, but I found without it the Butternut Squash although smoky, was still quite sweet. So its up to you how you like it and make it your own. 
I am linking this simple recipe with Frugal Follies who is hosting Frugal ThursdayDiet, Desset and Dogs hosting Wellness Week 24 - 28th May 2012; and We Don't Eat Anything with a Face who is hosting Britain's Got Salad where she is calling on fellow bloggers to submit recipes raw and cooked salads, including dips.
Other dips and spreads you may enjoy.
Wild Garlic Hummus
Butter Bean Spreads - Sun dried Tomato and Parsley Or Basil
Spiced Carrot Dip
Or a good old fashioned Chickpea Hummus

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Some growth

There is some progress to show in the garden, but I really do feel overwhelmed with the weeding that I dare not show you the other half of the garden.  D is also getting a bit mift with the landlord who still hasn't moved some of the abandoned piles of rubbish in the garden.  This then is having an impact on D's wanting to work in the garden, so I feel like I am left to do some of it myself, like the canes and wigwams for garden peas below.     
So other than sowing some more seeds (for update see here), I haven't done much in the garden either. 
 Some broad beans beginning to flower.
Meteor peas beginning to climb the cane. 
Some leeks growing in pots.  Later they will be transferred into dug ground, probably at my Dad's allotment.  
 Nasturtiums -  I like them. 
Borlotti beans wanting to be transferred into the ground too, another one for the allotment. 
 Swiss Chard and Kale. 
 I didn't have any seeds for Brussels sprouts  
or Scarlet Runner Beans, so I purchased these from the greengrocers at the weekend.  There are going to be a number of vegetable plants that I will have to buy this year.  For a start my Gold Rush Courgettes and Squash plants seems to be suffering from slug attacks. 

Next year, I hope to be more organised and maybe by then, I will get a proper Greenhouse once again, for now - the window ledges inside of the house will have to do.   In my next garden post, I would like to show you progress of the tomatoes, carrots, cabbages, salad leaves, as well as the seeds given to me by fellow bloggers.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012


There are so many versions of the Middle Eastern salad Tabbouleh.  Tabbouleh is also known as Cracked Wheat or Bulgar Wheat Salad.  I see it so often served at veggie cafes and buffets, that I don’t care to make it much.  But today the sun is shining, its scorching in fact that I wanted to make a lazy light salad. 
Its important to note that the star of a Tabbouleh is the fresh parsley, not the cracked wheat.  And don't go thinking of using curly parsley.  As far as I am concerned, curly parsley is only good for garnish.  For tabbouleh it has to be flat leaf parsley.  I like to use my motion rocking mezzaluna to finely chop the parsley.  Oh if you wanted to make it more than a light salad, then consider adding some cooked chickpeas to it and serving it with a garlicky yogurt. 
One of my favourite food writers and cooking inspirations, Nadine Abensur writes in her cookbook Cranks Fast Food that 'if authenticity is what your after, use small young lettuce leaves to scoop it up and eat with' . Well although I am growing some salad leaves, even baby gem, I don’t have any to hand at the moment to enjoy in this manner, so it has to be served with plain tortilla chips this time. Sorry.

For those of you still picking wild garlic, here's a link to a Wild Garlic Tabbouleh recipe that I made last year.  Otherwise, just follow the link and check out the tash man singing of his love for taboulleh or is it tabouli.
I am sharing this recipe with Simona of Briciole. She has the honour of hosting this week's Weekend Herb Blogging #335. This food blogging event now in its 6th year was started by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen and is now co-ordinated by Haalo of Cook (almost)Anything Once
My Tabbouleh
Serves 4 - 6
100g medium coarse bulgar wheat
1 large bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, about 100g 120g including the fine stalks
Optional: 1 bunch of fresh mint or coriander, about 20g
6 spring onions, finely sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
3 – 4 ripe tomatoes, chopped into cubes
½ English cucumber, cut into small cubes
Juice from 1 large lemon, about 4 tablespoons
4 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
Place the bulgar wheat in a bowl and pour hot water over it.  Leave it for 30 minutes or so to absorb the water.
Wash the parsley and the min, and chop it very finely.  Once the bulgar wheat is soft, drain and press out any excess water.  Return to the bowl and ad the spring onions, salt and pepper to taste. 
Then combine all the other ingredients, adding the lemon juice and olive oil last.  Taste and tweak seasoning if necessary.  Serve at room temperature.