Sunday, 29 June 2014

Eat Your Greens Round Up #1

Welcome to Eat Your Greens Round Up  #1.    This is a new monthly vegetarian cooking challenge for food bloggers.  Last month I set the challenge to   'Eat Your Greens'  and so many of you humbled me with your green submissions, all 14 of them. I have to admit I was a little nervous as to whether anyone would enter and have to say that I am delighted that so many of you you did. Thank you, Thank you so much. 
The idea behind 'Eat Your Greens' is really simple, to make something with a green vegetable each month.  You can use any kind of green vegetable that you like and make anything that you wish from a soup, salad dish, a smoothie, a stew, a curry, a pasta dish, cookies or even a cake  - absolutely anything, so long as the recipe is vegetarian, vegan recipes are also welcome.

So here goes... 
The first ever entry for Eat Your Greens comes from Emily Walsh from Cooking for Kishore.  Its a beautiful green, red and gold salad of spinach, strawberries and figs, as well as the honey mustard dressing, the savoury comes from the vegan feta cheese.  Emily made this salad with home grown spinach. The red is just striking.
Deena Kakaya shared her Miso Tamarind Roasted Potato Wedges with locally sourced garden greens that included asparagus, petit pois and okahijiki leaves,  Don' t you just love the combo, feel both virtuous and naughty at the same time.  
Janet of the Taste Space share Laotion Larb Tofu Lettuce.  I love how the lettuce serves as an edible green plate!
A fantastic speedy supper of Pasta with Spinach and Almonds from Gayathri of Spices Galore. T he green comes from the spinach, I also love the hint of red chilli dotted here and there and the creamy pine nuts.
I know some of you are avoiding soup with the weather being lovely and warm, but we have a Spicy 'Kermit' raw green cavolo nero soup by Sarah at Maison Cupcake. Sarah admits that a raw soup may not be to everyones taste, but I think we should all try anything once!
Avocado, Kale and Matcha Smoothie by Veganopolous.  Its a raw vegan  breakfast drink to wake you up and get your ready for whatever the day brings.   Her entry made me smile, she wrote 'I'd be wondering when I would start using the small tin of matcha I was given.  I've been hesitate to use it because...a small container is very expensive.  So I prefer to sit and look at it' .  I can relate to that feeling because I do exactly the same; and her post reminds me, I actually do have a small tin of matcha
Next up  a  Green Pesto from Culinary Adventures with Camilla, but this is no ordinary green pesto it is made wild arugula leaves know to those of us living in the U.k as rocket, as well as  parsley, almonds and wait for it black garlic! I am intrigued by the black garlic as I have not tried it yet. 
Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe sent over a vegan savoury Eccles cakean indulgent puff pastry filled with vegan blue cheese, leeks, spinach and wild garlic salt.  I so need to try that next year. I know Johanna felt that she really should not have re-heated her Eccles cake under the grill, but I liked the golden crisp exterior, more texture, more bite.
Next we have an Easy Peasy Veggie Noodle Stir Fry from Louisa Foti from Eat Your Veg. This colourful noodle stir fry is packed with lots and I mean lots of green vegetables: beans, broccoli and courgette. Go over and check out her little tiger tucking in!
Now we have a change in the way of comfort eating, starting of with Linsey Patel from Home Cook Food.  Linsey shared her Soya Channa and Palak Curry/ Soya Chickpeas and Spinach Curry.  The green comes from the spinach that is lovingly clinging the soya and chickpeas - a vegetarians pulse of choice, I know its mine.
My husband would absolutely drool over this Asparagus and Lemon Risotto that comes from Corina at Searching for Spice .  Not only would he enjoy the crunch from the green spears of asparagus, but the zingy sharpness that comes from the lemon would also entice him.  
A posh cheese and toast from Caroline Makes.  So this Welsh valley girls wonders what is posh about it?  Leeks, of course.  I so approve of this very Welsh ingredient and goats cheese, I am even more satisfied - a step up from cheddar cheese.  Thank you Caroline.  
A step up from a snack is this hearty, oozy, bubbly and golden Cheesy Spinach Bake from the lovely Elizabeth at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary.  Elizabeth shares lots of different ways that she uses up the spinach that has been appearing in her veg box lately; and this is one way. I just love how the spinach is smothered.
And finally,  a late entry missing the deadline, but how can I say no to a friend.  This Muttar Paneer aka Cheese 'n 'Peas comes from Ray from the Garlic Buddha.  Just look  at how green those garden peas look.  I also love the golden glow from the paneer, an Indian cheese that you will either like or not.  Fortunately for me, I like it.  Ray has served his Muttar Paneer with Marmite Sourdough bread.  I can't wait to see his blog post for the Marmite Sourdough! 

Once again, Thank you so much to every one who has participated and made the first Eat Your Greens blogging challenge a success.  Please do go on over and check out each entry one by one if you can.

Please feel free to share your recipes for July now.  Follow this link for the details.   Please also come back at the beginning of the month for another new food blogging challenge.  

Friday, 27 June 2014

Red Berries Pavlova

Early in the week, I made a Strawberry and Custard Tart.. The thrifty cook in me found that I was left with 6 egg whites, rather than wash them down the sink drain.  I  scrolled through my bookmarked recipes for meringues and found a pavlova recipe that required 4 egg whites.
What to do with the other 2, I could have made little meringues but decided to focus my energy on the pavlova.  So the remaining 2 egg whites were washed down the sink.  I know some of you will say freeze them, but I am still in two minds about freezing the whites from eggs. It just doesn't seem right to me.
Anyway, back to the pavlova.  It was everything I had imagined it to be - the meringuey part light like rice paper and delicate that it melted on the tongue like shards of white candy floss.  The marshmallow white in the middle had depth and was soft, smooth and silky.  The whipped double cream - decadent and creamy, and finally the red berries, ranging from strawberries and raspberries from my garden, red currants from the farmers market and pomegranate seeds from my fridge - all delicious. This dessert truly made me swoon, that I found myself cutting another slice,; and no I did not feel guilty - how can I with all that beautiful fresh red fruit berries!  In fact I felt positively smug.   

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Ruby Red Strawberry and Custard Tart

Call me a greedy strawberry face,( nom nom nom) but I put my hands up and admit that in one day  I have made not one, but two delectable sumptuous sweet treats: a Strawberry and Custard Tart; and a Strawberry Pavlova,but before you get carried away with the name calling, please be aware that this very tart did not pass my lips, it was delivered the very next day to my parents home for the family to share.  However, the Strawberry Pavlova was ours to indulge in, your welcome to have a piece, but you better come on over!

The reason I made two lots of sweet delights  is that the strawberries in my garden are ripening very quickly with all the sunshine.  Every evening I go out and I pick almost another full punnet.  As well as enjoying the strawberries au naturale, we've also had them with vanilla ice-cream and Greek yogurt. 
It was early in the week that I decided to make a Strawberry and Custard Tart.  A recipe that I have not made before.  As well as making your own sweet shortcrust pastry, the recipe required making your own custard.  Its been a while since I made custard from scratch,  but I was happy to do so, the only thing I was left with 6 egg whites,  so of course there had to be another sweet treat in the waiting - Strawberry Pavlova but more about that later.
Had I thought about it in advance, I may have taken time with the strawberries and cut them so that they looked like tiny red love hearts.  Still I think that custard tart looks impressive studded with ruby red strawberries and  fresh pomegranate seeds. 

Want to try something different with your fresh strawberries, then can I tempt you with some savoury recipes.  Check out my Savoury Strawberry, Lettuce and Black Pepper  Risotto or even Strawberry, Caramelized Red Onion and Brie Tart.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Vegan Strawberry, Lettuce and Black Pepper Risotto

I've had a recipe bookmarked from Nadine Abensur's Secrets From A Vegetarian Kitchen (1996) ever since I have had the cookbook, but I never seemed to get the courage to actually make it.  I mean strawberries in a risotto, and this is not even a sweet dish - its savoury too, even Nadine the author of the cookbook writes she was 'curious if a little sceptical, but the slightly sweet, gently tangy taste was surprisingly good'.  

I have raved about Nadine Abensur on my blog loads of times.  She is perhaps the most influential vegetarian food writer on my initial development as a creative and experimental cook, so if I was not going to trust her culinary experience, then I wasn't going to trust anyone else.  
So at the weekend, I had a go at making it, only that I did not follow the recipe instructions fully and used it more as a a guideline, something I know Nadine will forgive me for.  I also added some homegrown garden lettuce to it and a little balsamic vinegar towards the end, as if the tangy taste from the strawberries wasn't enough.  It really was unusual, yet nice. The red onions and the strawberries bleed a little into the risotto giving the dish a faint pink hue. 
I know it is not risotto weather,  the weather here has been extremely hot and the air still. So why on earth would I want to make risotto, well the other reason was to make the most of my home-grown strawberries.  I don't just want to use them for sweet dishes, cakes and baked, but savoury ones too. 
The last savoury dish I made with strawberries was actually last year and it was a Caramelised Red Onion, Thyme, Strawberry and Brie Tart. It was lovely too. I am sharing this risotto with Honest Mum for Tasty Tuesdays

Monday, 23 June 2014

Strawberry Punnets keep coming from my garden

I've got quite a bit of news to share regarding the progress of my garden, but I can't resist sharing my most recent harvest of strawberries.  I've been picking punnets since Thursday, every day there is more to pick. There are four punnets in my fridge at the moment.  Two of them will be taken over to my parents tomorrow and the others have been booked for some new recipes, one of which is a Strawberry Risotto,  but I always welcome recipe suggestions from fellow bloggers, so please do share.  

If you look closer at the top punnet, you will spy some raspberries too. 
I am sharing this post with Harvest Monday hosted by Daphne's Dandelions. 
Previous Strawberry Recipes on my blog
2013 Strawberry, Caramelized Red Onion and Brie Cheese Tart
2012 Graceland Cake: Strawberry, Banana and Peanut Butter Cake
2010 Strawberry Curd
2009 Strawberry Ice Roses - Strawberry Sorbet

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Soft Centred Celery Cookies

These soft centred celery cookies come from a cookbook on my shelf called Vegetable Desserts: Beyond Carrot Cake and Pumpkin Pie by Elizabeth Schafer and Jeanette L Miller (1998).

I was so pleased to rediscover it snuggled between Vegetable Heaven by Catherine Mason and Secrets from Vegetarian Kitchen by Nadine Abensur.  Vegetable Desserts: Beyond Carrot Cake and Pumpkin Pie Thanks to Dom for his Random Recipes Challenge this month.  D got it for me a while back.  I loved it when I unpacked it for my Birthday a long while back.  It appealed to me for loads of reasons, but mostly because I liked to throw vegetables into everything I made. Those of you who have been reading my blog since its inception will vouch for this, and the reason this blog was originally called allotment2kitchen, making the most of my home grown seasonal vegetables. Remember my Sweet Parsnip and Rosemary tart, Beetroot and chocolate waffles with Beetroot cream and Carrot Cake ice-cream and these are just a handful of sweet dishes featured on my much  neglected blog.
Well this book is so much more than I could ever imagine.  So much vegetable inspiration, and I am not talking about savoury dishes here, but sweet bakes and cakes!  Much more than carrot cake for sure - a cake called Web of Intrigue described as a beetroot cheesecake.   Rutabuga which is swede for those of us in the U.K, I can see that working similar to parsnip or sweet potatoes. There is also turnip, jicama  and cabbage in cookies and pies.   Greens such as cucumber and peas, as well spinach, nettle and turnip greens in sweet cakes, and much much more.  Its not often obvious by the names of the recipes to what vegetable they have in them, such as Orange Drop cookies and a Mystery Pie which both have beetroot as an ingredient; or Davids Pleasure, a lemony cake which has spinach and turnip greens as the unique ingredient.  Other unusual ingredients in sweet cakes and bakes are tomatoes, onion, peppers and  honey and garlic ice-cream.  And that is not all, the cookbook also contains recipes made with lentils and beans!

This cookbook has been a wonderful rediscovery  for me, thanks to Dom of Belleau Kitchen .   Dom has set the challenge for the 40th Anniversary of Random Recipes - 40th book on your bookshelf, 40th recipe and (as in my case) if there isn't a page on the 40th page, then go to the next page.  Page 40 was blank and page 41 and 42 has a little background about the celery.  The original recipe appears on page 43. 
Celery is often overlooked as an ingredient in its own right, but her it is giving a starring role, In Vegetable Desserts the writers call these by the name 'Celery Doodles': a delicately browned and less sweet cookie; and instructed that they be the size of a sliver dollar.  First I have no idea what a 'doodle' is , and secondly, I have absolutely no idea of the size of silver dollar.  But still I made these, they were not what we would call cookies or biscuits in the U.K, they reminded me more of drop scones only these were baked.  

These soft centred celery cookies were utterly  gorgeous.  They were soft, light and crumbly .  You could not taste the celery, not like it was disguised as you could see the light green specks dotted here and there,  None of my family members detected this hidden vegetable and scoffed them all down in a day or two.  

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Lemon Curd and Cream Cheese Bars

These bars may look small and , but one bite and you go wowzer! This is when a little bite makes a big impact.  The lemon curd zingyness contrasts beautifully with the soft creaminess of the cream cheese layer and the oats just give it some textual bite.


I've chosen to make this recipe with lemon curd as I had a jar that had to be used by its sell by date, but you can choose any kind of zingy curd, like clementine, strawberry, pineapple, grapefruit, mango, orange or even Banana Toffee aka banoffee curd! 
Saying all that, D picked up another jar of lemon curd at the weekend - a no so subtle hint to make them again, soon!  And guess what, he doesn't want me to share them with anyone else.  I am sharing some of these Lemon Curd and Cream Cheese Bars with Recipe of the Week hosted by Emily at A Mummy Too; and this is also my first entry to Bake of the Week hosted by Casa Costello .



Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Vegan Spanakopita Spirals

This is probably not a recipe to showcase for the Suma's Wholefood Bloggers Network as its not presented int he best light, a little green salad and red tomatoes would have probably made it more enticing to the eye, but hey ho - sometimes a product has to stand on its own to make a name for itself. 
This recipe is based on my Spanakopita recipe from my student days, but this time round I have decided to veganize it.  I have substituted the salty feta cheese with nutritional yeast.   Nutritional yeast is rich in vitamin B.  It is a popular condiment for those who follow a vegan diet and is often used as a cheese alternative in cooking.  I have used it in a number of recipes in the past.  Anyway, whilst making the vegan spanakopita filling, I began reminiscing of holidays past in Cyprus.  I remembered eating a vegetarian spanakopita from a Cypriot bakery that had been rolled up into a coil shape (see here) and it is for that reason that I decided to make individual portions of vegan spanakopita spirals, as I thought they would look more presentable on the plate. 

You could easily make a larger version to feed a family or group of friends, then you must call it serpents coil as it sounds much more evocative.   I know my version here looks a bit on the pale side, and it is.  I put my hands up and admit that I forgot to gloss it over with some melted vegan margarine, that would definitely had made it golden.  I will ensure I do so next time, still that did not detract from the flavour or crispness. I actually enjoyed it far more than the vegetarian feta cheese savoury version, the only thing missing from the dish was some green salad and red tomatoes!
You can enjoy these warm from the oven, or at room temperature.  Just don't forget the salad!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Goji Berry British Style Scones

I am really humbled to share with you that I have been invited to become part of the new Suma Wholefoods Blogger's Network.  Many of you will have heard of Suma, but for those of you who have not Suma Wholefoods are a workers co-operative committed to ethical business. Suma are the U.K's largest independent wholefood wholesalers of vegetarian, fair-trade, natural and organic produce.  They have an impressive selection of vegetarian and vegan products to choose from (including these goji berries used for these home-made scones).  
So what's my role as 1 of 12 Suma Bloggers Network?  Every two months, I will be able to choose a number of products from the Suma on-line catalogue.  I will then create an original recipe on my blog, that in turn will be shared on their network.  
I would wholeheartedly like to say Thank you to Amy and the team at Suma Wholefooods for the kind invitation to be part of Suma, it is truly a pleasure and humbling.    

Okay now onto the recipe, I make a point of highlighting that these are British style scones as there are plenty of triangular style scones on blogosphere and| wanted to make the scones we enjoy in the U.K. 

Whenever I make scones at home which actually isn't that often at all, memories come flooding back of school days and home economics class.  I disliked cooking and baking when I was small, so its quite funny that my blog is about food.  Disappointing rock hard raisin scones were one of the very first recipes I ever made at school, (the other that comes to mind was Welsh Onion Cake, which was raw on the inside).   
I know I will never be able to make those mile high scones that you see at fancy eateries, what on earth do they do to make them rise that high?  Pile two scones on top of each other, just before baking? I don't know, do you the secret of scones rising?!  Still I was very I was quite pleased with these Goji Berry studded scones.   Goji berries are strong in flavour, a little bit bitter and a little bit sweet.  Its often compared to cranberry and cherries, even acai berries, but I can't confirm that as I have never had acai berries in its real form, only blended in smoothies and fruit juices. 
Well you know that scones are best enjoyed fresh on the day that they are made, with this in mind, I took some over to some of my family members .  These scones are not overly sweet so I thought they would be rejected by some of my family, but once sliced and packed with freshly whipped cream and Suma Pear and Apple Spread, these are delicious. One of my brothers told the little ones to save him an extra scone!  For me that is a sign of approval.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Garam Masala Radish Quiche with Radish Tops and Brie

Early in the week I harvested some radishes from the garden, this is the dish I made with them using the whole of the radish - roots and tops! 
I've cooked with the prickly radish green leafy tops before, they do need to be sauteed though, but if you don't fancy them, then just omit them from the recipe.  I've also spiced up the filling a little with the addition of garam masala and a pinch of chilli flakes, but again - this is totally optional.  I just thought it made the radishes taste a bit more interesting, for those of you who have had enjoyed a vegetarian Mooli  Curry dish at an South Asian eatery will know what I mean. 
If you look closely, (you may need to squint a little) you may be able to see that I have tried to arrange some of the sliced radish roots into a flower petal shape. If you can get your mitts on rainbow radishes, your Radish Quiche will look pretty amazing. 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Vegan Jamaican Patties Pies

I have to say when the sun is shining and the weather is hot hot hot, pastry pies do not appeal to me, they seem more suited to colder days, but these ones dyed yellow from the spice turmeric remind me of the sunshine glow.  I have also got to admit, I don't often go for curry powder or curried flavoured dishes, (which may be a surprise to some of you as I do like my chillies )but I've made an exception for these as they are completely different, as well as the fact these contain the headiness of cumin. These Jamaican Patties are well packed with well flavoured vegetables that sing summer-time: how can I resist. Its both sweet and mildly spiced, not heat hot, just lightly spiced. I hope traditionalists will forgive me for making these British style, compact and round instead of the typical half moon shaped ones you often see.  
I think these Jamaican Patty Pies are perfect to make and take on beach picnics.  Sit your bum on the sand, open up your picnic hamper and behold these golden hand pies.  Now to eat them, just hold them in your hands between a napkin , close your eyes and bite in.  Nice.

I know what you are going to say, we can't see whats on the inside. I am so sorry, sometimes greed comes first.  I promise the next time I make these to try and remember to take a photograph of the colourful filling: gold, red and green. 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Go Radish

I've spent most of the day weeding the garden.

Herbs are growing and so are some veg, but there is not much too harvest yet - or maybe I spoke a little too soon, as I knelt down I notice some fuschia pink radishes peeking out from the ground.  I immediately began to pull those that looked big out. 

I like eating my radishes raw, sliced and the white part dipped in equal quantify of salt and chilli!  But my husband is not that keen on them raw, so I am planning to make something with these in the next couple of days including the leafy greens that are also edible.  If your looking for some radish inspiration check out the links below.  
I am sharing this with Harvest Monday hosted by Daphne and Dandelions,

Previously on A2K - A Seasonal Veg Table
Radish Leaf and Radish Tartlets
Fenugreek and Radish Rice
Asparagus and Radish Pasta Salad

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Gothic Black Olive Tapenade

Yesterday morning thunder and lightning at woke me up.  The day began overcast and drizzly, but by the afternoon the sunshine was out and it was lovely and relatively dry.  

I picked up some bread from the farmers market - my fortnightly foodie treat, so not to waste it and enjoy it whilst still fresh.  It was suggested to me by D to make some spreads and dips.  I've shared the recipe for chickpea hummus (and different ingredient combinations  such as wild garliccourgette and beetroot before), but never olive tapenade.  I am not sure why not, as I've made both green and black tapenade a number of times, since starting this blog. 
I first had tapenade when I went to Turkey with my in-laws and their friends.  It was often offered as a complimentary dish, a bit like bread sticks.  I remember sitting at a Turkish restaurant and someone said 'I don't like olives'.  I responded 'do you know that the tapenade your tucking into is made from olives'.  His response with a big smile right back at me ' Oh, then I guess I must like olives then'.   I understand where he was coming from, because the first time an olive passed my teenage lips I spat it right out and never tried it again until my adult days, when my tastes were becoming more adventurous.  Between the two though, I have to admit green olives are my preference.  
Anyway, back to the black olive tapenade.  A jar of black olives was lurking at the back of my fridge, opened a few weeks back when I made D a pasta dish with black olives for his working lunch. Unsure what else to do with it, I was prompted by D to make tapenade.  Tapenade - green or black costs a fair bit if picked up from the deli or shop, so why not make your own at home.  This one is vegetarian and vegan too, many of the shop bought ones contain anchovies.  It will keep in the fridge for two weeks.  Its quite versatile too, not just for spreading on fresh bread, try it on toasted bread too; or even with pasta.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Smoked Chilli Paste and Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

A couple of months back, I entered my individual vegan Mexican Tamale Pie recipe in a blogger contest and was runner up.  I was sent a jar of Gran Luchito - a smoked chilli spice paste with medium heat.  It came beautifully packed like a little present.  In place of a bow, tied to the box was a smoked pasilla oaxaca chilli, the scent drifting from it was deep and smoky.  

Well this is the first dish that I've made with it - a golden bowl of Smoked Chilli Paste and Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto.   Enjoy.
Its been strange weather the past few days.  One day its blazing hot, then the next its pouring by the bucket load.  I enjoyed this risotto immensely.  The colour  enhanced a little by paprika, was a bit like a log fire - belly warming.  The taste was just right: first comes the smoky hit, then the liquid sweet followed by the mild heat from the chilli and spices.  It was just right.  I was enjoying tucking my spoon in and out of my mouth, until it was all gone.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

In My Kitchen: Big Bread Bin

This is one of my favourite storage jars.  I sometimes pretend the chef character is an illustration of me, especially with the wavy hair.  I actually had two of these jars with the same character, but my nephew smashed it by accident.  I've never let him forget it - no I'm just teasing, he did smash it though, that part is true.  
Do you remember me mentioning in my last IMK post that I treat myself to some lovely artisan bread now and again.  Well sometimes the bread loaves just do not fit snuggly into the bread bin I already have in the kitchen, so the lovely husband got me an even bigger Bread Bin.  This creamy hunk of enamel will certainly house more than one loaf for sure (or maybe he picked it up to stash his chocolate bars!).


I've won a couple of foodie goodies too.  I went to a Vegetarian food festival and won a goodie basket filled with vegan goodies, including four packets of vegan cheese from Vegusto.  Blogger friends like Johanna over at Green Gourmet Giraffe has given it the thumbs up, so I'm looking forward to cooking with it.  I've already  got a number of  ideas of what to do with it.  
Secondly, I entered my vegan Mexican Tamale Pie in a blogger contest and I was runner up and was sent a jar of Gran Luchito - an intensely smoked chilli spice paste. I've already made one dish with it and am looking forward to making the most of my jar, slowly of course - its powerful stuff. 
Other than rhubarb, I don't have much to harvest from my  garden yet, oh I fib there are herbs, here is some thyme and chives with allium flower head in tact - perfect to garnish a salad plate or a summer soup.
Whilst at the farmers market at the weekend, I also picked up a punnet of seasonal green gooseberries.  Any suggestions what to do with them would be most appreciated.  I'd hate to see them go to the compost bin.

In My Kitchen Series is hosted by Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  It is an opportunity for worldwide bloggers to share what is happening in their kitchen.  Please do go by and read about the other bloggers sharing what's going on in their kitchen - the heart of many homes!