Sunday, 31 August 2014

Round Up #3 Eat Your Greens and Pasta Please September Challenge

Welcome to Eat Your Greens Round Up  #3.    This is a monthly vegetarian cooking challenge for food bloggers.  The  'Eat Your Greens'  challenge was launched a couple of months ago. The idea behind 'Eat Your Greens' is really simple, to make something with a green vegetable each month.  
So here are this months fabulous green eats ...  

Friday, 29 August 2014

Vegetable Palette: Oranges and Mellow Yellows Round Up #2

The idea behind 'The Vegetable Palette: natures colours - natures goodness'' is to make something with either a fruit, vegetable or combination of both each month.  You can make absolutely anything that you wish - sweet or savoury -  from a soup, a salad dish, a smoothie, a juice, a stew, a hot pot, a curry, a pie, a pasta dish, cookies or even a cake  - absolutely anything, so long as the recipe is vegetarian and includes a vegetable/and or fruit with the chosen colour.  

The theme for August was Oranges and Mellow Yellows.   
To start us off, Sarah James who blogs over at Tales from the Kitchen Shed shares her recipe for  Slow Cooker Peach JamIt is stunning and beaming with delicious edible, spreadable gold.  I love the sound of this recipe, and its ease to make at home - no need to stand over a bubbling pot. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Chilli Coconut Runner Beans Curry

Runner Beans and Raspberries has been the accidental theme of my blog for the month of August, and it seems to set to continue with the next dish where the runner beans are infused with spices before being drenched in coconut milk.  
This  Chilli Coconut Runner Beans Curry recipe has Tamil Nadu, South Indian influences.  If you like Thai food, then you will like this as its very reminisce of Thai Green Curry.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Spicy Tomato - Runner Beans with Pasta

Summer seems to have come to a sudden and abrupt end, replaced first by a weekend of non-stop rain pour and it seems  now that the week ahead is not going to be much better either.  

So its time for some warm bowl like grub.  Not quite cold for soup or stew, but definately a big bowl of pasta coated in thick red sauce, even better if that sauce is a little spicy.  As I have loads of runner beans still coming from the garden, I decided to incorporate some of these into this pasta dish, it made more of a meal of it for sure.    

Monday, 25 August 2014

Handful of Blueberries and Purple Beans

Plenty of runner beans and raspberries still coming from the garden.  These have been cooked and made into various dishes.  Most recently the Runner Beans were cooked in a Sri Lankan Runner Bean Pie and the raspberries in Chocolate  Brownies

The other berry fruit harvested from my garden are these blueberries,  barely a handful but lovely.
I also harvested some purple beans aka Blauhilde. These turn green upon cooking. 
I am sharing this small harvest with Daphne Dandelions for Harvest Monday.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Bookmarked Vegetable Cakes, Desserts and Sweet Recipes

There used to be nights when I would lie awake at night thinking about what to create with my home-grown organic vegetables, For those of you who have been following me since the inception of this blog, will know that I was putting vegetables into everything - Rhubarb and beetroot in curries, courgette and parsnip in cookies, avocado and pumpkin in mousse, spinach and kale in smoothies, beetroot in cakes,waffles and pastry crust, carrot in muesli, flapjacks and jams and jellies, butternut squash in ice-cream, and much more, now I lie awake with real life distractions. I also seem to have lost my mojo, before the inspiration would just come naturally ...life was much kinder then. I know it will return in time.

I was looking over some of my bookmarked recipes from years back.  It occured to me that raw food and vegan blogs have been a fantastic source of inspiration for many mainstream foodies whether or not we like to admit it.  Many raw and vegan food bloggers cook outside of the boundaries incorporating ingredients that mimic meat and dairy products flavours, textures and tastes.  Raw and Vegan cooks have introduced mainstream cooks and chefs to new techniques and ways of cooking with ingredients that they would never had considered.  Avocado Chocolate Mousse for a start - need I say more, and Kale and Spinach in Smoothies that have now evolved now to ice-creams and yogurts. Many of these recipes have been around for years, but are only just being discovered here in the U.K. 

Here are a handful of bookmarked recipes made with vegetables from around blogospere that I hope to make in time.  I have provided links to the original source.  I do hope the bloggers I've linked to don't mind me sharing the images with you. 
Beetroot Ice-cream by White on Rice Couple.
Here are Lagusta's amazing vegan Beetroot Truffles. She has also made other flavours, such as Chipotle, Wasabi, Curry and Miso
Beetroot and Coconut Terrine featured on Va Va Voom.  I know this one is savoury, but I am planning on sweetening it up a little when I make it at home. 
Red Chocolate Hot Chocolate by Yuppie Chef!  I was thinking of making this one with beetroot and making Red Beetroot Hot Chocolate!

I also have Beetroot Meringues bookmarked from Canal Cook, as well as vegan ones by Eddie Shepherd; and also Carrot Meringues bookmarked from Love the Garden Competition in 2011.
Here are some sweet recipes made with cauliflower.  For a start Chocolate Cauliflower Shake from The Green Forks which can easily be frozen and turned into a lollipop; and even a Cauliflower Rice Pudding from Maria Mind Body Health. 
Hulk Smoothie aka Green Smoothie from Carissa at Attached At the Nip.  Carissa introduced me to Green Smoothies in 2009.  She has so many variations with mangoes, apples, all with appealing names such as Green Goddess, and Simply Green Juice. 
This amazing vegan Kale Cake with Sweet Potato Filling from Lancaster Fresh Farm CSA website shared in 2011 by a CSA shareholder, Laura Forer.  I so want to make this with my homegrown kale.
Sweet Pea Cupcakes with Soured Cream Frosting from Vanilla Garlic as above (2009) and also Garden Peas and Ricotta Cupcakes  (no image) bookmarked from Cupcake Project (2011).
Another one from the Cupcake Project, this time its Cucumber Cupcakes.  So gorgeous. 
The Baker of Brighton also has Cucumber Cupcakes this time topped with Elderflower Cream.  But if you want to make one big cake, then check out this Cucumber Cake recipe bookmarked from Honest Cooking.  It shows that cucumbers can be substituted for courgettes

There is a sweet Turkish cake called Ispanakli Kek made with Spinach.  I had it when I was in Turkey but have never got round to making it at home.  I've had this Sweet Spinach Cake bookmarked by Binnurs Turkish Cookbook.  A similar Spinach Cake and Spinach Cupcake recipe appears in Mom Whats for Dinner !  I was also intrigued by Binnurs Mushroom Cookies.  
Spinach Ice-cream from Chocolate Covered Katie.  I was also recently reminded of this Mint Chocolate Frozen Yogurt with Chocolate Chips also made with spinach by Circardian Wellnesss via Jessica Seinfields book Double Delicious, you can find the original recipe here.
Peruvian Sweet Corn Cake from Peru Delights.  Follow this link for  22 Peruvian Recipes that vegans and vegetarians should try. 
Mexican Sweet Corn Cakes from Marcie at Flavour The Moments.
 Home-made Sweet Potato Latte by Grace Su featured on MichellePhan.com.  Sweet Potato Latte is a Korean cafe speciality that will soon be made in my kitchen come Autumn.  The recipe can be easily adapted, and has also been made with Japanese Purple Sweet Potato. 
Spiced Sweet Potato Doughnuts by Leanne Bakes.
Sweet Potato Cheesecake Squares from Seasonal Veg Head via Everyday Food.
Or maybe something a little more cooling with these Pumpkin Lollies or Popsicles depending on where you are in the world, bookmarked from a Healthy Jalapeno. 

And these don't even include those from my well thumbed raw food, vegetarian and vegan cookbooks such as this one from which I have already baked Celery Cookies.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Raspberry Chocolate Brownies

Young cool nephews and beautiful nieces,  are reading this blog post? as I made these Chocolate Brownies to tease you from afar.

Yes, I can hear you all 'what a mean Aunty Shaheen!' 

Yeah more for me and your Uncle, but you can have some if you come on over, better be quick as they are disappearing fast. 
So that its not all sugar and chocolate,  l stirred some home-grown raspberries into the chocolate batter and scattered some on the top too.
 There is nothing more to say, except that they are scrummy - I have already had two pieces. 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Vegetarian Jerk Spiced Scotch Egg

I have quite a number of Vegetarian Scotch Egg recipes on my blog making everything from scratch.  I created one not that long ago when I returned back home to Wales called Welsh Glamorgan Eggs made with Caerphilly cheese, leeks and mustard; or even my Red Dragon Welsh Vegetarian Scotch Eggs enhanced with chilli flakes for fiery warmth. My last effort was last year around Halloween Beetroot Scotch Eggs dubbed Vampire Eggs, not because of garlic content but the beet red colour. 

After having made some Za'atar  infused vegan meatballs with the Vegetarian 'sausage' mix that I got from Suma Wholefoods  D suggested that I make some vegetarian Scotch eggs with the remainder of the packet. Oh what a smarty pants I thought, then it dawned on me, sneaky man - You like them, but that is okay as I was more than happy to make them for him and some for me. But they were not going to be plain Vegetarian Scotch Eggs, these were going to be enhanced further, this time with some Jamaican flavours - namely thyme, all spice, scotch bonnet and limes.
Oh my, they were super super tasty and zesty too.  I would so so make these again.  Of course you can make everything from scratch and I often do, but there are times when convenience suits. These Vegetarian Jerk Spiced Scotch Eggs were really easy to put together and quick to make if you use some ready made products: Vegetarian 'sausage' mix . You can even buy ready made Jerk paste, but I actually did make my own as I have found some shop bought ones ridiculously salty. 

My homemade jerk paste was sweet and fiery, I also loved the kick not just from the Scotch Bonnet, but the black peppercorns too.  The only fiddly part of this recipe was removing the egg shells and moulding the eggs with the mixture, but the more you practice the easier it gets.  
So what was D's verdict - nom nom nom...what more can I say.  He is already hinting that I should make some mores, especially as I have been boasting that they are so easy to knock up. 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Runner Beans and Sweet Cherry Tomatoes

I mentioned yesterday that early in the week we had every weather hit us thanks to Hurricane Bertha.  We woke up in the morning, only to find the one vegetable doing brilliantly in the garden had been given a good bashing from the weather - the runner beans.  

One of our climbing bean frames was on its side.  We managed to get it back upright, but its not the same as the structure is now weakened and some of the roots have been pulled from the soil.   I have harvested a load of runner beans, and will probably freeze a load of them, but I want to make the most of them while fresh, so any recipe suggestions would be most welcome.  
The climbing french beans are also doing relatively okay, these are Blue Lake and Blauhilde - a purple variety (see below) that lose their colour upon cooking. 
Some of you may remember from last week, that our greenhouse tomatoes have been hit by something, so supply has been disappointing, still we have managed to get some and enjoy them on the side.
I am sharing this very small harvest with Daphne Dandelions for Harvest Monday.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Sri Lankan Chilli Coconut Runner Bean Pie

Early in the week we had every weather hit us thanks to Hurricane Bertha.  The sun shine, the rain fall, the thunder storms, the lightning, hailstones and then the blustery winds.  We woke up in the morning, only to look out of the bedroom window and  find the one vegetable doing brilliantly in the garden getting a good bashing from the weather.  One of our climbing bean frames was on its side.  We managed to get it back upright, but its not the same as the structure is now weakened.   Never mind. We harvested a load of runner beans,  I will probably freeze a load of them, but I want to make the most of them while fresh, so any recipe suggestions would be most welcome.  
I remembered making a Ceylonese Spiced Runner Beans recipe a few years back and thought why not incorporate some runner beans into a large pie.   I also had some Chilli Coconut Sambal that I decided to stir into the filling. The result this rather large Sri Lankan Chilli Coconut Runner Bean pie.  It is based on my Green Pasta Loaf. It has texture and bite from the runner beans and flavour from the Chilli Coconut Sambal.  There was heat from the chilli and sweetness from the coconut.  Its certainly different for a pie filling. 
This recipe is best made a day in advance, as it will cool down and making slicing a bit more effortless. Its fabulous for a picnic or as an accompaniment for a vegetarian friendly BBQ, with this in mind I have decided to share this Sri Lankan Chilli Coconut Runner Bean Pie with Vanesther at Bangers and Mash for this months The Spice Trail.  The Theme is Beach BBQ and the spice here is chill!. Also as Phaseolos coccineus are a scientific name for runner beans and I am going to use this as a good reason to share this pie with Caroline Makes and The More Than Occasional Baker for this months edition of AlphaBakes where the chosen letter is P.  Runner beans in some parts of the world are also known as Pole Beans too.  Finally, I am also sharing them with Karen at Lavender and Lovage for Tea Time Treats Picnic challenge also hosted with Janie at The Hedgecombers.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Za'atar Spiked Vegan Meatballs and Runner Beans Stew

Early in the week, the weather has temporarily changed from blazing hot to blustery windy rain falling horizontally.  So something a bit more stew liked was needed, but not too heavy.  It had to be light to eat, but relatively quick to make too.  
I also wanted to make the most of my home-grown runner beans, so having  just rediscovered my jar of Zaytoun Palestinian Za'atar -a zesty Middle Eastern seasoning made with wild thyme, toasted sesame seeds and sumac. I made a decision that Za'atar had to be an ingredient in this dish, not just as part of the tomato sauce base, but also incorporated into the Vegetarian 'sasuage' mix that I got from Suma wholefoods as part of the Suma Bloggers Network. I haven't used pre-packed blended mock meat products since my student days, but for convenience  and a trip down memory lane, thought I'd try them once again. Except these were not to be turned into vegetarian sausages, but vegan meatballs!
The meatballs were textually soft and highly seasoned without me requiring to add any more salt and pepper to it.  My only addition was spiking the mix with a little Za'atar spice and it did make a difference.  The tomato sauce base was also lightly infused with the Zaatar spices coming though gently, finished off with with bite and crunch from my home-grown runner beans. 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Rotten Tomatoes and Good Tomatoes

Well not good news for my husband on the greenhouse front.  
The tomatoes have disappointed him, well most of them have.  He was tending to them well and they were looking good, promising in fact, then one-day he walked into the greenhouse and noted all was not well in his greenhouse.  I feel for him.  
The garden is not looking that fantastic either, truth is its all due to my own neglect.  I have been a very very bad gardener.  I have lost the growing bug a little and have not been finding much motivation to go out in the garden.  Here are some late broad beans.  The only thing I can do with them is mash them into a dip of sorts.
In my very weedy and overgrown garden, the only thing that seems to be thriving (no help from me) are the climbing beans, namely the runner beans.  I have made a couple of dishes with them and will share soon. 
I have hardly had any courgettes, the reason is this - all the energy has gone into creation of this huge specimen that little ones did not have a chance to thrive.  Upon harvesting this specific specimen, I found another two well hidden by the overgrowth!  
And finally, here are the good tomatoes, just a few, but boyo they are sweet!  I am sharing this short post with Daphne Dandelions for Harvest Monday

Sunday, 10 August 2014

August In My Kitchen

The garden is finally beginning to produce , not in large amounts though, mostly raspberries.  I've made quite a few sweet dishes with the raspberries - Raspberry Coconut Balls; and Raspberry Pavlova and even a Raw Raspberry Mousse Tart.   
and then there are the runner beans, dripping from the bean poles, the only vegetable not attacked by the birds and the slugs.   
I've made a couple of Runner Bean dishes (that I have yet to share on my blog), but one is made with Zaytoun Palestinian Za'atar.  Za'atar is a zesty Middle Eastern seasoning made with wild thyme, toasted sesame seeds and sumac.  I discovered Zaytoun when I lived in Glasgow and went along to a Fairtrade event.  The Zaytoun  extra virgin olive oil is like no other extra virgin olive oil that I have ever tasted, it was simply pure, flavourful and coated my crusty bread like melted butter. This particular jar of Zaytoun Palestinian Za'atar. got lost in the back of my kitchen cupboards and has only been rediscovered, it is now in the front and will be used actively in my kitchen. 
I also have some Zaytoun Smoky Freekah.  I did cook with some last month, but the brand that I used was not overly smoky, so I thought I would try a different brand.  Verdict to come.
I have some Raw Beetroot and Rosemary Crackers, ready for me to tear open when I have the munchies.  And some Pearls of Sarmarkand Mulberries.  I tend to nibble on dried fruit when I want something a little sweet, but is anyone have any ideas what to do with them, other than stirring into breakfast - muesli or granola base, a recipe would be most appreciated.    
Talking of breakfasts, I have been making the most of Cacao Nibs.  I've recently made Raw Chocolate and Avocado Mousseand wait for it....
Raw Chocolate Muesli with Cacao Nibs and Cocoa Powder.   Its utterly gorgeous to eat.
I've also recently discovered a new brand of herbal teas CharBrew.  I have been making my own chocolate tea at home with cacao nibs (recipe to come), but to find Chocolate and Orange Tea excited me.  I've had Chocolate Tea from a well known brand in the past and was really disappointed in it, as the next packet I purchased lacked chocolate flavour, and so did the one after that, so I have not bothered with that brand again, so you can imagine how pleased I was to find this.  I ripped open the packet and my face was immediately hit by the chocolate and orange smell. The taste did not disappoint either .  The other is Pineapple and Vanilla.  Next to the teas is one of my new mugs with map of the world on it.  I have instructed my husband that this mug is specifically to be used for hot chocolate or herbal fruit teas - not coffee or black tea (or he will be in the naughty book, where I tell him off for an hour or so and then forget).  
And some of you I am a snacker.  I love my savoury snacks with proper crunch.   I was sent some Manomasa Mexican Tortilla chips to review.  Not all there crisps are suitable for vegetarians, but some are such as the Green Lemon and Pink Peppercorns and Tomatillo Salsa here.  I loved the sharp twang from the Green Lemon that danced on my tongue for a while, and the pink peppercorns was a lovely touch, nice change from black peppercorns.  The Tomatillo Salsa had a wonderful balance of spices, but also heat and sweetness.   I am looking forward to trying out there Chipotle Lime when I find a place that sells them locally, otherwise you can pick them up at Ocado and Independent Farm Shops.  

I've a few more things to share including unused kitchen  gadgets rediscovered since I've moved home, but this new Optimuum 9400 Froothie blender has perhaps been the most used kitchen gadget in the last two months making smoothies, raw tarts, sweet desserts and sauces, so its only right that I write about it.  I do have a designer brand Food Processor and Blender (both gifts), but the difference with this heavy duty Froothie machine is that is pulps, purees and chops and cuts through ice (creating slushies) and dried nuts very easily, whereas other brands you have to stop and start, scrape down, and start and stop again; or its a no go area, in fear of burning the motor out and I have done that in the past.   I have found the  Optimuum 9400 blender a pleasure to use. There are no detachable parts to screw or lock together, it pops on and off.  It has been very easy to clean too, you just fill the jug with hot water from the tap and add a squirt of washing liquid, blend for a few seconds then tip and rinse out the contents. 
As I said, I have made lots of things in it, but the two that I am most chuffed about are Carrot Ketchup and Raw Carrot Halwa (recipe yet to be shared) which was a surprisingly big hit by every one who had a piece.
I am sharing this post with Celia at Fig and Jam for August edition of In My Kitchen Series. Please go by and check out the other IMK posts for a nosy.