Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Booming and Busy Bristol VegFest 2015

I had a good time in Bristol at the weekend, what made it even more enjoyable was the company of my nephew and niece.  Before heading down to the Harbour side for Bristol VegFest, we went into Stokes Croft not only to check out the graffiti art, but also to get some breakfast at Cafe Kino.  Then we winded our way to the city centre, when we decided to wander through St Nicholas Market and I treated myself to some Psycho Chocolate Chilli Salted Caramel with Naga Jolokia from the Hot Sauce Emporium. 

When we eventually got to Bristol VegFest it was super busy, I knew it would be so as I attended last year too.  Anyway, I had to go round twice, maybe even three times to absorb what was there, but I am sure that I miss loads in the hustle and bustle.  It was also quite hard to take pictures, so I only have a few to share.
The fabulous Ms Cupcake aka Melissa Morgan in person who was more than happy for me to take a photograph of her.  I have her The Naughtiest Vegan Cupcakes in Town, but have to admit that I have yet to bake from it.  The selection below has me tempted and I am not overly a cupcake girl, but I am happy to bake them for others.  

From baked vegan cupcakes to raw cakes and raw pizza from Paradise Unbakery which I was truly bowled over by. 
I really did not know where to look first.   Everything looked amazing.  
These were perhaps the most beautiful raw vegan cakes I have ever and I mean set eyes upon
 And you could see that they were truly made with love and edible flowers.

My nephew was tempted to try the Raw Thai Nam Home Coconut Water from Coco Face
I have box of vegan Marshmallows from Ananda's to make at home, but it was good to try a sample of how the successfully made vegan marshmallow would taste.

There were so many vegetarian and vegan caterers on site, that we were spoiled for choice of world wide cuisine.  I was really tempted by Brownins Caribbean vegan food, but the free samples of vegan cheese crackers and chocolate had me feeling quite content, that I wasn't quite ready to eat lunch. 
There were massive queues for the Happy Maki  (that specialised in vegan sushi wraps) and The Loving Hut, and as much as I would have loved to tried their offerings (of vegan 'fish' and chips with 'fish' sauce), I don't have the patience to line up for food.  
I was excited to see The Spotted Leopard there, but look forward to enjoying their grub some other day when I am in Bristol.
Momentarily I lost D, but when I looked back again he appeared with a cone of Smoked Jerk Spices chunky chips from The Happy Chippy.  I must admit, the last thing I expected to eat at the Vegfest was chips!
I have to admit, I did not come back home laden with goodies, just a few things amongst them Bengal Spice Tea and Koko Dairy and Soy Free milk, but all in all it was a good day and one I would be happy to do again, come next year. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

Mujaddara with Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Its been a long, productive and busy day in the garden.  I will up-date you with progress later in the week with photographs and a little herbal harvest, but today I am sharing a plate of food that a made a couple of months back.

I made this well known Arabic rice dish known as Mujaddara  when I was harvesting purple sprouting broccoli from the garden.  I enjoy eating rice and lentils.  One of my favourite dishes is the South Asian Chawal and Dal - basically rice and lentils, its a humble dish, but it is one that gives me comfort, and for me Mujarddara is similar.  
Although I had shallow fried some fresh  onions for the topping, I forgot to top the Mujaddara rice here (for the photography) with the crispy onions, only because I had replaced it with steamed PSB, adding fried onions does make a difference as it adds another texture as well as layer of flavour.    
I am not going to share the recipe for Mujaddara here, as there are loads of recipes on blogosphere and most vegetarian cookbooks have a recipe for Mujaddara - so go and flick through them and you will find. I am off to bed, its been a long busy day and I have work tomorrow. Bye bye long Bank Holiday weekend, time appreciated.  

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Fried Halloumi, Rocket and Chutney Ciabatta

I had a lovely day yesterday.  We went to Bristol for Bristol Veg Fest.  The weather was extremely kind.  The VegFest as expected was extremely busy.  I've got photographs to share, but will do so in the next few days.  

Today was a day for deep-cleaning and gardening, and thankfully the weather was much cooler. 
As you may be able to appreciate, after hours of house-work and gardening, neither D or myself had much energy for cooking, so it had to be easy food.  So for a change I decided to make a warm scrummy sandwich. I sliced individual Ciabatta bread, spread on the base a generous layer of chutney ( choose either onion chutney or a tomato chilli).   Then scattered some peppery rocket over it.  Then I  fried some slices of halloumi (which had been lightly dusted with cayenne pepper or even smoked paprika, that is optional) until it was golden on both sides.
It made a nice change from a cheddar cheese and tomato sandwich. Even, D who hasn't had Halloumi for years didn't mind it, I loved it.  I am sharing this with Janie at The Hedgecombers who has challenged us to make sandwiches for the Tea Time Treats event which she runs with Karen of Lavender and Lovage.  

Friday, 22 May 2015

Ethiopian Eritrean Inspired Zigni Vegetable Broth

And to be more specific the vegetables in this Ethiopian and Eritrean Inspired Zigni Broth are spinach and sweet potatoes, as I had neither pumpkin or squash to hand to make the more familiar D'ba Zigni.  
Like the Spaghetti Zigni , the recipe for this D'ba Zigni also comes from Celia BrookWorld Vegetarian Classics.
I think this dish could benefit from being made a day in advance as the brothy liquid could infuse the sweet potatoes more deeply.  

Ideally this broth should have been served with Injera - Sourdough Flatbread, but I served it with Basmati rice, after all this was a relatively quick after work meal.  I did however, make the fiery Berbere Hot Spice Blend at home from scratch (pictured below).

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Ethiopian Eritrean Spaghetti Zigni

I've had Ethiopian - Eritrean cuisine twice in my life.  The first time ever was in 2000, when I went to see my dearest and best friend Leah in America.  She picked me from San Francisco Airport and took me to an Ethiopian restaurant.  I enjoyed and ate everything.  The second time was when I lived in Scotland and I cooked the entire Ethiopian-Eritrean Menu that was featured in Celia Brooks World Vegetarian Classics cookbook.  I was inspired to make everything from scratch, the Berbere Ethiopian Hot Spice Blend, the Nitteh Kibbeh - Spiced Clarified Butter and the Injera - Sourdough Flatbread,  following the whole fermenting process that took a days.  On the menu was Ye'atakilt W'et - Spicy Mixed Vegetable stew, Yedifin Miser Alicha We't - Mild Lentil Stew with Basil and Yeshiro We't - Stew of Spiced Powdered Chickpeas.  For a cuisine that was both new to me and took an effort to make, I decided to invite some colleagues over.  It made for an interesting meal, as it was different.  I just wish I had blogged about it, but it was a couple of years before I got the blogging bug. 

Well I share with you this story, as it was in this very same cookbook that I stumbled upon Spaghetti Zigni - Noodles with Hot Sauce.  I wasn't quite sure about it assuming it was more of a recent fusion recipe, but a few years later when I was hiking through Glen Etive with some participants from Ethiopia and Eritrea it had been confirmed to me that this pasta dish actually existed.  I have to admit, I had completely forgotten about the Zigni until recently when a volunteer in my workplace who is of Ethiopian origin reminded me of it and I was inspired to make it, I just wish I had been making it back all those years when I first flicked through the Celia Brooks cookbook.  
Spaghetti Zigni hails back to the 1930s when the Italians tried and failed to colonise Ethiopia, however they did  leave behind culinary influences.  Zigni Spaghetti is one of those.  Zigni is essentially pasta coated in a deep rich tomato sauce enhanced with the highly spiced Berbere blend.  I know it don't look like much, but it packs a proper fiery, hot and spicy punch.  Go on swivel you fork in it and give it a try. 
Well these days along side Arriabiata, vegan Puttanesca and pesto coated Spaghetti, I have begun to make Zigni.  It is now part of my fast food repertoire.  I tend to have everything at home to make it for speedy meals .   If you like Mexican and Indian cuisine, then I have no doubt you will like this.  Recipe can be found in Celia BrookWorld Vegetarian Classics , but in a nutshell it is Spaghetti  in a Berbere spiced tomato sauce.  Awesome! 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Wild Stinging Nettle Hummus

I've declared in the past that nettles are my favourite weed to eat and I mean it.

In the past I've made Nettle Risotto, Nettle Gnocchi, Nettle Tortilla and many others, but this time round as my harvest was very small (from the garden), I made a small bowl of Nettle Hummus.  
I actually made it this rather green  Nettle Hummus at the weekend as an evening nibble to be enjoyed with a glass of red wine.  Normally I would serve hummus with home-made pitta chips or crispy chunky bread, but this time round it was with some rather posh crackers that had quinoa, spelt and poppy seeds.

Even though we enjoyed the green nettle hummus with these crackers, we still had some hummus left over and were able to use it as a spread in our sandwiches in place of butter. Other than having a bit of a garlic breath, the sandwich was good.
Previously shared Hummus Recipes on my blog
Carrot Hummus - July 2014
Beetroot Hummus - February 2013
Wild Garlic Hummus April 2011 
Traditional Hummus January 2010 

Wild Nettle  Hummus
Your will need
A good bowl full of nettles, stripped from the stalk, washed and then blanched in simmering water for a few minutes.  Drain, set aside.  When cool, squish out as much water as you can with your hands.
1 x 400g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cloves of garlic
Juice of a lemon
Olive oil
1 teaspoon Tahini
Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor blend all the ingredients to taste.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Lapsang Scented Chestnut Mushroom Stroganoff

There are some recipes that I make often, like African Vegetable Curry, Thai Green Curry and Russian Mushroom Tofu Strogonoff, but sometimes I do like to try other variations.  So when I won Mildreds Cookbook a couple of weeks ago, I knew exactly what I wanted to make first - the Lapsang Scented Mushroom Stroganoff and it was bookmarked.  I must mention though that I do not like drinking Lapsang Souchang.  I find its smokiness overwhelming, but I was curious to try it in a vegetarian main meal as I could see how the smokiness could lend itself to a dish like Strogonoff.

I have never been to Mildred's Restaurant in Soho, London.  The plan is of course to dine there one-day, as I have both heard and read some positive reviews.  However, I don't venture out of South Wales that often, the furthest we travel at weekends is just over the border - sometimes into Bristol and sometimes Bath.  So I am pleased to now have the opportunity to have a little Mildred's inspiration in my home through the cookbook.
Well yesterday when I got home from work, glad to be indoors as the weather had suddenly turned to streaky chilly rain and this gave me the perfect excuse to make a deep warming dish.

The original recipe for Lapsang Mushroom Stroganoff  is for 8 people, but I halved the quantity.  The paprika stained Lapsang Souchong creamy sauce was thickened with cornflour and lusciously rich.  Although I only used chestnut mushrooms, roasting them in the oven for 15 minutes or so, did somewhat make them seem more 'meatier'.  I will so, so be making this again and it made a welcome change from my usual Mushroom Tofu Strogonoff.   
If the authors of Mildred The Cookbook grant me permission to publish the recipe here on my blog, then I will up-date this post, otherwise you will have to get your mitts on the cookbook. Here is a link to a review of Mildreds The Cookbook.  I am sharing this with for Bookmarked Recipes hosted by Tinned Tomatoes.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Wild Garlic, Black Garlic and White Garlic Cake

Before I  begin this blog post, I must make it clear that this is not sweet cake, it is a savoury one and one with lots of  oomf!
Some of you will remember that I had foraged for some wild garlic last week, well this is the seasonal recipe that I made, but I also decided to stir in some Black Garlic and fresh white garlic. This Three Garlic Savoury Cake is based on the Broccoli Cake that I made last month.
The wild garlic added herbiness and colour, the black garlic added an unexpected surprise sweetness and welcome balsamic zingness, as well as charcoal studded teardrops here and there. And finally, the white garlic, invisible to the eye but it was there in that warming flavour.  All three added fragrance that was undeniably garlic!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Hot and Spicy Cauliflower Florets

The weekend is coming to an end, but we have made the most of the dry spell, spending most of the daytime hours in the garden catching up with weeding, replacing the shattered greenhouse glass with plastic sheets and fixing the fencing that separates our garden and the neighbours garden further. Its been a really busy day.

So what do sun-shining days in the garden normally bring?!  Outdoor BBQ food and if your a veggie, it is often veggie sausages and veggie burgers.  This year I am ringing the changes with these Buffalo Cauliflower Wings aka Hot and Spicy Cauliflower Florets.  I've been wanting to make these for a long long while.  These Buffalo Cauliflower Wings did not disappoint, they were awesome.  Really finger licking, that is if your happy to eat these with your fingers as I am.
You can use a ready made BBQ sauce or a bottled hot sauce.  I've actually used Sriracha sauce here.  Some of you will know that I love the Sriracha sauce and I mean love the stuff I even douse it on my oven baked chips!  It was introduced to me by a Malay student when I was at Glasgow University all those years ago.  These cauliflower florets are proper hot, not for chilli wimps.  

D loved them also and said it reminded him of his time in the United States of America with friends eating Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dip.  He complimented that these were a fantastic substitute for those who are vegan.  I will so be making these again, I think this is the recipe that has made me really really appreciate Cauliflower. 
These red hot spicy Cauliflower florets are perhaps my favourite grub at the moment and I am hoping to pick up more cauliflower tomorrow, so that I can make them again. I am sharing this recipe with Choclette who now blogs at Tin and Thyme.  She is hosting The Cool Cauliflower Collection with Karen of Lavender and Lovage.  

Friday, 15 May 2015

Vegan Vanilla - Coconut Creme Brulee with Coconut Sugar

This vegan Coconut Milk Creme Brulee was a bit of an experiment and it turned out pretty okay. 
I've made vegan Spiced Creme Brulee once before, but its been a long while and having been given a couple of cans of coconut milk recently by one of my sister in laws who was not that overly keen on its richness and wondered if I would use them.  Of course I would, I took them both.  
So vegan Coconut Creme Brulee was to appear on my table once again.  The experimental part was substituting the caster sugar with  my recently acquired coconut sugar. It was all lovely and creamy white, but as soon as the coconut sugar began to dissolve with the heat, the creamy white coconut turned into a coffee caramel colour.  I got a tad nervous about its taste and if it would be bitter.   

I had nothing to worry about, it turned out lovely.  It was not sickly sweet, but the light coconut caramel sweetness was pleasing.  The creme brulee was unctuous, custardy, wobbly and thick.
However, I did have one little hiccup, but nothing that could not be resolved.  I did the sugary glassy topping originally with coconut sugar and it did not produce a hard glassy topping.  I then decided to do the other 2 with caster sugar and it was much better producing the glassy burnt caramelised topping that you break with the back of a spoon.  The only thing I do not possess a burner, so did it under my electric grill and anyone who has a electric grill knows..... its drawback.  So a blow torch is on the wish list.  

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

White and Black Sesame Seed Miso Glazed Aubergines

Have rediscovered my white and black sesame seeds for Savoury Broccoli Cake and Black Noodle Salad made quite recently, I have been scattering it generously over various dishes.  

Most recently was when I made Nasu dengaku .   Nasu dengaku  also known as Miso Aubergine is a Japanese dish.  Miso Aubergine seem to be quite popular at the moment and I can uunderstand why they are, but in order to appreciate it, you have to like aubergines.  I think what lifts the aubergine to a different level is the miso glaze and its umami flavours that have grown on me, a bit like Marmite.  
Sprinkled further with black and White Sesame Seed Miso Glazed Aubergines takes this dish to a different level indeed.  
These oven baked Miso Glazed Aubergines were served with a side of steamed white rice, but I must add, some edamame beans would have rounded this dish of perfectly for colour, texture and balance.  
Inspired by this Japan Centre and this other recipe for Nasu dengakuI am sharing this post with Bookmarked Recipes hosted by Tinned Tomatoes.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Small Bunch of Gorse Flowers and Wild Garlic

Yesterday we went for a walk in the woods not far from where we live.  Its times like this when I wish even more that I had a dog that I would take with me, ah I can wish - one day.
I came back with a small handful of edible flowers.  First gorse flowers.  Ever since I learned they were edible, I wanted to forage for some, but I only ever saw  them on the polluted motorway.  So you can imagine, I was quite pleased to find them in a relatively clean environment. I've got quite a few recipes bookmarked to make: gorse flower syrup, gorse flower ice-cream, gorse flower cordial, gorse flower wine and much more, but this time it will be something relatively simple, as I did only pick a small posy. 
Then later that same afternoon, we went for a drive to a place where I know where wild garlic grows.  I picked only a little, its a little late now really - but I did bring back a small bagful to make something simple.  
My blog has loads of wild garlic inspiration, but I would like to share a handful such as 
Wild Garlic Pesto Pasta
Scottish Wild Garlic Oatcakes
Wild Weed Tortilla

This time round though, I will be making something quite simple - Wild Garlic Hummus.  
I am sharing this small harvest albeit one foraged and not from my garden with Daphne's Dandelions who hosts Harvest Mondays.  

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Black Soba Noodles with Miso Dressed Vegetables and Edamame Beans

The day started quite bleak -weather wise, but the sun did come out - we went into the city of Cardiff today.  D wanted a new pair of shoes for work and I had to been given responsibility to pick up a Birthday present for a colleague at work.  
When we got home, a little hungry - I decided to put together a noodle salad style dish.  I've been seeing raw rainbow salads appearing both in cookbooks and on blogosphere.  Many of these rainbow salads are made with shredded purple cabbage and grated carrot, a bit like a sesame seed coleslaw really, but without the mayonnaise dressing. 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Panko Crusted Beetroot Croquettes

I don't know why I don't make potato croquettes more often.  Not only do they harp back to my teenage days; as a couple we seem to devour them in no time at all.  

I do however like to enhance them further though with the addition of different herbs and/or vegetables. Sometimes with cauliflower, sometimes broccoli, other times carrots or shredded kale, but this time round it was with beetroot.
I actually made these Panko crusted Beetroot Croquettes last month.  The recipe is based on my Beetroot Croquettes.  I like to mix the vegetables with my bare hands so it is proper combined, no white potato bits, but if the beetroot dying your hands bothers you, then please do use a wooden spoon. These croquettes can easily be reheated in the oven or microwave (though the crisp crumbed exterior will soften), and take away some of the pleasure of eating. 
Serve hot or warm, when the coating is still crispy and crunchy, and the beetroot filling warm.  

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

May In My Kitchen

I thought I would not have much to share with In My Kitchen series this month, but then yesterday I found a few jars in my kitchen cupboards not yet shared on my blog. 
But first to start of I have replenished my spice jars with these Indian Spices.   Although these are dubbed as Indian Spices, I think they are pretty versatile in other worldwide cuisines.  For a start I like to use the Garam Masala and Madras Curry Powder in my Quinoa Burgers.  
I've never used Coconut Sugar before, so this is truly a new ingredient in my kitchen.  In my head I had thought the sugar would be white, but it was more like demerara sugar, just softer and finer. It tastes much lighter than other sugars I've tried.  I have yet to use it in baking.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Last of the Chard

I took advantage of the dry weather today and spend most of the day in the garden, digging and weeding.   It is half dug, the other half will be done next weekend, weather permitting. D was out in the garden too, he worked on the greenhouse, the patio area where the pergola once stood and he temporarily fixed the neighbours fence that had fallen on our side early in the year due to high winds, without him doing this I was unable to dig the weeds in the ground.  

The purple sprouting broccoli that we have been enjoying the past few weeks has come to an end.  I've dug half of them out of the ground, and left the other half as they were covered with the buzzing bees attracted to the yellow flowers.  Whilst weeding, I re-discovered the strawberry plants, many had flowers, so I was keen to remove the weeds around them and allow them. I was however, a little disappointed that I did not come across as many worms as I did in the last two years, but I did come across a lot of butterfly cocoons. Rightly or wrongly, I left them in the ground - what would you advise?! 
There is quite a lot growing in the garden, raspberry canes are flourishing, the rhubarb seems to be stretching it stems, the strawberry white flower petals blooming.  The herbs like mint, thyme, rosemary and chives are thriving, but the only vegetable that I have harvested (weeded), is the last of my Swiss chard in many colours - silver, yellow, red and the traditional green.  I am sharing this small harvest with Daphne's Dandelions who hosts Harvest Mondays.  

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Mango, Pineapple and Coconut Irish Soda Bread

What is it with the British weather?!  I had plans for finishing weeding and digging up the garden, so that I could get started with some planting and growing, but the weather which has turned from being dry to drizzle in the last two days. So everything is on hold again.  

I am still recovering from being a bit unwell, so do not wish to venture very far especially in the rain, though we did drive into Abergavenny yesterday and spend a few hours there in the town centre. On the way back home, we stopped at The Secret Garden, a family run garden centre.  We did come home with some flowers, tomato plants and a bird feeder holder.  
Last week, my mother bestowed upon me some fresh mangoes from Sri Lanka, but while I was nestling them in my hands thinking of what to do with them, I was reminded of some dried mango and dried pineapple that I had in my cupboard.  So instead of using the fresh mango, I used the dried fruit for my Irish Soda Bread.  This was perhaps one of my favourite Soda Breads, even D enjoyed what he had.  He regretted not eating much of it as he was still recovering from being unwell.

So what became of the mangoes, they were enjoyed au naturale - all it sweet juices sucked straight from the mango, and squished to softness with my fingers to push out all its succulent golden fruit.  I am sharing this with Utterly Scrummy Food For Families who is hosting Bready Steady Go.  the theme is with bits in, next month the host will be Jen's Food. 

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Eat Your Greens Round Up #11

Here is the Round Up for 'Eat Your Greens' #11.    
This is a monthly vegetarian and vegan cooking challenge for food bloggers to make something with a green vegetable (or fruit) each month.  
First up we have Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe with a Green Smoothie.  The greens in her smoothie are kiwi fruit, cucumber, spinach and lime juice.  Johanna writes that this green smoothie was 'Healthy, velvety and not to heavy'.  
Next we have Janet from the Taste Spaces.  Janet shares with us an unusual, but flavour packed and bright South Western Avocado Scramble Salad.  It looks super duper healthy and filling. The greens in this  Scramble include Avocado, lime and optional leafy greens.  
The Veg Hog brings to the table some warm Watercress Rolls.   I love the look of these golden rolls and really wish I had one in my hand to break open, especially today with the weather going all nippy.  These would be so perfect with a bowl of home-made soup. 
Next we have my entry of Green Gumbo made with an ingredient that many people dislike -  okra aka lady fingers, but there are also a number of other greens in this bowl, such as chard, spinach, kale and broccoli.  
Emily from Cooking for Kishore with Shaved Asparagus Salad with Honey and Feta.  Shaving the asparagus is new to me and I can how it can work well in light salads.  Emily writes ' it is a great light starter or side dish, with fresh shoots mixed with a dressing of sweet and tangy lemon, honey and feta'.
We have another asparagus recipe, these Asparagus and Red Pepper Muffins. come from Caroline who blogs over at Caroline Makes.  Caroline writes  shares with us an asparagus based dish too.  She some savoury   Caroline writes 'these asparagus and red pepper muffins are low calorie and fat free, they aren't muffins in the usual sense as there is no cake - instead the filling is made with eggs'. So perfect for al fresco eating!

Thank you so much to Johanna, Janet, Veg Hog, Emily  and Caroline who shared their green eats.  If you would like to share your #Eat Your Greens recipes for May, then please follow this link for details on how to participate.