Friday, 30 December 2016

Black Beluga Lentil Salad with Avocado

This Beluga Lentil Salad with Avocado was stitched together with what I had at home and in the fridge.  I had cooked way too much  beluga lentils for another dish that I had plenty to create another dish, otherwise it may have just gone to waste in the fridge.

I like beluga lentils for the same reason I like Puy lentils, both stay firm and do not lose its space capsule shape.  Beluga lentils are black and Puy Lentils are a dark olive green often with speckles.  Though similar in appearance I can vouch that they taste different. 
I like the colours in this Black Beluga Lentil Salad.  Its a winter salad but with festive colours - bold green and red. The avocado was an afterthought really, I had picked it up to make a guacamole dip, but was getting concerned that it may have become too soft and therefore ready for the compost bin, but when I sliced it, I was pleased that it was perfectly ripe. The avocado slices provided a nice natural buttery contrast to the nutty be beluga lentils and sweet crunch from the peppers and red onion. The is a zing from the jalapeno juice. 
By the way these are generous bowls of salads, not those measly portions you find at supermarkets and far more tastier I think. Its one of those salads you may need a spork to eat with - you know fork and spoon in one!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Cranberry and Pecan Torte

We always have fresh cranberries this time of year, but not for too long.  Like Pumpkins during the Autumnal Season, they disappear from the supermarket shelves as soon as Halloween has passed; and this is the same with cranberries.  Cranberries vanish once and for all as soon as Christmas and the festive season has come and gone. 

I try to make the most of fresh cranberries while in season.  Around the festive holidays, I often make Nigella Lawsons Cranberry, Orange and Almond pudding for Christmas.  Its become a firm favourite in our home, however this time we actually had a traditional Christmas Pudding.  I think it came in a hamper last year or even the year before, but I can't remember for sure.  So we tucked into the steamed Christmas Pudding late Christmas evening and this Cranberry and Pecan Torte was made early this afternoon.
The recipe comes from Entertaining Vegetarians by Celia Brooks.  I have made this Cranberry Pecan Torte before, a long time ago.  In fact it was in 2004 on Christmas day. This made me smile to myself and the fact that I was making it again, over a decade later.  I know this, as I had scribbled in pencil how delicious the recipe was with a note to make again...Gosh I am getting old.
This morning was our fourth day not leaving the house (except to go in the garden to empty the kitchen scraps into compost bin and refill the bird feeders - its been a busy garden with the bird life).  I spent the day in the kitchen trying to get creative and use up some of the excess fruit and vegetables I picked up last week for  the festive holidays.  Also, we both go back to work tomorrow, so I cooked a couple of dishes in advance that could easily be reheated when we get in late.  This Cranberry and Pecan Torte though, was more out of greed than necessity. 

The making of this Cranberry and Pecan Torte was a joint effort.  D cracked the pecan shells for me, gosh he made such a mess with the shells flying here, there and everywhere.  He's a much better housekeeper than me, as soon as he finished shelling the pecan nuts, out came the hoover and the mess was cleared away.  He is also my dishwasher!  
This Cranberry and Pecan Torte is very, very sweet and sharp which D loved.  Its sticky and chewy too.  I loved how the fresh cranberries burst bleeding into the batter. 

Sunday, 25 December 2016

vegan Christmas Tree Puff Pastry with Chestnut Mushrooms

I would like wish all my dear blog readers: new and old a very Merry and Happy Christmas.
This is not Christmas Dinner by the way, I made this a couple of days back. 
I garnished the Christmas Tree Puff Pastry platter with some ribbon carrots and Brussels Sprouts baubles and some fresh herbs that blew when we took it out in the garden for a photograph.  
In case your wondering, here is the Christmas Tree in our home with lots of eclectic ornaments hanging from it, including some wooden spoons, hedgehog, Frida Kahlo and a lady in a sari  carrying a pineapple (from a fair trade shop) and finally baby Jesus held by Mary.  The tree went up on the 1st December. 

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

vegan Welsh Savoury Pancakes - Christmas Crempog Las

D said 'Is that supposed to look like a Christmas tree?
' Just take the picture' I told him.

Of course he is right, but lets not give him the satisfaction of knowing that.
This is a savoury and vegan take on Welsh Pancakes known as Crempog Las.  Crempog are more akin to American style pancakes in that they are thicker and a bigger than a blini and even pikelets. Crempog are often cooked on a Welsh griddle bakestone, which I am fortunate to own. There has been speculation in recent times that the word Crempog is a derivation of the word crumpet. I'm also quite  intrigued by the Las bit, as Lassi means savoury in Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi. Crempog is not the only word in Welsh to describe pancakes, there is also Ffroes, Cramwythen and Pancogen.

Anyway, top off these green Christmas Crempog Las in style with some homemade Welsh caviar; or failing that some cream cheese or cheese. 
I am sharing these vegan Welsh Savoury Crempog Las  with Gluten Free Fridays and also Treat Petite.  If you have any other green recipes please do share with #Eat Your Greens hosted by The VegHogthe rules are here My Legume Love Affair that was started by The Well Seasoned Cook and now administed by Lisa's Kitchen.  this month is is hosted by The VegHog Healthy Vegan Fridays hosted by Rock My Vegan Socks and V Nutrition. and finally The Food Calendar with Charlottes Lively Kitchen - Celebrating Christmas!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Vegan Chestnut Mushroom Christmas Pull Apart Wreath

I've had a busy weekend, time spent finishing off wrapping the last of the Christmas presents and some planning ahead cooking, one of which is a very time consuming Chestnut Mushroom Wellington.

The Chestnut Mushroom filling was so vast that I made a number of small Mushroom Wellington loafs and put them in the freezer, but I still had plenty of Chestnut Mushroom filling to experiment with.  
At one point, I had thought to make a Pull Apart Christmas Tree, I made one with veggie mincemeat early this year, but then decided on a Pull Apart Wreath. 

My homemade edible wreath is not perfectly round, but I am one of those people that that hates waste, so its kind of square, but I think that is what makes it a little more visually interesting.  However, I am still hoping to make a round wreath again in the future, perhaps with a pizza filling.  
The recipe is slightly adapted from the brilliant Nadine Abensur's Mushroom Wellington filling from The Cranks Bible.  The slight adaptation I make are with the nuts, sometimes I use mixed nuts or just what I have and I often use dried tarragon in place of fresh.  I know Nadine  Abesur would be good to share the recipe, but here's the link that will also take you to her website.  To see step by step instructions for the Pull Apart Wreath, I followed this photograph. 

I have been enjoying participating in Food 'N' Flix, so I am joining in this month again.  The movie chosen this month is Kampus.  I watched it last year.  I originally wanted to make the wicked gingerbread man character in the movie, but with time running out I changed my mind.  Then I spotted the big bowl of Brussels sprouts on the table during the Dinner fight scene, but again I changed my mind making this Christmas Pull Apart Wreath.   My inspiration comes from the opening scene of Krampus you first see a wreath, before the camera slowly scans down to the Black Friday chaotic madness in the supermarket.  I am sharing this Chestnut Mushroom Wreath with Food 'N' Flix hosted by Heather at All Roads Lead To The Kitchen.  
I am also sharing this with  am sharing this post with  Harvest Monday hosted by Dave over Our Happy Acres as the herbs, the bay leaves and rosemary are from my garden, not much else is growing.  Its also an opportunity for me to say Thank you to Dave for hosting and to those who have visited my blog through Harvest Monday - Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year Monday Harvesters!  I hope to participate a bit more regularly come 2017. 

Sunday, 18 December 2016

vegan Cream Cheese and Kimchi Sausage aka Kimcheese Bagel

One of the most popular ways to eat Kimchi is in a Grilled Cheese Toastie.  I've enjoyed eating Kimchi this way a couple of times, but I also enjoy eating it in bagels as I always seem to find bagels in my bread bin, thanks to my husband. 
I decided to make Kimchi Sausage Cream Cheese Bagels which I have pretentiously dubbed as Kimcheese Bagels.  If you don't want to use cream cheese, you can substitute it with a more melty cheese like Cheddar, then I would definitely recommending grilling it. 

This Kimcheese Bagel made for a satisfying snack in between housework and other things.  I am sharing this Kincheese Bagel with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen 

Friday, 16 December 2016

Vegan Kimchi Seitan Sausages

I've been playing around with seitan sausages since 2010 when I was given some vital wheat gluten by a fellow blogger, fast forward 5 years later I have been able to get hold of it mostly from independent health stores and its often the Suma brand.

I am still not overly enamoured by the faux meatiness, sometimes I find the texture a little disturbing, but D does not mind it at all.  His favourites seitan faux 'meats' are the vegan Pepperoni and the ever popular Chorizo, but I do like to try and make other variations.  
Last Christmas, D my husband gave me a copy of Vegan Finger Food.  Recently I have been sitting with it most evenings trying to get inspired for Christmas and have a few recipes bookmarked to try.  However the one that leaped out to me to make first was the Kimchi Stuffed Sausages.  I have a jar of homemade vegan kimchi in the fridge and I have been looking for creative ways to make the most of it and this recipe inspiration was most welcomed.  
However, I did adapt and tweak the recipe. I have a high tolerance of spicy food I added generous amounts of gochujang and gochugaru to the mixture.  I also did not stuff the sausages, instead I incorporated the kimchi into the seitan mixture.  The sausages were a lot softer than those I made in the past which are often made in the oven, whereas these were steamed. These were also a little sweet and spicy.  We had them mostly as an accompaniment to meals, I simply sliced them and sauteed them in a little olive oil.  One of the dishes we had was Cream Cheese Kimchi Bagels.  I am sharing this with Healthy Vegan Fridays hosted by Rock My Vegan Socks and V Nutrition.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Green Coconut Soup with Fennel

Yes this is really just another Green curry.

This Green vegetable Coconut Soup was made in the same vain as my korma soup, way too much coconut that it drowned the vegetables, but it was proper lush I tell you.  
I think D enjoyed it more so because of the fresh fennel, peeking out from the sides like angel wings. 

We used to grow it a lot of fennel when we had an allotment and eat it quite a bit.  But its been a while.  I picked it up with plans to make something else, then ended up throwing it into this Green Vegetable Coconut Soup and I am so glad it did.  It made for a wonderful change.  Thick, the consistency of Pea Veloute and colour just as vibrant - green and gold.
I am sharing this Red Cabbage Purple Potato Salad with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen and with Eat Your Greens hosted by my co-host The Veg Hog.


Monday, 12 December 2016

vegan Snake Beans Savoury Cake

Although I am sharing this recipe, I have to admit from the outset it was not one of my favourites. 

I made this Snake Bean Savoury Cake early last month when I picked up some fresh Snake Beans also known as Yard Long Beans from the Bangladeshi grocers.  I had been advised to make a Bangladeshi curry with it, but the adventurous home cook in me wanted to experiment with it.  

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Any Green Vegetable Gratin

I made this a while back when I had courgettes growing in the garden; and although it may look very messy and not look that appealing in the photograph.  It was rather good. 
I loved how the topping that was made up with breadcrumbs and cheddar cheese totally crisped up in the oven. Beneath the golden cheesy crunch, you will find courgettes, runner beans and green beans embraced by soft caramelised sweet leeks. Although I used courgettes, green beans and some runner beans here, you can use any seasonal green vegetable.  I am going to make this again very soon, this time with Brussels sprouts and savoy cabbage. 
Not that you can see them, but In keeping with the green theme, I  added some pistachio nuts partly for some crunch, but also I had some in the kitchen cupboards actually losing their crunch.  I knew upon baking they would be enhanced.  


Friday, 9 December 2016

Red Cabbage Purple Potato Salad

Another easy recipe made with the red cabbage pesto.

This time stirred into some Welsh seasonal new potatoes and curly kale from the farmers market.  Delish!
I am sharing this Red Cabbage Purple Potato Salad with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen.  

Red Cabbage Purple Potato Salad
Makes a large bowl. 
Good for a buffet
Ingredients
250g new potatoes (Pembrokeshire Earlies from Blas Y Tir) cooked, drained and allowed to cool

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Purple Pizza

Homemade Pizza!

This is not ordinary pizza, this is a purple pizza made with red cabbage pesto.   Enjoy!
Purple Pizza
Serves 2 - 4
Ingredients
Pizza base (make your own or shop bought)

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Very Easy Red Cabbage Pesto

A few months ago, I got hold of some purple sweet potato.  I made a Pizza with it, but we were so hungry that evening that I never got round to photographing its bold vivid colour.  I did not want to lose out on sharing the striking bright colour of this easy red purple cabbage pesto.  So I asked D to get a photograph for me while I got on with other things in the kitchen.  
I had half a red cabbage in the fridge, left over from another another dish  that I had made (also not photographed).  I was inspired to make a Red Cabbage Pesto that I saw a long while back in The Guardian and bookmarked.  
Its a relatively simple and easy recipe, only four ingredients: red cabbage, garlic, sunflower seeds and olive oil.   I have to admit the raw garlic was quite pungent to the point it had heat and left that burning sensation in the mouth, not particularly pleasant.  So I sauteed the pesto in a little oil before using it for the required dish, once of which included a Pasta Salad.  However, if your okay with raw garlic, this step is not necessary. 
I am sharing this Very Easy Red Cabbage Pesto with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary for No Waste Food Challenge; Cook Blog Share co-hosted between Sneaky Veg;  Easy Peasy Foodie and  Hijacked By Twins and with Healthy Vegan Fridays hosted by Rock My Vegan Socks and V Nutrition.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Dandelion 'Honey', Gingerbread Syrup and Chocolate Wine In My Kitchen

In my kitchen, I have some foraged cooking apples bestowed upon us by our neighbours.  We have good neighbours the only thing that makes me frown now and again is their barking mad Jack Russel.  The little thing is territorial and thinks that our front garden is his territory and the naughty little thing has even found his way into our back garden.   

When we bought the place a few years back, the previous owner who had a Sheep dog told us that the neighbours dog did not get on well with his dog, I did not think anything of it, but it concerns me a little now as one day we hope to adopt a dog of our own and this little beastie will make it nervous, but I guess we will cross that bridge when the time comes.  I am thankful for now to have good neighbours touch wood. 
I've made a few recipes with the foraged apples, obviously Apple Crumble and Dorset Apple Cake, Apple Scrump but one recipe I really want to make is Green Gourmet Giraffes popular Apple Slice.  
Last weekend we went into Cardiff to wander around the Christmas market and the shops, yes Christmas shopping has begun in earnest.  We walked passed some shops and picked up some turnips , a little damage, but its one of D's favourite vegetables so I picked up three.  I have only used one of them so far for Turnip and Potato Gratin.  I am still thinking about what to do with the other two.  

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Golden Chioggia Beetroot Curry and Beetroot Chutney

This Sri Lankan style Beetroot Curry is one of my husbands favourite dishes, in fact anything with beetroot he loves. 
This Beetroot Curry is a mildly spiced, earthy and a little sweet.  The sweetness comes from the golden beetroot.  
Here are the beetroots picked up from a farmers market in South Wales.  We have Golden Beetroot, Chioggia described by many Brits as the 'sticker rock' beetroot because of the pink and white striped on the inside and the more recognizable Beetroot that makes our hands stain when we peel and chop it.  It even stains our lovely wooden chopping board.
I was very careful stirring the different beetroot together upon cooking as I did not want to lose the colours.  It was a little difficult but with a wide pan, I managed, a little bleeding of the beetroot into the yellow an chioggia could not be avoided though, that was naturally going to happen.  

The photograph directly above was taken in the garden where there was still a little light, but don't expect me to keep popping out in the garden where its icy cold for decent pictures. I have to admit in the next few weeks, if not two months my food blogging may slow down.  I will still of course be cooking, just not photographing and blogging about it due to poor lighting, but know that I always eat well.
Finally, a little while back I promised you all a recipe for Beetroot Chutney Chutney.  I seem to have misplaced the recipe that was given to me, when I locate it I will up-date this blog post, for now - please just admire that beautiful Gothic deep red colour.  I will be twisting open a jar come the Christmas holidays.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

vegan Korean Kimchi Jjigae Stew

For those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen me post this Kimchi Jjigae aka Kimchi Stew which I made last weekend, I have been to busy with Vegan Month of Food and work that I had not got round to sharing it on my blog, so here it it now.  

This  Kimchi Jjigae is not authentic by any means, but these days on blogosphere and cookbooks do you see many authentic recipes, everyone has their twist on Shepherds Pie to Bread Pudding, even the fillings of traditional British Christmas mince pies are given a makeover. This is not so much as a twist, more of an adaptation to make it suitable my vegetarian diet and in an effort to make it vegetarian, it is also  accidentally vegan.  
The photograph is not the best as it is tinged with poor lighting issues,  The evening s are getting darker and I live in the Welsh valleys between two hills, so the darkness impacts on my photographs even more so come Autumn and Winter.   Anyway, I wanted to find ways of using my homemade vegan Kimchi that I made a couple of months back.  It was my first attempt at making Kimchi at home, and although not perfect, I was pleased with myself.  I hope to make another batch soon and hopefully it will be a lot more redder in colour.

Kimchi like any fermented food is an acquired taste.  I quite like it, but it is not to every ones taste like sweets from the Indian subcontinent or pickles steeped in mustard oil. This includes my husband.  
D was not keen on either the Kimchi or the Kimchi Stew, but I was not surprised at that.  The first time we had Kimchi at home was back in 2011 and I made a Bibimpab.  He did not particularly enjoy the Bibimbap then and nor the Kimchi Jjigae this time round either, but ate it nonetheless.  

However, I enjoyed it, but if I am totally honest I think the sauce lacked body.  I think this was partly to do with my homemade vegan version of the Kimchi; and my adaptation of the Kimchi Jjigae recipe.  My version required something to thicken it up .  The original recipe has anchovies, and pork, that perhaps give it a depth.  The spices were just right.   I served the Kimchi Jjigae simply with plain white rice.   I am sharing this with  I am sharing this  Cook Blog Share co-hosted between Easy Peasy Foodie and  Hijacked By Twins and with Healthy Vegan Fridays hosted by Rock My Vegan Socks and V Nutrition.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Eat Your Greens November Round Up

Happy 1st of December, let the countdown to Christmas begin!


But first let me share with you November's contributions for #Eat Your Greens.  


We have 10 Fantastic vegetarian and vegan recipes, all very different and all inspiring.  

Firstly we have a Cabbage, Apple and Cashew Nut Salad with a Peanut Dressing from Helen who blogs over at Roast Chicken and A Country Walk.  This is a Asian style Salad that is perfect for nippy days.  Helen writes the sweetness of the apples balances the bitterness from the cabbage and the peanuts and cashew nuts temper the warmth and sourness from the lime and chilli.  

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Homemade Preserves, Jams and Chutneys for Christmas Gifts

Once upon a time, I used to snug my nose  if someone gave me a pot of homemade jam.  I don't know where that snobbery came from, certainly not from my parents.  I think it was partly to do with peer pressure and the rise of supermarkets and consumerism.  I also took for granted the domestic goddess that was my mother snubbing homemade stuff for brand names that became the desirables, but then something happened in my mid 20s.  It made me think, I mean seriously think and re-evaluate what was important to me and since I have always preferred homemade.  This was further enhanced by my own vegetable growing antics at the allotment.  Also I now try my utmost to support indie craft stallholders and snatch the opportunity when I am offered a jar of homemade jar of jam; homemade anything in fact gets me excited - Yes I am easily pleased these days.  

Unlike previous years, I've not been the most organised this year with foodie gifts for family and friends.  Saying that though,  a little while back I did make some Beetroot Chutney and some Plum Jam and Plum Chutney; and a new work colleague friend from Slovakia has given me some homemade Dandelion Honey that happens to be accidentally vegan.  But I have decided to show off some of my favourite preserves, jams and chutneys that I have made over the years.  
Popular Rose Petal and Rhubarb Butter.  I also have Hibiscus and Rhubarb Butter.  The colour is utterly gorgeous.
Seasonal Golden Pumpkin Rum Butter
Carrot Halwa Butter
My famous Slow Cooked Apple Butter (2010) thanks to my Scottish neighbour Nessie (RIP) 
Honeydew Melon and Chilli Jelly Jam Spread
Apple Chilli Jelly

Time to start foraging for those rosehips.  Here is another very popular recipe on my blog Rosehip Jelly.

I made these jars of Pickled Nasturtium Seed Pods this year, they are very similar to capers. 
Will you believe me if It ell you that i still have some green tomatoes in my greenhouse - I do and I plan to make some Green Tomato Chutney with it.
Another one that was very popular with D's friends when they came over to visit us from America many years ago.  D's friend absolutely loved this Fiery Scotch Bonnet  Apple Chutney.
And something that I have been making on and off since discovering the magic of chia seeds - Chia Seed Jam.  I've made Chia jam with every berry fruit you can imagine.  This blog post is part of Vegan Month of Food: The Theme is Holidays.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Beetroot, Horseradish and Green Beans Pasta Salad

This Beetroot, Horseradish Pasta Salad was made in a hurry a few weeks back over the weekend.

I took inspiration from what was in my fridge: cooked beetroot and green beans and kitchen cupboards: horseradish powder and dried pasta and lunch was on the table in less than 30 minutes.
The amount of horseradish you put in is subjective, put in as much or as little as you want.  I made the horseradish myself with some horseradish powder that I picked from Glastonbury earlier on in the month.  But if you use ready made, albeit a vegan brand make sure you get good horseradish - nothing disappoints than a tame horseradish in your mouth when your expecting a boom!
We had some Beetroot Horseradish Pasta Salad left over, so I took some into work and shared it with a colleague who comes from Slovakia where they do like their beetroot.  By the way this is the same work colleague who gave me some beetroots from her allotment plot a little while back and I made a vegan Beetroot and Soy 'Lamb' Curry.  She liked it and wanted the recipe.  I told her 'there is no recipe, but this is what I did'... I cooked the pasta and stirred in cooked green beans, cooked beetroot and then stirred in a little olive oil along with some horseradish , finished of with a good grinding of salt and pepper. 

I was never a fan of beetroot when I was small and it was not something that my parents cooked with.  The only form I ever saw it was in jars for making cheese and beetroot rolls, the stuff was harsh.  However, when I left home for college and then University, I became more adventurous with my food and my culinary adventures had just begun.  I met my husband, then a friend, then a boyfriend, then fiancee for many many years before we got married - well he loved the red beet root, so I began discovering the versatility of this earthy vegetable and began making both savoury and sweet dishes with it.  I would not say that I love beetroot, but I have over the years begun appreciating it much more than I did in my early formative years.  
Other Beetroot Sweet and Savoury Recipes that may appeal
Beetroot Chocolate Cake Runner Up in the Great Vegan Bake Of 2013 
Chocolate Beetroot Black Bean Chilli
Raw Beetroot Coconut Halwa Hearts
Beetroot Pakora Bites
Beetroot Pearls
Sri Lankan Beetroot Curry

This blog post is part of Vegan Month of Food: Memories and Traditions.  I am also sharing this Beetroot, Horseradish and Green Beans Pasta Salad with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen;  and Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Searching for Spice;  and Simple and In Season hosted by  Feeding Boys;