Thursday, 28 December 2017

Christmas On A Budget

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a session through work called 'Christmas Cooking On A Budget'.  

It did not go accordingly, as the Tutor who usually runs the Cooking On A Budget session had not purchased the ingredients and there seemed to have been an overspend by the organiser. I did not want to embarrass the organiser, so did not get round to asking the Tutor in private what the cost of Christmas Cooking On A Budget should have been for up to 12 people. Regardless, it made for an interesting day.  It got me to reflect on how lucky I presently am to have a home, able to buy things I want and food I want to indulge in.   However, I share with you a  Link to a website called Family Lives and their article on Christmas On A Budget with some tips that may be helpful in the future if you have to Cook On A Budget.
This was my vegan Christmas On A Budget plate, yet to be smothered in gravy.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Truffle Scented Mushroom and Lentil Pate (vegan)

Today was my last full working day at work and so the holidays begins.

Like many I am looking forward to the festive break.  We are travelling tomorrow, to spend Christmas with my mother in law.  I am looking forward to seeing her, but no so much the travelling there, but it must be done. 
I cannot remember the last time I made or had mushroom pate, so with Christmas beckoning, I thought I would make some enhanced further with some Black Truffle oil - its Christmas after all.
I would also and to wish my readers a Happy Christmas with your family, true friends and loved ones.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Chocolate Snowflake Peanut Butter Cups

These are peanut butter cups disguised as chocolate snowflakes.  

Very festive don't you think?!
These are my first ever attempt at making peanut butter cups, not that difficult I hear you say - but how about making the Peanut Butter Cups in the shape of intricate Snowflakes - a little fiddly to make, but well worth the effort.  

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Roasted Red Onion 'Lotus Flower'

The snow from last week has all melted away - although when I look outside the window the snow head and melted body of a snowman remains still intact in one of the neighbours front garden, an indication of how cold it is still here.  

We managed to get the car started, turned around and carefully down the skiddy icy road and get into work.  I have been feeling a little seasonally under the weather, however each morning I somehow manage to drag my sorry backside out of the bed and get into work.  When I am there I wonder why I have bothered when a half the office staff have rung in sick.  I have only ever been off sick one day in the four years I have been working there.  
Work has been terribly busy, but it is slowing down finally for more reasons than one. I am not so secretly looking forward to the break come Christmas and the New Year. 

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Creamy Sweet Potato Rice Pudding with Mango Pearls (Vegan)

Its been snowing since the moment  I woke up and as I type this and look out the window, the snowflakes are still falling albeit slowly.  I went out into the garden briefly, the snow was soft and slushy.  I saw some people with children walking up the lane with sleighs to go up in the hills.  Its not for me.  I have never really liked the snow, even when I was a child - I really disliked playing snowballs, all that cold ice trickling down ...even the snow angels don't sing to me. I am hoping the snow will remain slushy and melt away and not freeze and turn to ice over night, as driving to work tomorrow in the early hours will be dangerous as many parts of the UK have been issues with an Amber Weather Warning.  I hope your all safe and warm, wherever you are. 

I have decided to share with you a Amber Warming Creamy Sweet Potato Rice Pudding with Mango Pearls. 
This Amber Warming Creamy Sweet Potato Rice Pudding with Mango Pearls was most welcome.  The mango pearls of course are optional.  When it bursts in your mouth, the sweet mango flavoured liquid offsets the creamy texture of the rice pudding, in the way a syrup would.  In case your wondering about the mango pearls, they were actually were given to me by my family.  The flaavoured mango pearls are also known as popping Boba balls bursting juice when they explode in your mouth. 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Pomegranate Molasses Bulgar, Chickpeas, Red Chard and Seitan 'Meat'

I have not spent much time in the kitchen recently, as I want to rest at the weekends and be proper lazy.  So I share this Pomegranate Molasses Bulgar, Chickpeas, Red Chard and Vegan 'Lamb' aka Seitan that I made from scratch a few weeks ago, when I had energy and inclination to both potter and experiment in the kitchen. 
The pomegranate molasses gave that sweet twang. chickpea always give nuttiness, but so did the Bulgar.  Its nice warm, but its also good at room temperature as a salad, but do keep the mock lamb sitting on top, so not to go too soggy from the red chard, which by the way from the garden plot.
The seitan mock lamb was surprisingly succulent and so much superior than those from the supermarket.  In fact I wish I had made this seitan mock meat for my vegan Plum and Lamb Curry.

I am sharing this Pomegranate Molasses Bulgar, Chickpeas, Red Chard and Vegan Seitan 'Lamb' Salad with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen; and My Legume Love Affair #114  hosted by The Veg Hog.  The challenge was initiated by  Susan and hosted by Lisa's Kitchen 

Other Bulgar Wheat Recipes
Bulgar Borlotti Burgers
Middle Eastern Sweet Potato Kibbeh
My Tabbouleh
Beetroot Bulgar
Spiced Vegetable Stew

Monday, 4 December 2017

Gloucester Vegan Market

Gloucester's first ever Vegan Market took place over the weekend and I was there.  Gloucester Vegan Market was held at Blackfriars in the city centre.
There were over 50 stalls selling diverse cuisine from the Caribbean and India, as well as burgers,, hotdogs, pies, falafels to sweet treats such as raw chocolate, cupcakes, cookies and fudge to drinks from mulled wine, Prosecco to kombucha.

Here are a selection of decent pictures that I managed to take during the heightened excitement.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

December In My Kitchen

For us, the 1st of December signals the beginning of Christmas in our home and thoughts towards giving, as well as receiving and remembering those no longer with us.
The 1st of December  is also the day that we drag the Christmas tree from the attic and decorate it.  I have still to pick out something new for the tree this year, but here are a selection of foodie related things from past years. 
We have various nuts to crack from the shells, but the reason I share these walnuts are for comparison.  My mother harvested the large ones with my sister in law last month at a park not far from where she lives, the smaller ones are supermarket brand.  Do you not think the difference in size is amazing?   I do.  

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Vegan Swedish Meatballs

I have been watching a lot of Nordic Noir a genre of crime fiction from Nordic countries, .  This began a couple of years back when British TV was failing to excite in the evening (as I am not into costume drama, reality shows and celebrity nonsense).  It began when we decided to order a Box Set called The Killing, the original TV Series and we have not looked back watching.....  

Recently we have seen Modus and now Valkyrien, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Well this leads me to dinner. 

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Autumnal Stew with Mangetout

This Autumnal Stew with Mangetout  was made a few months ago on a bleak day and mangetout was in season, but I think it is okay to share today as the weather outside had turned proper cold. The raindrops have been icy and all week in the morning, D had been scraping ice off the car, but still no snow in this part of Wales.  I am pleased for now, but I have a feeling that we will see it this year.
You will not normally find mangetout in stews, but this one has some as at the time I had some in the fridge crying to be used, otherwise it would have got overlooked and gone into the compost bin in the garden.  I added the mangetout towards the end of the dish as I wanted it to retain its crunch. I do also love the autumnal colours in this stew and the belly warming flavours that include cumin, coriander and chilli. 

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Estonian Beetroot and Potato Salad

I made this Estonian Beetroot and Potato Salad back in September when I made the Beetroot Balsamic Orzo Pasta with Green Beans for work. 
Estonian Beetroot and Potato Salad is known as Rosolje.  Obviously it has beetroot and potatoes, but it also has pickled gherkins, red onion, slithers of eating apple and for flavour soured cream, of course those of you who are vegan can substitute this with a vegan alternative, mustard and seasoning to taste. One of the recipes that I adapted (see links below) had herring, which omitted.  The recipe also suggested hard boiled eggs, which I also left out. 

This Estonian Beetroot and Potato Salad made for a nice change for lunch at work.  I am not a huge fan of beetroot salads, but D does love them, and I like to please him.  Saying this though, I did actually enjoy eating this, I especially liked the piquancy from the pickled gherkins.
I am sharing this Estonian Beetroot and Potato Salad with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen.  Recipe adapted from Estonian Eating and Cooking and Nami Nami: An Estonian Food Blog

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Preserved Lemon Coriander Orzo Salad

Remember the Preserved Lemon Coriander Salsa that I shared early on this week, well, some of it was stirred through cooked Orzo Pasta to take into work for lunch.
I have to say, it was okay, but it did not work quite as well as the piquancy of the Preserved Lemons did not cling onto the Orzo Pasta so well.  I won't grumble though, it filled a little hole in my belly.  The best part for me was the fragrant coriander, but then I do like coriander very much.  
I am sharing this Preserved Lemon Coriander Orzo Pasta Salad with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen.  

Monday, 13 November 2017

Preserved Lemon Coriander Salsa

I would not describe myself as an early riser in the morning.  I do like my snug bed, but when it comes to work - I like many working people, have to get up and go.  I am often at work 7am in the morning, if not earlier.

This morning the car journey into work was a little more interesting.  We got to see Venus and Jupiter together in the pre-dawn sky.  I had not tweaked what it was and said out loud to D, 'those stars look like they are going to collide'.  He then mentioned that he had heard on the radio whilst showering something about some astronomical phenomenon happening today at dawn. Well didn't we, well me mostly get lucky to see two of the brightest planets Venus and Jupiter appearing together.  It was truly amazing, a bit like the red sun a couple of weeks ago.   The skies recently have been quite spectacular.
I made this Preserved Lemon Coriander Salsa at the weekend with what we had in the fridge as I could not be bothered to venture far.  Its made mostly from fresh ingredients other than the preserved lemons which came from a jar.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Easy Pear and Cinnamon Loaf

I have to confess that I have really lost my blogging mojo lately, so regular readers I do hope you will forgive me.  I just don't have the mental energy when I get home from work so my blogging is likely to be weekly, I hope you will stick around. 

I share with you a recipe for an Easy Pear and Cinnamon Loaf adapted from A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe. 
I flicked through the cookbook to see if it had a recipe for pears as I had a load that were beginning to go really soft.  I could not find a pear recipe int he cookbook but noted that I could adapt the Apple and Cinnamon Loaf. 

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Roasted Butternut Squash, Fennel, Orzo Salad

I lose track when exactly I made this Roasted Butternut Squash, Fennel Orzo Salad, but it was around the time I made Beetroot Orzo Pasta and Green Bean Salad for work.  This was made in the same week as I had cooked way too much orzo.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar wither Orzo, Orzo is Italian and translates as barley from which it was originally made.  These days, orzo is made from hard wheat semolina.  For people like me, orzo often means rice-shaped pasta. 
Talking of orzo translating as barley, a few months ago when we went to Swansea VegFest, we went into the city of Swansea and stopped at an Italian eatery for a light snack.  

I had a popular Italian drink known as Caffe d'orzo, an Italian caffeine free Barley drink often drunk as a coffee substitute. 
 It is an acquired taste and made for an interesting change from real coffee. 

Anyway, this  Roasted Butternut Squash, Fennel Orzo Salad is a very simple recipe.  To the cooked orzo pasta, I added roasted butternut squash and fennel, sliced black olives and red onion.  
Other Butternut Squash Salad Recipes
Farro, Feta and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Spiced Chickpeas and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Turmeric Pasta with Blood Orange Chilli Oil
Broccoli, Butternut and cranberry Couscous Salad

I am sharing this Orzo Pasta Salad with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen.  

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

One of Three Banditos in my November Kitchen

I am afraid to say that there is not that much new In My Kitchen this November as I have been bogged down with work distractions and finding that when I get home, that I am very tired and therefore not spending much time in my kitchen, and not thinking about it much either.
I did however find some things in my kitchen to share.  

I picked up this Salsa Habernero Hot Sauce from Harvey Nichols when we went to Birmingham a few months ago.  I have to confess we fell for the mean Mexican Bandit - he was one of Three Banditos, but his mean moustache won us over.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Creole Split Pea, Red Pepper and Sweetcorn Soup

I made this Creole style Yellow Split Pea,  Red Pepper and Sweetcorn Soup last month, but I am seriously wishing that I was tucking into it this evening.

It is getting proper cold now.
This golden Yellow Split Pea and Sweetcorn Soup is enhanced with red pepper and a good dash of creole spice blend and fresh thyme from the garden. 
I am sharing this with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

#EatYourGreens October Round Up

We have  5 seasonal green recipes to share for Eat Your Greens this month. 
What is interesting about the entries for October they show the change in the season colours too - think fading green to yellows, gold and even bronze. Read on you will see what I mean.
The first Eat Your Greens recipe comes from Sudha from Simply Spicy, Quirky and Serendipitous.  Sudhna shares with us an aromatic recipe full of rich greens from Broccoli, Lima Beans and Fenugreek 
Johanna who blogs over at Green Gourmet Giraffe shares with a belly warming Potato, Pea and Corn Pot Pies topped with a blanket of comfort.
Kat The Baking Explorer joined in with her Leek, Butternut and Stilton Tart.  Now don't you just want a generous slice of that golden flakiness.
My co-host the Veg Hog shares with us a bowl of Artichoke Heart Pasta.  For anyone who has ever prepared artichokes, will know that a dish like this is made with love.  
And finally, my own contribution which was Roasted Marrow, Potato and Black Olive Salad.

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to #EatYourGreens, please do take time to visit and comment on every contributors recipe if you can.  

The Veg Hog will be hosting #EatYourGreens challenge this month.  Please Follow this link on how to join in 

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

A Shepherds Pie for Halloween

I joke you not, but this was our dinner this evening - Jack Skellington - Shepherds Pie, vegetarian of course. 

Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas never looked so happy.  What do you think?!  
Yes, I know there needs to be more slices of black olives for his mouth.  I know...Sometimes you have to laugh at yourself and you can still give me some credit for trying today - Halloween of all days. 

Saturday, 28 October 2017

13 Black Food Recipes for Halloween

I have black quinoa, black rice and black garlic in my kitchen to experiment with over the weekend, but with Halloween fast becoming UKs most commercialised event after Christmas , I thought I would shamelessly  jump on the bandwagon and share some vegetarian and vegan black coloured food recipes you could easily make at home for the Halloween party (or maybe not).
This is Sweet Black Butter (vegan) made with black sesame seeds.
Halloween Fruit Leather Bats (vegan)
Black Olive Spider Gratin (vegan) Halloween

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Halloween Chili

Chili is so easy to knock up for a crowd.

And here is my Halloween offering for a crowd. 
In the past I have stuffed peppers and cut out silly faces in them.  This time for a bit of fun I thought I would have some bobbing up from the chili.  I added them to the pot with the black beans and they cooked slowly on top mostly from the steam.
These yellow peppers staring out at me like masks brought a childish smile to my face. 

The Chili itself was lovely, of course it was.  We love Chili for its versatility, especially during working weekdays when its easy to serve with some rice. 

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Black Beans and Carrot 'Pumpkin' Soup

This Black Beans and  Carrot 'Pumpkin' Soup is my second homemade soup this month, which definitely is a sign that the big winter coats, comfy hats and scarves need to come out from back of the wardrobes.   I would not mind the cold so much, its the wet drizzly weather that brings me down, especially when getting the bus to and fro work, and not all bus stops have bus shelters.

I had seen somewhere on blogosphere that someone had cut the carrots into pumpkin shapes, so I decided to have a go especially with Halloween just round the corner.
It is essentially a Black Bean soup with carrots.  You can blend the black beans or keep it chunky, its up to you.  I am sharing this with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen.  

Other Pumpkin shaped things on my blog
Autumnal Scones
Uchiki Kuri Squash Broccoli Pie
Golden Apple Squash Pancakes

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Lemon and Turmeric Pearl Spelt

This  Lemon and Turmeric Pearl Spelt was inspired a Lemon rice I had at Natural Healthy Foods Cafe in Birmingham
The original recipe from Rose Prince is made with barley, however my variation made with spelt was served as part of a light meal served with steamed broccoli.  

Friday, 20 October 2017

Butternut Squash, Chickpeas and Leek Stew

It certainly is getting colder, especially in the evenings and definitely time for soups and stews.

Many years ago, actually it was in 2004 when I lived in Scotland, I made Denis Cotters of Cafe Paradiso fame Squash, Butter bean and Leek Stew.  I ended up making this again, only after 
having paged through the cookbook Paradiso Seasons and was reminded of all those recipes I made before I began this blog. 
Over the years I have adapted the Squash, Butter Bean and Leek Stew recipe as I did not always have butter beans or enough squash.  My version is made with Butternut Squash, Carrots, Chickpeas and Leeks.

Sadly this time round I overcooked the vegetables, so this Butternut Squash, Chickpeas and Leek Stew was bordering more on chunky soup than stew, still very very tasty.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

'Cheesy' Broccoli Beer Soup with Smoky Sunflower Chorizo Croutons

Did you see the red sun yesterday?!

It was truly Amazing - I am not one of those people who throws the word around lightly, it really was amazing.  
Early on in the week I made a Red Tomato Curry, today I share a bowl red soup which by all means should have been green according to the both the photograph in the cookbook, but also the ingredients including broccoli.  Upon a little research on blogophere, I noted that other food bloggers had also made the Cheesy Broccoli Beer Soup and it was also not the vibrant green featured in the cookbook Street Vegan, so I felt relieved that I was not heavy handed with either the soy sauce  or tamari and smoked paprika.    
Anyway, this Cheesy Broccoli Beer Soup with Smoky Sunflower Chorizo Croutons was ridiculously flavourful, but in a very good way.  I especially loved the different levels of flavour from the topping the beer, the cheesiness from the nutritional yeas.  It was also very velvety.  Its definitely a soup that clings to the spoon.
I even loved the Smoky Sunflower Chorizo which I served as croutons, but I could easily eat it as a nibble in place of savoury nuts too. 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Red Tomato, Fenugreek, Paneer Coconut Curry

Over the weekend, we cleared the greenhouse and harvested the last of the ripe red tomatoes and some of the green, the rest were removed and burned.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Roasted Marrow Salad with Black Olives and Lemon Oil

I thought I had shared all my marrow recipes last month, but must have missed this somehow, saying that though I do still have one marrow remaining in the vegetable basket.

I made this Roasted Marrow Potato Salad with Black Olives a couple of weeks back around the same time I made the Marrow Lemon Conserve.
This Roasted Marrow Potato Salad with Black Olives  wasn't anything special, but it made for a change from the typical pasta salads that I make for work.  It was also a good way to use up some left over potatoes and my marrow aka summer squash harvest from the garden.  The dressing was simple, an oil vinaigrette made with Azada Lemon oil.

I am sharing this with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen; and with Eat Your Greens.  

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Tomato Salsa on Toasted Bread

Whether its the start of the tomato season or the end of it, the best way to enjoy homegrown tomatoes is fresh of course, but its not always easy.

This recipe started off as Pan Con Tomate - Catalan Tomato Bread  or is it  Catalan Pa Amb Tomaquet - bread with tomatoes, but it quickly evolved into a Tomato Salsa on Toasted Bread.  
It was good and enjoyed just before the griddled bread could go soft and soggy.  As I have mentioned before I don't do soggy bread.
Many oif the Pan Con Tomate recipes I found did not use a herb, and those that did used either basil or parsley, so i was not sure if this was authentic.  My version has coriander because I always have some to hand.  I have also eaten something similar in Cyprus, but it was doused with good extra virgin olive oil.