Sunday, 23 September 2018

Cajun Black Eyed Peas with Summer Vegetables

I  made this a couple of weeks ago on the weekend as we had no plans to go anywhere and it was pouring outside, very much like today.

I had soaked some black eyed peas the night before and boiled them the following day to use for some dishes, including this one - Cajun Black Eyed Peas with the last of the summer vegetables from my garden plot.  
D liked this dish a lot, mostly because it has sweetcorn in it. He likes sweetcorn. I haven't grown sweetcorn as in the past its not done well. However, I did see a number of gardeners who participate in Harvest Monday do very well with sweetcorn this year, but saying that I haven't seen fresh sweetcorn on the cob being sold at markets - so I guess it depends where you are.  I think we have had an interesting summer this year.  So I may give sweetcorn a go next year. The sweetcorn in this dish came frozen. 
The recipe is adapted from the American Soul Food Chef Charita Jones, also known as Momma Cherri.  I have written about Momma Cherri before on my blog - see here when I made her awesome Sweet Potato Pies and Southern Style Okra Gumbo.
I am sharing this dish with The VegHog who is hosting #EatYourGreens this month and this dish has homegrown courgettes; and Beth's Weekend Cooking.  

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Black Tapenade Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad

This Black Tapenade Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad is perhaps one of the laziest pasta salad recipes I have ever made - other than cooking the pasta, the rest was a breeze.

 I had made the black olive tapenade a few days back to go with the homemade sourdough bread.
So was looking for other ways to use it up. So I ended up cooking some penne pasta. I threw in a good handful of red and golden yellow cherry tomatoes and lunch for work was made.

It was both bitter and salty for the black olives, it was sweet from the tomatoes.  It was good enough for a simple lunch. 
For the black olive tapenade, follow this link for the recipe.
The rest is easy.
Cook pasta according to instructions.
Drain and set aside, then stir in tapenade to taste to coat the pasta.
Then add in chopped cherry tomatoes, sliced spring onions and season to taste.

I am sharing this simple Black Tapenade Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad with Souper Sundays hosted by Kahakai Kitchen. I don't always get to join in, but it is a pleasure when I do.  Thanks for hosting Deb. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Oven Roasted Ratatouille

We are continuing to enjoy homegrown fruit and vegetables, because we know it won't last.
So with our homegrown courgettes and homegrown tomatoes, I made an Oven Roasted Ratatouille, and before some of you get all uppity and say its not made this way, blah blah blah...well this recipe comes from a  French woman, author of - if its good enough for her, well who am I to argue.
So who is this French woman, well she is Parisian and it is Clotilde Dusoulier author of the best food blog Chocolate and Zucchini.  She started her blog in 2003.  I can't remember how I stumbled across her originally but I did buy her cookbook also of the same name and from which the recipe comes from.  

For those of you who read my blog regular, will know that I am not that keen on ratatouille, so I am always willing to try different recipes that will encourage me to change my mind, well I think I am onto a winner here. 

Monday, 17 September 2018

The Great Big Red Tomato

As mentioned in a previous Harvest Monday blog post, the tomatoes are coming along very nicely in the greenhouse
 We have all types and the names escape me, especially of this rather large tomato.
Just to give you some context of how big it is, I am holding it here; and no, I am not going to stuff it!. 
We have been harvesting raspberries too.  I have had to freeze some as we are still enjoying plums from the tree.
The cooking apples are beginning to fall from the tree too, in fact one fell and cracked a greenhouse window pane, fortunately it did not go through this time. 
I made a Raspberry and Apple crumble at the weekend, and let me tell you it was absolutely the gorgeous, the apples just turned to pulp taking on the colour of the raspberries.  It was lush, I tell you.
Funnily enough we are still harvesting courgettes, though I will be pulling the plants out next week as those remaining courgettes are tiddlers. 
I made an untraditional Oven Roasted Ratatoulle with some of the homegrown tomatoes and courgettes, don't diss me - the recipe comes from a French woman.
With the weather turning and me having the sniffles, I also made a stew of sorts with some of the courgettes.  I will be sharing the recipes later this week, if you want to come on by and check them out.  As always, I am sharing this post with  Harvest Monday hosted by Dave over Our Happy Acres.  

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Upside Down Plum and Raspberry Cake

We are eating fruit from the garden: plums, raspberries and apples.

I made this Upside Down Plum and Raspberry Cake quite recently.  When I removed the baking parchment paper to reveal the fruit topped cake, it was vibrant and glistening beautifully from the fresh fruit natural juices.
However, it was the following day when we took the photograph, it had lost its sparkle. I was a tad disappointed and wish I had taken the photograph the evening before, but it had got a bit too dark.  So I feel somewhat that the cake is not shown in its best light.  Still it tasted good. If I make this cake again, I would just do one thing differently.  I would keep the stoned fruit on the side, around the edges and the raspberries in the middle because even though the cake was cooked, the middle was a bit soggy and you'd be worried if it was raw or soggy. 

Sunday, 9 September 2018

September Gives

Last weekend I had some friends over for food.  

I live out in the sticks (slang for being surrounded by trees and narrow roads) in the Welsh valleys and not many friends, including family want to come out and see me as its often out of their way.  It does sink my heart a little...
So I was delighted when a couple of friends accepted my invitation and I was able to cook a meal for them.  I did not ask them to bring anything, but they came with gifts, firstly sunflowers.

These sunflowers are still standing tall and proud in a vase in what I call my conservatory, but really its an extension of the kitchen.
They have a hazelnut tree in their garden and gave me some a good stash of hazelnuts from it.  Its a shame to shell and blitz them to a powder, but I am planning on making a cake with them soon. They also brought a bottle of good red wine and a fancy layered chocolate cake from M&S.  All were appreciated.  Thank you dear friends. I hope to extend the invitation again, if you want to come and you really don't have to bring anything with you, except your hungry bellies.  
Well its Sourdough September.  And this is my first ever homemade sourdough bread thanks to Kath who blogs over at The Ordinary Cook.  Kath also runs cookery and bakery classes under Veg Patch Kitchen  in Ironbridge, rural Shropshire.  This weekend she was at Ludlow Food Festival.  I am sorry I missed it, but I had already booked to go on a Fungi walk.

Although I have not had the opportunity to attend one of her classes yet, it is still thanks to her that I was able to make this sourdough bread at home, as I was sent some sourdough starter in the post.  However, I have been terribly neglectful, and keep forgetting to feed it, but it is still thriving.  I was quite pleased with my first attempt, Thank you Kath.- though my second loaf was not as good - practice, practice, practice.  

Friday, 7 September 2018

Savoury Cherry Tomato Clafoutis with Coriander and Cumin

The red food phase continues.

Today I share with you a Savoury Cherry Tomato Clafoutis - I made this on Sunday after teasing D all summer that it would be the first dish I would make with his homegrown tomatoes, it wasn't though.
Traditional clafoutis is a sweet batter dessert made with black cherries, this savoury version is adapted from a cookbook and I have had it bookmarked for a long long time.  The original recipe uses basil, but of course I had to inject my own into it with spices and stronger herbs.

I made two versions, one basil (above) and the other coriander, chili and cumin  - you can see from the difference between the two if you look closer. 
Don't they look fancy in the gratin dishes?!.  I got the gratin dishes for the vegetarian cafĂ© and sadly don't get used much these days as they are tucked away in boxes, so it was nice to bring them out and make the dish a bit more fancy.

The clafouti had puffed up wonderfully like a soufflĂ©, but then fell back down whilst D was taking these photographs (see the golden sides).  It is one of the most delicious dishes I have had for a long while.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Cherry Tomato Couscous Tarte Tatin

Yes indeed regular blog readers, I am going through a red phase at the moment.  Thankfully this is limited to my homemade eats and treats.

I made a version of this Tomato Tarte Tatin last year with both red and golden yellow tomatoes, but never got round to sharing it on my blog.  So I was determined to show it off this year by making it again, with homegrown cherry tomatoes
However, I was a little heavy handed this time with the couscous - a little trick I read about to mop up the tomato juices.  It does look rather mushy, but it did save the pastry from going soggy and also made for a more filling dishes. 

The tomatoes were naturally super sweet and acidic at the same time.  We are really enjoying eating homegrown tomatoes and making the most of them whilst they last.  Today, I even had a tomato sandwich for my work lunch.  

Monday, 3 September 2018

Red Tomatoes, Red Raspberries, Red Apples and Ripe Plums

The marrows and courgettes are still growing well in the garden plot and I have been cooking with them loads, but this week its the tomatoes that have got us excited.  I think its another two weeks and then was distracted with work la
We finally are harvesting them on a daily basis.  
I have made so many dishes with them from Savoury Tomato Clafoutis, Tomato Couscous Tart Tatin and Tomato Date Baklava!
This is a cake stand full of assorted tomatoes and some chilies.
Chillies growing happily.
 The raspberries are starting to come along nicely.  
However, the birds are beating me to them - they are welcome to it, we still have plums dripping from the tree. 
I have given some plums to neighbours and friends, as well as family.
And if the plums were not keeping me busy in the kitchen, the neighbours gave us bag full of eating apples.  I am sharing this post with  Harvest Monday hosted by Dave over Our Happy Acres.  

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Red Gooseberry Cake

So how is your weekend going?!  I have had a good weekend.  Yesterday, I had some friends come over. I know some of you are saying so what, we have mates over all the time, well not me.  You see I live out in the digs in the Welsh valleys and not many of my friends want to come over as its out of their way.  So I was delighted when some friends and to show my appreciation I was keen to cook for them.  


D and me rarely sit out in the garden to eat, so it was doubly enjoyable that I was able to sit outside with friends and eat cake.  Added bonus, the new neighbours with the non stop barking dogs and lots of grandchildren was out, so were (and the other neighbours) were able to enjoy the quiet for a few good hours.  

Okay onto my recipe today was not something  made at the weekend, in fact I made this red gooseberry cake a couple of months ago when red gooseberries were in season, but as you know life gets in the way, that food blogging now and again has to take the backseat.  

The red gooseberry cake does look a bit flat - my fault, I used a larger cake tin as I couldn't place my hands on an eight inch round cake tin, but regardless of it looking like a flat pancake with red spots.  It was  good to eat.  The red gooseberries burst and sunk into the batter and were proper sharp on eating.  
Follow here for the recipe - replace the plums with red gooseberries and omit the cinnamon. 

Friday, 31 August 2018

Eat Your Greens Round Up

August is coming to an end and slowly ushering in September with cooler evenings.  As much as I have been thankful for the sunshine, I have to admit - I am no sun worshipper and am actually looking forward to putting on sweatshirts and baggy jumpers.  Yes, I am a Autumn person and am looking forward to seeing the trees change from its many shades of green to shades of golden browns. 
Talking of colours, we have four vegan and vegetarian Eat Your Green recipes to share this month.
The first Eat Your Greens recipe comes from Johanna aka The Green Gourmet Giraffe. Johanna shares Cauliflower, Rocket, Pine nut and Currant Salad.  She writes tha tshe is quite in love with roasted cauliflower lately.  I can totally appreciate why as roasting this vegetable completely alters its flavour.  The roasted cauliflower is enhanced further by the pepper rocket.
The next recipe comes from Ephee who blogs over at The Ephemeral Daily Meal and Other Magic Tricks.  Ephee shares Salade de Kale Masala which actually didn't translate so well by google, as its not actually masala, but Massaged Kale with dukkah.  I love the sound of this.  I have heard so much about massaged kale, but have never got round to making it or even trying it. 




My co-host The Veg Hog has been quite busy, but managed to share with us Fennel and Broad Bean Stew which she describes as summerly and warm, as she has been craving more wholesome warming dishes like soups and stews - yes, we both seem to be looking forward to the Autumn.


And finally, my own contribution Courgette and Black Flame Raisins.  We enjoyed them, that is all I am saying. 

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

Monday, 27 August 2018

Cacao Nibs, Raw Chocolate and Cocoa Muesli

Regular blog readers may recognise this Cacao Nibs, Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Muesli  has featured on my blog before, but I decided to make and showcase it again, as its one cereal I am happy tucking into.  Its really a muesli base enhanced with organic cacao nibs, cocoa powder and grated raw dark chocolate.
I have to admit cacao nibs are not to everyones taste, its very distinct in flavour - a tad bitter, but before dismissing it all together, give it a try, you just never know.  I acquired a taste for cacao nibs since making some raw chocolate four years ago and its been making an appearance in my kitchen slowly but surely. Actually the last recipe I made with it was  Sweet Potato Fudge from Bite Sized Thoughts.  
I am sharing this with the last ever We Should Cocoa (WSC) food blogger event hosted by Tin and Thyme.  I have been playing along since its inception eight years ago joining in with both sweet and savoury recipes.  I have even had the pleasure to host some themed WSC, so will miss it even though in the past months I haven't joined in as much as I have wanted to.

Below are a selection of those chocolate recipes shared with We Should Cocoa over the years. 

The Chocolate Chili Round Up
The Chocolate Mango Round Up

Chili Chocolate Salsa
White Chocolate Banoffee Roulade
Red Dragon Chili Brownies
Parsnip and White Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate Lime Halva

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Courgette and Black Flame Raisins Muffins

Well its a Bank holiday i the UK and in true British tradition, the skies are pouring with rain.  Its a proper soggy Sunday that I dare not even go out in the garden and pick some fresh herbs for our dinner later today.  

I made these Courgette and Black Flame Raisins Muffins a fortnight ago with courgettes from the garden allotment plot, by the way the courgette plants are still giving. The recipe is from Sarah Beattie cookbook Meat-Free Any Day .  I just decided not to make the icing for these sweet vegetarian muffins as I did not have any cream cheese for the icing. 
 As the recipe makes a dozen, I decided to take some into work to share with my new work colleagues, they have been described as gannets by some of the others, so I had not doubt they would be gone.  But when I went into the kitchen later that afternoon, the number had hardly shrunk, my heart sunk a little.  Someone who did try a muffin and did really enjoy it, said to me it is because they were not smothered in butter cream or sickly sweet icing that the others may have stayed away.   In other words if it looks healthy, steer clear.  I thought it was a bit of a shame. Its the first time, I have taken something in to work, any workplace and its been hardly touched.  Well you cannot please everyone.  

Regardless, we enjoyed them, and the couple of other people in work also liked them too.  In fact, and this is not a word of a fib, one person actually asked for the recipe. 
I am sharing these Courgette and Black Flame Raisins Muffins with #EatYourGreens Vegetarian and Vegan Blog challenge hosted by me this month.  Eat Your Greens is also co-hosted by The VegHog Please do join in.  For those of you who have not participated before, please Follow this link on how to join in . There still a few days to join in before the deadline of the 30 August. 

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Marrow Curry with Black Chickpeas

Everybody seems to be going crazy for black chickpeas which surprises me.  Black chickpeas are a staple in many South Asian homes.  Black chickpeas are known as kala channa or kala cholay.   

I've never featured black chickpeas on my blog for two reasons.  My family, either my mother or sister in laws make it for me when I go over and its not that often, so its hearty humble vegetarian food for my belly and secondly,  I find its time consuming to soak the black chickpeas overnight and then cook it slowly - when its mostly me eating them, as D is not that keen on them.  It is worth cooking from scratch  though as the flavour is completely different to the traditional chickpea.  Black chickpeas are more nutty.  So it was interesting to try some black chickpeas that come ready cooked in a tin courtesy of Suma Wholefoods. I've a few original black chickpea recipe ideas up my head, but this time I wanted to keep it simple and true to my ethnic roots and decided to make a South Asian style vegetable curry.  
You can use any vegetable you like, but as I have marrows coming from the garden like nobodys business and its in season, I have decided to use it for this reason.  

have made both vegetarian and vegan Marrow Curry with Chickpeas, but this one is studded with black chickpeas. Please don't worry too much if you can't find black chickpeas where you are, just substitute it with the traditional variety.