Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Shades of Purple and Green Beans

Thank those of you who came by last week to see my little harvest.

I have another small harvest to share, some purple and green pole beans.
I cannot remember what the green climbing beans are called, but the are Climbing Purple Cascade Beans,
 I have been growing violas in pots to garnish cakes and cupcakes. 
 I took some cutting of the lavender to make lavender sugar, but I left most of it for the bees. 
 I saw a couple of tomatoes in the greenhouse turning red, but not quite ready.
Our apple tree is doing great this year, I wonder if we will actually get to enjoy any though as we keep finding some on the ground knocked down by the breeze.

I won't be harvesting plump juice blueberries this year, the hot weather has shrivelled these and no amount of water is going to save them, even the birds aren't interested in them. 
Please do come back next week when I will show off some of my homegrown courgettes.  I  am sharing this post with  Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave over Our Happy Acres.  

Oh before I go,  I promised some of you that I would share the Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie, please see my previous blog post.  For those of you who may want to know what is American about the Pie, well the recipe is American.   Also  whether its right or wrong the movie 'American Pie' (1999) has made the fruit filled pie  synonymous with the United States of America.  Its not something we eat in Britain. 

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Vegan Rhubarb and Strawberry American Pie

Rhubarb is a vegetable, not a lot of people know that.

It was the first vegetables we harvested from the garden this year.  Sticker rock stalks have been shared with neighbours on our left and right side. 
I have mad a couple of recipes with it, including this Vegan Rhubarb and Strawberry American Pie.  The strawberries also came from our garden.
The recipe for the Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie comes from the awesome Post Punk Kitchen vegan chefs Isa Chandra Moscowitz and Terry Hope Romero in their publication Vegan Pie In The Sky. 
It's been a long while since I made this style of pie and I must admit, I did really enjoyed making it all from scratch. Yes even the pastry, no cheating here and it was totally worth it.
You know the first slice never comes out perfect, all the others did.  But did D bother to retake the picture for me, of course not - he was just interested in shovelling the pie down his throat.  I don't blame him though, it was truly a delicious pie.
Find the recipe here.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Plastic Free July In My Kitchen

Its Plastic Free July, an initiative that started in the land of Oz in 2011 and has spread world-wide.  Over the years we have in our home been composting food waste and peelings, recycling glass, tins, paper and reducing our use of plastic or at least ditching single use plastic, but we do sometimes become complacent and its not good enough (see bottom of blog post when we went on holiday).   

We are now trying to make more of a concerted effort especially when we go shopping.  For example, we ditched our usual brand name brown sauce that comes in non-recyclable plastic bottles for a supermarket brand that comes in a glass jar.  It didn't taste that bad either. 
I picked up these bamboo lunch boxes to slowly replace the plastic ones that presently use to take into work.

We continue to re-use glass jars from Douwe Egberts Coffee for flours, grains and beans. Click here, I wrote about it last September.  
We do use both cotton and jute bags for supermarket and grocery shopping and have done so many many years, but we have been caught out a few times without the bags.   I don't think the 5p tariff on plastic bags is enough, it should be 50p and those shoppers that still do not care about the environment will feel the pinch.  

Some of the times when we have forgotten out jute bags, we will carry the shopping in our arms, but other times we have been guilty of buying some non-degradable plastic bags.  This Baggu that neatly folds into a bag was given to me by my American friend Ingrid. Its in my work bag now. 
I also invested these Veggio carrinet as we are avoiding buying fruit and vegetables in plastic bags and buying them loose.  

We have also decided to swap  our Supermarket (which I don't like very much anyway as they put the vegetarian food right in the middle of the meat aisle) for Morrisons and Asda.  Morrisons are making an effort and are providing paper bags for some vegetables and for those of you who eat fish or meat, can take your container.  I am not saying they are perfect (as I have been disappointed with their wonky veg, which was more vegetables going off rather than wonky), but they seem to be moving in the right direction. 
D and me are always baffled when we watch the Marathon televised and plastic bottles of water are being given out to runners and then lobbed by the runners into the environment.  The irony.  Well I must confess, I was rather pleased to find Aquapax - natural mineral water in a paper carton that is recyclable.  it wasn't even that expensive £1.25.  I found it in Holland & Barrett, but noted that not all Holland&Barrett's sell them.  I don't understand why these are not on supermarket shelves.  
We have lots of vegetables and fruit coming from the garden - click here - if you want to admire my homegrown produce.  I picked up the above painted vegetable pictures from a charity shop.  I liked them, D wasn't particularly that keen.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Red Gooseberries and Wild Strawberries

The weather in the UK is sweltering and I have been spending quite a bit of time in the allotment garden plot  in my shorts - mostly weeding, but delighting in what has been a better year for me in relation to vegetable gardening.  I am getting there slowly and enjoying the fruits and vegetables of our labour.

Here is a glimpse of some edible colours in my garden 
Heavily scented red roses - I am drying some to garnish homemade cakes.
A bowlful of red gooseberries.
Wild strawberries and traditional strawberries. Not enough to make strawberry jam, but plenty to enjoy with yogurt, cream or in a pie!
 Rocket also known as arugula growing well in pots. 
 More Lettuce from the garden
Most of my broad beans got destroyed by black fly, I only managed to harvest a small pot. The potatoes were a bonus gift from last year and made for a lovely meal for two. 
Rhubarb was the first vegetable we harvested from the garden and stalks have been shared with neighbours on our left and right side. I have also made a Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie and it was delicious.  Blog post coming soon. 

I am sharing this post with  Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave over Our Happy Acres

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Eat Your Greens Round Up

July has arrived with promise of sunshine.
We have  six splendid vegan and vegetarian Eat Your Green recipes to share this month. 
The first Eat Your Greens recipe comes from The Green Gourmet Giraffe, known to her friends as Johanna.  Although we are experiencing what can only be described as unbelievable summery weather in the U.K the hottest in fact for years, the same cannot be said for Australia where it is wintry and it is because of this that Johanna shared with us a  bowl of Thai Pumpkin, Corn and Chickpea Stew. This golden stew elevated by the green from the parsley, basil and baby leek topping. 
Emily who blogs over at Cooking For Kishore shared with us Garden Veggie Pasta Salad.  The greens in this pasta salad all come from her vegetable garden, they are spinach, chard, snap peas, green onions and perfumed with basil. This is perfect to eat out in the garden.
Lovely Linsy who blogs at Home Cook Food shared with us  Vegetarian 'Chicken' Stir Fry with vegetables, and one of those vegetables happens to be crunchy asparagus. I don't make stir fry vegetable dishes that often, but when I see recipes like this, I wish I did so more often. 
French blogger Ephee from The Ephemeral Daily Meal and Other Magic Tricks shares with us a wonderfully light Japanese Asparagus and Radish Salad on some crispy salad.  I absolutely love the colours on this plate. 
Teresa from Affectioknit shares with us her Green Smoothie made with spinach, spirulina and some dried kiwi fruit, but I have to confess its the other dishes on her blog post that made me drool, such as her salsa with nooch and twice bakes sweet potatoes.  
My co-host The Veg Hog has been enjoying the glorious weather and eating out and eating light, but she managed to make this vegan  Green Beans and Wild Garlic and shared it with us for Eat Your Greens. Now doesn't that look good!?

And finally, some of you may be wondering where is my Eat Your Greens contribution?!  Well fellow bloggers you will have to forgive me we are having trouble downloading photographs onto our computer at the moment, one of the many reasons for my blogging lull, so I hope you will forgive me this time and enjoy the lovely contributions shared, please do take time to visit them.  The Veg Hog will be hosting #EatYourGreens challenge this month.  Please Follow this link on how to join in 

Friday, 1 June 2018

Welcoming Your June Seasonal Eat Your Greens Recipes

Happy 1st June readers, apparently today is also the start of the Meteorological Summer.  

Its also my turn to host this months Eat Your Greens challenge.  To participate this month in the #EatYourGreens challenge you just make a vegan or vegetarian recipe that is made with green vegetables or fruit on your blog.  Then copy the link to the comment section below.  And if your scratching you head for some inspiration and ideas, then please do check out the Eat Your Greens Round Up hosted last month by The VegHog.
For more details Follow this link on how to participate just please remember to link back to the host page (this page) and co-host The VegHog.   

The use of the new #EatYourGreens logo is optional, but is appreciated.  The deadline is the 29th June 2018 and the Round up will be on the 1st July.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Saffron Spiced Cauliflower with Spinach

I've just come back from one of the most fantastic jam packed holidays in my life; and its not even been a full day back home and and my feeling of elation have been burst with a virtual needle at the blase attitude of some people towards something that matters to me seriously.

On another note, I have left my keys at my parents, so I am locked indoors as D is at work. So I have been unable to step outside of the house or into the garden.  The day gets better...not.
I share with you a light dish that I made before I went on holiday - Saffron Spiced Cauliflower.   I had  found some saffron in the kitchen cupboards and that was the reason I decided to make this recipe.  It was perfect for the warm weather we were having, not too heavy.

I also chucked in some spinach left over from the Green Pate and red peppers as without these I thought the dish looked monotone.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Versatile Dippy Green Pate and Pesto Presto Pasta

This Dippy Green pate was made in the same week as the Blood Orange Tart when time in the kitchen was becoming more annoying than enjoyable.

This originally started off as a walnut and spinach pate that were meant to be turned elegantly into quenelles, but it didn't work out so well. The mixture was just too wet, so in a bid to rescue them, I adapted or rather enhanced the recipe. 
I turned some of it into Spinach Cream Cheese.  Here it is spread onto some rye crackers and then finished off with some alfalfa sprouts.
 Here is the Spinach Pate au naturale.
I am sharing this with The Veg Hog  is hosting #EatYourGreens Vegetarian and Vegan Blog challenge this month, so please do join in there is plenty of time.   For those of you who have not participated before, please Follow this link on how to join in  

Monday, 14 May 2018

No Ordinary Blood Orange Tart

Early on in the month, I made a Blood Orange Tart when blood oranges were still in season.  I have been wanting to make this for a while, and when I saw blood oranges at a supermarket, it was decided that this was my weekend mission. 

I started with great excitement, measuring out the ingredients, bringing out bowls, whisks and measuring spoons.  I made everything from scratch, the shortcrust pastry.  The orange custard creme brulee-like filling and then sliced the blood orange as thinly as I could with such concentration that you think I had telepathic skills.  

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Allotment Garden Plot 2018

I cannot remember the last time I wrote about the allotment garden plot, but the last two weekends, we have been working hard in it, taking advantage of the long Bank Holiday and the sunshine.

So much has changed in the garden since we got it - click here if you want to see how it was when we first got it.
The ground has been thoroughly cleared of weeds, except for the grass tangled amongst these chives.   The bees will love the chive flower heads when they bloom.  We have already seen a few bees in the garden dipping and diving into the apple blossom and broad bean flowers, which are the only vegetable plant that has gone into the ground so far. 
D moved the been climbing frame trellis to a new part of the allotment garden plot in readiness to receive some climbing green, purple and yellow beans soon.  In the space in front of it, he will also make me a some climbing wigwams or tee pees to accommodate more climbing beans. 
 Looking through the apple tree branches, you can see some raspberry canes. 

Friday, 11 May 2018

Eating Out at Samphire Brasserie 100% Vegan in Plymouth

I have tucking into vegan junk food fairly a bit recently, but mostly when we go to Bristol.  And I don't mean burgers as I make a good vegan and vegan burger myself,  its the other stuff - greasy, deep-fried. 

I am a little excited to learn that Cardiff will soon be getting its first vegan junk called Greazy Vegan.  In 2015, Cardiff  got its first vegan eatery Anna Loka and its good.  I know if I lived in Cardiff, I would be a frequent diner. 
However, this blog post is when I went to Plymouth, England with some close young girl friends, well truth is their parents wanted them chaperoned - yes, people still do that and they felt they could trust me, don't know why?!.  I agreed as long as I was able to choose where we went to have breakfast - lunch = Brunch; and it was my treat.

When I told them we were going to a vegan eatery called Samphire Brasserie to eat, two of them turned their noses and proceeded to tell me that had ordered a pizza not knowing it was smothered with vegan 'cheese' at Zizzi and disliked it immensely.  
I said you don't have to have pizza here.  You like my veggie burgers and you like burgers in general, don't you?!  this of course was a rhetorical question.  Then order a burger! without the vegan 'cheese'. 

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Blood Oranges and Chili Chocolate Jam In My Kitchen

In my kitchen this month 
I have some blood oranges.  I have made an Blood Orange Tart.
I will write more about it later in the week, but what I will tell you it was unlike any Orange tart I have ever eaten.
In My Kitchen is a wooden measuring ruler with vegetable names.  I picked it up on a whim from a charity shop for a £1.  I don't quite understand the numbers relating to the vegetables and the holes as there is no way I would get a runner bean seed through them or even a pea, so if anyone can shed light on the purpose of this - it would be appreciated. Regardless, I still like it.
In my kitchen, I have No Nonsense Chili and Chocolate Jam.  This was a present to myself when I was in Cardiff Bay from a book shop of all places a few weeks back.  Its a local product in that it is made in Cardiff.  Its not  Chili and Chocolate Jam in the traditional sense, its more of a chutney or relish to be enjoyed with savoury meals like veggie burgers, halloumi cheese and roasted vegetables.  I will be trying it very soon.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Baked Tandoori Cauliflower Wings

Yesterday and much of today we have spent in our allotment garden plot.

I am not going to complain about the weather.  It's been hot, very hot but I was thankful for it as we have got loads of done between the two of us.  The ground is ready for planting.  We have some seedlings in the greenhouse, but not many - as I mentioned before, our greenhouse was badly damaged and although fixed now, we have not been able to grow much from seed and D wants to get tomatoes in before we go away on holiday.  So next weekend, the plan is to go to a garden centre or nursery and pick up some vegetable plants and put them straight into the ground.

Food today is easy fare. Jacket potato, paprika nut cheese, salad and home-made coleslaw, but I share with you something I made a few days back - Baked Tandoori Cauliflower Wings.  
These Baked Tandoori Cauliflower Wings were served them with a mint yogurt sauce.  

There are lots of good Tandoori Spice Blend Paste brands about, but you can also make it at home and I recommend using Tiffin Box recipe fro homemade Tandoori Masala  Spice Blend.  The Baked Tandoori Cauliflower Wings recipe is loosely based on these Hot and Spicy Cauliflower Florets, but the recipe needs further more tweaking, hence the reason I have not shared it yet. 

Other Tandoori Spice Blend recipes on the blog
Tandoori Butterflied Aubergines
Saabut Gobhi aka Whole Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower 

Sunday, 6 May 2018

St Paul's Bristol Graffiti Art

Regular blog readers will know that D and myself will nip over the Welsh border into England and visit some places we like.  So its no surprise that we ended up in Bristol again.  

We rarely ever go into the city centre as we like visiting and supporting independent places, so this time we decided to take a wander in a part of the city that we have wanted to see for a long while  - St Paul's.  
St Paul's in Bristol has history.  Here's a link to UK Port Cities: District of St Paul's and an article in The Guardian (2016)  about St Paul's  from 2016 to give you some insight.  St Paul's was one of Bristol's first ever suburbs.
Many people know of St Paul's Carnival - a rival to Notting Hill Carnival, but sadly in 2014 it had been halted due to funding
Last year I read my fist serious non fiction book in years The Good Immigrant.  I re-read it again early this year and it was a link shared by the writer Nikesh Shukla, to an on-line documentary called Neighbourhoods For Sale that finally reminded me that St Paul's was a part of Bristol I had yet to see.  

Friday, 4 May 2018

Paprika Nut 'Cheese' Served on Red Crackers

It's Friday evening and the start to our weekend. Yay, even better its a long weekend with the public Bank Holiday in the UK on Monday.

Later on this evening, we will be sipping white wine and snacking on some crackers with some homemade red Nut Cheese.
Nut cheeses are all the rage right now with vegans.  

I first came across Nut cheeses in 1990s when I stumbled across publication by a little known vegetarian writer called Dave Dutton - I think the cookbook was The Green Revolution Cookbook, but I cannot remember for sure as he has a few publications.  His vegan nut cheese recipe also contained soya flour which is not used often as it once was. However, the recipe I made was not based on his recipe, as I could not locate the book on my shelves. 
The red in this vegan Nut cheese comes from smoked paprika.  To give you an idea of how this red nut cheese sliced. I have served it on some red crackers.  It was really good with umani undertones from the miso paste. I have also stirred in into a pasta salad for lunch.