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.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Eat Your Greens April Round Up

Welcome to May! And April's Round up of #EatYourGreens
We have  7 vegan and vegetarian Eat Your Green recipes to share this month. 
The first Eat Your Greens recipe comes from Lisa's Kitchen.  Lisa shares with us a bowl of Herbed Potato and Green Beans Salad with Olives.  Lisa writes that potatoes are are so versatile that she could imagine cooking a different dish with it every day.  I absolutely agree, not only that, this dish is perfect for all kind of gatherings such as pot lucks and picnics and suitable for all dietary needs. 
Sadhna who blogs over at Herbs, Spices and Traditions intrigues us with a rather indulgent bowl of Creamy Spinach Curry.  Sadhna writes this is one of her favourite recipes and one she makes quite regularly.  It was introduced to her many years ago when she was on holidays overseas and the chef after learning that most of her family were vegetarian. 
Johanna who blogs over at Green Gourmet Giraffe shares with Sweet and Sour Tofu with Green Beans.  Johanna reminisces of her childhood as she fondly recalls her experiences of eating Chinese food.  She admits its not authentic in anyway, but one she enjoyed nonetheless. 
Laura from Touch Wood shared a rather good looking slice of Courgette Cheese Eggy Pie.  I love how papery thin the courgettes are sliced and then served up with more greens - peppery rocket.  This is the kind of food I want to eat at the weekend when the weather is dreary outside.
Emily who blogs over at Cooking For Kishore shared with us her delicious and hearty Chickpea and Green Veggie Curry.  At first glance, I honestly thought these were shrimps, but of course can see the chickpea nuggets popping out.  The greens in this red curry are spinach and florets of broccoli.  This is a dish to warm you up, when outside its still quite nippy. 
My co-host The Veg Hog shares with some stunningly presented Green Nuggets made with courgettes, green peppers and kohlrabi.  The VegHog writes these are pretty quick to put together when you don't have much time, also her recipe makes a good batch - so you can nibble on them all week with different accompaniments. 
And finally, my own contribution which was an Iranian Herb Stew.  The base is made with leeks and then enhanced further with herbs such dill coriander and parsley. 

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to #EatYourGreens this month, please do take time to visit the other contributors.  

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

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Ghorme Sabzi - Iranian Herb Stew with Kidney Beans

A little while back, I was lucky to stumble upon a vegetable market with reasonable priced vegetables and 2 proper bunches of herbs for £1.50.  I mixed it up with dill, coriander, parsley and mint.

After making the Iranian Pearl Barley Soup known as Ash-e Jo or Ash-e-Jow . I was looking forward to making and eating this Ghorme Sabzi - Iranian Herb Stew with Kidney Beans.  I have been intrigued by it for a long time, but never got round to making it at home until now.
I know the green bobbing on the top looks like green olives, but its actually dried limes.  I showcased it early on in the month In My Kitchen blog post if your interested in seeing what it looks like in dried form.  Its the first time I have used dried limes in cooking which was interesting, they certainly do impart an interesting soured flavour that I don't think would have been captured by lime zest or even lime juice. 
I am sharing this Iranian  Ghorme Sabzi - Iranian Herb Stew with Kidney Beans with #EatYourGreens Vegetarian and Vegan Blog challenge hosted by me this month and the event 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 .  I am also sharing this green bowl with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen.; and as this Stew contains a whole tin of kidney beans with My Legume Love Affair #118 hosted by Vidhya's Vegetarian Kitchen.  The challenge was initiated by  Susan and hosted by Lisa's Kitchen

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Vegan Violet Chocolate Layer Cake with Violet Buttercream

I am quite partial to violet - I think its my way of harping back to my childhood days when I adored Parma violets whereas my school friends loved the love hearts if you were a girl or fizzers if they were a boy.  It was a time of gender stereotypes.  I am so pleased that times are changing and people are more accepting, if not more tolerant.  

So much is my fondness for violet that I got D to make me Violet Gin last Christmas!.
This Vegan Violet Chocolate Layer Cake with Violet 'Buttercream' Cake had intended to be a super duper three layer cake, but I managed to drop one of the sponges when it came out of the tin. I usually just go with the flow when I mess up, but this particular day I actually got stroppy and was quite miffed with myself.  I was really looking forward to having a go at making a three layer cake and had set myself a goal to achieve it, but it was not to be.  I picked up the bashed chocolate crumbly pieces from the kitchen floor and chucked it in the bin, sweeping the crumbs afterwards.  So instead this Vegan Violet Chocolate Layer Cake with Violet 'Buttercream' Icing  its just two layers.  I hope to give it a go again and make three layers.  You betcha!
I scattered over some dried edible cornflowers, but deep down I wish I I could have adored it with real violets.  I just don't have a sharp eye to spot them amongst the green.  Yes, crystallised violets are available, but I don't enjoy them so much these days as I find them just too sugary.  

I was well impressed with the violet butter cream icing. The flavour of the violet came through and the violet colour was spot on.  However, in my attempt to spread it on the cake requires more practise and of course, the right tools - a spatula is often not enough.
D had a piece, but he confessed that he actually preferred the vegetarian Parsnip and Violet Cake  that I have made in the past.  Truth be told, he is not that keen on vegan cakes, but he will still eat them, just not necessarily enjoy them that much. 

I am sharing this Vegan Violet Chocolate Layer Cake with Violet 'Buttercream' Icing  with Tin and Thyme for We Should Cocoa .

Other Violet recipes on my blog.
Chocolate and Violet Cake
Parsnip and Violet Cake
Retro Parsnip, Hazelnut and Violet Cake
Violet Coconut Bars
Vegan Violet and Lavender Cakes
Violet Gin (coming soon)

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Coriander Potato, Red Pepper and Corn Salad

I am quite pleased with myself today.  I feel like between the two of us, we have accomplished something.

We got up and spent all morning in the garden allotment plot while the summer sun was out for Springtime.  D tied back the unruly climbing and trailing rose stems.  He also transferred some of the herbs into bigger plots. I cleared a plot today and whilst I was weeding, I found myself  actually enjoying the weeding, removing the woven weeds from the soil was quite therapeutic.  My body will ache in a couple of days, but that's its way of saying - exercise more.  I will share progress later in the week as we intend to spend some more time in the garden allotment plot either later today or tomorrow (providing the heavy rain stays away).

I was also quite pleased  to have some left over salad in the fridge (a bit like this one) as I did not want to make something having spent hours in the garden toiling.  
This particular Coriander Potato, Red Pepper and Corn Salad was made a while back with what we had in the house having not been out grocery shopping that weekend.

I know some people are not that keen on coriander, my youngest brother being one of them - but I love it. So this Coriander Potato, Red Pepper and Corn Salad appealed to me.  The zesty coriander injected flavour into mediocre new potato's from the supermarket, the red pepper gave it crunch and colour and the tinned sweetcorn, burst of sweetness.  Once you took a forkful, your mouth is further teased by the popping of mustard seeds.  I liked it
I am sharing this Orzo Pasta Salad with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen.  

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Ras el Hanout Cashew Nuts

The April weather continues to tease us.  Yesterday, the sun was shining and I actually walked about without my raincoat.  Then we woke up today and its spitting rain.  Its late afternoon and its still raining.  So today, we play catch up with laundry and house work related stuff. 

Whilst going through some of the kitchen cupboards, I came across a packet of ras al hanout;  purchased it for  Moroccan Tagine with Spiced Seed Confetti,, but I find that I rarely use it as I often have all the spices at home to make from scratch, but as a person who dislikes waste.  I decided to use  the ras al hanout to coat some cashew nuts. 
This recipe is inspired by the Rosemary Cashew Nuts I made earlier in the year.  Once made and cooled down, I tipped them carefully into a recycled jar from Douwe Egberts Coffee (my instant coffee of choice).  Every time I go into the kitchen to make a cuppa, I find my mitts reaching into the jar and munching some.  

Friday, 13 April 2018

Three Coloured Pasta with Roasted Squash and Sage

I have had a manic week, so I am pleased to note it is Friday.

The weather is predicted to be overcast, but that has not stopped us from making plans to get out of bed early and drive somewhere new to explore.  What exciting plans do you have for the weekend
While you ponder my question, I will share with you a Three coloured Pasta Salad that I made early in the week for the working week.  

The three coloured pastas are: tomato, spinach and plain. It bulked up with roasted squash and sage and a good grating of vegan cheese. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Chunky Turnip and Urad Dal - Lentil Stew

The weather here continues to be miserable and as much as I am trying for it not to bother me, its actually beginning to bring me down.   I had to wait for a bus recently, nothing unusual about that, I do that every working day.  But there was no bus shelter at this particular stop and I was getting wet, really wet.  Sodden in fact, even with my raincoat on.  Yes I was feeling a bit grumpy. 
So some of you may have noted, we have been eating a lot of soups, stews and one pot dishes.
This stew was cobbled together with what we had at home, which was very little at the time.

I often make this stew with red lentils, but had a packet of Urad Dal which is black gram without the skin.  Its perhaps my least favourite legume, but I do still try and eat it.  Its actually been a while since I cooked with it, the last time it was Urad Dal with poppy seeds.  

Sunday, 8 April 2018

One Pot Curried Red Chard, Butternut Squash, Chestnut Mushroom with White Beans

April weather has been teasing us - a peek of sunshine, followed rather quickly by a burst of rain - I know its not called 'April Showers' for nothing.  The point is, its still not very warm and we are still tucking into autumnal coloured food.  In fact, let me forewarn you in advance, this week my blog will feature food that is mostly orange in colour.   

Here is my One Pot Curried Butternut Squash, Red Chard, Chestnut Mushrooms and White Beans.  Food that glows and food that warms the belly.
I really dislike using the word 'curried', as its used so lazily these days, but this One Pot Butternut Squash, Red Chard, Chestnut Mushrooms and White Beans recipe is actually curried.  The recipe is also inspired and adapted from Anjum Anand.  It was surprisingly quite good.  

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

April In My Kitchen

In My Kitchen... 
I have some red Chard and leeks (not shown) harvested from the allotment garden plot over the Easter weekend. 
In My Kitchen, some ethically sourced Brown Rice from smallholders in Malawi.  It was being sold in my workplace by a charity to raise awareness of Fairtrade fortnight.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Apple, Fennel, Grape and Poppy Seed Salad

The Easter long weekend was a relatively chilled one.  On Good Friday, we stayed at home. It was wet.  On Saturday we went to Abergavenny . It was drizzly. And yesterday we were in the allotment garden plot.  I did a little bit of digging and weeding, but mostly I helped D replace the numerous smashed glass panes in the greenhouse, so that it can be used for growing seedlings again, though we both know that we are again, a month or so behind many other allotment-holders and vegetable growers.  

Whilst out in the allotment garden plot we saw an amazing sight.  Two herons flying directly above us.   Herons do indeed look like birds from a prehistoric time. For a few moments, they sat on a tree, then they flew off making as much noise as they arrived . We have seen some amazing birds since moving here, but to see herons flying above us, now that was Amazing. 

Today, its Monday - a Bank Holiday in the UK and yes, of course it is raining hard outside. 
Early on in the week, I made some Jamaican Jerk Spiced Scotch eggs, but today I share a Apple, Fennel, Grape and Poppy Seed Salad. 
In my attempt to eat more salads, and this is a way I can also get more fruit into D's diet too.  It was lovely. Crunch from the apple, celery and fennel. Nuttiness from the almonds. Saltiness from the feta cheese offset the sweetness of the apple and a burst of juice from the red grapes. It was different from a green salad often made with a variety of green lettuce leafs.
The only problem I had with this salad, the poppy and mustard seeds getting stuck between my teeth.  So remember to floss. 

I am sharing this  Apple, Fennel and Poppy Seed Dressing Salad with Souper Sundays hosted by Kahakai Kitchen

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Welcoming Your April Seasonal Eat Your Greens

Hello April.

Well what a bright day it is outside.  The sun is shining, but of course that does not mean its warm.  I am just glad it is is not raining as it gives me an opportunity to spend a few hours in the allotment garden plot.  

Its also my turn to host this months Eat Your Greens challenge.  Firstly though, I must  say a very big Thank You to my co-host The VegHog for being a star and hosting the past couple of months as I have been a little distracted with things. The Veg Hog did a stellar job and you can see some of the inspiring Eat Your Greens contributions on the  Round Up.

I've also finally got round to doing a brand new #EatYourGreens challenge Logo. Hurrah!
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.  

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 April 2018 and the Round up will be on the 1st May.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Bowl of Butter Beans with Kalettes

D keeps asking me 'Are there any cookbooks you want?'  

He knows, its a silly question as I will always say Yes.  But recently I haven't been saying 'yes' as I have to be realistic.  Will I ever cook from all these cookbooks?  I am trying, honestly.  I won't tell you how many cookbooks I have, but my bookshelf is burgeoning, that it  just looks a mess.  So, I have been having a slow sneaky clear out of cookbooks that I know that I will not really use, starting with celebrity chefs: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as it happens (and his new River Cottage merchandise will only come into my home now via the library which I have been frequently a lot in recent years.  Don't be upset with me Hugh I still have a signed copy of you DVD and your Veg Every Day).  D does not know that I am doing this (yet) and I don't really want him to notice it yet as he thinks we have space in our home right now.  Part of me agrees and part of me does not, and hey if he wants to treat me to some more cookbooks, well I better make some room.

Anyway onto food. I made this Butter Bean and Kalette recipe around the time I made Butter Beans with Red Pepper Hearts , as I had some cooked butter beans left and wanted to use them up quickly.  
For those of you scrolling to the bottom of the page in search of the recipe, will have to forgive me as I cannot remember the recipe for this Butter Bean and Kalette dish.  I do however remember it being very simple and light like a broth and the butter beans just melted.  The original recipe had Brussels sprouts, but as I am not that keen on them, I changed it with kalettes also known as purple flower spouts that were in season at the time.  
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Purple Flower Sprouts, they are a hybrid of Brussels Sprouts and Kale.    
I am sharing this  green and white bowl of Butter Beans and Kalettes with Souper Sundays hosted by Kahakai Kitchen

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Snow Capped Meringue Brownie Bites

One of my cute nieces and she is rather cute came over for a visit and stayed most of the afternoon.

I had picked up some ready made mini meringues from the supermarket for a speedy dessert with fruit and whipped cream, but the niece hinted for brownies. I couldn't say no to that beautiful face.    

We topped the Brownies with some mini meringues dubbed as snow.  
She normally likes her brownies plain and pure, without fruit or any other fancy toppings, but was rather forgiving of these mini meringues.  D thought it was a slightly odd combination, but welcomed them with a dollop of whipped cream. 
I am sharing these with Tin and Thyme for We Should Cocoa .

Friday, 23 March 2018

Vegetarian Quorn 'Chicken' Vindaloo

I actually started writing this blog post when it was day four of snow.  It was when we had the extraordinary weather starting with a blast of cold from Siberia which was dubbed as 'The Beast from the East' then followed quickly by blizzards, strong winds, drifting snow and a storm.  This was then followed by a rare phenomenon of freezing rain.   The snow outside our front door was just over 3 foot high. I think this may be the worse I have seen it in my adult life and made more difficult because we live in the valleys.    Then we saw more snow this weekend which left us stuck at home as the roads were treacherous to drive on.  And apparently  that is not the end, as I have heard that Easter weekend welcomes a a cold Arctic blast from Scandinavia. I cannot wait for Spring to properly start. 

All I can say is Thank goodness for having dried goods and some stuff in our little freezer.  
This is not a sponsored blog post
Vindaloo is traditionally made with pork, but this version is substituted the chicken breasts with Quorn 'chicken' fillets .  In fact, I think its better to make this dish a day in advance, as the Quorn fillets became succulent by absorbing  and taking on some of the flavours from the sauce. 
The flavours in this vegetarian Vindaloo were interesting, and why would it not be with spices like star anise, cinnamon stick, black peppercorns and then white wine vinegar for piquancy.  It was also hot, but its not a volatile vindaloo - still  I have to confess the older I am becoming, my tolerance of chili is dwindling. Would it be terrible of me to admit, that my desire of chocolate is almost non existent, but that is another topic.

Disclaimer*: I have been using Quorn products well before blogs became PR and  monetary commodities.  This is not sponsored blog post, I have not been given this product free or paid by Quorn in any way.  
Adapted from this recipe.