Sunday, 30 September 2018

Smoked Paprika Chutney No it's more like Ketchup

I spent a few hours in the garden over the weekend.  Clearing vegetable plots in readiness for next year.  

I have pulled out the last of the marrow and courgette plants and did a quite a bit of weeding. The squash and pumpkin plants did not do well at all, so they got pulled out too. 
These are the last courgettes, some with flowers in tact.  I will be chopping and then roasting them in the oven with a little oil and seasoning, and then dousing them with a squirt of fresh lemon juice to be served as a side dish.
The red tomatoes in the greenhouse are still coming along.  Soon there will be no more red tomatoes, just greens ones. I will have to pick up some jars, so that I can make green tomato chutney
We also have some rainbow chard in the garden plot. 
My husband, who I affectionately call D on the blog pulled out the last of the rhubarb stalks. I thought they may have been too far gone, but apparently the season ends September.  They appeared and felt okay, so I chopped them up and put them in the freezer in readiness for winter Rhubarb Crumbles.  We also have some cooking apples, which are also getting the same treatment, peeled and chopped and then transferred to the freezer.  I have also made some jams and chutneys (see below)

This was supposed to be Apple Chutney, however the apples turned to pulp, that it was more a thick sauce like ketchup, than chutney. Also I could not find sweet paprika, so ended up adding smoked paprika which of course overwhelmed the whole thing.  So we will be eating this with vegetarian sausage rolls. My husband was so convinced that there were tomatoes in this, because it is so red, but the red is coming from the smoked paprika.  

Smoked Paprika Ketchup
Adapted from this recipe. Please note for the above recipe, I made the mistake of using smoked paprika in place of sweet paprika.  Also please feel free to include or omit the raisins.

My contributions to Harvest Monday seem to be every other fortnight, but at least I join when I can and I am pleased about that.  Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave who blogs at Our Happy Acres.  
Oh we also have some black kale and curly kale.  It seems to be having a second lease of life, with new leaf emerging free of pests.  So I may still get to enjoy some homegrown brassicas.  For those of you interested, I also host a vegetarian #EatYourGreens vegetarian food event, Just follow this link to see how you can participate

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Southern Fried Cauliflower

I do somewhat seem to attract people who think they are in influential and powerful positions and somehow I should bow down to them because they think they can make things happen.  When truth is they have very little power and abuse it.  I'd even go down as saying, perhaps there is an element of class and racism coming into play as well, but its hard to tell when people hide behind a fascade of being people led, when really its a few dominant people really in charge who are pulling their puppet strings. The problem people have with me is, I don't tolerate this nonsense and confront them, and tell them as I experience it - then they are clever and are able to twist things, so it appears that I am the one with the issue, but then I learn from others like me - that they have also been treated the same way. This cannot continue. 

Anyway, onto something really delicious.  I have only ever had  KFC once in my life, it was in my early teens.  My father took us out on a day trip to Birmingham and we ate out.  This was a big deal for as we rarely ate out, my mother is a fantastic home cook you see.  

I remember only ever liking the spicy batter, even then I disliked the eating meat.  

D has had KFC or the equivalent from his time in the US. He said the batter was spot and the cauliflower worked well in place of chicken.  I have mentioned before, my husband only ever eats fish and seafood now and even then, that's quite rare as I don't make it at home. So he was really delighted with this change of flavourful lunch. Of course, he dipped his in blue cheese with some pickled gherkins - apparently that is the way to eat it. 

Just a word of warning, when deep frying the cauliflower - your hot oil will turn red from the paprika.  

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Three Easy Plum Jams Recipes with Liquorice, Star Anise and Vanilla and Drowned Plum Cake

Every year I make the same Cinnamon Plum Cake.  This year I wanted to try some different recipes including an Upside Down Plum and Raspberry Cake.   

Well this is supposed to be a Plum Studded Cake, except the plums got engulfed by the cake batter and disappeared beneath the golden cake.  
You can imagine my disappointment as it does not make a good photograph, but it was nice to eat, so instead I have dubbed it Drowned Plum Cake. 
Well as well as making this drowned plum cake, I have also made Three variations of my popular Cinnamon Plum Jam, these include Plum Jam with Liquorice, Plum Jam with Star Anise, and Plum Jam with Vanilla. These will be gifted to unsuspecting new work colleagues come Birthdays or Christmas.
I am sharing this recipe with Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Searching for Spice. 

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.