Monday, 22 April 2019

Chai Malai Cake and Brick Lane Cookbook

I made this delicious Chai Malai Cake on one of those when I wished I could go back to bed and start all over.  

Its started off whilst making this cake.  Whilst bashing my cardamom I broke the mortar! How does that even happen (it was a cheap one), then I could not find my proper granite pestle and mortar gifted to me by my mother years ago.  No doubt stuck at the back of a kitchen cupboard!

Then I crack eggs for the whites, except a yolk falls in. I manage to scoop it out before it spreads. 

Sugar goes all over the floor.  I brush it up, don't want an army of ants in the kitchen (not that its ever happened to me in my new home).

The hand whisk throws up the self-raising flour into my face like dust...


Like I said, it was one of those days that I wished I could to go back to bed and start over again, but I persevered and this was the delicious and pretty result.
I don't eat much in the way of South Asian sweets and desserts, but the one that I do really like and indulge in when the opportunity arises is Ras Malai.   So I was completely sold when I saw Dina Begum's Chai Malai Cake.  It's a light masala spiced cake with a rasmalai inspired frosting with cardamom and rose.  I have something to admit though. I am not that partial to cardamom and regular readers will note its lack of absence in recipes on my blog.  The reason I have avoided this green pod with highly flavoured and scented seeds is rooted in my childhood.  My mother always made spiced chai at home, and when we had guests she would go mad and include extra cardamom.  Cardamom was also thrown in most recipes, sweet rice and even savoury rice.  I found cardamom overpowering for my palette and have avoided it with a vengeance in my adulthood.  I had momentarily considered omitting it from the Chai Malai Cake recipe, but upon gathering the ingredients, I decided to put my childhood prejudices aside and stick to the recipe.  I am glad I did.  The cardamom was delicate and nothing like the chai tea my mother used to make.    

The Chai Malai Cake was a triumph enhanced with rose petals. It was everything Dina promised it would be...Yum! 
The recipe, if you haven't guessed it comes from Dina Begum's Brick Lane Cookbook: Food From Everywhere. The cookbook also includes contributions from street food traders and restaurants including The Boiler House, Beigel Shop and Kahala a not for profit community cafĂ©. The cookbook is a snapshot of the ethnically diverse cuisine found in  the East End of London. If you want to make the Chai Malai Cake you can also find the here

By the way, I have been to Brick Lane - see here - but it was mostly about the graffiti art. However, I look forward to going back again and checking out some of the culinary contributors to the cookbook.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Vegetarian Scotch Egg

I've mentioned before that my darling husband gets excited when I speculate that I may make some vegetarian Scotch eggs. 

Well there are no plans to make some this Easter weekend, I am just taking the opportunity to share some that I made some time last year, but never got round to sharing.
I think the reason I never shared these was because I never got round to taking a photograph of them when they had been deep fried and served.  

Still here they are...ready to get their golden colouring and crisp coating. 
Have a good and restful Easter Weekend.

Other Vegetarian Scotch Egg recipes
Vegetarian Jerk Spiced Scotch Egg (2014)
Beetroot Scotch Egg (2013)
Welsh Glamorgan Eggs (2013)

The Vegetarian Scotch Egg (2009)
Chocolate Scotch Eggs  

Monday, 15 April 2019

Wild Garlic, Cauliflower 'Steak' and Chickpea Curry

I haven't been that adventurous in the kitchen, sticking closely to familiar dishes that I can knock up with ease from memory.

I am hoping come the long Easter weekend, I will be able to play in my kitchen, but I already have plans to meet with friends and leave D home alone; and then when I am home - I have to turn my attention to the allotment garden plot.
One of these easy dishes was this Cauliflower Chickpea Curry.  I did put a little seasonal twist on the Cauliflower Chickpea curry and stirred through a handful of wild garlic.  Obviously if you don't have wild garlic, spinach, chard or kale will be fine too.   

While I still can, I will also pretentiously call the cauliflower slabs - 'steaks' !
I often make this dish vegan, but this time in place of the vegetable/olive oil, I added salted butter and D loved the unctuous richness.  
I am sharing this with My Legume Love Affair #127 which is being hosted by Motions and Emotions this month.  The food blog challenge was started by Susan from The Well Seasoned Cook and continues thanks to Lisa's Kitchen.  Adapted from this recipe Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry in place of the runner beans is a good handful of wild garlic; and in place of the vegetable/olive oil - salted butter, but feel free to keep it vegan if you wish.  

Friday, 12 April 2019

Toasted Lavash Bread in My Kitchen

Joining in a little late with what's in my kitchen, but here goes for what it's worth.

Too be honest, the miserable weather, and distractions at home and work have meant that I have not been out and about, finding new food products or ingredients to try, so here are some things that I found in my kitchen and some recently made.
We have a bottle of non alcoholic Sparkling Red Grape still to be opened.  
Those of you who read my blog regularly may remember that last year I shared a jar of homemade preserved pears in star anise.  Well we finally tucked into them this week, served with a slice of parsnip raisin cake and thick cream.  Very nice it was too.
I picked up some lavash bread.  
These were used in a Middle Eastern recipe called Aubergine Fatta - Iraqi Salad with Toasted Bread.  I am recipe testing for a cookbook and all the recipes are written by asylum seeker and refugee women.  I will hopefully write more in the future when I buy a copy of the cookbook, but let me tell you this Aubergine Fatta was delicious. 
I made quite a lot of the toasted bread, that I was glad to find a jar of Baba Ganoush dubbed here as Aubergine Meze in my kitchen cupboard.  
I got tempted by this Hot Jalapeno Sauce - how bad can it be?!
I made a Butternut Squash Lasagne a couple of weeks ago, hence the lasagne sheets.  As I was putting the lasagne box in the cupboard, I found a bottle of Smoked Beetroot Ketchup.  I am really terrible in making fancy purchases and then putting them away in cupboards, only to be rediscovered close to their expiration date.  I need t break this habit. 
This pinhead oatmeal was also in the cupboard.  I picked it up to make early in the year, when I made vegan Johanna's Haggis Sausage' Rolls to take into work. They were popular. 
With work being busy, we decided to try these beetroot and supergreen sausages.  We will not be getting them again, I am happy to try things once and this definitely will be once.  It looked interesting, but it lacked flavour and texture. 

In my kitchen we had lots of wild garlic dishes.  I made a number of dishes including:
Wild Garlic Scones
Shepherds Pie with Wild Garlic Mash and Wild Garlic Cauliflower Curry (yet to be shared)

I am sharing this In My Kitchen blog post in the nick of time with Sherry's Pickings for In My Kitchen series.  A splendid way to meet bloggers around the world, as well as have a poke about in their kitchen

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

vegan Shepherds Pie with Wild Garlic Mash

April showers continue... 

I made this Shepherds Pie last week with the wild garlic that came in the vegetable box I was trialling last month.  I haven't had the opportunity to go out foraging yet, but I know I will soon when the weather is a little more kinder.  I am just not prepared to go out and get a wet at the moment, even for free food - I find myself pretty drenched with rain when waiting at bus stops with no shelter. 
Anyway, this is one of my go to vegan Shepherds Pie recipe made with textured vegetable protein.  However, I did make some minor changes, such as the choice of vegetables.  This time there are chunks of swede and carrots, and of course the mashed potato topping which was enhanced with wild garlic.  Its one of the things I like about this recipe as you can vary it with different vegetables. 
The recipe serves 6 to 8 people generously.  It was lovely.  My only regret is not showing it to you when it was baked with the lovely golden topping and moreso, it came out compact out of the baking dish, no mush!  

Thursday, 4 April 2019

vegan Wild Garlic Scones

Last month I wrote an epic blog post about Wild Garlic and recipes that I've made and shared on my blog.  I also wrote about some wild garlic recipes that I want to make or recipes that I was planning to adapt with wild garlic. One such recipe was from the Green Gourmet Giraffe Savoury Silverbeet, Basil and Pistachio Pesto Scones. 
Well I did try to follow the scone recipe closely and I did so for most of the part, but the main adaptation was with the wild garlic pesto recipe.  

Johanna's pesto had pistachio, I had pine nuts and where she had chard and basil, I had wild garlic, but for all the good it was - my scones did not turn out as brilliantly green as hers. 
I admit I was a little disappointed as all I had was specks of greenness, but I was still WOWed at the rise of the scones as most savoury scone recipes I have made have failed in the rise (not the flavour), but there was also a brilliant lightness to them.  In addition the strong wild garlic flavour came through wonderfully. 
You can find Johanna's recipe for the vegan scones here, but please note my changes for the pesto and you may want to increase the quantity of wild garlic. However, if you want to make a vegetarian version of Wild Garlic Scones then I strongly suggest making Yasmin Limbert's Wild Garlic Scones with Cheese.  Yasmin Limbert was a contestant on the Great British Bake Off in 2011.   She continues to share her food and recipes on her blog Yasmin Limbert, please do check it out for inspiration. 
I am sharing these vegan Wild Garlic Scones with The Veg Hog who is hosting #EatYourGreens this month.  Please do join in there is plenty of time by following this link on how to join in.  

Monday, 1 April 2019

Weekend in the Allotment Garden Plot

The last two weekends, the weather has been kinder that we decided not to go out exploring and instead spend time in the garden getting it ready for sowing and growing.  

Last week was hard.  Between the two of us we managed to accomplish a lot.  D fixed the greenhouse (not shown) that had all its panels blown out.  It used to be glass, but much of the glass has smashed over the years from bad weather.  Every year we salvage what we can and patch it up.  I am pleased to say it is ready for sowing seeds. 
While D got on with the greenhouse, I got on with digging the soil.  As you can see I did so much, but there is still so much to do, but I wanted to share some progress and growth - so please indulge me.  

My Legume Love Affair in March Round Up

Here is the Round Up of My Legume Love Affair #126 for March 2019.
Thank you so much to everyone who came by and contributed a vegetarian or vegan recipe made with either beans, lentils or pulses.
The first entry comes from The VegHog who shared with us Tomato and Lentil  Soup with Oregano Lentils.  
Next we have Dhaba Sytle Kala Chana by Jayashree who blogs over at Evergreen Dishes. 
Lisa from Lisa's Kitchen, as well as MLLA Administrator brings to the MLLA table Azuki Beans in a Fragrant Spicy Tomato Sauce.
Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe shares with us her Slow Cooked Smoky Paprika Chickpeas with Tacos.
Finally, my contribution as host for MLLA was Sweet and Spicy Carrot Stew with Chickpeas.

I would like to Thank the contributors who continue to support this food blog challenge, its one of the long running food blog challenges started way back in 2008. I would also like to say a special Thank you to Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen who continues to administer MLLA  so that we can all join in and see what other food bloggers around the world are eating in their kitchen.