Saturday, 31 August 2013

Shaheen does Vegan MoFo

A couple of weeks ago I signed up to do Vegan MoFo..  For those who are not familiar with Vegan MoFo, it is short for Vegan Month of Food.  Hundreds of vegan and vegan-friendly bloggers sign up to commit to posting at least 20 posts in the month relating to vegan food.
Many of you will know that I am not a vegan, but a vegetarian, however a lot of what I do cook from scratch happens to be vegan friendly.  Therefore, September 2013 this blog will be free of all animal products such as cheese, dairy, eggs and  honey. 

I haven't really chosen a theme for vegan MoFo, but if there was going to be a theme it would be seasonal vegetables, of course and I might even throw in some recipes inspired by my Welsh roots too. 

I September Anglo-Indian Carrot, Potato and Peas Curry
2 September Carrot and Raisin 'Cake' Muesli
3 September No Bake Carrot and Raisin 'Cake' Granola Bites
4 September Cauliflower Steaks with Harissa Oil
5 September Red Kidney Bean Curry with Potatoes and Peppers
6 September Fresh Strawberry and Blackberry on Cinnamon Almond Crust
7 September The Elvis Presley Bagel
8 September Polenta Kale Wedges with Chill Cumin Carrots
9 September Chestnut Mushroom and Barley Broth
10 September Butter Bean Curry
11 September Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar Kale Crisps
12 September Black Beans and Pineapple Stew
13 September Beetroot Brazil Nut Roast
14 September Gold Leaf and Edible Gold Glitter Chocolate Cake with 'Cream Cheese' Frosting
15 September  Mauritian 'Beef' Soy Chunks and Green Papaya Curry
16 September Whole Hazelnut and Molasses Oat Bars
17 September Calypso Pineapple and Bean Pot
18 September Welsh Laverbread, Mushroom and Puy Lentil Pie 
20 September Papaya Salsa
22 September Jamaican Butternut Squash Stew
23 September Vegan Food Swap U.K - Great Vegan Expectations
24 September A few of my favourite vegan things
24 September Beetroot, Red Onion and Puy Lentil Bourguignon
25 September Beetroot Chocolate Ckae, with Beetroot Buttercream Frosting and Beetroot Dust
26 September Southern Indian Black Pepper Curry with Soya Chunks
27 September Curried Parsnip Samosa Pies
30 September Black Rice and Butternut Squash Fritters

Disclaimer: To fellow bloggers who are visiting my blog through Vegan MoFo 2013, please note that Allotment2Kitchen - A Seasonal Veg Table is a vegetarian blog, so there will be recipes containing cheese, diary, eggs and honey.  However, this blog is very vegan friendly too, so you will also find many vegan and vegan-friendly dishes too. Please feel free to explore. 

Here are some vegan recipe links to get you thinking and hopefully inspired.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Vegan Carrot Biscuits or Cookies

I was conversing with my good blogger friend at Poppycock and other creative nonsense.  She informed me that she was making some Carrot and Orange soup.  I responded back that I had a load of carrots and was unsure what I was going to do with them. I have to be honest I am not quite ready for soup yet.  

Well in a bid to use up 500g carrots, yesterday afternoon I hit the kitchen.  I made not one, not two, not three dishes, but five carrot infused dishes, of which two were sweet .   I also made  a coleslaw without mayonnaise, instead it was perked up with other flavours.
I will share some of the other carrot injected dishes with you in the next few days, but today I share with you these vegan carrot biscuits OR carrot cookies.  

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Peach Doughnut and Date Crumble

My husband has a tendency to bring home fresh fruit always promising me that he will eat it or make a fruit salad for us both, but neither ever happens and I end up making something sweet with them, as was the case with some peach doughnuts he had brought home last week.  They were beginning to soften and bruise in places and in this humble abode, we do hate waste. 
Peach doughnuts are also known as Saturn peaches and flat peaches (see image below).   The first time I had a peach doughnut was in Edinburgh looking for the sunshine on Leith.   In recent years, they have become readily available.  I do find them far more sweeter and juicier than the round peach bum brand.   

Monday, 26 August 2013

Vegan Food Swap U.K (August 2013)

A few months ago, I came across an initiative called vegan food swap, but with work commitments and being so disorganised at the time (not knowing whether I was coming or going) I could not participate.  However, with time on my hands this time and feeling like participating in something new, I took the leap.  This was my first time participating in vegan food swap U.K. 

My parcel came from Penny . As you can see from the image above, it contained lots of goodies such as Just Wholefoods Raspberry Jelly Crystals -  Tartex Mushroom Pate - The Food Doctor Roasted Bean Mix - Co-op Pistachios which were immediately claimed by my husband) Moo Free Mini Moo Hunny Comb Bars - Frutina Real Fruit (Blueberry) Snack - Nakd Cocoa Mint - Fruit and Oat Bar with Pomegranate and Raspberry - Panda Raspberry Licorice; and some sachet of Pukka teas.

My receiving partner was Samantha who mentioned in her e mail that she was not keen on olives and raisins.  I found it a bit of a challenge, as it was difficult finding vegan products locally, in fact I had to make a visit to the city next door to make the parcel interesting.  I also sent her some home-made Sweet Potato Muesli (minus the raisins) I hope Samantha likes what I sent her. 

Once again Thank you to Penny for my vegan goods and to Mitsu and Sasha for organising U.K Vegan Food Swap.   

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Lemon Thyme and Black Rice Risotto

I purchased some black rice a little while ago.  I don't often come across black rice and when I saw some being sold somewhere or other on one of my day trips, I grabbed a bag.  I had no idea what to do with it, except I knew I wanted to have some so that I could when the time came.

Well whilst going through my kitchen cupboards recently, I came face to face with the bag of black rice fast approaching its best before date.  I did not want to waste the black rice so searched through my many cookbooks for a black rice recipe, typically when you looking for a particular recipe you just cannot find one.  Then I decided to search the worldwideweb and blogosphere and the recipe that caught my attention was one for Black Rice Risotto made by a renowned American celebrity nutritionist Ellie Krieger.  I have to be honest and say that I don't know very much about her cooking and have  only seen her fleetingly a couple of times on satellite T.V whilst channel hopping.   Anyway, I did not follow Ellie Krieger recipe for Black Rice Risotto, but was inspired by it to create my own version (Thank you Ellie). 

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Oaty Ginger and Plum Crumble

My father gave me some plums that have fallen off the tree in the garden both due to ripeness and weight.  The nippers (nephews and nieces) were not that keen on them, so they were looking for someone to offload them on to.  I gladly obliged.  I had ideas of making my Almond, Plum and Thyme Tart.  But as the days went by, sunny on some and dark and grey on others, my thoughts turned to a homely plum crumble: one that I've made before, infused with fiery ginger.  I like ginger, there is something warming and healing about it.  This particular crumble is also made with rolled oats, I like the additional chewy texture it offers.   

Friday, 23 August 2013

Eggs en cocotte with spinach and cream

I've always wanted to participate in Random Recipes hosted by Dom at Belleau Kitchen, but never quite seem to be organised enough to do so, this time though I had my mind set upon it.  This was the challenge that Dom set us for Random Recipes #31 - grab and run.

If you had 10 seconds to grab one book, which one would it be?

For me that was easy, it had to be Cranks Fast Food by Nadine Abensur.  Its a vegetarian cookbook that helped me through my student days and opened my eyes to new ingredients then such as sumac, harissa, tahini, black sesame seeds, preserved lemons and even feta cheese, that we take so much for advantage now.  Nadine  Abensur is perhaps the number one vegetarian cook who has influenced me and got me cooking out of the so-called vegetable box, injecting bold flavours into traditional fare, but also experimenting with exotic ingredients. I've raved about Nadine Abensur on my blog before, and would be happy to do so again, but today its about the challenge.  But before I continue with the challenge, I will say if you haven't checked out her cookbooks and your a veggie, then I would strongly advise that you do so.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Mediterranean Macaroni and Cheese Bake

I had mentioned in one of my previous posts that I had not indulged in much cheese of late, after having loudly stated that, I think I have subconsciously been making dishes that have vast amounts of cheese in them.   August has truly been a cheesy month and its not over yet.
I made a  very large portion of this Mediterranean Mac and Cheese.  I was able to find some Mediterranean cheese at a local supermarket.  Its was studded with peppers, black olives and oregano, so I added that to this Mac'n'Cheese, but if you can't find it that okay, just use plain cheddar cheese.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Sweetcorn, Chickpea and Pepper Couscous Salad with Harissa Oil

It's not that often that D comes back with a bag of fresh fruit and vegetables, that is something that is often left to me being the one who primarily cooks at home, but he did at the weekend.  He came back with some very colourful seasonal vegetables (and some peach doughnuts).  The vegetables included red hot chilli peppers, some baby orange and yellow peppers and the first of the seasons sweetcorn on the cobs.  The sweetcorn he picked up was so sweet and ripe, that you could honestly eat it raw as it was. 

I tend to freeze chillies when I have too much, but I had decided to make some more harissa oil based on my harissa paste recipe.  It went wonderfully the last time I made it with my vegan Moroccan Tajine Flaky Filo Twist Pies.  One of the reasons, I wanted to make the harissa oil again was that it served as a ready to reach for store-cupboard fridge ingredient.  Perfect for spreading on pitta bread for a light snack when taking breaks between filling in application forms, but yesterday, I found it had come in handy for D's lunch.  The working man has to be fed too.  

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Sweet Potato Muesli

I've been making home-made muesli since last year inspired by a couple of Allegra McEvedy recipes, which of course I cannot find links to on the world wide web.  Never mind, I just can't believe it took me so long to make my own, its oh so simple to do and far more affordable than those sold at the supermarkets or health food shops. 

I began making home-made muesli when I found myself with a large sack of rolled oats (5lb honestly) and working really early hours of the day.  I couldn't stand the thought of a greasy fry up or a plain piece of wholemeal toast; and so it was porridge, which quickly turned into muesli.  I had originally made muesli for breakfast.  Now I find it is good to eat any time of the day, but I don't think I will count the evening in that.  

When September comes - not that its that far away, I am planning to have a go at making granola.  I have plenty of dried cranberries, pecan nuts and maple syrup.  I am not the only one excited about those ingredients, my husband loves them too.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Welsh Gnocchi in Perl Las Leek Cream Sauce

Over the past few months, I've been eating a lot of vegan dishes and cheese has not been part of my diet much, so  yesterday I had planned to remake my Welsh Goats Cheese Gnocchi, but it quickly turned into a slightly more rich and decadent version.   Read on and you'll see how. 

This time the gnocchi  was coated in a copious amounts of creamy cheese sauce, bulked up with sauteed sweet baby Welsh leeks.  And when I say cheese sauce, I mean Welsh cheese.  I could have gone down the obvious Welsh cheese route by choosing Caerfilli/Caerphilly cheese, but I wanted to ring the changes and this time picked up some creamy blue Perl Las whilst in Cardiff city on Saturday.  Perl Las means 'blue pearl' and is made by a family business called Caws Cenarth.  I discovered it only last year upon my return (from Scotland) back to Wales.  It really is unlike any other blue cheese I've tasted. 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Momma Cherri's Sweet Potato Pies

I fell under the charm of Momma Cherri (real name Charita Jones) when we were introduced to her through Gordon Ramsays Kitchen Nightmares about 6  years ago, and she instantly became an overnight sensation in her own right with her down to earth stance, genuine warmth and her passion for good old American soul food shone on.  She introduced many of us to hush puppies, Succotash and Corn Pudding.  I swear by her Cajun seasoning recipe.  I've tried lots of other recipes in the past, her recipe has depth of flavour.  I know her cookbook is not vegetarian, but there are a number of recipes there such as Vegetable Jambalaya, Peppers stuffed with Cornbread and Roast Curried Butternut Squash and many others  can easily be vegified (is that a word), I mean made suitable for vegetarians.

Sadly due to the economic climate, she had to close her restaurant ' you can have the best food in the world, but if you don't have enough customers coming through your will struggle'.  Please read this article, where Charita expresses with honestly her experiences.  Her experience echoes some of my own reality in the past year,  so I can truly empathise.  On the plus side, she is still cooking for those near enough to her to enjoy.  She continues to make TV appearances as well as sell at farmers markets and caters at some of Brighton's trendiest venues.  Check out Momma Cherri's website

Bristol Graffiti Art for the People

Some more random graffiti art from Bristol's street artists this time in and around the city centre. 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Welcome to Bristol Graffit Art

More graffiti art from Bristol's street artists this time in and around the city centre. 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Strawberry Sorbet of Sorts

After my success with the Rhubarb sorbet,  Rosemary and Lemon sorbet and much more recently with Orange and Chilli Granita,  I had decided to make one from the Honeydew Melon that my husband had bought to sit and look golden pretty in the fruit bowl.  I also decided to make one with the last of the strawberries in the garden, so that is the one that I will share with you today.  I followed a really simple recipe that I made a few good years ago.  The photograph directly below is from that post that I dubbed 'Strawberry Ice Roses'.  It was such a lovely sweet dessert that I was looking for a reason to make it again and with it being so hot, that reason alone was enough.

Stokes Croft: Relentless Optimism

More thought provoking graffiti art from Bristol's street artists, some with social, economic and political statements. 


Monday, 12 August 2013

Stokes Croft Murals Part of Bristol Graffit Art

Not a food related post today, but still one that will be feast for the eyes. 

Over the past few months or so, we have been taking the opportunity to drive somewhere new at the weekends.  Once over the Severn Bridge leaving Wales behind and into England we could choose a number of new towns, cities and villages to explore.  Places that we could drive too and drive back home in a day.  Places like Bath or Weston Super Mare have already been on our hit list, so has Bristol, but it happens to be one place that we keep returning too likes moths to a flame.  We don't go there for a shopping splurge or to sample the gastronomic delights, though the two places I have eaten at so far have delivered on flavour and value. These have been Turtle Bay and My Burrito.  I've spotted a vegan eatery - CafĂ© Kino a not for profit co-operative, but have not had the opportunity to eat there yet.  I hope to do so in the very near future, if not my next visit.    
Anyway, one of the reasons we continue to visit Bristol is for the street art - it's free for consumption.  These photographs were taken by D, a few months back so those of you who live in or frequent this area may know that some of the graffiti art has gone and replaced by new ones.  

I adore this one in particular

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Quesadillas with Jalapeno Pinto Beans

I must have been introduced to Mexican food when I went to University all those good years ago, but even then it was limited to the corn chips, salsa or the avocado green guacamole which was all the rage at the time and the dips of all dips!  If I am honest, it was really on my first visit to America to see my best friend Leah that I got a chance to try proper Mexican food and I was hooked, the flavours were bold and unapologetic. 

When I got back to the U.K, Mexican style food had become a way of life for me.  One of the dishes, I've been making on and off for years has been Quesadilla.  Quesadilla's  are not only very simple and economical to make, they make for a surprisingly filling and delicious snack anytime of the day.  They consist of nothing more than two tortilla wraps filled and stuck together with melted cheese, then halved and served.  I have to say I prefer them more than I do a doughy doorstop toastie any day. 

Friday, 9 August 2013

Black Turtle Beans and Pepper Enchillada

I am not joking when I say I must have made this dish over a hundred times in the last five years.  So I am rather surprised at myself that I never got to post it, perhaps because I thought it such a simple and easy recipe to post, that I overlooked it.  The closest to enchiladas that I got to post were in my first year of blogging - a blog post that I called Chilli Cucumbers and Chimichangas.  Here's the link to it if you are interested in viewing it
The last time I made Enchilladas was a couple of months ago for my business venture.  It was described by customers 'as lush', well I wouldn't go as far as that in describing it, but it certainly is delicious, wholesome and filling. 

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

South Indian Zucchini aka Courgette Kofta in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Deep or shallow fried, this Indian spiced batter wrapped tightly around its chosen vegetable always pleases guests.  Its also a great hunger pang cure as its pretty quick to knock up with most vegetables to hand, just be careful with the water content in the vegetable - you may need to squeeze some of the excess liquid out. 

Anyway, a few good years ago, when I had a glut of courgettes from growing my own, I did make a courgette variation and they were very taste indeed.  At the time, I was not a huge fan of courgettes, but I found myself converted when the courgettes were cooked this way - spiced, frazzled and shallow fried.   

If you want to elevate this dish further and want to make more of a meal from it, I mean move away from finger food fritter snack to a good plate of food, then think 'kofta'.  Kofta is another word for 'meatballs' except these are not made with meat, but vegetables, namely courgettes known by the name of zucchini to some of us.  Cook the batter more in round drops, rather than free-fall style, so that they resemble little 'balls', when they are all cooked add them to a spicy tomato sauce (recipe below) and serve with plain Basmati rice - really delicious.
I am sharing this recipe at  Fat Tuesday hosted by Real Food Forager and  Ricki at Diet, Dessert, Dogs for her Wellness Weekends 8-12 August.
South Indian Courgette Kofta  in Spicy Tomato Sauce
You will needs a deep fat fryer for this recipe.
Serves 6
For the courgette koftas
700 – 750g courgettes, grated
1 medium onion, finely sliced
100g chickpea flour
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
2 – 4 green chillies, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped coriander
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
For the spicy tomato sauce

8 tomatoes, roughly chopped (or in the winter 1 x 400ml tin of tomatoes)
4 green chillies
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped
2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
2 teaspoons of paprika
2 teaspoons of garam masala
6 tablespoons of sunflower oil
Salt to taste
For the courgette koftas

Squeeze the grated courgettes of its excess liquid. Then place all the kofta ingredients in a large bowl an mix well with your hands or a wooden spoon.
Heat the oil for deep or shallow frying. Then drop large tablespoons worth into the oil, turn them carefully so that they are golden all over, which will take about 4 minutes. Remove and drain on layers of kitchen towel to absorb excess oil. Keep doing this until all the batter is used.

For the spicy tomato sauce
In a food processor, blend the tomatoes, chilli, ginger and spices to a smooth puree. Season with salt to taste. Then in a wide pan, heat the oil. Add the blended sauce to the pan and fry over high heat for a few minutes. Then lower the heat and simmer for 35 – 40 minutes, about halfway through the process add about 200ml water to loosen the sauce.
When sauce is ready, gently add the koftas and heat together for a few minutes. Garnish with coriander and serve with naan bread or plain boiled rice.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Glut of Homegrown Courgettes?!

I am so envious to read that a number of fellow bloggers who are growing their vegetables either at home or at the allotment have a glut of courgettes.  A couple of years ago, I found myself in exactly the same position; pondering the thought 'what am I going to do with all those courgettes?!'

Well to save some of you pondering that very thought, I thought I'd share a handful of courgette recipes from the past that may appeal to some of you.  Some of these will be savoury and some of these will be sweet - highlighting the versatility of the courgette.  To kick start the courgette fest, I share with you the a simple char grilled courgette recipe.  This way of cooking, totally transforms the texture and taste of the courgette.  Eat it as part of a mezze plate, a side dish or stirred into cooked pasta. 
Char grilled Courgette Wedges with chilli and lemon
For this recipe you will need one of those ridged grill pans for cooking the courgette.
Char grilled courgette wedges with chilli and lemon
Serves 4
4 courgettes, ends trimmed and cut into diagonal slices, about 2cm wide
1 – 2 tablespoon olive oil
1 fresh red chilli, or ½ teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
Juice of ½ lemon
Good handful of mint, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss the courgette wedges into a bowl with olive oil, chilli, salt and pepper.
Heat the grill pan until smoking hot and cook the courgettes in batches, about 3 – 4 minutes on each side.. They should be tender but with a crunch to them in the middle. Don’t be tempted to move the courgette while it is cooking or you won’t get the effective char grill marks. Add back to the bowl along with lemon juice and mint. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Serve at room temperature. Recipe originally appeared on my blog in September 2010.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Strawberry, Caramelised Red Onion, Thyme and Brie Tart

One of my absolute favourite Toasted Panini combinations is cranberry. brie cheese and rocket.  I had often thought about doing a version with strawberries but shyed away from trying it, as strawberries do not necessarily have the same sharp tartness of cranberries.  However, with strawberries still growing in my garden, I decided to take the plunge and experiment, but not crushed in a Panini.  I decided to go all out and make a sweet savoury tart from scratch, yes including the short crust pastry.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Rhubarb Rosewater Compote and Vanilla Lassi

I know many people are indulging in iced teas and iced lattes, frappacinos and the like, but I have been indulging in sweet Lassi's lately.  Remember my Strawberry and Black Pepper Lassi.

Well with plenty of rhubarb still growing in my garden, it was inevitable that a rhubarb flavoured one would appear on my blog.  My husband is not a fan of milky drinks, but he was swayed into trying a sip when he cottoned on to the fact that this lassi was going to be made with home-grown rhubarb.  Well this sip soon turned into a large glass.  He liked it very much, especially the sharp twang from the rhubarb and the yogurt.

Friday, 2 August 2013

It really is a easy Owl Cake to make

With plenty of time on my hands at the moment, D's been dropping me off at my parents home where the nephews and nieces have gathered for their summer holidays.  I've just been tagging along for company and for the day and night to go by. 

However, yesterday I decided instead of sitting around like a lemon, I would bake a cake with them.  Of course, it had to be a child friendly cake, one that I could make with the nephews and nieces all eager to play their part in decorating the cake.   
I recalled seeing one from Sew White that claimed to be really easy to make, well for me that was enough and the fact that it was shaped as an owl made it even more appealing to me and the kids.   Well, I really recommend it.  It was my first attempt at making a character cake and the kids were delighted with it too, both in aesthetics and in taste.
I did do a few things differently from Sew Whites original Easy Owl Cake, I used a larger baking tin.  I did not use chocolate ganache on mine.  Instead I made vanilla butter cream that was spread under the milk chocolate buttons.  Two of my nieces went to the shop to pick up a packet of smarties for the eyes pupils.  One of the other nephews decided to use some broken pretzels for claws and another decided to make a white mouse from the remaining fondant from the eyes (see bottom of owl next to the pretzel claws). 

I enjoyed my cake making day with them and hope I can squeeze in a few more before their summer holidays are up. 
It Really is a easy Owl Cake to make
For the chocolate sponge recipe and step by step decorating instructions follow this link Sew Whites original Easy Owl Cake.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

In and Around Portobello Market

 A couple of weeks ago, on impulse D and myself decided to take a very expensive train journey into London.  On the train we were dithering a little of where to go, somewhere new like Borough Market but for some reason we found ourselves retracing our steps back to Portobello market, a place that I had visited for the first time last year.  

We wandered the market early hours of the day - just before it got manic and packed.  If you want to view some photographs that I took of Portobello Market last year please follow this link.  This time we wandered some of the side streets and did a lot of walking and sight seeing. 
This time we wandered some of the side streets and did a lot of walking and sight seeing.  Here are some photographs that I thought may interest you, many of which are of graffiti art.