Friday, 31 October 2014

Vegetable Palette: Halloween Colours Round Up #4

The idea behind 'The Vegetable Palette: natures colours - natures goodness'' is to make something with either a fruit, vegetable or combination of both each month.  You can make absolutely anything that you wish - sweet or savoury -  from a soup, a salad dish, a smoothie, a juice, a stew, a hot pot, a curry, a pie, a pasta dish, cookies or even a cake  - absolutely anything, so long as the recipe is vegetarian and includes a vegetable/and or fruit with the chosen colour.  
The theme for October was Halloween Colours.   
Janet from The Taste Space shares a beautiful bowl of soup, that also has a very pretty name Three Sisters Soup (Black Bean, Corn and Squash Soup)    Janet writes that the name The Three Sisters refers to the dietary staple of the Meso-American diet: beans, corn and squash. As a vegetable grower, I learned that these three vegetables are often found growing together as they benefit from each other, well in this soup they certainly compliment each other. The recipe comes from one of her new cookbooks, Extraordinary Vegan, I have been persuaded by her to put it on my wish list. 
Kate from the Gluten Free Alchemist comes to us with Patty Pan, Purple Carrot, Pine- Nut and Cheese Muffins.  These gluten free savoury muffins are made with ingredients sourced from her local farm shop in Kent, including the purple carrots, It was Kate's first time eating and cooking with purple carrots, and she was delighted with the result.  I love the look of these muffins, as a fan of the sweet ones, its just a matter of time that savoury ones such as this one will be appearing on my table.  
Choclette from the Chocolate Log Blog comes to us with something a little more snack or a light bite - that is of course if you share it (not if you eat a whole one), its a Squash, walnut and Goats Cheese Pizza.   There is sweetness from the squash, crunch from the walnuts and tang from the Goats cheese.  Choclette dubs as the best pizza ever.  Go on over and find out why?! Psst let me give you a hint... the sauce is no ordinary tomato sauce, its chocolate tomato sauce.  Different eh?!
Kavita from Kavey Eats shares something a little more substantial Butternut Squash, Black Garlic and Blue Cheese Bake .  The bake is made with homegrown golden butternut squash, but what is more interesting is the home-made Black Garlic Cheese that was bestowed upon her by her good friend Dave (Shu the recipe is top secret!), so I insist you go on over and check out the black garlic cheese in all its black glory, you will be totally amazed - who would have funk it, black cheese!  Kavita also added some blue cheese to the bake for extra salty kick.  This definitely sounds like the kind of dish my husband would love.
Next some sweet bits, perfect for any time of the day, yes even breakfast.  Sarojini shares with us these gorgeous Pumpkin Spice Muffins with White Chocolate Frosting.  She writes Pumpkin Spice Lattes are the rage at the moment, and she is right - not just in High Street coffee shops but also blogosphere, but she steered away from the liquid form and decided to make a cake variation of it.  What you may be surprised to note about these gorgeous muffins is that they are vegan, yes even the white chocolate frosting!
And lastly, but not least Ros from More Than The Occasional Baker delights us with a Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple and Pecan Bundt Cake with Maple Cinnamon Glaze.   Ros decided to roast the butternut squash in the oven, in fact she caramelized it with some brown sugar before adding it to the cake mix with chunky chopped apples, as well as lots of warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice.  And then she goes and tops it with a maple cinnamon glaze, oh my, this makes it even more appealing.  I would really like a slice of this cake with a cuppa, woudn't you? 

Thank you so so much to every one who has participated this month in the #VegetablePalette. Please do go by and check out the entries.  Also I really hope you will participate this month too. November 2014 #VegetablePalette Challenge is White Vegetables...think cauliflower,  white cabbage, kohlrabi, onions, potatoes, mushrooms, mooli, maybe even white sweetcorn or white asparagus !  For details on how to participate follow this link.   

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Round Up Eat Your Greens #5

Welcome to Eat Your Greens Round Up  #5.    This is a monthly vegetarian cooking challenge for food bloggers.  
The  'Eat Your Greens'  challenge was launched a few months ago. The  idea behind 'Eat Your Greens' is really simple, to make something with a green vegetable each month.  
The first recipe comes from Linsy Patel from Home Cooked Food with a Pesto Pasta with Grilled Vegetables.   The pesto is made with the soft fragrant herb basil.  
We have another pesto infused dish, this time it comes from Rachel Cotterill.  Rachel shares her home-made Courgette and Mushroom Pesto Pie filled with chestnut mushrooms and baby sweetcorn.
Janet from The Taste Space shares with us a beautifully presented dish of Lemon-Miso Macro Bowl with Miso Braised Swiss Chard and Lemon Chickpea Dressing.  Just looking at this bowl makes me feel all virtuous, but I'd be more happy actually tucking into the brown rice, yes I like brown rice (shame I don't eat it as much), lemony chickpea spread to enhance it further and for more crunch and bite the lemon-miso braised chard. I should try and make this for my working lunch.  Real goodness in a bowl. 
And finally, a beautiful and decadent green Kale Cake  with cream cheese frosting comes from Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe.  Yes, I said 'Kale' in a cake.  I think me and Johanna are on the same wavelength, as I have also had this gorgeous recipe bookmarked, its just nice to see that it can be made at home. 

Thank you to Linsy, Rachel, Janet  and Johanna for their green eat recipes.  If you would like to share your #Eat Your Greens recipes for November, then please follow this link for details on how to participate.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Chips Away

I'm off on my first holiday in four years, famous for chocolate, chips and beer. 
Can you guess where?

I will tell you when I get back. 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Yarn Bombing People Like Us

Every other weekend, I will go into Cardiff, sometimes for window shopping or sometimes for pleasure, but last month, I found myself having to go into the Cardiff Bay area for a meeting.  I was there a little too early, so decided to walk along the Mermaid Quay, when I saw what made me smile.  I've seen this cluster of statues before, they are called 'People Like Us' representing the cultural and ethnic diversity of Cardiff - past and present. The dog, woman and man had all been given a cosy and colourful make-over with some gorgeous knits, otherwise known as yarn bombing. The statue woman is wearing a headband, flowers wrapped around her arm like a bracelet as well as the knitted bikini, the man knitted shorts and the dog a bandana.  I became aware of yarn bombing first when I lived in Glasgow, one example was finding this little monkey with a knitted hat at the Glasgow Botanical Garden.  

Anyway, this particular yarn bombing came courtesy of a South Wales based yarn guerrilla-ists called Woolly Welsh Wo/Men.  The aim of the Woolly Welsh Wo/Men is to make your smile (it certainly does);  produce occasional quirky yarn stormings; and beautify the local.  Whenever I see yarn bombing, its makes me all envious and wish I could crochet or knit. I try and give up, every time.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Nessie's Crock Pot Apple Butter

I got given a bottle of fresh Pear and Apple juice, along with some cooking and eating apples.  I have to admit, I hardly got to drink either the Pear or Apple Juice as some of my nephews and nieces came over that morning and swigged it all.  Glad they enjoyed it.  
As for the apples, I will be making some crumble, but one recipe that has been requested by my husband is some of Nessie's Crock Pot Apple Butter.  Nessie was our neighbour when we lived in Glasgow.  We still remember her with great fondness.  

The Crock Pot Apple Butter recipe is really, really easy - all you have to do is peel and core the apples, and throw it into a crock pot also known as a slow cooker, along with sugar and spices and then let it cook, very very slowly, stirring it now and again. Its really, really lovely.  Once you have opened a jar, you will find yourself eating it out of the jar like 'peanut butter'.  Yum.  Its gorgeous spread especially on croissants.  I've also made Pear Butter using the same recipe.  I am sharing a photograph of the Apple Butter that has been previously posted on my blog back in 2010, as its one of my favourite food photographs when I lived in sunny Glasgow.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Oat Chocolate Chia Pudding

Some of you will know that this week is National Chocolate Week, well here is my only chocolate offering for the week - Oat Chocolate Chia Pudding, but before I talk about the pudding I want to give my view of it as a chocolate drink.  

Oatly Oat Drink Chocolate is a Swedish dairy -free, soy free milk alternative.  Oatly has been around for years, but has recently been given a make over.  I have to say, as a vegetarian I really enjoyed the Oat Chocolate drink.   Originally when I opened the container and poured it into a glass, I did initially think, oh that looks really watered down.  It was then that I noted the words 'shake me'.  I immediately screwed the top back on and gave it a good shake.  It was much 'chocolate milk' looking.  I really liked it, I would never have been able to say that it was a dairy free alternative, but perhaps that is because when I do drink milk, and it is not that often - it is the semi skimmed type, anyway, the chocolate flavour was enough for me.  Not too sweet and not to weak
Other than just drinking the Oatly Chocolate, I decided to  make a couple of recipes from it. The first is Oat Chia Pudding loosely based on my Raspberry Chia Pudding.   Once the ingredients had swelled, I decided to blend half of it to a smoother texture.  So if you look close at the glass, you will see the two different layers.  
Instead of spooning the Oat Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding to chill overnight in a bowl, I decided to divide it between some wine glasses.  Now how often do you eat breakfast out of a wine glass?!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Roasted Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Wraps

In the past I have usually skipped breakfast and gone straight to lunch, but with the early hours I have recently been enjoying a light breakfast, either porridge or pieces of toast, but it is lunch time that I look forward too.  

I have mostly been having sandwiches for work, and I have to admit I have been getting a little bored with the plain filling, so the BBQ butter that I made recently was delightful, but sometimes its not sandwiches, its a pasta salad or today, it was Roast Sweet Potato with Red Pepper Wraps.  These were nice, but I think they would have benefited with a touch of soured cream. 
I am trying to make my lunch box interesting, a bit like keeping a child's lunch box interesting and must remember not to fill it with too many carbs, as I do sometimes have a bag of crisps too, I need some fruit there too.  I am pretty good with either an apple a day, or banana, but D is not so good, so he has been getting a small tub of dried fruit and nuts instead. 

What's been in your lunch box recently?
I am sharing this post with Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for this weeks Souper (Soup, Salad and Sammies) Sundays afterall, wraps are the new sandwich these days.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Vegan Smoked 'Bone' Marrow Stew

I've had a home-grown marrow sitting in the vegetable basket for weeks now, and have been wondering what to do with it.  I did not want to make another curry style dish with it, or simply stuff it with rice or vegetables, I wanted to do something different with it and so I did.  
I was inspired to make a vegan variation of Smoked 'Bone Marrow' Stew. I have lots of cook books, mostly vegetarian, but failed to find anything that got me excited, then I started surfing the Internet and stumbled upon this recipe for Smoked Bone Marrow Pasta and was inspired.  I did not copy the recipe at all, but was merely inspired by it.  The recipe for my vegan Smoked 'Bone' Marrow Stew is based on my own recipe for Smoked Paprika Bean Stew with a few smoky additions, like smoked sea salt and liquid smoke that I often use for my facon 'bacon' recipe.  
I even mashed up some chickpeas and filled the hollowed out part of the marrow, but that was just me being a bit fussy.  I was really pleased with the final dish, not just how it looked and mimicked 'bone marrow' visually, but also how it tasted too. There were lots of different levels of smokiness and hint of sweetness from the tomato sauce.  It really was good to eat.  

As this dish also contained chickpeas, lots of them - I am sharing this recipe with Nupur at the Veggie Indian as she is hosting Octobers edition of My Legume Love Affair #76.  MLLA as it is known to its fans, is a popular, legume-centred event was created by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook.  It is now run by Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen.   I am also sharing this recipe with the lovely Emily at A Mummy Too for #Recipe of the Week 11 - 17 October 2014 

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Vegan Barbecue 'Butter' Spread

I've been making sandwiches for work, and I have to admit I have been getting a little bored with the plain filling.  I like a little flavour kick in the mouth, so was inspired to make some home-made vegan butter enhanced with some Barbecue Sauce Extra Hot Habenero; it was really really good.  It really made for interesting eating and tasty sandwiches - in fact my tongue was dancing in my mouth from the spice heat from the sauce.  Lovely.

I've also spread this dark, smoky hot BBQ Sauce 'Butter' on toast and bagels.
I must add, its not the melty kind of 'butter' that you put on hot toast and it melts, no this is the spreading kind of butter, I guess a bit like peanut butter.   And my oh my, it spreads beautifully too, not claggy and lumpy, but if your looking for a plainer vegan 'butter' recipe check out this link

Friday, 10 October 2014

BBQ Purple Kale Crisps

I know this bowl looks like a bowl full of dried up Autumn leaves, but let me assure you that these leafy greens are edible.  Its a bowl of healthy BBQ Kale crisps.  

I've made Kale Crisps a number of times, but its the first time that I have made some that are BBQ flavoured. 
I picked up this purple kale came from a Farmers market in Monmouthshire a couple of weeks back, sadly those that I have had growing in my garden have been attacked by beasties. 

These kale crisps are heavily coated on both sides with a thick layer of BBQ sauce. This particular Extra Hot Habenero BBQ sauce comes from Jack Daniels.  It is both suitable for vegans and vegetarians. I loved the flavour of this one, with not just the smokiness coming through, but also the heat and warmth from the habenero. 
When the kale crisps came out of the oven, I left them on the side for a moment or two, whilst I looked for little airtight tubs to transfer them too.  When I got back, the mountain of crisp kale (okay I exaggerate a little) had shrunk, they really had shrunk! as D's big man hands had got to some of them.  I was quite surprised he liked them, as in the past he hasn't been that enthused by them, perhaps the BBQ flavours appealed to him more.   

Anyway I still have half a jar of these packed in an airtight container and will be nibbling on them tonight with a glass of red wine.  Thank goodness for Friday nights. 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Vegan Caramelized Onion and Potato Pierogi

Well make no mistake about its definitely Autumn and there is chill in the air. The big overcoats, snuggly scarves, knitted hats and mitts are coming out of the closet, or winter suitcase in my case.

When we got home a couple of days back, this is what we tucked into - home-made Pierogi - Polish dumplings.  I am so pleased with my first attempt ever at making pierogi from scratch at home.  I have to admit, there was flour every where and it was also a little fiddly (the crimping part especially), but once I got into the routine, it was pretty plain sailing.
I think the pierogis look very autumnal on the plate, what do you think?!

The pierogis were really really yummy and comforting to eat.  I felt like I was getting a big hug from my Nanny (bless her soul).  This is not the kind of meal to whip up on the day.  It is best made a day or two in advance or even at the weekend when you have more time to potter around.  Then when you get back home after long day out, all you have to do is simmer, then pan fry in a little olive oil.  I really really enjoyed them pan fried, all golden and crisp, and so did my husband.  The Pierogi made a fabulous change from our 30 minute pasta meals. Oh and I mustn't forget the greens on the side, steamed broccoli on the side.  
The recipe comes from Vegan Brunch.  I have the cookbook (and a number of others from both Isa and Terry), but rather than write up the whole recipe here,  just follow this link for the full recipe.  The link will take you to the awesome PPK website.  The only thing that I did differently was I stirred in the caramelized onion in with the potato filling, rather than serve it on the side.  I am so hoping to make this again.  I am sharing this post with Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes and Katie at Feeding Boys and a Firefighter for Octobers edition of Bookmarked Recipes

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Vegan Sweet Potato, Chocolate and Marigold Petal Cake

I made a variation of this Sweet Potato Cake about two years ago whilst on my culinary adventure, I also threw in some dark dried fruit like raisins and sultanas.  This time the cake was for Clandestine Cake Club of which I have been a member for just over two years now.  I seem to be the only one who takes along vegan cake.
In the past I've taken along Rose Syrup and Rose Jam Cake before, Fiery Red Dragon Chocolate Cake, Parsnip and Violet Cake and even  White Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake.

Having rediscovered my Bundt tin whilst house-moving, I have actually been using it quite a bit, for Beetroot Chocolate Cake, more recently Blueberry Cake and now Sweet Potato Cake.  I was running out of time, so just scattered over some dried marigold petals over it, but ideally it would have been either lemon or orange drizzle icing.  Sorry there is no photograph of the cake sliced, but it was for Cake Club, not for home.  I am lucky that this time, I got to take a good picture of it to share, in the past this hasn't happened.  By the way did you know that dried marigold petals are sometimes known as Poor Man's Saffron and are used and substituted as such.

I have also made some No Bake Sweet Potato Granola Bites based on this recipe.  I will share them later in the week, but if you can't wait perhaps some of these Sweet Potato recipes may inspire you.
Sweet Potato Muesli
Sweet Potato Burger
Sweet Potato Oven Baked Chips
Sweet Potato Falafels
Sweet Potato Wonton Pot Stickers
Sweet Potato 'Custard' Pies
Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownies
Sweet Potato Muffins

Monday, 6 October 2014

Vegetable Palette: Purple and Blues Round Up #3

The idea behind 'The Vegetable Palette: natures colours - natures goodness'' is to make something with either a fruit, vegetable or combination of both each month.  You can make absolutely anything that you wish - sweet or savoury -  from a soup, a salad dish, a smoothie, a juice, a stew, a hot pot, a curry, a pie, a pasta dish, cookies or even a cake  - absolutely anything, so long as the recipe is vegetarian and includes a vegetable/and or fruit with the chosen colour.  
The theme for September was Purple and Blues.   
There were only two savoury dishes.  First up we have a soup that comes from Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe.  Johanna's soup is made fromPurple Carrots, Cauliflower and Chickpeas.   The soup was dubbed as Sludge Soup.  Want to know why, well you will have to go on over and find out why yourself .
The second savoury dish in the form of a salad comes from Janet from The Taste Space. Janet  was quick of the mark with her entry for Blueberry Tamari Greens Bowl.  I have never had blueberries in a salad, so can only imagine these popping in my mouth like a dressing of sorts, complimenting the savoury Tamari Greens and Tofu. 
Next up we have something to jazz up toast, scone or even a croissant.  Galina Varese  from Chez Maximka delights us with jars of Plum Sloe and Vanilla Jam.   I have never ever had this combination and would so so love to try it, but it may be a while before i made my own, so I will just admire these pretty jars.  
Now onto the sweet bites and slices.  Kate from Gluten Free Alchemist shares Foraged Blackberry and Apple Oatie Crumble Slice.  Doesn't it look delicious, I am so jealous, as I didn't get round to picking blackberries this year. 
Lucia from Torta Di Rose shares Pear and Plum Crumble.  I look at this and think is it a crumble or a cake - ah its the best of both.  I love how the fruit is oozing and the crumble topping, well crumbly! 
We have another seasonal crumble, this time from Laura from I'd Rather Much Bake Than.. Laura. shares Chunky Blackberry Hazelnut Crumble. The crumble topping is not just oats and hazelnuts, there is also almonds and pecans there too.  Crunch.
My good blogger friend Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog shares Blackberry and White Chocolate Melts. I have never had this combination before, so am well intrigued.  
Back onto the delicious bakes with a Banana Bread studded with berries, including blueberries. This Banana and Berry Loaf comes from Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker 
Kevin Chambers-Paston from The Crafy Larder shares Blueberry and Almond Clafoutis.  I totally love how the blueberry juices are smothering the Sweet Yorkshire Pudding come Thick Pancake.  This is one of those desserts, that just has to be eaten warm. Yum. 
And finally, Vohn McGuinness comes to us with Autumn Pavlova.  The purple berry fruit here are fat juicy brambles aka blackberries .  Ooh I so love those blackberry coulis hearts.  Clever. 

Thank you so so much to every one who has participated this month in the #VegetablePalette.  Please do go by and check out the entries.  Also I really hope you will participate this month too. October 2014 #VegetablePalette Challenge is Halloween Colours...think orange pumpkins, devil  and blood red beetroot or berry fruit, witches black hat, blue and purple bruises!  For details on how to participate follow this link.   

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Round Up Eat Your Greens #4 with Pasta Please

Welcome to Eat Your Greens Round Up  #4.    This is a monthly vegetarian cooking challenge for food bloggers.  
The  'Eat Your Greens'  challenge was launched a few months ago. The idea behind 'Eat Your Greens' is really simple, to make something with a green vegetable each month, but last month it was combined with Pasta Please.  
So here are this months fabulous pasta green eats ... 
The first recipe signals the end of summer but welcomes the Autumnal season with a  Cheesy Courgette Bake.  This recipe from Laura at I'd Rather Much Bake Than ... who writes 'This recipe is the perfect cross over from fresh summer produce to snuggly autumn cravings'.  I must say, I so agree.  I still have some golden courgettes, so this could be the recipe for me.
Someone else over-run with courgettes is Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary as she share with us her Courgette Spaghetti Alfredo from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary.  Funnily enough her kids have renamed it 'Spaghetti a la yucky stuff', but don't go by their opinion, you know what kids are like - fussy. 
Next up we have Cheddar Cheese Pasta with Cabbage, Cauliflower and Fried Capers, this recipe comes from The Lawyers Cookbook.  I know cauliflower and cabbage are not to every ones taste and even more unusual when combined with pasta, but I've had this combo before (though not together), so can vouch for its being a thumbs up dish.  I am also really intrigued by the fried capers, so that is something I will be trying some time soon.
Linsy Patel from Home Cooked Food shares home-made Wholewheat Spinach Ravioli with Grilled Vegetable stuffing.  I am so envious at her handcrafted spinach pasta, it takes time and love to make these lovely green parcels. The Spinach Ravioli is then smothered in tomato sauce. Delicious.
One of my long term early blogger friends, Rachel Cotterill shares Creamy Asparagus Pasta. Asparaguss is my husbands favourite vegetable; and coriander is my favourite herb -  so this recipe is bookmarked for the future.  
Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe shares an awesome Spaghetti Pie.  Yes, Spaghetti in a Pie, in the pie you will also find spinach and courgettes - yes, courgettes - seem to be everywhere at the moment.
Laura from How to Cook Good Food shares Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable and Feta Lasagne - her list of ingredients which includes courgettes may seem long, but I do think - home made lasagne is the best and I could happily tuck into this one weekend.  The bechamel topping is also green made with spinach and salty feta - nice. 
Katie from Feeding Boys and a Firefighter also share a lasagne packed with lots of vegetables. 
This lasagne is made with soy mince, an ingredient that makes an appearance in my kitchen come Autumn and winter. 
My entry was Vegan Meatballs in a Coriander Sauce
And finally from Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes we have Two Minute Green Spaghetti. The sauce is made with lots of green vegetables: peas and spinach, herbs such as coriander and parsley and there is even avocado there too for creaminess. 

Thank you so much to every one who has participated in this months Eat Your Greens blogging challenge this month.  Please, please do go on over and check out each entry one by one and leave a comment. 

Also Please also feel free to share your recipes for October now.  Follow this link for the details.   For the new Pasta Please challenge which is being hosted by Rachel Cotterill follow this link for the theme and details how to participate.