Thursday, 31 March 2016

My Legume Love Affair March 2016 Round Up

Early this month I hosted the 93rd edition of My Legume Love Affair for March 2016.  
Here are the vegetarian and vegan legume-lentil-bean fantastic contributions.
The first entry comes from Kate at Gluten Free Alchemist.  Kate shares Reggae Potatoes loaded with Caribbean flavours.  The legume featured in this recipe is black eyed peas.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Vegan Friendly Giant 'Jaffa' Cake

How Golden Am I?  Have you noted the last four recipes have been made with gold coloured vegetables and also happen to be accidentally vegan too.

Well here is another - my Giant 'Jaffa' Cake.  

Vegetarian & Vegan Bohemian Pub: The Railway Hotel, Southend-On-Sea

So its been a long weekend and I am thankful for it.

We went to Essex to see my mother in law.  
Over the Easter weekend, we went to  Southend-On-Sea.  We have been there many times. See here for pictures from the archives.  This time though, I had an ulterior motive for going into the town. First we walked along the seafront and spent some £ in the amusement arcades.  I kept putting in 2p into the slot to win a Mamushka/Babushka Russian Doll key ring, but failed. As I was walking away a little disappointed like a sulking child, a woman ran up behind me calling me.  I turned around I thought I had dropped something.  Her son was on the machine next to us, he wanted a eraser aka rubber, but got a Russian Doll keyring (she obviously had overheard me talking to D about me trying to get this keyring).  I was totally blown away by her and her son's sweet kindness.  We were actually able to swap as my sister in law had got an Minion eraser that she did not want. We were both happy. We then went into the town centre for a wander before arriving at our destination.
I have been wanting to try out a vegetarian pub known as The Railway Hotel in Southend-On-Sea a few years ago, but every time we went to see my MIL time ran out and we had to head back home.  
This time though we made time. 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Turmeric Pasta with Blood Orange Chilli Vinaigrette Dressing

This marigold yellow pasta with marmalade coloured roasted peppers and butternut squash was lunch for work - twice, last week.  

As I was tucking in, it got some of my colleagues all intrigued and curious 'Gosh, that pasta is glowing'.
The pasta is simply infused with turmeric powder.  I've also tried this method with beetroot See HERE.   Although I have used ready made penne pasta here, you could easily make vegan Turmeric pasta from scratch too, just add a teaspoon or half to the flour when your mixing and kneading. 

Anyway, the turmeric pasta on its own was a bit bland, so I decided to make make a vinaigrette dressing for it with some Blood Oranges that were mingling with the lemons in a bowl.
The Blood Orange Chilli Oil was spicy and quite tasty elevated by the addition of my bottle of Welsh Blodyn Aur Rapeseed Chilli Oil.   Of course, you can make your own Chilli Oil at home and I probably would had I grown my own chillies, but sometimes when you have excellent produce on your front door why would you not want to make the most of it. 

The Turmeric Pasta with Roasted Squash and Peppers and Chilli Oil was blooming delicious and I'd happily make it again for lunch or evening meal. Probably best served with some salad greens, but that is optional. The only thing I was very disappointed in my supermarket bought Blood oranges.  Once sliced they were not as blood red inside as I had expected...oh well.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Butter Beans and Kale Curried Turmeric Rice

This yellow turmeric infused rice with butter beans is inspired by a family Pilau  - Savoury Rice recipe. I make a variation of this rice dish with whatever is in season or what I have to hand every other month.  
As we are going away for a long weekend to my mother in laws, we have been raiding the fridge and vegetable basket, so there was not much in the way of fresh ingredients, other than some curly kale which I wish was from the garden.  I always have some dried beans, lentils and pulses so decided to make this dish last night when I put some butter beans to soak overnight.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Super Loaded Sweet Potato Jackets

I was inspired to make these after I saw a fellow blogger make a vegetarian version of Shepherds Pie Jacket Potatoes with perhaps the most perfect piped mashed potato swirl topping I've ever seen.  She admitted the idea wasn't original and it was because there were a lack of vegetarian versions of Jacket Potatoes stuffed with  vegetarian Shepherdesss Pie filling, so she created her own.  I decided to do something similar, this time with Sweet Potatoes. 
I was pretentiously going to call these Super Loaded Sweet Potato Jackets - Rasta Jackets because of the Rastafari colours: Red (from the pepper) is for blood, green (from the coriander) is for the earth and gold (from the sweet potato and sweetcorn) is for the sun, but I wasn't completely swayed by the idea.  
There is also some facon bacon in these sweet potatoes.  I thought the sweetness would be overpowering, so decided to stir in some chopped facon bacon that imparted a subtle smokyness.  The coriander also  toned the sweetness adding that distinct herby zing.  And finally, a good drizzle of Blodyn Aur Rapeseed chilli oil which was warming.  I have been enjoying this oil, dousing it on whatever I think needs a little injection of warmth.  And then served with mixed salad leaves, sliced red onion and chopped cherry tomatoes.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Black Eyed Peas, Red Pepper and Squash Stew with Preserved Lemons

Yes, I share with you another stew of sorts.  Though I have to admit this is a much lighter stew compared to those features a couple of weeks back. I guess its a sign that Spring is here.  
Contrary though, the ingredients are not spring like at all, mostly autumnal.  Squashes, sweet potatoes and red and yellow peppers have been featuring quite a bit on my plate recently, I think its the colours that shout and make me feel all warm and humble.   Or maybe its accidental, as I want a change from the drudge brown-beige and greens.  

Cardiff Indoor Antique and Flea Market

A few weeks ago, instead of going into the City of Cardiff for a day out, we decided to track down its Indoor Flea Market.  
After a couple of wrong turns on the industrial estate, we found it.  Under its massive roofed building the market hosts over 60 eclectic stores.  Each stall is unique, selling goods ranging from antiques, retro, recycled, second hand, upcycled, and vintage goods.  Here are a selection of some the wierd and wonderful that caught my eye.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Vegetarian Sarson Ka Saag, Potato, Paneer and Pea Pie

I made this Sarson Ka Saag, Potato, Paneer and Pea Pie filling during British Pie Week (7th - 13th March 2016)  and then lost Internet connection for five days so could not share the recipe with you then.  

I don't want to be pedantic, but many people make a mistake of thinking Spinach is Saag.  It is not and sadly many people of South Asian heritage continue to perpetuate this.  Why I am not sure, perhaps because they don't know their greens!  So let me tell you, Saag is mustard greens and Palak is Spinach.  See THIS blog link if you wish to learn more. 

Saag is a dish I used to resent eating when I was a child, all green and mushy.  Now there are days when I hanker for the siliky green thick sauce.  My way of cooking Sarsan Ka Saag is in no way authentic, as the authentic way is time consuming, so I rely on tinned Sarsan Ka Saag.  This recipe is my lazy version made with tinned Sarsan Ka Saag but the memories of eating it are rooted in my childhood days and evoke happy and carefree times.
Although you could eat this filling as a curry with rice or an Indian style bread.  The filling is actually extremely versatile as its not sloppy. 

So here are some suggestions: Make a Indo-Greek Spanakopita with filo pastry; Indian Samosas or individual small hand pies (see below).  Or wrap it in a Pakistani roti. Punjabi chappati or Mexican tortilla or slather it over an Indian naan bread and call it a pizza!   Or you could simply make one large pie and top it with puff pastry or make individual Pot Pies!  
I have to admit that I was partly inspired by the rather pretty Rejina Sabur-Cross aka The Gastro Geek  for this recipe.   A couple of years back she made Aloo Saag Pies.  We have similar ingredients, but our approach to making the filling is different.  She uses tamarind.  I don't but if you want you could dollop a tablespoon or two of sweet mango chutney, but its not essential. 

I used tinned Sarson Ka Saag.  there is no way I will ever attempt making saag from scratch at home.  See here why?! I either wait for my mother or sister-in-laws to make some and offer me some, or buy it in tins and then I adapt it to my taste.  I  won't begrudge you if you used tinned spinach - just call it Palak.... please.  I am sharing this with Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Searching for Spice; and Inheritance Recipes challenge co hosted by Solange at Pebble Soup and Coffee and Vanilla.  

Coal Mining Mosaic at Crumlin, South Wales

About a year or so back, D and myself made a U-Turn when we caught a glimmer of radiant colours from the road.  We parked up and discovered this Coal Mining Mosaic in a little place called Crumlin in South Wales.  We took loads of photographs on the day and then went off on our merry way.
Crumlin Mosaic
Recently, on our way somewhere or other, we decided to park up and check the Coal Mining Mosaic again.  Sadly I noted parts of it were vandalised.  Some of the mosaic tiles had been pulled out deliberately and therefore damaged and destroyed.  I though I would share some of the photographs we had taken a year or so ago.   
Crumlin Mosaic
The mosaic depicts aspects of the mining industry.  Mining was one of the town's main industries. 
Crumlin Mosaic
Close up the details are fantastic and cover most aspects of mining

Friday, 18 March 2016

Five Egg Cups

We don't celebrate Easter in our home, no reason - we just don't.  We rarely purchase or eat chocolate shaped eggs, other than those that are shared in the workplace.  But we do occasionally eat free range eggs.  

This Friday I thought I would share some egg cups in my home.  Now before I do, I must say, neither of us really do dippy eggs, but I do like kitchenalia and many of these egg cups were picked up mostly for aesthetic reasons, than for functional reasons. 

First up, these farm animals shaped egg cups - hen, sheep and pig.  I did also have a cow, but it's head fell off and there was a crack in the cup itself so it was lobbed.
Next I picked up these old fashioned egg cup holders from a charity shop with my mother in law a couple of years back when I moved back to Wales.  They weren't in great condition when I brought them home, and they are sadly deteriorating, but I do like them.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Supernatural Green Quiche with Spirulina Shortcrust

Nothing supernatural about this quiche, its really just a Broccoli Quiche on a green pastry base. 
The shortcrust pasty is naturally dyed green with the addition of spirulina powder to the dough; and the eggy filling.  Well I steamed some broccoli and blitzed half of it with the milk, then poured it into a bowl and whisked it with the eggs and poured it over the pastry case that had been lined with the remaining broccoli heads and doused with some Welsh cheddar cheese. 
At one point during the cooking process, I actually panicked and thought the quiche was not going to set but fortunately it did.  This Broccoli quiche was packed with lots of flavours.  Even the spirulina powder in the shortcrust pastry imparted its sea earth flavours.  Its just a shame the photograph here doesn't pick up the green in pastry, though I must admit it is a little scorched here and there.  Here's a song by the Jamaican Reggae Band The Dread & Terrible called 'Spirulina'. 
I am sharing this recipe with 'Eat Your Greens' which I am hosting this month and my new Co-Host The Veg Hog;  and Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Searching for Spice.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Avocado Coriander Chilli Spaghetti

This Avocado Coriander Chilli Spaghetti was a throw it in the pan meal.  I make these kinda of meals quite a lot when I get in home from work; and these are the ones that are often not photographed either due to poor lighting or hunger pangs more of a priority than blogging.  

Another thing to say about these kind of meals is that I don't often measure the ingredients and judge it by eye, so it never tastes the same the next time round,  but always hits the hungry spot. 
This Spaghetti Pasta dish is very much like the Butternut Squash dish I made a month or so back, its essentially Spaghetti Pasta Aglio, Olio e Peperonicino or chilli flakes tarted up with soft buttery avocado and zesty herbs, mostly coriander.  And to finish it off, some freshly squeezed lemon juice to give it some zing. 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Green Spirulina Coconut Macaroons

Have you noted my absence?!  I haven't had Internet since Friday thanks to BT, until this evening when I got in from work.  
I made these vegan coconut macaroons at the weekend.  With St Patricks day nearing us, I decided to add a teaspoon of spirulina to half of the mixture.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Very Red Pepper and Kidney Bean Casserole with Vegan Sausages

It must have been a subliminal message of sorts that got me hankering for a Veggie Sausage Casserole.  For days I went onto D 'I need to pick u some veggie sausages...'  yet always seemed to forget and then I repeated myself all over again 'I have to pick up some veggie sausages', but yesterday - I remembered!  

And so here it is, a rich thyme and smoked paprika infused tomato sauce based casserole with kidney beans and Romano red peppers.  It turned out very red indeed.
You can choose to use any vegetarian or vegan sausage you like, I am not loyal to any particular brand and like to try them all.  If your not a veggie, of course you can opt the real meat variety.  The smokiness from the paprika was just right, not overwhelming at all.   I served this very red vegan casserole with some crushed roasted new potatoes.  It was grand I tell you and well worth the wait.
So some of you may wondering why do I showcase a leek here?!  Well I was going to call this Welsh Leek Sausage Casserole, but the leeks do get lost in this very red dish - so I didn't bother.  I am sharing this with MLLA #93 and hosted this mont by myself. If you want to join in follow this link. 

Monday, 7 March 2016

Luxurious Vegan 'Vish Fish' Pie with Sea Vegetables, Spaghetti Seaweed, Smoked Tofu

This is perhaps the most luxurious vegan fish = Vish pie you will ever set eyes upon or eat, if you choose to make it.  
I made this rather La-Vish/lavish Vegan Ocean Pie over the weekend.  D wasn't feel too good, so we didn't venture far at all.  I decided to play with some new ingredients and incorporate them into this experimental Pie.  This vegan 'Fish' Pie is packed with vegetables, smoked tofu, sea vegetables, spaghetti seaweed and sea flakes to give it that natural taste of the sea.    
Unlike the other vegetarian and vegan pies featured on my blog, this one is made with lots of unusual ingredients and has a lot of processes before it reaches the plate, but its all worth it. One of the other things I wanted to do was cut the tofu to resemble little fishies, click here to see my Tofu Fish, but couldn't find my cutter, but I did get round to using my new EZ Tofu Press (see below).
I feel for D, he eats mostly vegetarian meals because of me. The only meat he will eat is fish, but its not often.  Its only if we ever go out to eat or on holidays overseas, he will order a fish or seafood meal, but even then its quite rare.   He doesn't moan, but I know sometimes he hankers for some Fish Supper Fridays.  So I made this with him in mind.  I was a little unsure if he would accept this meal, but he has always been gracious and accepted whatever I have put on the table for him to eat.  He thought the ingredients mimicked the flavours of a Fish pie well.  Lots of textures and flavours from the vegetables, seaweed and liquid smoked tofu.  
The cream sauce was delicious enhanced by the nutritional yeast.  The only thing that muddied the creamy sauce was the chestnut mushrooms, if I could have found oyster mushrooms locally, I would have thrown them into the pan, but its a small aesthetic thing, it did not impact on the dish as a whole. To finish off it was topped of with mashed potatoes that were doused with Green Nori flakes and then put into the oven to bake.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Homemade Green Chilli 'Doritos' Chips and Guacamole

I quite like Chilli Heatwave Dorito crisps, and can often be found munching on them either a Friday Night or Saturday nights, so I was really thankful to Krys who I have been friends with for a long while for sharing a recipe link to make homemade Doritos. 

Krys said was going to make a vegan variation of this recipe; and I responded back that I would make a vegetarian version as the recipe used Parmesan cheese as a flavouring.  Parmesan cheese is not suitable for vegetarians as it is made with animal rennet.  I found a good alternative: Old Winchester which is made in the UK and makes for a good vegetarian alternative to Parmesan.
So when I started to pull together the ingredients to make this recipe including chillii and paprika, I was reminded of a packet of Peruvian Jalapeno green chilli powder that I have had for a long time unopened.  I decided to use that instead of the chilli and paprika.  I was rather impatient coating the green chilli concoction over the sliced triangular tortilla wrap pieces and it shows, but the taste result was awesome.  It was really spicy.  I can handle chilli kicks, but this was super duper spicy so to calm it down a little instead of my usual red salsa, I decided on making some guacamole. 
You know what, I make guacamole all the time, but have never ever shared it on my blog.  I guess because blogosphere is covered in the green stuff, why bother with another guacamole recipe which is much of a muchness.  Anyway, the green guacamole did tone down the heat.
So last night, when we settled down to watch Game of Thrones - we are watching the whole released series in readiness for the new series to be released on DVD.  (No I don't want to know that Jon Snow died in it - Spoilers!)  

We also ripped open  a packet of the Chilli Heatwave Doritos too and you know what, we could hardly taste the spice (compared to my home-made green version) as the sugar dominated. Its amazing the difference when you make something at home and compare.  We would never have noted the overwhelming sweetness had we not made them at home.   I am sharing this with Credit Crunch Munch hosted this month by Travels for Taste and often co-hosted by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food For All

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Welsh Rarebit Laverbread Scones

The Welsh Laverbread Diaries continue...

These Welsh Rarebit Laverbread Scones were with a capital A - Amazing.  D scoffed down two and would have easily gone for a third had I not given him the beady eye.  
The mustard seeds give it pop and warmth, the Welsh laverbread a little colour and saltiness. and of course the cheddar cheese metled on top gives it that golden Blonde hue, gorgeous just on the cusp of almost burnt, but not quite.  To give the scones additional oomf, I've used both self raising flour and baking powder, but you can just leave out the baking powder if you wish.  Most of my recipes are easy to veganize, and this one is no different, just make a vegan savoury scone, then add vegan alternative non dairy milk and cheese.
As I said earlier, D loved these.  We had finished of the remaining  scones in the following coming day, but gave them about 30 second in the nuker (microwave)  for a bit of warmth, but they are at their best on the day.

The lovely Louise from Months of Edible Celebrations wrote a fantastic insightful piece on Welsh Rarebit - Chasing the Rabbit  that may interest those of you  interested in the origins of the Rarebit.  Follow this link.   

And if your looking for more Welsh Laverbread inspiration, see the links below.
Welsh Laverbread Pies
Welsh Woman's Laverbread Caviar
Welsh Laverbread Suet Pudding with Mushrooms and Puy Lentils
Glorified Laverbread Cakes aka Welsh Welsh Vegetarian Burger with Caerphilly Cheese
Welsh cottage Pie with Laverbread Mash
Laverbread, Samphire and Seaweed Quiche with Perl Las Cheese

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Little Welsh Nibbles In My Kitchen

With today being St David's Day, I thought I would share some Welsh things and Welsh nibbles in my kitchen. 
 I treated myself to a cute new Welsh mug, this has found its way to the office. 
I've showcased this chopping board before on my blog, but I couldn't resist sharing it again.  It reads in Welsh 'Homemade Bread made with Love'.  It was given to me as a gift from my nephew many years ago and I still treasure it, no bread or bread knife has ever been near it. 
This is a novelty dish wash scrubby in the shape of a Welsh daffodil.  

Welsh Woman's Vegan Laverbread Caviar

Dydd Dewi Sant hapus! (Happy St Davids's Day!) Lovely readers.  

Laverbread is known in Wales as 'Welshman's Caviar'.  I first heard about an actual 'Welsh Laverbread Caviar' product from my nephew who came up to see me when I lived in Scotland (see here), and it had since got me thinking of making my own.  

The eureka moment came to me a when I made my balsamic beetroot pearls  and then it dawned on me  to try this with tapioca, basil seeds and even chia seeds.  These worked well as a substitute, the beady seeds swelled and became voluminous and gelatinous, however they lacked in flavour.  I had to find ways to inject flavours into these bobbly beads.  Natural colours were easy to impart, but flavours were a little harder to accomplish, but I eventually got there with: brine, tomato juice, carrot juice, smoked liquid and so forth.  
Even though I've been making vegan Caviar for a few years now, I have failed to blog about them.  Not all my experiments in the kitchen make it onto the blog due to poor evening lighting.  And although this vegan caviar is still not quite perfect (I need to drain the liquid a little more for a start), I think its good enough to share the concept/idea with my readers.  

Originally I had thought to call my vegetarian version 'Mermaids Pearls', but 'Welsh Gentlewoman's Vegan Caviar' sounds more cachet.  

March Welcomes Your Vegetarian MLLA and Eat Your Greens Recipes

I am delighted to announce that I will be hosting the 93 edition of My Legume Love Affair for March 2015.  
This is a diverse food blogging event, so any worldwide cuisine is welcome, as long as the main ingredient are legumes.  This can be beans, lentils, pulses.  Peanuts are legumes, as are carob, fenugreek and tamarind.  Foods made from legumes such as chickpea flour and tofu are permitted.  Whatever your chosen legume is, please just ensure that it is the predominant ingredient of the recipe.  

My Legume Love Affair was started by The Well Seasoned Cook.  Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen is now the administrator of MLLA, as well as the occasional hostess. For the rules please link to this announcement page and read Lisa's MLLA information page as well.  

Please link your entry below.  I will post the MLLA Round up in the first week of April 2016.

I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome your entries to #EatYourGreens. This is a monthly vegetarian and vegan cooking challenge for food bloggers around the world to make something with a green vegetable (or fruit) each month.  Follow this link on how to participate. Then just leave a comment on this blog post with a  link to your #EatYourGreens vegan or vegetarian recipe. 
Myself and my co-host The Veg Hog  look forward to welcoming your #EatYourGreen recipes for March.  For February's Round up check out The Veg Hog's Round Up here.