Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Homemade Preserves, Jams and Chutneys for Christmas Gifts

Once upon a time, I used to snug my nose  if someone gave me a pot of homemade jam.  I don't know where that snobbery came from, certainly not from my parents.  I think it was partly to do with peer pressure and the rise of supermarkets and consumerism.  I also took for granted the domestic goddess that was my mother snubbing homemade stuff for brand names that became the desirables, but then something happened in my mid 20s.  It made me think, I mean seriously think and re-evaluate what was important to me and since I have always preferred homemade.  This was further enhanced by my own vegetable growing antics at the allotment.  Also I now try my utmost to support indie craft stallholders and snatch the opportunity when I am offered a jar of homemade jar of jam; homemade anything in fact gets me excited - Yes I am easily pleased these days.  

Unlike previous years, I've not been the most organised this year with foodie gifts for family and friends.  Saying that though,  a little while back I did make some Beetroot Chutney and some Plum Jam and Plum Chutney; and a new work colleague friend from Slovakia has given me some homemade Dandelion Honey that happens to be accidentally vegan.  But I have decided to show off some of my favourite preserves, jams and chutneys that I have made over the years.  
Popular Rose Petal and Rhubarb Butter.  I also have Hibiscus and Rhubarb Butter.  The colour is utterly gorgeous.
Seasonal Golden Pumpkin Rum Butter
Carrot Halwa Butter
My famous Slow Cooked Apple Butter (2010) thanks to my Scottish neighbour Nessie (RIP) 
Honeydew Melon and Chilli Jelly Jam Spread
Apple Chilli Jelly

Time to start foraging for those rosehips.  Here is another very popular recipe on my blog Rosehip Jelly.

I made these jars of Pickled Nasturtium Seed Pods this year, they are very similar to capers. 
Will you believe me if It ell you that i still have some green tomatoes in my greenhouse - I do and I plan to make some Green Tomato Chutney with it.
Another one that was very popular with D's friends when they came over to visit us from America many years ago.  D's friend absolutely loved this Fiery Scotch Bonnet  Apple Chutney.
And something that I have been making on and off since discovering the magic of chia seeds - Chia Seed Jam.  I've made Chia jam with every berry fruit you can imagine.  This blog post is part of Vegan Month of Food: The Theme is Holidays.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Beetroot, Horseradish and Green Beans Pasta Salad

This Beetroot, Horseradish Pasta Salad was made in a hurry a few weeks back over the weekend.

I took inspiration from what was in my fridge: cooked beetroot and green beans and kitchen cupboards: horseradish powder and dried pasta and lunch was on the table in less than 30 minutes.
The amount of horseradish you put in is subjective, put in as much or as little as you want.  I made the horseradish myself with some horseradish powder that I picked from Glastonbury earlier on in the month.  But if you use ready made, albeit a vegan brand make sure you get good horseradish - nothing disappoints than a tame horseradish in your mouth when your expecting a boom!
We had some Beetroot Horseradish Pasta Salad left over, so I took some into work and shared it with a colleague who comes from Slovakia where they do like their beetroot.  By the way this is the same work colleague who gave me some beetroots from her allotment plot a little while back and I made a vegan Beetroot and Soy 'Lamb' Curry.  She liked it and wanted the recipe.  I told her 'there is no recipe, but this is what I did'... I cooked the pasta and stirred in cooked green beans, cooked beetroot and then stirred in a little olive oil along with some horseradish , finished of with a good grinding of salt and pepper. 

I was never a fan of beetroot when I was small and it was not something that my parents cooked with.  The only form I ever saw it was in jars for making cheese and beetroot rolls, the stuff was harsh.  However, when I left home for college and then University, I became more adventurous with my food and my culinary adventures had just begun.  I met my husband, then a friend, then a boyfriend, then fiancee for many many years before we got married - well he loved the red beet root, so I began discovering the versatility of this earthy vegetable and began making both savoury and sweet dishes with it.  I would not say that I love beetroot, but I have over the years begun appreciating it much more than I did in my early formative years.  
Other Beetroot Sweet and Savoury Recipes that may appeal
Beetroot Chocolate Cake Runner Up in the Great Vegan Bake Of 2013 
Chocolate Beetroot Black Bean Chilli
Raw Beetroot Coconut Halwa Hearts
Beetroot Pakora Bites
Beetroot Pearls
Sri Lankan Beetroot Curry

This blog post is part of Vegan Month of Food: Memories and Traditions.  I am also sharing this Beetroot, Horseradish and Green Beans Pasta Salad with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen;  and Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Searching for Spice;  and Simple and In Season hosted by  Feeding Boys;  

Friday, 25 November 2016

Aloo Tikki Bagel

It been an extremely busy week at work, so my blog post this evening will be short.  My evening dinner today is Pizza, don't diss me - its homemade pizza!  Check out my Instagram for the photograph, I promise you it will be very different from other pizzas you've seen.

Right now though, I am sharing a fusion snack of Aloo Tikki Bagel.  I am constantly amazed at how much i eat is accidentally vegan.  Aloo Tikki is a South Asian snack made from spicy oniony mashed potatoes (aloo) that is shaped into cutlets or burger shapes, then coated in a spicy blend of chickpea batter and deep fried.  It important to eat it whilst it is still hot as that is when it is at its most deliciousness.  
You can eat the Aloo Tikki as you wish, we and I mean my siblings would often stuff it in roti aka chappati slathered in tomato sauce, it had to be a red sauce to temper the spices, then rolled up like burrito and munched on.  These days I tend to either stuff it in a burger bread bun or a bagel; and my siblings children in a tortilla wrap.

Like my Samosa Soup recipe: a combination of Dal and Samosa, Aloo Tikki is another firm favourite comfort food and not one I indulge in that often as it requires deep frying, but when I do, I ravish it within minutes.
This blog post is part of Vegan Month of Food.  The theme is memories and traditions. I am also sharing this with Soups, Salads and Sammies and this is kind of a sandwich hosted by Kahakai Kitchen;  

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Mini Pumpkins Stuffed with vegan Chorizo and Chickpeas

These little cute pumpkins may be perfect to adorn any kitchen table or mantle piece, but come to slice them and they are quite resistant little things.  These mini pumpkins known as munchkin pumpkins were very hard to slice, but I persevered and then scooped out the seeds for the garden birds.
The hollowed out mini pumpkins serve as fantastic bowls that you can take straight to the table, no washing up to do either, something that my husband appreciates as he does most of the dishes in our home.
You can stuff mini pumpkins with all manner of things, such as the vegan Spanish style chorizo, chickpeas and kale that I made.  It was very nice too.  One of my favourite long term food blogger extraordinaire and Queen and inspirational kick starter behind UKs  Underground Supper Club scene Ms Marmite Lover aka Kerstin Rodgers has some wonderful suggestion on How to use squash and pumpkins.
Vegan Mofo prompt is Autumn Fall Traditions.  I tend to make the most of small pumpkins in season, this blog post  is also inspired by Thanksgiving.  

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Fishless Fish Free Japanese Sea Vegetable and Nori Cakes

These Fishless Japanese Sea Vegetable and Nori Cakes would make a fantastic light starter 
I think these Fishless Sea Vegetable Cakes look marvellous without the panko coating that its a shame it has to be cover the colourful seaweed shades of greens.   This is my submission to #EatYourGreens food challenge.  Please do join in with you Green Vegan Mofo blog post, the rules are here.
Before I give you the recipe, I want a little bit of a rant.  Yesterday was not the day we had planned.  All our good plans went pear shaped.  We were on our way to Bristol to celebrate and have a little fun with my nephews, but the icy weather played havoc with our car that we had to turn back home and go to the garage.  It cost us £300.00.  Happy Birthday. There was no point in grumbling but I was very mift and wished we had never left the house in the first place.  All the signs with the weather were warning us to stay indoors.  When we got back home we just tried to make the best of what was left of the day at home and outside it poured ice buckets. 

Anyway, I digress.  I had so much fun getting back into Food 'N' Flix, so I am joining again.  The movie chosen this month is Burnt.  As a foodies, I have to admit I had not seen it or heard of it and to be honest, I am not a fan of either Bradley Cooper or Sienna Miller, but I wanted to play along with Food N Flix,  so I purchased the film.  I watched it one weekend.  
Although there are loads of food references, it did not terribly inspire me - perhaps because I am a Vegetarian and many of the food references were to meat and seafood, but whilst I was racking my head for ideas the scene when the two lead characters are in Billinsgate Markets,  London's most famous fish market inspired me to make some 'Fish' Cakes.

Of course I was not going to make anything with fish or seafood, but I did have sea vegetables and these Fishless Fishfree Sea Vegetable Cakes were created . 

Friday, 18 November 2016

Plum Fruit Leather Bats for A Batman Fan or Halloween Party

I made these plum fruit leather bats for Halloween with the plums that were literally falling from the tree in my garden.  
I have so many garden to kitchen cookbooks and many have recipes for fruit leather, but never got round to making it at home despite having so many recipes bookmarked.  I am embarrassed to admit, its only because fruit leather began popping up on blogosphere that got me finally motivated. 
 couldn't find my black cat cookie cutter as that is what I really wanted to do with the plum fruit leather, but I guess I could do that for next year now, so instead we have some of Batmans back up - Nocturnal Bats.  I've rolled some plum fruit leather too for effect.
My regular readers will that my first attempt at making fruit leather was a bit of a fail, but I managed to save the pulped plums for other recipes including Plum Ketchup.  The second attempt was much more pleasing.  I loved how the fruit leather peeled off the sheet like old wallpaper being stripped from the wall.  It  was so satisfactory to pull off and moreso to eat. Zingy and surprisingly yummy.
Vegan Mofo Rainbow challenge yesterday was a colour you rarely eat; and today it is to make your food look like a photo taken with a black and white camera; and tomorrow its Goth Day - black blues and purples.  I have combined the three challenges in one.  What do you think? 

Other Fruit Leather Recipes on Blogosphere
Homemade Fruit Roll Ups by  Our Best Bites 
Natasha's Kitchen Plum Fruit Leather
 The Food Network Various Fruit Leathers
DIY Natural Rhubarb Fruit Leather
The Full Helping Blueberry Goji Fruit Leather
And for fun, here are some photographs I took when I went to a few months ago of heroes and villians. 


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Raw Vegan Butternut, Mango, Orange and Marigold Layer Cake

This is  not a cake 'cake' with a sponge, and its not a cheesecake though on first glance that is how it appears.

This is a Butternut, Mango and Orange Marigold Layer Cake,  which I have also pretentiously dubbed as Sunrise Cake.
The bottom is an almond crust, the middle Mango and butternut Squash filling is infused with Mango sweetness and then the topping finished off with a zingy zesty orange  jelly made with agar agar and then finished off with a light scattering of dried marigold flower petals - all depicting colours of the Sunrise. 
I was impressed with myself, though I have to admit the rice paper butterflies actually look a little out of place, here or maybe dare I say it tacky - I did like the scattering of the dried marigold petals.
This is not a very sweet cake, needs a squirt of (soya) cream to cut the richness of the butternut mango filling and the sharp twang from the orange topping.  Its also a very big cake, you can slice it in 8 pieces generously or in 14 slices.  I took some of it into work and shared it with my friends and some colleagues from omnivores to vegans and told them this Butternut, Mango and Orange Marigold Layer Cake was a Raw, vegan and gluten free cake. They were all very impressed and said they felt virtuous and quite light eating it.  

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Rainbow Carrots, Puy Lentil and Barley Salad

I had plans to make a Rainbow Carrot Tart with these Rainbow Carrots for evening supper, but that idea was quickly dropped when I realised we had no bread to make sandwiches for lunch and I did not fancy pasta again, so this Barley and Lentil Salad was cobbled together with what other ingredients I had in the kitchen cupboards.

I found it to be really, really nice.  There was a comforting chew from the barley, bite from the rainbow carrots that also made me feel rather cheery every time I tucked in to take a spoonful from my lunch box.  The Puy lentils just added that soft salty poppets of flavour and a final flurry of spring onions aka scallions.  I want more salads like this for winter.  
Vegan Mofo theme this week is Rainbow Food and the prompt today is Multicolour Food.  

Other Rainbow Coloured Vegan Recipes 
Rainbow Chard Bundles
Harissa Rainbow Carrots with Maftoul
Rainbow Bell Pepper Spaghetti
Rainbow Vegetables with Soba Noodles
To see more graffiti art click here

I am sharing this Rainbow Carrots, Puy Lentil and Barley Salad with Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen. for No Croutons Required and Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen;  

Monday, 14 November 2016

Drunken Spicy Red Wine Spaghetti

I made this Drunken Spicy Red Wine Spaghetti on Friday evening, so we could drink the rest the remaining bottle that evening.  The red wine in question this time came from Marks & Spencers Shiraz Six Hats which is suitable for vegans and vegetarians, its also Fair Trade.  We only drink once a week, either on a Friday or Saturday so it has be a good one.  Its also our acknowledgement that the weekend has started and thank goodness for it after a long week in work. 
Vegan Mofo theme this week is Rainbow Food and the prompt today is Monochrome: One Colour Food and wallah here is a bowl of Drunken Spicy Red Wine Spaghetti. So how would you describe this colour? Blush, cardinal, amaranth or just simply red wine.

My husband D, absolutely loved this Drunken Spicy Red Wine Spaghetti and said it made for a delicious change from our vegetarian version of The Red Lady  Putttanesca and The Angry Arrabiata that we so often have.  I did not have any home-made vegetarian or vegan Parmesan to hand and have never in my life had the real stuff, even in my non-vegetarian days I was put of by it as it smelled like baby sick to me, so I just threw on some waxy tasted pine nuts, but I wished that I had some of the Green Gourmet Giraffe's vegan Parmesan cheese to hand.  
By the way a few weeks back I saw Red Wine Brownies trending on blogosphere, neither the Red Wind Spaghetti or Red Wine Brownies are new, but they are to me.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Brighton Graffiti Street Art Part 1

I try to find pleasure wherever I go, whether on my doorstep, in another village or city or even overseas.  The last place I went on holiday was Brighton.  It was everything I had imagined and more.  
Instead of abiding by Vegan Mofo prompt today of Dream Holiday, Today, I am sharing some photographs of graffiti art in Brighton.  
I am sharing the elegant red fox photograph with Sunday Snap hosted by JibberJabber UK, at this time aroudn we see way too many foxes (badges and hedgehogs) are seen lifeless on the road as they come out mostly at night to feed only to have their precious lives taken away.  Its heart breaking that these beautiful creatures have to come out into the open as their own natural  green habitat is being destroyed around us.