Friday, 31 August 2018

Eat Your Greens Round Up

August is coming to an end and slowly ushering in September with cooler evenings.  As much as I have been thankful for the sunshine, I have to admit - I am no sun worshipper and am actually looking forward to putting on sweatshirts and baggy jumpers.  Yes, I am a Autumn person and am looking forward to seeing the trees change from its many shades of green to shades of golden browns. 
Talking of colours, we have four vegan and vegetarian Eat Your Green recipes to share this month.
The first Eat Your Greens recipe comes from Johanna aka The Green Gourmet Giraffe. Johanna shares Cauliflower, Rocket, Pine nut and Currant Salad.  She writes tha tshe is quite in love with roasted cauliflower lately.  I can totally appreciate why as roasting this vegetable completely alters its flavour.  The roasted cauliflower is enhanced further by the pepper rocket.
The next recipe comes from Ephee who blogs over at The Ephemeral Daily Meal and Other Magic Tricks.  Ephee shares Salade de Kale Masala which actually didn't translate so well by google, as its not actually masala, but Massaged Kale with dukkah.  I love the sound of this.  I have heard so much about massaged kale, but have never got round to making it or even trying it. 

My co-host The Veg Hog has been quite busy, but managed to share with us Fennel and Broad Bean Stew which she describes as summerly and warm, as she has been craving more wholesome warming dishes like soups and stews - yes, we both seem to be looking forward to the Autumn.

And finally, my own contribution Courgette and Black Flame Raisins.  We enjoyed them, that is all I am saying. 

The Veg Hog will be hosting #EatYourGreens challenge this month.  Please Follow this link on how to join in 

Monday, 27 August 2018

Cacao Nibs, Raw Chocolate and Cocoa Muesli

Regular blog readers may recognise this Cacao Nibs, Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Muesli  has featured on my blog before, but I decided to make and showcase it again, as its one cereal I am happy tucking into.  Its really a muesli base enhanced with organic cacao nibs, cocoa powder and grated raw dark chocolate.
I have to admit cacao nibs are not to everyones taste, its very distinct in flavour - a tad bitter, but before dismissing it all together, give it a try, you just never know.  I acquired a taste for cacao nibs since making some raw chocolate four years ago and its been making an appearance in my kitchen slowly but surely. Actually the last recipe I made with it was  Sweet Potato Fudge from Bite Sized Thoughts.  
I am sharing this with the last ever We Should Cocoa (WSC) food blogger event hosted by Tin and Thyme.  I have been playing along since its inception eight years ago joining in with both sweet and savoury recipes.  I have even had the pleasure to host some themed WSC, so will miss it even though in the past months I haven't joined in as much as I have wanted to.

Below are a selection of those chocolate recipes shared with We Should Cocoa over the years. 

The Chocolate Chili Round Up
The Chocolate Mango Round Up

Chili Chocolate Salsa
White Chocolate Banoffee Roulade
Red Dragon Chili Brownies
Parsnip and White Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate Lime Halva

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Courgette and Black Flame Raisins Muffins

Well its a Bank holiday i the UK and in true British tradition, the skies are pouring with rain.  Its a proper soggy Sunday that I dare not even go out in the garden and pick some fresh herbs for our dinner later today.  

I made these Courgette and Black Flame Raisins Muffins a fortnight ago with courgettes from the garden allotment plot, by the way the courgette plants are still giving. The recipe is from Sarah Beattie cookbook Meat-Free Any Day .  I just decided not to make the icing for these sweet vegetarian muffins as I did not have any cream cheese for the icing. 
 As the recipe makes a dozen, I decided to take some into work to share with my new work colleagues, they have been described as gannets by some of the others, so I had not doubt they would be gone.  But when I went into the kitchen later that afternoon, the number had hardly shrunk, my heart sunk a little.  Someone who did try a muffin and did really enjoy it, said to me it is because they were not smothered in butter cream or sickly sweet icing that the others may have stayed away.   In other words if it looks healthy, steer clear.  I thought it was a bit of a shame. Its the first time, I have taken something in to work, any workplace and its been hardly touched.  Well you cannot please everyone.  

Regardless, we enjoyed them, and the couple of other people in work also liked them too.  In fact, and this is not a word of a fib, one person actually asked for the recipe. 
I am sharing these Courgette and Black Flame Raisins Muffins with #EatYourGreens Vegetarian and Vegan Blog challenge hosted by me this month.  Eat Your Greens is also co-hosted by The VegHog Please do join in.  For those of you who have not participated before, please Follow this link on how to join in . There still a few days to join in before the deadline of the 30 August. 

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Marrow Curry with Black Chickpeas

Everybody seems to be going crazy for black chickpeas which surprises me.  Black chickpeas are a staple in many South Asian homes.  Black chickpeas are known as kala channa or kala cholay.   

I've never featured black chickpeas on my blog for two reasons.  My family, either my mother or sister in laws make it for me when I go over and its not that often, so its hearty humble vegetarian food for my belly and secondly,  I find its time consuming to soak the black chickpeas overnight and then cook it slowly - when its mostly me eating them, as D is not that keen on them.  It is worth cooking from scratch  though as the flavour is completely different to the traditional chickpea.  Black chickpeas are more nutty.  So it was interesting to try some black chickpeas that come ready cooked in a tin. I've a few original black chickpea recipe ideas up my head, but this time I wanted to keep it simple and true to my heritage and decided to make a South Asian style vegetable curry.  
You can use any vegetable you like, but as I have marrows coming from the garden like nobodys business and its in season, I have decided to use it for this reason.  

have made both vegetarian and vegan Marrow Curry with Chickpeas, but this one is studded with black chickpeas. Please don't worry too much if you can't find black chickpeas where you are, just substitute it with the traditional variety.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Many Marrows

Marrows are plentiful in my home this month, so much so that I have given some away, mostly to family who have been more accepting of them than neighbours who have said 'Thank you, but no thank you'.
We also have some windfall cooking apples (not pictured).  Its the first year, our apple tree is giving us any at all, but the plum tree this year is not plentiful.  

I don't want to grumble, we still have plums - but I don't think I will be giving many of them away this year.  Also a number of them, when I have cut them open to use in cake have been black.  So come this weekend, I will be making more Cinnamon Plum Jam.
I had planned  to show off some of my homegrown tomatoes, but I am afraid we ate them pretty quick over the weekend in three different dishes. I hope to share some next week, or the week after, but in the meantime here is a view from my conservatory window.  Isn't it splendid?!.  
We picked up this battered galvanised animal feed trough from a second hand furniture shop when we went to  Hereford last month.  My husband was eager to use it, and potted up some chili plants that we picked up from a garden centre at a reasonable price.  If your interested follow this link to have a gander at whats in my conservatory space, an extension of my kitchen.

I  am sharing this post with  Harvest Monday (yes, I know its Tuesday today) which is hosted by Dave over Our Happy Acres.  

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Assorted Vegetable Tempura

I've made tempura before, many times - but the one and only time it has featured on my blog was in my first proper year of blogging 2009.  I like to try recipes from cookbooks on my shelf, but there are some books I return to more than others.  

I had originally planned to make peixinhos da horta which I saw Sarah Beattie tweet and found in her cookbook Meat Free Any Day , but after eating out at a vegan Japanese restaurant in Shrewsbury recently, D made me change my mind as he wanted us to make the most of the vegetables we had in the house, as well as those coming from the garden and suggested tempura instead,  so I plucked for her tempura recipe instead.  Sarah's tempura is made with asparagus, mine are made with  Assorted vegetables.
From the garden we have: green beans and courgettes, the yellow and green variety; and from the vegetable basket: cauliflower, red onion and some mild green chilies known as Padron.  
Since I was gifted Meat Free Any Day it is one of my most thumbed and well used cookbooks as it features food that you really want to eat and can easily make at home.  

I wrote about Sarah Beattie and her cookbooks before, so if you are interested please see here, as well as some of the recipes I made from the cookbook including:
Leek and Brie Rostiflette
Parsnip Tamarind Curry
Tandoori Butterflied Aubergine
Winter Vegetable Tagine   

And now I have Tempura to share. Please do check out Sarah Beatties Facebook Page too.
I am sharing this Beth's Weekend Cooking.  Gosh its been a while since I joined in.  This week it is being hosted by Deb who blogs over at Kahakai Kitchen.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Shrewsbury and Itadaki Zen Japanese Vegan Restaurant

After visiting the cathedral city of Herefordshire last month, we drove on to Shrewsbury where we had planned an overnight stay so that we could go to the Shrewsbury flea market the following morning that hosted between 100 - 150 traders selling, a mixture of antiques, collectables, vintage, architectural salvage, reclamation and quirky things. 

Unfortunately when we got into Shrewsbury it was raining heavy with rain and a number of places were closing or already closed.  We wandered in and out of those places, that were still open and of course wandered the streets looking for somewhere to eat that evening, as well as playing tourist in the little time we had. 
A statue of Charles Darwin, Shrewsbury most famous son born in 1809. This statue is situated outside of the library. 
Shropshire writer Mary Webb.

On the banks of the river Severn you will find the Quantum Leap.  An abstract sculpture known by locals as 'The Skinky'.  It celebrates the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Darwin. The slinky measure 40 foot high and 57 feet long. 

We eventually found a place to eat.   Itadaki Zen Japanese Vegan Restaurant, but it was not open until 6pm.  We waited around until it was open, we were fortunate to get a seat without having booked a table. 

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Etsis Turlu - Rich Summer Vegetable Stew

I've been cooking quite a lot of Middle Eastern recipes recently.  It started with the  Iranian Pearl Barley Soup known as Ash-e Jo or Ash-e-Jow  early this year when we had freakish snow and with the unusual hot weather continuing, now I have Etsis Turlu  

According to the cookbook author this Etsis Turlu comes from Turkey.
With the rain over the weekend, it was the perfect excuse to make a stew more suited for autumnal days and colder evenings, but i have lots of summer vegetables including courgettes, marrows and green beans coming from the garden that I wanted  to make the most of it, even if it is the height of summer.
This stew will last us good three days of the working week and we intend to eat it with couscous, bulgar wheat, rice or crusty bread.  

I am sharing this  Etsis Turlu Stew with Souper Sundays hosted by Kahakai Kitchen

Monday, 13 August 2018

Medley of Courgettes - Zucchini

The rain poured from the skies non stop over the weekend and many of us were thankful for it.  
I am harvesting courgettes aka zucchini.  I so prefer calling them Zucchini, but i live in the UK, so it has to be courgettes.  Above we have Tondo de Piacenza.

I scooped the seeds from the middle and stuffed it with some meatfree soy mince.  See the meat free filling recipe here.
Some marrows aka Summer Squash in other parts of the world and courgettes: gold rush and a stripey variety, whose name I have forgotten.  I have made another Marrow Curry, but this time with the addition of chickpeas. It will be our dinner for three days of the working week.
As for the courgettes, they have been used mostly for lunch.  I haven't taken many photographs of my courgette dishes this year, as they have featured on my blog before such as courgette pasty, courgette cake, courgettes flapjack and pasta salad.

The climbing beans are dwindling.  In fact these are the last.  I may have mentioned in a previous blog post that some of my bean canes have been infested with black fly, its been particularly bad this year. So I will be pulling out the bean frames - wigwams next weekend, clear the ground and sow some fenugreek or salad leaves - I can't quite decide which of the two, unless readers have any other suggestions.  It just feels such a waste not to make the most of the space whilst the weather is still relatively kind. 
Well the purple and green beans may all be gone, but...
Ta'dah!  We have cherry tomatoes coming from the greenhouse, these are the first of many we hope....
I was also tempted by these vegetables from the greengrocers at the indoor market when I was in Cardiff last week.  I made a Middle Eastern dish called Etsis Turlu with these aubergines and two tone pepper. Come back tomorrow if you want to see the final dish which also includes some of my homegrown marrow. 
If not, please do come back next week when I will show off some more of my homegrown tomatoes instead - there will be lots of them.  I  am sharing this post with  Harvest Monday which is hosted by the lovely Dave over Our Happy Acres.  

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Jurassic Kingdom Comes to Cardiff Bute Park

Last weekend, we went into the city of Cardiff for a bit of shopping, but as usual we were there early and many of the shops were not open, so we decided to have a mooch about in Bute Park - dubbed as the green heart of the city.  
Well what an interesting sight we stumbled upon.
We learned very quickly that Jurassic Kingdom had taken over Cardiff Park  as one of its five stops in the UK.

Jurassic Kingdom is an outdoor educational touring  experience for people of all ages to explore green spaces and encounter more than 30 life size epic animatronic dinosaurs from a 85 foot long Diplodocus, to Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex in the most unexpected of green spaces.
It was pretty cool, in fact very cool to see the workers putting them together like a  jigsaw.  We were also very lucky to be able to get up quite close and personal and touch some of them.  
Here are some photographs we took.  If you find youself in Cardiff between Saturday August 11th to Monday 27 August 2018 - you note these awesome dinosaurs are now behind barricades, understandably why - you don't want them to escape and cause havoc in Cardiff Bute Park. 

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Hereford Vegan Festival and Firefly Vegan Pub

Two weeks ago we went to Hereford, a cathedral city in Herefordshire.
Hereford lies on the River Wye and borders with Wales.  D tried to remind me that we had been there before, but I really did not remember when. 

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Things on my Wooden Floating Shelf

A few weeks ago, we had some new windows put in.  D decided to inject some colour into the space and put up some wooden 'floating shelves'.  This room is actually supposed to be a conservatory, but it hardly gets any sun, so we decided between the two of us it would be an extension of the kitchen.
This extended kitchen space is looking even more awesome now, as I have got to showcase some of our hard earned kitchenalia from years gone, including Tierra Negra pots, Fairtrade tea cups and saucers from Natural Collection.  Some Le Creuset soup bowls with lid (all on the top shelf), as well as many unbranded kitchen gifts from from family and friends. 
Here is a picture of the extended kitchen space with a breakfast table  for two (on the left) looking out onto the garden.  D has been loving this aspect of the space, as he will come down with his ipad, make himself a black coffee and gaze out at the birds on the feeder.

Some of you may remember last year we purchased a grocers wooden crate fruit vegetable stand (right at the back in the photograph above) as I wanted something to stack my collection of storage glass jars.  Some Kilner, some LaParfait some and some up-cycled coffee jars all holding lentils, rice, flours, spices and other dried foods.
Here is my charcoal Magimix that D got me well over a decade ago when we lived in Glasgow.  He got it for me for Christmas.  I have a photograph of me unwrapping it.  I am ashamed to say that I have hardly used it as I tend to do everything with my hands, but I will make more of an effort.  

We went to a place called Ledbury a few weeks ago and stumbled across a shop selling old and new nick nacks.  We saw this cereal and dry food dispenser.  As we tend to buy a lot of our dried goods in bulk like beans and lentils, I couldn't resist it, it was a affordable bargain price.  Some girls and boys come back with new shoes, I go to a new town and come back with a piece  for the kitchen.  I feel ever so posh now.  I have pasta, dried fruit, rolled oats and rice in it so far.  
Tiffany style tea-cup lamp.  If you look at the first photograph, you will also see a Tiffany style tea-pot lamp.  I love these.  D got them for me when we moved back to Wales. He does love me very much. 
Some storage jars.  I picked these up for 50p each at a Car Boot Sale. They compliment others that I have at home with olives, herbs and spices. 

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Welcoming Your August Eat Your Summer Greens

So it's August and it's my turn to host this months Eat Your Greens challenge.  To participate  in the #EatYourGreens challenge all you have to do is make either a vegan or vegetarian recipe  with green vegetables or fruit on your blog.  Then copy the blog link to the comment section below.  

If your looking for some seasonal inspiration, then please do check out the Eat Your Greens Round Up hosted last month by The VegHog.
For more details Follow this link on how to participate just please remember to link back to the host page (this page) and my co-host The VegHog.   

The use of the new #EatYourGreens logo is optional, but is appreciated.  The deadline is the 30th August 2018 and the Round up will be on the 1st September - wow, this year is flying by.