Sunday, 8 December 2019

December In My Kitchen

My kitchen is  slowly, but not overly starting to fill up with Christmas things and edibles.
This gingerbread man biscuit barrel comes out with the Christmas tree.  I need to make me some mini gingerbread to go in these. 
These robins sitting on a pot are actually name holders, if you look closely you will see a slot where name cards are placed.  I picked these up many years ago when D and myself went to Paris. and have never used them, I am hoping to change that this year. 
I picked up this lonesome wine glass with Christmas tree last week from a charity shop for £1.00.  Its quite solid.  If you look close at the glass surface it looks as if snow is  falling.  
This black truffle extra virgin oil for drizzling over soup.  I can also re-use and recycle the glass bottle. 
I still have beetroot coming from the garden, but its actually the platter I want to showcase here with the beetroot design.  We picked it up when we went to Port Meirion  in North Wales this year with friends.
Our cereal bowls are dwindling due to someone in the house having butter fingers, so we got some more.  I found the outside of the bowls more aesthetically pleasing than the inside which were mostly shades of blue in colour. Blue is not a colour I gravitate towards, but my oh my they are so glossy.  They will also be good for soup too.
D picked up these Breton biscuits. He remembered them from our time in Breton nearly 10 years ago. 
I decided I wanted a biscuit selection of my own and went for this fancy selection of coconut & hazelnut, cranberry & caramel and mint & cocoa. I know come the New Year I will be regretting this purchase, so hopefully we will have some guests over Christmas season to help me go through them. 
I picked up this biscuit tin from a boot market about six months ago.  For those of you who follow my blog, can see why i gravitated towards it. We often fill it up with crackers and oatcakes for cheese.

I am sure I will have more food related things come into my kitchen over the festive season, but that is all I have for now.  I look forward to seeing what's in you kitchen if you join in with Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen series.  

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Broccoli and White Bean Soup

We went into Bristol at the weekend to do some shopping, as well as look at some graffiti art in an area we had not explored before Bishopston and Horfield. 
I have one piece of graffiti art to share.  It was quite large, so its taken in stages and I think quite relevant for the state of our depressing political environment at present.
 Images below start from the left to the right....

 Below a little hope....maybe...who knows...
With our legs heavy and feet sore, we were glad to get back home and tuck into a big bowl of homemade Broccoli and White Bean Soup.  

I had picked up some broccoli to accompany a potato dish but it did not get used in favour of tinned peas, so not to waste it I had decided to make a soup with it.  
My intention was to make Broccoli and Stilton Soup, but swayed for something different with this Broccoli and White Bean Soup I had made some chilli oil from a previous dish and swirled a little over the soup that looked plain.  

I had also picked up a loaf of sourdough bread from one of the many independent bakeries in the area.  It was good to dunk the crusty bread into this thick soup. 
I am sharing this with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Pear and Walnut Cake

So its the start of December and our Christmas tree has come down from the attic and is standing upright in our living room and, shimmering it little lights.  The next couple of weeks we will be turning out minds to getting Christmas gifts to put beneath the tree.  But for me its still too early to start sharing festive recipes, so I will share this Pear and Walnut Cake that i made a few months back with pears I had picked from the garden. 
I don't remember the recipe I used - I think it may have been adapted from this recipe for Courgette, Apple and Apricot Cake, that is what happens when you don't write up a blog post.  What I do remember though, it was moist and delicious.  
Other Pear Recipes 
Chocolate Pear Crown Cake
Cinnamon Pear Cake

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Final Eat Your Greens Archive

Last month was quiet for the #EatYourGreens challenge. Regardless, I still have three wonderfully green vegetarian recipes to share.

The first Eat Your Greens  recipe comes from Green Gourmet Giraffe with a Halloween Salad made up of green vegetables such as celery, sugar snap peas, green peppers and cucumber served with tzatziki.  
Next we have Ephee Lafee from with a Stuffed Squash full of goodness which includes Brussels sprouts - its such a colourful dish.
My co-host The Veg Hog with Upside Down Brussels Sprouts Pizza.  As well as Brussels sprouts, the base is topped with potatoes, slow cooked and for colour cranberries and sea buckthorn. 

Finally, my own contribution Swiss Chard Paneer the chard had softened so much that it coated the paneer like silk.  
So its time to say good-bye to Eat Your Greens challenge,  it is a little sad, nonetheless we  and no doubt we will all still be eating and cooking with greens in our kitchen. So its not really the end. 

I do want to say a heartfelt Thank you to my faithful co-host The VegHog who shared the labour  of hosting Eat Your Greens for as long as we did and for that I am grateful.  I know I could not have continued as long as we did without her.  Anyway, if you ever want inspiration, please do visit the Eat Your Greens Archive page that lists all the months and contributions from past contributors whom we would also like to say Thank you too.  

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Swiss Chard Paneer

Next weekend will be the weekend when we will turn our thoughts to the festive season.  Its the weekend we will also bring down the Christmas tree and decorations from the attic.. but this weekend is a lazy weekend.  So lazy that I have nothing of interest to share, I feel zapped and lacking both energy and enthusiasm.  I hope the festive season injects some pizazz into me! 

I made this Swiss Chard Paneer early this month.  Its an adaptation of Saag or Palak (Spinach) Paneer that you often find at South Asian take-aways and restaurants.

The rainbow chard came from my garden.  There is still plenty to harvest.  

The pan roasted paneer made for a change.  I normally just throw it in the dish and let it warm through, but fancied being a little bit naughty.  You can see the brand of paneer cheese I used if you visit my In My Kitchen blog post.  This was a gorgeous dish to eat with rice, the chard had softened so much that it coated the paneer like silk.  
So this recipe is my contribution to the last edition of  Eat Your Greens challenge that I co-hosted with The VegHog.  There is still time to join in if you want.  Follow this link on how to participate
Recipe below

Monday, 18 November 2019

Homegrown Chioggia Beetroot Curry

I spotted some beetroot leaves dancing in the breeze at the weekend. I had forgotten that I planted some beetroot, so it was a nice surprise when I pulled them out of the ground to find some healthy bulbs and free from slug holes. 
In my delight I showed D and he said why don't you make a beetroot curry.  It was decided.  I removed the leaves and ordinarily I would have used them to make Beetroot Leaf Kuku or Beetroot Bhajis aka Pakora, but they were not as lush as my red chard last week, so they were destined for the compost bin. I then peeled the beetroot to reveal that they were not traditional deep burgundy beetroot, but chioggia known as candy cane or candy strip beet. 
This is when I realised the beetroot curry would not be as bold coloured, still I went with it as I have made  a beetroot curry with Golden Chioggia Beetroot in the past.
Compared to traditional beetroot which is earthy in flavour this was quite sweet, almost like turnip, in fact looking at the photograph below you would think it was turnip. 
Whilst making the beetroot curry (recipe below) I got distracted by the blue tits and the  green finches, goldfinches and bullfinches on the bird feeder in the garden, then I noticed a  goldfinch was stuck in the greenhouse.  I rushed out to open the greenhouse door, it took me a while to encourage it to fly out as it was flitting from one waning tomato plant to another.  It eventually came out and that is when I  decided to pick up some tomatoes that seemed ruby red and healthy.  
D was not convinced.  He was right, I tasted one and it was a little too far gone - well at least the red chillies were okay.   Anyway, I am sharing this blog post with Dave over at Happy Acres who hosts Harvest Monday every week.

Monday, 11 November 2019

All-In-One Red Chard, Chickpea Minestone with Macaroni

I have hardly been out in the allotment garden plot in recent days, partly because of the persistent freezing rain and it has been freezing with snow in some parts of Wales.

I was actually looking forward to November when things around me will be a bit quiet, so that I can also tend to the garden, but its unlikely that the ground will be cleared of spent plants.  One thing that is still growing well is my Rainbow Chard - Here is Ruby Chard.  
I  borrowed a cookbook from the library by Rukmini Iyer called eThe Green Roasting Tin and had bookmarked to make the All in One Kale Borlotti  Minestone with Ditalini, but adapted it with what I had growing in the garden and other ingredients in my kitchen cupboard which these days happens to be a lot of pasta and tinned chickpeas.  

What's great about this recipe is that you put everything in a ovenproof dish and cook! No hanging about the kitchen, stirring ...
There was plenty of left over that I took it into work the following day for lunch. I especially loved how the chilli oil elevated a simple minestrone.
I am sharing this blog post with Dave over at Happy Acres who hosts Harvest Monday every week.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Dark November

My kitchen is not that interesting this month, I haven't been spending much time in it either cooking new or experimental recipes, just making the usual tried and tested recipes for ease and convenience. 

I don't have very much to share, but here goes with the little I do have. 
I picked up this salt pig when we went to Hay-On-Wye a couple of months back. I don't any more salt pigs, but this was one was so pretty with trailing flowers and being sold at a bargain price, I dithered as I knew D would not be very pleased at my purchase..what to do? was just too nice to leave behind.  
The woman selling it gave me a fantastic idea and said, you don't have to use it as a salt pot, but perhaps put a jar in it containing a trailing plant.  Sold.  I bought it there and then.

I also picked up this handmade terracotta snack tray for holding nibbles: peanuts, olives and the like, but thought it would be nice to hold some small cactus plants. I think it will come into use around Christmas time, by the way these are the last of the tomatoes from the greenhouse.  
We also went into Bristol and just outside St Nicholas Market, there was a young woman selling home made Ethiopian sauce.  I picked up two. I thought they'd be good t perk up some of our pasta dishes.
This Squash is waiting to be roasted.  
I don't know what came over me a few weeks back, but i really wanted to eat some paneer which is Indian cheese, so i picked up a packet from a supermarket.
That weekend I made Paneer Swiss Chard an adaptation of Saag or  Palak (Spinach) Paneer that you often find at South Asian take-aways and restaurants.  I'll share the recipe later this week. 
Now this was an impulsive buy.  
I picked up not one, but two types of Black Charcoal Cheddar Cheese.  D was none to happy as they were not cheap, but i said, they will last us up into Christmas and we don't indulge that often with cheese, so he forgave me - but I put my hands up, it was excessive, thank goodness they expire in February 2020.  
I have already used one block of the Black Charcoal Cheddar Cheese for Black Macaroni cheese a late Halloween meal for friends. 
I introduced these Pomegranate Blueberry Pistachio bars to IMK last month, I quite liked them and picked some more up they are essentially sticky nuts glued together with blueberries and pomegranate molasses.
And finally some herbal tea: Blackberry, Apple, Beetroot and Ginger.

I am sharing this blog post with Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen series.  If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by the 13th of the month