Monday, 27 April 2020

Red Swiss Chard and Nutmeg Gratin

The Rainbow Chard in my garden is plentiful and still adorning the garden plot, that I am loathing having to pull them out, as they are adding a bit of colour to space that is otherwise a blank dirt canvas, excluding the odd green weed popping here and there.  
But I have - I have leaned over the garden fence, arms stretched outright and shared some with neighbours.
I made this Red Swiss Chard Gratin last week to use what up what we are growing, as well as an excuse to join in with Harvest Monday hosted by Dave over at Happy Acres who hosts every week. 
I know it is not the prettiest of dishes, but it was one of the most flavourful side dishes i have ever had.   The nutmeg really lifts the gratin and on first glance you could almost be forgiven for thinking this is a dessert or even rhubarb crumble.

The Swiss Chard recipe is adapted from  Spice Trip by Stevie Pearle and Emma Grazette, this is the same cookbook that I made the  Cumin and Orange Madeira Loaf.  There is a wonderful looking Pistachio and Nutmeg Cake in the cookbook, but it required Greek yogurt of which I have none, so maybe next time; or maybe I can substitute that with Double Thick Cream. 

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Celia Brooks SuperVeg and Baked Mexican Eggs

Yesterday, I spent much of it in the garden greenhouse up-potting vegetable plants, whilst D made wigwam frames for climbing beans and peas.  I have said it before and I will say it again that we are very fortunate to have a garden in these challenging times, as many people do not have this outdoor green space.

I will share progress in the vegetable garden plot tomorrow, today I want to share what I made for brunch a few weeks back with what I had in the house - Baked Mexican Eggs. 
We don't normally have a cooked breakfast during the working week, often only munching on a oatmeal flapjack.  Cooked vegetarian breakfast is reserved for weekends, but since the lockdown and working from the safety of our homes, we have been having breakfast, or rather brunch quite a lot.  
The recipe for these Baked Mexican Eggs comes from Celia Brooks, but don't ask me which cookbook - I can't remember as I have all 9 of them - Yes, I am a fan. I think it may be Entertaining Vegetarians also called Vegetarian Party Food. 

The eggs are baked into a tortilla, beneath the egg either harissa or chipotles in adobo is smeared. The cracked egg is then topped with grated cheese and spring onions, with a little dusting of paprika.  These are really good and I recommend them.
Those of you who read my blog, may remember the name Celia Brooks.  She is one of my favourite vegetarian food writers and chefs. I have featured many of her recipes on my blog over the years from Rhubarb Lentil Curry  and Avocado Soup with Tortilla Cheese Topping .  See bottom of blog post for further recipes.
Her last cookbook is called SuperVeg:  Over 100 Recipes Celebrating the Joy and Power of the 25 Healthiest Vegetables on the Planet.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Loaded Vegetable Tart

Every day is still a work day, but after I finished work.  I put my lap top away and find other ways to distract myself.  Ideally, I would like to read a book recommended by some colleagues, but after staring at the computer all day, the last thing I want to do is read more words. So I find comfort flicking through my cookbooks and looking for recipes and inspiration as to what I can cook at home with what we have to hand. Then I find my way to the kitchen and cook.

Today its this Loaded Vegetable Tart.
I say loaded as I piled the puff pastry with way more roasted vegetable than needed.  This was not a pick up and eat with your hands tart, it was very much a knife and fork one. I could have just been sensible and kept the additional roasted butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots for another meal, but no I go in heavy handed. Still no harm, it was all eaten.
The only let down was the sliced tomatoes on top, they were pretty flavourless. I look forward to growing and eating my own.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Orange and Carrot Soup

Yesterday I shared a Orange and Cumin Madeira Cake and as promised, today have a Orange Carrot Soup for you. It not just orange in colour, its also orange in flavour too.
I am not normally into sweet soups, but I enjoyed as it was not overly candied.  The orange gave the soup a citrus lift.  This was originally a Lemon and Carrot Soup, but I substituted the lemons with oranges. 
It was such a pretty bowl soup to look at too, enhanced further by a thinly sliced piece of orange on top as garnish accompanying the fresh parsley from the garden.  

I am sharing this Orange and Carrot Soup with Soup, Salad and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen

Other Carrot Soup Recipes

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Orange Cumin Madeira Cake

The  oranges I picked up well before quarantine are still rolling about in my fruit bowl, as D has failied in his duty as orange juice crusher. They are still super juicy and tasty, so can be eaten naturaly, but I find that I am left to be creative with them. Regular readers will know that I have already I made Orange Ginger Apple Loaf Cake early this April.   

Today I have this Orange and Cumin Madeira Cake to share; and tomorrow I have a Orange Carrot Soup for you. 
This recipe for Cumin and Orange Maderia Loaf comes from a cookbook called Spice Trip by Stevie Pearle and Emma Grazette. I had not heard of either of these chefs before, until I bought the cookbook from Oxfam second hand bookshop about 6 years ago. And although many of the recipes are meat based, there is lots of good stuff to read around medicinal use of spices.

For those of you who want the recipe, well its essentially a Orange and Caraway cake with cumin instead.  It was wonderfully buttery. 

I hope your all keeping well and are finding things to keep you occupied, by the way let me know what you have been baking? 

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Vegetarian Vegan Shepherds Pie the old fashion way

I made this vegan Shepherds Pie the old fashion vegetarian way with lentils.  

What made me smile was that I made a similar recipe, exactly a year ago with soy mince and mashed potato topping was enhanced with seasonal wild garlic that is plenty abound this year if you know where to look.  Unfortunately due to Covid-19 and instructions to stay at home and quarantine for the fourth week and set to continue for another three weeks, I will not be visiting my wild garlic spot. 

D and me were going to go for a little walk not far from where we live as we found a stream a little while back and wondered, if there was any Wild garlic growing there - but because of the April showers we haven't stepped today to explore, perhaps tomorrow.  To be truthful.  I have only been out for a long walk outside of my house only once since quarantine, I do need to stretch my legs and get some exercise - gardening every other day is not enough. 
This Shepherds pie is made with made with Beluga lentils, but use whatever lentils you have at home - green or brown, but not orange lentil as that will go to mush and are more suited to dal recipes, soups and stews, or at least that is what I think. 
This recipe is actually adapted from one of my most popular recipes (see my side bar) Fiery Chili Welsh Red Dragon Shepherds Pie. 

The recipe would serve a family with a side of green vegetables, but for us it makes a large quantity for two people, so we had this over three days. On one of the days, the topping was thinly sliced sweet potatoes. 
So what are you up to this weekend? and What have you been eating lately?  

I have been in the kitchen cooking and baking, and in a little while may plonk myself in front of the TV to watch some mindless nonsense, read a book or set myself a craft project - I am still deciding.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Sweet Potato, Sweetcorn and Red Pepper Soup

Again, its another soup made mid week for light lunch at home.

I also found a bag of sweetcorn in the freezer which is due to expire April 2020.  I have no idea how long its been there, but i am glad D went through the freezer contents last week to see what was buried there that had to be used up.  I also found some frozen cooking apple slices, so maybe a few apple crumbles and cakes will appear on the menu.  
This was a lightly spiced  Sweet Potato and Sweetcorn soup enhanced with red peppers. I like a bit of texture, so partly blitzed my soup with a handheld blender. It had a really nice flavour and colour.  The Sweet Potato and Sweetcorn Soup comes from Rachel Demuth Green Seasons Cookbook. you can find the original recipe link here

D really loved the flavours of this soup and said, he would be more than happy to eat it again - good job I thought, you have got it again tomorrow for lunch!
I am sharing this  Sweet Potato and Sweetcorn Soup with Soup, Salad and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen

Monday, 13 April 2020

Creole Hoppin - Jean Rice from Vegan Soul Kitchen

Blackeye Peas continue to feature in my kitchen now that I have rediscovered them.  I also haven't had rice for a while and by rice, I especially mean brown rice. So this Creole Hoppin - Jean recipe from Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry appealed to me as it sounded like comfort in a bowl.  

In between blogging, reading, gardening, cooking, baking - I have also given my cookbook shelf a tidy up.  D had commented at how dishevelled and disorganised they were beginning to look. I think he exaggerated by describing them as disorganised, but I agreed that the shelves could benefit from reshelving. And in doing so, I found myself flicking though some old cookbooks - wow I cannot believe Vegan Soul Kitchen cookbook was published in 2009 and that is how long ago I cooked from it. And it hit me, that I too am growing old. 
Anyway, this Creole Hoppin  - Jean Rice was really tasty and it was comfort food in a bowl. I ate mine with a spoon, whereas D ate his with a fork.  Now how do I describe this Creole Hoppin dish to my readers, I hate to do this - comparing different world cuisines to different ethnic cuisines, but I did find this to be a cross between and South Asian Savoury pilau and Italian risotto.  It was sweet from the tomato and savoury from the spices. 
This Creole Hoppin Rice dish was served with some sauteed chard from the garden, though collard greens would have been more authentic.

Other Creole Style Dishes
Baked BBQ Peas and Rice

Cajun Black Eyed Peas with Summer Vegetables
Creole Style Rice and Beans with Avocado and Kiwi Salad
Creole style Yellow Split Pea,  Red Pepper and Sweetcorn Soup
Green Gumbo 
Southern Style Okra Gumbo

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Red Yellow Green Macaroni Pasta Salad

We haven't had much of an appetite really, as we not expending much energy, but yesterday was different having spent much of it in the garden continuing with the digging and weeding that we had worked up an appetite.

I took me less than 30 minutes to put this dish  together and much of that was cooking of the macaroni pasta and lunch was served:  a big bowl of Red Yellow Green Macaroni Pasta Salad. 
The macaroni pasta is combined with colourful peppers, spring onions, black olives and then smothered in a Dijon Mayonnaise.  It really was one of the easiest lunches to put together and eat.  I served up and took my bowl outside to eat out in the sun, and I am not even a sun person. I am coming to appreciate my outdoor space a lot more than I have done so in the past. 

D enjoyed Macaroni Pasta Salad so much that he went back for a second helping.  I made a big batch that will serve us both for lunch today as well as tomorrow. I am sharing this  Red Yellow Green Macaroni Pasta Salad with Soup, Salad and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen.

Friday, 10 April 2020

In My Kitchen: April 2020

My Kitchen like many people around the country is very quiet in relation to new ingredients and shiny new things, so I am going to share some things purchased a little while back, early last month, as well as what I have been cooking whilst in quarantine. 
I have had this Bumble Bee Beeswax Sandwich Wraps this in my kitchen cupboards since September, I have plans to have a go at making some of my own at home and hope to share it with you next month. Its been something that I have been wanting to do for a long while.
Easy bake bread yeast is so hard to come by now, so I was glad that my niece found some at a supermarket in her town and sent me some. 
I was grateful as we have been able to make bread at home, please don't be that impressed - the Bread maker machine is doing most of the work. We didn't have to purchase any bread flour as we had a sack load still from last year.  I think I have said before we have always been in the habit of doing a big bulk shop (tinned tomatoes, dried beans, lentils, grains, as well as flours) in the long-run its often works out much cheaper for us, but also the fact that we don't really like supermarket shopping. So I am both thankful and feel privileged to be in a position to do that. 
D picked up these oranges early March before quarantine, but in true D style its me that ends up having to find ways of using them.  I have made Orange Ginger Apple Loaf Cake and have plans to make a Orange and Caraway Madeira Loaf tomorrow. 

We also have a load of sweet potatoes and I have been making lots of dishes with them such as   Double Potato and Pepper Curry with Chickpeas  and this Sweet Potato, Sweetcorn and Red Pepper Soup - I will share the recipe tomorrow. 
I also have a stash of dried beans, such as blackeye peas and have made Sweet Potato and Blackeye Bean Soup, as well as this Creole Hoppin' Rice dish (below).
Pasta is hard to get at the moment, not that I am desperate for it at home, but the last time I went to the supermarket with D which was mid March, this was the only pasta left on the shelf.
Other than the unrecyclable packaging, I am not complaining at the spinach farfalle at all, but obviously it did not appeal to other people. I picked up two.
This Sage Derby Cheese which now seems like a luxury cheese under the circumstances was finished off last month in a Sage Green and Lettuce Quiche.
One of the neighbours gave us some freshly laid chicken eggs, so I have made Cheese Quiche more than once in the last three weeks.  If you look closer, it looks like there is meat in this - but it's actually leftover Quorn Roast.  This Golden Cheese and Mock Ham Quiche was really nice to eat on the first day, but I must admit, I wasn't keen on the mock ham filling the following day. 
I  am sharing this blog post with Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen series, I look forward to seeing what you have in your kitchen cupboards in these quarantine days.