Thursday, 31 July 2014

#EatYourGreens Round Up #2

Welcome to Eat Your Greens Round Up  #2.    This is a new monthly vegetarian cooking challenge for food bloggers.  The  'Eat Your Greens'  challenge was launched only last month. The idea behind 'Eat Your Greens' is really simple, to make something with a green vegetable each month.  You can use any kind of green vegetable that you like and make anything that you wish from a soup, salad dish, a smoothie, a stew, a curry, a pasta dish, cookies or even a cake (sweet or savoury) - absolutely anything, so long as the recipe is vegetarian, vegan recipes are also welcome. 
So here are this months green eats...  

Culinary adventures with Camilla shared some Kale had a hard day salad.   So why is it called kale had a hard day salad?    Well you will just have to go by Camilla's blog and find out.  It will make you smile, promise.  
Jasmine from Self Sufficient Cafe sent in a beautiful green Broad Bean Dip made with her own home grown broad beans.  Now what to dip in this light and fresh bowl of deliciousness, maybe some vegetables crudites to keep up with the healthy theme!
A beautiful basil pesto from Kate at Gluten Free Alchemist.  The herb in this pesto is basil and yes, herbs are permitted in #EatYourGreens.  The original recipe is made with Parmesan and most vegetarians know that this hard cheese is made with animal rennet and therefore not suitable for vegetarians , but the lovely Kate has offered replacing this with a vegetarian alternative.  Kate also  made some rustic gluten free baguette - perfect to eat out in the garden and watch the birds, that is of course if they don't start eyeing up this bread too.  
A gorgeous green, delicious and fragrant Pea and Mint Soup from Katharine who blogs at Leeks and Limoni.  Katharine used homegrown mint that is just taking over her garden plot, she writes 'although I was very liberal in my use of mint, it doesn't overpower the delicate flavour of the peas'. We salute you Katharine, well I certainly do. 
Next up are some pasta dishes.  The first two are made using the bushy broccoli heads and the stalks!  Something to put together in 30 minutes or less , a Quick Wholewheat Broccoli Pasta from Lou Foti from Eat Your Veg. I can see this one appearing on my table very soon.  
The second pasta broccoli entry comes from Helen at Family - Friends - Foods with a Broccoli, Leek and Cheese Pasta Bakes. 'More broccoli Mummy' really is not what a mother often hears, yet Helen heard this from her little one. Validation that it must be good. I like this picture, it looks like I am tucking into it myself.  Yum.
A frugal, yet delicious dish aptly called Ragbag Pasta with Roasted Courgette, Basil and Mint comes from Linzi who blogs at Lancashire Food who has been wondering what to do with all those courgettes that are starting to come from her garden. The pasta is gluten free too. I think this would be perfect for the lunch box too. 
Katie from Feeding Boys and a Firefighter sent us a Salad made with Feta and Sunblush tomatoes. Not only is it speedy, its healthy and so colourful.  Her use of both fresh tomatoes and sun blushed could have also made an appearance in my Vegetable Palette Challenge, where the theme is Summer Reds
Ray from Garlic Buddha shares a lighter and summery version of an Indian dish called Palak PaneerSunny Spinach and Paneer Dish.  The red from the tomatoes definitely make this dish even more appealing. I will be bookmarking this to make in the near future as its lightness from the spinach appeals to me. 
Next,  a delightful Sprouted Forbidden Rice Salad with Pecans, Cranberries and a Zippy Citrus Dressing from Style Nectar: Living Beautifully.  Forbidden Black Rice  and Wild Rice are both still relatively unknown to those of us living in the United Kingdom, and the fact that you can sprout it is a revelation to me. Ah so what is green about this dish, some of you may ask?! Well, my dear readers Juliane has verified this 'wild rice is the seed of a grass that grows in shallow lake waters and streams around North America...The seeds are obviously start out raw at this point and they are green and plump' - so clever and so informative and so healthy and good for you.
And finally a light, yet delicious snack that will take you on a culinary journey to Cyprus.  These shallow fried Courgette and Feta Cheese Fritters comes from the lovely Karen at Lovage and Lavender. These courgette fritters are made with Beyaz Panir  a Turkish white cheese similar to feta.  The firtters  are served with an a creamy Chilli Mint Yogurt Sauce.
Thank you so much to every one who has participated in this months Eat Your Greens blogging challenge.  Please, please do go on over and check out each entry one by one and leave a comment.

Please also feel free to share your recipes for August now.  Follow this link for the details.   
PS If I have missed anybody out, please let me know and I will link up immediately.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Vegetable Palette: Summer Reds Round Up #1

I think you will agree with me when I say that colour is perhaps the most important factor we judge our food by, well before smell and  taste.  So it is with this in mind that I decided to launch a new monthly  food blogging challenge called The Vegetable Palette: natures colours - natures goodness.  

The idea behind 'The Vegetable Palette' is to make something with either a fruit, vegetable or combination of both each month.  You can make absolutely anything that you wish - sweet or savoury -  from a soup, a salad dish, a smoothie, a juice, a stew, a hot pot, a curry, a pie, a pasta dish, cookies or even a cake  - absolutely anything, so long as the recipe is vegetarian and includes a vegetable/and or fruit with the chosen colour.  The colour for July was Summer Reds.
The first entry for Vegetable Palette: Summer Reds comes from Krys aka the Gangsta Gardener from Dine In, Not Out with  a blast from the past song by Prince - Raspberry Beret Lemon Muffins.  These  zingy frugal muffins are gluten free, vegan and naturally sweetened not just from the sweetness from the raspberries, but also dates.  Yum, perfect any time of day, not just breakfast. 
Next sweet bite is from Caroline Makes with Giant Raspberry Cupcake, you may be surprised to learn that the cupcake case is made from candy melts, very clever.  Then this is filled with a baked cake made with raspberries and topped with butter cream and edible wafer flowers and flutterbyes.  Too pretty to eat.  
Kate at Gluten Free Alchemist  sent over these utterly gorgeous looking  Cherry and Courgette Cupcakes.  I love the fact that the Kate has combined both fruit and vegetable in a cake.  Topped off with cherry cream frosting and fresh cherries is simply stunning.  
Choclette from the Chocolate Log Blog with some Red Gooseberry Cakes.  What you will discover when you bite into these deceptively simple sponge morsels, is a hidden gem.  Tucked inside its soft sponginess is a read pearl in the form of a red gooseberry, a true seasonal treat for those blesseth with sweet red gooseberries.. 
Ros of The more than occasional sent us over quick easy  Rhubarb and Redcurrant Cheesecake - swoon!  I just want to tuck my spoon in...mmmmm.   The cheesecake is made with a ready made compote, a lavish dessert that can be made within minutes.  Super.
Glossy Strawberry Daiquiri Traybake from Laura who blogs at  I'd Rather Much Bake Than ... Not only do these sound divine, I absolutely love the photograph, perfect front cover for any food magazine, well that is what I think for whatever my opinion is worth.  Every time my eyes fall upon them, I take a deep breath, I just wish I could reach in and eat one, or two. 
Then we have a beautiful, stunning, airy Strawberry Mousse and guess what it is vegan!   Only three ingredients: fresh strawberries, coconut milk and maple syrup.  The delight comes from Jasmine who blogs over at Self Sufficient Cafe.  I really love the natural colour and can't wait to try this recipe at home. 
Another entry comes from  Caroline who blogs at Caroline Makes,  Thsi time it is a Fake Watermelon Cake!  Now you may be wondering what on earth does she mean by 'FAKE', well cleverly beneath all the cream (Quark) and flaked almonds is not a sponge cake, but a cleverly disguised fruit - a watermelon, What a Watermelon?!.  Yes,  You must go by Carolines blog and feast your eyes over the sliced cake above.  Now I wonder what your guest would think of it, once sliced?!  I love it. 
Laura from How to Cook Good Food shares what she simply calls Tomatoes with a Greek Salad Dressing.  I know its just a salad, but my oh my - when in season, ripe red tomatoes are at their peak, brimming with flavour and oozing with natural juices.  The dressing sounds just as lovely too its made with feta cheese, yogurt and fresh herbs - more flavour!
Rich Tomato Blender Soup comes from Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes. It's made with tinned tomatoes, this made me smile big time as some of you will already know,  its also the name of Jacquelines absolutely fantastic vegetarian blog.  This blender soup is super healthy and intense in flavour.  
This Quick and Easy Gazpacho is made with ripe tomatoes including skin and seeds.  This soup  is described by Vanesther at Bangers and Mash as a 'Summer Salad in a Soup'. Cold soups don't knock them until you have tried them, I've been told.  I think this may just be the cold soup to try. 
Kellie who blogs over at Food that Glows gives insipid hothouse tomatoes the oven roasted treatment to bring out its natural flavours producing an Intense Tomato Soup with Maftoul. Maftoul is a chewy, giant wholegrain couscous.  The maftoul not only serves as a garnish, but is part of the Soup too. Its one of the most beautiful red soups I have ever set eyes on. 
A gorgeous, deep and comforting homely plate of Red Curry Lentils  comes from Jane at Onions and Paper.  Jane had made her Red Curry Lentils with passata.  This is not an Indian style Tarka Dal Red Curry Lentils, but American style!  Please go on by Onions and Paper for the recipe. 
Next we have  is thrifty dish of  Gigantes Plaki Butter Beans in Tomato Sauce from Lisa at We Don't Eat Anything with a Face. Its made with store cupboard ingredients such as tinned tomatoes, tinned butter beans and spices and fresh herbs!.  I love these kind of dishes, especially when served as part of a mezze style meal. 
And finally, another entry from Laura at How to Cook Good Food.  I am well and truly smacking my lips here with excitement, I love the sound of this Chipotle Chilli Sauce.   Laura writes' 'chilli sauce is probably my tomato ketchup'.  Well said Laura,  that is exactly how I feel about it too. Red comes from two different chillies, as well as red peppers.  I may just have to make this. 

Thank you so so much to every one who has participated and made the first #VegetablePalette bogging challenge a success.  

August 2014 #VegetablePalette Challenge is Mellow Yellow (and Orange)...think yellow beans, yellow tomatoes, golden courgettes, apricots, melons, peaches, nectarines, oranges and even potatoes!  For details on how to participate follow this link. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Raw Raspberry Coconut Balls

I made these tasty little flavour bombs a fortnight back when the raspberries from my garden starting coming on thick and fast; and the World Cup football mania was still on peoples minds.  
I decided to take inspiration for these from my No Bake Carrot Granola Bites that I made last year; and blitz three simple ingredients in my Optimuum 9400 blender: Cashew nuts, raspberries and dates.  It worked fine, but visually mushed together these ingredients came out a little chocolate red from the dates and a tad sticky, so I went a step further and rolled them in dessicated coconut, hence the name Coconut Balls part and then refrigerated them to eat later. 
I had a feeling that D would not like these, don't ask why? Sometimes (wrongly I must admit) I just assume these things, but whilst he was sitting slumped on the sofa watching the footie, he shouted out at me 'These are quite nice'.
'Oh good' I said rather surprised.
The recipe below makes quite a lot and there is no way between the two of us, that we can eat them all, so I have frozen the others, and will bring out some when we need a burst of fruit injection in the mouth. 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Vegan Rose Syrup and Rose Petal Jam Cake

I made this cake last week for Clandestine Cake Club hosted by Cardiff Clandestine Cake Club.  Although the theme was The Commonwealth Games, I dubbed it Vegan Indian Rose Cake, as it sounded a lot more evocative. 

I was really surprised at how much of a hit it was, as I thought it was quite a simple cake. The sponge batter was enhanced with rose syrup and ground almonds, then the bottom sponge base is generously coated with home-made Rose Petal Jam before kissing the other sponge base.  The Rose Petal Jam came courtesy of my lovely mother who had made it in advance for upcoming party celebrations.    
I had good intentions of putting vegan 'butter cream' icing around the cake, but dare not risk it with the weather being ridiculously hot.  I would have been worried if it would have travelled well to Cardiff in the car heat with the blazing sunshine.  So I decided to gently dust it with icing sugar as well as cover it here and there with some flaked almonds, as well as an edible rose.  The other cake in the picture is an Australian Chocolate Lamington, it was really good too, I took a slice home, as well as the others that included Jamaican Gingerbread and an Empire Cake that was strongly cardamon flavoured that it reminded me of Halwa, it was also delicious, that I decided to take a large piece home for my mother. 

There were a number of requests for the recipe of this vegan Indian Rose Cake including the Rose Petal Jam filling.   I am hoping to make this again at the weekend, and will plan to take slightly better photographs of it and then will also share the recipe soon.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Raw Vegan Raspberry Ice-Cream or Raspberry Mousse

The raspberries from my garden will be featuring in  recipes on my blog in the next few days, I hope you don't mind.  Yesterday it was Beetroot and Raspberry 'Bakewell' Bars, today it is a Ice-ream or Mousse of sorts.  Okay, so this is not strictly an 'ice'-cream as it contains no eggs, or cream.  I write ice-cream here as this recipe has a 'creamy smooth icy texture.  But if you leave it for a few hours after blending, it does soften and become mousse like too, so I was indecisive what to exactly call it, so the greedy blogger in me chose to describe it as both.
I made this in my Optimuum 9400 blender.  It is a powerful food blender which I am still experimenting with, you may have seen my hugely popular Carrot Ketchup and Carrot Pate but the one recipe I wanted to try is the appearing on most food bloggers blogs: blending with frozen bananas.  I mentioned learning of this nifty trick in my Raw Carrot Halwa Mousse recipe from raw and vegan recipe books many many years ago, this time it was with the inclusion of homegrown raspberries.