Tuesday, 3 November 2015

SUMA: Rocket & Roses Shallot, Flageolet & Sage Brown Rice Risotto on a Brussels Tops & Pumpkin Bed (vegan glutenfree)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Guns N' Roses ~ Paradise City
Thunder ~ Have Mercy
Caro Emerald ~ Stuck
Marvin Gaye ~ Distant Lover
Alanis Morrisette ~ Hand In My Pocket
ZZ Ward ~ Save My Life
Black Stone Cherry ~ Blow My Mind
Tchaikovsky: Overture in F, Op 67
Beth Hart ~ Love Is The Hardest
Harry Connick Jr ~ Just The Way You Are
Tina Dico ~ Break Of Day
Natalie Prass ~ Your Fool
Half Moon Run ~ Nerve
The Mavericks ~ There Goes My Heart      

It's a great reason to smile today as I sit here and write up my SUMA: Wholefoods recipe. I'm very proud to be part of the SUMA Bloggers Network. I had to take a break for a couple of postings due to the medical issues but now I am back. Hoorah! 

Autumn is by far my favourite of the seasons. I love the colour and the feel of it. I also love the foods that come with it. I particularly love the squashes and pumpkins that become available. For this posting I wanted to create a warming, savoury wholesome meal for these cooling autumnal evenings.

During a recent shopping trip I picked up a couple of small Onion Squashes and a large bag of Brussels tops. The latter was a great joy as I am a Brussels sprouts addict and had never been able to by the tops (photo below) before. I had a large packet of Biona Brown risotto rice from SUMA. So the contents went into soak the night before, ready for the recipe testing day. Since finding the brown risotto rice options I have fallen in foodie love with risotto. In the past, as with white pasta, I found white rice to be too gloopy and not to my taste or texture palate at all. I have been using a generic short grain brown rice until finding Biona's Brown Risotto Rice between the covers of SUMA catalogue.

Now I would be a liar if I produced this risotto with no help so I admit now that I was assisted by my best pal and I thank her for all the help she provided. She happily worked alongside me doing all the kitchen bitch angel jobs that allowed my little energy reserves to get creative. Thank you lovely...

My desires for this risotto were simple. I wanted plump and succulent pearls of rice that held an extremely savoury flavour. I wanted the natural sweetness of the roasted pumpkin to be offset by the savouriness of the risotto. For a level of freshness I decided some briefly steamed Brussels top leaves would be perfect. Just a simple 5 minutes in the steamer left them vibrant with colour and they had a great tender/crisp texture. For the risotto I chose shallots as the base, flageolet beans for their delicate earthiness and fresh sage for an intense herb hit. I also added some fresh ginger root to provide a warming note to the flavours. The photo below shows the roasted pumpkin surrounding the serving of risotto and it makes for a very pretty picture. But once you start to eat the risotto and the pumpkin melts with the heat from the rice it, becomes the all rounded dish I was aiming for. The slight sweetness from the pumpkin rounds out the savoury goodness. The differing textures from the rice, beans, soft pumpkin and pumpkin seeds are a delight. And combine that with the tender crisp Brussels tops...well my friend...you will find yourself unable to stop eating...

I hope you try this recipe and enjoy as much as we did. And it makes a very generous serving for four people so I write this knowing I have leftovers in the fridge for my meal tonight...

Thanks, as always, to Amy and the folks at SUMA for allowing me to be part of this great team. And respect to all my fellow bloggers..

Advanced planning required: The brown risotto rice needs soaking overnight before being cooked. The pumpkin slices need roasting until toasted and soft in texture so you could do this ahead of cooking the risotto.  


Rocket & Roses Shallot, Flageolet & Sage Brown Rice Risotto on a Brussels Top & Pumpkin Bed

Rocket & Roses Shallot, Flageolet & Sage Brown Rice Risotto on a Brussels Top & Pumpkin Bed     Serves 4
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen) 

1 Onion squash, de-seeded, cut into slices
2 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 heaped cup brown risotto rice, soaked overnight, rinsed

1 head of Brussels sprout tops, bottom of the stalk removed, leave torn off but left whole   

Beautiful Brussels Tops

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
16 small shallots, peeled and finely chopped or 8 large
2" piece of fresh ginger root, micro-grated
large handful fresh sage leaves, finely chopped - or to your taste
6 cups of hot vegetable stock 
freshly cracked black pepper 
Himalayan sea salt - to your taste or optional
1 14oz tin of flageolet beans, drained and rinsed well
3 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Pre-heat the oven to 200'C/400'F/GM 6. Lightly brush the pumpkin slices with the rapeseed oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast until the skins have darkened and the flesh is soft. Remove from the oven and carefully lift the slices from the sheet onto a plate and set to one side. 

Rinse your soaked rice and then drain well. Place in a hot saucepan and toast, stirring constantly for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set to one side. 

In a skillet or risotto pan heat the olive oil gently and place the shallots in and saute for 5 minutes or until the shallots are softened and translucent. Grate in the ginger root and stir well. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the finely chopped sage. Cook stirring constantly until fragrant. Add in the toasted brown risotto rice and stir well until the shallot mix has evenly distributed with the rice. 

Add the hot stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently. When each cup of stock has been absorbed add another. Be patient! If the rice still needs a little more cooking liquid simply add hot water in 1/2 a cup measurements. But you shouldn't need to do this. Season well with a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper. 

Place the Brussels Tops in a steamer over boiling water and steam for 5 minutes until the stems are tender crisp. Once cooked remove from the steamer and layer onto the serving plates. 

Add the flageolet beans into the risotto and stir in. Check for seasoning once more. Replace the lid and allow the beans to warm through in the residual heat. 

Take the pumpkin slices and remove the skin and dice the roasted flesh and scatter them over the Brussels tops.

Allowing a generous cup measurement of risotto for each person, place the risotto on top of the Brussels tops and pumpkin. Scatter any remaining pumpkin over the top and add a good smattering of pumpkin seeds. Serve..


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week is full of the wonderful Autumnal changes...


NB: This is my creation. I have no problem with you using it or sharing it. I simply ask that you give credit where its due and provide links back to this posting. As I always try to when making recipes from other peoples kitchens. Many thanks...Namaste. ~R~ 

Monday, 26 October 2015

Rocket & Roses Asparagus & Buckwheat Noodle Bowl (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Melissa Etheridge ~ I Really Like You
Marvin Gaye ~ Hitch Hike
Pearl Jam ~ Alive
K.D Lang ~ Crying
Seasick Steve ~ Started Out With Nothin
Chris Cornell ~ Flutter Girl
Halestorm ~ Here's To Us
Foo Fighter ~ Friend Of A Friend
Beethoven: Piano Trio #4 in B Flat 
Sara Sant'Ambrogio ~ Duet from Lakme
AC/DC ~ T.N.T (Live)
Inaya Day ~ Nasty Girl (Radio Edit)
Van Morrison ~ Brown Eyed Girl
Thunder ~ So Sad Today

Don't you love finding bargain bags of veggies when doing your shopping. I was lucky to find a ginormous bag of beautiful fresh asparagus recently. Beautiful in colour, plump and perfectly tipped...and reduced in price to hardly anything. Well..ok..they were a £ and some small change but worth every penny. Strange to think that a few years ago you wouldn't have seen me in the same room as a stick of the green yumminess that is the humble asparagus. 

I am still not back in my kitchen yet and I am still relying heavily on ML to cook my meals. But in the last couple of weeks I have managed to cook a veggie chilli and a couple of basic soups...with the help of my good pal Ann. But this was my first venture at flying solo again. Making a broth based veggie soup with some quick cooking noodles isn't hard work but it was for me. I enjoyed every bite of it and felt quite the sense of achievement. It has rather clean flavours and a good variety of textures. The noodles bring it all together and makes for one seriously tasty bowl of goodness. And those asparagus were extremely full of flavour. 

Tomorrow I am away to spend the day with Ann and we are tackling a Potato & French Bean Curry and a White Bean Soup. I just hope my energy levels can keep up...otherwise we will be having toast! 

Rocket & Roses Asparagus & Buckwheat Noodle Bowl

Rocket & Roses Asparagus & Buckwheat Noodle Bowl
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Rose Vegan Kitchen) 

1 onion, quartered and finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, micro-grated
2" piece of ginger, micro-grated
2 tsp minced red chilli, approx 2 chillies with seeds
1/2 tbsp rapeseed oil/canola oil
1 litre veggie stock
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 small squash, peeled and sliced
12 asparagus spears, stalks separated from tips, stalks cut into 1 1/2" pieces and tips placed to one side for later
3 small yellow bell peppers, trimmed and diced
18 sugar-snap peas, topped and tailed 
large handful of baby spinach leaves
handful of Enoki mushrooms, trimmed and rinsed

4oz 100% buckwheat noodles

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and then gently saute the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli until the onion has softened. Add the ground turmeric and stir well to evenly coat the onion mix. Stir in the veggie stock and then bring the stock to a boil. 

Place the slices of squash into the stock and then layer the stalks of the asparagus on top. Bring the stock back to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook with the lid on for 8 minutes. 

Add the bell pepper, sugar-snap peas and asparagus tips to the stock. Stir well but being careful not to break up the squash slices. Cook for 5 minutes more. Add the baby spinach leaves and enoki mushrooms. Simmer for a further 4 minutes. Season with freshly cracked black pepper. 

Cook the buckwheat noodles are per the packet instructions and once cooked drain well. Cool under running cold water and leave to drain until the veggies have finished cooking. Then divide the noodles between serving bowls and top with the veggies and some of the stock. Serve hot...


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week is being good to you...


NB: This is my creation. I have no problem with you using or sharing this recipe. I simply ask that you give credit where its due and links back to this blog posting. Many thanks...~Red~  


Monday, 19 October 2015

Rocket & Roses Soothing Mixed Grain Pilaf (vegan)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Foo Fighters ~ Walking After You
The Cranberries ~ Deliah
Black Stone Cherry ~ In My Blood
David Bowie ~ Sound And Vision
Shelby Lynne ~ Track 12
Sammy Davis Jr ~ Let There Be Love
Lissie ~ Games People Play
The Fratellis ~ Creeping Up The Backstairs
Halestorm ~ Daughters Of Darkness
Joan Jett ~ Louie Louie
Live ~ Freaks
Hozier ~ Do I Wanna Know? 
Lenny Kravitz ~ If You Want It
Samantha Fish ~ Foolin' Me

A quick note to my gluten-free readers...I'm sorry but this recipe does contain barley but you can simply leave it out and you will still have a beautiful pilaf. To be honest any cooked grain mix would be delicious folks ~Red~

Last week I stayed with my best pal whilst ML was working away in Brussels. We decided given my recent ailments it was probably better that I wasn't home alone. However despite the practicalities of this decision it was also a good chance to spend some quality time with my pal. We had a lovely week but unfortunately my ailments were always around to remind me that they were still there. The medicines and treatments leave my poor tum quite sore and eating some days is easier than others. During the stay there was a day when the thought of food wasn't a pleasant one and Ann wanted to make me something for my evening meal that would be easy on my raw stomach, packed with nutrients and incredibly tasty. 

We sat together and Ann waited patiently whilst I put together a recipe in my head that would fit all three requirements. I was then ordered to rest whilst she hit the kitchen. If you knew me in real life...you would appreciate just how hard this is for me..lol. Never could do as I was told. The fact that we had a stash of cooked grains to hand made this recipe incredibly easy and quick to cook. As my note at the top of this post any cooked grains would be delicious in this meal..so leave out the barley if you are strictly gluten-free and change the others around if that's your wish. Combined with the steamed veggies it makes for a wholesome bowl of goodness, packed with flavours and textures that is indeed gentle on the tum. And the smell that came from the kitchen as it cooked had my tastebuds watering intensely...yum!

And Ann...thank you for looking after me so well. You rock lovely...*hugs* x 

Rocket & Roses Soothing Mixed Grain Pilaf (vegan)

Rocket & Roses Soothing Mixed Grain Pilaf       Serves 2
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1/2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, micro-grated
1 head broccoli, cut into bite size florets
1 green bell pepper, prepped, roughly chopped
15 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
6 purple carrots, trimmed and chopped
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp paprika
3/4 pint hot veggie stock
220g cooked quinoa, brown rice and barley mix
freshly ground black pepper

In a hot skillet gently heat the olive oil and saute the garlic until fragrant, approx 3o seconds.

Add the veggies to the skillet and stir well to coat in the garlic oil. Add the ground ginger and paprika and stir to distribute. Add the stock and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and steam the veggies for 15 minutes. 

Add the cooked grains to the skillet and season well with freshly cracked black pepper. Stir well and cook for a further 5 minutes to heat the grains. Serve...


Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are finding many reasons to smile folks...


NB: This my creation and I have no problem with you using it or sharing it. I simply ask you give credit where it's due and provide links back to this post. Thanks...~Red~    

Friday, 9 October 2015

Robin's Victory Garden Soup (GF, Vegan + Lower Carb)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Chris Cornell ~ Higher Truth album

Hello folks...its been quite some time since my last posting. A lot of can happen in 2 months and 2 days...not that I was counting. OK..maybe I was and maybe I was going a little crazy at not being in my kitchen. And maybe I was getting a little grumpy about it. Ahem...well anyway...

My absence has been health related but that will be no news to those of you who a regular followers. I am still dealing with that and I won't bore you all with the details. But one of the outcomes of this, is the need to restrict my carb intake. So from now on my recipe postings will be vegan, mostly gluten-free...and lower or low carb. But they will be tasty, nutritious and good for me and therefore you too. I am relying heavily on other peoples cook books right now as cooking is the work of ML still. When back on my feet I am looking forward to creating my own recipes again. And so to today's recipe....

...I've purchased a few low carb veggie cook books of late. Some have been just awful but one of the most helpful has been Robin Robertson's Carb Conscious Vegetarian cook book. There is a great deal of information at the beginning of the book and then many interesting recipes. So far we haven't experienced a bad one and ML adds that they have been easy to make.

The Victory Garden Soup caught my eye because of the abundance of veggies in it. I am a soup-oholic these days and have been enjoying great beany/veggie concoctions lately. But today I was craving an old fashioned veg-fest no beans included. I wanted clean flavours not drowned out by heavy spices or tomato enriched broths. I love both of those ingredients but today I wanted...wholesome, pure flavoured, brothy goodness. Now I confess here and now..Robertson lists this as a stew but to me it turned out more soup like..hence the adjustment in the name.

The only substitution that ML had to make, was to use half of a small autumn pumpkin (think Acorn pumpkin) in place of the yellow summer squash that Robertson suggests in her recipe. ML also didn't take the suggestion of cooking off the kale ahead of time but chose to add it at the same point in the cooking process.

This soup is exactly as you would imagine it to be. Delicate in flavour, full of differing textures and extremely enjoyable to eat. And I am looking forward to devouring the leftovers for lunch over the next few days. I have a feeling that it will only get better with time...so tasty.  

Robin's Victory Garden Soup (GF, Vegan & LCarb)

Robin's Victory Garden Soup     Serves 4
(Recipe from Carb Conscious Vegetarian/Robertson)

1 tbsp olive oil
2 celery sticks, sliced
1 leek, white part only, well washed and roughly chopped
1 small carrot, sliced
1 large fennel bulb, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 oz green beans, cut into 1" pieces
1 courgette, halved and cut into 1/4" slices
1 yellow summer squash, halved and cut into 1/2" slices (or 1/2 small pumpkin, peeled, de-seeded and diced)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen shelled edamame
3 1/2 cups of filtered water
1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt (optional)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked chopped kale or other dark leafy green (or 4 cups fresh chopped kale)

Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the celery, leek, and carrot. Cover and cook 5 minutes to soften slightly. Add the fennel, bell pepper, green beans, courgette, squash, edamame, water, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender and the flavours have blended, about an hour. For thicker soup, puree up to 2 cups of the soup in a blender and then add it back into the remaining soup. About ten minutes before the end of the cooking time add in the cooked or fresh kale. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you are happy in this moment and finding reasons to smile every day. 


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore I take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the hard work and creation of Robin Robertson and hers alone. I send out thanks for being an inspiration and sharing such great recipes. Namaste ~R~