Friday, 17 October 2014

Rocket & Roses Chipotle Black Bean Spaghetti Squash (vegan and gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Thunder play list on iPod

My name is Red and I am a newly converted spaghetti squash devotee. Make no mistake that I am giving up pasta entirely because my comfort food will always be a steamy hot bowl of wholemeal spaghetti drenched in a tomatoey/garlic sauce with a few strewn about garden peas. Forever. But I have been seriously taken with this light, nutrient dense, low carb alternative. For a while now I have been watching as the craze for this squash has taken over veggie web however I have never been able to source any in England. ML had bought some seeds to have a go at growing some for me...then got diagnosed with the 'gardens are evil' illness. Sad but true. I graciously gave up my yen to try it and simply admired others recipes as they floated by. And in all honesty I wasn't entirely convinced that a squash could be made into spaghetti but since then I regularly enjoy carrot and mooli noodles mixed in with my scant amount of buckwheat noodles for lunch. So what did I know, eh? 

NOTHING! That's how much! lol. After a recent visit to my GP we were walking back to our car and being the veggie junkie I am I was paying more attention to the independent grocers next to where we were parked. I was taken by the enormous Romanescos that were sat in the baskets outside so I detoured over the stands to select one. Then I saw the basket of squashes....I very nearly hyperventilated when I realised sat amongst them was a single spaghetti squash. It, along with a large funky shaped pumpkin, was stashed in my basket. Happy veggie junkie day! Hey! You gotta get your kicks in life where you can, right? lol.

Now being the novice at this task that I am..I sought out advice from veggie web and before too long I was roasting off my halved and de-seeded squash. Ann was over that day and so we both nervously looked at them sceptically as I removed them from the oven. Risking burns I grabbed hold and got forking! And it worked! Within minutes I had an enormous pile of spaghetti strings. Now will they ever be completely mistaken for pasta...no. But if your bent is for trad pasta...then cook trad pasta! This spaghetti held its shape even as I mixed in the flavoured sauce I'd made to go with it. It absorbed the flavours and only slightly wilted. After photos were taken and believe me it was still steaming as we sat down to taste our efforts....we devoured it. Nope...no nice way of saying it...we didn't elegantly taste it...we went for it. Now apart from the slight initial burn from the chipotle...it was a sheer pleasure to eat. 

The smokey chipotle sauce seeped through into every strand. The black beans were comforting and the sweetcorn were little bursts of freshness. The spaghetti was extremely light and added a great texture. It all worked...even down to the aroma that floated around. I will be making this dish often...I wouldn't change a thing. I was disappointed that it was going to be a one shot dish...how lucky would I be to find another squash anytime soon? Well, my veggie luck wasn't too shabby as ML came back from a pharmacy trip with not only a bag of meds....but another spaghetti squash! I was so happy! 

So on other news...I am currently nestled in the little village of Hayfield in the Peak District, England. We are taking in the relaxing vibes from the beautiful hills and I am trying not to freak out at every shop having dead creatures strung up for purchase. (OK I am freaking out but apparently I'm in the hunting, shooting, fishing area...did not know that!!! Urgh!) We are being joined by Ann, Caz, Dev and Bev along the way so it's a shared pals holiday. So I will be dipping in when I can with recipes and holiday tales over the next week. But for now I shall wish you all a fantastic weekend...

Rocket & Roses Chipotle Black Bean Spaghetti Squash
 
Rocket & Roses Chipotle Black Bean Spaghetti Squash   1 med squash
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1 medium spaghetti squash, halved and de-seeded

1 tsp rapeseed oil
1 med red onion, finely chopped
2 chipotle chillies in adobo, finely chopped
1 tsp mild chilli powder - optional
1 tin of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small tin of sweetcorn, rinsed and drained
1 large red bell pepper, small dice
juice of one lime
handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Himalayan salt and black pepper corns to season 

Pre-heat your oven to 350'F/350'C/GM4 and place the halved squash cut side down in a shallow baking sheet and add some water to the tray. Bake for 4o minutes until tender. Remove from the oven but cover with foil to keep warm until the sauce is ready. 

In a skillet heat the oil and cook the onions and pepper until the onion has softened. Add in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. 

Using a fork, drag the prongs down along the flesh of the squash and this will create the spaghetti. As you make the mounds tip them into a large bowl until you are left with two empty squash shells. Pour the chipotle bean sauce over the spaghetti and stir until all the spaghetti is covered. Tip back into the shells to serve...or into bowls. Choice is as ever, yours!

Enjoy! 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a very splendid weekend...

~Red~
 
  
NB: This is my creation apart from the cooking suggestion for the spaghetti squash..that was posted by Anon. I have no problem with you using this recipe or sharing it as long as you give credit where its due as I always try to...thanks Anon!! Namaste...~R~
 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Green Gourmet Giraffes Tomato Nut Loaf with Buckwheat & Seeds (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band ~ One Foot On The Path
Imelda May ~ Johnny Got A Boom Boom
Gin Wigmore ~ Dying Day
Evanescene ~ Erase This
Paolo Nutini ~ Candy
Blake Shelton ~ Home
Tina Dico ~ True North
The Fratellis ~ For The Girl
Dead Sara ~ We Are What You Say
Thunder ~ Don't Wait Up
Lissie ~ Worried About
Nickelback ~ Burn It To The Ground
Thunder ~ Lethal Combination
Jim Reeves ~ Welcome To My World

I recently purchased a punnet of Rainbow potatoes. Basically that means a selection of white and red skinned and a few purple skinned potatoes, roughly the size of regular new potatoes. The cooking suggestion that came with the punnet suggested oven roasting them so who am I to ignore that? lol. I wanted to serve them on the side of a good nut roast with a pile of steamed green veggies. But when it came to making a nut roast I was frustrated by the hundreds of recipes I have in my files and cookbooks as they were all very gluten based. So I admit I gave up on the idea for a few days....

I picked it up again a week later. Whilst cruising Pinterest I found today's recipe posted via Ricki Heller. Johanna from the Green Gourmet Giraffe blog had been a guest host on Ricki's site. I admit I had never heard of Johanna's blog before that day and having spent some time on there, I know I will be going back again. Her site is crammed with great veggie recipes that can easily be veganised. I found the list of ingredients for this loaf intriguing as I am an avid fan of buckwheat in all it's forms and I loved the selection of veggies and flavourings....and it was gluten-free. 

It's not hard work to make this loaf...the hardest being the grating of the carrot in my opinion. (Hate grating carrots...or anything really..lol) The cooking of the buckwheat groats is the longest part but it's not a chore and they smell really good as they bubble away. You get the full on wholesome feeling when you are making this loaf. I chose to place a layer of cherry plum tomato halves along the bottom of the loaf tin purely as a decorative edge. I allowed the full baking time and by the end of it the loaf was golden brown and firm to the touch.

The results were on the whole a great flavoured roast and it the flavours worked perfectly with the roasted rainbow potato and streamed green veggie sides. I made it for myself and Ann and we both had the same reaction to it. Firstly we enjoyed the flavours of the hemp seeds but felt the crunch of them was a little off putting so next time I make this I will crush them a little in a mortar first. A small issue to be adapted. However, the bigger issue was the texture of the loaf overall. It stayed together fantastically in the tin and turned out really well onto my serving plate. But once I sliced into it to serve at the table it pretty much shattered. Great flavour but the texture needs something....I'm thinking of adding some flax eggs next time or a mashed cooked vegetable like carrot, sweet potato or parsnip but the latter would effect the great flavourings of this loaf. When I make it again and it will be soon, I shall update this post with my experiments. 


Green Gourmet Giraffes Tomato Nut Loaf with Buckwheat & Seeds...served on my Denby loaf plate!

Green Gourmet Giraffe Tomato Nut Loaf with Buckwheat & Seeds   Makes 1 2lb loaf
(Recipe from the Green Gourmet Giraffe)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
125g cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds 
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
1 cup of cooked buckwheat groats

Pre-heat oven to 350'F/180'C/GM 4. Grease and line a med loaf pan 8" x 4" or 20 x 10 cms. 

Heat the olive oil in a large fry pan over a medium heat. Fry onions for about 5 minutes or until translucent and starting to soften. Add garlic and carrot and cook another 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes for a minute or two until they start to soften. Remove from heat. 

Add almonds, seeds, spices and salt into the fry pan. Stir well. Finally add the buckwheat groats and stir in. Spoon into prepared tin and bake for about 35 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crispy on top. 

Rest from 10 minutes before turning out of the pan and slicing. 

Enjoy! 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week has started well...

~Red~ 

NB: I take no credit for this recipe whatsoever. It is the hard work and creation of Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe and hers alone. I do send out thanks to Johanna and Ricki for sharing the recipe. Namaste ~R~ 
 

Friday, 10 October 2014

VYA's Smokey Corn Chowder (vegan and gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Mr Jones & Mr Holland ~ Think
Audioslave ~ Getaway Car
Hunter Valentine ~ The Pulse
Beth Hart ~ Ain't No Way
Chely Wright ~ What If We Fly
KORN ~ Bleeding Out
Nickelback ~ When We Stand Together
Crowded House ~ Mean To Me
Natalie Cole ~ Our Love Is Here To Stay
Evanescence ~ Made Of Stone
Lindsey Quartet ~ Beethoven: String Quartet #13 in B flat
Joan Jett ~ Desire
Camille Thomas ~ Sonata for Cello and Piano in B Flat Major 
                                   Andante Molto Sostenuto
Orianthi ~ Suffocated 

I have never eaten a chowder up until yesterday. Not once. Now I know this will blow some peoples mind because it seems to me if you enjoy chowder...you are passionate about it. For me it's always been a food of fear. Firstly because it's usually laden with fish and the like. Secondly because its a milk/cream soup. I will confess I have seen many offerings of veggie varieties but as a person who doesn't like soups that have any kind of milk or cream added, they have left me uninterested. Up until very recently...I was watching an episode of Nigel Slaters Dish of the Day and he made a chowder which actually had me wondering what a bowl of vegan chowder would be like. My tastes have changed so much recently that I started to look for vegan recipes before Mr Slater served up his final dish of the week. 

I found this recipe via my Pinterest feed. I took it as a sign because it just filtered randomly through my home feed about an hour after I had given up looking for a recipe. VeganYackAttack's version appealed to me because it used simple ingredients and wasn't complicated in its method. I did however omit the mushrooms *shudder* (my tastes haven't changed that much!! lol) but otherwise I kept to the recipe as VYA instructed. I used unsweetened coconut milk from the fresh milks aisle and not the canned variety. In half an hour I had a beautifully coloured chowder bubbling away and the smell in my kitchen was nothing short of awesome. I served my bowl with a couple of slices of GF bread that I had also been experimenting with that morning. For HopeForHealings bread recipe simply click here...my baguette..well...lets say it turned out more like flat bread but it had a great taste and once I've tweaked it a little I'm sure it will be my go to GF bread recipe. 

Thanks to VeganYackAttack's Smokey Corn Chowder I am now converted. But let me be clear...only to chowder. I will still be a brothy soup kinda gal for all my daily soups but every once and a while I shall make a chowder. I found eating the chowder to be something very special. It felt indulgent..with its creamy stock, many textures and beautifully blended layers of flavour. I know I'll be making this one again...and I am also inspired to create my own chowder so watch this space...

Vegan Yack Attack's Smokey Corn Chowder 



VYA's Smokey Corn Chowder   Serves 4
(Recipe from VeganYackAttack)

1 tsp coconut oil
1 cup white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 15oz can of sweetcorn kernels, drained
1 t5oz can of sweetcorn kernels, pureed
1 1/2 cups low sodium veggie stock
1 cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used coconut)
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chiffonade cut
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp liquid aminos 
3/3 tsp smoked paprika 
1/2 tsp onion powder/granules
2 cups baby spinach, packed
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat the oil over med heat. When the pot is hot, start sauteing the onion for 2 minutes then add the minced garlic to the mixture. Saute for another 2 minutes or until the onion becomes more clear. 

Stir in the corn kernals, pureed corn, veggie broth, and non-dairy milk.

Shake the nutritional yeast  over the top, to dissolve it quickly. Then add the liquid aminos, paprika and onion powder. Bring to the boil, and adjust heat so that it becomes a simmer. 

Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the spinach and basil into the mixture about 5 minutes before you are gonna serve the soup and season. 

Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week has been a gentle one and your weekend is filled with love and laughter...

~Red~ 

NB: The chowder recipe is adapted very slightly from the original. This is not my creation and therefore take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the hard work and creation of Jackie over st Vegan Yack Attack. I send out thanks for sharing such a great recipe...Namaste ~R~
  
 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Ali's Vegan and Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen:

Paloma Faith ~ Perfect Contradiction Album

Ali's Vegan and Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Hello folks...well what a weekend! The celebration for my lovely Mum went really well and food and pink fizz was had by us all. Little Noo had her own celebration on the day by getting her ears pierced! I felt so old..lol But she came back with red ears but the most proud and magnificent smile that reached all corners of her face. Sadly though poor ML is still fighting off a nasty dose of Pleurisy so was sofa bound but that meant extra hugs from the little ones throughout the day. Thankfully I had the help of the lovelies that are my sister and my pal Ann. Phew! A steamy cast iron stuffed with a veggie casserole, topped with veggie dumplings was the offering for lunch along with fresh salads. The little ones enjoyed a carrot and lentil soup with bread and heaps of fresh salads. For dessert ice cream sundaes were on the menu and everyone around the table feasted happily. Afterwards it was party games that included limbo, musical statues and chairs and a great game of stringing food items to a long piece of string and the little ones had to go along and remove the items with just their mouths...very funny indeed. Mum really enjoyed herself so that was great. 

Sunday was a day for relaxing after the madness of the celebrations. Ann was staying for the weekend and then we were joined by Dev and Bev and the lovely four legged Ms Ella so Archie was extremely happy. We enjoyed a late lunch together and then after Dev, Bev, Ann, Archie and Ella took a stroll around the country park we sat down to tea and a hefty slice of today's recipe. Relaxing...and peaceful. 

Whilst away on our road trip around Scotland I had devoured enjoyed a piece of carrot cake but as I had been off of sugar for a while before enjoying this morsel it kicked off a major craving for more of the orange nirvana. Whilst Pinning on Friday I found the recipe for a vegan and gluten-free version. How happy was I?? However it wasn't sugar free and although I did a half sugar/half sweetener for one of the cups of sugar it still is quite heavy on sugar especially when making the frosting to go with it too. I only made half the suggested amount of frosting and even that was far too much. Although my guests and taste testers all disagreed with me on this point. But then I've always been a frosting free person. Ah well..each to their own, eh? lol. 

I simply can't take any credit for this cake so I am choosing not to post the recipe but simply provide you with the link to the creators webpage. Her post about the cake comes with a story and magnificent photos...I simply could not compete with that today. So please check out Ali's posting for Vegan and Gluten-Free Carrot Cake at Gimmesomeoven.com

The cake is made with a very generous amount of carrot which I prefer. I feel cheated with these carrot cakes that are mainly batter with a smattering of one carrot throughout. The flour mix with festooned with cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and a pinch of cloves. The sugars are blended with 4 flax eggs until light and fluffy and is then folded into the flour and carrot mix. You have the choice of three cake sizes...one large, 2 9" or 3 8" layers. I chose the 9" version...for no other  reason than that's what I had close to hand. My 8" tins are shallow and also buried at the back of my baking tin cupboard! lol. The cakes cooked in the set time of 25 minutes and smelt divine whilst baking. And despite no lining of the tins the cakes came out of the tins without any hassle. They kept their texture very well and the cake sprung back when pressed. When cooled I frosted the centre of the cakes and then reluctantly the top. (I hardly every frost the top of a cake unless its a birthday cake...but I know my friends well enough to provide what they would like...that's love right there!) I was still left with a large tub of frosting. (Half batch...*shaking head* lol) I left the cake to chill in the fridge to firm back up the frosting until I was ready to serve....

...when I did finally make tea for the returning wanderers I served the carrot cake. All loved it...all had extra frosting..lol I admit that I removed most of mine. However the cake itself was a glorious surprise. The texture almost made me tearful as I was beginning to believe that a good texture and vegan-gluten free cake were mutually exclusive. But this cake albeit dense was spongy and moist. No sandy textures once you started to chew. The batter and carrot were at a perfect balance. You knew you were eating a good carrot cake. Now my only issue...and it's a very small one at that...was the spice blend. A hefty measure of ground cinnamon is suggested and that is exactly what I used...1 tbsp. By comparison to the other spices it was a gigantic amount and the other spices were a little lost. The cinnamon intensifies the longer the cake is sat. We all agreed that it was a great tasting cake as it was but we also agreed that a lowering of the measurement of the cinnamon next time would be the way to go. As is..Dev likened it to a German Christmas cake for its use of spice. 

The recipe itself was perfectly easy to make. I loved the use of the flax eggs. I know I'll be making this again with the slightest of adaptations. Less cinnamon, adding pecans and when Ann isn't partaking...using a few juicy sultanas thrown in for good measure. And...no frosting unless it's a celebration cake. 

I hope you take the time to check out Ali's full posting and try this recipe for yourself...it's a treat of a cake but worth it. 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your weekend was a great one and that your week starts peacefully...

~Red~

NB: I take no credit for this recipe whatsoever. It is the hard work and creation of Ali over at Gimmesomeoven.com and hers alone. I do send out thanks to her for sharing it. ~R~

  


Friday, 3 October 2014

Rocket & Roses Spiced Red Cabbage Stuffed Crunchy and Sticky Dumplings (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Nerina Pallot ~ Patience 
Glen Campbell ~ All I Want Is You
Jennifer Lopez ~ You Belong To Me
Stevie Wonder ~ My Cherie Amour
Dianna Krall ~ Almost Blue
Half Moon Run ~ 21 Gun Salute
KORN ~ I Alone Break
Bobby McFerrin ~ Circlesong 1
Shakira ~ Un Poco De Amor
Auf Der Maur ~ Overpower Thee
Bowie ~ This Is Not America
The Union ~ Obsession
INXS ~ Need You Tonight
Rival Sons ~ I Want More

Now these little dumplings may not be the most beautiful looking things but what they lack in appearance, they sure as heck make up for in taste. They were an experiment..that I had to have two attempts at..lol. I take no credit for the actual dough recipe as that was the creation of the folks at whatisglutenfree.net and I will let you visit their excellent site for the recipe. I used the alternative recipe using millet flour and I also had to sub out Xanthan gum for psyllium husks as I don't like the gum. I would be a liar if I said that finding gluten-free dumpling making was a breeze...it's not. In fact it is very challenging but I am committed to finding or creating the perfect recipe. And if that means I am eating dumplings a lot..so be it. lol. Life's hard. I used my tortilla press to form disks that I then cut out a dumpling circle ready for stuffing. For me right now this is far easier then rolling out large amounts of dough. However my first attempt with half of the dough...not good! lol. The taste was just fine even if the assembly was a little annoying. Not a task for a person who is patience challenged. lol But we did manage to get 8 dumplings which I steamed then finished by toasting them in a skillet (my preferred method) but sadly the dough was way too thick and although they were well cooked on the outside...the dough was practically raw on the inside. But both Ann and I agreed they were worth another run at it...

...which is what I did this morning. The remaining dough I had stored in my fridge inside a sealed plastic sandwich bag. It was a little crumbly but once you started kneading a golf ball sized amount between your hands it came together again. I chose the tortilla press once again and by using the smaller amount of dough and a little extra strength when pressing (stop laughing Ann!) I had 8 thinner disks awaiting fillings. Yes, the dough is very tricky to manoeuvre and you have to be very speedy. Yes, there were tiny little splits in the dumplings but I just went with it. I steamed them for about 10 minutes in my skillet and then removed the lid and pan fried them (oil-free) on all sides. This left me with a sticky but crunchy dumplings which was cooked nicely. 

Now the filling was simply vegetables that I love and have in my fridge and stocks all the time. I chose Chinese 5 Spice as the added kick to the filling which was already stuffed with chilli, ginger and garlic. The texture from the brussel sprouts, red cabbage, shredded mangetout and carrot noodles worked perfectly. I could've just eaten the filling straight from the skillet...Oooops! Thankfully Ann was there to stop me. I served the dumplings with a simple peanut/lime dip and a dose of Braggs although you could use Tamari or Soy Sauce if that's your wish. (Lucky ducks! lol) If I were serving them up for guests I would definitely add a simple salad to enjoy them with but as it's just me today...I'm gonna dip and enjoy! 


Rocket & Roses Spiced Red Cabbage Stuffed Crunchy and Stick Dumplings

Rocket & Roses Spiced Red Cabbage Stuffed Crunchy and Sticky Dumplings  Makes 8
(Filling - Original recipe from Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen. Dumpling dough - whatisglutenfree.net)

1/2 a serving of whatifglutenfree.net alternative dumpling dough

Filling:
1 tsp rapeseed oil
1 onion, quartered and sliced
4 garlic cloves, micro-grated
2" piece of fresh ginger, micro-grated
2 hot chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
8 brussel sprouts, trimmed and very finely sliced
1/4 small red cabbage, main stalk removed, very finely sliced
6 mangetout, trimmed and very finely sliced
juice of 1 lime
handful of carrot noodles or grated carrot
1/4 tsp Chinese 5 Spice 

Using whatever method you prefer...make 8 circular pieces of dough approx 4" round. Set to one side, covered in a damp piece of kitchen towel or cling film. 

Heat the oil gently in a small wok and then add all ingredients and stir fry until the cabbage is tender. Remove from the heat and set to the side to cool off a little. 

Put a cast iron skillet over a med-high heat to be ready for steaming. 

Take one disk of dough and place in the palm of your hand. Spoon a heaped tsp of filling into the centre and briefly brush the edges with water. Then quickly fold the edges together and press the dough together all the way around the half moon shape. Very gently try to press any little tears that happen. Place the dumpling to one side and repeat until you have 8 dumplings. 

Place them into the hot skillet and add some cold water into the pan and cover immediately. You need to steam them for 10 minutes so will need to keep adding water to the skillet. At the 10 minute point remove the lid and allow them to toast, carefully pulling them apart from each other (sticky little suckers!) and browning off each side. This will take approx another 10 minutes. Serve hot or cold with your choice of dips and salad. 

Enjoy! 

Thanks for stopping by and I really hope you are all enjoying that Wehoo its the weekend feeling? Tomorrow we are celebrating my Mums 5 Year Remission from Cancer so there will be Hot Pink balloons (shes love Pink...I didn't get that gene! lol) and her favourite dish for lunch followed by Ice Cream Sundaes (her favourite)...lol. We are all so happy....

~Red~ 

NB: The filling recipe is entirely my creation and I have no problem with you using it or sharing it. I simply ask you to give credit where it's due as I always try too. The dumpling dough recipe is the hard work and creation of whatisglutenfree.net and theirs alone. I thank them for sharing a great recipe. Many thanks...Namaste ~R~ 


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Rocket & Roses Smokey Stuffed Harlequin Pumpkins (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Jamie Cullum ~ 7 Days To Change Your Life
Shakira ~ Sombra De Ti
Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture
Skin ~ House Of Love
The Eagles ~ I Can't Tell You Why
Joan Jett ~ Cherry Bomb
Eurythmics ~ Here Comes The Rain Again
Sandi Thom ~ Show No Concern
Evanescence ~ Erase This
INXS ~ The Gift
Billy Ocean ~ Caribbean Queen
Temple Of The Dog ~ Reach Down
Foreigner ~ Blue Morning, Blue Day
The Vaccines ~ We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

I love autumn. There isn't a single thing about this season that I don't like. I love chill in the air whilst being blinded by the sunshine. I love the smell of it. I love watching the leaves on the trees turn all the vibrant colours that this season of renewal brings. That's a lot of love for one opening paragraph, eh? Ah well. Yesterday afternoon a took a walk with my good pal Ann and the four legged fella Archie. We greatly enjoyed walking through the carpet of leaves and the crunch underfoot felt really good. Ahem..and yes there was some kicking up of leaves too. Can't take the child out of the Autumn and all that...ahem...anyway to today's recipe...

One of the other things I love about Autumn is the foods. I love the change from refreshing summer fare to the warming Autumn foods. Don't misunderstand I still eat salad and raw veggies everyday even in the depths of Winter. But I really enjoy seeing the seasonal veggies when they make it to the markets. One of my favourites is the pumpkin. I recently realised my tastes have changed slightly and I no longer enjoy the large orange variety. I will eat them blitzed into a soup but as a pumpkin to be stuffed..no thank you. I much prefer the smaller varieties...like Harlequin, Delicata or miniture pumpkins. To be honest we don't have that many varieties to choose from here in England unless you grow your own. I live for the day that I walk into the markets and find Spaghetti Squash sat there waiting for me. You gotta have dreams, right? lol. There isn't a method of cooking them that I don't enjoy. Roasted, steamed, blitzed in a soup, not blitzed in a soup, creamed into a risotto, in a curry...endless ways to enjoy them. But my favourite by far is stuffed with a great tasting filling. For speed these days I confess I bake off my pumpkin separately and cook my stuffing in a skillet and then serve them up from there. I do believe the flavour is just as great without the combined roasting time in the oven of stuffing into pumpkin. But that choice is entirely yours. 

This recipe came about after a quick visit to supermarket after an afternoon spent at the beach...it had been a grey and drizzly day so we were cold to the bone when we got to the store. I had no idea what I was going to cook that day...and then we saw a display of beautifully coloured pumpkins. And two were stashed in our basket and dinner was decided. When we got home..I simply selected things from my fridge and stocks and made it up as I went along. We sat down to eat our meal and both of us were instantly Mmmmmming...without shame. The pumpkins were succulent, sweet and tender and the stuffing was smokey/savoury enough to lift the sweetness. It was a real pain to eat this dish..honestly..lol. I currently have two more little pumpkins sat waiting in my stocks and this fact makes me very happy. 

Rocket & Roses Smokey Stuffed Harlequin Pumpkins

Rocket & Roses Smokey Stuffed Harlequin Pumpkins
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)    

2 Harlequin pumpkins or other small pumpkins
1 tbsp olive oil 
1 large onion, chopped
5 smoked garlic cloves, micro-grated 
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
2 Savoury cabbage leaves, de-stalked and finely chopped
1 tin Borlotti beans, rinsed and drained
90g cooked brown rice 
1 1/2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
8 fl oz veggie stock
heaped 1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp vegan strong vegan cream cheese 
freshly ground Himalayan salt to taste
freshly ground cracked black pepper - generous amount

Pre-heat the oven to 180'C/350'F/GM 4. Remove the tops of the pumpkins and then remove all seeds and membranes. Pour a little oil into your hands and cover yours fingers with it and then rub it into the flesh of the pumpkins. You can either roast them whole or halve them at this point. Place onto a baking sheet and place in the heated oven and bake until flesh is tender and a knife slips easily into the skin. Remove from the oven and cover with foil to keep warm until ready to serve. 

In a skillet, heat the remaining oil and saute the onion, peppers and savoy leaves until the onions are soft. Add in the garlic and stir well and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add in the remaining ingredients except the vegan cream cheese. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and then stir in the vegan cream cheese. Spoon into hot pumpkin shells and then serve...

Enjoy! 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope that your week has started with laughter and happiness..

~Red~ 

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 as I always try to. Many thanks...Namaste. ~R~ 



 

Friday, 26 September 2014

Moroccan Table: Lablabi Soup, Marrakesh Tajine with Rocket & Roses Cous Cous Fava Beans (vegan)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Beth Hart ~ I'll Take Care Of You
Shakira ~ Loca
Slash/Joey Ramone ~ New York City
Soul Asylum ~ Somebody To Shove
Pearl Jam ~ The Fixer
Jack Savoretti ~ Knock Knock
The Eagles ~ Wasted Time
Creed ~ Beautiful
Skin ~ Nightsong
Hunter Valentine ~ Liar Liar
Royal Blood ~ Come On Over
Norah Jones ~ Seven Years
The Cars ~ Drive
Chopin: Prelude #15 in D Flat op 28/15 "Raindrops"

My Moroccan Table

I am finally getting my mojo back folks. Let me tell you that it is such a great relief to me. I'm not back in the kitchen every day just yet but I am creating a lot of future recipes and managing lots of 'plotting'. That being said...I did manage to throw together a small dinner party for a few friends last week. I was inspired to create a Moroccan feast and found three recipes inside the covers of World Food Cafe Vegetarian Bible Cookbook that I reviewed earlier this year.

I am a sucker for a chickpea soup and so the Lablabi Soup was a given..lol. The tajine was chosen because of its suggestion of vegetables but I had to make two changes. One of my dinner guests doesn't like dried raisins and I am not a fan of dried apricots so I had to omit them. I did add some pomegranate molasses to give that sweet fruit hit and I think it worked really well. The recipes suggested serving harissa with each dish and so I made a batch of the Tunisian Harissa. Holy hotness folks. The tip end of a teaspoon blew our heads off..so a smidge goes a very long way. So please be warned!! 

I wanted a grain dish to serve with the WFCVB recipes and I had a bag of Giant Cous Cous in my stocks. As I am 99% gluten-free now I hadn't even cracked open the bag but I was really craving a good cous cous side. I also had a tin of fava beans and decided to add them to the cous cous as it cooked. I then made a simple dressing using extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and freshly ground black pepper and whisked them until emulsified. Once the cous cous was cooked I added the dressing and replaced the lid to keep in the heat as the flavours combined. I served the tajine, cous cous and harissa with a large salad of baby leaves, cucumber (and blimey did we need those refreshing slices after the harissa!!!), yellow and orange pepper. 

Each course was an explosion of tastes and textures. The soup was creamy and comforting with an intense flavour. The tajine was full of flavour and just had that 'something' that makes a dish more special than others. It wasn't hot spicy but deeply intense with flavour. The cous cous was a comforting support to the heady delights of the tajine. I enjoyed every second of making these dishes and I know everybody enjoyed eating them too...it's good to be almost back. Now to the recipes...this weekend folks you get four of them...

NB: The Lablabi Soup, Marrakesh Tajine and Tunisian Harissa recipes are all from the World Food Cafe Vegetarian Bible Cookbook published by Frances Lincoln Limited. 

First course: Lablabi Soup

Lablabi Soup   Serves 4

8 tbsp olive oil (I used half that amount)
10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
12oz/350g chickpeas, soaked overnight and then drained
1 large red onion, diced
3 carrots, diced 
6 celery stalks, diced
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander 
1 tsp paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
juice of 1 lemon
handful of chopped coriander leaves to garnish
harissa to taste (recipe below)

Heat half of the oil in a saucepan/ when hot, add the garlic and saute until golden. Add the chickpeas and enough water to cover them by 1in/2.5cm. Bring to the boil, removing any foam that rises to the surface, and then reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer until the the chickpeas are soft. (Or cook the garlic in the oil and then add two drained tins of chickpeas, cover by a good 2" of water and cook for 20 minutes ~R~)

Meanwhile heat the remaining oil in a wok. When hot, add the chopped onion, carrots and celery, and saute until soft; it helps if you cover the wok and let the vegetables sweat. Towards the end of cooking, add the cumin, coriander and paprika. Stir the vegetables into the cooked chickpeas, followed by salt and black pepper to taste. Pour half the soup into a food processor and blend until smooth. Return it to unblended soup, adding more water if necessary, and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice.  Serve with coriander leaves to garnish. 

Main course: Marrakesh Tajine

Marrakesh Tajine   Serves 4

5 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 level tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground saffron or turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 aubergine, diced or cut into 1/2" half moons
4 small potatoes, cut into quarters
1 large sweet potato, chopped into large chunks
1 red and 1 green bell pepper, deseeded and cut lengthwise into 2.5/1" strips
salt 
6 artichoke hearts (fresh or canned)
125g/4oz green beans
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
handful of flat-leap parsley, chopped, plus more to garnish
handful of coriander leaves, chopped, plus more to garnish
small handful of raisins 
small handful of dried apricots 
OR 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses 
85g/3oz stoned olives
harissa, to serve recipe below

Heat the oil in a large pan and, when hot, fry the onions until they start to soften. 

Add the spices, stirring to prevent sticking. Add the aubergine, potatoes, sweet potato and green and red peppers. Sprinkle with a little salt as this helps prevent the aubergine from absorbing all the oil. 

When the aubergine starts to soften, add all the remaining vegetables and the tomato puree with just enough water barely to cover the vegetables. Add the parsley, coriander, raisins, apricots, (0r molasses) and olives. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until all the vegetables are really soft and the sauce is reduced until it is thick and rich, with the oil returning on the top. 

Garnish with lots of parsley and coriander, and serve with harissa and cous cous.

Side dish: Tunisian Harissa

Tunisian Harissa   Makes 1 very heaped cup of paste

1 red pepper
1 tbsp ground caraway seeds
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2oz/60g dried red chillies, soaked in hot water
1oz/30g ground cumin
2fl oz/60ml olive oil
salt to taste

First grill the red pepper on all sides until blackened. Place in a bowl and cover with cling film for 10 minutes to make it easier to peel. Peel, deseed and dice the pepper. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Store in the fridge in and airtight container.

And be warned...extremely hot!!!

Finally my contribution to the Moroccan Table....

Side dish: Giant Cous, Cous with Fava Beans
 

Rocket & Roses Giant Cous Cous with Fava Beans    Serves 4
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1 packet of giant cous cous 
OR gluten free maize cous cous
1 tin of fava beans, rinsed and drained 

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
generous amounts of freshly ground black pepper

Cook the cous cous to the packets instructions adding the drained beans towards the end of the cooking time to heat through. 

In a small bowl whisk the dressing until it has emulsified and then drizzle over the hot cous cous and stir well. Recover with the lid to keep warm until serving. Spoon into a serving bowl...

Enjoy!! 

I know these recipes use a lot more oil than I usually advocate but it is entirely your call on how much you use. I wouldn't serve these kind of dishes on a regular basis because of the oil factor so would class them as High Days & Holiday Dishes. 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your weekend is a fantastic one folks....

~Red~ 

NB: The Lablabi Soup, Makkaresh Tajine and Tunisian Harissa recipes are not my creation. They are the hard work and creation of Chris and Carolyn Caldicott and theirs alone. I take no credit for them whatsoever but do send thanks for sharing such great recipes. The Giant Cous Cous and Fava Bean recipe is mine. I have no problem with you using the recipe or sharing it. I simply ask you give credit where its due as I always try to. Many thanks...Namaste. ~R~