Thursday, 30 January 2014

Rocket & Roses Firey Chipotle Spring Greens Soup

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

BBC Radio4 Desert Island Disc Podcast ~ Sir Ian McKellan 

Bags of spring greens are in abundance right now. They are cheap and once cooked they are delicious. I'm afraid I haven't joined the raw spring greens pack as yet although they aren't too shabby in a green However, this being said if I have a choice of spring greens and kale, savoy, red cabbage or sweetheart leafy I would go for any of those every time. Why? Simply and quite superficially they always look nicer. Spring greens or collards as they are also known, come in bags and are still covered in soil from the fields. Yep I can be that person. But sometimes I grab a bag of them and toss them in my basket and tell myself to get over Stupid really because I greatly enjoy them once they are steamed or cooked in something. 

Chipotle chilli..have you tried it? It is something I haven't had properly since I was last in the US. Over in England it's quite tricky to purchase, an expensive supermarket sells dried chipotle chillies but buying any other variety simply isn't an easy thing here. More often than not I have to buy them online which means in bulk so it happens rarely. I was recently reading through an online recipe that called for chipotle chilli powder and I sat back in can buy a chilli powder? Goodness me, why hadn't it occurred to me before? lol. Sadly my local area didn't stock any so I asked ML to venture into Ebayland and try and find some. Three days later a package arrived with a bag of chipotle chilli inside and for a bargain price of £1.95!!! Now I have a kilner jar of the red stuff sat on my kitchen side. I couldn't wait to use it. I have to confess I took a rather deep breath as I was decanting it into the said jar and spent the next 10 minutes sneezing and trying to catch my breath. It's potent stuff, let me tell ya. lol. 

So armed with my bag of spring greens, my smokey chipotle powder and a face mask I started the process of making a soup. I also had a gorgeous sweet potato and grabbed that on my way past the basket on route to the kitchen. I like a soup that is straightforward and easy to make and I was pushed for time. I prepped veggies and heated stock and got out my large soup pot and threw everything in and left it to cook. And 20 minutes later I was blitzing the soup into a silky green lake and taste testing. 

Holy moly did my chipotle pack some heat! After two spoonfuls I was heading for my box of tissues because it was making my nose run. lol. Hey I nothing if not honest. By the fourth mouthful my senses had adjusted and I was enjoying the heady aroma and glorious spiciness. Please don't misunderstand, it wasn't painfully hot as I don't roll that way but my lips were sensitive after eating it. I felt like I'd eaten something special with the smokey warmth radiating through my every cell. lol. I most definitely had a chilli high.

Now it may not look like that attractive but what it lacked in appearance it more than made up for it in flavours. The lush spring greens, the smokey heat and wholesome sweet potato making it a silky soup. To quote the littlest niece...Yummy! 

Rocket & Roses Firey Chipotle Spring Greens Soup

Rocket & Roses Firey Chipotle Spring Greens Soup  Serves 4
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

240g spring greens, washed well and sliced 
2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 med-large sweet potato, peeled and chopped 
1 garlic clove, micro grated
1 1/2 litre hot veggie stock
1/2 tsp chipotle chilli powder (Yep..just 1/2 tsp packs a punch folks)

In a soup pan add all the ingredients and bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover, cook for 15 minutes until the onions are tender. Then remove from the heat and blitz until smooth. Serve...

Enjoy the glow! 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Thursday is a peaceful one...


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Chili Spiced Polenta with Beany Goulash

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Edgar Winter ft Slash ~ Winter Road
K.D Lang ~ The Consequences of Falling
Guns N' Roses ~ Yesterdays
Peter Gabriel ~ The Book of Love
Sinatra ~ Goody Goody
Bonnie Raitt ~ My Opening Farewell
Gina Sicilia ~ I Ain't Crazy
Andrea Bocelli ~ Vivo Per Lei
The Bryan Ferry Orchestra ~ Don't Stop The Dance
KORN ~ Let's Do This Now
Def Leppard ~ Rocket
Edwyn Collins ~ A Girl Like You
Europe ~ Flames
Thunder ~ The Only One 

This recipe intrigued me when it found its way to my Pinterest feed so I hastily followed the link through to the folks over at myinspiration. Now the original recipe calls for a fava bean goulash and earlier in the week I'd had a nasty experience with dried fava beans (nope..not saying..but the remaining beans are now pushed to the back of the stocks so I decided to sub them out for borlotti beans. The original recipe also calls for an avocado cream but I made the decision to leave that out. I'm having Avo issues lately. But other than these changes I stuck to the recipe as instructed and as always for the original recipe please click the link above. 

Now I have a love hate relationship with polenta but it is a food I want to love. Once again its the whole texture issue for me as it was once served to me and had the chewy rubbery texture I loath. But since I've been been GF I have been experimenting with it and I am well on the way to enjoying the yellow gloop. When making the polenta for this recipe I was stood there shaking my head, saying to myself this is so much polenta for two people. lol. And after a strenuous whisking, where my rather wimpy plastic whisk left me with an almost sprained wrist, I was left with a very beautiful tray of spiced polenta setting in a baking dish. 

The beany goulash was very easy to make and also a aromatic delight but then I have always loved the smell of a good veggie goulash cooking away. And I think the borlotti really worked well alongside the kidney beans. The sauce was perfect in its richness. The results of the spicy polenta combined with the intense goulash was for me...perfect. I loved the intensity of each mouthful with the very spicy polenta and rich goulash flavours. I wasn't sure if there would be too many competing flavours but they worked well. As I suspected the polenta was far too much for the Serves 2 suggestion as it made a full dinner plate size serving. So I quartered mine and stashed two pieces in the freezer to see it freezes well and then to use at a later date. However the goulash is a good two servings. This recipe isn't just a's an event.

Chili Spiced Polenta with Beany Goulash

Chilli Spiced Polenta with Beany Goulash     Serves 2
(Recipe from myinspiration)

For the polenta:

200g polenta 
1 ltr veggie stock 
2 tsp red chili flakes 
1 tsp thyme 
1.5 tbsp pumpkin seeds, finely chopped 
pinch of black pepper 

For the goulash:

1/2 onion, finely chopped (I used one small) 
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed 
1 can fava beans, drained and rinsed  (I used borlotti)
I large carrot, peeled and chopped 
1 tbsp paprika 
1/2 tsp black pepper 
1 tsp thyme 
1 can chopped tomatoes
1.5 tbsp tomato paste 
2 bay leaves 

Prepare the polenta, add the stock to a medium saucepan and bring to the boil, add the polenta, spice and pumpkin seeds and stir, it get thick pretty quickly, so really beat it to make sure it's well mixed through, cook like this for 3-5 minutes, then pour into a lined square baking tray, mine is 8" square, smooth it out so it's even and just leave to set, about 20-25 minutes. 

A large and deep set spicy polenta...huge!  I wasn't kidding lol

Now make the goulash - in a medium saucepan over a medium heat, add 2 tbsp water, add the onion, garlic , paprika and thyme and cook for 3 minute before adding the remaining ingredients, add 1/2 cup of water and stir everything together, cover and cook on a low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leave before serving. 

To serve, slice the polenta and top with the goulash. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Wednesday is a very good one... 


NB: This recipe is not mine and therefore I take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the hard work and creative talent of the folks over at myinspiration and theirs alone. I thank them for such a great recipe. ~R~

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

White Bean, Sage and Garlic Dip

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Stevie Nicks ~ Stop Draggin' My Heart Around
Foo Fighters ~ Tired Of You
Joan Jett ~ A Secret Love
The Puppini Sisters ~ Sway 
The Bryan Ferry Orchestra ~ Slave To Love 
Bowie ~ Golden Years 
Emmylove Harris & Don Williams ~ If I Needed You
Abbacadabra ~ Mamma Mia
Bach: Orchestral Suite in #3 in D : Air 
Rod Stewart ~ Stay With Me
James Morrison ~ One Last Chance
Maxine Sullivan ~ It Ain't Necessarily So 
Jessie Ware ~ No To Love 
Dixie Chicks ~ Easy Silence

I've had the pleasure of the littlest niece's company for the day. My sister has started a part time job and that means that I get the chance to spend some extra time with the little one. We have been busy painting, cooking soup, playing games, dancing and shooting pirates. lol All great fun and having her thoughts and input on the events of the day has been interesting and at times quite funny. Sometimes it's hard to remember she is only 2..well until next week. She is far wiser and more mature than some 5 year olds. Seeing her slumped in the car seat on the way to her home was quite a satisfying feeling...I'd worn her out. lol. But no doubt that it was a temporary thing...

So to today's was a recipe that I made on Friday for the weekend. I am experimenting with fresh sage right now having thought for years that I didn't like it. Now I know that I am not a big fan of the dried variety but the fresh option is really quite lovely. I found this recipe posted by that great cook Anon but as soon as I read through the ingredients I knew I had found a recipe I wanted to! In minutes it was printed off and in a few more I was in my kitchen prepping. 

It is an easy dish to make if you don't drop the baking dish as you are lifting it out of the oven! Urgh! lol And once it's blitzed you have a fairly sizable pot of dip. I used mine as a dip for crudites, spread for oatcakes, in a sandwich and I think it would be great as a filling for a jacket potato although I have yet to try that one. Its flavours despite the amount of garlic used are subtle and wholesome. Oh and I had some on hot GF toast which was very good. 

White Bean, Sage & Garlic Dip with Rustic Oarcakes

White Bean, Sage & Garlic Dip  Servings...many lol.

2 1/2 tins of cannellini beans, rinsed well and drained 
5 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
10 fresh sage leaves 
2 bay leaves 
1 tbsp olive oil 
1 whole head of garlic, outermost papery husk removed
salt and black pepper 
juice of 1 lemon 

Preheat oven to 350'F/180'C/GM 4. Spray the head of garlic with olive oil cooking spray. Put it in a small baking dish with 1/3 cup water. Bake until soft and lightly caramelised, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool and then squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves. 

Put the drained beans in a saucepan along with the bay leaves, sage and garlic and just cover with water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and then simmer for 3o minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves. Reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water, drain the bean mix. 

Blitz the bean mix with the roasted garlic, oil and enough of the cooking water to achieve a spreadable consistency. Season to taste with the salt, pepper and lemon. 

Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Tuesday has been as much fun as mine...


NB: This recipe is not my creation and therefore I take no credit for it whatsoever. But thanks to whoever did. ~R~


Monday, 27 January 2014

Monday Mantra...

I love this...always have, always will.

Bit of a Argh weekend folks so here is the mantra I'm working with today...I will be back tomorrow with a great recipe. I hope your week starts well...

Thanks for stopping by...


Sunday, 26 January 2014

Brunch: Indian Carrot and Spinach Pancakes

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

BBC Radio 2 Desert Island Discs Podcast ~ Paul Weller 

Do you believe cookbooks have magic? I do. I am a self confessed cookbook junkie and my collection is vast. When in receipt of a new it shiny and new, gifted or a second hand bargain..I make time to sit with it quietly. Dare anyone disturb I read them from cover to cover including all the recipes, ingredients and instructions. I smile and often recoil in horror at some of the I have my favourite cookbook authors but I am I don't believe there is a completely perfect cookbook with all great recipes. Some recipes just don't work as the author had hoped. My mind is filled with the recipes on the pages of these books...and I don't think i'll ever live long enough to cook them all...but I will give it a damn good try! lol. And I love it when cruising an old faithful cookbook and if put there by magic because magic knows, you know!..there is the perfect recipe for what I was needing in that moment. But I frown with confusion..was it always there? Nope..its that cooking magic at work again...yep. lol.

I was in search of a breakfast recipe and I as I am trying to keep things simple, full of flavour and as savoury as possible..well lets just say it's been interesting. lol. There have been some When this recipe suddenly appeared before me I knew it would be perfect. A chickpea pancake stuffed with carrots and spinach. Now it is the work of one of my favourite cookbook authors Mridula Baljekar. Her cookbook The Low Fat Indian Vegetarian Cookbook is one of my treasured items and lately I've been using it a lot. Now the original recipe serves six so I halved the recipe for myself and I had three 7" three breakfasts to go..Woo! lol. Below is the original recipe...

The hardest part of making these pancakes is grating the carrots at the beginning. Once you have prepped the veggies, you mix in the dry ingredients and then the wet and before you know it pancakes are sizzling in your skillet. Mridula instructions ask for them to be shallow fried in the pan but I didn't do this. I want to keep the oils to a minimum so I simply wiped oil over the base of the skillet and then almost dry fried my pancakes. I measured out my half mix by 1/2 cup measures and then flattened them out over the base of the skillet. The smell of the spices and fennel as they cooked was sublime. The results were great. The pancakes are slightly dense and the spices and fennel mix beautifully with the veggies. You get a hit of heat from the chilli and the slight sweetness from the blend of carrot and fennel. A delight to get your day started...

Indian Carrot & Spinach Pancakes

Indian Carrot & Spinach Pancakes   Makes six 7" pancakes
(Recipe from The Low Fat Indian Vegetarian Cookbook/Baljekar)

125g/4oz/2 cups chopped spinach 
125g/40z/ 3/4 cups grated carrot 
125g/4oz/ 1 cup finely chopped onion
2 green chilli pepper, seeded and chopped (I used red)
1 tsp aniseed or fennel seeds 
1 tbsp ground coriander 
1/2 tsp chilli powder 
1 tsp ground turmeric 
3/4 tsp salt or to taste (I omitted this)
125g/4oz/1 cup chickpea flour (besan), sieved
50g/2oz/1/3 cup semolina or fine polenta (I used polenta) 
1 tsp baking powder 
Oil for shallow frying 

In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients, up to and including the salt. 

Mix together the chickpea flour, semolina or polenta and baking powder and add to the above mixture. Gradually add 300ml/10 fl oz/1 1/3 cups cold water while you stir and mix with a wooden spoon. Mix until you have a thick batter of spreading consistency. 

Heat a tablespoon of oil over a medium heat in an iron griddle or skillet. Add 2 tbsp of the pancake mixture. Spread it so that a thin pancake is approx 7" in diameter. cover with a lid and cook for a minute or two or until the pancake is set and the underside is lightly browned. Brush the uncooked side with oil and turn it over. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 3-4 minutes or until browned. 

Fold the pancake into a triangular shape and serve garnished with a little salad and a chutney. (Or as they are for breakfast lol) 

To keep the pancakes warm whilst you cook the others Mridula suggests you heat the oven and place them onto a large baking sheet. But don't pile them on top of each other as they will go soggy. Her 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Sunday has been a great one...


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore I take no credit for its creation. That is the hard work and talent of Mridula Baljekar. And I thank her for the great cookbook.   

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Indian Stir-Fried Mung Beans

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Rudimental ~ Home
Chris Cornell ~ Moonchild
Rudimental ~ More Than Everything
Bowes & Morley ~ Powertripping
The Cranberries ~ Zombie
Jacqueline du Pre ~ Carnival Of The Animals
Mott The Hoople ~ All The Young Dudes
Deap Vally ~ Six Feet Under
Tina Dico ~ Lost In Art
Slash's Snakepit ~ Good To Be Alive
Stevie Ray Vaughan ~ Cold Shot
Sandi Thom ~ Runaway Train
Auf Der Maur ~ Would If I Could
Rudimental ~ Hide

When my nephew Myles was a little tot and just starting on solid foods, he couldn't get enough of my mung bean casserole. He would devour it and get upset when you showed him the empty And out of all of my nephews and nieces he is by far the most adventurous when it comes to trying new foods. Although to be fair his sisters aren't far behind him. It was important to my sister that her children grow up enjoying vegetarian and vegan foods although her home isn't either of those. Saturdays are always a opportunity for me to try out something new with the little ones and I was a very proud Auntie a couple of weeks ago when I had Noo eating raw broccoli as a side salad to her pasta. And this last weekend I had them taste testing nuts and seeds...the outcome...loved pumpkin seeds and cashews. Not so keen on brazil nuts and they were undecided on almonds. lol. Oh! I nearly forgot the littlest niece Layla who happily chomped her way through a tray of raw veggie crudities and tried my homemade Spicy Roasted Red Pepper hummus and liked it so much she wanted to keep the pot all the herself! lol. She can be forgiven...she's two!

Anyway today's recipe is a great dish from one of my favourite cookbooks Mridula Baljekar's The Low Fat Indian Vegetarian Cookbook. As with many of the recipes in Mridula's cookbook, it is easy to make and I made mine whilst prepping other dishes at the same time. Yep..that easy. lol. I happen to love the humble little green bean that is the Mung. Horrible name...agreed but this bean is so versatile. I have lost count of the ways I've used it and then recently found out the generic bags of beansprouts are almost always sprouted mung. Who knew? Not me apparently. lol. I was a little intrigued at this recipe because it had never occurred to me to stir fry them. I often throw Aducki beans in a veggie fry and they are great. 

I sat down with my bowl of stir fry and enjoyed every mouthful. Once again Mridula provided a meal that was packed full of flavours from the somewhat delicate spice base through to the tender crisp cauliflower florets and holding it together was the wholesome (I know I use this word a lot but wholesome is important to me!) mung bean. I'm really pleased I made this dish...and I had stacks of leftovers which got safely stashed in my freezer...didn't I mention this is a stir fry you can freeze too? lol My bad...

Indian Stir Fried Mung Beans

Indian Stir Fried Mung Beans    Serves 4
(Recipe from The Low Fat Indian Vegetarian Cookbook/Baljekar)

150g/5oz/ 1/4 cup dried mung beans
300ml/ 1/2 pint/1 1/2 cups of water
2 tbsp of sunflower or olive oil (I used 1 tsp sun)
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2.5cm/1" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1-2 green chilli peppers, finely chopped (seeds if you wish)
50g/2oz/1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut into 2.5cm/1" dice
1 bunch of spring onions (scallions), finely chopped 
125g/4oz/1 cup carrots, halved length ways and thinly sliced
125g/4oz/ cauliflower, divided into 5mm/ 1/2" florets
1 tsp salt or to taste 
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves 

Pick over the mung beans, wash and soak in plenty of cold water overnight. Drain and rinse several times. 

Put the beans and water in a saucepan and place over a high heat. Bring to the boil, partially over the pan and cook over a medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes or until it stops being frothy. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the beans are tender (realistically 15-20 mins ~R~) and the liquid reduces to about 2-3 tablespoons.

In a wok or non stick saucepan, heat the oil over a medium heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the mustard seeds followed by the cumin seeds. As soon as the seeds pop, add the ginger, red pepper and spring onion. Stir fry for 1 minute. 

Add the carrots and cauliflower, stir fry for a further minute, then add the salt. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes. 

Add the cooked beans, along with the cooking liquid left in the pan. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until the beans and vegetables are well blended. 

Stir in the coriander leaves, remove from the heat and serve...


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Thursday has been a good one for you. I'll be back on Saturday as tomorrow I am looking after the Littlest one and having a new hob fitted (Woo! Four rings's been a Hope your Friday is smashing....


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the hard work and creative talent of Mridula Baljekar and hers alone. Thanks to her for writing a great cookbook...~R~ 


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Rocket & Roses Sesame Soba Noodle Bowl

Rocket & Roses Play List:

Stevie Nicks & Dave Grohl ~ You Can't Fix This
Don Henley ~ All She Wants To Do Is Dance
The Thompson Twins ~ You Take Me Up
Anna Nalick ~ Breathe (Acoustic)
Foo Fighters ~ Gimme Stitches 
Half Moon Run ~ Need It 
Dead Sara ~ Weatherman 
Eddie Vedder ~ Waving Palms 
Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow ~ Picture 
Gin Wigmore ~ Devil In Me
Foo Fighters ~ Drive Me Wild 
The Pretty Reckless ~ Light Me Up
Gretchen Wilson ~ Her Strut
Garbage ~ I'm Only Happy When It Rains

Sometimes I forget about lunch...I know, I know..I shouldn't but I get immersed in work and/or getting through the day and it slips my mind. Even more shocking on the days where I am actually in the kitchen recipe testing and reviewing foods/books. My own lunch seems to slip me by but today I was all My Mum was here for her usual Wednesday afternoon visit and as she sat in the kitchen with me, she told me about all the events of her weekly art class and updated me on her own personal pieces she's working on. I love to hear her talk about her art and I was busy putting the finishing touches to two recipes I had been working on and once that was all finished and put away, I got busy making this delicious noodle bowl. 

I love this type of awaiting bowl, a single serving of soba/buckwheat noodles and a heap of veggies waiting to be prepped. I am in my happy place here. Although at the moment I am abstaining from fermented products so using my usual soy/tamari, rice vinegar and miso was out. Damn! Yes, I know right? So I had to go back to the flavour square one as it were. I started the dish by grating ginger and garlic together and then prepped the veggies listed below. I boiled 2 cups of water and then added that to the pan of veggies and then added noodles and allowed it simmer. Now for me I would happily eat this without the need for a sauce or dressing and this thought finally filtered through to my conscious. Why mess with it? lol. Giving the  veggies and noodles a brief cooking time I mixed them in the pan and drizzled 1 tsp toasted sesame oil on them and distributed it. At this point my Mum was sat there watching me and making statements of..."Oooh that looks good...and it smells smashing.." lol. So I figured I was on the right track. lol. I don't usually blog these thrown together recipes but today's is posted at my Mum's request. And apparently she likes to watch me Did I mention she's a character?

You know what? It was good...and I didn't miss the miso, soy or vinegar. The noodles were just perfect for me, the veggies were tender crisp and the natural flavours shone through with each bite and the very small hint of sesame rounded the dish out very pleasingly. I ate this for my lunch and enjoyed every bite. And a meal made in minutes...bonus. Why do people bother with packaged noodle dishes?

Rocket & Roses Sesame Soba Noodle Bowl

Rocket & Roses Sesame Soba Noodle Bowl    Serves 1
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1 individual serving of Soba/Buckwheat noodles 

1 1/2" piece of fresh ginger, micro grated 
1 garlic clove, micro grated
4 spring/green onions, trimmed and sliced
4 radishes, trimmed and sliced
6 baby sweetcorn, cut in half
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
3 Chinese leaves (Napa), rinsed and sliced 
6 mangetout, trimmed and halved
6 sugarsnap peas, trimmed and halved 

1 tsp toasted sesame oil 

approx 2 cups of boiling water

Place the prepped veggies in a saucepan and add the boiling water so they are covered by about 1 cm. Bring them to the boil and cover, cook for 4 minutes. Add in the noodles and once they have mooched down into the broth, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Remove the lid and stir gently to distribute the veggies amongst the noodles. Finish the dish by drizzling the sesame oil over the mix and then give it one final gentle stir. And serve...

Enjoy! I 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Wednesday has been as satisfying as mine has...




Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Rocket & Roses Sunny Salad Bowl

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

BBC Radio 5Live Mark Kermode & Simon Mayo Film Reviews: Coen Bros

On these gray English days I welcome the vibrant colours that vegetables bring to my day. And as I eat salads all year round I play around with the ingredients all the time. A few days ago my salad was this beautiful little bowl of colour. And I did smile whilst I was eating it....and the next day I added a watercress salad leave mix to the leftovers and it gave it another feel altogether. Am I the only one who would hang a photograph of this salad on my kitchen wall to cheer the place up? I am..Oh! Art comes in all forms lovelies..

I had managed to pick up a punnet of orange plum tomatoes and a large bag of mixed coloured mini peppers the weekend before. And I know it's not a popular thought but I actually love the fresh, clean crunch of iceberg lettuce so I added a good chunk of that too. I also threw in some pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds...and that was it. So there is no recipe to this...just chopping and chomping. A bowl of Sunny goodness....

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Tuesday has been fun filled and full of laughter...


Monday, 20 January 2014

Stuffed Courgettes with Cashew Nuts and Wild Rice (adapted)

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

The Cranberries ~ Show Me
Republica ~ Ready To Go
Missy Higgins ~ Warm Whispers 
Adele ~ Turning Tables 
Live ~ Waitress
Foo Fighters ~ Razor
Dixie Chicks ~ Baby Hold On
Tina Dico ~ Break Of Day
Foo Fighters ~ Cheer Up Boys
Auf Der Maur ~ Head Unbound
James Morrison ~ If You Don't Wanna Love Me
Sufran Stevens ~ Arnika 
Colbie Caillat ~ One Fine Wine
Joan Jett ~ Desire

Recently I had the delight of finding some globe courgettes in my supermarket. You hardly ever find them here...plenty of the long green kind and sometimes the odd long yellow ones show up. Before I could finish expressing my verbal delight in finding this rare veggie I had two stashed in my trolley. lol. I knew immediately they were going to be stuffed with some fantastic filling and as the thought of cutting them up was appalling. 

When it came to making this recipe I found myself sharing my kitchen with my sister and she watched in silence as I carefully carved out the Phew..thankfully it was easier than I thought it would be. And chopping up the ingredients for the stuffing was enjoyable. I found the recipe posted anonymously (Grrr!) and although I knew I wouldn't be making this exact recipe, as I didn't have wild rice in my stocks, I was looking forward to the cashew nut filling. Once the filling was cooked we tried a spoonful and was underwhelmed to say the least. It was a little concerning but understandable as the filling relies on the earthly flavours of rice, onion, garlic, red pepper and cashew nuts. However my instinct told me to keep going and I stuffed my courgette shells and placed the dish into the awaiting oven. 

My sister had to leave before they were cooked. So I sat down to lunch and dubiously made my first cut into one of them. I scooped up plenty of stuffing with my succulent roasted courgette and took a taste. I don't know what kind of cooking voodoo happened in my oven but when the filling was combined with the roasted courgette...something fabulous happened. The flavours were intensely savoury and delicious. The meal was also light and not heavy on the stomach. It was a great lunch served with a simple side salad of rocket and carrots. I loved them so much I texted my sister to tell her she missed out on something special...ok to brag lol and then had to promise to make them for her soon. lol. This will be a regular recipe here at the HQ...can't wait to make it again.

Stuffed Courgettes with Cashew Nuts and Wild Rice (adapted)

Stuffed Courgettes with Cashew Nuts and Wild Rice (adapted)  Serves 4

4 courgettes
1 tbsp oil 
2oz/55g wild rice (I used regular brown)
1 medium onion, chopped 
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped 
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed 
2oz/55g carrot, grated 
1 1/2 oz/45g cashew nuts, lightly toasted 
salt and pepper to taste 

Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet. 

Cut the courgettes in half length ways (or hollow out the centre of globe courgettes). Remove the flesh, leaving about half a centimetre. Chop the flesh and set aside. 

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions and red pepper. Cook gently for about ten minutes until the onion is starting to brown. Add the garlic, chopped courgette flesh and carrots and cook for a further few minutes. 

Remove the pan from the heat and add cashew nuts, rice, salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into the courgette shells. 

Cover and place on a baking tray. Cook in a preheated oven at 190'C/375'F/GM 5 for 25-30 minutes. Serve...


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Monday had been a great one...


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore take no credit for it. I send out thanks to whoever created it. 

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Brunch: Tipsy's Vegan Breakfast Sausage (Gluten Free) with Sauteed Cavolo & Spring Onion

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

BBC Radio 2 Desert Island Discs ~ Annie Lennox

I admit it...I'm not a vegan who is looking for a meat replacement. I have never eaten meat and aside from my very early (I rejected meat as soon as I was offered it as a solid food) awareness that eating animals was just wrong...I also have a texture issue. For the same reason that I can't enjoy mushrooms, some tofu and tempeh. And I run from the room if I am presented with Linda McCartney's Veggie Sausages or any meatlike veggie product. 

But despite this I did get my interest piqued many moons ago by the vegan sausages in Vegan Brunch. I tried making them including the Vital Wheat Gluten but in the first tasting I couldn't swallow because the texture was just wrong for me. I made a second batch using plain wholemeal flavour instead of Vital and I enjoyed them greatly. I would make large batches of all the flavour options and have them stashed in my freezer. My favourite tofu omelette filling is a broccoli and chorizo mix. I realise that my opinion isn't shared by many and some veggies and vegans love the meat replacement offerings..and good luck to you I say. lol. It just isn't for me. 

Then I became intolerant to wheat so I had to start looking for a gluten free option for one of my favourite brunch ingredients and I found a fairly good GF sausage recipe. But they break up quite easily and so therefore I am still looking for something better. Today's recipe popped up on my Pinterest feed and I was intrigued although they did maybe look a little too meaty for me. lol. The ingredients were very simple and I thought.."Why not?.." They are the creative work of Karen over at The Tipsy Chicks Supper Club. Great blog name, eh? lol. however I confess I read through Karen's directions and then adapted the instructions so for Karen's original recipe please click on the link above.

So armed with all the ingredients I set about making these sausages. The recipe is very simple and within minutes the sausages were sizzling away in my new skillet. They smelt so good as they cooked. I served some with a pan cooked tomato and some cavolo nero and spring onion that I'd sauteed in a tiny amount of coconut oil. And sat down to enjoy my brunch....

.....but sadly for me the sausages were just too meaty in texture. The flavours were good but I couldn't get past the texture. Why am I posting them? Because I think the recipe is a great one...they are vegan..gluten free and if you are looking for a meaty replacement then they are going to be great for you. But I was happy that I had made the effort and tried them. And just because the texture wasn't for me, doesn't mean they won't be good for you. I hope you try making some for yourself...I do think Karen is onto something with this recipe..

Tipsy's Vegan Breakfast Sausage (Gluten Free)

Vegan Breakfast Sausage (Gluten Free)    Makes 10 links
(Recipe from The Tipsy Chicks Supper Club)

2 cups of black eyed peas (15 1/2 oz can, un-drained)
1/2 cup gluten free potato flour
1/4 cup finely chopped mushrooms
2 tsp onion powder 
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
1 dash crushed red pepper flakes - to taste
1 tsp dried basil
1 sprig of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp salt 
Oil for cooking 

Mash the black eyed peas and mix in the potato flour. Then add the remaining ingredients on the list and then knead together until they are evenly distributed. Then divide the mix into ten portions and then carefully form them into sausage shapes. Heat a little oil in a skillet and then carefully cook the sausages until they are browned all over. Serve...

Karen's notes: Make sure that the end mixture isn't too runny. This might happen if the undrained peas contain too much liquid (the liquid in the can can vary brand to brand) It yours is too runny to shape into sausages, add more flour until you can work with it. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Sunday is a peaceful one...


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the work and creative talent of Karen @ ~R~

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Gujarati Cabbage

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel ~ Make Me Smile
Billies Myers ~ Opposites Attract
PCD ~ Feelin' Good
Bob Marley ~ Wisdom
Nelly Furtado ~ Wait For You
Alanis Morrisette ~ Let's Do It
Soundgarden ~ Like Suicide
Gary Moore ~ With Love (Remember)
Cyndi Lauper ~ Stay
Cat Power ~ Lived In Bars
Meredith Brooks ~ Bitch
Shakira ~ No Creo
Halestorm ~ Familiar Taste Of Poison
Pink Floyd ~ Wish You Were Here

It's Saturday! Woo! It has been one long week...and despite a very bad night which has left me a little worn out I am very much looking forward to my sister and the little ones visiting today. I need the hugs..I need interactions...I need the contact. Tonight I am spending the evening with my chosen family. We are meeting up at a friends house to enjoy an evening of games. Can't wait. I love Saturdays. But first...breakfast..fuel for the day ahead...

I am always on the hunt for new fillings for my tofu omelette breakfasts. This recipe blipped on my radar via Pinterest and the posting gives 'credit' to James Oseland therefore so do I. lol. Cabbage is one of my favourite veggies because I love it's versatility. I can eat it plainly steamed with no additions and never tire of it. But it doesn't hurt to mix it up occasionally, eh? And this recipe definitely does that.

The lightly cooked fresh savoy cabbage (any cabbage will do, that was just what I had in my stocks), peppers, chilli and intense spice mix with a hit of lime really sounded fantastic to me. I really didn't think the salting of cabbage was necessary because my savoy was quite dry to start with but I went along with it. And not a single drip of moisture was released...nope..not one! Anyway...this recipe is easy to make and I personally loved the constant need to be stir frying the cabbage. I also enjoyed the aroma as the spices went into the skillet. But then, I was smiling because of the uplifting smell as I juiced the limes..never fails to put me in a happy place.

The results were as I heck of a powerhouse of flavours. Great texture from the cabbage and the spices gave it a interesting colour indeed. And in every mouthful you have the lime bursting out at you and it really did define the term...zingy! lol. When writing my notes on the recipe whilst eating it, zingy was the only word I could come up with. It worked very well as my omelette filling too. I plan on eating it this was one more time and then making a Chickpea Fritatta with the leftovers. (Update: this worked great as the filling for the Fritatta..delish!)

Gujarati Cabbage - Yep that colour is all spice

Gujarati Cabbage       Serves 4 

1 cabbage, cored and shredded 
salt to taste 

2 tbsp peanut oil 
2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 tsp Asafetida 
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground turmeric
10 fresh curry leaves
3 plum tomatoes chopped
3 Italian frying peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
1 Serrano chilli, thinly sliced 
5 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro 
1/4 cup fresh lime juice 
2 tbsp sugar 

Toss cabbage and salt in a bowl. Let wilt for one hour. Squeeze excess liquid from cabbage, set aside. 

Heat oil in a large skillet over a med-high heat. Add mustard seeds, Asafetida, cumin and curry leaves; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add reserved cabbage, turmeric, tomatoes, peppers and chilli; cook, stirring, until the cabbage is crisp tender, 6-7 minutes. Stir in cilantro, lime juice and sugar. Season with salt; cook until flavours meld, 3-5 minutes. Serve...


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Saturday is everything you hoped it would be...


NB: This is not my recipe therefore I take no credit for it whatsoever. 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Hot Damn & Hell Yeah's Black Bean Chilli

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Foo Fighters ~ Lonely As You
Thunder ~ Another Shot Of Love (Live)
Nickelback ~ Just To Get High
The Smiths ~ Rush and A Push The Land Is Ours
Sandi Thom ft Joe Bonamassa ~ This Ol' World
Holly Williams ~ Three Days In Bed
Escala ft Slash ~ Kashmir
Heart ~ I Don't Want to Need You
Rod Stewart ~ Ruby Tuesday
Them Crooked Vultures ~ No One Loves Me & Neither Do I
Rage Against The Machine ~ Bullet In The Head
Buckcherry ~ Air
Sinatra ~ Moon River
Shakira ~ Un Poco De Amor 

Sometimes I despair at the dish that is vegetable chilli and I am fairly certain I have written about this before. You know the chilli...watery, veggies not cooked enough and zero heat. How people have the cheek to call them a chilli is amazing to me. Surely they are veggie stews at best? lol. Sometimes I crave a chilli...and if there are going to be veggies they have to be cooked but I also prefer mine to have a good amount of bean in it. I also like to feel like I've eaten the spicy know..that hint of glow around your lips. I'm not a heat junkie like some people I know and love. I don't like a chilli or curry that makes me go into melt down or drink endless amounts of water with it. A healthy heat of a glow is my

I picked up my copy of Hot Damn! And Hell Yeah! quite a few years ago now. And blimey, have I enjoyed it. It's certainly an interesting cookbook and has some great recipes. I've wanted to try this chilli for a while as I love black beans and all the health benefits they provide are just a bonus. My craving kicked in for chilli and I knew instantly which one I was going to try. Hot Damn...I was gonna have me some black bean chilli! lol

Making this chilli is easy. The recipe is straightforward and once everything is in the pan, its a matter of leaving it to simmer away. And at the end of that time you are left with a great thick, beany and rich red chilli.

This chilli hit every one of my needs. It was rich, spicy, beany, intense and the veggies were cooked perfectly and the beans were so good. I served mine with a little brown rice and some steamed side veggies. My recipe books are covered with scribbled notes and scores...and this baby got the full 10/10! Yes..that good. 

Black Bean Chilli

Black Bean Chilli    Serves 4 
(Recipe from Hot Damn! Hell Yeah!/Splint)

1 tbsp oil 
1 onion, chopped 
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cups cooked black beans 
2 cans tinned chopped tomatoes
1 cup water
1-3 tbsp tbsp chilli powder (I used 3 tsp of Hot! chilli powder)
1 tsp ground cumin 
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp brown sugar (I omitted this) 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp black pepper 
fresh cilantro/coriander or spring/green onions, chopped

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and green pepper and saute until the onion is translucent. Stir in the chilli powder, cumin, oregano and cinnamon, cooking until mixed and absorbed. 

Add the chopped tomatoes and water, then bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent burning to bottom of the pan. Add beans, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir well and return it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring to prevent and scorchin'. Serve garnished with cilantro or green onions. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Friday has been a great one...


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore I take no credit for it. It is the hard work and creative talent of Ryan Splint. ~R~