Friday, 28 February 2014

St Ives ~ Artist J.C.Lawtey

St Ives, Cornwall - Artist ~ J.C.Lawtey seems my seriously untalented Mum has been at it once again..however this time I think she is actually proud of this one. And it's about time let me tell you lol as I have spent many...many...many years trying to boost her confidence about her work. My childhood bedroom was covered in drawings by her lovely hand and my shelves littered with her creations from the pottery school. OK there was also a Fonz and Bionic Woman poster or 

Last year ML and I were lucky enough to go to Cornwall on holiday and our apartment balcony overlooked the entire bay of St Ives and although the scene was never as dramatic as this was beautiful. This is my Mums interpretation of the postcard that we sent her. I love extreme weather (unless it's flowing through my house!!) and so the sky and the waves really appealed to me. I think I enjoy Mum's version a lot more than the original postcard and I can say that without any bias as she knows me and my honesty gene well enough by 

I am away to the hospital with ML and little Layla and then hopefully to have some fun afterwards so I hope you are all having a great Friday...

Thanks for stopping by and keep smiling folks..


NB: This artwork is the hard work and creation of J.C.Lawtey and her alone. 

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Rocket & Roses Tomato, Aubergine and Red Pepper Oven Roasted Layer

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Human League ~ Don't You Want Me? 
Soundgarden ~ I Awake 
Orianthi ~ Addicted To Love
The Pretty Reckless ~ My Medicine
Dolly Parton ~ We Had It All
Lady Antebellum ~ Friday Night 
VAST ~Thrown Away(Live)
Thunder ~ A Better Man
Sting ~ English Man in New York
Tom Jones ~ You Can Leave Your Hat On
Santana ~ Hoy Es Adios
Little Angels ~ Do You Wanna Riot 
Bon Jovi ~ No Apologies 
Sara Sant'Ambrogio ~ Prayer "From Jewish Life" No. 1

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of being the recipient of my Mum's latest piece of art work. She had based her oil painting upon the postcard I had sent to her from my holiday in Cornwall last year. It is now proudly hanging on my wall and I absolutely love it. I think it is one of her best works to date and I think finally she is beginning to believe in her abilities as an artist. I shall post the painting tomorrow as I have a busy hospital day tomorrow and therefore no foodie post to offer. 

In the daily endeavour to use up the veggies that I can't fit in my temporary fridge I have been quite busy. Today's veggie was a beautiful striped aubergine. So beautiful, that it seemed a shame to hack it up and smother it in a sauce...I wanted a recipe that would showcase it's beauty. I was reminded of a ratatouille recipe I made last year and decided to have a go at making my own version but I didn't want the richness that comes with a ratatouille. I also had a bunch of vine ripened tomatoes and a long thin sweet red pepper. 

I find the layering of these veggie dishes to be quite cathartic and not at all fiddly or time consuming and I really do love the end results. The taste of this simple dish was so good and I served mine with brown rice but it would be great with pasta too. Another case of simple flavours winning out...

R & R Tomato, Aubergine and Red Pepper Oven Roasted Layer

Rocket & Roses Tomato, Aubergine and Red Pepper Oven Roasted Layer
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

3 tbsp tomato paste 
3 tbsp water
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp mixed herbs ~ thyme, marjoram, oregano, parsley, sage, basil
1/2 tsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper 

1 medium striped aubergine 
3 medium vine ripened tomatoes
1 long thin red bell pepper 
freshly ground black pepper 
1/2 tsp olive oil 

In a bowl whisk together the tomato paste, water, garlic, herbs, oil and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. 

Preheat the oven to 350'F/180'C/GM 4 and make ready a round baking dish (although any
baking dish will just won't be as Pour the sauce into the dish and smooth it over to ensure an even layer. 

Slice the aubergine, tomatoes and red pepper into 1/4 inch slices and start to layer them in an aub/tom/pepper order and keep going around the outside edge. Then fill the centre with the remaining slices. 

Like so!

Generously grate black pepper over the slices and then drizzle the 1/2 tsp of olive over the slices. Cover with a foil lid and place in the hot oven and leave to roast for 45 minutes. Then remove the lid and roast for a further 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve...


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Thursday has been a good one...


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Sondi's Lentil Loaf with Garlicky Mashed Cauilflower 'Potatoes'

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Eric Clapton ~ Greatest Hits Playlist 

Holy cooking disaster Batman! Thankfully not today's recipe but due to the recent fridge disaster I have a stack of veggies that I am trying to use up. One being a large courgette which I decided would be perfect for testing out a courgette crisp/chip recipe. I have just sat down after opening my kitchen door and window to let out the charcoal fumes. lol. The recipe stated they needed two hours to the hour mark I went into the kitchen to check on them only to find a hundred little piles of charcoal. Ah well..can't win them all, eh? lol. Thankfully today's blog recipe had a much better result...

As much as I love to create new and interesting ways of eating as a vegan...sometimes you can't beat the old classic of vegetarian cooking. One such dish is the humble veggie loaf/roast. I've tried many various recipes over the years with varying results. The worst that comes to mind is a red lentil loaf that as soon as you turned it out onto a plate for serving...completely fell apart and splodged over the entire surface of the serving dish and also tasted of nothing. Not a great However one of my very favourites is a cashew nut based loaf that has a herbed stuffing centre so I wasn't surprised to find myself printing off Sondi's recipe after it bounced across my Pinterest screen last night. The attached photo made the loaf look so tasty and I had a cauliflower sat on my kitchen counter waiting to be used up. 

The recipe is the creation of Sondi Bruner and for her original recipe and blog posting, please click here. I found her website to be very interesting and came away with some sound advice. 

Making this loaf is very simple although there are a few stages but not one of them are hard work. I was actually so intrigued by this recipe I found I enjoyed making each stage and felt quite satisfied when I placed my loaf into the oven to bake. I had such high hopes for the results and I wasn't disappointed. The loaf is wholesome with the herb laden lentil casing and the mashed cauliflower centre provide a great balance to the overall flavour and stop what could have been a very dry loaf. I ate my slice with a side dish of steamed red cabbage and broccoli and felt comforted by this meal. I will most definitely be checking out more of Sondi's recipe very soon and I urge you to do the same...thanks Sondi. 

Sondi's Lentil Loaf with Garlicky Mashed Cauliflower 'Potatoes'

Sondi's Lentil Loaf with Garlicky Mashed Cauliflower 'Potatoes'  Make 1 2lb Loaf
(Recipe from

1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 1/2 lb)
3 cloves garlic, peeled 
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 cup grated carrot
1 1/2 cups of cooked green lentils
1/4 tsp dried basil, parsley, sage and oregano
1/2 cup of gluten free oats
1 tsp salt

In a veggie steamer, steam the cauliflower and garlic for 10-12 minutes. Until tender. Let them cool for a bit and then adding a 1/4 tsp of the salt,  blend in a food processor until smooth. Set to one side. 

Preheat the oven to 35o'F/180'C/GM4. 

In a large pot, saute the onion in a few tablespoons of water until softened. Add the celery, carrot, lentils, herbs and remaining salt and cook for about 10 minutes. 

Stir in the gluten free oats.

Take half of the mixture out of the pot and plunk it in the food processor. Pulse it 8 - 10 times until it gets slightly mashed, then put it in the pot and stir. 

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Take about 3/4 of the mixture and press it into the bottom and sides of the pan. Fill the centre with the mashed cauliflower, then press the remaining mixture on top. 

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top of the loaf is dry and golden. 

NB: I left mine to set in the tin for 10 minutes before I turned it out onto a plate. I also didn't use the full amount of mashed cauliflower. ~R~  


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Wednesday has been very good to you...


NB: This recipe is not mine so I take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the hard work and creation of Sondi Bruner and hers alone. I do thank her for it...~R~  

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Rocket & Roses Slow Roasted Veggie Sauce (Oil free)

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Beth Hart ~ Boom Boom Bang Bang Album

What do you do when you have a broken fridge and a kitchen filled with it's perishable contents? You get busy and try and cook off as many as you can...until you remember you have no fridge to store the cooked dishes afterwards! Argghhh! Nightmare. lol. 

Yesterday was a very trying day but today has been much better. I still have the lurgy I'd picked up but I am dealing...I have a small temporary fridge thanks to my sister and her hubby so some of the veggies etc are keeping cool but overall today has been a lot better. I've had the company of my niece for the day which is never a chore and the extra company of my lovely pal Ann who brought a rather fluffy Archie with her to visit. He loves his stays at the Doggie Hotel with Ann and Caz but I am rather relieved he did look a little pleased to see me. I was also amazed that I was able to see his large chocolate drop eyes thanks to the cunning skills of the Doggie Whisper aka Ann..who had managed to convince him after his bath to let her near him with a pair of scissors. He is just at the end of his winter month he gets his first 'strip' of the year and he will be back to spivvy and smart...although everyone seems to love his shaggy, scruffy Westie look. lol. 

Last night after a heck of a day I sat at my temporary desk/dining table barely able to keep my eyes open and realised I hadn't eaten. To be honest food was the last thing I wanted to ever see again...*cue drama queen sigh* I walked into my chaotic kitchen and switched my oven on to heat up..grabbed a baking dish and a random selection of the perishable veggies and a chopping board and knife and sat at my desk...and got chopping. Then the creative edge kicked in and this sauce was the end results. Sometimes it's that easy, eh? 

This sauce isn't rich at all despite the ingredients and it's so very tasty with the delicate flavours of the roasted veggies, chopped tomatoes and herbs. I made a choice not to use any oil in it and it worked very well. I ate some with brown rice last night for my evening meal and today I enjoyed it with pasta. I think it would work great as a filling for a baked potato all rounder sauce. If you have time to let it roast away in the oven then I recommend you try's simply delish.

Rocket & Roses Slow Roasted Veggie Sauce...

Rocket & Roses Slow Roasted Veggie Sauce (Oil Free)
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1 medium aubergine, small dice
1 large courgette, small dice
2 small red onions, quartered and thinly sliced
10 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved 
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 long sweet red pepper, small dice
1 small head of broccoli, cut into tiny florets
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 heaped tsp dried oregano
1 large handful of fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
handful of small basil leaves to garnish

Preheat the oven to 350'F/180'C/GM4 and make ready a shallow baking dish.

Place the chopped aubergine, courgette, onion, sprouts, garlic and basil ribbons. Using your hands, mix them up well. In a jug add the chopped tomatoes and the dried oregano and stir well to evenly distribute the herb. Pour it over the veggie mix and stir once more to evenly coat the veggies. Place the broccoli florets stalks down into the top of the veggies.

Cover with tin foil and place in the oven for 1 hour. At this point remove the foil and gently stir the veggie mix. Re-cover with the foil and roast for a further 20 minutes until all veggies are cooked down. Serve with pasta, brown rice or as a baked potato filling....



Monday, 24 February 2014

Tuscan Bean and Celery Soup

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Kid Rock ~ Forever
Jamie Cullum ~ Seven Days To Change Your Life
Bonnie Raitt ~ My Opening Farewell
The Zutons ~ Long Time Coming
Roxette ~ It Must Have Been Love
KT Tunstall ~ Fade Like A Shadow
The Eagles ~ In The City
Live ~ Untitled
Beth Rowley ~ I Shall Be Released
Michelle Branch ~ Empty Handed 
The Charlie Daniels Band ~ The Devil Went Down To Georgia
Doris Day ~ Its A Lonely Day Today
Joan Jett ~ Pretty Vacant 
Jamie Cullum ~ Everlasting Love

How has your week started folks? Mine has been challenging. lol. I can laugh now...just. Yesterday we were hosting a family lunch for a special birthday treat but during Saturday I seemed to have picked up a nasty lurgy/bug and by the sitting down to eat lunch time I felt like I had been body slammed into the floor. As did my sister and her little son so we were trying our best to be part of the events but trying not to get close to anyone else in case we infected them. Not a nice thing to pass on to someone on their 70th birthday, is it? 

ML is also away with work this work and is currently roaming the Bulgarian town of Sofia and therefore had a 4.30am start so was hoping to not pick up the lurgy too. Then after the days events were over and a suitcase was hastily packed and final details sorted we crashed into bed. Due to my lurgy I was wide awake by 2am and so therefore decided to listen to a Podcast which isn't an unusual event during my nights. Only to find it wouldn't work so after much swearing sneezing filled attempts to sort it out I realised our electric was off. I woke ML to go investigate and after nearly an hour of tests it was deemed that my lovely larder style fridge was the cause. I had a fridge crammed full with fresh veggies for the week ahead so this was not a good thing and of course...the warranty has indeed just run out. (Arghhh!)

This morning has been trying...ML left for the airport and my lurgy had progressed to the 'can't lift my head off of the pillow' stage. Our friend Jim who is an electrician (bless him) had been called from an airport and had promised to come in and assess the situation for me. I dragged myself out of bed and made myself a gram flour omelette stuffed with chillies, ginger and garlic to help clear some of the passages and got on with my morning. My sister came in for her Monday morning visit and we sat at the dining table catching up but both feeling like hell. We like to Then shortly after she left to pick up the littlest one Jim arrived and after a few checks announced our fridge was kaput unless we are very lucky and after a week of drying out it works again but it was a small chance...*insert expletive therapy here*.....did I mention I feel seven shades of Yuck? lol Urgh. 

Happy Monday Red...but I try and remember to breathe and make myself realise that things could get a lot worse. Then I got a phone call from the hospital....*shaking head* Yep it could definitely get worse. My peaceful week of home alone time is not going as I had hoped, you know? lol. Did you pick up on that? OK I've vented enough and I will get a grip...eventually...

Today's recipe is one from Linda Majzilk's A Vegan Taste of Italy cookbook. It is a fab little cookbook and I use it often. This soup is not one for those of you that can't take a lot of celery in one hit. I'll be honest I didn't think I was one of those people but when I first tasted this soup I feared I might be. But once I was onto my third spoonful my taste buds had adjusted and I was greatly enjoying this soup. It's clean and simple and a great way to use up leftover beans and celery that has lost its freshness. I adapted the recipe slightly and that is the version I have provided below.

Right I have appointment with a bowl of Chilli & Ginger Noodle Soup and an episode of Scandal. Achooooooooo! Urgh. 

Tuscan Bean and Celery Soup

Tuscan Bean and Celery Soup     Serves 4
(Recipe from A Vegan Taste of Italy/Majzilk)

1lb/450g cooked cannellini beans
8oz/225g celery, trimmed and sliced
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
30 fl oz/900ml vegetable stock 
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the celery and onion for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until it is heated and fragrant. Add half of the beans and the veggie stock, parsley and bay leaf. Season with black pepper and stir well. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then remove the bay leaf and blend the soup until smooth. Return to the rinsed pan and add the remaining beans. Reheat, whilst stirring, over a low heat and then serve...


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Monday has been kind to 


NB: This recipe is not mine and therefore I take no credit for it. It is the hard work and creation of Linda Majzlik and hers alone. ~R~


Saturday, 22 February 2014

Rocket & Rose's Black Olive Pate with Deliciously Ella's Superfood Bread (vegan, gluten & yeast free!)

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Madonna ~ Erotica 
The Gossip ~ Keeping You Alive
Bon Jovi ~ You Give Love A Bad Name
Keith Urban ~ She's Gotta Be
ZZ Top ~ Gimme All Your Lovin'
John Lennon ~ (Just Like) Starting Over
Suzi Quatro ~ I've Never Been In Love
KORN ~ Burn The Obedient 
Joan Jett ~ Fetish
Jack Johnson ~ Fortunate Fool
Sara Sant'Ambrogio ~ Sonata Op 65: 1. Allegro Moderto
Depeche Mode ~ Higher Love
Queen ~ We Will Rock You
P!nk ~ Funhouse

*doing my happy dance from the kitchen, around the house and then finally crashing onto my office chair...but keeping my intensely large grin*  

The reason for this sudden burst of rampant happy filled dancing? Quite simply the gluten free, yeast free bread recipe I made this morning from DeliciouslyElla's blog. This goddesslike woman has created the most amazing gluten free recipes and earlier in the week I tested out the quinoa pizza crust and it was so good that it inspired me to keep testing the other recipes I had printed off of her site. Today was the turn of the Superfood Bread... I admit I had begun to give up on ever enjoying a bread based food item again. I have tried many gluten free recipes both oven baked and in our bread machine and all were...awful. I dislike the sandy texture you get with many of the offerings out there. For the same reasons I dislike most shop bought gluten free products or they have eggs added to them..or a ton of junk that when reading through them I felt like my head was going to explode. Then I found out that I had an intolerance to yeast too...*sighs*...I then stopped trying to find a product as all vegan gluten free bread recipes seemed to rely heavily on yeast. Then I found Ella's blog....

I like Ella's recipes because they are simple recipes, with good healthy ingredients and they.....WORK! lol. The quinoa pizza was very much enjoyed and I can't begin to put into words just how much I enjoyed the Superfood Bread and for Ella's recipe click here! The bread is a good mix of nuts and seeds and I chose to use the buckwheat flour option although you could use brown rice flour instead. I also used psyllium husk powder for the first time. This loaf is laughingly simple to make and then after an hour of 'sitting' its goes into a moderate oven and 40 minutes later you have a great seedy loaf. The flavour is so good and almost reminiscent of my beloved wholemeal/granary loaves from the past. I loved it! Thank you once again Ella! (Update: It appears I forgot to add the herbs to my loaf but I didn't miss them until I was re-reading the recipe after writing this just so you herbs works fantastically as well)

Now as it is forever since I enjoyed a sandwich I knew I needed to create a new pate to spread on top of my slice. For some reason images of a creamy olive pate came to mind topped with a slice of a vine ripened tomato and some rocket leaves. Yes, my topping for my pizza also had a similar assembly but what can I say..I am a black olive, tomato and rocket addict. lol. That's why I chose the name of my love of Rocket leaves and white I digress...

This pate isn't as heady as full on olive tapenade and that is exactly what I wanted. I love olives but can find myself olived out with the tapenades. I chose to use a bean to add the creamy texture and my bean of choice is the humble Butterbean because I believe it gives a creaminess that the other white beans don't. However I suspect any white bean would work ok in this pate..choices is yours as ever folks. I also used garlic infused olive oil as I wanted subtle garlic rather than the raw hit. But if you need to reduce the oil...try using a small garlic clove..remove the centre core and then micro grate it into the processor. I also used the store cupboard ready-ground black pepper because I wanted the depth of flavour in this pate. After I had finished blending this pate together I made my final testing and was smiling all over the place...its been a good recipe day today. I love those 

I've been creating in the kitchen whilst ML and our nephew Myles have been waging an epic war via The little guy came to stay over again last night after we share a great day out adventuring with him and his sisters. I love that he is still excited to stay over...

Ella's Superfood Bread open sandwiches, spread with R & R Black Olive Pate

Rocket & Roses Black Olive Pate    Makes 1 generous cup
(Original Recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen) 

1 14oz tin of butter beans, rinsed and drained
15 large black olives 
2 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
1/2 of lemon juice 
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
a good sprinkle of Himalayan salt (optional)

In the bowl of a food processor, place the beans and olives and pulse until they have broken down a lot. Then drizzle the oil and lemon juice and pulse quickly once again. Then sprinkle in the black pepper and Him/salt if using and patient! Start to blend on a high speed and when necessary push it down from the sides. Process until a creamy texture has been reached. Sadly in my processor that takes about 15 minutes but hopefully it won't be as long for you. Then store in a container with an airtight lid in the fridge until ready to use. 


Cut two slices from your Superfood Bread loaf....

Look at that seedy yummy goodness...
Slather your slices with the Black Olive Pate and then top with a slice of a vine-ripened tomato and some small rocket leaves. Then serve....


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Saturday is as fulfilling as mine has been so far....not to mention I hope you get the chance to do your happy dance too! lol


NB: The Superfood Bread is not my creation and therefore I take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the hard work and creation of Ella@ DeliciouslyElla and hers alone. But thankyou once again Ella for a fantastic recipe...~R~

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Rocket & Olive Pizza with Ella's Quinoa Pizza Base (vegan, gluten & yeast free)

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Missy Higgins ~ Nightminds 
NIN ~ I Do Not Want This
Richie Kotzen ~ Feed My Head
Roy Orbison ~ Too Soon To Know
Elgar: Variations on an original theme "Enigma"
NIN ~ Heresy
The Union ~ Holy Roller
Bach: Cello Suite #5 in C Minor Gavotte
Keith Urban ~ Kiss A Girl 
The Cranberries ~ Electric Blue
Lady Antebellum ~ Need You Now
Heart ~ Black on Black 
The Animals ~ How You've Changed
Brandi Carlile ~ Until I Die 

Since going completely gluten free I have missed certain foods..badly. One of them being my monthly treat of tomato and olive pizza. I was never a deep pan pizza person and if that was the only pizza on offer I would always refuse. I liked the thinner stone baked bases and finding a good vegan, gluten free, yeast free pizza base has been a challenge and so far I have been unsuccessful. It was during a desperate search online that I found DeliciouslyElla's blog. What a revelation! Her blog is light and cheery but also filled with great recipes. I was lost in there for a good hour and came away with a pizza base, superfood bread and seeded bread roll recipe. The woman is a genius..the kind that makes you question your own work and feel like..."What's the point in trying?.." Then I got a 

Yesterday I set about making the pizza. It was different and intriguing because it didn't contain any flour either wheat or gluten free...or yeast. It was a simple crust made from soaked quinoa, apple cider vinegar, dried herbs and chilli flakes. And for Ella's recipe simply click here.  So the night before ML put the required amount of quinoa into soak and then in morning I set about making the crust. It really is a very simple recipe IF you have a blender with some guts which I don't and so after half an hour of blending I was beginning to lose the will to live and my blender was screaming an SOS. I assume that Ella is fortunate to have a Vitamix or the like. Lucky lady. However, much later I finally had a consistency that wasn't just whole quinoa seeds and looked a little like the batter Ella had hoped I would have. I carefully smoothed it over an 8" pizza pan and then left it to cook in the oven. 

I don't miss cheese at all and I must admit the thought of a thick layer of fatty, globby cheese on a pizza makes me feel sick these days. Took a while for my 'cheese tooth' to die away but I am very happy it has. And that goes as far as using the vegan them homemade or store bought. For a long time now I've enjoyed a specific pizza topping so I knew that would be the tester topping for this pizza base. A rich garlicky tomato sauce, fresh tomato slices, intensely salty black olives and almost bitter rocket leaves. Oooh and oregano...and I'm not precious about it being fresh..just a healthy dose of the dried stuff in my tomato sauce. Once my base was cooked and it cooked very quickly and looked delicious. (Photo below) I set about making my toppings and then sat patiently whilst it baked in the oven. The smell almost made me tearful...hey! I said It's been a while..

The results...were simply delicious. There is no convincing anyone that this is a 'regular' pizza base because it is clearly not. The quinoa base is dense in texture but carries the toppings well. I enjoyed every mouthful and felt very satisfied afterwards and didn't feel 'cheated' of my old wheat based crusts. Maybe it's because I recognise how ill they made me and have no desire or inclination of going back to them...or maybe I just enjoyed the intense flavours of my favourite toppings and really enjoyed the quinoa crust too. I will be making this when those pizza cravings hit. Thank you I can't wait to try your bread recipe and the rolls. 

Rocket & Olive Pizza with Ella's Quinoa Pizza Base

Rocket & Olive Pizza with Ella's Quinoa Pizza Base  Makes 1 8" pizza

1 8" Quinoa Pizza Base 

Deliciously Ella's Quinoa Pizza Base

3 tbsp tomato paste 
1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 vine ripened tomato, thinly sliced
6 black olives, halved 
1 handful of rocket leaves

In a small bowl whisk the tomato paste, oil and oregano until it is well combined and quite fluffy and then spread evenly over the pizza base. Then place the tomato slices on the sauce followed by the olives and then scatter with the rocket leaves. Place back into the hot oven and bake for 10 minutes. Or you could leave off the rocket leaves and place them on after the baking time. Choice is yours...serve 


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


NB: The quinoa pizza base idea and recipe is not mine and therefore I take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the hard work and creation of Ella @ Deliciously Ella and hers alone. I thank her being an inspiration...~R~

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Rocket & Roses Spiced Brussels Sprout Soup

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

The Police ~ Greatest Hits Album 

I enjoyed a very happy day yesterday as I had the company of all three of my sister's little ones for the day. I also had a surprise visit from an old friend with his two small children in tow so my house was filled with children's laughter and noise with a healthy dose of hugs and conversation from my friend. The little ones filled their morning painting and colouring and soon it was time for was Myles' turn to choose the meal and he chose spaghetti and (un)meatballs which I was very happy to provide. Everyone squeezed themselves around my dining table and soon laughter was replaced by the sounds of spaghetti slurping. Heaven. I was a very proud auntie as they all tucked into the platter of raw veggies that I provided. However, as I couldn't eat the pasta or (un)meatballs I forgot to eat lunch myself. I was busy talking with them all and helping out the littlest ones. This often happens when I am cooking for But after my friend and his little family left and the little ones were busy colouring, playing princesses and practising their writing skills by writing my 'fantasy food' shopping list...I sat down at the table with them with a bowl of my latest creation. Sprout Soup! 

This soup came to be by my not being able to walk past the bargain bin in the supermarket. Once I spotted the large bag of sprouts marked down to 50p I grabbed them like the addict I am and stashed them in my trolley. The spices for this soup came from my recent bargain dried goods and spice blend shop over at One of my favourite cookbook's author recently intrigued me with talk of a spice blend I had never heard of before. Dhana is a blend of cumin and coriander. Now at first sight I, like you no doubt unless you've heard of it, rolled my eyes and thought..."How hard is it to mix the two together yourself? Huh?..." But then Mridula Baljekar explained that this spice is different because the two spice seeds are roasted together so that the flavour is subtly different from just combining the two dried spices. And I have to admit when I opened the packet the aroma was beautiful and yes..different..I couldn't wait to use it. 

I stood in my kitchen looking at my brussel sprout bargain then grabbed a couple of bowls, headed for my desk/dining table and sat and listened to a Podcast whilst I prepped the sprouts. Despite sprouts being one of my favourite veggies..prepping them isn't one of my favourite jobs and so I find distraction a help when doing this task. Soon I was back in my kitchen and chopping and sauteing. For some reason I knew that that moment was the right time for testing out my new spice blend. This soup is not hard to throw together once the sprouts are prepped and before long, say about 20 minutes, I had a steaming bowl of green goodness waiting to be tested. I intentionally used a potato to give this soup a silkiness and it worked perfectly. The spice was a deeper flavour than I expected..more intense and blended with the earthy flavours of the sprouts divinely. 

Now I know that this soup will probably make a lot of you run away from your computer but I make no is just not for you. But I am and always will be a sprout fan and therefore seek to find new ways to eat them. I really love this soup...even if Myles and Noo sat there staring at me as though I had lost my mind as I ate the bowlful I enjoyed for my late lunch. Ah well..give me time and I will convert them over to the sproutside...

Rocket & Roses Spiced Brussels Sprout Soup

Rocket & Roses Spiced Brussels Sprout Soup      Serves 4-6
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegean Kitchen)

2 med onions, peeled, quartered and slice d
1" piece of fresh ginger, micro grated
1 tsp sunflower oil
1 med-large potato, peeled and small dice
700g brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 1/2 tsp Dhana Jeera spice blend 
1400ml veggie stock 
Himalayan salt to taste 
freshly ground black pepper to taste 

Heat the oil in a soup pan and cook the onion and ginger until the onion has softened. If you need to add some water to the onions to avoid sticking. You don't want the onions to brown in any way. 

Stir in the potatoes and stir well and leave to cook for 3 minutes. Sprinkle over the spice blend and stir well to evenly distribute them. Allow to become fragrant but do not allow it to burn. Add the sprouts and stir well to coat. Leave to cook for 5 minutes. 

Add the stock and stir well. Bring the stock to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper. 

Remove a couple of drained spoonfuls of the sprouts and then place the remaining veggies and stock into a blender and blitz until silky smooth. Return to the pan with the drained veggies and reheat. Then serve...


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



Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Cookbook Review: World Food Cafe Vegetarian Bible

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Paulo Nutini ~ Sunny Side Up album 

Before Christmas I was asked to review the World Food Cafe Vegetarian Bible cookbook and I was happy to oblige. I have to confess I wasn't aware of Chris and Carolyn's cafe in Convent Garden so on first look I was a little confused by the title. On my first flip through the pages I was confused as to how this could be considered a 'whole world' bible when only a few places on the world map were represented. Then a friend was visiting and having travelled most of world herself, she was very interested in the book and then she spotted that 'World Food Cafe' was the name of the cafe...moral of the the back cover. lol. Then the holiday season happened and my copy got put away with other work until the new year. 

On first glance this book is far more than a's also a coffee table book. Anyone who is veggie/vegan and fond of travel will always find something to please amongst its pages. The food photography alone is an inspiration, but for me it was the photos of the travels that the Caldicotts have added to it, that capitvated me. Being a grounded travel lover at this moment in my life I felt I was able to temporarily escape into them. It's a beautifully thought out and put together cookbook and I don't say that easily. I am very hard to please when it comes to my cookbook obsession. Because of its sheer mass of recipes I struggled with how I was going to set about recipe testing. I do believe to review a cookbook you must have made a good selection of the recipes from it..otherwise what is the point? It took me maybe five weeks to shortlist the recipes I was going to test and when the decision was made it all flowed from there. 

The first recipe I tested was the Spicy Rice Flat Bread because I am a fairly new gluten free person. I must admit the recipe reads through as very simple but I found the 'getting a dough to form' stage quite frustrating. However this could simply be the fact I was still getting used to using rice mind maybe still expecting the doughiness of wheat flour. But I persisted and then had many, many flat breads covering my entire kitchen. lol. I also tried freezing some and they defrosted and heated up very well. That same day I made the Cinnamon and Coconut Milk Curry and at the suggestion of the authors the Thyme and Lemon Rice. (Photos of these recipes will follow). I enjoyed making the curry,it wasn't problematic and it was a delight as it simmered away on my stove. The rice was a great recipe and made my mouth water as the lemon and thyme combined.

My personal opinion of the above recipes is that the flat bread is better given time for the flavours to blend. I found the texture very different to what I am used to but that isn't a bad thing. A friend (and fellow vegan and willing tester) described them as more potato cake in texture and I couldn't agree more. Would I make them again? Yes, most likely I will because I feel, having had some more experience with GF flours since testing this recipe, I can make them better this time. On to the curry...I was a little dismayed at the amount of liquid with this curry. The aromatic qualities of this dish are very pleasing and I thought it was subtly beautiful in its finished form. I think because of its watery appearance I wasn't expecting a heavy overload of flavours but I was wrong. It had many layers and the spices built with each mouthful. I loved this curry. The aromatic side dish of Thyme and Lemon rice made it a sensory experience. The heady flavours of the thyme and lemon somewhat reduced over the cooking time and I felt combined with the curry, they were perfect for each other. I greatly enjoyed this combination which is good because I was eating it for 

Having tested these three recipes I still felt that I needed to test out some more before I could write the review and so decided to ask my close circle of friends round for an afternoon and evening of recipe testing. They all happily agreed and I spent the day before making dish after dish to try on them. I decided upon seven recipes...a starter of East African Wilderness Sweet Potato Patties with East African Piri Piri and the Mozambique Piri Piri sauces. For the main course I selected the Deep-Red Rajasthani Vegetables in a Poppy Seed Sauce...I didn't want to make another curry. I served this with simple steamed brown basmati rice, wheat flatbreads and some of the Spicy Rice Flat Breads. I also made a serving of the Banana Raita as suggested by the Caldicotts. It intrigued me grealy lol. To serve the testers with a lesser sweet tooth I tested the Cucumber and Mint Raita also. And the final recipe that I served much later when we had a space to fill in our stomachs was a selection from the dessert section. I decided upon the vegan carrot cake which I converted to GF by using a standard gluten free plain flour blend.

East African Wilderness Sweet Potato Patties with Piri Piri Sauces

East African Wilderness Sweet Potato Patties            
(Recipe from World Food Cafe Vegetarian Bible/Caldicott)

10oz/300g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
10oz/300g white potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into cubes (I used white pots)
2 tsp cumin seeds
2"/5 cm piece of cinnamon
6 cloves
1/2 tsp ground turmeric 
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 small red pepper, diced 
4oz/115g sweet corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
good knob of butter (I used vegan marg)
1 small egg (I used one Chia egg...1tbsp chia seeds + 3 tbsp water..whisk and leave for 15mins)
handful of coriander, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 

Place the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water and simmer until soft. 

Meanwhile dry roast the cumin seeds, cinnamon and cloves in a small frying pan until aromatic, remove from pan and grind to a powder. Combine with the remaining spices. Heat the oil in a wok. When hit, add the onion and pepper, and fry until soft. Add the sweet corn and ginger, saute for a couple of minutes, and then stir in the spice mix; fry for 1 minute and then remove from the heat. 

Drain the potatoes, and mash, with the knob of butter, until smooth, then stir in the spice and vegetable mix, the beaten egg/chia egg. chopped coriander and salt to taste. Shape the mixture into patties and fry in a non-stick pan with a little sunflower oil until brown on both sides. 

Serve with East African Piri Piri, mixed leaves and mung bean sprouts. 

East African Piri Piri 
(Recipe From World Food Cafe Vegetarian Bible/Caldicott)

8 large red chillies, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt 
3fl oz/100ml lemon juice
4fl oz/125ml olive oil 

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Store in the fridge in an airtight container. 

Mozambique Piri Piri  
(Recipe from World Food Cafe Vegetarian Bible/Caldicott)

1oz/30g thin green chillies
2 tsp crushed garlic 
1 shallot, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp sunflower oil
3 dsp lemon juice
handful of chopped coriander leaves 
salt to taste 

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Adaptions: I used vegan margarine (Pure Sunflower) in the place of butter. I also used a Chia Egg in place of the beaten egg. And both worked just fine. I also used an alternative cooking method. In place of the pan frying as suggested above I place my patties on a lined baking sheet in a hot oven. 20 minutes the first side then gently flipping and 10 minutes the second. They were perfectly baked at this stage. When heating them back up for the testing I covered the tray in tinfoil and then placed back into a hot oven for 15 minutes. 

Taste Testers views...a general feeling was there was a little too much cumin in the patties. The texture from the pepper and corn was a great combination with the softness of the potatoes. There was a natural sweetness from the patties which wasn't a bad thing but when eaten with the Piri Piri sauces was balanced out nicely. The general feeling was a positive one and every one enjoyed the patties and sauces. The sauces themselves left a divided opinion amongst us. The East African Piri Piri was an intensely HOT sauce which was a bit of a shock for all of us whereas the Mozambique Piri Piri was a cleaner taste and the chilli built up as you ate it. Even the previously non-chilli loving amongst the group enjoyed the sauces...with the addition of many glasses of water. So be warned...they are full of flavour but will make you go into chilli shock if too much is eaten at one Overall a great dish and easy to make and very enjoyable to eat as a starter. 

Deep-Red Rajasthani Vegetables in a Poppy Seed Sauce

Adaptions: None for this recipe. 

I chose this recipe because I was intrigued by the white poppy seed sauce. I also fell for the beautiful red colour of this dish. The veggies in it just happened to be some of my favourites and it all seemed to fit for me. I easily found white poppy seeds at my local Indian & Continental Store in the city.  The powerhouse of spices permeated the whole of my house whilst this was cooking. It was easy to make and the recipe was also easy to follow.

Taste Testers views...overall the views for this vegetable dish was that there was a lot of natural sweetness and surprisingly the beetroot didn't take on the flavours from the sauce. Mixed views down to personal tastes re: sweet tooth and savoury tastes. Those without a sweet tooth found it just a little too sweet even when balanced out with the rice and flatbreads. Everyone agreed that it was a visually striking dish and the poppy seed sauce was interesting. I personally loved it as did one of my friends who said "...I wouldn't change or add anything to the veggie dish, simply delicious and what I would expect in a vegetarian cafe recipe book. Such an appealing colour too!..." 

The Raitas were a whole separate conversation...and drew gasps as I placed them on the table. "Banana Raita....are you sure??.."  lol. I couldn't agree with that question as it was exactly what I had said when I had read the suggestion by the Caldicotts. I made mine with natural soya yoghurt which led to both of the Raitas maybe being a little richer than using dairy yoghurt. Those who tried the Banana Raita were all pleasantly surprised. A couple of us found it too rich and not to our taste. But others enjoyed it with the veggie dish. One tester said she could simply sit with a spoon and eat it solo..and even as a dessert which is exactly what she did! lol. The Cucumber and Mint Raita was enjoyable also but the main conversion was all about the Banana offering. 

Would I make this meal again? The Rajasthani Veggies I will make often. I really enjoyed the white poppy sauce and I would maybe play around different veggies to counteract the sweetness that pumpkin and beetroot can bring. I very much enjoyed this dish. The Raitas are not something I'll make again but that is a purely personal opinion.  

Carrot Cake (V)   Makes one 2lb loaf 

Adaptions: I replaced the wheat flour for a Gluten Free Plain Flour blend and it worked very well.

Taste Testers views..."Best Carrot Cake Ever!.." was one of the written down opinions. A little too much cinnamon was another and a little like cookie dough but I suspect that was the difference between a wheat flour version and the GF one. Overall everyone loved this carrot cake and happily took home the leftovers in their doggie bags. It was enjoyed so much that I forgot to take the photograph for it. It looked a little burnt around the edges but when eaten it was clear it was just caramelised sugar and cinnamon. One of testers suggested serving it with custard which we all collectively agreed would be a great idea. It was a very light carrot cake and devoured by all who tried it. 

Additional photographs...

Spicy Rice Flat Breads

Not the most attractive little things but economical to make. Very much a case of how you serve them and what with. And for a spicy flatbread all felt they needed more flavour. Again, a recipe I will make again and try differing spice blends. 

Cinnamon & Coconut Milk Curry with Thyme & Lemon Rice

The first complete meal I tested and they were very enjoyable to make. Good portions and also freezes well.

Cinnamon and Coconut Milk Curry

The warmth of the cinnamon built as you ate it. The veggies were succulent and perfectly cooked. The sauce was a little liquid but still held a comforting creamy consistency. A delicate curry...

Thyme and Lemon Rice

I adore basmati rice and almost always use brown bastmati. This rice dish is very easy to make and the aroma is something else. It is a delicate flavour which compliments the Cinnamon & Coconut Curry perfectly. Both are dishes I will make again. 

Well that is the recipe testing completed and I found the whole experience a happy one...well ok maybe the first day making the flatbreads was a little stressful. lol. None of the recipes in this book are hard work to make..well not if cooking is your passion. The recipes are all clearly written and easy to follow even for the novice cook in my opinion. 

The book as a whole is extremely beautiful due to the high level of photography. The stories and notations provided by the Caldicotts are enjoyable and make you slightly envious. The information is specific and clear. If I had to find any faults with this cookbook it would be the heft of it. It's a large tome of a cookbook and not easy to handle in the kitchen but if that is the only criticism about your cookbook then you are very lucky.

I would happily buy this cookbook for loved ones and for my own personal cookbook collection. An this is your chance to purchase this cookbook at a discounted price. 

To order World Food Cafe Vegetarian Bible at the discounted price of £16.00 including p&p* (RRP: £20.00), telephone 01903 828503 or email and quote the offer code APG58. 

Alternatively, send a cheque made payable to: 
Littlehampton Book Services Mail Order Department, 
Littlehampton Book Services, 
PO Box 4264, 
Worthing, West Sussex 
BN13 3RB. 
Please quote the offer code APG58 and include your name and address details. 

*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.
Written by Chris & Carolyn Caldicott and published by Frances Lincoln

Please note I am not receiving a commission for any cookbooks purchased. I am just happy to pass along the offer to you. 

Now would I visit the World Food Cafe if I got the chance? Most definitely I will...when I'm next in London it will be a 'must do'. I thank the Caldicotts for a very appealing and interesting cookbook and for the opportunity to review its contents. 

Many thanks also to my team of testers...your willingness to eat whatever serve up for all is a constant delight to me and your trust means alot. Thank you for your honesty...

And to my regular readers thank you for stopping by and I hope your week has gotten off to a great start...


NB: These recipes are not mine and therefore I take no credit for them. They are the hard work and creative talent of Chris & Carolyn Caldicott and theirs alone. I thank them for such great recipes...~R~