Monday, 21 July 2014

Robin's Fettuccine and Broccoli with Almond-Herb Sauce (vegan and gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Orianthi ~ Shut Up And Kiss Me 
Texas ~ Guitar Song
VAST ~ Candle
The Rolling Stones ~ Miss You
Jack Johnson ~ Drink The Water
Sound City Sessions ~ You Can't Fix This
Susan Tedeschi ~ It Hurt So Bad
Buble ~ The Dock Of The Bay
Maroon 5 ~ Through With You
Rival Sons ~ Pressure And Time
Train ~ Feels Good At First
Buckcherry ~ King Of Kings (acoustic)
Republica ~ Drop Dead Gorgeous
Lissie ~ Pursuit Of Happiness

I finally got around to making another dish from my holiday cook book. Usually I pick up a new cookbook and take it away with me and spend the week testing and devouring a few of the recipes from it. But the holiday I bought it for, really wasn't that kind of a holiday. There simply wasn't the kitchen time required and more people with a higher priority for using the kitchen. For some people cooking is a chore...and not a holiday activity. But for me it's exactly the opposite...I relax when in the kitchen. I can switch off the pain and focus on the prep, cooking and then eating of the food cooked. Cooking for me is so much more than daily chore...it's a form of meditation and without I get cranky. lol. I should be resting right now but the hour I spent in the kitchen this morning with my little niece Layla to 'help'...maybe was exhausting but mentally it was uplifting and just a pure but tiring joy! 

The cook book of choice was a copy of Robin Robertson's One Dish Vegan. I had been reading several reviews of Robin's cookbook for a while and decided to give it a go. I made the Provencal Vegetables with Israeli Cous Cous (using maize cous, cous) which I enjoyed very much with all the natural flavours of the veggies used but I had a lasting thought that it needed a little something extra and I plan to play around with it at a later date. I also made a batch of the Chickpea Noodle Soup (using brown rice noodles) and I devoured a bowl of it each day. Yum! The reason I chose today's recipe was because I had recently purchased some mung bean fettuccine which is gluten-free. In all honesty I couldn't wait to try it..I love mung beans and fettuccine so what was there to lose? Robin's recipe for the sauce intrigued me and the use of all those fresh herbs sealed the deal. A pasta sauce that wasn't cheese or tomato based...marvellous. 

There was only one thing I would do differently next time...I would steam my broccoli florets and not boil them in with my pasta. But I do realise this would be using more than one dish therefore making Robin's recipe a two dish meal! I simply don't enjoy boiled veggies. The making of the sauce was simple and I loved the use of beans, fresh herbs, white wine, and broth. I really wasn't sure if I would like the almond butter element though but I did. The mung bean fettuccine cooked to perfection in 7 minutes. The entire cooking time was 15 minutes...from chopping board to placemat. The bowl of pasta looked spectacular and the comfort from eating a bowl of fettuccine with a rich, creamy sauce was a pleasure indeed. The sauce clings perfectly to the pasta and is rich in it's creaminess but delicate in flavour. The beans and almonds sit in the background whilst the herbs combine to give your tastebuds a treat. It makes a large amount of sauce so I have enough to have some for meal later in the week and to try freezing some for much later days. A fabulous meal and chock full of goodness too.

Robin's Fettuccine and Broccoli with Almond-Herb Sauce

Fettuccine and Broccoli with Almond-Herb Sauce   Makes 1 3/4 cups of sauce
(Recipe from One-Dish Vegan by Robin Robertson)

8 - 12 oz unccoked fettuccine of your choice
2-3 cups small broccoli florets

1 tbsp olive oil or 1/4 cup water
1 sm onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 cup cooked cannellini beans or 1 15oz tin cannellini beans, 
rinsed and drained
2-3 tbsp almond butter (I used 2)
2 tbsp dry white wine (optional)
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of hot vegetable broth or water
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus whole leaves for garnish
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbsp chopped fresh italian parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 tsp minced fresh thyme or savour
2 tbsp sliced toasted almonds, for garnish

Cook the fettuccine in a large pan of salted boiling water, stirring occassionally, until it is tender. At about 5 minutes before the pasta is done cooking, add the broccoli. Drain the cooked pasta and broccoli well and return to the pan. 

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil or water in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occassionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans, almond butter, wine (if using), salt, and pepper to taste, and stir to blend the flavours. Transfer the the mixture to a food processor or high-speed blender. Add the hot broth and HALF of the herbs, and puree until smooth and creamy. 

Add the sauce to the pot with the pasta and broccoli. Add the remaining fresh herbs and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately, garnished with the almonds and while basil leaves. 

Enjoy! 

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

~Red~ 

NB: This is not my recipe and therefore take no credit for its creation. It is the hard work and creation of Robin Robertson's and Robin's alone. I send thanks for a great cook book. ~R~

 

 
 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

I'm back and with olives dishes....

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Wilko Johnson/Roger Daltrey ~ Going Back Home album

Hello folks..wow what a beautifully long weekend away, so good that I am struggling to get back into the swing of things here. Windsor was just as you would expect...packed with international and national tourists. But we were staying at a hotel close by, so we were able to get there very early and thankfully miss most of the busy, busy moments. The castle really is like something lifted straight out of a fairytale. Strange to visit a castle that isn't a ruin. We did do the double decker bus tour of Windsor. We sat at the back of the bus...big mistake..although a very funny one. It had rained the night before and so every tree we passed...and there were many...we got showered with water, leaves, seeds and bugs. However we just went with it and were collasped in laughter almost all of the way round the tour. A treasured memory made. 

Our accomodation, The Grovefield House Hotel, was really nice despite having no air-conditioning...we had to resort to having all windows wide open and two fans blowing all the time because we had ridiculously hot humid weather day and night. I know those of you who live with this kind of heat all the time will be shaking your heads at this...but we Brits just ain't up to it! lol. Oh hush! The hotel was part of a small chain of hotels and for that, it thankfully hadn't lost its character. We even had a very Manuel/Fawlty Towers waiter at breakfast...well if Manuel had been 20 years older and Italian. He rocked. We took trips out to Henley-on-Thames, Marlow and Upper Wycombe and tried to spend as much time near the water. But before we knew it we were slinging our bags back into the car and heading home. The only downside to the break was eating...it was a nightmare to find good vegan and gluten-free food. I mainly lived on salad sandwiches...not great. It was a relief to get back home and start plotting foods that I had missed whilst gone. All in all though it was a really relaxing and visually satifsying weekend. 

On our way back to the hotel on one of the days we saw a sign for a cafe that was part of Dorney Court Tudor Mansion. Our interest was piqued and we made our way down the dusty and very bumpy trail...to find an oasis of lush greenage in a plant nursery that surrounded the most wholesome and unpretentious cafe ever. It had many vegan offerings on its menu boards but I had already eaten so had to make do with a pot of green tea. They had a little shop attached to it and in there I found the most beautiful pottery olive bowls. My holiday treasure was purchased and stashed in the boot of our car along with some rather stinky aromatic smoked garlic bulbs. Mental note: no matter how well wrapped smoked garlic bulbs are...do not leave them in your car overnight!

How could I not buy these? For an olive addict it was was impossible to resist.

Sadly I have come back to overwhelming hosptial stuff so it's going to be an intense couple of weeks ahead. But I will be back as often as I can with recipes for you all. I also found some elusive white aubergine/eggplants yesterday so I can't wait to get creative with them. 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope this week is being kind to you all...

~Red~





Friday, 11 July 2014

Weekend Indulgence Time: Vegan Chocolates (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Joan Jett ~ I Hate Myself For Loving You
Clare Teal ~ Get Happy
Kaiser Chiefs ~ Everyday I Love You Less And Less
Audioslave ~ What You Are
Black Stone Cherry ~ Peace Is Free
Missy Higgins ~ Steer
Ray Charles ~ Sherry
Thunder ~ Honey
Garbage ~ Not My Idea
Lenny Kravitz ~ Lady
Brandi Carlile ~ My Story
Lee Ann Womack ~ I Hope You Dance
Janiva Magness ~ Homewrecker
KORN ~ Predictable

We are escaping for the weekend folks! This afternoon we will throw our bags in the car and set pff to a place near Windsor. We have no set plans once we get there except for resting, recharging and maybe a little exploring. ML is taking Monday off to spend time with family once more before they all jet off home to South Africa. And I'm taking a day to myself and shall be found lunching, shopping, relaxing and slowly pootling around a beautiful place for the day...body permitting..in that case I may be having a marathon movie day. lol. We travel back up early Tuesday morning and then I am spending the day with the lovely Ann...so I will be back with you all Wednesday. To keep you going until then I have a bonus recipe posting for you. An indulgence posting..filled with vegan chocolates. So let's get on with it, eh? 

I was recently gifted a bunch of vegan chocolate bars which was lovely but as I have had to eliminate most sugars from my foods, it was a little lost on me. The little bars of chocolate was left sat on a shelf for a rainy day. Oddly the rainy days came and went and I still hadn't been anywhere near them. I know some of you will be ashamed of me for this...but in all honesty I'm not a chocoholic. During my recent week of recipe testing I was inspired to spend a morning melting down the chocolate bars and adding various fillings to them, much to the great happiness of the biggest chocoholic I know...my lovely pal Ann..who had come over to help me in the kitchen that day. We ended up covered in various chocolates and fillings..a fun morning. lol. 

Indulgence Time ~ Vegan Chocolates

Now a roll call moment for the bars of chocolate that I used:

Wasn't sure about this one at first


Vegan milk chocolate? Hmmm

Vegan white chocolate

And...a couple of large bars of vegan dark chocolate...extremely dark. Enough to make you shudder...lol. So armed with glass bowls for melting, two silicone chocolate/jelly moulds and various ingredients for the fillings....we got started. Now there are the two ways of melting your chocolate pieces...traditionally in a glass bowl over gently boiling water or using a microwave. As I was testing, the latter was the method I used. But your melting methods are entirely your call folks.

Vegan White Chocolate & Almond Chocs

Vegan White Chocolate & Almond Chocs

1 bar of vegan white chocolate 
handful of chopped almonds 

Break up the chocolate bar into small pieces and then toss them into a glass bowl. Microwave the chocolate for 30 sec blasts at a time. Using a small whisk break down the chocolate in between blasts and when it has almost entirely melted down, stop the melting process. Take over to your kitchen counter with awaiting mould and chopped almonds. 

Using a small spoon almost fill each moulding with the melted white chocolate...stopping just before the rim. Gently push in a cluster of almonds down into the centre of each chocolate and then add a very small amount of chocolate over the top to seal. Leave to set in a cool dry area of the kitchen. When cooled enough, place into the fridge to finish the setting process. When done...release each chocolate from the mould and then store in a airtight container in a cool space. Or devour! 

Notes: The feedback on these chocs was good. I didn't try them personally as I don't like white chocolate but didn't have to look far for testers. lol. The white chocolate worked well with the almonds and they wasn't as sweet as you would've expected them to be.

Vegan Green Tea & Lemon Chocs with Fresh Lemon

Vegan Green Tea & Lemon Chocs with Fresh Lemons   Makes 4-6 chocs

1 Ombar Green Tea and Lemon chocolate bar
fresh lemon segments, pith & pips removed, chopped down 

Break up the chocolate bar into small pieces and then toss them into a glass bowl. Microwave the chocolate for 30 sec blasts at a time. Using a small whisk break down the chocolate in between blasts and when it has almost entirely melted down, stop the melting process. Take over to your kitchen counter with awaiting mould and lemon segments.

Using a small spoon almost fill each moulding with the melted green tea and lemon chocolate...stopping just before the rim. Gently push in 1/2 tsp lemon segment down into the centre of each chocolate and then add a very small amount of chocolate over the top to seal. Leave to set in a cool dry area of the kitchen. When cooled enough, place into the fridge to finish the setting process. When done...release each chocolate from the mould and then store in a airtight container in a cool space. Or devour!

Notes: WOW! I admit I wasn't entirely sure if I would like this chocolate but it's flavourings intrigued me. As a stand alone chocolate bar it was amazingly tasty. This is a chocolate bar I could become addicted to. Thanks goodness they come in small bars and have a luxury price tag! lol. When melted down and with the added fresh lemon segments...well we were stunned..blissed out...and in confectionery heaven. So, so, so, so good!  

Vegan Milk Chocolate with Brazil Nuts Chocs
 
 Vegan Milk Chocolate with Brazil Nut Chocs   Makes 4-6 chocs

1 Ombar Milk Chocolate and Coconut Sweetened Chocolate bar
chopped brazil nuts

Break up the chocolate bar into small pieces and then toss them into a glass bowl. Microwave the chocolate for 30 sec blasts at a time. Using a small whisk break down the chocolate in between blasts and when it has almost entirely melted down, stop the melting process. Take over to your kitchen counter with awaiting mould and brazil nuts.

Using a small spoon almost fill each moulding with the melted milk chocolate...stopping just before the rim. Gently push in a cluster of brazil nut pieces down into the centre of each chocolate and then add a very small amount of chocolate over the top to seal. Leave to set in a cool dry area of the kitchen. When cooled enough, place into the fridge to finish the setting process. When done...release each chocolate from the mould and then store in a airtight container in a cool space. Or devour!

Notes: Wasn't sure what to expect from a chocolate bar sweetened with coconut but we wasn't disappointed. I only tasted a small piece of one of the chocolates but enjoyed the choc/brazil flavour greatly. Ann ate hers with a huge smile on her face and then enjoyed scrapping every last bit of chocolate left in the bowl...nodding with approval at the same time. So yep...vegan milk chocolate sweetened with coconut works..lol 

Vegan Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Chocs

 Vegan Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Chocs   Makes 12 chocs

1 large bar of darkest chocolate 
handful of raw hazelnuts, whole

Break up the chocolate bar into small pieces and then toss them into a glass bowl. Microwave the chocolate for 30 sec blasts at a time. Using a small whisk break down the chocolate in between blasts and when it has almost entirely melted down, stop the melting process. Take over to your kitchen counter with awaiting mould and hazelnuts.

Press a single hazelnut down into the bottom of each chocolate mould. Pour in the melted chocolate over the top and fill each individual moulding. Leave to set in a cool dry area of the kitchen. When cooled enough, place into the fridge to finish the setting process. When done...release each chocolate from the mould and then store in a airtight container in a cool space. Or devour!

Notes: Dark chocolate and hazelnuts...what is there not to love about this combination? I loved the resulting look of the chocs with the hazelnut showing clearly at the top. Success...as yes this is what I what I was hoping for. Phew! And yes...delicious. 


Vegan Dark Chocolate with Fresh Rhubarb Centred Chocs
  
 Vegan Dark Chocolate with Fresh Rhubarb Centred Chocs    Makes 12 chocs

1 large bar of darkest chocolate 
12 tsps of sugar-free rhubarb puree (for my recipe)

Break up the chocolate bar into small pieces and then toss them into a glass bowl. Microwave the chocolate for 30 sec blasts at a time. Using a small whisk break down the chocolate in between blasts and when it has almost entirely melted down, stop the melting process. Take over to your kitchen counter with awaiting mould and rhubarb puree.

Using a small spoon almost fill each moulding with the melted dark chocolate...stopping just before the rim. Gently push in a tsp of thubarb puree down into the centre of each chocolate and then add a very small amount of chocolate over the top to seal. Leave to set in a cool dry area of the kitchen. When cooled enough, place into the fridge to finish the setting process. When done...release each chocolate from the mould and then store in a airtight container in a cool space. Or devour! 

Notes: This was the second WOW moment for me. The bitterness of the dark chocolate combined with the fresh tart sweetness of the rhubarb puree was a flavour sensation. But they are rich so a little goes a long way. Stored in the fridge they keep for 3-4 days...if you can make them last that long. Challenge accepted? huh? lol Yum. 


Vegan Dark Chocolate with Fresh Lemon & Ginger Chocs
 
Vegan Dark Chocolate with Fresh Lemon & Ginger Chocs   Makes 12 chocs

1 large darkest chocolate bar 
1" piece of fresh ginger, micro-grated 
3 segments of fresh lemon, pith & pips removed, chopped

Break up the chocolate bar into small pieces and then toss them into a glass bowl. Microwave the chocolate for 30 sec blasts at a time. Using a small whisk break down the chocolate in between blasts and when it has almost entirely melted down, stop the melting process. Take over to your kitchen counter with awaiting mould, ginger and lemon.

Add the lemon and ginger to the melted chocolate and get whisking very quickly. The chocolate changes texture quite speedily. Spoon the chocolate mix into each mould and then press down and fill with remaining chocolate. Smooth over the top of each chocolate. Leave to set in a cool dry area of the kitchen. When cooled enough, place into the fridge to finish the setting process. When done...release each chocolate from the mould and then store in a airtight container in a cool space. Or devour! 

Notes: Now we were a little surprised by these chocs. They were a last minute experiment after a thought of fresh lemon and gingered flavoured chocs popped into my mind after having to drink a steaming hot mug of lemon and ginger tea. The darkness of the chocolate overwhelmed the not usually subtle flavouts of the lemon and ginger. They provided a warmth to the chocolates. But the most intriging thing about these was the fudgy texture to them. The addition of the lemon segs and minced ginger somehow gave the melted chocolate a chemical reaction...not a bad reaction at all. It was a pleasant surprise.  However they are not the most attractive of chocolates so they stay in my 'work in progress' file.   

And just for indulgent fun....

Dark Chocolate Dipped Fresh Cherries


Dark Chocolate Dipped Fresh Cherries

fresh cherries with stalks tidied 
melted dark chocolate

Take a sheet of baking parchment and set to the side of your bowl of melted chocolate. Take one cherry at a time and roll the bottom of each one around in the melted chocolate and then gently place on the parchment paper. Continue until you run out of chocolate or cherries. Leave to set on the parchment paper...when they lift off of the paper without the chocolate pulling apart they are set. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve. 

Notes: We had leftover dark chocolate and a bag of fresh cherries that needed to be eaten before I went away. A perfect dessert in my opinion...a little dark chocolate bitterness with fresh succulent cherries..mouthwatering happiness. 

Well indulgence a plenty...and great for those special occasions...or much needed chocolate moments. Now I know how easy it is to make these lovelies I don't think I'll be buying many in the future. Thanks to Ann for the devouring of the test subjects and scraping the many bowls used. And for distributing the chocs afterwards. You rock! 

I hope you have enjoyed this luxury High Days and Holidays posting. I am away for my break away. We are taking no computers and are therefore going OFFLINE for the next 5 days. Yikes! 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your weekend is beautiful and your week starts well...

~Red~ 

NB: The chocolate bar images are not mine and were found online. The recipe for the chocolate bars themselves are not mine but the recipe of Ombar etc. However the addition of fillings and making them into chocs are my creation. I have no problem with you using the recipes or sharing them. I simply ask that you give credit where it's due as I always try to. Many thanks...Namaste. ~R~ 




 



  

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Rocket & Roses Garlic Griddled Aubergines with Hot Cold Dressing (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Jack Savoretti ~ Between The Minds Album

During a recent trip over the bridge to the city I had the pleasure of a slow pootle around The Indie (Indian & Continental) Store. Although I only had one ingredient to pick up that day it always feels wrong not to cruise the fresh veggies section. When I need to pick up mooli, ong choi and such like..the Indie Store is the place to be. They also have some veggies on their shelves that are so fugly that you just wouldn't want to purchase them...unless you go away and research them first like I do. Sometimes my interest is piqued and I go back and buy some...other times I go with the 'nope..no way...looks like an alien egg' thought. lol. However I find this store fascinating and it's always a good source of inspiration should I feel 'blocked' creatively. Food wise of course...sadly it does nothing for my other work! Amongst their fresh veggies they always have a good and varied supply of aubergines. It's where I go to buy my long thin aubergines for making baked ratatouille also baby aubergines and the little green Thai aubergines that I sometime use. Of course they stock the regular bulbous purple aubergines which would also work in today's recipe. But I have been looking at the Asian aubergines for a little while and have been wanting to create something with them...and during the recent trip I found myself loading ML's awaiting basket with the little blighters.

As I am still on my journey to finding my aubergine love, it is very much a necessity that however I cook my aubergines they must not be the only flavour on the plate and must be succulent when cut into. Too many horrifying woody aubergine steaks in my past. Therefore finding my aubergine love is still a work in progress..lol...but I am getting there. I was looking for a dish that I could serve during the summer at a vegan bbq. This was where the idea started...I wanted to be able to throw those purple veggies onto a hot griddle and then serve, drizzled with a good tasting dressing.  The dressing also needed to be very simple and that is where the Hot Cold idea sprang from. I wanted a dressing that could be made in advance and served cold or at room temperature but it also had to be packed with flavour. 

I heated my stove top griddle for the testing process and heated it to smoking point. I sliced the aubergines in half and then brushed each side with garlic infused olive oil and threw them on the griddle. After the initial scolding of each side I turned the heat down to allow them to cook more slowly so the juices could soften up each piece. The dressing started with my favourite fresh ingredients of chilli, garlic and ginger. I added other ingredients as I went along..tasting to make adjustments. I served the aubergine pieces over some cooked brown rice and then drizzled the dressing over each piece. 

This is one intense dish...and not for the plain food lover. You have to have a certain respect and liking of the heady heat that fresh chili, garlic and ginger can give. The dressing is mellowed out a little with the other ingredients. Of course you could use a milder chilli and de-seed it but personally I wanted the heat that a Birds Eye chilli provides. The aubergines were perfectly cooked and the dressing worked well alongside. The intense flavours were softened with the brown rice added to them. But still..not a dish for the faint hearted!

Rocket & Roses Garlic Griddled Aubergines with Hot Cold Dressing (vegan & gluten-free)
 
Rocket & Roses Garlic Griddled Aubergines with Hot Cold Dressing    Serves 4-6
(Original recipes from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

cooked brown rice, kept warmed to serve 

9 Asian aubergines, stalk removed and halved
garlic oil to brush aubergines 
5 baby sweetcorn, halved 

for the dressing:
2" piece of fresh ginger, micro-grated
2 garlic cloves, micro-grated
1 lg spring onion, trimmed, finely chopped
3/4 red Birds Eye chilli, finely chopped with seeds 
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar 
1 tbsp Braggs Liquid Animos (low sodium soy sauce or tamari)
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil 
1/2 tbsp agave nectar 

Heat a griddle to the smoking point and quickly place the aubergines flesh side down and press down with a spatula for 30 seconds. Flip and repeat. Turn the heat down to med/high and then flip the slices once again. Leave to cook for 5 minutes, going back to press down with the spatula occasionally. 

Meanwhile add all the dressing ingredients into a med sized bowl and whisk until then have emulsified a little. Set to one side or place into a serving bowl. If making ahead of time store in the fridge. 

Flip the slices one last time and add the baby corn, cook for another 4 minutes, pressing down occasionally with the spatula. 

To serve...spoon some warm rice onto a plate and add some slices of aubergine and baby sweetcorn on the rice bed. Then drizzle, using a spoon, the Hot Cold dressing over each slice of aubergine.  

Enjoy! 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Thursday is a great one...nearly the weekend folks. Tomorrow I shall be posting up the vegan chocolate posting so its a weekend of indulgence and I will be back with you on Wednesday. 

~Red~ 

NB: This is my creation. I have no problem with you using the recipe or sharing it. I simply ask that you give credit where it's due as I always try too. Many thanks...Namaste. ~R~  
 
 

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Rocket & Roses Apple & Rhubarb Sugar-Free Jelly Dessert (vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Siouxsie & The Banshees ~ This Wheel's On Fire
Natalie Clein ~ Schubert: Arpeggione Sonata in A Minor
Foo Fighters ~ Miracle
Bob Marley ~ Wisdom
Pearl Jam ~ Jeremy
The Small Faces  ~ Lazy Sunday
Garbage ~ Parade
Buckcherry ~ Bliss
Tanita Tikaram ~ World Outside Your Window
Dolly Parton ~ Don't Call It Love
Sting ~ Seven Days
Sandi Thom ~ Belly Of The Blues
VAST ~ Bruise
The Dead Daisies ~ Man Overboard 

Right..first things first! I'm English and live in England. Not something I brag about...it's just a fact. And when I talk of jam and jelly there is usually some email that floats my way with a note of confusion attached. What we spread on toast here...we call jam. However I do believe that the lovely folks over in the States call it jelly! What we use as a dessert food..we call jelly. And I also believe the lovely folks in the States call this jello. This recipe is a lovely light, delicately flavoured and sugar free...dessert jelly. OK..are we on the same page now? lol We are? Good...I shall continue...

The creation of this recipe has been floating around my creative notebooks for a while now. I recoil in horror at how much I used to enjoy jelly until the day I read the packet and asked my Nan what gelatine was? I was a small child but knew I would never eat it again.  Then years later they started selling vegetarian jelly crystals and I once again enjoyed a cool dessert of the wobbly stuff. But the downside was that it was chock full of sugar...so then that option was gone too. My thoughts have often been...why bother? I could live without a cool summer dessert of jelly, couldn't I? Well of course I could but if there was a chance at making a sugar-free, vegan jelly why shouldn't I? My idea for using a intensely flavoured fruit tea bag for flavour started a few years back when I started making sugar-free iced fruit teas. I could never think of a good way of sweetening the jelly and I wasn't too keen on the veggie-gels on offer. I recently ordered a box of Clipper's Apple & Rhubarb fruit tea tents via my Suma order. They are a great fruit tea and they are organic, vegan and gluten-free...

The final pieces for this recipe came together when I was creating, testing, and cooking recipes for my Suma Bloggers Network post. I wanted to have a dessert recipe amongst the many savoury recipes I created. The thought of a plated blushing pink jelly, delicate in flavour wouldn't leave my mind and so I gave up and went with it. Now I added three extra elements to this dessert but two of those are not sugar-free but they do add a great texture comparison. They are some raw pumpkin seeds and flaked almonds that are drizzled with some melted vegan white chocolate and left to set. A minimal amount honestly. The third is a sugar-free fresh rhubarb puree and if you use a few drops of Stevia then its stays sugar-free but feel free to use whatever sweetening you prefer. 

Now the finished results are very beautiful and I surprised myself greatly, that I had managed to create this dessert and keep it sugar-free if you don't use the white chocolate additions. I enjoyed making it and setting it up very much. The jelly setting agent I used was agar-agar powder which I purchased online. I accept that you will never get that clear jelly consistency with agar but I can live with that. The texture is also a little firmer but when you add the other textures with it, it's of no matter at all. The fruit teas make a delicate but delicious flavoured jelly and the fresh rhubarb ups the flavour impact a little more. The crisp crunch from the pumpkin seeds and flaked almonds give an interesting temper to the sweetness. And the mellow white chocolate flavour that comes through is comforting. This dessert is also incredibly light on the tum...but has real impact when presented to eat. Phew! lol. I hope you give these jellies a try...I have many ideas for jellies now and I fear I may come to bore you with them. I see a lot of jelly recipe testing in my future...

Rocket & Roses Apple & Rhubarb Sugar-Free Jelly Dessert (vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free)

Rocket & Roses Apple & Rhubarb Sugar-Free Jelly Dessert 
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

6 Organic Apple & Rhubarb tea tents 
1 litre of boiling water 
7 drops of Stevia Liquid
2 dsp Agar-Agar Powder

For additions:

4 stalks of rhubarb, trimmed and green parts removed, finely diced
small amount of just boiled water 
4 drops of Stevia Liquid 

1 handful of pumpkin seeds 
1 handful of flaked almonds 
3 small squares of vegan white chocolate, melted to drizzling consistency

In a large jug place the tea tents and then pour over strained freshly boiled water up until the 1 litre mark. Stir briefly and then set a timer for ten minutes. 

Lay the pumpkin seeds and almonds out across two little sheets of parchment paper to keep separate. Then using a small spoon carefully drizzle the melted white chocolate over the seeds and nuts. You want little strips of chocolate on each one..not a bath of chocolate to completely cover them. Set to one side in a cool area for the chocolate to set hard. 

Place the finely diced fresh rhubarb, hot water and Stevia drops into a microwavable dish and stir very well. Cover with a lid or cling film and microwave on High for 4 minutes. Remove from the microwave and leave to sit for 5 minutes. 

When the timer calls time remove the tea tents from the water and disgard. Add the Stevia drops and stir in. Check for sweetness and adjust very carefully...using tiny drips of Stevia. When this is achieved add in the agar-agar powder and stir very well and set a timer for 10 minutes for the powder to soak. 

Remove the cover from the cooked rhubarb and stir vigoriously so the rhubarb breaks down completely. You should be left with a beautiful pink puree. Set to cool in a cool area of your kitchen. 

When the timer calls, stir the apple and rhubarb mix and then pour into a small saucepan. Over a low heat, gently bring the liquid to a gentle boil, stirring constantly! When little bubbles have been appearing on the surface for a couple of minutes remove it from the heat. Stir one final time. 

For the squares above I used a deep square silicone jelly mould and used a 1/4 cup measure to even out the dosage. This mix made 12 small squares and a medium ring of jelly in another mould. You get plenty for your money! lol. Once you have poured your jelly into you containers, place them infront of a fan to cool off and then carefully place them in your fridge to set completely. This takes a minimum of an hour. 

Take the drizzled pumpkin and almond flakes and break them up into individual pieces..carefully. 

To serve: 

Unmould each jelly and place in the centre of individual servings dishes. Using a small spoon, spoon little amounts of the rhubarb puree at four points around the jellies. Take the broken up drizzled pumpkin seeds and place a little pile of them at each corner of the jellies. Then finally place a small pile of the drizzled almonds on top of the jellies. And serve...

Gratuitous foodie shot..lol
 
Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Tuesday is being very good to you...

~Red~

NB: This is my creation and I have no problem with you using it or sharing it. I simply ask that you give credit where it is due as I always try to. Many thanks...Namaste. ~R~