Thursday, 26 February 2015

Rocket & Roses Fragrant Cool Dip (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Mr Sinatra ~ Night And Day
Thunder ~ Higher Ground
Damien Rice ~ Cannonball
Beth Hart ~ Halfway To Heaven
The Puppini Sisters ~ Jilted
Stevie Ray Vaughan ~ Rude Mood/Hide Away
Paloma Faith ~ Trouble With My Baby (Live)
Buena Vista Social Club ~ Murmollo
Bam Budd ~ Recstra
Prince ~ Cream
Bruce Springsteen ~ Silver Palomino
Mozart: Piano Concerto #21 in C
Lenny Kravitz ~ Strut
Dixie Chicks ~ Never Say Die

I have been very busy plotting and test cooking for my next Suma creation which is going to be posted on Monday. And once more I want to thank Ann for being my kitchen bitch assistant. I seriously couldn't do it without her right now. We had great fun sitting down to a Japanese inspired banquet after we had finished. Always a good part of recipe testing...

I was so happy to recently find a local supplier of lotus root. In the past when I had wanted to buy it I had to go online and it would cost around £10! (Including postage of course) But we found some for £2! So I have been busy cooking it in many different ways. One of which was baking slices in the oven to make lotus chips. I seasoned half of the slices with salt and the other with Shichimi spice. They still need a little more work so will post the recipe when I am happy with it. To go with the chips I wanted a light dip. I wanted it to compliment the spicy chilli seasonings. 

Using silken tofu is an obvious choice but one I enjoy. I don't use it often but I do like the blank canvas of it. In a couple of blitz's of the blender I have a smooth and creamy texture for my dips. The addition of fresh lemon and ginger juice and the tiniest measure of Umeboshi paste give this dip a delightful aromatic flavour. With some fresh chives stirred into the mix to round the flavours out perfectly. This dip is light, cooling but has a beautiful flavour on its own. Ann took the leftovers home and had some smeared in a wrap for her lunch today. For something a little different dip can't go wrong with this one.. 

Rocket & Roses Fragrant & Cooling Dip...served with Lotus Root Chips

Rocket & Roses Fragrant & Cooling Dip
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

12oz silken tofu
2 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh ginger juice
pinch of Umeboshi paste 
10 fresh chive strands, cut into 1/2" pieces

Place the drained silken tofu into a blender and blitz until you have a smooth texture.

Add the lemon juice, ginger juice and Umeboshi paste into the blender and blend until thoroughly combined. Remove the mixture into a serving bowl and stir in the chopped fresh chives. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your day is going well? 


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



Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Colleen's African Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Thunder ~ Robert Johnson's Tombstone
Audioslave ~ Shape Of Things To Come
Pavarotti ~ My Way
UB40 ~ Tears From My Eyes
Billie Holiday ~ I've Got My Love To Keep You Warm
Garbage ~ Supervixen
Toyah ~ Thunder In The Mountains
Jack Savoretti ~ Jack In A Box
Lenny Kravitz ~ Rock & Roll Is Dead!
Joan Jett ~ Love Is Pain
P!nk ~ Who Knew
Nerina Pallot ~ When Did I Become Such A Bitch?
Queen ~ The Invisible Man
U2 ~ With Or Without You

The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is one of my favourite cookbooks to date. So when I am lacking in energy and mobility I often find myself flipping between the pages of it looking for inspiration. And this is how I came to make (with the help of Ann..thank you!) this stew. 

I had a bag of sweet potatoes in my stocks and both Ann and myself love them. Once we started reading down the list of ingredients we realised that this recipe was the one for that day. The only ingredients missing in my stocks was the kidney beans so ML made a dash to the supermarket to buy some. I never run out of kidney beans...that shows clearly how upside-down my world is right now. With kidney beans purchased we set about making Colleen's stew. 

From the initial stages of cooking off the onions and garlic our mouths were watering, add to that the pepper and spices and we were impatient to eat it. It's very easy to make and the only time consuming task is shelling the roasted peanuts which I confess I had to sit down to do. The aroma in the kitchen was a delight and soon we were spooning a little brown rice into a bowl and smothering it with the stew. Garnishing with chopped peanuts and fresh coriander leaves we were set. 

We devoured this evening meal and probably ate a little more than we should! We were stuffed but not horribly so. The comforting sweet potatoes and kidney beans sat perfectly in the spicy peanut sauce. It was a divine I will no doubt be making again. 

And on other news...I am finally finding my fresh coriander love. Who knew? Trying to not become obsessed by the green leafy is hard...maybe I need to get a life? Anyway...I gave this recipe a 10/10 and Ann went further and gave it an awesome 11/10. It's a keeper...

Colleen's African Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew

Colleen's African Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew    Serves 4
(Recipe from The Vegan Table/Patrick-Goudreau)

3 tbsp/45 ml water, sauteing 
2 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2" (1cm) squares
1 tbsp/15g light brown sugar (I used brown sugar/stevia blend)
1 tsp grated/minced fresh ginger 
1 tsp (2 g) ground cumin 
1 tsp (2 g) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup (130-195g) smooth natural peanut butter (crunchy works great too!)
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" (1 cm) cubes
1 can (15oz or 42og) red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
4 cups (940ml) vegetable stock
1 tsp (6g) salt or to taste 
1/2 to 1 cup (70-145g) chopped, unsalted dry roasted peanuts
chopped fresh coriander, for garnish 

Heat water in a large sized saucepan over a medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened for about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper, cover and cook until softened for about 5 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, ginger, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne and cook stirring for about 30 seconds. Stir in peanut butter, distribute evenly. Add sweet potato and kidney beans and stir to evenly coat. Add vegetable stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until sweet potatoes are cooked. Approx 20-30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve in individual bowls topped with peanuts and coriander. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week is going well?


NB: This is not my creation and therefore take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the hard work and creation of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and hers alone. I thank her for being an inspiration and for sharing such tasty recipes. ~R~


Monday, 16 February 2015

Rocket & Roses Black Noodle, Vegetable & Enoki Soup (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Kenny Wayne Shepherd ~ A Little Bit More
Thunder ~ Gimme Some Lover
Dixie Chicks ~ I Hope
The Eagles ~ New Kid In Town
Mozart: Serenade #10 in B Flat 'Gran Partita'
Doris Day ~ Love Somebody
Mr Buble ~ Stardust
The Fratellis ~ Rock & Roll Will Break Your Heart
Foo Fighters ~ Halo
Mr Stewart ~ All For Love
Bill Withers ~ Ain't No Sunshine
Jose Carreras ~ Giordano: Andrea Chenier: L'Improvviso
Foo Fighters ~ Cold Day In The Sun
Mike Patton ~ Ore D'Amore

Whilst I've been on the serious 'rest' orders recently I've taken the time to research the hell out of my interest in Japanese cuisine. I am fascinated by it and looking forward to making many of the recipes I've found and creating many of my own. The world of sushi, ramen and gyoza have taken me captive...and shouldn't have to say this..but all vegan, eh?

Today's recipe is one of mine that I threw together with the help of my good pal Ann. I was excited because I had managed to track down some Enoki mushrooms. As you folks know that I am not a fan of the 'shroom. But Enoki mushrooms are quite unique and looked like a mushroom I could get along with. This is by no means a ramen noodle soup as I haven't attempted that as yet. When I do I want it to be just right. I wanted a good savoury broth and good textured noodles and a soup packed with many textures. 

I chose black rice noodles which are both vegan and gluten-free and if cooked quickly and then rinsed in ice cold water keep their texture very well. I started the broth with my holy trinity of fresh garlic, ginger and red chilli in a tiny amount of rapeseed (canola) oil. Then added freshly boiled filtered water and the broth flavourings; vegan oyster sauce, rice mirin, Braggs (or light soy), sesame oil and a scant amount of brown sugar/stevia blend. In all honesty its the amount of sugar that is used in Japanese, Chinese and Korean food that I am struggling with during this challenge. I cannot have a lot of sugar in my food so I am forced to find a happy medium and so far the brown sugar/stevia blend is working...just.

Once I had a good flavoured simmering stock we got chopping and prepping the fresh vegetables I'd selected. Presentation is one of the aspects of Japanese cuisine that I love and so made some carrot and red pepper flowers. The carrot flowers were added before any of the other veggies as they take slightly longer to cook. The black rice noodles were cooked and rinsed and portioned out into the two serving bowls. The remaining veggies except for the Enoki mushrooms were plunged into the broth and cooked for 8 minutes until just tender. I still wanted a good crispness to some of the veggies. I used a slotted spoon to drain off veggies from the broth into the awaiting bowls and then placed the trimmed and rinsed Enoki mushrooms into the broth and let them simmer for 2 minutes and then placed them on top of the veggies and noodles and then ladled the broth over the top. Finally scattering with fresh coriander leaves. 

We sat down with our noodle soups and slurped and munched our way through every mouthful. The flavours were so intense and the textures perfectly varied. The noodles kept their texture and provided great comfort. (Is it only me that gets that whole noodle comfort? No?..phew!) We had a particularly potent chilli that day and it was true to say it helped clean out our passages and by the end of the meal we were breathing easily. This soup had a great heat to it from the chilli and ginger but also a good savoury base from the broth. We really enjoyed every mouthful and I cannot wait to get started on the traditional (well a vegan version) ramen bowls and not the mass processed and produced kind. Freshness of ingredients is the key...

Rocket & Roses Black Noodle, Vegetable & Enoki Soup (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Black Noodle, Vegetable & Enoki Soup 
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1 tsp rapeseed/canola oil (optional)
2 garlic cloves, micro-grated
2" fresh ginger, micro-grated
1/2 red chilli, sliced 
4 spring onions, minced 
1 1/2 litres freshly boiled filtered water
1/2 tbsp vegan oyster sauce
1 tbsp rice mirin
1 1/2 tbsp Braggs (or soy sauce or Tamari)
3/4 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp brown sugar/stevia blend 

2 carrots, peeled, one noodled and one cut into coins and 6 flower shapes cut out 
15 mangetout, trimmed and sliced in half on the diagonal
6 red radish, trimmed and sliced
3 spring onions, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal
5" mooli/diakon, peeled and cut into thick julienne
1 red bell pepper, trimmed, flattened & 6 flower shapes cut
1/4 cup Enoki mushrooms, trimmed and rinsed well
handful fresh coriander, chopped retaining a few whole leaves for garnish

2oz seasoned tofu pieces, chopped into fine dice

black rice noodles, 2 servings, cooked as per packet instructions, cooled and set to one side

Using two individual servings bowls distribute the black noodles between the two. Set to one side. 

Add the garlic, ginger, red chilli slices into a saucepan with the oil and gently heat through until the trinity are fragrant. Add the minced spring onion and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the water and bring to a gentle simmer.

Add in the broth seasonings, vegan oyster sauce, Braggs, rice mirin, sesame oil and brown sugar/stevia blend to a small bowl and stir well to help the sugar to dissolve. Once it has pour it into the simmering water. Stir well and leave to simmer for 5 minutes after adding the carrot flowers. 

Add the carrot noodles, mange tout, radish slices, spring onions, mooli/diakon, red pepper flowers, chopped coriander, tofu pieces and bring the stock back to a simmer and cook for a further 8 minutes. 

Using a slotted spoon divide the cooked veggies between the two serving dishes until there is just broth left simmering and place the prepped and rinsed Enoki mushrooms into the stove. Pull out the carrot and red pepper flowers and set to one side. Turn off the heat. After no more than 2 minutes spoon the Enoki onto the veggies and noodles and ladle the broth evenly between the dishes. Scatter with fresh coriander leaves and carefully placed veggie flowers and serve...

Enjoy! We certainly did...

Thanks for stopping by and a huge thank you to Ann for helping me with this creation and from picking me up off the floor (not quite literally..) when my body gave out long before my stubborn mind would! I will day. 

I hope your week gets off to a great start? Right back to those books...


NB: This is my creation and I have no problem with you using or sharing this recipe. I simply ask that you give credit where it's due and make links back to this posting. As I always try to...Many thanks Namaste ~R~ 

Saturday, 14 February 2015

English Crumpet wishes...

Valentine's English Crumpets with veggie pate and red pepper hearts

This is the Valentine's creation made by myself and the littlest niece Layla. ML came home from a shopping trip with a packet of these heart shaped English crumpets and once I got over my natural aversion to heart shaped cuteness on this enforced romantic day...(I used to work for that pretty much kills it for you, believe me)..I went with it and recruited Layla to help me. We opted for freshly toasted crumpets spread with a little veggie pate and then we had fun cutting out red pepper hearts. And of course there had to be a heart shaped plate to present them on!

I will not wish you all a soppy romantic wish as I know not everyone is lucky enough to have that in their life right now. So I will simply wish you all a peaceful, happy and fun weekend and hope that you are surrounded by people who love you every day. 

Thanks for stopping by and I'll be back on Monday with a new Rocket & Roses recipe. 



Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Slowly...oh so slowly...

Hello folks...thank you for your messages of concern. I'm merely following the Docs advice and resting up for a little while. As you can imagine I am not the most willing of patients and the sedentary life is not the one for me. But I have to admit the healing is much quicker by resting than by being stubborn and bloody minded and ignoring their orders. It also means I have time make up posters like the one I am indeed drinking lots of healing tea and resting...

Thank you for coming back and checking in with my blog and I hope to bring you a recipe or two very soon. Maybe even tomorrow? But for now please stay a while and cruise the many archived recipes I have to offer...right...another documentary I think...

Hope you are all having a great week...


Friday, 30 January 2015

Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup (vegan & gluten free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Mr Williams & Mr Everett ~ Can't Take That Away From Me
Foo Fighters ~ Long Road To Ruin
Sting ~ I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying
Janiva Magness ~ It's Love Baby
Black Stone Cherry ~ Crosstown Woman
Joan Jett ~ Love Is All Around
Jack Savoretti ~ Mother
Sheryl Crow ~ Soak Up The Sun
Shakira ~ Ojos Asi
Debussy: Clair De Lune
Alice Cooper ~ No More Mr.Nice Guy
Jamie Cullum ~ Blame It On My Youth

The day I made this soup we were actually having a rare snowy day. I know that some of you reading my humble little blog are experiencing long hot summer days and I wish you luck with that. As I am in little old England, snow for us isn't that exciting..not like Minnesota, New York and Canada for instance. For us its usually a 'dusting' of snow which looks fantastic as it comes down..settles a while and then is gone as quickly as it has fallen...or the worst, that it turns to a thin layer of slush and then hardens in the cold to form patches of ice that would do an ice arena proud. That is the situation in the area I live as its on the east coast of England. I do remember way back when I was a kid, stomping around in snow that was higher than my wellies, doing my morning paper round and loving every second of it. I love snow. Always have and my first experience of 'real' snow on a winter morning in Minnesota blew my snow loving mind. We actually had to tunnel our way outside. Seeing my first bus doing a full doughnut in the road ahead of me was an interesting moment for sure. Apparently it wasn't a cause of concern or anything out of the ordinary to my partner back then. I also remember sitting on a window seat or even out on the porch, eating a steaming bowl of homemade soup or stew as I watched each flake flutter down. These are cherished memories for me. 

So it wasn't out of place to find me making soup on this cold, cold morning. I had found a good recipe in Linda Majzlik's A Vegan Taste Of Mexico. A comforting soup that had all the good stuff in it that you need for a cold winter's day. Red lentils bring the comforting texture, sweet potatoes bring the wholesome goodness to the mix and onion, chilli, garlic and fresh tomatoes starting the recipe off. A good low sodium veggie stock is added along with a good dose of paprika and crushed black pepper so what is not to love about this soup? I chose to completely blitz my soup although Majzlik suggests blending half so you still have a chunky texture to the soup and I will try that option out soon. I scattered chopped fresh coriander over the filled bowls and when that green leafy was in a mouthful it transformed the soup to another level. Delicious..

My best pal and I sat down to two steaming bowls of this soup and it was everything I hoped it would be. Slightly spiced, comforting and very satisfying on the cold winter lunch time we were enjoying. (Well I think I was enjoying it more than Ann..she arrived shaking from the very cold bus ride here..poor thing. No I didn't laugh much...ok maybe a bit..ok alot. Hush!) It was a very welcome lunch...

I have the entire collection of Linda Majzlik's A Vegan Taste of Series...they are very cheap but packed full of fantastic vegan recipes. Some are put off by them having no photos but for me that is never a problem. I haven't made a recipe from any of her cook books that was a bust. Great value for money and such great recipes. Her books were the first vegan cookbooks I purchased after making the transformation to vegan and I have never regretted that purchase...thank you Linda Majzlik. 

Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup from A Vegan Taste Of Mexico/Majzlik

Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup     Serves 4
(Recipe from A Vegan Taste of Mexico/Majzlik)

12oz/350g sweet potato, peeled and diced
4oz/100g red lentils
4oz/100g tomato, skinned and chopped
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 dsp corn oil (I used rapeseed/canola)
30 fl oz/900ml low sodium veggie stock
1/2 tsp paprika
freshly crushed black pepper
fresh coriander leaves 

Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onions, garlic and chilli until soft. Add the tomato and cook until pulpy. Stir in the lentils, stock and paprika and season with black pepper. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, then add the potato and continue simmering for another 20 minutes or so until the potato is cooked. Ladle half of the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour back into the rest of the soup and stir well. Reheat, whilst stirring, then spoon into the bowls and garnish each bowl with a few coriander leaves. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a good weekend...filled with love and laughter. 


NB: This recipe is not my creation and therefore take no credit for it. It is the hard work and creation of Linda Majzlik and hers alone. I thank her for such a great set of cookbooks. ~R~  

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Waga's Rice Noodle Salad - adapted. (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Les Paul & Friends American Made & World Played album

Last November during a weekend away in London I had my first...and second..ahem...Wagamamas experience. I was taken with the wide open lay out of the restaurants and the peaceful vibes that you soaked up whilst waiting for your food. The staff were very helpful and great individuals and made the time spent there even more enjoyable. There was even a crazy food intolerance friendly meal for ML! I had plenty of choice and devoured every mouthful of food and every sip of green tea...did you know the green tea is free at Wagamama's..nope, me neither but it was a lovely surprise. The only thing that I wasn't happy about was the fact that they aren't, by any stretch of the imagination, a veggie or vegan restaurant but they are incredibly veggie friendly. I can dream of a vegan Waga's in the future. 

After my trip ML found a used copy of Wagamama's Ways With Noodles cookbook. I know, I'm still a cookbook addict. And in my typical style I sat with it and page marked all the recipes I wanted to make and veganise. Today's recipe being the first attempt. And I was delighted with the results...

The adaptions I made were as follows...I replaced the soy sauce with Braggs and used a brown sugar/stevia blend to cut the sugar suggested and swapped out frozen garden peas for edamame beans, only because I didn't have peas in my freezer that day. I chose to use brown rice vermicelli noodles and I used vegan fish sauce and for that recipe simply click the link on the list of ingredients below. I didn't feel the need to season with more salt and therefore omitted that step and didn't sprinkle with the roasted keep the fats as low as possible. Although I am sure I missed a treat leaving them out..ah well.

The salad had such great textures with the soft noodles and crunchy veggies. The salad dressing was sharp, savoury and citrusy. Like I said before it was a delight to eat and I was smiling the entire time I munched my way through it. 

Waga's Rice Noodle Salad - adapted

Waga's Rice Noodle Salad - adapted       Serves 2
(Recipe adapted from Wagamama Ways With Noodles)

50g rice noodles (I used vermicelli)
25g frozen edamame beans
2 spring onions, finely sliced
6 radishes, finely sliced
5 cm cucumber, seeded and cut into quarter moons
small handful of beansprouts
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced
small handful mangetout, finely sliced
2 tsp vegan fish sauce 
1 tsp soft brown sugar (I used a brown sugar/stevia blend)
1 tsp Braggs liquid animos
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
salt and pepper to season (I omitted)
roasted chopped peanuts (I omitted)

Cook the noodles as per the package instructions, drain and refresh under cold running water. Drain well.

Cook the edamame beans as per the package instructions, drain and refresh under cold running water. Drain well. When cold toss them into a large salad bowl along with the other prepared vegetables and noodles. 

Combine the vegan fish sauce, sugar and Braggs together in a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime zest and juice, ginger and garlic and the sesame oil. Stir well to combine. Pour over the noodle salad and toss well. Season with salt and pepper (Reds notes: I omitted this as I felt it was seasoned enough for my personal tastes folks) Spoon the salad into bowls and sprinkle over the coriander leaves and the roasted peanuts. Serve..



NB: This is not my recipe. It is the adapted recipe from Wagamama's Ways With Noodles cookbook. I take no credit for its creation whatsoever. It is the hard work and creation of the folks at Wagamama's and theirs alone. I do thank them for a great cookbook. ~R~