Monday, 28 February 2011

Little One Tales ~ M's Dino Dinosaur Birthday Cake

M is a very special little boy in my life. He's my nephew and for the last couple of years its been my pleasure to come up with a birthday cake for his birthdays. So far he's had a train and last year he requested a dinosaur cake. Yikes, right? But I was very lucky to find this Dino baking tin from And I have to say I was very proud of this cake. It took me 3 hours of icing the critter. I couldn't feel my hands for a couple of hours after the individual little star tips that cover the cake. But he's worth it. And thankfully he loved it too. When his Dad tried to cut the cake he stopped him and said "No not cut his head...thats mine!" lol.

A few years ago I found a very good vegan vanilla cake recipe which I use as my base for such cakes. And for the Dino I added vegan chocolate chips. The icing is just vegan butter icing that we coloured ourselves. Everyone who tried it enjoyed it (except for the one person who refuses to eat vegan cake!!...who actually loved my cakes until he found out they were vegan *shaking head* Some people..) So below is the recipe that I use for all vanilla sponge cakes.

E-Man's Vanilla Cake
(found on years ago)

1 cup plain white flour, sifted
1/2 cup plain whole wheat flour, sifted
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup canola oil (I use safflower or sunflower)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cold soya milk

Pre heat the oven to 350'C/180'F/Gas Mark 4

Grease and line an 8 inch round cake pan and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the egg replacer, soya milk, oil, lemon juice and vanilla until completely combined. In a separate bowl, mix the white flour with the wholemeal flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Dig a well into the centre of your dry ingredients and pour the in the wet. Gently stir the two together until it looks combined and until all lumps are gone. But be sure not to over mix. Let the batter stand for 5 minutes. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for approx 45 minutes. Cake will be done when a toothpick comes out clean. 

Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then remove from the pan and leave to cool before decorating. If making a sandwich cake, slice the top off of one of the cakes. Make that your bottom layer and the cake will sit evenly. 

NB: I make a double batch for sandwich cakes. And to make a good size 9" cake I make a double then also. Enjoy! Thanks again to E-man for this recipe.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Rocket and Roses Fridge Greens and Green Lentil Soup

Kitchen Play List:     A Fine Romance ~ Fred & Ginger
                                    I Like the Way You Move ~ Bodyrockers
                                    Bring Me Back to Life ~ Evanesance 
                                    Deeper the Love ~ Whitesnake
                                    Weary Blues ~ Madelaine Peyroux
                                    I Need You Now ~ Lady Antebellum 
Now I know you all know what I mean by the well intentioned purchase of green leafy veggies. I eat them everyday as a side veggie and I still end up with a rather sad looking cabbage in my greens drawer. You know the one I mean? It's past its visual best so won't stand up as a side veggie anymore but it still has some goodness to it. Every once in while I have them too. And this soup is a fantastic way to use them up. It's tasty and is packed full of goodness. 

My nephew, M, couldn't get enough of this soup when he was starting to eat solids. This and Mung Bean Casserole! He still enjoys it now but not with as much enthusiasm. lol. He's 4 now and good at it! lol.  

Rocket and Roses Fridge Greens and Green Lentil Soup  
(Original recipe from the Rocket and Roses Vegan Kitchen)  

Serves 4 - 6

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, grated
4oz green/continental lentils
1 3/4 pint of veggie stock
8oz greens of your choice, shredded
salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
Up to 1 pint of freshly boiled water to add to
the lentils as they cook

Rinse and drain the lentils and set to one side. 

In a soup pan heat the oil and cook the onions until they are soft. Grate the garlic into the pan and stir into the onions. 

Add the lentils and stir to coat them in the onion, garlic and oil. Cook for a minute keeping them moving to avoid catching. 

Pour in the the stock and stir. Bring the stock to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for approx 40 minutes or until the lentils are fully cooked. You may need to top up with the boiling water during this time. But stir frequently to keep a check on this.

Shred the greens and when the lentils are cooked add them to the pan and stir in. Cover and cook, stirring frequently until the greens are cooked down. Season to taste. 

Place the soup in a blender or using a stick blender, blitz until the soup is smooth. 

Tomato and Bread Soup

Kitchen Play List: Def Leppard's Greatest Hits 

Now this soup is relatively new creation. It was inspired by an old Italian recipe I found in a magazine quite some time ago. I jotted it down in my notepad and there it stayed until last year. I've changed it around quite a lot since then but this is the version I prefer.  It's a store cupboard bonus soup, that comes in handy. I like the depth of the flavours of the red onion and the tomatoes. I hope that you try this one. The bread is for you to choose. I usually use up the ends of wholemeal loaves when I make this. It's very comforting. 

I never liked tinned tomato soup but I most definitely love freshly made. And once again, it freezes very well. So I usually double or triple this recipe and fill the freezer up with bags of it. 

 Tomato and Bread Soup  Serves 4 - 6 

2 tins of chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, roughly chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, grated
2 1/2 cups of veggie stock
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp mild chilli powder
salt and black pepper to taste
Bread of your choice

In a soup pan, heat the oil and add the onion. Cook until the onion is very soft, approx 10 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, garlic and the spices and stir to combine. Saute for 2 minutes. 

The stock goes in next with the salt and pepper to season. Then bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Leave to cool slightly after turning off the heat. 

Place the soup in a blender or using a stick blender, blitz until smooth. 

In your soup bowl, tear the bread into pieces and when the soup is ready, carefully pour over the bread and  enjoy....

This soup freezes well.

Potato and Leek Soup

Kitchen Play List:    Kings of Leon ~ Notion Album

I'm always making soup. Honestly I make at least two a week. But today I've made three. If I have veggies that need using up I find myself in the 'soup zone' with my music up loud and I just get stuck in. The first one on the list today was Potato and Leek. Now I personally hated this soup for years. But then I had only ever tried the tinned variety and the horribly salty varieties you get served in restaurants. Not good. And then I was made a homemade version and I found that I quite liked this pale and subtle soup. I have tried a few other versions of this recipe but this is the one I like the best. And I can't give credit where its due, which annoys me greatly, because it was posted anonymously. But whoever you are....Thank you very much. I doubled the original recipe to make enough to serve and then enough to freeze as it reheats very well. 

Potato and Leek Soup     Serves 12

2 tbsp olive oil
4 leeks, prepped and sliced
4 cups of onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
2 large cloves of garlic, grated
2 lb potatoes, peeled and chopped up
4 cups of veggie stock

In a large soup pan, heat the oil and add the onions, leeks and salt. Cook until the onions have gone translucent and the leeks have softened. Grate the garlic into the pan and stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. 

Add the potatoes and stir to coat them in the onion, leek and garlic mix. Then pour the stock and stir in. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and then cook for 20 minutes. Stirring occasionally. 

When the potatoes are soft, place a third of the soup into a blender and blitz until smooth. Repeat this two more times. When all the soup is smooth pour it back into the soup pan to reheat and reseason. Then serve. 

This soup freezes well. Enjoy.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Rocket and Roses Beetroot, Black Bean and Papaya Salsa

Kitchen Play List:    Pat Benatar ~ Greatest Hits Album (on LOUD!)

Yesterday was the trial run for a new challenge My Love has set me...Mystery Ingredient Challenge Day. This basically means that on a Tuesday evening My Love will bring home a mystery item and I have to make it into something tasty on the Wednesday!! (Please, no more green peppers?! lol) And the first item chosen - a papaya. Now I have had this fruit as a cocktail and in a yoghurt many times. Both were lovely. I have to admit I have never prepared or eaten a fresh one. So this really was a mystery to me. lol. 

So i did a little research and initially found very little to inspire me. It seemed that people used it mainly in a fruit salad. How boring! To me anyway. Later when I was cruising the usual sites that I go to for ideas and recipes I found a posted recipe by 'DeliciousSusan' for a papaya salsa. I was intrigued. I liked the idea of this recipe but wanted to tweak it a little for our tastes. So the recipe below is inspired by both her ideas and mine combined. 

The result was  a vibrant and beautifully coloured salsa. The papaya added a surprising freshness  and spices added depth of flavour. I will definitely be making this again. 

 Rocket and Roses Beetroot, Black Bean & Papaya Salsa
(Recipe inspired by posted recipe by 'DeliciousSusan' and my ideas combined)

1 medium sized beetroot, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 medium sized papaya, peeled deseeded and cubed (read full recipe!!)
1 14oz tin of Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 - 1/2 tsp mild chilli powder
1/4 - 1/2 crushed red chilli flakes
freshly ground black pepper to season
pinch of salt to season (optional)

Steam or boil the cubed beetroot for 5 minutes to soften

In a medium skillet heat the oil and add the onion, beetroot and the celery and saute for 5 minutes. 

Add the red pepper to the skillet and saute for a further 3 minutes

Add the drained beans to the pan and stir to combine. Turn the heat off and leave to cool in the pan. 

When cooled spoon into a stainless steel container and cover and place in the fridge to chill properly. Just before serving, prep the papaya and stir into the veggie mix. 

Serve with corn tortilla chips and enjoy. 

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Rocket and Roses Chilli Hot Stuffed Green Peppers

Kitchen Play List:    Hella Good ~ No Doubt
                                   Under My Skin ~ Mr Buble
                                   Keep This Fire Burning ~ B.Knight
                                   Well Did Ya Evah? ~ Bing Crosby
                                   Losing Keys ~ Jack Johnson
                                   In For a Penny ~ Slade
                                   Sway ~ PCD
                                   Too Many Tears ~ Whitesnake

Would you believe it?  I have a glut of green peppers...again! I do wish the supermarket we use would be a little kinder to us. So this being the situation, I sat with a notebook and tried to come up with ways that I could use them up..again! I was already making a salsa today so I couldn't really make another. 

A hot stuffed pepper recipe was what ended up being my choice of the day. I will conquer the green pepper curse. lol I wanted a stuffing that would take away some of the green pepperiness. So a hot spicy stuffing began to form in my mind. And I have to say I'm very happy with the results. Now they may not look that attractive once they are wrinkly, hot from the oven but the taste was amazing...and definitely hot!! If you are more of a 'hint of chilli' person then deseed the chilli and only use one. Also, if you are not the TVP loving person that My Love and I are...then you could always substitute it for bulgar wheat, couscous or rice. It will work just as well. 

NB This stuffing recipe will make enough for 8 peppers. So I will use half and freeze half for last minute dinner options or to use on the days when I don't want to cook...yes...I do have those days too! lol 

 Rocket and Roses Chilli Hot Stuffed Green Peppers  
(Original Recipe from the Rocket and Roses Vegan Kitchen)

4 large Green Peppers, topped and de-seeded
2oz Textured Veggie Protein granules
10 fl oz veggie stock

1 tbsp Rotino Healthier Cooking oil (or oil of choice) 
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, finely chopped
1 1/2 red chillies, seeds left in, finely chopped
6oz carrots, grated
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 14oz tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
freshly cracked black pepper to season
salt to season (optional)
1 14oz Borlotti or Pinto Beans, rinsed and drained

Pre-heat the oven to 350'C/180'F/Gas Mark 4. 

Rinse the green peppers and prepare by cutting the tops off and taking the core of seeds out and placing them into a baking dish that will hold them up. I use a glass loaf dish. 

In a large skillet heat the oil and then add the red onion and celery. Cook for 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Cover at the 5 minute mark to keep the moisture in the pan. 

Then add the red pepper and the red chilli and stir to combine, cover and cook for a further 4 minutes. 

Toss in the grated carrot and the garlic and stir constantly at this stage to avoid the garlic and carrot catching on the bottom of the pan. Cook for a further 4 minutes. 

Pour in the chopped tomato and the tomato paste and stir well to combine and cook for 4 minutes. 

The TVP and the remaining veggie stock (if any) go into the pan next. You will need to stir well to combine the granules into the veggie mix. Once combined, cover and cook out for 5 minutes. Check to make sure that it's not catching during this time.

Stir in the drained beans and stirring constantly but carefully, cook for another 4 minutes. 

Spoon the stuffing into the peppers, pushing the filling down into the cavity and leaving a heaped top and then crown with the pepper tops. Place into the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes or until the pepper is soft when pierced with a knife. Then serve. 

If freezing half of the stuffing, place into a freezable container/bag and leave to cool before placing into the freezer until needed. 

Happy 'hot' eating! Red

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Rocket and Roses Roasted Parsnip Pate

Kitchen Play List:       Sara Sant'Ambrogio/Cellist ~ Dreaming Album

Roasted Parsnips are a firm favourite in this house. And for that reason we have them rarely as a treat. lol In fact any roasted starches are garanteed to bring a smile to our faces. Potatoes, sweet potato, carrots and beetroot are all fantastic in flavour. Many years ago I was lucky enough to experience a taste sensation in the form of parsnip pate. Only later to find it was packed full of egg white and other things that I wouldn't choose to eat. And I believed that I could maybe make a vegan version but just never found that roasted parsnips stayed around long enough to try it! lol. Last week I had a couple of large bags of them to play with so I set about making this pate. 

The result was a rich and indulgent pate. It was delicious warm or cold and lasted for up to seven days stored in the fridge. We ate it  with bread and on hot toast and it was very hard to eat it in moderation! lol. And although I haven't tried it, I think it would also freeze very well to make ahead of time for a special occasion. 

Rocket and Roses Roasted Parsnip Pate    Makes 2 cups
(Original Recipe from the Rocket and Roses Vegan Kitchen) 

8oz peeled and quartered Parsnips (peeled weight)
6oz peeled and quartered Carrots (peeled weight)   
1 large garlic clove, minced 
1 14oz tin of Butter Beans, rinsed and drained 
1 oz vegan white cheeze, grated
1 tbsp sunflower oil, to saute
2 tbsp sunflower oil, to roast
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 350'C/180'F/Gas Mark 4.  In a shallow baking dish place the prepared parsnips and carrots and drizzle over the oil and toss to ensure the veggies are covered. Then place on the middle shelf of the oven and roast for approx 45 minutes. Flip the parsnips and carrots a couple of times during the roasting. Remove from the oven when they are soft in the centre and golden and lightly roasted on the outside. Leave to cool on a trivet. 

In a medium skillet heat the oil and gently saute the minced garlic until it is fragrant and golden. Do not let it burn as it will just taste bitter. Add the drained Butter Beans to the skillet and saute for 2 minutes. Making sure to keep the contents moving to avoid the garlic catching. Turn off the heat and sprinkle the cheeze over the beans and garlic. Add the parsnips and carrots to the skillet and leave to cool. 

In a food processor with the blade attachment place the contents of the skillet. Pulse the ingredients for a minute to get them to break down. With a spatula press down the mix and then process until smooth. It will start to almost form a dough. At this point scoop it out and into 2 ramekins or a container for storage. If refrigerating place the pate in the fridge at this point. If wanting to serve the pate warm place the ramekins into the oven at 350'C/18o'F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes. Then serve. 

Happy eating! Red


Monday, 21 February 2011

Rocket and Roses Broccoli and Flageolet Bean Soup

Kitchen Play List:   Pearl Jam ~ Ten Album

My name is Red and I am a Broccoli-aholic.  I am not joking. I could eat the lovely green stuff for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper. And all the snacks in between! I love it raw, steamed, sauted with garlic, in things, over things and on the side of things! Yes..I love it. But rarely have I found a soup made with it that I like. I find the Broccoli and 'Cheeze' soups around, too darn salty for my palate. When I was a vegetarian I suffered it in silence. And always wondered if I could make one that I did like. 

Its very rare to find a glut of Broccoli in my kitchen. In fact I think this weekend was the first time ever? So I saw this as the opportunity to try putting together a soup. I wanted to keep it very simple as that's when I enjoy Broccoli the most. I didn't want to use soya milk or cream to give it that smoothness that I felt it needed. And I would be a liar if I said the idea to use beans, and in particular Flageolet Beans, was mine. It was in fact My Loves idea. And the following recipe is what I came up with. I really enjoyed the earthy flavour and the Broccoli and beans went together quite well. Thank you My Love ;o) 

Rocket and Roses Broccoli and Flageolet Bean Soup    Serves 8
(Original recipe from the Rocket and Roses Vegan Kitchen)

2 tbsp olive oil (or oil of your choice)
4 large garlic cloves, micro grated
1 litre veggie stock 
800g  Broccoli, chopped
1 14oz tin of Flageolet Beans, drained and rinsed
salt and freshly ground black pepper to season 

Gently saute the grated garlic in the oil until its fragrant and golden. Do not let it burn as it will just taste bitter. Add the chopped broccoli to the pan and stir to coat with the garlic/oil mixture. Add the veggie stock next and stir it in. Bring the stock to a boil and reduce heat to a medium simmer, cover and cook for 5-10 minutes until the Broccoli is just soft. Next add the drained Flageolet Beans and stir to combine. Bring the stock to a boil once again to heat the beans through. Season to taste. Then blend the soup until smooth. Enjoy! 



Saturday, 19 February 2011

Rocket and Roses Lightly Spiced Parsnip Soup

Kitchen Play List:    The Gossip ~ Standing in the Way of Control CD
For years I could take or leave soup. But that was before I started to make my own and once I did, there was no going back. Now a tinned or cartoned soup just doesn't make it through the door. They just do not taste good to me. I make at least two soups a week and we have a cup of it with our lunchtime salads. I love all soups from a simple veggie broth to rich, filling lentil soups. I like them chunky but My Love isn't that keen so I have been known to halve the freshly made soup and blitz half. lol Things you do for love. The one thing I don't like in soup is milk or cream. And I experiment constantly with trying to achieve a creaminess in some of the soups I make. 

One evening this week My Love came back from the supermarket wearing a huge smile,  carrying a bag of bargains. Amongst these bargains were two large bags of parsnips. They were in perfect condition and had been reduced down from £1.50 per bag to 15p. Fantastic, eh? So I sat down with my pad and pen and started working through recipe ideas and this soup recipe was one of them. I wanted the richness of a parsnip soup that would usually be filled with cream and a depth of taste that didn't over power the lovely parsnips. And this is what I came up with...I hope you try it. 

Rocket and Roses Lightly Spiced Parsnip Soup    Serves 6
(Original Recipe from the Rocket and Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1lb 5oz/600g Parsnips, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 pints of veggie stock
1 14oz tin of Haricot Beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp curry powder (of your choice)
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

In a large pan or soup pan, heat the oil and toss in the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add the parsnips, stir until coated in the oil and saute for a further 4 minutes. Combine the curry powder and cumin in a small bowl and then stir into the onion and parsnips, saute for 2 minutes. 
Pour in the veggie stock and stir thoroughly and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the parsnips are soft. Add the drained Haricot beans and stir them in. Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 4 minutes. Season the soup to your taste. 

Turn off the heat and with a stick blender or by placing the soup into a standard blender, blitz the soup until smooth. Re season and serve. This soup also freezes well. Enjoy!  

Friday, 18 February 2011

Rocket and Roses Firey Green Pepper and Tomato Salsa

Kitchen Play list:    Hot Stuff ~ Donna Summer 
                                  Cochise ~ Audioslave
                                  I Hold On ~  Slash/Kid Rock
                                  Work ~ Kelly Rowland
                                  (I kid you not! Hot Stuff actually came on as I began to chop the chilli! lol)

Now, now, now...before you all start to say, "Green Pepper?...Yuck!", please give me a moment to explain this recipe. I am usually on the same band wagon when it comes to much disliked green pepper. Whenever we buy a bag of mixed peppers, they are always the ones hanging around in the pepper draw, waiting to be used. I dislike them raw and to be honest I'm not the biggest fan when they are cooked. But I have been trying to come up with a way to use them up other than the lovely Bean & Caper Sauce that I make to go with pasta. My Love is a great fan of chilli's and salsa's and I was suddenly inspired to make up a recipe and use up the glut of green peppers I had in fridge. 

And it worked. Yes...really it did. This salsa is hot and its flavours only get better with time. And the green pepper really complements the other flavours. It brings a freshness to the salsa that a yellow/red/orange sweet pepper just wouldn't. We tried it with tortilla chips and it is everything a good salsa should be. Give it try...if My Love likes it (and I can't begin to tell you how much green pepper is hated usually lol) then chances are it will work for you too...let me know how you get on? 

 Rocket and Roses Firey Green Pepper and Tomato Salsa
(Original recipe from the Rocket and Roses Vegan Kitchen) 

 6 Reg Sized Tomatoes, part seeded and roughly chopped
2 large Green Peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 Red chilli, chopped (seeds left in)
4 tbsp fresh Lime juice
1 tsp Paprika
1 tbsp Olive oil (or oil of your choice)
1 pinch of salt 

In a medium sized bowl toss in the chopped tomatoes, peppers, chilli and onion and stir to combine. Sprinkle the paprika and salt over the veggies and stir again to evenly coat them. Pour over the lime juice and stir again. Then add the olive oil and give it all one final mix. Then transfer to a container with a tightly fitting lid and store in the fridge. 
It's good if you want to eat it straight away but it does get better with time. Can be made a couple of days ahead if you want it for an occassion and the veggies still stay crisp. Enjoy!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Rocket and Roses Red Pepper and Thyme Dip

Kitchen Play list:   Night and Day ~ Cole Porter
                                 Closer ~ Nine Inch Nails
                                 Follower of Fashion ~ The Kinks

This dip is refreshing and very pretty, if a dip can be pretty? lol. It's better after being left in the fridge for a few hours so the flavours can blend. But we have eaten it straight away and it's still good. It still has a slight crunch to it from the pepper which we like. It's good as a dip, spread or a salad topping. 

Rocket and Roses Red Pepper and Thyme Dip Makes 1 cup
(Original recipe from the Rocket and Roses Vegan Kitchen)  

1 tin of Haricot Beans, rinsed and drained
1 large Red Pepper, de-seeded and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 tsp dried Thyme
1 tsp olive oil
Pinch of salt

In a food processor, place the beans and garlic, and pulse until they are broken down.  Add the chopped pepper and blitz until the pepper has been blended into the beans. This takes a couple of minutes and you will need to push the mix down with a spatula a couple of times. Add the olive oil and salt and blitz for one more minute. Spoon the dip into a container and leave in the fridge until ready to eat.

Rocket and Roses Green Lentil Dip

Kitchen Play List:       Easy Street ~ The Union
                                      Dirty Love ~ Thunder
                                      Is This Love  ~ Whitesnake

Now this little dip isn't the most attractive looking thing you'll ever see. But it makes up for it with flavour and is so easy to make. I use it as a last minute topping for salads and it's always nice with crudites. Its a very savoury taste which I like.

Rocket and Roses Green Lentil Dip  Makes 1 cup
(Original recipe from the Rocket and Roses Vegan Kitchen)  

1 tin of Green Lentils, rinsed and drained
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1 tbsp  fresh Lemon Juice

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Spoon into a container and store in the fridge.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Cook Book Junkie : Colleen Patrick-Goudreau - Color Me Vegan - Final Part

Continued from Part Two:

15/2/11 - I have tried many different versions of Butternut Soup and always been left feeling...well..blah! I love the squash cooked in many other ways but blitzed into a soup and I can take it or leave it. So, when selecting the recipes for this review, I chose this one purely out of curiosity. Could this finally be the soup that sells Butternut to me as a soup ingredient. So this morning I made the Butternut Squash, Orange and Ginger Soup. The ingredients are simple..Onion, garlic, ginger, butternut, potato,orange juice, veggie stock, seasonings. Spring onion and orange zest to garnish. I hope this is the one.

The Result:

Well, well, well...I have found it at long last! But first can I say that I have hands that are bright orange and not from a nasty fake tan but from the colours coming from the Butternut. lol. Attractive, eh? lol

 This soup was amazing. The intense orange hits you get are refreshing, the richness from the Butternut are comforting and the creaminess from the potatoes all come together to make one intense taste experience. I really loved every spoonful. I gave this a '10'.

For the final recipe for this review I wanted to select one that was considered a 'Rainbow' recipe. Indian Style Black Bean & Veggie Burrito was the one I chose. It is a little heavy on the starches compared to my usual preference but as a one off I decided it was fine. I use wholewheat tortillas but this could be made with regular white tortillas. The filling contains Red and Orange Peppers, onion, garlic, ginger, sweet potato, veggie stock, garam masala, black beans and seasonings. The recipe calls for cooked brown basmati rice and romaine lettuce to accompany the filling. It also calls for mango chutney but I shall be omitting that this time.

The Result:
Pure comfort. We both agreed these were delicious. Very heavy on the starches but as a treat every now and then we will indulge. It would be very rude not to! lol I wasn't sure if it would all work but it does.

Final Notes:
I have really enjoyed Color Me Vegan. I have enjoyed making the test recipes even the burgers. lol. I know it will be a much used and useful cookbook. The nutritional information provided, I found helpful and enjoyed the reading, but if all you want is a bunch of recipes between two pieces of it don't have to read those parts,eh? lol I hope you give it a try. I have a list of other recipes that I want to make soon. Thank you Colleen.

Happy Cooking, Red x

Monday, 14 February 2011

Cook Book Junkie - Colleen Patrick Goudreau - Color Me Vegan -Part Two

 Continued from Part One: 

11/2/11 - Beet Burgers today from the Red section. I have been looking forward to these all week. Because we love a veggie burger in this house and have many recipes for them. But it's always exciting to find a new one. So, keenly we bought our beetroots and I was all set to make these splendid looking burgers. It wasn't a hard recipe to follow. Throw all the ingredients into a large bowl and stir together. And that is exactly what I did. Beetroots, bulgar wheat, flour, parsley, cayenne pepper, breadcrumbs, toasted sesame and sunflower seeds, onion, oil. garlic and tamari all in the bowl and I mixed. And I mixed and try as I might I couldn't get the mix to stay together. And I added more flour and then some more bulgar as instructed in the recipe but in the end I had neither left to add in. I was covered in purple and frustrated and very disappointed. What a shame. I set about with a 1/3 cup measure and tried to make the best of a bad job. The patties were falling apart as I sat them on the baking sheet so I knew I was doomed before they even hit the oven. I made 15 patties from the mix. They were just too fragile to 'flip' half way through the cooking time. So 25 minutes later I was left with a sheet of pattie crumbs and some partially formed burgers.

 The Result: 

The taste of the patties crumbs was delicious. And I managed to keep one pattie together long enough to make up a 'completed burger' for the photos. However this is not how we ate our burgers. I had made some Garlic Aioli the day before to go with the burgers so in the end I heated up the burger bits and then mixed with the Aioli and ate them 'Sloppy Joe' styley! lol And the combination was really very good. I think when I try these again, and I will, I'll maybe add some silken tofu as a glue. And I will reduce the amount of seeds but that is just my personal preference. The burger bits residing in my freezer shall be used as salad sprinklings and Sloppy Joe filling. I will update this review when I've tried them with a better (in my opinion) binder. Tasty and beautiful coloured burgers...

12/2/11 - I'm cooking the Roasted Garlic Soup today. I chose this recipe to test because we both love a good garlic soup. However I've never made a roasted garlic soup before. So I currently have 4 large bulbs of garlic roasting in the oven. The smell is divine. Its hard to not give in to the urge to smear the soft roasted cloves on some bread when they are baked. lol. 
But that is an indulgence best saved for another day. The ingredients for this soup are garlic obviously, olive oil, leeks, onion, potato, veggie stock, dry white wine, soya milk and lemon juice. As a recipe its a little heavy on the starches, compared to what I make for everyday consumption but today is a testing day so I happily put this together. And after the 35 mins it took to roast my garlic (not the hour recommended) its a very simple soup to make. 

The Result:

On the whole this is a good soup. Its mellow and creamy. For me, the only thing that stops this from being a '10' is the milk. But I don't tend to favour soups that have milk or cream added to them. But with the list of ingredients and the roasted garlic I wanted to give this a try. I would happily eat it again. And if My Love requests it, I shall make it, maybe without the milk next time.

13/2/11 - This afternoon I made two of the salads from Color Me Vegan. First I made the Minted Chickpea Salad. I adore Chickpeas and they are eaten frequently, well anytime I can find an excuse I will eat them. I love them in things, on things, roasted for a snack....OK I admit it...I'm a chickpea-oholic! And I am at one with my addiction. Thank you very much! lol The ingredients for this salad were simple and I always have bagged chopped fresh herbs in my freezer for the winter months. Chickpeas, red cabbage, white cabbage, red onion, garlic, lemon juice, fresh mint, tomatoes and olive oil and seasonings. What is not to like?? 

The Result:
A vibrant and delicious salad indeed. The textures mix well and the chickpeas hold it all together. I erred on the side of caution this time by putting the minimum amount of mint in but next I will try the maximum as the mint is greatly shadowed by the red onion and cabbages. But I will definitely be making this salad again...and again. lol 

The only down side to this salad was the aroma. When I opened the container to take some out I was hit by the cabbage and onion whiff! But otherwise a great salad. 

The second Salad of the day was the Black Beluga Lentil Salad. Thankfully we love lentils in this house because we eat a lot of them. In all their glorious and varying forms. And I do like a good lentil salad. My Love isn't quite as keen but always willingly tries them. This salad is very simple to throw together once you have cooked the Lentils. Black Beluga Lentils, carrots, toasted almonds, spring onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh oregano and parsley make up this salad. I waited patiently to try it.

The result:

This is heaven on a plate for me. The depth of flavours are just beautiful. The textures are sublime. The fresh herbs come through and almost soothe. This is comfort food in the form of a salad. If you like lentils I urge you strongly, to make this yourself. 

14/2/11 - Irish Mashed Potatoes with Kale (Colcannon) is on the menu today. I have a tricky relationship with Kale. If its well cooked I like it particularly steamed with fennel. If it's not..then I really struggle. But My Love likes the green leafy very much so I do try and find new ways of serving it. So with My Love in mind I decided this recipe would be excellent for the testing. Onion is sauted and then joined by Kale and Garlic. The potatoes are boiled and mashed with a little vegan marg and some black pepper and nutmeg. I have to confess I didn't stick to the complete recipe. I omited the milk and extra marg on the top of the potatoes. I also made it earlier in the day and opted for the bake off in the oven method. I'm also experimenting with baked Tofu at the moment and this is what I plan to serve with it. 

The result:
Very nice indeed. And we both agreed that it didn't lack for not having the milk in it. It was creamy and the kale succulent. And it went very well with the Baked Tofus and steamed veggies. A good winter dish and will be made alot during those cold winter months.

Part Three on its way!!

Valentines Day Thoughts

Ah that commercial Hallmark day is here again. And I can say that as I used to work for Hallmark for a while. lol. I don't dislike the day but I do dislike the hype. Red is one of my favourite colours but even I tire of seeing it festooned everywhere. My Love knows how I feel 365 days a year without the big hype but we do acknowledge the day with a card. I do like that part of the day. This year we aren't going out and spending a fortune on flowers or meals.
Why give in to the price increases for this one day? Sheesh! 

We are happy in our little world we have here and our feelings are still as strong after 10 years. So we celebrate the day in small ways...My Love is a VW Beetle fan so the gift this year was a 'Paint your own Beetle Money Box' and the smile I received reassured me that it was a good and fun choice. And waiting for me on my desk was a small posy of snowdrops from the garden and a small heart shaped glass dish that I had coveted in a shop whilst on our travels this weekend. And it couldn't have been more perfect for me. 

Happy Valentines Day to all. It doesn't have to be about romantic love if you choose it not to be. To be loved by, friend or lover is a precious thing and should be celebrated everyday. Red x

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Cook Book Junkie : Colleen Patrick-Goudreau - Color Me Vegan - Part One

It is a very happy day in this house when Amazon deliver a new cookbook to me.  Especially the new one, recently released by one of my all time favourite cooks. And very recently I had one of those days. I feel excitement from the moment I place the order, during the long wait for delivery and then the opening of the packaging. And there I sit at my desk simply looking at it for a few moments until impatience gets the better of me and I have to touch and look at the pages. And yes, I have been known to sit there Ooohing and Arrrring. lol. I always hope I'm in a place, where I can sit down with a cup of tea and read the book cover to cover, just once when it arrives. This time I wasn't so lucky because I had a very busy week cooking for friends. But finally on Monday I sat down with my new copy of Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I have to say that I am a Colleen groupie. She is one of my very favourite vegan cookbook authors along with Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Terry Romero, Linda Majzlik and Dreena Burton. 

The first cookbook of  Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's that I owned was the wonderful The Joy of Vegan Baking. Which is looking rather sorry for itself now due to overuse. Lol. When she released The Vegan Tablethere was a delay in shipment from the US and so I, it arrived the day before we were due to go on hoilday, so in amongst my clothes, was my new cookbook. And when My Love was off swimming and kite flying, I was snuggled up on the sofa reading The Vegan Table. We were both content. lol. I have made many of the dishes out of The Vegan Table and so far haven't been disappointed. So I was very excited when I heard that the Colour (sorry but I am English!) Me Vegan was due to be published. And I have now read it cover to cover and I have learnt alot from it.  I've always known I should eat all the colours of the rainbow...but now I know why! And the recipes look tasty and so for the next few days I shall be testing some of them. 
9/2/11  Tonight I am making the Linguine with Purple Cabbage for three reasons. Firstly Purple/Red cabbage is one of my most loved vegetables. I can eat it anyway it comes...except with meat! Yuck. Lol. Secondly I love red onions and this recipe certainly has them. Thirdly I love garlic and that is the basis of this very simple recipe. Red cabbage, red onions and garlic sauted in a little oil finished with some freshly ground black pepper. I use only Wholemeal pasta for everyday cooking so I shall use the Linguine variety and then once cooked it gets drained and tossed with the Red Cabbage mix. C.PG finishes her recipe with toasted pine nuts but I won't be doing that tonight as I don't I have any. 

The Result: 

I really enjoyed this meal. But I already knew that I would as its list of ingredients were practically a list of my favourite foods! However, if you want a meal that is simple, filling and nutritious with earthy flavours and a garlic taste that doesn't knock you in the head, this is a meal for you to try. If you want a meal that has strong flavours and is complicated in its depth then skip the page and try a different recipe. lol. I loved the simplicity of this meal.

10/2/11 - I am currently sat at my desk whilst the aroma of Summer Squash with Cherry Tomatoes topped with Cheesy Toasted Pinenuts baking in my oven drives me crazy. That is the dish I have made tonight from Color me Vegan for My Love and I to test. We are both convinced that it will taste as good as it smells. But what is there in this recipe to smell or taste bad? Courgettes, Cherry Toms, Garlic, Olive oil, Parsley, Thyme and Basil with a Nooch and Pinenut topping  thrown together in a baking dish and left to do their thing. 

The Result:

Wow! The smell to this did not even begin to do it justice. The courgettes were just soft and the tomatoes were reduced down to a sauce consistency along with the garlic and herbs. I served it over a spoonful of plain Bulgar Wheat and it soaked up the juices and made a perfect accompaniment. My Love sat quietly and ate. When asked for an opinion, said simply, "Scrumptious!". I think that says it all.

 Part Two on its way!!