Thursday, 30 June 2011

Spanish Omelette with Roasted Red Pepper-Almond Sauce

Kitchen Play List:    Celine dion ~ Taking Chances
                                        Melissa Etheridge ~ Secret Agent
                                        Billy Ocean ~ Love Really Hurts Without You
                                        Jack Johnson ~ If I Could
                                        Nicola Benedetti ~ Zigeunerweisen Op.20
                                        Black Eyed Peas ~ Let's Get It Started
                                        Booty Luv ~ Shine
                                        Slade ~ Bangin Man

Spanish Omelette with Roasted Red Pepper-Almond Sauce
It was a very happy day when we first tried this recipe out. It was a few years ago now and we were both newcomers to tofu. Everything we had tried up to that point we hadn't liked at all. We were very frustrated with the white wobbly stuff! lol. I had recently bought a copy of Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Romero's Vegan with a Vengeance

We had tried a few of the recipes and enjoyed them a lot but I kept skipping the tofu section. I was resigned to not enjoying anything that had tofu in it. As I often do...I sat and read the cookbook cover to cover one afternoon and I kept looking at the recipe for the Spanish Omelette and thinking how good it sounded...if it wasn't for that pesky tofu! lol. So a few weeks went by and then I was struggling to think of something to cook for an evening meal on an unusually hot saturday. And I kept thinking how nice it would be to have an omelette and salad. This was obviously long before I found Susan V's wonderful Omelette recipe also.

I had a couple of packets of silken tofu sat in the stores waiting to be used, new potatoes sat in the basket, plenty of onions and an abundance of red peppers in the fridge. So I decided to go for it. It was easy to put together and the only horrible bit for me was peeling the roasted peppers..I just have a thing about skins! lol.

Spanish Omelette hot out of the oven...
We were both a little hesitant to try it but it looked so good. So we took our first mouthful and fell in love with Spanish Omelette. The tofu was soft and creamy..the potatoes were perfectly cooked and the onions were crispy and soft at the same time. The Roasted Red Pepper-Almond Sauce is divine and adds a perfect sharpness to the omelette. From that evening we have tried tofu in many ways and are now converted completely. lol.

However this omelette has quite a lot of oil in the recipes and I do plan to try reducing the oil quota so I will update this post when I do. But we have this as a treat and look forward to it greatly. I hope you try it. It's divine. I also make a little extra sauce and use it as a salad topping for a couple of days after. Delish! lol

Spanish Omelette,,,perfectly crispy on the outside and creamy and succulent on the inside! 
Spanish Omelette 
(Recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance/Moskowitz&Romero)

A small pinch of saffron
3 tbsp soya milk
4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium sized onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
4 medium potatoes, unpeeled, halved and sliced into 1/4" slices
(make sure they are all the same size to ensure even cooking)
675g/1 1/2 lb soft tofu, drained (I use Mori-Nu Firm Silken Tofu 2 boxes~R~) 
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp salt
Dash of cayenne pepper

Place the saffron threads into a small cup and gently press the threads with back of a spoon a few times; don't crush completely. Warm the soy milk in a small pan till just about boiling. Remove from heat and pour over the saffron; stir briefly and set aside for a minimum of 25 minutes. The longer the saffron soaks in the soy milk, the more flavour and colour will be released. 

Pre-heat the oven to 190'C/375'F/Gas Mark 5. Pour 3 tbsp of the oil into a 10" cast iron frying pan. Add the sliced onions and potatoes. The pan should not be completely full; there should be about 5mm/1/4" left on top; remove some potatoes if it appears too full. Gently toss the onions and potatoes in the oil to coat. Place in the oven and roast for 30 - 35 minutes, stirring on occassion, till onions are very soft and the potatoes are tender. 

Meanwhile in a food processor blend till smooth the drained tofu, garlic and remaining 1 tbsp oil. Strain the soy milk mixture with a fine mesh sieve and add the to the tofu mixture along with the salt and cayenne pepper. Blend till creamy.

When the potatoes and onions are tender, remove from the oven. Pour the tofu mixture into the pan and gently fold the potatoes and onions into the tofu mixture. With a rubber spatula, smooth the top, making sure to make the centre slightly more shallow than the outside; this will help ensure the centre cooks evenly.

Return to the oven and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour till the top is deep yellow and lightly browned in places and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving. ( hardly ever happens! Smells too good! ~R~)

To cut; run a knife around the edges and to serve it the traditional way you need to turn it out onto a plate. 

Excellent served both warm and at room temperature. Serve as the spanish do with ketchup or with Roasted Red Pepper-Almond Sauce. 

Roasted Red Pepper-Almond Sauce
Roasted Red Pepper-Almond Sauce  Makes approx 300ml/1/2 pint
(recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance/Moskowitz&Romero)

3 red peppers, roasted, skinned, seeds removed and torn into pieces
4 tbsp finely ground almonds
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp sugar
Salt to taste

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until thick and creamy. 

I usually serve this with a baby leaf and cherry tomato salad. I hope you try this's really good. 


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Rocket and Roses Creamy Soya Bean & Artichoke Hummus.

Kitchen Play List:  Queens of the Stone Age ~ Songs For the Deaf

There is a very pleasant aroma wafting around the kitchen and my work space the kitchen I have some Raspberry, Strawberry and Loganberry fruit tea steeping in my fridge jug and the smell is intensely berry and divine. However that won't be for very much longer as I am about to hit the kitchen and cook our evening this has absolutely nothing to do with this posting...I just wanted to share. lol.

The seeds of creation for this hummus I give credit to Rstahr via I was cruising the dips/hummus/pate section and found their White Bean and Artichoke recipe. It was just about the thing I was looking for as a topping for my lunchtime salads. I wanted something...a little different for a few days. And artichokes seemed to hit the spot. 

But for some reason the moment I hit the kitchen to start making this hummus I started changing things around with it. Hence the credit to Rstahr...and then the Rocket and Rose tag because I have made it my own.

Usually I would head straight to cannellini beans for a 'white bean' recipe but today I found myself reaching for a carton of organic soya beans (can be purchased at Sainsburys). Not the fresh green form of soya bean but the almost haricot bean looking one. I had used them recently in another beany dip and they were lovely and creamy. There is the initial rinsing and re-rinsing as you have to wash away the soya bean jelly they come packed in. But it's really only a moment's work. I always have tins of artichoke hearts in water in my store cupboard so I was good to go. lol 

The results were a light, creamy and different version of hummus. I really liked it and enjoyed it on my salad this lunch time. You do get a good artichoke flavour with each mouthful as well as the usual garlicy tahini old faithfuls of a good hummus. If you are looking for something that little bit different then give it a try. 

Rocket and Roses Creamy Soya Bean and Artichoke Hummus
Rocket and Roses Creamy Soya Bean and Artichoke Hummus
(Inspired by Rstahr/ - Recipe from the Rocket and Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1 14oz carton of soya beans, rinsed well and drained
1 14oz tin of artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove, grated
1 1/2 tbsp tahini
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
freshly cracked black pepper
3/4 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp cumin

Add the soya beans and artichokes to a food processor and pulse until they are broken down. 

Add the remaining ingredients to the processor and be patient....blending for a minute at a time and then getting in there with a spatula and pushing it all down. Then when it's reached a paste..leave it to blend on a high speed for 4 minutes. (And hopefully your processor won't smell like the engine is about to burn mine does!) lol. 

Spoon into a airtight container and store in the fridge until needed. 


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Rocket and Roses White Miso, Garlic and Chickpea Soup

Kitchen Play List:   Jennifer Lopez ~ Que Hiciste
                                       Jorge Ben ~ Oba La Wem Ela
                                       Bing Crosby ~ Well Did Ya Evah?
                                       Louis Armstrong ~ What a Wonderful World
                                       Alanis Morrisette ~ Let's Do It?
                                       Shakira ~ Estoy Aqui

Miso....One of those foods that I knew I should like it because of the health benefits it provides but I just couldn't get my head around it enough to even try it...strange eh? I love soy in all of it's other forms. 

I bought a packet of white miso from our local wholefood shop..and for those in the States please do not for one second imagine we are lucky enough here to have a chain like Wholefoods...lucky you though! lol..No, our lovely little whole food shop is called Grain and is in the nearest city to us. And believe me when I say...four of you in this shop and you are bumping elbows. Tiny! But it's what we have and we make good use of it and try and support them when we can. The guy who runs it Scott is a lovely chap. Anyway I bought this packet of miso probably 6 months ago and in my stores it sat. I kept moving it about and looking at it and promising myself I would use it soon. 

I finally opened it for a sunday brunch dish of Miso-Tahini Sauce to go with Marinated Grilled Asparagus in a Tofu Omelette. Then the leftover miso got stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It has an amazing long shelf life. Freaky! lol

I hadn't got a soup for my lunch today and I needed one in a hurry as I was half way through eating my lunch salad. And I look forward and need  my soups. For some reason the miso and spring onions sat in my fridge kept popping into my mind. And old faithful...chickpeas...but not the regular size but my favourite jumbo kind. So salad abandoned, I found myself throwing things into a pot and when finished sat back down at my desk to finish my salad.

The aroma that came from the stove top was so overwhelming that it knocked out the smell of a Lotus incense stick I had burnt that morning. lol. But it was mouth watering. I remembered reading in one of my cookbooks that miso shouldn't be boiled so it was the perfect time to dish myself a bowl of it. 

It's savoury and's brothy and yet with the chickpeas it isn't! lol. It's a delight and I am so happy with this creation. lol. I'm really looking forward to having more of it tomorrow. I'm mystified that I never tried it before Ah well...I know better now. 

Rocket and Roses White Miso, Garlic and Chickpea Soup

 Rocket and Roses White Miso, Garlic and Chickpea Soup
(Original recipe from the Rocket and Roses Vegan Kitchen)

2 1/2 pints of filtered cold water
4 tbsp white miso paste
4 large garlic cloves, grated
1 tbsp reduced salt soy sauce
1 14oz tin of jumbo chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
5 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Add everything to a soup pan and stir very well to combine. Over a low heat, gently bring to a simmer...not a boil...heat through until fragrant and hot. But do not allow to boil.

Mine was slightly bubbling when it was heated through enough. Spoon into bowls and serve. 


Monday, 27 June 2011

Rocket and Roses Big Bowl of 'Get Happy'!

Kitchen Play List:    Shakira Play List on IPod.

My goodness, was I in a bad mood on Saturday afternoon? Erm...yes! A shocker of a mood caused by outside factors bombarding me and I let it reduce me to a temperamental banshee woman. Not good and not clever! There was absolutely nothing I could do about the outside factors causing this mood but I could do something to try and pull myself out of the 'red mist' lol. Think more stompy monster rather than maniac monster! lol. Yep...everyone has a dark side and I am the first to admit I have one and very occasionally mine gets the better of me. 

There are very few things that can pull me, once I get started,  helps....good music and that afternoon I needed angry woman Shakira helped with that...but then her lyrics can put a smile on my face...there are a few other things but they weren't possible at the I made do with cooking and Shakira. lol. 

I stood in the kitchen with no idea what to cook...I just knew I had to get chopping..quickly! lol. I can laugh about it now.  So I pulled out my favourite skillet and knife and a few of my favourite ingredients. I turned the music up loud...strapped on my apron and got going. I threw some bulgar wheat into a bowl, added veggie stock and covered in cling film and then it all flowed from there.

Sometimes nothing else will do but a good old bowl of 'something'. 15 minutes later I was a chopping freak, dancing and singing along to Shakira at the top of my voice. 35 minutes later I was clearing down the kitchen counter whilst the food finished cooking. 40 minutes later I was sat in the lounge with My Love and we were eating our bowls of 'Get Happy', with big smiles even if I was being made to watch Sci Fi! lol.

Just one of those afternoons I guess. We all have them, don't we?

Rocket and Roses Big Bowl of 'Get Happy'
Rocket and Roses Big Bowl of 'Get Happy'
(Original recipe from the Rocket and Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1/2 cup bulgar wheat 
1 1/2 cups veggie stock
1/2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 med/large red onions, peeled, halved and sliced
4 cloves garlic, grated
2 red chillies, chopped up with seeds
1 green chilli, chopped up with seeds  (Adjust chilli quantity & seeds to your taste~R~)
2 small green peppers, chopped
3 courgettes, cubed
1/2 sweetheart cabbage, sliced (Or green leafy of choice ~R~)
1 14oz tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 14oz tin of green lentils, rinsed and drained
1 14oz carton of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Place the bulgar wheat into a glass bowl and cover with the hot veggie stock. Stir well. Cover with cling film and leave to soak. 

In a very large skillet add the oil and add the onions, chillies, garlic and pepper and stir well and cook for 8-10 minutes, lid on but stirring frequently.  Until the onion is translucent. 

Add the courgettes and cabbage and stir well to combine. Cook with the lid on for 5 minutes. 

Add the chopped tomatoes and the herb and spices. Stir well to combine and cook without the lid for 5 minutes. 

Add the drained chickpeas and lentils to the skillet and stir very well. Place the lid back on and cook for approx 5 minutes. 

Drain the bulgar wheat and add that to the pan. Stir very well to combine. Cook with the lid off for a further five minutes. Season with black pepper and then serve.   

NB: This would work well with cooked quinoa also if you are Gluten Free and I plan to try it myself soon...only hopefully in a better mood! ;o) ~R~


Sunday, 26 June 2011

Stuffed Onion Squash Disaster

Kitchen Play List:   Thunder ~ What a Beautiful Day
                                        Prince ~ Get Off
                                        Kings of Leon ~ Closer
                                        Freemasons ~ Uninvited
                                        Kelis ~ Milkshake
                                        Nicola Benedetti ~ Mozart Rondo in C, K373

Lovely photo...shame about the recipe...Urgh!
Now doesn't this photo look good? I even impressed myself with this one. I was quite the happy cook. lol. And we had been looking forward to eating these delicious onion squashes since we picked them up from Waitrose a couple of weeks ago. But I wanted to find just the right recipe to use them. And I finally thought I had. I did a search on and found a recipe posted for Roasted and Stuffed Delicata Squash with Aducki Beans and Kale. Reading the recipe I thought it all sounded great and with the slight adaption of black beans for aducki and the onion squash for the delicata I was all set.

And if I'm honest I had great fun making it. I even had enough flesh in the lids to steam up some Goo for little L. I was a very happy camper. Until we sat down to eat them. The 1/4 tsp of orange zest completely over powered the other ingredients. You couldn't taste the chilli, fennel seeds, mustard seeds and after a few mouthfuls you were left feeling almost sick because it was that sweet. Now the squash itself...testing a bit of the flesh...wasn't that sweet so it was all about the orange. We both left a lot and we both agreed that it was a very good thing our pal B wasn't here for dinner as she dislikes 'sweet savoury' dishes. We just couldn't eat it. And I have to say I won't be making this again. Whoever created this recipe must have one heck of a sweet tooth.

Then to finish it all off..My Love had brought some raspberries in from the garden for our dessert. They had been washed and rinsed and picked over and I sat down to eat them. I had one...delicious. I was busy typing the beginning of this blog so I wasn't looking at them...had another...had a break in typing and looked into my bowl to pick up another...YIKES! bloody green spider crawling through them...for a bug-phobic that is not good. I may never eat berries again....D.I.S.A.S.T.E.R!!!!

Think I'm going to go sit in a bubble now after a searing hot shower!! lol

Sunday Brunch: Green Pepper & Onion Scramble, Italian Feast Sausage and Pan Fried Tomatoes

Kitchen Play List:  BBC Radio 2 - Steve Wright's Sunday Lovesongs

Green Pepper & Onion Scramble, Italian Feast Sausage, Pan Fried Tomatoes with a mug of decaf coffee and Apple & Cherry Juice.
Todays brunch, was once again from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's fantastic cookbook Vegan Brunch

I seem to be having a very 'Isa' week in the kitchen. lol. I used the basic tofu scramble recipe and added chopped green pepper and onion. I always have a stash of vegan sausages in the deep freeze. I have a day where I have a production line going..making the Italian Feast and Chorizo versions and half made with wheat gluten (makes them chewy and more meat like...Yuck!) for My Love and half with wholemeal flour for me. I fill a drawer full of them and it's great to have them there. Great recipes..but I'm not surprised. lol.

During the week I had come across a Vegan Black Pudding Recipe...I know..who knew right? I have always found Black Pudding obscene and used to have to sit and watch my Grandad and my Great Uncles all tucking into it as part of their cooked breakfast as a child. See life long vegetarian lol. So when I found this recipe my instant reaction was...yuck. But when I read through the ingredients I found myself thinking..."Oh now that sounds tasty!" Not a bit of blood So as part of todays brunch we were supposed to have some of the black pudding to try out. But someone didn't read the recipe and missed the 'two hour' chilling point. Oh...nuggets! (Yes that someone was me lol) so I shall be making it later this morning and I'll post the results later in the week. Ah well. lol.

As it turned out this breakfast was great tasting and very filling so the pudding wasn't missed at all. The scramble was full of flavour and the added texture of onions and peppers were great. The Italian Feast sausage was succulent and the bite of heat from the chilli flakes zinged our taste buds. The pan fried tomatoes were...well pan fried tomatoes. lol. I added them more for My Love but I enjoyed them too. The brunch was rounded out by a steaming hot mug of black decaf coffee and freshly juiced apple and cherry juice. We enjoyed this brunch a heck of a lot.

YeeYum..was the consensus of opinion! lol
Green Pepper & Onion Tofu Scramble
(Original recipe from A Vegan Brunch/Moskowitz..adapted a little by ~R~)

For the spice blend:
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme, crushed between your fingers
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp salt (I used 1/2 tsp reduced sodium salt~R~)
3 tbsp water

For the tofu:
3 garlic cloves, crushed or grated
2 tbsp olive oil (I used 1/2 tbsp sunflower~R~)
1lb extra firm tofu, drained (I used 1pkt Cauldron Tofu~R~)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
freshly cracked black pepper

1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped

In a small bowl blend the spices and water together and set to one side. 

Preheat a large skillet and heat the oil. Add the onion, pepper and garlic and saute for 8-10 minutes. 

Crumble the drained tofu, squeezing as much water from it as possible. Add it to the skillet and stir to combine. Cook for approx 10 minutes stirring frequently to avoid it burning. Some crispy bits are a good thing though. 

Add the spice mix and stir thoroughly. Add the nutritional yeast and then stir again. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve. 

Just a close up to tempt ya taste
Italian Feast Sausages Makes 4 big sausages
(Recipe from A Vegan Brunch/Moskowitz)

1/2 cup cooked navy beans, rinsed and drained (I use Haricot~R~)
1 cup veggie stock
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed or grated
1 1/4 cups of wheat gluten (I use plain wholemeal flour ~R~)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsps fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp red pepper chilli flakes
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper

Before mixing anything together...set in place your steamer and bring it to a boil. Have four sheets of tin foil ready.

Place your beans into a large bowl and mash then until no whole beans are left. Throw all the remaining ingredients into the bowl in the order listed and mix with a fork. Divide the dough into four. Place one part of the dough onto a tinfoil sheet and mold into a 5" log. Wrap the dough in the tinfoil and then twist the ends like a christmas cracker and then fold the ends up and over to use as handles. Don't worry too much about the shaping as it snaps into shape whilst steaming. 

Place them into the steamer, cover and steam for 40 minutes. That's it. You can unwrap and enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to use. Or freeze them. 

Thank you once again to Isa for a great brunch cookbook. 

To assemble todays brunch - cook scramble as per the recipe above. In a separate smaller skillet...2 large tomatoes sliced and set down the centre of the pan. In one side sliced a 'wheat gluten' sausage for My Love and one flour sausage for myself in the other side and let them cook and heat through together. And then plate up and enjoy! 

Happy Brunching! 

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Isa & Terry's Beanballs with Marinara Sauce and wholemeal spaghetti

Kitchen Play List:  Newton Faulkner ~ Rebuilt by Humans Album

Bean Balls in Marinara Sauce on wholemeal spaghetti
This meal would be a contender for my last meal on this earth. Seriously! lol. It works as a simple meal for two and I have been known to serve it, production line styley for 20 people! lol. It's true. And I have to say that I am a little relieved to be posting it finally, as it's the recipe that most people ask for, when I have cooked it for them. I do wax lyrical about Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Romeros wonderful tome Veganomicon 

I have lost count how many times I have typed this recipe out for my meat eating family and pals so now I can say.."Hey..check out the blog man!" lol. But Isa and Terry should take it as a huge compliment that it's asked for so You never know I may get one of the omnivores to buy the recipe book one

The bean balls are great with marinara and pasta and they also work great with a wholemeal sub roll with the same marinara and pine nut cream..all recipes of Isa and Terry's. I don't think there are even words for how good these recipes are together. Just try them...please? lol. 

The hardest thing about making the bean balls is mashing the kidney beans...then it's all thrown in together and you roll them up for baking. I use a tbsp measure to get the perfect sized bean balls. The only adaption I make is that I cannot eat Wheat Gluten...I can't bare the chewiness that you get...too much like meat to I use the alternative which is plain wholemeal flour. 

A warning for when making the will suddenly find people gravitating towards the kitchen and taking deep sniffs of the sauce because it smells soooo good. lol. It's made in 15 minutes and I always adhere to Isa and Terry's K.I.S.S principal...Keep It Simple Stupid. lol. Still makes me chuckle and I've made this recipe a thousand times. 

I serve mine more often than not with wholemeal spaghetti and some steamed broccoli. 

This is the link to Isa & Terrys Website

Isa & Terry's Bean Balls I get 32 bean balls using a tbsp measure
(Recipe from Veganomican/Moskowitz&Romero)

Beans Balls hot out of the
2 14 oz tins kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp olive oil (I use Rotino Healthier Cooking Oil ~R~)
2 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup wheat gluten or plain wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme

Pre-heat the oven to 375'F/190'C/Gas Mark 5. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Mash the kidney beans in a mixing bowl  until no whole beans are left. (We start with a potato masher and then finish with a fork to get any rebel ones!) You don't want them to be completely smooth though. Add the soy sauce, tomato paste, oil, garlic, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, wheat gluten or flour and herbs and use a fork to mix it all together. Using a tbsp measure scoop out portions and roll them between your palms and then place them onto the lined tray. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and then flip them and bake for another 10. Remove from the oven.

NB: I always make mine ahead of needing them so I usually reheat them in the final minutes of cooking the marinara sauce. ~R~

Isa & Terry's Marinara Sauce Recipe Makes approx 4 servings
(Recipe from Veganomicon/Moskowitz&Romero)

2 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 14oz tin chopped tomatoes
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt, (I use 1/4 tsp ~R~)
1/4 tsp sugar (This is my it's optional ~R~)
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the oil and garlic and saute for about a minute, until fragrant, being careful not to let it burn. Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and raise the heat a little to bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

NB: I try and reduce oil in the recipes I cook and I have tried with this one but you definitely lose something by doing so. So when I make this sauce I always use the full amount needed. just gotta give a little! ~R~

I know it's not a popular way of cooking pasta but I cook mine in the microwave as I don't like the vats of water sat on stove tops. So I use a large microwaveable bowl and put my required amount of pasta in it. Cover it with freshly boiled water from the kettle (I strain mine but that's because we live in a hard water pain!) and cook on High for 6 minutes then remove and stir. Cook for 3-4 more minutes and then strain the pasta. 

It's simply a case of heating the bean balls in the sauce and then spooning over the cooked pasta. But please treat them gently, no chefy tossing the balls around in the

Serve and enjoy...and thank the vegan gurus that are Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Romero for such wonderful 


Friday, 24 June 2011

Sprouted Flavourful Spring Rolls with Asian Peanut Dipping Sauce and Asparagus & Green Beans with Black Sesame Dressing

Kitchen Play List: BBC Radio 2 2 Day Concert

A little something different...
A little something different....well yes..this meal definitely lived up to that. lol. On one of the blogs I follow these spring rolls were featured and they looked so lovely, fresh and delicious that we had to try them. And then we couldn't find the rice paper needed to make them until My Love came home with a packet last week and told me that it was my Mystery Ingredient Challenge item...fantastic. Our friend BD was here at the time and she witnessed my excitement upon receiving this gift...romance is not dead in this I think she thought we were mad. lol.

Anyway...I printed off the recipe for the spring rolls and realised I didn't have a dipping sauce to go with them and soy sauce just wouldn't have been right with the filling. So I did a simple search for dipping sauces and the Asian Peanut dipping sauce was one of the first I looked at. It looked tasty and easy to whip up but was frustratingly posted by Anon...again! I felt that the meal would need something else to round it out a little and I knew that I would be craving something green so I turned to Hema Parekh's Japanese section of The Asian Vegan Kitchen 

Asparagus in Black Sesame Dressing just seemed to leap out at me as a good accompaniment to the spring rolls. It was simple to make, full of flavour and now I am beginning to find my asparagus seemed perfect. 

Now it all looks beautiful on the plate and looks exactly as it should be compared to the photos I've worked from. So after all the chopping, filling, rolling, dressing and arranging we sat down to eat and was a little shocked. Admittedly this meal was out of my comfort zone and neither of us had tried 'raw' spring rolls before...but the first few mouthfuls were a little strange. I don't know what I was expecting from the spring rolls and in my mind I probably had the 'regular' cooked kind...

Firstly I will say that the filling was absolutely delicious and was fresh and a delight. The dipping sauce was excellent and wasn't too rich and the lime juice in it brought a whole different layer of flavour. My issue was with the actual rice paper rolls. I have no idea what I was expecting...accept from their cooked counterparts...but they were...well sticky and quite chewy. Not awful just very different from what I was expecting and it took some getting used to. Would I try them again?...Yes. I didn't hate them. It was just a shock. We made one and baked it in the oven for 5 minutes and although it was initially crispier, it still went chewy once you started to eat it. So I just felt it right to warn you about this. I've done a little research this morning to make sure that we made them correctly and nothing has come up to say we hadn't. There are many differing recipes for these rolls with differing fillings and dips but are all made the same way. So they are obviously meant to be sticky and chewy. lol 

The Asparagus in Black Sesame dressing was delicious and the only note I would say about this recipe is to make sure you really grind the seeds to dust otherwise you do get very 'crunchy' mouthfuls that leave you checking all your fillings, crowns and teeth. lol. 

So if I haven't put you I really hope I haven't. I just wished we had had the warning before we'd tried them. Here are the photos and recipes. Good luck and please let me know of your experiences with 'raw' fresh spring rolls or if you try these and your opinions...~R~ 

Sprouted Flavourful Spring Rolls  Makes approx 13 rolls
(Recipe from )

Sprouted Flavourful Spring Rolls
 rice paper circles
white sesame seeds
16 mint leaves
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2/3 of cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and cut into matchsticks
2 pears, peeled, cored and cut into matchsticks
1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
bean sprouts...( suggests Fenugreek but I didn't have them so used regular and they worked just fine)

Damp down a clean kitchen towel and lay it flat on the kitchen counter. 

Add the pear matchsticks and lime juice in a bowl and toss together. 

Fill a bowl with warm water.  Have all the fillings to one side and start a production line. 

Dip a rice paper into the warm water for 5 seconds and lay out on the kitchen towel. 

Sprinkle with sesame seeds. At the closest part to you lay a mint leaf, leaving a lip to be able to fold over the filling.

Add some of the carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, pear sticks and some sprouts. 

Fold the lip up and over the filling pile and roll up and then fold in each side and then continue to roll up until you have a tight little parcel. Then place on the serving dish. 

And repeat until the fillings are used up or you have the amount of rolls you require. Serve cold with dipping sauce.

Asian Peanut Dipping Sauce Makes about 1 cup
(Recipe post by ANON!)

Asian Peanut Dipping Sauce
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter (I use Whole Earth Original Smooth)
1 garlic clove 
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp agave nectar or 1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/3 cup water
fresh ground black pepper

In a blender put all of the ingredients, blitz until smooth then pour into a serving bowls.

Asparagus & Greens Beans in Black Sesame Dressing 
(Recipe from The Asian Vegan Kitchen/Parekh)

Asparagus & Green Beans in Black Sesame Dressing
In Perakh's recipe book she says she has made this recipe using both aspargus and green beans separately with great success. So I decided to combine the two veggies for this meal. But the choice is yours ~R~

1 bunch of fresh asparagus
1 pkt of fresh green beans
4 tbsp black sesame seeds
3 tsp soy sauce (I use reduced salt soy sauce)
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp sugar (I used 1 tsp agave nectar)

Remove the woody ends from the asparagus and then chop them and the green beans into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Keeping the tips of the asparagus separate. In a medium sized pan bring water to a boil and then toss in the asparagus and green beans and simmer for 3 minutes. Then toss in the asparagus tips and cook for a further minute. Drain immediately and leave to cool down to room temperature. 

Toast the sesame seeds in a pan until fragrant but do not leave to burn! Then grind them into powder in a blender. Transfer to a bowl, add the soy sauce and sake and mix until a smooth paste is formed. 

Add the veggies to the bowl and stir until the paste coats them. Serve at room temperature. 

Enjoy folks! 

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Coconut & Ginger Soup

Kitchen Play List:  Audioslave ~ Show Me How To Live
                                     Audioslave ~ Ilunnut
                                     Katherine Crowe ~ Weakness in Me
                                     Pearl Jam ~ Why Go
                                     No Doubt ~ Just a Girl
                                     Shakira ~ Moscas En La Casa
                                     Primal Scream ~ Rocks

Oh my word the smell that filled my kitchen whilst this soup cooked away was just glorious. The coconut, ginger and garlic just infused my whole house and it was a wonderful thing! lol. My iPod was playing me fantastic songs, things were going great with the chopping of veggies and despite the rest of my day being quite sad, with My Love at my side I found the kitchen time to be a moment of bliss.

This soup isn't the greatest looking and as it cooked I did think to myself that it resembled washing up water! lol. But the aroma was mouthwatering. It is so easy to make that I could shake myself for not making it before now.

It is another of the wonderful recipes from the kitchen of, in my humble opinion, the great Linda Majzilk. The book in question being The Vegan Taste of the Caribbean

The results were a..erm...coconuty and gingery taste of heaven...or how we would like heaven to taste anyway.

Coconut & Ginger Soup
Coconut & Ginger Soup
(Recipe from A Vegn Taste of the Caribbean/Majzilk)

4oz/100g creamed coconut, grated See notes at the end of the recipe~R~
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 inch2.5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
40 fl/1200ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp veggie oil
1/4 tsp ground Pimento or allspice
dash soy sauce
dash of hot pepper sauce
black pepper
finely sliced spring onions

Gently fry the onion, garlic and ginger in the oil in a large pan until soft. Add the remaining ingredients apart from the spring onions and stir well. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Leave to cool slightly, then liquidise until smooth. Rinse the pan and reheat the soup whilst stirring. Garnish each bowl with finely sliced spring onions.


NB: Having this soup for a couple of days now I felt I needed to update this recipe. I still love it but next time I make this, I will blend the creamed coconut instead of grate it. It's purely a personal My Love thinks it's great as it is. Just wanted to share. lol. ~R~

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Bulgar, Vegetable and Chickpea Casserole

Kitchen Play List:  Shakira ~ She Wolf Album

This has to be one of our favourite one pot meals of all time. It doesn't look much but the flavours and textures are just great. It is, once again, a recipe from the very talented Linda Majzlik and from her A Vegan Taste of Greece 

A few years ago now...blimey where does the time go? lol..I had a Greek inspired dinner party for my birthday celebrations and even had a greek goddess and explorer at the table for the evening. Thanks for the memories D & B. lol. I cooked entirely from this cookbook and everyone cleared plate after plate of food as in the old Greek fashion. I have cooked almost all of the recipes from this book and never once have they let me down. I have...but that was a very starchy bag of potatoes and my not checking them properly after their 'blanch' cooking to go on a top of a moussaka. *shudder* It was not a pleasant experience and one that I've never repeated. lol. But no fault of Majzlik's recipes...just mother nature and mine! lol 

This recipe is wholesome, comforting and very enjoyable. I serve it on a bed of shredded and steamed savoy cabbage or kale and it's always good. 

Bulgar, Vegetable & Chickpea Casserole.
 Bulgar, Vegetable and Chickpea Casserole
(Recipe from A Vegan Taste of Greece/Majzlik)

8oz/225g fresh spinach, chopped
8oz/225g leek, trimmed and sliced
1 14oz tin of flageolet beans, rinsed and drained
1 14oz tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4oz/100g mushrooms, wiped and sliced
1 14oz tin of chopped tomatoes
6oz bulgar wheat, (I use 3 oz for 2 people)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
14 fl oz/400ml veggie stock (I use 10 fl oz for 2 people)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine (optional)
1 dsp red wine vinegar
1 dsp tomato paste
1 rounded tsp dried dill
black pepper
1/2 tsp vegan cheese

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the leek and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the spinach, cover and cook for about 5 minutes until it wilts. Remove from the heat and add the drained bean/peas, mushrooms, tomatoes, wine, vinegar, tomato paste and dill. Stir to combine. Add the bulgar wheat and the stock. Season with black pepper and stir well. Transfer to a greased casserole dish, cover and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180'C/350'F/Gas Mark 4 for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and serve with warm bread and a salad....or on a steamed cabbage bed! ~R~