Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Classic Wholemeal Penne with Bolognese Sauce

Kitchen Play List: The Gossip ~ Keeping You Alive
                                     Frank Sinatra ~ The Lady is a Tramp
                                     Nelly & Jaheim ~ My Place
                                     Thunder ~ Love Walked In
                                     Melissa Etheridge ~ Yes I Am
                                     The Beach Boys ~ Do It Again
                                     Wynonna Judd ~ Girls & Guitars
                                     Slash ft Myles Kennedy ~  Back From Cali

Sometimes nothing but an old classic will do. Today was one of those days....and it was enjoyed by all that had some of it. Penne is one of my favourite pasta shapes and I have no idea why..lol. It's second to spaghetti or linguine which are my most favourite as I have many happy memories of eating it as a child and my Mum laughing at my attempts to tame the extra long strands of white pasta. lol. 

Anyway these days I rarely eat white pasta as I find I don't like the texture or flavour anymore. I always go for the wholewheat or mixed wheat variety. I like the wholesome flavour and the texture of the wholewheat pastas. And it was a very happy day when I found a wholewheat macaroni twirl online..lol. I know..small things..lol. 

I had intended to make a lasagne today but my body was objecting to this so with the much needed help from my lovely sister and my niece N...we somehow managed to make this lovely classic bolognese sauce which I served with wholewheat penne pasta for my sister's lunch and then as an evening meal for my pal F. I even enjoy this sauce served on it's own with some bread to dip in. I haven't always liked TVP because I have nightmarish memories of my Grandad serving me the horribly chewy lumps when he went through a vegetarian experiment back in the 80's. Not good. But then a couple of years ago a pal R made a tomato sauce and added TVP granules...I reluctantly tried the sauce and to my surprise I loved it. The key word here is granules...not lumps. So now I eat it quite happily. 

Once again this fantastic recipe is from the kitchen of Linda Majzlik and in particular her A Vegan Taste of Italy 

This sauce is full of savoury flavour and you get a hit of every ingredient in each mouthful. The textures are great as you have the grated carrot, chopped carrot and mushrooms combined with the tomatoes and onion. And of course the TVP. lol. But the thing I like most about this sauce is the lack of garlic. I find jarred sauces can be a garlic fest and this coming from a woman who loves garlic! I have a Marinara sauce I make that is basically tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, oregano and thyme...so when I want a garlicky sauce I make that one. This sauce is wholesome, flavoursome and comforting. It coats the pasta well too! A classic meal. 

Wholewheat Penne with Bolognese Sauce
Wholewheat Penne with Bolognese Sauce Serves 4
(Sauce Recipe from A Vegan Taste of Italy/Majzlik)

14oz/400g tin crushed tomatoes
6oz/175g carrot, grated
4oz/100g TVP granules
2oz/50g button mushrooms, sliced
2 celery sticks, trimmed and finely sliced
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 fl oz/125ml white white or extra veggie stock
10 fl oz/ 300ml veggie stock
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
black pepper
2 tbsp soya milk or cream (optional) I never use! ~R~

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and celery until soft. Grate half the carrots and finely chop the rest. Add to the pan together with the remaining ingredients except the soya milk or cream. Stir well and bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes until the mixture the mixture thickens. Stir in the soya milk or cream if using, just before serving if required. 

Serve with pasta, bread or as a jacket potato topping. 


Monday, 29 August 2011

Greek Fassolada with Bulgar Wheat

Kitchen Play List:  The Power Station ~ Some Like It Hot
                                       Xtina ~ Fighter
                                       J-Lo ft LL Cool J ~ All I Have
                                       Gordon Haskell ~ How Wonderful You Are
                                       Rage Against the Machine ~ Bullet in the Head
                                       Maroon 5 ~ Harder to Breathe
                                       Shania Twain ~ Whatever You Do! Don't!
                                       P.Diddy ft Xtina ~ Tell Me

I have a house guest this weekend...our pal F is here for a couple of days, on the way down to spend time with her family and her love. Which is great as spending time with F is always easy but usually I like to make her cakes (F being the friend with a very serious cake addiction! lol) to munch on whilst she's here or test out new cake recipes on her. But my health is probably at its worst right at this moment so I had to buy in cakes. I was horrified to have to do this and I'm sure it shocked F but she is enjoying the bought cakes..thankfully. lol

My kitchen time is reduced to 'plan...get in there and get out again'! Which I hate because I usually find my kitchen a calming environment but when your body is screaming in pain it blasts any enjoyment out! It's all very frustrating. On Saturday my lovely sister helped me prepare a Bolognaise sauce to go with pasta for her lunch and F's evening meal (recipe in tomorrows post) and to be honest I was really grateful for her help. 

So that left me with yesterdays lunch to prepare for us. I didn't need to provide an evening meal as F was going to a friends party...to which I was invited but had to reluctantly decline. *sighs* 

I turned to one of my favourite cook books and after much flipping backwards and forwards through the pages I decided to try a new recipe out of it. Fassolada on paper looked easy to make, filling and tasty good and it was all of those things. I added 4 tbsp bulgar wheat at the end of the cooking time.

This recipe can be found in Linda Majzlik's fantastic A Vegan Taste of Greece 

This is a good main course soup...full of flavour and textures. Great for those days when you need to eat well before heading out to an evening 'do' where you aren't sure what the catering is going to be like. lol. 

Fassolada..looks rather pretty,no? lol
Fassolada with Bulgar Wheat Serves 4 
(Recipe from A Vegan Taste of Greece/Majzlik)

8oz/225g cooked haricot beans
8oz/225g potatoes, peeled and finely diced
4oz/100g carrot, scraped and finely diced
4oz/100g tomato, skinned and chopped
2oz/50g red pepper, chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 celery stick, trimmed and finely sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 dsp tomato puree
15 fl oz/450ml veggie stock
1 dsp finely chopped fresh oregano or 3/4 tsp dried
1 dsp finely chopped fresh thyme or 3/4 tsp dried
black pepper
1oz/25g black olives, sliced
grated vegan cheese

4 tbsp bulgar wheat

Mash or blend half of the beans with 5 fl oz/150ml of the stock. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion, celery and garlic until soft, then add the tomato and cook until pulpy. Stir in the remaining stock, potato, carrot, red pepper, tomato puree, oregano and thyme, season with black pepper and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer, stirring occassionally, for 15 minutes. Add the blended bean mixture together with the remaining beans and the olives. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes more until the veggies are done. Serve in bowls, garnished with cheese (if using...I didn't ~R~)   

I added the bulgar at the end of the cooking time and left it 'plump' for 15 minutes with the lid on lid on the pan and then served.  Don't worry the Fassolada was still very hot after the bulgar standing time.                                      


Sunday, 28 August 2011

Sunday Brunch ~ Vegan Crumpets with Cashew Nut Butter and Sliced Banana

Kitchen Play List:  Gary Moore ~ Parisienne Walkways
                                      Jack Johnson ~ Better When We're Together
                                      Colbie Cailatt ~ Tied Down

A simple but deliciously comforting brunch for one!
Today I wanted a breakfast/brunch that was the kitchen holy trinity for me...simple, comforting and quick. And that is exactly what this brunch was but it lacked no flavour for it being all three of those things. Now I love a crumpet every now and then but I really don't like the squishy texture of 'just toasted' crumpets...I like mine almost cremated lol. Or at least a very deep brown colour. I also dislike vegan marg spread on them because I don't like the oozey soggy bottoms you get with that! I am a little picky with my crumpets as you can tell! lol. 

I like toppings that stay toppings and I find that nut butters do this. Especially when you are at the end of a jar and it's quite hard. I look forward to this moment of nut butter munching. lol. And today I had the ends of cashew nut butter to use up...I like peanut butter but I have to say I really like Cashew Nut Butter and Almond Nut Butter far more. I can find Peanut Butter a little..well..blarrr...and I love the individual flavours of the others. I also think that bananas were created to be used with nut butters....I'm sure they were! lol. For me it's the perfect combination...

So it was as simple as this...toast the crumpets...twice...smear with cashew nut butter and then top with sliced banana. Make a good mug of black coffee and then enjoy! I did! lol 


Thursday, 25 August 2011

Warrior Double Bran Muffins

Kitchen Play List: Robert Palmer ~ I Didn't Mean to Turn You On
                                     Melissa Etheridge ~ If I Wanted To
                                     Xtina ~ Dirty
                                     Mr.Buble ~ Lost
                                     50 Cent ~ In Da Club
                                     Bowes & Morley ~ That's Not Love

By the time I post this blog entry My Love will have departed to another part of our country to attend a music festival. Living like a scruff in a tent for five days, using baby wipes in place of showers, eating junk food and listening to music that would make this rock chick's ears bleed. It is safe to say that we have very different tastes in music and have a little common ground to enjoy together. So I'll close the door after I have waved goodbye and be hellishly thankful that I haven't had to go too! lol. Our friends D & B are attending also so the three of them shall be cosied up in a tent together...I shall spread out across our kingsize bed and try hard not to smile! lol. Maybe seeing Muse and Seasick Steve might have been fun...but not worth having to live in a tent and go without showers...*shudder* Nope I have the better part of this deal for sure...lol. I know they will have five days of fun. One of My Love's colleagues asked this week why I wasn't going too...to which My Love replied "...she would rather chew off her own leg then go to this festival!" It's all true and sums it all up nicely I feel. lol

So today I have been baking muffins at My Loves request. I can't remember where I got this recipe and I take no credit for it. But it is fantastic for taking away with you as it lasts well with out being stored in the fridge. 

I renamed it the Warrior Double Bran Muffin as it is not for the faint hearted. If your bent is toward the light and fluffy white floured and full of refined sugar muffin than this muffin is SO not for you. It's strong, it's hardy and it will keep going no matter what! It's wholesome and full of natural goodness. The wholemeal flour, oatbran and wheatgerm pack a hefty punch and the sweetness from the molasses is powerful. Grated apple and raisins give it texture and another layer of sweetness. The prunes give a slight moistness and a darkness that works with the molasses to give these muffins a deep coloured worthiness. One will fill you up and keep you going for hours. See...Warrior Muffins! lol

Rows of Warriors...all that goodness in one muffin..Phew!
We enjoy these for breakfast when we have a busy week ahead and we want a breakfast on the run. I make up a couple of batches at a time and store them in a large box and we grab one and go. However they are nice with a cuppa in the afternoon too! And get better with age too! So it's all good and when I was asked if I would make a couple of batches for them to take..I happily agreed. They are easily made and always bake well. I bake two batches as one and I get 24 good sized muffins. However the recipe below is a basic recipe and makes 12! 

A close up of the Warrior..showing off its powerful curves! lol
Warrior Double Bran Muffins Makes 12 muffins

2 cups whole wheat plain flour
3/4 cup wheat bran
3/4 cup oat bran
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1 apple, grated (I use a Granny Smith ~R~)
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups soya milk or rice milk
1 1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 4oz pureed prunes (see notes at the end of the recipe ~R~)
1/3 cup molasses

Preheat the oven to 350'F/180'C/Gas Mark 4. Grease a 12 cup muffin tray. (DO NOT USE LINERS!! These muffins are best baked directly in the tin and lift out very easily when cooled for a couple of minutes once out of the oven..trust me? ~R~)

Mix flour, brans, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. 

In a separate bowl, combine the apple, molasses, raisins, milk, vinegar and prune puree. 

Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir to mix. Spoon batter into muffin pan, filling the cups until rounded mound. (I use an ice cream scoop and go round once and then repeat once more until the mix is used up. This ensures even muffins. ~R~) 

Bake for 25 minutes and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven.

Leave to stand for a few minutes and then lift the muffins out of the tin and place on a cooling rack to cool off and set. 

NB: As I make double batches...I've found that 1 14oz tin of prunes in juice, once drained and pitted makes exactly 8oz prune puree required for the double recipe. ~R~) 

A perfect warrior...dark, dense and molassey sweet! lol OK...OK...OK!  I'll stop now..but you know what I'm getting at don't ya..lol

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Raspberry and Rhubarb Crumbs...ooops...sorry Muffins!

Kitchen Play List:     Metallica ~ Wherever I May Roam
                                         Melissa Etheridge ~ Piece of My Heart
                                         Mr.Buble ~ I'm Your Man
                                         Xtina ~ Candyman
                                         The Union ~ Rock n Roll Ain't Noise Pollution
                                         Jimmy Durante ~ As Time Goes By

Raspberry & Rhubarb Muffins ~ this photo hides all its failings..this was the best shot! lol

Today has been a bad day in the Rocket and Roses Kitchen...why? Because one of the things guaranteed to make me a little crazy is when 'good on paper' recipes, turn out to be really bad recipes. It doesn't happen that often but when it does...the Sock Stealer vacates the kitchen very quickly! lol 

Now this recipe for Rhubarb and Raspberry Muffins looked great on paper. I waited a while before making them as the list of ingredients is quite pricey here in the UK. So I slowly gathered 'stuff' until I was set to go. My sister contributed the rhubarb from her garden and My Love provided the raspberries from ours! The price of coconut oil and milk has soared...I don't know why...and if I had made these with bought rhubarb and raspberries I would have seriously been ticked off. I found the recipe on http://fragrantvanillacake.blogspot.com

I have a discipline that when making someone else's recipe for the first time I make it exactly as they advise. If it's not to my taste I then take it back to it basic level and then tinker with it until I'm happy, the next time I make it. If it's still a bust then I discard the recipe as I have shelves filled with recipes and recipe books I do like. I simply haven't got the space to be keeping recipes I don't like or can't improve. So upon my first reading of this recipe three things niggled at me...firstly...the expensive ingredients...(so I took my time gathering them until I had everything!)..secondly...the uncooked rhubarb simply diced...(I struggled with this...but stuck firmly to the recipe)..and finally the opening of the oven 2/3 way in the cooking time....( I just felt it was crazy...but once again...I stuck with it..). 

This was one of those occasions that I knew I needed to tinker...had to tinker...was beginning to develop a nervous tick because I wasn't tinkering with this recipe! lol. And sadly I was right. The assembly was easy...I had enough batter to make 20 muffins...I chopped the rhubarb into small dice...I made everything the way it suggested, right down to the last letter. 

Hot out of the oven...from this angle they don't look bad either...
The result...*sighs* was tremendously smelling muffins....for a short time quite lovely looking muffins...until I brought them out to cover over with tin foil to protect the Streusel topping...and I did this in seconds, believe me...I have the burn marks to prove it! lol. Then it was down hill from here. When they had had the full baking time plus two minutes I removed them from the oven. And when I took off the tinfoil covers..the sight before me was exactly as I suspected it would be. The aroma was still great but the muffins had craters in the middle. Oh did I swear...Sock Stealer ran from the kitchen...My Love stayed upstairs packing for the festival...the neighbour's cat took shelter and the wildlife in nearby Country Park flew off for an early winter holiday...lol. I was so disappointed as I laid them out on a cooling rack. 

Just look at those craters!!!! It's a muffin disaster,,,
My Love eventually braved coming near the kitchen and offered to try one. I was told that they tasted fabulous but they were more like a rhubarb crumble than a muffin. That the fruit had all sunk down to the centre of the muffin so the cake part was delicious and coconuty and spongey and that the centre was like the base of a crumble. So although they didn't look good...they tasted good and when my sister turned up and she tried one she agreed with everything My Love had said. My sister took a filled box of them home to eat with custard tonight for their pudding and that left three for me to pull apart and work out the areas to tinker. 

OH DEAR! and many other words were used but I won't add them here!!! lol
Had I been asked if I would be making them again...just after they had come out of the oven..then it would have been a very firm NO! But with breathing space and seeing the reactions from My Love and my sister when they were 'testing' them...I most probably will give them another go. I have notes scribbled all over the recipe as to what I would change. 

If you have a go at this recipe and have better results I would love to hear from you. I believe that this recipe could be great...and I wish you good luck! 

Vegan Raspberry and Rhubarb Streusel Muffins  Made 20 muffins
(Recipe from fragrantvanillacake.blogspot.com)

6 tbsp wholewheat plain flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp vegan marg
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup rolled oats

1 3/4 cups whole wheat plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup coconut or almond oil
1 cup coconut or almond milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups diced rhubarb
2 cups raspberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position rack in the centre of the oven. Place muffin liners in the tins. Whisk flour, baking soda, and sea salt in a large bowl. (I put the cinnamon in here as there was no mention of it in the recipe instructions) 

In a separate bowl combine the topping ingredients and rub together until you have a large crumb consistency and set to one side. (There was no instructions for this so I've added mine ~R~) 

Whisk oil, sugar, milk and vanilla extract in another bowl until well blended. Whisk in lemon juice vinegar (Nope I have no idea what vinegar either! lol ~R~) and stir quickly. Stir in rhubarb and raspberries, spoon batter into the muffin liners..filling 2/3 full. Sprinkle with streusel, bake until tester inserted into centre comes out clean, at about 30-35 minutes. After the first 20 minutes, cover over the muffins with tinfoil to protect the topping.  

Good luck and enjoy! 


Monday, 22 August 2011

Happy Sunflower Monday!

We seem to have grown the newest species of Sunflower...the trifid variety. Seriously I have never seen a sunflower ever grown this big and have this many buds...they just keep coming and coming. Not that I am complaining as it was my idea to plant them...I love the bright, happiness inspiring beauties. It was just a shock! lol. 

I have a busy 'errands day' today so I have made a photo posting with an update on our lovely sunflowers and I hope they make you smile as much as they do us. My Love was outside weeding and generally tidying the front garden and kept getting disturbed by people passing, who wanted to stop and say how much they were enjoying them! lol. Nice, eh? Not like some snarky builders who were doing some work on our neighbours house...who during one of their many tea breaks...stood next to their van and commented "God damned bloody hippies living there obviously!" Charming..and I don't object to being called a hippie...it was the way he said it..foolish man. Anyway...it was nice to know, that they are appreciated by others lol. And I have to say the little boy who walks past everyday with his Mum, makes me smile alot when he stands and rests his arms on our walk and stands gazing lovingly at them whilst his Mum catches up with him. 

We are doing our bit to keep the Bees happy...these sunflowers have constant visitors...you can just spot one on the bottom right of this sunflower..honestly...it is there! lol
Vibrant and beautiful blooms
My Loves arty shot! lol
So as you can see they are blooming well...I hope you enjoy them as much as our passing neighbours and more importantly the local Bee population...lol. 


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Sunday Brunch: Curried Scrambled Tofu with Cabbage and Caraway

Kitchen Play List:  BBC Radio 2 Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs

Hormonal Migraines...are a curse. I think in a prior life I think I really upset someone important! lol. But on a serious note when I get them it really ruins my day. This one happened during the night which lead to a very painful and sleepless night. Marvelous! So when the sun started to shine (at approx 4.30ish) through the gaps in our blackout (!?!) blinds I wanted to cry. So instead I hid further under my duvet in search of the dark....and stayed there. (What a wimp,eh? lol) Happy Sunday Red!

A few hours later I was still hiding out when I smelt the most delicious aroma drifting up through the house. My Love was busy down in the kitchen cooking us a Sunday Brunch...now if I could only get rid of the heartburny nausea that accompanies said migraines...I drifted back off into the sleep I badly needed to catch up on. A while later I was woken up by the Sock Stealer bursting through our bedroom door and announcing it was indeed time to come out of hiding and try and get myself vertical and ready for My Love who would no doubt be following in 45 seconds..lol. My own personal morning cheer team...lol. And I love them for it. 

My Love walked in with a brunch tray that had a steaming hot mug of decaf coffee and a bowl of Curry Scrambled Tofu with Cabbage and Caraway....looking steamy hot and beautiful in colour due to the red cabbage and curry spices. The smell seemed to overwhelm any remaining feelings of nausea and so I 'got comfy' and settled in next to My Love and ate happily. And it was so good..so a huge Thank You to My Love for brunch..and although I still have a residual migraine...I'm feeling better for the lovely brunch followed by a long hot shower....and the painkillers helped too *wink* lol 

We take no credit for the recipe as it is once again from Isa Chandra Moskowitz'a fantastic Vegan Brunch 

And to make things even better My Love had a go at taking some shots of the brunch so I would have something to blog today. What.A.Star! lol 

Isa's Curry Scrambled Tofu with Cabbage and Caraway ~ ribbons of lovely red cabbage, red onion slices and delicious curry spices make this a feel good brunch!
Curry Scrambled Tofu with Cabbage and Caraway
(Recipe from A Vegan Brunch/Moskowitz)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp caraway seeds
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb extra firm tofu, cubed or crumbled (We use 1 pack of Cauldron, crumbled)
3 tbsp medium curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced

Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat. Saute the onion and caraway seeds in oil for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. Add the tofu and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until tofu has browned on some pieces. Add curry powder, cumin, and salt and some splashes of water if the tofu seems too dry. Mix the in the cabbage. Cover and cook for 8 - 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is wilted and tender. (We usually give ours 15-20 minutes ~R~) Taste for spice and add another teaspoon of curry powder if needed (it will depend on the strength of your curry powder)

Serve immediately and enjoy! 

Thanks once again to Isa for a fantastic recipe...


Saturday, 20 August 2011

Chocolate Cookie Slice

Kitchen Play List:  BBC Radio 2 and lots of giggles...and oooh's..lol

I have ducked out from the family fun that is going on in our house this afternoon. My sister and little daughters are crashed out on the sofa catching up on some much needed sleep and My Love and our two nephews are battling it out on the Wii playing Scooby Doo and now Star Wars Lego. So I am surplus to requirements so I have come to photograph and write up todays blog..lol. 

Chocolate Cookie Slices
Last week little N chose to make Chocolate Cookie Slices and to be honest they looked like a lot of fun. So this morning we had the three little ones in the kitchen breaking up white, dark and milk vegan chocolate bars and vegan wholewheat biscuits. Then the kitchen was a heavenly smell of blended pots cooking away on the stove top. In a large one I had Marinara sauce bubbling away and in the other I had water bubbling with a bowl of chocolate melting sat on top. Smelt so good! lol. 

Chocolate Cookie Slice pre-sliced state..lol
This recipe is rich and a little goes a heck of a long way and it's fun to make with the kiddies. The only accident was My Love grating a knuckle and the boys found it hilarious that there was blood everywhere..lol. Bless em. lol. All took turns breaking up, stirring up and then mixing up and then the mixture was poured into the loaf tin and put in the fridge to set. It was a long two hours let me tell you! lol. 

The results were delicious and rich and a heady chocolate hit. It sliced very easily and looked impressive once sliced.  I think as a rare treat this is one recipe I'll be making over and over.
My sister suggested that it could stand to have a little something else in it...I suggested raspberries and got smiles from everyone. So I shall try it next time I make this.

Little Noo couldn't choose a photo so asked if all could make an appearance...and why not I say? lol
Chocolate Cookie Slices Makes 1lb loaf sized lump lol

150g/5oz plain vegan chocolate
150g/5oz 'milk' vegan chocolate
130g/4 1/2oz vegan margarine
90g/3 1/2oz wholemeal biscuits
90g/3 1/2oz vegan white chocolate

Line a 1lb loaf tin with parchment paper and set to one side.

Break the milk and plain chocolate up and place in a glass bowl along with the margarine. Place the bowl over a simmering pan of hot water. Do not sit the bowl diretly in the water as this will kill the chocolate. Stirring constantly, melt the chocolate and margarine until it's a smooth and silky sauce. Take off the pan and set to one side to cool.

Grate the white chocolate and add this to a large bowl and then break up the biscuits and add to the same bowl. You don't want crumbs...small pieces. 

Add the cooled chocolate sauce into the bowl with the white chocolate and biscuit pieces and mix thoroughly to combine. Pour into the lined tin and smooth over roughly. Cover with cling film and put in the fridge for a minimum of two hours. 

It slices very easily with a straight edge sharp knife but will melt quickly in a hot room so keep chilled until ready to serve. 

One last photo...just because...lol Stop drooling! lol
Enjoy the messy fun...lol

Friday, 19 August 2011

Plum Sorbet

Kitchen Play List:  Newton Faulkner ~ All I Got
                                      Skin ~ Back Door Man
                                      Slash ft Ian Astbury ~ Ghost
                                      All Saints ~ Black Coffee
                                      The Rolling Stones ~ It's Only Rock & Roll
                                      Shania Twain ~ Nah!
                                      Nicola Benedetti ~ Tzigane

'Sweet, tart and plummy' is how the creator of this recipe described it...and they weren't wrong..lol 

I found this recipe whilst doing my recipe search to use up the plum mountain I had received..lol. I wanted to find a variety of different ways to use them up and when I found this one, I knew I had to try it. And it was made and in my freezer within ten minutes of starting the pitting of the plums. Honestly! So easy...I was intrigued by the creators description of it as I often find sorbets too sweet..it sits in the freezer for 4 hours and then is blitzed again and then back in the freezer until you want to serve it.

I take no credit for this recipe as I found it on http://www.theveggietable.com/ and all credit is due to them for this fabulously easy and tasty recipe.

Plum Sorbet
Plum Sorbet Makes 3 cups
(Recipe from www.theveggietable.com)

1lb plums, pitted
1 cup orange juice
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp orange liqueur
1 tbsp lemon juice

Cut the plums in half, remove the pit and place the plum pieces in a blender. Add the remaining ingredients and puree. Taste and add more sugar or lemon juice as needed. 

Pour into a freezble container and place in the deep freeze for four hours. Remove from the freezer and blend again. Return to freezer for at leaste half hour before serving...or cover and freeze until ready to serve. 

You can use apple or white grape juice instead of orange. Or try Peach Sorbet or Orange Sorbet?

The arty Plum Sorbet shot...I couldn't decide which one to use..so I'm using both! lol

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Low Sugar Gingery Plum-Apple Jam

Kitchen Play List:  Sara Sant'Ambrogio ~ Song Without Words
                                      Jack Johnson ~ What You Thought You Need
                                      The Power Station ~ Some Like It Hot
                                      Skid Row ~ Youth Gone Wild
                                      Thunder ~ Only You Can Make Me Cry
                                      Billy Joel ~ She's Got a Way
                                      Sara Sant'Ambrogio ~ Nocturne in E-Flat major

Now plums should come with a warning...prepping too many will leave your fingers stained a very unattractive dark varnish colour! And it doesn't seem to want to come off! Darn it! lol 

As you will know I have a many...oh so many...plums to use up...and I have been working my way through a stack of recipes. This one caught my eye because it was said low sugar...simple as that. I love jam and don't eat it often, as the high sugar make me jittery..lol. So if I find a recipe that claims to be low sugar..you can bet I'll be trying it. 

So, apart from the classy stains preparing the plums leave you with,  this jam is very simple to make. I do confess I made it with the thought "...I'm not sure about this...." going through my mind. But I followed the recipe faithfully and now have six small jars of this jam waiting to be eaten. It smelt great whilst it was cooking and the I'm not expecting a firm gel of a jam but it was definitely 'jammy' lol. And it's the most beautiful colour. We had some leftover so I put that in a container for taste testing today. 

The results were exactly as the recipe is titled..lol. Tart fruity plums, sweet apples and a hit of ginger. The consistency is as I suspected quite loose but is spread just fine on my bread and stayed there, so does it really matter? It is a delicious jam....hope you try it..

I take no credit for this recipe as I found it on www.affairsofliving.com so the respect due is theirs alone. 

Low Sugar Gingery Plum-Apple Jam
Low Sugar Gingery Plum-Apple Jam  Makes 6 small jars
(Recipe from www.affairsofliving.com)

5 granny smith apples, unpeeled and uncored
1/3 cup peeled, chopped ginger root
1 lemon, unpeeled and finely chopped
6 cups pitted, unpeeled and chopped
3/4 cup agave nectar

Remove the stem and blossom from the apple, and coarsely chop. Prepare ginger root and lemon and place all in a large, tall pot with enough water to elimate sticking. Don't be alarmed by all the seeds, pith and skins - this is al high in natural pectin and will help thicken the jam. Bring the apple mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat and simmer until apples are very soft, about 20-25 minutes, stirring often. 

Remove from the heat and run the mixture through a food mill or push through a fine mesh sieve positioned over a bowl and push the apple mixture through the holes with the back of a spoon. Discard the skins and seeds. 

Prepare and sterilise 6 jars and lids for potting up the jam...using whatever method you use. 

Place 2 cups of the applesauce in the pan with the chopped plums and agave nectar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer until the plums are soft, about 20 minutes, stirring often. Mixture will splatter so please take care.

Spoon into your prepared sterilised jars and place on the wax seals. Leave to cool and then place on lids. Leave overnight and re-tighten the lids. Leave for 12 - 24 hours before using. The jam should last stored for a year but when opened, store in the fridge and use within three weeks of opening. 

Recipe creators notes: Spiced jams - feel free to add your favourite spices, such as nutmeg, cinnamon, or cardamon. Start with a small amount and add gradually, testing as you go.

Other fruit jams - use this same basic technique and substitute an equal amount of other fruit for the plums, such as peaches, cherries, raspberries, blueberries and pluots. (Nope I have no idea what these are either ~R~)