Thursday, 31 October 2013

Blueberry & Chia Seed Jam

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

ZZ Ward ~ Till The Casket Drops Album 

Being a savoury foodie I have always been of the opinion that sweet things do have their place and can be enjoyable. lol. I know this isn't a popular view and know many men and women who would crawl over hells embers to get to chocolate and other sweet treats. However I do admit to enjoying the very best of sweet treats..hot toast with jam or marmalade. My jam preferences being blackcurrant or strawberry and my marmalade choice being a good orange or lime one. My mouth is watering at the thought of lime marmalade and due to my recent fall I have no appetite at all so that's a good thing..

But because jam in its natural state is loaded with sugar...and the reduced sugar varieties are usually crammed with sweeteners and other nasties I abstain from jam and marmalade. Eating it on High Days and Holidays...until last week when I found this recipe posted by anon. I read through the recipe and looked at the accompanying photo and thought..."Wow...if this works it would be fantastic." So the next day I was asking ML to pick up some blueberries for me. Then I fell downstairs...slight kink in my plan...so I had to ask ML to then make the jam for me. Which happened and then the jam was put into the fridge and well..we forgot about it. Ooops! lol. But to be fair we've had other things to worry about. 

Today we cracked open the container and got schmearing on the multi grain crackers that I reviewed last week. The chia seeds really do work and the jam is set to perfection. The freshness of this jam was very enjoyable. In the recipe they used Maple syrup as the small amount of sweetener but we used Agave. So the jam wasn't at all sweet...but it had that good blueberry flavour. I would maybe up the Agave just a little next time and I fully intend on trying this recipe out with all berries. Who knew that Chia Seeds could be so versatile..lol. 

Blueberry & Chia Seed Jam on Multi Grain Crackers
 


Blueberry & Chia Seed Jam

2 cups of fresh blueberries
1/4 chia seeds
2-3 tbsp maple syrup or agave

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until everything is well mixed. Put the mixture in a covered container. Place in the fridge for a good few hours. Once its set, use it as a topping for toast, yoghurt, waffles or porridge.

Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Thursday is a great one...

~Red~

NB:   To whoever created this recipe...Kudos! and thanks...great recipe and I would happily give credit where it's due if you get in touch. Namaste ~R~

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Art: Ai Weiwei

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Audiobook: Pride & Prejudice

Well it is safe to say I am feeling a little sore and bruised today..not to mention embarrassed. I took a massive little tumble down my stairs...and yep..from the top step too. So I'm not in good shape physically and ML has overruled any kitchen work today...so I am sat in my chair with my feet up and hoping that with some serious rest I will bounce back quickly. Feel like such a fool...what parts of my body that didn't hurt before...well they have now joined the pain party...*expletive therapy* This being the case I shall be bringing you the roasted veggie dish that I was going to make today...hopefully later in the week.

I mentioned that ML had just got back from work travels in Copenhagen. Part of the itinerary was to visit the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen. I was so envious..lol. A exhibit/sculpture left quite an impression on ML and so here are the photo and written piece that accompanies the exhibit. 

Tree ~ Artist Ai Weiwei

Artist Ai Weiwei

Tree

The large trees are constructed from fragments of dead camphor trees collected as a kind of ready made in Southern China and then joined together using a traditional Chinese method of construction.

Ai Weiwei is world famous as a political activist and a critic of the Chinese regime. The trees are rooted in the artists commitment to the political and cultural situation in China and to a specific Chinese context and cultural history. As artworks in a global visual culture and art history however they also reach out to a far wider space of meaning and imagination.

Is this a nostalgic attempt to rebuild a lost original coherence? Or a cynical monumentalization of extinct nature? Or a critical representation of how a quantity of individual parts are forced together and subjected to a system that attempts to look natural but is in face a huge controlled illusion?

In all their simplicity the trees are monumentally ambiguous statements and it is a very long way back to the innocent wild nature.

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen

ML also became enchanted by the expression in this piece but could not find the name of the artist but asked for it to be included in this posting...

Artist unknown

An interesting piece...the longer I look at it the more I see..but ML says it is the emotion in her face and the gesture of her hand. 

OK folks that is about it for today..I need to go and lay back down with a cold compress..lol. Hopefully be back on board tomorrow...

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Tuesday has been a good one...

~Red~  

Monday, 28 October 2013

Beetroot, Carrot & Green Lentil Hotpot (Slowcooker)

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Buckcherry ~ Sorry (Acoustic)
Evanescence ~ Never Go Back
Billy Joel ~ Honesty
Jem ~ How Would You Like It
Jackson Browne ~ Sky Blue & Black 
Tina Dico ~ Break of Day
Janiva Magness ~ End of the Road
The Union ~ Blame It On Tupelo 
The Cranberries ~ Dreams
Newton Faulkner ~ Face (Her)
Marilyn Manson ~ The Dope Show
Maroon 5 ~ How 
Missy Higgins ~ They Weren't There
Terra Naomi ~ Up Here 

Blimey, was I tired yesterday. ML was back from work travels and we barely had time to catch up before the four legged fella was back home with us accompanied by our friends A & C. They always look after the little guy when ML is away as I am not always well enough to meet his needs. But to be honest...I don't think he minds at all in fact he always looks a little sad to be home. Charming. lol. A & C were hot footing it off to a spa break for four days and they couldn't stop smiling and who could blame them eh? Saunas, pools of many kinds, massages and treatments galore and good wine awaited them at the end of their journey. They deserve it so good on 'em. After they set off on their journey to Nirvana...lol...we set off to our nephews birthday party..and it was everything a party should be..chaotic..filled with laughter of the birthday boy and his siblings and friends...awkward family situations *rolling eyes* and most importantly a fabulous birthday cake. Sadly for us we couldn't do this cake for him as ML is busy working on his parents upcoming wedding cake so it was down to my sister. And although the cake wasn't vegan...but they are not a vegan family...she knocked it out of the park. She had made a marble cake and then covered it in chocolate and pressed on sugar paper superheroes and figures. It was great and everyone enjoyed it....great job sis. But ML and I both left early as we were exhausted and then came home to crash...

...and then I remembered I still needed to make the bloody lovely Hotpot. So sat at my counter I sleepily peeled veggies and ML helped by making the stock and, to keep me focused, told me about the art gallery that had left an impression whilst in Copenhagen. It helped but by the end I was seeing black spots and almost sliding off of my stool. I think I over did it this weekend...but no regrets. 

I found the original recipe for this dish via Pinterest and for Teresa Cutters original recipe please visit her website TheHealthyChef .  I have adapted it somewhat to suit my personal tastes, what I had in my stocks and preferred cooking method. I had bought some beautiful examples of beetroot at the recent farm shop visit and also a fantastic red cabbage...or purple cabbage depending on where you live...lol. It wasn't due to my extreme tiredness that made me choose to slow cook this recipe...from the first moment I saw it and read it through, I wanted to cook mine this way. And I think it worked really well. 


It's always a risk making veggie casseroles in the slow cooker because quite often you can end up with a mushy pile of..stuff. And the dishes can be quite watery...but given the hardiness of the veggies and the lentil addition I felt positive that slow cooking would work well. If it's important to you to eat the Rainbow of foods then this dish is a must because red/purple goodness starts to take effect as you inhale the aromas..lol. And the textures held together great...the beetroot was tender but not about to collapse and the same for the carrots. The shallots were succulent as was the red cabbage. The lentils were cooked to perfection and although there was a little more sauce than planned..it wasn't by any means a soup. The flavours were heady and earthy with the beets and thyme kicking in the earthiness and the carrots adding that little bit of sweetness. Every mouthful was a pleasure and it wasn't stodgy or heavy on the stomach as most hot pots are. It was filling, beautifully textured with good wholesome flavours.

I don't often use alcohol in my cooking but it felt right for this recipe. And as soon as the slow cooker got going the smell of the wine heating and the cabbage reminded me of Christmas when I make a braised red cabbage in red wine side dish for the Pals Christmas Dinner and the memory made me very happy. If you've never tried this side dish...you are missing out. I still have plenty of the red cabbage left so I may make a batch and post it later in the week.  

Beetroot, Carrot and Green Lentil Hotpot


Beetroot, Carrot & Green Lentil Hotpot  Serves 4
(Adapted from original recipe by Teresa Cutter)

10 small shallots, peeled and halved
4 cloves garlic, micro grate or mince
4 med carrots, peeled and chopped
4 large beetroot, peeled and cut into large chunks
heaped 1/2 tsp dried thyme
4 cups of veggie stock 
1 cup of red wine
1 heaped tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste 
1 cup of dried green lentils, rinsed and drained (small green lentils not continental)
2 large leaves of red cabbage, stalk removed and shredded 
fresh flat leaf parsley to garnish

In a med-large slow cooker/crock pot layer the veggies as follows...shallots, carrots, garlic, beetroots and sprinkle over the dried thyme and black pepper. Give them a good stir to distribute the herb. Then layer on the green lentils. Mix the tomato paste into your stock and then pour the wine in followed by the wine. Layer the red cabbage on top and place the lid on. 

Cook for 4 hours on High or 8 on Low. I chose High this time because I wanted to finish the cooking before I went to bed. Serve with a grain or bread...or solo. 

Enjoy! 

Thanks go out to Teresa Cutter for creating such a tasty recipe and I hope my adaptions would be to your taste too. 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Monday is a fantastic one....I plan on spending mine writing and re-charging my batteries. lol. 

~Red~ 
 


Saturday, 26 October 2013

Simple Butternut Squash Soup

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Nerina Pallot ~ Everybody's Gone To War
Madonna ~ Don't Tell Me
Alanis Morrisette ~ Perfect
Shakira ~ Hey You
Chris Cornell ~ Follow My Way
Stevie Ray Vaughan ~ Voodoo Child
AC/DC ~ Dirty Deeds Done Dirt (Live)
Beth Hart ~ Love Is The Hardest
Gin Wigmore ~ Happy Ever After
Justin Timberlake ~ Sexyback
The Eagles ~ All Night Long
Kid Rock ~ Rock Bottom Blues
Bowie ~ Valentine's Day
Colbie Caillat ~ Tied Down

The HQ is very quiet right now as I sit and write this post. I have enjoyed the company of my little nephew last night and today as he had his first sleepover away from home. We had a blast...we cooked dinner together...watched movies together (Rise of the Guardians - Bunny rocks!) and ate some popcorn and snuggled heaps before he crashed on me..leaving me to watch Yogi Bear alone...not a great movie! Awful. And today started at 4.30am and we sat and chatted..again snuggled under the covers and I learnt more about snakes then I ever cared to know..lol. M is a keen fan of Deadly 60...and he wants to work with animals when he grows up. We made breakfast together and I got quizzed about my knowledge of animals...Yikes. lol. The boy is obsessed but there could be worse obsessions, eh? Then breakfast was enjoyed snuggled back under the covers with more chatting and then we started our day 'for real', to quote the little fella. lol. It was then the quiet moments of saying hello to the world and after showers were had...I let the little fella play on Star Wars (he is a mini geek lol) whilst I made lunch for the usual Saturday family time. And before we knew it we were joined by my sister and the little ladies. Glorious chaos and mayhem. And now they are all gone...and the house is deafeningly quiet but I wouldn't have swapped a single moment of my time with them. They are the light...on days when the illness and pain threatens to take over me.

The soup...well I have been making this one for a while. It's cheap, simple to make and tasty without relying on a ton of spices. I love butternut squash but have always had trouble with the soups it stars in. More often than not I find them too sweet and being a savoury orientated foodie I struggle with that whole sweet/savoury dish. So when I first tried this one I was delighted that it wasn't at all sweet and just a really good flavoured soup. And I hope you try it and find it the same...it makes a good sized amount so I usually use half and freeze half for those...Oh I cannot be bothered to cook days...lol Below is the recipe and a couple of adaptions that I sometimes make.

Simple Butternut Squash Soup

Simple Butternut Squash Soup  Serves 8

1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 onions, chopped
1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, grated or minced
3 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
2.5 litres of veggie stock or water 
freshly ground black pepper 
salt to taste ~ optional
sunflower or pumpkin seeds ~ a handful

In a large stock pot heat the oil and then toss in the onions and saute until soft and translucent. Add in the garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant. Then add in the butternut squash and potatoes along with the stock. Cover, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the veggies are tender. Season to taste and then blend until smooth. Serve...

Adaptions: 

I also make this soup using sweet potatoes in sub for white potatoes. 

I also add sriracha sauce at the table if I feel the need for a little kick..or add a minced fresh chili in at the garlic/ginger stage. 

Enjoy! 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Saturday has been as special as mine...

~Red~ 

 
 

Friday, 25 October 2013

Beet Greens Smoothie

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Sinatra ~ Moon River
Shania Twain ~ When You Kiss Me
Deacon Blue ~ Wages Day
VAST ~ Thrown Away
VAST ~ Flames
Otis Reading ~ My Lover's Prayer
Tina Dico ~ A New Situation
Thunder ~ Everybody Wants Her
Caro Emerald ~ Back It Up
Garbage ~ Cherry Lips
AC/DC ~ Highway To Hell
Suede ~ Animal Nitrate
Sting ~ I Was Brought To My Senses
Melissa Etheridge ~ Lover Please

Happy Friday all...we made it! lol. Today i am very busy...I am having a major restyle of my hair so I will be going from mid back length to 'just' on the shoulder length..yikes. Very nervous..but the last time I made changes like this I went from down to my ass to pixie short. So I'm hoping that..1. I don't feel frumpy..2. It feels and looks great. Nervous much??? lol. Also tonight I have M my nephew coming to stay over for the first time and I don't know who is more excited but he has been packed for a few days..lol. I used to have his Mum and our brothers come and stay with me when they were little so it feels very Generational...is that word right? OK, OK...It makes me feel very aware of the age difference...OK! OK! It makes me feel old! Hush! But I am really looking forward to snuggling up with my little 6 4/5th year old nephew and watching a cartoon or two..munching on popcorn and just spending time. It has all the makings for a great day...*gulp*...unless my hair is a disaster and it freaks M out and he cries the entire time and wants to go home. Anyway....so please enjoy this Smoothie post I wrote during the week....and I'll be back tomorrow. Wish me luck? ~Red~ 

Now if someone had told me a year ago that I would be willingly placing the vibrantly coloured and natural beauty that is Beet Greens into my blender with an avocado...blitzing them together and then drinking them...well I would've laughed my ass off. Because up until recently it was rare that you ever were offered beetroots with their greens intact..and if they were...they were so beautiful steamed or added to cooked dishes that the thought of blending them to smithers would've made me tearful.  And if I'm honest I still probably wouldn't have made a smoothie with them today...but ML was in charge of smoothie duties this morning and threw them in the mix. They make a great smoothie and I've enjoyed every drop today...and I was getting a little smoothied out. This smoothie was silky and pleasantly flavoured without being overly sweet and no bitterness that you can sometimes get with other green leafies. Next time I manage to purchase beets with greens intact I shall maybe compromise and cook half and smoothie half. And getting a regular supply of beet greens means a great excuse to go to my favourite Farmshop. Woo!

When it comes to the smoothies I have long since given up trying to make them look anything other than green..lol So here comes the recipe instead....

Beet Greens ~ Natural Beauty

Wash and drain a lush bunch of beet green leaves and place them into a blender with...







one peeled banana...straight into the leaves and then...





...take the flesh of one avocado and toss that into the mix....can you feel all those healthy fats....lol 



then add a small punnet of cleaned and hulled strawberries and drop them in......




...and then add 4 cups of fresh and clean mineral water to the blender and blitz away until smooth....

Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Friday is a great one...

~Red~





Thursday, 24 October 2013

Garlic Boats with Spelt Toasts and Parsley

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

The Eagles ~ The Last Resort
Christina Milian ~ Dip It Low
Bowes & Morley ~ Powertripping
Maroon 5 ~ Out of Goodbyes
Del Amitri ~ Driving With The Brakes On
Janiva Magness ~ Save Me
Bonnie Raitt ~ Take My Love With You
The Fratellis ~ Stragglers Moon
Bruce Springsteen ~ Badlands
KORN ~ Got The Life
Gary Moore ~ Parisienne Walkways
Easton Corbin ~ That's Gonna Leave A Mark
The Mavericks ~ Dance The Night Away
Shelby Lynne ~ Thought It Would Be Easier

One of my favourite restaurant memories is from nearly 12 years ago. I have always been a garlic fan but at that time often found garlic bread to be too stodgy...too buttery (I was vegetarian back then but had always hated butter) or too...drippy. lol I have never enjoyed the Ooze factor from buttery or cheesy foods but at that point it never really occurred to me to make my own. It was quite by chance I ended up in a restaurant in Helltown celebrating someones birthday. I had hardly eaten all day and was so hungry that my stomach actually groaned when we were shown into the restaurant and to our table. So many people..which meant it would ages before we ate a thing...or so I thought. Almost immediately after taking our orders the waitress brought to our table freshly baked bread rolls and a little white pot each. We all looked at each other and shrugged and so I lifted the lid...and the smell of baked garlic hit my senses and started my stomach aching. One of our party..(a cautious spender..ahem..lol) told us not to touch anything as we hadn't ordered this and when the waitress came back to our table and informed him that this was gratis...he was the first to rip off the lid and tear open a bread roll. The idea being you pushed the cloves of garlic out and onto your warm bread and smooth it over and...well...devour. I was sat there getting covered in caramelised garlic juice and loving every second of it. Great memories...

I couldn't believe that such a simple idea had never occurred to me. But then all the truly great ideas are simple ones and often elude many of us. But since then when that garlic/comfort craving kicks in, I am cutting the lid off of a bulb of garlic, drizzling it with olive oil (or not...works both ways) and wrapping the bulb in tinfoil and throwing it in a hot oven. I do own a garlic roasting pot for these purposes but its packed away ready for the move right now. So I do confess that I used tinfoil today and on a purely shallow levels they make terrific little boats..*eye rolls*

During a recent visit to a farm shop I found massive cloves of Elephant garlic and I picked out two for this very purpose. It's not really a recipe as such...but this is how I put it together today.

Garlic Boats with Spelt Toasts and Parsley

Garlic Boats with Spelt Toasts and Parsley   Serves 1-2

2 large elephant garlic cloves
smallest drizzle of olive oil
2 slices of freshly baked and toasted Spelt bread/regular or Gluten Free bread
leaves of fresh flat leaf parsley (approx 2 stalks)

Heat your oven to 200'C/400'F/GM 6. Cut off the stalk end of the cloves and place them in the centre of two pieces of tin foil. Drizzle with the olive oil and then fold the cloves into the foil. Place into the hot oven. Bake for 20 minutes and check the cloves by piercing the centre of the clove..if the knife goes through easily it is done. If not, return it to the oven for a further 10 mins.

Near the end of the baking time...toast the pieces of bread and scatter the parsley on your plate. When the garlic is done..tear open the centre of the tinfoil and gently edging the skin away and then push in the corners of the tinfoil, much like a baked potato, to push the garlic through the tear.

Schmear the soft caramelised garlic over the toasts and then scatter the parsley on top...and then eat.

Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Thursday has been a great one...

~Red~

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Sarah Britton's Daikon Roll Ups with Miso Mint Pea Filling

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Anna Nalick ~ Catayst
Dead Sara ~ Dear Love
The Pretenders ~ Night In My Veins
Maroon 5 ~ Sad
VAST ~ When We First Met
Soundgarden ~ Flower
Bach: Cello Suite #5 in C Minor
Bowie ~ Diamond Dogs
VAST ~ I'm Dying (Live)
The Zutons ~ Why Won't You Give Me Your Love?
Madonna ~ Frozen
Live ~ Voodoo Lady
Camille Thomas & Beatrice Berutt ~ Sonata for Cello and Piano in G Minor
Gin Wigmore ~ Poison

Today I ventured into the realms of vegan sushi...at last..I have been waiting for so long. And although this dish isn't rice based it pretty much taught me one thing. Impatience and sushi making are not compatible. lol. So after rolling the first two rolls....I sat down at my counter and took a deep breath and zenned out. In fact by the end I was finding it very peaceful and although I was tired (not because of the rolling..just the usual) I found I enjoyed it. I cannot wait to get started on all the other sushi recipes I have tucked away....

I found this recipe posted on Pinterest and it took some doing but I found the creator of this recipe.  It was the hard work of Sarah Britton over at My New Roots. Although her original recipe wasn't vegan it didn't take much to make it so...a simple exchange of honey for agave nectar. I confess I made the filling a couple of days ago and stored it in the fridge. So today all I had to do was peel strips from my Daikon root and then fill and roll. I have been trying to find new ways of using Daikon and made a smashing Noodle Salad with part of one last week and today I used up another third of it. It keeps really well and being able to make three dishes out of one root is a bargain, eh? 

These rolls are so delicious..they are fresh due to the fact that they are raw and the complimentary layers of flavours. Also the textures...in Britton's original recipe she uses Pea Shoots in the centre of hers but I subbed them for carrots and also added a few sprouted beans. I adapted the recipe to suit my tastes. These rolls are light and you really feel like you are enjoying the healthiest of delicacies and still retain that indulgence factor. Try them for yourself...

Daikon Roll Ups with Miso Mint Pea Filling

Daikon Roll Ups with Miso Mint Pea Filling    Makes 14-16
(Original recipe by Sarah Britton - adapted for the RRVKitchen) 

20 slices of Daikon root, to allow for breakages
1 tbsp brown rice vinegar 
1 tbsp of ginger juice, instructions below
2 tsp agave syrup

2 cups shelled green peas (I used thawed frozen)

3 tbsp white miso 
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
lemon zest & 1 tbsp lemon juice 
sea salt to taste (optional)
1/4 cup black sesame seeds 
shredded carrot & sprouted beans to garnish 

To make the pea filling: 
Cook the peas in boiling water for 2 minutes to take off the raw edge and then plunge in cold water to stop cooking. Or use them raw (I chose this method) if preferred. In a blender place the peas and the remaining filling ingredients. And blend until the mixture is smooth. Season to taste and set to one side.

In a dry skillet gently heat the sesame seeds until they are fragrant but be careful not to let them scorch. Then place them into a dish to cool.

Shred a carrot into thin strips..I used my spiralpeeler...

Peel a large lump of ginger and then grate with a micrograter and then squeeze the grated flesh and fill a tbsp measure. Place the juice, vinegar and agave nectar into a large bowl and then whisk together. Place the Daikon strips into the bowl and coat the strips in the marinate. 

The glorious Daikon

Leaving the daikon strips to marinate, clear your counter and set up a space with board for rolling, pot with the seeds in, pea filling plus spatula and your shredded carrots and sprouts.

Take a strip from the bowl and lay it flat on the board. Take a spoonful of the pea filling and smooth it down the strip but stopping an inch before the other end of the strip. This will be outside of your roll and if filled it will spill out everywhere. Believe me!!! lol. Sprinkle with a pinch of the seeds and place the carrot at the end that you will start rolling. And roll gently until it is rolled completely..then secure with a toothpick. Place on a serving dish and repeat until you are out of strips. Sprinkle remaining seeds over the rolls and some sprouted beans. 

Serve and enjoy! 

Gratuitous foodie close up...

Many thanks to Sarah Britton for a great creation and inspiring me to get started on my vegan sushi plans. Namaste. 

Thank you for stopping by and I hope your Wednesday has been filled with happiness...

~Red~
 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Bean & Saus (V&GF) Stew with Cauli Mash

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

KORN & Amy Lee ~ Freak On A Leash
Barclay James Harvest ~ Rock and Roll Woman
Birdy ~ Wings
Janiva Magness ~ It's Your Voodoo Working
The Pretty Reckless ~ Goin' Down
Airbourne ~ Hotter Than Hell
Texas Hippie Coalition ~ Pissed Off And Mad About It
Billie Myers ~ Kiss The Rain
Anna Nalick ~ Breaking The Girl
Timothy B Schmit ~ Friday Night
Billie Myers ~ Opposites Attract
Buckcherry ~ Talk To Me
Willie Nelson ~ Are You Sure
Foo Fighters ~ Drive Me Wild

Mashed cauliflower seems to be everywhere right now...and I've been wanting to try it and yesterday I felt it was the right time. I wanted to test out a recipe I'd had floating around my head for a bean and sausage stew, using the GF sausages that I enjoy. And usually the first choice would be good old mashed potatoes as an accompaniment but I'm trying to stay away from heavy starches. I'm also a bit of a purist when it comes to my foods so I have never liked the mashed veggies that have marg/oils/butter/cheeses/cream....yuck. I like my mashed potato just as it is...maybe a little black pepper...and I had a feeling it was going to be the same with cauliflower. All the recipes I'd seen had lashings of oil or vegan marg mashed in...and not to mention the ton of vegan cheeze. Fair play to you if that's your preferred choice...it just isn't mine.

So I started by steaming my cauliflower until just tender and then I stood, far longer than I should probably because I did have a couple of collapsing moments, mashing the cauliflower...and got nowhere. I kept on mashing but all I got was shredded pieces of cauliflower. It was at this point I had to go and rest...frustrated and disillusioned doesn't even cover it. I then did a little more research whilst resting...and when ML got home we both went at it. This time I went in with my hand blender and ended up with a lovely smooth and creamy mash. Success! lol. What a drama...lol

The stew was just a simple recipe I'd put together in my head when sat writing up ideas when on bed rest. I loved the vegan/GF sausages when we made them and I had two left in my freezer. Kidney beans are one of my favourite beans and I am a sucker for a good tomato sauce. However, I did have a little moment of drama with the stew too..lol. The sausages are quite delicate as they have no gluten in them holding them together so I urge you..if using the recipe I used to make your sausages...be very gentle with them. Or you end up with more of a beany/hash thing. Doesn't really matter because the taste is great and you still get the comfort of an old classic dish without all the stodge that goes with it. I added steamed Brussels sprouts with mine because..well..1. I am an addict...and 2. see point 1. lol. They were the ones I bought from the farm shop on Friday and were divine.


Rocket & Roses Bean & Sausage (V&GF) Stew with Cauli Mash

Rocket & Roses Bean & Sausage (V&GF) Stew with Cauli Mash Serves 2
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

I small head of cauliflower
1 tbsp of fresh parsley, finely chopped
freshly cracked black pepper

1/2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp red chilli, finely chopped
1 tin of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
freshly cracked black pepper
freshly chopped parsley to garnish

Steam or boil the cauliflower until just tender..you don't want a mush..well not yet..lol. Then put into a bowl and with a hand blender break the cauliflower down into a smooth mash. Stir in the parsley and grind in black pepper and set to one side. You will need to heat the mash back up before serving. 

Heat the sunflower oil in a large skillet and then saute the onion and chilli until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and oregano and heat through. Add the sausage and kidney beans to the skillet and gently move them around in the sauce to get them coated. Leave over a low heat whilst you steam your side veggies and reheating your cauliflower. Season the stew with the pepper. 

Spoon the mash onto a dish and spread out then spoon the stew into the centre and then garnish with parsley. 

Gratuitous foodie close up...

Enjoy! 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Tuesday has been a peaceful one...

~Red~

 



Monday, 21 October 2013

Tropical Fruit Green Smoothie

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Jacqueline De Pre ~ Boccherini:Cello Concerto in B Flat
Fleetwood Mac ~ Everywhere
Tina Dico ~ Night Cab
Little Angels ~ She's A Little Angel
Fun Lovin' Criminals ~ Bump
Edith Piaf ~ Mon Legionnaire
Halestorm ~ What Where You Expecting?
Shania Twain ~ It Only Hurts When I Breathe
Nat King Cole ~ These Foolish Things
Michelle Shocked ~ Anchorage
Audioslave ~ Broken City
Colbie Caillat ~ Bubbly
Keith Urban ~ Kiss A Girl
Jose Carreras ~ Cardillo: Core N'Grato

I am indeed still rocking the green smoothies...and some days are easier than others, as are some smoothies easier than others. I have been trying to find a way of enjoying Cavolo Kale in a smoothie without shooting the sugar content up too high to counteract the bitterness of the darkest of the kales. Regular kale isn't as bitter so easily blends into the other ingredients whereas Cavolo..doesn't! *shudder* It has made for some interesting faces when I am drinking them..apparently! lol. Another factor when drinking the lovely kale is that the texture can sometimes be...interesting. But I am sure that is down to my blender but I find adding an avocado helps a little and is a great way of getting healthy fats into your system. A savings fund for a new blender has also been started...lol.

As it's almost the end of the season for most of the fruits I use in the smoothies, I am now buying in bags of the unsweetened frozen fruits and this week I picked up a bag from the supermarket - Tropical Fruit Salad. The contents were pineapple, papaya, kiwi, pomegranate seeds and mango. I'm not the biggest fan of mango...but as it was in a mix I threw caution to the wind...lol. How brave am I? As green smoothies are hard to photograph and make look appealing..I have opted to do the recipe this way....

Place 12 de-stalked leaves of Cavolo into a blender....

Cavolo Kale
  and the flesh of one avocado...

avocado..chock full of healthy fats

 also 24og of frozen Tropical Fruit Salad...(half of the packet)

Might add slightly more next time?

 for extra goodness and essential omega's add 1 tsp of Spirulina...

An acquired taste I admit but in smoothies you hardly notice it

and to help it all go down, don't forget this lovely stuff...5 cups of water...

Good old H20...

 ....and then blend...well once you have placed the lid on!...until smooth or as smooth as your blender will allow. Then enjoy..this makes enough for four smoothies which I drink throughout the day or I freeze some for another day. 

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

~Red~




Sunday, 20 October 2013

Sunday Brunch: Leftovers Treat: Baked Eggplant on Spelt Bread Sandwich

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Radio 4 Desert Island Discs Podcasts:
Dawn French
Martina Navratilova
John Bishop
Tim Minchin
Jamie Cullum
Martin Clunes

Today's brunch recipe was a no brainer...with leftovers in the fridge from a meal I made earlier in the week and some Spelt bread freshly made by ML...it would've been rude not to indulge. I created, tested out and enjoyed making Baked Eggplant with Marinara Sauce and it made quite a few portions. I even got the little ones yesterday to try some and they on the whole liked it. My very cute nephew who is losing his baby teeth at the rate of knots...loved it..whilst it was hot. lol.

Our day yesterday was a fabulous family day..filled with the sounds of the little ones playing and ML reading stories whilst my sister and I talked weddings. Family lunch was eaten together around the table and I loved every moment. Late afternoon the hairdresser came to my house and she tried out different styles for my sisters big day. So many 'lump in my throat' moments and nervous excitement crackled the air as it's only a few weeks away now.

Having had two very busy days, by the evening I was wilting somewhat. lol. I think I had maybe overdone it but wouldn't have done anything different. So this morning I knew my brunch had to be simple to put together.

Brunch: Baked Eggplant Sandwich with veggies.

My marinara sauce had been quite liquid so I took a 1/4 cup measure and filled it up and then left the sauce to drain off a little in a fine mesh strainer. I cut two slices off of the Spelt loaf and sliced my side veggies. I heated up my Baked Eggplant and then the sauce. I didn't add anything else to the sandwich....when the sauce was warm I schmeared it over both slices of the bread. I added some freshly cracked black pepper to the slices. 

Gratuitous close up...oozing with marinara and eggplant...

Then it was layering the baked eggplant slices and sitting down to enjoy every mouthful. And it really worked as a sandwich...delicious. Although I know the Spelt bread wasn't in keeping with the Gluten Free aspect..a good GF bread would also make for a great sandwich. So tasty...

Enjoy! 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Sunday is a very chilled one...

~Red~   

Saturday, 19 October 2013

A Great Friday Escape...

Rocket & Roses Car Play List

Gin Wigmore ~ Gravel & Wine Album

Yesterday ML had a meeting in York and I went along for the ride. It was so good to be out of the R&R HQ and getting some other much needed stimulation. A person can only stare at the same walls day in, day out for so long before you start *nervous twitch* to go a little nuts. It was an early start and the weather could be described as grey and dismal...with a side order of mist in places but I really couldn't have given a fig because I love a road trip. Sun, rain, sleet, wind or snow...I'm there and I'm invested in enjoying the ride. So whilst we pootled our way up to York I sat back and enjoyed the tunes playing and watched the scenery. I was very happy...

The drop off point for me was a coffee shop, breaking myself in easily to the day, and my heart sank a little at the queue waiting to be served and lack of tables. But the barristas energy was infectious and before I could think..."Oh my goodness..how long is this queue?" I was being greeted by a cheeky smile and my order was being taken..green tea and a slice of vegan banana bread please dude..lol So enthusiastic was this chap that when giving me my change he upended the coins and they fell all over the floor. Dang! He was mortified. But I seemed to be surrounded by splendid guys this morning because when I went to bend down and retrieve my coinage I found a guy on his hands and knees scooping them up for me. I stood there a little embarrassed and when he stood up he smiled and handed them to me. What a gent! I thanked him and headed off in search of a table and found one in the window. (Not my favourite place as I feel like a goldfish at those tables..lol) I settled in and plugged into my iPod and got out my current reading book and zenned out. A few moments later I was disturbed by a tap on my shoulder which quite frankly nearly gave me a coronary..lol. It was my gent again..asking if he could share the table. We actually ended up chatting whilst he drank his espresso (so jealous...I miss those right now lol) then he made his exit and I settled back into my refreshments, music and book. Still happy...

Life lesson...except I mainline green tea these days...lol

After an hour of getting lost in this moment of simple happiness I took a slow stroll around a couple of shops and found a few bargains. An olive green snood/scarf thingy...a red dish (hush I love pottery! lol)..and a new lemon zester as my old one collapsed last weekend.

ML's meeting finished and we decided to extend the road trip to take in a farm shop called Balloon Tree. ML had been driving past it for quite some time and always with the thought "Red would love this place..." and so today I finally got to visit. It was in full on pumpkin season and as well as growing and selling all their own veggies/fruits and squashes they have a fully stocked deli shop and cafe. Sadly the cafe didn't cater for either of our foodie needs but I wasn't that bothered because my head was still in the fresh produce section, plotting and planning the cooking of many of their offerings. And I walked around happily Ooohing and Awwwing over the beautiful specimens of veggies. I filled our basket full to overflowing to the point ML could barely lift it..lol. Ooops. Here is a glorious photo of my stash...and the subjects of future posts..

Look at these beauts...lush, vibrant and freshly harvested.

So I picked up a culinary orange pumpkin, a harvest pumpkin, an unspecified pumpkin for stuffing, fresh brussel sprouts, 2 cloves of elephant garlic, beetroots with lush greenage attached (rare!), large kale leaves, purple/red cabbage, giant sweetheart cabbage....happy, happy, happy. lol.

An extra gratuitous veggie shot..lol


As were leaving ML took some shots of the vibrant pumpkins and also the Pumpkin Path that leads down to the fields of pumpkins and veggies that you can Pick Your Own.

Pumpkin anyone?? lol

We are planning to bring the little ones there for Halloween next year so they can all pick there own little pumpkin for carving. Hopefully next year I will be well enough to join in. But I was happy to select mine from the little market instead.

Follow the orange squash road...follow, follow, follow, follow..follow the orange squash road! lol

We left the farm shop rather stunned at how cheap our stash had been (£11 for the lot..so cheap!!) and very hungry. It was decided to take a scenic route back to the city and hopefully find somewhere to stop off for lunch along the way.

Wolds Village ~ The entrance to an enchanting place...

It was a great drive and I admit I just got lost in it. We made our way through the villages and finally stopped off at a place called Wolds Village. It's a beautifully restored building that has a restaurant, cafe, art gallery, courtyard and shop. It was the kind of place that you imagine all tourists coming to England expect us to live in. It was something different and the attention to detail was superb if not a little dark..but very in keeping with it's style. It wasn't the most veggie friendly which was a shame but they did have a freshly cooked Onion and Leek Soup which I was happy to try. I can't bring myself to say what ML tucked into...but I am told it was delicious. *shudder* We enjoyed our lunch in relative privacy and then made our way to their Art Gallery. As far as galleries go it was small but stocked with vibrant and interesting paintings, sculptures and pottery...and I was in temporary art heaven. lol.

Love Your Bum ~ Penny De Cote (Wall Plaques)

These were one of the first things we saw and we both laughed and enjoyed them...and felt it only right that we shared them with you all. Cheeky!

Light Edging Through ~ Pat Thompson

Sadly the photos doesn't do this piece of work justice. I was captivated by the painting above..the colours and detail pulled me into this place and I could feel the atmosphere and the beginnings of warmth from the light. 

Purple Allium Head ~ Debbie March (Framed fused glass)

This piece glowed under the lights of the gallery. ML was really taken with it and I could see why. Every piece of light brought each strand of glass to vibrant life. It was almost hypnotic...
We reluctantly left the gallery and spent some time looking around the shop which again was something truly special. It was like a tardis and filled with strange and unusual things. You could almost get lost in there...and not mind at all. Wolds Village is most definitely a place I would recommend to anyone..

Next on the trip was a visit to the city and to our much loved health food store Grain. I picked up the bits and pieces I needed and also found some new GF lasagna sheets...and they were individual portion sized sheets! After a catch up with the lovely manager Scott we then decided it was time for another refreshment break...hey I am not up to full speed yet...not even close...breaks are necessary..

I decided to live dangerously this time...and as we queued up I decided to forego my usual green tea and opted for the hard stuff...I ordered a medium soya milk decaf cappuccino!! Woo! I know..no holding me back..lol And I didn't even get offended when the Barbie pink haired barrista had to check my order two and three times to make sure she'd read it correctly. lol. The last time I ordered this drink...it was a solid lump of soya milk froth and a cold sip of coffee at the bottom of the cup but the drink today...was sublime! I enjoyed every single creamy and tasty mouthful. We sat and talked and I just revelled in the day...I had had a great day..some would say it wasn't special but I would argue that it was extremely special...zen time out of the house...meeting new people...pootling around shops until my batteries ran out...time spent with ML...and to end the day a great cappuccino. To me...priceless.

Sadly that was the end of my adventures because I had an appointment at the Doctors...so we reluctantly made our way back to Helltown but first we stopped off at our library and picked up a reserved book...I love the library in fact it's one of the very few places I actually like here. Then it was the doctors time...






I sat in the waiting room plugged into my iPod and tried to go to my happy place...and almost made it before I was called in. And sat through the undressing and assessment of my leg and then the treatment and redressing and fixing Mondays appointment. So much expletive therapy was going on in my head it was a miracle the nurse didn't hear it. lol. She was a sweetie...honest. Ah well..such is my life. But I had had the best day before that point...

So thank you for ML for the escape and the time...although I am wiped out now...it was worth every single second and wouldn't have missed it for the world. 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Saturday is filled with love and happiness. Mine will be spent with ML, my sister and her little ones. It's getting close to my sisters wedding now and today is hairdresser practice day...so Auntie Red will be very busy. lol 

Namaste...

~Red~ 



Friday, 18 October 2013

Food Product Review: Rude Health MultiGrain Crackers (Vegan & GF)

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

VAST ~ Ecstasy
Willie Nelson ~ Whiskey River (Live)
Thunder ~ Dirty Dream
Stevie Nicks ~ Rooms On Fire
The Union ~ Holy Roller
Elkie Brooks ~ Don't Cry Out Loud
Stevie Ray Vaughan ~ Leave My Little Girl Alone (Live)
JET ~ Get What You Need
Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa ~ Nut Bush City Limits
Thirty Odd Foot Of Grunts ~ Things Have Got To Change
Jewel ~ Do You
Train ~ Sing Together
Neil Young ~ Harvest Moon
Dave Gahan ~ Endless

I sometimes despair at the gluten free offerings although I do admit it is better than was when I first tried to give up gluten. I shudder with nausea at the memory of the sponge bread and how awful every mouthful was. It was seriously that bad...cutting up a shower sponge and spreading jam on it would've been preferable. Yuck! OK so it's come a long way since then...lol. 

Although I am by no means fully GF I do make a conscious choice to have a gluten free option where possible. We recently invested in a bread machine and we have been experimenting with a few different vegan/GF bread mixes and recipes. Throughout all this I have discovered that I can eat, enjoy and digest Spelt. So last night the bread machine was fired up and a vegan Spelt loaf was made. I will report back on that on Saturday. Today is about GF crackers...

In my archive I have a smashing GF cracker recipe which comes from the Oh She Glows kitchen. I really enjoy them but I have to be well enough to make those. So I have been picking up the offerings from our health food shop and maybe that is what made me despair because the only ones I could get were Buckwheat or Amaranth 'air' shards. The Buckwheat variety are so crunchy that I often end up fearing for my gums...then I tried the Amaranth version and they were slightly softer but still...not enjoyable. Recently during one of our stop offs at the health food shop we found a new cracker sat next to the others.

Crikey indeed! lol

Rude Health's Multigrain Crackers at first look are reminiscent of the old style rice cakes. Well they are round..lol But they are thinner which I prefer and the taste is a good rounded flavour instead of the blandness of rice cakes. They aren't salty and they hold their shape when topped. All plus points for me...they are also slightly more filling than a rice cake which is also a good thing as with rice cakes it is sometimes like eating air. (Unless they have peanut butter and chocolate spread schmeared on them. Thanks go out to Trustworthy for introducing that concoction to me! Grrr. lol) Ahem...anyway...when I tried these I felt like pitching the boxes of the alternative crackers straight into my kitchen bin..or at least break them up and leave them out for the birds. I didn't but that is how much nicer and more satisfying these crackers are. 

Two of the many toppings I've tried so far...

My favourite toppings to date are Smooth Cashew Nut Butter with Sliced Banana and my recent find Edamame Avocado Spread with Sprouted Lentils & Beans. Delicious. lol. 

There are three other varieties in this range and they also sell a number of gluten free and vegan cereals although not all of their products are vegan! But they don't claim to be a vegan specific company. Check out Rude Healths website. Even when I am up and about full time I know I will still be buying these crackers and trying to find new and inventive ways to top them...Oh! And they are also great dipped into homemade soups...lol 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Friday is a great one...I am escaping R & R HQ for a few hours and visiting historic York whilst ML is at a meeting. Cannot wait.

~Red~