Monday, 22 December 2014

Individual Festive Pies (vegan)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Martina McBride ~ When You Are Old
Nickelback ~ Deep
The Chiffons ~ One Fine Day
Sinatra ~ Tea For Two
Stevie Ray Vaughan ~ Life Without You
Jamie Callum ~ Catch The Sun
Skin ~ Should I Stay Or Should I Go
Mr Buble ~ At This Moment
The Union ~ What Doesn't Kill You
Shakira ~ Gypsy
Fun Lovin' Criminals ~ Loco
Janiva Magness ~ Once In A While
Jack Johnson ~ Flake
Natalie Cole ~ Paper Moon

Every year before Christmas ML and I host a dinner party for our closest friends. It's not a riotous hangover inducing party...just a simple dinner shared with friends that we consider family. We eat, exchange pressies and catch up with each other....there maybe a game or two in between courses. There is always festive decorations and festive music in the background. This year I decorated the table with the Scandinavian red and white theme. Once all our friends arrive we lock the door and spend a lovely evening together...we look forward to it immensely. Then we all go off to celebrate our festive holidays as we all wish...but for one night we are all together. And the swell of emotion from the collective friendships is hard to take care of friendships like this and never take them for granted. I've lost count of how many years we have hosted these nights now but I am very happy for the day I decided to offer this tradition to our friends...very happy indeed.  OK, ok, ok...enough of the sappy stuff...Ahem! 

Keeping to a budget is often tricky for occasions like these but I do like to rise to the challenge.  Usually I like to offer a starter, main course (including three different options to cater for all attending), desserts also catering for all as with the main course and then finishing off with coffee and vegan mint chocolates. This year I needed to streamline and I also needed a menu that would accommodate my need to be seated for the making of all the courses. (Long story, doctors orders etc etc..anyway) After many runs through my cook books and online recipe facilities I sat exhausted and at a loss. I then decided that this year needed to be completely different from the past dinner parties and so then sat down with a clean sheet of paper and put my thoughts down on it. 

I decided to forgo the starter course and start with a main course that would only need the one dish that would suit everyone. And once I had made that decision I quickly found the perfect recipe...individual festive pies. Now I can take very small amounts of gluten and I know my friend Stripe can too and we decided to take the chance on them. I was drawn in by the appearance of them and when I started to read through the ingredients I was sold. There was only one ingredient that troubled me and that was the mushrooms but they are so finely chopped they melt into the other filling ingredients so I decided to risk it. I veganised them by swapping out egg wash for almond milk, butter for Pure Vegan butter, dairy cream for soya cream and finally dairy milk for some more almond milk. I also doubled the recipe to make enough pies for all invited guests plus one for the freezer for a treat on another day. 

Ordinarily I would never make gluten pastry, much less a pastry made with veggie suet but as it was a High Days and Holidays treat I decided to make it as suggested. Making the ninth pie was an informed choice so that I would make the pie shells thinner than suggested and it worked beautifully. The pies were simple to make but I confess the moulding of the pastry into the ramekins and folding over of the overlap was the patient work of ML's hands. I was busy sat rolling out pastry and cutting out pretty stars! Ahem! Although the photo below really is quite deceptive as the pastry looks quite wasn't! The reaction of our good pal Bev was quite lovely as she walked into the kitchen as we were assembling the part baked pies. She was very taken with them and as I brought them into the awaiting friends to make their tray of pies disappeared in seconds. The pastry shell was indulgent but quite light for such a rich pasty, the filling was creamy but still held varying textures from the contents and the was fabulous. Wholesome, creamy, brimming with christmas flavours and scents...we all devoured them. I served them with roasted parsnips, festive red cabbage, steamed Brussels sprouts, carrots and green beans. And would I make them again? Yes! I have jotted down plans of trying them with a gluten-free pastry very soon to have a stash of them in my freezer for other High Days and Holidays occasions. 

The other courses I hear you ask! Well I made a decision to make a light dessert course...using shot glasses and a decadent dark chocolate truffle recipe I had recently found. So I made a vegan white chocolate dip with berry skewers, a raspberry jelly with fresh raspberries floating in it and a Raw Creamy (Cashew) Lemon and Raspberry Vegan Cheesecake using a medjool date and almond base. To finish this course three very small squares of vegan dark truffles were waiting at the end. And it was a hit with was packed with flavours and extremely light on the tummy. Gratuitous dessert photo can be found below...

The final course was a table spread with a multitude of savoury crackers and biscuits, a fruit tray of fresh red and green grapes and clementines, a selection of dairy cheeses for my non-vegan friends (nervous twitch!) and for myself and my lovely pal Dev...a small vegan cheese board. I bought in a Blue, Garlic & Herb and Cranberry vegan cheeses but also made a Walnut & Cranberry Vegan Cheese Ball to add to the plate. And that is how we finished our meal...playing a game whilst nibbling on the crackers, cheeses and fruits. We were very full but very happy...

Individual Festive Pies

Individual Festive Pies  Made 9 x 250ml ramekin sized pies
(Adapted from Good Food Magazine)

400g leeks, thinly sliced
50g vegan butter (I used Pure ~ Sunflower)
200g mushrooms, finely chopped
8 pinches of ground Mace
8 pinches of fresh thyme leaves, plus 9 tiny sprigs to decorate
200g potatoes, grated
200g cooked Puy lentils 
200g cooked chestnuts, finely chopped
16 tbsp vegan cream (I used Alpro Fresh Soya Cream)
8 tbsp fresh cranberries, plus 4o to decorate
almond milk to glaze
4 tsp redcurrant jelly/jam 

For the pastry:
400g plain flour or gluten-free alternative
200g vegetable suet
16 tbsp almond milk

In a large skillet gently melt the vegan butter and then saute the leeks until completely softened. Meanwhile blend the mushrooms in a food processor until very finely chopped and add them to your cooked leeks. Turn up the heat a little and cook until the mushrooms are shedding water and remove the liquid. Add your grated potato and cook for a further 3 minutes and then add the chestnuts, puy lentils and cream. Cook for 4 minutes more and then remove from the heat. Chop down the 16 tbsps of fresh cranberries and add them to the skillet, stirring well to evenly distribute. 

To make the pastry, put the flour and the suet into a food processor with 2 tsps low-sodium salt. Blitz together until you can't see any big veggie suet lumps. Then keep the processor pulsing as you add the milk 1 tbsp at a time until the pastry comes together. 

Roll out a quarter of the pastry on a floured surface and then using one of the ramekins cut out 9 lids. From the centre of each lid cut out a star shape. Set the lids and stars to one side and cover with cling film. 

Cut 9 strips of baking parchment and using a little vegan butter stick them into the ramekins, so the ends of the strips stick outside each of side to help you remove the pies when baked. Gather the lid scraps with the remaining pastry and bring together. And divide into 9 equal pieces. Roll out each piece to a £1 coin thickness and use to line each dish leaving an overhang.  Divide the filling between the ramekins. Top each pie with the lids, roll down each overhang to meet the lid. Use fork prongs to seal the edges. The pies can now be covered and chilled for up to 24 hours before baking.

To bake: Pre-heat the oven to 200'C/400'F/GM 6. Brush each pie with a little almond milk and bake for 30-40 minutes. 

Remove the pies from the oven and gently edge around the top of the pies with a sharp knife. Then line a fresh baking sheet with parchment and lift the pies out of the dishes (BE PATIENT!) and place them on the new baking sheet. Take the pastry stars our from under the cover of cling and brush each one with almond milk and then place a small sprig of thyme onto each one. Place the pastry stars onto the baking parchment. Mix the 40 whole cranberries with the redcurrant jelly/jam and then divide it out between the star cutouts on the pies. Make sure to keep them within the cut out. Place the baking sheet back into the hot oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the pie tops and stars are crisp and golden. Top each pie with a star and serve...


And now for the desserts....Raspberry Shot Desserts. 

Raspberry Shot Desserts with Dark Chocolate Truffles hiding out at the back...light and delicious

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your weekend was a great one and your week starts well? 

I would also like to thank our friend Ann, my lovely sister and her little ones for all their help in making the food, making sure I stayed sat down as much as they could (I am not the most co-operative of patients..Ahem!) guys rock!


NB: This is not my creation as I simply adapted it from a vegetarian recipe from Good Food Mag. I thank them for sharing such a great festive treat. ~R~ 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Ultimate Free-From Fruit Cake (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Live ~ Turn My Head
Chris Cornell ~ Never Far Away
Bonnie Raitt ~ Love Me Like A Man
Madeleine Peyroux ~ Don't Wait Too Long
Nickelback ~ Rock Star
Black Stone Cherry ~ You
The Puppini Sisters ~ Bei Mir Bist Du Schon
UB40 ~ Homely Girl
The Dead Daisies ~ Talk To Me
Elvis Presley ~ (You're The) Devil In Disguise
Skin ~ Radar Love (Live)
Lenny Kravitz ~ I Belong To You
Norah Jones ~ What Am I To You?
The Zutons ~ Remember Me

I love fruit cake and I am one of those strange people who eats the cake part of a traditional wedding cake and hands off the marzipan and icing to some willing sugar junkie. And at Christmas, my family cakes were buried under a mountain of sugary stuff so I coveted my little piece of remaining fruit cake. Thankfully there has always been someone willing to help me out when it comes to celebration fruit cakes. When I became vegan the cake I missed the most was a Dundee Cake which I always bought in for the festive season. I gave up trying to make it because I always loved my Mum's offering but when I left home I could never get it just right and so turned to the mass produced kind. I loved the sticky topping that was covered in whole almonds. The dense fruit cake underneath filled with succulent dried fruits and comforting cake. Yum! To this day I have never found a vegan version and making it has always been disappointing. Ah well...such is life. 

My lovely pal Ann feeds my cook book addiction. She does...seriously. She recently bought me The Vegan Pantry and then a couple of weeks ago she bought me a bargain cook book from a discount store...Just Flavour...and Goodness by Wendy Horne. Now its not a vegan cookbook but it is meat, dairy and gluten-free. And it only cost 49p. If I never make another dish out of this cook book I will always keep it close because of today's recipe. I didn't have to veganise it at all. We flicked through the cook book and it was the recipe that jumped out at me as the first tester. I was very excited by it and at the first opportunity I bought the ingredients and got baking. Now I will confess the first attempt...I forgot the mixed spice and I left the sultanas to soak for 2 days and I had no flaked almonds left in my stocks. Yes I was so focused on buying organic and free from nasties sultanas and dates that I forgot to check my almond supplies. Forgetting the mixed spice? I blame the pain...ahem. Anyway....yesterday Ann and I made the fruit cake take 2 and all required ingredients were added to it. Phew...

Why did I bother making it again? Well simply because its sensational. The first attempt was enjoyable but very juicy! The sultanas practically popped as you bit into them but you could tell from that botched attempt that this recipe was something special. The second attempt was perfectly fruity...great textured cake and pleasantly spiced and comforting in textures. I love this cake and its not stodgy at all. And the fact that it is vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free makes me a very happy person. 

I would be a liar if I said that I will make this every year during the festive season. That would be rubbish because I will be making this all year round and my cake tin will always have this loaf stored in it. A great recipe from an interesting cook book...

The Ultimate Free-From Fruit Cake ~ check out the cute marzipan fruits!

The Ultimate Free-From Fruit Cake 
(Recipe from Just Flavour...and Goodness/Horne)  

450g mixed dried fruit (I used organic sultanas)
juice of 1 fresh orange
225g dates (I used organic Medjool dates)
175g gluten-free self raising flour (I used Glebe farm blend)
pinch of xanthan gum
1 tsp mixed spice
grated rind of one lemon
grated rind of one orange
4og ground almonds
flaked almonds for topping the cake

Soak the mixed dried fruit in the orange juice overnight. 

Line a 900g loaf tin with baking parchment and put the oven on at 160'C/GM 2/3

Put the dates into a saucepan with 275ml of water. Cook very gently until the dates are soft. 

Mash up the dates and add the soaked dried fruit, flour and xanthan gum, spice, grated rind and ground almonds. Fold together and spoon into the tin. Level the top and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours. 


Look at these adorable marzipan fruits I found.  I couldn't help myself...and I dislike marzipan intensely lol

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your upcoming weekend is a very good one and not too stress filled. I am spending time with my family and then hosting the Pals Christmas Dinner on Saturday evening. No doubt Sunday will be a major rest and recovery 


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the hard work and creation of Wendy Horne and hers alone. I thank her for sharing such a great recipe. ~R~


Monday, 15 December 2014

Rocket & Roses Festive Citrus Roasted Roots on Cavolo Kale/Cannellini Bed (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Joan Jett ~ Treadin' Water
Don Williams ~ You're My Best Fried
The Vaccines ~ We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
Ella Fitzgerald ~ I Love Paris
Fleetwood Mac ~ Little Lies
Suzi Quatro ~ Born To Run
The Dead Daisies ~ Lock n Load
Melissa Etheridge ~ Nervous
Sting ~ Message In A Bottle (live)
Santana ~ (Da Le) Yaleo
Fun Lovin' Criminals ~ Bump
Wild Cherry ~ Play That Funky Music
Thunder ~ I Hear You Knocking (Live acoustic)
Chris Cornell ~ Your Soul Today was your weekend? Mine? Oh it was busy but thankfully for all the right reasons and not the stressful festive madness although I saw plenty of people out and about who would have benefited from a shot of valium or a large pot of chamomile tea. I am always staggered by the stress that the 'holidays' causes some people. Isn't supposed to be about fun, laughter and happiness...spending time with those you love and enduring some of those you don't! Maybe it's because I cook for large amounts of people often and it is a pleasure to do so...I actually enjoy the planning and the opportunity to spoil those I love. Ok..ok...I'm a freak. Whatever floats your boat, right? Oh hush!...anyway....

The recipe today was a last minute moment of madness inspiration. I had a stash of beautiful root veggies and a bag of lush dark Cavolo kale leaves and decided to give into a craving for some comforting roasted roots. I didn't want the old faithful white potatoes as I wanted colour and sweetness to balance out the slight bitterness of the cavolo and wholesome cannellini bean. One of my favourite festive foods is the succulent citruses and I love nothing more than sitting down with a large Navel orange and peeling away the thick skin and then devouring every sweet and juicy segment. Sometimes I get so lost in this moment that I find myself peeling away the segment skin and then letting the little pearls of juice burst over my them. So it seemed natural to me to add some of that delicious citrus to the roasting dish. 

I cut the parsnips and swede on a uniform cube but cut slightly large cubes out of the sweet potatoes and the celery root. I also trimmed and cut 3 leeks into 1" slices. Once chopped I placed them into a large bowl and poured over the roasting liquid and made sure every piece was coated and then left them to soak for a few hours. I then roasted them very slowly in the oven for the latter part of the afternoon and quickly sauteed the cavolo and beans in a tiny amount of garlic oil. I must say now that this is a High Days & Holidays dish as I don't usually use these amounts of oil. But sometimes...its just necessary. 

We ate this dish as our evening meal but we also agreed it would be a great festive side dish too. The roasted celeriac root was a revelation and I greatly enjoyed the caramelised outer shell and the soft roasted center of every piece. The root vegetables were surprisingly light and the citrus flavours really lifted the traditional root vegetables to another level. The kale and bean bed was beautifully bitter and worked perfectly with the sweet veggies. When I was finished eating I didn't feel that usual post roast veggies bloating or stodginess...I felt satisfied and like I had eaten something a little decadent yet still wholesome. Give it try and let me know what you think? 

Rocket & Roses Festive Citrus Roasted Roots on Cavolo Kale/Cannellini Bed
Rocket & Roses Festive Citrus Roasted Roots on Cavolo Kale/Cannelini Bed
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

2 med/large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2" cubes
1 celeriac root, peeled and cut into 1 1/2" cubes
3 med/large parsnips, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1/2 large swede/rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
3 large leeks, trimmed well and cut into 1" slices 
1/4 cup garlic infused olive oil
juice of one large orange
juice of one small lemon
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
generous amounts of freshly grated black pepper
sprinkle of low sodium salt 

10 Cavolo kale leaves, stalks removed and sliced into 1" thick slices
1 14oz tin of cannellini beans, rinsed well and drained 
scant amount of garlic oil or water to steam saute

Place all the chopped vegetables in a large bowl and set to one side. In a jug whisk together the oil, orange juice and apple cider vinegar until emulsified. Then pour over the vegetables and using your hands toss the vegetables until every piece is coated. Then cover and leave to soak for a minimum of 1 hour. 

Pre-heat the oven to 200'C/400'F/GM  6 and make ready a large baking dish. I used an extremely large lasagna pyrex baking dish. Uncover the vegetables and season generously with the freshly cracked black pepper and a little salt. Toss one more time to evenly distribute the seasonings. Pour the vegetables into the baking dish and even them out. Cover with a layer of foil and place in the hot oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 175'C/325'F/GM 3/4 and leave to roast for 45 minutes. 

Take the vegetables out of the oven and remove the foil lid. Vigorously turn them over in the dish and place back in the oven for another 30 minutes.  Repeat one more time making sure that the well roasted pieces are moved to the bottom and the less so to the top and roast for another 30 minutes. Repeat this action one more time but placing them back into the oven for 15 minutes more. If you find they are adequately roasted them leave them to keep warm in the oven with the oven switched off. 

During the final roasting time or warming time...take a medium skillet and heat a small amount of garlic oil and place the cavolo kale and cannelini beans into the warmed skillet. Toss briefly and place the lid on tightly and leave to steam saute until the cavolo is soft and the beans warmed through. 

Place some cavolo and beans onto a plate and top with a generous mound of the roasted roots. Make sure you get every colour in there don't want to miss those flavours. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week gets off the a cracking start...


NB: This is my creation and I have no problem with you using it. I simply ask that you give credit where it is due by linking it back to this posting. Many thanks...Namaste ~R~



Thursday, 11 December 2014

Rocket & Roses Green Goodness Noodle Bowl (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Eddie Vedder ~ A Broken Heart
Stevie Ray Vaughan ~ Telephone Song
Melissa Etheridge ~ The Beating Of Your Heart
Frank Sinatra ~ I Love You
Stevie Ray Vaughan ~ Pride And Joy
Half Moon Run ~ She Wants To Know
Shakira ~ Empire
Bach: Cello Suite #4 in F Flat
ABBA ~ Money, Money, Money
Dido ~ Here With Me
Joan Jett ~ Hanky Panky
Elgar: Romance In D Minor
Jessie Ware ~ Devotion
Brandi Carlile ~In The Morrow

During my recent visit to London I made two visits to Wagamamas. I know...what a spoilt princess I am. The first visit I enjoyed a massive bowl of ramen. I enjoyed the intensely savoury stock, the just tender veggies and the rice noodles very much. The second time we went for lunch and I savoured a tiny bowl of miso soup with some pickles....oh and some dumplings. *evil chuckle* Yes I know they weren't gluten-free but it was worth the tummy ache later. Overall I devoured every dish I tried and came home with an insane craving for all things noodle and soupy which is good as they are all recipes that are quick and easy to prepare. 

This week has been a mess of hospital appointments and disappointing news so today is the first time I've been able to get back in the kitchen. At the weekend I had picked up two beautiful bundles of asparagus and when I opened the fridge today to check out the veggie status they were the first thing to shout out at me. (No I don't mean that literally! Cheeky...) And as I pulled them out, my memory was jogged at how beautiful the crisp asparagus was in my Waga's ramen soup. I wanted the asparagus to be the stars of this recipe and so chose vegetables that would sit along side them and add to the delicate flavour of the green shoots. The stock was subtly flavoured with a 'new to me' spice blend...Schichimi Tougarashi and small amounts of vegan oyster sauce, Braggs (you can sub for soy/tamari if you can..lucky ducks!) and sesame oil. The warming heat at the back of your throat came from the fresh ginger. I used brown rice vermicelli as my noodle although I was torn between using them, soba or clear rice noodles. But I was happy with my choice as they added great texture. This noodle bowl is by no means an attempt at ramen but it is a good and enjoyable meal. I enjoyed the delicate flavours and many textures and so did my pal Ann who had a bowl for her lunch too. If you are craving a healthy green bowl of goodness this upcoming festive period then you can't go wrong with this one...

Rocket & Roses Green Goodness Noodle Bow (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Green Goodness Noodle Bowl     Serves 4
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1 tsp rapeseed/canola oil
2 large bunches of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2" pieces, stems separated from
the tips..set tips to one side
1 large bunch of spring onions, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
3 bulbs of pak choy, white and green parts separated, white parts sliced, green parts
finely sliced
5 cups of hot low-sodium lite veggie stock
2 garlic cloves, micro-grated
1 1/2" piece of fresh ginger, micro-grated
4 green chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
2/3 cup frozen soy beans
1/2-1 tsp Shichimi tougarashi spice blend
sprinkle of dulse
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Braggs/soy sauce/tamari
1 tsp vegan oyster sauce 
2 layers of brown rice vermicelli
black sesame seeds to sprinkle 

In a soup pan gently heat the oil and add the spring onions and asparagus stems. Saute for 4 minutes and then add the ginger/garlic/chillies. Stir well to incorporate and cook until fragrant.  Add in the white stem of the pak choy and stir in followed by the Shichimi and dulse.

Add the hot stock and followed by the frozen soy beans, asparagus tips and sesame oil, Braggs and vegan oyster sauce. Stir well and bring to a gentle bowl. Add the brown rice vermicelli and pak choy leaves, stir well, cover and cook for 4 minutes more. 

Spoon drained veggies and noodles into a bowl and then semi-cover with the stock. Sprinkle black sesame seeds over and serve...


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week has been a good one so far...


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



Saturday, 6 December 2014

Miso Glazed Tofu Steaks with Beansprout Salad (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Lenny Kravitz ~ Stut album

Do you ever cook a recipe and deep down you are dreading eating it? No? Just me then....crikey. OK so I confess this is exactly what I was feeling whilst making today's dish. I have a tofu issue....those that read my little blog regularly will be aware of this. I struggle with the spongy texture when eating it 'slabbed' in any style. I don't mind it scrambled or blitzed and I greatly enjoy it as a Spanish Omelette ala Terry & Isa but as a stand alone ingredient I struggle. So why did I make this recipe from BBC's Vegetarian Christmas magazine? Well because I found one of the key ingredients in the supermarket and thought...what the heck? I want to find my tofu love so decided to be brave...

I had to make one major change to the recipe as it called for egg strands in the original. I decided to add some cooked gluten-free noodles which suited my tastes well. I used brown rice miso for my glaze and blimey it was an intense smell in my kitchen and I wasn't left with a lot of glaze to drizzle over the final dish..well I probably had 2 1/2 tbsp and it set like concrete! The salad is very easy to make as is its dressing. The cooking and glazing of the tofu is too. And although I enjoying making this meal...I was dreading eating it. I had even got myself convinced that I would be trying one mouthful and then I would be heating up a bowl of the soup I had made earlier in the day.  The tofu steaks sat in my oven all day taunting me...

What a fool! Because as soon as this lovely meal hit my taste buds I was a sold. The tofu steaks had absorbed the glaze perfectly and had even firmed up and I loved the texture. The beansprout salad was refreshing compared to the smokiness of the tofu steaks, the noodles gave it a stability that I fear it would have lacked without. And the ingredient that started it all...the rare to find...pea shoots were a delight. I'm so happy I tried this recipe and it has inspired me to keep trying different ways of cooking the demon white stuff. 

Right I am away to be a happy Auntie as we have our nieces and nephew here for the weekend. Happy, happy days....
Miso Glazed Tofu Steaks with Beansprout Salad

Miso-glazed Tofu Steaks with Beansprout Salad    Serves 4
(Adapted from BBC Vegetarian Christmas Magazine)

For the beansprout salad:
300g/11oz beansprouts
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced into thin strips (I used yellow)
100g/4oz red radishes (about 12) trimmed and quartered
2 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
75g pack of peas shoots
50g roasted peanuts, roughly chopped to serve

For the dressing:
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp reduced salt soy sauce (I used Brags!)
1 tbsp caster sugar (I used a stevia blend)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cm/ 1/2" piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
3 tbsp sunflower oil (I used only 2)

For the glazed tofu:
400g/14oz pack of fresh firm tofu
1 tbsp miso paste (I used brown rice miso)
150ml/ 1/4pt mirin
75ml/2 1/2 fl oz reduced salt soy sauce (I used Brags)

Cooked gluten-free noodles for however many you are cooking for..

Prepare the beansprout salad. Put the beansprouts in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 2 minutes then drain well and leave to cool. When cooled combine with the pepper, radishes and spring onion. 

To make the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients except the oil until the sugar has dissolves. Trickle in the oil slowly whilst whisking to emulsify. Stir the dressing through the beansprout mixture and chill until ready to serve. Stirring occasionally. 

Drain the tofu, wrap the whole block in kitchen towel, and press gently to absorb all the moisture. Unwrap and cut in half across the middle, then in half again diagonally, to create four triangles.

To prepare the tofu glaze, place the miso in a cup and add 2 tbsp of boiling water. Whisk until completely smooth. Pour into a pan that the tofu will fight into a single layer. Add the mirin and soy sauce, stir and bring to a boil. Add the tofu to the sauce and simmer for 15 minutes, carefully turning the tofu half through. 

Heat the oven to 220'C/GM 7/425'F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Carefully lift the tofu from the sauce and place on the tray. Cook in the oven for 15minutes, then turn off the oven and then leave the tofu in to keep warm. Meanwhile, to thicken the glaze, raise the heat to a medium boil, stir occasionally, until syrupy. Set aside. 

When ready to serve remove the tofu from the oven and spoon a bit of glaze over the top of each piece, spreading with the back of a spoon. (If the glaze has cooled completely and is too thick, reheat slightly until spoonable) Reserve any remaining glaze to finish. (I only had a tiny amount of glaze...just saying ~R~) 

To assemble, arrange the beansprout salad on a plate. (If using noodle add them to the salad here ~R~) Place the tofu steaks on top of the salad and scatter with peanuts and pea shoots. Finish with a drizzle of of the glaze. Serve..


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your weekend is a happy one....


NB: This is not my creation and therefore take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the adapted recipe from BBC Vegetarian Christmas magazine. I thank them for sharing such a great recipe. ~R~

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Quinoa & Red Rice Salad with Cashew Nuts & Citrus Ginger Dressing (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Jackson 5 ~ I Want You Back
Selena ~ Dreaming Of You
Marvin Gaye ~ Thats The Way Love Is
Siouxsie & The Banshees ~ The Killing Jar
Radiohead ~ Creep
Black Stone Cherry ~ Hell And High Water
Sinatra ~ The Lady Is A Tramp
George Michael ~ Cowboys And Angels
Garbage ~ Fix Me Now
Shania Twain ~ Thank You Baby!
Kelis ~ Milkshake
Beverley Knight ~ Keep This Fire Burning
Nickelback ~ Leader Of Men
Evanescence ~ My Heart Is Broken

Well you can't escape it...the festive season is coming. And yes it is all over the top and blown out of all proportion. It saddens me watching young parents desperately trying to keep up with each other by trying to buy everything their children demand. So I step back from it all the best I can. I am by no means a Grinch...I do love many aspects of the festive season. I look forward to the chance of spending extra time with those I love. I get great pleasure from cooking for them all..I know, I's some people idea of hell. But for me its a pure pleasure and I like to purchase the vegetarian magazines around this time of  December. For no other reason than curiosity....I like to sit with a pot of spiced apple chamomile tea and take my time reading every article and recipe. Yes, I do get frustrated that most of the recipes are laden in dairy cheese and eggs. But I love a challenge and a lot of the time I get busy veganising the recipes. And then sometimes...just sometimes...there is a recipe that is naturally vegan and I can just make it straight away. Like today's recipe....

......I bought my copy of BBC Vegetarian Christmas Magazine at Kings Cross Station as we were about to board our train home after our lovely weekend in London. Whilst hoards were queueing up to have their photos taken at Harry Potters 9 3/4 Platform...I was in the news agent next door with my head between the covers of my magazine. Well technically their magazine because I hadn't bought it at that point. Ooops! After my purchase was made. we made our way to our settled into our plush seats and after a lovely man brought me a chamomile tea I got lost in the pages. There were many recipes that looked great and 96% of them were veggie as opposed to vegan but this salad stood out from the rest. It was vegan, it was packed with some of my favourite ingredients but it was most definitely what I call and would label as a High Days & Holidays recipes. There is a high portion of oil in it which ordinarily would put me off but as I am cooking for myself and Ann right now I decided to give it try....with reduced amounts of oil. 

Now it would be safe to say this salad takes work but I would happily put in the effort for such a tasty dish. Set amongst a table of festive fare I would reach for it every time. I enjoyed making every stage of it and felt a great sense of achievement when I gave it a final stir before it went in the fridge until lunch time. And when I took my first tasting I felt slightly emotional as the flavours burst through filling my senses with much loved memories of Christmas past. It is a deeply satisfying salad but its the citrus dressing that pulls it all together. The quinoa and red rice are full of body, the roasted red onions are comforting, the slight sharpness of the spring onion were surprisingly welcome (not a raw onion fan but in this I loved it! Who knew?..), the warmth of the ginger in the dressing was pleasing and then the citrus from the orange lifted each mouthful to a new level. Can you tell I loved this salad? And it is quite a generous amount so we a portion of lunch, my Mum took home a portion with her and there is still a sizeable container filled with the leftovers. But due to the high oil content its most definitely a High Days & Holidays salad but something special to look forward to on those special festive days. If I make no other recipe from the magazine it would still be worth every penny it cost. 

Quinoa & Red Rice Salad with Cashew Nuts & Citrus Ginger Dressing

Quinoa & Red Rice Salad with Cashew Nuts & Citrus Ginger Dressing    Serves 6
(Recipe from BBC Vegetarian Christmas Magazine)

2 medium red onions, peeled and cut into wedges, root intact
3 tbsp olive oil (I used 1.5 tbsp)
1 tsp brown sugar (I used a brown sugar/stevia blend)

60g cashew nuts
200g quinoa 
200g red cargo rice (Camargue)
100g raisins (I left these out)
2 handfuls of rocket (argula)
4 spring onions, thinly sliced

For the dressing:
5 tbsp olive oil (I used 2.5 tbsp)
1 tbsp sesame oil
freshly squeezed juice and zest from one orange
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
5cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely grated

Heat the oven to 325'F/170'C/GM 3. Put the onions wedges onto a baking sheet and drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with brown sugar and season well with salt and black pepper. Roast in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes, until meltingly soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. 

Meanwhile, scatter the cashew nuts on a separate baking sheet and toast in the same oven as the onion for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Once you have roasted the cashew nuts, spread the quinoa evenly on another baking sheet and toast in the same oven for 10 minutes. 

Set two saucepans with salted water over a a medium heat and bring to the boil.  Add the red rice to one pan and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the toasted quinoa to the other pan and simmer for 9 minutes. Drain off the water in both pans using a fine, mesh sieve. Transfer the quinoa and rice to a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.

To make the citrus dressing, mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, using a whisk to emulsify the oils with the orange juice and vinegar. Pour the dressing into the bowl with the rice and quinoa. Add the roasted red onions, toasted cashew nuts, raisins, rocket, and spring onions. Season with salt and pepper and serve. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week has had moments of laughter...


NB: This is not my creation and therefore take no credit for it whatsover. It is the work of BBC Vegetarian Christmas magazine. I thank them for sharing such a great recipe. ~R~   

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Rocket & Roses Creamy Celeriac & Sunflower Soup (vegan, gluten-free, LF)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Halestorm ~ Beautiful With You
Meredith Brooks ~ Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)
Them Crooked Vultures ~ Warsaw Or The First Breath You Take After You Give Up
The Stranglers ~ European Female
Shakira ~ Donde Estas Corazon
Thunder ~ She's So Fine (Live at Donnington - Monsters of Rock)
Depeche Mode ~ Shake The Disease 
Chely Wright ~ Not As In Love
Clare Teal ~ All The Things You Are
Tina Dico ~ In The Red
Bruce Springsteen ~ Hungry Heart 
Van Morrison ~ Have I Told You Lately?
Beth Hart ~ Love Thing
No Doubt ~ Running 

Wow...London was a trip! My roots are firmly based in London (although I was born in Devon) but I always forget how much I love the place until I go back...and then I fall in love with it all over again. However, I really dislike the traffic or maybe I'm just getting older. We had a packed four days planned but getting to and from places took so long we only got to do the 'big' things. Our hotel was basic but clean and comfortable. The Donmar's Henry IV was amazing and the all female cast rocked the performance particularly the actress Ashley McGuire who played Falstaff. She had me crying with laughter one moment then shrinking back in fear during a latter scene. We came out of that performance knowing we had witnessed something special. Saturdays big thing was at the Shepherds Bush Empire to see Tina Dico in concert and it was quite frankly...awesome. I know some hate that word but I don't adequately describes the evening. We even got to see Bond Streets Christmas lights on the way back to the hotel afterwards. On Sunday we took a stroll to the British Museum to view the Ancient Lives, New Discoveries exhibit. I was completely fascinated with the eight lives they had pieced together and was surprised by how emotional I became. We also enjoyed a stroll around Soho and Carnaby Street...well you just have too. Sadly all this fun had an impact on my body so rest is on the cards for the next few days...well...when I've achieved some minimal cooking time. We also have our good friend Ann staying with us whilst she heals after some surgery so its Ouches and Expletive Therapy for the next week or so. It's helps speed up healing...true does laughter and thankfully we do a lot of that too. 

So to today's recipe...and I know, I know!'s another soup recipe. But I do eat a lot of soup and especially so, when the days are colder and my kitchen time is limited. I am always floored by how a few simple ingredients can make a great tasting and satisfying meal. I wanted to make a nutritious and comforting soup for myself and Ann for lunch. I had a 1kg celeriac root begging to be used and that was that! 20 minutes later...Ann was slowly making her way through a serving. The flavours are deeply savoury with a cleanness to them. I'm not usually a pureed soup fan but it felt right to blend the veggies, beans and stock together to make a thickly delicious soup. Ann loved it...I loved it and the good news is we can enjoy it again tomorrow too! This makes four thick portions of soup or you could add a little more stock or water to thin it down to make servings for 6-8. The choice, as always, is entirely yours folks. 

Rocket & Roses Celeriac & Sunflower Soup (vegan, gluten-free & LF)

Rocket & Roses Celeriac & Sunflower Soup    Serves 4
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1 tsp rapeseed/canola oil or water to steam saute
1 med/lg white onion, finely chopped
2" piece of fresh ginger root, micro-grated with juice
3 cloves garlic, micro-grated
1 14oz tin of Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 kg celeriac root, peeled and cubed 
3 1/2 cups hot low sodium veggie stock or water, plus extra if you wish to thin
1 heaped tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
small handful of raw sunflower seeds, plus extra for topping (optional)

In a soup pan gently heat the oil and add the onions, garlic and ginger. Over a low heat, cover and cook the onion mix until it has softened. Approx 5 minutes..stirring often to prevent sticking. 

Add the celeriac and beans and stir well to coat in the onion mixture and leave to cook for 2 minutes, stirring once. 

Add the stock, parsley, lemon juice and season generously with freshly cracked black pepper and a pinch of low sodium salt. (Latter is optional) Stir well and cover and bring to a boil, stir in the sunflower seeds, reduce the heat to a simmer and replace the lid. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the celeriac is tender when tested. Remove from the heat and blend until smooth and creamy. Adding more hot stock/water to the soup if you want a thinner soup. Serve...


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your weekend was a good one and your week has started well...


NB: This is my creation and I have no problem with you using the recipe or sharing it. I only ask you give credit where it's due via links back to this posting. Many thanks...~R~  


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Rocket & Roses Warming Leek, Carrot & Ginger Soup (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Florence & The Machine ~ If Only For Tonight
Joan Jett ~ I Hate Myself For Loving You
Satie: Nocturnes - 1. Dous Et Calme
Stone Sour ~ Inhale
Beth Rowley ~ Almost Persuaded
Deacon Blue ~ Cover From The Sky
Maroon 5 ~ I Can't Lie
Faith No More ~ Everything's Ruined
Doris Day ~ Sentimental Journey
Texas Hippie Coalition ~ Pissed Off And Mad About It
The Eagles ~ The Last Resort
Tina Dico ~ Boys And Girls
Mary Chapin Carpenter ~ Shut Up And Kiss Me
Black Wolf ~ Keep On Moving

It's a very hectic week here at R&R HQ with operations happening, TLC needed in great quantities and then a departure for a weekend trip to London as the culmination of ML's birthday celebrations. 

Our trip to London has been planned for some time and we have been looking forward to it very much. One of ML's favourite actresses is Harriet Walter and she is starring in Henry IV at the Donmar Warehouse and we have tickets to see the play. We have arrangements to meet up with ML's folks for lunch on the Saturday and then that evening we have more tickets but this time for a gig to see one of our favourite singer/songwriters...the extremely talented Ms Tina Dico who will be playing at the Shepherds Bush Empire. Sunday will be a day of resting and pootling around London and the great museums it has to offer and to be honest Monday will be more of the same until we catch our train back home. Good times...

So that's us all caught up...and now onto today's recipe. Originally I was going to give you a recipe for a recent creation which was a Hot/Cold Salad but the weather is dreadfully grey and drizzly right now...and not to mention cold. Yep..I said cold...who knew England could be cold! Only kidding its just I don't usually feel the cold due to my meds but even I have felt it this week. When it gets to this time of year I crave soups...but they have to be homemade. 

Armed with an armful of vegetables I got prepping and chopping veggies that my body was craving. I wanted a thick based soup with some basic vegetables which was thickened by red lentils with a slight warming heat from freshly grated ginger and a small amount of garam masala. This is why I love homemade soups...with just a few basic ingredients you can have a steaming bowl of goodness in 20 minutes. No matter how much the pre-made, store bought soups say they are good for you..there will always be hidden nasties. And with this soup you have a satisfying, warming bowl of wholesome goodness that is comforting without all the fats, salts and sugars of a store bought one. As my littlest nice Layla would say...Boom baby! 

Rocket & Roses Warming Leek, Carrot & Ginger Soup

Rocket & Roses Warming Leek, Carrot & Ginger Soup     Serves 4-6
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1 tsp coconut oil
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and sliced into 1" pieces
4 med/large carrots, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
3 leeks, trimmed and sliced into 1" chunks
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp micro-grated fresh ginger with juices
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
2 litres veggie stock plus extra water if needed
1/2 tsp garam masala 
freshly ground black pepper
freshly ground Himalayan salt - optional

In a large soup pan gently heat the coconut oil and then add the leeks, celery and carrots and stir well to coat with the oil. Cook for about 5 mins stirring often. Add the garlic and ginger and stir in followed by the red lentils. Stirring for 1 minute. Pour over the veggie stock and season with black pepper and (if using) the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. 

Check make sure the carrots are cooked and then stir in the garam masala. Scoop out 2 cups of the soup and blitz until smooth. Add back to the rest of the simmering soup. Stir well. Remove from the heat and serve. 


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


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