Friday, 30 May 2014

Caleb's Spring Vegetable Stir-Fry with Lemon Ginger Sauce (vegan & gluten free)

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Tchaikovsky ~ Francessa De Rimini 

Well as the saying goes...what goes up...must come down! And that I certainly did...I lost Wednesday and Thursday this week to the pain. I make no excuses for it because when it gets that bad I have no other option but to simply exist. Today is a little better and I am hopeful it will keep going that way. This morning I was able to make a hastily thrown together savoury pancake, packed with courgette and broccoli, for my breakfast. And through sheer bloody mindedness I made today's posting recipe for my evening meal. Thankfully Caleb's recipe is very quick to make and before my internal batteries died again I had a pan of beautifully cooked spring vegetables in a divine smelling sauce. 

I found this recipe by chance when checking out a Pin posted recipe from Caleb's website I really enjoyed my visit to the website and when this recipe popped up I knew I had to print it off for testing out. For the original recipe with photo instructions simply click here...

This sauce recipe spoke to me because it wasn't laden with vinegars which I am trying to avoid. And I was intrigued by the cooking method. As I only had a few pencil thin asparagus at hand I added some beautiful green beans to help bulk it out. And the only other adaption was that I used Braggs Liquid Animos instead of Tamari or Soy Sauce. The making of this zesty and interesting dish was very simple. The hardest part for me was juicing a bag of very stubborn lemons...6 lemons to make 4 tbsps of fresh juice! lol. From prepping my sauce and veggies to completed cooking time took me all of 15 minutes. I know that I am a speedy chopper but believe I am not! As the sauce thickened in my wok my veggies were cooked to a perfect tender-crisp texture. I had a sample test serving once it was cooked and I will be enjoying some more tonight with my trusty brown rice. I really enjoyed the crisp spring veggies in their lemon fresh but slightly savoury sauce. What a great recipe...thanks to all at

Spring Vegetable Stir Fry with Lemon Ginger Sauce

Spring Vegetable Stir Fry with Lemon Ginger Sauce  Serves 4
(Recipe by

For the Lemon Ginger Sauce:

1/2 cup low sodium veggie stock
2 tbsp tamari/soy/Braggs
2 tbsp water 
1 tsp sesame oil
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp cornstarch/flour

For the Stir Fry:

1 tbsp olive oil 
1 large bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 2" pieces
2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
2 spring onions, cut into 2" pieces
1 large handful of green beans, trimmed, cut into 2" pieces
1 (8oz) can water chestnuts, drained
salt and black pepper to taste

rice or quinoa (Caleb's chosen accompaniment) 

First, make the Lemon Ginger Sauce. In a small bowl whisk together broth, tamari, water, sesame oil, lemon juice, ginger and garlic. Whisk in the cornflour/starch, making sure there are no lumps. 

In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil over a high heat. Add in the asparagus, peas, spring onions and water chestnuts. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and stir fry until the vegetables are tender, but still crisp, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. The sauce will thicken as the stir fry cools.

Serve the stir fry over quinoa or rice, if desired. You can also eat the stir fry plain. 


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


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore I take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the hard work and creation of Caleb @ and his alone. I send thanks out for sharing such a great recipe. ~R~


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Beach Picnic: New Potato Salad with Olives & Capers and Tofu Stuffing Quiche (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Muse ~ play list on iPod

What a beautiful day I had yesterday and the best part of it was that I shared it with good friends. It was a belated birthday day out for Ann and everyone showed up to spend the day at Mappleton Beach. We arrived late morning and set up camp on the somewhat stoney sands. The surf was a spectacular sight and with every crash I felt refreshed. After a while some beach games were played and sadly I wasn't up to joining in but watching the gang throwing themselves about with great abandon made me laugh often. There was one injury when ML rugby tackled Ann to the ground...only problem they weren't playing rugby...they were playing cricket! lol There was blood and everything. We stayed on the beach for 7 hours and every second was a joy...healing waves, the 'friends family' and some of the four legged family...what was there not to like. 

We packed our own picnics and I took the chance to try out two recipes I have been wanting to try for a while. I had been craving a potato salad for the last couple of weeks...which is odd because in my vegetarian days I loathed the mayo laden cold potato offerings. Since going vegan and buying Joanne Stepaniak's great cookbook Vegan Deli I have learnt that not all potato salads have to be smothered in mayo...and the potatoes are not meant to be half cooked and crunchy. Since then I've made her Deli Potato Salad with a tofu deli dressing and celery was an extremely interesting potato salad with many layers of flavour. Also I've tried her Potato Salad with Sesame-Tarragon Dressing which ML when nuts Stepaniak's Vinaigrette Potato Salad blew my mind and introduced me to non-creamy potato salads. But the one recipe I have been coveting is the New Potato Salad with Olives and Capers. I wasn't disappointed although I didn't use all the dressing suggested...I halved it and it still left a beautiful dressing coating with a good zesty hit and when combined with the earthiness of the new potatoes, black olive and capers...I fell in foodie love. Sadly it's very much a High Days and Holidays dish because of the use of olive oil and white potatoes but what a delicious treat to look forward to on those days. I gave it a rating of 10/10. 

The second of the two recipes I'm sharing with you today is one I found online at which is a blog that I have followed and enjoyed for some time now.  For Ashley's original posting with a great photo stage by stage recipe, please simply click here. This recipe caught my eye because it uses many of my favourite ingredients and perversely I wanted to make it because I hate 'stuffing'...always have. The smell of Paxo stuffing being made can leave me running from the house. I 'thought' I didn't like sage for years until I found out it's dried sage I can't eat but fresh sage..I just love. Paxo dried stuffing mix is horrid stuff in my humble opinion but Ashley's recipe coaxed me in and before I knew it I was printing off the recipe. I was lucky to have three of my regular taste testers with me yesterday so I knew it would be perfect to make and take to the beach. I made the recipe as suggested and didn't need to alter anything. I did however make one 7/8" quiche and one smaller one to freeze and enjoy later. Being the only one eating this, aside from my three testers there is only so much one person can eat of a full 9" matter how delicious. lol. This recipe is extremely easy to make. The crust is simple to put together and smells divine once you add in the fresh herbs. The two filling recipes are a matter of blitzing the tofu mix...and sauteing the veggie mix and then combining the two, followed by 30 minutes of oven time. Simple. The results are a beautiful to the eye quiche. The flavours are delicate but not lacking in any way. The crust is ultimately comforting and slightly crumbly but I loved that as did the others. The filling is creamy, savoury and also a little sweet but all blend perfectly. I loved this quiche. As did the willing testers being Dev, Bev and Ann. I will make this often even if I alter the filling from time to time and it was so good to enjoy a gluten-free vegan crust without all the fuss that comes with GF baking. Thanks to Ashley from creating this quiche and sharing it with us all. 

My beach picnic worked perfectly for me...I enjoyed the potato salad and quiche. They worked well together and wasn't heavy on the tum at all. At the hottest part of the day I felt refreshed by the crunchy veggies with the spiced hummus. When I felt my energy dip later in the day I enjoyed a crisp red apple and tangerine...for me this is my perfect picnic food. Just lovely....

Vegan & Gluten Free Beach Picnic Perfection

New Potato Salad with Olives and Capers   Serves 6
(Recipe from Vegan Deli/Stepaniak)

1 lb new potatoes 
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
20 pitted olives, chopped (I used black)
2 tbsp capers, rinsed and squeezed
4-6 spring onions, thinly sliced (I used 2 med-large)   

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender. Cut in half, if small, or quarters, if large.

Dress the potatoes with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss gently. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve warm or thoroughly chilled. 

NB: I barely used half of the lemon/oil dressing and that was plenty but obviously the choice is yours folks. ~R~ 

Ashley's Tofu Stuffing Quiche  Makes one 9" quiche
(Recipe from  

For the crust:

1 cup ground gluten-free rolled oats, ground nearly to flour consistency 
3/4 cup almond meal 
1/3 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1 1/4 tsp finely chopped sage
1/2 tsp chopped thyme
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
3 tbsp unrefined coconut oil, softened
2 tbsp tahini, or natural almond butter
1-3 tbsp ice cold water

For the quiche:

1 cup sliced leeks, rinsed well
2/3 cup chopped celery, halve the stalk then chop
1/3 cup chopped carrot, halve the carrot then chop
2 tsp finely chopped sage
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp chopped thyme
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1 14oz block firm tofu, drained, pressed and patted dry
2 tbsp olive oil
1/8-1/4 tsp turmeric
3 cups baby spinach, chopped

Crust directions: Preheat the oven to 400'F/200'C/GM 6 and grease a 9" pie/tart tin. Mix the ground oats, almond meal, rolled oats, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add in the coconut oil, tahini and 1 tbsp of ice cold water. Mix thoroughly with both hands until the mixture starts to hold together when squeezed. Add 1-2 tbsp more of water if needed to help hold together. 

Press the mixture firmly into the pan starting at the centre and work your way out, pushing the dough about 1" up the side of the pan. Firmly pack the dough all the way around the sides and on the top edge. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just starting to brown. Let cool. 

Quiche directions: Turn down the oven to 375'F/190'C/GM 5. Lightly oil a saute pan and place over a medium heat. Once hot add the leeks and 1/4 tsp salt and pepper and stir frequently for about 2 minutes. Add in the celery and carrot and stir frequently for another 6-8 minutes until just starting to soften. Stir in the sage, garlic, and thyme and let cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat. 

Place the tofu, olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt and pepper, and turmeric into your food processor. Turn on and process until smooth, scraping the side of the bowl as needed. Empty into a mixing bowl and stir in the leek mixture. Stir in the spinach and then scoop the mixture into the crust. Gently and evenly spread the mixture to the edges. Place in the oven uncovered for 32-38 minutes, until the tofu feels set and the crust is golden brown. Let cool 10-15 minutes then slice with a sharp knife and remove each slice with a thin spatula. 

Serve and enjoy folks....

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your weekend was a great one...

When taking the photos, two of my favourite little ladies in the whole world was around to 'help' set everything up and then insist on being in one of the photos. So..Beach Picnic with little Noo and little Layla assisting...ahem! 

Toothless cheeky grins..if only you could hear the

~Red~ aka proud Auntie of a bunch of crazy kids...beach addict...

NB: Neither of these recipes are mine and therefore I take no credit for them whatsoever. The Potato Salad is the hard work and creation of Joanne Stepaniak and hers alone. The tofu quiche is the hard work and creation of Ashley @ and hers alone. I do however thank them both for such great recipes...~R~ 

Friday, 23 May 2014

Veggie & Bean Tacos (vegan & gluten free)

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

World Music ~ Mexican playlist on iPod 

When things are on my mind or even if it's just an unexpectedly gloomy English day outside I like to make food that is colourful. Because a meal that is full in colour brings a smile to my face and as I am practising living in the moment it really helps. I remember how lucky I am to have food in my kitchen, stocks and fridge to nourish my body and mind. Yesterday started with my body overloaded with pain and I was unable to do my yoga and that hurt my mind too. I spent the morning feeling stiff and cranky and when I looked out of the window it wasn't much better. The sky was covered with dark clouds and rain fell whenever it felt like it. I!..complaining about the rain. This rain lover was shocked to her very When I realised I wasn't embracing my beloved droplets I decided to get in the kitchen, no matter how much it hurt, and make something fun. 

For me tacos remind me of my time in the US and sitting on the porch of my then partners house and delighting in the fun of stuffing the taco shells with the yummy fillings and then the madness of trying to eat them without getting covered in taco guts. lol. Is it even possible to eat a taco without that outcome? I had a great packet of pre-made taco shells which made things a lot easier as I am still at war with making my own homemade corn tortillas...I will win..grrrr. I had a beautiful crispy iceberg lettuce sat in the fridge and a quick scan through the stocks confirmed I had everything I needed to make the filling. I got everything set up on the kitchen counter...flicked on my World Music Mexican play list on my iPod and got cooking.

My pre-made tacos shells have two ingredients...cornflour and sunflower oil. No hidden nastiness so I could live with a little sunflower oil. My base is always shredded iceberg lettuce as I really enjoy its refreshing crunchiness. But I confess as I served them up I caved in to the craving for a spicy vegan cheese smattered over them. It didn't help that I knew I had a packet of Pepperjack Style Soy Cheese in the fridge so a tiny piece was cut off and grated over. What a rebel I was the is basically a recipe I have made many times over the years and is a little different every time but this posting is as I made it yesterday and I can report it was so very tasty. Right taco time...

Veggie & Bean Tacos ~ happy, happy food

Veggie & Bean Tacos   Makes 6 tacos

6 small taco shells
1/2 small head of iceberg, thinly sliced 
1oz piece of vegan Pepperjack style soy cheese 


1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 large onion, finely diced 
3 garlic cloves, micro-grated 
2 green chillies, semi-seeded, finely chopped 
1/2 yellow bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
3 med vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled and chopped 
1 large green cabbage leaf, de-stalked and finely sliced 
1 tbsp tomato puree 
1/2 14oz tin Pinto beans, rinsed and drained 
1 oz TVP granules 
5 fl oz veggie stock 
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley 
freshly cracked black pepper to season to taste (I use a lot!) 

In a skillet heat the coconut oil gently and toss in the onion, garlic, chillies, peppers and cook until the onions are translucent and soft. Add in the tomatoes, cabbage, puree, TVP, stock and parsley. Stir well and then season with the black pepper. Stir once more and bring the mixture to a boil, simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes. Toss in the pinto beans and stir in and cook with the lid off for 5-10 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat to settle.

To assemble: 

Warm the tacos in the microwave for 1 minute. As the filling cools a little in the skillet layer the bottom of the shells with lettuce and then spoon in the cooked filling. Place the tacos on the serving dish and scatter with the grated vegan cheese. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over the filling as you eat them or in a bottle of cooled vegan beer. Have fun...


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


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore take no credit for it. It is a heavily adapted recipe from the past and I would give credit to the person who it originated from but I really don't know who it is. ~R~

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Spicy Bean Burgers with Tomato Sauce (V, GF, No Added Fat)

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Sweet ~ Poppa Joe 
Freemasons ~ Uninvited (club mix)
Rita Ora ~ I Will Never Let You Down
Ali Campbell ~ Honky Tonk Woman
Tina Dico ~ Paper Thin
Todd Rundgron ~ Rock Love 
Garbage ~ Metal Heart
Gossip ~ Listen Up!
Cory Lee ~ The Naughty Song
Tanita Tikaram ~ Valentine Heart
Don Henley ~ Everyone Knows
VAST ~ Candle 
Maroon 5 ~ Tickets
Alanis Morrisette ~ You Outta Know

It's dull and dark skied here in my little part of England today so getting any kind of decent photos is impossible which means I can't post the veggie tacos recipe I have been busy cooking this morning. Instead I bring a very basic veggie burger recipe and accompanying sauce. Now if your want in a veggie burger is for it to be very simple to make and if you are not really bothered by the look of the finished results as it gets covered with a tomato sauce...then this is the recipe for you. It is also fat free apart from the naturally occurring fats in the beans used. They burgers are baked in the oven and go no where near added fats or skillets. The tomato sauce is very quick off some onions then added the other ingredients and allowing it to simmer whilst you make the burgers. Easy, easy, easy. Am I selling these little things to you? No? Oh dear...ok..well you get four good sized burgers from the mix...they are incredibly cheap to make as is the combined recipes..and they aren't  mouth blistering in spiciness as the only heat comes from 1/2 tsp ground coriander but there is a little hit from it. I resisted the temptation of throwing in more spices because it was my first time making this recipe. It was a recipe I found in a much used and abused cookbook in my collection...Roses Elliot's Low Fat, Low Sugar. Why I haven't tried these burgers before I have no idea but I am glad I have now. 

As said above they won't win any foodie awards for appearance and if you can get past the whiteness of them you are in for a lovely meal. I took Elliot's advice and served mine with her tomato sauce also from the same cookbook. I couldn't imagine then staying together enough to be served in a GF bun but they would go very nicely in a pita bread..if only I could find a GF, Yeast Free, Vegan recipe for some. I always have all of the ingredients in my stocks so they are a very cheap and easy staple recipe. I hope you give them a chance too...

RE's Spicy Bean Burger with Tomato Sauce (See, so white! lol)

Spicy Bean Burgers with Tomato Sauce   Serves 4
(Recipes from Low Fat, Low Sugar/Elliot)

1 onion, finely chopped 
1 small carrot, grated
1/2 red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp ground coriander 
425g/15oz can of kidney beans (I used pinto/borlotti)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tbsp brown rice flour for coating

Preheat the oven to 200'C/400'F/GM 6. 

Put the onion, carrot and pepper into a non-stick pan and cook, without any additional fat or liquid, for 6-7 minutes, until they are flecked with brown, stirring often to prevent sticking. Stir in the garlic and coriander and cook for a further minute, then remove from the heat. Mash the beans and add to the vegetable mixture with some salt and freshly cracked black pepper. 

Spread the rice flour out on a flat plate or board. Divide the red bean mixture into 4 equal pieces, place on the rice flour and form into flat burgers, pressing them well and making sure they're coated all over with the rice flour. Put them on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, turning them over after 15 minutes, to cook both side. Serve hot or warm. 

Tomato Sauce  Serves 4

1 onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
425g/15 oz can tomatoes in juice
salt and freshly grated black pepper

Put the onion into a non-stick pan, cover and cook gently for about 7 minutes, until the onion is tender and lightly browned, stirring from time to time. Add the garlic and cook for a few seconds. Add the tomatoes, chopping them up a bit in the pan with the spoon. Bring to the boil and leave to boil gently, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture is thick. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. 


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


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the hard work and creation of Rose Elliot and hers alone. I do send out thanks for such a great cookbook. ~R~  

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Rocket & Roses Ginger & Asparagus Buckwheat Breakfast Pancake (V & GF)

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Split Enz ~ I Got You
VAST ~ Tattoo Of Her Name
Melissa Etheridge ~ This War Is Over
VAST ~ Pretty When You Cry
Half Moon Run ~ Full Circle 
The Virginmarys ~ Bang Bang Bang
Rudimental ~ Right Here
Missy Higgins ~ Sweet Arms Of A Tune 
VAST ~ Temptation
Nickelback ~ This Means War
JET ~ Cold Hard Bitch
Buckcherry ~ The Truth
INXS ~ Never Tear Us Apart 
Meredith Brooks ~ Watched You Fail

My day at the beach was lovely...however even smothered in factor 50 I am still a little red but thankfully not sore because I would've been very cross with myself. It was good to escape Helltown and sit on the beach and feel the healing vibes and all too soon our time was up and we had to pack up and head home. But I was left with a re-energised feeling and able to deal with all the changes that are happening to and around me. It was really good to just spend some time with Ann without us packing boxes and the like, although I felt a little guilty when I got home and ML had been clearly stuck in airless meeting rooms all day. I was reassured that no guilt was necessary and reminded that we are all meeting up for another beach day on Monday so everyone will be able to reap the beach healing..and there may even be some Softball action going Can't wait. 

As my time was a little rushed yesterday morning I had to make a very quick breakfast. Gone are the days when I could hastily eat a bowl of cereal on these occasions..too many preservatives, gluten and sugars in them even the 'healthy' kind. I've perfected the art of making and cooking a single serving buckwheat pancake breakfast in under 10 minutes. Not too shabby, eh? I had a bunch of thin asparagus in the fridge and had decided in the shower that this was going to be the base of my breakfast. Odd thing to think of in the shower I My throat was feeling a little sore (can't wait for my hospital appt on Friday) so was in great need a ginger boost and that was exactly what I gave myself. I loved the freshness of the tender-crisp asparagus and the comforting heat from the ginger and wholesome fullness of the buckwheat pancake. This is my now speedy breakfast whilst the asparagus is in season...who knew..I've finally found my asparagus love. 

Rocket & Roses Ginger & Asparagus Buckwheat Breakfast Pancake

R&R Ginger & Asparagus Buckwheat Breakfast Pancake     Serves 1
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 heaped 1/4 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/2 tbsp chia egg 
(Egg mix: 1 tbsp chia + 3 tbsp water. Mix. After 15 mins scoop out your 1.2 tbsp and then store the remaining egg in the fridge) 
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp cold water 

Mix the dry ingredients together and then whisk in the water until smooth. Then add the chia egg and beat in. Set to one side. 

1 tsp coconut oil
8 thin asparagus, woody end removed, tips cut off and put to the side, cut into 1" pieces
2" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and then micro grated

In a small omelette pan add the oil, ginger and stalk pieces and over a gentle heat leave to cook, stirring once to evenly coat the stalks. After 3 minutes add in the tips and stir well to combine. Add in the batter and stir well to bring the veggies evenly into the pancake and smooth over. Leave to cook until the pancake easily moves when the pan is shaken...flip over and press down into the pan. Leave to cook for a few minutes for the pancake to be sealed underneath. Serve at once...


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Wednesday is a good one...


This is an Original Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen recipe. I am more than happy for you to use and share but please give credit where it's due. Many thanks ~R~    

Monday, 19 May 2014

BBB's Crack-tastic Besan and Herb Crackers (vegan & gluten free)

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Keane ~ Everybody's Changing
Nickelback ~ Just For
The Cranberries ~ Promise (Live)
Toyah ~ I Wanna Be Free
Buckcherry ~ These Things
Rudimental ~ Hell Could Freeze Over
The Stranglers ~ European Female
Pearl Jam ~ Just Breathe
Gin Blossoms ~ 29
Nerina Pallot ~ Halfway Home
Thunder ~ Out Of My Head
Zac Brown Band ~ Can't You See
Shakira ~ The One
Wiser Time ~ Blame It All On Me

I am escaping R & R HQ tomorrow and heading off to the seaside, with lovely Ann, to sit by the beach and take in some of those healing vibes that we both badly need. Nothing compares to being sat by the water...listening to the waves and feeling (hopefully) the sun on your skin. Not in a strip to a bikini and bake until crispy type of visit but a peaceful sitting together taking in the natural wonder that is the beach...and feeling it relax every muscle but mostly the mind. We are just hoping that the sun stays with us but to be honest I could sit under an umbrella in the pouring rain as long as I was next to the sea. But I am need of a good dose of Vit D at the moment so I am hoping for sunshine...

It is a British tradition when at the seaside to indulge in fried fish and chips...ew! It's never been a tradition for me as I've never eaten them. Ever! People find this so hard to accept for some reason even being a vegan they still ask, along with what do I eat on Christmas People are strange. My seaside tradition was always a beach picnic which usually included various white bread sandwiches...mine being cheese up until I went vegan...mixed with tasty sand from the beach. lol Warm bottles of fizzy drinks and crisps..and some form of homemade cake which had been reduced to crumbs by the time we were allowed to eat it. Oh and an apple or two was always thrown in for good measure. I hasten to add this is what made up my childhood picnic...ah the good old days (shaking my head at the many bad things about that picnic...). These days I am thankfully strictly vegan and gluten free and I actively seek out the wonderful salads and snacks you can make freshly for yourself. Although I do miss the afternoon ice cream cone...not so easy to do it yourself, eh? lol.

I was cruising vegan dips and spread ideas online when I found today's recipe. It is from the lovely lady who writes and she adapted it from a recipe she had found. I enjoyed her posting and for that please click here...but please know her blog isn't vegan but still has plenty of great ideas. And the kid in me loved the name she'd given these crackers. I was channelling Marty from Madagascar all the I love those movies...anyway....

I made one substitution when making these crackers...I used coconut oil instead of olive oil. And I didn't have any fresh thyme so used dried. I have to say they were so easy to make except for one thing..I had just finished my morning yoga and therefore my arms were a little..erm..shaky/weak. Hey! It's been a And so the rolling out of this particularly stiff dough to a thinness needed had me trembling by the end but what a sense of achievement I felt the shaking had stopped. Ha! I chose to keep mine on the parchment paper as BBB did and use a pizza wheel to cut them in. In minutes the baking sheet was in the oven and I was onto making Kathy's Lucky Leprechaun Dip from over at I had chosen this as my gluten-free wrap filling for my picnic so I feel very happy to have a tub of that stashed in my fridge now. I wanted the crackers to have in my lunch box for a snack later in the day. And they were perfectly cooked in 16 minutes and have a great cracker texture which means I'm gonna have to be very careful not to break a tooth! ;-) Just kidding BBB. They are great and there is no mistaking they are chickpea in origin but for this chickpea addict that's just fine. I enjoyed the hit of thyme and the gentle heat from the paprika and now I know how simple this recipe is I can't wait to start trying out my own additions.

BBB's Crack-tastic Besan and Herb Crackers (V & GF) Apologies for the photo..strange light today!

Crack-tastic Besan and Herb Crackers 
(Recipe from

1 cup of besan flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsps fresh thyme leaves or 1 heaped tsp dried
1/4 tsp paprika 
1 tsp olive oil (I used coconut)
1/4 cup water 

Preheat the oven to 17o'C/325'F/GM 3 and make ready a baking sheet.

Sift together the chickpea flour and salt into a medium bowl. Stir through the sesame seeds, thyme and paprika. Make a well in the centre. 

Mix the water and oil together, then pour into the well. 

Stir until combined into a dough, then form a ball.

Place the ball of dough between two pieces of parchment paper, and roll out until as thin as possible. 

Remove the top layer of parchment, then cut into desired shape using a pizza cutter. Prick the surface of each cracker with a fork, then transfer the sheet to a baking tray. Bake for 16 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Remove from the oven, then allow to cool before breaking crackers at pre-cut edges. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week has started well and with much sunshine. I'll be back Wednesday as tomorrow...I'll be by the sea!! Namaste. 


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore I take no credit for it. It is the adapted creation of I thank her for sharing such a great recipe. ~R~   

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Coquina Squash Baked Brown Rice Risotto (vegan & gluten free)

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Nelly Furtardo ~ Do It
Soundgarden ~ 665
The Dead Daisies ~ Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
James Morrison ~ Forever 
Audioslave ~ Heaven's Dead 
Missy Higgins ~ All In My Head
Doris Day ~ Secret Love
KT Tunstall ~ Minature Disasters 
Nirvana ~ In Bloom
Joan Jett ~ Lie To Me
Thunder ~ Move On
Tina Dico ~ Watch Your Tongue 
Otep ~ Possession
VAST ~ Touched 

What a weekend we're having here at R & R is yours going? Yesterday started with the arrival of our first viewer who turned up with all her family and their cat! I kid you not..poor thing had been to the vets to have stitches checked and the lady didn't want to leave the kitty in the car and we couldn't have agreed with her more. Archie was less than impressed so he got to enjoy the sunshine for a while. Whilst ML took them for the tour and to answer their many questions I spent time with the kitty..who was lovely if not looking a little sorry for its self but then if I had to wear a funnel that big I would be too! They seem to be very keen and have asked for a builder to visit with the hope of making a second visit and then a formal offer. Now I know what my luck is like...could I be that lucky that the first person through the door would want to buy it? Goodness me I hope so...and the family really seemed to fit here and had already started debates about who would have what I would be happy leaving my once beloved home to them and moving on. After a resting time for ML and I to catch a breath, we headed over to the city to meet up with Ann for lunch and then to pick up edamame beans and other fresh goods for the weekend. Today ML got up early and took a car full of 'stuff' to a local car boot sale and did quite well. I stayed home and did my daily yoga (Oh read that correctly...woohoo Kundalini Detox yoga), enjoyed some quiet time and then headed into the kitchen to make breakfast (savoury buckwheat pancakes), a creamy Asian dressing for my lunchtime salads for the next couple of days and today's evening meal. I put my iPod on kinda loud (well it is and got we're both sat waiting for the next house viewers to arrive. I have to say I am looking forward to them leaving so I can breath properly for a while. I sincerely hope that the two viewers this weekend aren't the only ones that come. But as I am reminded only takes one. *deep breath* Anyway...

I picked up my Coquina squash from a supermarket a couple of months ago and stashed it into my veggie storage and then found that my love for sweeter vegetables has died...completely. There it sat looking beautiful in its tray but not for one second did it make my taste buds sing. Until I found this risotto recipe online and sadly it's posted by Anon again so I cannot give credit where it's due. Ah well. The recipe I printed off called for butternut but Coquina is very similar so I decided to try it out. I had picked up a large bag of lush green kale whilst in the city and I had a stash of short grain brown rice waiting to be used. Decison made...

Now as you know I am no risotto purist. It matters not to me whether white wine is used or if every drop of stock is stirred into the rice until they resemble little perfect globs of white. Firstly I never use arborio...I use short grain brown rice which I much prefer and it's easier on my system than white rice of any kind. I also rarely use wine...I don't drink so I choose not to use alcohol in my food but I don't judge others for doing so. I am not preaching..we are all adults here lol. I have read that some risotto purists collapse in horror at the thought of a baked risotto but I had no such reaction. I simply thought how tasty it sounded. I also made one other substitution using coconut oil instead of the extra virgin olive oil. The recipe is very straight forward and only requires 20 minutes in the oven. I left mine in for 30 as I was using brown rice. 

In all honesty I was expecting a drier version of risotto so I was surprised when there was still quite a lot of liquid left. But not so much it was a rice soup...but I did drain off maybe a large ladle full. The rice was perfectly cooked and quite fluffy and the kale had lost a little of its lush greenness but still had bite. The squash was succulent and maybe a little on the softer side than I would prefer but it was still good and not at all sweet. It looks like a butternut...cuts like a butternut...but tastes so very much better. Combining these simple ingredients with the veggie stock, dried thyme, shallots and garlic made for a great tasting and comforting dish. OK..OK..maybe the risotto purists would argue that this is risotto at all and simply just another rice dish. *shrugs* Maybe I would agree with them this time because there wasn't the soft, plumpness to the rice but I couldn't care less. It's a great meal and very satisfying...see what you think...

Coquina Squash Baked Rice Risotto

Coquina Squash Baked Brown Rice Risotto   Serves 4

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I used coconut oil)
2 shallots, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (I used 1/2 tsp dried)
1 1/2 cups of arborio rice (I used short grain brown)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used extra stock)
1 medium squash (approx 2lb/4 cups) peeled and diced
4 cups low sodium veggie stock 
1 bunch black or curly kale, tough stalks removed, cut crosswise into 1/2" thick strips

Preheat the oven to 400'F/200'C/GM6. In a medium cast iron casserole dish with a tight fitting lid, heat the oil over medium-high. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until opague, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper, Add wine and cook, stirring, until completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add squash and broth; bring mixture to a boil. Stir in kale. Cover, transfer to oven, and bake until rice is tender and most of liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Serve...


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Sunday is relaxing and peaceful...


N.B: This is not my recipe and so I take no credit for it whatsoever but I do send out thanks to whoever did. ~R~

Friday, 16 May 2014

D.K's Grilled Sesame Asparagus

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Reviews ~ Stephen Mangan

Well as the good and the great have sung...what a difference a day makes! R & R HQ was only on the virtual market for four hours yesterday and we now have two viewings booked for this weekend. Yikes...I'll admit's a little overwhelming and fantastically scary. Both of us thought this weekend would be a 'breather' weekend after the full on situation we have been in for the last few weeks. But no..fate had other plans for us and the reality of the potential possibility of being moved in six weeks, if one of these people want to buy our house, is daunting.  No pleasing some people, eh? lol.Having slept on this news I am much more settled but my dreams were a moving disaster loop. *deep breaths* Anyway...

Asparagus...for years I never really saw the fascination with it personally. But as I've never eaten butter, hollandaise sauce or ham my chances to try when out dining had been non-existent. ML loved it back in the day when it wasn't death-food and was eaten with the above accompaniments. I did have an extremely bad offering at a dinner party and I think my lovely host wasn't aware of the woody end and that was the parts I got in my serving of the dish. Then I was talked into trying Isa's brunch asparagus one Sunday...and it wasn't too bad but I still wasn't hooked like ML was. I also made a Fennel & Asparagus Soup which we both enjoyed and I decided to keep trying different ways to eat it. However since ML needed to eat a Salicylate Free diet it felt just plain wrong to bring it into the HQ.  

During my ventures back into Donna Klein's A Chinese Vegan Kitchen this week I found myself edgy with need to make an asparagus side dish. And with ML's blessing we picked up some locally grown asparagus and I got cooking. The only changes I made was using slightly less marinate than Klein instructs but that is because I have oil issues...even aromatic sesame's still oil! lol. And I used a griddle pan to cook mine as you can see by the beautiful scorch marks on my asparagus. The smell as they roasted on the griddle was intoxicating and made my tummy ache. When they were finished cooking and as I set up the plate for testing and for the photographs I couldn't wait to try!..was the actual word that escaped my lips as I bit into my chosen stalk. It was tender-crisp and therefore perfectly cooked for me. The taste was a savoury addicts nirvana and yes they were a little glossy but I found I really didn't care. I adored this dish and enjoyed it for lunch later in the day. If asparagus is cooked like this...then I am a huge fan. Yum! Great recipe Ms Klein...

D.K's Grilled Sesame Asparagus

Grilled Sesame Asparagus           Makes 4 servings..(or 2 Ahem!)
(Recipe from The Chinese Vegan Kitchen/Klein)

1 1/4 lb med-thick asparagus, tough ends removed
3 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari (I used Braggs)
1 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil (I used 3/4 tbsp)
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds 

Prepare a medium charcoal or gas grill. Or preheat a boiler or place a stove top grilling pan with grids over medium heat. 

In a shallow container large enough to hold the asparagus in a single layer, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Add the asparagus and turn to thoroughly coat. Let stand 10 minutes at room temperature, turning a few times. 

Remove the asparagus from the marinade, reserving the marinade. If grilling, arrange the asparagus in a single layer on a vegetable grid. If broiling, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet with sides. Position the charcoal grill rack or oven rack 6-8 inches from the heat source. If using a stove top grill pan, arrange the asparagus in a single layer in the pan; cook in two batches to avoid overcrowding. 

Grill or broil asparagus until nicely browned but not charred, turning frequently, 7-10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with the reserved marinade. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Klein's Cooking Tip:

To make Roasted Sesame Asparagus, preheat the oven to 425F/220C/GM7. Marinate the asparagus as directed in the recipe. Transfer the asparagus to a baking sheet with sides and place in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes, or until the asparagus are browned and tender. turning once or twice. Serve as otherwise directed. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Friday is great and your weekend filled with laughter...or 


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore I take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the hard work and creation of Donna Klein and hers alone.  But I send out thanks for such a great cookbook. ~R~ 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

D.K's Yunnan-Style Fava Beans with Chilies, Garlic, and Star Anise (vegan & gluten free)

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Dave Gahan ~ Deeper & Deeper
Foo Fighters ~ My Hero
Bonnie Raitt ~ I Believe I'm In Love With You
Dead Boots ~ On The Rocks
Paul Weller ~ Time Passes
Glen Campbell ~ Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)
Zucchero ~ Feels Like A Woman
Thunder ~ Only One
Bon Jovi ~ In These Arms
Def Leppard ~ Bringing On The Heartbreak
Garbage ~ Dog New Tricks
Foo Fighters ~ Stranger Things Have Happened
Jackson Browne ~ Take It Easy
Garbage ~ Dumb

As I stated yesterday I am still working my way through Donna Klein's The Chinese Vegan Kitchen for the second time. And I have been experimenting with a few side dishes and today's recipe was chosen because I am always trying to find new ways of cooking broad bean's as they are known in England. I have a love/hate relationship with them...I hate the need to peel each and every one and the smell they kick out as they are cooking...but I love the taste. One of my favourite hummus's is a broad bean based one. I decided to be pro-active for this recipe and I sat with my measured amount and peeled the skins whilst catching up with a tv show ML and I have been watching on Netflix...Alphas...heard of it? But despite this move to make the process easier...I still lost the will to live after the first However finally...FINALLY..all skins were removed and the beans were safely stashed in a tightly sealed box in my fridge until the next morning. I lost count of how many times I had to wash my hands to get rid of the that smell. Ewwww! I'm really selling them to you, aren't I? lol

In all honesty that was the hard part of making this dish because the rest of the kitchen work was simply chopping garlic and fresh chillies. During its cooking time in the hot wok the bean smell is minimised by the garlic and Star Anise so that really helped. I have no idea what I was expecting from this dish but what I ended up with was a little bit of a shock. Shock is maybe too strong a word but I definitely looked down at my wok and had serious...Huh! moment. I knew the addition of a cornstarch mix at the end of cooking would thicken up the sauce but the end result almost resembled mushy peas. Which I happen to like I was planning to serve mine with brown rice and steamed veggies but after seeing the results I really wasn't sure what to do with it. So I waited and thought...

...and still had nothing. I decided to simply just taste test them and I still could not decide if I liked them. The beans were beautifully cooked, the sauce comforting in its texture...definite heat from the combination of the chilli and Star Anise and although I'm usually a fan of Star Anise I felt it overpowered the dish. I confess I didn't get past the taste testing of this side dish but I will try it again in the future with a fraction of the Star Anise. It's definitely a spicy side dish and I will also try it again using edamame beans as D.K suggests. I think I will enjoy it better with the added freshness of the soy beans. I didn't dislike this side dish...I would just need to make a little change to it, for me to enjoy it as much as I'd hoped. But who may love it as D.K intended for us too. If you try it...please drop me a line at and let me know what you thought...

D.K's Yunnan-Style Fava Beans with Chilies, Garlic & Star Anise

Yunnan-Style Fava Beans with Chilies, Garlic, and Star Anise   Serves 6
(Recipe from The Chinese Vegan Kitchen/Klein)

2 cups shelled fava beans (broad beans) or 2 cups of shelled edamame 
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 - 2 fresh red chilli peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 
1/2 tsp star anise pieces
1 cup low sodium veggie broth
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste 
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp cornstarch blended with 2 tbsp water 

If using fava beans: In a medium stockpot filled with boiling water, cook the fava beans 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse immediately under cold running water to stop the cooking. To remove the outer skins, pinch each bean on the side opposite where it was attached to the pod; the bean should easily slip from the skin. Remove and discard the outer skins. Set the beans aside. 

In a wok or large non-stick skillet with a lid, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the chillies and garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the fava beans and star anise and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the broth and salt and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until beans are tender, about 15 minutes for fava beans and about 7 for edamame, stirring occasionally. Stir in the sesame oil and add the cornstarch mixture; cook, stirring, until liquid is thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve over brown rice for a heartier meal. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have the glorious sunshine I do today...


NB: This recipe is not mine and therefore I take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the hard work and creation of Donna Klein and hers alone. I do send out thanks for a great cookbook. ~R~