Tuesday, 1 July 2014

SUMA: Rocket & Roses Lentil & Olive Bakes with New Potato Tops (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Sandi Thom ~ Castles 
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band ~ Let Go
Janiva Magness ~ You Were Never Mine
Queen ~ Save Me
Handel: Water Music Suite #2 in D
Jack Savoretti ~ One Man Band (acoustic)
Melissa Etheridge ~ Walking On Water
The Fratellis ~ Tell Me A Lie
Shania Twain ~ When You Kiss Me
Jamie Cullum ~ High And Dry
Maroon 5 ~ Won't Go Home Without You
Depeche Mode ~ Martyr
Soundgarden ~ New Damage
Train ~ California 37

I may have mentioned this before but I am a lifelong vegetarian and a vegan for the last 8 years. To me it has never made sense to eat meat or meat products even as a very small toddler. My poor Mum tells of tales of me stubbornly refusing anything flesh based. However I did eat and enjoy cheese for many years and my favourite meal as a toddler and older child was chopped up crisp apple and white cheese. And although I am a committed vegan now and would never eat dairy cheese again I still remember those warm summer days sat in the garden enjoying the fruit/cheese meal. For all those vegetarian years dairy was the only thing that stopped me being vegan as I never ate any animal product based foods...the thought just horrified me. And I have no idea why the dairy horror didn't kick in until eight years ago. I was becoming more intolerant to dairy and it was making me feel so ill that I tried cutting it all out...and I felt so much better. Then I had one of those light bulb moments...dairy is an animal product. I guess I was so conditioned to believe that I could only get my protein from cheeses that I never really allowed myself to take in the full reality. I felt like such a schmuck. After that moment I went through my stocks, fridge and cupboards and trashed all the cheese based products and I have never looked back. For me a vegan foodie lifestyle makes sense. Why eat a slab of meat when you can have one of the million great vegan recipes out there? There are new and improved recipes being created every day and believe me..you get more than enough protein being vegan. lol. 

Health food shops have always been a great joy for me and I am fortunate to have a very good one in the city I currently live near. I can lose an hour cruising the many varied products on their shelves. It has gotten a little more difficult since going mainly gluten-free but I am making it work. Because I have mainly eliminated gluten from my eating plan it frees up my body to have a little bread every now and then without too much pain. I digress..lol. During these many trips to my health food shops I've always seen the food marked SUMA Wholefoods and I can't tell you how many times I have bought, used and enjoyed their products. And therefore bought more and more. Can you even begin to imagine how happy I was when contacted by Amy @ Suma and was asked to be a contributing member of their Bloggers Network? I think it took me all of..5 seconds to agree. Every two months I get to select a basket of products and then get creative with them. And so to this months recipe...

I created many new recipes with the products but this one was by far my favourite. I selected a bag of Pearls of Samarkand Organic Black Beluga Lentils. Lentils are one of my favourite ingredients. I love the wholesome flavours you get and the versatility of use. One of my other favourite ingredients is black olives. I'm not the greatest marinated in oil olive fan but I do enjoy brine kinds. When I first sat down with my pad and pen and box of products the lentils were the first to spring to the pages and olives seemed to be the perfect partner for this dish. I was inspired by traditional greek flavours. I admit I did try and make this into a savoury tart but it just didn't work so after a couple more days thought I decided to try keeping a very simple topping for it. I didn't want the heaviness of pastry or mashed potato or the sweetness of sweet potato. And then the thought of moussaka topping came to mind but again didn't want the whole creaminess that usually goes with it. So I stripped it down to the delicate flavoured and quite light new potato. I sliced them wafer thin...yes you could practically see straight through them. lol. The flavours in the lentil and olive bake were lip smacking good and I was so happy that the new potato topping added another level of flavour and texture without making the dish heavy on the tum. 

For me this dish can be eaten anytime of year because although it looks like the traditional comfort food of the colder months...it has the lightness of a meal that can be enjoyed on the hottest of days. The lentil and olives have great flavour with the additions of herbs, garlic and vine ripened tomatoes. The new potato give the dish a level of comfort and together they are extremely satisfying. Now I can validate this by telling you that my lovely pal Ann..aka..not an olive lover at all...enjoyed one of these bakes and said it was delicious as the olives blended with the other ingredients to just add more flavour. She liked it a lot. Phew! lol I hope you give these little beauties a try and please let me know what you think? I served mine with some steamed veggies but they would also be greatly enjoyed with a salad.

Many thanks to SUMA Wholefoods for giving me this opportunity to create recipes for their Bloggers Network.    

SUMA: Rocket & Roses Lentil & Olive Bakes with New Potato Tops
Rocket & Roses Lentil & Olive Bakes with New Potato Tops   Serves 4
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

4 med/large vine ripened tomatoes, skinned and chopped

1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 med/large red onion, peeled and quartered, sliced
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 heaped cup Kresto black beluga lentils, rinsed well and drained
1 med new potato, peeled and finely diced
1/2 med red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 bayleaf
1/4 tsp each of dried basil, mint, thyme and oregano
generous amounts of freshly crushed black pepper
1 cup boiling water
1 tbsp tomato paste
juice of half a lemon
20 pitted black olives ~ separated: 6 minced 14 quartered 

4-5 very small new potatoes, skins on, sliced very thinly 

Pre-heat the oven to 350'F/180'C/GM 4. And place 4 single serving pots on a baking sheet. Set to one side. 

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the onions, cooking them until soft. Add in the garlic, cook stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add in the lentils, dried herbs, bayleaf and black pepper. Stir well to evenly distribute and then add the hot water. Stir well and then turn up the heat to bring the water back to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. 

Add in the tomatoes, diced potatoes, red pepper, tomato paste and minced olives. Stir well and bring to the boil once again. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for a further 15 minutes. Add in the quartered olives and cook for a further 4-5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat.

Distribute the lentil/olive mix evenly into the four pots and press down for an even surface. Take the thinly sliced new potatoes and layer a circle around the edge of the pots, leaving the centre circle open. 

Optional: brush the potato slices with a tiny amount of olive oil. Completely your call folks. 

Generously grate black pepper over the tops and then place into the preheated oven. Bake for 25 minutes until the potato slices are cooked through. Serve with steamed veggies or a large green salad. 


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

Thanks to Amy and everyone at SUMA who is involved in the SUMA Bloggers Network and I hope that my fellow bloggers have enjoyed this as much as I have. 


NB: This is my creation and I have no problem with you using this recipe or sharing it. I simply ask that you give credit where it's due as I always try to...many thanks. Namaste ~R~