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~


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Jamaican Jerk Tofu and Veggies (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

The Cranberries ~ Animal Instinct
Dead Sara ~ I Said You Were Lucky
Beth Hart ~ It's Too Late
Lenny Kravitz ~ Lady
Airbourne ~ Heartbreaker
Skin ~ House Of Love
Bonnie Raitt ~ I Can't Make You Love Me
Blancmange ~ The Day Before You Came
Sound City ~ Your Wife Is Calling
Royal Blood ~ Out Of The Black
KORN ~ For No One
Amy LeVere ~ We Went Sailing
Hunter Valentine ~ Typical
Jack Johnson ~ Hope

I have really been enjoying Robin Robertson's One-dish Vegan cookbook. I've made and devoured quite a few recipes from it now but last night's recipe for Jamaican Jerk Tofu & Veggies was by far my far. In fact I gave it a 10/10 on my scoring system and that is a rarity. I adapted it very slightly by using seasoned tofu pieces instead of the tempeh that Robin suggests. No matter how I cook tempeh I just don't like the taste but as I had a package of Cauldron tofu pieces in my fridge I figured it would be a good substitution. I also added a tin of black beans to it because the tofu was only half of the amount the recipe required. 

My pain levels are pretty bad right now and my kitchen time has been extremely limited so I was very happy that the making of this dish kept my mind occupied. From the simple tasks like measuring out the spices and mixing them to the stirring of the stew but that is how kitchen work is like therapy for me. But I wasn't prepared for how the aromatics of the spice combination would effect my mood. I experienced a spice high! It felt fantastic...and if this is what eating Jerk veggies is all about...bring it on. 

I served mine with brown rice and that worked for my tastes. The veggies were a great combination and the texture of the tofu pieces and added black beans worked really well but then the addition of the rich, spicy sauce made this outstandingly tasty. Warmth, spiciness, great textures...what more can you want? I loved this dish and I am so delighted there is plenty of leftovers! Such a fabulous cookbook...

Jamaican Jerk Tofu & Veggies
Jamaican Jerk Tofu & Veggies         Serves 4
(Recipe from One-dish Vegan/Robinson)

2 tsp natural sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano 
1 tsp dried cumin
1 tsp dried allspice or cinnamon (I used the latter) 
4oz seasoned tofu pieces     OR
8oz tempeh, steamed and cut into 1" chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dark rum - optional (I omitted)
1/2 cup veggie stock
3 garlic cloves
1 med red onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 med courgette/zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 14oz tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tamari 
1 14oz tin of black beans (I added to go with the tofu pieces)

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, thyme, oregano, cumin, allspice, coriander and cayenne. Add the tofu/tempeh and toss to coat. 

Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the tofu/tempeh pieces (reserving any remaining spice mixture) and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the rum, if using. Remove the tofu/tempeh from the skillet and reserve. 

Without wiping out the skillet, add the broth to the same skillet and heat over a medium high heat. Add the garlic, onion and sweet potato, cover, cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Uncover, and stir in the courgette, tomatoes with their juices, tamari, and salt to taste. Add the reserved tofu/tempeh and the remaining spice mixture and stir gently to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the veggies are tender and the flavours are blended, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Serve hot. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week is being good to you...


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore take no credit for it whatsoever. It is an adapted recipe from Robin Robinson and the original creation is hers and hers alone. I do send out thanks to her for sharing such a great recipe. Namaste...~R~   


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Rocket & Roses Beetroot Goodness Soup (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Tchaikovsky ~ Symphony #5 

It is ML's birthday on Thursday and to celebrate we are going with a few close friends to see the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra perform Tchaikovsky's Symphony #5. Marvellous! So I have been enjoying it on my kitchen play list over the last few weeks in readiness for the night. I love going to classical concerts..always have. It's good to have an eclectic taste in music although I will always identify as a rocker! Can take the gal out of the rock concert but you can't take the rock out of the gal! Seriously though I have always greatly enjoyed the classics even when I was a small child. I've shared before my obsession for the cello...well that still lives on and the thought of hearing the cellos on Thursday night makes my whole body shake with excitement. I simply cannot wait. 

Beetroot soup is also another long time love although I do not obsess over it like I do the cello. That would make me a little erm...crazy? But I do love the globes of purple goodness. I love it raw, roasted, juiced, in stuff and even pickled in a jar. The memories that come flooding back when I open a rare jar of baby pickled beets are very happy ones of Christmases past. Boxing Day (the day after Christmas Day for non Brits) was always a cold cuts day. (OK shuddering at that bit but as I never ate meat I was OK..phew) My Nan used to place on the dining table a selection of pickled veggies to go with the cold cuts and cooked veggies. I think my plate was 90% pickles and 10% potatoes and bread. I would happily sit and munch my way through the crisp pickles and then wonder why I always had a tummy ache after! Ah the good old days...

I know a lot of people when confronted with fresh beets go straight to a traditional Borscht soup. Don't get me wrong I love a good vegan Borscht...but there are endless dishes you can make with them. I take great delight when finding fresh beets in the supermarket as they can be quite rare. When I was a kid my Grandad always grew his own so we always had an good supply. During a recent shopping trip with Ann we found we needed to ask the grocery dept assistant to help us track down some 'fresh beets'....she took us around the aisle and proudly pointed out the un-vinegared packs of cooked beets. She actually thought that was the freshest they could be. Sad isn't it? 

Today's recipe is something I threw together...quite literally. I had a bag of beautiful beets and wasn't feeling the salad love so I washed them, wrapped them in foil and threw them into my already hot oven and I left them there until there were just tender. That is the only pre-cooking for this soup so if you have leftover beets this is a great way to use them up. And if you can't get fresh beets I think the pre-cooked packaged would work but they wouldn't have the fresh texture. All the ingredients were thrown into my soup pot and brought up to a boil. And then I left it to simmer on the stove whilst I got on with other kitchen duties. I just threw in ingredients that I felt the need for that other reason than that. My only want was that it wasn't a Borscht...

After blending a third of the soup and adding it back to the pan. I brought it back up to the perfect eating temperature and then served it with a slice of GF bread. When Ann and I sat down to eat it we had already been drooling all the way to the table because of the aroma coming from the bowls. It smelt divine and tasted even better...I could eat this soup everyday for the rest of my life and never tire. Yep...I admit was that tasty and the fact that it was packed with goodness was just a bonus. I am now hastily trying to find some more fresh beets...just so I can make this soup again. I loved the textures from the beets, beans, onions and caraway seeds that sat happily in a rich, spicy sauce. I liked the thick sauce but you could add a little more water to it to thin it out. When a 'last minute thrown everything in' recipe works I get really happy. Hope you try it out and let me know what you think? 

Rocket & Roses Beetroot Goodness Soup

Rocket & Roses Beetroot Goodness Soup     Serves 4
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

3 large beetroots, cooked, peeled and chunked 
2 med red onions, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 14oz tin cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
I heaped cup of split red lentils, rinsed and drained
3-4 cups of hot low sodium veggie stock 
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes 
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
freshly ground Himalayan salt -scant
freshly ground black pepper - generous
finely chopped fresh parsley to serve

In a large soup pan add all the ingredients and stir well, cover and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. 

Remove one third of the soup and blitz until smooth and then add it back into pan. Heat through and serve sprinkled with some fresh parsley. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your weekend has been a splendid one....


NB: This is my creation. I do not have a problem with you using it or sharing it as long as you link it back to me and give credit where its I always try to. Many thanks...Namaste. ~R~ 


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

SUMA: Rocket & Roses Brown Rice Mochi with a Sweet Miso Sauce (vegan and gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Lenny Kravitz ~ I Love The Rain
Aerosmith ~ Crazy
Willie Nelson ~ Always On My Mind
Scorpion Child ~ Keep Goin'
The Eagles ~ Take It Easy
Bach: Cello Suite #3 in C
The Union ~ Amazon
Clawfinger ~ The Truth
Bowie ~ Blue Jean
The Band Perry ~ You Lie
Deap Vally ~ End Of The World
Bryan Adams ~ I'll Always Be Right There
ABBA ~ Chiquitta
No Doubt ~ Hella Good

Mochi, mochi, mochi...where have you been all my life? Well, always there but I didn't know about it. What is mochi? Or mokee as I used to call it until I was educated in its! Mochi is simply brown rice that has been steamed and then pounded into a paste. It's usually a short grain gelatinous rice but I used Clearsprings Brown Rice Mochi because I am a brown rice kinda gal. You can use it in sweet and savoury dishes and as I prefer savoury that's how I always intended to use mine. 

When making my selection for my Suma Blogger Network basket of groceries I was practically giddy when I turned the page and found the Clearspring advert. The brown rice mochi was selected and the rest they say is foodie history.

Mochi is Japanese in origin and I wanted to keep this recipe simple and I wanted it to echo its Japanese roots. My mind was filled with ideas of fresh beautiful vegetables that were delicately steamed to keep their unique flavours. As I had never tried mochi before I wanted to make it a layer of flavour and texture in this dish rather than be mixed into it. I wanted to know I was eating mochi. The sauce would bring together the two elements...I wanted it to be packed with flavours and warmth. 

NB: For the vegetables I took some time to sit with them and prep them into individual shapes that brought out the individuality of each veggie. But this isn't necessary and you could simply prep them anyway you choose. They will all taste the same, eh? I find veggie prep quite relaxing so for me it was a pleasure. 

Mochi is an unusual texture...quite sticky...but I loved it. The flavour is mild but not bland. When combined with the steamed veggies and the warm, spicy and wholesome sauce it bursts into your mouth with flavour.  I really hope you give it a go...go on...its delicious. 

I had two recipes for my Suma Bloggers Network submission this time. So next month I will be back with a festive loaf...thanks to the lovely folks at Suma Wholefoods

Rocket & Roses Brown Rice Mochi with a Sweet Miso Sauce served over vegetables

Rocket & Roses Brown Rice Mochi with a Sweet Miso Sauce   Serves 4 as a starter
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

Vegetable Base:

Radish, Mooli, Courgette, Carrot, Swede, String Beans, Yellow & Red Bell Pepper, 
Spring Onion, Celery, Sugar Snap Peas (see notes above)

2 pieces of Clearspring Brown Rice Mochi, cut into 4 

Sweet Miso Sauce:

4 spring onions, trimmed and cut into half
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger pulp
juice of one lime
1 hot red chilli, de-seeded
3 tbsp sweet white miso 
4 tbsp boiling hot water
pinch of low sodium salt
scant drizzle of agave syrup
1 tsp Braggs/soy/tamari 

Heat a good sized wok over a med/high heat. Add some just boiled water to cover the base and then layer the vegetables starting with the hardest to cook. ie carrot, swede, spring onion, string beans, peppers, radish, mooli and sugar snap peas. Making sure the water is bubbling, place a smaller than the wok lid into the wok to hold down and cover just the veggies. Leave to cook for 5 minutes or until the veggies are cooked to your preference. Drain and place back into the wok with the lid to keep warm until serving. 

Place all the sauce ingredients into a small blender and blitz until smooth. Then add to a small pan and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to bubble for 5 minutes. Don't allow the sauce to reach a fast boil or it will lose some of its flavours. When ready to serve remove from the heat and cover. 

Heat a small skillet and add the mochi pieces to it. Heat the pieces for a few minutes and then flip them over and repeat. Be warned...keep them apart otherwise you will be prising them apart...often. 

Layer a mound of hot veggies onto a dish followed by a piece of mochi and then drizzle over some sauce. Serve immediately. 

Rocket & Roses Brown Rice Mochi with a Sweet Miso Sauce...gratuitous foodie close up


Thanks to Suma Wholefoods for providing such great ingredients. Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week is being kind to you...


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


Friday, 7 November 2014

Dunja's Hearty Miso Soup (vegan & gluten free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Slash ~ Saint Is A Sinner Too
Pearl Jam ~ Once
Maroon 5 ~ Better That We Break
Paloma Faith ~ Love Only Leaves You Lonely
Peggy Lee ~ On The Sunny Side Of Life
ZZ Ward ~ Crying Wolf
Pat Benetar ~ Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Nicola Benedetti ~ Mozart: Rondo #2 in C
Eddie Vedder ~ Without You
Toyah ~ Moonlight Dancing
Blondie ~ Atomic
Robert Downey Jr ~ Details
Melissa Etheridge ~ Will You Still Love Me
Voodoo Six ~ Respect (Acoustic)

I love autumn and everything it brings with it. Yesterday was one of those cold crispy mornings I adore and I enjoyed some much needed kitchen time despite being able to see my breath because of the chill in the air. My kitchen is an attached extension on the back of the original house and has no heating and can get quite nippy. It works for me because of my meds I run hotter than the average person and the cold helps when I have my stove top and oven fired up. Anyway....

Recently my lovely pal Ann bought me a new cookbook. I know, how nice is that? Being the cookbook junkie I am, I was thrilled. As is my routine...I sat down with a cup of green tea and read the book cover to cover. And I have to say that The Vegan Pantry by Dunja Gulin is one of the most beautiful cookbooks I've had the pleasure to read. There isn't one recipe that I don't want to make and I have selected three for testing. The first being today's soup...

I love miso soups but have never used anothers recipe before. I have always made up my own with veggies that I have in my stocks. Dunja's miso soup looked too good not to try. I felt the goodness from it before I even started making it. It was very easy to make but I did have to make one adaption. Dunja's recipe calls for Nori sheet but I had run out but I did have some Dulse which I used instead. I also opted for the water over stock option. 

The results were interesting. The stock of the soup turned out much thinner than I'd expected from a 'hearty' soup but that could be down to the miso I used combined with the water over stock option. It wasn't a problem for me because my miso soups are always broth based. The flavour of the stock was gentle but comforting. The only change I would make next time is the choice of pumpkin used. I had a large pattypan squash but I wasn't impressed with it's lack of flavour. When cooked it went watery and tasteless. Next time I'll use a more substantial pumpkin. Of course this is my error and has nothing to do with Dunja's recipe. I really enjoyed the soup and will be making it again very soon. Next on the list is Dunja's Mediterranean Green Lentil Loaf and Seed Falafel. Somehow I think this cookbook will be getting worn out..

Dunja's Hearty Miso Soup

Dunja's Hearty Miso Soup    Serves 2-3
(Recipe from The Vegan Pantry by Gulin)

2 tbsp dark sesame oil
6og/1/2 cup diced onion
60g/1/2 cup peeled, seeded and cubed pumpkin, squash or carrot
4 garlic cloves, minced 
1 tbsp crushed fresh ginger
800ml/3 1/2 cups cold water or veggie bouillon (unsalted)
1 tbsp barley or rice miso
1/4 sheet of Nori, cut into small pieces (I used Dulse)
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
sea salt

In a large saucepan, saute the onions for a minute or so in the sesame oil, before adding the pumpkin, squash or carrot, along with the garlic, ginger and a pinch of salt. Saute the mixture for a little longer and then add the water/broth and cover. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and cook until the vegetables are tender. 

Take 60ml/1/4 cup of the hot soup and put in a small bowl. Now add the miso to it. Puree the miso really well with a fork until it has completely melted. Put the miso liquid back into the soup. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Turn off the heat, cover and let the soup sit for a few minutes. Serve sprinkled with pieces of nori and toasted sesame seeds. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a weekend filled with happiness...


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


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Autumnal greetings....

I have been greatly enjoying the perfect red autumn leaves...

Crumbs...has it really been 17 days since I was last here? Time flies indeed. I have no real excuse except that I've been on holiday with ML and our lovely pals in the Peak District. Then life just got a little crazy when we got back home. I haven't actually had any kitchen time since we reluctantly came home. All the usual reasons...ill health...tiredness...pain which lead to lack of inspiration. But I am back now...armed with a new cookbook to recipe test which was a lovely gift from my good pal Ann. The book being The Vegan Pantry by Gulin Dunja. It is an inspiring read and beautifully laid out. Great photography also which leaves you feeling a little green with envy at I can't wait to get started on the recipes. 

So I ask you stay with me a little longer...thank you for coming back in your many numbers every day and for your support.  You guys rock...really you do. 

I hope your week has started well and I shall be back with a recipe in the next couple of days. 


NB: The awesome photo is not mine and I take no credit for it whatsoever. It was found during a google search. ~R~