Monday, 30 March 2015

Rocket & Roses Tenderstem Broccoli and Asparagus Soup (vegan&gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Soundgarden ~ I Awake
Foo Fighters ~ Razor
Black Eyed Peas ~ Hey Mama
Norah Jones ~ Be Here To Love Me
Melissa Etheridge ~ Company
Joan Jett ~ Misunderstood
Brandi Carlile ~ Throw It All Away
The Fratellis ~ Babydoll
Alison Moyet ~ All Cried Out
Rizzle Kicks ~ Down With The Trumpets
No Doubt ~ Bathwater
Doris Day ~ Secret Love
Melissa Etheridge ~ Stronger Than Me
Audioslave ~ Show Me How To Love

I recently ended up with a large stash of tenderstem broccoli and asparagus in my stocks. I know...such a hardship. To me these two humble veggies are a perfect combination. I have many recipes that I use them together as the star attraction but for some reason I had not tried them in soup. As I had acquired quite a stash I decided to give it a shot. 

I didn't want anything taking away from the natural flavours of these green lovelies. So I added ginger to give the soup a little warmth, green lentils to fill it out and Braggs to add to the savouriness. The results were a pleasure to eat. This soup has an wholesome, healing feel as you eat it. The flavours combine to bring a fresh earthiness to each mouthful and the ginger is a pleasant heat. It is also quick to make and freezes well too. When you are in need of nourishment this soup really hits the spot...


Rocket & Roses Broccoli and Asparagus Soup (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Broccoli and Asparagus Soup  Serves 4
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1 tsp rapeseed/canola oil
1 med onion, sliced
1 1/2" fresh ginger, micro-grated
3 1/2 cups low sodium veggie stock
1 cup fresh asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1"pieces
2 cups tenderstem broccoli, cut into 1" pieces
1 cup cooked green lentils
2 tsp Braggs liquid animos (tamari or soy sauce)
freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Gently heat the oil in a soup pan and toss in the onions and fresh ginger. Saute until the onions have softened. Stir in the chopped tenderstem broccoli and asparagus. Add in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10 minutes maximum. Add in the green lentils, Braggs and grate black pepper into the soup. Stir well to evenly distribute and once the soup comes back up to a boil, remove from the heat. Blend until smooth and serve...


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week starts well...


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

Friday, 27 March 2015

Healthy Snacks: Stepaniak's Black Bean Hummus Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers (vegan&gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Melissa Etheridge ~ Sympathy
Joss Stone ~ I've Fallen In Love With You
Norah Jones ~ One Flight Down
Natalie Clein ~ Schbert:Arpeggione Sonata in A Minor
Amy Le Vere ~ Washing Machine
Sandi Thom ~ Time
KORN & Amy Lee ~ Freak On A Leash (Live)
Foo Fighters ~ Friend Of A Friend
Robert Palmer ~ I Didn't Mean To Turn You On
The Cult ~ Lil' Devil
Rob Thomas ~ Lonely No More
Beth Hart ~ Stay
HAIM ~ If I Could Change Your Mind
Thunder ~ Like A Satellite

We recently had a small celebration here at Rocket & Roses HQ.  We shared the celebration with our closest family and friends and it was a lovely afternoon/evening affair. We offered a table filled with vegan fare (and a few bits for ML and the other know, those strange folk!..) Ahem...I was very happy to see the little ones tucking into the food and the vegan lemon and raspberry jelly shot glasses were a huge hit. A foodie moment of happiness for me was sitting with my brother G as he sampled everything from the table. He asked questions about the ingredients without being offensive like we all know some folks can be, eh? One of the offerings on the table was a trio of hummus served with a large tray of freshly chopped veggies and a jug of breadsticks. I served today's hummus recipe along side a Hummus bi Tahini and a White Bean Hummus that had a lot of freshly chopped coriander/cilantro in it. G really enjoyed the Black Bean Hummus and went back for a couple of servings. I was one seriously happy sis. So where did I get these three great recipes from....

Vegan Deli by Joanne Stepaniak is where. I have a deep affection for this cookbook and the recipes found between its covers. I have made almost all that is on offer and have never had one that was a dud. Well ok maybe one...Red Pepper Lox which ML devoured and gave a scoring of 11/10.  I couldn't get along with the oiliness of the skinned pieces of roasted peppers...but that is purely a personal preference issue and no fault of Ms. Stepaniak's recipe. Whenever I am hosting a party of any kind, Vegan Deli is always one of the first cookbooks I pull from my shelves. The list of chapters is extensive and have everything you would hope to find in your dream vegan deli...and they are almost all easy to make for yourself. If you are a dedicated vegan foodie...treat yourself and buy a copy of this book for your collection. 

There are a few reasons I love this hummus recipe. The's black beans and I crave black beans. I like them for how versatile they are as an ingredient and for the health benefits from eating them. I like that it has substantially less fat than regular hummus as it has only 2 tbsp tahini and no other added fats. I also enjoy the depth of flavours from the Braggs (or soy sauce if you can have that) to the ground spices and then you get the final hit of flavour from the balsamic vinegar. It's flavours are intense and wholesome. 

I recently picked up a rather large bag of baby bell peppers from the supermarket and yesterday I cleaned them, removed the seeds and membrane and then smeared some of this hummus into the prepared halves. The deeply flavoured hummus combined with the crispy, crunchy freshness of the baby bell peppers were a perfect combination and made for a great mid-afternoon snack. It felt almost luxurious...

Healthy & Delicious Snacks: Stepaniak's Black Bean Hummus Stuffed Baby Bell Pepper

Stepaniak's Black Bean Hummus   Makes 1 1/2 cups
(Recipe from Vegan Deli/Stepaniak)

1 2/3 cup drained cooked black beans
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp Braggs (or soy sauce)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp crushed garlic
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground ginger
large pinch of cayenne pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and blend into a smooth paste. 

Stuff into the prepped baby bell pepper shells and serve.

Enjoy the munching...

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


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore I take no credit for it. It is the hard work and creation of Joanne Stepaniak and I thank her for sharing such great recipes. ~R~   

Monday, 23 March 2015

Rocket & Roses Incan Berry Brown Rice Dessert (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Sade ~ Like A Tattoo
Glen Campbell ~ Sadly Beautiful
P!nk ~ Family Portrait
Ellie Goulding ~ Love Me Like You Do
INXS ~ Mystify
Black Stone Cherry ~ Blind Man
The Cardigans ~ Give Me Your Eyes
Chely Wright ~ What If We Fly
The Dodge Brothers ~ Died And Gone To Hell
Joan Jett ~ You Don't Own Me
Bruce Springsteen ~ Lonesome Day
The Eagles ~ New York Minute
Bree Sharp ~ Show Me
Beth Hart ~ Heaven Look Down

During my recent recipe testing for my posting for the Suma Bloggers Network I had the opportunity to try out some of Suma's Dried Incan Berries. To be honest just the name had me intrigued and I had no idea what they would be like or how I would use them. I just had to have them and back when I used to do a Mystery Item posting each week they would've fitted the remit perfectly. So I ordered them with great curiosity and awaited their arrival.

Who knew? Incan berries turned out to be dried Physalis! And thankfully I love fresh Physalis very much and greatly enjoy their sharp sweetness and sticky juices. I make a dessert of deeply dark chocolate pudding pots with fresh physalis on the side. The mixture of bitter dark chocolate with the fresh tart sweetness of the physalis is a heaven sent combination. Its a very popular dinner party treat...

I went through many different ideas when thinking of a way to use them. It was a cold day and raining relentlessly and I had a large amount of cooked brown rice. So the thoughts of a creamy rice pudding with a tart sauce swirled through it won the day. However I didn't want a stodgy, sugar laden affair so I used unsweetened almond milk to cook my pre-cooked brown rice in. I added 1 tbsp of agave to sweeten the bubbling goodness and for me that was sweetened enough. For the Incan berries I soaked them in freshly boiled filtered water with strips of lemon zest..the yellow skin and not the white pith. The longer you can leave them to soak the better but I don't think they will ever completely plump up but for this recipe that isn't necessary as they get blitzed until almost smooth to make the sauce. I was intending to have this as a warm dessert but Ann (pal and kitchen bitch assistant) and I both agreed on that day that a chilled rice pudding was called for. 

The results from this testing were a creamy without heaviness, sweet but not overly so, comforting textured, very much enjoyable tangy sauced pudding. Ann loved it and took all leftovers home to enjoy later. She is a total pudding addict. 

The pudding was a delight to eat chilled and warmed through. But I also have plans to try making a noodle sauce with the remaining Incan berries. They are a very interesting product indeed and I thank Suma for bringing them to my attention..


Rocket & Roses Incan Berry Brown Rice Dessert

Rocket & Roses Incan Berry Brown Rice Dessert  Makes 3
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1/2 cup dried Incan berries 
1/2 cup freshly boiled filtered water
2 strips of lemon zest

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 3/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp Suma organic agave syrup

Place the dried berries in a bowl with the lemon peel and then cover with the freshly boiled water. Leave to soak for approx 1 hour...the longer the better but an hour will do. Set to one side.

Place the cooked brown rice into a saucepan and stir in the almond and agave syrup until thoroughly combined. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce the heat to very low and continue to simmer the mix, stirring often, until it has thickened. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. 

Once the berries have plumped up (they won't completely rehydrate) remove the lemon strips and then place the berries and remaining soaking water into a blender. Blitz until you have a jam like consistency. Separate approx 4 tbsp of the jam and set to one side. Stir the remaining jam into the cooled rice pudding until evenly distributed. Spoon into individual serving dishes/glasses and then top with a scoop of the remaining jam. Serve chilled. 

Rocket & Roses Incan Berry Brown Rice Dessert - Gratuitous foodie shot for the pudding lovers out there.


Thanks for stopping by and I hope you're having a lovely day..


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


Friday, 20 March 2015

Rocket & Roses Spicy Bitter Gourd Stir Fry (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Jose Carerras ~ La Donna E Mobile (Rigoletto)
Nickelback ~ Someday
Mozart: Piano Concerto#21 in C
Black Stone Cherry ~ Peace Pipe
Beulah ~ Mary
Ray Charles ~ If I Give You My Love
Erasure ~ Sometimes
Queen ~ Seven Seas Of Rhye
Hunter Valentine ~ The Great Canadian Love Song
Count Basie ~ April In Paris
Melissa Etheridge ~ Come To My Window
Dixie Chicks ~ The Long Way Around
Nickelback ~ Flat On The Floor
Cat Power ~ Love And Communication

It would be a slight understatement to say that Bitter Gourd is an acquired taste. The clue really is in the name, eh? But it is a taste that I am determined to love because of the many health benefits of this fugly vegetable. I was very excited to find a stash whilst visiting the chinese warehouse in the city recently. They were much larger than I'd expected so only purchased one this time but in future I will stock up. The preparation of the gourd is very simple as you wash it well and then slice in half and remove the seeds and membrane. In my researching I read many differing ways to cook it. Some advise boiling it first, some salt it like aubergine and others soak it. This time I prepped my gourd and then left it coated in Himalayan salts whilst I prepped the other veggies for this dish. After a good rinse and press I then heated a little rapeseed/canola oil in my wok and got busy with the stir fry. 

My first tasting of the gourd was a little shocking as it was an assault on my taste buds. And I couldn't really say if it was a good or bad experience. It was just very different to any other veggies I have eaten. After doing more research into it I think I would try the boiling prep next time. The salting doesn't take much of the natural bitterness away. I was grateful for the spicy sauce that I had decided to make to drizzle over the stir fry. As a whole, this stir fry is crammed with great textures from the veggies to the aducki beans and the heat from the slightly sweet spicy sauce is a welcome kick. 

I am looking forward to testing out more ideas I have for cooking Gourd. It's a challenging veggie but a worthwhile one...

Rocket & Roses Spicy Bitter Gourd Stir Fry (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Spicy Bitter Gourd Stir Fry  Serves 4
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1/2 tsp rapeseed/canola oil
1 med/lg bitter gourd, prepped, sliced into half moons, salted  then rinsed and dried off
6 large runner beans, thinly stripped
4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced into 3-4" strips
2 large red bell peppers, prepped and stripped
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced
8oz cooked aducki beans

2 dsp prepared extra hot chilli sauce 
1 dsp mirin
1/2 dsp agave syrup

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set to one side. 

Heat a wok with the oil until smokey. Toss in salted and rinsed bitter gourd along with the spring onions, bell peppers, chilli and runner beans. Saute to coat with the oil and then place a lid on the wok for 4 minutes. Remove the lid and give the wok a good shake. Add the aducki beans and stir in and then drizzle over the spicy sauce and cook until the runner beans are tender. Approx 2 minutes longer. 

Serve immediately...


Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are looking forward to your weekend...and if you have any cooking suggestions re gourd please leave me a message.


NB: This is my creation. I have no problem with you using it or sharing it. I simply ask that you link back to this post and give credit where it's due. Many thanks...~R~


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Rocket & Roses Lotus Root Miso Soup (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Gwen Stefani ~ Cool 
Bonnie Raitt ~ Thing Called Love
Audioslave ~ Wide Awake
The Cranberries ~ Do You Know
The Trews ~ 65 Roses
Schubert: Ave Maria 
Bowes & Morley ~ I'd Take The Stars Out Of The Sky
The Rolling Stones ~ Under My Thumb
Jace Everett ~ More To Life
Bon Jovi ~ Lie To Me
Black Stone Cherry ~ Dance Girl
Janiva Magness ~ Some People Say
Blackwolf ~ Only Said In Silence
Slash ft Fergie ~ Beautiful Dangerous

I really have been enjoying my experiments in Japanese inspired cuisine. Today's recipe is one of my favourite outcomes of those sessions. I am on record as being an extremely mushroom challenged person but enoki are the exception to that rule. I love them...raw or warmed through in a hot meal. Lotus root is also another 'new to me' love. Neither have a particularly strong flavour but both come alive when added to the right dishes. I greatly enjoyed both in this miso soup. I love the savoury broth and the many layers of texture provided by the veggies. The heat from the chilli and ginger end every mouthful perfectly. Foods that are healing are very important to me and you certainly feel nourished, cherished and a step closer to being healed when eating this soup. Something all of us can appreciate...isn't it?

Rocket & Roses Lotus Root Miso Soup

Rocket & Roses Lotus Root Miso Soup     Serves 2
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1 garlic clove, micro-grated
1/2" piece of fresh ginger root, micro-grated
1 spring onion, minced
3/4 cup fresh vegan dashi stock (this is the recipe I use)
1 1/2 cups of filtered water
1 red chilli, cut in half & sliced, seeds included
1 head of Pak Choy, green and white parts separated, sliced
2 spring onions, sliced diagonally into 1" pieces
1 carrot, cut into 1/2" coins, cut into flowers
4" piece of Daikon/Mooli, cut into strips
2 slices of par-boiled lotus root chunks, quartered 
1 tbsp sweet white miso 
1 oz Enoki mushrooms, roots trimmed off and rinsed

In a med wok bring the water and dashi stock to a gentle boil. Add in the garlic, ginger, chilli and minced spring onion and bring back to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes. 

Add the pak choy stalks, spring onions, diakon, carrot flowers and lotus root continue to simmer for a further 5 minutes. 

Add the pak choy greens and simmer for 2 minutes more. 

Measure out the miso paste onto a spoon and then gently stir it into the stock until it has melted completely. The stock will look cloudy (and taste so good!) and simmer for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and scatter the enoki mushrooms over the soup and leave to heat through and then serve...


Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a reason to smile today...


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

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Andoh's Quick Fix Pickles: Fruity, Sweet And Sour Daikon (vegan & gluten-free option)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Thunder ~ Lola
Rival Sons ~ Open My Eyes
Stevie Wonder ~ Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours
Scissors Sisters ~ Take Your Mama
KT Tunstall ~ Saving Face
INXS ~ Never Tear Us Apart
Black Stone Cherry ~ Lonely Train
Dead Sara ~ We Are What You Say
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band ~ Shame, Shame, Shame
Skid Row ~ Piece Of Me
Thunder ~ She's My Inspiration
VAST ~ Can't Say No
Alison Moyet ~ More
The Union ~ The Space Between Us

I recently bought myself a second hand copy of Elizabeth Andoh's Kansha cookbook. It is a cook book that celebrates the vegan and vegetarian traditions of Japanese cuisine. I had been coveting it for a while and knew it would be all the things a good cook book should be. From the moment I held it in my hands I was enchanted. I made a large pot of green tea and sat down with it and read it cover to cover. Visually it's cook book perfection and it is a captivating read. The recipes are on the whole simple and every one I have tested so far have been a little bit of vegan Japanese food heaven. Kansha has quickly endeared itself to me and I would say it's easily one of my most favourite cook books of all time. Its now a treasured possession...

I made these pickles because I was creating some Japanese inspired recipes of my own and had realised I was missing a key ingredient for the meal. Pickles!! Now traditional pickles take time to ferment. I did not have this luxury and turned to the Pickles section of Andoh's book. I found this recipe and seeing the words quick and fix in the title had me rummaging around in my fridge to check for diakon and apples as everything else was stock cupboard items. And 15 minutes later I had sliced diakon and apples in a covering of salt and soaking and a quickly heated stock/brine cooling in a pan. The hardest part of this recipe is the 'not' rinsing the salt off of the diakon and apple when they have had their soaking time and it was amazing how much liquid leached out from them. Giving them a good press and toss really helped as mine held onto their moisture until I started to..well..assist them! In under an hour I had a jar of pickles sat in my fridge awaiting use. Marvellous!

Ann, who was here for the day helping me recipe test, became addicted to these pickles. We divided them up on the day and she ate hers as a snack and I have since made her another jar. It's easy to see why she liked them because the resulting pickles were indeed sweet as the apple brings a great fresh sweetness to the pickles. The diakon is a sturdy texture and takes on the fruitiness perfectly. The brine isn't an overpoweringly salty one which can sometimes be off putting as the salt dissipates into the sweetened brine. We 'blanked' on our day of testing that Andoh suggests scattering toasted sesame seeds. So when I read the recipe through again a few days later I spotted it and did indeed scatter the beautiful black and white sesame seeds I had toasted and sealed in a tiny jar....and On My Goodness...the transformation from a great sweet pickle to exceptional pickle was a foodie mind blowing experience for me. Wow...and I never say that easily...

Andoh's Quick Fix Pickles: Fruity, Sweet And Sour Daikon (vegan & gluten-free)

Andoh's Quick Fix Pickles: Fruity, Sweet & Sour Daikon
(Recipe from KANSHA/Celebrating Japan's Vegan & Veggie Traditions/Andoh)

Sweet and sour marinate:

3 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup stock or water
drop of light colour soy sauce (I used Braggs)
1 tbsp sugar (I used brown sugar/stevia blend)
2-3 strips of lemon peel or 1/4 tsp grated lemon zest
1" square of kombu
1 small tart apple about 6 oz, quartered, cored and thinly sliced or 1/4 cup 1/2" long matchstick cut apple peels 4oz
1 tsp kosher salt
1 chunk of daikon about 8oz unpeeled, cut into half moons
1 tbsp white sesame seeds, freshly dry roasted (I also used black)

Make the marinade:
Combine the vinegar, stock, soy (Braggs), sugar, lemon peel and kombu in a small saucepan over low heat and heat slowly, stirring, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and pour into a one pint glass jar and let cool naturally. The marinade can be made up to one week in advance and refrigerated. Bring to room temperate before using. 

Place the apples in a small bowl, add 1/2 tsp of the salt, and toss to coat evenly. Place the daikon slices in another small bowl and toss with the remaining salt. Let the apple and daikon slices sit for 10 minutes; moisture will form. If your apple has red skin the colour may bleed, tinting the brine. Lightly press and squeeze to encourage further wilting. Drain the apple and daikon slices then press out the excess liquid. 

Transfer the wilted apple and daikon to the marinade. Place the kombu on top to keep the apple and daikon submerged in the marinade. Cover and marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature (refrigerate if you wish to hold for longer than four hours) or for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. 

When ready to serve, use clean dry chopsticks or a fork to remove pieces from the marinade. Press out the excess liquid, then mound teepee style and garnish with the sesame seeds. 

Refrigerate and use within one week. 


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


NB: This is not my creation and I take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the hard-work and creation of Elizabeth Andoh and hers alone. I thank her for such an inspirational cook book and for sharing her beautiful recipes. ~R~


Monday, 2 March 2015

SUMA: Konnyaku Sushi Two Ways (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Natalie Imbrugia ~ Big Mistake
Foo Fighters ~ I'll Stick Around
Thunder ~ Broken 
Jack Johnson ~ Cupid
Maroon 5 ~ She Will Be Loved
The Cranberries ~ Salvation (Live in Paris)
Buckcherry ~ My Friend (Acoustic)
James Morrison ~ If You Don't Wanna Love Me
Pearl Jam ~ Man Of The Your
Otis Redding ~ Hard To Handle
Clawfinger ~ TheTruth
Garbage ~ The Trick Is To Keep Breathing
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band ~ While We Cry (Live)
Thunder ~ Wonder Days

I had fun creating the dishes for my Suma Bloggers Network posting. Since the new year I have been exploring Japanese cuisine..well the veggie and vegan kind. And I've really been enjoying the research and gathering of ingredients. When it came time to make my Suma Wholefoods ingredients selection I lost myself in their fantastic offerings of Japanese foods. When my box arrived I started scribbling down recipe ideas straight away. And I had so many options...and for that reason I am bringing three recipes to this posting. They have been tested and devoured and I promise you...the dipping sauce is a little addictive. Now some sushi purists could argue that I've strayed a little from traditional Japanese flavourings but I would simply state...these recipes are inspired by the Japanese cuisine. It's taken me some time to find my seaweed love but I really think I'm there. 

Konnyaku...have you heard of this? I confess I hadn't until I was flicking through the Suma catalogue. I ordered some out of curiosity and I have to say when we opened it, it is the most unpleasant food item I've ever smelt. I ordered the brown block which is seasoned with ground kelp. Goodness was an experience. It had my pal Ann fleeing the kitchen in horror whilst I rinsed and re-rinsed the block of shivering jelly. I had researched the product and the uses of so was ready for the jelly/rubbery/wobbly texture. (Am I selling this to you?) But no where in that research did it prepare me for the odour. It's awful so we set about preparing it with the kitchen door and windows open. You initially boil the prepped pieces for 5 minutes and then rinse and drain them. At this point I felt the need to wash the pans used, in an effort to eradicate the smell further. Once the prepped Konnyaku is seasoned and other ingredients are added the smell dissipates. 

Konnyaku is high in fiber, has almost no calories and is widely used as a diet food in Japan. I wasn't aware of this until after my purchase. I decided to divide my block into two parts and use them as the main ingredient in two sushi dishes I had created. Originally I was going to use tofu but was very happy to try something new. For the more traditional style of sushi I went for a spicy addition and then minced down the cooked Konnyaku. For the open sushi I kept the seasons savoury and finished the cooking process by baking the slices off and then finely shredding them to scatter over the fresh veggies. If I'm honest with you I wasn't sure if I would be able to enjoy the texture of Konnyaku...but I surprised myself and enjoyed it very much. And having run the gauntlet of using Konnyaku once and knowing that it takes...well a peg on the nose whilst prepping it...I would happily use it again. 

I made a choice to use brown rice in both my sushi recipes. It is my personal preference but using traditional sushi rice would work well if that's your choice. I spread a thin layer of wasabi paste across the sheets of nori when making the first sushi recipe. This is great for flavour but also assists with the sticking of the rice to the sheet. I scattered over toasted sesame seeds and then placed the asparagus slices, red pepper slices and lemon zests in a row. The minced Konnyaku was placed along the veggies and then the roll was made. I made two rolls and had 16 sushi pieces..some more perfect than others! Ahem! 

I made a dipping sauce using black rice vinegar, Braggs, sugar/stevia, dried chilli flakes and finely chopped fresh coriander. It was delicious and complemented the sushi pieces very well. The sushi itself was of great textures, the individual flavours worked perfectly with the fresh asparagus and slightly spiced Konnyaku. I was extremely happy with this recipe and we both devoured every bite. Ann (incredible friend and willing kitchen bitch helper) has become a little addicted to the dipping sauce. I have warned you twice now..

The open sushi idea came from a trip to my local Chinese warehouse. I found little packets of pre-seasoned nori sheets cut into little rectangle shapes. I instantly had visions of creamy avocado, brown rice and plentiful mounds of fresh veggies. It really was that simple...but the difference in flavours was intense. It is a very different experience entirely as the creamy avocado is the first flavour to hit your tastebuds followed by the nori sheets and as you get munching the fresh flavours of the vegetables come through and then the earthiness of the enoki mushrooms. The final flavour of the savoury konnyaku strips joins the party and blends well with the others. It was also great fun sitting together and building your little stacks...a great platter to share. 

During the recipe testing I also made a dip to go with some lotus chips. The lotus were seasoned with shichimi and I wanted a cooling dip to enjoy with them. I opted for silken tofu, fresh lemon & ginger juices and used a 'new to me' product Umiboshi paste. Believe me when I say just a tiny tip of the tsp was measure enough to balance out my dip. It is a very salty ingredient but you also get the slight pluminess too. It worked very well for my R&R Fragrant Cool Dip 

During the recipe testing day I also made a dessert using Suma Incan Berries. I partially re-hydrated the berries and combined some cooked brown rice with unsweetened almond milk and agave syrup. But I will be posting that recipe soon - bet it has got you intrigued, eh? 

I had a great time creating these recipes and spending the day recipe testing with my pal Ann. We sat down to an evening meal of all the recipes and the banquet was something else. So thank you to Ann for helping rock. And thank you to Suma Wholefoods for allowing me to be part of the Suma Bloggers Network. So time to start plotting once again....
Rocket & Roses Asparagus & Chilli Konnyuka Brown Rice Sushi

Rocket & Roses Asparagus & Chilli Konnyuka Brown 
Rice Sushi    Makes 16 pieces

110g Yutaka Brown Konnyaku 
freshly boiled filtered water

freshly boiled water
3 spring onions, finely sliced
2" piece of fresh ginger, micro-grated
1 large garlic clove, micro-grated
1/2 tsp low sodium salt
1 tsp brown sugar/stevia blend
2 tbsp Braggs (or tamari/soy sauce)
1/2 tbsp vegan oyster sauce
1 tbsp extra hot chilli sauce
1 tsp rapeseed oil

2 sheets of Nori
3/4 tsp wasabi paste 
1 cup of seasoned cooked brown rice
toasted black and white sesame seeds
4 thin asparagus, tips removed, stalk sliced into strips
1/3 red bell pepper, thinly stripped
1/4 tsp lemon zest strips
8 tbsp minced chilli konnyaku

Step 1: Rinse the block of konnyaku. Cut into strips and place in a wok and cover with freshly boiled filtered water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the strips onto some kitchen towel and scrub the saucepan. 

Place the strips back into the cleaned saucepan and add the spring onions, ginger, garlic, salt, brown sugar/stevia, Braggs, vegan oyster sauce and extra hot chilli sauce. Stir well to coat the strips. Add enough freshly boiled filter water to just cover the strips and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to leave the mix simmering. Cook until the liquid has cooked off and the strips are slightly sticky. Set to one side to cool. 

Take the cooled strips and using a large knife mince them down and set to one side for sushi assembly.

Step 2: Take one nori sheet and place it on a cling-filmed wrapped sushi bamboo mat. Brush a layer of wasabi paste over the entire sheet. Take the brown rice and press it down over the wasabi pasted sheet, leaving approx 1 1/2" space at the top edge (the furthest away from you). Sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds. 

One inch in from the edge closest to you lay some asparagus strips from one side to the other..try and keep it straight. Do the same with the red pepper strips and sprinkle over some of the lemon zest. Press it down and then add a layer of the minced konnyaku. 

Damp down the bare nori strip at the top with a little water. Start to roll the mat over and gently but firmly pull in the mat to make sure the filling stays inside. Keep with this action until the roll is complete and the dampened nori has sealed against the edge. Remove the mat but keep the cling film wrapped around the roll and set to one side whilst you repeat with the second nori sheet. 

Step 3: Take the two nori rolls and make ready a serving platter. Using a very sharp knife make a slice in the centre of the roll and repeat this 'halving' process until you have eight pieces. Then repeat with the second roll. 

Place the sushi pieces on the serving platter with Rocket & Roses Coriander & Black Vinegar dipping sauce. And devour...

(Original recipe from the Rocket & Rose Vegan Kitchen) 

                           Rocket & Roses Coriander & Black Rice Vinegar Dipping Sauce                               Warning..Highly Addictive!

Rocket & Roses Coriander & Black Rice Vinegar Dipping Sauce   Serves 2

1 tbsp Braggs (or low sodium soy sauce)
2 tbsp black rice vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar/stevia blend
1/8 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

In a small bowl whisk together the Braggs, vinegar, sugar and chilli flakes until the sugar has dissolved completely. Then add the coriander and stir well. Store covered in the fridge until ready to serve. Pour into a serving dish and get dipping. 

(Original recipe from the Rocket & Rose Vegan Kitchen)

Rocket & Roses Open Avocado & Sesame Konnyaku Strip Sushi

Rocket & Roses Open Avocado & Sesame Konnyaku Strip Sushi   Serves 2 

110g Yukata Brown Konnyaku 
freshly boiled filtered water

2 spring onions, minced
1/2" fresh ginger root, micro-grated
1/2 garlic clove, micro-grated
1/2 tsp low sodium salt
1 tsp brown sugar/stevia blend
1 tbsp Braggs
1/2 tbsp vegan oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp rice mirin
1/2 tbsp ground toasted black sesame seeds

1 pkt seasoned pre cut nori rectangles (approx 10)
1 cup of seasoned cooked brown rice
1 avocado, mashed 
1 carrot, cut into thin noodles
1/4 cucumber, seeds removed and sliced
handful of enoki mushrooms, trimmed & rinsed
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced
toasted black and white sesame seeds to scatter

Rinse the block of konnyaku. Cut into thin slices and place in a wok and cover with freshly boiled filtered water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the slices onto some kitchen towel and scrub the saucepan.

Place the konnyaku slices back into the cleaned saucepan. And add to it the spring onion, ginger, garlic, salt, sugar, Braggs, vegan oyster sauce, rice mirin and ground sesame. Stir well to evenly distribute. Add enough freshly boiled water to just cover the slices. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid has reduced down and the slices are slightly sticky. 

On a parchment lined baking sheet place the konnyaku slices and cook in a pre-heated hot oven for 10 minutes, then flip and cook for a final 10 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and leave the strips to cool on a wire rack. When the slices are cold, stack three up together and cut into strips across the width. Set to one side.

To assemble: Place the nori sheets on a serving plate along with individual piles of the prepared veggies and rice. Taking one piece of seasoned tofu..spread a small amount of avocado across the centre, followed by a small amount of rice and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Place strips of red chilli, cucumber, carrot noodles, enoki mushrooms on top of the rice and then finish with some strips of sesame konnyaku. Fold up the sides and then get munching.

(Original recipe from the Rocket & Rose Vegan Kitchen)

So there you go...I hope you try these recipes out and let me know what you think. Thank you as always to Suma for letting be part of the Suma Bloggers Network and to Amy for all her hard work. Right now I'd better get started on planning the 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week is a great one! 


NB: These recipes are my creation. I have no problem with you using them or sharing them. I simply ask that you give credit where it's due and provide links back to this posting..many thanks ~R~