Thursday, 23 April 2015

Rocket & Roses Shallot, Ful Medames & Sumac Stuffed Bell Peppers (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Soundgarden ~ I Awake 
Soul Asylum ~ Black Gold
Beth Hart ~ Heaven Look Down
Audioslave ~ Set It Off
U2 ~ With Or Without You
Tina Dico ~ Her Secret
Alicia Keys ~ No One
Little Angels ~ Too Much Too Young
Maroon 5 ~ If I Never See Your Face Again
Status Quo ~ In My Chair
Shakira ~ Underneath Your Clothes (Acoustic)
Glen Campbell ~ Sadly Beautiful
Paloma Faith ~ Trouble With My Baby
Wilko Johnson ~ Ice On The Motorway

We have been enjoying some very beautiful spring sunshine this week. It has been glorious but still a little chilly...hey, it is England after all. Although I am by nature a Autumn/Winter lover...I do love the bright colours and vibrancy of Spring. To see the spring flowers blooming everywhere makes my heart smile and when visiting my sister I love to watch the hundreds of bunnies scampering about. It's such a wonderful time of year. 

I also get a high from looking at the natural beauty that comes in the rainbow colours of fresh vegetables and fruits. And for me bell peppers are one of the most splendid offerings. I know some of you will see 'stuffed peppers' and groan..."Not another stuffed pepper recipe..." as stuffed vegetables, hummus and salad recipes seem to switch peoples minds off which I find sad because what a fantastic way to eat and enjoy bell peppers? And I believe you can never have too many stuffed veggies, hummus and salad recipes...or soup!!

I enjoy making fillings for peppers, courgettes, aubergines, tomatoes, marrow, squash, pumpkins and tomatoes. I think it gives you the opportunity to play around with textures and flavourings. This recipe gave me the chance to try out a 'new to me' flavouring of Sumac. I found a little pot of it at a supermarket and was intrigued. It has a very floral fragrance and looks like a drier blend of chilli powder but the aroma could not be more has a high citrus note. I also use various bulk ingredients like brown rice, quinoa and other grains but today I opted for good old TVP granules. Not the large chewy grisly lumps shudder but the fine textured granules...those I love. But any other filler is would work too so use what you feel comfortable with..just make sure they are cooked off before making this recipe so using leftovers would be great for this. Another key ingredient I selected was a tin of Ful Medames in water. I usually make a breakfast/brunch with them so always have a couple of tins in my stocks. I pick mine up at my local Indian & Continental Store in the nearby city. I really enjoy their unique flavour and the wholesome texture. I also experimented with the stock I used...using two types of tomato paste and one chilli paste dissolved into freshly boiled water. Three large banana shallots and garlic was the base to which I began tinkering with the other ingredients. I enjoyed making this stuffing.

Now...the process of cooking the bell peppers. Personally I don't part cook them first. Why? Because I don't like the mushy element that can sometimes happen after time spent boiling or steaming them and then oven time. I like mine still quite crisp so I add my stuffing to the raw shells and then leave the cooking of them to the oven. However, you can steam/boil them for 5-8 minutes first if you wish lovelies. 

The results were extremely enjoyable. The pepper shells were as I'd hoped...tender crisp. The stuffing was a perfect blend of wholesome comforting textures and unique moreish flavours. I will definitely be making this again...the stuffing would also be great served with pasta too. 

So come on...get stuffing those veggies. The possibilities are endless. Go for it...   

Rocket & Roses Shallot, Ful Medames & Sumac Stuffed Bell Peppers (vegan&GF)

Rocket & Roses Shallot, Ful Medames & Sumac Stuffed Bell Peppers  (Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)

4 large bell peppers, halved and de-seeded 

3 banana shallots, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, micro-grated
15 baby plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
1 med carrot, peeled and grated
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
6 Brussels sprouts, peeled and finely sliced
1 tsp chilli paste
2 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp sun-dried tomato paste
1/2 cup freshly boiled water
1 tsp Sumac 
1 cup TVP granules 
1 cup low sodium veggie stock
1 15oz tin of Ful Medames in water, rinsed and drained
generous amount of freshly grated black pepper

In a small bowl put the TVP granules and the hot stock and stir well. Leave to soak until needed. 

In a medium sized pan water saute the shallots and garlic until soft and translucent. Adding a little more water if needed to keep from sticking to the pan. Add the tomatoes, carrot, green pepper and Brussels sprouts and stir well. Leave to cook down for approx 5 minutes. 

Put the tomato paste, sun-dried tomato paste and chilli paste into a small bowl and pour over the boiled water and whisk until the pastes have dissolved. Pour into the veggie mixture along with the Sumac and stir well. Generously season with black pepper. Leave to cook for 2 minutes. 

Add the soaked TVP granules into the pan and once again stir well and leave to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and then add the drained Ful Madames stirring well to evenly distribute them through the veggie mix. Re-season with black pepper. 

Pre-heat the oven to 350'F/180'C/GM 4 and place the bell pepper shells into a very large flat baking dish. Half fill each shelve and flatten down to ensure the filling fills the cavities. Then go back over each one sharing out the remaining filling into mounds. Loosely cover the dish with tin foil and place into the oven. Cook for 30 minutes covered and then remove the tin foil and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the pepper shells are to your preferred texture. Serve one whole pepper per person with a green salad. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your day is as sunny as mine...


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 provide links back to this posting and I always do with others. Many thanks...~R~ 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Apple Tart (vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Audioslave ~ Cochise
Audioslave ~ Like A Stone
Audioslave ~ What You Are
Chris Cornell ~ Can't Change Me
Audioslave ~ #1 Zero
Audioslave ~ Gasoline
Chris Cornell ~ Pillow Of Your Bones
Audioslave ~ Jewel Of The Summertime
Chris Cornell ~ Part Of Me
Audioslave ~ Drown me Slowly
Audioslave ~ The Last Remaining Light
Chris Cornell ~ Arms Around Your Love 
Audioslave ~ Show Me How To Live
Chris Cornell ~ She'll Never Be Your Man

I enjoyed the company of good friends on Sunday evening and it was my pleasure to cook them all a meal and give us all a chance to relax and catch up with each other. When deciding what I wanted to cook for us I easily planned out the main course but struggled with the dessert. I was craving good old fashioned apple pie which is odd as I am by no means a dessert person nor a pie person. Strange how cravings hit you, isn't it? I thumbed through my recipe files and found this tart recipe that was heavy on flavour and apples without being loaded with gluten, dairy and refined sugars. Perfect..

It was very easy to make. The crust was quite delicate and I confess I served mine still on the loose base from my flan tin. It is a crumbly base but I liked that and the flavours were very enjoyable with the wholesome texture combined with the spices and tahini hit. The apple toppings were delicate in flavour but comforting with the mix of apples and dates..sweet enough without having a major sugar-rush after each mouthful. I served ours cold with indulgent chilled soya-vanilla custard. The dessert was rich but without the heaviness and stodge of traditional apple and custard. And I must confess...we all enjoyed a second slice. Ooops... 

Apple Tart ~ Vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar tasty!

Apple Tart    Serves 8

2oz ground almonds
4oz brown rice flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp sunflower oil
3 tbsp light tahini

3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and chopped
2 medjool dates, chopped
6fl oz filtered water

2 Gala apples, cored and finely sliced (skins on)
1/2 tbsp sunflower oil

Place the ground almonds, rice flour, cinnamon, cloves, water, sunflower oil and light tahini into a processor and blitz until you have a crumb consistency. Line the base of a 9" loose based flan tin and press the crumbs onto the base, flattening it out until you have an even surface. Do not press into the sides and be sure to leave a clear edge between the edge of the tin and the crust. Heat the oven to 200'C/400'F/GM6 and bake the crust for 15 minutes or until it has turned golden brown. 

Place the chopped apples, dates and water into a saucepan and stew the mix until the apples are soft. Remove from the heat and puree until smooth. 

Leaving a 1 cm edge around the crust spread the apple/date puree evenly over the crust. Take the sliced apples and place them on top of the puree in any overlapping pattern you wish. Brush the apple slices with the sunflower oil and place back into the oven for 20 minutes or until the apples are cooked and beginning to brown. Serve warm or cold. 


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


NB: This is not my creation and therefore take no credit for it whatsoever. I do send out thanks to whoever did. ~R~



Sunday, 12 April 2015

Fresh and Fruity Birthday Cake (vegan & gluten-free)

Fresh & Fruity Birthday Cake (vegan & gluten-free)

Juicy, fruity, fresh, fabulous and just down right awesome! Those are just a few words to describe my celebration birthday cake this year. As much as I love a trad (vegan) birthday cake...I really wanted something different this year and when ML came back to me with the idea of making a fresh fruit creation I was completely on board. We enlisted the help of my sister and her little ones and we all sat around the table cutting out shapes and prepping the fruits. I have to say that we all feasted on the cut-offs and almost spoilt our lunch. So how did we create this visually wonderful cake...

Take 2 medium watermelons and cut off the rind of one and shape into a standard cake layer. Take the second watermelon and once again remove the rind and then cut into a smaller cake layer to sit on top of the larger one. Secure with a wooden skewer. 

Slice a gala melon and the cut offs of the watermelon and cut out various sizes of star shapes with star cookie cutters. Set to one side. Peel and slice 4 kiwis and cut off the bottom edge and stand up along the bottom of the larger layer. Then with the remaining slices use the smallest star shape and cut out some stars. Set to one side. 

Slice some freshly rinsed strawberries into four. Set the outside edge pieces to one side and take the full slices and layer them around the bottom of the top layer of watermelon. Take the outside edges and cut them down a little smaller and then place them in front of the sliced kiwi pieces. 

Take a larger melon star and cover it with a smaller one and using them with a blueberry and stick them into the side of the top layer above the strawberries. 

Take a kiwi star and a blueberry and stick them into the side of the bottom layer above the sliced kiwi and strawberry. 

Using several longer wooden skewers start with a blueberry followed by the melon stars and more blueberries and place them into the top of the cake. And that is all there is to it...


Thanks for stopping by and I'll be back soon after I have finished celebrating getting another year older and wiser..sure, sure keep laughing. 


NB: This is ML's creation and we are happy to share it with everyone...I would love to see and hear about your future know you want to make one too! ~R~

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Fuhrman's Cauliflower & Green Pea Curry - adapted (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Lissie ~ Everywhere I Go
Beth Hart ~ Am I The One
Billie Myers ~ Tell Me
VAST ~ Beautiful
The Rolling Stones ~ Emotional Rescue
Lenny Kravitz ~ Can't Stop Thinking About You
Thunder ~ Broken
Meshell Ndegeocello ~ Don't Mistake My Kindness For Weakeness
Rizzle Kicks ~ Skip To The Good Bit
Martina McBride ~ Whatever You Say
Skin ~ When I'm With You
Dave Matthews Band ~ Drive In Drive Out
The Feeling ~ Fill My Little World
Harry Connick Jr ~ Smile

In making today's recipe I felt like I was paying homage to some 70's style vegetarian curry. And when taking the photos I had a hard time making it look pleasant. It's tricky to make a brown dish look attractive. Thankfully the cauliflower stood out amongst the brown sauce...phew!

Today's recipe is from Dr Fuhrman's Eat To Live Cookbook which I am recipe testing at the moment. I've been a fan of Fuhrman's work for some time as I respect the basic plan of his eating programme. I am trying to build some much needed strength for some operations that are (hopefully) coming up later in the year. His principals of eating nutrient dense foods and cutting out any macro dense foods is something I try to do every day. And his plan is naturally vegan so therefore perfect. I don't follow his everyday plan or menus but his recipes are something I enjoy. However, for me there are a little too many dried fruits in his soups for my liking and needs but that is my only quibble.

To describe this recipe as a curry is for me a stretch so personally I would have called it Curried Cauliflower & Peas. Foodies out there will understand the difference between the two. As is my rules...I made the first batch of this recipe as Fuhrman instructed and that meant using generic curry powder instead of a hand mixed blend of spices. I am not usually a foodie snob but when it comes to spices...I admit it..I ignoring all of my beautiful spices I have in my spice draw and selecting my large pot of curry powder felt all kinds of wrong. It felt lazy. But I soldiered on...

It is a very basic recipe and very quick to make although my cauliflower took twice as long to cook as the suggested time on the recipe. During a recent shopping trip I had been over the freaking moon happy to find some bagged Baby Kale Leaves. If you are lucky you can sometimes buy whole leaves of kale where I live but mainly it comes pre-chopped in bags. Which does mean dried out shrivelled kale pieces with large chunks of stalk attached. Nice, eh? So I was practically jumping up and down with joy at this bag of baby kale. When I was making this dish I felt it needed a green leafy and decided that the kale was the perfect one. I added the leaves at the end of the cooking time and stirred them through the curry and left them to wilt in the heat of the veggie mix. 

I enjoyed this spiced dish but I stand by my original wasn't a curry. It was a spiced vegetable dish and you could taste the curry powder tang as it didn't have the depth that a real curry has. And the richness of a good curry sauce was evidently missing. Am I being too picky? Maybe so. Would I make it again? Yes as it was quick and easy to make and very economical. But I would make my own spice blend next time and maybe use a little more fresh tomato. The kale leaves fitted in amongst the other veggies perfectly and brought a freshness to it. It may not be a looker...but it was nice to eat.  

Fuhrman's Cauliflower & Green Pea Curry - adapted (vegan & gluten-free)

Fuhrman's Cauliflower & Green Pea Curry     Serves 4
(Adapted recipe from Eat To Live Cookbook/Fuhrman)

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 med onion, chopped
1 small carrot, grated
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 bag of Florette baby kale leaves

Water/saute the onion, garlic and carrots until tender. Add ginger, curry powder and cumin and saute for an additional minute. Add cauliflower, tomatoes, peas and water. Cover and simmer for 7-15 minute or until cauliflower is tender. Add in more water if needed to adjust consistency. Stir in the baby kale leaves, cover and leave to warm through for a few minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and serve...



NB: This is not my creation. It is the adapted recipe from the Eat To Live Cookbook so I take no credit for it whatsoever. The hard work and creation is entirely theirs. I thank them for sharing such good recipes. ~R~  

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Sharing fruity fun...

Fruit Fruit Wheel..gone in

Hello folks..just dropping by to wish you all a lovely holiday weekend. We have been having a lovely time so far. Here in England it is a national bank holiday weekend so we have spent some of our day reorganising my work room. Well, isn't it the tradition to get jobs around the house done? Ahem. Anyway it shaped up pretty well and I can smile again when in there. We also did some kitchen work which was good as we rarely get the opportunity to do that anymore. Then yesterday we had a fantastic family day with my sister and her little ones. The majority of the family have entered into a lifestyle change and are trying to eat better. I was happy to join in and after a lunch of jacket potato with lots of healthy toppings and salads we tucked into this fresh fruit wheel and some had fat-free vanilla yoghurt as a topping. The melon balls were hand carved by the little one Noo...the ripe mango was selected by Myles and the super juicy Navel orange was the littlest ones choice and with our additions we had a stuffed fruit wheel to be enjoyed. And believe me...we did indeed enjoy it After the fruit feast we were left with only a few stray pieces of fresh fig, grapes and mango. A healthy eating success I would say...and little Layla 'needed' me to share this with you as she was delighted with the wheel and thought it beautiful.

I wish you all a lovely holiday weekend and I hope you are all enjoying a great or not. I'll be back tomorrow with a recipe posting....