Thursday, 21 July 2016

Chilli Chocolate Salsa with Spice Herb Baked Potato Wedges and 'Meatballs'

A lot more cooler today, thank goodness - but I still didn't really want to be in the kitchen.  

I made something relatively simple: I baked these Spice Herb Baked Potato wedges in the oven. 
I was just going to serve them with some beans, but then changed my mind after finding some ready made veggie meatballs in the freezer.  To make my life easy, I decided to throw the vegetarian Quorn* 'meatballs' into the oven with the spice herb coated wedges.   
I would normally have Sriracha and D goes for brown sauce, but  I had already planned to serve these wedges with a  Salsa, but no ordinary tomato salsa.  No these potato wedges were going to be served with Chilli Chocolate Salsa.  I was prompted to make this recipe after finding a bar of Dark Chilli chocolate, so the whole meal ended up revolving around this.  Chilli Chocolate Salsa is an acquired taste.  It was devilishly rich.

This plate is further enhanced with salad greens from my garden.   
I am sharing this Chilli Chocolate Salsa with We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin and Thyme. The theme is Anything Goes. 

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Quick and Easy Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa

I am in Wales, a land not known for the sunshine but rain rain rain, but today it felt like I was somewhere in the Mediterranean.  I stepped out of the office onto the busy streets and honestly it felt like I had walked into a greenhouse.  

Anyway, you know what hot, clammy weather means - no energy for cooking and your appetite to eat leans more towards quick light and easy bites: such as this Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa which requires no cooking at all, even better.  
I actually made this Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa at the weekend with homegrown strawberries. The strawberries take the place of tomatoes which can either be acidic or sweet.  I have to admit, as much as I wanted to make this and experiment, I was not sure that I would like it and I could see D looking down at the bowl and thinking the same. 
Then we both tucked in with our tortilla chips and were Wooed! 

This is not the first savoury strawberry recipe I have made, I have made a Savoury Strawberry Quiche with strawberries and even Strawberry Risotto before and more recently Strawberry Spinach Asparagus Salad, so don't quite understand why it has taken me a while to make this Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa in my home. I will even go as far and say, I think I prefer this  Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa to the spicy Tomato salsa.  

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Iranian Style Quorn 'Chicken' Stew with Aubergines and Courgettes

The past few weeks or so, I have made a few Persian inspired dishes inspired mostly by Iranian  food bloggers, rather than from the spate of mainstream Middle Eastern cookbooks published recently in the UK.  It started as a means to find inspirational ways of using my spices such as Advieh, Baharat, Sumac, Za'atar and ingredients such as Maftoul and Freekeh, but like any curious cook I have been lured and enticed by other recipes.  

When I saw an Iranian style Koresh tweeted by The Persian Fusion,  I just knew I had to make a vegetarian variation of it.  Something about it had me salivating.  
Koresht/Khoresht/Ghalyeh are stews or curries in Persian cooking.  They should not be compared to South Asian curries popular in the Western world.  Persian stews and curries are  quite mild.  

I substituted the chicken breasts with Quorn 'chicken' fillets and adjusted the spices to taste and the tomato sauce accordingly.  It was important to make the tomato sauce thicker to carry the texture of  Quorn fillets which can be quite dry and tough to penetrate with flavours.  In fact, I think its better to make this dish a day in advance, as the Quorn fillets became succulent by absorbing  and taking on some of the flavours from the sauce and natural ochre colour from the turmeric. Disclaimer*: I have been using Quorn products well before starting this blog, therefore this is not sponsored #Quornivore blog post, I have not been given this product free or paid by Quorn in any way.  
As recommended we ate this vegetarian Iranian stew with rice.  I liked how both the courgettes and aubergines - both rather bland vegetable in my opinion melted wonderfully in the dish, giving the dish more substance and texture.  I would be more than happy to make this again.  

Thank you Persian Fusion.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

A Bakers Dozen: Turmeric Recipes

2016 seems to be the year of the Turmeric. Turmeric boasts a number of health benefits: digestive and antiseptic, but as a person of South Asian heritage Turmeric known as Haldi has been part of my heritage and not seen as a trend.  Turmeric is traditionally used in South Asian curries, pickles, thrown into chappati's aka roti's, rice, Dals, soups, but also as a beauty treatment.  

However as a vegetarian experimental cook, even I have succumbed to the recent attention turmeric  has been getting in the foodie world.  The past couple of years has seen the rise in turmeric consumption in the Western world doused in vegan tofu scramble to give it that ochre egg yoke  colouring, stirred into breakfast oats, as well as in drinks such as turmeric lattes, turmeric smoothies and turmeric teas - all of which seem to be the rage right now.  
Today I bring you my bakers dozen: 13 meatless vegetarian and vegan recipes that make turmeric the golden star it is, not an accessory. 
It would be wrong not to start with the much beloved vegan Turmeric Tofu scramble from Post Punk Kitchen.  Tofu Scarmble has become a staple in every vegan home.  I am not vegan and I love it. 
Turmeric Garden Vegetable Piccalili made with green beans, runner beans, cauliflower and carrots.  This Piccalili is perfect next to a good home-made pie. 
This  unctuous Tangerine Turmeric Jam by Tropical Homestead is a little like marmalade, perfect for crusty or toasted homemade bread.
An awesome and original Dairy Free Turmeric Butter from Refresh.  I love the crackers too. 
A handsome Turmeric Masala Bread from the beautiful Preena who blogs over at A Teaspoon A Turmeric - a blog about Turmeric and Indian cooking. 
A change from Baked Bean, try these Turmeric Butter Beans with Dill and Garlic
Turmeric Pasta Salad with Blood Orange Chilli Oil.  The pasta is simply boiled in water infused with ground turmeric, I have also done this with New Potatoes.  
Curried Tofu with Turmeric Rice inspired by Moosewood Collective 
Fresh Turmeric Root Vegetable Curry from Archana's Kitchen.  This is an amazing vegetarian recipe.
Jamaican 'Patty' Pies with Turmeric Pastry - Here the vegan pastry is infused with ground turmeric and thyme.
Something different for when you have the munchies - Turmeric and Mango Flapjacks
Another fantastic turmeric recipe from A Teaspoon Of  Turmeric, this time its a Turmeric Til Ladoos, an Indian sweet covered in sesame seeds.  This would be so easy to make vegan by substituting the ghee with coconut butter. 
And finally, a pretty  Middle Eastern Turmeric Cake aka Sfuf, Sfoof  by Reinventing Nadine. I hope you have enjoyed this Turmeric blog post and are inspired to make it more of a star ingredient in your recipes.  Do you have any turmeric recipes that you would like to share with me. 

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Savoury Mosaic Polenta Cake with Black Pudding

Its been a while since I have cooked with polenta.  Its often Polenta Chips or my favourite Mexican style Tamale Pie , and then other times  maybe a gluten free Polenta Pizza, or simply as polenta bites a sort of free-style rough gnocchi. 

I wanted to be creative with this time round and decided to make a Savoury Polenta loaf studded with diced red, green and orange pepper.  Then I remembered having picked up a vegan Black Pudding and decided to incorporate that into the loaf and this was the result.     
It looks just like a gold churned butter slab or Mexican style cheese, but wait .... 
Slowly slice into it and surprise.
D loved it and said I could even try these with the vegan chorizo I make at home.  Or if you must other sausages would work too I am sure; or not, you can make this Savoury Mosaic loaf without the vegan black pudding.  Just experiment that is what I do. Sometimes they work, sometimes they do not.