Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Zaatar Chickpea and Green Pepper Loaf

I made this Zaatar Chickpea Loaf yesterday.  I had not planned on it, but there was not much in the house in the way of fresh ingredients, so I was making the most of what we had at home in the kitchen cupboards and fridge. 

The Zaatar Chickpea Loaf actually turned out to be quite lovely.  Not dense, but packed with flavour and textures and surprisingly it also remained quite moist on the inside too.  
I served the Savoury Loaf with Zaatar Sweet Potato Chips that were simply baked in the oven. However, the plate still needed something else, shredded Brussels sprouts maybe, as that was the only green vegetable in my kitchen but I think I have had my fair share of sprouts for the year so gave it a miss.
For those of you who have not yet welcomed the New Year - What are your plans for the New Year celebrations?   I'm  staying indoors for the New Year celebrations with a plate of nibbles and a bottle of fizzy, so may I take the opportunity wish you all a Happy New Year for 2015. 2014 has been a better year for me.  A new home, a new job... but I look forward to 2015 and hope it will be even better.  May it be a kind one for all my lovely loyal readers too. See you in 2015. 

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Harissa and Pepper Veggie Sausage Bites

Its been a while since I made veggie sausage rolls at home.  I was prompted to make some thanks to the lovely Johanna over at Green Gourmet Giraffe for tempting me, as variations of vegetarian Sausage Rolls kept appearing at her table, especially this time of year.

My version is completely different and is made mostly with store-bought ingredients, namely the vegetarian sausage-meat and the puff pastry.  

In my haste, or rather greed.  I forgot to slice the rather long sausage roll into bite size pieces before putting in the oven to bake, that is why they don't look aesthetically pleasing, but they tasted good that I can assure you.  Slight spice from the harissa and crunch from the peppers; and the puff pastry light and crisp.  Yum.  
My husband loved them and requested that I make them more often, so I will be making them again in the next few days. Perhaps even put some in his lunch box for work - the big kid.  

Monday, 29 December 2014

Christmas Came and Went

Christmas day came and went and before I knew it I was back in work.

I had some lovely gifts thanks mostly to my lovely husband like a gorgeous peacock T-shirt, a couple of DVDs, a CD amongst other things, but the two gifts that I want to share here are food related.  

I had two cookbooks on my Christmas wish list: Meat Free Any Day: Food For all Reasons by Sarah Beattie; and The Adventurous Vegetarian: Around The World In 30 Meals by Jane Hughes - my wishes was granted...Now to decide what to cook from them first?! 
And from my nephew - the oldest one that I am really really close too, I got a foodie hamper. 
I have never received an hamper in my life, so this was a lovely treat. 
He managed to stuff it with with additional sweet and savoury nibbles, a lot that you can't even see, so I will have to share that with you in my blog January In My Kitchen blog post, 

I hope you had a good Christmas with your family and friends, now we wait to welcome the New Year and what is may bring.  

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Festive Vegetarian and Vegan Christmas Menu

Well the new Christmas tree is finally up and we are looking forward to celebrating Christmas in our new home.
The new Christmas tree is graced with those tree decorations gifted to me by blogger friends such as a felted gingerbread man, a knitted tiny jumper with coat hanger, as well as some treasured ornaments, some fair-trade ones, and a couple of new ones.
We will be going to D's mothers for Christmas day.  Its been a few years since we got together and celebrated Christmas day as a family.  So that will be good.  Other than helping a little on the day, probably towards the roast potatoes and the Nut Roast, it will mostly be D helping his mother in the kitchen to feed us.  So I share with you some festive vegan and vegetarian savoury and sweet eats from this blog that may offer up some culinary inspiration for the festive days vegetarian or vegan menu.

Hot and Cold Starters
vegan Parsnip and Wild Rice Soup
vegan  Chestnut and Lentil Soup
Or maybe you prefer lighter starters, what about this Roasted Shallots and Apricot Salad with Goat Cheese
Red and Golden Beetroot, Coriander and Feta Salad.  The dairy cheese here, can easily be substituted for a vegan alternative. 

Main
vegan Brussels Sprout and Nut Roast Pie 
Mushroom and Chestnut Bourguignonne.   I often serve this dish with sun-dried tomato and rosemary pan fried polenta and when its Chistmas time, they can often be found in the shape of a Christmas tree; in or if you want a lightger pasty, maybe try  Mushroom En Croute.
Or perhaps a vegan Mushroom Suet Pudding.  This is a family size one, but you can easily make individual ones.
vegan Mushroom, Puy Lentil and Ale Pie aka Drunken Mushroom Pie
vegan Fruit and Nut roast Pie
Or for those of you wanting more flavours how about this Spiced Vegan Winter Vegetable Pie

Not into pastry pies, that is okay, I also have some Nut Roasts and Vegetable Loaf recipes to share.
3/Three Lentil Vegetable Loaf
Parsnip Loaf Roast 
vegan Lentil Loaf served here with roasted Brussels sprouts

Dessert/Pudding and Sweet Things
vegan Pomegranate Parsnip Cake
Cranberry and White Chocolate Muffins
vegan Oreo Christmas Wreath Cakes
Individual vegan Gingerbread Men Cakes.
Cranberry Belly Robin Cookies or Biscuits
Cranberry Waffles served with Clementine Curd  Hopefully some of these festive delights will inspire or intrigue you enough to check out the original recipe.  

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

African Sweet Potato, Kidney Bean Groundnut Curry

I make this African Sweet Potato, Kidney Bean Groundnut Curry every so often.  The sauce is both sweet and spicy, thickened by the groundnuts. Sometimes I will make this African Curry with butternut squash, or throw in a bag of baby spinach to bulk it up when cooking for other people.   Its very popular with friends and acquaintances, except for one....

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Zaytoun In My Kitchen

I don't have very much that is new in my kitchen this month, just a handful of things that I would like to share.  I have a small selection of Zaytoun produce.  Zaytoun is a social enterprise founded in 2004  to create and develop a UK market for artisan fairly traded Palestinian produce that carries the stories of  'the producers and their land'.  Last month Zaytoun celebrated their 10 year anniversary.  

I discovered Zaytoun when I lived in Glasgow and went along to a Fairtrade event and have been using their ingredients in my kitchen since, especially  their Palestinian Za'atar made with wild thyme, toasted sesame seeds and sumac - a very versatile ingredient, but to be honest I've never really written about Zaytoun on my blog, until now.
In my kitchen this month not only do I have the zesty seasoning za'atar, I also find myself with some maftoul.  Maftoul is a large, hand rolled and pearly grain made from dun-dried bulgar wheat, it has a unique, nutty flavour, some large Om Al-Fahem premium almonds that are sweet,  and large caramelised almonds, a packet that I know once opened you will not want to share with anybody, but a deserved treat for yourself.     
The Zaytoun organic extra virgin olive oil is like no other extra virgin olive oil that I have ever tasted.  The extra virgin oil is extremely luscious and rich, thick, packed with flavour and smooth like velvety gold.  It really is hard to describe. You will have to try it to know what I mean.
Just a couple of weeks back, I tore into my packet of smoky green wheat grain Freekah and made a Smoky Freekeh Warm Salad dish with Roasted Aubergines and Chickpeas.  Hand on heart it was one of the most simplest and most delicious meals ever and I really put it down to the ingredients, rather than the recipe.   If you ever stumble upon Zaytoun ingredients, I would encourage you to try something from the Zaytoun range
I forgot to share these Oxfam Ice Tea and Lemonade cans with you last month for IMK, I got them from Bruge, Belgium from Oxfam whilst there for a long weekend.  Yes, I was sold by the pictures on the can, I've never seen anything like this in the U.K, so had to bring back home some to show to friends and family interested in diversity related issues.  I wonder if they will hit the UK Oxfam stores next year?!
I also picked up this gorgeous  ceramic cookie press/mould from Bruge, Belgium for a bargain price of 5 euros reduced from 10 euros.  Of course, I have yet to use them.
These crochet apple baubles are not strictly for the kitchen, but because they a apple shaped, I just felt I had to share them.  I picked them up early in the month from a local craft fair.  
And finally, Christmas Collection tea-bags from Yogi Tea.  I was introduced to Yogi tea by my friend Leah when I visited her in the USA, the only one I tend to buy now and again is the Choco Chilli, but with it being Christmas, well I thought I would treat myself.  

I am sharing this post with Celia at Fig and Jam for November edition of In My Kitchen Series. Please go by and check out the other IMK posts. 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Vegetable Palette: White Vegetables Round Up #5

The idea behind 'The Vegetable Palette: natures colours - natures goodness'' is to make something with either a fruit, vegetable or combination of both each month.  You can make absolutely anything that you wish, so long as the recipe is vegetarian and includes a vegetable/and or fruit with the chosen colour.  
The theme for November was White Winter Vegetables.   
Janet from The Taste Space shared an Indian Inspired Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad.  The flavours that enhance two ingredients that would perhaps otherwise be quite bland are roasted coconut with added sweetness from apples and raisins, as well as a dressing of curried maple tahini dressing. Now that is a bowl of goodness.   
Helen from Family - Food - Friends is a new blogger to me, so I thank her and welcome her to the Vegetable Palette and my blog.  Helen shared a Parsnip - Cheese Pasta Bake made with a couple of whopper parsnips, one that actually measured a foot long and came in her vegetable box.  Even though I am not overly a big fan of the sweet white-creamy root vegetable, even I am willing to try this and get my big fork and crack into that golden cheesy topping. 
Caroline from Caroline Makes brings to the table a Vegetable Winter Crumble.  I said this in my Eat Your Greens (previous) post and will say it again, please don't be deceived by the way it looks, as beneath that golden cheesy oaty topping you will find it loaded and bursting with vegetables, including half a head of cauliflower.  This dish is hearty and one that will warm your tummy with the cider sauce playing on your tongue.  
And finally, Galina from Chez Maximka shares with us a bowl of Parsnip and Fennel Soup with Caramelized Chestnuts.  I've never had parsnips and fennel together in a soup before, so I have to admit am a little curious about this; and what is more interesting in place of croutons we have caramelized chestnuts. So who knows, the next time I want soup this could be it. 

I would like to thank Janet, Helen , Caroline and Galina for their white vegetable contributions.  If you would like to participate in the Vegetable Palette, then please follow this link on how to participate - the theme is Christmas and Festive Vegetables.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Eat Your Greens #6

Welcome to Eat Your Greens Round Up  #6.    This is a monthly vegetarian cooking challenge for food bloggers.  The  idea behind 'Eat Your Greens' is really simple, to make something with a green vegetable each month.  
The first recipe comes from The Veg Hog.  Its Spinach Hedgehog and Hoglets.  I have to admit I had to gently persuade The Veg Hog to share her recipe with Eat Your Greens, as I felt her wonderful vegetarian blog needs wider audience, she makes some really lovely dishes that make me want to get in the kitchen and get cooking again.  
Anyway, bestow your eyes on these deep green spinach canapes on a golden light puff pastry base.  I think they are absolutely adorable and will look wonderful on any celebratory table come Autumn or Christmas. 
Corina who blogs at Searching for Spice shares with us a Creamy Pumpkin Spinach and Feta Quiche. I'm loving the flavour combination here, the creamy soft pumpkin, next to the salty feta - spinach topping.   Corina declares this quiche as one of the best vegetarian quiches you can make and most definitely the best pumpkin quiche.  Go on give it a go and see if you agree, I am certainly not doubting her. 
Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe gives us Cheesy Kale Quesadillas with Mole Sauce. I like kale, my husband likes cheese, so this recipe will be making an appearance in our home some time soon.  I am also very very curious about the homemade cocoa mole sauce.  Johanna writes that the cocoa adds richness without tasting like chocolate. I am looking forward to giving it a go some time very soon.

Monday, 1 December 2014

We Should Cocoa - The Chocolate - Chilli Round Up

Here are the chocolate and chilli entries for this months We Should Cocoa Challenge.  
I thought the chilli chocolate combination would prove a bit of a challenge for our food bloggers, but it was a challenge that many of you took in your stride because I received loads of chilli - chocolate inspired dishes.  Before I share the awesome fiery entries, I would like to take this opportunity to Thank you lovely fellow bloggers for being part of my much neglected blog. 
I would also like Thank both Choclette and Chele for giving me an opportunity to host this months edition of We Should Cocoa.  I have enjoyed it, really.  

Here are the chilli-chocolate submissions (in no particular order).
I've been drinking a lot of hot chocolate the past week, but I have to say I want to try this Chilli Chocolate Toddy from Mari from the Nutty Tart.  This Chilli Chocolate Toddy is made not with whiskey but brandy and rum, with chilli, cinnamon and all spice.  My cheeks are feeling warm just looking at this. 
Lucy - The Kitchenmaid Chilli Chocolate Syrup and Chilli Chocolate Martini.  Lucy suggest this as a DIY Chrismas gift, but I want to make this all for me. I can only imagine the versatility of the Chilli Chocolate Syrup, over ice-cream, even in a hot chocolate - Lush!
Janine from Cake of the Week tempts us all with these gorgeous Chilli Chocolate Macarons. She made these delightful morsels for her fathers birthday, unlike her Janine's father is a huge fan of chilli and he approved as a sizeable chunk of them had disappeared by the end of the day!   I've yet to try making macarons at home, and this may be the recipe to tempt me.