Monday, 31 August 2015

Shades of Tomato

I thought I'd let you peek into our greenhouse.  Compared to last year, our tomatoes are thriving, but everything else has been either been neglected or lost our to the voracious appetite of the butterflies and dastard snails and slugs.  
As you can see, we have loads of tomatoes still growing. 
Loads still ripening. 
Loads to eat. 
Okay now onto my little harvest for Harvest Monday, other than the many tomatoes.
The green stripey courgettes have been a bit slow.  I've used them in a few recipes, but one recipe that has got me all excited has been baked courgette - zucchini fries aka chips, I will share the recipe later this week.  I also harvested my second golden courgette.  I have to show it off in all its glory as I am not that confident of many others being harvested, as the horrid slugs are beating me to them. 
On Saturday when the rain stayed off, we pottered in the garden for a while.  I harvested some plums, as you can see our tree is burgeoning.  
I picked one plum that was rather splendid.  I dubbed it as Plum Bum, click the link if you haven't yet seen it.
Some plum were given to neighbours, these are for my family when I go over tomorrow for a cuppa tea. And of course, we will enjoy many in the sweet bakes, cakes and crumbles. 
The blueberry plant has been rewarding me with berries on and off, a handful in fact.  Not enough for a pie, but great scattered over cereals or yogurt. 
My runner beans and other climbing french beans are not worth shouting about either, but we have some that have been serving as an accompaniment to simple meals rather than playing a starring role.
I think our neighbour pitied us somewhat as he came on over Saturday afternoon and gifted us with some of his runner beans.  He even chopped them up for us.  I am sharing this harvest with Daphne's Dandelions for Harvest Monday. 

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Plum Bum

I harvested some plums from the garden yesterday.  I picked this splendid specimen that I've dubbed as Plum Bum.  After a little wipe and rub on my top, I ate it - two plums in one.  Delicious. 

I shared a load with our neighbours and in the next few days, I will share some with family and friends.  
For those of you who like looking closely, yes I know it looks like I have four left toes, but I assure you I have five ugly toes, I dislike wearing flip flops, but its the one time my feet get a breathe of fresh air.  

Photo an Hour: Glimpse of My Saturday

Inspired by Second Hand Susie I am joining in for the first time with Photo and Hour.  The 29th August was chosen as photo an hour day this month.

Here are some snaps from one of my first Saturday in weeks when I have not been been working. So it began with a much needed long sleep in. 

Around 10am - I never take for granted my first cup of tea made by my lovely D.  I take it to the computer and check out my blog, e mails, world news etc. While D messes with the boiler as we have no hot water coming from the taps, a bit of fiddling and its up and running - I can finally go and have a shower
Around 11am, As I dry my hair with a towel, I take a peek through the back window.  Thoughts are turning to the garden and perhaps some harvesting.
Around 12am, I inspect and pick some plums from our fruit tree and give some to our neighbours - left and right, as we have way to many for us. 
Around 1pm - D decides instead of having a lazy Saturday, he would weed the slabs in the front of the house, and somehow ropes me into helping him.  It looks much better now that it is done.
Around 2pm - We both sit down and have a deserved slice of homemade Blueberry and Apple Galette (I will share the recipe soon).
Around 3pm - I decide to do some laundry and more laundry.
Around 4pm, one of my elderly neighbours comes round with a bag full of runner beans, all topped, tailed and sliced.  Really generous and really kind.  He could see our green beans are a sad selection this year. 
Around 5pm, as its a long weekend with the Bank Holiday I make some vegetarian 'facon bacon' for us to lunch on during the day. Its good and lasts a fortnight, as long as it is refrigerated.
Around 6pm, I hover over my selection of vegetarian, vegan and general cookbooks looking for inspiration for week day meals. 
Around 7pm, I perch myself in front of the computer for today's blog post which is about #EatYourGreens  vegetarian and vegan recipe submissions which make use of green vegetables. 
Around 8pm, we decide on what movie to watch from our DVD collection.  We watch 'Seven Psychopaths'.
Around 9pm, more than an hour or so into our movie, D brings over a plate of crackers and cheese.  I usually like popcorn, but if he is doing the late night nibbles round, its often cheesy crackers.
Around 10pm . blowing out the soy scented Coconut candle to go to bed. 

Its been interesting cataloguing my day in hours, not the most exciting, adventurous or glamorous, but hey that is me.  Did you participate in Photo An Hour?  If not, would you be interested?  Photo and Hour is hosted by Jane and Louisa

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Eat Your Greens #15

Welcome to the Round Up for 'Eat Your Greens' #14.    
This is a monthly vegetarian and vegan cooking challenge for food bloggers to make something with a green vegetable (or fruit) each month.  

Friday, 28 August 2015

Sweet and Savoury Glorious Reds

Welcome to August's round up of The Vegetable Palette and Fruit Palettenatures colours - natures goodness''. 
The theme for August was Glorious Reds.  (Please scroll to the bottom of the page for the new theme if you would like to take part this month).  

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Sweet Potato 'Halwa' Muffins with Popping Blueberries

Homegrown blueberries stud this sweet potato muffin
These may not look much to look at, but my oh my they tasted gorgeous.  They were dense, but in a good way and not dry at all.  
I describe them as 'Halwa' as that is what the texture of these muffins reminded me of, especially when they were splendidly still warm.  I am sharing this with CookBlogShare from Hijacked By Twins, this week it is being hosted by SneakyVeg.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Two Easy Tarts

Move over pizza, we have two easy tarts.

Easy when you are using ready rolled puff pastry and ingredients from your garden and fridge. 
This one is slathered with green pesto, then topped with thinly sliced courgettes, cherry tomatoes, black olives and some brie cheese. 
And this one was made with left overs from the Afghani Burani Bonjon.  I was initially going to stir it through some cooked pasta but then decided to use up the puff pastry in my fridge - a standby for quick evening meals.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Oven Baked Za'atar Tomato and Potato Frittata

Long day at work, so I will share something else that was made in the oven the weekend - Za'atar Tomato and Potato Frittata or Tortilla.   

Sliced, this Frittata is good for a picnic, BBQ or buffet food.
This one is made with potatoes, juicy plum tomatoes and then binded with eggs, doused generously with za'atar and then baked in the oven until set.  Its good either at room temperature or cold. We had some left over and took it into work for lunch. 

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Baked Tandoori Butterflied Eggplant Aubergines

So it was the weekend and it was BBQ time, except no BBQ in our garden.  The thunder was rolling in the skies and the rain drip drip dripping.

I was inspired to make these Tandoori Butterflied Aubergines by Sarah Beattie from her cookbook Meat-Free Any Day.  But I didn't follow the recipe completely, for a start Sarah grills her Tandoori Butterflied Aubergines over white-hot embers.   Mine conjured up no smoke, no flames and no associated BBQ smells.  Mine were simply baked in the oven, on a baking sheet covered with foil.  It worked remarkably well.   
To be honest, this is how my family have come to make Tandoori chicken.  My father wishes for a traditional Tandoor - clay oven, but settles for his Tandoori chicken baked/roasted in the oven. If he did ever get his wish granted, I would be over for Tandoor Naan breads, cooking them straight on a hot tandoor oven imparts a flavour that is hard to capture on a skillet or even from an oven.   Sarah Beattie rightly points out that in the U.K we have come to accept  food marinated in red (paprika) or yellow (turmeric) spiced coloured yogurt as 'Tandoori'.  

I have to point out in addition to baking these Tandoori Butterflied Aubergines, I have cheated a little further mostly for ease and laziness after all this was meant to be a chilled out BBQ afternoon. I confess and put my hands up and admit that I did not make my own tandoori spice blend.  Instead I asked my sister in law to fill me a small jar of tandoori paste and that made for easy cooking, well I don't do it that often so cut me some slack.  
The finished dish was served with some Puy Lentil Pilav style rice. I am sharing this with Meat Free Mondays with Tinned Tomatoes;  Fabulous Foodie Fridays hosted by Bake Play Smile and Create Bake Make; and Gluten Free Fridays hosted by Vegetarian Mama. 

Friday, 21 August 2015

Afghani Burani Bonjon - Aubergine Braised in Spicy Tomato Sauce

I cooked up this awesome Afghani Burani Bonjon at the weekend.  It was utterly gorgeous.  

My first encounter ever with Afghani Burani Bonjon  or shall I describe it with more familiar words: Aubergine braised in spicy tomato sauce and then smothered  with Seer Moss - GarlicYogurt sauce was in my early days of blogging through a now sadly defunct blog called The Culinary Adventures of a Confessed Shakamboo, I was curious about it at the time as I was not that familiar with Afghanistan cuisine, but at the same time somewhat dismissed it as I was not overly keen on aubergines aka eggplant a key ingredient for the recipe.  A few years fast forward I was once again reacquainted with Burani Bonjon whilst flicking through the Canadian Living: The Vegetarian Collection and most recently in Veggiestan.  
Well this time I just had to make this dish, especially as I have begun appreciating aubergines a lot more.  For those of you on a diet, I must forewarn you that this is not a low in fat meal at all, it is very rich and quite sublime.  You all know what aubergines are like sponges and suck up oil effortlessly.  Its also not the prettiest dish hence I sprinkled it with edible flowers, chive flowers and coriander.  I brought it to the table served my Fair TradeTierra Negra Round Saute dish, but a serving platter would do fine too. 
D really loved it.  The cooling aspect of the yogurt next to the warm and rich aubergine slices is just divine.  I have to say, the Aubergine braised in spicy tomato sauce would also be most excellent stirred through pasta. 
D has already asked me to make it again, I think I will but I will try it with marrow or maybe the with the courgettes that are beginning to from come from my garden.  *This main component of this recipe is vegan.  The Garlic Yogurt can obviously be substituted with a vegan alternative. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Beetroot Horseradish Relish and Potato Salad

I've had this Beetroot and Horseradish Relish bookmarked as soon as I saw it.
It was an entry for the Seasonal Vegetable: Blushing Pinks challenge.  The original recipe for Fresh and Punchy Beetroot Relish comes from Katie who blogs over at Feeding Two Boys and a Firefighter.  The colour is pretty spectacular, but then of course it would be - its beetroot.
I followed the recipe, only leaving out the sugar and parsley, as I did not have any to hand on the day.  Its a versatile relish, good on Black Bean burgers or just on the side of a buffet style plate.  

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Speckled Beetroot Apple Cake

Remember those windfall apples, well here is one rather lovely Apple Cake recipe made with some of them.  
But this is not an ordinary apple cake, this one is enhanced further with both yellow and red beetroot. The two beetroot bunches that I picked up from the Fruit Machine have fed us well.  I've made a few recipes with them such as Beetroot and Cauliflower and Paneer CurryBeetroot Leaf KuKu; Balsamic Beetroot Tart (still to blog about) and now this Beetroot Apple Cake. 
The pictures don't show it as well as I had wished, but the lightly sweet moist cake is speckled with red and yellow beetroot.  The grated apple disappears, but you do taste it, whereas the beetroot has subtle undertones, it reminds you its there but not overly.  And for the final touch as its quite plain in appearance, I have adorned it with some homegrown edible flowers.  This cake is lovely for a picnic too or to take into work for lunch.  It is for that reason I am sharing this with Jibber Jabber for Love Cake: Pack me a Picnic.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Little Red Tomatoes and Zucchini

I think my brassica's have been lost to the white cabbage butterfly, our fault really as we have not got round to covering them with netting. Plus when the weekend comes, I don't seem to be spending much time in my own garden, finding reasons and time to explore other gardens, on a much more grander scale

I do however have a small harvest to share.   
Some zucchini aka courgettes and some cherry tomatoes.
Last week I harvested about the same amount and made these Individual Cherry Tomato and Zucchini Quiches. These however, will be used for something different as I do like experimenting and trying out different vegetable based recipes. 
I also have some foraged cooking and eating apples from a place nearby.  These were windfall so I gathered up those that looked in relatively good nick.  I am sharing these with Daphne's Dandelions for Harvest Monday. 

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Dyffryn Gardens

When we are not working, gardening or doing housy stuff, we try and make the most of our weekends.
Yesterday we went to Dyffryn Gardens pronounced Duffryn - National Trust.   Its a hidden oasis just Outside the hustle and bustle of Cardiff.   
Plan of the Edwardian garden and grounds
Dyffryn House, a grand Victorian mansion from various angles below
Spotted loads of gorgeous Dragonflies, but capturing one for a photograph was hard, but amazing to watch.