Sunday, 26 February 2017

Welsh Laverbread Cakes and a Piece of Toast

If your a regular reader of my Welsh Vegetarian food blog, you will have seen laverbread featured many times, but for those of you who are not familiar with this Welsh delicacy, in a nutshell Laverbread or bara lawr  as it is known in some parts of Wales is simply cooked seaweed that has been pureed.  It has a pate like consistency, so perfect for spreading on toast.  Welsh Laverbread not to everyone's taste, but I recommend you trying it at least once if your ever in Wales, but saying that its not easy to get hold of, even for those of us who live in the Welsh valleys of Wales.

Many independent high street shops like traditional green grocers and fishmongers no longer exist.  These were places where you can you could pick up fresh sea vegetables like samphire and laverbread are closing down in towns or have closed down due to economic downturn as people snub the High Street and flock to shopping malls stuck in some industrial estate, The places to get fresh laverbread these days in South Wales and South West are cities that have thriving indoor markets.  Cities like Cardiff and  Swansea (and perhaps large market towns like Abergavenny) where I have always been able to purchase fresh laverbread. 
I consider myself a progressive cook with fusion having in the past created vegetarian Welsh Laverbread Burgers aka Glorified Laverbread Cakes, and last year Vegan Welsh Woman's Laverbread Caviar, but today I decided to keep it pure, simple and traditional.
I made these little Welsh Laverbread Cakes this morning.  The recipe is so simple. Stir the fresh laverbread with rolled porridge oats, if you find the mixture too soft, just add some more oats to it. Put in the fridge to firm up, when ready to eat.  Shallow fray in a little oil or butter until crisp and a golden crust has appeared.  Serve immediately.

I am sharing some of the Welsh Laverbread Cakes with Eat Your Greens challenge hosted this month by The VegHog - You still have a day to share your #EatYourGreens recipe with the VegHog.

Not quite an authentic vegetarian Welsh Breakfast .. but a vegetarian breakfast nonetheless. 
This fresh laverbread was also enjoyed unadulterated slathered on this piece of crisp toast.   
Welsh Laverbread Cakes
Makes 4 - 5

Friday, 24 February 2017

Creamy Chestnut Mushroom Blue Cheese Dill Lasagne

A generous portion of Creamy Chestnut Mushroom Blue Cheese Lasagne.

Lasagne is not the easiest to photograph, its a flat dish for a start.
So the best way to sell it to you is with its flavours, but that is a little hard when one of the main ingredients is mushrooms and I am not big on mushrooms, but here goes.... This Creamy Chestnut Mushroom is smothered in Blue Cheese and fresh dill herb.  
I actually made this Creamy Chestnut Mushroom Blue Cheese Lasagne early on in the year, when we had load of cheese left over from the Christmas and New Year - this Creamy Chestnut Mushroom Lasagne was made around the same time as the vegan Pickled Mushroom Strogonoff with Watercress.  Though it can be, this lasagne is not vegan, its made with blue cheese, milk and butter and a garnishing of fresh dill.
I have to confess I don't often make Lasagnes at home that often.  It its one of those dinners that is Ds makes, like weekend breakfast or brunch and coffee made in the cafetiere.    But I did this time as it was my decision to pick up the chestnut mushrooms in a bid to use up the excess cheese. I am sharing this recipe with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary for No Waste Food Challenge.  

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Ghost Chili Arrabbiata - From the Angry to the Angriest Pasta

Not the most exciting bowl of Arrabbiata pasta, but its simplicity is deceptive. This Arrabbiata Pasta has half a ghost chilli aka naga jolokia.  

The first time I had Arrabiata was at an authentic Italian restaurant in Scotland.  Arrabiata means 'angry' in Italian.  I chose it because I like my spices.  It was seething hot, even I found it spicy and my tolerance of chilli is high, but I also loved the sensation of the flavour combination in my mouth.  

I remember the waiters watching me.  I thought it was perhaps we were the only people there that day as it was quite empty in the restaurant for a lunch hour, but afterwards wondered if they knew the Arrabiata was ridiculously hot and watched me, either to see if I'd complain or not finish it. Of course, I did neither.  The bowl was returned to them empty.  
I make Arrabbiata all the time (like vegan Puttanesca and Aglio, Olio e Peperonicino) as its one of my go to quick evening meals when we come in from work.  I never thought about blogging about Arrabiata as its cheap and super easy to make  - only four ingredients for the sauce: oil, garlic, chili and tomatoes.  But the addition of half ghost chili (which I get from an awesome specialist Spice Emporium in Cardiff ) made me change my mind as it was a little bit different. 

As I tuck into this simple red bowl of pasta, the Ghost Chilli Arrabiata version always reminds me of that first time, but this time its not just an Angry Sicilian its furiously angry, in fact bloody angry - but I like it very much.  
I also love Dr Burnoriioums Extraordinary Psycho Chocolate Chilli.  This  is serious chocolate for serious chilliheads, it really is.  My absolute favourite hands down is the Psycho Chocolate Chili Salted Caramel with Naga Jolokiaar.  Oh my Goodness the naga jolokia chili  (ghost chili) smacks you.   Yes Hallowed be thy pain, its beautifully balanced and supremely hot and that is how I feel about this Ghost Chili Arrabbiata too.  I totally recommend it if your a chili head like me.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Simple Roasted Beetroot and Carrot Salad

This Simple Roasted Beetroot and Carrot Salad was made last weekend when neither of us wanted to leave the warmth of our home.

I made do with what we already had indoors: some carrots, beetroot new potatoes and red onion.
As the beetroot and carrots roasted together, the beetroot infused some of its colour into the carrots almost making it look like almost like rainbow carrots.  the red onions became soft and silky and the small potatoes, golden and crisp.
I finished  this Simple Roasted Beetroot and Carrot Salad off with a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar and with a gentle crumbling of soft snow feta crumbs, inspired by the snow flakes falling from the sky outside that day.
I describe this as a Simple Roasted Beetroot Carrot Salad as it is hardly a recipe and mostly done by eye-balling ingredients and and to taste.  Feel free to serve it alongside some greens, in our case it was peppery rocket. 

I am sharing this Carrot and Beetroot Salad to Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen as it can be eaten with a spoon like a chunky soup too; and The Flexitarian for MeatFree Recipe of the Week;  and with Confessions of a Mother Runner and Whisk and Two Wands for Meatless Monday.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Bakers Dozen: Vegetarian Vegan Meat Free Fruit Curry Recipes

This Meat Free Fruit Curry blog post came about after conversing with my vegetarian blogger friend Johanna who blogs over at Green Gourmet Giraffe.  Johanna had recenlty made a variation of Peach and Chickpeas Curry inspired by Jack Monroe, I commented that I too had made a variation of Jack Monro'e Peach and Chickpea Curry a few years back.  

It was  in making that Peach fruit curry that both inspired and gave me the confidence last year to make a vegan Plum Chickpea Curry with the plums that were literally falling from the garden tree

This blog engagement with Green Gourmet Giraffe got me thinking and swiftly decide to share 13 Vegetarian and/ or Vegan Meat Free Fruit Curry Recipes and try and inspire some of you to try some of these unusual combinations, after all if we can have vegetables in desserts, puddings and cake - then I guess, why not a savoury sweet fruit curry.
Yes, I am being a little self-referential, but it is my blog space and start of with my own variation of of a Pakistani recipe Watermelon and Black Beans Curry  with Paneer or Tofu
Hispanic Papaya Curry from The Hispanic Kitchen.  If your interested I also made a Mauritius version of Green Papaya Curry with Soya Chunks
Orange 'Chicken' and Spicy Fruit Curry from Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes
Ms Marmite Lover South African Bunny Chow with Peach Curry and Sultanas with crusty bread.  
Ms Marmite Lover also has a  recipe for Sri Lankan Pineapple, Cashew and Coconut Curry on her website.
Pineapple, Ginger and Tofu Curry from A2K A Seasonal Veg Table
Sri Lankan Spicy Green Apple Curry from The Flavour Blender
You will find a lot of chicken curry recipes made with pear, but you may be interested to note that Food 52 have a recipe for Pear, Butternuts Squash Curry Soup (no photograph)
Strawberry and Puy Lentil Curry from A2K _ A Seasonal Veg Table
Mango Coconut Curry aka Ambya Sasam from Enjoy Indian Food.
Kerala Jackfruit Curry from Sanjeev Kapoor

You will also find a recipe for Spinach Curry with Fresh Apricots from Azelia's Kitchen (no photograph) 
To end, as I begun with the awesome Jack Monroe, she even has a Banana Chickpea and Tea Curry. but it is very possible that this Banana Curry recipe is inspired by the Queen of Vegetarian cuisine in the UK Rose Elliot as she has a Banana Curry with Cashew recipe in The New Complete Vegetarian Collection (2010) check out the recipe here.

Do you have any Vegetarian Vegan Meat Free Fruit Curry Recipes to share?!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Parsnip White Chocolate Blondies

I created these Parsnip White Chocolate Blondies last week during the working week, when I came home mentally exhausted and wanted some creative outlet.  I went to the kitchen and did some baking. The idea for putting parsnips in  White Chocolate Blondies came to me a little while back, when I made Parsnip , Berry and Hazelnut Crumble, Parsnip Porridge, Sweet Parsnip Pie with Edible Flowers and Parsnip Creme Brulee, but I never had time to put it into practice.  

D was impatient and wanted to eat them warm, I had to smack him with the back of a wooden spoon on the hands to say be patient to let them cool down before removing from the baking tin. Truth is, wee were both impatient.  Then came the moment we had a piece each.  I marvelled at how white it was, often cakes on baking turn that rusty gold. Then I popped it into my mouth. These homemade Parsnip White Chocolate Blondies were not as sickly sweet as the White Chocolate Blondies I made in the past, these were just right and still sweet, soft and squidgy.  

As delicious as it was, I could only eat one piece of this Parsnip White Chocolate Brownie, D had two pieces.  He was very happy.  I asked him if he could taste the parsnips.  He said if I had not been told about it I don't think I would know, but the fact I saw you putting them in I do know they are there.  I said okay.  I will share some with my work colleagues and not tell them there is parsnips in these and see what they think
When I offered some of my work colleagues a Blondie, they looked at me a little dismayed. Some immediately thinking of the Band Blondie fronted by awesome Debbie Harry and some were honest, they had never even heard of a Blondie, so were surprised to note that the Chocolate Brownie had a white chocolate version.  

Well they were all pleasantly surprised when I told them these White Chocolate Blondies had grated parsnips in them.  Only one could detect a slight graininess and thought perhaps it was lentils,; and one described it to being akin to the South Asian sweet Burfi.
I think once you are made aware that there are some hidden vegetables in these Blondies and more specifically that its parsnips, you can taste it.  I wouldn't tell people at first that there are Parsnips in these White Chocolate Blondies, unless of course they truly have a real aversion to it and then see how surprised they are in themselves at how much they've enjoyed a piece - so maybe they can be converted to liking parsnips, like me.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Red Pepper Chili Hearts and Black Beans

Well we had a little snow over the weekend, but it had all melted away by the afternoon.  We also had plans to go to Bristol, but with the Rugby between Wales and England, and the nippy weather, we thought we'd postpone it for another time as we didn't fancy getting stuck in traffic going over the Severn Bridge to and fro.  

So I did a bit of cooking in the kitchen and made some favourite recipes in readiness for the upcoming working week.  One of which was this Black Bean Chili with Red Peppers and of course with Valentines Day round the corner, I thought I would adorn these with some hearts.
This Black Beans Chili with Red Pepper Hearts will be good for at least three meals.  Two of which will as Enchiladas served with salad, soured cream and guacamole - yes the full works; and the other simply with plain white Basmati rice. 
I had not intended to make this Black Bean Chili, but D requested it.  I was happy to oblige as long as he was happy with it being made with red peppers so that I could humour myself and cut out dainty hearts.  He doesn't care what it looks like, as long as it tastes good; and you can't go wrong with a good homemade chilli, especially one made with true love.
Whether you are with someone or on your own, may I wish my Dear Loyal Readers a Happy Valentines.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Creamy Beet Rose Rice Pudding with Pomegranate (vegan)

The inspiration for this Creamy Beet Rice Pudding with Pomegranate Seeds  has two sources.   The recipe idea itself came about after a conversation with my work colleague.  She came back from town with what was supposed to be her lunch.   She says out loud to me 'I wanted a change from beetroot salad and I wanted something warm, so I have rice pudding from...'.  I started thinking -  Beetroot and rice pudding.  Then under her breath she grumbled and 'you still  owe me a beetroot cake'.
Well still no beetroot cake for her, but did make the Creamy Beet Rice Pudding that I was imagining and rating in my head.  I was inspired further to add the Pomegranate Seeds as I had also just watched Pan's Labyrinth in readiness for Food'n'Flix.
I have my own DVD of Pan's Labyrinth from Guillermo Del Toro along The Orphanage, The Devils Backbone and Cronos.  Its a dark fantasy Gothic supernatural fairytale set against the backdrop of fascist regime in Spain in 1944.  Ofelia the lead character discovers a labyrinth and meets a faun who tells her she is a Princess and sets her three challenges if she wishes to return to her Kingdom.    I had forgotten how graphic the movie was and although its a dark fairytale with good versus evil, its not a fairytale designed for children. Its been described as Alice in Wonderland for adults. 

Friday, 10 February 2017

Cinnamon Spice Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry

Friday evening at last.

I share with you a bowl of Cinnamon Spice Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry.  I made it over the weekend,.  It served us well early this week for two easy warm up meals when we came in late from work.  
This Cinnamon Spice Butternut Squash and Chickpea curry recipe is actually from Prashad: Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Kaushy Patel.  All I did different was in place of some of the chickpeas I added some butternut squash to the pot. 

Prashad is one of my favourite Indian Vegetarian Cuisine cookbooks and I still have to get my own copy of their last cookbook Prashad At Home.  The copy I have been shamefully hogging has been from the library.
This is a mild curry, even D commented on that, but it made for a change from spicy ones that I make often.  I do think this Cinnamon Spice butternut Squash Chickpea Curry benefits from sitting and being enjoyed a day later, rather than on the day as the spices somewhat deepen the flavour of the dish.  We ate this on the first day with plain rice and on the second ...with more plain rice!   

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

In My Kitchen February

In my kitchen this February, I have lots of citrus fruit: oranges, limes and lemons. 
I have had a sore throat for a long while and am on antibiotics.  The doctors can't figure out what is wrong and I am on a waiting list to see a specialist.  I have tried lots of over the counter medicine, but had to resort going to the doctors eventually. 
I am trying to drink a lot more water, but you know water can be a bit boring, so I have tried to perk it up with some fresh ginger and lemon.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Cardiff Viva Vegan Festival

Over the weekend, we went into the city of Cardiff for the Vival Vegan Festival.  
This was Cardiff's largest vegan festival organised by the charity Viva!  Viva! is an animal and environmental campaigning charity that exposes animal abuse.  
Cardiff Viva Vegan Festival was held at Cardiff City Hall. 

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Vegan Beetroot Creme Brulee with Pomegranate Seeds

Its been two years since I last made a vegan Creme Brulee, and I was looking for an excuse to use my new cooks kitchen blow torch that was gifted to me two years ago, when I grumbled to my husband that the Brulee topping of the Creme Brulee I had made were not perfect. Christmas came that year and I found one under the Christmas tree. 

I  made these stunning vegan Beetroot Creme Brulee's  with Pomegranate Seeds last weekend. 
These Beetroot Coconut Creme Brulees are vegan and were a a bit of an experiment.  I was not sure if the heaviness of the beetroot was solidify, I was pleased with my first attempt as the Beetroot Coconut Creme Brulee turned out pretty amazing.  I have to admit there are still a couple of tweaks required as its not perfect,  but I am happy to share what I have already with my readers as Valentines Day is coming.  
The Beetroot Coconut Creme Brulee really, really was luscious, it was creamy, it was delicious and it was really amazing to eat breaking through the shardy sugar glass with my little spoon. 

I am going to be honest and forgive me if its sounds boastful, that is not my intention, bit I was rather surprised and a little impressed with myself that I was able to create something so gorgeous in my home, this is the kind of dessert you find at avante garde vegetarian and vegan restaurants. I am even secretly smiling to myself. 
The photograph above of the vegan Beetroot Coconut Creme Brulee, one without the sugar topping, and one with the brulee sugar topping and then I finished it all off with a generous scattering of ruby pomegranate seeds.

Please be patient, I promise I will share the recipe just to tweak it a little bit for it to be Perfect, but right now I  am sharing these Beetroot Creme Brulee's with Healthy Vegan Fridays by Rock My Vegan Socks and V Nutrition who have a Valentines Theme this week; and Treat Petite hosted by The Baking Explorer and CakeyBoi.
As a member of Suma Bloggers Network, I will receive a selection of complimentary products every two months to use in recipe development and blog original recipes for the Network. 
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Friday, 3 February 2017

Vegetarian Greek Hilopites Pasta with Saffron

Over the past few days, I have been flicking through my Greek cookbooks precariously seeking warmth and sunshine through food.  Yesterday, I shared my version of a Greek Shepherds Pie, but I wanted to make something a bit more authentic rather than a fusion of British and Greek cuisine.  Talking of fusion cuisine, I have also made a Prasopita - a authentic Greek Pie that you could easily mistake to be a fusion creation of Greece and Wales cuisine as the recipe has every Welsh persons favourite ingredient: Leeks, but more about that in March when I plan to share it for St David's Day.
Today I share a casserole dish featuring Greek Hilopites.  I bookmarked this dish because it reminded me of my Greek flatmates from Thessoloniki slurping a big red bowl of this silky ribbon pasta dish.  At the time I found it a bit strange that these fiercely proud Greek boys were swirling their spoon and forks around Italian pasta.  Nothing wrong with that after cheap beans on toast, pasta dishes were the next affordable grub for students, but my culinary knowledge was enhanced.  He pulled out a brown bag of pasta and it was not packet Italian pasta, but one he had brought back from Greece, it could even have been homemade, I don't remember - but I was told firmly but politely, that this was hilopites, not tagliatelle.   
Hilopites is a traditional Greek dried ribbon pasta and is popular throughout the Mediterranean. Hilopites can very much be described as Tagliatelle.  It is often made with eggs and milk. However hilopites is much shorter than tagliatelle.

Theodore Kyriakou in The Real Greek At Home writes 'that his father was convinced that when Marco Polo took the idea of pasta from the Chinese and brought it back to Italy, he was only following in the footsteps of the brave Greek who took the recipe for hilopites from the East in a similar fashion'.
This vegetarian Greek Hilopites Pasta is enhanced with sweet paprika and saffron that is why it is so vividly saffron coloured. I was supposed to garnish it with some minced chives, but I forgot in my haste to get a picture.

It was really delicious, meltingly so - the hilopites was infused wonderfully with the saffron and sweet paprika, the shallots silky smooth and the garlic , I guess you just have to be careful that you don't overcook the hilopites as it can easily become mushy and that is okay if you like that. The shallots became sweet and tender.
Although none of my Greek inspired dishes are vegan, I wonder what my blogger friend Veganopolous will think of my Greek inspired dishes, including the Greek Shepherds Pie and the  Prasopita, when I showcase it in March (if not before). 

I am sharing this vegetarian Greek Hilopites Pasta with Saffron with Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Searching For Spice. 

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Vegetarian Greek Cypriot Shepherds Pie with Feta Cheese Mint Mash

A photograph taken in poor lighting on a dark evening.

This is a generous serving of homemade vegetarian Greek Cypriot Shepherds Pie with Feta Cheese. 
I have mentioned my Greek flat mates at University and my holidays in Cyprus, this is me just harping back to those days and yearning for the warm climate, especially on a day like today when it has been raining all day.  In fact it has been raining non stop for the past 5 days.  

I am not the best potato masher and D was not around to help, so I my did my best with my weakling muscles.  There were still lumps in the potato topping, but thankfully I don't mind lumps and nor does D. The mint in the mashed potato topping was just right, the black olives offered piquancy . This Greek Cypriot Shepherds Pie made for a change from the traditional Vegetarian Shepherds Pie that I so often make at home. 
I am sharing this with CookBlogShare hosted by Hijacked by Twins. ; and Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Searching For Spice. 

I've also made a Prasopita, a Greek Leek Pie, adapted from the Greek Gourmand, but I am holding that back for St David's Day. Instead, here is a link to some other Greek and/or Cypriot inspired recipes on A2K  - A Seasonal Veg Table
Spanakopita
Tomato and Feta Cheese Baklava
Vegan Spanakopita Pies
Vegetarian Pastitcio