Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Vegan Indian Pasta, Indian Gnocchi, Indian Dumplings

When I say Indian, its more Indian style as I wish to embrace the diversity of all the countries in the Indian Sub-Continent - Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and eve the Maldives as they all embrace this way of cooking.  This is also in part to show respect to the many Indian restaurateurs and take-aways  across Europe and the United Kingdom where the owners and workers are often of  Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage. 

I made this Curried Lentils or Pigeon Pea Soup from Prashad's cookbook a couple of weeks back.   It does just look like a bowl of Red Dal, but its rather deceptive in appearance because once you take slurp a spoonful you are hit first with perfumed herbyness and then you taste the amazing spices - its really quite something special.  
This Curried Lentils with Indian Pasta is that it reminded me of this Dal with Chilli and Coriander Gnocchi I made many years ago, perhaps that is why I wanted to make it.  I have to admit this Curried Dal was far more better, in fact far more superior in taste than mine.
It had more depth of flavour from the infusion of different spices and the tempering  made a huge difference too as an enhancer. 
Normally I would serve an Indian style dal dish with chappati or roti, but was inspired further to try the accompanying Indian pasta from Prashad's cookbook which I must admit I have adapted just a little.  What's appealing about this Indian Pasta is that you don't even need a pasta machine to make it, just a good old fashioned rolling pin.  

The Indian pasta made a wonderful chewy textual change from chappati or naan bread.  If you do choose to have a go at making this, roll the dough out as thin as you can.  You will need a palette knife to remove them from the surface.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Chocolate Marmite Caramel Fudge

Let me start by saying this is not a sponsored post.  Last week, I saw Johanna's Vegemite Fudge and found myself drooling over it, suddenly wanting to make it with the our British alternative of Marmite.  I was just going to bookmark it and come back to it, but greed got the better of me, plus I had all the ingredients to hand and I was at home waiting patiently for the Boiler man to service our boiler.  So as soon as he left, I pulled out all the ingredients I needed to make these morsels of temptation in my own home.
I couldn't wait to try them.  As soon as we had our dinner in the evening, I sliced them carefully and popped one in my mouth and wow.  Its unusual for sure - sweet and savoury, but we both loved umami aspect of them.  

We had so much of the Chocolate Marmite Caramel Fudge that there was no way we would be able to finish them off between us.  The following day D took some into his workplace and I took some into mine the following week when I returned back to work after some annual leave.  Loads of people at work were wary of marmite - snugging their noses, nevertheless they were tempted by the combination and tried them.  Even those who disliked Marmite loved them, one even described it as 'beefy chocolate' which made me smile.  I even tempted a colleague who was on a diet to take a piece, she was bowled over by it too.  I also took some over to my brothers house, one of my nieces tried a tiny bite and said yuk, the other had a bite and said yum.  Are you going to finish your piece off ?she asks her sister No she responded,  well I will finish it off for you then, they are too good not to eat!   Need I say more. 

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Sweet Parsnip, Apple, Berry and Hazelnut Crumble

A couple of weeks back I made a Parsnip Pie with Edible flowers, I have also been tucking into a bowl oParsnip Porridge for those days when I have been home alone for breakfast.

This time I am sharing with you home-made Parsnip, Apple, Blueberry and Hazelnut Crumble. On one of the evenings we had this with custard, on the other it was simply with cream.
What I love about this Root vegetable crumble recipe is its versatility.  You can easily swap some of the ingredients to reflect the seasons or your taste.
In place of the carrots you can have Swede, beetroot or carrots.
The golden caster could be demerara sugar, coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup
Nuts - walnuts, pecan, almonds 
Additional spices, nutmeg, ginger, mixed spices, 
And of course you can veganize it too.
Just experiment. 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Vegetarians Library: Sarah Beattie 'Meat Free Any Day'

I became acquainted with the rather beautiful and stunning Sarah Beattie in Glasgow.  I accidentally bumped into her in an Oxfam Bookshop on Byres Road, Glasgow - well not literally of course but I like to think so.  I found her first cookbook Neither Fish Nor Fowl: Meat Free Eating for Pleasure (1993) on the shelf and was charmed by the innovative recipes, the elegant presentation.  This was a stylish, sophisticated  and sumptuous vegetarian cookbook with recipes ahead of its time like Beetroot and Cranberry Consomme, Raspberry Soup, Avocado Soup, Stuffed Nasturtium Salad and that's just for starters.  It was a pioneering cookbook in my eyes, as it was the first vegetarian dinner party cookbook I came across that moved away from  the wholemeal way of cooking.  It also has Asparagus Eclairs and Chestnut Souffles and Raspberry Brulee and so so much more .   I have over the years adapted some of her recipes, such as Curried Peach Tartlets and Garlic and Shallot Risotto,

Her second cookbook The Table of Content: A Vegetarian Dinner Party Book for All Seasons (1995) is just as amazing... 'from the simplest vegetables to the more esoteric delights of borscht poached uszki with smetana...' but it is her most recent cookbook Meat Free Any Day (2014) which I received for Christmas from my husband that I have cooked from the most recently, as its foods that is calling to me.   

Meat Free Any Day is not like those glossy hardback coffee table cookbooks, that you will flick through but rarely cook from.  This is one cookbook you will use if its real proper food that you really want to eat.
Sarah Beattie was shortlisted for 2015 and 2013 Guild Food Writers' Awards Cookery Journalist of the Year.  Some of you may also know Sarah Beattie, she was a regular contributor to The Vegetarian Magazine until  a few months ago, Why Vegetarian  Living Magazine why?  

What some of you may not know is that Sarah Beattie was also Food and Drink/Radio Times Mastercook 1990 and Masterchef of the North in 1991. I mean how many vegetarian cooks and chefs win high profile cookery competitions these days, hardly any.  She has loads to be proud about and lots she can boast about,but she never has and never will. Sarah Beattie is a RARE and REAL talent and I am saddened that she is somewhat overlooked in todays Vegetarian and Vegan world (not by me though, never by me).   I feel somewhat an affinity to Sarah Beattie and want to praise her more, but instead will direct you to this honest and heartfelt article by Michael Gray, he may be biased as he is her husband, but I am not related in any way and echo every word he writes as I have come to love Sarah's passion and creativity for good food through her books and more recently social media - check out Sarah Beatties Facebook Page

Here are some recipes that I have made from  Meat Free Any Day, many more to come.  
 Tandoori Butterflied Aubergine
Parsnip Tamarind Curry
Winter Vegetable Tagine
Leek and Brie Rostiflette

Once again, please do check out Sarah Beatties Facebook Page too.   I am linking this with Cooking Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily's Cooking Foray.  

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Parsnip Porridge and Green Granola In My Kitchen

I picked up these cute little tomato and apple oven mitts a few weeks back from a charity shop.  I don't know if I will ever use them, as they are quite small.
Last month I had a few days off from work as I have loads of annual leave to take by March.  So I have been home alone most of last week, indulging in breakfast still in my PJs, but no vegetarian fry-ups.  Fry up are kept for weekends when I am with my husband.  No for me, its been cereal.