On my way home the other day I passed one of Bristol’s best fruit and veg shops; Reg the Veg. They had three type of beetroot for sale so I got one of each. Two doors down from Reg the Veg is a rather fancy deli that I can’t really afford to shop in but couldn’t help nipping in and getting a bottle of pomegranate molasses. I’ve been looking for a bottle of that ever since I saw it in a recipe in my new book Pure Vegan. I will post a review of that very soon..
Anway, when I got home I made a mixed beet salad (I love the earthy smell of beetroot cooking) with a pomegranate dressing – gurt lush as they say down here in the West Country!
I am a very happy vegan today! My box of goodies arrived and it was packed with loads of treats I’ve never seen before! That’s the best thing about this vegan box swapping; you get to try lots of new stuff. My box contained lentil chips and hummus chips… I am going to see if I can restrain myself and save these for my ladies film night on Tuesday. Also included were Cajun spiced nuts which I shared with friends this evening – fortuitous as I had asked my fella to buy some salted almonds and he came back empty-handed as the shop had none! There were some other very interesting looking savoury snacks too: popcorn with vegan Worcester sauce and sundried tomatoes, chick pea pâté and rice and corn salt & vinegar snacks. On top of all that there was a chocolate brownie, a bar of coconut chocolate, white chocolate buttons (great for decorating cupcakes) and get this – chocolate dodgers! I’m eating one now as I write this!!! Thanks Emma – that was truly a great box, I hope you got a good one too.
If you want to join in the Happy Vegan box swap go to the website here.
I watched a lovely Italian film the other night; Mid August Lunch. It’s about a middle-aged man called Gianni, who lives in Rome with his old Mum. His only escape from home and the increasing debt into which he is sinking, is his frequent sessions at the local bar. During the celebration of the holiday of Ferragosto on 15 August (when everybody leaves town to have fun) opportunity knocks on Gianni’s door in the form of a series of unexpected houseguests. There is a very funny scene involving a large pasta bake. This inspired me to make my own using a Romanesco broccoli (or a Roman cauliflower), cherry tomatoes, onions and leeks. I steamed the veg then combined them with the cooked pasta in a white sauce and baked it all in the oven at 180°C for 30 mins until starting to brown. There are worse ways to spend a week night than watching a good film with a hearty plateful!
The lovely people at Vegusto have asked for my recipe for No-Moo Cauliflower ‘Cheese’ so here it is – it couldn’t be much easier…
Heat the oven at 180°C. Chop a small cauliflower (or half a large one) into florets of roughly the same size. Place in a steamer (or in half an inch of boiling water in a pan with the lid on) and steam for a few minutes until just soft. Keep testing with a thin knife and don’t let your cauliflower get too soft or it will start to fall apart. Warm your No-Moo Sauce in a pan and drop in the cauliflower florets and gently turn until all are nicely coated. Transfer to an oven proof dish and bake for 20 mins until browning on top. Serve on its own for a light lunch or with green beans and roasted tomatoes for a more substantial meal or as a vegetable side with a roast dinner if you really want to show off!
Marmalade can be made with any citrus fruit but to make a traditional bitter sweet preserve, Seville oranges are the best. The season for Seville oranges is short and they are only usually available in shops from mid-January to early February. So if you haven’t made yours already, you are probably too late this year! Seville oranges can sometimes be difficult to get hold of but can usually be found in good supermarkets and fruit and vegetable shops.
There are many recipes available but I have been using this one for a long time and everyone I have given the marmalade to has really enjoyed it.
The recipe makes 12-14 jars of marmalade but the quantities can be easily divided to make smaller batches. It takes about four hours but only requires about 40 minutes of actual work and is definitely worth the effort.
- 3lb Seville Oranges
- 6 pints water
- 6lb granulated sugar
- Juice of 2 lemons
You will need…
- A large pan (capable of holding at least 8 pints of water)
- A sieve
- A citrus fruit squeezer
- A piece of muslin (at least 8 inches square)
- A piece of string (as long as you like!)
- A wooden spoon
- Sterilised jam jars (wash out with hot soapy water, rinse and heat at 120 °C for 20 mins, put the lids in a bowl and pour boiling water over them then dry with a clean tea towel)
What to do…
- Scrub oranges in cold water.
- Put the sieve over the pan and lay the muslin inside the sieve.
- Halve the oranges and lemons, squeeze the juice and pour it through the muslin lined sieve into the pan.
- Pull any membrane and pips from the inside of the orange halves and put them into the muslin lined sieve.
- Gather up the muslin and tie it with string to make a bag of pips and membrane.
- Cut the halves of orange peel into quarters, and finely chop the peel.
- Put the muslin bag and chopped peel into the pan and add the water.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for about 2 hours until the peel is soft. Between a third and a half of the water will have evaporated and the peel should be soft enough to easily pull apart. It is important that the peel is soft because once this stage is over it will not get any softer.
- Take out the muslin bag and squeeze it though the sieve with the wooden spoon into the pan to get as much of the liquid out as possible (this is where your pectin is).
- Add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved.
- Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and cook for 25-40 minutes until setting point is reached.
- To test for setting point put a small plate in the fridge and when it is cold spoon a teaspoon of marmalade onto the plate. Wait for a couple of minutes and then push your finger through it. If setting point has been reached a skin will have formed and it will wrinkle.
- Using a spoon, scrape off the scum that has collected at the edge of the pan and discard.
- Let the mixture stand for a couple of minutes and then spoon into the hot jars and seal.
I had lots of vegan treats given to me last Christmas! Chocolate flavoured with ginger & lime, earl grey tea chocolate, marron glacé, blackcurrant and raspberry jellies – I was spoilt rotten! My brother and his wife sent some Mexican-style chocolate made at the Taza Chocolate Factory in Somerville, Massachusetts. It was sensational! Possibly the best chocolate I have ever had!
I did some research… After a trip to Oaxaca (pronounced ‘wa-ha-ka’) in Mexico, Alex Whitmore returned home and set up his own company making stone-ground chocolate in the style of centuries-old Mexican chocolate traditions. He uses authentic Oaxacan stone mills called molinos to grind the cacao. The resulting chocolate has a distinctively gritty texture. Organic and fair-trade, you just can’t beat this! You can buy it here and see for yourself!
Yeah yeah…. vegetarians only eat rabbit food! That’s why I’m so slim! This week my fella cooked a Provençal pie with tomatoes, roasted courgette and peppers, onions, garlic, basil, olives and capers. It brought some sunshine to the table and the smells reminded me of the South of France! We had my homemade oven chips: chunky potato slices tossed in olive oil and coated in Louisianan Rub (salt, onion and garlic powder and paprika). Oh yea, we had some green leaves with it too… just to keep the rabbit in me happy.