Tag Archives: herbs

mini pizza bites

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Delicious and fresh after the rich food of Yule, the courgette bases are juicy and flavoursome. Nice as canapés or a starter.

Brush a baking tray with olive oil . We used three courgettes, sliced to just under a cm thick, to cover a full size oven tray. Top with pizza sauce of your choice: ours consisted of passata mixed with a little olive oil, finely chopped onion, dried oregano and seasalt. We topped off with some Redwood’s melting cheese, but half an olive would be nice too. Bake for about 20 minutes at 200C/400F.

And as we seem to have developed a food/tree rhythm in recent posts, here is a woodpecker hole in a Scots Pine, which happens to be roughly the same shape and size as a mini pizza bite 🙂

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cheesey sage and onion potato cakes

sagenonioncakes

A simple supper or a filling breakfast using up leftover mashed potato. We had one very heaped soup bowl of mash, but the recipe is versatile 🙂

Fry off 2 red onions and a couple of good sprigs of sage (chopped or scissored in). Mix into the potatoes with a block of grated cheezly and a tablespoon of flour. Squishing it all up with your hands is best. Press into fairly thin pancakes and dip each side in crumbs of some sort, we used Orgran Rice Crumbs. Shallow fry, turning once, until crispy.

Was very nice with Brussels sprouts and salad.

sun through the trees
sun through the trees

vegan pizza cheese!

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It goes all melty in the oven and tastes like something from the distant past, in a good way, not in an over-flavoured, chemically and unfortunate way. This pizza cheese comes ready grated and is delicious. I extended the taste testers beyond just our family, including those who still eat dairy cheeses, and the general consensus was that this vegan cheese ‘does not taste weird’, which is actually quite an accolade.

The same company do a range of sliced vegan cheeses in ten flavours: original, cheddar, peppers, hot peppers, olive oil, olives, tomato and basil, herbs, pizza  and mushroom. They all share subtle flavouring from whole added ingredients and are very pleasant in a sandwich. Particular favourites in this house were mushroom, herb and pepper. Pictured below is the ‘original’ type paired with lettuce and onion.

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I like the fact that the products contain no palm oil; they are also free from gluten and soya.

Available from Goodness Direct and some health food shops.

lentil walnut roast – gluten free

nutroastThis recipe is delicious, nutrient dense and slices very well cold the next day for sandwiches too. Quantities are for a large loaf serving four generous roast dinner portions with leftovers:

ingredients:

a cupful of lentils. For some reason the organic ones from goodness direct cook much faster and just seem generally nicer. Buying the 3kg bags makes them cost about the same as the harder darker orange supermarket ones.
4 sticks of celery, finely diced
1 red and 1 green pepper, also diced
a 200g bag of walnuts, blitzed in blender or food processor
half a pack of Orgran Rice Crumbs (so 150g)
a tablespoon of fresh chopped herbs, I used rosemary and sage
2 tablespoons of gluten-free flour
small handful of sunflower seeds and some for sprinkling on top
seasalt to taste

Place lentils in a pan, cover with water and bring to boil. Turn down to a simmer and add the vegetables until everything is cooked. Mix in the walnuts and crumbs, add more water if the mixture is too stiff but you don’t want it runny at all. Add the  herbs, flour, seeds and salt and mix well. Press the mixture into a greased loaf tin, sprinkle more seeds on top and bake in the oven at 200C/400F for about an hour.

For more roast recipes, see Vegan Christmas or Yule


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lovely breakfast

bagel

A toasted onion and poppy seed bagel topped with hummus, chervil, rocket and tomato; a perfect mix of freshness and solidity for a cold morning 😀

A month or so ago I pulled out all the shot rocket and chervil from one of the raised beds, leaving behind only the cut and come again lettuces from the salad mix, or so I thought. The whole patch is now covered in a lawn of young plants. Beautiful.

chervil

Will be interesting to see how long it survives…  self seeded parsley always goes all winter. These are in quite a sheltered spot so I have hopes for my liquoricey little friends. Love over wintering 😀

lettuce

a blackcurrant smoothie

blackcurrant smoothie

Very blackcurranty and lovely, makes a big jug (about 3 and a half pints, good for 4 people, quantities very adjustable):

lots of blackcurrants, about a quarter blender jugful

lots of borage flowers (optional)

huge bunch of parsley

a handful of brazil nuts

1 banana

1 avocado

1 apple

1 litre of orange juice

Blitz it all in a blender…

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More blender recipes here

a casserole and a cookbook

casserole

We will have been married 20 years this year… which causes me to reflect how far we’ve come, how much the world has changed in that time and to note the two items above. They were given to us as a wedding present by friends who I used to babysit for and here they are still with us, I don’t think any other dish we own has survived that long! The Cranks Recipe Book sparked my interest at once, as I had eaten in their restaurant in London while a student, and it called to mind lovely brick walls and earthenware plates of hearty soup (they now have one restaurant in Devon).

It really taught me to cook, being the only cookery title I had at the time (bit of a change there then) in our first flat that we loved so much. I was fairly clueless when it came to the culinary arts. I remember phoning my mum at times with questions such as ‘how do you cook a neep? I can’t even seem to cut it up’. With the book I learned to bake bread, make cakes and the wonderfully frugal crecy plate pie, prepare soups and casseroles got put in the dish 🙂 It influenced me in more subtle ways too. Being the one and only it got thoroughly read and I absorbed the health oriented nature of the pages, reading for example, how much adding fresh herbs enhanced the nutritional value of the food. I remember the excitement of planting up a small herb garden and reading more deeply into these subjects. Looking at it now I notice all the cheesy recipes but you could just use any one of the many vegan cheeses available now or leave it out altogether.

Bit different when we first went vegan – a vegan cookbook obtained from the library that shall remain nameless (mainly as I can’t remember it’s name, I think it was somewhat generic, but also I do not want to slander it as it may have had other redeeming recipes) was responsible for me making a vegan cheese out of marg and yeast extract 13 years ago – absolutely disgusting, totally foul!!

So, my cranks book, heavily marked with food, water and childrens crayons. It is now available in a swanky new asparagus covered edition but you can still pick up the original for a penny 😀

book

As for the dish, it still gets used though not as much anymore. The odd apple/rhubarb crumble is popped in it. I now favour my big Le Creuset that you can cook on the hob and in the oven with – very handy for making a sheperdess/red dragon pie base in and just putting mashed tatties on top and then into the oven it goes. I am very lucky to also have two similar cast iron AGA pans/casseroles given to us by another friend who had them sitting unwanted and unused in his garage, and these are my 3 usual dinner cooking pans now.

aga

We’ve always been blessed with friendship 🙂 I am currently reading Walking to Greenham sent to me by a wonderful woman and friend… a fascinating book and I find myself contemplating the larger worldwide changing of the times. What will the next 20 years bring?