Roasted Beetroot Cream Sauce for Pasta

roasted beetroot cream sauce on spaghetti
With garlic bread and broccoli…

This roasted beetroot cream sauce is earthy and easy, and so delicious and vibrant in colour.

We roasted a bunch of beets the night before when the oven was on for another meal, and then popped them in the fridge until needed. We used beautiful stripey Chioggia beetroot from the garden but any beets will do.

Beetroot Cream Sauce

  • Pour the beets and roasting oil into a saucepan.
  • Add: 1 chopped onion, a few cloves of garlic, a small bunch of parsley and a little chopped celery.
  • Fry up for a few minutes until the veg is softened.
  • Pop into a blender with a small box of vegan cream and a little salt. We used Oatly.
  • Blend!
  • Stir into pasta of your choice. It worked very well with spaghetti, coating a 500g packet perfectly.

If you liked this beetroot cream sauce, check out our other main dishes here.

Book of the Moment

Creating a Forest Garden: Forest gardening is a novel way of growing edible crops – with nature doing most of the work for you. A forest garden is modelled on young natural woodland, with a wide range of crops growing in different vertical layers. Unlike in a conventional garden, there is little need for digging, weeding or pest control. Buy UK

Olio

Active in many countries across the world, Olio is an app that you can download to your phone to share food in your local area. It does have a desktop version too. People share things that they can’t use up in time from their fridge, or cupboard items that they no longer want. Food Waste Heroes (which you can volunteer to be) collect yellow stickered or surplus food from businesses and then share it for free on the app.

sunflower in the garden and a beetroot cream sauce
Sunflower in the garden
GreenBay 100% vegan supermarket

A Very Simple Vegan Chilli Recipe

n chilli recipe
Soya mince based chilli 🌶 rice, tortilla chips, olive and jalapeño sourdough, courgette ribbons.

A very simple and very good vegan chilli recipe.

Method and Ingredients

  • Fry off some finely chopped onion and garlic and add a selection of roughly chopped – chunky – vegetables. We used: courgettes; red, green and yellow peppers and celery.  Mushrooms would be great too.
  • Add chilli of choice, either finely chopped fresh chillis, dried chilli or a chilli powder mix, or maybe a mixture of these.
  • Stir well.
  • Bung in a box of passata or chopped tomatoes and add a little water to the mix.
  • Bring to boil and turn down to simmer.
  • Once veg is tender add a tin or two of cooked red kidney beans and salt to taste.
  • Nice served with rice, a baked potato or quinoa or, if you’re feeling a bit trashy, chips.
  • Cucumber is a good cooling accompaniment. Other optional additions: a teaspoon of sugar stirred into the sauce really brings out the flavours in a different, sweet, way; a few squares of dark chocolate melted through it turn the dish into a darker, richer mole.
  • Pictured above is a soya mince based chilli, below a vegetable one.
vegan chilli recipe
Vegetable based chilli

Don’t eat  when you’ve been talked into watching a scary fast moving zombie film that will make you consume the hot chilli far too fast and overheat in a bad way.

Books

Unconnected, book related advice: reading Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time will stave off the depression caused by reading certain parts of the new Bridget Jones book.

And, books again: now is the time to get a copy of Rose Elliot’s Vegetarian Christmas for 1 pence or 1 cent. The price will inflate hugely through November and December and it’s a lovely collection of recipes. See our review here or visit Amazon in the UK

The Works is a fantastic sources of discounted books, often selling sets of books for the price you normally pay for one. The Works also has great deals on stationery, toys & games, and art & craft supplies.

The Works - Britain's Leading Discount Book Store

If you liked this vegan chilli recipe, be sure to check out our other vegan fare!

crunchy 007 (550x413)

preserving: redcurrant jelly with rosemary

redcurrants ready for making redcurrant jelly

Ripe just now, redcurrants are great to preserve for winter, given that they’re so nutrient rich and have immune boosting properties.

What a bumper year it’s been for the currants, both red and black. We’re having berried up green smoothies daily; there are lots in freezer which will extend the berry smoothie season and it’s looking to be a very abundant bramble year too. Last year we gathered quite a lot of those for the freezer as well as smoothie-ing them fresh. At least I thought we’d gathered a lot until I met a man in the woods with 3 huge bucket loads of brambles. He must have spent all day picking. Maybe for jam? I really want to try preserving in different ways this year so we can eat the home grown stuff in winter too. So we made strawberry jam as mentioned, and then moved onto redcurrant and rosemary jelly for savoury things.



Here’s the basic method for the Redcurrant and Rosemary Jelly. It makes a cloudy jelly. If you want a sparkling clear one, other, more time consuming, recipes will come up on a Google search. This pairing of flavours is amazing; the rosemary gives the jelly a slightly savoury edge, making it perfectly suited as an accompaniment to roast dinners. Also great in a sausage sandwich!

We picked 1.5 lbs/0.75kg of redcurrants and put them in a pan, stalks and all, with a few sprigs of rosemary. Then we added 1lb/500g of sugar, half a cup of water and the juice of half a lemon.

Method: bring to the boil, turn down and simmer for half an hour, stirring quite frequently. Allow the mixture to cool a little, though not until the jelly sets, and squash it through a sieve into a bowl. This is the hard work phase of the recipe! Press and rub it with a spoon until you’re left with mainly stalks and seeds in the sieve. Pour into jars of your choice. Cool completely before sealing/adding lids. Yum. This amount filled two medium jam jars, and should keep in the cupboard for months (if not years).

redcurrant and rosemary jelly

Cooking on the stove this morning is Apple and Ginger Chutney from the Cranks recipe book with the apples gathered on a bike ride, heavily supplemented with ones from our trees and our own onions too 🙂 Adapted recipe on the sauces page.

Ailish Sinclair's novels

Set in a castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR features the Scottish witchcraft accusations and a love story.

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 18th century kidnapped children of Aberdeen.

Paperbacks and kindle:

Amazon UK

Amazon worldwide


Be rewarded the Web's Premiere Rewards Site

Living in a Forest Garden

summer garden camping
Forest Gardening by Robert Hart

In Forest Gardening by Robert A de J Hart, the vegan author details his garden – a miniature forest filled with an abundance of things to eat. This is low maintenance gardening once established with trees, bushes and perennial plants which provide both shelter and food. Included are recommended plants for different regions of the world – this book is a huge resource of information and inspiration.
Amazon UK

It’s certainly inspired us over the years. We live among the trees and love to eat the garden!

Below are more pictures and recipes from the food forest.

Courgettes and lettuce growing all wild and mixed up together:

Courgettes and lettuce in the forest garden
tattie and broad bean soup
Tattie and broad bean soup, all from the garden

Daisies are edible, pictured on top of a wild garlic pesto.

We transplanted some wild garlic from the woods to a shady spot under trees in the garden and it’s thriving and spreading further every year.

wild garlic

A rabbit relaxes on the grass…

rabbit in the forest garden

We grow quite a few annuals too…

carrots from the forest garden

Apple and bramble (blackberry) juice from trees and bushes:

juice from the forest garden
berries from the forest garden

Fruit bushes there are aplenty. White chocolate mousse above, topped with redcurrants and raspberries. Chocolate cheesecake below with mint and currants.

Mint is a wonderful herb to spread and grow wild. Minted noodle soup is a simple summer favourite:

Homemade ketchup by the barbecue:

Blend up:
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 small onion also roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 heaped tablespoons of tomato puree
3 tablespoons of vinegar (apple cider best)
a little salt to taste
herbs make a very nice addition – to the pictured sauce we added a bunch of fresh dill. This variety grows huge.

Sage, lovage, thyme and oregano are all great perennials too, and nice and hardy for Scotland!

Don’t miss our latest post over on Frugal Living in the UK:

Sourdough Bread for Pennies

sourdough olive bread with rice and tomato soup

A courgette flower in the forest garden:

courgette flower in the forest garden

Ailish Sinclair's novels

Set in a castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR features the Scottish witchcraft accusations and a love story.

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 18th century kidnapped children of Aberdeen.

Paperbacks and kindle:

Amazon UK

Amazon worldwide


Be rewarded the Web's Premiere Rewards Site

Ethical Christmas Shopping: relish and straws!

Facon Relish from Janda Food and a burger!

We absolutely loved this gorgeous Facon Relish from Janda Food. It’s smokey. It’s bacon-y. It’s delicious in burgers, sandwiches and even as a condiment to dip crudities or chips in. It was sent to us by the equally wonderful Mettalife, an E-commerce Ethical and Vegan Marketplace and a fantastic place to do your festive shopping this year.

Janda Food make other lovely vegan things such as burger relish, mayo and salt caramel spread. See the range here at Mettalife where you can use code FAMILY10 to get a 10% discount on any purchases.

tomato rice soup, vegan

We paired the relished up burger with one of our favourite soups, rice and tomato (recipe here) and a gluten free bun. Yum.

gluten free bun

But back to the ethical shopping! And onto the straws 🙂

These reusable bamboo straws from Panda Packaging come in a pack of 5 with a coconut fibre straw cleaner & cotton straw bag included and would make a great gift or stocking filler. See all the bamboo products here at Mettalife, some of which can be personalised, from bowls and combs to brushes and lunch boxes, and, again, don’t forget your 10% discount code FAMILY10!

We like how Instagram made the straw look like a painting.

reusable bamboo straw

Don’t miss our Vegan Christmas section for lots of recipes and more gift ideas.

starry starry plate

There’s still a little autumn left in those woods…

autumn woods in Scotland

Ethical Christmas Shopping: #Vegan Beauty Products

Butterwhips pure apricot body butter, perfect for ethical christmas shopping

Ethical Christmas Shopping: not handing all over all your money to the likes of Jeff Bezos and Tesco 🙂 And supporting small businesses, many of which have suffered huge losses during this strange time on the planet.

We’re going to be showcasing a few really lovely vegan products from small businesses that would make good stocking fillers or gifts. These were sent to us by Mettalife, an E-commerce Ethical and Vegan Marketplace which is a veritable treasure trove of planet-friendly, animal-kind, healthy goodies.

First up is the utterly wonderful Botanical Whipped Body Butter – Perfectly Pure Apricot from Butterwhips. Formulated for sensitive skin, bump care and for babies from one month up, this arrived in our household at a most opportune time. One of us had just spent some time in hospital with various areas bandaged up. The skin under those bandages was in a sorry state and this stuff worked wonders on it. The fact that apricot kernel oil is anti-inflammatory was fortuitous too. Even the nurses, who happily applied the product when changing the dressings, commented on what a nice cream it was. We’ve ordered another large pot!

Mettalife have given us a code for you to use for purchases from their site. Just use FAMILY10 for a 10% discount.

Look at that purity. Only three ingredients. No perfume.

butterwhips body butter; ethical Christmas shopping

The next product was also great to come home and freshen up with after hospital. A luxurious, frothy, creamy soap from Zuzka Soap, completely cruelty-free and handmade in the UK, and blasting you with the gorgeous scent of honeysuckle.

Zuzka soap - ethical christmas shopping

It’s stunningly packaged too, with ribbons, making it perfect for under the ethical Christmas tree! See all the Bath and Beauty products available at Mettalife. Don’t forget code FAMILY10 for your 10% discount.

Zuzka honeysuckle soap - vegan

Next up on our Ethical Christmas Shopping tour will be some foodie ideas…

Till then, enjoy the last of the autumn sunshine!

autumn sunshine in Scotland

And don’t miss our Vegan Christmas section for lots of recipes and more gift ideas.

Bonobo Kickstarter

Bonobo Cafe, a 100% vegan café in Aberdeen, also a worker co-operative, has just launched a Kickstarter campaign.

They started as a Saturday pop-up, ploughing all the takings back into the business and saving in order to open up full time. It’s been 18 months since then and now they’re almost there, having agreed a lease on a premises. They’re hoping to raise the funds for the fit out through this campaign.

Their reward structure includes the option to provide a vulnerable person in Aberdeen with a hot drink every day for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months of the year as well as some other nice gifts.

The kickstarter campaign link is: www.kickstarter.com/projects/bonobocafe/bonobo-café

You can also visit them on Facebook or Instagram

Spring is almost Sprung…

scram

We’ve spotted some lovely vegan goodies around for Easter this year, see our page for listings.

Something else new and lovely: The Vegan Lifestyle Association. A not-for-profit organisation,  it is 100% committed to saving lives and saving our planet. Achieved through proactive education on the multiple benefits of a Vegan lifestyle and supporting all those who wish to try it. It’s also free to join with many member benefits, discounts etc. Go see!

Weather-blasted oak trees in Argyll last week:

trees

a pasta dish and a dragonfly

pasta

So simple: cook pasta of your choice; fry up some chopped onions and whole chestnut mushrooms in a little olive oil. Once cooked, drain the pasta and stir everything together adding salt as desired. Add chopped parsley and cherry tomatoes, some seeds. Eat.

And a dragonfly, there are so many this year…

dragonfly