Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Sober October (...and why I have been so quiet)

Hey fellow bloggers and readers alike!

I am so sorry for not having posted anything in such a long time... It's not good enough, and I am well aware of that.

The cable to my cameras are broken and so I am failing to upload photos of everything I make over to my laptop - and what would a food blog be without pictures?! Exactly...

But stay tuned, hopefully I will soon get a new one *fingers crossed*

This October I have decided to go sober! For a good cause, so I am enjoying a glass of my friend Jillski's amazing home made elder flower wine, it is the bomb! One has to go out in style right?

So if you are interested, I will be keeping everyone updated on my Sober October profile here! I will post happy posts and sad posts, status updates on how I am getting on. Today I posted a more serious blog post there just to explain how I have been affected my loved ones suffering from cancer. It is amazing how much support MacMillan can provide, and I take my hat off to them! Fantastic work!

I hope you are well, and enjoying the first weeks of Autumn! I am now a year older and none the wiser, but looking forward to snuggling up with spicy cups of milky tea and concocting delicious things. Have you been struck by Autumn inspiration yet?Any recipes that you just HAVE to make? I would love to hear it!

xox Jules

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Milk Chocolate Covered Marzipan Cake Marbles

Date syrup, OK so you could just buy dates, boil up some water,soak them for a minute and so - drain and whizz, but.. when I cameacross this stuff that is date syrup, I couldn't resist...I sort of just... grabbed it.

A month later, I remembered it, and after having seen dates used as sweetner in numerous sweet treats - I thought, bingo!

You can make these bad boys using maple or agave syrup instead of honey - no stress! It'll still be healthy and delicious! Also, the milk chocolate I used was Scandinavian Marabou that I found in IKEA. Use dark chocolate for a vegan version *smiles*

These are whipped up in a flash - so what are you waiting for?! Get rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling....

Milk Chocolate Covered Marzipan Cake Marbles
(Makes 5-6)

1/3 cups ground almond
1 tbsp date syrup (or 2 dates' worth soaked in water and whizzed to a smooth purêe)
1-2 tbsp honey (or maple/agave syrup for vegan)

For the coating:
25g milk chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp cocoa butter (optional, I just added it so that the chocolate didn't get grainy when I melted it)

Sprinkles of any kind

- Start by mixing the almonds, dates and syrup and well,until you have a slightly sticky dough. Roll out marbles from the mix and set aside.

- Melt the chocolate (and cocoa butter if using) over a water bath on medium heat, until it is juuuust melted, and turn the heat off.

- Now, s'time to get messy! Dip the marbles in the chocolate and place on a baking parchment, top with sprinkles,dessicated coconut, cocoa or chopped nuts and fruits and leave to set in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

- Serve with a cuppa, and enjoy!

Also.. I bought a skipping rope the other day, and silly Julie thought that "Hey! That's just the same as running right? Kind of?" Little did I know that half an hour of this would lead my legs to tremble for two days... Next time, I wont skip for as long... Fantastic work out though!

Today I went for a walk as the sun set, and then I watched this evening's episode of the Great British Bake-Off after a long day at work. I hope you have had a lovely day. Perhaps making some sweets treats of your own? *smiles*

Recipe by yours truly,

- Jules

Monday, 31 August 2015

Light Zingy Salsa


The weekend that just past was a good one, and I cannot believe it is September tomorrow already!

But, there were a few rays of Summer sun over the weekend, and I felt like cooking up something delicious, that wasn't a salad. You can use this salsa as part of a salad though, or with pasta, rice - you name it! I had it with some mini poppadoms due to lack of tortilla chips - but it worked! I was surprised at how much flavour it had for being such an easy recipe, and I added some liquid smoke just for the hell of it. That stuff is magic!

Light Zingy Salsa
(Serves 2 with rice and a side salad, or with tortilla chips as a snack!)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion or half a bunch of spring onions, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 red pepper, cored and sliced
1 tsp red chilli, chopped
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
A good splash liquid smoke (optional)
Fresh coriander, chopped - to serve

- This is easy! If serving it with rice, remember to start cooking that, as this dish literally takes 10 minutes to make!

- Now, heat the oil in a medium casserole and add the onion, fry for about 5 minutes on medium heat until softened. Then add everything but the coriander and the white wine vinegar. Heat through, then use a stick blender and process until you have a smooth salsa. Stir in the vinegar and coriander, and serve with rice!

Oh... and guys before I forget, remember that review I wrote on Meadow Road cafê? Well, my camera finally decided to cooperate and here are a few snaps I was meant to post up for it! I was there yesterday as well.... That coffee!

Did I mention they make the best soy cappuccino? Yeh? Well, I just did it again *winks*

The almighty vegetarian platter with sundried tomatoes, beetroot hummous, this lovely red pepper salsa, dressed salad and Billy's bread! All the savouries are made behind the counter.

And lest we not forget the cakes! I have tried and approved theee peanur butter swirl brownie, the pistachio and rose cake, the ginger cake as well as their Summer fruit cake - perfect with a cuppa.

Caffeine... which I am sure most of you have had your fair share of today with it being Monday and all!

Hope you have had a smooth start to your week *smiles*

- Jules

Original source:
Hamlyn's Budget Meals, p. 26

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Gado Gado Salad

Hey me hearties!

Right, so it has been one helluva long time since last we spoke, but don't worry - my Laptop just decided to not let me og on the internet anymore. But after 8 years' service, I can't say I blame my good ol' Toshiba. I have now let it retire, and got a brand spanking new one, and thus random capital letters due to the Laptop not knowing when to add them... not entirely sure what is up With that! Any clue how to fix it?

Anyway - let's talk Food! It has been way too long!
And why not enjoy the remaining European Summer With something light... For vegan - just substitute the honey With agave or Maple syrup, or a teaspoon of Brown sugar, and the eggs for a double portion of sauce, as it is packed With good stuff!

Gado Gado Salad
(Serves 1, easily doubled, trebbled, or howevermany'ed)

To dip:
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1/3 cucumber, cut into dipping sticks
2 carrots, cut into sticks
1/2 avocado, sliced (optional)
2 boiled eggs (optional)

For the Gado Gado Sauce (this is the stuff you might want to make a double portion of!):
1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
2 tsp chilli oil (or oil + 1/3 chilli deseeded and finely chopped)
Juice of 1/2 lime
1-2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp honey (or agave, Maple syrup, Brown sugar)

- Simply start by preparing all the vegetables and boiling the eggs (if using), and plate up!

- Now, in a small sauce pan, heat the oil and chilli along With the peanut butter, soy sauce and honey (sugar or syrup) over medium low heat and stir constantly until just heated through.

- Place the dip in a small seerving dish and serve With vegetable cruditês for dipping along With the eggs, and enjoy!

Have you tried gado gado dipping sauce before?

I hope you are well, and have a great weekend ahead of you! Any plans?

Original Source:
Hamlyn - Budget Meals, p. 86

- Jules

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Polenta Cakes with Tomato & Asparagus

Polenta is such a strange thing, you can make mash out of it, bake it, serve it cold, grill it - and I certainly need more experience cooking with it, which is why I decided to make this colourful dish!

Polenta Cakes with Tomato & Asparagus
(Serves 2)

1 cup milk (I used coconut)
1/2 cup polenta
1/3 cup parmesan, grated
1 courgette/zucchini, sliced or chopped
1 small or 2 baby aubergines/eggplants, sliced or chopped
2 tomatoes, choped
4 asparagus pieces
1 tsp oil

- Start by making the polenta, heat up the milk on low in a small casserole and add the polenta. Cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes, adding a little water if it gets too dry. Take it off of the heat and stir in the parmesan. Press down into an oiled baking tray so it's about 1cm thick. Place in the fridge until it is firm, 10-15 minutes.

- In the mean time, Heat a bil of oil in a pan and add the courgette, aubergine and a little bit of salt, cover with a lid and cook until tender, 5-10 minutes. Then, add the tomatoes.

- Place the grill on medium high, and cover the asparagus tips with oil and a sprinkle of salt, place in the oven and grill for about 5 minutes.

- Once the polenta is firm, cut out rounds with cookie cutters or a glass, and fry in a bit of oil for a few minutes on each side until golden.

- Time to serve up! Place the vegetable mix on a plate, followed by the asparagus and polenta, et voila!

I hope you enjoy it! What is your favourite thing to make with polenta?

Life has been pretty busy here.... I have tried to keep myself as busy as possible outside work and sort of kept away from the world of the internet. Not because I don't enjoy it - because I love catching up on the blogs I am following and with friends and family far away, but then there was that reggae party until the early hours, and the fact that I have started to play (or attempt...rather) to play the djembe drum at a drop in session - with a bunch of amazing people. I am pretty sure I played the rhythm "Belly Dance with Me" about two hours last Wednesday! Practice makes perfect right?

I was at a party the other night, where there was dinner upon arrival and a set breakfast in the morning - which I thought was an awesome touch! Yesterday it was my turn to host a little tapas night for my lovely ladies in Glasgow, and it was great! Sadly the camera had dies before I could take photos from the evening, but I am sure you can imagine - nine girls, too much food and wine aplenty! I hope you have had a lovely weekend and are ready to face another week. Did you get up to much? Today was pretty much sunshine, strawberries in the park, ice cream, coffee and leftover savouries from last night - I can't complain! *smiles*

Original source:
Low-Fat Meals in Minutes, p. 58

- Jules

Monday, 10 August 2015

Pasta with Artichoke Sauce

This is such a surprisingly creamy dish for being vegan (if using vegan pasta) and not featuring the likes of avocado. I suspect it being thanks to the nuts in this recipe.

My flatmate almost strayed from trying this dish, saying "Nooo, I don't like artichokes, they're rubbish"... Turns out that is only if it's served on its own. As for me, I have pretty much gone through two jars of the stuff over the last couple of weeks... Ooops!

Pasta with Artichoke Sauce
(Serves 2)

1 cup uncooked pasta (make sure it's vegan if you are!)
150-200g artichokes in oil, drained
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
4-5 Brazil nuts or a small handful or pine nuts
Juice of 1/2 lime
Handful of fresh chives, snipped
Salt and pepper to taste

- Simply start by cooking up the pasta as instructed in some lightly salted water.

- As that is boiling, have the remaining ingredients in a processor or a measuring jug and use a stick blender to combine = ta dah! Sauce is done!

- Drain most of the water off of the pasta and turn the heat down to medium low, keep some of it through so the pasta doesn't catch the bottom, add the sauce and heat through before serving!

Want it fancy? Simply garnish with a few chive strands, that's what they do in ze restaurants, I've seen it!

Original source:
Delicious Low-Fat Recipes, p 94

- Jules

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Second Helping Chocolate Brownie Cake

Better late than never right? Behold! Cake!

Pretend this is what I posted on my three year bloggaversary *cough*

So I was going to make Sophie Dahl's chocolate cake, which stated it only used a 25cm wide cake tin, well.... I made a big traybake with this one, and it turned out delicious! It would have gone all over the place had I only used a normal cake tin, but I suppose you could make two and layer them if you feel like it! It's up to you!

I brought this monster to work, and everyone really liked it! The texture is like a hybrid between good ol' tradition chocolate cake, and the infamous brownie! I decided to leave out the nuts, as I didn't know if anyone was allergis to them, but I can imagine it would take it that half a step up a notch with some nuts for crunch.

I added a bit of rum essence in the frosting, like my mother always does - but that is optional, of course!

Second Helping Chocolate Brownie Cake
(Makes one 30-40 x 20cm traybake, or one deep 25-30cm cake)

300g room temperature butter
500g caster sugar (I used light golden)
4 eggs
350g plain flour
75g/half cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
125ml/half cup milk
125ml/half cup boiling water
Juice and zest of one orange
120g chopped walnuts (optional, but highly recommended)

For the ganache:
250g dark chocolate, chopped
250ml/1 cup double cream
1 tsp rum extract (optiona)

To decorate:
Candied orange peel and extra chopped nuts
OR icing sugar
OOR dessicated coconut

- Start by pre-heating the oven to 180°C.

- Now, in a large mixing bowl, have ALL the ingredients for the cake batter. Mix well to combine and simply pour into a greased or lined cake tin/pan. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about an hour - NOTE - mine was in the oven for probably about an hour and a half, but after an hour check if a toothpick comes out clean when you check to see if it is cooked.

- Once done, leave to cool, before making the ganache, otherwise the ganache will just drip down to the sides.

- Melt the chocolate in a bowl in a casserole of hot water (water and chocolate don't like each other) on the stove, the heating turned to medium low. Pour in the cream and allow for the chocolate and cream to get completely mixed, add in rum extract if you want. Leave to set for a little bit before spreading evenly over the cake, topping it with either candied orange peel and nuts or simply with a dusting of icing sugar, or some dessicated coconut!

Simply.....enjoy! Either with a cup of coffee, tea, or perhaps an ice cold glass of milk? I have been addicted to Koko's coconut milk recently, so good! Oh! And Alpro has released a dairy free yogurt made from almond milk, and it is delicious :)

The healthy banana dolphin will laugh at you whilst splashing around in his blueberry sea... but who cares? You have cake!

Original source:
Sophie Dahl's "From Season to Season", p. 256

- Jules