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

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Potato Patties - and Then Some

By some miracle my camera decided to let me upload photos to the laptop today - hooray! I cannot for the life of me understand what has all of a sudden changed after eight years of successful uploading, the camera is working just fine despite its old age, which is good.

Finally I can share another recipe with you!

Because... It't not that I stopped cooking, not at all - back in business for now, thankfully.

Potato Patties
(Makes 5-6)

2 large potatoes, small dice
2 tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions, or 1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Fresh (a small bunch, chopped) or dry chives (1 tsp)
A handful basil leaves torn (or a good sprinkle dry basil)
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Vegetarian sausages to serve, or simply some sweet chilli sauce!

- Boil up water, and wash and dice the potatoes. Boil for about 10-15 minutes until tender.

- In the meantime, heat 1 tbsp oil in pan and soften onion and garlic for about five minutes. Take off the heat and swirl in the herbs.

- Once the potatoes are done, drain off the water and mash. Swirl through the onion mix along with salt, pepper and the parmesan.

- Shape into patties with your hands, and fry on medium heat for 3-5 minutes before each flip, until golden, a little firmer and quite crisp.

Serve with sweet chilli sauce for dipping, or as a side for a main meal! Simple as chips (if not even simpler...)

OH - and the other week... I discovered how spicy chipotle chillies are, and I might also have taken part in a bet (thanks flat mate!)

Yes, I ate it with cutlery ( disguise the fact that I was eating chipotle chillies and not some lovely falafels or garlic roat mushrooms, perhaps?), and yes - the rest of that coconut milk was gone afterwards. I almost felt like Adam in Man VS Food, except I am nowhere near as brave as that man...

Today I was working sadly, but yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing a friend's band playing in a local venue in town - being back to gigging is fantastic, and here in Glasgow there is always something on! Now... I need to recuperate, forming sentences after a Saturday in work is much much needed... Tomorrow however, I'll go venturing out and making the most of the day! Have you gotten up to much? Hopefully not consumed spicy chillies for fun...

Original source:
Low-Fat Meals in Minutes, p. 54

- Jules