Monday, 18 March 2019

Broccoli and chickweed Soup with blinis (vg)

Creamy Vegan Broccoli  and chickweed Soup based on Broccoli Soup
2 tbsp rapeseed  oil
2 cups chopped purple sprouting broccoli
3  finely chopped carrots
2  finely chopped celery sticks
1  finely chopped onion
1 handful of washed and chopped chickweed (optional)
1 clove pressed garlic
3 tbspflour
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup oat milk
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp nutritional yeast

a sprinkling of chopped walnuts as topping

Today we also made Oat milk to use for the blinis
Cashew nut cream cheese (to go on top of the blinis)
Sweet potato topping
Smoked 'salmon' as per the previous recipe book with cream cheese and lemon
Beetroot on top of a coriander hummus, goats cheese and chives

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Vegan Bacon, lentil and tomato soup with drop - apple rose tarts

Short of time but managed to make a lovely meal.

We did not run the Monday group this week due to illness and other arrangements. We combined the members of both groups but due to The International lunch at the NVS which started at 12noon, some of the group had to leave dead on time. Time was short but managed to make a lovely tomato and lentil soup and made this quick 2 ingredient breadroll to go with it. We added feta cheese to the mix though, so I suppose it was more of a 3 ingredient breadroll! Simple and very easy to make.

As the oven was on I demonstrated a new way of making faken bacon. I saw a video on Youtube where rice paper was used. We needed 2 sheets of rice paper to give the right thickness. We dipped it in water to become soft and then dipped it in the sauce we made.
1 tbsp oil
3 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsps nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup
and a pinche of paprika and pepper.

Once we had dipped it in the sauce we put it in the oven at 180C for about 10 minutes until it bubbled and became crisp. If you would like it to be less like pork crackling put it in a little less.

As a dessert we made some apple rose tarts

Ingredients for the pastry
2 eggs
100 g sugar
80 g sunflower oil
380 g flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
250 ml boiling milk
untreated lemon peel
2 apples

A greased muffin tin.
In a bowl mix the eggs, sugar, oil, and baking powder. 
Knead adding flour little by little, incorporating it all obtaining a nice smooth and elastic consistency. This shortcrust pastry without butter is instant and does not need to rest.

For the cream for the filling. 
In a saucepan, break an egg, add the sugar, the flour and mix well with a whisk. 
Add the boiling milk and lemon, mix and bring to boil stirring continuously until it thickens. Turn off the heat and remove the lemon peel.
Cover the saucepan with the film to prevent it from forming a crust while it cools. Keep the cream aside.

Return the shortcrust pastry without butter and spread it with a rolling pin to get a dough. With a empty can with a diameter of 7 cm, cut discs from the pastry. We take a buttered and floured muffin tin. We arrange each of the disks in the tin making it adhere well to the edges. Fill with the cream.

Take two apples, cut them in half, eliminate the core, but keep the peel. 
With a potato peeler we make thin slices. 

To shape the rose. We take a slice, roll it and put it in the centre of the cream. We arrange around other slices in order to form the petals of the rose.
Put in a pre-heated oven at 170 ° for about 20 minutes .

Once cooked, place the custard and apple tartlets in a dish and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Broccoli Kedgeree and lemon mousse

Hooray, the first purple sprouting broccoli is ready!  After a long wait (as they were sown last year in April) we were able to have the first meal with broccoli of the season.

Last year Simone brought us a recipe to make a kedgeree with, it went down really well so we have made it again.

We went to the allotment and pick handfulls of lovely flowers and leaves for our salad.

We had some aquafaba left from the chickpea curry we made a few days ago. I had read that it would be much easier to whip up if it had been boiled and reduced to half. So I did and it was true, the cooled down jelly like result, turned into fluffy 'egg'whites so when mixed with sugar and lemon it turned into a delicious lemon mousse. Topped with a little violet and lemon zest a delight.

Creamy Nettle and Chickweed Soup


1 chopped onion
3 chopped celery sticks
3 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
5 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
5 cups of vegetable stock
5 cups of fresh washed and chopped chickweed
1 cup of fresh young nettles.
A little cream or milk optional


Saute the onion and celery in butter in a large soup pot over medium heat until tender. Add garlic and season with salt and pepper. Add the potatoes. Stir. Add the stock, lower heat and simmer gently until the potatoes are very tender. Add the fresh nettles and stir until gently wilted but still bright green. Add the chickweed and  blend with a hand blender until very smooth, whisk in the cream. Serve with some edible flowers and fresh chives.

We went out to pick the various flowers and leaves that were available in March.  Although the rosemary, daisies, violets and speedwell flowers looked very pretty agains the greens of the lambs lettuce, sunflower and pea shoots, the orange of the last few carrots made it look very bright and beautiful as well as giving our salad a lovely taste. We added some walnuts and blue cheese.

As a desert we made a lemon mousse, using the little violets we picked as decoration.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Sweet Potato Roti with Chickpea curry

After seeing this quick and easy Sweet potato roti
We only used sweet potatoes and flour to make these goodies

 I thought it would be nice to make these to go with the Chickpea curry

Ding our friend from China, explained how at her home they prepare pomegranite  so we decided to stir it into the Rice.  We had a lovely meal enjoyed by all.

At the end of the session we went out plant our first new potatoes, Charlotte, in the hope that in June we have some delicious new potatoes to go with the broadbeans.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Peashoot salad and walnut and leek orzotto

As I still had so much damson juice and puree left from Monday's frozen damson gift, we turned it in Damson cordial and jam. Although a bit of a messy activity the end result was delicious.


We made a leek and walnut orzotto like on we did on Monday as it was as much of a hit with the previous group as it was with this group.  It was a joy to see June again after a little break and a wonderful surprise to have Marie Christine and Hannah her exchange student over from France.

As the weather has been so warm, the pea shoots that we sowed 2 weeks ago are ready for harvesting so we turned  them with a salad with a lemon vinegrette.


Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Leek and Walnut Orzotto, Planting Potatoes, eating sunflower shoot salad and

Today I was planning to make  the Leek and walnut orzotto recipe as one of our favourites from the first cooking book. We had a few new people in our group, so  I thought it might be worth repeating.

Then an hour before we were about to start, a surprise visit from Julie, who donated 6 kg of frozen damsons as she needed to clear out her freezer. With a bit of quick thinking I altered the cooking plan and ended up with making a Damson fool. As the de stoning was such a messy job, I destoned the rest after the group had gone and will make some more treats with them on Wednesday.

The Sunflower shoots and pea shoots that we sowed 2 weeks ago are ready for harvesting so we will make a Sunflower shoot salad . The lemon vinegrette was delicious, a bit too much, so we kept the other half for another day.
sunflower (left) and pea shoots (right)
Sayaka harvesting the first sunflower shoots
Cortney harvesting the pea shoots

we also went to the allotment to pick some early edible 'weeds'. Daisy, Speedwell, calendula petals, rosemary flowers, lambs lettuce, purple dead nettle and a few carrots. For Ding and Wen this was the first time that they had harvested a carrot.
Wen showing her first ever carrots she has harvested
Wen and Ding showing off their carrots

What a beautiful day we had, temperatures were too high for this time of year, but it was lovely for us to feel a bit of sunshine.

A few moments harvesting carrots

Going back home with the harvest of salad leaves and carrots

Another lovely morning with my friends

Monday, 25 February 2019

Apple rose tarts

1 apple
A few drops of vanilla extract
1 sheets puff pastry
¼ cup cream cheese
3 tablespoons sugar
Icing Sugar for dusting

1 apple
A few drops of vanilla extract
1 sheets puff pastry
¼ cup cream cheese
3 tablespoons sugar
Icing Sugar for dusting

  1. Remove the core and thinly slice the apple. 
  2. Roll out the puff pastry and cut into 4 cm strips.
  3. Mix cream cheese, with vanilla extract and sugar.
  4. Spread onto the puff pastry strips.
  5. Arrange the apple slices, slightly over lapping, on half of each puff pastry and sprinkle cinnamon on top.
  6. Fold the puff pastry lengthwise on top of the apple slices and roll up. 
  7. Place the apple pastry rolls into greased muffin tin.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes at 180C or until golden and crisp.

Let it cool slightly before dusting with icing sugar.
This recipe makes about 8 tarts.


1 cup chickpea flour  
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric 
¼ teaspoon cumin or garam masala optional
1 ¾ cup water

1 cup chickpea flour  
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric 
¼ teaspoon cumin or garam masala optional
1 ¾ cup water

  1. Grease a bread tin and keep ready. 
  2. In a saucepan add all dry ingredients and water (*) and whisk with a hand blender until there are no lumps and you obtain a  smooth batter.
  3. Cook over a medium heat. Stir continuously. The mixture will start to get lumpy as the pan heats up and then thicken evenly and considerably. About 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Once the mixture is evenly thick and stiff, keep cooking for another 2 minutes so the chickpea flour gets cooked through..
  5. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan. Let it cool, then refrigerate for at least an hour to set.
  6. Remove the set slab from the tin. Slice into cubes.  It is now ready to fry.
Use it as a substitute for soy tofu. It does well in curries, tossed in dressing, breaded tofu, in wraps, salads, etc.
(*) This tofu does not absorb marinades well, so flavour the tofu itself while making it.  Mix in herbs, spices and flavours into the batter before cooking it. 
Add garam masala and cayenne when using in curries. Soy sauce and lemon for an asian fusion, and Italian herb blend for other uses like a mashed up marinated tofu salad. 

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Today I had my sister and niece over from Holland, I had given them our first cookery book for Christmas but had not yet cooked from it.
So today we  decided to use the book for various recipes. As per Carmen's request we made a veggie burger (in our case the Beet burger)  two different ones. The other recipe came from The Happy Pear website. We liked them very much, but think if we can mix the two recipes the end result will be perfect in taste and texture! (if that is possible)

We topped them with home made hummus using the home made peanut butter recipe and the milk mayonnaise.
It was very tasty and a great combinations.

The carrots we harvested from the allotment today ended up in a fresh and delicious carrot salad.


Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Half term and a full house

Today is the first day of half term so a great opportunity to meet some of the children of our From Spade to Plate members. The youngest being 7  years old, I thought it might be nice to do some sowing and cooking of their favourite meal Pizza.

As we only have a 2 hour slot, I pre made a pizza dough (same as our normal white bread flour). Rolled it out and then spread tomato paste over it.

 Then we went on to make our Apple rose tarts


For these stunning little bites we used puff pastry, cream cheese with vanilla sugar and cinamon and an apple. Easy to make and tasty to eat.

As it is from Spade to plate, we started the making of seed strips. Here we are sowing carrot and welsh onion strips and broccoli and beetroot.


drying the paper with the seeds before rolling them up.

We then made some orange and carrot soup. Using the orange peel to put in vinegar for use as general cleaning spray (ready in about a month's time) and the whole orange is pureed together with the onion, potato and carrots into a vegetable stock. The soup was delicious and all the plates were empty, even from the youngest member of the group.

We had  a lovely morning and lunch and to top it all, Wen brought some rice balls (with poppy seeds filling) as tomorrow is the Chinese lantern festival when this is a traditional food enjoyed by millions of Chinese families. Thank you Wen it was a treat!