Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Warm Brussels sprout salad and Pea and Turmeric Soup

Last week Carmen brought me a lovely looking recipe from her Sainsbury's magazine. Pea and Turmeric soup as we had been talking around our kitchen table how some of us are starting to have arthritic pains. This soup has strong anti inflammatory properties so we gave it a go and with the presence of Peas in it, we had some high vitamin C intake, as many of our dear friends could not make it due to coughs and colds and a bug is going round.

Cortney and Wen dressing the soup
Meghan chopping walnuts
Ta da, a rich warming pea soup

For our main meal we made another suggestion made by a member of the group. This Warm Brussels Sprout salad came from a Waitrose magazine. It was tasty but had many more ingredients than our normal recipes. We had another Brussels Sprouts recipe last week and I think I prefer that one for ease and taste, having said that, the addition of lentils and feta cheese, made this salad almost a main  meal.

We managed to also plant our pea sprouts. Later we commented on how the end result demonstrated so beautifully our characters.... Try and spot mine!


Thursday, 7 February 2019

Brussels Sprouts with peanut sauce and Butternut Tai Soup

Today we started by sowing our first seeds. Some to eat as sprouts and some for transplanting and harvesting later in the year.

We sprouted Sunflower seeds and Cress for use in salads in the weeks to come.
During the year we harvested seeds from a variety of  tomatoes and  peppers,  dried the seeds and today we planted mini mini red and mini mini yellow tomatoes (bottom right) as well as the orange mini pear tomatoes. We are pre-germinating them to make sure the seeds are viable. Once they germinate, they will be transferred to soil. For now they will stay on a damp paper towel, in the little cream cheese container.

We planted the cress on paper too but the sunflower seeds were left soaking in a jar of water.


After the sowing we made some peanut butter to use for the peanut sauce that we were going to use with the brussles sprouts.  Asako and Sayaka had never had Brussels Sprouts before, but Asako's children had encountered them at a play day. They were not impressed with this 'new' vegetable and begged her never to buy it.  Well.... the plan has changed. After eating these fried brussels with cranberries and peanut sauce, the vegetables are on next week's shopping list. They went down very well with all of us.

We also made a tasty and hearty Butternut Thai  soup perfect for this cold but lovely day which we shared with `Mark and Sorrel.


Wednesday, 6 February 2019

rocket soup with ploughmans scones

This week I was asked by the group to try a couple of recipes that sounded great on paper. As I had not made them myself before, I was just as curious as the others.

We made a rocket soup, strangely enough as we made a nice soup but used land cress instead of rocket.  It was nice but will try and make it when the rocket is growing in the garden later in the summer.

The Ploughmans scones, however ,were a big hit. Lovely and cheesey. When we asked eachother about how they make their scones, It sounds that Meghan and Glo had some tips to make them rise well.  Keep the butter cold, don't over work the dough and make sure the dough is at least 4 cm high.

As a main course we made some Leek and Potato Chowder topped with blue cheese.
Very tasty, a little soup-like, so would make sure next time that less vegetable stock  was used.
There was a little left, so when Mark came home and wanted some lunch, I added some stock, blended it and turned into a nice cheese and potato soup.

50g butter
1 kg potatoes, peeled and ½cm diced
½ garlic clove, finely diced
2 leeks, diced and washed
2 large onions, finely diced
500ml vegetable stock
200ml double cream
100g crème fraiche
40g parmesan, grated
A squeeze of lemon juice
150g goat's cheese or Gorgonzola
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
4 tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil

  1. On a medium heat, melt the butter and gently cook the onions and garlic until soft. 
  2. Add the leeks, then after 2-3 minutes add the potato followed by enough stock to just cover it. 
  3. Cook slowly, adding more stock as the potatoes soak it up. When the potatoes are cooked, but still firm, add the cream and creme fraîche. As the potatoes start to break down, season, then add the parmesan and lemon juice.
To serve, crumble the  Gorgonzola over the top, followed by the chives mixed in the rapeseed oil.
If you have any left over this can be served as a delicious creamy soup the day after, just add more stock.

So much is done in one session.

As in the last weeks we have been saving our vegetable peelings and off cuts, we froze them and today we turned them into nearly 2 litres of vegetable stock. This will be kept in the fridge for a coming week to use in soups and sauces.

We then made a hearty ginger and  beetroot soup

 with  cheesy choux bun


We put some Cashew nut cream cheese inside these cheese goodies

To make the stock, we took out all the frozen vegetable scraps from the freezer, put it in a large pot, covered it with water (added some bayleaves, thyme, parsley) brought to a boil and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes (we let it be for 1.30 hours). Then strained it and put in bottles to be kept in the fridge for the week ahead.

As a treat we made some yummy vegan amaretto biscuits.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Home made chickpea flour Tofu - a big hit

This week we made Chickpea flour tofu with both groups.  Not only was it very easy it was very quick and tasty too. So tasty in fact that most of use who hated tofu before we started cooking, are now convinced to make their own in future.

On Monday we used dried shop bought egg noodles, but after trying making them for my own family yesterday, we spent this morning making Chinese egg noodles from scratch. Fun, easy and tasty!

They went really well with my new Bami recipe. In the past I used the Conimex kruiden mix from Holland, but now I have found the spices combination, we made it with the spices from the kitchen and it tasted even nicer. We had this Bami with the pickled courgettes we made in the summer, some fried bananas and a fried egg.

Very filling but perfect for a day like today

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

From Spade to Plate - Vegan Week 23rd January

Due to illness we had a couple of members who did not manage to make it today.
With a small group on hand, I decided to re'wax the bees wax wrappers that I use to cover food in the fridge.
Melendra and Julie brought some nice pieces of cloth and shared them with the rest of the group.
All you need, wax, warmth and cloth
Liz ironing the top wax paper layer

The end result
Melendra fitting her cloth on a saucepan

Before we knew it, there was a hive of activities
Bailey making flat breads

We spend half our time making these covers and decided on a quick but tasty  meal for our lunch.
The Easy Coconut Chickpea Curry went down well with  rice and some flat bread.

Coconut chickpea curry with rice and bread
Another lovely morning!

Monday, 21 January 2019

Leek and Potato Soup, flat bread with Vegan dips

Today after harvesting leeks before the frost set in, we turned them and the last of the potatoes into a lovely leek and potato soup.

We made flat bread to go with the Cashew Nut dip,
Cortney in action
Sundried tomato and Butter bean paté and the 'cheese' sauce and the last of the carrots in the garden. They were difficult to harvest, but eventually they were turned into some sweet, crunchy goodies.
Rachel making Cashew nut dip


Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Mushrooms and bread

Today we made a variety of bread.
First a very quick and easy beer bread  using the yeast in the beer instead of the dried yeast we used in the Brioche recipe.

Bailey deomonstrating kneading dough in a bag
 This recipe is vegan by using chickpea water (Aquafaba)  and extremely fluffy and tasty. To make sure our hands were not covered in sticky dough we used the bread in a bag technique.

The Seeded crackers went down very well too, we had them with a slice of Extra mature cheddar cheese and a topping of sweet chilli jam.
all the seeds in the crackers

Mushroom patê with parsley
The Mushroom patê went down a treat, it went well with both the brioch and the beer bread.
So much so that all recipes were voted for to be included in the next cookbook!

As a soup today we made a cream of mushroom soup.