Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Experimentation and adaptation

Today there was one recipe that I really wanted to do and that was Erika's demonstration of the agar agar that was given to me by a Japanese friend but I did not know what to do with it as the instructions were all in Japanese. In came our hero and Erika arrived with a pre soaked amount of agar agar and showed us how to make a delicious Fruit Jelly
Erika chopping the Agar Agar

As autumn as well and truly arrived,  this morning I harvested all the late (July) sown carrots in my garden.
 They were small but enough to make a tasty Carrot and Ginger Soup (VG)with. Melendra chopped some almonds as a topping for the soup

For the recipe we needed butterbean but as there were none in the shop we used rinsed baked beans and the recipe turned out lovely and creamy.
We used some of the carrot tops to make a pesto with and stirred through the soup.  There was loads of it which I put in the freezer for future use.

The pesto called for parmesan cheese, as we were trying to make it as much plant based as possible, we made the parmesan cheese with cashew nuts, garlic powder salt and nutritional yeast.
The nuts we used were hazel nuts (picked from Michael's garden) (thanks Li  and Melendra
for shelling them all!)

We even had time to have a walk to the allotment, harvest the Spinach in the sunshine

and make the polpette for our main meal, Orzo and spinach Polpette, a tasty and colourful dish.

Monday, 11 November 2019

The frost got the Butternut squash, so we need to eat it soon.

For the last few weeks the large pots in the garden was filled with a combination of butternut squashes Uchiki Kuri pumpkins, and a variety of ornamental gourds. It looked so colourful and cheerful. And then, the frost arrived. I totally forgot to take them inside so lost most of them.
I rescued the lovely deep orange Uchiki Kuri pumpkins, composted all but the butternut squash.
With only a small patch affected, I decided to turn it into a Thai Butternut squash soup.

We made some faken bacon which went down very well.

We made some oven roasted Spicy Brussels Sprouts with Thai Peanut butter sauce.
First we made the peanut butter, and then added the lime, chili flakes, sesame oil, soya sauce, coconut milk, garlic and ginger. We all agreed it was a winner of a sauce.

After a damp and chilli start of the session, the sun came out, so we took this opportunity to have a walk in the garden. Rurie spotted the last handful of apples on the stepover trees. We all had a mouthful each (very small apples) but they were sweet and juicy. Next year I will thin them out more so we get a few more mouthfuls each!.

As the brussels sprouts and the cranberries reminded June of Christmas, we talked about Christmas traditions and in my case Sinterklaas, how we celebrate it and what food we eat.
We enjoyed our meal very much and look forward to the next meal together.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Pumpkin Soup, falafels, sweet chilli jam and beetroot wraps

Melendra brought the pumpkin flesh from Halloween which we turned into 5-spice pumpkin Soup
We felt the soup came out a little watery, but after adding a whole can of coconut milk, it became a deliciously creamy soup.

We then made falafels followed by sweet chilli jam  we used 3 chillies in this recipe and even after taking out the seeds, it still had a kick. So depending on hot you want it to be, adjust the chillies to taste.

We served some beetroot wraps (vegan and gluten free) the stuffing we changed a little and added freshly pick spinach, kidney beans, sweetcorn, some of last week's smoked' salmon and a pumpkin puree.  Personally I thought it was rather dry and would have been great with some cream cheese to stick it all together.

We went to the allotment for some fresh air and a few handfuls of spinach

The group liked it though, so that is the most important issue.

Ingredients  for the falafel: 
1  can chickpeas  
2 tablespoon minced garlic   
1 medium finely chopped onion   
2 tablespoons fresh finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon coriander 
¾ teaspoon cumin 
½ teaspoon salt
Pepper (to taste)
2 tablespoons flour
Oil for frying
  1. Combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, parsley, coriander, cumin, salt, and pepper (to taste) and  flour and combine in a blender. You want the result to be a thick paste.
  2. Form the mixture into small balls, about the size of a ping-pong ball. Slightly flatten.
  3. Fry in until golden brown (2 to 5 minutes).
  4. Serve falafel with couscous, in a wrap  and is delicious with a sweet chilli sauce.

A recipe for glue to put on labels:

Thick Glue

Pour 5 cups of water into a saucepan. Bring the water to a full boil.
Place 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of cold water in a bowl. Stir the ingredients until smooth.
Pour the flour mixture into the boiling water. Reduce the heat and gently boil the solution for 2 to 3 minutes until it thickens.
Remove the glue from the stovetop. Allow the glue to cool before you use it. Store the glue in a covered jar or bowl for 2 to 3 days.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Using the last of the autumn sun rays to plant garlic and broadbeans

The sun is out and with a quick tidying of the beds we managed to harvest the butternut squashes for the butternut squash and coconut milk curry as well as sow the broad
beans and plant the garlic for the year ahead.

We made some more 'Lazy dough' as Li called it. to turn into butter, garlic and coriander naan bread.

The food was quick to make and very tasty. For those of you who have pumpkins for halloween, you can use the flesh instead of the butternut squash

The recipe for the curry:

Cut a butternut squash into cubes.
use 1 diced onion and 4 garlic cloves, and fry in oil until soft.
Add 3 tablespoons of yellow curry paste together with a tin of chopped tomatoes.
Add the squash and mix it all so it is coated. Cook for a minute or so and add a can of full fat coco nut milk as well as 1 stock cube (dissolved in a little  boiling water)
Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes until the butternut is soft.

Boil the rice in the mean time and made the naan bread.

In a pan, roast 200gr of cashew nuts (or peanuts) in a little oil, sprinkle with salt and smoked paprika.
Keep a close eye at it as it burns very easily.

Serve  curry on a bed of rice, topped with cashew nuts and a bit of chopped coriander.
Lovey with the garlicky bread.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Bigger Bolder Baking: Crazy Dough

I have been following Gemma from Bigger Bolder Baking for a while now and her videos and recipes are amazing.

Yesterday I came across her crazy dough. FANTASTIC! I made one batch and made, naan bread, cinnamon rolls, baggles and soft breadrolls with it. The outcome was amazing.

We made bagels today to go with the 'vegan smoked salmon'. The recipe we used today was the one in our cookery book, here is an alternative one made with tomato and the other carrot.
To make it easier to cut the strips thinly, top and tail a carrot, with a vegetable slicer slice thinly, then steam until soft. At this point you can then put in a dish and pour over the marinade.

We made a soup with fennel, spinach a couple of potatoes (to thicken) and an onion. Simple but very tasty. To finish we added a little cream, some fennel fronts, a fennel flower and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

Crazy Dough is one master dough recipe — that's as easy as it gets — that can be turned into endless variations of breads, rolls, pretzels, pizza, and more!Crazy Dough is one master dough recipe — that's as easy as it gets — that can be turned into endless variations of breads, rolls, pretzels, pizza, and more!
Course: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American 
Author: adapted from
·       1/2 cup ( 4floz/120ml) milk
·       1 teaspoon sugar
·       2 teaspoons dry yeast
·       3 1/3 cup (16 1/2 oz/500g) all-purpose flour
·       1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
·       1 1/2 teaspoon salt
·       3/4 cup (6oz/180g) plain yogurt
·       1 whole egg*
1.     In a small jug stir together the lukewarm milk, sugar, and yeast. Let stand for 15 minutes until yeast activates. It will become foamy and start expanding.
2.     In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
3.     In a separate bowl combine the yogurt and the egg.
4.     Once the yeast has activated add the yeast mixture and yogurt-egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Using a fork stir everything together until it forms a loose, sticky dough.
5.     If the dough is too dry, add a little bit of milk or water. If it is too soft, add just a little bit of flour.
6.     Once all the ingredients are combined gently knead/ fold the dough together until it forms a rough ball.
7.     Cover the dough tightly with cling wrap and a tea towel and place in a warm spot to proof for 2 hours.
8.     Once the dough has risen it should be about double in size. From here you can take this crazy all-purpose dough and make it into any of the following things!
9.     Cheesy loaf, pizza, naan bread, savory stuffed roll, classic cinnamon rolls, pretzels, jalapeno & cheese stuffed dinner rolls, and braided Nutella loaf.

10.  Keep it in your fridge for up to 4 days. You can freeze it, too.

So today, we made a batch to make bagels to go with the Vegan 'smoked' Salmon out of my first recipe book.

We have these to go with the soup..

We made a little conveyer belt so that the freshly made bagels were put together swiftly.

 We agreed it was a very tasty meal.

Rurie, Kim, June, Mary and Hiroe waiting to be able to start their meal

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Message from Meghan in the US

Meghan was a loyal member of from Spade to Plate whilst they were visiting Cambridge last year. I say 'was' but it looks like she still is from afar.  She follows the blog and feels she is temporarily back in the UK. Today she sent me a simple message and a lovely picture;

"You’ve inspired us today đŸ¥°"

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Half term, a small group but lots of variety

Today we had a couple of cancellations due to coughs and colds, and some of the regular friends could not make it due to half term.

This did mean however that we could try out some more dishes.

Carmen,  Alice and Karina S came. We started preparing the mushrooms for both the Creamy Mushroom Soup 

and the mushroom mini pies. Both recipes came from our 2nd cookery book.

A couple of weeks ago we made a pear custard pie, this time we used the same recipe but added apples rather than pears. Lovely too.

As we had some puff pastry and apple left we made some apple flappen (also in book 2, demonstrated by Mark)