Wednesday 27 March 2019

What a lovely birthday party

Today I was treated with no end of flowers and cards before we made my birthday meal. As one friend needs a gluten free diet and another vegan, we managed to come up with a lovely meal with much of the food coming out of the garden.

We sat down and during the preparation of all the food we had a chat, laugh and time to share experiences together.

 It was a hive of activity. We started by making the special occasion salad, we only needed to pick the greens (lambs lettuce and chickweed) from the allotment to add later.

The kitchen smelled divine after we started the curry, again we could make most of beginnings of the curry and needed to pick up the Chard for the Chard and Mushroom Curry from the Guardian News Paper.
Chard, chickpea and mushroom curry (V) which we had with rice and a delicious salad and a sweet potato roti we added some cumin seed to the mix before cooking in a dry frying pan.

When we were in the alloment we pick a variety of different coloured chard, it was a joy to eat but also to look at as it was so colourful.

As we made a vegan gluten free carrot cake, we went to the allotment to pick hand fulls of carrots.

Monday 25 March 2019

How much can one do in 2 hours? Answer: A lot

As we were going to use the oven today we made a variety of recipes that uses the oven.
First I baked my bread and bread rolls, for the coming week,
Then we turned the left over macaroni cheese into delicous macaroni cheese balls. A lovely appetiser with some sweet chili dip.


While Vicky, Tina and Yosi  made the cheese balls, June and Sayaka focussed on the filling of the mini mushroom and carrot pies.


Together with Asako, Asuka turned her hand at making the beetroot and chocolate cake, 
     we added walnuts to this recipe and baked them in individual jars so that we could all take some home to share with our families.

Going to the allotment in such gorgeous weather was a real treat. The sun was shining albeit a little chilly, so 8 of us went to pick purple sprouting broccoli to be steamed and mint and carrots to go into the carrot salad. In the mean time at home, June was keeping a beady eye on the oven.


On our return into the kitchen, the alarm clock went off. It was time to remove the mac cheese balls and mini pies from the oven.

With all hands on deck, the carrots were washed and cleaned, the broccoli washed and prepared, salad made and table laid. Amazing. The end result was a stunning and tasty meal, finished off by a slice of beetroot chocolate cake. Yumm.

Broccoli Soup and beetroot and Chocolate cake

In readiness for my birthday we used the beetroot and turned them into gorgeous chocolate cake.


The broccoli soup was repeated from the Monday session as it was lovely we did add 2 cups of chickpeas and a handful of chickweed to this recipe.

 As an experiment I made some gorgonzola and sesame seed biscuits to go with the soup. All together a very successful morning.

     All the recipes ended up in the second cookery book!

For the biscuits we used oil instead of butter and they were divine.

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.