Wednesday 18 December 2019

brussels sprouts soup, lavash, hot broccoli dip and pasta

Phew, we crammed it all in today! It being the last session before the Christmas break, we had a record amount of friends who joined us today.

To get us in the Christmas mood we made a cranberry mulled wine (no alcoholic)
1 litre Cranberry juice
1 cinnamon stick
a few cloves
a pinch of ground ginger
Juice and zest of one orange and lime
4 teaspoons of brown sugar
 Bring this all to boil, simmer for a bit to allow the spices to flavour the juice(other wise you can do the next step immediately for a less intense flavour)

add 275l ginger beer.
Serve warm for a zingy non alcoholic drink.

Mean while we had a massive chopping session.

One group was chopping  for your  Creamy brussels sprouts soup

Sema cut the Broccoli, Red Pepper and Onion for the hot broccoli dip rather than the mozzarella cheese we used cheddar cheese.

This dish went in the oven  together with the endless trays of lavash crackers, which we used to scoop up the hot dip.

We had still some dip left, so we made some tagliatelle and used the dip as the pasta topping.

The end result was a delicious meal shared with 10 friends. Merry Christmas.

Saturday 14 December 2019

Warm festive sweet potato salad by Irina

Warm festive sweet potato salad:

4 large sweet potatoes
2 ripe avocados
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes
1-2 lemons
1 lime (optional)
5-6 cloves of garlic
pack of fresh cilantro (coriander)
cumin spice powder
any hot pepper spice powder ( either pimiento or cayenne,or chili, etc)

1. Clean and peel sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes, place on a baking sheet  and put into 225 degrees C oven for approximately 30 minutes or until tender.  Take care not to overcook them, the sweet potato cubes should NOT become brown! Gently turn them over half way through if needed.

2. While sweet potato cubes are baking prepare the rest of the vegetables and the dressing. Peel avocados and cut them into 1/2 inch pieces. Wash the cherry tomatoes and cut them either in halves or in quarters depending on their size.

3. For the dressing squeeze the juice from 1 or 2 lemons plus 1 or 2 limes (optional). Use it all! Add two tablespoons of cumin powder (or more!, it is not hot, it just adds very nice hearty taste) and 1/4 of teaspoon of hot pepper (use less pepper if you do not like spicy foods) Press 5-6 (or more !) peeled garlic cloves through the garlic press, add to the lemon juice. Wash a large bunch of cilantro, chop into small pieces, mix well with the lemon juice, garlic and spices.

4. In a large serving dish assemble the salad: put all sweet potatoes at the bottom, then add 1/2 of tomatoes and avocados, generously cover with the dressing, add the rest of the tomatoes and avocados on top. Enjoy!

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Christmas lunch and book 3 launch

Today we had a different format, every brought a dish that was typical for their countries.
The end result was delightful. Melendra made these amazing White Cheddar short bread biscuits.
Here is the recipe

White Cheddar Shortbread
8 oz/227 grams shredded cheddar
½ cup/115 grams butter
1 ½ cups/170 grams plain flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

1)      Preheat oven to 350F/175C.
2)      Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.
3)      Beat ingredients with a mixer (or in a food processor) until combined. Then using your hands, work dough until it holds together.
4)      Divide dough in half. Roll each half of dough out to approximately 1 cm thickness. 
5)      If the dough is soft, cover and chill it. Otherwise, cut the rolled dough into 2-inch-long by 1-inch-wide rectangles. Leave the rectangles touching each other.
6)      With a floured fork, prick each rectangle 2 to 3 times. If desired, sprinkle with a bit of course salt.
7)      Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until light brown. Cut through the rectangles again while shortbread is still warm.
8)      Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
9)      Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 days or in the freezer up to 3 months.

Best wishes,

I made a non alcoholic mulled 'wine' with the apples picked by Melendra and June, earlier in October. Added Glo's grape juice, cinnamon stick, aniseed, cardamon lemon and orange juice, and sugar to make a cordial. Although we had it with the meal, we also all got a little bottle of this Christmas Cheer to take

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Lunch with Victoria Homes Residents

Today I went to Victoria Homes to cook with a group of residents.
We made an easy peasy soup and some cheese and onion scones. We used Alice's recipe which turned out really well.

Colin, cut the circles of the puff pasty, then covered them with pesto and we all turned them into a beautiful looking Christmas stall.

while Ted and Colin made the puff pastry, Doreen and Jenny prepared the pears for the pear orange and cherry dessert

We made some puff pastry cinnamon biscuits, both to have with a cup of tea as well as to shape into a Christmas tree shape to decorate the pear dessert.

We had a lovely lunch together and hope to do this again soon

Monday 9 December 2019

leek & potato soup with blue cheese and red onion scones

Leeks from the allotment together with potatoes  a great combination for a creamy soup.

Using Alice's scones recipe, we will adapt it slightly and use blue cheese, caramalised red onion and rosemary.

Sayaka making blue cheese scones
Hiroe, Manami and Kanako making leek and potato scoup
As a dessert we will make a christmas star. Very pretty, quick and tasty

 As a dessert we had On the stove apple dessert

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Rocket soup, mushroom pie and cooked pears in a cherry sauce

Starting with a Arugula (Rocket soup)with some garlic croutons

Then we made the mini mushroom pies, to go with the soup, they turned out very well, tasty and light. The bottom of the pies were short crust pastry made by Homa and the puff pastry on the top.
As we had puff pastry left, we decided to top it with whole grain mustard and cheese and had it with our soup.

For dessert we had cooked pears in orange cherry sauce.

Monday 2 December 2019

A pre Christmas meal, with sausages

As I had 2 recipes for vegetarian and vegan sausages, I thought we'd do a trial to see which one would end in the next cookery book.
Although they both tasted nice, the vegan version stuck together better and was voted for another mention.
Hiroe cut up some more onions to make an onion gravy to go with the sausages.

The carrots we had was with a honey glaze and the mashed potatoes we had use the riser, it works beautifully, just light and fluffy, especially after adding in some butter and mayonnaise.

As I needed a dish to put in the oven to keep it warm and the silver surrounding needed a good clean, we used a cut potato to polish the silver with. A little tip for every one.

We had  a very festive and tasty lunch.

Vegan Sausages Mash potatoes and Roasted Carrots

Today we compared vegan sausages with vegetarian sausages. We all decided that the vegan version was the best and should go into the next book From Spade to Plate 3.

We made a mash potato, roasted carrot dish with vegan/vegetarian sausages. Rather conventional but very tasty.