Thursday, 27 August 2015

Gado Gado Salad

Hey me hearties!

Right, so it has been one helluva long time since last we spoke, but don't worry - my Laptop just decided to not let me og on the internet anymore. But after 8 years' service, I can't say I blame my good ol' Toshiba. I have now let it retire, and got a brand spanking new one, and thus random capital letters due to the Laptop not knowing when to add them... not entirely sure what is up With that! Any clue how to fix it?

Anyway - let's talk Food! It has been way too long!
And why not enjoy the remaining European Summer With something light... For vegan - just substitute the honey With agave or Maple syrup, or a teaspoon of Brown sugar, and the eggs for a double portion of sauce, as it is packed With good stuff!

Gado Gado Salad
(Serves 1, easily doubled, trebbled, or howevermany'ed)

To dip:
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1/3 cucumber, cut into dipping sticks
2 carrots, cut into sticks
1/2 avocado, sliced (optional)
2 boiled eggs (optional)

For the Gado Gado Sauce (this is the stuff you might want to make a double portion of!):
1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
2 tsp chilli oil (or oil + 1/3 chilli deseeded and finely chopped)
Juice of 1/2 lime
1-2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp honey (or agave, Maple syrup, Brown sugar)

- Simply start by preparing all the vegetables and boiling the eggs (if using), and plate up!

- Now, in a small sauce pan, heat the oil and chilli along With the peanut butter, soy sauce and honey (sugar or syrup) over medium low heat and stir constantly until just heated through.

- Place the dip in a small seerving dish and serve With vegetable cruditês for dipping along With the eggs, and enjoy!

Have you tried gado gado dipping sauce before?

I hope you are well, and have a great weekend ahead of you! Any plans?

Original Source:
Hamlyn - Budget Meals, p. 86

- Jules

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Polenta Cakes with Tomato & Asparagus

Polenta is such a strange thing, you can make mash out of it, bake it, serve it cold, grill it - and I certainly need more experience cooking with it, which is why I decided to make this colourful dish!

Polenta Cakes with Tomato & Asparagus
(Serves 2)

1 cup milk (I used coconut)
1/2 cup polenta
1/3 cup parmesan, grated
1 courgette/zucchini, sliced or chopped
1 small or 2 baby aubergines/eggplants, sliced or chopped
2 tomatoes, choped
4 asparagus pieces
1 tsp oil

- Start by making the polenta, heat up the milk on low in a small casserole and add the polenta. Cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes, adding a little water if it gets too dry. Take it off of the heat and stir in the parmesan. Press down into an oiled baking tray so it's about 1cm thick. Place in the fridge until it is firm, 10-15 minutes.

- In the mean time, Heat a bil of oil in a pan and add the courgette, aubergine and a little bit of salt, cover with a lid and cook until tender, 5-10 minutes. Then, add the tomatoes.

- Place the grill on medium high, and cover the asparagus tips with oil and a sprinkle of salt, place in the oven and grill for about 5 minutes.

- Once the polenta is firm, cut out rounds with cookie cutters or a glass, and fry in a bit of oil for a few minutes on each side until golden.

- Time to serve up! Place the vegetable mix on a plate, followed by the asparagus and polenta, et voila!

I hope you enjoy it! What is your favourite thing to make with polenta?

Life has been pretty busy here.... I have tried to keep myself as busy as possible outside work and sort of kept away from the world of the internet. Not because I don't enjoy it - because I love catching up on the blogs I am following and with friends and family far away, but then there was that reggae party until the early hours, and the fact that I have started to play (or attempt...rather) to play the djembe drum at a drop in session - with a bunch of amazing people. I am pretty sure I played the rhythm "Belly Dance with Me" about two hours last Wednesday! Practice makes perfect right?

I was at a party the other night, where there was dinner upon arrival and a set breakfast in the morning - which I thought was an awesome touch! Yesterday it was my turn to host a little tapas night for my lovely ladies in Glasgow, and it was great! Sadly the camera had dies before I could take photos from the evening, but I am sure you can imagine - nine girls, too much food and wine aplenty! I hope you have had a lovely weekend and are ready to face another week. Did you get up to much? Today was pretty much sunshine, strawberries in the park, ice cream, coffee and leftover savouries from last night - I can't complain! *smiles*

Original source:
Low-Fat Meals in Minutes, p. 58

- Jules

Monday, 10 August 2015

Pasta with Artichoke Sauce

This is such a surprisingly creamy dish for being vegan (if using vegan pasta) and not featuring the likes of avocado. I suspect it being thanks to the nuts in this recipe.

My flatmate almost strayed from trying this dish, saying "Nooo, I don't like artichokes, they're rubbish"... Turns out that is only if it's served on its own. As for me, I have pretty much gone through two jars of the stuff over the last couple of weeks... Ooops!

Pasta with Artichoke Sauce
(Serves 2)

1 cup uncooked pasta (make sure it's vegan if you are!)
150-200g artichokes in oil, drained
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
4-5 Brazil nuts or a small handful or pine nuts
Juice of 1/2 lime
Handful of fresh chives, snipped
Salt and pepper to taste

- Simply start by cooking up the pasta as instructed in some lightly salted water.

- As that is boiling, have the remaining ingredients in a processor or a measuring jug and use a stick blender to combine = ta dah! Sauce is done!

- Drain most of the water off of the pasta and turn the heat down to medium low, keep some of it through so the pasta doesn't catch the bottom, add the sauce and heat through before serving!

Want it fancy? Simply garnish with a few chive strands, that's what they do in ze restaurants, I've seen it!

Original source:
Delicious Low-Fat Recipes, p 94

- Jules

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Second Helping Chocolate Brownie Cake

Better late than never right? Behold! Cake!

Pretend this is what I posted on my three year bloggaversary *cough*

So I was going to make Sophie Dahl's chocolate cake, which stated it only used a 25cm wide cake tin, well.... I made a big traybake with this one, and it turned out delicious! It would have gone all over the place had I only used a normal cake tin, but I suppose you could make two and layer them if you feel like it! It's up to you!

I brought this monster to work, and everyone really liked it! The texture is like a hybrid between good ol' tradition chocolate cake, and the infamous brownie! I decided to leave out the nuts, as I didn't know if anyone was allergis to them, but I can imagine it would take it that half a step up a notch with some nuts for crunch.

I added a bit of rum essence in the frosting, like my mother always does - but that is optional, of course!

Second Helping Chocolate Brownie Cake
(Makes one 30-40 x 20cm traybake, or one deep 25-30cm cake)

300g room temperature butter
500g caster sugar (I used light golden)
4 eggs
350g plain flour
75g/half cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
125ml/half cup milk
125ml/half cup boiling water
Juice and zest of one orange
120g chopped walnuts (optional, but highly recommended)

For the ganache:
250g dark chocolate, chopped
250ml/1 cup double cream
1 tsp rum extract (optiona)

To decorate:
Candied orange peel and extra chopped nuts
OR icing sugar
OOR dessicated coconut

- Start by pre-heating the oven to 180°C.

- Now, in a large mixing bowl, have ALL the ingredients for the cake batter. Mix well to combine and simply pour into a greased or lined cake tin/pan. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about an hour - NOTE - mine was in the oven for probably about an hour and a half, but after an hour check if a toothpick comes out clean when you check to see if it is cooked.

- Once done, leave to cool, before making the ganache, otherwise the ganache will just drip down to the sides.

- Melt the chocolate in a bowl in a casserole of hot water (water and chocolate don't like each other) on the stove, the heating turned to medium low. Pour in the cream and allow for the chocolate and cream to get completely mixed, add in rum extract if you want. Leave to set for a little bit before spreading evenly over the cake, topping it with either candied orange peel and nuts or simply with a dusting of icing sugar, or some dessicated coconut!

Simply.....enjoy! Either with a cup of coffee, tea, or perhaps an ice cold glass of milk? I have been addicted to Koko's coconut milk recently, so good! Oh! And Alpro has released a dairy free yogurt made from almond milk, and it is delicious :)

The healthy banana dolphin will laugh at you whilst splashing around in his blueberry sea... but who cares? You have cake!

Original source:
Sophie Dahl's "From Season to Season", p. 256

- Jules

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Potato Patties - and Then Some

By some miracle my camera decided to let me upload photos to the laptop today - hooray! I cannot for the life of me understand what has all of a sudden changed after eight years of successful uploading, the camera is working just fine despite its old age, which is good.

Finally I can share another recipe with you!

Because... It't not that I stopped cooking, not at all - back in business for now, thankfully.

Potato Patties
(Makes 5-6)

2 large potatoes, small dice
2 tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions, or 1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Fresh (a small bunch, chopped) or dry chives (1 tsp)
A handful basil leaves torn (or a good sprinkle dry basil)
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Vegetarian sausages to serve, or simply some sweet chilli sauce!

- Boil up water, and wash and dice the potatoes. Boil for about 10-15 minutes until tender.

- In the meantime, heat 1 tbsp oil in pan and soften onion and garlic for about five minutes. Take off the heat and swirl in the herbs.

- Once the potatoes are done, drain off the water and mash. Swirl through the onion mix along with salt, pepper and the parmesan.

- Shape into patties with your hands, and fry on medium heat for 3-5 minutes before each flip, until golden, a little firmer and quite crisp.

Serve with sweet chilli sauce for dipping, or as a side for a main meal! Simple as chips (if not even simpler...)

OH - and the other week... I discovered how spicy chipotle chillies are, and I might also have taken part in a bet (thanks flat mate!)

Yes, I ate it with cutlery ( disguise the fact that I was eating chipotle chillies and not some lovely falafels or garlic roat mushrooms, perhaps?), and yes - the rest of that coconut milk was gone afterwards. I almost felt like Adam in Man VS Food, except I am nowhere near as brave as that man...

Today I was working sadly, but yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing a friend's band playing in a local venue in town - being back to gigging is fantastic, and here in Glasgow there is always something on! Now... I need to recuperate, forming sentences after a Saturday in work is much much needed... Tomorrow however, I'll go venturing out and making the most of the day! Have you gotten up to much? Hopefully not consumed spicy chillies for fun...

Original source:
Low-Fat Meals in Minutes, p. 54

- Jules

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Three-Year Blog-a-Versary!

....And currently I am stuck with no way of uploading the newest photos for recipes that I really am wanting to share with you *Sigh*

So I thought I'd go for the second best thing, and post a re-cap of the years gone by - perhaps it will inspire you to take a deep dive into my archive?

Falafel, my staple Dahl recipe, Sloppy Joe's, Pesto and Courgette Soup, Lentil Lice, and Norwegian skillingsboller

I started out posting up a lot of meat recipes as well, so for all you omnivores out there, feel free to check out the other recipes. I decided to mainly post vegetarian recipes as I now haven't eaten meat in almost five months.

Healthy Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mocha Cupcakes, the BEST Gingerbread Biscuits, Healthy Sweet Potato Brownie Mud Cake, and a less healthy Texan Chocolate cake here, my Top 5 Burger list, as well as a delicious Teriyaki dish.

Then I discovered that photos tended to look prettier if I took them vertically and not horizontally - you learn something new all the time!

Chocolate pudding (healthy even!), Summer Rolls, which I somehow called Spring Rolls - ah well! Norwegian Waffles, No-Rest Yogurt Bread (insomnia bread? Not quite, ha!), one of my favourite soups - Vichyssoise, along with a fragrant Indian-inspired Biriyani.

We have gone through seasons, celebrations, and holidays of sorts here - and I think it is really nice to have something like a blog to look back on... How the cooking has changed since I started, and how many delicious ingredients I have been introduced to over the handful of years I have been really passionate about cooking (the flame still going strong!).

Crab Tostada, Red Onion and Fig Reduction, Breakfast times, Pineapple Water, Clementine Softies, and St. Lucia "Lussekatter".

The reason for why I am posting so many photos here, is just in case anything should catch your attention, cause depending on what you are craving each day - you need something to just hit the spot! I tried to pick a varied collection here.... I hope you like it!

Edamame Sloppy Joe's, the face behind the blog, Potato Cakes with Smoked Salmon, Snicker Marbles, Spiced Bulghur, Peanut Brownie for One.

How about you? How do you think you have come along with your cooking? Have you found it easier to be more adventurous over the years, or had to adjust to a diet at all? I say everything in moderation, as long as you get your protein as well as your five a day - treat yourself every now and then! *smiles*

....Speaking of which... Stop counting calories! Granola - Perfect for yourself in the morning, or as a little present! Chia Puddings, Dark, Creamy Coconut Hearts, more breakfast (feat. Spice Cake), and a Peanut and Soy Stir-Fry.

A taste of Italy, German-inspired vegan Black Forest Chocolate, Roti Wraps (or pita) with Chilli Chickpeas and Chutney, Protein Bars in disguise, Ricotta Pancakes, and the first ever vegan cake I have made, it disappeared within minutes!

Peanut Marbles (the amount of marbles I have made over the years is silly really - but they're so good!), Savoury Pancakes with Home Made Mango Chutney, Artisan Crackers for those cheese and wine evenings, Banananice Cream, Easy Bean and Lentil Casserole, Fruity Flan Cake.

Over the years I have discovered so many amazing food blogs, and they have also had an impact on me, would you be interested if I wrote a list of my favourite food blogs at all?

Stir-Fry with Blackberries, Gul Kake (or Yellow Cake), Home Made Marzipan, Pear Pancake Stack, (Secretly Healthy) Frosted Banana Cup Cakes, and Katrina's Single Lady Banana Split.

As life goes on, food will always be a big part of life, having one of those bucket-of ice cream days, get together for a pick-me-up dinner, having a group of friends setting up a Pot Luck, come rain or shine - good food always makes bad days less... bad and good days even better!

Delicious Rainbow Salad, Citrus, Ginger and Coconut Smoothie, Peanut Butter and Tomato Sandwich, Coconut Pancakes... Needless to say I have caught up on coconuts since I started cooking - when I was little it wasn't my thing, unless it came in the shape of coconut macaroons, but now - anything coconut goes! The best Gluten-Free Bread ever! And last but not least the light Peanut Truffles.

The months before I became a vegetarian, little meat was consumed, which is probably more or less visible in the last couple of pictures here, and this from a girl who used to not even like onions...

Kolibri Egg (or colibri egg marzipan for Easter), Apple and Beetroot Soup, PB & J Smoothie, my Avocado plant - which I am slightly worried about at the moment... Fruity Berry Terrine and Tanzanian Mchicha.

So there you have it! A rather lengthy re-cap (for which I apologise...). I hope the pictures aren't too small!

Hopefully, I will keep on blogging in the future, I just need to get either the laptop or the USB for the cameras fixed so I can get going.

I hope you have had a great weekend, and that the Sunday is treating you well. I went to a fair yesterday and then a festival in town (it is all happening!) I love having both Saturday and Sunday off, I used to take it for granted, but now when I only get that every second week - I make sure to make the most of it! I made friends yesterday too, and there was this fantastic band called the Muldoons Ragtime Jazz that played as well.... So good! What have you been up to?

All the best!

xox Jules

Monday, 20 July 2015

Deconstructed Pesto Pasta

...Pesto - delicious right?

I have come to like to make deconstructed pesto as well, due to not having a proper food processor, and as long as it has all the components, you'll still enjoy the delicious combination of garlic, basil and parmesan!

The downside of making your own pesto, I find - is the price of pine nuts.... So in order to save a bit of money (aka treat myself to an extra cappuccino when I am out and about *cough cough*) I decided to just used what I had at hand - hazelnuts, yup! It worked a treat, and the roughly chopped nuts gave the dish a bit of extra texture as well, which I reckon you might like!

Deconstructed Pesto Pasta
(Serves 2)

1 1/2 cup uncooked pasta
1 tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 pieces of Quorn fillets (can also use prawns or chicken)
A bunch of basil, finely chopped
2 sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
A big handful of chopped nuts: Either pine nuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts etc.
30-50g grated parmesan (depemds how parmesan-y you like it really! I used about 1/2 cup)

- Start by cooking the pasta as instructed.

- Whilst you're waiting for the pasta, make the rest of the dish! Heat the oil in a medium frying pan and fry the fillets or protein of choice, then add the garlic, and fry for another few minutes until fragrant.

- Chuck in the chopped nuts, as well as the basil and parsley. Now, drain the pasta and add to the frying pan along with the parmesan. Stir on low heat, season to taste, and once it's all combined well, it is ready to serve!

Also, I would like to apologise for the lack of posts over the last week - it isn't that I haven't been cooking, because I have! But my cameras (yes, both of them...sigh!) have been less than cooperative in terms of getting the photos over to my laptop. Actually I am starting to think it is the computer there is something wrong with! I will try and sort this out though, so I can post more frequently again *smiles*

Hope y'all are doing well and had a lovely weekend!

Original source:
Good Mood Food, p. 129

- Jules