Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Tomato Rarebit

Rarebits is something I have never made - but now I cannot believe it took me so long to get around to it! These bad boys here doesn't take long, you just need a little bit of patience when it's under the grill.

I decided to go for the tomato one, this made a perfect post-run dinner! Not too heavy, packed full of flavour, and it hardly took any effort at all.

Tomato Rarebit
(Serves 1-2)

150ml milk (a little over half a cup) - I used coconut, but regular milk, soy or any other milk works just as well!
1 small bay leaf
1/3 onion, finely chopped
A knob of butter
1 tbsp flour of choice (I think I used amranth...I'm not sure!)
Salt and pepper
60g strong cheese (I used Gloucester), grated
1/2 tsp Mustard (optional)
A few drops of hot sauce (great alternative to Worcestershire sauce)
4 slices tomato (optional)
2 slices of bread

-Heat ip the milk in a small pot along with the onion and bay leaf, bring until it is just starting to simmer and turn down heat. Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce.

- Heat the grill up to medium high.

- Add the butter and allow to melt before you tip in the flour, whisk until smooth (you can make a rue of butter and flour separate, but I was too impatient!), add a little more milk if necessary, but remember it is supposed to be quite thick. Turn the heat off.

- Stir through the mustard, and cheese and allow to melt. Spread over the two slices of bread and top with tomatoes (if using). Place under the grill and leave until it has become golden and crisp on top

Whatcha waiting for? Dig in!

And guys, guys, GUYS! How was your holiday?
I returned the green fields of Glasgow on the 28th, and my week away to see my family in Bergen, Norway was magical! Despite rain, I managed to adventure a little bit, and I got to see aaaaaaalmost everyone I wanted to catch up with, which was a relief *smiles*. On the second last day we had snow, and I got to throw some snowballs (on lamp posts, cause I'm a rebel like that...) and I had my first vegetarian christmas, which went really well! Turns out tomato pesto and walnut burgers work a treat alongside normal christmas side dishes!

Now it is back to life, back to reality *starts singing*, but the day after tomorrow, a new year starts and I could not be more ready! I am having a good few people over for the bells, and I just have to make sure we have snacks aplenty!

What are your plans for Hogmanay?

Original source:
River Cottage's "Veg Every Day", p. 209

- Jules

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Curried Carrot & Artichoke Soup

I gave my own tweak to this soup, and this is the result! It is not often I make a soup without having stock in it, but this, thanks to the curry flavour, worked a treat!

Curried Carrot & Artichoke Soup
(Serves 3)

1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 fat garlic clove, chopped
500g carrots, chopped
1/2 jar artichokes in oil, drained (or 1/2 avocado)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp mild curry powder
70g cashews
Boiled water

- Heat the oil in a medium casserole, and soften the onions for five minutes before adding the garlic and frying for a further couple of minutes.

- Coop the carrots and add them to the pot as you go along, followed by the artichokes.

- Poud in boiling water to cover, plus 2 cm above, and add the remaining ingredients, turn down and simmer covered, for about 20 minutes until the carrots are soft.

- Use a stick blender and whizz until smooth, and serve with crusty bread on the side!

Adding nuts to a soup is something I have never thought of doing before, but now I realise what a genius way it is for vegetarians to get a little extra protein into our diets. Thanks for the heads up Ragnhild!

This might be the last post before I travel to Norway to see my family on Monday, so in that case I just wanted to wish everyone a happy holiday! I'd love to hear about your plans! I will be away form the 21st to the 28th of December, and just try and cram in as much time with friends and family as possible! All the best x

Original source:

- Jules

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Cranberry & Cocoa Cookies

Whether it be post-Thanksgiving or you have some spare cranberry sauce after a cheese and wine night, leftover cranberry sauce can be used for making cookies!

I had some leftover from last week and was browsing through recipes when I noticed this intriguing recipe, I had no choice but to make these! A lot less sugar than in the original recipe thanks to using a hot chocolate mix (vegan as it was dark Green & Blacks) along with carob fruit syrup - yay!

It requires cupboard staples, and make for a fantastic treat. I reckon they are quite christmassy too *smiles*

Cranberry & Cocoa Cookies
(Makes 10 medium ones, or 20 small ones)

1 1/2 cup flour (I used 1/2 cup flour and 1 cup oats)
1/2 cup cocoa (I used half hot chocolate powder, and half cocoa)
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup cranberry sauce
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp syrup (carob, agave, maple, or honey, the latter being non-vegan)
1 tsp vanilla extract

- Pre-heat the oven to 160C.

- Have the dry ingredients in a bowl, stir well until combined, and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir until you have a sticky dough.

- If making medium cookies, shape with two tablespoons, and set them on a baking paper-clad tray, if making smaller ones, use teaspoons.

- Repeat until you have 10 (or 20) cookies shaped up, and pop them in the oven! Bake for 15-17 minutes for the bigger ones, or 10 minutes for the smaller ones. They should be soft to the touch, but baked through.

- Allow to cool before serving, with a glass of milk or a glass of red - because these are super chocolatey!

Original source:

- Jules

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Grilled Two Cheese Pepper or Avocado Sandwich

Fancified sammiches! They are one of my favourite things really... And when cheese is involved? No less than TWO types? I'm in.

I was scared of the jalapeño used in the original recipe, so I cut that out and used some less-scary hot sauce instead! Cause you just never can tell with some chillies, and I ddnæt want to burn my face off... If you prefer a more creamy combo I would suggest swapping the green pepper for sliced avocado, done and done!

Grilled Two Cheese Pepper or Avocado Sandwich
(Makes 1)

2 slices of bread
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cream cheese
Few drops hot sauce
1/2 green pepper or 1/2 avocado, sliced
1-2 slices of cheddar

- Simply spread out the cream cheese on a piece of bread, followed by some hot sauce pepper/avocado and the cheddar. Place the second slice of toast on top.

- In a frying pan, heat the butter on medium-low heat as you want the cheese to get time to melt. Place the sandwich in the pan and fry for a few minutes until golden and cheese melted.

Whatcha waiting for? Tuck in!

This morning has started rather well! I went to a colleague's band's album launch last night and made it home a little late, and thus I slept in... Then, we headed over to Meadow Road
and had a veggie breakfast of epic proportions. Toast with sliced avocado, wilted spinach, poached eggs and hot sauce... Along with a sneaky cappuccino and some ginger beer, it really hit the spot on a Sunday morning....

Today, I am going to the first ever pantomime! In the UK, this is really popular, mainly amongst children, and it works like a theatre play where the audience interacts with the actors and actresses. After having lived in the country for seven and a half years, I reckon it is about time I go and see a play. Next up on the list will be to attend a proper ceilidh!

This evening I am also going to a pot luck dinner with friends, and I shall rattle up a loaf of banana bread. Knowing my friends, there will be a bunch of treats! What are your plans for the rest of the Sunday? Hopefully all leisure!

Original source:

- Jules

Friday, 11 December 2015

Scerf's Irish Toddy

Throat infection, squeaky voice - dilemmma! Or do you just want to get your toddy on? Well then, look no further! My friend Emma made this lovely brew when I was ill.

Back in Norway, hot toddy is non-alcoholic, and normally just hot black currant juice, but here in Scotland... When I asked for a toddy, I was given something just a liiiiittle bit stronger.... Emma, from Ireland no less! told me that in Ireland they add cloves, and on this here occasion, she also added a little bit of cinnamon, delicious!

Scerf's Irish Toddy
(Serves 2-3)

500 ml boiling water
1/2 lemon, juice
10 cloves, whole
6 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon

Whisky to serve
Slices of lemon to serve

- Simply start by boiling the water. Pour into a tea pot, and if you have one of the ones with a metal filter, you can put the cloves in there to let the water infuse for 5-10 minutes before removing it, or use a sieve - both works!

- Add the lemon, honey, and cinnamon and leave until it is hot enough to handle.

- Pour a measure of whiskey into a small whiskey glass or a tea cup and then pour over the toddy, this way you don't have to risk the full mixure with whiskey going cold, and you can choose what measures you'd like - which is certainly not a bad thing if you ask me!

What's your favourite hot toddy recipe?

Recipe by my friend Emma aka Scerf

- Jules

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Nut Roast with Roast Potatoes & Carrot Sauce

Today, I can "celebrate" eight months being a vegetarian! It's no biggie really, but I do time and time again think how surprisingly easy this journey has been for me.
Sometimes, I worry that if I go for a meal at someone's house, they will be worried about cooking for a vegetarian, but I'm not a fussy eater, and usually it sets their creativity inn the works, and so far I can honestly say that all the food I have made and have had made for me has been pretty darn awesome! If someone rattles up cheesy toast, or baked beans, scrambled eggs and other such easy meals - I'd be well chuffed too! So if you are an omnivore or meat eater, fear not, cause usually it is the thought that counts, and there are thankfully plenty of simple meat-free recipes out there! Mac'n'cheese? A hefty soup with some fresh bread? Bring it!

So on with the recipe. This will be my first vegetarian christmas, and so I felt I needed to prepare myself - Making sure that whilst my family have the traditional dinner, I would have something substantial too.

Nut roast is something I have been wanting to try for years even when I was an omnivore, but this year - I had no other choice but to get my paws in there and just get it made! I found a really nice recipe, and got started.

Needless to say me and my fellow vegetarian boyfriend wont go hungry this christmas - yay!

Nut Roast with Roast Potatoes & Carrot Sauce

(Serves 2-3)

500g baby potatoes
150g ground walnuts
200g bread crumbs (wholemeal preferably)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika (preferably smoked)
Salt to taste
120g cream cheese (I used Philadelphia light)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stock cube, crumbled
3 eggs
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
A handful fresh parsley, chopped

For the carrot sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 vegetable stock cube + 2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
250g carrots, small dice

- Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

- Boil the potatoes whole for about 10 minutes to soften them a little.

- In a mixing bowl, start by having the walnuts, breadcrumbs, seasoning and stock in, mix well, and then make a well in the middle and pour in the remaining ingredients. Grease a loaf tin and roll the mixture into a oval shape (it does not need to take up the whole tin, mine didn't and I wanted it to keep the shape).

- Drain the potatoes and have them in an ovenproof dish, cover and coat with oil and simply give them a sprinkle of salt.

- Now, place the nut roast in the oven and pop the potatoes in to roast at the same time, leave them for about 30 minutes until the roast is cooked through and the potatoes are sizzling.

- In the meantime, make the sauce: Boil up the stock and have the garlic, onion a bit of salt and pepper in along with the carrots. Boil until the carrot is tender, about 15-20 minutes and use a stick blender to whizz to a smooth almost-purée-like consistency.

- Assemble and serve up! If you want, you can also serve it with some vegetarian stuffing on the side, but this meal itself was really filling, and SO tasty!

Yesterday, I had some friends over for dinner. I had never cooked for six people before, but it went down a treat! I made Mediterranean Hummous and plain hummous as a starter that I served with pita bread, and then as a main I served my Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie, with roast potatoes. A friend had made a really lovely vanilla ice cream and oreo truffles that he brought along!
I can imagine if you doubled the nut roast recipe, that would have worked well too though!

I thought I would post this up, so that you would have time to try it out at least once before christmas arrived! Have you made nut roast before? I'd be happy to take any other recipes for nut roast aboard!

This is my last day off from being ill and on medicine and also today I had actually already taken as a holiday, but tomorrow I am back to work as usual. It was nice with a bit of time off, but it will be good to see my colleagues again! I hope you are having a good week so far! *smiles*

Original source:
Friske Vegetarianske Oppskrifter, P. 48

- Jules

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Sweet Potato, Leek & Prune Soup

This is a concoction I made some time ago, and then I remembered that I had not posted it yet! It was after being made aware that sometimes fruits can be a really lovely addition to curries and even soups that I thought I would try and come up with something good, and you know what? To my surprise this worked!

Sweet Potato, Leek & Prune Soup
(Serves 3-4)

1 tbsp oil
1 leek, chopped
1 sweet potato, diced
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
5 soft prunes, roughly chopped
1-2 tbsp vegetable stock powder (1-2 cubes)
1/2 tsp Marjoram
1 tbsp onion powder
enough water to cover

- Start by heating oil in a medium sized casserole, and a soften the leek for about five minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients!

- Make sure the stock covers the vegetables, cover and simmer until the potatoes are soft, for about 15 minutes.

- Simply whizz until smooth and add more water if you think it needs it. I like quite a thick soup, so I kept it that way, lovely and filling! Season to taste and serve with some fresh bread for mopping!

I was struck by pharyngitis the other day, and so my friend and I first tried to cure it with some home made Irish toddy (my friend Emma made the toddy, and I made my first nut roast ever! Both recipes will pop up in the near future, so stay tuned!)... It might not have helped much, but it was delicious!

The next day, I had to go to the doctor's and get some real medicine, and probably got 500% of my daily intake of vitamin C, not to talk about the honey and lemon-laden tea I was drinking throughout the day!

My voice, after having been gone for two days, is now back, and next week I will be returning to work as well... For the past couple of days I have just been taking it easy, which is just as well with the stormy weather we have had!

I hope you are having a lovely weekend, and that you're not struck by colds or sore throats! In the next few days, I will be having my old flat mate visiting, going to a local gig, and having some friends over for dinner - avoiding going out too much at any cost! Today I fit in a long walk though, because spending too much time indoors gives me cabin fever! T'was good with some fresh air, but now I am snuggled up with a book. Enjoy your evening! Any plans?

Recipe by yours truly,

- Jules

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Carrot & Banana Bread

Carrot cake and banana bread are two of my favourite sweet bakes. I think it is because normally they are never TOO sweet, if you know what I mean?

Katrina of Warm Vanilla Sugar (yes, I am a massive fan!) posted up a recipe - carrot AND banana bread. I could not resist, and I am so glad I made it!

Carrot & Banana Bread
(Makes 1 loaf)

1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2-3 ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk of choice, I used almond
1/3 cup sunflower oil
3 carrots, grated

- Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, and then grease a loaf tin. Pour in the mixture, and in the oven it goes! Make sure not to open the door to the oven as banana breads have been known to collapse due to the change in temperature before it is baked through. Leave in the oven for 50- minutes.

- Take out and leave to chill (if you are patient enugh!) and serve whilst it is still warm. Remaining "carrana" bread makes for epic treat at work the next day, or perhaps even for breakfast? Don't mind if I do.... It's light and fluffy and works any time of the year!

This week a friend from work and I watched Mockingjay Part 2 and it did not disappoint!
Also, I have not been a fan of putting up a christmas tree before 23rd December (tradition in my family in Norway), but last weekend I bought a christmas tree and his name is Gerrard? Why? Well... Gerrard because the name came up upon purchasing him, and the buying of the tree itself because I want to make the most of the festive month over here this year before I go over to visit my family. I haven't seen them in a whole year, so it will be amazing to see them again!
I am in a room surrounded by poinsettia, a christmas mouse, straw billy goats courtesy of Ikea, string and wine cork deer, Gerrard the christmas tree and some paper chains I made.... It's happening!

I hope you are having a great start to a new month! Have you got any plans for the coming weekend? I have today off, so I will meet a friends for coffee and later - improvise!

Have a wonderful day! x

Original source:

- Jules