Monday, 30 September 2013

Vegan Mofo Roundup

Well, its the last day of vegan mofo and I thought I would end with a round up of everything bean like that I have created during the month.

I've thoroughly enjoyed taking part in my first vegan mofo even if it has left me a little shattered creating a new recipe every day for the last 29 days! I will admit some days it was the last thing on my mind especially if it had been a long stressful day at work, but I'm so pleased I stuck to it, it has been an enjoyable experience on the whole. 

I believe that I have got more creative in the kitchen especially with beans! I have now grown to love food that I have previously hated and will continue to use in my cooking. Most of my creations have been a success story and it was only yesterday that I had my first disaster, but one out of 29 can't be too bad can it?

OK, so what have I been up to this month then, all my recipes have been created with beans as an ingredient and I have created recipes which have included the following beans:

  • Adzuki
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Black Bean
  • Black Eyed Beans
  • Borlotti Beans
  • Broad Beans
  • Butter Beans
  • Cannellini Beans
  • Green Beans
  • Haricot Beans
  • Mung Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Purple Beans
  • Red Kidney Beans
  • Refried Beans
  • Runner Beans
  • Soya Bean Curd
  • Yellow Beans

Eighteen beans in 29 days is not bad going especially when you consider the amount of runner beans and green beans that my very small veggie garden has produced. They both featured a lot in my recipes, but it was great as none went to waste. Although I'm pretty beaned out to say the least and looking out the window I can see at least another 2 kilograms of runner beans that are ready to harvest!

During Mac 'n' Cheese Mondays I've created 4 very different Mac 'n' Cheese recipes:

My favourite out of the above has to be without doubt the Yellow Pepper version and I will make this again and again. In fact I'm already considering making it for a Cauliflower Cheese as I bought a wonderful Romanesco Cauliflower the other day, it's almost too pretty to eat!

TV Tuesdays involved replicating a meal from your favourite TV show or movie, vegan of course and I chose 4 of my favourite films and created the following:

My favourite recreation was the Green Beans in Mushroom Sauce and it's where my love affair started with the partnering of green beans and mushrooms. They went so well together and something that I will continue to experiment with in the future.

Work With It Wednesdays was a hard one for me, how can you create recipes that you enjoy using foods that you dislike? The foods I disliked (past tense as I now like them) were peanut butter, cannellini beans, butter beans and aubergines and I made the following:

My favourite dish was the aubergine and butter bean rolls, but a very close second was the butter bean and cauliflower mash, both dishes using butter beans. I will be using this ingredient far more in the future. I'm thinking a butter bean mash atop a shepherdless pie?

Thankful Thursdays was all about giving to others, which in my case was making a meal for a camping holiday with friends, a homemade Christmas present and a big thank you to my hubby for putting up with me during vegan mofo! I also managed to write about the vegan swap box which to happy vegans organise every month. Food wise I made the following:

The Five Bean Tacos were a great hit, and you can make them as spicy or as mild as you want. The aubergine and butter bean moussaka was a dish made from left overs from the aubergine and butter bean rolls and was surprisingly delicious. I also received a great vegan swap box from Heather too, which made my day.

Fry-Days are pretty self explanatory and involved dishes of the fried variety. We always have a treat for a Friday meal and anything fried is a treat - wouldn't you agree? Sometimes we enjoy a take away but I've not had a take away now for over a month! Perhaps one day this week, probably Friday we will treat ourselves. The dishes I created for Fry-Days were:

It was hard to choose a favourite from these four dishes, fajitas are a standard Friday dish and I use whatever is in the fridge that needs using up for the filling. Stir frys are another standard dish in our house as is a black bean sauce dish. Last Friday was the first time ever I made my own tempura as its normally too much hassle to get out the deep fat fryer and the mammoth task of cleaning up after, but on this occasion I was glad I went to the trouble as the bean tempura was lovely. Note to self though, it doesn't keep! It goes soggy after it has cooled so my compost bin had the leftovers ha ha ha.

Retro Saturdays in my eyes are all about the old favourites, the nostalgic culinary classics, a throwback dish from the 1970's. I've really enjoyed all these dishes and they were:

I love risottos and I have made a few, a lot of people say they are so time consuming but really is 20 minutes cooking, time consuming? OK so you have to keep stirring the rice and adding more stock but in doing so, I say to myself I'm adding in love, care and attention to detail, which in my book is worth the effort. I am a massive fan of Mushroom Stroganoff and I think it has to be my all time favourite dish, the bean stroganoff was good, but in my eyes nothing beats a mushroom stroganoff. So, my favourite of these four dishes has to be the bean and mushroom wellington which not only did I enjoy on Saturday but on Sunday too and I've got it for lunch tomorrow!

Sleepy Sundays are everything related to breakfast, brunch or lazin' in bed snacks. Most of my creations fall under the category of brunch and included these 5 (yes there were 5 Sundays in vegan mofo), creations.

My favourite without a doubt has to be the bean stuffed mushrooms, where I partnered up adzuki beans and white miso, another match made in heaven. I loved the taste experiments I have undergone throughout vegan mofo but this combination was the winner for me. The least successful dish was my disaster yesterday! The Bean Potato Cakes, although I reheated one up this morning for breakfast and it was OK, quite tasty in fact.

All in all I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of vegan mofo and creating recipes that I will come back to over and over again. Yes it has been a little stressful at times especially when I've cooked late and I am frantically typing up my creation before midnight dawns on us! But I am so pleased that I have managed to create and post a new recipe every day!

I'm going to have a well earned rest, just a couple of days, while I recharge my batteries and my creativity levels increase. So I'll be back soon with more recipes in a few days.

Many thanks to all of you who have left lovely comments, become members, subscribed to emails or just browsed through my blog. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.

See you all very very soon

Jasmine x

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Sleepy Sunday - Bean Potato Cakes

Today, I've had my first vegan mofo disaster in the kitchen! It had to happen today of all days too! I only had a small window of opportunity this morning to create another 'Sleepy Sunday' dish and I was all up for it. But I only had an hour tops to create something. We were going to Mum & Dads to celebrate my sisters birthday with a family meal, which I was really looking forward to it. But more about that later.

After checking my cupboards and fridge I came up with what needed using up more than anything and then figured out what I was going to do with it. I had some potatoes that had started sprouting and some runner beans which I'd picked earlier in the week that needed using up. I knew that the dish would have to be potato based and decided on a bean and potato cake. Easy heh?

This morning was a cold one and although the weather report was better for later in the day I needed warming up and what better way than to use some heat in your food. 

After mixing all my ingredients together I had a quick taste before the 'cakes' were formed and put in the oven, it tasted good and I had high hopes. That, my friends, was too good to be true and as soon as I opened the oven door my heart sank. I just had a tray full of gloop!

After re-forming the cakes, turning them over and returning to the oven I kept my fingers crossed. When I next opened the oven door I didn't have a tray of gloop just 5 blobs of gloop!

I will remake these again as they tasted so darn good but next time I might try adding a flax egg, adding flour, replacing the cheese with nutritional yeast or baking them in metal rings. The vegan cheese had melted causing the 'cake' to be a soggy mess. Here is what NOT to do!

Ingredients - Serves 5-6
400g potatoes
215g Spicy refried beans
180g Runner beans
80g Vegan cheese
2 Tsp Balsamic Glaze
Salt & Pepper

Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes, the smaller the cube the quicker the cooking time. One cooked, drain and mash.

Add the tin of refried beans and mash again.

Whilst the potatoes are cooking, top and tail the runner beans and cut into small pieces. Add to boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes, until a knife can pierce them but still leaves a bit of 'bite'. Drain the beans and add to the bean and potato mash along with the cheese.

Fold the mixture so everything is combined, then add salt and pepper to taste, and add the balsamic glaze. I'm using this quite a bit in my cooking recently but I find that it just perks up a dish and gives a tangy like flavour. Give the mixture another good stir so that everything is well combined.

With wet hands (maybe I should have used flour hands) form the mixture into 'cakes' I made 5 fairly big cakes but you could easily make bigger or smaller 'cakes'. Bake in a moderate oven for 15 minutes and flip the 'cakes' over before returning to the oven for a further 15 minutes.

I didn't take a photograph of the tray of gloop, I was frantically trying to recover the dish to worry about taking photos! But after reforming the 'cakes' they looked like this.

Bake for a further 15 minutes and after the second bake in the oven the 'cake' didn't look too bad.

Serve with baked beans or fried mushrooms. I served mine with beans as I'd used all the mushrooms up in yesterdays dish. But they would have tasted good with fried mushrooms.

After the 'cakes' had cooled the vegan cheese had solidified and you could pick them up as the were fairly solid. I'm guessing that once heated up they will return to gloop, ha ha ha. Must try harder.

I ran out of time to post this 'not to be tried recipe' this morning, so it's a little late in the day. We had a fantastic time round Mum & Dad's celebrating my sisters birthday and I was spoilt rotten. My sister had made me sweet potato balls (similar to falafels but no chick peas in sight) which were mighty tasty especially with a sprinkling of mint sauce on them. Hopefully my sister will give me the recipe, but like me she cooks from the heart and doesn't tend to write everything down. Perhaps she should start a blog to record her recipes, it's worked for me. For dessert my sister had made two apple and black current tarts, one vegan just for me. She tells me she made the pastry out of olive oil and I must say it was the shortest shortcrust pastry I've ever had. I was stuffed after my main meal so I only had a little bit, but I've brought some home to enjoy and she is going to freeze the rest for me.

Tune in tomorrow for the last day of vegan mofo, till then bye for now...................

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Retro Saturday - Bean & Mushroom Wellington

Retro Saturday, what dishes does that conjure up for you? For me its the old favourites, the nostalgic culinary classics, a throwback dish from the 1970's

During vegan mofo I have made green bean risotto, green bean & mushroom pasta and bean stroganoff, to me all classic dishes but tonight I'm going all out there with a green bean & mushroom wellington, a real throwback from the 1970's! As you will notice my love affair with partnering green beans and mushrooms has not petered out! I'm still in the honeymoon stage!

This dish is so simple to make and only has 7 ingredients, yes only 7 ingredients (if you don't count the salt & pepper).

It is extremely easy to make too, and very tasty. With this dish you won't be in the kitchen for a long period of time you just throw the ingredients together and voila!

2 Onions, chopped
2 Cloves of garlic, finely chopped
300g Mushrooms, chopped
1 Tbsp Mushroom ketchup
2 Tbsp Nutritional yeast
30-40 Green beans, top and tailed
200g Ready made puff pastry

First fry the onions in a little olive oil until soft and starting to brown.

Add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes. Next add the mushrooms and the mushroom ketchup and fry until all the liquid has reduced. Add the nutritional yeast and stir to combine.

Whilst the mushrooms are cooking, fry the green beans in a little olive oil until starting to brown. 

Roll out the puff pastry (you will need about two thirds of a pre-rolled packet. Top with the green beans, then the mushroom mixture, leaving about a 2cm edge.

Fold over the pastry to in-case the filling. Use a little almond milk to dampen the edges to help the two edges stick together. Press a fork around the edges to make a pattern and add some steam holes to the top of the pastry. 

Cook in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden. See I told you it was easy and quick. Now for the taste test..............................delicious!

Oh, one last thing HAPPY BIRTHDAY Sis!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Fry-Day - Bean Tempura

It's Fry-Day! Thank goodness and what a week it's been! We're in the final countdown of Vegan Mofo and I've thoroughly enjoyed taking part if a little exhausted at times!

Today I have another recipe for you, well if you can call it a recipe as its so simple! There's loads of recipes on the web for tempura batter, but I like to keep it really simple, the trick is to keep the oil hot, so don't over crowd the pan and keep the batter cold and as soon as the batter is made, use it!

I served mine with sweet chilli sauce, but once again I made far too much! I wonder what it tastes like heated up? Perhaps I'll make a salad with the rest!

Ingredients - Serves 4-6 as a starter 
85g Plain flour
15g Cornflour
½ Tsp Salt200ml Sparkling water
12 Green beans
8 Sugar snap peas
4 Runner beans4 Baby corn
2 Mushrooms

Heat the oil to 140°C, I used a mini deep fat fryer, which is rarely used! 

Prepare all your vegetables top and tail the beans and peas, I kept my green beans and peas whole but I cut my runner beans into 5cm pieces, quarter the mushrooms and baby corn.

Ensure you're sparkling water is ice cold, I kept mine at the back of the fridge for a day, as I have no freezer. Sift the plain flour and cornflour into a bowl and add the salt. Slowly whisk in the sparkling water don't over whisk the batter a few lumps won't matter.

Coat the vegetables in the batter and add to the hot oil a few at a time, do not over crowd the pan as they will all stick together and the temperature of the oil will reduce.

Deep fry for 2-3 minutes and drain on kitchen roll. I kept mine warm in a low oven while I fried the rest. Serve with sweet chilli sauce. Yum!

Apologies for the bad photos, once again I was late doing tea so it was very dark.

Yesterday I said that I would share with you the vegan parcel I sent to 
Miss Chaela Boo, so here goes. In my parcel I included the following items:
  • Pink Wafers
  • Ruffle Bars
  • Ruffle Fondants
  • Nice & Nutty Pop Corn
  • Graze Crunchy Basilico
  • Tilda Mexican Chilli and Bean Rice
  • The Food Doctor Cereal, Pulses & Beans Easy Grain
  • Nible Wasabi Beans
  • Homemade Runner Bean Chutney

There is always a packet of Pink Wafers in the biscuit tin at work, and I'm not alone in liking them! They bring fond memories back of Christmas as a child as they were always in the 'family circle' biscuit tin, does anyone else remember that?

I know Michaela loves her Ruffles bars and she finds them difficult to find in Cambridge and so a vegan swap box had to include them, but I hope I went one better as the shop in which I bought them also sold packets of small ruffle fondants.

I've not tried the nice and nutty popcorn myself yet, I should have bought two bags! I can see another trip to the farm shop where I bought them, which is not a bad thing in the slightest! I couldn't let the parcel go without including some bean items as 'everything bean like' is my vegan mofo theme! I hope Michaela enjoys them. I was a bit nervous sending a small jar of my runner bean chutney as I hadn't even tried it yet, it needs to be stored for at least a month before opening so that the flavours can mature. I hope Michaela likes it!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Thankful Thursday - Vegan Swap Box & Moussaka

It's Thankful Thursday again and the last one of Vegan Mofo, so I thought it was appropriate to do a post on my fantastic Vegan Swap Box I received earlier this month from Heather. 

It was A-M-A-ZING! It was full of vegan goodies which I'm working my way through. If you've not heard about the vegan swap box before take a trip over to To Happy Vegans who organise the whole thing (unfortunately for UK residents only, but I have heard there is other swap boxes organised in other countries). Every month you are assigned a partner to send a parcel of vegan goodies to and in return you receive your own parcel of vegan goodies. It's really good fun and every month you get a parcel to open up and the contents are a complete surprise! Try it and see what you get.

I was lucky enough to get Heather again this month, Heather sent me my last parcel in July (I didn't participate in the August swap box as we were on holiday). Funny enough I got the same person to send to as I did in July, Michaela from Miss Chaela Boo. I'll let you know what I sent to Michaela in tomorrows post.

Don't worry there's a recipe of sorts too! But first here is what Heather sent to me:
  • Co-op After Dinner Mint Thins
  • Sweet Freedom Choc Shot
  • Yu! Jus Fruit Mango
  • Hapiness is Homemade Organic Desiccated Coconut
  • Naked Noodle - Sweet & Sour Flavour
  • Cooks Coatings for Roasties
  • Pureety Gourmet Tangy Tomato, Black Pepper & Thyme Marinade
  • Itsu Miso Soups x 3
  • Jamie Oliver Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Greenfields Ras Al Hanout
  • Tyrrells Habas Fritas - Fried Broad Beans! YAY more beans!
As you can see a real good selection of vegan goodies, aren't I the lucky girl! I was chuffed to bits with the parcel including something bean like and I've used some of these on top of my leek and runner bean soup as croutons! Yummy!

I've never tried pink himalayan salt before, I know, I know where have I been! That's what I love about the vegan swap boxes you get to try stuff you've never had before. The Naked Noodles were enjoyed for lunch at work and I was pleasantly surprised with them. I've tried Sainsbury's own brand of something similar and I was bitterly disappointed with their version. I shall look out for the Naked Noodle brand as it's good to have as a standby lunch at work when you've forgotten to bring your own packed lunch!

I've not yet tried the miso soup, again this is a brand I've not seen before, but I love miso soup! I've not yet tried the roasties coatings either and I'm thinking maybe this Sunday, I'll try it out on my family. I think the marinade will be fabulous over tofu and can't wait to try this. I'm also thinking of making a bean tagine to use the ras al hanout, I have so many ideas and not enough time! 

The Co-op Mint Thins were a lovely surprise! It's my sisters birthday on Saturday and we're all going to Mum & Dads on Sunday for lunch so the Mint Thins can be enjoyed by all, I'll make sure I get my fair share though! Heather told me that she's addicted to the Choc shot and every time she goes into the kitchen she eats a teaspoon of it. Well Heather, I'm addicted now too! I've not had chance to use it on anything and I've been doing as you do and sneaking a teaspoon of the gooey chocolate sauce every time I make a cup of tea! I've not seen this before so I'm hunting it down, drop me a line and tell me where you get yours from.

The mango pieces didn't last long either they were gone the day after I received the parcel and enjoyed as a work snack. I'm planning to do some baking once Vegan Mofo is finished and the desiccated coconut will be used then.

All in all I think you'll agree and absolutely fabulous vegan swap box! Thanks Heather I love it!

You'll note that I mentioned that I'll also share a recipe (of sorts) with you today and I'm using some left over from yesterdays meal. As I have no freezer and I'm the only vegan in this household (although Marco is heading that way, he loves his veggies) I only made one portion of the aubergine and bean rolls which meant I had a lot of the aubergine, mushroom and butter bean filling left. I also still had some of the sweet potato "cheese" sauce left over so I put my thinking cap on and decided there was only one thing for it a moussaka.

All I did was slice up another aubergine, yes I bought another one! This is progress! Give an oven proof dish a quick spray of olive oil and add a layer of aubergine slices. Top with some of the aubergine, mushroom and butter bean filling and repeat finishing with a third layer of aubergine slices. Top with a layer of the sweet potato "cheese" sauce and then a layer of thinly sliced potatoes. Finish with another layer of the sauce and bake in a pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

I served mine with chips (naughty I know) and peas, and I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed it. I even went back for another taste as I couldn't believe how good it tasted. I will make this time and time again, its that good!

Apologies for the photo, it doesn't do the dish justice at all, but I was way too hungry and way too excited to try the moussaka, to faff around with photographing it! 

In other news, my sister won a cake decorating competition today! Yay! Go sis! I shall ask her if I can publish a photo of the cake and share it with you all. It was fantastic and shaped like a watering can, yep 3D and all!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Work With It Wednesday - Aubergine & Bean Rolls

I honestly can't believe how quick Vegan Mofo is going, but I must admit I am shattered, cooking a new recipe and posting it every day takes its toll. Especially when you work full time and you don't get in till late. Today I wanted to finish early so I could get home and do a little experimenting, but as always that didn't work out! Today's recipe was just thrown together but I'm so pleased with the results.

As today was the last "Work with it Wednesday" I decided to put the three ingredients I didn't like (which I have written about on previous "Work with it Wednesdays" posts) together in one recipe. As a recap the three ingredients are Aubergine, Butter Beans and Peanut Butter.

What on earth could I make with these three ingredients, I needed to bring out the big guns. Enter the food processor. I was making it up as I went along, but thankfully I weighed every ingredient and wrote everything down. I even used left overs from a previous recipe, which is always good to do as I hate throwing food out.

I remember reading about  a post from another Vegan Mofo blogger a while back, who visited a restaurant and had aubergine rolls stuffed with a walnut mixture. I'm sure it was in Germany and I'm pretty sure she also posted a photograph of some very cute puppies, but I could be mistaken. Apologies but I can't remember who it was, if its you, thank you, your post must have stuck in the back of my head and tonight the aubergine came to life!

Ingredients - serves 4-6
1 Onion 
3 Cloves of garlic
Olive Oil
2 Large Aubergines
200g Chestnut mushrooms
1 Tin of butter beans
1 Tbsp Peanut butter
50g Breadcrumbs
20 Basil leaves
3 Tsp Balsamic Glaze
1 Tbsp Soy sauce
1 Tsp BBQ sauce

First roughly chop the onion and peel the garlic, add to a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add a little olive oil to a pan and saute for 5 minutes.

Whilst the onion is cooking, finely slice length ways one of the aubergines and set aside, you should get at least 16 slices. With the other aubergine, cut it into cubes and add to the food processor and process until finely chopped. Add to the onions, stir and saute for another 5 minutes.

Next wipe the mushrooms clean and dice, add to the food processor and process until finely chopped. Add to the onion and aubergine mixture, stir and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the teaspoon of peanut butter and stir to thoroughly combine.

Next drain the tin of butter beans, add to the food processor and process until pureed. Add to the onion, aubergine and mushroom mixture and stir to thoroughly combine.

Stir in the breadcrumbs, finely shred the basil and add to the mixture along with the balsamic glaze, soy sauce and BBQ sauce, stir to combine thoroughly. The mixture will be fairly wet, cook for a further 5 minutes in order to lose some of the moisture.

Meanwhile fry the aubergine slices in a  little olive oil for 2 minutes each side until golden brown but still pliable. Add a teaspoon of the mixture to each aubergine slice and roll. Place the rolls in an oven proof dish and bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes.

As I said above I also used some leftovers, this was some sweet potato 'cheese' sauce I made two days ago for "Mac 'n' Cheese Monday". I poured the sauce over the aubergine rolls (about 3 tablespoons for each 4 rolls) before putting in the oven.

The verdict, absolutely delicious and a recipe which I will make again, I might even add another tablespoon of peanut butter and I never thought I would hear myself say that! The Vegan Mofo "Work with it Wednesdays" have been a roaring success and I have found food which I previously disliked and turned them into foods I now enjoy.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

TV Tuesday - Bridget Jones Diary Movie

Once again today's daily theme is TV Tuesday, where you cook a meal from a movie or TV show.

Today I have chosen the one and only Bridget Jones Diary. Everyone must have seen this movie, but if you haven't its a film about Bridget, an average woman struggling with her age, job, having no boyfriend and her weight. (Remember the big pants scene?) One New Year she makes a resolution to take control of her life and records each day in her diary where she has to tell the truth. The film has some quirky, eccentric, charming and disreputable characters throughout and poor Bridget is stuck in the middle. She is a 32 year old woman who just can't seem to find the right man, is gaining weight and keeps making an idiot of herself at public events! The movie is a lot of fun and every girl can find a similarity with Bridget and if not they're lying! 

My favourite scene is where Bridget takes her date home the charming Daniel and he discovers her enormous pants! Very funny!

My favourite quote is related to the recipe I'm going to recreate (but hopefully mine won't be blue)! 

Bridget: How's it look?
Mark: Uh, great. It's, um, blue.
Bridget: Blue?
Mark: No, but, blue is good. if you ask me there isn't enough blue food.
Bridget: Oh, shit! It must be the string.
Mark: Oh, it's string soup?
Bridget: What are we going to do about this dinner, then?
Mark: We have blue soup to start, orange pudding to end, and, well, for a main course you have uh, congealed green gunge!

The blue soup was actually leek and potato soup, but I'm replacing the potato with yep you've guessed it beans! Two types of beans, butter and runner beans. Green is a better colour for food then blue wouldn't you agree?

This recipe is super easy!

400g Leeks

Splash of Olive Oil
500g Runner beans, top, tailed and cut nto pieces, about 400g once prepared
1 Tin butterbeans - drained and washed thoroughly
1½ Litres Vegetable stock. I used Marigold Bouillion powder
Salt & Pepper

Slice the leeks and saute in the olive oil until the leeks are soft, about 5 minutes. 

Next add in the runner beans and saute for a further 5 minutes. 

Pour in the stock and add the butter beans and bring to a simmer. Add the salt and pepper to taste and cook for around 15 minutes. 

Remove from the heat and let cool for a while, before transferring to a food processor to blend. 

Transfer the blended soup to a clean pan and gently reheat before serving. I enjoyed mine with a lump of crusty bread, delicious.

New book
I have heard on the grape vine that a third Bridgett Jones book will be released 10/10/2013 and it is set in present day London and represents a totally new phase in Bridget's life and its called mad about a boy. 

Bridget is older, she is still keeping a diary, but she is also immersed in texting and experimenting with social media, with an emphasis on 'social'! I for one can't wait to see what mishaps she gets up to. Think about it Bridget drinking and texting = madness!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Mac 'n' Cheese Monday - Sweet Potato

Tonight I got that carried away with making a 'cheese' sauce with no cheese involved that I forgot about my "everything bean like theme"!

It wasn't until the sauce was made that I suddenly gasped in horror that there were no beans. A quick nip out to my veggie patch and 10 minutes later there was a saucepan of hot water cooking my runner beans. You can't get any fresher than that.

As you may remember Marco hasn't been feeling that well and I have been feeding him on sweet potato amongst other things. So tonight I set myself a challenge and decided I would make a cheese sauce out of sweet potatoes. The verdict? Not bad, if I say so myself. This sauce wasn't overly 'cheesey' but delicious all the same. Here's what I did.

Ingredients - The sauce makes enough for 4-6 servings of pasta

3 Sweet potatoes
1 Tbsp White miso
150ml Almond milk
250ml Rice milk
50g Nutritional yeast
1 Tsp English Mustard
Salt and Pepper
150g Runner beans-prepared
Pasta of choice
First bring a large pan of water to the boil, peel and cube the sweet potatoes and boil until soft. Drain and set aside to cool.

Once cool, (I cooked mine the night before) tip into a food processor and process until smooth. Add all the other ingredients except the salt & pepper and process until you have a silky sauce. Transfer to a saucepan and warm over a low heat, stirring every now and again to stop the sauce sticking and burning to the bottom of the saucepan.

While the sauce is heating through cook the pasta in boiling water for 10 minutes, with 5 minutes remaining add the runner beans then drain once the beans and pasta are cooked.

Tip the sauce over the beans and pasta and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper, I love black pepper so won't state a quantity, just add to taste. I only cooked enough pasta for me so I enjoyed a lot of sauce. I have plenty left over so great for lunch, all I need to do is cook more pasta and beans. I may try the sauce on a pizza too.

Recipe note: When I make this sauce again I will serve it over pasta and sweetcorn rather than runner beans as I think it would work better.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Sleepy Sunday - Green Bean, Mushroom & Cherry Tomato Pancakes

Sleepy Sunday in my eyes is all about having a lie in and chilling NOT being jumped on at 6:00am by a dog possessed! I'll let Marco off this once as he's not been very well, although the sweet potato seems to be doing the trick, well, either that or the tablets from the vet!

So my Sleepy Sunday turned into an early rise and I was starving! A quick tour round the veg patch gave me another 100g of purple and green beans. This was definitely the last haul, although there were still a few flowers on the plants, so maybe it's not the end just yet. I decided to leave the masses of runner beans on the plants until later in the day, when I will be ready to make soup for the week ahead. Recipe will feature on Tuesday.

A quick raid of the fridge demonstrated that quite a few things were getting near their shelf life or past their best including some cherry tomatoes. I wondered what I could make with these two ingredients, then I remembered discovering the greatest love affair in food heaven, green beans and mushrooms, so now I had three ingredients.

After some deliberation I decided that I would have a go at making pancakes as I thought it fit the Sleepy Sunday theme quite well. Even as a vegetarian I didn't eat eggs, jut the thought of them turned my stomach so I haven't had pancakes for quite some time. Even oat cakes remind me of eggs and I can't eat them so this was going to be a test.

Ingredients - Serves 2
60g Flour 
10g Soya flour
10g Nutritional Yeast
450ml Almond milk
Olive Oil
100g French green/purple beans
200g Chestnut mushrooms
200g Cherry tomatoes
Handful of basil
Salt & Pepper

First prepare your vegetables by topping and tailing the beans and slicing, quarter the tomatoes and chunk up your mushrooms! Turn your oven on to a low heat, so you can keep your pancakes warm as you are making them.

Put the nutritional yeast flakes in a food processor and blitz until fine. Add the two flours and give the processor another whiz to combine the ingredients. Add 400ml of the almond milk and process to make a smooth batter. Set aside while you make the filling.

Add a little olive oil to a pan and saute the beans for 3 minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes break down about 5 minutes, stirring regularly so the mixture doesn't stick to the pan. Add the remaining almond milk and simmer for another 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and scatter with the basil leaves.

When the filling is almost done, heat a drop of olive oil in a frying pan (non stick is best) and add about 3 tablespoons of the batter. You will start to see little air bubbles in the surface of the pancake and this is when you need to flip it over and cook the other side for two minutes. Remove from the pan to an oven proof plate and pop in the oven to keep warm while you make the remainder of the pancakes, you will get 4 pancakes. Spray the pan with a little olive oil before adding the next batch of batter.

To serve, place a pancake on a plate and top with the filling, then place another pancake on top and add more filling. Enjoy.

These did still remind me of eggs but I did eat them, if I were to make them again I would add more almond milk as I think the batter was a little stodgy for my taste.

On the harvesting front, I have been a lucky girl, this week I have been given free produce too, so not only did I bag a bargain yesterday, but I have been given a bag full of lettuce from my Mums garden, cheers Mum, and I have been blessed by a visit from my gardening angel. After reading my blog and seeing that I was using tinned beans my gardening angel gave me a bag of borlotti beans from her allotment. So I am trying to create a recipe which showcases them. As I need to soak them over night I think this will be a task for next weekend! Thank you my lovely gardening angel.