Friday, May 31, 2013

Take time to talk to the animals on Friday

Instead of my usual flower post on Friday, this week just seemed like it should be an animal post!  Move over flowers - birds and animals are coming in.

This is because I'm in England at the moment and we get little visitations to our house from the birds and animals, coming by to say hello and welcome!  :-D

I hope you can take time today to talk to the animals!  Many studies have shown that spending time with nature is very relaxing and calming.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fennel and coconut tart from Vegetarian Everyday

What an unusual combination - fennel with coconut.  They balance each other out nicely, in fact.  The fennel isn't so overpowering and seems to be calmed by the coconut milk.

The crust is wonderful.  Gluten free and uses brown rice flour and almond flour. No rolling needed, just press it into the tart tin.  It held up perfectly for slicing, came out of the pan easily and tasted good too.

I decided to use my rectangular tart tin. I love the shape of it and it worked perfectly for this recipe.  I think the tart looks quite elegant as a long narrow shape rather than the usual round ones. What do you think?  It served 6 people nicely and the tin is 14 x 4 inches.

I think I'll be making this again. It is made with 2 eggs so I'm going to try it with Vegg next time and see how it turns out.  Have you ever tried Vegg? I bought some but it is still unopened.....
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Colorful potato salad

Look at this pretty potato salad!

Just love all the colors. And the flavors are just as vibrant.

It's another recipe from Vegetarian Everyday.  I used tri-colored small potatoes and they just make it even more colorful.  I love the idea of splitting the sugar snap peas down the middle to reveal the mini-peas inside. I recently did that to garnish a pea soup - but it looks lovely in this salad.  The sugar snaps are raw too, so add a nice crunch to the mix.

Along with tomatoes, sugar snap peas, horseradish and dill, this is a yummy salad.  I eat it as a meal. Nothing else is needs.

I've made it since with larger potatoes cut into small pieces - this time white and blue potatoes.  It just hits the spot.  It will definitely be a favorite for me this summer.  Imagine the extra color from heirloom tomatoes!

Have you got the cookbook yet?
Monday, May 27, 2013

Red pepper and Rosemary Spread

This is one of the recipes from Vegetarian Everyday, that I blogged about last week.

A simple 6 ingredient recipe - two of which are salt and pepper!  Basically it is roasted red peppers, sunflower seeds, rosemary and lemon juice.

Most roasted pepper recipes talk of roasting the peppers then putting them in a brown bag to cool before peeling. This recipe doesn't include any bags - and it doesn't need it! Peppers peel just fine after roasting so I've never quite understood why the brown bag seems to come into play!

Anyhow- its a good peppery spread that I've used as both a spread on crackers or sandwiches,  as a dip, as a sauce, ....very versatile.

Beautiful color too!
Thursday, May 23, 2013

Vegetarian Everyday - Cookbook review

US version
I got a new cookbook last week.  That in itself is not news worthy at all - as my husband will attest to.  "Mr Amazon" visits us all to regularly - not always with cookbooks - but quite often.  But this week's has really wowed me.

I have already made 5 recipes from it and every one has been delicious.

The book is by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl from the Green Kitchen.  In the US it is called Vegetarian Everyday and in the UK and Europe it is called The Green Kitchen.

I much prefer the UK cover.  Anyhow - the recipes inside are the same.

The first recipe I tried was Orange-kissed seed crackers.  What a beautiful name for a cracker - and I tell you - in my orange mood - the delicate orange kiss is delightful!

UK version
I chose the cracker recipe as a test.  I try making lots of different seed cracker recipes from blogs and cookbooks but am always disappointed with the outcome. I've tried creating my own seed cracker recipe - wanting to use flax, chia or hemp seeds for omega-3 fatty acids - but they haven't ever been great.  But this one is yummy.  I'm making it again to take with me on my travels.  Crunch and that tangy sweetness of the orange. Absolutely delicious.  I didn't have amaranth flour that the recipe calls for  so I used millet flour instead.

I served them to my friends on Saturday who came round for lunch with the red pepper and rosemary spread and also the sage and walnut pate.  More about them in another post.

The authors have a blog called Green Kitchen Stories - which I know you'll enjoy.  David is Swedish and Luise is Danish.  They live in Stockholm and neither of them are chefs - but sure do create lovely recipes.

Here is their video for the book:

The photography - by David - is gorgeous - and it is such an attractive book, it could be a coffee table book - but I know it'll get far too much use to sit on a table!

Some of the recipes are quick and simple and some are more complicated.  Some are vegan, some include eggs or dairy, some are gluten free.

But I bet all are delicious! My first 5 definitely were!  They also have a couple of apps of recipes - one general and one desserts....They are making me think I should upgrade my phone, just for the recipes!

Anyhow, as you've probably realized, I highly recommend this book.  I'll post some photos of my creations from their book over the next couple of days so you can be inspired.

If you buy it, let me know what recipes you try!
Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I've been tango'd!

Remember the TV advertisements in the UK with the orange man saying "you've been tango'd"?  That's how I've been feeling this week.  You see we leave for England today and I hate to see any of our homegrown fruit go to waste, so I've been busy dehydrating more oranges!

Using a mandoline to slice all the fruit, leaves me smelling strongly of oranges, but also, as they dehydrate, the whole house smells of them! I tried leaving the door closed in the room where the dehydrator was, but when I went in to check on them, it was quite heady and over powering!!!  Made you definitely feel like you had been tango'd!

Even by the time I went to bed, all I could smell was oranges!

But I have to say, I have been loving the orange slices.  I've dipped some of them in sugar free homemade raw chocolate (78%) and they taste just like Terry's chocolate oranges!  And I love that they are crispy.

I will take a few slices back with me to the UK - for my own snacking - and also so others can have a taste.

And just in case you have no idea was being "tango'd" is all about:

 Here is one of the early adverts with the orange man:

And here is a compilation of some modern versions:

Think you may have the idea now?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Overnight oat berry breakfast parfait

While yesterday's OOO-breakfast is yummy - it is quite sweet, even though it has no added sugar - but the sweetness comes from the bananas and mango.  So I made this version of a 'pretty parfait' - OOBBP, using berries instead and changing the oats a little. If you have a sweeter tooth - you can still use this recipe but go for all strawberries - but I like a bit of tartness so added cranberries as well.

Here's the recipe: 3 servings

1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup cranberries (can be frozen)
1 cup gluten free oats
1 cup dairy free milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened organic apple sauce

Puree the strawberries and cranberries together until smooth in a food processor.

Place the oats, chia seeds, milk, vanilla and cinnamon in a bowl and stir together.  Add the apple sauce and mix thoroughly.

To assemble the parfait, divide approx. half of the oat mixture between three serving glasses/bowls.  Add a layer of strawberry/cranberry puree using approx. half of the puree.  Add the remainder of the oat mixture to make a third layer, and finally top with the remainder of the strawberry/cranberry mixture.  Top with a sprinkle of oats and chia seeds. I also added a dehydrated apple ring.

Put in the fridge overnight, during which time the oats will soften and thicken.  This will last for 3 days....if you can stop yourself eating them for lunch as well - which is what I did!

Again, this breakfast is giving you a good dose of omega 3 fatty acids from the chia seeds - and I used flax milk as well. I have found a flax milk I really like, called Good Karma Flax milk - only 25 calories  and 1200 mg omega 3 per cup serving.

You can use fresh or frozen fruit for this - and any berries that you like. I think it would be lovely with blackberries and raspberries together.  Or strawberries with cooked rhubarb - yum!

Which do you think is prettier? The mango/banana or the berry parfait?  I'd go with the berry - love that bright red coloring with the neutral colored oats.  
Monday, May 20, 2013

Overnight Omega 3 Oaty breakfast!

O-O-O breakfast!

I'm not sure if you are like me, but throughout the year, I usually stick to one of two breakfasts with maybe just varying the berries on top:    either my homemade gluten free, sugar free, granola or my homemade GF, sugar free muesli.  I think I just want to get up and not really think about creating something first thing - just reach in the cupboard, pull out my cereal and add a few sprinkles and non dairy milk and start eating.

But then I see all these pretty breakfasts in cookbooks and blogs, and all these smoothies, and I get a bit envious.  The taste of food begins very visually for me, so eating things that look good is important.  And yes, faithful granola and muesli - you do look good - but just not as "pretty" as some other breakfasts out there!

So I had the idea to try making something a bit prettier, but doing it the night before - while dinner is cooking. Then when I get up,  it'll all be ready in the fridge, and I won't even have to add milk!

And thus - two new breakfasts came about - that I made while dinner was cooking. Pretty Parfaits!  Today is the sweet mango banana version.  My Triple O breakfast!

Overnight Omega 3 oaty breakfast!

A lovely combination of oats, mangoes, bananas, flax and chia seeds and non dairy milk make up this overnight breakfast.

Part smoothie, part bircher muesli - a breakfast parfait with plenty of omega 3 essential fatty acids from the flax seeds, the chia seeds and I used flax milk as the non dairy milk!

Make it it in the evening, put it in the fridge and its ready for breakfast in the morning.

Here's the recipe (serves 2):

1 large mango or frozen mango pieces
2 bananas
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 cup gluten free oats
4 tablespoons chia seeds
1/3 cup flax milk or non-dairy milk

Peel the mango and cut away the flesh from the stone, or defrost if frozen, and add to a food processor with the bananas and ground flaxseed.  Blend until smooth and creamy.

In a bowl, combine the oats, chia seeds and non dairy milk, stirring well.

Pour half of the mango banana mix in the bottom of two glasses or bowls.  Top with the oat mix, and then add the remaining mango mix as a top layer.  Sprinkle with oats or chia seeds to decorate. Refrigerate overnight.  Serve cold.

Don't try and keep this more than overnight, as the banana in it begins to go a little brown.

This is a wonderful way to start your day with a great dose of omega 3 fatty acids from the flax and chia.  All too often our omega 6: omega 3 ratio is too low in omega 3s, so gives you a good dose in your first meal of the day.  Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory with lots of benefits to your health.

I used white chia seeds in this recipe as I think they look nicer, but you can use black ones instead. Nutritionally, there isn't a difference.

Tomorrow's pretty parfait is a berry parfait instead.  Stay tuned.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Take time to smell the flowers on Fridays

How long is it since you've sat on the lawn and made a daisy chain?

I hope its not too long....and maybe if it is, you'll find time this year to do just that...whether by yourself or with someone else.

I remember sitting with my sister making them when we were little - but I always got frustrated as she had nails and so could split the stems, but I used to bite my nails so couldn't ever do it!

I think with these large daisies in the photos from our garden, even without nails, I'd have been able to do it!  And think what a great big chain I could have made!

These daisies have multiplied so much. I hardly remember us having any before - but this year, they seem to just be happy showing their smiling faces to the sunshine.

I have some friends coming round for lunch tomorrow so I have some daisies for the table and also some in the napkin rings.  Don't think we'll be making daisy chains however....but you never know!!!

Did you take time to stop and smell the flowers this week?  Spending time in nature is good for our health, so how about planning a daisy chain party this year?  Invite a few friends around, sit on the lawn, chatting and making pretty little daisy chains! If you do - please invite me. I'd love to join in. :-D
Thursday, May 16, 2013

Minted pea and avocado dip

We've been wondering about whether to try planting an avocado tree in our garden.....We both love avocados, and there is a variety that grows in our area....but I just worry about what we will do if we get a big crop of avocados.

With most fruit or vegetables, there are ways to preserve them and keep enjoying a bumper crop for months ahead, but I don't know of anyway to preserve avocados.  Do you?

Anyhow, while we make our decision, I made a lovely minted pea and avocado dip for our friends coming around this evening.

Here's the recipe:
1 avocado
1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas
2 brazil nuts
handful fresh mint leaves
juice of a lime
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 - 2 tablespoons water

If using frozen peas, rinse them in water to defrost them.

Add all the ingredients, except the water to a food processor and process until smooth. Check the consistency - as this will vary depending on how juicy the lime is - and add water until you get a smooth dip consistency that you like.

Serve on toast or on crackers or as a dip.

You can see in an earlier photo that I made some homemade fat free potato chips/crisps to go with it.  Just sliced potato, crispened in the microwave.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dehydrating fruit

So here is the dehydrated fruit I made - what is left of it, and before its all gone!

Don't the oranges look nice and glossy!

And I love the waviness of the apples - like they have been gently pleated as they dried.

What is your favorite dried fruit?  I don't like pears - they turn a little gritty, and last year I did some of our green table grapes that we grew - making yummy sultanas.....Maybe I'll have to do persimmons this year... Now if only you could dry quince without cooking them.....

I wonder what my next dehydrator project will be????  Oh, if only there were more hours in the day. I love having so many ideas in my head!
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dehydrating fruit

I had an idea to try dehydrating some citrus fruit.  We are finally coming to the end of all our citrus fruit from the garden but have a few oranges left.  I've never dehydrated citrus before but thought it sounded a nice idea.

And so I sliced them thinly, and added some apples and a couple of strawberries at the same time - might as well fill the dehydrator.

I dried them until they were crispy - and all of them are delicious.

It's great to eat the whole orange - peel as well and because its sliced so thinly, it doesn't taste too bitter.

I had great plans for these crispy snacks - creating something more than just dried fruit - but we ate them before I could finish the plan! I'll have to do some more and not leave them out to be eaten!!

This really is the easiest way to
preserve apples and when our harvest starts later in the year, I know I'll be doing plenty more. You don't have to peel and core the apples - just slice using a mandolin, no need to add anything to them (so unlike bought dried apples, no sulphur or citric acid) - and then just put them in a dehydrator and forget about them for a few hours.

Easy Peasy!  Roll on apple harvest!

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