Thursday, 4 August 2016

Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti with Capers and Pine Nuts

So many of my favourite ingredients come together to form this thoroughly comforting dish. You can use leftover roast veggies of any kind in it as well, you may just need to cut them up smaller.

Keeping my foot in the door with one post a month at the moment and hoping to be able to increase it soon!

Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti with Capers and Pine Nuts

1/2 medium eggplant, diced into 1cm cubes
1 zucchini, diced into 1cm cubes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 x 400ml cans of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp capers
2 tbsp pine nuts
300g thin spaghetti

To Make
1. Spray a baking tray lightly with olive oil and spread the diced eggplant and zucchini out. Spray with additional olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast for 10-15 minutes at 180 degrees. 
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan and cook the onions and garlic until the onions are softened and translucent. Add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a simmer.
3. Add the roasted veggies and simmer for up to 5 minutes, just to soften any that may have dried out in the roasting. Stir through the capers and leave on a very low heat to stay warm while you cook the pasta.
4. Cook the spaghetti to al dente according to the instructions on the packet, with thin spaghetti varieties this may only take a few minutes. Drain the spaghetti and stir the sauce gently through.
5. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frypan until golden and then remove from the heat immediately. 
6. Serve up the spaghetti and sprinkle generously with pine nuts. 

Makes 4 fairly modest serves or 2 very generous serves (or 3 just right?). 
Depends on how much you love pasta!

If you love pasta as much as I do, you might want to check out all my other pasta recipes too :)

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Tatws Popty (Welsh Oven Potatoes)

Tatws popty is a traditional Welsh dish of roasted meat and potatoes. The name translates as "oven potatoes" so I don't feel too bad for leaving out the meat and keeping the traditional name. It's a versatile dish, everybody's nain (grandmother) has her own way of making it. Since I've left the meat out of mine, I've added in some extra vegetables to make it a complete meal. It's such an easy and comforting dish and is perfect for this cool weather. White wine is not a very common addition, but adds a lovely sweetness - you could use beer instead if you wanted a 'meatier' flavour to the dish.

Tatws Popty

6 large floury potatoes, peeled and cut into sixths (or just large chunks)
1 leek, washed and chopped into large pieces
1 large parsnip or swede (or both if you like), peeled and chopped into large chunks
1/3 cup vegan margarine/butter
3 tbsp olive oil
4 onions, peeled and thickly sliced
14 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
2-3 sprigs thyme
1/2 cup white wine
2/3 cup beef stock (no animal content, such as Massel), or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste

To Make:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius and prep all your veggies.
2. Heat a large casserole dish or roasting pan on the stove (if you don't have a suitable dish, you can use a frypan and then transfer to a casserole dish) and add the margarine and olive oil. Once melted, add the onions, garlic cloves, bay leaves and the thyme. Cook for 8-9 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the onions have started to brown. 
3. Remove from the heat and add the leek and the parsnip and/or swede to the dish, followed by the potatoes on top. Pour over the white wine and the stock. 
4. Seal well with foil (or a lid) and bake in the oven for 1 hour, or until the potatoes are completely cooked through. 
5. Remove the foil or lid and switch the oven to the grill setting and leave in until the potatoes are crispy and browned on top. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Have as is, or add some steamed green veggies.

Serves 4-6. 

I'm featuring lots of recipes from the United Kingdom,
Check out my other recipe posts here:

Friday, 13 May 2016

Vegan Bakewell Tart

It's been quiet on the blog front lately, as I'm somewhat otherwise occupied these days with my beautiful two month old daughter (!). In fact, not only do I barely blog anymore - I barely ever cook anymore! My partner comes home every night and cooks dinners as I have my hands full and have usually had a pretty full on day. As for lunches, even if my lovely baby decided to sleep for longer than 40 minutes at a time (gah!), I certainly wouldn't feel like cooking (and photographing) delicious gourmet meals. In fact I always have to hope there are leftovers, otherwise I might not get lunches at all!

I don't want to let the blog completely wither and die though. Luckily, I have some photos and recipes filed away that I haven't gotten around to posting yet from way back when I was featuring United Kingdom recipes. It might take me more than one 40 minute nap to get each post up, but I'm keen to get back to it - especially since I've been contacted by readers who miss my posts :)

The posting will be less frequent than previously, at least for now - but I'm still here :)

I'm actually really excited to share this one with you, partly because I just love the photos of it and also because it was delicious and easy to make. It's called a Bakewell Tart, and it's a classic English afternoon tea delight. It's shortcrust pastry filled with jam and topped with almond-y frangipane. 

A couple of notes on mine, before I go on to the recipe. 
- I've used only 1/4 tsp almond extract, because I've never really been a fan of the taste of almond extract. It would be more traditional to use more, so if you like the taste feel free to up it to a tsp.
- Mine (you might see in the pics) came out slightly undercooked, so I've added an extra 5 minutes to the cooking time. This will vary anyway, depending on your oven, so use your own discretion. 
- I've used raspberry jam here, you can also use cherry or strawberry. 
- The jam is meant to make a nice distinct layer that you can see when sliced. I looked at some other blog pictures of Bakewell Tarts before and thought their layers of jam looked a little thin, so I added mine very generously. Alas, it still seemed to get absorbed by the frangipane during baking and didn't make much of a distinct layer when sliced. I'm sure if I was on the Great British Bake-Off, such a sin would be the end of me. If you don't care about that kind of thing, then don't worry because it still tastes crazy good. If you want to try and get the jam layer nice and distinct then I would suggest adding a super generous amount of jam - and then adding a whole heap more. 

Vegan Bakewell Tart


For the pastry:
250g plain wholemeal flour
125g margarine
Ice cold water

Everything else:
170g caster sugar
170g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
170g almond meal
1/4 tsp almond extract
150ml canola oil
200ml water
Raspberry jam
Icing sugar, to decorate

To Make:
1. Preheat your oven to 190 degrees C. 
2. Put the pastry ingredients in a food processor and blitz until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs (alternatively, use your fingertips to rub the margarine into the flour until the same consistency), then add just enough ice cold water for it to come together as a dough ball. It shouldn't stick to your fingers when you touch it, if you slip up and add a bit too much and end up with sticky dough then just add a little more flour until you get it right. 
3. Roll out the dough to about 3mm or so and line a tart tin with it (one with a removable bottom is best). Prick the base with a fork and bake for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile you can mix together all the other ingredients except the jam and the icing sugar.
5. Spread a generous layer of jam over the pastry base and pour the frangipane batter over the top. Bake for 10 minutes and then lower the temperature to 180 degrees C and bake for a further 30 minutes. 
6. Leave it to cool and then decorate with icing sugar. You could also decorate with flaked almonds, if you like. 

I'm featuring lots of recipes from the United Kingdom,
Check out my other recipe posts here:

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Home Made Cocoa Bread

Home made bread is such a lovely treat, every time I make some I always think to myself that I should make it more often. But, then modern life gets in the way. So, I still only rarely bake bread. When I do though, I don't like to make plain standard breads. Cocoa is one of my favourite additions to bread. No, it's not chocolate bread! It would only be a sweet chocolate bread if you also added lots more sugar to it. The cocoa adds a deep richness and ever so slight bitterness to it, which is so divine.

I love these kinds of breads in winter, served with soup or tagine or casserole. But they're also wonderful in summer because they're lovely to snack on and to use for summery open sandwiches. When it's freshly baked I love just eating it in slices with just vegan margarine, nothing else needed!

Nuts can be a nice addition to this bread, and can be added (about 1/2 cup) during the second kneading.

Cocoa Bread

2 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup soy milk
3 tbsp vegan friendly margarine
2 1/2 cups plain flour

To Make
1. Combine the yeast and warm water set aside, this should become frothy and smell very yeasty. If it doesn't froth up on top, check to see that your yeast is in date.
2. Mix the cocoa, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Warm the milk in a saucepan and then remove from the heat and add the margarine. Combine this with the cocoa, sugar and salt in the bowl. Cool slightly and then add the yeast mixture. 
3. Add enough flour to come together into a dough. I'd suggest adding the two cups and then adding the 1/2 cup gradually as needed until you reach the right consistency. The dough should not stick to the edges of the bowl or your fingers, but should be sticky enough to stay together in one ball without crumbling. If it is too sticky, add a little more flour. 
4. Roll into a ball. Knead on a floured benchtop for 5-8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. 
5. Dust the mixing bowl with flour and place the dough back in. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot to double in size (probably about an hour). 
6. Punch down the dough and knead briefly again. Place on a greased (or lined with greaseproof paper) baking dish or baking tray and shape into a nice loaf shape. Cover and allow to rise again until double (or almost) in bulk). 
7. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C while you're waiting for it to rise again. Use a pair of scissors or a sharp knife to cut some slits in the top of your loaf and then bake for approximately 1 hour. 

Makes 1 loaf.