Friday, 12 February 2016

Five Welsh Castles and a Handsome Dragon

I am looking forward to my  holidays, however when the time comes we won't be venturing far.  
Home-made Welsh Dragon Pastry Crust
So I am dreaming of dragons and castles - I don't know if I am a little excited that Game of Thrones Series 5 is soon to be released . Anyway, we have our fair share of fantastic castles in Wales.  I have been to quite a few over the years, but this Friday I am sharing five.
Harlech Castle  -  where I was most most free. I  met my now husband in the seaside town of Harlech, so I will always have a fondness for the place. 
Meet Dewi - The Welsh Dragon guarding Harlech castle in the background.

Caerphilly Castle
Conwy Castle in the background.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Garlic - Chilli Kale and Butternut Squash Spaghetti

I love the voluptuous shape of the butternut squash.  I often describe it as the curvy red head of the vegetable world.  I also love the wrinkles and crinkles of the curly kale, so it excites me when I can bring these two together as they would make a perfect combination like strawberries and cream.  

The last recipe with this combination was my Butternut, Kale and Sweetcorn Stew, This evening its a far more simpler recipe of Kale and Butternut Squash Spaghetti dish, but there is no compromise on flavour, this dish warms you all over and that's even before you tucked in.
This is essentially Spaghetti Pasta Aglio, Olio e Peperonicino or chilli flakes dressed up further with butternut squash ribbons and shredded kale.   
It was a  relatively simple quick delicious meal and just what we both wanted after a long slow day at work.   
Now I am off to laze.  
Enjoy the rest of your day, I am really tired. 

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Vegan Indian Pasta, Indian Gnocchi, Indian Dumplings

When I say Indian, its more Indian style as I wish to embrace the diversity of all the countries in the Indian Sub-Continent - Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and eve the Maldives as they all embrace this way of cooking.  This is also in part to show respect to the many Indian restaurateurs and take-aways  across Europe and the United Kingdom where the owners and workers are often of  Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage. 

I made this Curried Lentils or Pigeon Pea Soup from Prashad's cookbook a couple of weeks back.   It does just look like a bowl of Red Dal, but its rather deceptive in appearance because once you take slurp a spoonful you are hit first with perfumed herbyness and then you taste the amazing spices - its really quite something special.  
This Curried Lentils with Indian Pasta is that it reminded me of this Dal with Chilli and Coriander Gnocchi I made many years ago, perhaps that is why I wanted to make it.  I have to admit this Curried Dal was far more better, in fact far more superior in taste than mine.
It had more depth of flavour from the infusion of different spices and the tempering  made a huge difference too as an enhancer. 
Normally I would serve an Indian style dal dish with chappati or roti, but was inspired further to try the accompanying Indian pasta from Prashad's cookbook which I must admit I have adapted just a little.  What's appealing about this Indian Pasta is that you don't even need a pasta machine to make it, just a good old fashioned rolling pin.  

The Indian pasta made a wonderful chewy textual change from chappati or naan bread.  If you do choose to have a go at making this, roll the dough out as thin as you can.  You will need a palette knife to remove them from the surface. 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Chocolate Marmite Caramel Fudge

Let me start by saying this is not a sponsored post.  Last week, I saw Johanna's Vegemite Fudge and found myself drooling over it, suddenly wanting to make it with the our British alternative of Marmite.  I was just going to bookmark it and come back to it, but greed got the better of me, plus I had all the ingredients to hand and I was at home waiting patiently for the Boiler man to service our boiler.  So as soon as he left, I pulled out all the ingredients I needed to make these morsels of temptation in my own home.
I couldn't wait to try them.  As soon as we had our dinner in the evening, I sliced them carefully and popped one in my mouth and wow.  Its unusual for sure - sweet and savoury, but we both loved umami aspect of them.  

We had so much of the Chocolate Marmite Caramel Fudge that there was no way we would be able to finish them off between us.  The following day D took some into his workplace and I took some into mine the following week when I returned back to work after some annual leave.  Loads of people at work were wary of marmite - snugging their noses, nevertheless they were tempted by the combination and tried them.  Even those who disliked Marmite loved them, one even described it as 'beefy chocolate' which made me smile.  I even tempted a colleague who was on a diet to take a piece, she was bowled over by it too.  I also took some over to my brothers house, one of my nieces tried a tiny bite and said yuk, the other had a bite and said yum.  Are you going to finish your piece off ?she asks her sister No she responded,  well I will finish it off for you then, they are too good not to eat!   Need I say more. 

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Sweet Parsnip, Apple, Berry and Hazelnut Crumble

A couple of weeks back I made a Parsnip Pie with Edible flowers, I have also been tucking into a bowl oParsnip Porridge for those days when I have been home alone for breakfast.

This time I am sharing with you home-made Parsnip, Apple, Blueberry and Hazelnut Crumble. On one of the evenings we had this with custard, on the other it was simply with cream.
What I love about this Root vegetable crumble recipe is its versatility.  You can easily swap some of the ingredients to reflect the seasons or your taste.
In place of the carrots you can have Swede, beetroot or carrots.
The golden caster could be demerara sugar, coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup
Nuts - walnuts, pecan, almonds 
Additional spices, nutmeg, ginger, mixed spices, 
And of course you can veganize it too.
Just experiment.