Thursday, 29 March 2012

Versatile Blogger Award: big thank you and my 15 nominees

A big thank you to Anisha of  Flavours for this award. It feels great to be appreciated :) With it comes 7 random pieces of information about myself, plus 15 more nominees for the award from my blogging friends, whose inspiration and comments I have appreciated. Here goes with the first bit, then:

  1. I lived on a boat on a river with my daughter for 2 years, between 2001 and 2003
  2. My favourite comfort food is white spaghetti with tomato puree and grated cheese mixed in with it. On getting over a childhood illness, this would always be the first thing I felt like eating!
  3. I would love to have a recipe book published in print one day and give up my "day job" in education to be a full-time blogger and writer of books and articles.
  4. One job I had in my twenties was making organic tofu for a company who sold it to wholefood shops and restaurants. I used a big old mincing machine for grinding the beans, an enormous cauldron to boil the soya milk and sections of plastic drainpipe with holes drilled in them for pressing the tofu into cylinders. (The company no longer exists, by the way.)
  5. My two favourite places in the world are a little town in Uttar Pradesh called Radha Kunda, not far from Vrndavana, and the area of Navadwipa Dham in West Bengal. Google them to see why...
  6. I have moved house at least 17 times in my life so far.
  7. As a child, I thought I could talk to trees and plants and knew what they were saying to me, plus I was convinced I saw fairies in my garden! It all seemed really normal at the time...
Hope you are still here, after reading the above! And now on to the awards ceremony: I am sending the Versatile Blogger Award on to the following people:
  1. Radhika of Tickling Palates, for the great community-building she does from her blog as well as all the yummy recipes.
  2. Priya of Priya's Now Serving, for all the care she obviously puts into the many and varied photos on her blog, in addition to the lovely recipes themselves.
  3. Aarthi of Yummy Tummy, for being an awesome blogger in general who posts often more than once a day and has an astounding range of Indian cuisines represented on her blog. No matter how busy she is, she always has time to post what she's been cooking and has developed her blog rapidly through this dedication..
  4. Lucy of Diminishing Lucy, for the fact that you never quite know what she's going to be blogging about next, but it's always so well written, thought-provoking and entertaining.
  5. Sobha of Good Food, for the originality of many of her cooking ideas, and uses of both Eastern and Western ingredients.
  6. Sadhana of Sensible Veg, for being a mine of information about grain and sugar alternatives and using her knowhow to create healthier twists on traditional dishes.
  7. Kaveri of Palakkad Chamayal, for having a great range of sweet and savoury dishes, snacks and main meals on her blog.
  8. Zoa of The Airy Way, for the original way she combines many of her ingredients, her good example of a healthy diet and her engaging style of writing.
  9. Jennifershmoo of Vegan Lunchbox, for all her great healthy ideas and the incredible range of foods she managers to fit into her lunchboxes.
  10. Evermetta of Wholesome Vegetarian Cooking, for her promotion of the pure vegetarian/ vegan diet and eclectic use of ingredients from many cultures.
  11. Anisha and her husband of Life on the Road for their fascinating and well-photographed Indian travelogues- where will they take us to next??
  12. Mary of Inside a British Mum's kitchen, for all the little snippets of her life that she shares in between recipes, and her dedication to culinary excellence.
  13. Justin and Amy of The Chubby Vegetarian, as they will be making it into print soon and their very professionally presented blog has such a great range of beautiful-looking dishes. 
  14. Julie of Erivum Puliyumm for the great range of recipes she has managed to post in such a relatively short time.
  15. 366 Random Acts of Kindness for the compassionate concept and making me think more about others through the great variety of interesting and caring deeds posted. 
If your name is on this blog, then please accept the award by:
  • Creating a post to thank the blogger who nominated you, with the award logo and a link back to their blog 
  • Sharing in that post 7 random facts about yourself
  • Including these rules in that post 
  • Nominating 25 fellow bloggers to receive the award from you and linking to them
  • Letting your nominees know with a comment on their latest post
As well as letting your blogging friends know what you appreciate about them, this award will help us to widen our networks and meet more likeminded bloggers!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Green Pea Hummus- vegan

This hummus tastes great with crackers or on toast

This is a lovely Spring-and Summer-y side which would be even more delicious made with fresh instead of frozen peas; preferably sweet and tender ones from your own garden. I seem to remember blogging that: "Hummus made with anything but chickpeas" would be fashionable this year but I have yet to read anything more about this. Anyway, if you have no chickpeas available, try this hummus for a taste of Spring! If you like the look of this, you may also like Broad Bean Hummus.
I made a large amount of this hummus for weekend lunch and weekday lunchboxes with:
250g (dry weight) marrowfat dried peas
125g green peas (thawed frozen or fresh)
1 tab extra-virgin olive oil
3 tabs tahini
4 tabs fresh lemon juice
2 tsps seasalt
1/2 tsp hing
1 tab dried thyme/ mint (fresh would be even better!)
black pepper to taste (at least 1 tsp)
  • Cook the dried peas until soft, drain and add to food processor/ blender with the green peas
  • Add the other ingredients and blend to a thick paste. If you like it thinner, add a little water until you're satisfied with the consistency and adjust the seasonings accordingly.
Last weekend really was stunning, so I've added some pics from my garden to get us in the mood for warmer days and lighter evenings... enjoy :)

Monday, 26 March 2012

Peanut Roast- vegan

After dinner, this lone slice was the only thing left for me to photograph...!

This is more notes than a proper recipe, as I really wasn't expecting this to come out so good so I didn't bother to measure anything! The flavour is very European; mixed herbs and predominantly thyme. Mary of Inside a British Mum's Kitchen, this one's for you! Hope you get to read this. It's a taste of old-fashioned English vegetarian cooking a la Cranks. (When your kids are old enough for nuts.)
 Instead of egg to bind, I used a large handful of semolina that I'd soaked until soft. I sauteed slices of celery with a dash of dark soy sauce and grated in cucumber to the chopped nuts and semolina to give some moisture. You could use onions and garlic if you eat them instead of these, and grate in courgette, sweet potato or carrot instead of cucumber. There was also about 1/2 a tube of tomato puree. About 500g of peanuts went in. The seasoning was: seasalt, soy sauce, black pepper, paprika, hing, mixed dried herbs and lots of dried thyme (which seems to complement peanuts really well). All you do is mix all the ingredients together really well, put in a greased tin (I actually use a dampened square silicone cake mould) and cook at 200-225C for about as long as it takes to do the parsnips and pumpkin, or until the top is nicely browned.
 I served it with roast homegrown parsnips and pumpkin, sweated pointed Spring cabbage and  peas. I dug out the last bag of our cooked-down homegrown tomatoes from the freezer, and made a super-quick gravy- cum-sauce by adding some basic seasoning and lots of yeast flakes (aka nutritional yeast.)
One day I'll make it again and get the ingredients measured to make a proper recipe...