Tag Archives: trees

All Dark

dark
photo credit: Charlotte Burnett

We’re close to the Solstice now. It is very dark. Above is a strange and dark perspective of our wild and non-conformist tree cut from the garden leading nicely into Hotel Chocolat’s first completely vegan collection. What a gift:

The All Dark Collection
The All Dark Collection: The perfect gift for vegans, dairy-avoiders, or lovers of deep, intense cocoa, featuring truffles, puddles, nano slabs and single-origin cocoa. Yum.

For more gift ideas and lots of festive recipes visit Vegan Christmas or Yule

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Chocs Away!

Goodness Direct goodies
Goodness Direct sent us some things! Sweet things! Ooh!

The Booja Booja Champagne truffles we had tried before, hence our delight on seeing them in the box. They are smooth and rich and decadent, perfect for a special occasion or as a gift or treat.

truffles

The Eskal mints and fruit crèmes were new to us, but both very enjoyable, the mints reminiscent of Bendicks and the crèmes delicately and naturally flavoured. The company do quite a large range of vegan and gluten-free foods (we like the pasta and noodles too).

nutri snax

Nutri Snax are a bit like Nakd bars, maybe a little chewier, but very nice and they come in various flavours.

Lest this post be ever so sweetly misleading: Goodness Direct are actually an online health food shop, selling everything you would expect from such a store including fresh vegetables, bread and household items. Despite the fact we live in the North of Scotland, a package from them usually arrives the day after ordering. They offer free delivery on orders over £35. We’ve used them for years and know their customer service to be excellent.

Let’s finish up with an evening loch picture, just because:

loch

chestnut roast

chestnut roast, vegan and gluten free

A very nice roast, the sweet spiciness of the chestnuts making it quite different in flavour to our cashew and walnut ones. Serves four generously.

Fry off 2 large red onions and 4 sticks of celery, both roughly chopped. Add in seven cloves (or less, up to you) of finely chopped garlic and a good bunch of fresh rosemary, scissored in.

Once the above has softened add a jar or tin of puréed chestnuts and stir until dissolved. Add a little water (about half a cupful) before mixing in a cup of rice crumbs (or other bread crumbs) and a couple of tablespoonfuls of gluten free flour. Salt to taste.

Place in an oiled loaf tin and bake at 200C for at least half an hour or until firm. Yum. Slices well cold the next day for sandwiches or salads too.

The tree picture is dark and creepy today, but still brighter than the weather.

dark and creepy trees by a loch

mini pizza bites

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Delicious and fresh after the rich food of Yule, the courgette bases are juicy and flavoursome. Nice as canapés or a starter.

Brush a baking tray with olive oil . We used three courgettes, sliced to just under a cm thick, to cover a full size oven tray. Top with pizza sauce of your choice: ours consisted of passata mixed with a little olive oil, finely chopped onion, dried oregano and seasalt. We topped off with some Redwood’s melting cheese, but half an olive would be nice too. Bake for about 20 minutes at 200C/400F.

And as we seem to have developed a food/tree rhythm in recent posts, here is a woodpecker hole in a Scots Pine, which happens to be roughly the same shape and size as a mini pizza bite :)

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cheesey sage and onion potato cakes

sagenonioncakes

A simple supper or a filling breakfast using up leftover mashed potato. We had one very heaped soup bowl of mash, but the recipe is versatile :)

Fry off 2 red onions and a couple of good sprigs of sage (chopped or scissored in). Mix into the potatoes with a block of grated cheezly and a tablespoon of flour. Squishing it all up with your hands is best. Press into fairly thin pancakes and dip each side in crumbs of some sort, we used rice ones. Shallow fry, turning once, until crispy.

Was very nice with Brussels sprouts and salad.

sun through the trees
sun through the trees

Tibits, Tomato Soup and Vegan Month

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Autumn is deepening and darkening, it’s conker time, it’s almost November, and November is vegan month. Animal Aid are running The Great Vegan Challenge where anyone can pledge to be vegan for a month with lots of help and support detailed here on their website (some rather nice recipes there too).

The vegetarian restaurant Tibits in London, normally 80% vegan in its offerings, is going to be launching Vegan Days, specifically on the 1st, 7th, 18th and 29th of November. Further vegan days will be mentioned here on their website. Judging by the lovely book they sent us – Tibits at Home – the food is pretty delicious.

Divided into seasons, the plethora of colourful recipes are all accompanied by photos. We liked the fact there are juice recipes and lots of really tasty sounding quinoa dishes, but today we tried the tomato soup with lemongrass and coconut milk, recipe below.

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Theirs is rather better presented than ours :) The book is now splattered, always a good sign with a cookbook.

Preparation time 40 minutes:
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 stalk lemongrass
200g green leeks
600g fully ripened tomatoes
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
350ml vegetable stock
half tsp ginger powder
half tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp chilli oil
1 tsp sea salt
150ml coconut milk
freshly ground seasalt and white pepper

1. Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic. Squash the lemongrass on a chopping board and chop finely.
2. Wash the leek, cut into half lengthwise and then chop into fine strips. Wash the tomatoes, remove the stem ends and chop into 3cm dice.
3. Sweat the onion, garlic and lemongrass in the hot olive oil until transparent. Add the diced tomatoes, veg stock, ginger, lemon pepper, chilli oil and sea salt and simmer at low temperature for 20 minutes.  Puree the soup in a food processor and pass through a sieve.
4. Add the coconut milk and the leek and lightly cook for another five minutes. Add seasalt and pepper to taste.

It was a very nice and warming recipe despite being from the summer section of the book. There are many sweet photos throughout, this was our favourite:

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Next up will be the parsnip soup though the linguini with pumpkin and swiss chard also looks enticing…

Don’t forget out own paprika pumpkin soup recipe this autumn, the shops seem to be stocking proper culinary pumpkins this year.

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preserving

rd

What a bumper year it’s been for the currants – were having berried up green smoothies daily, there are lots in freezer which will extend the berry smoothie season and it’s looking to be a very abundant bramble year too. Last year we gathered quite a lot for the freezer as well as smoothie-ing them fresh. At least I thought we’d gathered a lot until I met a man in the woods with 3 huge bucket loads of them. He must have spent all day picking. Maybe for jam? I really want to try preserving in different ways this year so we can eat the home grown stuff in winter too. So we made strawberry jam as mentioned, and then moved onto redcurrant and rosemary jelly for savoury things.  Inspired by the home baked blog, this mixing of flavours is beautiful! I used Delia’s redcurrant jelly recipe with quite a few rosemary sprigs thrown in.

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Cooking on the stove this morning is Apple and Ginger Chutney from the Cranks recipe book with the apples from the bike ride heavily supplemented with ones from our trees and our own onions in there too :) Adapted recipe on the sauces page.