Saturday, 18 February 2012

Kweggs

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Not a recipe, more of a serving suggestion, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce....the kwegg!

Miss K: Can I have a kwegg mum? 
Me: Erm, yes, what's a kwegg?
Miss K: A kiwi egg...a kiwi in an egg cup!

So there's now another new word in our household: Is it a kiwi fruit or is it an egg; No, it's a kwegg!

There you have it...a new noun, soon to be found in the Oxford English Dictionary - Kwegg:  A kiwi fruit 
with the top sliced off, served in an egg cup and eaten with a teaspoon.


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Friday, 17 February 2012

Polpette Vegetariane (Vegetarian Meatballs)

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I ate vegetarian polpettes (meatballs) for the first time a couple of weeks ago, when we had a family meal out at a local Mediterranean restaurant. I'm not sure what vegetables were used, but I think courgettes and carrots were included. These polpettes were also stuffed with mozzarella, which I didn't bother to do, as I thought it would take a bit too long to make.

You can make different flavoured polpettes by varing the vegetables and herbs used. Just squeeze out as much moisture as you can from the cooked vegetables and adjust the amount of breadcrumbs used to get a firm, but still moist mixture, before cooking.


Serves 4-6
  • 1 large/2 medium aubergine/eggplant 
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • About 4 slices of bread, made into breadcrumbs (approx 2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp fresh, chopped herbs or 2-3 tsp dried herbs
  • Seasoning to taste
Prick the aubergine all over, and cook under a hot grill (broiler) for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
Cook until the skin is black and the flesh feel soft.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then cut open the aubergine, pull off the charred skin and drain off any juices in a colander.
Pat dry with kitchen roll.
Meanwhile gently fry the onion and garlic in a drop of olive oil, until soft.
Put the aubergine flesh, cooked onion and garlic in a food processor and blend for a couple of seconds (or chop with a knife) - you want the flesh chopped, but not puréed.
Add the egg, herbs, seasoning and half of the breadcrumbs and mix to combine.
Add enough extra breadcrumbs to make a mixture which holds its shape. 
Divide mixture into about 12 pieces and roll each into a small ball, using your hands and a little flour. 
Put onto a floured plate and chill until needed.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan. 
Fry the polpettes for about 10 minutes until browned.

Serve over pasta, 
with plenty of  freshly made tomato sauce.

Suitable for freezing.


Alternatives: Use any combination of lightly cooked vegetables instead of aubergine; Try spinach and potato, squash and carrot, courgette and sweet potato, mixed roasted vegetables etc.
Use 
approx. 300-400g/12-16oz raw, unpeeled weight of vegetables.
Make the polpettes twice the size and form into burgers instead of 'meatballs'.
You could use raw, grated vegetables and deep fry the polpettes if preferred.
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Thursday, 16 February 2012

RIP Kenwood Multi-Pro Food Processor

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Well, my faithful little friend, the time has come for me to say goodbye. Yes, you'll soon be off to the great food processor resting place in the sky (OK the local recycling centre...AKA the tip), but don't worry, you didn't die in vain. I'm going to offer to donate your spare parts on Freegle, so you can help another food processor live a little longer than you did.

You had a busy and productive life chopping, mixing, grating and slicing; But most of all, I loved the way you made breadcrumbs and chopped nuts in your little coffee grinder and blended soups in your liquidiser until they were super-smooth, just like my kids love.

I'll wait a little while before I buy another food processor (out of respect of course!), but I will have space in my life (and my kitchen) for a new addition quite soon. Please don't feel I took you for granted...you may be gone but you won't be forgotten (for at least a few weeks).


RIP.
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Saturday, 11 February 2012

Don't tell my children what to eat!

It's been a while, but it's time once again for me to have a little rant, so please excuse me!

13 Year old Miss Ony, has been on a healthy eating regime since the start of the year. At first, I was OK with her taking control of her own food intake and reducing the amount of fat and sugar she ate (although being veggie, I'm sure her intake was far lower than the average child anyway) but she started getting more strict and cut out snacks, sweets and chocolate altogether.

She also started exercising more than usual, looking at the calorie contents of the foods she was eating and being very self critical of the way she looked. All quite normal things for a teenage girl to do, maybe? But it was making her unhappy and snappy.

Anyway, everything came to a head and we had a heart to heart chat about what was going on...it turns out that one of her teachers had been spouting on about how bad it was to eat chocolate and fatty foods, and how everyone should exercise more. As a teacher of teenage children, I think she should have known better and realised how influential her pep talks about healthy eating could be, especially to sensitive and intelligent young women like Miss Ony. 

Yes, most of us parents want our children to eat healthily and know about the nutritional value of different foods. T
here is obviously a time and place for schools to teach children about such things during the appropriate lessons; But please don't tell my children that any food is bad. Salad may be healthy, but we can't live on salad alone - we need a combination of carbohydrate, protein, fats, sugars and God forbid, even some salt!

The lovely Gok Wan's new TV series
Gok's Teens: The Naked Truth addresses some of the issues that Miss Ony is going though at the moment, so we'll be watching the programmes with interest and discussing the subjects raised. We're all big Gok fans, so it was really good timing to see the first programme this week. 

Miss Ony is now allowing herself to eat a little bit of chocolate when she fancies it, which is making us all a little happier! Oh and by the way, if you're reading this Miss Ony, you are beautiful just the way you are!
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Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Provamel oat and almond milks - review and giveaway

I was recently asked to review Provamel oat and almond non-dairy milks. I was interested to try these new products even though I'm not vegan, as I don't drink dairy milk due to a mild lactose intolerance (and a general dislike of the taste of milk!). I tested out both products, with the help of my family to see how they would stand up to use poured over breakfast cereals, in hot drinks and in cooking.

Both milks are suitable for vegans and they are low in saturated fat, dairy-free and 100% organic... 
"The new almond flavour contains all the goodness of pure almonds – widely known to be rich in mono-unsaturated fats and vitamin E – and is naturally sweetened with agave syrup.
Provamel’s new oat milk is low in sodium, free from added sugars and boasts the additional benefit of rich oats, which are packed with fibre, protein and unsaturated fats."
We all preferred the look and taste of the almond milk...it looked white and creamy like real milk and smelled faintly of nuts. It tasted slightly almond-y and was pleasantly sweet. It tasted good in tea and coffee, chilled and poured over cereal; I think it would great in milk shakes and smoothies too. The almond milk also worked really well as a cooking ingredient in my vegan Victoria sponge cake recipe.

Unfortunately the oat milk didn't go down quite as well. It had a pale beige colour which didn't look as appealing as the almond milk, and as it was unsweetened and tasted mildly oaty, none of us found it as palatable. This particular milk might be a good option for those avoiding nuts as well as dairy products, but it wasn't one for us!

Both milks are available at Holland and Barrett and all major health food stores, with an RRP of £2.99 and £1.59 respectively for 1litre. Although the almond milk is almost twice the price of the oat milk, I think it's worth it if you're looking for a pleasant tasting non-dairy milk, that all the family will enjoy.

The great news is that Provamel have offered a litre carton of each milk as a giveaway, so you can try both of these products yourself. All you have to do is follow my blog, and then pop along to Provamel's website. Let me know which your favourite Provamel product is (in a comment below), and make sure you leave a contact email address or Twitter ID.

UK residents only.
Competition NOW CLOSED.
I will announce the winner here and on Twitter - the winner is...Karen aka 
@marmitina .
The winner will be picked randomly and contacted within 48 hours.
If I don't hear back from the winner within 7 days of this, I reserve the right to re-draw and offer the prize to someone else.


Integrity Statement

I received 2 carton's of Provamel milk to review and to give away on my blog. I did not receive payment, and the views expressed are genuinely those of myself and my family.



Button made using Cooltext.
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Vegan Victoria Sponge Cake

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This was a bit of an experiment for me, as I've tried a few vegan sponge cake recipes in the past, and they've all sunk horribly in the middle after cooling; Despite tasting good, they didn't look great.
I wanted to make a sponge that didn't use egg-replacer, or other fancy ingredients, but still looked and tasted like real sponge cake!  As you can see it turned out pretty well, although the texture was more chewy than a regular sponge cake.
  • 100g/4oz dairy free spread
  • 150g/6oz caster sugar
  • 200g/8oz SR flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200ml/8 floz Provamel sweetened almond milk or equivalent 
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Preheat oven to 180C/170C Fan/Gas 4
Grease and line two 7"/20cm sandwich tins.
Cream the spread and sugar until soft and then beat in 3 tbsp of the milk.
Add the remaining milk, flour, vanilla and baking powder and beat until smooth.
Divide mixture between the two tins.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch.
Cool in the tin for 2-3 minutes before turning out and removing the greaseproof paper.
Sandwich together with vegan butter icing and jam (jelly) when cool, and sprinkle the top with caster sugar.

Vegan butter icing

  • 2 tbsp dairy free spread
  • 75g/3oz icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Soften the spread.
Mix in the vanilla.
Beat in the icing sugar gradually, adding a little boiled water if needed to make a soft, spreadable mixture.

Alternatives:
If you have a nut allergy sufferer in the family, just swap the almond milk for a suitable nut-free alternative.
Swap the vanilla for lemon zest to make a lemon cake, 1 tsp coffee granules mixed with 2 tsp boiling water for a coffee cake, or swap 25g/1oz of the flour for unsweetened cocoa powder to make a chocolate cake.
Try this recipe if you have egg-replacer available.


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