April Foodie Update

This has been a busy month and sadly I haven’t made as many new recipes as I normally would. Not a complete wash though!…

FROM THE APRIL BON APÉTIT…

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Roasted Cauli version with the Coconut-Tumeric Relish. Delish!

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Smashed Cucumber Salad, gorgeous.

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We tried the Za’atar and Feta version. It was dreamy and easy. New go to summer salad for sure!

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Cherry Upside-Down Cake, yum!

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It could have been saucier. I think you could use a variety of other fruit. There just needs to be enough juice to soak in nicely.

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Cherry Cake before the up-side-down part.

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Kimchi Fried Rice

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Add an egg for a complete meal. Extremely easy. I’d add extra Kimchi!

FROM FOOD AND DRINK, SPRING 2018:

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Roasted Squash Salad with Maple-Apple Cider Vinegar Gastrique

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Perfect combo of sweet and salty. The ricotta dollops were lovely. Super easy too.

BAKE FROM SCRATCH, BREAD SPECIAL EDITION:

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To die for Cinnamon buns!

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Can’t go wrong with Cream Cheese icing!

 

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Rising Cheesy Scallion Pull-Apart Rolls

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Soaked in butter and topped with cheese and onion.

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OMG!!! Sooooooo tasty.

I still need to look for some May mags. I haven’t seen ones I want yet. There does seem to be a Mexican food theme moving into summer though.

 

 

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A Year of Cookbooks – 3 Recommendations

As everyone who has been following my blog will know I chose 1 cookbook a month in 2017 to see how many recipes I could make…

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All 12 challenge books

I learned some new techniques and ate some gorgeous new food. Here are the 12 books I chose. All vegetarian and all picked for different reasons:

January – Skinny Bitch, Ultimate Everyday Cookbook by Kim Barnouin (Picked because it was January and said Skinny in the title lol!) See the post here.

February – Rebar, Modern Food Cookbook by Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanowicz (Picked because I’ve been to the restaurant and have always wanted to make more of their recipes.) See the post here.

March  The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen (Picked because this is truly a Vegetarian Classic and published in 1977, my DOB.) See the post here.

April – The World of the Happy Pear by Stephen and David Flynn (Picked because I loved some of the salad recipes from the first book and hadn’t made anything out of their second yet!) See the post here.

May – A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones (Picked because I LOVE the aesthetics of her books, they are a pleasure to read. The recipes also looked very much the way we like to eat normally.) See the post here.

June – The Love and Lemons Cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews (Picked because it is a GORGEOUS looking book with fresh, simple recipes.) See the post here.

July – The Green Kitchen by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl (Picked again for the beautiful photography and because the recipes look so healthy and flavourful!) See the post here.

August – Vegetarian Any Day by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming (Picked because the recipes looked like basic ingredients that could be accomplished on an island cottage! I.e. basic ingredients, no fancy mixers needed and crowd pleasing. It was a plus that they are Canadian authors.) See the post here.

September – Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Lindon (Picked because the first Oh She Glows is one of my go-to vegan cookbooks and I wanted to try more recipes from her new book.) See the post here.

October – River Cottage Much More Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Picked because I’ve LOVED Hugh and River Cottage ever since we lived in the UK. His first Veg book is a staple, one I always recommend people to take a look at.) See the post here.

November – Mildreds The cookbook by the chefs at Mildreds UK (Picked because I’m a sucker for UK restaurant cookbooks and the recipes looked yummy.) See the post here.

December – Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi (Picked because the food at his restaurants is my absolute fav way to eat and because I have all his books and do more drooling over them then cooking from them!) See the post here.

I thought that I should try and pick my top 3 that I think you should buy. If you love cookbooks as much as I do you’ll probably want to buy them all but I think some are more worthy to own. It was soooooooo tough to decide but…

1- Rebar, Modern Food Cookbook by Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanowicz. The recipes are really lovely and always turned out well. Unfortunately, it’s a bit “self-published” looking so you aren’t going to buy this for the pictures! It’s Canadian too which is cool!

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2- Vegetarian Any Day by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming. I picked this one, not because it was my favourite, but because it had a lot of recipes that I think all eaters (meat included) would like. They are simple without “fancy” spices and ingredients. I think it would be a good all arounder…

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3- Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. I really just think everyone has to try some Ottolenghi. Really you could get any of his books though I’d think. Take a peep next time you are out and buy one!

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Ok I’m going to have to pick 4… The Love and Lemons Cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews. The pictures are lovely and the recipes are fresh and vibrant. If you don’t fancy the book she has a great blog and instagram where you can probably find most of the recipes or ones very similar.

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From my posts you may have noticed that I tried a few follow up books from some of my favourite chefs. Below are their first books. If you are interested in these authors then I’d suggest getting these, their first triumphs…

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Definitely not his first book but his first dedicated to the glorious veg! If you are a meat eater you’ll want to check out his others for sure!

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Honestly all her books look like this one so you probably can’t go wrong with any of them. There are 3 out now I believe.

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If you are venturing more into the Vegan realm then DEFINITELY pick up this gem. The cashew cream will change your life!

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Looking for some neat salad ideas in particular then get this one to try.

Also, could you go wrong with any classic Molly Katzen, probably not…

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Happy Cooking and let me know if you buy something new!

 

 

Happy New Year From Me and Plenty

I hope everyone had a happy New Year. We finished the year with a gorgeous pasta recipe from Plenty, Saffron Tagliatelle with Spiced Butter p.260. It was rich, so don’t go overboard on the sauce, but always satisfying to make fresh pasta…

Given how busy December can be I’m pretty impressed with how many recipes I managed from Plenty. They always looked so involved with lots of ingredients but actually it’s usually just a lot of lovely spices and if you already have them in your cupboard then you will be fine to make these recipes. Most recipes use fresh herbs as well so that could be a draw back for some. Overall, I was pleased with all the recipes we tried. Some have already become serious favourites and have already made them again. Two recipes in particular will make the “weekday meal round-up” for sure, Shakshuka p.87 and Cardamom rice with poached eggs and yogurt p. 240. Both were healthy, hearty and quick to make…I’ve learned how to make the most gorgeous poached eggs as well, very proud of that…

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Cardamom rice cooking

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Cardamom rice with poached egg and plain greek yogurt dollops

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Shakshuka cooking. Doesn’t it look cozy!

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A must it with lovely white bread

The Christmas break helped me to make a couple feasts, one being Spicy Moroccan carrot salad p.14, Sweet Potato Cakes p.32 and Freekeh Pilaf p. 241...All were totally Moorish…

One of the other keeper recipes I’m going to remember that will be great for company is the Surprise Tatin p. 22. It was soooooo simple but looked impressive! It was filled with slow roasted tomatoes, sauteed onions, baby potatoes and goat cheese. The most interesting part was the caramel sauce that baked in on top to give it a wonderful colour and buttery taste…

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Another company crowd pleaser was the Very Full Tart p.84. Roasted sweet potato and eggplant were the star of the show…

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Not oddly, one of the most moorish, wonderful recipes was one of the simplest. The Burnt Eggplant with Tahini p.122 was incredible. I did the “salad” version with mini cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. A must eat with quality Lebanese style pita…

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I’m pleased to have a nice “side” recipe that could be done at a larger meal. The Herb-Stuffed Tomatoes p. 136 would be great with a Sunday Roast or a Full Breakfast…

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For me, (as everyone else loved them) there was one recipe downer this time and that was the Puy Lentil Galettes p. 208. It was cook error though. I messed with the puffed pastry too much and they didn’t puff up and cook through as one would have liked. I should have just ate the lentil mix on it’s own as it was divine…the combo was a bit odd, if honest…

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Finally, the recipe that has inspired my new foray into fresh pasta making was the Lemon and Goat Cheese Ravioli p. 250…

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Everyone knows that fresh pasta is the best but one must remember how incredibly easy it is to make too! If you have the pasta maker it can be done so quickly. Of course ravioli takes longer to put together so not a weekday meal but I challenge everyone to get on with MAKING THEIR OWN PASTA! The tarragon and pink peppercorns in this dish were truly divine as well.

So that’s the cookbook challenge for 2017 done! Wow, what a marathon! I’m so thrilled with all the new recipes accomplished! Our waistlines haven’t suffered too much. Stay tuned for a post about which of the 12 books I tried that I think you need to get as well as my idea for a 2018 challenge. Get cooking everyone!

November Cookbook Challenge

Below could be the reason that I didn’t make as many recipes from the November book. I just wanted to get home and cuddle my new little friends. Welcome to Gigi and Gus, too bad you can’t eat any of the yummy food I make!

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Gigi, grey calico and Gus peachy tabby!

I’m highly annoyed I didn’t try the yummy looking Macaroni & Cheese with sun-dried tomatoes & basil crumb topping p.135 but I could always try and squeeze it in over Christmas break!

First up was the Haloumi, Zucchini & Mint Fritters p. 64. I found them a little bit hard to hold together but they worked ok. They tasted great! I would recommend a dipping sauce of some sort. I think a nice Tzatziki would work perfectly…

BEST FIND IN THE BOOK NEXT! NEED A RECIPE FOR A HOLIDAY PARTY? READ ON…

The Chili Flake & Feta Dip p.78 is my new go-to dip for sure! It is basically whipped up feta with spices and olive oil. Genius, Quick, Super Yummy! Serve with flatbreads or crackers (I like rice crackers or Pita Bites). Honestly, this dip takes about 10 min or less to whip up. Just keep a big chunk of feta on hand this Christmas and you have a scrummy dip ready for pop in company!…

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Next up we tried the Puy Lentil Salad with Roasted Vegetables p.87. John really liked this dish. It was packed with everything I love (especially roasted fennel) but for some reason I can’t explain it didn’t quite do it for me. I think something in the slight sweetness of the sauce. Just a personal preference though!…

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The next 2 recipes were a real hit for a main, great for company. We loved the Cinnamon-Spiced Squash & Lima Bean Stew p.120 with the Chile Cornbread p.178. The spice in the bread was perfect and it was quick to make. Don’t let the name of the stew fool you. It wasn’t super cinnamony or sweet, just rich and moorish…IMG_1697.jpgIMG_1694.jpg

The final recipe I tried was the White Chocolate & Raspberry Ripple Cheesecake p.204. This was seriously delicious and VERY simple and quick to make which is always a bonus for a fancy looking dessert. NOTE: I would HIGHLY recommend that you only use some of the raspberry compote on the top to form the swirl and save the rest to drizzle on afterwards. I’d throw some fresh berries in the layers but the compote just sunk through the layers and soaked the crust. It was still delicious but it didn’t look that great!…Ugh sorry I can’t find a pic of mine but here’s a quick peek from the book.

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December is upon us! I can’t believe that a whole year has passed and my cookbook a month challenge is almost over! I need to think about what to do next year. I have some ideas…

School finishes on the 22nd this year so I’ll still have a solid week after Christmas to make some December book recipes. Of course I HAD to pick an Ottolenghi book. Hopefully I saved the best for last. I love Ottolenghi and feel lucky that we visit the UK so often that I get to eat at his restaurants every year. Many of the ingredients are a bit harder to find in Canada but I’m going to do my best with his first veg book Plenty. I’ve had this book since it came out but have shamefully only made 2 recipes from it, I think. His recipes are like eye candy for me so I read his books all the time but because they are a little more involved with fresh ingredients they aren’t my quick go-to supper books. So excited to get going though…Happy Holidays everyone!

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Much More Veg October

I knew I would like the new River Cottage cookbook. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall delivers again on easy recipes that showcase the simple veg! Love. With the rush of Thanksgiving and craziness of school back in full swing, I didn’t make as many recipes as I would have liked but such is life! I’ll look forward to revisiting this book in the new year. I think I like the first Veg book better if you are only going to buy one but I appreciate the layout of the new book. I love the section dedicated to roasted veg. Really, roast any veg and it makes it a million times more flavourful! Preserved lemons are highlighted in many of the recipes. If you haven’t used these babies before then get on it, adds an incredible layer of flavour to almost any dish!

First up was the “Roast Fennel, New Potato and Tomato Stew” p.16 with a side of “Moroccan Carrot Blitz” p.284…

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This does not do it justice! It took a lot longer to roast than the recipe said but it was well worth the wait! The olives added a saltiness that was key.

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Moroccan Carrot Blitz prep

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Moroccan Carrot Blitz read to go. Fresh and vibrant!

We tried a few roast dishes. Next was the “Roast Squash and Chickpeas with Spicy Apricot Sauce” p.92. Again, another moorish dish that I couldn’t stop eating…

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Roasted Squash and Chickpeas with Spicy Apricot Sauce, hello!

The “Roast Swede Vegeree” p.91 was a favourite of John’s. He grew up a typical English boy eating boiled Swede (Rutabaga, for us Canadians) and was scared to death of this recipe but he ended up liking it better than me. The Swede was just a bit strong for me and when I make it again I’ll go for one of the suggested “swaps” at the end of each recipe, the sweet potato would be a good one!

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Swede Vegeree prep

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Finished Swede Vegeree

The last big meal dish I tried was the “Tomato Dhal” P.102. This will definitely be a quick go-to recipe for me now as it uses a lot of common store cupboard ingredients. “The Onion Tarka” p.102 on top is a must as well…

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Tomato Dahl prep

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Tomato Dahl plated

I finished the month off with two dip recipes for a Halloween veg platter. The “Pea Hummus” p.304 and the “Nutty, Seedy, Herby Hummus” p.306. Both were lovely but I thought the nut humous was totally addictive and unique…

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Pea Hummus

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Nut, Seed Hummus

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Party time!

I can’t believe there are only 2 more months left of 2017. I know which book I want to pick for December but I was torn between a few for November…

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I decided with Christmas coming my waistline should avoid the Violet Cafe BAKING book!

Then I remembered a book I picked up at HomeSense recently (FYI, great place to find a random popular/new cookbook at an awesome price)…

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I saw this book in the UK last year and thought it looked scrumptious. I love a restaurant with a bit of history. Mildred’s is still around today (I haven’t been, yet) but was founded in 1988 in the West End. Back when veg restaurants were super hippie serving largely unidentifiable food, they aimed to “open a restaurant serving good value, fresh, and colorful international vegetarian food.” p.7. Flicking through this book I want to try everything! There seems to be something to please everyone, stews, bakes, burgers, sammies, pastas and dips. Not sure what I’ll make first!

Oh She Glows September

Is it mid October all ready! I sit here with my pumpkin spice latte reflecting on the second Oh She Glows Cookbook, Oh She Glows Every Day. I remember when this book first came out. I was so excited! Unfortunately, my initial reaction was “Um, what the heck, most of these recipes look similar to/or exactly the same as the last book” or “why would you need a recipe for that…” E.g. I didn’t need like 3 recipes for nut butter! I loved the first Oh She Glows book so much though that I had to give it a fair shot. Turns out there are a lot of really good recipes again. Even though they may look similar to her last book they were different enough to feel like you’d made something new. I still recommend her first book to everyone who asks what veg book they should buy. Between that and her app I don’t think her new book is essential to have but I’m still glad I got it!

Highlights…

The Sweets…

I tried 2 cookie recipes that were phenomenal. Truly! The Chocolate-Almond Espresso Cookies, p.207 and the Pillowy Pumpkin Snacking Cookies, p. 217. You would never know these were vegan and they turned out to perfection. Unfortunately, I forgot a pic of the pumpkin cookies but see the chocolate ones below…definitely do the espresso powder!

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Chocolate-Almond Espresso Cookies

From the dessert section I also made The Ultimate Flourless Brownies with the No-Cook Caramel Sauce, p.253. The Brownie was a bit too salty for me but others seemed to like it. It was very rich so you could only manage a little piece. The “caramel” sauce was actually quite delightful. I’d definitely recommend having a jar on hand for ice cream needs.

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The Ultimate Flourless Brownies with No-Cook Caramel Sauce

Breakfast…

I had actually tried all of the smoothies in this section already. Her smoothie combos are usually great. They were, I just have a sweeter tooth so I added extra maple syrup or agave to my version.

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First day of school Green Matcha Mango Ginger Smoothie, p.17.

Weekends are for uping your breakfast game. The 9-Spice Avocado Hummus Toast is a huge winner!…

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Every Day Lemon-Garlic Hummus. Pretty standard hummus recipe, tasty but nothing special.

Strawberry Oat Crumble Bars…something about these was NOT great. I used the Strawberry-Vanilla Chia Seed Jam, p.44 (another recycled recipe from the first book) which is yummy. I think it’s the use of the sunflower seed butter. Fresh out of the oven they were ok but the next day it made the bars taste a little “off”. I can’t fully explain. Unless these bars need to go to school, I’d use almond or peanut butter instead…

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Strawberry Oat Crumble Bars

Another fab breakfast recipe was the Banana Bread Muffin Tops, p.87. Too easy to make, healthy and liked by all who tried…

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Banana Bread Muffin Tops

On to the Savoury…

The Protein Power Rainbow Quinoa Salad, p.99 is my new go-to potluck salad recipe for sure!…

Another go-to I found was the Thai Crunch Salad, p.101. I made extra Cast-Iron Tofu, p137, Roasted Tamari Almonds, p.263. and Thai Almond Butter Sauce, p.249 so I was able to assemble salads for a few days! Who doesn’t love that…

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Thai Crunch Salad

Listen up Chickpea salad sandwich friends! The most influential recipe I took away from Oh She Glows 1 was swapping out the tuna in your tuna salad recipe for a can of chickpeas. In book 2 she shares her Curried Chickpea Salad, p.113 recipe. It was highly addictive and I almost at the whole bowl myself without the pita. When I ate meat I used to love me a tuna sandwich. When I discovered roughly crushing chickpeas instead I was in heaven. Most people don’t even notice it’s not tuna, seriously!…

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Curried Chickpea Salad

The Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Coconut Curry, p.179 was a delight. It was so quick to throw together with store cupboard ingredients. A go-to mid week meal for sure…

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Sweet-Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Coconut Curry

John jumped in on one recipe this month. He made the Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta, p.185. This was so similar to a creamy pasta recipe in her first book that we almost didn’t give it a go. I’m glad we did though. It was tasty…

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Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

A real dinner winner was the Ultimate Green Taco Wraps, p.191. I love me a lettuce cup meal…

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In short, I still love Oh She Glows but I’m not convinced you need to rush out and buy this 2nd book if you already have the first. If you love her recipes like I do and have a cookbook buying problem too then get it; you will find some keepers!

October’s book is already under way. I HAD to choose Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s second Veg book River Cottage: Much More Veg. It truly breaks my heart that Canadians don’t really know Hugh. His River Cottage show is a UK classic! I fell head over heals in love with his show, books and attitude to veg and sustainable meat eating when we lived in the UK. His book came out when John was last in the UK so of course I HAD to order it to his mom’s to bring back. I’m so excited to tuck into more veg with River Cottage! (River Cottage the first book can be found here in Canada and aside from the first Oh She Glows it is the veg cookbook I recommend most to friends.)

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August Book Done

I’m in serious denial that August is over and school has actually started! I have to say that I’m pretty impressed with myself for how many recipes I was able to do out of Vegetarian Any Day at a cottage on an island, at least 1/2 an hour from a grocery store! It took some serious planning I chose this book for August because it didn’t look like it needed a lot of fancy schmancy kitchen equipment. I was able to get by with a Nutri-Bullet. I would say that most people thoroughly enjoyed all the recipes and I would recommend this book as an intro veggie book. I was not keen on the zucchini wraps but other than that there are a lot of recipes I’d make again. One interesting observation was that there appeared to be a ton of recipes that called for a head of cauliflower! It’s such a versatile veg. I think it’s also becoming a hot ingredient so it was nice to find a few different ideas. There was the standard cauliflower pizza crust that is a bit more popular but I thought that Buffalo “wing” bites were amazing and the halloumi bites, yum!

I think I forgot a few pics but check out the highlights below…

Toasted Baby Arugula and Zucchini Salad P.90

This extremely simple salad was so delicious and refreshing. I already have the lemon dressing memorized.  A simple crowd pleaser for sure! I’ve already been asked for the recipe.

Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites P.40

Hello! This app was so tasty and unique! Faux chicken wings if you will! So simple and tasty. I served it with the suggested Herbed Kefir Ranch Dressing P. 102. It was delightful.

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Black Quinoa and Cauliflower Halloumi Cheese Balls, P.44. We had these twice because after the first time Dad asked me everyday to make them again! I served them with BBQ sauce and Frank’s Red Hot but you easily eat them on their own.

Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Pizza with Brie and Maple P.131

This pizza was incredibly delicious. First of all the Cauliflower crust is amazing. (Use any toppings you want though.) I’m not convinced I tasted the Brie. I think other cheese would  have been fine.

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Horrible  picture! But this is a gorgeous Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Bake that I’m definitely making as a side for Thanksgiving dinner! P. 157

Caramelized Onion with Gruyere and Sauerkraut P.132

This sandwich was so moorish! This was a hilarious meal because we got my mom to eat sauerkraut! My dad and I love it but mom wouldn’t normally eat it; I think my dad was feeling hard done by that I got her to eat it but he couldn’t!

Coconut Chili Lime Collard Green Wraps P.123

These wraps were a pleasant surprise. I’ve been been meaning to use collard greens for wraps for some time now but just haven’t gotten around to it. DO NOT MAKE MY MISTAKE! Simply, they rock. The red lentils in this dish were cooked in coconut milk, stroke of genius. If you buy this book, try this recipe please.

Lentil Cake Salad with Roasted Red Pepper and Feta P.110

This was just ok for me. The cakes needed more seasoning but I liked the idea. The dressing and fixings were nice. The overall appearance was a tad sketchy though!

Chipotle Sweet Potato Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa P.124

For me, this was a book winner! The pineapple salsa was so simple and delish. I love the sweet potato idea as well. Definitely try and find corn tortillas too. I like the Casa Mendosa ones that have shown up Zhers recently.

Zucchini Wraps P. 118

Ok these…too much work for not many wraps and they did not taste that great in my opinion! Mom liked them though. As you can tell I was totally not convinced.

Portobello and Pepper Fajitas P.126

PLEASE DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THESE! The marinade was sub-par. Please use the Oh She Glows recipe for this same idea. It’s in her first book, Oh She Glows. She has a recipe for the same thing and the marinade for the mushrooms is a zillion times better. Fact, true story!!!

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Ripe Peach and Pistachio Butter Lettuce Wraps P.120

Weird little recipe but with fresh Ontario peaches you got to get going! I made these until the blue cheese ran out. They were fantastic! Such an odd combo of ingredients but somehow they totally worked. I had a honey white balsamic in the cupboard so used that instead of the suggested white balsamic. A hit!

Slow Cooker French Onion Miso Soup

I made this after we got back from the cottage. Funny enough it was the reason I bought the book because I LOVE French Onion soup but it always has a beef broth. Try it!

On to September…

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I knew September was going to be busy with school starting up so I wanted to pick another simple book where I knew I’d have most of the ingredients lying around. Thus, the second Oh She Glows book. I love her first book and recommend it to everyone that asks for a go to Veg book! (She’s also vegan but whatever.) It was the first book that introduced me to cashew cream (a heavenly substance). I have to admit I was extremely disappointed by the second book. Many of the recipes looked recycled from the first book, just changed a bit. I also immediately tried a few smoothie combos and was disheartened. That being said…I loved the first book so much that I feel it is only fair to give the second one a proper go. So here goes…