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Bread baking with semolina!

Nothing beats watching your own crops grow….

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I’ve got an allotment plot.   I’ve wanted to grow my own vegetables and live off the land for  a wee while now, and it looks like it’s working out. Not only am I growing veg at the allotment, I’m also growing more varied veg in my own back yard!

Excuse the washing and the dog!

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I’m growing crops such as chick peas, soya beans, courgettes, peppers and so much more.  I wanted to grow food that I’d actually eat, and being a vegan these kinds of crops will go down very nicely!

So what’s this got to do with bread?

Not much to be fair.  Other than the fact that I want to live more by my own hand, via the land and using up food that I’d never normally have used, until now.   I mean, to live well you’ve got to make do with what you’ve got right?  And since I had a few bags of semolina, I did the old google thang and hey-presto I’ve got Semolina bread!

Since starting this journey I’ve cooked things I’d never thought I’d every cook/create.  I mean, making my own soya milk was brilliant in itself but to create my own beautiful loaf would be even better – in my eyes anyway!

I’ve got this dream.  I want to live completely free of supermarkets, money (well a lot less), live off the land whilst looking after animals who might otherwise have gone to their death for the meat industry.   It’s a dream that I intend to fulfill one day, so whilst I’m working towards that I’m learning to make food from scratch from what I have.  I even want to grow my own wheat – but that’s another story!

So here’s my very first loaf of semolina bread – what do you think?

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I am absolutely proud of it to be fair and what’s more it’s really easy to make and ever so light!

So do you fancy making your own with your fair hand?  

Good – let’s do it then!

What you’ll need:

284 ml water, lukewarm
1 /14 teaspoons of active dry yeast
210 g semolina
1/2 tablespoon of salt
140 g white bread flour
Olive oil for while the bread rises

What you’ll need to do (bear with me, it may seem a lot but really it is easy!):

Start by adding your water and yeast to a large mixing bowl. Stir this together and let it sit for a few minutes until the yeast dissolves completely.  Then add your salt and semolina flour to the mix. I did it by hand, just because I wanted to do it for real 🙂

When you stir in your semolina flour, it’ll look like scrambled eggs.  Next, add about 140 g of bread flour to the dough and stir it until it forms a rough ball. If it’s really dry, add a bit more water and if it’s really sticky then sprinkle on some more flour.

Roll this out onto a lightly floured surface. It should be pretty firm at this point.

Let the semolina relax and absorb some of the water before working with it. So, let the dough rest for about 5-10 minutes before trying to knead it. It makes it a lot easier to work with – believe me :).

Then knead this dough for about 10 minutes until it’s very elastic and really smooth and soft. If the dough gets sticky at any point, sprinkle with more flour.  Then after a few minutes though you should have a very smooth dough ball.

Add this to a large bowl and coat it well with olive oil. Cover it with a towel and let it rise until it triples in size it will probably take a few hours (about 3 approx)

After the 3 hours, take the dough out of the bowl, punch it down, knead it for another minute or so, then return it to the bowl and drizzle it with more olive oil. Let it rise a second time until it doubles in size. It’ll rise a lot faster the second time. It’ll probably take only 45 minutes to an hour to get there.

Making the loaf

I decided to give it a rustic look. So I punched down the dough and then rolled it into a rectangle.  I then folded one site over 2/3rds of the way over. Then i did the same the other side and tucked in both ends to make my loaf shape.   I then scored it across the top with a sharp knife to make it look a bit more authentic.

Now preheat your oven to about 250 degree’s and lay your loaf onto a baking sheet. It will rise again so give it about 30 minutes.  Then slide your loaf into the oven leaving it at temp 200 (fan assisted oven) and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and hollow when you hit it.

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Safe to say you’ll love this loaf, it’s ever so nice and brilliant toasted or used to dip into soup!

Enjoy creating your own food.

 

Px

Big thanks to Macheesmo.com for their fab recipe

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Home-made Soya Milk

I recently received a bag of organic soya beans and didn’t know what to do with them.   I’d considered making soya milk a few times, but never quite followed through because I thought it would be too difficult or I’d need more than a bag full of beans!

Then I stumbled upon this blog, all about making soy milk from soya beans and I just couldn’t resist giving it a try!

Guess what? It’s only blooming easy!!

It’s that easy I’ve even started to grow soya beans in my ‘garden allotment’ at home because I want to be more self sufficient, and if I can do it for myself then you can do it too! (I’ll write a post my allotment later on, because I love it!)

So here’s the recipe, give it a go.

What you’ll need:

80 grams of organic (if you can) soyabeans
1 Litre of water
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)

What you’ll need to do:

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Soak the soyabeans in water overnight for a minimum of 12 hours.  Then drain the soyabeans and remove the outer skins – this will take you about 20 minutes, I found it easier to squeeze the soyabean and watch the skin slip off.

Once you’ve taken all the skins off, blend the soyabeans with 750 milliliters of water until well blended and almost smooth.  You’ll then need to strain the blended mixture using a cheesecloth, a napkin or a strainer.

Pour the mixture in a saucepan, add 250 milliliters of water. Place the saucepan on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Stir and skim foam.  Then cook the milk over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or so.

Once completed let it cool down. Once cooled add the vanilla essence – this will make it taste a little bit sweeter.

Then store it in an old jam jar or something similar and pop it into your fridge. It lasted around 5 days for me, but you’ll know if it’s not right by giving it a sniff!

On the plus side, it’s even good in tea! I was very pleased about that!

Px

 

Thanks to Simple Vegan Blog 

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Beautiful Spicy-ish Bok Choy Mushroom & Tomato Stir-fry

These day’s, since becoming a Vegan, I hardly go a day without making something new from the food I intercept or save before it’s about to get binned!

Personally I think becoming vegan has given me a whole lease of life when it comes to cooking because you can’t just grab any old thing from the freezer or cupboards.  It has to be well thought out beforehand!   To be fair, I find it a bit hard, especially when my staple diet used to be jacket potato’s with cheese, cheese on toast, cheesy pasta or a pizza!

Can you see the re-occurring theme here?

I loved cheese.  Yet since deciding that my diet shouldn’t include harming any other living thing, cheese is now not so important and no longer figures in my cooking repertoire anymore!

Instead i get to sample the delights of new foods such as the wonderfully tasty and nutritious Bok Choy! (collected just today in fact!)

I’ll not bore you with it’s beauty other than the fact it’s highly ranked as one of the best vegetables to eat, it’s got 21 good nutrients and rich in Omega 3, zinc and so much more. Oh and the fact that it’s absolutely to die for and so is this stir-fry!

Don’t believe me? Well, try it for yourself and see!

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What you’ll need:

1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 medium bok choy
2 tomatoes
5 mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes (or a good old shake!)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon white cooking wine

What you’ll need to do:

Firstly chop the bok choy into thin, small slices. Chop the tomato into quarters. Slice the mushrooms in even, thin pieces. Peel the garlic and dice it in small pieces.

Now place all the chopped vegetables in the frying pan with the extra light olive oil, sesame oil and salt. Turning the heat to high-medium high. Once heated add the soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. Stir and cook the vegetables 6-8 minutes.

After the vegetables have been cooking for 6-8 minutes dd the cooking wine, stir and cook for another 2 minutes and turn the heat off.

Serve in a bowl and consume to your hearts desire!

Yum yum!

 

Px

p.s thanks to Devine Healthy Food for this lovely recipe 🙂

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Over-ripe Mashed Banana Fritters

Yep you’ve guessed it we’ve got loads of banana’s again. This time they are all really over-ripe – which means they are really REALLY tasty!

Because, as you know, I hate waste…..I also LOVE breakfast!  So if I was going to be eating a good hearty breakfast, then the banana’s had to be used!

Plus as we are always getting these babies; I wanted to find something that you’d use too 🙂

These are soooo tasty; that tasty I’ve been having them every few days – either for breakfast or for desert!  As a new found vegan, it’s not been that easy to replace the donuts I loved or the milk fueled puddings I used to adore!  So this is a great replacement!

I guarantee you WILL love them!

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What you’ll need:

(Makes about 4-5 fritters)

2 largish banana’s (over-ripe only!)
4-5 tablespoons of flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of bicarb soda
1 teaspoon of sugar (if wanted)

What you’ll need to do:

Mix the flour, baking powder, soda and sugar in a bowl.  Then mash the banana with a fork in another bowl and stir the flour mixture into it.  Heat the frying pan to medium hot, coating the area with oil (bottom of the pan).

Once it’s warm enough (starts to bubble slightly), scoop a tablespoon of the mixture into the pan and flatten it slightly.  Fry one side until it’s a medium brown colour and then flip over and do the other side.  Once both sides are cooked you can lay on a sheet of kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil and then serve.

I served mine with a drizzle of maple syrup, but you can leave it as it is or add whatever topping you fancy!

Now tell me you don’t love them!

p.s thanks to this great recipe from Food.com

 

Px

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Surprising Delicious Banana & Red Lentil Curry

Banana’s!

Yep, they drive me absolutely banana’s!

If you’ve been following me on our ‘saving waste’ journey through what I do at The Real Junk Food Project Portsmouth you’ll know for a fact that there isn’t a week that goes by that we don’t get a bunch of banana’s!    They are probably one of the main things we receive each week and it not only annoys me greatly, it actually still does excite me!

Why?

Cos I get to do wonderfully delicious dishes like this curry.  Because, it’s just fantastic to make meals with fruits and vegetables that you’d not normally consider eating.  Banana’s, when they are brown and very over-ripe are when they are at their best, and in this curry they work wonders next to the protein packed red lentils.

This dish was a real hit at our Monday Night Cafe Night, and we reckon you’ll be making it at home once you get a hold of this recipe!

p.s this recipe was helped along by it’s original creator at SarahSuperfluous

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What you’ll need:

(makes 4)

4 or 5 large-ish sized very ripe banana’s (green one’s just wont do!) chopped
100-150g of split red lentils (wash thoroughly first) – depends how thick you want it
1 can – 2 can’s of coconut milk/cream – if you prefer it more korma-ish then go for 2
200ml veg stock if sauce becomes too thick
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoon of tomato purée
Juice of one lime or 1 tablespoon of the bottled stuff
3 tablespoon ground almond powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 tablespoon curry powder
½ tablespoon of chilli powder
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric

I know this seems a lot but it’s really just herbs and spices, you don’t need to much of anything else to be fair!

What you’ll need to do:

On a medium heat fry the onion, pepper, mustard seeds and garlic until soft and brown with a little olive oil.   In a separate bowl mix the almond, lime juice, garam masala, chili powder, cumin, curry, coriander, turmeric and with a tiny bit of warm water to make a paste. Then add this to the onions and garlic, along with the tomato puree. Mix it all well, letting all the flavors come together.

Next slowly stir in the coconut cream over a low heat until it starts to thicken, then add the red lentils and half the banana’s.  Leave to simmer for around 30 minutes and add any stock if you think it’s getting too thick. After 30 minutes add the rest of the banana’s and simmer for another 30 mins (if needed) and then serve on some lovely basmati rice with some pitta bread or naan.

Believe me, you’ll never see banana’s quite the same again after eating this!

 

P x

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Protein Packed Brown Lentil & Veggie Bolognese

This recipe I adapted from a brilliantly easy recipe from the I Quit Sugar website.

To be fair most of my inspiration has come from other people’s recipes and ideas, because I’m not quite there yet on the creative flair when it comes to good food.

The reason I wanted to make a bolognese this time, was merely down to the fact that we’d received, via the project, a few packs of diced vegetables brilliantly described as a ‘veg base’.   As the kind of person whom no longer frequents large supermarkets (only on the odd occasion where needs must), it somehow doesn’t surprise me that people are buying these ready made pots of diced veg.

Sadly, in today’s society people are in a rush. They want things now, rather than taking the time to pick (or even grow) their own veg.  They want things already peeled, already washed and now it seems – cut and diced!

Makes me sad, but as I’m not one to throw anything away I had to find a use for these before their use-by date really did go out of date!  Just so you know we’d received these on Friday, 25th March and the use-by date had already passed by two days!   But, funnily enough, they were still OK to cook, let alone eat!

So here’s what became of them!

What you’ll need (if you’ve not got one of those ready packaged diced veg!)

A bit of oil
2 celery sticks diced
1 onion diced
2 carrots diced
1 tin of chopped tomato’s or a jar of pasta sauce (I used a basil & tomato one)
1 tin of 400g brown lentils (mine were out of date by about 3 months)
1 cube of stock (vegetable) plus some water if required
2 cloves of garlic
2 handfuls of chopped fresh parsley (but I’m sure the dried stuff will do just as nicely)
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of chili flakes
a dash of salt and pepper (to taste)
some pasta of your choice (up to you)

What you’ll need to do:

Stick the oil in a wok or pan (non stick), throw in all the diced veg and garlic. Slowly cook on a medium heat until the veg softens, then stick on the lentils, tomatoes (or pasta sauce), the parsley and other herbs and crumble in the veg stock cube.  If the consistency is a little too thick throw in some water to loosen it up a bit so it’s not too dry.

Allow to heat through and simmer for 10-15 minutes or so.  Whilst that’s simmering cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet or however you like it!

Then serve, with a little pit of parsley to make it look pretty!

Nice yeah?

Enjoy

 

Px

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Leftover Veg & Mushroom Curry with Cauliflower Rice

Now I’m not a ‘spicy’ kind of a gal – well not when it comes to a curry – yet this lovely curry made with my own fair hand has a pretty good kick to it.    The beauty of it is that you can add as much or as little of those little red suckers (chili that is) as you want, with even a few dried flakes as you taste!

The trick also is to not boil the curry, to cook is nice and slow on a medium heat to help it all infuse to create a wonderfully delicious vegetable curry – that and slinging in whatever veg you feel like as you go along!   As you know, nothing is wasted in my household and if there’s a mushroom or two going slightly slimy at the back of the fridge or a bendy withered carrot or two then they are going in too!

This dish will work with whatever veg you fancy, so go with it and enjoy!

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Serves 4

What you’ll need:

The Vegetable Curry:

1 onion (red or white)
1 clove of garlic
a splash of oil
1 or 2 (whatever you fancy) chili (doesn’t have to be red) and/or a pinch of chili flakes
1 heaped teaspoon of ground cumin
1 heaped teaspoon of ground turmeric
250g of mushrooms
250g of whatever veg you fancy (I used a bag of frozen mixed veg)
a handful of fresh parsley
a handful of fresh coriander or dried stuff (that’s all I had)
200ml vegetable stock
400g can of tinned tomatos
400g can of coconut milk (or not if you don’t fancy it)
100g of fresh spinach

The Cauliflower Rice:

2 large cauliflowers (if going a little brown cut those bits off)
a splash of oil
a shake of dried coriander leaf

What you’ll need to do:

Peel and chop the onion and garlic, died the chili or chili’s and place in to a pan on a low heat with the oil.  Add the turmeric and cumin so they infuse with the onion and until softened.

Put in the vegetables, obviously washed and diced if required.  I put in whole button mushrooms and the bag of vegetables to give it a real mixture of size and texture.  Chop the herbs and sling in the pan too. Pour in the stock, and the coconut milk plus the chopped tomatoes and simmer it on a low heat – tasting as you go (I then added the extra chili flakes to make it a little bit hotter).

Simmer it all gently for around 30 minutes, adding more stock if it starts to dry (which shouldn’t happen due to the tomato’s and coconut milk).   Whilst this is simmering away make your cauliflower rice.

Break up the cauliflowers into small portions and then grate one piece of a time into a bowl – be aware this can get messy!  One grated, pour the oil into a wok once heated add the cauliflower a spoonful at a time.  Making sure you keep stiring so it doesn’t stick, making sure the cauliflower is cooked right through. To be honest, even if it’s a little bit raw it gives off a nice crunchy flavor.  Add the dried coriander and cook right through. Should only take 10 minutes to cook it all off.

Once cooked, divide onto 4 separate plates and add the curry on top.

You’re done!

Let me know how it goes, pictures please if you can via the Facebook Page 🙂

 

Paula x

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Courgette, Tomato & Spring Onion Gratin

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I’ve courgettes coming out of my ears at the moment!!! 

After picking up a latest collection from Jacobs Well Care Centre -I was relieved that it didn’t include banana’s this week – instead, to my delight, it contained lots of courgettes!

It seemed an age since we’d rescued courgettes; so to be able to use them in today’s dinner made me very happy – plus I’d seen a rather good (and easy) recipe in ‘A Girl Called Jack‘.

This dish is a little different, firstly it’s vegan so doesn’t include brie and secondly I had a few left-over spring onions starting to go a little bit slimy in the drawer of my fridge.

It’s a really filling dish, mainly due to the rice to bulk it out – but more because it’s very easy to make especially if you have a big family with lots of mouths to feed.  It’s also cheap to make; making sure you use whatever you have in your fridge or store cupboard – because believe me whatever you slip in will make it just as delicious as if you were following this recipe to the letter!

Plus this recipe gets you using your home grown (or like me you have ‘rescued’ some) herbs

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This recipe will feed 4 people comfortably.

What you’ll need:

1 red onion
4 spring onions
150g brown rice (just cos I find it better for you and more nutty, but white rice is fine too)
1 veg stock cube, dissoved in 200ml boiling water
1 x jar of tomato pasta sauce, or 400g tin of chopped tomato’s
a handful of fresh basil
a handful of fresh parsley
1 courgette
a drizzle of oil

What to do:

This is the easy bit!

Peel, dice your onion, and spring onions and place into a pan along with your rice.  Pour your stock in a little at a time on a low-ish heat, stirring most of the time until each part you put in is absorbed.  You may need to add a bit more water if your stock has finished before the rice is cooked, especially if you are using brown rice as that usually takes a bit longer.

Once the rice has just been cooked, add the pasta sauce you have or the chopped tomato’s.  Then add the fresh basil (torn up by hand) and parsley.  Then remove from the heat.

Take your courgette and chop very finely (width-ways).   Spoon the rice, tomato, onion and spring onion mixture into an oven proof dish.  Then place the sliced pieces of courgette around the dish until it covers the mixture.  Then add a drizzle of oil over the top of the courgette pieces to help them cook.

Right – once that has all done place the dish into the oven on about 180 centigrade/350 fahrenheit/gas 4 and leave in there for about 15 minutes until the courgettes are lightly toasted and soft.

Then you are done!

Serve with crusty bread (actually the bread in the photo was rock solid, that was until I learnt to revitalise it) – check out how in my next blog post!

See you soon

 

Px

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SAM_4771

Red Lentil, Chickpea and Turmeric Curry

This recipe is to die for!

No seriously it is, it’s actually inspired by an even more delicious (if it can get better) recipe by Ella Woodward.  Ella’s ‘everyday’ cookbook contains a rather splendid recipe by the name of Chickpea, Quinoa and Turmeric Curry.

Instead of using quinoa, I wanted to make use of the kind of ‘ordinary/everyday’ ingredients we all have in our homes.  The kinds of things lurking at the back of the cupboard or fridge, things that are half used or on the way out!

It also requires coconut milk, which I didn’t have. Instead I found this, and voila with 200ml of water & a splash of soya milk – you get coconut milk (sort of!)

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You’ll notice the curry is a magnificent vibrant yellow-orange colour (the turmeric) which is contrasted by the delicious green of the spinach.  Making it, a pretty good dish even before you’ve tried it!

You won’t look back after creating this dish. It’s easy and so moreish you’ll keep going back for more – that I promise you.

What you’ll need:

Serves 2

1 large or 2 medium sized potato’s – unpeeled – cut into bite sized chunks.
1 garlic clove, chopped very finely
1.5 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes or powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
200g coconut milk or like me you have pure creamed coconut. Use about 50g, just add 200ml water and a splash of soya milk – add more coconut if it’s too watery although the chopped tomato’s will help thicken.
1/2 tbsp tomato puree
200 can chopped tomato’s
salt & pepper to taste
100g red lentils
200 can of chickpeas (or half a can of 400g)
70g spinach

What to do:

Place the chunks of potato’s in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil, cook until they just start to go tender (you can stick a knife in without them breaking up). Then drain.

Place the potato’s into a large pan, add the garlic, turmeric, coriander, chili, ginger, pure creamed coconut (or coconut milk), tomato puree and chopped tomatoes.  Bring to the boil, add salt and pepper as required.  Then add the lentils, adding around 150 ml boiled water.

Lower the heat to a simmer.  Add the lid and allow to cook for around 20 minutes, stir every few mins or so.  Halfway through throw in the chickpea’s and add the spinach when the 20 minutes is up.  Checking the lentils are cooked and not mushy.

Serve as it is in a bowl with lovely crusty bread, or place on top of nutty brown rice to give it contrast.

Let me know what you think 🙂

P x

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SAM_4776

Breakfast Banana & Blueberry Pancakes

What to have for breakfast on a beautiful Saturday morning….hmmmmm

These were my very thoughts after my morning walk with Tommy (the dog) and the fact that yet again we’ve received two boxes of perfectly edible banana’s.  All in pretty good nick, with the odd brown/black bits – but that’s the best way to have them right?

Sadly, most people don’t see this fact which is why Banana’s seem to always be in our collections each week.

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I’m always trying to come up with different ways to eat them. I’ve tried them on toast, bread, muffins and even in curries – oh and french toast (remember my post a few weeks ago?)   Banana’s go down really well as a breakfast, so to quench my banana thirst I made up these beautiful ‘stack-able’ pancakes; with a few blueberries thrown in for good measure!

They are sugar free, other than their own natural sugar’s of course and great for filling you up till lunch time!

What you’ll need:

(serves 1) 3 stack-able pancakes

1 tablespoon of oil
1 large-ish banana mashed
50g self-raising flour (or if you only have plain 50g plain with 1/2 a teaspoon of baking powder)
50ml of soya milk
a handful of blueberries (or whatever fruit you fancy tucking into)
a handful of sultana’s
a splash of lime juice (I like to use lime instead of lemon, but feel free to go with what you prefer!)

What to do:

Mix all the ingredients from mashed banana’s to blueberries into a nice batter (might be lumpy depending on how mashed the banana’s are). Heat the oil in a non-stick pan (i used my wok, just cos my non-stick sticks!) on a medium heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon of batter at a and fry on each side for 1-2 minutes, do as many as you like – however this made about 4 pancakes in total. As each one is done, stack them on top of each other and then add the lime, honey or sugar if you prefer and a sprinkling of sultana’s.

I ate them without the sugar, just because the honey, banana’s and lime made them yummy!

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Now eat 🙂  I promise you you’ll be wanting more!

Lunchtime?

I will be!

Px

 

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