A classic Viennese sweet pastry with an autumnal twist. A deliciously simple, vegan version packed with autumnal goodness. Also sugar-free :).
Great with morning coffee, or served as a dessert with cream, custard or ice-cream. I’ve been collecting blackberries and apples in the last week or two, so I couldn’t resist adapting the traditional version of apple strudel which usually includes raisins, and pack it with the flavours of autumn.
Here is a fantastic topping idea for pizza. A tomato sauce base packed with the heady flavours of Moroccan Spices with toppings of sliced sautéed Aubergine, Chick Peas and Sweet Peppers. And a scattering of peppery wild rocket and watercress.
Cooking has had to take a bit of a back seat for me lately …. as has the blog ….(who knows … where the time goes). What I do know, is that I feel so perfectly comfortable cooking vegan these days, I cannot conceive of ever eating animals ever again. Vegan living is peaceable, and I love it.
One of the reasons I’ve been so busy, is because I have an allotment (community vegetable garden) and growing my own vegetables makes being vegan even easier, it has to be said!
Without boring you with all the details, here is a picture of my allotment. Broad Beans in the foreground, garlic to the left, Apple, Pear and Cherry trees, Gigantes Beans on the right. The strawberry bed is covered, because the starlings have been having a feast. Further down there are potatoes, courgettes, peas, onions, carrots, parsnips and all sorts of cabbages. Fruit bushes (red white and black currants, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries) and rhubarb. And there’s more besides. Tomatoes in the small polytunnel on the right. Yesterday I planted 12 Florence Fennel bulbs, which will be a first if they don’t bolt Watch this space ….. for fennel recipes … hopefully! 🙂
And here is my best allotment friend, boldly investigating the seed tin. 🙂
So food has to be quick and easy at the moment: Pasta, Briam (Greek vegetable bake) and vegetable stews. The sort of thing you can more or less throw together.
But the other night I fancied Pizza, so this is what I did.
I’ve been singularly failing to keep my blog going lately…and that’s because I’ve been madly busy harvesting and storing, preserving and pickling some of my homegrown fruit and vegetables. So cooking dinner has been taking a bit of a back seat! Baked potatoes all round 😏
Here’s a taster of what’s been happening in my household lately… raspberry jam, cucumber pickle, roasted tomato and garlic passata and an almond vegan cheese made in honour of my delicious Italian tomatoes…… and some of the beans are air-drying for the winter …..
It’s been Wimbledon fortnight. And now it’s over I’m in a brief period of mourning. Being a tennis addict, this always happens. I should be used to it by now. But I can’t help it 😦 I put as much aside as I can … all forms of cleaning, hoovering, shopping, and frankly, cooking. It’s just so hard. Sigh. 🙂
I call it ‘the beans on toast + daily avocado syndrome’. I get it every single year.
So I haven’t blogged much…done much… been out much. I’ve just watched tennis.
With a notable exception.
I made a strawberry fool….and I added Pimm’s No. 1 🙂
What better way to while away an afternoon, than watching my all-time favourite tennis player eventually demolish his extremely resilient opponent in a tense five-setter …… …..than with strawberries blended in an alcoholic coconut cream.
(The boozy bit in this recipe is entirely optional … but I’ll get to that later).
Federer finally begins to inch ahead in the quarter finals!
It’s the last shout for my strawberry patch …and we’ve had strawberry tart, strawberry jam, strawberry smoothies and just plain strawberries………and I mourn them when they’re over too. In fact, is life worth living without strawberries and Wimbledon? I have to wonder….
But nature moves on, the raspberries and blueberries are coming next…and there’s tennis at the Olympics I believe …!
So. Back to the fool:
I used Pimm’s No. 1 and maple syrup for this…which combined, give it a lovely, tawny, dusky flavour, but you could go another way by using a light sweetener (white sugar or light agave) and fresh mint and lemon juice… details below.
It’s been mild this November, and my collection of perennial herbs on the allotment is still looking fresh.
freshly picked herbs
freshly picked herbs
I picked a bunch of Rosemary, Sage, Winter Savoury, Oregano and Thyme.
Many herbs are very simple to grow successfully, even in pots. They are forgiving, and giving…they accept neglect and continue to provide beautiful, fragrant, interesting flavours throughout the seasons.
Pick up a healthy small plant at a garden centre, or a garden market stall, pot on into a slightly bigger pot, using compost and soil, or plant it straight in the ground, (remembering that not all herbs are hardy). If you keep herbs in a pot, water regularly, but sparingly. Some herbs are regarded as annuals but many will go on year after year. Growing herbs is an economical way of having herbs in your kitchen all year round.
Herbs have many medicinal powers as well as culinary uses.
Thyme can be infused as a tea (with a little agave) as a cough remedy.
Today I’m offering a recipe using fresh Oregano and Thyme, both herbs grow wild on the hills in Mediterranean countries. I remember driving through Greek Mountains with the heady fragrance of Thyme and Oregano coming in through the open windows with the warm breeze. Intoxicating.
Za’atar Flatbreads are an everyday bread eaten in many Middle Eastern Countries.
Here is my take on a Palestinian style flatbread…..
Za’atar flatbreads, served with hummus, vegan cheese and olives, rocket, radishes, tomatoes and spring onions, and a hot spicy lentil and tomato soup.
It’s autumn here in the UK. I am lucky enough to have an allotment, and I love it at this time of year, its decked in autumn colour, bathed in hazy sunshine or shrouded in fine mist (or is that rain…?), and still abounding in fruitfulness. A few days ago, I stripped all the bean pods from the vines. The pods are slightly damp and bedraggled, and coloured musty shades of brown and yellow. I brought home a huge bin bag full of them, three different kinds: moonlight runner, scarlet emperor runner and borlotti. They look distinctly unpromising, which is why I am always struck by what I find inside. The pods split open easily, and inside, nestling in a smooth, silky, papery, white sheath, are lines of immaculate, shining, pristine beans.
It seems so improbable.
The task of the next few days is to shuck them into bowls, then leave them in a warmish dry room (but not too near the heat otherwise they will split). Every time anyone passes, they perform a little ritual, which basically involves shuffling the beans around in the bowls. It’s quite musical and very therapeutic actually! To begin with, they sound dull and muffled. As the days go by, the rattle of the beans starts to change, until eventually it sounds like marbles rattling in a glass bowl. The sound, after a few weeks, becomes absolutely clear and bell-like.