Early harvests.

I love this time of year – it’s when the foraging begins!

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…I say foraging, but we actually cultivate both wild garlic and nettles in our back garden!

Wild garlic has such a short season you have to make the most of it while it’s still here – so we’re having wild garlic in EVERYTHING just now. Nettles – they’re best when they’re still young and tender.

So these got picked, washed and sauteed with some sliced fennel bulbs. I baked some asparagus in olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper. Made some almond and cashew riccotta (blitzed them up with some olive oil, lemon juice and salt – delicious!), stuffed some large mushrooms with them, topped off with some basil pesto, and served with some seeded malthouse sourdough.

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It was a bit tasty.

Falafalafalafalafel

I’ve just realised that flatbreads seem to be featuring alot on this blog. I guess that’s a pretty good representation of my life though – I’m a big fan of my unleavened breads.

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My wife is one of those “artisan baker” types – and yes, she even gets paid for it. So tend to be a bit lazy about breads. Nomatter how nice a loaf I make is, hers are always better. WAAAY better. Maybe that’s why I focus more on flatbreads. Chapattis, tortillas, pittas, rotis, khebz – that’s my territory.

 

I also love falafel. Who doesn’t love falafel? Granted, these were kind of “cheats falafels” as I used tinned chickpeas, and breadcrumbs – they were still very tasty though.

I blitzed up some old stale (sourdough) bread for the crumbs, smoothly blended some of the chickpeas, roughly crushed some more. Chopped some chilli, garlic and parsley, and mixed it all together with some ground coriander seed, cumin and za’atar. Formed it into balls, drizzled on some oil, and baked at a high temperature for around 20mins.

For the flatbreads – the usual really – strong white flour, salt, oil, water, a little more za’atar this time too. Kneaded until smooth, left to sit for 10 mins, rolled out, in the pan, couple of minutes on each side.

Served with salad and olives, drizzled with tahini and lemon juice.

If i’d have thought, i’d have dropped some harissa on top of that too for some extra punch – but I was VERY hungry.

 

 

Sunday Roast.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a good old fashioned roast dinner….

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Roast dinners are, I’d imagine, one of those meals that omnivores are baffled by vegan versions of – unless you substitute the meat for some processed blob of fake chicken with awful “stuffing” in the middle. For me though, even back in my old meat eating days, roasts were always about the veg – so why bother replacing anything?

Top left clockwise – Roasted butternut squash (with sesame oil and smoked salt), on a bed of steamed and baked white cabbage. Roasted “hassleback” potatoes, with olive oil and za’atar. And stuffing balls, with red onion, sage, walnuts and breadcrumbs made from homemade malted sourdough.

All well and good, but it’s not a Sunday Roast without GRAVY!!

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Red onion, sage and garlic gravy. Fried off the onions and started a simple roux off, then added the sage and garlic, then gently poured in veg stock, stirring all the time to stop the gravy from going lumpy. Added a little soy sauce for colour and extra umame. Washed down with a nice bottle of Sainsbury’s “Winemakers Selection” Reciente Rioja. Sainsbury’s are getting very good with their vegan labeling these days.

A little fire to start your day off…

Scrambled tofu is the food of the gods – this is a known fact across every civilisation on Earth.

Cropped scramble

What’s even better than scrambled tofu, is topping it off with some Al’Fez Green Harissa.

Red onion, spring onion, chestnut mushroom, fresh chillies, tomatoes and spinach fried off with turmeric, smoked paprika, black mustard, black pepper and asafoeteda. Silken tofu folded through and broken down into a scramble, served piping hot with toast (more of the “soaker” bread) and a jar of harissa. Nothing sets you up for the day better.

Brunch as procrastination.

I’m writing a book – it’s not about food, or cats.

Za'atar fried potato, smoked salt roasted mushrooms baked black beans and steamed cabbage

Yesterday was going to be a day of epic writing. I had it all planned out…. and then I woke up.

Cue much faffing about, and really doing very little indeed.

So I decided to focus my faffing into preparing a huge meal of brain-powering deliciousness.

Top-right, clockwise…..

Steamed baby spinach leaves, with roasted chestnut mushrooms in smoked salt.

Za’atar coated fried potato.

“Baked” black beans in a tomato sauce flavoured with smoked paprika.

Toasted sourdough “soaker” bread. (Again, courtesy of my wife.) A “soaker”, apparently, is a bread baked with grains that have been soaked in water to prevent them leeching the moisture out of the dough. This one has millet and linseed in it. (I’m starting to get a little arthritis in my hands, and linseeds are a great source of omega-3).

Needless to say – after I demolished this all I wanted to do was sleep. I did get a little writing done, but not much.